Colophons of Acariya Buddhaghosa
Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:10 pm
Venerable Panditha of Burma in the paper "The_Authorship_of_the_Vinaya_and_Abhidhamma_Commentaries_A_Response_to_von_Hinuber" says:The Australian monk Shravasti Dhammika is also critical of contemporary practice based on this work. He concludes that Buddhaghosa did not believe that following the practice set forth in the Visuddhimagga will really lead him to Nirvana, basing himself on the postscript to the Visuddhimagga:
Even Buddhaghosa did not really believe that Theravada practice could lead to Nirvana. His Visuddhimagga is supposed to be a detailed, step by step guide to enlightenment. And yet in the postscript [...] he says he hopes that the merit he has earned by writing the Vishuddhimagga will allow him to be reborn in heaven, abide there until Metteyya (Maitreya) appears, hear his teaching and then attain enlightenment.
Venerable Dhammanando says:
- Those colophons have not come from Acariya Buddhaghosa’s hands.
- Acariya Buddhaghosa wanted to have all the credit transferred to the Mahāvihāra community.
- Those introductions, epilogues, and colophons still have certain aspects not yet sufficiently examined.
- Traditional scholars hardly believe that those colophons are written by Acariya Buddhaghosa.
- All the works of Acariya Buddhaghosa were anonymous at the beginning.
- This anonymity is the reason for someone in posterity to add such colophons in order to save the author’s name.
- The reason for anonymity was to get the works endorsed by the prestige and authority of Mahāvihāra, expecting the longevity of books. If only a less number of people were interested in manually copying his book, it would remain “unpublished".
- In this way, Acariya Buddhaghosa could successfully publish his works inland and internationally.
- This circumstance of Acariya Buddhaghosa can be compared to presidential speech-writers. Although writer's name is not a secret, no president would acknowledge the writer in the speech itself.
Bhikkhu Sujato Says:Ven. Dhammika is making the common mistake of confusing Buddhaghosa’s colophon with that of the scribal copyist. The former dedicates the the merit of composing the Visuddhimagga to the happiness of all beings. It’s the scribe, not Buddhaghosa, who wants to go to heaven and later meet Metteyya.
In any case, the passage that expresses a wish to be reborn with Metteyya has multiple indications that it is a later addition, probably a scribal remark by a copyist.
It is only found in Sinhalese manuscripts
It doesn’t identify Buddhaghosa at all, merely saying “through the merit I have gained by this”.
It appears after the rather elaborate praise of Buddhaghosa, which itself appears to be a later addition (it’s not good form to praise oneself in this way).
It is right at the end, exactly where a copyist’s scribal mark would be added
This belief is implicitly rejected in the text itself (Vism 1.135)
Have you found more counter evidence to the ven. S. Dhammikas argument?