Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and scriptures.
thomaslaw
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Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

The following discussion topic/information posted on Dharma Wheel https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.p ... 55#p609279 about Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism may be useful for studies in Early Buddhism on this forum:

One essential tradition regarding ‘studies in Early Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism’ is Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism (相應教 Saṃyukta-kathā), which is based on Ven. Yinshun’s works.

See Choong Mun-keat, The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism (2000) pp. 7-11, indicates that the Chinese scholar-monk Yinshun has demonstrated the historical important of Samyutta-Nikāya/Samyukta-āgama (SN/SA) in Early Buddhism in two books: The Formation of Early Buddhist Texts 原始佛教聖典之集成 (1971), and Combined Edition of Sūtra and Śāstra of Saṃyukta-āgama 雜阿含經論會編 (1983) (CSA) (Cf. also pp. 2-7: “1. Historical background”).

In the following recent article, the same author provides further useful information on this topic/issue:

“Ācāriya Buddhaghosa and Master Yinshun 印順 on the Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts” in Research on the Saṃyukta-āgama (Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Research Series 8; edited by Dhammadinnā), Taiwan: Dharma Drum Corporation, August 2020, pp. 883-932.

https://www.academia.edu/44055729/%C4%8 (“Ācāriya Buddhaghosa and Master Yinshun 印順 on the Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts” 2020)

https://www.academia.edu/39352226/The_F (The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism 2020)

According to Ven. Yinshun, Saṃyukta-āgama/Saṃyutta-nikāya was not at first being termed as nikāya or āgama, but generally named the ‘Connected Discourses’ 相應教 Saṃyukta-kathā. About the term Saṃyukta-kathā, see p. 899, note 21 in the above-mentioned paper (2020) by Choong Mun-keat.

Calling the Saṃyukta/Saṃyutta as āgama/nikāya ‘collection’ was until when the other three nikāyas/āgamas (MN/MA, DN/DA, AN/EA) were gradually developed and expanded from it (相應教 Saṃyukta-kathā). Cf. pp. 10-11 in Choong Mun-keat’s Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism (2000).

The extant SA and SN, and also other āgamas/nikāyas, are sectarian texts. One can seek an understanding of early Buddhist teachings by studying them comparatively (p. 11).

It is likely the term, nikāya, was first being used in Early Buddhism for the four āgamas/nikāyas.

See also Ven. Yinshun in his book (CSA vol. 1) states that Saṃyukta-āgama/Saṃyutta-nikāya is the foundation of both the four āgamas/nikāyas and Mahayana Madhyamaka and Yogācāra’s essential teachings:

"《雜阿含經》(即《相應阿含》,《相應部》),是佛教界早期結集的聖典,代表了釋尊在世時期的佛法實態。佛法是簡要的,平實中正的,以修行為主,依世間而覺悟世間,實現出世的理想——涅槃。在流傳世間的佛教聖典中,這是教法的根源,後來的部派分化,甚至大乘「中觀」與「瑜伽」的深義,都可以從本經而發見其淵源 。這應該是每一位修學佛法者所應該閱讀探究的聖典。

... 依《瑜伽師地論》,知道四阿含經是依《雜阿含經》為根本的;《瑜伽論.攝事分》中,抉擇契經的摩呾理迦(本母),是依《雜阿含經》的次第而造。我在《原始佛教聖典之集成》,有了進一步的研究,主要是論定:依《瑜伽論.攝事分》,分全經為「能說」,「所說」,「所為說」;這三類,與「修多羅」,「祇夜」,「記說」相當
… 其實,四部阿含是先有《雜阿含》 ,九分教是先有「修多羅」,「祇夜」,「記說」(這三分也還是先後集出),二者互相關聯,同時發展而次第成立的。《中阿含經》([A1]一九一)《大空經》,說到「正經,歌詠,記說」(《中部》一一二《空大經》所說相同),正是佛教初期三分教時代的明證。

《瑜伽論.攝事分》中,抉擇契經宗要的摩呾理迦,是《雜阿含經》的部分論義,也就是「所說」——「修多羅」部分的論義。「修多羅」分陰、處、因緣、聖道四大類,在《雜阿含經》的集成中,「修多羅」是最早的,正是如來教法的根本所在 。"

:reading: :buddha1:
thomaslaw
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

thomaslaw wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 2:00 am https://www.academia.edu/39352226/The_F (The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism 2020)
... 2020 correct to: 2000

:namaste:
Pulsar
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

I was beginning to read up on this Chinese scholar a couple of days ago, and now this, it is beautiful.
You wrote
According to Ven. Yinshun, Saṃyukta-āgama/Saṃyutta-nikāya was not at first being termed as nikāya or āgama, but generally named the ‘Connected Discourses’ 相應教 Saṃyukta-kathā. About the term Saṃyukta-kathā, see p. 899, note 21 in the above-mentioned paper (2020) by Choong Mun-keat.
Is this why you say that the Connected Discourses are the oldest of the Sutta collections?
However Parayanavagga and Atthakavagga are clearly earlier than Connected Discourses, right?
Nice information, thank you for your persistence.
With love :candle:
thomaslaw
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

Pulsar wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 3:20 am
Is this why you say that the Connected Discourses are the oldest of the Sutta collections?
However Parayanavagga and Atthakavagga are clearly earlier than Connected Discourses, right?
These two vaggas are located in Sutta-nipata.

According to Ven. Yinshun, certain texts of Sutta-nipata belong to anga 4. Gatha. These texts were compiled in the Khuddaka-nikaya rather than being made part of the four basic Agamas/Nikayas. See p. 10, note 34 in Choong Mun-keat's Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism. :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

Dearest Thomaslaw: I find the comparisons of the Pali Samyutta Nikaya and the Chinese Samyukta agama enormously helpful to my sutta studies. Some things like "bending" of the consciousness, used in the Pali canon, is clear now.
I understand the suttas, but I do not understand what anga means... words such as "based on the sutra-anga" or "Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts" confuse me. What is anga? Sounds a bit scholarly, way over my head...
Can you pl clarify the terminology?
Also in the 'connected units of the content of Samyukta agama', the last sequence is Eight Assemblies. What are these assemblies?
With love :candle:
thomaslaw
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

Pulsar wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 10:59 pm but I do not understand what anga means... words such as "based on the sutra-anga" or "Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts" confuse me. What is anga? Sounds a bit scholarly, way over my head...
Can you pl clarify the terminology?
Anga is "classification of teachings". See p. 9, note 32 in Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism.
Pulsar wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 10:59 pm Also in the 'connected units of the content of Samyukta agama', the last sequence is Eight Assemblies. What are these assemblies?
Eight assemblies are:
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/yi ... 9/14117/20
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/yi ... 9/14117/22

:quote:
Pulsar
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

Dear thomaslaw:
Eight assemblies last of the units in the content of Samyukta agama, which i had a question on?
on Sutta Central you explained...
But according to Digha Nikaya 16 (Mahāparinibbāna-sutta), the eight assembles (aṭṭha parisā) are:
1. An assembly of nobles, 2. An assembly of Brahmins, 3. An assembly of householders, 4. An assembly of recluses ( Khattiyaparisā brāhmaṇaparisā gahapatiparisā samaṇaparisā); 5. An assembly of gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings, 6. An assembly of gods of the heaven of the Thirty-three, 7. An assembly of Mara’s retinue, and 8. An assembly of Brahmas (Cātummahārājikaparisā Tāvatiṁsaparisā Māraparisā Brahmaparisā).
hmm ...above does not make sense to be grouped with the rest below
  • 1. Spoken by the Tathagata
    2. Spoken by Sravakas
    3. aggregates (Skandha)
    4. Elements (Dhatu)
    5. Sense spheres
    6. Causal condition
    7. Nutriments (ahara), (this should be understood as only in relation to DO. my addition)
    8. Truths (Satya)
    9. factors to awakening 
10. Assemblies?????? (where I have difficulty)
a bunch of groups like  "gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings, 6. An assembly of gods of the heaven of the Thirty-three, 7. An assembly of Mara’s retinue, and 8. An assembly of Brahmas etc"  
Does this 10th factor make sense to you, considering its companions here? like aggregates, elements, causal condition, factors for awakening etc? Might that be a late addition? 'cause the rest makes perfect sense in relation to causal condition, but the 10th does not?
This assembly looks like the compilers having a field day with gods and mara mythology.
My understanding is that when Buddha used the word Mara,
all he meant was the killers, the things that kill us, defilements, wrong view, aggregates, things that enter via sense bases, the seen, heard, sensed and the cognized.
Can you pl. clarify?
As for Anga? thanks I tried going over it... Are you able to summarize that info me.
With love :candle:
PS Now you had this from Wikipedia at the beginning of your comment.
So, SA 25. Devatā (= SN 1.Devatā, SN 2. Devaputta), SA 26. Yakṣa (= SN 10. Yakkha), and SA 27. Vāna (= SN 9. Vana) should belong to 5. an assembly of gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings (cātummahārājikaparisā). Four Heavenly Kings - Wikipedia
I have trouble relating this to what is found in Dighanikaya 16.
thomaslaw
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

Pulsar wrote: Fri Dec 03, 2021 1:19 pm
10. Assemblies?????? (where I have difficulty)
... but the 10th does not?

Can you pl. clarify?
As for Anga?
I have trouble relating this to what is found in Dighanikaya 16.
The eight assemblies are relevant to Sagatha Vagga (= Geya/Geyya-anga) in SN. https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/yi ... 9/14117/22
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/yi ... 9/14117/21 :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

Thanks Thomaslaw for the link...
cdpattons response when asked about 3-anga structure, is very helpful.
When Yinshun reorganized the Chinese Saṃyukta Āgama and saw that it fit the headings he found in the Yogâcārabhūmi, he also noticed that it could be divided into three divisions with distinct formats. Those three divisions appear to match the sutra formats of sutra, geya, and vyākaraṇa as defined by Asaṅga in his commentary on SĀ that’s contained in the Yogâcārabhūmi.
The first three aṅgas are defined by Asaṅga in this way:
  • Sutras discuss Dharma topics generally to an assembly of monks.
  • Geyas are sutras that have concluding or summary verses at or near the end.
  • Vyākaraṇas are sutras in which the Buddha or a disciple gives an explanation, such as what happened after a disciple passed away or when someone comes with a question.
Yinshun noticed that Vargas I-IV of SĀ are mostly Sutras, Varga V contains Geyas, and Vargas VI-VII are vyākaraṇas, generally speaking. They all have outliers, but the majority can be put into those categories to make three aṅga divisions.

He came to the conclusion, then, that Asaṅga was a reliable source about the way SĀ was compiled in northern India. From this, Yinshun theorized that the sutra aṅgas, at least the first three, might have been the way the sutras had been originally compiled in the earliest version of the canon. As the sutra canon grew, the Saṃyukta Āgama took shape. As SĀ continued to grow, texts were split off into the other Āgamas (Dīrgha, Madhyama, and Ekôttarika), but then the tradition stopped at these four.
The clearest parallel of these three divisions in SN is the Geya division. It’s a bit complicated, but if you look at the chart I created at the beginning of this thread, you can see that Varga IV, “Eight Assemblies,” matches the saṃyuttas of SN’s Sagātha Vagga. The only outlier is the Bhikkhu saṃyukta, which is located in the Nidāna Vagga. However, when we look at the contents of that saṃyutta, we see that many of its suttas are geya sutras; that is, they have concluding verses. So, it stands to reason that it may have originally been in the Sagātha Vagga, but was moved and a couple prose-only suttas were added to the beginning of it.
Vargas I-IV have corresponding vaggas in the Theravada Samyutta Nikaya (Vagga II, III, IV, and V), but the parallels to the samyuktas in Vargas VI-VII are scattered throughout those same vaggas. So, if they originally had been two separate divisions in the Theravada tradition, they were combined at some point and somewhat haphazardly.
The basic takeaway is that the Theravada Saṃyutta Nikāya seems to have been jumbled in a random order after the Sagātha Vagga, perhaps in a similar way that the Chinese SĀ had been disordered after its translation. This appears to have been a problem that cropped up at some point in Buddhist history, and that would explain the relatively random disorder of the suttas as they’ve come down to us, if it’s true. It’s a little hard to believe they were randomized from the start, though it isn’t impossible, I guess.
Regards :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

Dearest thomaslaw: It took me a while to go through the link you gave and inhale the information. Wow! so much work has been done on text critical history. What dedication!
I am beginning to understand the assemblies, why the Sagatha vaggga was named so.
Thanks for this...
An assembly of nobles (khattiya): SA 20. Kṣatriya = SN 3. Kosala
An assembly of Brahmins (brāhmaṇa): SA 21. Brāhmaṇa = SN 7. Brāhmaṇa
An assembly of householders (gahapati): SA 24. Vaṇgīsa = SN 8. Vaṇgīsa
An assembly of recluses (samaṇa): SA 17. Bhikṣu = SN 21. Bhikkhu; SA 23. Bhikṣuṇī = SN 5. Bhikkhuṇī
An assembly of gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings (Cātummahārājika): SA 25. Devatā = SN 1. Devatā, SN 2. Devaputta; SA 26. Yakṣa = SN 10. Yakkha; SA 27. Vāna = SN 9. Vana
An assembly of gods of the heaven of the Thirty-three (Tāvatiṁsa): SA 19. Śakra = SN 11. Sakka
An assembly of Mara’s retinue (Māra): SA 18. Māra = SN 4. Māra
An assembly of Brahmas (Brahma): SA 22. Brahma = SN 6. Brahma

The first four assembles are humans; the other four are non-humans.
With Regards :candle:
thomaslaw
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

Good to know you have seen the structure of SA/SN! :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

thomaslaw wrote
Good to know you have seen the structure of SA/SN!
Thanks for bringing in this discussion to DW, I do see the structure clearly, I learnt much, but I puzzle over why the compilers chose these names when assembling the brief suttas in the Sagathavagga into categories.
Was it a marketing ploy? In the earliest times, it must have been hard to sell Budda's words to a public that believed in gods, devatas, devaputtas, maras, yakkhas etc, esp the Indian culture that was fed by Vishnu, Krshna, and Brahma.
Smart move however!
to bring in some mythology. I don't blame them. Who does not love mythology?
Regardless of the packaging, the content of these packages has nothing to do with gods or devatas, or Mythology. Samyutta Nikaya, is the one collection, that is missing mythology, and is most true to the spirit of Buddha.
Thanks you again for a thought provoking discussion.
With love :candle:
thomaslaw
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

Pulsar wrote: Sun Dec 05, 2021 10:15 pm Was it a marketing ploy? In the earliest times, it must have been hard to sell Budda's words to a public that believed in gods, devatas, devaputtas, maras, yakkhas etc, esp the Indian culture that was fed by Vishnu, Krshna, and Brahma.
Smart move however!
to bring in some mythology. I don't blame them. Who does not love mythology?
Regardless of the packaging, the content of these packages has nothing to do with gods or devatas, or Mythology. Samyutta Nikaya, is the one collection, that is missing mythology, and is most true to the spirit of Buddha.
Thanks you again for a thought provoking discussion.
Early Buddhist adaptation of general Indian religious beliefs about divine beings (devas) and myth shown in SN/SA seems also culture marketing plan or understanding in response to the needs and feelings of the individuals and societies in early phase of Buddhism.

This early adaptation also becomes a foundation and life style in the development of other areas of Buddhism (such as found in DN/DA, Mahayana texts; South-East Asia, East Asia).

It seems the personal and mythical aspect of devas and myth in SN/SA should not be entirely ignored, and the impersonal and symbolic aspect of them should not be over-emphasised.

Nevertheless, one needs to remember and study the core teachings of Early Buddhism, which are found in the Sutra-anga portion of SN/SA, i.e. the major four collections of SN/SA, according to Ven. Yinshun. :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

Although Sagatha Vagga has mythic tones, I do not complain,
the content of its short verses crystallize the Dhamma. One has to pause and listen. For instance the reference to aggregates,and need to get rid of these.
SN 1.2 Emancipation
"By the utter destruction of delight in existence
By the extinction of perception and consciousness,
By the cessation of appeasement of feelings
It is thus, friend, that I know for beings__
Emancipation, release, seclusion"
Poetry tends to sacrifices some truth. Extinction of perception??? 
If we read Sn 4.11, which was closed during Buddha's time, this point is clarified. The taake home being Arahant does away with the aggregates. 
Now if we glance at  
SN1.5 How Many Must One Cut?
How many must one cut? how many abandon,
And how many further must one develop?
When a bhikkhu has surmounted how many ties Is he called a crosser of flood?

One must cut off five, abandon five,
And must develop further five, A bhikkhu who has surmounted five ties
Is called a crosser of the flood.
VBB's commentary to the verse refers to getting rid of five lower fetters,
and five higher fetters. BB admits he copies Buddhaghosa and another 6th or 7th century Elder for the purpose, both with strong Theravada leanings.
I checked the agama translation. Filtered through DeepL it is not very clear.
But I am very sure the five higher fetters are later add ons. SN is not entirely free of corruption. What are your thoughts on higher fetters?
Sagatha vagga is a wonderful vagga introduced under the cover of gods and devatas and tree spirits. But for the percipient it contains compact verse of what is elaborated later in prose,
ie aggregates, elements, sense spheres, causal condition etc.
Who does not love the razzmatazz? I certainly do.
Now some criticise the Pali compilers for placing Sagatha Vagga first. Agama compilers place it last.
Being human, i like bumping, into gods, shiny beings and tree spirits, at the beginning,
heralds of profound truths!
Sagatha Vagga opens with
SN1.1 Crossing the flood.
The brilliance of this verse? Once upon a time there were the enlightened, and tree spirits living side by side. They  got along fabulously.
Thanks for forcing me back into Sagatha Vagga. Much merit to thee!
So much to be relearned, so little time.
I am rereading BB's intro to SN, it is very helpful.
With love :candle:
thomaslaw
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Re: Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

You mention SN Devata and Devaputta Samyuttas. The following article by Choong Mun-keat may be of interest to you:

"A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Devata Samyutta and Devaputta Samyutta, collections of early Buddhist discourses on devatas "gods" and devaputras "sons of gods" ", Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, vol.1, October 2011, pp. 60-88.

https://www.academia.edu/44488274/A_com ... s_of_gods_
or
https://www.academia.edu/44488293/A_com ... s_of_gods_

:candle: :reading:
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