82975731 mahayana buddhism
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NALINAKSHA DUTTProfessoro f
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Revised Edition : Delhi, 1978 45 (Cloth) Price : Rs. 30 (Paper)
Printed in IndiaBY SHANTILAL JAIN AT SHRI JAINENDRA PRESS, AREA, NARAINA, NEW
A-45, PHASE-1, INDUSTRIAL DELHI-28 AND PUBLISHED BY NARENDRA PRAKASH JAIN, BANARSIDASS, BUNGALOW ROAD, JAWAHAR NAGAR, DELHI-7
PREFACE The present work is the revised edition of my earlier publicaf Hinayana and MahQina Buddhism. In tion entitled Aspects o this edition matters relating to Hinaygna have been retained only where these became necessary for the sake of comparison and contrast with Mahiiygna. I thank my student Dr. Miss Ksanika Saha, Ph. D., Research Associate, Centre of Advanced Studies in Ancient Indian History, for the help rendered by her i n revising the final proofs and preparing the Index of this book.
VVI VII VIII
INTRCDLJCTION Political and Cultural Background of Mahiiyana Buddhism Mahgyfinic Traces in the: Niksyas Thrce Main Phases of Buddhism Dasa Bhfimi *rz" Cocception of Kiiya Exposition of Nirv2na Conception of the Truth Conception of the Absolute
INTRODUCTIONThe question that naturally arises in our minds, why the omniscient BhagavSn Buddha preached two religious systems : one lower (Hinaylna) and the other higher (Mahgyina) or two Truths, one conventional (Samvyti-satya) and the other real (Paramdrtha-satya) The answer to this question is given in the Saddharma-@undarika,l one of the nine canonical texts of the Mahaylnists. I t is as follows : BhagavSn S5kyasimha, rising from his deep meditation, regained his normal mental state and then addressed SSriputra with these words: "Very deep and extremely difficult it is for the Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas to comprehend the truth attaine% by the TathBgatas, who had struggled for it for several aeons. ;Equally difficult it is for them to penetrate into the meaning of the terse expressions (sandhdbhC~ci) used by the Tathlgatas." S ~ k ~ a s i m h also a before his attainment of bodhi at Gaya busied himself with the acquisition of the dvenika-dharmas (eighteen dharmas leading to Buddhahood) and it was after realising the Truth that he became convinced that it could not be imparted by one to another by means of words. Though he had to instruct aware of the futility of the Bvenika-dharma~,~ the Srivakas to acquire them only as an expedient because he realised that these Svenika-dharmas only could appeal to them. He admitted that by acquiring these dharmas the perfect Srgvakas and Pratyekabuddhas could become free from impurities and would not have any more rebirth but still they would not be capable of realising the highest Truth visualised by the Tathlgatas. Not to speak of SrSvakas and Pratyekabuddhas, even Bodhisattvas of the highest rank, i.e. the Avaivarttikas (lit. non-receding from the goal) were far away from the realisation of the Truth. SSriputra was asked to rely on
1. 1954. Profs. 2.
Edited by the present writer and published by the Asiatic Society in In 1934 was published an edition of this text by two Japanese savants Wogihara and Tsuchida. See Mahduyufpatti.
Bhagaviin S5kyasi~?1hays words that the three y'anas were mere expedients resorted to by Buddhas for imparting training to beings, who clung to different types of practices for spiritual progress. ra Buddha to explain why he said Thereupon S ~ r i ~ u tsolicited that the Truth was too deep and subtle to be comprehended by Sriivakas and why the terse sayings of Buddhas were also unintelligible to them. At the repeated request of Siirip~ltra, Buddha agreed to explain the real aim of the Tathagatas only to those who had implict faith in him and not to those who were still conceited (dbhim~nika). He said that the Truth could not be the subject-matter of discussion (atarkoYtark6uacarah) and could be reaiised by the Tathagatas within themselves. The Buddhas appear in the world only to help beings to attain , the TathBgata-lmowledge and insight (tath~~ata-j~dna-darjana) which may be equated to omniscience (sarvajfiatci) and for this, there is really one yana called Buddhaygna and not a second or a third, though they take recourse to many forms of exposition to suit the different classes of beings whose mental inclinations and mental developments vary on account of their appearance in the world a t a time when there are one or more of the five shortcomings (ka~ciglas)due to the Kalpa (time), sattva (type of beings), kleia (impurities), dysti (wrong views) and 5yus (length of life). The above topic is repeated in fiirther details in the gathgs. Buddha said that for those beings, who believed in the existence of the world and its sufferings, he preached his dharma giving reasons and examples, in nine afigas, viz., siitra, g2th5, itivyttaka, j2takaJ adbhuta, nidana and various geyya replete with similies. He held up before them the summum bonum of Nirvfina and not Buddhahood. Similarly, he preached the Vaiaipulyastitras to those who had accumulated merits through several existences and were pure, learned and well-behaved, and to them he held out the goal of Buddhahood. There was one ysna and not three and if Buddha had preached only Hinaygna (p. 35, v. 57) then he would have been charged with miserliness (mdtsa?ya), envy (ir!yli) and attachment (chanda-rciga). If he had straightway asked everybody to seek badhi, then many would not have taken his advice
seriously, and would have suffered for that reason longer in the worlds of existence and got entangled in one or more of the sixtytcvo heretical views? Buddha assured Buddhahood not only to those, who perfected ~ s also to those, who worshipped themselves in the six p ~ r a r n i t but the relics of Buddha or erected thereon stiipas of any material, be it of jewel or sand, or made images (bimba) of Buddha with any metal or even clay, or drew sketches of the figure of Buddha on paper, wall, etc. or even offered flowers or played musical instrun~ents or sang songs in adoration of Buddha's images or just uttered the words c'~Vamo'stziBuddlltiya". There is only one dharma, which is refulgent by nature (prakytii ca dharmana sadti prabhlisvara) and which is eternal, unshakeable and has a law of itself (dharma-niyamatd). Realising the eternal dharrna, S%kyasimhastayed at the Bodhimanda for three weeks and felt pity for the suffering beings. H e wanted to enter into parinirvdna then and there, but at the intervention of Brahmg and also remembering what the previous Buddhas had done, he made up his mind to propagate his dharma in three ways (gdna) so that it could be intelligible to the beings at large. H e then proceeded to Benares and preached his dharma to the five bhik~us in a modified form using for the first time the words nirvdna, arhanta, dharma and sarigha. At the same time, he initiated the Bodhisattvas, who approached him, +to the highest truth. I t is this higher teaching that he was going to impart now to S2iriputra and asked him to have implicit faith in his words and assured him that he as well as many other Arhats would ultimately attain Buddhahood. After listening to the above mentioned words of Buddha, S%riputraregretted that he and his fellow-brethren were satisfied with the superficial aspect of the teaching and did not exert to dive deep into its inner meaning, which is pure, subtle and beyond discussion, and thereby missed to attain Buddhahood with all its attributes (see ch. 111. vs. 5-6). He felt that as he was previously a heretical parivrsjaka, he was taught only nirurti (quietude) by realising the non-existence of any substance (soul) in phenomena but it was not real nirvrti attainable1.
Vide Brahmajdla-sutta of the Digha-NikGya.
only by Buddhas. H e was elated at the hope held out by Buddha Sfikyasimha that he would also in due course become a Ruddha. H e had no more doubt about the truth and solemnity of the words of Buddha, and he would never mistake those as the beguiles of Mira. H e was reminded by Buddha that he had forgotten the Bodhisattva vow taken by him long long ago and that he had received training from S2kyasimha in Bodhisattva secrets and that he, being forgetful of his long past, felt that he had attained Nirviina. This text, Saddharmapunda~ika, was delivered by S%kyasimha particularly to revive the memory of the Bodhisattva vows taken by the Sr~vakas. After countless aeons Sfiriputra will become the Buddha Padmaprabha and his Buddhaksetra will be called Viraja and will be full of Bodhisattvas. This prophecy about S2riputra was applauded by the assemblage of gods and men, who expressed their appreciation of Buddha's sandhy5bhisa (enigmatic sayings) by saying that at Benares the doctrine of origin and decay of skandhas (constituents of a being) was explained while the same teacher was now giving a n exposition of a subtle inconceivable dharma. Though S5iriputra had implicit faith in Buddha's prophecy, to a explain why formerly he imstill he requested S ~ k ~ a s i m h parted at all the teaching of andtman (selflessness) and nirv&yz t o his disciples like him. Buddha removed his doubts by telling him a parable, which is as follows: There was a fabulously rich man, who had a very large house, which, however, was very old, full of refuses and was the haunt of birds, dogs, worms, reptiles, pretas, yaksas and pis'k