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A. K. Narain
University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
Alexander W. Macdonald
Universiti de Paris X
Nanterre, France
Ernst Steinkellner
University oj Vienna
Wien, Austria
Bardwell Smith
Carleton College
Northfield, Minnesota, USA
Jikido Takasaki
University of Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan
Volume 7
Robert Thurman
Amherst College
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Roger Jackson
1984 Number 2
This journal is the organ of the International Association of Buddhist Stud_
ies, Inc., and is governed by the objectives of the Association and accepts
scholarly contributions pertaining to Buddhist Studies in all the various
disciplines such as philosophy, history, religion, sociology, anthropology
art, archaeology, psychology, textual studies, etc. The jIABS is published
twice yearly in the summer and winter.
Manuscripts for publication and correspondence concerning articles should
be submitted to A. K. Narain, Editor-in-Chief, jIABS, Department of South
Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, U.S.A.
Please refer to the guidelines for contributors to the jIABS printed on the
inside back cover of every issue.
The Association and the Editors assume no responsibility for the views'
expressed by the authors in the Association's journal and other related'
Books for review should be sent to the Editor-in-Chief. The Editors cannot
guarantee to publish reviews of unsolicited books nor to return those books to
the senders.
Andre BaTeau (France) joseph M. Kitagawa (USA)
M.N. Deshpande (India) jacques May (Switzerland)
R. Card (USA) Hajime Nakamura Uapan)
B.C. Cokhale (USA) john Rose1lfield (USA)
P.S. jaini (USA) David Snellgrove (U.K.)
J. W. de jong (Australia) E. Zurcher (Netherlands)
The Buddhist Path to Liberation: An Analysis of the
Listing of Stages, by Rod Bucknell 7
Temporary Ordination in Sri Lanka, by Richard Gom-
brich 41
The Symbolism of the Early Stiipa, by Peter Harvey 67
Reason as the Prime Principle in Tsong kha pa's
Delineation of Deity Yoga-as the Demarcation
Between Siitra and Tantra, by Jeffrey Hopkins 95
5. Buddhism and Belief in Atma, by Y. Krishan 117
6. Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984), by Luciano Petech 137
7. Kokan Shiren and Muso Soseki: "Chineseness" vs.
"J apaneseness" in Thirteenth and Fourteenth
Century Japan, by David Pollack 143
8. The Rasavahini and the Sahassavatthu: A Comparison, by
Telwatte Rahula 169
9. A Study of the Theories of Yavad-bhavikata and Yatha-
vad-bhavikata in the Abhidharmasamuccaya, by
Ah-yueh Yeh 185
1. Alone With Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism,
by Stephen Batchelor; The Way of Siddhartha: A
Life of the Buddha, by David J. and Indrani Kalu-
pahana (reviewed by Roger Jackson) 208
2. The Buddha, by Michael Carrithers (reviewed by Paul
Griffiths) 216
3. Buddhist and Western Psychology, edited by Nathan Katz
(reviewed by Paul Griffiths) 219
4. A Lamp for the Path and Commentary, by Ansa, trans-
lated and annotated by Richard Sherburne
(reviewed by Jose Cabezon) 224
5. Religious Festiv.als in South India and Sri Lanka, edited
and prefaced by Guy R. Welbon and Glenn E.
Yocum (reviewed by Peter Claus) 226
1. 7th Conference of the International Association
Buddhist Studies
2. L.M. Joshi: A Brief Communication
3. LA.B.S., Inc. Treasurer's Report
John Brough (1917-1984)
The Buddhist Path to Liberation: An
Analysis of the Listing of Stages*
by Rod Bucknell
The noble eightfold path (ariya attangika magga) is generally
considered, by practising Buddhists and scholars alike, to be a
complete summary of Gotama's course of practice leading to
the cessation of suffering. However, there are in the Tipitaka
several other lists of stages which are demonstrably also state-
ments of that course of practice, and which, while broadly re-
sembling the eightfold path, differ from it in omitting certain
stages and/or including certain others. In this paper, a selection
of these alternative lists of stages is subjected to a comparative
analysis, some aspects of Gotama's course of practice are re-
interpreted accordingly, and it is argued that the noble eight-
fold path does not entirely deserve the high status usually ac-
corded it.
Five lists of stages, chosen for their overall resemblance to
the eightfold path, are dealt with. They are- drawn from the
first four nikiiyas of the Sutta-pitaka. List 1 occurs there some
sixty times, List 2 three times, Lists 3 and 4 each occur once
only, and List 5 occurs ten times. However, the importance of
these lists of stages is considerably greater than their relatively
infrequent occurrence would suggest, as the analysis that now
follows will demonstrate.
List 1
The most obvious candidate for inclusion in this compara-
tive study is the following list of ten stages, found in each of the
first four nikiiyas.
It differs from the eightfold path only in
having two further items following right concentration:
1. samma-diUhi (right view)
2. samma-sankappa (right aspiration)
3. samma-vaca (right speech)
4. samma-kammanta (right action)
5. samma-aj'iva (right livelihood)
6. samma-vayama (right effort)
7. samma-sati . (right mindfulness)
8. samma-samadhi (right concentration)
9. samma-nalJa (right insight)
10. samma-vimutti (right liberation).
This list is given various names-"the noble path," "the ten
qualities of an adept," "the ten states conducing to the ending
of the cankers (asavas)," etc.
Here, it will be called, for conve-
nience, "the tenfold path."
At some of its occurrences, the tenfold path is stated to
be superior to the eightfold path. For example, in the Magga-
sa'f!Zyutta Gotama says:
I will teach you, monks, the worthy and the still more Wor-
thy than the worthy .... And who, monks, is the worthy?
Herein, monks, a certain one has right view, right aspira-
tion, ... right concentration. This one, monks, is called
"the worthy." And who, monks, is the still more worthy
than the worthy? Herein, monks, a certain one has right
view, right aspiration, ... right concentration, right In-
sight, right liberation. This one, monks, is called "the still
more worthy than the worthy."4
Similarly, in the Mahacattarfsaka-sutta, the only sutta that deals
with the tenfold path at any length, a listing of the ten maggan-
gas or path-factors is followed immediately by the statement:
"In this way, monks, the course of the learner (sekha) is pos-
sessed of eight components, and that of the perfected one (ara-
hant) of ten components."5 In addition, as C.A.F. Rhys Davids
pointed out half a century ago,6 the Anguttara implicitly assigns
superior status to the tenfold path by discussing it far more
frequently: while in the Eights the eightfold path is listed only
twice,7 in the Tens the tenfold path is listed no fewer than fifty-
four times.
The existence of this tenfold path suggests that the eight-
fold path is incomplete. Unfortunately, the Tipitaka contains
no detailed stage-by-stage explanations of the tenfold path
comparable to those given for the eightfold path;9 the two extra
path-factors, samma-iiar:ta ~ n d samma-vimutti, are nowhere ex-
plaine? .It s e ~ m s s ~ f e to mfer that the tenth factor, .samma-
vimuttz (nght lIberatIOn), refers to the summum bonum, mbbana.
If this suggestion is correct, the absence of samma-vimutti from
the eightfold path is no real defect, since-it can be argued-
the path is the way to the final realization and therefore need
not include that realization. There remains, however, the ninth
factor, samma-iia1Ja (right insight, or wisdom, or knowledge).
This factor appears to be of crucial importance. Its name indi-
cates that it has to do with the development of intuitive wisdom,
a vital prerequisite to liberation; and its penultimate position in
the list suggests that it is a very advanced stage, more advanced,
for example, than mastery of the jhanas, with which samma-
samadhi (the eighth factor) is equated.I
On this question of serial position in the list, the following
paragraph from the Mahiicattarfsaka-sutta is informative:
As to this, monks, right view comes first. And how, monks,
does right view come first? From right view proceeds right
aspiratIOn, from right aspiration proceeds right speech,
from right speech proceeds right action, from right action
proceeds right livelihood, from right livelihood proceeds ..
right effort, from right effort proceeds right mindfulness,
from right mindfulness proceeds right concentration,
from right concentration proceeds nght insight, from
right inSIght proceeds right liberation.!!
The path is therefore sequential; the order of listing represents
the sequence in which the factors are developed in practice.!2
This sequence is more or less as one would expect, with more
fundamental and straightforward practices preceding more
specialized and sophisticated ones. For example, while the ma-
jor moral precepts (stages 3, 4, 5) apply even to lay followers
practising at a relatively elementary level, the jhiinas (stage 8)
are normally practised only by monks; and the development of
right insight (stage 9) would imply a high degree of .spiritual
advancement. (The status of right view (stage 1) in this respect
is Jess evident; it will be discussed below.)
10 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
The Mahacattarfsaka-sutta also indicates that the path series
is cumulative; factors already established are maintained as
new, more advanced factors are developed, at least as far as
right concentration: '
And what, monks, is ariyan right concentration with its
c!l.Usal .and It is this: right
VIew, nght aspIratlOn, ... nght mmdfulness; whatever
mental onepointedness, monks, is accompanied by these
seven, this is called ariyan right concentratlOn with its caus-
al associations and accompaniments. 13
This, too, is as one would expect. Clearly, the monk does not,
for example, abandon right livelihood (stage 5) in order to give
all his attention to right effort (stage 6); rather, his right liveli-
hood facilitates his right effort and is in turn enhanced by it.
The path is therefore both sequential and cumulative.
From this, it is clear that the ninth factor, right insight, is
developed after right concentration, that is, after the jhanas
have been mastered. This is in keeping with the sequence im-
plied in the various extant broad outlines of the Buddhist
course of practice, for example the often-stated threefold divi-
sion into sZla, samadhi, and panna (morality, concentration, and
insight),14 and the twofold division into samatha and vipassana
(tranquillity meditation and insight meditation); 15 insight al-
ways comes after concentration.
The above discussion suggests that the eightfold path, lack-
ing right insight, is incomplete. However, it may be that right
insight is not (as implied above) an active practice to which the
meditator must direct his energies after he has mastered right
concentration. Perhaps it is, like right liberation, a fruit of the
practice of the preceding eight stages, something that will arise
spontaneously once the eight have been perfected-in which
case its omission from the path is no real defect. Accounts of
the tenfold path throw no light on this question, since they
never explain the individual stages. Some understanding of the
nature of right insight can, however, be arrived at through
comparison with other lists of stages, as will now be shown.
List 2
The second of the five lists to be considered occurs at three
different places in the Majjhima.
Its three occurrences are
identical as regards content, though differing slightly in mode
of presentation. We examine first the presentation in the Cu{a-
Hatthipadopama-sutta, the Lesser Discourse on the Simile of the
Elephant's Footprints,l7 That sutta relates how a brahman
. named JaQ.ussoQ.i goes to see Gotama after hearing his attain-
ments praised in terms of a simile: Just as an elephant-tracker,
seeing in the forest a great footprint, long and broad, knows
that a great elephant has passed that way, so people seeing the
"footprints" of the Tathagata know him to be a fully self-awak-
ened one. Gotama explains to JaQ.ussoQ.i the nature of these
"footprints" by describing a series of twelve stages in an aspi-
rant's progress to liberation. The series may be summarized as
follows. IS
1. Dhammalsaddhiilpabbajja: A layman hears a Buddha teach
the Dhamma, comes to have faith in him, and decides to take
ordination as a monk.
2. sfla: He adopts the moral precepts.
3. indriyasa7(l,vara: He practises "guarding the six sense-doors."
4. sati-sampajanna: He practises mindfulness and self-posses-
sion (actually described as mindfulness of the body, kayanussati).
5. jhiina 1: He finds an isolated spot in which to meditate,
purifies his mind of the hindrances (nfvaralJa), and attains the
first rupa-jhana.
6.Jhiina 2: He attains the second jhiina.
7. jhiina 3: He attains the third jhiina.
8. jhiina 4: He attains the fourth jhiina.
9. pubbenivasanussati-nalJa: He recollects his many former exis-
tences in sa7(l,sara.
10. sattana7(l, cutupapata-nalJa: He observes the death and rebirth
of beings according to their karmas.
11. asavakkhaya-nalJa: He brings about the destruction of the
asavas (cankers), and attains a p r o f o ~ n d realization of (as op-
posed to mere knowledge about) the four noble truths.
12 JIABS VOL.. 7 NO.2
12. virnutti: He perceives that he is now liberated, that he has
done what was to be done.
The description of stage 5 (jhana 1) begins with a resume of the
preceding three stages: "Equipped with this ariyan moral Con-
duct [stage 2], equipped with this ariyan guarding of the sense_
doors [stage 3], equipped with this ariyan mindfulness and self-
possession [stage 4], he .... " This affirms the cumulative
nature of the series up to that point. The description of each of
the stages 5 to 12 concludes with the statement: "This, brah-
man, is a footprint of the Tathagata .... " There are, therefore,
eight "footprints."
To discover how this series of stages relates to the tenfold
path, the two lists will now be compared, item by item, making
. use of Gotama's definitions of the path-factors as given in the
M aha-S atipatthana-sutta. 20
Stage 1 in the "footprint" series has three components: (i)
hearing a Buddha teach, (ii) coming to have faith in him, and
(iii) deciding to take ordination as a monk. Of these, (i) and (ii)
imply acquiring a basic knowledge of, and confidence in, the
Buddha's teaching. Now the first factor of the tenfold path,
sarnrna-ditthi (right view), is defined as knowledge about the
four noble truths.
! Since the four noble truths constitute the
essence of the Buddha's teaching, it follows that the first path-
factor, sarnrna-diUhi, is functionally equivalent to components (i)
and (ii) of stage 1 in the "footprint" series.
The second path-factor, sarnrna-sankappa (right aspiration
or resolve), is defined as aspiration towards renunciation, non-
hatred, and non-harming. Of these three, the second and third
(aspiration towards non-hatred and non-harming) ate expect-
ed of all Buddhists, being presupposed in the adoption of the
silas. The first (aspiration towards renunciation) is less general-
ly expected, being the essence of the decision to become a
monk. The first aspect of right aspiration is therefore equiv-
alent to component (iii) of stage 1 in the "footprint" series. It
follows that stage 1 of List 2 is broadly equivalent to the first
and second path-factors together.
Stage 2 of List 2, adopting the moral precepts (sila), corre-
sponds to right speech, action, and livelihood together, that is,
to the third, fourth, and fifth path-factors.
Stage 3, guarding the six sense-doors, consists, according
to the sutta, in preventing the arising of unskilful mental states
in response to stimuli received through the six senses. Now the
sixth path-factor, sammii-viiyiima (right effort), is defined as the
practice of the four padhiinas (exertions): (i) preventing the aris-
ing of unarisen unskilful mental states, (ii) eliminating already
arisen unskilful states, (iii) encouraging the arising of unarisen
skilful states, and (iv) consolidating already arisen skilful states.
The first of these four is identical with guarding the sense-
doors. Consequently, stage 3 corresponds to the first compo-
nent of the sixth path-factor.
Stage 4, mindfulness and self-possession, is actually de-
scribed as mindfulness of the body, that is the first of the four
components of the seventh path-factor, sammii-sati. (The re-
maining three are mindfulness of feelings (vedanii), mind (citta),
and dhammas.)
Stages 5 to 8 cover the development of the four Jhiinas.
These four are therefore collectively equivalent to the eighth
path-factor, sammii-samiidhi, which is defined as mastery of the
Stages 9 to 12 are described in the sutta as follows.
Stage 9:
Thus with the mind composed, quite purified, ... immov-
able, he directs and bends down his mmd to the knowledge
and recollection of former habitations. He recollects a vari-
ety of former habitations, thus: one birth, two births, three
... four ... five ... ten ... twenty ... thirty ... forty ...
fifty ... a hundred ... a thousand ... a hundred thousand
births, and many an eon of integration, and many an eon
of disintegration, and many an eon of integration-disinte-
gration: "Such a one was I by name, having such and such
a clan, such and such a colour, so was I nourished, such
and such pleasant and painful experiences were mine, so
did the span of life end. Passing from this, I came to be in
another state where I was such a one by name, ... so did
the span of life end. Passing from this I arose here." Thus
he recollects divers former habitations in all their modes
and detail.
14 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Stage 10:
With the mind composed, ... he directs and bends down
his mind to the knowledge of the passing hence and the
arising of beings. With the purified deva-vision surpassing
that of men, he sees beings as they pass hence or come to
be; he comprehends that beings are mean, excellent, come-
ly, ugly, well-going, ill-going, according to the conse-
quences of deeds, and thinks: "Indeed these worthy beings
who were possessed of wrong conduct in body, speech, and
mind, ... at the breaking up of the body after dying, have
arisen in a sorrowful state, a bad bourne, the abyss, Niraya
Hell. But these worthy beings who were possessed of good
conduct in body, speech, and mind, ... at the breaking up
of the body after dying, have arisen in a good bourne, a
heaven world." Thus wIth the purified deva-vision surpass-
ing that of men does he see beings as they pass hence and
as they arise.
Stage II:
With the mind composed, ... he directs and bends down
his mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the can-
kers. He realizes as it really is: This is suffering .... This is
the arising of suffering .... This is the cessation of suffer-
ing .... This is the course leading to the cessation of suf-
fering. He realizes as it really is: These are the cankers ....
This IS the arising of the cankers .... This is the cessation
of the cankers .... This is the course leading to the cessa-
tion of the cankers.
Stage 12:
Knowing thus, seeing thus, his mind is freed from the
canker of sense-pleasures, ... of becoming, ... of igno-
rance. In freedom the knowledge comes to be: I am liber-
ated; and he comprehends: Destroyed is birth, brought to
a close in the Brahma-faring, done is what was to be done,
there is no more of being such or so.
These four stages of List 2 are together identical with the
three supernormal knowledges (v0jiis) that Gotama attained on
the night of his enlightenment. In the Tipitaka, .Gotama fre-
quently recounts how, having stilled his mind by practising the
jMnas, he developed a series of three supernormal knowledges,
one in each of the three watches of the night. 24 The first knowl-
edge is identical with stage 9 of List 2, the second with stage 10,
and the third with stages 11 and 12 together.
In List 2, the set of three stages 9 to 11 is preceded by the
jMnas and followed by liberation; and, similarly, in the tenfold
path the ninth factor, samma-iiarJa, is preceded by the jhanas
(samma-samadhi) and followed by liberation (samma-vimutti).
Since, in addition, stages 9 to 11 all bear names ending in
"-iiarJa," it is clear that the three are together equivalent to the
ninth path-factor, samma-iiiirJa.
It follows from the above that Lists 1 and 2 are related as
shown in Table 1. Some of the correspondences shown are only
partial: indriyasar(lvara (guarding the sense-doors, stage 3 of List
2) is only the first of the four aspects of samma-vayama (right
effort); and, similarly, sati-sampajaiiiia (stage 4) is only the first
of the four aspects of samma-sati. Nevertheless the correspon-
dence is so close as to indicate that Lists 1 and 2 are differently
worded accounts of a single course of practice. The two lists
differ mainly in emphasis: List 1 tends to subdivide earlier
stages (e.g., dividing s'ila into three components), while List 2
tends to subdivide later stages (e.g., dividing samma-iiarJa into
A further correlation between Lists 1 and 2 has to do with
their cumulative nature. List 2 is explicitly stated to be cumula-
tive as far as jhana 1 (stage 5); the description of that stage
begins: "Equipped with this ariyan moral conduct, ... guard-
ing of the sense-doors, ... mindfulness and self-possession,
... " Similarly, as noted above, the account of List 1 given in the
Mahacattar'isaka-sutta indicates that the tenfold path is cumula-
tive as far as right concentration. Thus, in both List 1 and List 2
the series is stated to be cumulative as far as the practice of the
The above analysis of List 2 is based on the presentation
found in the Cifla-Hatthipadopama-sutta. There exist two other
presentations of List 2, which, however, differ only trivially
from the above. In the Cifla-Sakuludayi-sutta,25 the refrain
"This, brahman, is a footprint of the Tathagata . , ." is replaced
by "This is a thing superior and more excellent, for the sake of
realizing which monks fare the Brahma-faring under me"; and
16 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
this refrain occurs only seven times instead of eight, because
stages II and 12 are combined into a single item. In the Kanda_
there is no such refrain, so that it is unclear how
many stages are recognized. But these are the only differences
among the three occurrences of List 2; the total course of prac-
tice described is identical.
List 3
In the Maha-Assapura-sutta, Gotama instructs his monks in
the "things that are to be done by recluses and brahmans,"
giving the following list. 27
l. hirilottappa: The recluse or brahman cultivates a sense of
shame and fear of blame.
2. parisuddha kaya-samacara: He cultivates pure conduct of
3. parisuddha vaci-samacara: He cultivates pure conduct of
4. parisuddha mano-samacara: He cultivates pure conduct of
5. parisuddha ajzva: He cultivates pure livelihood.
6. indriyasa'J!lvara: He guards the six sense-doors.
7. bhojane mattannuta: He exercises restraint in eating.
S. jagariya: He practises wakefulness.
9. sati-sampajanna: He is mindful and self-possessed.
10.jhana 1: He attains the firstjhana.
13. jhana 4: He attains the fourth jhana.
14. pubbenivasanussati-narJa: He recollects his former existences.
15. sattana'J!l cutupapata-narJa: He observes the death and rebirth
of beings.
16. asavakkhaya-narJalvimutti: He destroys the asavas, realizes the
four noble truths, and perceives that he is liberated.
The description of stage 1 begins with the question: "And
what, monks, are the things to be done by recluses and brah-
mans?"; and the descriptions of stages 2 to 10 begin with "And
what, monks, is there further to be done?" For the remaining
stages, 11 to 16, this formula is lacking. There are, therefore,
apparently ten "things to be done," of which the tenth com-
p r i s ~ S the four jhanas and the three knowJedges, including lib-
. Each stage up to the ninth closes with a summary of the
stages thus far completed:
Stage 1: "Weare endowed with a sense of shame and fear of
Stage 2: "We are endowed with a sense of shame and fear of
blame; our conduct of body is quite pure."
Stage 3: "Weare endowed with a sense of shame and fear of
blame; our conduct of body is quite pure; our conduct
of speech is quite pure."
And so on up to:
Stage 9: "We are endowed with a sense of shame and fear of
blame; our conduct of body is quite pure; ... we are
intent on wakefulness; we are mindful and self-pos-
sessed .... "
No such summarizing formula is provided for stages 10 to 16.
This situation resembles that already noted in Lists 1 and 2: the
series is stated to be cumulative as far as jhana 1.
Four of the stages of List 3, namely stages 1, 4, 7, and 8,
introduce terms not encountered in Lists 1 or 2. Stage 1 consists
in cultivating a sense of shame (hiri) and fear of blame (ottappa).
These two qualities are explained elsewhere as follows:
He [the ariyan disciple] comes to have shame (hiri); he is
ashamed of wrong conduct of body, of wrong conduct of
speech, of wrong conduct of mind .... He comes to fear
blame (ottappa); he fears blame for wrong conduct of body,
for wrong conduct of speech, for wrong conduct of
mind .... 28
Hiri and ottappa as described would clearly be conducive to
adherence to precepts and conventional codes of morality;
their position in List 3, immediately before the silas (stages 2-
5), is therefore as one would expect. Again, hiri and ottappa
have much in common with samma-sankappa of List 1 (aspira-
tion towards non-harming, etc.), which similarly comes imme-
diately before the silas. Stage 7, restraint in eating, is a special
case of guarding the sense-doors-in effect "guarding the taste-
door." This is made clear in the concluding words of the textual
18 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
description, which emphasize control of unskilful mental states:
"Thus, I will eliminate old feeling and will not give rise to new
feeling."29 It is, therefore, appropriate that in the list this stage
is located next to guarding the sense-doors.' Stage 8, wakeful_
ness, is closely allied to both guarding the sense-doors and sati-
sampajanna: the monk practising it attempts to cleanse his
mind of obstructive states, and is described as sato sampajano.30
Here, again, the position in the list is appropriate. Thus, each
of the stages 1, 7, and 8 is located in the series where it seems
logically to belong, and the three add little that is new.
The remaining new item, pure conduct of mind (pari-
suddha mano-samacara, stage 4) is less straightforward. Being a
mental discipline or condition, pure conduct of mind appears
out of place among the physical sllas. That it should follow pure
conduct of body and speech is not, in itself, anomalous, firstly
because mental discipline (the samadhi group) always follows
physical discipline (the szla group); and secondly because the
triad "body, speech, and mind" (items 2, 3, and 4 of List 3)
occurs frequently in sutta references to conduct. (It occurs, for
example, in the explanation of hirilottappa quoted above, and in
the description of the second knowledge, observing the death
and rebirth of beings (stage 10 of List 2).) What is anomalous
about the position of pure conduct of mind in List 3 is the fact
that it is followed by pure livelihood; a mental discipline or
condition is thus illogically located between two forms of phys-
ical discipline.
Pure livelihood is a widely recognized category of szla. Sev-
eral suttas in the D'igha describe the well-disciplined monk as
" ... equipped with skilful action of body and speech, pure in
livelihood ... ";:\ I and the szla section of the eightfold or tenfold
path comprises right speech, action, and livelihood. There ex-
ist, therefore, two widely recognized triads relating to conduct:
(i) pure conduct of body, speech, and mind; and (ii) right
speech, action, and livelihood. The set of items 2 to 5 in List 3,
in which pure conduct of body"speech, and mind is illogically
followed by pure livelihood, therefore has the appearance of a
hybrid, produced by combining these two triads thus:
Triad (i) +
pure conduct of body
pure conduct of sp.eech
pure conduct of mmd
Triad (ii)
right speech
right action
right livelihood
---7 Composite
pure conduct of body
pure conduct of speech
pure conduct of mind
pure livelihood
The likely significance of this will be considered below.
First, however, we examine a second anomaly to be found in
the early part of List 3. It concerns the item hirilottappa. In
other lists where hiri and ottappa occur, they are invariably reck-
oned as two separate items-unlike, for example, sati-sampa-
janna, which is always reckoned as a single item. Examples are
to be found in the panca balani (five powers): saddha, hiri, ot-
tappa, viriya, panna (faith; shame, fear of blame, energy, in-
and the satta saddhamma (seven excellent qualities):
saddha, hiri, ottappa, bahussuta, viriya, sati, panna (faith, shame,
fear of blame, hearing much, energy, mindfulness, insight).:l3
Two anomalies in the early part of List 3 have now been
noted: (a) the illogical positions of pure conduct of mind and
pure livelihood, suggesting a combination of the two familiar
triads; and (b) the atypical treatment of hiri and ottappa as a
single stage. These two anomalies are in one respect comple-
mentary: the first amounts to the addition of an extra stage, the
second effectively reduces the total number of stages by one.
This suggests that the two are perhaps associated aspects of a
single textual corruption. The observed facts can be accounted
for with the following hypothesis:
The list of ten "things to be done by recluses and brah-
mans" formerly began thus:
1. hiri
2. ottappa
3. pure conduct of body
4. pure conduct of speech
5. pure livelihood
6. guarding the sense-doors
Monks responsible for memorizing and transmitting this list
were also familiar with the triad of conduct in body, speech
and mind. Since the list contained the first and second m e m ~
bers of this triad, they added the third member; and to com-
pensate for the resulting increase in the number of "things to
be done," they simultaneously combined hiri and ottappa into a
single item. This corruption-which may have been carried out
largely unconsciously-went undetected because the list oc-
curred only once in the entire Tipitaka (in the Maha-Assapura_
sutta).34 Hence the list as we now have it.
Even without allowing for textual corruption in the man-
ner postulated above, it is evident that List 3 is essentially equiv-
alent to Lists 1 and 2. This can readily be seen in Table 2, which
sets out the lists in parallel. In its earlier part, List 3 more
closely resembles List 1, recognizing the same broad division of
sfla; in its latter part, it more closely resembles List 2, giving the
same full enumeration of the jhiinas and knowledges. Thus,
Lists 1, 2, and 3 represent, with certain differences in emphasis,
one and the same course of practice.
List 4
In the Sekha-sutta, Ananda is called on by Gotama to teach a
. "learner's course" to a group of disciples.
Ananda begins by
enumerating the stages 1 to 6 listed below. Then, after explain-
ing them one by one, he states that an ariyan disciple who has
completed this "learner's course" becomes "one for successful
breaking through," like a chick that is ready to break out of the
egg-shell. He then describes three "breakings through," mak-
ing nine stages in all:
1. sfla: An ariyan disciple adopts the moral precepts.
2. indriyasarrz,vara: He guards the sense-doors.
3. bhojane mattannuta: He exercises restraint in eating.
4. jagariya: He practises wakefulness.
5. satta saddhamma: He develops the seven "excellent qualities."
6. jhiina: He attains without difficulty the four jhiinas.
7. pubbenivasanussati-na1Ja: He recollects his former existences.
8. sattanarrz, cutupapata-na7Ja: He observes the death and rebirth
of beings.
9. asavakkhaya-narJ,alvimutti: He destroys the asavas and per-
ceives that he is liberated.
The clear division of the list into two sections (stages 1-6
and stage 7-:-9) is emphasized in several ways. First, there is a
difference in the refrains which conclude the descriptions of
the stages: stages 1 to 6 conclude with "It is thus, Mahanama,
that an ariyan disciple ... "; while stages 7 to 9 conclude with
"This is the first ( ... second ... third) breaking through as a
chick's from the egg-shell." Second, at the end of his discourse
Ananda states that stages 1 to 6 constitute carary,a (practice),
while stages 7 to 9 constitute vijja (insight, wisdom). Third, the
description of stage 7 is prefaced with a resume of the stages
mastered thus far: "When, Mahanama, an ariyan disciple is
thus equipped with moral conduct, is one who thus guards his
sense-doors, ... is one who thus acquires at will, without trou-
ble, without difficulty, the four jhanas, ... "
The only item in List 4 that has not been encountered in
earlier lists is satta saddhamma, the seven excellent qualities. The
seven are given as saddha, hiri, ottappa, bahussuta, viriya, sati,
panna (faith, sense of shame, fear of blame, hearing much,
energy, mindfulness, insight), and each is briefly defined. (This
list, and the definitions for hiri and ottappa, are as quoted above
in the discussion of List 3.)
The presence of satta saddhamma in fifth position in List 4
disrupts an otherwise close correspondence with Lists 1,2, and
3; the resemblance among the four lists would have been virtu-
ally complete had the fifth position of List 4 been occupied not
by satta saddhamma but by sati-sampajanna. The item satta sadd-
hamma is itself a list of separate items. Such lists within lists are
common; for example, each of the stages szla, sati-sampajairiia,
and samma-samadhi embraces a set of sub-stages, which are of-
ten enumerated in full in the explanations accompanying lists.
However, the case of the saddhammas is different in two impor-
tant respects: (a) Two of the seven saddhammas duplicate stages
already present in the larger list (i.e., in List 4 as a whole): viriya
(energy) is described in the sutta as "for getting rid of unskilled
mental states, for acquiring skilled mental states ... ", indicating
that it duplicates guarding the sense-doors, stage 2 of List 4;36
and panna (insight, wisdom) appears to duplicate stages 7 to 9,
22 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
which Ananda groups under the heading vijja. (b) A further
three of the seven saddhammas are inappropriately placed in the
larger list: saddha, hiri, and ottappa properly belong before sila
(stage 1 of List 4), as was shown in the discussion of Lists 2 and
3. Of the two remaining saddhammas, one, bahussuta (hearing
much), has not been encountered before, and its status vis-a.-vis
the other stages is difficult to evaluate. The other, sati (mindful_
ness), is the only one of the seven that is located where it ap-
pears to belong, for as noted above, the satta saddhamma occupy
the spot where one would expect to find sati-sampajafi:na.
The existence of the anomalies (a) and (b) above indicates
that we probably have here another case of textual corruption.
The superficial similarity of the terms satta saddhamma and sati-
sampajanna suggests that the corruption may have taken place
as follows: The "learner's course" formerly had, as its fifth
stage, sati-sampajanna. Later, this term was accidentally replaced
by the superficially similar satta saddhamma, either through mis-
hearing in chanting or through misreading in the copying of
manuscripts; and later again, as part of a general explicatory
elaboration, a listing of the individual saddhammas was added.
This corruption went unnoticed because List 4 occurred only
once in the Sutta-Pitaka.
If allowance is made for this postulated textual corruption,
List 4 comes into close correspondence with Lists 1, 2, and 3.
(See Table 2.) As regards content, it most closely resembles List
3, differing from it only in lacking hirilottappa. As regards the
clear division into two sections, it is identical with List 1: in List
4 the stages up to and including the jhanas are referred to as the
learner's course-also as cara1Ja (practice)-and set apart from
the stages that follow them; and, as noted above, in List 1 the
stages up to and including samma-samadhi are similarly referred
to as the learner's course-more commonly as the noble eight-
fold path-and set apart from the stages that follow them.
On the other hand, there is one respect in which List 4
disagrees with the other lists. In Lists 1,2, and 3 the summaries
of stages already mastered, which affirm the partially cumula-
tive nature of the series, is prefaced to the jhanas; but, in List 4,
it is prefaced to the first of the three knowledges, one stage
lower in the series. In spite of this, it is apparent that List 4 is yet
another statement of the same sequence of stages leading to
['ist 5
The fifth and last list to be occurs in the Saman-
and elsewhere (see below). Gotama, questioned
by King Ajatasattu regarding the "fruits of the life of a recluse,"
replies with the following series of stages:
1. Dhammalsaddhalpabbajja: A layman hears a Buddha teach
the Dhamma, comes to have faith in him, and decides to take
ordination as a monk.
2. sfla: He adopts the moral precepts.
3. indriyasarrtvara: He guards the six sense-doors.
4. sati-sampajanna: He is mindful and self-possessed.
5. santuHhi: He is content with his meagre robes and almsfood.
6. jhana 1: He attains the first jhana.
9. jhana 4: He attains the fourth jhiina.
10. na'f}adassana: He develops knowledge and insight into the
nature of the body and into the distinction between it and the
11. manomaya kaya: He practises calling up a mind-made body.
12. iddhividha: He develops certain miraculous physical powers,
such as the ability to walk on water.
13. dibbasota: He develops the "divine ear," the ability to hear
distant sounds.
14. cetopariya-na'f}a: He acquires the "knowledge that penetrates
15. pubbenivasanussati-na'f}a: He recollects his former existences.
16. sattanarrt cutupapata-na'f}a: He observes the death and rebirth
of beings.
17. asavakkhaya-na'f}alvimutti: He destroys the asavas, realizes the
four noble truths, and perceives that he is now liberated.
(Some texts add bhojane mattannuta (restraint in eating) after
indriyasarrtvara. )38
The description of each of the stages 2 to 5 opens with the
question "And how, 0 king, does the monk ... ?" and closes
with the corresponding answer "Thus, 0 king, does the
monk .... " This question-and-answer format is then aban-
doned; each of the remaining stages, 6 to 17, instead closes with
the refrain, "This, 0 king, is an immediate fruit of the life of a
recluse." Stages 2 to 5 are summarized in a preface to stage 6
24 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
(jhana 1): "Equipped with this ariyan moral conduct [stage 2],
equipped with this ariyan guarding of the sense-doors [stage 3],
equipped with this ariyan mindfulness and self-possession
[stage 4], equipped with this ariyan contentment [stage 5],
he .... "39 Thus, in this respect, List 5 is in complete agreement
with Lists 1,2, and 3.
List 5 contains six stages not found in the other four lists.
The first of them is stage 5, santutthi (contentment), described
as a readiness on the part of the monk to make do with his
meagre robes and alms-food, travelling everywhere with them,
as a bird with its two wings.
Actually, a paragraph identical in
wording with the description of this stage does occur in List 2;
however, it is not there recognized as a separate stage, but,
instead, is included as the last of the many sub-items under the
heading szla.
The relationship between Lists 2 and 5 in respect
of santutthi is, therefore, as shown in Table 3. This situation
suggests that in one or the other of these two lists santutthi has
been shifted. However, it is not easy to say which of the two
positions of santutthi is more appropriate and therefore likely to
be the earlier. On the one hand, santutthi is of a type with the
szlas since it has to do with two of the monk's basic requisites, his
robes and his alms-food-whence it is appropriately placed, as
in List 2; and on the other hand, santutthi appears to be a form
of mental discipline, resembling the elimination of the mental
hindrances (nzvarar;,a), which is a prerequisite to the attainment
of the first jhana-whence its position in .List 5 seems equally
appropriate. Thus, on this criterion, neither of the two lists can
be seen as more likely to have preserved the earlier arrange-
ment. It may be that in an earlier form of List 5 santutthi was
combined with szla as in List 2, and later became separated from
it and shifted to a new position two places further down the list;
or it may be that the shift took place in the reverse direction in
the development of List 2. Examination of other lists contain-
ing santutthi does little to clarify the matter. There exists a list (it
departs too widely from the "path" pattern to be eligible for
inclusion in the present study), in which santutthi is located
between viriya (= indriyasa'f[lvara) and sati.42 This position is
intermediate between those of List 2 and List 5, which lends
support to the suggestion that santutthi has undergone a shift.
However, the question whether the movement was upwards or
downwards in the series remains unresolved.
The remaining five new items in List 5, grouped as stages
10 to 14 between the jhiinas and the three knowledges, are all
supernormal powers. They are said to be possessed by the Bud-
dha; their importance in the attaining of enlighten-
1Ilent and liberation is doubtful. According to Gotama's fre-
quently repeated account of his own enlightenment,44 he
proceeded directly from mastery of the jhiinas (stage 9 of List 5)
to recollection of his former existences (stage 15); no mention is
made there of attainments corresponding to stages 10 to 14. In
the case of the iddhis (stage 12), Gotama actually warns against
their practice as dangerous and a potential obstruction to pro-
gress. For example, in the Kevaddha-sutta he says: "It is because
I see danger in the practice of the iddhis that I loathe and abhor
and am ashamed of them."45 It therefore appears that the five
items 1 0 to 14 are optional extras rather than essential stages on
the path to liberation.46 J"
, If we bracket out these five items, as well as the inconsistent
stage 5, santuUhi, the result is a sequence indentical with that of
List 2. (Those versions of List 5 which add bhojane mattannutii
after indriyasarp,vara are in that respect in agreement with Lists 3
and 4. See Table 2.)
List 5 is repeated in nine other suttas, all grouped with the
Siimannaphala in the Silakkhandha-vagga of the DzghaY The list
therefore dominates that vagga, occurring in ten of its thirteen
suttas (suttas 2-8, 10-12). However, as is usual in cases where a
list is reiterated in closely grouped suttas, needless repetition of
lengthy portions of text is avoided by liberal use of the abbre-
viatory device pe, the Pali equivalent of our sign " ... ". (Since
List 5, with its many sub-lists and explanations, extends over
some twenty pages of text, the saving in space is considerable.)
The list is therefore set out in full only at its first occurrence,
that is, in the Siimannaphala. In effect, then, List 5 occurs only
once in the Tipitaka, a fact that is relevant to the question of
possible textual corruption involving santuUhi. The only note-
worthy differences among the ten occurrences of List 5 have to
do with the mode of division into groups of stages. Mostly, the
division is as in the Siimannaphala, with a clear split after stage 5;
however, in three suttas it is different. In the AmbaUha-sutta
there is a split into two groups of stages, 1-9 and 10-1"7, called,
like their counterparts in List 4, cara1Ja and vijjii respectively;48
and, in the Kassapaszhaniida- and Subha-suttas, there is a split into
26 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
three groups, 1-2, 3-9, and 10-17, called respectively sUa, sa-
madhi (or citta-sampada), and panna.
The significance of these
groupings will be considered below.
Summary and assessment
This completes the preliminary comparison of Lists 1 to 5.
The demonstrated relationships among them are summarized
in Table 2. There, Lists 3 and 4 are shown as they would have
been before the postulated corruptions, and List 5 is shown
with the inconsistent santutthi omitted.
To conclude on the basis of Table 2 that the five lists are
essentially identical entails a certain circularity of argument:
the far-reaching correspondence apparent in the table is in part
a consequence of minor modifications to Lists 3, 4, and 5 to
correct for postulated textual corruptions; and it is in part in
order to account for observed departures from perfect corre-
spondence that those corruptions are postulated. However, ob-
served departures from perfect correspondence are not the
only basis for the inference that there has been textual corrup-
tion in some of the lists. In each case, there exist associated
anomalies sufficient in themselves to indicate corruption, as
well as conditions that clearly would have been conducive to
corruption. Thus, in List 4, which has the seven saddhammas
where the other four lists have mindfulness and self-possession,
there exists the associated anomaly that two of the seven sadd-
hammas duplicate stages already present in the list, while a fur-
ther three are inappropriately located in the total sequence;
and the superficial resemblance between the terms satta sadd-
hamma and sati-sampajanna, combined with the fact that List 4
occurs only once in the Tipitaka, provides an adequate basis for
explaining how the corruption could have come about. As an
interpretative procedure, postulating textual corruption is nat-
urally to be used only with caution. The subjective element
which such postulation necessarily entails is minimized by the
technique adopted here of comparing several broadly similar
lists of items. The present study thus illustrates a methodology
that may prove more generally applicable as an objectively
based means for identifying corruptions in Buddhist texts.
Even after allowance has been made for textual corrup-
tion, there remain several factors tending to mask the essential
identity of the five lists shown in Table 2. The most obvious one
is inconsistency in terminology: often one and the same prac-
tice or attainment is referred to by different terms. Some of the
synonymies are self-evident and trivial, for example, "samma-
sati (List 1) = sati-sampajaiiiia (Lists 2-5)." Others become ap-
parent only when reference is made to the available definitions,
for example, "samma-vayama (List 1) = indriya-saf!1,vara (Lists 2-
5) = viriya (one of the seven saddhammas)." Recognizing such
synonymies is clearly an important step in interpreting Bud-
dhist doctrine. It is greatly facilitated by the comparative proce-
dure adopted here.
A second obscuring factor is variation, from list to list, in
the degree of fineness with which the total course of practice is
divided up. For example, where List 1 has the single stage
samma-samadhi, Lists 2, 3, and 5 each recognize four stages,
jhiina 1, ... jhiina 4. In this case, the needed equation, "samma-
samadhi = the four jhanas," is readily established, thanks to
definitions provided in the texts. However, in the case of less
well documented practices it is not so simple. An important
example is the equation, "samma-iiary,a (List 1) = the three
knowledges (Lists 2-5)." This identity, though it can be in-
ferred with some confidence, is not immediately apparent, and
consequently has hitherto not been generally recognized.
In the case of the last-mentioned identity, another obscur-
ing factor is inconsistency in the treatment of the final attain-
ment, vimutti. In List 1, and in the Ci1:la-Hatthipadopama presen-
tation of List 2, vimutti is set apart as a separate stage;
elsewhere, it is comprehended under the third knowledge.
This kind of inconsistency is widespread. For example, Lists 3
and 4 (and variant versions of List 5 as well) have restraint in
eating (bhojane mattaiiiiuta) as a separate stage following guard-
ing the sense-doors, of which it is a special case. The result is an
appearance of difference between lists where no real difference
exists. This phenomenon accounts also for the lack, in List 4, of
an evident counterpart for the stage DhammalsaddhiilpabbaJja of
Lists 2 and 5: the seemingly missing stage is in fact compre-
hended under szla. Evidence that this is so comes from two
sources. The first is the mode of grouping the stages of List 5 as
28 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
presented in the Kassapasihaniida- and Subha-suttas. There a
, s
noted above, the stages are recognized as falling into three
groups, termed sila, samiidhi (or citta-sampadii), and panna, the
first point of division being located after the stage sila, and the
second after Jhiina 4. The sila group, therefore, embraces the
stages DhammalsaddhiilpabbaJJii and sila-from which it is evi-
dent that Dhammalsaddhiilpabbajjii was regarded not as a sepa-
rate stage but as a subdivision of the stage sila. The second
source of evidence is the fact that the cumulative summaries for
Lists 2 and 5 do not include an item Dhammalsaddhiilpabba;ja.
This indicates again that hearing a Buddha teach the Dhamma
coming to have faith in him, and deciding to become a monk
were reckoned as subsumed under the heading of sUa. All of
this serves to point out that the recognizing (in the early part of
this study) of DhammalsaddhiilpabbaJjii as a stage distinct from
sila, was merely an expedient device designed to reduce the
lengthy textual accounts to a manageable form. While it seems
reasonable that hearing a Buddha teach, and so on, should be
recognized as a stage distinct from adoption of the moral pre-
cepts, it appears that the compiler(s) of the lists saw it other-
wise: in the texts those earliest experiences and practices of the
aspirant are treated as part of the stage sila.
In view of the existence of so many obscuring factors-
along with the textual corruptions identified earlier- it is little
wonder that the essential identity of the lists in question has
hithertp generally escaped notice. Nevertheless, the overriding
consistency among the five lists is unmistakable.
A striking example of this consistency is to be found in the
cumulative summaries which are provided with all of the five
lists. Except in List 4, the summaries consistently embrace all
stages from the beginning down to the first jhiina. The probable
significance of this fact becomes apparent when one considers
what the higher stages of the path would entail in practical
terms. A monk practising the jhiinas or the three knowledges
would still be possessed of sila, guarded sense-doors, and mind-
fulness. However, whereas the attainment of the first jhana
would not entail abandoning these earlier stages, attainment of
the second jhiina would entail abandoning the first jhiina. So
much can be inferred from accounts of the jhiinas: the factor
vitakka-vicara, present in Jhiina 1, is absent from jhiina 2 ;50 jhanas
1 and 2 cannot, therefore, be practised simultaneously. Similar
reasoning applies for the remaining jhiinas. In the transition
froID the jhiinas to the first of the three knowledges, much the
same situation appears to exist. Descriptions of the first knowl-
edge indicate rich and varied mental content (detailed memo-
ties of former existences);51 the attaining of this knowledge,
therefore, clearly entails abandoning the mental onepointed-
ness (cittass' ekaggata) of the jhiinas. 52 These admittedly specula-
tive inferences regarding the nature of the higher practice are
in keeping with the fact that the cumulative summaries accom-
panying the lists extend as far as the first jhiina but not beyond
it. The exceptional case of List 4, in which the summaries ex-
tend to the first knowledge, remains unexplained.
The reasoning presented in the preceding paragraph indi-
cates that the first jhiina is "in one respect a pivotal point in the
course of practice. As far as the first jhiina, the series is cumula-
tive: each stage is added to its predecessors; thereafter, the series
is partly substitutive: each stage replaces its immediate predeces-
sor. This may explain why, in three of the five lists, there is a
marked difference in the mode of presentation beginning with
,jhiina 1. In List 2, the term "footprint of the Tathagata" is
applied to each of the stages from jhiina 1 to the end, but not to
the stages preceding jhiina I; in List 3 each of the stages up to
and including jhiina 1, but none of the stages following it, is
,-- described as a "thing to be done"; and, in List 5 as presented in
the Samannaphala-sutta, the term "fruit of the life of a recluse" is
, applied to each of the stages from jhiina 1 to the end but not to
the stages preceding it. (The same phenomenon is found in five
other suttas containing List 5, though different terms are
This recognizing of the stages beginning with jhiina 1 as
constituting a group apart from the remainder is not found in
Lists 1 and 4; there, as noted earlier, it is the stages following
jhana 4, i.e., the three knowledges and vimutti, that are set apart.
The lists examined therefore divide up the total course of prac-
tice in two main ways. One way (List 2, List 3, and most versions
, of List 5) is apparently intended to emphasize the transition, at
jhana 1, from a cumulative series to a substitutive; the other'
(List 1, List 4, and some versions of List 5) is apparentJy intend-
ed to emphasize the unique and very advanced nature of the
three knowledges and resulting liberation.
This last point is relevant to a suggestion made early in this
30 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
paper regarding the noble eightfold path: as a summary of
Gotama's course of practice, the eightfold path, lacking as it
does the stages sammii-iiiiTJa and sammii-vimutti, appears to be
incomplete. This raises the problem why this incomplete ac-
count of the course of practice should have been given so much
prominence in the Tipitaka.
One possible explanation would be that right insight
(sammii-iiiiTJa) , despite its seemingly crucial importance in the
course of practice, perhaps does not really need to be men-
tioned. This would be the case if, as many present-day Bud-
dhists assume, the three knowledges are not meditative tech-
niques which the meditator must take up after mastering the
jhiinas, but, instead, are spontaneously arising insights which
come of themselves once the mind has been properly prepared
for them through jhiina practice. This possibility appears, how-
ever, to be incompatible with the nature of the three knowl-
edges as described in the texts. The Tipitaka account of recol-
lection of former existences (the first of the three), though too
brief to provide much guidance on this point, does suggest an
effortful, intentional practice: " ... he directs and bends down
his mind (citta'J!!- abhinfharati abhininniimeti) to the knowledge and
recollection of former habitations .... "54 The more detailed
Visuddhimagga account does make clear that the practice entails
a systematic, active attempt to recall past experiences, and gives
practical advice on how this should be done."" The notion that
insight will arise spontaneously once the jhiinas have been per- .
fected also appears to be at odds with the recognition of insight
meditation (vipassanii) as a discrete mode of practice following.
on, and superior to, concentration practice (samatha). Again, if
insight arises spontaneously in the manner suggested, then
there is nothing to distinguish Gotama's course of practice from
those of his early teachers (from whom he learnt the jhiinas), or,
indeed, from those of the meditative yoga schools, in which the
perfecting of jhiina is the principal practical goal."() It was pre-
cisely its emphasis on insight as an achievement superior to
jhiina that set Gotama's teaching apart from those of other sa-
manas. As Pande rightly says, "His [Gotama's] originality ap-
pears to have consisted in the association of Samadhi and
Panna in order to advance from the Jhanas to the Three Vijjas
and Sambodhi."57 Clearly, this advance from the jhiinas to the
three vijjiis (knowledges) does not come about spontaneously.
A second possible explanation for the high status accorded
the eightfold path is provided by the widely accepted notion
that insight (panna) is covered by the first stage, samma-diHhi
(right view).58 This interpretation is rendered superficially
plausible by the fact, noted earlier, that the texts equate samma-
ditthi with knowledge of the four noble truths. However, the
of the four noble truths with which is
identified is merely described as dukkhe na'f}a1p" dukkhasamudaye
fta'f}a1p" ... -knowledge about suffering, knowledge about the
arising of suffering, etc.
By contrast, the knowledge of the
four noble truths which characterizes enlightenment, that is
which comes with the third of the three know ledges, is de-
scribed thus: So ida1p, dukkhan ti yathiibhuta1p, pajanati, aya1p, duk-
khasamudayo ti yathabhllta1p, pajanati ... -He knows as it really is,
"This is suffering"; he knows as it really is, "This is the arising
of suffering"; etc. 50 This second description indicates a pene-
trating and direct realization, very different from the mere
"knowledge about" represented by samma-ditthi. This suggests
that samma-ditthi is an intellectual understanding of the truths
sufficient to motivate a beginner to set out on the path, while
samma-na'f}a (as perfected in the third knowledge) is the direct
inner realization of the truths which brings liberation.
Those who would equate samma-ditthi with the panna
group usually account for the anomaly that samma-ditthi comes
first in the eightfold path rather than last by maintaining that
the order of listing the path-factors is without significance: the
eight factors, it is said, must be developed together rather than
in a definite sequence.
However, this claim conflicts with the
. textual statements, quoted in the analysis of List 1, regarding
the sequential-and partly cumulative-nature of the path. It
also conflicts with the abundant evidence provided by Table 2
for the importance of sequence in the course of practice.
The notion that samma-ditthi, the first-named stage of the
eightfold path, corresponds to the attainment of panna (insight)
is of great antiquity, appearing already in the cuta-Vedalla-
In that sutta, a nun named Dhammadinna is asked to
explain how the eightfold path is related to the well-known
division of the practice into three categories, sZla, samadhi, and
panna (moral discipline, mental discipline, and insight). She
answers that the two are related as shown in Table 4. This
explanation entails a distortion of the sequence of the
32 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
first two path-factors have to be transferred to the end of the
list. In spite of this, Dhammadinna's interpretation has been
widely accepted by commentators down to the present day.53
From the foregoing discussion it is evident that the cause
of the difficulty lies in the absence of the vital ninth and tenth
stages. When one considers the tenfold path rather than the
eightfold, it becomes clear that the true correspondences are as
shown in Table 5.
Support for this interpretation is to be
found in the Kassapaszhanada- and Subha-suttas. As noted above
those two suttas group the stages of List 5 into three sections a ~
shown in Table 6. This mode of division is identical with that
proposed here for the tenfold path.
There is a third possible explanation for the prominence
given in the Tipitaka to the incomplete eightfold path. It may
be that Gotama recognized that the practice of right insight
(samma-na1Ja) was too difficult for most people, and therefore
intentionally omitted it from his discourses except when in-
structing monks already well advanced in meditation. The
eightfold path would thus have been the popular version, while
the tenfold path (or its equivalents, Lists 2 to 5) was taught only
to elite groups of advanced practitioners. This suggestion, how-
ever, raises some difficult and controversial issues which cannot
be pursued further here.
The present study has shown that the eightfold path is but
one of several differently worded statements of Gotama's
course of practice leading to liberation. Five alternative lists of
stages have been examined; however, a preliminary survey of
the Sutta-Pitaka indicates the existence of a further forty or
more lists, all representing more or less completely the same
path to liberation, and therefore all eligible for inclusion in an
expanded version of the analysis presented here.
(The seven
saddhammas and the five powers, both discussed earlier, are
examples.)67 It appears, then, that in teaching his path of prac-
tice, Gotama made use of many different, though essentially
equivalent, summarizing lists of stages, but that for some un-
clear reason one of those lists, the noble eightfold path, was
favoured by his followers to such an extent that it came to
overshadow completely the many alternative versions.
Perhaps more important than the above specific conclu-
sions regarding the textual accounts of the path is the demon-
stration of the efficacy of the methodology employed. It has
been shown that comparison of broadly similar lists of stages
:an be a powerful tool in Buddhist textual analysis. Though
ipplied here to a sample of just five lists, the technique is de-
monstrably . applicable to the wider corpus of lists mentioned
Ibove, and to a variety of other lists of doctrinal items as well.
List 1
(Tenfold Path)
1. sammii-ditthi }
2. sammii-sankappa -
3. sammii-viicii I
4. sammii-kammanta =
5. sammii-iifiva
6. sammii-viiyiima
7. sammii-sati
8. sammii-samiidhi
lO. sammii-vimutti
List 2
(CiJ/a-H atthipadopama)
1. DhammalsaddlullpabbaJj"ii
2. sfla
3. indriyasaJ!2vara
4. sati-sampajariiia
5. jhiina 1
6. jhiina 2
7. jhiina 3
8. jhiina 4
10. sattiinaJ!2 cutUpapiita-iiiirJa
11. iisavakkhaya-iiiirJa
12. vimutti
Table 1. Correspondences between Lists 1 and 2.
List 1 List 2 List 3 List 4 List 5
5. ditthi Dhamma/saddha/ Dhamma/saddha/
5. san kappa pabbajja hiri, ottappa pabbajja
5. vaca p. kayasamacara
5. kammanta szla p. vaczsamacara sfla
5. ajfva p. ajfva
5. vayama indriyasa'f{tvara indriyasa'f{tvara indriyasarrwara indriyasa'f{tvara
bhojane mat. bhojane mat. (bhojane mat.)
jagariya jagariya
5. sati satisampajanna satisampajanna satisampajanna satisampajanna
jhana 1 jhana 1 jhana 1
jhana 2 jhana 2
jhana 2
jhana 3 jhana 3 jhana 3
jhana 4 jhana 4 jhana 4
na'f!adassana etc.
pubbenivas. pubbenivas. pubbenivas. pubbenivas. '
5. na'f!a cutiipapata. cutiipapata. cutiipapata. cutiipapata.
asavakkhaya. asavakkhaya. / asavakkhaya.l asavakkhaya. /
5. vimutti vimutti vimutti vimutti vimutti
Table 2. Correspondences among the five lists. Lists 3 and 4 are shown as they would have been before the
postulated corruptions came about, and List 5 is shown with the inconsistent santu{thi omitted.
List 2 List 5
1. Dhammalsaddhrilpabbajja --..... 1. DhammalsaddhrilpabbaJJa
2. szla (including -_ .................. _2. szla
. santutthi) "__ _---... 3. indriyasar[lvara
3. indriyasar[lvara ... :.a-c;_.><::._"'4. sati-sampajanna
4. sati-sampajaniia .. --- -"'5. santutthi
5.jhrina 1 ... - ..... --.... ----..... 6. jhrina 1
etc. etc.
Table 3. Position of santutthi in Lists 2 and 5.
Eightfold Path
3. samma-viicii )
4. =
1. szla
5. samma-aJzva
6. samma-vayama

7. samma-sati 2. samadhi
8. samma-samadhi
1. samma-ditthi
2. samma-sankappa
Table 4. Correspondence between the eightfold path and the
three dhammakkhandhas, according to Dhammadinna.
Tenfold Path
1. samma-ditthi
2. samma-sankappa
3. samma-vaca
6. samma-vayama
7. samma-sati
8. samma-samadhi
9. samma-nana }
10. samma-vimuttz
1. szla
3. panna
Table 5. Proposed correspondence between the tenfold path
and the three dhammakkhandhas.
. List 5
jhiinas 1-4
iianadassana, etc. )
iiarJa etc.
1. sila
2. samlidhi
Table 6. Groupings of stages according to the Kassapasihanada-
and Subha-suttas.
38 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
* I am grateful to N. Ross Reat and Martin Stuart-Fox of the University
of Queensland for reading an earlier draft of this papc;r and offering valuable
suggestions for improvement.
1. The noble eightfold path (sammii-ditthi, -sankappa, -viicii, -kammanta
-iijiva, -viiyiima, -sati, -samiidhi), as the fourth of the four noble truths realized
by Gotama in his enlightenment, figures prominently in the "first sermon" (S
v 420-425) and many other suttas. The high status accorded it therefore
appears, on the surface, well deserved.
2. D ii 217, iii 271,291,292, M i 44, 446-447, ii 29, iii 76, S ii 168, v 20, A
ii 89, v 212-310. Translations are my own unless otherwise stated.
3. A v 244, 222, 237.
4. S v 20.
5. M iii 76.
6. C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Introduction to vo!' 5 of The Book of the Gradual
Sayings (Anguttara-nikiiya), trans!' F.L. Woodward (London: Luzac & Co.,
1955), pp. x-xi.
7. A v 189, 346.
8. A v 212-310. In most cases, however, the list appears merely as
"sammii-diHhi ... pe ... sammii-vimutti" and is accompanied by only one or two
lines of text.
9. E.g., at D ii 312-313;
10. D ii 313.
II. M iii 75-76.
12. This statement appears to conflict with the widely held view, early
expressed by the nun Dhammadinna (M i 30 I), that the first two path-factors,
sammii-diHhi and sammii-sankappa, are equivalent to the third dhammakkhandha,
pannii. This question will be discussed toward the end of the analysis.
13. M iii 71.
14. D i 206 etc.
15. D iii 273 etc.
16. M i 179-184,344-348, ii 38-39.
17. M i 175-184.
18. The terms DhammalsaddhiilpabbaJjii, sUa, etc., are adopted here to
stand in for the sometimes very lengthy descriptions given in the sutta.
19. So idar[L dukkhan ti yathiibhutar[L pajiiniiti, ayar[L dukkhasamudayo ti yathiib-
hUtar[L pajiiniiti, ... (M i 183)
20. Dii312-313.
2 L Dukkhe niir;ar[L, dukkhasamudaye niir;ar[L, ....
22. Here, again, the nature of sammii-diHhi comes into question. This
important point will be taken up towards the end of the analysis.
23. The translation follows closely that of I.B. Horner, departing from it
mainly for the sake of consistency in ter"minology. See I.B. Horner (trans!.)
The Middle Length Sayings, vol 1 (London: Luzac & Co., 1967), pp. 28-29.
24. E.g., M i 22-23.
25. M i 339-349.
26. M ii 29-39.
27. M i 271-281.
28. M i 356.
29. M i 273.
30. M i 274.
31. E.g., n i 63. The inversion of bodily action and speech as between
this list and List 1 is trivial; the pancasfla agrees with List 3 in putting bodily
action before speech.
32. A iii 9, v 123-124. The better-known set of five powers listed at D ii
120, etc., does not include hiri and ottappa.
33. D iii 252, M i 356.
34. Had the earlier list occurred in several suttas in different nikayas,
. palpable discrepancies would have resulted, thereby alerting the memorizers
to the corruption. Thus, generally speaking, infrequent occurrence of a tex-
tual passage would be conducive to corruption of it.
35. M i 353-359.
36. M i 356. The identity of viriya with sammii-viiyiima and indriyasa'f{lvara,
already apparent from the description quoted, is further indicated by the
definition of sammii-viiyiima given at D ii 312 ( ... chanda'f{l janeti viiyamati
viriya'f{l iirabhati ... ) and the definitions of viriya and sammii-viiyiima given at
DhammasangaYfi 11,12.
37. D i 62-85.
38. See D i 62, note 3. The counterpart of List 5 in the Chinese T r i p i ~ a k a
similarly includes this item, and further differs from the standard Pali version
in omitting santu{{hi. (See Taisho No. 1(20) = A Mo Chou Ching.)
39. Di71.
40. Di71.
4l. M i 180.
42. A v 23-29, 89-9l. The list runs: sfla, ... viriya, santuUhi, sati, panna.
As shown above, viriya can be identified with indriyasa'f{lvara. (Cf. note 36
43. The Chinese version of List 2 has santutthi as a stage in its own right
between sfla and indriyasa'f{lvara, thus providing a further intermediate form
between List 2 and List 5. (See Taisho No. 26(146) = Hsiang Chi Yii Ching.)
44. E.g., M i 21-23.
45. D i 213. Paradoxically, this condemnation of the iddhis is followed by
the same list of seventeen stages (List 5), one of which is again mastery of the
46. In the Chinese version (Taisho No. 1(20)) these five items are set
apart under the group heading sheng fa, "superior dhammas."
47. D i 100, 124, 147, 157-158, 159-160, 171-174,206-209,214-215,
48. D i 100. It is possible that the same division is followed in the SOYfa-
da7!4a, but extensive use of pe obscures the situation (See D i 124.)
49. D i 171-174,206-209.
50. See, e.g., D i 73-76.
5l. See the description quoted earlier. The possible significance of the
40 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
three knowledges in terms of meditative practice is discussed in Rod Bucknell
and Martin Stuart-Fox, "The 'three knowledges' of Buddhism: Implications
of Buddhadasa's interpretation of rebirth," Religion, 13 (1983), pp. 99-112.
52. The lists always place recollection of former ej(istences directly after
jhana 4, described as pure ekaggata.
53. D i 147, 157-158, 159,214-215,232-233.
54. D i 81.
55. Visuddhimagga 412.
56. Pataiijali defines yoga as "cessation of the movements of mind" (yogas
(Yogasiitra i 2).
57. Govind Chandra Pande, Studies in the Origins of Buddhism 2nd rev. ed.
(Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1974), p. 538, note 145.
58. On this interpretation see, for example, Nyanatiloka, The Word of the
Buddha (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1971), pp. 26-27; also TO.
Ling, A Dictionary of Buddhism (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972), pp.
1 09-111, where samma-ditthi is taken as having a double reference, including
both initial faith in the Buddha (saddhii) and the final liberating insight
(panna) .
59. Dii312.
60. M i 183.
61. E.g., TO. Ling, A Dictionary of Buddhism, p. 110.
62. M i 301. According to Pande, the Cii{a-Vedalla is relatively late among
the Majjhima suttas, and "shows very clearly the tendencies of scholastic sys-
tematization." Pande, Studies in the Origins of Buddhism, pp. 134, 179.
63. Buddhaghosa adopted it as the framework for his Visuddhimagga.
64. Rarely, four rather than three groups (dhammakkhandhas) are recog-
nized: sUa, samadhi, panna, vimutti (D ii 122, iii 229, A ii 1, 78, 141). This
version permits an equating of the ninth path-factor with panna, and the
tenth with vimutti.
65. A discussion of these issues is presented in Rod Bucknell and Martin
Stuart-Fox, "Did the Buddha impart an esoteric teaching?" forthcoming.
66. Such an analysis is currently in preparation.
67. That the saddhammas are such a list of stages is evident from the
demonstration, presented above, that the saddhammas largely duplicate the
stages of List 4.
Temporary Ordination In Sri Lanka
by Richard Gombrich
Theravada Buddhists have always regarded monks as both
the preservers of their tradition and its principal exemplars.
Monks are the spiritual elite. Questions surrounding member-
ship of this elite are therefore of the greatest importance.
Full membership is achieved by receiving the higher ordi-
nation (upasampada). At this rite the ordinand, who must be at
least twenty years old, asks an assembled chapter of monks for
ordination; when it is conferred, he is told that for the rest of
his life (yavafivaT(l)! he should try to live extremely frugally (the
frugality is classified as four "dependencies," nissaya) and must
not commit any of the four disbarring offenses (parajika). It is at
this point in the ceremony that the prescribed text, which goes
back to the beginnings of Buddhist history (probably, as Bud-
dhists claim, to the Buddha himself) explicitly states that the
intention of all concerned is that ordination should be for life.
This does not mean that ordination has ever been, in either
theory or practive, an irrevocable step. The brahminical re-
nouncer (saT(lnyasin) leaves the lay world by enacting his own
post-funerary rites;2 he thus dramatizes the conception that he
becomes dead to human society. The dead may not rise again:
if such a saT(lnyasin lapses, for instance by cohabiting, he be-
comes an anomaly with no place in the social order and a haz-
ardous future. The Buddha, who did so much to demystify the
world, took a more pragmatic view: if an ordained person finds
the monastic role too difficult to sustain, far better to leave the
Order than to break its rules and so harm both one's colleagues
and oneself. And, indeed, all the evidence, beginning with the
Vinaya Pitaka itself, suggests that it has never been p4rticularly
rare for members of the Sangha voluntarily to revert to lay
42 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Before one becomes a monk, one has to become a novice.
This is done by the rite of pabbajja, lower ordination. The mini-
mum age for this is that one must be able to shoo crows aWay,3
which in practice means about seven. According to the canoni_
cal text on the subject, the terms pabbajja and upasampada Were
originally synonymous.
The Buddha initially authorized his
monks to ordain recruits by a very simple rite: the candidate
was to shave his head, put on yellow robes with the upper robe
over one shoulder, touch the feet of the ordaining monk with
his head, squat with his hands together in the anjali, and simply
say three times that he was taking refuge in the Buddha, the
Dhamma and the Sangha-the formula of taking refuge which
in Theravada Buddhist societies still begins every rite and reli-
gious occasion for the laity. This ordination could be conferred
by a single monk with no one else present. The same text goes
on to tell
that subsequently the Buddha rescinded the use of
this rite as upasampada and substituted the more elaborate rite
still in use. However, he did not do away with the earlier,
simpler rite as pabbajja-a point which is not clear from Miss
Horner's translation.
The original simple pabbaJja ordination, conferred by a
single monk, survives among Theravadinsto this day, with only
some minor additions to the wording. The intending novice
asks to wear the yellow robe in order to realize nirvaI).a.
the original identity of pabbaJja and upasampada has left an en-
during trace in the ritual. When a candidate presents himself
for higher ordination, the upasampada ceremony proper has to
be preceded by a pabbajja ceremony. Even if-as will invariably
be the case, for example, in Sri Lanka-the ordinand has had a
previous pabbajja and spent time as a novice, he has to enact a
brief reversion to lay status and wear lay clothes in order again
to discard them in this pabbajja ceremony which forms a pre-
lude to the upasampada. .
In Burma, every boy is supposed to become a novice for a
few days (anything up to a month, though often far less). The
ceremony, called shin-byu, is conducted with great pomp-
greater, indeed, than an ordinary adult ordination. Ideally, it
takes place at puberty; in Spiro's sample of 60 boys, the mean
age was 11 but the range from 2 to 18.
The ritual contains
elements which indicate that the practice has a historical link
with the Hindu upanayana, an obligatory rite de passage for up-
per-caste males which is performed over a similar age range.
(Though the lawbooks prescribe upanayana for the top three
var1!a-brahmin, k ~ a t r i y a and vaisya-in practice only the brah-
mins tend to observe it punctiliously.) lowe my information on
this matter to Mr. G. HoutmanY An essential officiant at a
traditional shin-byu is someone Houtman calls a "pseudo-brah-
min." Houtman, on the basis of a Burmese printed source,
that "the following texts are generally considered stan-
dard knowledge" of this ritual specialist; he then lists the Bur-
mese names of the Yajur Veda, If.g Veda and Atharva Veda (in that
order). What follows suggests that the "pseudo-brahmin" has
no actual knowledge of those texts and needs none, as they are
irrelevant to the ritual he performs; but the same could be said
of the real brahmin, supposed to be learned in the Vedas, who
performs the Indian upanayana. After some rituals of explicitly
Buddhist character, such as invoking the Buddha, the "pseudo-
brahmin" puts a thread, usually referred to as a "mantra
thread" (Burmese: chi-man-gwin) , around the neck of each ini-
tiand. Though this thread "derives its efficacy from the recita-
tion of parittas by monks,"ll it is clearly the descendant of the
brahminical sacred thread, which has thus been converted to
Buddhism. The initiands are then ritually fed, and almost im-
mediately thereafter conducted to the monastery, where they
are shaved and ordained.
The Burmese name of the "pseudo-brahmin" is beitheik
saya, which derives from Sanskrit abhi0eka acarya, "consecration
teacher." The term suggests to me that in the remote past the
ritual was tantric; that would not be surprising, as tantric Bud-
dhism was prevalent in Burma before Theravada took over in
the eleventh century. (After all, the whole of tantric Buddhism
can in my view be seen as a Hinduization of Buddhism.) But
this hypothetical past is irrelevant
to the obvious interpreta-
tion of what we can still see: that the upanayana has been copied
in Burma but legitimized by turning it into a Buddhist novi-
tiate. The original Hindu-derived element has become so un-
important that, as Houtman records, modernizing Burmese
Buddhists now dispense with it altogether. Houtman also be-
lieves that in the past the novice stayed in the monastery for
long enough to receive some real education there; if so, he was
44 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
even more like the Hindu "student" (brahmacarin). As we shall
see, the parallel custom in Thailand is also that the temporary
ordinand ~ h o u l d stay in robes long enough to learn something
of BuddhIsm. '
Thai Buddhists have a practice rather like the shin-byu:
every young man is supposed to enter the Sangha for a short
time before marriage, ideally for the three months ofthe litur_
gical "rains" retreat (vassa) from July to October. But there is an
interesting difference from the Burmese custom: whereas in
Burma the candidates are boys, so that they of course take the
lower ordination only, in Thailand the parallel custom is to take
the upasampada. This means that the Thai short-term ordin-
ands are usually in their early twenties. Thus, we find that
whereas Burmese males have to enter the Sangha as boys, and
normally stay only for a few days, the Thai have to enter as
young men, and are supposed to stay for three months. Since
the Thai first received their Buddhism from Burma, there
must be a historical link between the two customs; why then are
they different? If we survey human societies, the early twenties
are not a very common age for a major rite de passage other than
marriage. If I am right in thinking that the Burmese custom
has been decisively influenced by the upanayana, a puberty
ceremony, it is the Thai variant which remains in need of expla-
nation. I would offer a guess: that since becoming a fully or-
dained monk is considered by all Buddhists more meritorious
than becoming a mere novice, the Thai encouraged their
young men to take the upasampada rather than just the pabbajja;
but for this the Vinaya regulations compelled them to wait until
they were twenty. At this age, the Buddhist character of the
custom is then taken seriously, in that the young man stays in
the monastery long enough to learn something; the experience
thus becomes a vital finishing touch to his education. Perhaps
the postponement came more easily to the Thai because their
remoteness from India had caused them to lose the sense that it
was some kind of puberty ceremony. Thus, my hypothesis is
that it is not that Thai males take the upasampada (rather than
the pabbajja) because they are over twenty; it is that they are
over twenty because they are waiting to take the upasampada.
Short-term novitiates also exist in Thailand; but to become
a novice is not to undergo the necessary rite de passage. Bunnag
writes: "During the Lenten season the number of novices also
increases temporarily; some boys are ordained simply to make
merit for senior relatives, both the living and the dead, whilst
others become novices or monastery boys in order to accompa-
ny their elder brothers who have been ordained for a short
time .... "13 In other words, the temporary novice is primarily
serving the needs of others-though to be sure he is thereby
earning merit for himself too; the temporary monk, on the
other hand, is completing his preparation for adult life. "In
former days-and in some country areas to this day-it is said
that a young man's prospects for marriage might depend upon
whether or not he had spent a season in the wat."14
Social anthropologists have been struck by the general
flexibility of Thai social arrangements, 15 and this flexibility has
also influenced monastic life, in that monks can and frequently
do revert to lay status at any time, and such a reversion carries
no stigma. However, it would not be right to conclude that Thai
Buddhism has quite lost the ideal of a permanent commitment
to monkhood, or that all Thai ordinations are envisaged as
temporary. Bunnag's account makes it clear that the "tempo-
rary" or "short-term" (chua khrao) ordination taken by almost
every young layman is a distinct institution; other monks do not
refer to themselves as chua khrao, nor do others so refer to
them, even if it should in fact turn out that they leave.
In Sri Lanka, on the other hand, the institution of tempo-
rary ordination has been unknown. Sinhalese Buddhism has
preserved what seems to have been the position in ancient
times: one must enter the Order with the intention of doing so
for life, but can leave it one feels one must. Many do leave, but
more commonly early in life, often, indeed, while still novices.
(That means under the age of twenty, for a Sinhalese monastic
career usually begins in youth.) There is normally no stigma
attached to leaving before receiving the higher ordination, but
some stigma does attach to being an ex-monk; there is an idi-
omatic term for such a man, h'iratuva, which is felt to be oppro-
brious. This stigma does not accord with the Buddha's teach-
ing, but presumably reflects the Hindu view of the lapsed
When I say that "the institution of temporary ordination
has been unknown" I leave open the possibility that individuals
46 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
may have taken ordination intending it to be temporary and
done so with the connivance of their ordainers. In fact, I know
of a monastery where this has been occurring in recent times.
This monastery, Kandubo<;la, was founded in 1956 as a medita_
tion centre; while itself symptomatic of modern trends in Bud-
dhism, to which we shall return below, it has also been a centre
and focus of innovation. Meditators at Kandubo<;la have occa-
sionally taken the lower ordination for a while; in particular, a
layman who styles himself Brahmacarl Aryatilaka and is now a
professional meditation teacher, becomes a novice when he
goes to Kandubo<;la for his holidaysY However, this is not
advertised or widely known. It is, therefore, not directly rel-
evant to the story I am about to tell-though I shall later sug-
gest its indirect relevance.
Our story concerns the public and formal attempt to set up
temporary ordination as a new institution in Sri Lanka. 18 On 5
July 1982, the full moon day which marked the beginning of
the rains retreat that year, a group of five Buddhist laymen
received the lower ordination at a monastery in central Colom-
bo on the public and formally stated understanding that they
would revert to lay life after exactly a fortnight. Though the
initiator of the event was inspired by the Thai model, there
were many differences, of which the two most salient were that
the ordinands were far from young, and that they took only the
lower ordination. The ensuing controversy, however, entirely
ignored these points; in particular, all concerned treated the
innovation as one of temporary monkhood. The Sinhala term,
pavidda, refers to all membership of the Sangha, whether one
has taken the higher ordination or not. But curiously enough,
the fact that the ordinands took only the lower ordination, a
fact which would be of crucial importance in traditional Bud-
dhism, was adduced in argument by neither the opponents nor
the defenders of the new practice. Controversy was concerned
entirely with the general question whether temporary ordina-
tion (tavakalika pavidda) was a good or a scandalous thing.
Before reporting the controversy, let me relate what actu-
ally happened. I write as of January 1983: the present tense
refers to that time. The whole affair is the brainchild of the
Ven. Galbo<;la N al).issara 19 of Gangarama, a monastery in H un-
upitiya, Colombo, who has also taken the leading part in the
; execution of the project. The actual incumbent of Gangaraina
is the Ven. NaQ.issara's teacher, but since he is old and infirm,
. the Ven. N aQ.issara acts as the executive head of the monastery .
. He is widely known as "PoQi Hamuduruv0," "The Little
Monk," not because he is small physically or in any other re-
spect--quite the reverse is the case-but presumably because
he is still formally only the future incumbent. He was kind
enough to grant me an interview and to provide me with photo-
graphs and printed materials, as well as introducing me to the
temporary ordinands in residence at the time. I am most grate-
ful for his help and friendliness.
Gangarama is a temple of the Siyam Nikaya monastic fra-
ternity. Though the Siyam Nikaya is sometimes labelled conser-
vative, not least because it traditionally has ordained only mem-
bers of the highest (goyigama) caste, its general character is of
little relevance to setting the tone of Gangarama compared to
the fact that Gangarama is in central Colombo. Indeed, it is the
temple which lies closest to the very heart of Colombo, the Fort;
while being close to various headquarters of government and
business, it is also near wealthy residences. Both the President
and the Prime Minister (who also is the local M.P.) live nearby
and are among its patrons. Indeed, the temple is so influential-
ly placed that it receives large donations from businessmen who
are not even Buddhists. With such donations it has managed to
put up some spectacular buildings, notably the hall called SIma-
malaka built on a platform projecting into Beira Lake in which
this ordination ceremony took place. We shall have something
more to say about the innovations of Gangarama under the
. Ven. NaQ.issara's leadership near the end of this article.
The Ven. NaQ.issara says that he was inspired to introduce
temporary ordination to Sri Lanka by the Ven. Kirinde Dham-
mananda, incumbent of the monastery in Kuala Lumpur (Ma- .
laysia), when on a visit to that monastery he witnessed three
temporary ordinations. (We should thus note that a Sinhalese
monk in Malaysia was already performing such ordinations.)20
According to the Ven. NaQ.issara, it was the aspiration of the
late Professor G. P. Malalasekera to introduce such ordination
to Sri Lanka, but at the time his proposal was not welcomed,
whereas now the time was ripe. (Professor Malalasekera simi-
larly had a scheme to reintroduce the higher ordination for
48 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
women from a living Mahayanist tradition in Taiwan or Viet_
nam, but that too came to nothing.) The Ven. NaI).issara told
Desatiya:'21 "This is a good time for the temporary ordination. It
is a period when our people are gradually drawing away from a
Buddhist life-style. Today Buddhists' religious faith is more
sluggish; their knowledge of Buddhism has begun to decline.
The devotion of the laity to the Sangha has also declined. By
means of temporary ordination this unfortunate state of affairs
can be remedied." To his reasons for thinking so we shall re-
turn below.
The Ven. NaI).issara announced the impending availability
of temporary ordination through notices in the press. He also
prepared form letters to be sent to applicants and forms of
application, the latter in both Sinhala and English. Applicants
are informed that the temple will meet all their expenses, sup-
plying their monastic requisites. Apart from various personal
details, each applicant has to furnish certificates from his local
temple and from his grama sevaka, the local government official
who has replaced the traditional village headman. If he is un-
der age (i.e., under I8?) he has also to produce a letter of
consent from his guardian. The most striking requirement,
however, is a letter of consent to disrobe after 14 days. Should
he find after 14 days that he would like to stay in the Sangha for
longer, Gangarama cannot help: he must disrobe and then ap-
ply to another temple for re-ordination. The rational-bureau-
cratic approach is evident in the statement: "Your presence is
not necessary until called for"; quite a contrast to traditional
Indian ideas of religious initiation and teacher-pupil relations.
We shall shortly see that this somewhat impersonal approach is
also evident in the programme of training which the ordinands
receive. But it is worth remarking that one aspect of this com-
parative impersonality is that the caste of applicants for ordina-
tion is no longer a consideration; indeed, it is possible that in
some cases it is not even ascertained.
Applicants are also informed that those who do not wish to
have their hair shaved off can instead take the ten precepts and
wear another form of yellow robe; they then participate in the
same programme of training as those ordained. This strikes me
as a point of some historical interest. To explain it, I must here
lay the groundwork for my analysis.
A layman who takes the ten precepts has made the same
undertakings as any novice. In traditional Sri Lanka, the only
men normally to take the ten precepts were elderly people
retired from active life. They normally wore white and spent
much of their time at their local temples. A century ago Don
David Hewavitarne adopted the title and name of Anagarika
Dharmapala. Anagarika was an invented role: he took vows of
abstention like a monk, but remained active in the world-a
this-worldly asceticism which made him a founder of what
Obeyesekere has dubbed "Protestant Buddhism." At first,
Dharmapala found few imitators in this role, but more recently,
as Protestant Buddhism has spread, other laymen have similar-
ly undertaken a celibate and generally ascetic existence, calling
themselves either anagarika or brahmacari (the Hindu term for a
religious student). Hitherto, it has been normal, so far as I
know, for such men to wear white. Here, however, we find
introduced a new kind of anagarika and a new costume to
match. For, at the first temporary ordination ceremony one
gentlemen did indeed refrain from being actually ordained but
kept his hair and assumed the title of anagarika and a new style
of yellow robe, 22 looking rather like the outer robe of a Chinese
Buddhist monk.
What this all amounts to is that the traditional external
indicators of the deepest division in Sinhalese society, that be-
tween monk and layman, are becoming blurred. Like the tem-
porary ordinand, this new kind of anagarika is an interstitial
role which is half in and half out of the monastery. Moreover,
the Ven. NaQ.issara has other projects which tend in the same
direction. He hopes' to have groups of schoolboys taking tem-
porary ordination, but that has not yet happened. However, in
September 1982 he organized a programme by which a group
of schoolboys, aged about 15, took the ten precepts and spent a
week learning Buddhism and meditating at Gangarama: a ju-
nior version of the temporary ordination programme. This will
no doubt be repeated. For such young people to take the ten
precepts-unless they become novices-is wholly untraditional.
He says that he also hopes to arrange a similar programme for
women-though of course they could not stay at the monas-
tery. (Since this has not yet taken place, we shall not g9 into the
complicated question of what religious statuses for women exist
in Sinhalese Buddhism.)
The initial response was overwhelming: the Ven.
50 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
sara received over five hundred applications for temporary Or-
dination. For the first programme, five men were selected to be .
ordained and one to become an anagarika. They ranged in age
from 50 to 79. All were well educated, and I believe that they
were men of standing; indeed, a newspaper described them as
"leading personalities."23 Despite the initial enthusiasm, ho'wev-
er, it was not clear to me whether the flow of suitable applicants
would be maintained: when I visited Gangarama in early Janu-
ary, 1983, there were only two novices on the . current Course.
The ceremony on the morning of 5 July was attended by
monks from all three Nikayas, a catholicism normal on secular
public occasions but most unusual for a vinaya-kamma, a formal
act of the Sangha.
But a public occasion it certainly was. The
Prime Minister and his wife, Mrs. Premadasa, were among the
five eminent laymen who presented the five ordinands with
their monastic requisites. The Prime Minister made a speech in
which he said that Gangarama was making history by initiating
this programme. "This group who have taken temporary ordi-
nation have made a great sacrifice. This programme is an ex-
ample to the whole country. We must make such a programme
effective to steer the people ever more towards Buddhism and
to lead successful lives in accordance with the principles of
Buddhist conduct. If there is any aid the government can give,
it is prepared to give it." The Ven. NaQ.issara also spoke, and
expressed the hope that this new institution would make for
closer relations between the Sangha and the laity.25
On their first afternoon, the Ven. NaQ.issara took the new
trainees to the leprosy hospital at Hendala to heighten their
awareness, he said, of sasara duka, the sadness of life. This
might be described as an innovation on a classical theme. Ther-
avadin tradition has two kinds of meditation specifically de-
signed to increase one's distaste for the world and its seeming
pleasures. One, still widely practised, is to list the 32 constitu-
ents of the body and to analyse oneself in these terms and so
realize that one's body is but the sum of these disgusting parts.
The other is to watch the putrefaction and disintegration of a
corpse; this must have been easier to do in the days when
corpses were left exposed in cemeteries; it is little used nowa-
days, but a few monks (probably only forest-dwellers)26do visit
morgues for the purpose. But I am not aware of a precedent
for observing the physical of the living as a spiri-
tual exercise.
After this excursion, the novices settled into special quar-
ters (a hous.e called Dhammaloka on Green Path) which belong
to Gangarama and are nearby but quite separate from the mon-
astery. Thus, they did not in fact share the lives of the perma-
nent residents of the monastery. On the wall of their quarters
was a neatly printed timetable for twelve days, 6-17 July inclu-
sive; the same programme would in due course be followed by
subsequent groups.
In accordance with the traditional formula which sums up
the path to enlightenment, the first four days are labelled sfla
(morality), the next four samadhi (concentration) and the last
four paiiii,ii (wisdom). Each day is divided into no less than
fifteen sections, with some features common to every day. More
than four hours a day are left free for meals and other breaks.
The day begins at 6 a.m. with a Buddha pilja and ends at 10:45 .
p.m., when they "go to sleep with kind thoughts." Except for
this last, every section of the timetable is under the supervision
of a specific monk and it is so organized that nine monks par-
ticipate each day, though never quite the same nine-in all, 32
monks are on the programme. (Incidentally, the Ven. NaI).is-
sara himself is not one of them.) The majority of the sessions
are lectures by monks; every fourth day, however, this pattern
is broken with long periods of what is called "doctrinal discus-
sion" (dharma sakacchava), which probably gives more scope for
questions. There is much emphasis on famous scriptures: Ja-
taka stories (an hour a day), the Dhammapada, the Metta Sutta,
the Mahii SatipaUhana Sutta and the Thera- and Therf-gathii; Oth-
er lectures are on such doctrinal fundamentals as the four no-
ble truths and the three hallmarks (tri-lak?ar;,a) of phenomenal
existence; and there are four lectures on relations between laity
and clergy.
The approach to meditation seems modest. On the first
three mornings, there are lectures on pratyavek?a, and then each
day there is time set aside to practise it. The Ven NaI).issara
translated the term "introspection," but this is a bit misleading;
it refers to a specific practice inculcated into all novices, that
they should never use their four "requisites" (robes, bowl, lodg-
ing and medicine) without awareness that they have them only
52 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
for strict necessities-in the case of robes, for instance, that they
are worn to avoid extremes of temperature, to ward off insects
and to preserve modesty. There are formulae listing these nec-
essary uses, and once a day (normally in the evening) one is to
recollect the events of the day and check that one has not ex-
ceeded them, for example by trying to look well in one's robes.
This form of basic training in awareness (Pali: sati) is thus tradi-
tionally monastic; in fact, the term is not used in the
kind of meditation known to and practised by laymen. On the
three days of lectures on samadhi and the three days of lectures
on panna, there are daily periods called bhavana puhur;uva,
"meditation practice"; they form a series of six and a series of
three periods. Into the series of six, the Ven Nal).issara has
written on my copy the topics of each day: the first two days are
"understanding meditation," the last four are raga, dosa, moha
and mana (passion, hatred, delusion and conceit) respectively.
This suggests to me that the sessions are primarily lectures.
On the three days of samadhi lectures, the day ends with a
further period of "meditation practice"; these are on asubha,
the meditation topic which in Sri Lanka traditionally refers to
listing the thirty-two constituents of the body. The programme
makes no specific mention of the awareness of breathing, which
is a favourite meditation exercise at modern meditation cen-
tres. Altogether, the content of the course appears to be quite
traditional; there is no sign of any attempt at virtuoso religion,
at finding a short cut to nirval).a.
On the other hand, the
whole style of the programme, and especially the multiplicity of
instructors, is reminiscent of a modern institutional course
rather than traditional religious discipleship. Monks appear
here as specialist teachers rather than as general counsellors
and role models.
At the end of their fortnight, the group recorded their
sentiments in a kind of visitors' book established for the pur-
pose. I noticed that all this first batch had written in English. All
were full of praise and declared themselves enriched by the
experience. One of them, acting as spokesman for the group,
also said to Desatiya: "Even our bodies have begun to feel aware
of the advantages of moral restraint. We get the chance to hear
new things, to clear up things we have heard about and to
resolve our doubts. Some of us have taken fourteen days holi-
day to get this ordination, but to popularize this system the
government should consider giving leave for the purpose of
ordination. In countries like Thailand people taking temporary
ordination are granted paid leave."
Whether their experience has consequences for the ordin-
ands themselves is a private matter which is not my concern.
The main public consequence so far has been the controversy
in the press over the pros and cons of the new institution. On
the whole, it does not seem to me important to establish just
who has expressed himself for or against it, as this is doubtless
determined largely by group loyalties and other personal ties; it
is the arguments which I find interesting.
To begin with the proponents. The Ven. NaI)issara himself
has several times publicly given his reasons for starting the
scheme. He finds Buddhism around him in decline and a grow-
ing distance between Sangha and laity. Through this institu-
tion, he told Desatiya, "Monks can improve their knowledge of
Buddhism by explaining it to laymen who have taken tempo-
rary ordination. And in this way the laymen's families too can
participate in Buddhist work. We have learnt from laymen who
are considering this programme that many would like to be-
come monks for life; but for various reasons not everyone can
be given lifelong ordination." He also said: "Some of those who
take temporary ordination may conceive the wish to be or-
dained for life. Thus the number of those ordained for life may
. "
even Increase.
A different type of argument deployed in favour of the
new institution is precisely the argument that it is not new, the
argument from precedent-the alleged precedent of Sri Lanka
itself as well as of other Theravadin countries. A monk de-
scribed as a Buddhist missionary (dhammaduta) living in London
couched his statement to Desatiya in these terms. "Sri Lanka is
the only Theravada country to lack temporary ordination ....
In Siam only people who have taken temporary ordination can
be employed in government service .... Thai men attach value
to spending three months as monks, and schoolchildren there
live as monks (mahar;,a dam puranne) in their holidays .... But
can we say that the method of temporary ordination is entirely
new to us? King Dhatusena (461-79 A.D.) became a monk
(mahar;,a) as a child, in General Diksanda's monastic school (piri-
54 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
verJa) . ... It was the experience he gained while in the Order
which enabled him to rule so effectively."
The article in Rivirasa gives great prominence to this line
of argument. "The system of temporary ordination is new nei-
ther to Sri Lanka nor to Buddhism. In the great periods when
ancient heroes ruled this land as a single kingdom, temporary
ordination existed along with the unity of Buddhists and close
relations between the laity and the Sangha. With the passing of
time, in the periods when both government and society de-
clined because of the disunity brought about by foreign inva-
sions, this type of effort disappeared." It goes on to describe the
introduction of temporary ordination as a "rebirth" (punarjan-
maya). It also quotes "Poc;li Hamuduruvo" as saying that "if
Thailand and Malaysia can use the system of temporary ordina-
tion, for Sri Lanka alone to remain aloof is a loss, a deficiency, a
failure to care."
The argument that temporary ordination used to exist in
the days of Sri Lanka's ancient glory so that this is merely a
revival does not seem to have originated with the Ven. NaI)is-
sara. When I asked him about it he accepted it but showed little
interest in it. It is, in fact, based on a misunderstanding: King
Dhatusena had been ordained as a boy,29 but there is no evi-
dence that that was a temporary ordination and it is extremely
unlikely-certainly the alleged source, the Mahava'Y(lsa, does not
say SO.30 The argument is, however, all the more interesting for
being false. The argument that temporary ordination exists in
the other Theravadin countries, on the other hand, is, as we
have seen, broadly correct, though it has been stated in such a
way as to ignore the difference between lower and higher ordi-
nation and with various exaggerations: even in Thailand, it is
not normal for schoolchildren to spend their holidays as nov-
The newspaper DinamirJa devoted a full page of its issue of
26 July 1982 to a debate on temporary ordination, with five
articles (one by a layman) expressing different points of view.
Both there and in the Desatiya article monks express the need
for caution, making such neutral points as that it could go
wrong if taken up by the wrong kind of people or from the
wrong motives. Others point out that one can leave the Order
anyway, and therefore question the need for the new practice.
We turn now to more definite criticisms. In the opinion of
a forest-dwelling monk quoted by Desatiya, "it is improper for
someone who has asked, 'Please grant me ordination into this
yellow robe so that I may destroy all sorrow and experience
nirvaJ).a' toput the robes on for just a few days. How well does it
accord with Buddhist conceptions for someone to undertake
the rules for a novice
for just fourteen days? The monastic
tradition of Sri Lanka is respected throughout the Buddhist
world for its custom of lifelong ordination. Some think that that
respect may be forfeited if temporary ordination takes root
here. The new custom is something poor monasteries cannot
effectively undertake, so it may be restricted to the rich
ones .... " Another monk quoted in the same article expressed
the fear that "people who have taken temporary ordination in
monasteries may reveal monks' weaknesses to the world."
One of the articles in DinamirJa is far more negative than is
suggested by its title, "Problems may arise in the future." After
observing that there is no reference to temporary ordination in
the Pali canon, and that the mere fact that it is done elsewhere
is no argument for introducing it to Sri Lanka, the Ven. Pin-
vatte Devananda points out that anyone is free to wear the
traditional attire of a pious layman (upasaka); he suggests that
one can even shave one's head if one pleases. Thus far, his
argument is basically that the innovation is unnecessary. But he
goes on to argue that those who become good monks conceive a
spontaneous desire for monkhood already as children, because
of the disposition they have acquired in previous lives (sasara
purudda). It is therefore unwise to impose monkhood on lay-
men. Finally, he expresses fears that politicians may exploit the
situation, and ends in most traditional fashion by calling for a
purification of the Sangha.
The most violent attack to have come to my hand is an
article by a monk in the newspaper Divayina
headed "Tempo-
rary Ordination should be Banned." The author makes five
(1) A layman takes the five precepts to regulate his life; if
he feels that to be inadequate he can take eight or even ten.
Someone who cannot sort himself out even then certainly can-
not do so as a monk.
(2) Temporary monks would need to be labelled so as not
to mislead the public.
(3) The institution could be a cloak for political activity.
56 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
(4) This could become a free holiday for government ser-
(5) (A view attributed to another monk): It could even lead
to all monks becoming temporary. '
It is not my purpose to pass judgement on all these com-
ments, let alone to come down for or against temporary ordina_
tion (a matter on which I am in fact perfectly neutral). But a
few remarks of elucidation and analysis may be helpful. Most of
the points adduced against temporary ordination, though they
might have some validity if the practice were suddenly to
spread throughout Sinhalese society, are hardly relevant to
what is in fact happening-or likely to happen in the foresee-
able future. At Gangarama there are rigid safeguards. Every
applicant has to produce two character certificates. Far more
important, the temporary ordinands are in fact virtually segre-
gated, both from the rest of the monastery and from lay society.
No novice in his first fortnight would in any case ever be sent
out to preach or otherwise to represent the Sangha, so there is
no question of a temporary ordinand thus misleading the pub-
lie. On the other hand, the argument that poor monasteries
could not afford to introduce temporary ordination is fitted
precisely to the present circumstances: Gangarama can afford
to meet all expenses beacuse it has such wealthy support. Yet
one could argue that the necessary expenses are quite modest,
no greater than people often spend anyway on religious pur-
poses (for example, three months after the death of a relative),
so that if the custom were to catch on one would expect the
Thai model to prevail and the ordinand's expenses to be met by
his family.
The fear expressed in Divayina that the practice could de-
velop into an extra paid holiday for government servants may
seem far-fetched, until we recall that the spokesman for the
first batch of ordinands did make just this request, and that in
his speech at the initial ceremony the Prime Minister promised
government help. Perhaps the article in Divayina may since
have made him pause.
The criticism by the same writer that one who cannot set
his life in order as a laymar cannot hope to do so as a monk is
on a different footing from the others: it attacks individual
aspirants rather than the institution as such. One doubts wheth-
er it would cut much ice with those concerned. The same might
be said of the argument from the extremely traditional monk in
Dinamir;,a that monks are born not made; a modern urban lay-
roan would. probably argue effectively against such an ascrip-
tive view of religious roles.
The main argument of the Ven. Nal).issara himself ad-
dresses what he sees as the broader problem of the state of
Buddhism in Sri Lanka, and in particular clerical-lay relations.
While I agree in seeing this as the nub of the problem, I do not
think that this stated argument is the only element in his per-
sonal motivation: as will be further illustrated below, he is a
roan of restless energy who seems to be ever seeking new out-
lets for his organizing ability. His argument that this opportuni-
ty to explain Buddhism will do monks good is at first blush
surprising, for one would have thought that they had plenty of
opportunity to do that in other contexts. But a visit to Gangar-
ama gives one a feeling for what he means: he has been so
successful at building up his monastery that he has spare capac-
ity in both buildings and manpower which he is longing to put
to use. On his card he describes himself as "Director, Sri Gnan-
eswara University Pirivena, Sri Jinaratana Bhikkhu Training
College, Vocational Training Centre and Pre School"; and
these institutions (which are all attached to the monastery) have
magnificent premises which, like those of most educational in-
stitutions, are much of the time unoccupied, and I strongly
suspect also staff who are likewise unoccupied for much of the
time but who, being monks, are always there. All this in the
middle of the modern capital, with the feel of things happening
all around. Small wonder if an efficient organizer in such a
position has the urge to show that he too can be go-ahead and
For a monk to busy himself in the world may not conform
to the original ideal of renunciation; but for a large part of the
Sangha that ideal was already compromised in ancient Sri
Lanka when they decided that the preservation of Buddhism
("book-duty") should take precedence over the individual quest
for salvation ("insight-duty"). These two roles became institu-
tionalized in "village-dwelling" and "forest-dwelling" fraterni-
ties. Probably the tension between the two ideals is necessary
for the good of Buddhism; it is symptomatic that the monk
58 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
quoted in Desatiya as raising the purist objection that one re-
quests ordination in order to strive for an end to sorrow, i.e.,
nirval)a, was a forest-dweller. The gulf between the two ideals
has widened in the last hundred years, and especially for those
"village-dwellers" whose village has become a city-for urban-
ization has been accompanied by the rise of the "Protestant
Buddhism" mentioned above, a current of Buddhism which
arose as both a protest against and a reflex of Protestant Chris-
One of the main criticisms which nineteenth-century Prot-
estant missionaries levelled against the Sangha was precisely
that they were too little active in the world and did not carry
their mission among the laity. They criticized the monks for not
behaving as priests-or rather, as Protestant pastors. At the
same time, as part of the same climate of opinion, laymen be-
gan to feel that they were not to leave religion all to the monks:
they too had responsibilities, both for the welfare of Buddhism
as a whole and for their own salvation. The modern Buddhist
layman, especially is he is urban and educated, has been protes-
tantized: he feels that it is up to him to improve himself spiri-
Other features of Protestant Buddhism in Sri Lanka have
been and are being documented elsewhere. Here, we are con-
cerned only with what the Ven. Nal)issara sees as the growing
gulf between the Sangha and the laity. I see this gulf as having
two aspects. The social distance between the two parties in Sri
Lanka was enormous. (Of this the claim by the Ven. Devananda
that there are, as it were, "natural" monks and "natural" lay-
men, affords an illustration.) On the other hand, it is true that
in a village community the monk or monks at a local temple are
bound to be extremely well known to the villagers, their parish-
ioners. In central Colombo, by contrast, even monks and their
supporters must be affected by the anonymity typical of social
relations in a modern city. A successful temple like Gangar-
aqma probably has far more supporters than any village mon-
astery; but, by the same token, they are too many to know
The other aspect of the gulf is the confused state of clergy-
lay relations brought about by Protestant Buddhism. In an ab-
stract sense, the gulf is being bridged by the creation of intersti-
tial roles like anagarika-and temporary ordinand. The
BrahmacarI Aryatilaka, who gets ordained for his holidays, is
an extreme example but he exemplifies a trend.
What must concretely affect and disturb thoughtful mem-
bers of the Sangha is that the pious laity are increasingly lead-
ing their religious lives without any recourse to monks or mon-
asteries. My article "From Monastery to Meditation Centre"
discusses this development. In Theravadin tradition, laymen
were not expected to meditate in any but the minimal sense of
reciting verses and formulae: it was an advanced activity appro-
priate only to those who had renounced the world. Moreover, it
was difficult and even dangerous, so that it could only be prop-
erly undertaken under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
The social practice of meditation was thus congruent with the
hierarchic interpretation of the path to enlightenment as con-
sisting of morality, concentration and wisdom, each stage being
a pre-requisite for the next, and reinforced the general view
that the monk alone had authority in religious matters. More-
over, monastic control over the essential salvific practice, medi-
tation, is important for the maintenance of doctrinal orthodoxy
and even for aspects of orthopraxy. Now, however, it has be-
come common in urban Sri Lanka for people to go on medita-
tion courses for anything from a day up to a few weeks; some of
these courses are residential, and some of them do not involve
any monks or monasteries at all.
As Sri Lanka rapidly becomes more urban, the Sangha
certainly has a problem in maintaining its religious leadership.
I see this as connected, as both cause and effect, with its relative
failure to recruit city-dwellers. Nobody, so far as I know, has yet
studied this, though it would be easy to do, as the first part of
the name of a Sinhalese monk is his birthplace. One can tell at a
glance that the proportion of monks born in large towns is far
below the proportion of the Sinhalese population who live in
those towns. The Sinhalese Sangha seems always to have re-
cruited predominantly from the upper strata of society, wheth-
er in terms of caste or class, so it would not be surprising to find
that the Sangha now recruits very few slum-dwellers. A genera-
tion ago, a few members of the urban-educated, professional
classes joined the Sangha; Vajirarama in Bambalapitiya, Co-
lombo 4, was famous for having such monks, and accordingly
60 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
attracted educated, professional Buddhist laity to its functions.
It seemed, therefore, that the Sangha was successfully adapting
to social change. However, it is my impression that the trickle of
recruits from the professional classes has not increased but, on
the contrary, more or less dried up; such people are now pur-
suing their Buddhist activities, both organizing and meditating,
as laymen. Thirty years ago, the Sangha might well have ex-
pected the highly educated elderly gentlemen who recently
took temporary ordination to become monks, that being the
traditional and still the obvious way in which to pursue Bud-
dhist religious goals. Now, half a loaf seems better than no
Thus, the most important element in my interpretation of
the introduction of temporary ordination into Sri Lanka is that
it is a clerical counter-attack against modern lay Protestant
Buddhism, and in particular against the meditation centre.
This counter-attack is not fully conscious, and I am sure that
the Ven. N aDissara and his colleagues would never issue a blan-
ket condemnation of meditation centres. But the message of
their new institution, as I read it, is addressed to the modern
urban laity and reads, "By all means devote yourselves to the
study of Buddhism and even-in moderation-try some medi-
tation; but do so under the direction and control of us monks."
The other arguments both for and against the innovation
are interesting to me as instances of how the contemporary
Sinhalese Sangha is thinking, but are--jf I am right-mostly
beside the point. This is certainly not a revival of a fine old
Sinhalese custom, evoked by Rivirasa in the style of Dharma-
pala; but neither is it a daring modernism which marks a fur-
ther irreversible step in that decline of the Teaching which
traditional Buddhists believe in.
I see it, rather, as a conserva-
tive move. In the interests of conservatism it has had to com-
promise with modernity in such features as the veneer of bu-
reaucratically efficient procedures and also the multiplication
of interstitial roles. But the groups of devout men firmly
penned into their quarters and lectured daily on the Jatakas
pose no threat to traditional Buddhist order; they rather reaf-
firm it.
Thus, I see the Thai precedent as a red herring. It gave the
Ven. NaDissara the idea and the pretext for his innovation. But
quite apart from the actual differences in practice, on which I
need not expatiate, the custom of temporary ordination has a
completely different function in Thai (and other Theravadin)
society from that which I see it as having in Sri Lanka. Even if
the Gangarama experiment is successful, even if it spreads to
some other monasteries-and we have yet to see either devel-
opment-we can be sure that temporary ordination will never
be a rite de passage in village Sri Lanka, if only because village Sri
Lanka is disappearing so fast that it will no longer exist by the
time that such a change could happen.
Colourful and imaginative as the present scheme may be, it
is not likely to make a great impact as a counter-attack on mod-
ernism, as the latter is rooted in widespread trends in society. A
colleague of the Ven. NaDissara, explaining that the new cus-
tom could lead men to lead a better lay life, said, "If you take an
example, the precept of celibacy is observed better or can be
observed better once one goes back to lay life after going
through the experience of ordained life. Abstinence is viewed
as more practicable .... " In traditional Buddhist society a mar-
ried man was not supposed to abstain from having sexual rela-
tions with his wife, merely to be chaste within marriage-as in
the Hindu tradition. I have plenty of data to confirm that edu-
cated Sinhalese laymen are coming to regard complete sexual
abstinence as an ideal appropriate to their own lay lives. Insofar
as they succeed in attaining it, they cease to consider it a special
accomplishment and cause for admiration of the Sangha-a
"sacrifice," as the Prime Minister said in his speech.
Another and rather different hallmark of modernism is to
consider religious progress as (inter alia) useful for secular ends.
It is quite contrary to Sinhalese Buddhist tradition to regard
meditation, for example, as an instrument for worldly success.
Maybe this is what is meant by those monks who fear that
temporary ordination will be abused. But I catch resonances of
this very attitude in the statements of its lay supporters. "In a
society distorted by the spread of western commercialism,"
writes the Rivirasa reporter, "temporary ordination will help
people to understand and approach their aim in life." And the
Prime Minister in his address said, "We must make such a pro-
gramme effective to steer the people ever more towards Bud-
dhism and to make them lead successful lives in accordance
62 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
with the principles of Buddhist conduct." Of course, both ~ t a t e _
ments are perfectly unexceptionable; but I find it significant
that there is at least an ambiguity about whether the "aim in
life" and the "successful lives" are to be measured in purely
religious terms.
To conclude, let me mention (as did the Prime Minister in
that address) another innovation by the Ven. NaI).issara, be-
cause it affords interesting parallels. Under his leadership,
Gangarama invented in 1979 a brand new annual religious
festivaI,34 the Navam Perahara ("Navam Procession"). The
Asala Perahara is a world-renowned annual pageant
takes place in Kandy; members of the Kandyan nobility, with
musicians, dancers and elephants, escort the Buddha's tooth in
procession around the city. Asala and Navam are months in the
Sinhalese lunar calendar; the Asala Perahara usually falls in
August; Navam is six months away, in February-a blank Spot
in the liturgical calendar. While the Kandy perahara grew up to
convey an elaborate symbolic message, the N avam Perahara has
no particular point,
1et alone symbolism: the object carried on
the largest elephant as the climax of the procession is a Buddha
image recently brought from Thailand for the purpose. It has
been founded frankly very much as a tourist attraction in the
dead season. Seats for viewing the perahara are put up by the
monastery and sold for its benefit. The large and excellently
produced souvenir programme in both Sinhala and English
carries many advertisements and a tear-out form for anyone
who would like to become a benefactor of the temple. The 81
people who have provided elephants are also listed.
The Ven. NaDissara is keen to stress that his perahara is
even bigger that the Kandy one. However, what he stressed to
me most of all was its efficiency. Like all such traditional events,
the timing of the Kandy procession is uncertain; even though it
sets out at an auspicious moment it is invariably later than ad-
vertised. His perahara, the Ven. NaDissara stressed to us, was
punctual to the minute; and that was because he himself had twice
paced out the whole route.
The Navam Perahara is modern, efficient, even commer-
cial; just what one would expect, perhaps, of the modern cap-
ital, Colombo, asserting its superiority to the old capital, Kandy.
But this new procession has one quite remarkable feature:
rnonksnot only organize it and watch it, both slightly dubious
features for a traditional purist; they even walk in it! They are
themselves part of the spectacle, featured on the programme as
a tourist attraction.
I am notsuggesting that temporary ordination affords any
parallel to this lapse from dignity. But what the Navam Pera-
hara illustrates is that while the Sangha can perhaps successful-
ly innovate to rival or even surpass lay institutions, the element
of imitation in such enterprises may put the Sangha's tradition-
ally distinctive character at risk.
The parallel dilemma for the Christian clergy in the West
today is well known. Both because they are themselves mem-
bers of society subject, even unconsciously, to its influences,
and because they fear that an image of the Church as old-
fashioned may lose them support, many clergymen try to move
with the times. Yet the "up-to-date" is inevitably transient, and
the fashionable clergyman risks the displeasure of those who
look to religious professionals to represent "timeless" values. It
will be interesting to see whether and in what form this dilem-
ma will affect the Sangha.
1. Vinaya Pi!aka, (ed. Oldenberg), vol. 1, p. 58 = Mahavagga I, 30,4.
2. P. V. Kane, History of Dharmaastra (Poona, 1941), II, 958.
3. Mahavagga I, 51.
4. Mahavagga I, 12.
5. Mahavagga I, 28, 3.
6. The Book of the Discipline, vol. IV, p. 72: "I abolish that ordination ... "
7. He says: "Sabbadukkhanissara7fanibbanasacchikara7fatthaya ima7!l kasava7!l
dava pabbajetha mam bhante anukampa7!l upadaya." This formula is not in the
Canon, and Dr. the Ven. Walpola Rahula thinks it could be as late as the
Po!onnaruva period (9th to 12th centuries).
8. Melford E. Spiro, Buddhism and Society (New York, etc., 1970), p. 235.
Two would however appear to be exceptionally young, not quite "the done
thing"; Houtman (see next note) reports the minimum age as five.
9. "Lay-Meditation and Monastic Initiation in Burma: a Shift in Bur-
mese Discourse about Buddhism," seminar paper given in Oxford, May 1983;
also personal communication.
10. Personal communication.
11. Personal communication.
64 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
12. Another matter irrelevant to the purpose of this paper calIs for
passing comment. If I understand correctly, the Hindu sacred thread appears
twice in this ceremony, though under different Burmese names. The boys go
through the whole first part of the ceremony, up to the ,actual ordination, clad
in a kind of "royal attire," which includes the sa-lwe, defined in Judson's
Burmese-English Dictionary (Rangoon 1966) as " a thread of distinction, worn
over the left shoulder and under the right arm, as the Brahmanical thread
(chi sa-lwe)." A proper Indian noble would himself have received the
upanayana and been invested with the sacred thread, so it would be part of his
costume. Hence the duplication.
13. Jane Bunnag, Buddhist Monk, Buddhist Layman (Cambridge 1973), p.
89. By "Lenten season" she means vassa.
14. Bunnag, p. 37. Wat means "monastery."
15. See Bunnag, Chapter 6, "The loosely structured social system: red
herring or rara avis?"
16. Bunnag, p. 37.
17. lowe this information to my friend Mr. Godwin Samararatne. For
Kaiiduboq.a, see my article "From Monastery to Meditation Centre" in Bud-
dhist Studies Ancient and Modern, ed. Philip Denwood and Alexander Piati-
gorsky (London 1983), pp. 28-9 and references there cited. For BrahmacarI
Aryatilaka see pp. 29-30 of that article.
18. My attention was drawn to the event by myoid friend and patron
Col. Ananda de Alwis; without his initiative, this article would not exist. I am
no less grateful to Mrs. Chitra Wijesekera, who collected for me many articles
about temporary ordination which appeared in the Sinhalese press soon after
its first occurrence, helped me to translate them, and herself interviewed one
of the monks at Gangarama.
19. In English, he spells his name Gnanissara. I am transliterating from
the Sinhala form.
20. According to Riviriisa, 11.7.1982, p. 12, he began it in about 1978;
but this seems to conflict with the statement in the same article that the Ven.
NaI.Iissara learnt about temporary ordination when visiting him in about
21. Vincent Periyapperuma, h6 abinikmanaka yedlme ara-
munin," Desatiya, 30 July 1982, pp. 13-14. Desatiya is a periodical issued by
the Sri Lankan Department of State.
22. The Riviriisa article notes "a special yellow garment."
23. Daily News, Tuesday, July 6, 1982.
24. One could however argue that this occasion, a lower ordination, was
not really a vinaya-kamma either.
25. Davasa, 7 July 1982, p. 3.
26. These are professional meditators; see p. below.
27. The reader may be irritated at my speculating about such details and
wonder why I did not ask. Experience tells me that to ask what goes on in
religious instruction is usually pointless; one can only find out by being there.
28. This is an allusion to recent developments; see my article "From
Monastery to Meditation Centre" cited in note 14 above; also p. below.
29. Cillavarrtsa 38, 17.
30. Similarly, King Silakala (524-37) had when young been a monk in
India at Bodh Gaya. But again there is no evidence, or likelihood, that his
ordination was intended to be temporary.
31. This is the only reference in my material to the precise status of the
ordinands as novices (siima1'!era).
32. Issue of 26.8.1972, p. 6, "Tavakalika pavidda tahanam kala yutuyi,"
by Doc;!ampe Siddhartha Himi (the Ven. D. Siddhartha).
33. See my Precept and Practice (Oxford, 1971), pp. 284-293. The Hindu
belief that we are living in the kali-yuga is similar and, no doubt, historically
34. It is amusing and instructive to note that a Japanese periodical has
already called it a "typical" Buddhist festival of Sri Lanka. Kawaguchi, no. 66,
1982, cover-caption to a photograph of the Ven: Nal)issara at a microphone
with the President of Sri Lanka in reverent posture immediately behind him.
35. See H. L Seneviratne, Rituals of the Kandyan State (Cambridge, 1978).
36. The printed programme carries this note: "On this Navam full-
moon day, Sariputtha and Moggallana became the Chief Disciples of Lord
Buddha. The first Buddhist Council was also held on this day. The Navam
Procession is being held to commemorate this event." Which of the two


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The Symbolism of the Early Stupa*
by P eter Harvey
I. Introduction
In this paper, I wish to focus on the symbolism of the
Buddhist stl1pa. In its simplest sense, this is a "(relic) mound"
and a symbol of the Buddha's parinibbana. I wish to show, how-
ever, that its form also comprises a system of overlapping sym-
bols which make the stl1pa as a whole into a symbol of the
Dhamma and of the enlightened state of a Buddha.
Some authors, such as John Irwin,! Ananda Coomaras-
wamy,2 and, to some extent, Lama Anagarika Govinda,3 have
seen a largely pre-Buddhist, Vedic meaning in the stilpa's sym-
bolism. I wish to bring out its Buddhist meaning, drawing on
certain evidence cited by Irwin in support of his interpretation,
and on the work of such scholars as Gustav Roth.
II. The Origins of the Stupa
From pre-Buddhist times, in India and elsewhere, the re-
mains of kings and heroes were interred in burial mounds (tu-
muli), out of both respect and fear of the dead. Those in an-
cient India were low, circular mounds of earth, kept in place by
a ring of boulders; these boulders also served to mark off a
mound as a sacred area.
According to the account in the Mahiiparinibbana Sutta
(D.II.141-3), when the Buddha was asked what was to be done
*First given at the Eighth Symposium on Indian Religions
(British Association for the History of Religion), Oxford, April
68 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
with his remains after death, he seems to have brought to mind
this ancient tradition. He explained that his body should be
treated like that of a Cakkavatti emperor: after wrapping it in
many layers of cloth and placing it within two iron vessels, it
should be cremated; the relics should then be placed in a sttlpa
"where four roads meet" (catummahapathe). The relics of a "dis-
ciple" (savaka) of a Tathagata should be treated likewise. At the
sttlpa of either, a person's citta could be gladdened and calmed
at the thought of its significance.
After the Buddha's cremation, his relics (sarzras) are said to
have been divided into eight portions, and each was placed in a
stupa. The pot (kumbha) in which the relics were collected and
the ashes of the cremation fire were dealt with in the same way
One of the things which Asoka (273-232 B.C.) did in his
efforts to spread Buddhism, was to open up these original ten
stu pas and distribute their relics in thousands of new stupas
throughout India. By doing this, the sttlpa was greatly popular-
ised. Though the development of the Buddha-image, probably
in the second century A.D., provided another focus for devo-
tion to the Buddha, sttlpas remain popular to this day, especial-
ly in Theravadin countries. They have gone through a long
development in form and symbolism, but I wish to concentrate
on their early significance.
III. Relics
Before dealing with the stupa itself, it is necessary to say
something about the relics contained in it. The contents of a
sttlpa may be the reputed physical relics (sarzras or dhatus) of
Gotama Buddha, of a previous Buddha, of an Arahant or other
saint, or copies of these relics; they may also be objects used by
such holy beings, images symbolising them, or texts seen as the
"relics" of the "Dhamma-body" of Gotama Buddha.
Physical relics are seen as the most powerful kind of con-
tents. Firstly, they act as reminders of a Buddha or saint: of
their spiritual qualities, their teachings, and the fact that they
have actually lived on this earth. This, in turn, shows that it is
possible for a human being to become a Buddha or saint. While
even copies of relics can act as reminders, they cannot fulfill the
second function of relics proper. This is because these are
thought to contain something of the spiritual force and purity
of the person they once formed part of. As they were part of
the body of a person whose mind was freed of spiritual faults
and possessed of a great energy-for-good, it is believed that
they were somehow affected by this. Relics are therefore seen
as radiating a kind of beneficial power. This is probably why ch.
28 of the BuddhavaT(lsa says:
The ancients say that the dispersal of the relics of Gotama,
the great seer, was out of compassion for living beings.
Miraculous powers are also attributed to relics, as seen in a
story of the second century B.C. related in the MahavaT(lsa
XXXI v.97-100. When king DunhagamaI).i was enshrining
some relics of Gotama in the Great Stilpa at Anuradhapura,
they rose into the air in their casket, and then emerged to form
the shape of the Buddha. In a similar vein, the Vibhanga Attha-
kathii p. 433 says that at the end of the 5000 year period of the
sasana, all the relics in Sri Lanka will assemble, travel through
the air to the foot of the Bodhi tree in India, emit rays of light,
and then disappear in a flash of light. This is referred to as the
parinibbana of the dhiitus. Relics, then, act both as reminders of
Gotama, or some other holy being, and as actual tangible links
with them and their spiritual powers. The MahiivaT(lsa XXX
v.IOO says, indeed, that there is equal merit in devotion to the
Buddha's relics as there was in devotion to him when he was
IV. The Symbolism of the Stupa's Components
The best preserved of the early Indian stilpas is the Great
StfIpa at Sand, central India. First built by Asoka, it was later
enlarged and embellished, up to the first century A.D. The
diagramatic representation of it in figure 1 gives a clear indica-
tion of the various parts of an early stfIpa.
The four tOTa1Jas, or gateways, of this stilpa were built be-
tween the first centuries B.C. and A.D., to replace previous
70 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
wooden ones. Their presence puts the, symbolically, at
the place where four roads meet, as is specified in the Mahapar_
inibbana Sutta. This is probably to indicate the openness and
universality of the Buddhist teaching, which invites all to Come
and try its path, and also to radiate loving-kindness to beings in
all four directions.-
In a later development of the stOpa, in North India, the
orientation to the four directions was often expressed by means
of a square, terraced base, sometimes with staircases on each
side in place of the early gateways. At Sand, these gateways are
covered with carved reliefs of the B odhisatta career of Gotama
and also, using ani conic symbols, of his final life as a BUddha.
Symbols also represent previous Buddhas. In this way, the
gates convey Buddhist teachings and the life of the Buddhas to
those who enter the precincts of the stiipa.
Encircling SanCl stiipa, connecting its gateways, is a stone
vedika, or railing, originally made of wood. This encloses and
marks off the site dedicated to the stOpa and a path for circu-
mambulating it. Clockwise circumambulation, or padakkhir;,al
literally "keeping to the right," is the main act of
devotion performed at a stiipa. It is also performed round a
Bodhi tree and, especially in Tibet, round any sacred object,
building or person. Keeping one's right side towards someone
is a way of showing respect to them: in the Pali Canon, people
are often said to have departed from the Buddha keeping their
right side towards him. The precedent for actual circumambu-
lation may bave been the Brahmanical practice of the priest
walking around the fire-sacrifice offerings, or of a bride walk-
ing around the domestic hearth at her marriage.
All such prac-
tices demonstrate that what is walked around is, or should be,
the "centre" of a person's life.
From the main circumambulatory path at Sand, a devotee
can mount some stairs to a second one, also enclosed by a ve-
dika. This second path runs round the top of the low cylindrical
drum of the stiipa base. The Divyavadana refers to this as the
medhi, or platform, while some modern Sinhalese sources refer
to it as the asana, or throne. This structure serves to the
main body of the stiipa, and so put it in a place of honour. In
later stiipas, it was multiplied into a series of terraces, to raise
the stiipa dome to a yet more honourific height. These terraces
were probably what developed into the multiple rooves of the
East Asian form of the stupa, often known in the West as a
. pagoda.
. The most obvious component of the stupa is the solid
dome, resting on the base. Its function is to house the precious
relics within (the Burmese say that the presence of relics gives a
stiipa a "heart"). The relics are kept in a relic-chamber, usually
somewhere on the central axis of the dome. In this, they are
often found to rest in a golden container, placed within a silver,
then bronze, then earthenware ones. The casing of the stt1pa
dome seems therefore to be seen as the outermost and least
valuable container of the relics. Indeed, the usual term for the
dome of a stt1pa, both in the Sinhalese tradition and in two first
century A.D. Sanskrit texts, translated from their Tibetan ver-
sions by Gustav Roth,6 is kumbha, or pot. The Sanskrit Mahapar-
inirva1'}a Sutra also reports the Buddha as saying that his relics
should be placed in a golden kumbha,
while the Pali Mahapari-
nibbana Sutta says that the Buddha's relics were collected in a
. kumbha before being divided up. Again, kumbha is used as a
word for an urn in which the bones of a dead person are col-
lected, in the Brahmanical A.svalayana Grhya-Sutra.8 These facts
reinforce the idea of the stupa dome being seen as the outer-
most container of the relics.
The dome of the stupa is a "kumbha" not only as a relic pot,
but also because of symbolic connotations of the word kumbha.
At S.II.83, it is said that the death of an Arahant, when feelings
"grow cold" and sarzras remain, is like the cooling off of a
kumbha taken from an oven, with kapallani remaining. Wood-
ward's translation gives "sherds" for this, but the Rhys Davids
and Stede Pali-English Dictionary gives "a bowl in the form of a
skull ... an earthenware pan used to carry ashes." The implica-
tion of the cited passage would seem to be that a (cold) kumbha is
itself like the relics of a saint; certainly Dhp. v.40 sees the body
(kaya) as like a kumbha (in its fragility, says the commentary).
Thus, the stt1pa dome both is a container of the relics, and also
an analogical representative of the relics.
The use of the term kumbha for the stlipa dome may well
have further symbolic meaning. It may relate to the pur1'}a-ghata
(or pur1'}a-kumbha), or vase of plenty. This is one of the eight
auspicious symbols in the Sinhalese and Tibetan traditions, and
72 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
is found as a decoration in ancient Indian Buddhist art. Purna_
gha(a designs, for example, were among those on the dome' of
the Great StUpa at Amaravatl.
The ptlrr:w-ghata is also an auspi_
cious symbol in Hinduism, where it is probably equivalent to
the golden kumbha, containing amrta (the gods' nectar of im-
mortality), which emerged at the churning of the cosmic
ocean. 10
To decide on the symbolic meanings of kumbha in Bud-
dhism, we may fruitfully look at further uses of the word
kumbha in sutta similies. At S.V.48 and A.V.337, water pouring
out from an upturned kumbha is likened to an ariyan disciple
getting rid of unskilful states, while at Dhp. v.121-2, a kumbha
being gradually filled by drops of water is likened to a person
gradually filling himself with evil or merit. In this way, the
kumbha is generally likened to the personality as a container of
bad or good states. A number of passages, though, use a full
kumbha as a simile for a specifically positive state of being. At
A.II.I04, a person who understands, as they really are, the four
ariyan truths, is like a full (puro)kumbha. Miln.414, with Sn. v.
721-2, sees one who has perfected his reduseship (an Arahant,
surely) as being like a full kumbha, which makes no sound when
struck: his speech is not boastful, but he teaches Dhamma. At
A.I.131, a person of wide wisdom (puthupanno) , who bears in
mind the Dhamma he has heard, is like an upright kumbha
which accumulates the water poured into it. The implication of
these passages is that the stUpa dome, if known as a kumbha and
even decorated with purrJa-ghata motifs, would be a natural
symbol for the personality of someone who is "full" of
Dhamma: a Buddha or saint. While the Hindu purrJa-ghata con-
tains amrta, the Buddhist one contains Dhamma, that which
brings a person to the amata and which in the highest sense
(Nibbana) is this "deathless" state.
The above symbolism neatly dove-tails with another indica-
tion of the dome's meaning. As stu pas developed, they some-
times came to have interior strengthening walls radiating from
the centre, as in figure 2. As the stUpa dome, in plan, is circular,
the impression is strongly given of the Dhamma-wheel symbol.
This symbolises both the Buddha and the Dhamma-teaching,
path and culmination-in a number of ways. For example, i) its
regularly spaced spokes suggest the spiritual order and mental
rintegration produced in one who practices Dhamma; ii) as the
;spokes converge in the hub, so the factors of Dhamma, in the
sense of the path, lead to Dhamma, in the sense of Nibbana; iii)
-as the spokes stand firm in the h'ub, so the Buddha was the
discoverer and teacher of the Dhamma: he firmly established
its practice in the world. The Dhamma-wheel is also a symbol of
universal spiritual sovereignty, which aligns with the signifi-
cance of the stl1pa's openness to the four directions (see above).
The stl1pa dome, then, is not only a container of the Bud-
dha's relics and their power, but also symbolises both the state
of the Buddha, and the Dhamma he encompassed. The dome
is also known, in the third century A.D. Divyiivadiina, as the
arp!a, or egg. The meaning of this must be that, just as an egg
contains the potential for growth, so the stOpa dome contains
relics, sometimes known as bf.ias, or seeds. By devotion to the
stOpa and its relics, a person's spiritual life may grow and be
fruitful. This connotation is a neat parallel to that of the dome
as a "vase of plenty."
Another connection with spiritual growth is provided by
the association of the stiipa dome with the lotus (which, inci-
dentally, is often portrayed growing out of a pilrry,a-ghata).
Domes are often decorated with lotus designs, and their circu-
lar plans resemble the circle of an open lotus flower, as in the
lotus-medallion shown in figure 3. In addition, the Burmese
see the shape of the stiipa (whose bulk is its dome) as that of a
lotus bud, with the name of its components recalling the idea of
a flower bud with its young leaves folded in adoration. 11 We
see, then, that a further Buddhist symbol is included in the
stOpa as a symbol-system.
The lotus, of course, is a common Buddhist symbol from
early times. While it is a popular pan-Indian symbol for birth,
its meaning in Buddhism is best given by a passage frequently
recurring in the suttas (e.g., S.1I1.140):
"Just as, monks, a lotus, blue, red, or white, though born in
the water, grown up in the water, when it reaches the sur-
face stands unsoileil by the water; just so, monks, though
born in the world, grown up in the world, having over-
come the world, a Tathagata abides unsoiled by the world."
Just as the beautiful lotus blossom grows up from the mud and
74 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
water, so one with an enlightened mind, a Buddha, develops
out of the ranks of ordinary beings, by maturing, over many
lives, the spiritual potential latent in all. He thus stands OUt
above the greed, hatred and delusion of the-world, not attached
to anything, as a lotus flower stands above the water, unsoiled
by it. The lotus,then, symbolises the potential for spiritual
growth latent in all beings, and the complete non-attachment of
the enlightened mind, which stands beyond all defilements.
Not only are the Dhamma-wheel and lotus symbols incor-
porated within the stt1pa but, as we shall now see, the other key
symbol, the I}odhi tree, also finds a place in this symbol-system.
On top of SancY stllpa can be seen a y ~ t i , or pole, with three
discs on it (figure 1). These discs represent ceremonial parasols,
the ancient Indian emblems of royalty. Large ceremonial para-
sols are still used in South-East Asia, for example to hold over a
man about to be ordained, i.e., over someone in a role parallel
to that of prince Siddhattha. In Tibetan Buddhism, such para-
sols are held over the Dalai Lama on important occasions. By
placing parasols on a stt1pa, there is expressed the idea of the
spiritual sovereignty of the Buddha and his teachings (also ex-
pressed by the Dhamma-wheel symbol). In accordance with this
interpretation of a stt1pa's pole and discs, we see that king
DunhagamaI}.i of Sri Lanka (second century B.C.), when he
had finished the Great Stt1pa at Anuradhapura, placed his roy-
al parasol on it, conferring on it sovereignty over Sri Lanka for
seven days (Mahava'Y{lSa XXXI v. 90 and 111); he later replaced
his parasol with a wood or stone copy.
While there are three honourific parasol-discs at SancY, on
later stllpas these generally increased in number, so as to in-
crease the inferred honour.
Sometimes, they came to fuse
into a spire, as seen in the present super-structure of the Great
Stt1pa at Anuradhapura (figure 4). Another phase in the devel-
opment of a spire can be seen in the 14-16th century Shwe
Dagon Stt1pa in Rangoon (figure 5). Here, the dome is bell-
shaped and has come to merge with the spire, to form one
flowing outline. Because the spire no longer really conveys the
impression of a series of parasol-discs, a separate, large metal
parasol is placed at its summit.
The use of the parasol as an emblem of royalty probably
derives from the ancient custom of a ruler sitting under the
shade of a sacred tree, at the centre of a community, to admin-
ister justice. The shading tree thus became an insignia of sover-
eignty. When the ruler moved about, it came to be represented
by a parasol. The parasols on a stupa, then, while being an
emblem of sovereignty, also connote a sacred tree. Indeed, a
second century B.C. relief from AmaravatI depicts a stllpa
which, in place of the ya.yti and parasol discs, has a tree with
parasol-shaped leaves (figure 6). .
Of course, the Buddhist sacred tree is the Bodhi tree, 13 so
the ya.yti and parasols on a stllpa must symbolically represent
this, itself a potent Buddhist symbol. This idea is re-inforced by
the fact that, in Burma, free-standing parasols are sometimes
worshipped as Bodhi tree symbols, and the metal parasols on
stlipas sometimes have small brass Bodhi leaves hanging from
them. That the ya.yti and parasol-discs represent a Bodhi tree is
also supported when we examine the structure immediately
below them on a stllpa. Figure 1 shows that, at Sand, this is a
cubical stone, surrounded by another vedikii, or railing. Now
these two features are reminiscent of ones found at pre-Bud-
dhist tree-shrines, which had an altar-seat at their base, and a
railing to surround their sacred enclosure. In Buddhism, de-
scendants of the original Bodhi tree became objects of devotion
for, as in the case of physical relics, they were a tangible link
with the departed Buddha and his spiritual power. Such Bodhi
trees were enclosed by railings in the same way as the previous
tree shrines. As the style of the stupa developed, the cubical
stone structure expanded in size and came to incorporate the
vedika in the form of a carved relief on its surface, as in figure 4.
The important point to note is that Bodhi tree shrines devel-
oped into more complex forms, as seen for example in figure 7;
as this happened, the superstructure of stlipas mirrored this
development, as seen in figure 8. This is clear evidence that the
superstructure of a stllpa was symbolically equated with a
Bodhi tree and its shrine.
The Bodhi tree, of course, as the kind of tree under which
the Buddha attained erilightenment, became established as a
symbol for that enlightenment, in early Buddhism.
Like the
lotus, it is a symbol drawn from the vegetable kingdom. While
both, therefore, suggest spiritual growth, the lotus emphasizes
the potential for growth, whereas the Bodhi tree indicates the
culmination of this growth, enlightenment.
The structure underneath the royallBodhi tree symbol
76 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
came to be known, e.g., in the Divyavadana, as the harmika, or
"top enclosure." This was the name for a cool summer chamber
on the roof of a building. This connection need not contradict
the idea of the structure as a symbolic Bodhi tree shrine, for
both a cool "top enclosure" and a Bodhi tree can symbolise the
enlightened mind: the chamber suggests its "coolness," and the
tree suggests its enlightened nature.
While all the components of the stiipa seem now to have
been discussed, there remains one of crucial importance: the
axial pillar running down the centre of the dome. This is hid-
den in most stiipas, but it can be seen in the stiipa shown in
figure 9. John Irwin has reported the finding of axis holes in
early stiipas, some containing fragments of a wooden axis
In the case of the Lauriya-Nandagarh Stiipa (excavated
1904-5), he reports the finding of a waterlogged wooden axis-
stump, penetrating deep below the original ground-level. Irwin
regards this stiipa as a very ancient one, pre-third century B.C.,
but S.P. Gupta argues against this. 16 In the most ancient stiipas
known (fourth-fifth centuries B.C.), Vaisall and Piprahwa, we
find, respectively, only a pile of earth and a pile of mud faced
with mud bricks. They had no axial pole or shaft. Irwin's evi-
dence, however, is well marshalled, and shows that a wooden
axis pole had become incorporated in Buddhist stiipas by the
third-second centuries B.C.; S. Paranavitana also has found
evidence of what can only have been stone axial pillars in the
ruins of early Sinhalese stiipas.t7 Axial pillars were also a very
important feature of East Asian "pagodas," as shown in figure
10. The pagoda form probably developed from a late form of
the Indian stiipa and certain multi-rooved Chinese buildings. It
is important to note, though, that none of the pre-Buddhist
Chinese precursors had an axial pillar: this must have derived
from the Indian stiipa, therefore.
The archaeological evidence, then, indicates that in early
Indian stiipas, after the most ancient period, wooden axial pil-
lars were incorporated, and that in later ones, they were super-
seded by stone pillars. Originally, they projected above the
stiipa dome, with the y a ~ t i and parasols as separate items, as in
the case of the Amaravati Stiipa (dating from Asokan times)
shown in figure 9. When, however, the domes of stiipas came to
be enlarged, the axes became completely buried within, and the
y a ~ t i s were fixed on top of them, as if being their extensions.
The Divyavadana refers to ~ "yupa-ya,yti" being implanted in
the summit of an enlarged stilpa.
This, and other references,
shows that the usual term for the axial pillar of a stl1pa was
. yupa. Somewhat surprisingly, this was the term for the wooden
,. post where,. in Vedic religion, an animal would be tethered
before it was sacrificed to the gods. There is a parallel in more
than name, however. The Vedic yupa was square at the bottom,
octangular in the middle, and round at the top, while the stone
axial pillars of ancient Sinhalese stl1pas are found to be of the
same basic shape.
Clearly, then, the axial pillars of stupas had
. close associations with the Vedic sacrificial post. How can this
be explained? While the non-violent teachings of Buddhism
rejected animal sacrifice, early Buddhist stl1pas may well have
been built round Vedic sacrificial posts by converted Brahmins.
Indeed, excavation of the early Gotihawa Stl1pa, by which
Asoka placed a pillar, has revealed animal bones below the
original ground level at the base of the stilpa axis, where a
wooden post once stood. The most ancient stilpas lack signs of
any axial pillar, probably because Buddhism was not sufficient-
ly well established in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. for the
conversion of a Brahmanic site to have been acceptable. With
the increasing popularity of Buddhism, it would have come to
be acceptable for stilpas to be built around existing Vedic yupas.
These already marked sacred spots of sorts: building stupas on
these spots showed that they were now taken over by the new
religion. In such early stilpas, the original wooden Vedic yupa
was probably retained to form the stilpa axis, but later on, a
stone yupa would have been erected to mark the sacred spot
which would b ~ the centre of a new stl1pa.
The axial yupa of a stl1pa surely had a further symbolic
function. To fully explore this, it is also necessary to note an
alternative name for the stupa axis. Paranarvitana has reported
. that the monks of Sri Lanka (in the 1940s) gave the traditional
term for the stupa axis as Inda-khfla, equivalent to the Sanskrit
Indra-kfla, Indra's stake.
The monks did not know the reason
for this name, however. John Irwin has argued that both the
terms yupa and Indra-kila show the stupa axis to symbolise the
axis mundi: the world pillar or world tree of Vedic mythology. 22
I shall summarise Irwin's arguments below before going on to'
my own preferred interpretation. Firstly, he argues that the
Vedic sacrificial yupa was itself a substitute for the axial world
tree, as demonstrated by the way it is addressed in Brahmanic
texts, and the fact that the tree sections of the yupa (square
octagonal and round) are regarded as representing,
ly, the earth, the atmosphere, and the heavens.
Irwin notes that "Indra's stake" is the designation, in the Vedas
for the stake with which Indra pegged the primaeval mound
the bottom of the cosmic ocean on which it floated, thus giving
our world stability.24 Thirdly, Irwin argues that this stake is
mythologically synonymous with the Vedic world axis.
refers to a Vedic cosmogonic myth in which Indra, with his
vajra, slays the obstructing dragon Vrtra, so as to release the
waters of fertility and life locked up in the primaeval mound,
floating on the cosmic ocean. At the same time, Indra props up
the atmosphere and heavens with the world axis or tree (which
seems equivalent to his vajra), and pegs the mound to the ocean
bottom, as above. The world axis and Indra's stake can there-
fore be seen as running into each other, merging into one.
Fourthly, Irwin cites certain archaeological evidence which
might suggest that Buddhist stilpa builders actually conceived of
the stupa axis as symbolising the world axis or world tree of the
above Vedic myth.
Some of this evidence is as follows:
i) a reliquary from the Great Stilpa at Anuradhapura has a yupa
obtruding from its top, sprouting leaves as if it were a tree (as
shown in figure 11).
ii) the description of the relic chamber of the above stupa at
Mahava'r(lsa XXX 63 ff. refers to a huge golden Bodhi tree
standing at the centre of the stilpa, as if the tree were the
stilpa axis.
iii) the circumambulatory paths of some early stilpas were
paved with azure-blue glass tiles, or glazed tiles decorated
with water-symbols, suggesting, perhaps, that the stupa
dome symbolically rests on the cosmic ocean, as did the pri-
maevaI mound of Vedic myth.
Irwin, therefore, sees the stilpa as an image of the creation of the
universe (the archetype of regeneration), with the stilpa axis
founded on the waters and rising through the earth, atmo-
sphere and heavens so as to unite them and form a communi-
cating link between them.
I do not want to rule out Irwin's interpretation (though it
seems unlikely), but I feel that there are more "Buddhist" ones
easier to hand: after all, the Bodhi tree and water-born lotus are
well established Buddhist symbols. Moreover, Irwin himself
thinks that while the above Vedic myth affected stiipa construc-
tion and the meaning of the axis, the Vedic significance came to
be mostly forgotten as the old meaning was -adapted for the
new and increasingly dominant doctrinal scheme.
Inasmuch as the stiipa axis seems to have originated as a
Vedic sacrificial post, it can surely have taken on a symbolic
meaning from this association. To see what this was, we have,
firstly, to examine what the Buddhist equivalent of "sacrifice"
was. In the Kiltadanta Sutta (D.1.144 ff.) it is said that the Bud-
dha was once asked by a Brahmin about the best form of "sacri-
fice." Instead of describing some bloody Brahmanical sacrifice,
he answers by talking about giving alms-food and support to
monks, Brahmins and the poor, about living a virtuous life,
being self-controlled, practicing samatha and vipassana medita-
tions,and attaining Nibbana. He describes each such stage of
the Buddhist path as a kind of "sacrifice," with the attainment
of its goal being the highest and best kind. Again, at D.III.76 it
is said that a yilpa is the place where a future Cakkavatti emperor
will distribute goods to all, renounce his royal life to become a
monk under Metteyya Buddha, and go on to become an Ara-
hant. Therefore, what was once a sacrificial post could natural-
ly come, in the new religion of Buddhism, to symbolise the
Buddhist path and goal-the Dhamma-and all the "sacrifices"
involved in these. Indeed, at Miln. 21-22, it is said of the monk
Nagasena that he is engaged in
pointing out the way of Dhamma, carrying the torch of
Dhamma, bearing aloft the yilfJa of Dhamma, offering the gift
of Dhamma ... sounding the drum of Dhamma, roarmg
the lion's roar, thundering out Indra's thunder and thor-
oughly satisfying the whole world by thundering out sweet
utterances and wrapping them round with the lightning
flashes of superb knowledge, filling them with the waters
of compassion and the great cloud of the Deathlessness of
Dhamma ...
This passage certainly shows that Buddhism could draw on
80 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Vedic symbolism, but also shows that such symbolism is fUlly
Buddhicized when it is used. "Yilpa" is used as a metaphor for
Dhamma: the Buddhist teaching, path and goal, and Indra's
releasing of the cosmic waters is a meta'phor for a great
Dhamma-teacher's compassionate bestowal of that which
brings Deathlessness.
When we look at the other term for the stupa axis,"Indra's
stake," we also see that this came to have a clear Buddhist
meaning. Firstly, we see that from the Vedic myth about In-
dra's stabilising stake, Indra-kzla came to be a term for the huge
pillars standing firmly in the ground at the entrance to ancient
Indian and Sinhalese cities, being used to secure the heavy
gates when they stood open. It also became a term for the gate-
posts of houses. Indeed, Indra-kila became a term for anything
which was stable and firmly rooted and which secured the safe-
ty of something. While it might be thought that the stupa axis
was called an Indra-kila because it structurally stabilised the
sWpa, this does not seem to have been the case, architectural-
ly.3! It is more likely that the axis was an "Indra's stake" in a
purely symbolic sense, symbolising the Dhamma, the stable cen-
tre of a Buddhist's life, which secures his safety in life's troubles
and also acts as a "gateway" to a better life and, ultimately, to
Deathlessness. The use of "Indra's stake" in metaphors in the
suttas indicates that, in particular, the term symbolises that as-
pect of the Dhamma which is the unshakeable state of mind of
Arahants and other ariyan persons. At S.V.444, one who under-
stands the four ariyan truths and has sure and well-founded
knowledge is like an unshakeable Inda-khila, while at Sn.v.229,
we read:
"As an Inda-khzla resting in the earth would be unshakeable
by the four winds, of such a kind I say is the good man,
who having understood the ariyan truths, sees them (clear-
ly). This splendid jewel is the Sangha; by this truth may
there be well-being."
Dhp.v.95 uses the metaphor specifically of an Arahant:
Like the earth, he does not resent; a balanced and well
disciplined person is like an Inda-khila.
This is probably also the case at Thag.v.663:
But those who in the midst of pain and happiness have
overcome the seamstress (craving), stand like an Inda-khila;
they are neither elated nor cast down.
Referring tothe stupa axis as "Indra's stake," then, would seem
to imply that the axis was seen as symbolising the unshakeable
state of an ariyan person's Dhamma-filled mind.
Such symbol-
ism harmonises with that of the axis as a yupa, and also with that
of the dome as a kumbha, representing the personality of some-
one full of Dhamma.
A final aspect of the symbolism of the stUpa axis is that it
was seen to represent Mount Meru, the huge axial world moun-
tain of Hindu and Buddhist mythology, with the circular plan
of the stUpa dome representing the circle of the earth. That the
stiipa was seen in this way, even in Theravada lands, can be
seen from several pieces of evidence. Firstly, the huge Bodhi
tree which MahavarJ2sa XXX v.63 ff. describes as being in the
relic chamber of the Great Stupa at Anuradhapura, is said to
have a canopy over it on which are depicted the sun, moon and
stars-which are said to revolve round Meru. Around the trees
are said to be placed statues of the gods, the Four Great Kings
who are said to guard the slopes of Meru; while the relic cham-
ber walls are said to have painted on them zig-zag shaped
walls-such walls, at least in the Tibetan tradition, are used to
portray the rings of mountains on the disc of the earth. Second-
ly, the harmika of ancient Sinhalese stupas sometimes has the
sun on the east face and the moon on the west face. Thirdly, in
late Sinhalese texts, the term for the drum at the base of the
stupa spire (see figure 4) is devata ko(uva, enclosure of the de-
ities. This corresponds to the idea that the lower gods dwell on
Meru, with Indra's palace at its summit. :1:1
I would see the significance of the Meru symbolism as be-
ing that the stupa axis and dome represent the world of gods
and men; the implication of this will be brought out below.
V. The Symbolism of the Stupa as a Whole
So far, I have assigned various symbolic meanings to the
components of the stUpa. The dome, container of the precious
relics, can be seen to represent a pot full of Dhamma, a
82 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Dhamma-wheel, a lotus flower, or the circle of the earth. The
stupa axis, as a yupa, symbolises the Dhamma (teaching, path
and realizations) and all its "sacrifices," and, as Inda-khila, sym-
bolises the great stability of the Dhamma and the unshakeable
nature of the mind full of Dhamma; it also represents Mount
Meru, home of the gods. On top of the stupa dome is a cool
"top enclosure" and a ya-?(i complete with honourific parasol-
discs, equivalent to a Bodhi tree, symbol of a Buddha's enlight-
enment and his enlightened mind.
While a stiipa is worthy of devotion due to the relics it
contains, it also serves to inspire because the symbols of its
separate components unite together to make an overall spiritu-
al statement. The whole symbolises the enlightened mind of a
Buddha (represented by the ya-?ti and parasol-discs as Bodhi
tree symbols) standing out above the world of gods and humans
(represented by the axis and dome). The symbolism shows that
the enlightened mind arises from within the world by a process
of spiritual growth (represented by the dome as a lotus symbol,
or as a vase of plenty) on a firm basis of the practice of Dhamma
(represented by the dome as a Dhamma-wheel). This Dhamma
(now represented by the axis) is also the path which leads up
out of the world of humans and gods to enlightenment (repre-
sented by the ya-?(i and parasol-discs, resting on top of the axis
as its uppermost portion). A personality (the dome as a kumbha)
full of such Dhamma is worthy of reverence and has an
unshakeable mind (represented by the axis as Inda-khila, with
the ya-?(i as its extension). In brief, we could say that the stiipa
symbolises the Dhamma and the transformations it brings in
one who practices it, culminating in enlightenment. It is not
surprising, then, that at an early date, the various layers of the
stiipa's structure were explicitly seen as symbolising specific
aspects of the Dhamma (teaching, path and culmination) and of
a Buddha's nature. Gustav Roth has translated, from their Ti-
betan versions, two ancient Sanskrit texts which see the stiipa as
symbolising the Dharmakaya in the sense of the 37 "requisites
of enlightenment"(bodhipak-?iya-dharmas) and certain other
spiritual qualities.:
These texts are the first century A.D. Cai-
tya-vibhaga-vinayabhava Sutra, fragments of an unknown Vin-
aya, and the second century A.D. Stupa-lak-?ana-karikii-vivecana
of the Lokottaravadin Vinaya. A scheme of symbolic corre-
spondences identical with that outlined in the first of these texts
is shown in figure 12. Each layer of the stlipa's structure repre-
sents a group of spiritual qualities cultivated on the path, while
the spire represents the powers of a Tathagata.!l!'i
Another interesting passage quoted by Roth, from the first
century A.D. Mulasarvastivadin Vinaya K
udraka-vastu, also
links the stlipa with the The passage deals
with the death of Sariputra, at which Ananda-who has Saripu-
tra's relics-evinces dismay to the Buddha. The Buddha con-
soles him by asking him if Sariputra has taken with him the
aggregates of fila, samadhi, prajila, vimukti, or vimuktijnanadar- .
sana. He then asks if Sariputra has:
"taken away that which is the substance of my enlightened
perception: the four applications of mindfulness ... (the
are hsted)?"
That is, though only the relics of Sariputra remain, in the phys-
ical sense, the dharmas cultivated by him still remain; i.e., the
Dharmakaya remains. With such passages in mind, it would
have been very natural for Buddhists to look on the stlipa not
only as a container of physical relics of a Buddha or saint, but
also as symbolising the essential Dharma-qualities which such a
person embodied, and which still exist, inviting others to em-
In the Pali passage on the death of Sari putt a (S.IV.161-3),
the bodhi-pakkhiyadhammas are not specifically mentioned,
though Ananda says that he will bear in mind the strength-
giving Dhamma of Sariputta, and the Buddha recommends
him, even after the Buddha's own parinibbana, to abide with
himself and Dhamma as refuge. This is to be done by way of
the four satipa((hanas, the first set of dhammas in the list of the
37 bodhipakkhiyadhammas. In two Pilli passages on the death of
the Buddha, however, there is reference to the bodhipakkhiyad-
hammas (though not by this name). At D.Il.120, in the Mahapa-
rinibbana Sutta, the Buddha lists the 37 dhammas as those
known and taught by him, which his disciples should master,
meditate on and spread abroad so that the holy life will last long
and there shall be good and happiness for many. He then re-
fers to his parinibbana as being in three months time, and ex-
horts his monks, as he does on his death-bed:
84 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
"All conditioned phenomena are subject to decay; perfect
yourselves with dIligence."
At M.II.243-5, Ananda asks the Buddha to ensure that when:
he dies, there will be no unseemly disputes among his disciples,
or harm to the manyfolk, as he has heard that there have been
at the death of Mahavira, the Jain leader. In reply, the Buddha
rhetorically asks Ananda whether any of his monks differ OVer
what he has taught out of his abhinna, i.e., the 37 bodhipakkiya_
dhammas. He goes on to imply that these comprise the essential
magga and patipada; if disputes arise after his death, they will
only be on matters of Vinaya, and be of trifling importance.
These passages all emphasize the idea that, even though a
Buddha or Arahant dies, there still remains the essence of the
path he taught and realized, in the form of the 37 bodhipakkiya-
dhammas, and that bearing these in mind, .and practicing tpem,
will be of great benefit to people. After the Buddha's parinib-
biina, while physical relics were important, the Dhamma is more
so, as the Buddha emphasized to Vakkaliwhen he said, "He
who sees the Dhamma sees me, he who sees me sees the
Dhamma." It is not surprising, then, thatthe stupa, the primary
focus of early Buddhist devotion, should not only contain the
relics of the Buddha or a saint, but should also symbolise the
Dhamma, or the Buddha in the form of his Dhammakaya. Such a
symbolic equation of the stupa with the Buddha is, in fact,
reflected in the early Vinayas, in which, where a stlipa is seen as
having its own property (land and offerings), it is sometimes
seen as "the property of the stupa," and sometimes as the
"property of the Buddha."
As a final point, I would like to try to tie together the
functions of the stupa as a reliquary with that of it as a Buddha-
symbol, so as to show how the stlipa may be seen to depict both
the Buddha's physical and spiritual personality. The classical
stlipa contains relics of the Buddha, i.e., some of the mahiibhiltas
which composed his body, and should be' placed "where four
roads meet" (catummahiipathe) (D.II.142). Even ignoring the fact
that the stlipa dome came to be known as a kumbha, a common
metaphor for t h ~ personality, these facts suggest that the stlipa
may originally have been intended as a model of theenlight-
ened personality. This can be seen from a passage at S.IV.194-
5. Here, a simile is given in which a town stands for the kaya
(the body, or perhaps the personality other than viiiiu'lrJa) , the
"lord" of the town stands for viiiiiiirJa, the "lord" of the town sits
'\in the midst in a square (where four roads meet)" (majjhe
singhiitako) , which represents the four mahiibhutas (extension,
cohesion, heat and motion), and the "lord" receives a "message
of truth," representing Nibbana. As the classical stl1pacontains
the four mahiibhutas of the Buddha and stands at the meeting of
four roads, its dome can be seen to represent his kiiya (Dhp.v.40
sees the kaya as like a kumbha), the relics represent the essentials
of his body, and the centralya.)(i and parasol-discs (and later the
axis, too), represents his viiiiiiirJa, which has received the "mes-
sage" of Nibbana, and been transformed by it.
In this paper, I hope to have shown that, even prior to its
complex symbolism in the Vajrayana tradition, the stl1pa had
developed, from simple beginnings, into system of inter-lock-
ing and mutually supporting symbols representing the
Dhamma (teaching, path and realizations) and the enlightened
personality embodying the culmination of Dhamma-practice.
t oraJ;,l8.
Figure 1
86 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9
Figure 10
90 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Figure 11
Figure 12
A. Anguttara Nikiiya
D. Dfgha Nikiiya
Dhp. Dhammapada
M. Majjhima Nikiiya
Miln. Milindapanha
S. Sa7!!yutta Nikiiya
Sn. Sutta-Nipiita
Thag. Theragiithii
References to Pali texts are all to the Pali Text Societies editions.
* First given at the Eighth Symposium on Indian Religions (British Associ-
ation for the History of Religion), Oxford, April 1982.
1. "The Stilpa and the Cosmic Axis-The Archaeological Evidence,"
South Asian Archaeology 1977 (papers from the Fourth International Confer-
ence of South Asian Archaeologists in Western Europe; Naples, Instituto
Universitario Orientale Seminaro di Studi Asiatici, 1979) pp. 799-845; and
"The Axial Symbolism of the Early Stilpa-An Exegesis," in A.L. Dallapiccola
(ed.) The Stupa-Its Religious, Historical and Archaeological Significance (Wiesba-
den, Franz Steiner Verlag, 1980) pp. 12-38.
2. Elements of Buddhist Iconography, Cambridge, Mass., 1935, re-published
by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi.
3. The Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stilpa, Emeryville, Califor-
nia, Dharma Press, 1976.
4. "The Symbolism of the Buddhist Stilpa," in A.L. Dallapiccola (ed.), op.
5. Hasting's Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh, T. and T.
Clark, 1910) Vol. III, p. 657.
6. op. cit.
7. Ibid.
8. M. Monier-Williams, Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Delhi, Motilal Banar-
9. D. Mitra, Buddhist Monuments (Calcutta, Sahitya Samsad, 1971) p. 204.
10. B. Walker, Hindu World (London, George Allen and Unwin, 1968)
Vol. II, p. 132.
11. S. Yoe, The Burman, his Life and Notions (London, Macmillan and Co.,
1910) pp. 158-9.
12. G. Roth, op. cit., p. 184, points out that in the Mulasarviistiviidin Vin-
aya it is said that a Tathagata's stilpa should have 13 parasol-
discs, that of Arahants should have 4, that of Non-returners 3, that of Once-
returners 2, and that of Stream-enterers 1.
13. While the Asvattha tree-now known as the Bodhi tree-was the
species of tree under which Gotama is said to have become enlightened, the
Mahiipadiina Sutta states that the six previous Buddhas were each enlightened
under different species of tree (D.l1.2-8).
92 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
14. Early carved stone reliefs sometimes briefly depict the Buddha's life
by showing symbols for the key events in his life:. B.odhi tree (enlightenment),
Dhamma-wheel (first sermon), and stl1pa (panmbbana). Examples of such
reliefs, from the second and third centuries A.D. are iltustrated in D.L. Snell_
grove (ed.), The Image of the Buddha (Paris, UNESCO, 1978), p. 38.
15. "The Stl1pa and the Cosmic Axis."
16. S.P. Gupta, The Roots of Indian Art (Delhi, BR Publishing Corpora_
tion, 1980) pp. 246-269.
17. The Stupa in Ceylon-Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of Ceylon,
Volume 5 (Colombo, 1946).
18. L. Ledderose, "Chinese Prototypes of the Pagoda," in A.L. Dallapic_
cola (ed.), op. cit., p. 239
19. Ed; C.B. Cowell and R. Neil, Cambridge, Cambridge University
Press, 1886, p. 244.
20. J. Irwin, "The Axial Symbolism of the Early Stl1pa," p. 21.
21. Op. cit., p. 38.
22. See note l.
23. "The Axial Symbolism of the Early Stl1pa," pp. 14 and 28.
24. Ibid, pp. 22-3.
25. "The Stl1pa and the Cosmic Axis," p. 826.
26. They can also be seen as equivalent to Indra's vajra. This is shown in
the Apstamba Srautasutra VII,10,3 (as cited by A. Gail, "Cosmic Symbolism of
the Spire of the Ceylon Dagoba," in A.L. Dallapiccola, op. cit., p.260), where it
is stated that, when the Vedic yupa is raised, it is said:
"Rend open the earth, split the heaven-cloud, give us rain water. ... "
27. "The Stl1pa and the Cosmic Axis," p. 836.
28. "The Axial Symbolism of the Early Stl1pa," p. 18.
29. "The SWpa and the Cosmic Axis," pp. 831-2:
30. Ibid., p. 826.
31. J. Irwin, "The Axial Symbolism of the Early Stl1pa," p. 21.
32. Given that "Indra's stake" is closely associated with, and probably
mythologically synonymous with, Indra's thunderbolt-sceptre, or vajra (see
note 26). it is also significant that, at A.I.I24, an Arahant is described as
having a citta like a vajira, a term which may mean diamond, or be equivalent
to Sanskrit vajra.
33. M. Spiro, Buddhism and Society (London, George Allen and Unwin,
1971), p. 203 reports that in contemporary Burma, the stl1pa is often seen as
representing Meru, with the three worlds (kama, rupa and arupa) represented
by the plynth and two parts of the dome, with the spire representing the
34. See note 4.
35. The diagram does not depict the rains canopy said to
symbolise the Buddha's "great compassion." The details of the symbolism in
the second text differ slightly, and it also sees the ground as symbolising sUa,
and the first platform as symbolising dana.
1. The Great Stilpa at Sand, adapted from A. Volwahsen, Living Archi-
tecture-India (London, Macdonald, 1969) p. 91.
2. Lotus medallion design, from a railing on Bharhut Stilpa, second
century B.C., in' the Indian Museum, Calcutta.
3. Plan of the third century A.D. Nagarjunakol!c;la Stilpa, from G. Com-
baz, "L'Evolution du Stupa en Asie. Etude D'Architecture Bouddhique," in
Melanges Chinois et Bouddhiques (Bruxelles, L'Institut Beige des Hautes Etudes
Chinoisses, 1933), Vol. 12 (1932-3), pp. 163-306, figure 71.
4. The Great Stilpa at Anuradhapura, second century B.C., 54 metres
5. Shwe Dagon Stupa, Rangoon, 112 metres high, reputedly containing
two hairs of Gotama Buddha, and belongings of three previous Buddhas;
from G. Combaz, ''L'Evolution du Stilpa en Asie. Les Symbolismes du Stupa,"
in Melanges Chinois et Bouddhiques (Bruxelles, L'Institut Beige des Hautes
Etudes Chinoisses, 1936), Vo1.l4 (1935-6),pp.l-126, figure 29.
6. Relief of a stupa supertructure on a drum slab, AmaravatI, second
century B.C., British Museum. Drawn from a photograph (figure 24) in J.
Irwin, "The Stupa and the Cosmic Axis" (reference as in note 1).
7. Relief medallion depicting a tree-temple (Bodhi-ghara). Mathura, sec-
ond century B.C. Now in Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Taken from J. Irwin,
"The Stupa and the Cosmic Axis," figure 27.
8. Stilpa depicted on gateway of stupa no. 3, SancY. Drawn by Margaret
Hall, as in J. Irwin,"The Stilpa as Cosmic Axis," figure 28.
9. Superstructure of the Great Stupa at AmaravatI, as depicted on a
relief slab originally encasing the stupa. Second century A.D., Government
Museum, Madras.
10. Cross-section of Horyuji Pagoda, Nara, seventh century A.D. Figure
1 (p. 257) in D. Seckel, "Stupa Elements Surviving in East Asian Pagodas," in
A.L. Dallapiccola (ed.) The Stupa (reference as in note 1).
11. Gold reliquary in the form of a stupa. From the Ruvanvali stilpa,
Anuradhapura, attributed to first century B.C. Figure 23 in J. Irwin, "The
Stupa and the Cosmic Axis."
12. "Cross section of the ideal Dagoba or Chorten" (showing correspon-
dences to the 37 figure 13 in Lama Anagarika Govinda,
The Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhi5t Stupa (Emeryville, California,
Dharma Press, 1976).
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Reason as the Prime Principle in Tsong
kha pa's Delineation of Deity Yoga as the
Demarcation Between Sutra and Tantra
by] effrey H apkins
In the first of fourteen sections in his Great Exposition of Secret
Mantra (sNgags rim chen mo),! Tsong kha pa (1357-1419),
founder of the dGe lugs pa, Virtuous or Joyous
Way, sect of
Tibetan Buddhism, presents his view on the difference be-
tween sutra and tantra in Buddhism. The section is a long,
involved argument in which, although Indian sources are cited,
the central appeal is to reasoning. Typical of much of his writ-
ing, the argument is so involved and the principles behind the
steps in the presentation so taken for granted that an introduc-
tion which presents the same material in a more straightfor-
ward manner is needed. I have attempted to provide this in
Tantra in Tibet, which is centered around translation of Tsong
kha pa's first section, through translating and editing an oral
commentary by His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV.:l
The extreme rules of redundancy that often make Tibetan
writing laconic to the point of obfuscatiori do not apply to oral
commentary, and thus the Dalai Lama's explanation provides a
more free-flowing introducion to this complex argument. It is
the type of introduction that a well-versed Tibetan scholar will
give to a student before launching into a topic; it smoothes the
way, and thus is invaluable for a beginner. The. simplified ver-
sion, however, is not meant to replace the twists and turns of
Tsang kha pa's argument; rather, one is encouraged to become
acquainted with the system to the point where the implicit prin-
ciples are explicit to the mind of the reader of Tsong kha pa's
text. This seems to be the Dalai Lama's point when, during
96 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
public lectures,he has encouraged dGe lugs pas not to forsake
Tsong kha pa's writings for later simplified presentations.
In much the same spirit, it is to simplify Tsang
kha pa's and the Dalai Lama's arguments even further for the
sake of getting a firm grip on the broad structure of the myriad
points being made. I read the argument as follows (page num_
bers in parentheses refer to Tantra in Tibet): .
Because people are of different capacities, dispositions
and interests, Sakyamuni Buddha taught many different
paths. He set forth sutra and tantra; within sutra, he
taught four different schools of tenets-Great Exposition
School Sutra School (Sautrantrika), Mind
Only School (Cittamatra), and Middle Way School (Ma-
dhyamika)-and within tantra, he set out four different
sets of tantra-Action (Kriya) , Performance (Carya), Yoga
and Highest Yoga (Anuttarayoga, literally "Unsurpassed
Within the four schools of the sutra he de-
scri.bed three. varieties of paths-for Hearers (Sravaka),
Sohtary Reahzers (Pratyekabuddha), and Bodhisattvas.
Each of the four schools has internal sub-divisions, and the
four divisions of tantra also contain many different types
of processes and procedures of meditation. The result is
that there are many different levels of commitment-rang-
ing from the assumption of tantric vows down to the as-
sumption of only the refuge vow-many different paths
and many different styles. (pp. 20-21)
In determining the difference between sutra and tan-
tra, first it is necessary to settle the between the
vehicles in sutra-the Hearers' Vehicle (Sravakayana), Soli-
tary Realizers' Vehicle (Pratyekabuddhayana), and Bodhi-
sattvas' Vehicle (Bodhisattvayana) or Great Vehicle (Ma-
hayana)-and then consider the further division of the
latter into its slitra and tantra forms. "Vehicle" (yana) has
two meanings:
1 Since ya means to go, and na indicates the means of going,
a vehicle is comprised of those practices which carry one to
a higher state-those practices which, when actualized in
the mental continuum, cause manifestation of a higher
type of mind. .
2 Somewhat unusually, "vehicle" can also refer to the destI-
nation-that place or state at which one is aiming. This is
because just as a vehicle can bear or carry a certain load, so
the state of Buddhahood-the goal of the Bodhisattva Ve-
hicle-can bear or carry the we1fare of all sentient beings,
whereas the state of a Hlnayana Foe Destroyer (Arhan)4 can
bear much less. (p. 43)5
Since "vehicle" has these two meanings, the difference
between the two Buddhist Vehicles-Hearer and Solitary
Realizer (being Hlnayana) and Bodhisattva (or Ma-
hayana)-must occur either within the sense of vehicle as
the means by which one progresses or within the sense of
vehicle as the destination or state to which one is progress-
ing, or both.
In the Prasarigika-Madhyamika interpretation of Hln-
ayana and Mahayana (as delineated by Tsong kha pa),
there isa tremendous difference between the two in the
sense of vehicle as that to which one is progressing. In
Hlnayana, practice culminates as a Foe Destroyer, one who
has overcome the foe of ignorance but is not omniscient
and thus is not a Buddha. Unlike a Buddha, a Foe Destroy-
er does not have the ability spontaneously to manifest m
various forms in order to help all beings. Smce the states of
being a Buddha and a Foe Destroyer are very different,
there is significant between Ma-
hayana m the sense of vehIcle as that to which one IS pro-
gressing-the goal-Buddhahood and Arhanship.
With this difference in goal, there must also be a dif-
ference in the two vehicles in the sense of the practices by
which one progresses to these goals. The difference be-
tween Hlnayana and Mahayana in terms of the means of
progress can occur in only two places-method and wis-
dom, these two comprising the entire path in that method
mainly produces the Form Body (Riipakaya) of a Buddha
and wisdom mainly produces the Truth Body (Dharma-
kaya) (p. 57). In the Prasarigika-Madhyamika interpreta-
tion, Hlnayana and Mahayana do not differ with respect to
wisdom, in that both require realization of the subtle emp-
tiness of inherent existence of all phenomena such as body,
mind, head, eye, wall, consciousness, etc. (pp. 38-:-41, 98-
9). Although Hlnayana and Mahayana do differ m terms
of how wisdom is cultivated-how many reasonings one
uses. for getting at the subtle emptiness, Bodhis<!-tt,,:as using
mynad reasomngs and Hlnayamsts only a few
-m terms
of the object of the wisdom consciousness, the subtle emp-
tiness of mherent existence, there is no difference between
the emptiness a Hlnayanist realizes and the emptiness a
Mahayanist realizes. In this sense, there is no difference in
98 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Since wisdom in Hlnayana and Mahayana do not dif-
in terms of the type of emptiness the
dIfference between the two vehIcles must he III method (p
55). "Method" here specifically means ,motivation and
deeds that it impels. No matter how much compassion a
Hlnayanist may bave, his or her primary motivation is to
release or self cyclic (saqlara).
However, III Mahayana the pnmary motIvatIOn IS the altru-
istic aspiration to highest enlightenment (bodhicitta) , in-
duced by great love and compassion, in which one takes on
the burden of the welfare of all beings. Thus, there is a
significant difference between Hlnaya:na and Mahayana in
terms of method" even though not III (pp. 98-9)
Hence, Hlnayana and Mahayana dIffer III both senses
of vehicle, as the means by which one progresses as well as
that to which one progresses.
, - In the Mahayana itself, there are two vehicles-the
Perfection Vehicle (Paramitayana) and the Mantra or Tan-
tra Vehicle (Mantrayana, Tantrayana).7 The Perfection Ve-
hicle is sutra Mahayana, and the Mantra Vehicle is mantra
or tantra Mahayana.
Do sutra Mahayana and tantra Mahayana differ in the
sense of vehicle as that to which one is progressing? The
goal of sutra Mahayana is Buddhahood, ana Tantrayana
cannot have another goal separate from Buddhahood, as
there is no attainment higher than, the Buddhahood ex-
plained in SUlra as attainment of the Truth and Form Bo-
dies. Sutra describes a Buddha as a being who has removed
all obstructions and attained all auspicious attributes, a be-
ing who has no movement of coarse winds (pra1'}a, inner
energies);8 thus, such Buddhahood has to include the at-
tainments of even Highest Yoga Mantra (Anuttarayogaman-
tra), the primary aim of whidi is to stop the movement of
all coarse winds and manifest the most subtle conscious-
ness-the mind of clear light-simultaneously appearing
in totally pure form.9 Hence, the Vajradharahood often
mentioned as the goal of tantra and the Buddhahood de-
scribed in sutra are the same. (pp. 55, 139-42)
There being no difference between the Perfection Ve-
hicle and Mantra Vehicle in terms of the goal-the destina-
tion-they must differ in the sense of vehicle as the means
by which one progresses. They must differ either in terms
of method, or wisdom, or both. If the difference lay in
wisdom, there would be many problems, because the Per-
fection Vehicle contains Nagarjuna's Madhyamika teach-
ings on emptiness, and there would have to be some other
more subtle emptiness than that which Nagarjuna estab-
lishes with many different arguments in the twenty-seven
chapters of his Treatise on the Middle Way (MadhyamakSas-
tra) , 10 whereas there is none. Thus, there is no difference
between'sutra and tantra in the view, which here refers to
the objective view, that is, the object that is viewed (Tib. Jut
gyi ita ba)-emptiness or ultimate truth-not the realizmg
consciousness, since sutra Mahayana and Highest Yoga
Tantra do differ with respect to the subtlety of the con-
~ sciousness realizing emptiness. Specifically, in Highest
Yoga Tantra, more subtle, enhanced consciousnesses are
generated to realize the same emptiness of inherent exis-
tence. Still, because the object realIzed is the same whether
the consciousness is more subtle or not, the "objective
view" is the same. (pp. 55-7,110)
In this way, between the sutra and tantra Mahayanas
there cannot be any difference in the factor of wisdom in
terms of the object that is understood by a wisdom con-
sciousness. Hence, the difference again has to lie in method.
In both the sUtra and tantra Mahayanas, the basis of
method is the altruistic intention to become enlightened
for the sake of all sentient beings (bodhicitta); because of
this, the motivational basis of the deeds of the path is the
same. The other main factor of method has to do with the
deeds induced by that method, which in sutra Mahayana
are the practices induced by this altruistic aspiration-the
perfections of giving, ethics, and patience. However, since
these are also practiced in tantra, the difference cannot be
found there, either. Furthermore, tantra has an even
greater emphasis than sutra on the deeds of the perfec-
tions, in that a tantric practitioner is committed to engage
in them at least six times during each day. (pp. 57-8)
Moreover, the distinction could not be made on the
basis of speed of progress on the path, because within the
four tantra sets-Action, Performance, Yoga, and Highest
Yoga Tantra-there are great differences in speed, and in
sutra Mahayana there are five different modes of progress,
slow to fast. In addition, the difference must not lie in
some small or insignificant feature, but in an important
one. (pp 58, 100-1)
The profound difference occurs in the fact that in
tantra there is meditation in which one meditates on one's
body as similar in aspect to a Buddha's Form Body, where-
as in sutra Mahayana there is no such meditation. This is
deity yoga (Tib. lha'i mal 'byor), which all four tantra sets
have, but sutra systems do not. Deity yoga means to imag-
100 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
ine oneself as having the Form Body of a Buddha now; one
meditates on oneself in the aspect of a Buddha's Forlll.
Body. (pp. 61-5,115-16)
In tIie Perfection Vehicle, there is meditation similar
in aspect to a Buddha's Truth Body-a Buddha's wisdolll.
consciousness. A Bodhisattva enters into meditative equi-
poise directly realizing emptiness with nothing appeanng
to the mind except the final nature of phenomena, the
emptiness of inherent existence; the wisdom consciousness
is fused with that emptiness. Even though, unlike his tan-
tric counterpart, a sutra Bodhisattva does not specifically
imagine that the state of meditative equipoise is a Buddha's
Truth Body,!! meditation similar in aspect to a Buddha's
Truth Body does occur in the sutra system in the sense that
the state of meditative equipoise on emptiness mimics a
B u d d ? ~ ' s exalted. wisdom consciousness in its aspect of
perceIvmg the ultImate. However, the sutra PerfectIOn Ve-
hicle does not involve meditation similar in aspect to a
Buddha's Form Body. There is meditation on Buddhas and
so forth as objects of offering, etc., but there is no medita-
tion on oneself in the physical body of a Buddha. (pp. 60,
62, ll5)
Such meditative cultivation of a divine body is includ-
ed within the factor of method because it is mainly aimed
at achieving a Buddha's Form Body. In the sutra system,
the sole means for achieving a Buddha's Form Body is, on
the basis of the altruistic intention to become enlightened,
to engage in the first three perfections-giving, ethics, and
patience-in limitless ways over a limitless period of time.
Though the Mantra Vehicle also involves practice of the
perfections of giving, ethics, and patience, it is not in limit-
less ways over 1imitless periods of time. Despite emphasis
on the perfections, practice in limitless ways over limitless
time is unnecessary, because one is engagmg in the addi-
tional technique of meditation on oneself m a body similar
in aspect to a Buddha's Form Body.!2 In other words, in
the tantric systems one meditates on oneself as similar in
aSf>ect to a Buddha in terms of both body and mind in
oraer to become a Buddha. This practice is significantly
different, and thus those systems wh.ich involve it consti-
tute a separate vehicle, tantra Mahayana.
In deity yoga, one first meditates on emptiness and
then uses that consciousness realizing emptiness-or at
least an imitation of it-as the basis of emanation of a Bud-
dha. The wisdom consciousness itself appears as the phys-
ical form of a Buddha. This one consciousness thus has two
parts-a factor of wisdom and a factor of method, or fac-
tors of (1) ascertainment of emptiness and (2) appearance
as an ideal being-and hence, through the practice of deity
yoga, one simultaneously accumulates the conections of mer-
It and wisdom, making their amassing much faster. (pp.
62-3) .
The systems that have this practice are called the Vajra
Vehicle, because the appearance of a deity is the display of
a consciousness which is a fusion of wisdom understanding
emptiness and compassion seeking the welfare of others-
an mseparable union symbolized by a vajra, a diamond, the
foremost of stones, as it is "unbreakable" (pp. 22-3, 51,
Since the two elements of the fusion-compassion-
ate method and penetrating wisdom-are the very core of
the Perfection Vehicle, one can understand that siitra and
tantra, despite being different, are integrated systems. One
can understand that compassion is not superseded by, but
essential to, tantra, and that the wisdom of the Perfection
Vehicle is not forsaken for a deeper understanding of re-
ality in the Tantra Vehicle.
To summarize: the difference between the vehicles
must lie in the sense of vehicle as that by which one pro-
gresses or _that which one Hlnayana differs
from Mahayana m both. The destmatIOn of the lower one
is the state of a Hearer or Solitary Realizer Foe Destroyer
and of the higher one, Buddhahood. Concerning "vehicle"
in the sense of means by which one progresses, although
there is no difference in the wisdom reahzing the subtlest
nature of phenomena, there is a difference m method-
Hlnayana not having and Mahayana having the altruistic
mind of (tJ:1at is, the altruistIC intention to
become enhghtened) and Its attendant deeds.
Siitra and tantra Mahayana do not differ in terms of
the goal, the state being sought, since both seek the highest
enlightenment of a Buddha, but there is a difference in the
means of progress, again not in wisdom but in method.
Within method they dIffer not in the basis or motivation of
the deeds, the altruistic intention to become enlightened,
nor in having the perfections as deeds, but in the addition-
al technique of deity yoga. A deity is a supramundane be-
ing who himself or,herself is a manifestation of compassion
and wisdom. Thus, in the special practice of deity yoga one
joins one's own body, speech, mind, and activities wIth the
exalted body, speech, mind, and activities of a supramun-
dane being, manifesting on the path a similitude of the
state of the effect.
The appeal throughout this presentation is to reason; never-
102 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
theless Tsong kha pa also cites Indian sources. Foi
instance, in establishing that according to the Prasarigika-Mad_
hyamika system even those who are Hlnayax:ists by path-that
is to say, Hearers and Solitary Realizers (as opposed to
Hlnayanists by tenet, the and Sautrantikas)13_
must realize the mast subtle emptiness, he presents an abridged
version of his own extensive argument on this in his commen_
tary to Candraklrti's Supplement to (Nagarjuna's) "Treatise on the
Middle Way" (Madhyamakavatara) , citing Candraklrti's Supple-
ment (p. 94), Nagarjuna's Precious Garland (Ratnavali) (p. 94),
Nagarjuna's Treatise on the Middle Way (MadhyamakaSastra) (pp.
95 and 96), Praise of the Non-Conceptual ([?]Nirvikalpastava) (p.
95), two Perfection of Wisdom Siitras (pp. 95-96), and a
Hlnayana siitra (p. 96). (That the Prasarigika-Madhyamika view
on the emptiness of inherent existence (svabhava-siddhi) is need-
ed in order to become a Foe Destroyer is extremely controver-
sial, as it means that no follower of Sautrantika,
Cittamatra, or even Svatantrika can complete the Hlnayana
path and become a Foe Destroyer by means of any of those
paths alone.)14
Considering counter-arguments, Tsong kha pa makes ref-
erence (pp. 96-97) to presentations in both Hlnayana and Ma-
hayana texts that propound the opposite, i.e., that to get out of
cyclic existence (sa'Y[lSara, 'khor ba) it is sufficient to have the fully
developed wisdom that understands that the person is not sub-
stantially existent, a coarser type of selflessness (pp. 179-81).
Again, the conflict is settled by reasoning through differentiat-
ing what is definitive (nitartha, nges don) and what is interpret-
able (neyartha, drang don). This not being a main subject of the
Great Exposition of Secret Mantra, the author leaves the matter
with a brief admonition to learn how to make such hermeneuti-
cal distinctions-implicitly indicating the benefit of studying his
Essence of the Good Explanations (Legs bshad snying po), where the
dominant argument is that scriptural reference is not suffi-
cient, since a supporting scripture would require another,
which, in turn, would require another, ad infinitum, and thus
reasoning is necessary. The working principles revolve around
showing that the conception of inherent existence is the root of
cyclic existence and that some trainees are temporarily incapa-
ble of receiving teaching on such a subtle topic. The interpreta-
tion of the opposing scriptures is made (1) on the basis of the
ontological fact, determined by reasoning, that the emptiness
of inherent existence is the final mode of subsistence of phe-
nomena and (2) in the context of the existential situation of the
epistemological needs of the trainees to whom the doctrines
were taught.
Tsong kha pa resolves other seeming contradictions by tak-
ing into account the frame of reference of a remark. For in-
stance, Kulika PUl).Qarlka's (Rigs ldan Pad rna dkar po) com-
mentary on the Kalacakra Tantra, called the Stainless Light
(Vimalaprabha) , explains the term "vajra" in "Vajra Vehicle"
(Vajrayana) in the context of the Kalacakra Tantra, a Highest
Yoga Tantra, in such a way that the meaning applies only to
that class of tantra and not to all four classes. Tsong kha pa
comments (pp. 107-8):
The meaning of "Vajra Vehicle" is given through taking
"Vajra" as an indivisibility of the effect-the Mantra
mode-and the cause-the Perfection mode. Here, "cause
and effect" refer to totally supreme emptiness and su-
preme immutable bliss. The Brief Explication of Initiations
(Sekhoddesa) [included in the Kalacakra cycle] says:
That bearing the form of emptiness is the cause,
That bearing immutable compassion is the effect.
Emptiness and compassion indivisible
Are called the mind of enlightenment.
The indivisibility of these two is a Cause Vehicle in the
sense of being the means by which one progresses, and it is
an Effect Vehicle in the sense of being that to which one is
progressing. Such a Vajra Vehicle has reference to Highest
Yoga Tantra and cannot occur in the lower tantras. For the
supreme immutable bliss can only arise when one has at-
tained the branch of meditative stabilization [in the system
of the Kalacakra] and thus the branches of mindfulness
and those below must be the means of achieving it. The
three lower tantras do not have all the factors that are
included in these causal branches.
Therefore, this interpretation of "Vajra Vehicle"
bears little relation to its general meaning, and the same
applies to that of the meanmg of the Vehicles of Cause and
Effect. [Or, more literally: Therefore, (this interpretation)
104 .lIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
is too narrow here in the context of identifying the general
meaning of the Vajra Vehicle, and positing the meaning of
the Vehicles of Cause and Effect through that mode (of
interpretation) is also too narrow in a' general presenta_
tion.] Here the meaning of "Vajra Vehicle" should be tak-
en in accordance with what is said in Ratnakarasanti's
Handful 31 l!'lowers, Expla:"ation of !.he . GuhyasamiiJa !antra
(KusumiinJalzguhyasamiiJanzbandha): WIth regard to Its be-
ing called the Vajra Vehicle, those which included all the
Mahayana are the six perfections. Those that include them
are method and wisdom; that which include them as one
taste is the mind of enlightenment. That is the Vajrasattva;
meditative stabilization; just this is a vajra. Because it is
both a vajra and a vehicle, it is the Vajra Vehicle, the Man-
tra. Vehicle." Thus, Vajrasattva yoga indivisibly
umtes method and wIsdom IS the VaJra VehIcle. It OCCurs
at the time of both the path and the fruit.
Tsong kha pa explains that since the three lower tantras do not
have the paths necessary for the generation of a fusion of total-
ly supreme emptiness (here referring to a form empty or de-
void of material particles) and supreme immutable bliss ("im-
mutable" here referring to non-emission), this interpretation,.
in the Kiilacakra mode, of "Vajra Vehicle" is too narrow (khyab
chung ba). He adds that interpreting "Vehicles of Cause and
Effect" in this way is also too narrow for a general presentation.
Rather, the general meaning of "Vajra Vehicle" must apply to
all four classes of tantra, not just Highest Yoga. As explained
above, he indicates that this is an indivisible union of method
and wisdom.
In his The Buddhist Tantras, Prof. Alex Wayman condenses
Tsong kha pa's presentation to the point where he mistakenly
makes it seem that for Tsang kha pa the passages from the
Stainless Light and the Brief Explication of Initiations present a
properly formulated demarcation between the Perfection and
Mantra Vehicles in general. Wayman says: 15
According to passages cited by Tsoil.-kha-pa in the intro-
ductory section of liis work on the stages of Tantra called
Snags rim chen mo, the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) has two
divisions-the prajna paramlta method (that part of Ma-
hayana whic.h IS not tantric) and the metb?d (the
stnctly tantnc part of the Mahayana). In hIS quotatlOn (fo-
lio 12b-4) from the (Kalacakra work) Vimalaprabha, these
two wings of the Mahayana are termed "cause" and "ef-
fect". But also the Diamond Vehicle (Vajrayana)-so called
because the diamond is unsplittable and unbreakable--can
be considered the Vehicle that incorporates both the praj-
naparamita side (the "cause") and the mantra side (the "ef-
fect"). Therefore, the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas (who are
the Mahayana saints) has two degrees, first the perfection
of insight (prajnaparamita) and then the practice of man-
tras, initiatIOn in the malJ-rjala, etc. ... Tsmi. kha pa intro-
duces f u r ~ h e r terminology (folio 12b-6) with a passage
from the':
Holding the form of the void is the cause; .
The fruit is the adherence to incessant compassion.
The indissoluble union of voidness (Sunyata) and com-
passion (karulJ-a) is called "mind of enlightenment" (bod-
hicitta). .
At 17a-l, he quotes the Tantra called the Vajrapanjara ...
Wayman seems to be taking the position of KuIika PUl).Qarlka's
Stainless Light (Vimalaprabha) and the Brief Explication of Initi-
ations (Sekhoddesa), which Tsong kha pa rejects as being too
narrow, as being Tsong kha pa's own accepted version of the
meaning of "Vajra Vehicle" in general.I
By citing those two
texts and then the Vajrapanjara Tantra as if they are in accord,
one misses the movement of Tsong kha pa's critical analysis of
the flaws of accepting the first two as applying to a general
treatment of the Perfection and Mantra Vehicles and then ex-
plication of an appropriate opinion. Tsong kha pa is making
the point that the type of union of method and wisdom de-
scribed in those texts applies only to Highest Yoga Tantra and
that a meaning of "Vajrayana" applicable to all four tantras
must be found elsewhere.
Prof. Herbert Guenther cites the same passage in a chapter
on "Paramitayana and Mantrayana" in his Tibetan Buddhism
Without Mystification: 17
... Vajrayana is the indivisibility of cause or Paramita
method and effect or Mantra method.-According to the
dBang mdor bstan:
106 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Awareness of no-thing-ness is the cause;
To feel unchanging bliss is the effect.
The indivisibility of no-thing-ness
And bliss is known as the enlightenment of mind.
Here the indivisibility of awareness which directly in-
tuits no-thing-ness and the unchanging, supreme bliss is
conceived as consisti?g of the two p ~ e n o m e n a <?f goal-ap_
proach and goal attamment. Such an mterpretatIOn of V <Y-
rayana, however, applies to the Anuttarayogatantras, not
to the three lower tantras, because, if this unchanging, su-
preme bliss has to be effected by meditative practICes pre-
ceding and including inspection, since it settles after the
bliss-no-thing-ness concentration has been realized, these
causal factors are not present in their entirety in the lower
tantras. Therefore, while this is correct for the general idea
of Vajrayana, it is not so for the distinction in a causal
situation course or in one anticipating the goal.
The last sentence (des na 'dir rdo rje theg pa spyi'i don ngos 'dzin pa'i
skabs su khyab chungs pa yin la tshul des rgyu 'bras kyi theg pa'i don
'jog pa yang spyi'i rnam bzhag la ma khyab pa yin no)18 literally
reads, "Therefore, [this interpretation] is too narrow here on
the occasion of identifying the general meaning of the Vajra
Vehicle, and positing the meaning of the Vehicles of Cause and
Effect through that mode [of interpretation] is also too narrow
in a general presentation." Guenther, however, has Tsong kha
pa saying that this interpretation is "correct for the general idea
of Vajrayana," thereby contradicting his own explanation in the
previous sentence that the interpretation of Vajra Vehicle ac-
cording to the Stainless Light applies only to Highest Yoga Tan-
tra and is not wide enough to apply to all four tantras.
Both Wayman and Guenther have missed the argument of
this section of the Great Exposition of Secret Mantra, though the
former worse than the latter. As this section is mainly com-
prised of critical analysis that appeals to reason, it would have
to be said that they have misconstrued the main point being
made in Tsong kha pa's elaborate argument on the difference
between the Perfection and Mantra Vehicles. That these schol-
ars, who are indeed luminaries in the field of Tibetan Bud-
dhism, miss such a fundamental point is itself sufficient justifi-
cation for a style of translation and exposition that spends more
time on the ground of the tradition itself.
With respect to scriptual authority for the distinction be-
tween the sutra and tantra Mahayanas, Tsong kha pa quotes a
passage from the Vajrapanjara Tantra (p. 117), rejects the com-
mentaries of Knl).apada and Indrabodhi (p. 120), and critically
uses the commentary of Devakulamahamati (pp. 120-1), ac-
cepting some parts and rejecting others. Having established
that deity yoga is the dividing line between the two Mahayanas,
he reinforces this with citations from or references to works on
Highest Yoga Tantra by Jiianapada (pp. 122-8), Ratnakara-
santi (pp. 129, 134), Abhayakara (pp. 129-30), Durjayacandra
(p. 130), Srldhara (p. 130), Samayavajra (p. 131), Jinadatta (p.
131), and Vinayadatta (p. 131-2). The general drift is illustrat-
ed by a passage (p. 129) from Ratnakarasanti's Commentary on
(Dipankarabhadra's) "Four Hundred and Fifty" (bZhi rgya lnga cu
paY as Tsong kha pa cites the title, or Commentary on
(Dipankarabhadra's) "Rite of the Guhyasamaja Ma'Y}rjala" (Gu-
hyasamajama'Y}rjalavidhitika) , as it is listed in the Tibetan Tripi-
If one cultivates only [a path] having the nature of a deity,
one cannot become fully enlightened through that because
the fulfillment of [yogic] actIvities is not complete. Or, if
one meditates on the suchness of a deity and not on that
deity, one will attain Buddhahood in many countless aeons
but not quickly. Through meditating on both, one will at-
tain the highest perfect complete enlightenment very
quickly because to do so is very appropriate and has special
empowering blessings.
In short, the path to speedy attainment of enlightenment must
involve both deity yoga and emptiness yoga; one without the
other is not sufficient.
Prof. Wayman criticizes my translation of that passage and
offers his corrections: ~ ( ) (em phases his)
If one cultivates only with adoption of the ego of a deity, one
cannot become fully enlightened merely through that, be-
cause the completion of the ritual part is not fulfilled. Or, if there
are no deities zn the sense of cultivating the reality of deities, one
might attain Buddhahood in many countless aeons but not
quickly. Hence, the cultivation of both [reality of deities and
ritual Fart], because it is highly gratifying, and because it has
specia empowering blessings, quickly achieves the highest
perfect complete enlightenment.
108 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Let us cite the
yang na lha'i bdag nyid can 'ba' zhig tsam bsgoms na de lta
na ni
de tsam gyis 'tshang rgya ba nyid du mi 'gyur tel las rdzogs pa ma
tshang ba'i phyir roll yang na lha rnams kyi de kho na nyid bsg
gyi lha rnams ma yin na de lta na bskC:"l pa med pa
mang por sangs rgyas nyzd thob par gyur gyz myur du nz ma yin
noll de bas na gnyis ka sgom pa ni shin tu yid du 'ong ba yin pa'i
phyir dangl byin gyis brlabs kyi khyad par gyis mchog tu myur bar
bla na med pa yang dag par rdzogs pa'i byang chub thob par 'gyur
His changes miss the point. First, bdag nyid here is synonymous
with ngo bo and rang bzhin, and thus means "nature" or "entity";
that which has such a divine nature could be a maIJQala, a
divine body itself, or a path that involves cultivation of such.
There is no need to construe bdag nyid as "ego," though indeed
the pride of being that deity (lha'i nga rgyal) must be cultivated.
Wayman is forced not only to add in the word "adoption" but
also to supply an instrumental ending ("with"). Rather, lha'i
bdag nyid 'ba' zhig tsam is the direct object of bsgoms: "cultivates
[or literally, cultivated] only [ a path] having the nature of a
Second, Wayman's preference for "because completion of
the ritual part is not fulfilled" becomes self-contradictory when
later in brackets he identifies the two factors that are necessary
for speedy attainment of Buddhahood as "cultivation of both
[reality of deities and ritual part]," whereby "ritual part" comes
to stand for deity yoga, since the "reality of deities" clearly
refers to their emptiness and the two topics of the passage are
deity yoga and emptiness yoga. This is self-contradictory be-
cause in the first sentence the reason clause is speaking of the
incompleteness of the yoga due to the absence of emptiness yoga, the
specific activity or "ritual part" that is lacking clearly being
identified as emptiness yoga, not cultivation of a divine body, as
Wayman would have it. The basic point of the passage and the
reason for Tsong kha pa's citing it have been lost in Wayman's
translation. The context clearly indicates that the incomplete-
ness of yogic activities in the first sentence refers specifically to
the absence of emptiness yoga, the yogic activities themselves
standing for the entire corpus of the path and not just one part.
Third, his translation of thob pax 'gyur in its two occurrences
first as "might attain" and then as "achieves" is unfounded. The
'gyur ending with a present verb makes that verb future, and
my original translation in both cases as "will attain" reflects this
Fourth, shin tu yid du 'ong ba (literally, "very much coming
to the mind") means not "highly gratifying" as Wayman prefers
but, literally, "very attractive," in the sense that since a Buddha
has both a Truth Body (Dharmakaya) and a Form Body (Rupa-
kiiya) it is very appropriate or attractive that on the path one
cultivate both emptiness yoga and deity yoga, the former hav-
ing as its main result the Truth Body and the latter, the Form
Fifth, in yang na lha rnams kyi de kho na nyid bsgom gyi lha
rnams ma yin na the particle gyi in bsgom gyi is not a genitive
ending but a non-case particle meaning "and" or "but." As
Tibet's foremost grammarian, Si-tu Pal).-chen, says:24
There is also a usage of those [genitive endings,] gi and so
forth, for a non-case meaning, for they are also used as
word-ornaments indicating that the latter word is contra-
dictory or discordant, as in, "This is true, andlbut the other
is obscured," "Our refuge is the Teacher Buddha andlbut
is not Rudra and so forth," "It indeed is correct this way
but ... " (gi la sogs pa de rnams rnam dbye'i don ma yin parzhan
la'ang 'jug pa yod del 'di ni bden gyi gzhan ni gti mug go bdag
cag gi skyabs ni ston pa sangs rgyas yin gyi drag po sogs ma yin
noll 'di ltar 'thad mod kyi 'on kyangl zhes pa lta bu phyi tshig 'gal
ba'am mi mthun par ston pa'i tshig gi rgyan la'ang 'jug pa'i phyir
Wayman mistakes the non-case particle gyi for a genitive case
particle, seeking to reform the clause to "if there are no deities
in the sense of cultivating the reality of deities." He thereby
suggests that if one meditates on the reality or suchness (tattva,
de kho na nyid) of a deity one cannot simultaneously perceive a
divine body. This is not true to the system, since the very asser-
tion of the difference between the sutra and tantra Mahayanas
is made on the basis of the simultaneous union in one con-
sciousness of the factors of method and wisdom, specifically the
appearance of the divine form and ascertainment of its empti-
110 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Wayman cites this passage and gives his "corrections" as a
sole sample of what he considers my error-laden translation of
prose citations in Tsong kha pa's work:
... while Hopkins well
own prose, he has contmual dIffICulty wIth the CItatIOns in
prose or verse, and despite the labor of tracing out these
passages in the canon-taking up most of the notes-he
still exhibits a result which is more typical of language be-
ginners, of giving an obscure and non-cogent renditIOn as
though it represents the original, while in truth the trans-
later does not understand the original.
His attempt at correction doubles back on him, displaying his
own failure to catch even the general thread of the argument of
the text.
Having cited such passages in Highest Yoga Tantras and
commentaries to show the distinctive presence of deity yoga,
Tsong kha pa makes brief citations for Yoga, Performance, and
Action Tantras by referring to Sakyamitra (p. 132), Ananda-
garbha (p. 133), and Buddhaguhya (p. 133), skirting for the
time being the considerable controversy on whether Action and
Performance Tantras have deity yoga, since he tackles that
problem at the beginning of the section on Action Tantra.
Despite Tsong kha pa's many citations of tantras and Indian
commentaries, it is clear that they are used only as supportive
evidence for his argument. Tradition is only supportive, not
the ultimate authority. The arbiter is reason, specifically in the
sense of determining coherence and consistency within a path
structure. Tsong kha pa refutes and Tripitaka-
mala (pp. 143-50), for instance, not because they differ from
the aforementioned sources, but because their presentations
fail in terms of consistency with the path structure. By doing so,
he moves the basis of the argument from scriptural citation to
reasoned analysis of a meditative structure.
To determine the context of Tsong kha pa's analysis and
investigate whether it is correct, it will be necessary first to
examine the presentations on the difference between sutra and
tantra given by (1) his predecessor and chief source, the Sa skya
scholar Bu ston Rin chen grub (1290-1364), (2) his near con-
:emporary, the rNying-ma scholar kLong chen rab 'byams
: 1308-63), who exemplifies the type of presentation Tsong kha
Ja is refuting, (3) the later bKa' brgyud pa scholar Pad ma dkar
::>0 (1527-92) who sided with a different tradition while ac-
kha pa's well-reasoned argument, (4)
Tsong kha pa's critic Bo dong Phyogs las rnam rgyal (1376-
1451), who opposes Tsong kha pa's argument with reason, and
:5) later dGe lugs scholars who wrote condensations or elabora-
:ions of Tsong kha pa's presentation as the implications of his
work came to the fore.
With such data, we will be 'well
srounded for pursuing our own analyses. In the meantime, we
:an say, upon determining Tsong kha pa's argument, that his
procedure is that of a thorough scholar, analyzing sources and
:ounter-opinions with careful scrutiny and determining the
place of the pillars of his analysis in the general structure of a
system. His intention is clearly not just to present a catalogue of
views as Bu ston mainly did, but to adjudicate conflicting sys-
tems of interpretation, thereby, at least by style, establishing a
new one.
The intellectual intricacy of his presentation is no match
for the immediately evocative style of the great rNying-ma
scholar kLong chen rab 'byams, for instance. However, when
the principles of his position have been so internalized that the
reader can supply the unspoken interstices, the experience of
re-reading the text can evoke palpable glimpses into the experi-
ence of deity yoga. The argument itself becomes an exercise
moving the mind toward developing the ability to combine the
profound realization of emptiness and manifestation as an
ideal being, such that one begins to sense the possibility of
consciousness itself appearing as form-the union of method
and wisdom that, for Tsong kha pa, is at the very heart of
tantra. dGe lugs is often criticized, both in Tibet and in the
West, for being overly verbal, overly abstract, but I would sug-
gest that this is due to the critics not having put sufficient time
into first getting the positions of the dGe lugs scholars straight
and then allowing the metaphysical imagination to be stimulat-
ed. The danger of over-abstraction in some areas of dGe lugs
thought is great, but the intricately woven arguments, when
probed over time, lead to an internalization of knowledge and
palpable experience of principles, which are then the basis for
verbalization. In the beginning, the words seem to use the per-
son, but later, a changed person is using the words.
As scholars, we need both patience to go through this pro-
cess as well as wariness against being trapped' by our own will-
ingness to become absorbed in these complex systems. The
dilemma posed by such openness and the need for discrimina_
tion is certainly not solved by refusing to spend the time needed
to probe the material or by an affectation of distance that pre-
vents involvement. Tsong kha pa seems to have conquered this
dilemma within his own culture with his startlingly refreshing
reasoned analysis of traditional accounts, which functions as a
hermeneutic, bringing all the more focus to a pivotal practice in
tantra-deity yoga-itself founded on the reasoned analysis
performed in emptiness yoga.27 The lesson may be that the
type of mind needed to follow his argument is also needed in
this central practice. Seen in this light, there is a harmony be-
tween the form of Tsong kha pa's elaborately reasoned argu-
ment on the difference between sutra and tantra and the con-
tent, the identification of deity yoga-the first step of which is
reasoned meditation on emptiness-as the central tantric fea-
ture. The style itself makes the point that reason is not cast
aside in tantra.
1. The longer title of Tsong kha pa's text is Stages of the Path to a Conquer-
or and Pervasive Master, a Great Vajradhara: Revealing All Secret Topics (rGyal ba
khyab bdag rdo rje 'chang chen po'i lam gyi rim pa gsang ba kun gyi gnad rnam par
phye ba). In the Peking edition it is P6210, Vol. 161 (Toh. 5281), but I have
mainly used the Dharamsala (Shes rig par khang) edition of 1969, despite
flaws, because of its legibility, checking questionable passages against the
N gawang Gelek edition (New Delhi, 1978), which is a retouched version of
the 1897 Lhasa old lol blocks.
2. Several Tibetan scholars have reported that dge, "virtuous," was ori-
ginally dga', 'Joyous."
3. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1977), pp. 13-79.
4. ,The translation of Arhan as "Foe Destroyer" accords with the Tibetan
translation as dgra bcom pa; for discussion of the etymology and justification of
the translation see my Meditation on Emptiness (London: Wisdom Publications,
1983), n. 553.
5. The page reference here is to the Dalai Lama's commentary. Tsong
kha pa also speaks of these two meanings of "vehicle," but the line was unin-
tentionally deleted from Tantra in-Tibet at the beginning of the last paragraph
on p. 106. It should read: "About 'vehicle', there is an effect vehicle which is
that to which one is proceeding and a cause vehicle which is that by which one
proceeds. Due to proceeding [it is called] a vehicle. With respect to ... "
- 6. Tsong kha pa discusses this point in some detail in his commentary
(dGongs pa rab gsa!:) on Chandraklrti's Supplement to (Niigiirjuna's) "Treatise on
the Middle Way" (Madhyamakiivatiira), the first five chapters of which are trans-
lated in Compassion in Tibetan Buddhism (London: Rider and Co., 1980), pp.
174-5. (For justification of my translation of Madhyamakiivatiira as Supplement
to the "Treatise on the Middle Way", see my Meditation of Emptiness, pp. 462-9
and 866-9.) Tsong kha pa says (p. 175, diacritics added):
To establish that even a single phenomenon does not truly exist, Ma-
hayanists use limitless different reasonings as set forth in the Treatise on
the Middle Way. Hence their minds become greatly broadened with re-
spect to suchness. Hlnayanists use only brief reasoning to establish such-
ness by valid cognition, and since they do not establish emptiness the way
Mahayanists do, do not have a mind broadened with respect to such-
ness .... This difference arises because Hearers and Solitary Realizers
strive to abandon only the afflictions [the obstructions to liberation], and
cognizing a mere abbreviation of the meaning of suchness is sufficient
for that. Mahayanists are intent on abandoning the obstructions to om-
niscience, and for that it is necessary to have a very broadened mind of
wisdom opened to suchness.
7. The term "Tantrayana" has great favor in the West, but it does not
appear to have been popular in Tibet. There the favored term is Guhyaman-
trayana (gsang sngags kyi theg pa).
8. This is one among many points that 'Jam dbyangs bzhad pa makes in
defending the position that the Buddhahoods of sutra and tantra are the
same. See his Great Exposition of "Tenets" (Grub mtha' chen mo), (Mussoorie: Da
Lama, 1962), ca 44b. 6-47a. 8.
9. See Lati Rinbochay's and Hopkins' Death, Intermediate State and Rebirth
in Tibetan Buddhism (London: Rider and Co., 197,9), pp. 69-73.
10. Also known as the Madhyamakakiirikii.
11. The source here is Kensur Losang Wangdu, abbot of the Tantric
College of Lower Lhasa during the time of its re-location in South India; he is
currently residing atJang-dzay (Byang rtse) College at Gan-den (dCa' ldan) in
Mundgod, Karnataka, having been appointed head of the dGe lugs order.
12. See the Mongolian scholar Ngag dbang dpalldan's statement of this
in Tsong ka pa's Yoga of Tibet (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1981), pp.
13. For a discussion o(this, see the first appendix in Tantra in Tibet, pp.
14. Tsong kha pa's argument can be found in Compassion in Tibetan Bud-
dhism, pp. 150-81.
15. The Buddhist Tantras (New York: Samuel Weiser, 1973), p. 4. In this
chapter, Wayman is engaged in the admirable task of refuting those who view
tantra as a corruption. Tsong kha pa's finely worked argument is itself an
indication that Wayman is right in this. -
114 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Wayman's equation of pa;ramitayana with prajnaparamitiiyana is question_
able, since in the Perfection Vehicle the emphasis is on practice of all six
perfections, not just the perfection of wisdom, for a "limitless" period of time in
"limitless" ways, This is clear in the Mongolian scholar Ngag dbang dpalldan's
(b, 1797) Illumination of the Texts ofTantra, Presentation of the Grounds and Paths
of the Four Great Secret Tantra Sets (iiSang chen rgyud sde bzhi'i sa lam gyi Tnam
bzhag rgyud gzhung gsal byed, 6b. 7-7b.3) cited in Tsong ka pa's Yoga of Tibet
(London: George Allen and Unwin, 1981), p. 210, " .. , In the Perfection
Vehicle this wisdom consciousness is caused to possess the capacity to aban-
don the obstructions to omniscience through training for a limitless time in
limitless varieties of giving and so forth .. , ." From Ngag dbang dpal Idan's
explanation, it would seem that the Perfection Vehicle is so named because of
calling for practice of the six perfections for a "limitless" period of time in "limit-
less" ways due to lacking the practice of deity yoga,
16. Wayman's problem with this passage may revolve around the term
khyab chung ba ("to narrow"); his mis-interpretation of this term in his transla-
tion of the special insight section of Tsong kha pa's Great Exposition 11' the Stages
of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam rim chen mol in his Calming the Mind and
Discerning the Real (New York: Columbia, 1978) is documented at length in
Geshe Sopa's excellent review,jIABS, Vol. 3, No.1, 1980, pp. 68-100,
17. Tibetan Buddhism Without Mystification (Leiden: Brill, 1966), p. 54.
Guenther treats the same topic from the rNying rna viewpoint in his Buddhist
Philosophy in Theory and Practice (Baltimore: Penguin, 1972), pp, 155- 170.
Of the six passages which are quoted by Tsong kha pa in Guenther's
citation, Guenther gives the Sanskrit titles for only two, leaving the other four
in Tibetan transliteration and thus giving the misleading impression that they
are texts written in Tibetan. I prefer to translate titles into English (with the
Sanskrit at each first citation) in order to give some idea of the contents of the
texts, the titles often being named by way of their contents. I have also chosen
a style of translation different from Guenther, trying to keep with the literal
vocabulary of the tradition as much as possible, building up the meaning of
words through establishing context. By doing this, multi-worded translation
equivalents from a cognate western system are not needed. However, I deeply
appreciate the effort that he has made in this regard; my only quarrel is with
his insistence that everyone follow his style.
18. (Dharamsala, 1969), lOa.4.
19 (Tokyo-Kyoto: Suzuki Research Foundation, 1955), Vol. 65, Table of
20. Kailash (Kathmandu), V. 7 No. 3-4 (1979), p. 321.
21. 17 a.3-5 of the Dharamsala 1969 edition.
22. Read de lta na for de lha na in accordance with the Ngawang Gelek
edition of the Collected Works (Delhi, 1978), ga 42.6.
23. For the usage of 'gyur with the future, see the exposition by the
grammarian Si tu in his Explanation 11' "The Thirty" and "Usage of Gender,"
Special on the ThoTliUgh Application 11' the Language of the Snowy Country,
Beautiful Pearl Necklace of the Wise (Yul gangs can pa'i brda yang dag par sbyor ba'i
bstan bcos kyi bye brag sum cu pa dang rtags kyi 'jug pa'i gzhung gi mam par bshad pa
mkhas pa'imgul rgyan mu tig phreng mdzes), 58.5 (Dharamsala, n.d.): "Sounds
[used for] future actions [are, for instance,] 'grub par 'gyurl 'chad par 'gyur . .. "
(bya 'gyur ma 'ongs pa'i sgra nil 'grub par 'gyurl 'chad par 'gyur . .. ) Note that 'chad
is the present form of the verb to explain, the future being bshad.
24. 27.lff (see the previous note for the text.)
25. The Yoga' of Tibet (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1981), pp. 47-
26. I did this work in preparation for Tantra in Tibet and intend to
present it in a separate, more historically oriented work.
27. Examples of the reasonings required in emptiness yoga are present-
ed in my Meditation on Emptiness (London: Wisdom Publications, 1983), espe-
cially in Parts One and Two (pp. 47-196), as well as the last chapter of Part
Five (pp. 549-60).
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Buddhism and Belief in Atma
by Y. Krishan
The question whether the Buddhists believed in a permanent
entity, soul or atma has been the subject of great debate. In fact,
many scholars of Buddhism hold that the Buddha upheld the
doctrine of anatta or anatmavada, no soul. As Oldenberg put it,
the Buddhists believed in a becoming and not in a being. In
consequence, it is concluded "In Buddhism there is no actor
apart from action, no percipient apart from perception. In oth-
er words, there is no conscious subject behind consciousness."1
This, in short, leads to action (karma) without a doer (karta). It
also repudiates the concept of transmigration and rebirth (pun-
arjanma). To believe in the doctrine of karma without accepting
the concepts of fiva and its rebirth is evidently perplexing.
T.W. Rhys Davids
expresses the resultant dilemma thus:
"We have thus arrived at a deadlock; to save what it holds to be
a psychological truth, Buddhism rejects the notion of a soul; to
save what it holds to be the necessity of justice, it retains the
belief in transmigration."
The source of this controversy is to be found in the Anatta-
lakkhana-sutta of the Vinayapitaka (1.6.38 ff.), wherein the Bud-
dha asserts that neither the body (rupa) nor any of the psychical
factors of existence, feeling (vedana) , ideas (sanna), volition
(sankharas) , consciousness (vinnana) can be said to be atta, the
self-the five khandhas or factors of individual existence are
perishable, non-enduring, anicca, impermanent.
At the outset, it would be appropriate to set out the views
of different schools and sects of Buddhists on this subject.
The Stharviravadins or Theravadins, Kasyaplyas (also
called Sthavariyas) and Vibhajyavadins had a pluralistic con-
ception of the constitutent elements of the universe, namarupa.
As Anurudhacarya explains in his Abhidhammattha samgaho 1.2
118 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
(8th-12th Century A.D.), these schools believed that there
were four ultimate categories: citta or viiiiiana (consciousness),
caitasika (mental properties), rupa (material qualities) and nirva-
I)a. They admitted of a pudgala (individual self) only at the
empirical level of reality and not as an ultimate real. It needs to
be noted, however, that while they believed in pudgalasunyata,
they also accepted that citta or viiiiiana was one of the ultimate
categories. The MaJjihimanikaya (1.2.66) speaks of a gandhabba
(gandharva) as an essential feature in conception. This gan-
dhabba appears to be a form of pudgala. at
suddhimagga XVII 158-173, speaks of patisandhi viiiiiana, re-
birth-linking consciousness. Patisandhi viiiiiana appears to be
another version of pudgala.
The MahiSasakas and the Dharmaguptikas believed in nine
asamskrta dharmas such as pratisamkhyanirodha, apratisamkhyani-
rodha, akiiSa, etc., including pratztya samutpada tathata. They also
believed in pudgalasunyata.
The Sarvastivadins held that sarvam asti, all things exist.
They also subscribed to the doctrine of nairatmya, non-soul or
the absence of any permanent substance in an individual. They
believed in the eternal existence of 75 dharmas, 72 material
categories, and three asainskrta dharmas viz., pratisamkhyanir-
odha, apratisamkhyanirodha, and akiiSa. They also believed in pud-
galasunyatii, but surprisingly, believed in antarabhava, a being
having intermediate existence between death of a being and its
The Vatslputriyas and Sammitiyas believed in the exis-
tence of a pudgala, or a soul, but held that it was avacaya inex-
pressible (Tattvasamgraha 337).
Sautrantikas, also called Samkrantivadins, repudiated the
pudgalavada of the Vatsiputriyas, and called it a metaphysical
fiction, like a sky lotus. They did, however, hold that conscious-
ness, vijiiana, one of the five skandhas, migrates at the death of
an individual. They postulated an incorruptible seed (bzja) of
goodness, an innate, indestructible and perfectly pure factor
which persists throughout all change until emancipation or nir-
Vasubandhu, a Kashmiri discusses the Vat-
siputriya doctrine of anatman exhaustively in the Pudgala vinis-
caya (also called the of his Abhidharmakosa,
and demolishes it. He cites, inter alia, the Bimbisara-sutra to em-
phasise, "there is no self, nothing mine";3 inner life is void, the
outer life is void.
He explains the parable of the bhiirahara, the
carrier of the burden as not justifying the existence of a perma-
nent self. He cites the Paramartha-sunyata-sutra: actions do exist,
and they also fructify or bear consequences, but the doer there-
of cannot be found.
In the (AKE) he elaborates: Just as
milk and water conventionally describe all their features, like
form, etc., likewise, the collection of skandhas, elements of con-
scious ego, are called pudgala.
According to Vasubandhu, a
person, e.g., Devadatta is "only an unbroken continuity of mo-
mentary forces (flashing into existence), which simple people
believe to be unity, to which they give the name Devadatta."
But, as noted earlier, Vasubandhu, while repudiating belief in
atma, or soul, subscribes to a belief in antarabhava, at Abhidhar-
makosa Evidently, he only denied the existence
of an atma as a permanent ego. .
(a Theravadin), in his Visuddhimagga also
elaborates the non-atman doctrine. At Visuddhimagga XVII
162, he observes: there is no transition of the past existence into
(consciousness aggregates), nor does it come into existence
without a cause.7 (ibid. XVII 164) reiterates:
(consciousness) does not arrive here from its past existence, nor
does it appear without karmas, sainskaras, etc., as the cause.
other words, present-life consciousness does not arise from the
previous existence but from past causes, like an echo, a lamp,
the impression of a seal and a reflection (Visuddhimagga XVII
166). goes on to explain: (consciousness) is a con-
tinuous series; there is neither identity nor He
cites the anology of milk and curds: if there be identity or
dissimilarity between the two, the curds cannot be formed from
milk (Visuddhimagga XVII 167). It is significant, however, that
also uses the term patisandhi, rebirth, reunion in
explaining the phenomenon of transmigration 'and rebirth,
and does not call it a new birth.
goes on to elaborate, at Visuddhimagga XVIII,
that nama consists of sensation (vedana), perception (sanna) and
samkhara (volition); consciousness (vinnana) however, is not a
part of nama. Rupa is form, and is composed of the four mahii-
120 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
bhulas, or elements. He explains, "Name has no power of its
own, nor can it go on of its own impulse ... form is also without
power and cannot go on its own impulse." They are, however,
mutually indispensable to each other. Form goes or moves
when supported by name (nama), and name when supported by
form. He likens the two to a blind and a cripple; unless they
mutually support each other, it is not possible for them to
move. I I In short, consciousness manifests itself only as nama-
rupa (name and form). At Visuddhimagga XX, 12
asserts that nama and rupa do not arise from any material; so,
when namarupa ceases to exist (i.e., when a person dies), they do
not exist anywhere in a material form .
. . . just as when aflute is played upon, there is no previous
store of sound; and when the sound comes into existence,
it does not come from any such store, and when it ceases, it
does not go to any of the cardinal or intermediate points of
the compass; and when it has ceased, it exists nowhere in a
stored up state ... in exactly the same way, all the elements
of being, both those with form and those without form,
come into existence after having been non-existent; and
having come into existence, pass away.
At Visuddhimagga XIX, I'l he echoes what was said by Vasu-
bandhu: "Of karma there is no doer; nor is there somebody to
experience its results. It is nothing but bare states that come to
pass." If there is no karla, or doer, there is no moral responsibil-
ity for any act, good or evil. In consequence, the entire edifice
of Buddhist ethics falls. This, in turn, raises very difficult issues
relating to Buddhist religious beliefs and metaphysics. There is
unanimity among all students of Buddhism, irrespective of
their sectarian affiliation, that there is a law of karma and pun-
arjanma (rebirth). It is karma that explains the phenomena of
suffering and inequality. The karmas, or actions, of an individ-
ual in this life mature in the subsequent births or rebirths.
Thus, the doctrines of karma and punarjanma (rebirth) are in-
separably linked. If there be no soul or transmigrating entity
that takes rebirth, who bears or enjoys the consequences or
fruits of karma?
In the Devadutta-sutta of the MaJjhimanikaya (3.178-179)14
the Buddha claims that with his celestial eye he sees "creatures
in the act of passing hence and of reappearing elsewhere, crea-
tures lowly or debonair, fair or foul to view, happy or unhappy,
... they fare according to their past." Those who had done
good deeds are either born in states of bliss in heaven or as
human beings ... creatures given to evil in act, at the body's
dissolution became ghosts, animals or are born in purgatory.
In the Cfila-Kamma-Vibhanga-sutta of the MaJjhimanikiiya
(3.203-206), the Buddha specifically identifies certain actions
as leading, after death, to rebirth in purgatory, or among hu-
man beings, or in heaven. For example, violence and murder,
etc., lead to rebirth in hell, or as a human being for a brief
period, or as a human constantly ailing, poor, or of low social
status, etc. Likewise, in the Maha-Kamma-vibhanga-sutta of the
Maihimanikiiya (3.207-215), the Buddha identifies the states of
existence attained by various living individuals after death with
reference to their karma, viz., purgatory, heaven, etc.
On the other hand, the Buddha speaks of pratZtya-samut-
pada, conditioned genesis. The Samyuttanikaya
states that "The body ... is not yours, nor does it belong to
others. It should be regarded as former karma effected
through what has been willed and felt. ... "
Again, ignorance produces samkharas (samskiiras) avijJapac-
cavya samkhara (Vinayapitaka
1.1 and Samyuttanikaya
43,65). In the Maihimanikaya18 (1.54) the Buddha explains that
the samkharas are the karmic formations of body, speech and
thought or mind. In brief, the samskiiras are the psychic roots or
substrates of consciousness ..
At the same time, the Buddha denounces as erroneous
those who believe in an eternal soul (eternalists) or that nothing
exists after death (annihilationists). In the BrahmaJala-sutta of
the Dzghanikiiya (1.34-35) the Buddha speaks of annihilation-
ists who aver: "Since ... the soul has form, mind, space, ideas,
etc., is built up of the four elements ... it is cut off, destroyed,
on the dissolution of the body, and does not continue after
death; and then ... the soul is completely annihilated." In the
same sutta (lAO) the Buddha rejects as erroneous the view of
certain recluses and brahmins who are eternalists, that is, who
believe that the soul and the world are eternal and arise without
cause. In the Samyuttanikiiya (2.19-21) he observes:
122 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
"Who so says, 'He who does (a deed) is he who experiences
results) .is thereby saying that from .the begin-
nmg sufferIng was wrought by (the bemg) hImself-this
amounts to the Eternity view. Who so says 'One does (a
deed), another experiences (the result)' is thereby saying
that when a being is smitten by feeling, the suffering was
wrought by another-this amounts to the Annihilation
. "
The Buddha claims to avoid both these "dead ends."
In the Samyuttanikaya
(4.400-401) the Buddha explains
his view with greater clarity:
"If I, Ananda, on being asked by the Wanderer Vaccha-
gotta, if is a Self, should have answered that there is a
Self, this, Ananda, would have been a siding-in with those
recluses and brahmal)s who are Eternalists (sasstavadins). If
I, Ananda, on being asked by the Wanderer Vacchagotta,
if there is not a Self, should have answered that there IS not
a Self, this, Ananda, would have been siding-in with those
recluses and brahmal)s who are Annihilationists (uccheda-
va zns .
In the Samyuttanikaya
(1.134-35) it is said:
'Being' why does thou harp upon that word?
'Mong false opinions, Mara has thou strayed
Mere bundle of conditioned factors, this!
No 'being' can be here discerned to be,
For just as, when the parts are rightly set,
The word 'chariot' ariseth (in our mind)
So doth our usage covenant us to say,
'A being' when the aggregates are those.
In other order words, the term sattva, being, is only a conven-
tional designation for impermanent aggregates.
Again, at Samyuttanikaya
XXII 22(1), the Buddha ex-
plains the burden and the bearer of the burden; the five attach-
ment groups (skandhas) are the burden, the pudgala (individ-
ual) is the carrier of the I:{urden. Again, Samyutta
XII 61.8
likens the self to a monkey jumping from branch of a tree to
"As a monkey faring through jungle and wood catches
hold of a bough and, having let it go, takes hold of another,
even so that which is called thought and mind and con-
sciousness this by night and day dissolves as one thing and
reappears even as another."
At Sainyuttanikaya
XXII 85(6), Yam aka under-
stands the teaching of the Buddha thus:
"In so far as a brother has destroyed the asavas (impuri-
ties), he is broken up and perishes when the body breaks
up, he becomes not after death."
Sariputta calls this papakam diHhigatam (evil heresy). He ex-
"Surely the Bhagavat would not say 'A brother who has
destroyed the iisavas is broken up and perishes when the
body breaks up, he becomes not after death.' "24
says at Visuddhimagga
XVII.II3 that a man
who is confused about these things (rebirth, death and round
of births) ... does not consider that "every where the aggre-
gates break-up at death," but thinks that a being dies, and his
individuality (consciousness) is transferred to another body.26
The same text
(XVIII 29) observes: "To say 'the living entity
persists' is to fall short of the truth; to say 'It is annihilated' is to
outrun the truth."
The logical implications of the absence of atma, ego, pud-
gala, are set out with great clarity in the Milindapafiha.
Milinda asks Nagasena:
"Bhante Nagasena, if there is no ego to be found ... who
keeps the precepts, who .himself to who
realises the frUlt of the disCIplme (path) that IS NIrvana,
who destroys life, who commIts immorality, who tells lies,
who drinks intoxicating liquor, who commits the five
crimes that constitute proximate karma? (As there is no
personal responsibility for such lapses) there is no merit,
there is no demerit; there is no one who does or causes to
be done meritorious or demeritorious deeds; good and evil
deeds can have no fruit or result!"
124 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
In reply, that the person called Naga-
sena cannot be identified wIth the several components of his
body: hair, nails, teeth, skin, bones, blood, form, sensation
perception, consciousness, etc. He could as, well have
called Nagasena, Surasena, Virasena or Sihasena. He also cites
the analogy of a chariot: a chariot cannot be identified with its
components: pole, axle, wheels, chariot-body, etc. Nagasena
impresses upon the king that the word "chariot" "is but a way of
term, appellation, convenient desigl!ation .... " and
that In exactly the same way ... Nagasena IS but a way of
counting, term, appellation; convenient designation, mere
name for the hair of my head, hair of my body ... brain of the
head, form, sensation, perception, predispositions and Con-
sciousness. But in the absolute sense there is no Ego (self) here
to be found .... " Nagasena explains at Milindapanha 40:
"Just so, 0 king, is the continuity of a person or thing
maintained. One comes into being, another passes away;
and the rebirth is, as it were, simultaneous. Thus neither as
the same nor as another does a man go on to the last phase
of his self consciousness."
The Sainyuttanikaya
(III 3.1.5) explains the concept of
rebirth lucidly:
He whose conduct in body, speech and thought is bad, "at
the breaking up of the body after dying he arises in the
abyss, the bad bourn, the downfall." On the other hand, a
person whose conduct in body, speech and thought is good
"at the breaking up of the body after dying, he arises in a
good bourn in a heavenly world .... "
46 reiterates the position: "Just so, great king,
deeds, good or evil, are done by this name and form and an-
other is reborn. But that other is not entirely released from its
deeds (karma)." The Mahavastu
(III 65) states:
"From what cause is a thing born (jayati)? From what cause
does a thing endure? From what cause is it broken up?
From what cause is it reconstituted?" The Buddha replies,
" ... It is because of ignorance, craving and karma; that is
why ... a thing is born . . . . It endures because of the
karma of life (ayuljkarma) and of the sustenance it gets ....
It is broken up because of the decay of life, of karma, and
because of the deprivation of sustenance .... It is reconsti-
tuted through the non-elimination of ignorance and be-
cause of sUbjection to craving and so it has maturing kar-
The controversy regarding the non-existence of pudgala,
soul, is set out with great clarity in the Kathiivatthu
(1.1.158) in
the question and answers between a Theravadin and Puggala-
vadin. In brief, the Puggalavadin maintains that the soul of a
deceased person transmigrates from this world to another and
vice versa, that it cannot be said that the soul in each transmi-
grating journey is identical with the other, nor can it be said
that they are both identical and different. The Theravadin
avers that, if they be identical there will be no destruction of
life, and concludes that while karmas mature, it is wrong to say
that the transmigrating soul is the same. Kathiivatthu 1.1.170
sums up:
"At the dissolution of each aggregate,
If then the 'person' doth disintegrate,
Lo! by the Buddha shunned, the Nihilistic creed.
At the dissolution of each aggregate,
If then the 'soul' doth not dIsintegrate,
Eternal, like Nibbana, were the soul indeed."
While the Buddha repudiated any belief in an immutable
and abiding soul, he also rejected the view that there was no
consciousness principle apart from the material body, or that
consciousness was only a function of material aggregates. This
is conclusively established by the phenomenon of memory of
previous births or past incarnations. In the Anguttaranikaya
(V.IIL23) the Buddha teaches that one can, through self con-
centration, call to mind one's various temporary states in a pre-
vious existence, such as one birth, two births, three, four ... a
thousand or a hundred thousand births, and about one's name,
family, caste, mode of earning livelihood, age, etc. This is reaf-
firmed in another passage in the Anguttaranikaya
wherein it is averred that through yoga " ... he calleth to mind
the various appearances and forins of his previous births .... "
The Visuddimagga
(XI 371) also speaks of acquiring insight
into repeated births through developing concentration and (XI
372) of desiring to obtain rebirth in the Brahma world.
126 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
It is important to note that all the Buddhist schools unani_
mously repudiated the materialism of the Carvakas, who main-
tained that consciousness was merely a product of the combina_
tion of physical elements (mahabhiltas) and thCat consciousness
ceases absolutely when the physical constituent elements disin-
tegrate. It would be erroneous to interpret the andtman theory
of the Buddhists in a manner which will lead to their doctrines
being identified with those of Carvakas.
To sum up, the Buddha denied the existence of any eter-
nal, unchanging self or soul. He also repudiated the belief that
there is no self or conscious entity after death. The whole exis-
tence both material and "spiritual" has been aptly compared to
the current of a river (nadi soto viya),38 which is constantly
changing and yet continuous. This was entirely in keeping with
the doctrine of dependent origination (pratitya samutapdda), in-
asmuch as everything in this universe including the conscious
self is, at any moment of time, in the process of continuous
change. In other words, there does not exist a continuous, abid-
ing unchanging personal entity: the pudgala of the Buddhists,
like dharmas or material categories, is always in a state of flux;
only the rate of change differs and is not always patently mani-
The biological phenomenon of metamorphosis in the case
of butterflies and frogs from the time of their birth to the stage
of adulthood provides vivid examples of physical changes in an
Similar, though less pronounced, changes are also
visible not only in the physical characteristics of human beings,
but also in their personality, their mental and moral make-up.
At birth, the personalities of children are not distinguishable;
they have physical differences in their shape, colour, size,
weight, etc., but their personality or character as a function of
moral and mental nature, are undeveloped, dormant and ap-
parently similar. As they grow, their personality differences,
and hence their individuality, manifest themselves. In fact, it
can be said that growth means changes in physical and mental
characteristics; as a person grows, his personality characteris-
tics, and hence his individuality, become more pronounced,
and passion, anger, greed, detachment, fear, courage, etc., ex-
hibit themselves in varying degrees in different individuals. In
other words, as a being grows, his body and character undergo
change and progressively become more marked and individ-
ualized. So, while an individual is undergoing continuous
changes of personality, physical, mental and moral, there is a
continuity of each personality in his own memory and in the
perception of his fellow beings. It is this individuality of an
existent being which is a surviving sub-stratum ''pudgala,'' but
which is perishable and which ceases to exist in nirva.Q.a ..
Thus, pudgala, self or consciousness undergoes changes in
an individual body from the time of birth, in childhood,
growth, maturity and death. This pudgala is the suk:;ama sarira
of the Yoga school. It is the bhutatman of the Maitri It
is this pudgala that transmigrates at death and undergoes re-
birth (punarjanma) in accordance with one's deeds. It is this
that is the storehouse of memory and of accumulated
karmas. It is on the sundering of the bonds of the (craving
for existence) that binds the skandhas, elements of conscious-
ness, together that a person attains nirva.Q.a. There are weighty
grounds for arriving at this conclusion.
The Mahavagga (1. 2. 3) of the Vinayapitaka says that the
supreme happiness is attainable by eliminating or driving out
(vinayo) the concept or notion (mana) "I am" (asmi): the ego, or
ahainkara. The Alagaddupamasutta of the Majjhimanikaya (1. 22)
(P.T. Society text, p. 139) says that a is emancipated
when he abandons (pahZno) the concept of ego (asmi mano). The
context leaves no room for doubt that in this sutta (text, p. 135)
the Buddha is speaking of the individual self when he describes
the six wrong views (ditthitthanani) concerning rupa, vedana,
etc., thus: etam mama, eso 'ham asmi, eso me atta ("this is mine," "I
am this," "this is my self.") The emphasis is on the ego or the
individual self as distinct from the impersonal, universal self.
This is further clear from the same sutta (text, p. 138): Attani va
bhikkhave satilattaniyam-me ti assasati: "If there is recollection of a
self, this is: 'the self is myself.' " Notice that the emphasis is on
the self of mine and not on the self which could mean both the
great, impersonal, universal self, the paramatman, and the indi-
vidual self, atman or atma. The Chachakka sutta of the MaJjhima-
nikaya (III.148) (text, p. 284) makes it clear that the rise or
origination of the individual self (sakkayasamudaya) leads to con-
sciousness of individuality: etam mam, eso 'ham asmi, eso me atta. It
is reiterated in the same sutta that the absence of the sense of
128 JIARS VOL. 7 NO.2
selfhood n'etam mam, etc., suppresses the individual self (saskii-
yanirodhagamini) .
The Dhammapada draws a distinction between the great self
and a self. Dhammapada 160 and 380 say that the self is the lord
of the self (atta hiattiino natho) and the self is the bourn of the
self (atta hi attano gati). Dhammanada 379 avers that the self
stimulates and controls the self (attana codayattanam pativase at-
tamattana). What does not exist eternally is an individual self.
As the Samyuttanikaya (III. 130) says, "There is nowhere to be
found in the Khandas, 'I am.' "
Harivarman (3rd Century A.D.), in the Satyasiddhisastra
(34-35), discusses the pudgala controversy in the Buddhist
schools, and defines atman as an integration of five aggregates:
"Action and fruition are all possible when the five aggregates
are at work in succession." He warns, "If the soul is nominal,
simply none would incur the sin in killing a cow." He also
emphasises (ibid., 84) that "the sense of T is activity (injita), etc.;
wherein exists the sense of 'I,' therein is activity, the mind's act
... abode of greed. What is manifested is termed abode of
Vasubandhu, who, in the Pudgalaviniscaya of Abhidharma-
kosa, had mounted a massive attack on the doctrine of atman,
recognised that total denial of a self would lead to erosion
of responsibility for karmas,42 and absence of belief in a condi-
tioned self (samvrtim) would lead the tender child of moral mer-
it to perish.
He recognises that the Buddha did not deny the
existence of an empirical self (bhuta prajnaptikalJ). He continues:
obscured by ignorance, the empirical 9r conditioned self is
wandering about in the cycle of existence.
Further, the collec-
tion of skandhas or elements called sattva (conditioned or em-
pirical self), wanders about on account of the force of craving.
Vasubandhu goes on to explain the dangerous implications of a
belief in a permanent self or ego. He says that the idea of a self
is followed by the idea of "mine."46 Again: "Further, where the
idea of mine has taken firm hold, there arises bondage to all
that is deemed mine and takes a person further away from
Kamalaslla, in his panjika on Tattavasamgraha
3338 of
explains the concept of no-soul as appertaining to
.... All these afflictions-love, hate and the rest-have
their root in wrong notions of the soul, as has been found
through positive and negative concomitance; ... if ... a
soul existed, there would be constant appearance of the
afflictions of love, etc. ... they (the afflictiOns) really pro-
ceed from the wrong notion of the soul. For instance, un-
less one has the notion ofT, ... he cannot have the idea of
anything being conducive to bringing pleasure to himself,
and he cannot be attached to it as his 'own'; hatred also
towards anything does not appear unless one recognises
that it is conduCIve to bringing pain to himself; because
there can be no hatred against what is not harmful to what
is his own, or against what removes the harm.
He goes on to add that the notion of the "soul" produces notion
of "one's own" and love for one's own, and this produces hatred
and the rest, and
from this positive and negative concomitance, it is clearly
known to all men ... that all these afflictions-love, etc.-
have their root in the notion of 'one's own', which proceeds
from the notion of one's self or soul.
(3438-3494) observes "It is only when there
are notions of 'I' and 'Mine' that the whole mass of afflictions
becomes operative .... " KamalasIla explains that the doctrine
of no soul is the sole destroyer of afflictions that are the source
of "birth and rebirth." He adds that there is liberation on the
cessation of the "I" notion. He observes the notion of "soul" is
the very root of the "I" notion and that "So long as the mind is
beset with the 'I-notion', the series of birth and rebirth does not
cease .... "
Again, how can there be an accumulation of previous kar-
mas without a corpus in which they accumulate? This corpus is
the empirical self, siJ)vjama sarfra, which is anitya and disinte-
grates on attainment of nirv3.l)a. The conception of nirv3.l)a, in
turn, provides a clear indication of the nature of consciousness,
atma or soul in Buddhism. For example, Milindapanha 321-322
likens nirv3.l)a to a wish-fulfilling tree, which satisfies all desires,
causes delight and is full of lustre; to clarified butter, which is
beautiful in colour, and has a pleasant odor and taste.
This description of nirv3.l)a conceives it as a positive entity
and not as a nothingness. According to the schools of the
Hlnayana, nirvar:ia is an asamskrta dharma, an unconditioned
category which has an objective existence and which can be
obtained by following the path (marga). NirvaQ.a consists of two
such categories: pratisamkhyanyrodha and apratisamkhyanirodha.
Buddhagho!?a recognises that nirvaQ.a can be attained by in-
tense discipline: " ... it cannot be non-existent, as it is realisable
by transcendental intuition, born of unremitting and unflag-
ging perseverance .... " KamalasIla, at Tattvasamgraha panjikii
2748-2749, explains pratisamkhyanirodha as the dissociation (of
the principle of consciousness) from iisravas or (impuri-
ties). The Mahayanist schools only emphasised dharma sunyatii,
the non-existence of any material categories besides pudgala
sunyata. Still, they also accept the concept of nirvaQ.a as termi-
nating the transmigrating process. In brief, nirvaQ.a necessarily
implies belief in an entity which obtains emancipation and, un-
til such consummation, it continues to subsist.
The doctrine of anatmavada, in short, only taught the unre-
ality of an ego, self-consciousness, jiva, ahamkara, a personal
entity as distinct from an undifferentiated consciousness, a nir-
gur;,a atma. It is the jiva that transmigrates. This alone permits a
harmonious interpretation of the Buddha's teaching about self,
atma, without compromising the doctrine of personal responsi-
bility for one's karmas.
The dilemma of the clash between religious belief in karma
and retributive rebirth, which was the foundation of Buddhist
ethics, and the doctrine of anatta as elaborated by the adherents
of the Abhidharma, drove the Buddhist philosophers to invent
new concepts, more precisely, new terminology; these were es-
sentially a euphemistic variant of the pudgala doctrine they had
The Sthaviravadins adopted the concept of bhavanga, 49
factor of existence, the link in the chain of transmigration and
rebirth. The Sarvastivadins or Vaibha!?ikas speak of avijnapati,
unmanifested hidden power, also called prapti; a force having
the quality of adhesion, or binding the skandhas. The Sammi-
tIyas evolved the concept of cittaviprayukta, an undifferentiated
dharma, so called because it is dissociated from differentiating
thought. This cittaviprayukta was also deemed to be indestructi-
ble (aviprar;,asa). The Sautrantikas postulated sarvabijaka, which
possesses all seeds of causation and birth, each seed being a
It was also called ekarasa skandha, that is, that which
makes all skandhas one unified or integrated entity. It is also
called mulantika skandha, that is which is the base of all aggre-
All these new concepts or terms, bhavanga, cittaviprayukta,
avijiwpti, prapti, sarvabijaka, etc., were, in my opinion, semantic
inventions or coining of new terminology to provide a carrier
of karmas at the death of an individual. Their function was
essentially similar to that of the pudgala of the Sarvastivadins
and the sarira, karmar;,a sarira, or linga deha of the Brah-
manical schools. This, however, they could not admit on sectar-
ian grounds. Conze has summarised the position in this respect
succinctly and graphically:
All these theoretical contributions were attempts to
combine the doctrine of 'not self' with the almost instinc-
tive belief in a 'self' empirical or true. The climax of this
combination of the uncombinable is reached in such con-
ceptual monstrosities as the 'store-consciousness' (alaya-vi-
jiiana) of Asariga and a minority of Yoga car ins, which per-
forms all the functions of a 'self' in a theory which almost
vociferously proclaims the non-existence of such a 'self'.
A conclusive confirmation of the Buddhist belief in a trans-
migrating entity after death and which "suffers" the conse-
quences of its karmas is to be found in the exposition of the
Buddhist beliefs by the early Chinese Buddhists and in the
practices current among the people of Buddhists lands at pres-
The pre-Buddhist Chinese did not believe in karma and
rebirth, but by the 4th-5th century A.D., the Chinese philos-
opher Hui-yuan could write, in his Spirit Does not Perish,50 that
the differences among individuals, i.e., diversity, in the uni-
verse, can be explained on the basis of the doctrine of karma
and of the mysterious transmigration of skandhas after death.
The Sadddharma-smrtyupasthiina-sutra,51 translated into the Chi-
nese in the 6th century A.D., also asserts an intermediate state
of the soul after a man's death and before his soul is reincarnated.
The post-mortem practices in vogue in Buddhist lands at
present are evidently founded on a belief in the existence of a
132 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
transmigrating soul. These practices are similar to those of the
sraddha ceremonies observed by the Hindus in India, who be-
lieve in the existence of an atma, or soul. Thus, in Thailand,52
gifts are presented, sermons preached and C chants uttered to
benefit the spirit of the deceased; the religious services are
believed to improve the status of a soul in its next birth, and a
minimum of seven days must elapse before it can take rebirth.
Likewise, in Burma,53 the death and funeral ceremonies-reci-
tation of paritta and dana (charity)-have the same objective in
view. The relatives of the deceased also seek to transfer their
merit to the soul. It is also believed that the soul of the deceased
remains near its house for five to seven days after the funeral.
The Tibetans
also believe that the soul of a deceased exists in
the state of "middle being"-intermediate state, antarabhava-
for up to 49 days; prayers are offered and rites performed to
secure a good rebirth for it.
l. Shwe Zan Aung, Compedium of Philosophy (London, 1956) Introduc-
tory Essay, p. 7.
2. The Contemporary Review, XXIX, 1877 "On Niroa'I}L and in the Bud-
dhist Doctrine of Groups, the Sankharas, Karma and the Paths," pp. 249-70.
Quoted by L.A. De Silva, The Problem of Self in Buddhism and Christianity (Lon-
don, 1979), p. 37.
3. Na tvatratma va atmiyam
4. sunyamadhyatmakam, sunyam bahiragatam
5. asti karma, asti karakasti nopabbhyate
6. Yatha rupadinyeva samastani samuditani ksiramiti udakamiti va prajiiapyate
tatha skandha eva pudgala iti prajiiapyante iti siddham
7. tassa ca napi atitabhavato idha sankanti athi, napi tato hetum vina idha
8. tadetam napi purimabhava idhagatam, napi tato kamma-sankhara napi-vi-
syadhihetum vina patubhutam ti veditabbam
9. etha ca santana-bandhato nathi ekata napi nanata
10. S.N. Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy (Delhi, 1975) Vol. I, pp.
88 and 123. He points out that all the sense functions and the body are rooted
in consciousness, and therefore that viiiiiana (consciousness) is not a part of
11. H.C. Warren, Buddhism in Translations (New Yark, 1963) p. 184. Also
see P. Maung Tin, The Path of Purity (London, 1931) 3 Vols.
12. Warren, pp. 185-186.
13. P. Maung Tin, Pt. III, pp. 726-727.
14. Lord Chalmers, Further Dialogues of the Buddha (London, 1927) Vol.
II. See also Anguttaranikiiya 3.4.6, Devadutasuttam, in Devadutavagga.
15. E. Conze (ed.), Buddhist Texts Through the Ages (London, 1954), p. 66.
See also Oldenberg, Vinayapitaka (London; 1969).
16. Conze, pp. 66-67.
17. Conze;p. 67.
18. Coomaraswamy & Horner, The Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha
(Bombay, 1956) p. 172.
19. Coomaraswamy & Horner, p. 176.
20. Kinnu Satta ti paccesi miiraditti gatam nu te II suddltasankhiira PU!I:Jo yam
nagidha sattu palaMati II Yathii hi angasamMiirii II hoti saddo ratlw iti II evam
khandesu santesu II hoti satta ti sammuti II Leon Feer (ed.), The Sainyuttanikiiya,
V.IO, 1884; tr. by C.A.F. Rhys Davids, The Kindred Savings (P.T.S., London,
21. Leon Feer (ed.) ibid., 1890.
22. Seyyathiipi bhikkhave makkato ariififie pavane caramano sakham ga"ywti
tam muficitva afifiam ganhati II Evam eva klto bhikkhave yad idam vuccati cettam iti pi
mana iti pi vififiiinam iti pi I I II rattiya ca divasassa ca iififiad uppajjati afiiwm
niru}jhati II Leon Feer (ed.), 1888. Coomaraswamy & Horner (tr.), p. 197.
23. Yathii kM!'iisavo bhikkhu Kayassa Medii ucchijjati vinassati na hate param
mararzii ii. II
24 .... na hi Bhagava evam vadedvya KMrziisavo bhikku Kayassa Meda ucchij-
jati vinassati na holi param mararzii ti. Ibid., XXII, 85 (7).
25. Kathan pana yo etesu vimuyhati ... C'Utiya tiiva vimulho, sabbattha khan-
dhanam bhedo mararam ti cutim aga"ywnto, satto marati; sattassa dehantarasan ka-
manan ti iidini vikappeti H.C. Warren &.D.D. Kosambi (ed.), Visuddhimagga of
(Harvard, 1950).
26. See also P. Maung Tin, Pt. III, p. 650.
27. . .. sassato satta ti ganhanto oliyatinama; ucchijjati ti ga"ywnto atidhiivati
nama. The translation is that of S.Z. Aung, Compedium of Philosophy (P.T.S.,
London, 1910).
28. Atho kho Milindo raja ayasmantam Nagasenam etad-avoca Sace bhante
Niigasena puggalo no palabbhati .... ko sflam rakkhati ko Mavanam anuyufijati ko
maggaphala nibbanani saccikarotti, ko paTfam hanati, flO adinnam adiyati, ko kiimesu
micchii carati, ko musa Marati, ko ma}jam pivati, ko pafica-nantariya Iwmmam karoti
tasma na-tt/!i kusalam, na-tthi akusalam; na tti kusala kusalanam kammanam katta va
karestii va natthi sukatadukkatanam kammanam phalam vipako II
29. Evam eva kho mahiiraja dhamma santoti sandahati, afiiio uppajjati m1110
nirujjhati apubbarh acarimain viya sandahati, lena na ca so no ca. afino pacchima
vinnanasangham gacchatfti.
30. So kiiyena doccaritam carata (?) vacaya duccaritam caritva, rnanasa duccari-
tarn cm1tvii kiiyassa Meda pararn rnararzii apayarn duggatim vinipatam uppajjati so
kiiyena .... succaritain caritva vacaya succaritain caritvii manasii succaritarn caritvd
kayassa Medii param rnara1}ll suggatirn suggarn lokam uppajjati.
31. Evam eva kho mahdr(tja imina ndrnarupera karnrnain karoti subhanarn va
pdpakarn vii tena kamrnena afifiam ndmaruparn patisandahati, lasrna na rnutto papa
kohi karnmeMti. Trenckner (ed.), p. 46 & 72; tr. T.W. Rhys Davids, II-2-6.
134 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
32. J.J. Jones (tr.) (P.T.S., London, 1956).
33. Karmam cilsyablwvati pakvam
34. S.Z. Aung and Mrs. Rhys Davids (tr.), Kathavatthu or Points of Contro_
versy (P.T.S., London, 1915)
(1) Th. (Theravadin): Does (a person or soul) run on (or transmigrate)
from this world to another and from another to this world?
(2) P. (Puggalavadin): Yes.
(3) Th.: Is it the identical sou! who transmigrates from this world to
another and from another to this world?
(4) P.: Nay, that cannot be truly said.
Th.: Then is it a different soul who transmigrates?
P.: Nay, that cannot be truly said.
Th.: Then is it both identical and also a different soul who transmi-
grates .... ?
P.: Nay, that cannot truly be said.
Th.: Then is it both identical and also a different soul who transmi-
grates ....
P.: Nay, that cannot truly be said.
Th.: Then is it neither identical soul nor yet a different soul who
transmigrates .... ?
P.: Nay, that cannot be said.
Th:: Is it the identical, a different, both identical and also different,
neither identical nor different soul, who transmigrates?
P.: Nay, that cannot be said ....
Th.: Surely if the identical soul, without (becoming) different, trans-
migrates when deceasing hence to another world, there will then be
no dying; destruction of life will cease to take place. There is action
(karma); there is action's effect; there is the result of deeds done. But
when good and bad acts are maturing as results, you say that the very
same (person) transmigrates-this is wrong.
35. Hare (tr.), The Book of the Gradual Savings (P.T.S., London, 1934) Part
36. Woodward (tr.), The Book of the Gradual Savings (P.T.S., London,
1934) Pt. V.
37. P. Maung Tin, p. 429.
38. Quoted from S.Z. Aung, p. 8
39. In the case of a butterfly, it is first an egg, then a caterpillar, there-
after a pupa (chrysalis) and finally a butterfly. Likewise, a frog passes through
following changes from the time of its birth: larva, tadpole with gills, tadpole
with a tail acting as a sucker, tadpole with hind legs, tadpole with forelegs
when the tail disappears, and finally frog. After reaching adulthood, both are
relatively stable, but gradually undergo the aging process, and are therefore
in a continuous process of change. In fact, even inanimate objects are also
always in a state of flux.
40. This concept has been explained in Tibetan Buddhism, wherein the
enduring and transmigrating spiritual entity is called Rgyud gcig-tu-gyur-pa or
Ekotibhiiva. Ekotibhava means the continued connection of one with another
without break or division. A vry'iiiina (consciousness) existing from eternity has
undergone numberless transmigrations. In all its births, it has run through an
unbroken line of existence until it enters nirv;ll)a. As S.C. Das explains, " ...
every being (sattva) is the reembodiment of its own resultant sattva, of which
the origin is lost in eternity." Sarat Chandra Das, Indian Pandits in the Land of
Snow (Calcutta, 1965) (reprint) pp. 84-85.
41. N. Aiyaswami Sastri (ed. & tr.), Satyasiddhisiistra (Oriental Institute,
Baroda, 1975).
42. BhramSam Karmaniim
43. Bhramsam kuialapotasya.
44. avidyiinivaTTfiiniim sattviiniim sandhiivatiim sansaratiim.
45. Sattviikhyalf skandhasamudiiyastr!fTfopiidiinalf sansarati.
46. iitmani ca satyiitmfyam bhavati
47. Evamesam dr4hatariitmiitmfya sneha parigiihita bandhaniiniim mok!jo durfb-
48. G. Jha: Tattvasamgraha of Siintarak!jita with Commentary of KamalaHla. 2
Vols. (Gaekwad Oriental Series, 1937---':39).
49. E. Conze: Buddhist Thought in India (1962), p. 132 terms it "life con-
50. Richard H. Robinson: Early Miidhyamikii in India and China (1967) pp.
99-108. Hui-Yuan observes " ... the Buddhist doctrine of karmic inheritance
from previous lives decides one's intelligence, and the body is only adopted
after the karmic forces have selected it."
51. E. Conze, Buddhist Texts Through the Ages (London, 1954) p. 283.
52. Kenneth E. Wells, Thai Buddhism: Its Rites and Activities (Bangkok,
1960) p. 213.
53. Melford E. Spiro: Buddhism and Society (New York, 1970) p. 253.
54. Evans Wentz (ed.), Bardo Thodol: The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Lon-
don, 1957) pp. 6,39 ff. S.C. Das, ibid., p. 89. L.A. Waddell, Lamaism, or the
Buddhism of Tibet (New York, 1974) (reprint) pp. 488-494.
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Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984)
by Luciano Petech
Now and then some towering personalities appear, who leave
their mark in more than one field of research, with equal inten-
sity and equally lasting influence. One such man was Professor
Giuseppe Tucci.
Tucci was born at Macerata in Central Italy on June 5th,
1894. He received a good humanistic education, and until the
end of his long life he maintained an uncommon mastery of
Latin and Greek, although he seldom chose to show it. He was a
precocious boy and at the age of 17 he published his first arti-
cle, a study of Latin inscriptions found near his native town.
Already at that time he felt the attraction of Oriental thought.
He graduated fwm the University of Rome and almost at once
. showed himself to be quite at home in such widely different
fields as Avestic, Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan. His main inter-
est lay, and alwa.ys remained, in subjects connected with philos-
ophy and religion, although later he developed also a penchant
for historical studies. His life and work can be roughly divided
into five periods.
1) After having taken an honorable part in the First World
War as a subaltern in the Italian army, he started an untiring
publishing activity, which lasted with few breaks until his
last years of life. At first he seemed to feel his way in several
directions, being attracted mainly by Chinese philosophy. His
translation of Mencius (1921) and his history of early Chinese
philosophy (1922) can still be read with some profit. Then he
turned increasingly to Indian studies, being chiefly interested
in Mahayana Buddhism.
2) This trend was confirmed and became paramount
when in 1925 he went to India, where he taught Italian lan-
guage and literature at the universities of Shantiniketan and
138 JIABS VOL. 7 NO. 2
Calcutta. His long stay in India, which lasted till 1930, brought
to full maturation his scientific personality and gave him that
intimate knowledge not only of religious and literary texts, but
also of the living spirituality among the common people, ac-
quired in the course of his rambles on foot and by boat in the
lower Ganges valley. He was in close contact with Rabindranath
Tagore, of whose friendship he was particularly proud. The
result of his Indian years was a series of accurate and philologi-
cally impeccable editions of Mahayana texts, with constant use
of the Tibetan and Chinese translations to correct and com-
plete corrupted or lacunous Sanskrit manuscripts. At the same
time he never neglected another task, that of making Eastern
thought better known in his country; we may only mention his
little book on Buddhism (1926), a fine but perhaps premature
effort. His growing fame was acknowledged at home; in 1929
he became one of the first members of the newly-founded
Academy of Italy, and upon his return home he was given in
1931 the chair of Chinese at the Oriental Institute in Naples,
from where he was soon called to the University of Rome as
professor of Religions and Philosophies of India and the Far
East; he taught there till his final retirement in 1969.
3) During his stay in India he had already made two trips
(1928,1930) to Ladakh, Rupshu and Lahul; a third followed in
1931. In this way he came to be deeply interested in Tibetan
studies, which till then had been afield reserved to academic
scholars or else to explorers with mainly geographical interests.
He was the first to combine both qualities. After his return
from India he dedicated himself with characteristic energy to
the task of organizing, with private and public means, a series
of expeditions in the Himalayas. This was the Tibetan period in
his life, lasting approximately from 1932 to 1950. As he felt his
activity somewhat cramped in the rather rigid frame of the
university, in February 1933 he founded the Italian Institute
for the Middle and Far East (IsMEO), intended to be a center
for research and cultural exchanges with Asia. Four missions to
Tibet followed with a regular biennial cadence: 1933 and 1935
to Western, 1937 and 1939 to Central Tibet; their aim was the
artistic exploration of those countries. The second World War
interrupted the series of expeditions, but not his scholarly activ-
ity, although he had to go through a rather difficult and un-
pleasant period. As soon as things became settled, he resumed
his activity in the field, culminating with his mission to Lhasa
and to various temples and monasteries of Central Tibet
(1948). It was his last opportunity; shortly afterwards the inte-
gration of Tibet into the Chinese republic put an end to any
possibility of further missions.
In Tibet Tucci felt at home. Tibetans accepted him
warmly, marveling at a Western traveler who would hold dispu-
tations with learned lamas in their own language on difficult
points of religion. On the other side, it was characteristic of
Tucci's enormous capacity for work that the years between each
mission were utilized for writing and publishing his fascinating
travel accounts, and for making available at once the scientific
results obtained; they were mostly included in the seven vol-
umes of the series Indo-Tibetica (1932-1941). The enforced rest
at the end of the war gave him the leisure for compiling his
magnum opus, Tibetan Painted Scrolls (1949); in spite of its un-
pretentious title, it is a real summa of the art, literature, religion
and history of Tibet. It was a landmark in Tibetological studies.
But even after this great effort he never quit this field, where
he remained active till almost the end.
4) The new circumstances compelled Tucci to look for
another field for his never-abating activity, and he found it in
Nepal, mainly in border areas inhabited by Tibetans. His two
missions in that region (1952 and 1954) started a trend of re-
search which was almost at once taken up and continued by his
pupils Raniero Gnoli and Luciano Petech. In this period he also
produced some works of synthesis on a large scale, such as his
history of Indian philosophy and his monograph on the theory
and practice. of the maQ.<;lala.
5) The Nepalese period was rather short, perhaps because
of the relatively limited scope of this field. Soon, starting from
the connections between Tibet and U<;l<;liyana (Swat), the home
of Padmasambhava, he turned to the absorbing problems con-
cerning the interacting cultures in the areas on both sides of the
present Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In 1955 he carried out a
preliminary survey of possible sites for excavation in Swat, se-
lecting with an almost uncanny archaeological flair the most
promising ones: Mingora and Udegram. This was the start for
a rapidly increasing activity, carried out through a special Cen-
140 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
ter for Studies and Excavations in Asia, set up within the
IsMEO under Tucci's overall control. For many years, till he
was well over eighty, he went out year after year to direct per-
sonally in the field the various enterprises oflhe Center, which
extended gradually to other sites in Pakistan, and then to Af-
ghanistan (1957) and Iran (1959). Restoration work was also
undertaken, for which a highly specialized team was organized
(e.g., restoration of Persepolis; rehabilitation of the main build-
ings in the historical center of Isfahan). Tucci was everywhere,
organizing, directing, inspiring. Another important step was
the creation, due to his initiative, of the National Museum of
Oriental Art in Rome, to which the archaeological collections of
the IsMEO were entrusted on deposit. It is to be deeply regret-
ted that later political events in Afghanistan and Iran interrupt-
ed excavations in these two countries.
Publication of the excavation and conservation results was
of course left to the archaeologists who collaborated with Tucci,
while he himself slowly receded into the background. He re-
mained active till his last days, chiefly in preparing revised edi-
tions of older works that had been long out of print, but also
working at a new study (Eros and Thanatos in India) that was
interrupted by his death. Of course, he realized the limits im-
posed upon him by advancing o ~ d age; in 1978 he retired from
active work, relinquishing the presidency of the IsMEO. But
even as honorary president he continued to follow the work of
his successors, and his advice was taken on every major issue.
Two years ago an untoward accident (a broken femur badly set)
confined him to his home at San Polo dei Cavalieri, in the hills
north of Rome, where he was devotedly tended by his wife; and
there he died on the 5th of April, 1984.
Tucci's scientific achievements were recognized all over the
world and brought him many acknowledgements. He was doc-
tor h.c. of the universities of Kolozsvar (now Cluj), Delhi, Lou-
vain, Teheran and Kathmandu; member of many academies
and learned societies in Europe, Asia and America; recipient of
the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for international understanding
(1978) and of the Bazan Award for history (1979). He accepted
all honours, but remained superior to them and never spoke on
this theme. Being always attracted by philosophical thought
and above all by Buddhism, he understood and respected
the numinous element in all creeds and in all countries. As a
teacher, he gave university lectures that were absorbing and
stimulating. But he did not lay great store upon academic
teaching, and the best portion of his formative work with his
pupils was done in the course of personal encounters in his
home; he opened to them a liberal access to his amazingly rich
library, which he later donated to the IsMEO.
Italy and the learned world at large have lost with him a '
great scholar, an inspiring force in many directions of research,
and above all a man who was intensely human, in the best and
highest meaning of the word.
A complete bibliography of Tucci's books and articles
down to 1970, compiled by the present author, is found in G.
Tucci, Opera Minora, Rome 1972. It was continued down to
1974 in the preface to Gurunijamaiijarika: studi in onore di Giu-
seppe Tucci, Naples 1974. A complete and final bibliography is
being compiled by the IsMEO. A select list of Tucci's most
significant contributions to research (excluding travel accounts,
etc.) is appended below.
Scritti De Mencio, Lanciano, 1921.
Storia della filosofia cinese antica, Bologna, 1922.
Linee di una storia del materialismo indiano, in Memorie del-
l'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1923 and 1929 (partly
reprinted in Opera Minora).
Il buddhismo, Foligno, 1926.
Pre-Diitnaga Buddhist texts on logic from Chinese sources,
Baroda, 1929.
On some aspects of the doctrines of Maitreya [nathaJ and Asanga,
Calcutta, 1930.
The Nyayamukha of Dinnaga, being the oldest Buddhist text on
logic after Chinese and Tibetan texts, Heidelberg, 1930.
(with Vidushekhara Bhattacharya), Madhyantavibhiigasu-
of Sthiramati, London, 1932.
The Abhisamayalankiiraloka of Haribhadra, Baroda, 1932.
Indo-Tibetica, 7 vols., Roma, 1932-194l.
Forme dello spirito asiatico, Milano, 1940.
Asia religiosa; Roma, 1946.
Illibro tibetano dei morti, Milano, 1949 (revised edition, Tor-
ino 1977).
142 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Tibetan Painted Scrolls, 2 vols. and a portfolio, Roma, 1949
(reprinted Kyoto 1981).
Teoria e practica del mar.uj,ala, Milano, 1949 (reprinted Roma
1969; English translation London, 1961, repr. 1969).
Tibetan folksongs from the district of Gyantse, Ascona, 1949
(revised and increased edition, Ascona 1966). .
The tombs of the Tibetan kings, Roma, 1950.
Minor Buddhist Texts, I-III, Roma 1956, 1958, 1971.
Preliminary report on two scientific expeditions to Nepal, Roma,
1956. .
Storia della filosofia india'l'J,a, Bari, 1957 (reprinted Bari
Tibet, Paese delle Nevi, Novara, 1967 (English translation,
London 1967; French translation, Paris 1967).
Il Trono del Diamante, Bari, 1967.
Die Religionen Tibets, in G. Tucci and W. Heissig, Die Reli-
gionen Tibets und der Mongolei, Stuttgart 1970 (French
translation, Paris, 1973; Italian translation, Roma, 1976;
English translation, London, 1980).
Opera Minora, 2 vols., Roma, 1972.
Deb t'er dmar po gsar ma, Tibetan chronicle by bSod nams grags
pa, Roma, 1971. .
Tibet ("Archaeologia Mundi"), French, English and German
editions, Geneva, 1973.
On Swat, the Dards and connected problems, in East and West
27 (1977), pp. 9-85.
Kokan Shiren and Muso Soseki:
"Chineseness" vs. "] apaneseness" in
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century Japan
by David Pollack
The establishment in Kamakura in the early thirteenth
century of the large Zen temples and monasteries built on the
Chinese model and headed by t;migre Chinese monks is usually
interpreted as inaugurating a very Chinese organization on
Japanese soil. Indeed, we tend to think of the entire Zen insti-
tution in Japan-more specifically, the Rinzai-dominated gozan
that began in the Kamakura temples-as a monolithic entity
whose content and form were entirely Chinese, enforced by
stern Chinese masters upon their Sinicized Japanese students.
This is, however, a picture of the Zen establishment that does
not stand up well under closer scrutiny. Even among the
emigre Chinese monks themselves there were some who, like
Ming-chi Ch'u-chun (1261-1336, arrived inJapan in 1330 with
Chu-hsien Fan-hsien) during his short six-year stay in Japan
until his death, appear to have become quite Japanese in their
thinking. I-shan I-ning (1247-'-1317, arrived in Japan 1299)
even wrote poetry about such Japanese personalities as Kobo
Daishi (Kukai) and Shotoku Taishi. The other extreme is rep-
resented by the Chinese monk Wu-an P'u-ning (d. 1276), who
returned embittered after only five years in Japan to the China
he felt he should never have left.
We also can distinguish between the Japanese monks who
made the difficult voyage to China to study, often remaining
there a decade or more before returning, and those who, for
various reasons, never left Japan. The Zen monk J akushitsu
Genko (1290-1367), for example, spent the years 1321-1326
in China. Born a Fujiwara, Jakushitsu was sent to study at Nan-
144 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
zenji in Kyoto under I-shan from 1317 until his departure for
China. One mode of his "Zen" poetry is authentically grouchy,
the equivalent in verse of a master's shout or a rap on the
pupil's head; his "Poem to show to my pupils" offers a good
example of this tone:
To do Zen you've got to be so tough .
That body and mind become tempered like forged steel!
Look at all the Patriarchs who came before you-
Which of them ever fooled around like this?! I
And yet, this same monk, widely admired for his "Chinese"
qualities, was capable of writing poetry in Chinese that reads
for all the world like contemporary Japanese verse rather than
A monk comes knocking at my brushwood gate
Wanting to discuss weighty matters of great Zen import;
Excuse this mountain priest, too lazy to open his mouth,
But warblers are singing all over the blossom-strewn vil-
Except for the fact the J akushitsu's warbler is an uguisu rather
than a hototogisu ("cuckoo"), the final trope might have been
based on atomo no Tabito's poem in the Man'y8shu (1437):
T achibana no
. Hanachiruzato no
Naku hi shi zo 8ku
The days are many .
When I, like the cuckoo
In the village
Strewn with orange blossoms
Cry over unrequited love.
I intend to explore further in this essay the significant differ-
ences in the "Chineseness" and "J a paneseness" of two well-
known Japanese Zen monks, Kokan Shiren and Muso Soseki,
who are among the large group of Japanese Zen monks that
never went to China.
Perhaps no other Japanese Zen monk of the fourteenth
century was as familiar with Sung Chinese neo-Confucian phi-
losophy as Kokan Shiren (1278-1346). While his mentor Enni
Ben'en (1202-1280) is thought to have been the first to bring
the study of neo-Confucianism from China to Japan, it was
Kokan, followirig in Enni's line to become abbot of TOfukuji in
the south of Kyoto in 1332, who studied most closely and tell-
ingly the implications of neo-Confucian thought for Japanese
Few either in Japan or China embodied as did Kokan the
dictum of the Chinese philosopher Ch'eng I (1033-1107) that
"a student must first of all learn to doubt."3 Kokan was widely
read not only in Buddhism but also in Chinese classics and
poetry, and the broad range of commentary on these. His col-
lected works, the Saihokushu, contains his opinions on poetry
and poets, as well as on the anecdotal body of critical opinion
concerning the practice and theory of poetry that is known in
Chinese as shih-hua O. shiwa).4 In his comments, Kokan adopted
from the very outset the rational scepticism of the early Chinese
philosopher Wang Ch'ung (27-100?), whose Lun Heng, or
"Opinions Weighed in the Balance," Kokan adopted as the
model for his own T'ung Heng (TsukO, "Received Opinion
Weighed in the Balance"). Kokan began his very first essay in
poetic criticism with a direct attack upon Chinese received wis-
It has long been held that the Duke of Chou wrote only two
poems, "Ch'i-hsiao" and "Ch'i-yiieh"; that Confucius did
not compose any of the Book of Odes, but merely compiled
the poems; and that people after the Han and Wei dynas-
ties wrote so much poetry because they were frivolous.
These things are not true.
Kokan gave as his reasons for these opinions that it was
highly unlikely anyone would have written only two poems in
his lifetime, so that the Duke of Chou clearly had to have writ-
ten more; that no one could have edited the Odes so well had he
not himself been a poet; and that while there may indeed have
been frivolous poets after the Han and Wei, certainly not all the
poets during that long span were frivolous. These may not
seem like terribly weighty arguments to us today, but to anyone
familiar with the terms of Chinese literary criticism, his com-
ments reveal a habit of thinking plainly and sensibly about sub-
jects that often occasioned a great deal of silly hair-splitting in
China. When it came to suggesting just what could have hap-
pened to all those poems by the Duke of Chou and Confucius,
146 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Kokan's suggestion that they perished in the infamous book-
burnings conducted by the first Ch'in emperor, Shih-huang-ti,
seems at once lame and likely.
Having set this tone of rational scepticism-a stance that
no Japanese had adopted so clearly toward China before, it
should be noted-Xokan turned to his most important point
insofar as poetic theory is concerned: the primacy of li, or "in-
nate principle," as a critical concept to which all other critical
considerations were subordinate:
Sung dynasty critical theories of poetry are not exhaustive
in emphasizing such terms as "plain" (p'u),a "antique" (ku),b
"even" (p'ing)C and "bland" (tan)d while belittling such
terms as "unusual" (ch'i),e "artificial" (kung),f "dynamic"
(hao)g and "beautiful" (li).h Poetry need not be "antique" or
"bland" in its diction any more than it need be "unusual" or
"artificial"-it need only accord with innate principle (li).1
Ancient poetry is generally of a pure nature, and so is
closer to being "plain" and "antique." From the Middle
Period on [i.e., the Six Dynasties], however, poetry came to
contain emotions that the poets were not actually feeling
when they wrote, so that their works are closer to being
"unusual" and "artificial." From time to time, a Sage has
given voice to feelings of protest in poetry, and in so doing
has given new life to true emotions. How then are we to be
constrained by such terms as these? Such men merely
wrote in accordance with li, and so there are ancient poems
that are "plain" without being true, and true poems today
that are not "plain." How could we evaluate everything on
the basis of terms like these?6
Rather than rehearse here separately each of Kokan's at-
tacks on what he clearly considered to be the critical deficien-
cies of his mainland mentors, I shall turn to the very last of
these essays in poetic criticism, in which Kokan expressed his
own ideas concerning the composition of poetry. Rather than
beginning with rules and regulations, Kokan advocated rather
what he called the "purity" and "wholesomeness" of the young,
child, innate qualities that, once developed, could later be pol-
ished, with practice, to maturity:
I have some pupils (Ch. t'ung; J. warabe) who fool about,
joke, chaff, and won't recite their lessons. When I prod and
scold them to write poetry, they say "but we don't know the
rules of tone and meter." When I tell them to forget the
rules and just write out lines with the correct number of
syllables, they grumble and complain. But I do not become
upset, and, m spite of themselves, they present me with
some lines. TheIr poems may be halting, uneven, doltish
and clumsy, and sometimes make no sense at all; but still,
they are often filled with a self-possessed purity and whole-
someness that make me marvel.
Again, when I would have them study calligraphy, they
complain, saying "But we don't know the techniques or
styles." So I tell them to forget about techniques and styles,
and simply try to make theIr characters looK like the mod-
els. As usual, they grumble and complain, but I do not get
upset and, in spite of themselves, they present me with a
few sheets of calligraphy. Their characters may look like
twisted worms or like crows flapping wildly about, and
sometimes don't even resemble characters at all; but still,
the strokes often have a purity and a wholesomeness that
astonish me.
For these reasons, I can only sigh that those who would
study such arts as poetry or calligraphy only do themselves
harm by concentrating on such notions as "artifice" or "un-
usualness." They never attain to the realm of actual cre-
ation this way, and only end by making empty distinctions.
That these children can be so frightfully untutored and yet
have something essentially pure and wholesome within
them results from their simple natures. Thus, I have come
to the conclusion that if a student of poetry does not have
the purity of a child, he cannot speak of "poetry"; and if
one who studies calligraphy does not know the purity of a
child's brushstrokes, he cannot speak of "calligraphy." And
this applies not only to these two arts: the very Way [Tao] is
no different. In studying anything, one must first establish
a pure and wholesome mind and then improve it with
practice. Only in this way will he easily achieve his goaP
Kokan's priorities are clearly original, and would probably
have seemed wrong-headed from the point of view of contem-
porary Chinese criticism, if not actually eccentric. His prefer-
ence for the state of untutored, childlike innocence is a familiar
Taoist one, of course, found in the ancient philosophical texts
of the Lao Tzu and the Chuang Tzu. It also seems, oddly enough,
to echo certain tendencies in contemporary Japanese critical
attitudes, of the sort that had earlier led Kamo no Chomei, in
148 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
explaining the new "yugen style" of waka poetry, to comment
that he "would like to compare this style to the speech of a
lovely child, awkward and without any clear perception, but
lovable in all its helplessness and worth listening to."S While it is
not clear that such a sentiment ought necessarily to be credited
to any particularly Japanese mode of thought, we might recall
that even Murasaki's Genji had found it desirable to train child-
ish innocence to a state of maturity rather than attempt to
impose impossible standards upon the already mature.
At any rate, the clear preference in Sung dynasty critical
texts for the "awkward" or "clumsy" ( c h o ~ over clever contri-
vance, related or not to Taoist thought, or for the "bland" or
"withered" over the "beautiful," is rejected in Kokan'sview as
irrelevant: poetry must simply accord with li or "innate princi-
ple." Nor was Kokan content merely to theorize about such
things, for we find him putting his theory into practice in the
form of hundreds of small poems that focus sharply on individ-
ual objects. These poems follow a Chinese genre, popular dur-
ing the Sung, known as yung-wu shih (eibutsushi, or "poems about
objects"). As was the case with many Sung poets who wrote in
this genre, Kokan seems to have been attempting through these
poems to arrive at a more profound insight into the operation
of li by attending as closely as possible to its individual manifes-
tations in "objects" or "things" (wu).k Consider, for example,
the minute focus in "Evening Stroll in a Summer Garden":
My room so miserable with heat and mosquitoes I can't
do zazen,
I kill the time pacing the gravel paths, hands behind
my back; .
Nothing in the inner garden-something catches my eye-
I look more closely: a single strand of spider web
stretches across the path ...
Again and again in these poems, Kokan insists on the second
look, the closer attention that provides the basis for new and
more profound perceptions. Thus, Kokan's concentration in
"Beginning' of Autumn" is actually a form of meditation that
provides him with novel insight into the nature of the season in
aural terms:
The heat's full intensity hasn't abated one whit,
So whence comes this feeling of coolness?
Taking my time, I concentrate and listen-there it is again:
Falling paulownia leaves and chirping crickets join in a
. new sound. 10
It is very Japanese to fret, as Kokan does, over the failure of the
Chinese agricultural calendar to accord properly with the J apa-
nese seasonal markers; again and again, we are confronted by
autumns that begin without cool weather, springs that start
without plum blossoms. In order to account for these discre-
pancies (which, we should note, are essentially gaps between
Chinese norms and Japanese realities), the poet must discover
some less superficial, more essential indication of the new sea-
son. In this case, it lies not in the weather, or even in the fact
that leaves are falling or crickets chirping-presumably they
have been doing so since late summer. Rather, it is in the new
way that these sounds have combined that the poet senses the
deepest meaning of the arrival of an otherwise imperceptible
autumn. To Kokan, such perceptions were always the result of
the state of deep concentration (samadhi) that came from zazen
To escape the heat I sleep upstairs
Where a slight coolness grows in the night:
A frog's croak echoes in a stone basin,
Moonlight casts patterns through bamboo blinds;
Accepting every sight and sound that's offered,
The more detached, the more I see and hear:
This time of night is so truly still .
I no longer notIce the mosquitoes buzzing round my
Kokan's practice of Zen meditation set in these terms is
very like the neo-Confucian meditation practice of ko-wu, I
known most popularly to Westerners in the story of the Ming
philosopher Wang Yang-ming's attempt to arrive at a more
profound understanding of the nature of bamboo by sitting in
meditation before a clump for several days. Wang eventually
became ill from exhaustion. His failure in this attempt finally
led him to reject such a practice in favor of another formula-
150 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
tion, and illustrates the nature of the difference between neo-
Confucian and Zen meditation. Kokan's poetry reflects his Un-
derstanding of the neo-Confucian reinterpretation of the
Buddhist dialectic of Void and Phenomenal Reality, which is
represented by the complementary technical terms ka
and shi-
kin as this dialectic was integrated into the revised framework of
a supreme moral universal organizing principle, li,and its
manifold expression in "things," wu.
Kokan's philosophical and literary priorities, eccentric as
they may appear from the Chinese point of view, often come as
a breath of fresh air to anyone familiar with the loosely and
often unquestioningly used terms of traditional Chinese liter-
ary criticism. His Chinese scholarship seems all the more re-
markable when we consider that he never went to China. In
1300, at the age of twenty-two, Kokan began to make initial
preparations for "the journey south," as travel to China was
often called, prompted by an acute sense of shame that "only
the most mediocre Japanese monks were going to China" and
determined "to let them know that there are men in J apan."12
Kokan had been constitutionally weak since birth, however.
and given the rigors of the voyage across the sea, decided at the
last moment to stay in Japan to look after his aged mother-an
unusually Chinese sort of filial piety, and curious especially in a
Zen monk. Several of Kokan's disciples would later make the
voyage, however. Shokai Reiken (1315-1386), one of the best
known, returned from a stay of twelve years, having studied
under the most famous Chinese Zen masters of the day, to
report that in all those years, he had never found a Chinese
master the equal of Kokan.
Shokai's evaluation may be dis-
counted as loyal exaggeration, and there is no question that
loyalty to one's Zen master in Japan (as contrasted, for exam-
ple, with filial piety toward a parent) was a matter of supreme
importance in the Japanese temple world. 14 Still, Shokai's asser-
tion is only an early example of numerous statements to come
from Japanese monks who, in increasing numbers, were failing
to find what they had gone to China to seek. To be sure, the
omission of the expected pilgrimage to China was less common
in Kokan's day than it was to be from the middle of the four-
teenth century onward.
It comes as no surprise to learn that the Japanese monks
who did go to China and stay there for any length of time
appear relatively less eccentric in their acquired tastes, and
more conventionally "Chinese." For example, those immediate
or near contemporaries of Kokan who lived in China for a
significant length of t i m e ~ o n e thinks especially of monks like
Sesson Yubai, Betsugen Enshi, Ryuzan Tokken, Chugan En-
getsu and Zekkai Chushin as only the most famous examples
among many-wrote poetry that was more consistently "Chi-
nese" than that written by monks who never left Japan. The
Chinese scholarship of Japanese monks who had studied in
China was generally held in high esteem by their Japanese col-
leagues. For all their attainments, however, even these more
Sinified monks were viewed with something less than complete
enthusiasm by the Chinese, as witness, for example, the Chi-
nese Ch'an monk Ju-Ian's astonished and somewhat backhand-
ed admiration, in a colophon dated 1403 written for the collect-
ed poems of Zekkai Chushin, that his very talented Japanese
colleague's poetry should "bear no trace of Japanese."15 The
Chinese were undoubtedly flattered that "barbarians" could
learn to ape Chinese culture with a fair degree of success, and
the Japanese back home were always gratified by whatever
compliments they could prevail upon the Chinese literati to
write for them. But to the degree that such Japanese monks
were able to appear Chinese, they interest us here less than the
Zen monks who remained in Japan and never attempted to
conceal their essential J apaneseness. That even their colleagues
in Japan seemed to feel that Japanese should act like Japanese
is suggested in a humorous poem by Gido Shushin (1325-88),
entitled "Watching a Crow Bathe" (we should keep in mind
here that the Zen monk, in his shapeless black robe, was often
likened both in poetry and in painting to a black crow):
I've watched you bathe for quite some time, old crow,
And it's going to take some doing to get you white as a gull;
Why not just stay your usual pitch-black self
And avoid giving other birds grounds for suspicion? l()
If we want to understand the role that the Zen monks played
within. the broader cultural context of the relationship of the
Zen establishment to the rest of Japan, rather than merely the
152 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
degree to which they were familiar with Chinese theory and
practice, then it is to these Japanese monks who never went to
China that we must turn.
Kokan Shiren became famous as a scholar of Buddhist
history, and is still best known for his history of the religion in
Japan, the Genko ShakushO of 1322. Kokan stated in his intro-
duction to the work that he was shamed into writing it by the
surprise expressed by the Chinese emigre monk I-shan I-ning
that there was still no such history inJapan. Kokan began study'
with this Chinese monk soon after the latter's arrival inJapan in
1299, sent to Japan as an official envoy by the Yuan govern-
ment, which was aware, on the evidence of the large numbers
of monks flocking to China, that Japan thought of itself as a
Buddhist country.
Kokan and I-shan appear to have gotten on well, and it was
Kokan who eventually composed the best-known biographical
account of I-shan's life. From this account, the world was to
learn that I-shan was at least as devoted to literary pursuits as
he was to the practice of Zen:
The Master was of an infinitely gentle and compassionate
nature. Other Zen masters in our time have tended to be
severe and strict, as befits their religious duties, and did
not spare the rod. The Master, however, sat alone in his
chair and did not permit visits. Newly arrived from abroad,
his comings and goings were irregular. If others insisted
on coming to him for instruction, it was not his style of Zen
to probe for hidden meanings, but merely to keep them
busy about the temple ("garden," en). There are many who
often toy with secuIar wntings to the detriment of the Zen
life. The Master, however, desired to promote logical prin-
ciples (li) in order to set doubts asiae. Since hIS spoken
Japanese was poor, he spent his days and nights poring
over the most minute aspects of temple correspondence,
dashing off replies in his harmonious and graceful style ..
He was widely versed not only in the texts of the Buddhist
canon, but also in the writings of the Confucian and Taoist
philosophers, classical and vernacular fiction, and even the
sorts of tales told by story-tellers.!7
At about the same time that Kokan began his studies with I-
shan, another young monk, Muso Soseki (1275-1351), also
made his way to Engakuji Temple in Kamakura, attracted by
reports of the fame of the newly-arrived Chinese Zen master.
Like Kokan, Muso was born into the aristocracy, an important
indication of the religious atmosphere in the Kyoto Zen tem-
ples of their day, for the children of the aristocracy were usual-
ly exposed to Tendai and Shingon Buddhism long before they
embarked upon the study of Zen.IS Five years before Muso
came to Kamakura, his teacher, a great favorite of the young
man's, suffered a stroke that left him, as Muso was to write
later, "unable to write even a single character," a perception
that speaks for the strength of Muso's early literary orientation.
The shock of this event drove Muso into a period of asceticism
that finally ended in the Zen monasteries of Kamakura, where
he became one of approximately forty Japanese that I-shan
accepted as students after weeding out the numerous candi-
dates by means of an examination in Chinese versification.
The ability to write Chinese well was undoubtedly a requi-
site for study with the emigre Chinese Zen masters, for the
common written language had to serve as the sole medium of
. communication between the master and his pupils. The custom
of what was called hitsuwa, or "brush talk," had already long
been in use between Chinese and Japanese, the usual verbal
give-and-take of Zen training carried out in writing instead. As
the Ch'an monk Ming-chi Ch'u-chiin wrote in a poem to his
Japanese patron atomo Sadamune,
I came ten thousand leagues across the sea to these shores
Knowing nothing of the language that you speak;
All I could make out as a babble of "ba-ba-ba,"
Couldn't catch more than a lot of "ri-ri-ri!"19
With brush and ink as a substitute for the spoken word, Ming-
chi continued,
To communicate my feelings, I took up a brush to say what
was on the tip of my tongue,
And you caught my ideas by listening to my words with
your eyes.
I-shan's method of selecting his students is the first known
example of a Chinese monk's actually setting would-be students
examinations in Chinese poetry, a practice long established in
the Chinese civil-service examinations. Muso was one of only
two candidates that I-shan placed in what he called his "top
154 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
grade" of students, for his facility in Chinese poetry one can
only presume. It was not long, however, before Muso began to
evince difficulties with his practice of Zen, and by 1303 he was
in serious distress over what he took to be I-shan's stern and
inhumane insistence on maintaining the unyielding style of
Zen, often called the "pure Sung style," preferred in the Kama-
kura Zen monasteries, all of which were founded by Chinese
masters. The Zen practiced in those monasteries could scarcely
be called "pure" any more than Ch'an Buddhism as it was prac-
ticed in China was free of elements from T'ien-t'ai and Pure
Land Buddhism. In comparison with the styles of Zen that were
developing within the Kyoto temples patronized by the court
nobility, however, the Zen of Kamakura did probably seem
harshly alien to the Japanese of Muso's day, so that "Chinese"
would seem a more appropriate label for it than "Sung." In
view of Kokan's later evaluation of I-shan's "gentle and com-
passionate" nature, it may be that the Chinese monk had simply
not yet lived in Japan long enough to have had the sharp cor-
ners of his alienness smoothed down, and so seemed needlessly
Whatever the case, when Muso eventually came to I-shan
for encouragement and answers to his questions, the Chinese
monk only responded, in the best Ch'an manner, "There is no
word, no Law, that I can give you." Muso begged for "compas-
sion, some expedient," but I-shan only responded "No compas-
sion! No expedients!"20 This dramatic episode reveals a side of
I-shan we do not find in Kokan's biography, but is supported in
other anecdotal material. On one occasion of the traditional
lecture to the assembled monks of the temple on the festival of
the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month, for example, I-shan, as was
the custom, prefaced his talk with a poem suited to the occa-
sion, full of traditional Chinese imagery. After I-shan had
recited his poem
There suddenly appeared a monk who objected, "You
aren't talking about Zen Buddhism! You're only talking
about literary matters!"
"Blind fool," retorted I-shan, "It is you who do not see the
Way! I recite my poetry for those who can understand
Muso was never to resort to the traditional Zen style of
refusal, paradox, shouts and blows. Rather, his own Zen was
affable, chatty, simple and accommodating, qualities that would
help draw Japan's new Ashikaga rulers to him. These were
provincial warriors, without much sophistication in matters of
Buddhism, but with great aspirations to aristocratic culture,
and ready to learn.
The distinction Kokan drew between the
demeanor of I -shan and the sterner Zen monks of his day
would have applied as well to Muso, the many extant statues
and portraits of whom reveal a gentle-looking man of extreme-
ly courtly bearing, almost comical with his long face and point-
ed dome, and looking as though he could not harm a fly, in
contrast to the serious, awesome, and even ferocious faces that
so often glower on such likenesses.
In no mood for blows or riddles from I-shan, Muso turned
in his distress to the more congenial Zen style of the Japanese
monk Koho Kennichi (1241-1316), who was then in residence
at Kamakura. Koho, as we might have expected, was also born
into the aristocracy-in fact, he is thought to have been a son of
Emperor Go-Daigo. Like Muso, too, Koho had never been to
China. Perhaps it was because of their similar backgrounds that
they to seem to have gotten along well; whatever the case, in
1306 Muso was given Koho's seal in confirmation of his enlight-
Tamamura Takeji has interpreted Muso's failure under
the tutelage of I-shan as an inability to deal with Zen in its
"Chinese" form.23We have already seen, however, that I-shan's
style, as abrasively alien as it may have seemed to Muso, was
scarcely free of all sorts of admixtures, from esoteric Buddhism
to Neo-Confucianism. In fact, I-shan's style was eventually to
prove congenial enough to courtly Japanese sensibilities that in
1313 he became the first Chinese monk invited to head any of
the Kyoto Zen temples patronized by the aristocracy, in this
case, Nanzenji. Nor did I-shan's style, apparently quite tradi-
tionally "Zen" according to the following anecdote, appear to
frighten Muso's teacher Koho, whose encounter with I-shan in
1299 is recorded in the Japanese monk's biography:
I-shan was placed in charge of Kenchoji [in Kamakura].
One day Koho went to pay him a visit. I-shan asked him,
"What sort of instruction do you usually give your pupils?"
Koho reflied, "In my cave the colors of the mountains are
beautifu in any season. The sounds of all the creeks be-
156 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
yond the clouds are cold!" I-shan asked, "Doesn't that sort
of thing dazzle people these days?" Koho replied, "It in-
creases the value of the Treasury of the Eye of the True
Law [Shobogenzo]!" I-shan shouted "Chieh!" [katsu, a tradi-
tional Zen shout, here indicating approval]; Koho shouted
back. After they had drunk some tea, I-shan asked, "Is the
grass sweet to the water-buffalo?" Koho replied, "It's slept
its fill, the sun is setting, but I can't get it to go back home."
I-shan said, "It just !leeds a sharp whipping!" Thereupon,
Koho roared, put hIS head down and butted I-shan, bowl-
ing him over. I-shan laughed uproariously.24
For all of this very Zen-like behavior-shouts, enigmatic state-
ments and the like-we have seen that Kokan's description of 1-
shan lingers-approvingly, we might imagine-on I-shan's fa-
miliarity with the practice of a broad range of literature. Yet,
even with his penchant for setting his pupils to meditating on
poems instead of koans, I-shan was far from being the most
literary of the Chinese masters in Japan. Koho Kennichi's own
master, for example, Wu-hsueh Tsu-yuan, who came to Japan
in 1279, is reported to have attained enlightenment when he
was twelve years old upon hearing lines of poetry, a fitting start
for the man usually considered the founder of the most literary
Zen line in all Japan.
Koho was well trained in the native literary arts as a young
man, and left a number of waka poems still known today be-
cause of their inclusion in such imperial anthologies as the Fu-
gashu and Shinzoku Kokin Wakashu. His waka poems were also
compiled in a private collection by the well-known fifteenth-
century waka poet Kazan'in Nagachika (Koun). His poems, far
from monkish, follow in the tradition of earlier non-Zen poet-
monks like Saigyo, Noin, Jakuren and the like, thoroughly of
their time in diction and allusion. Some of his poems, such as
the following, express an un-courtier-like familiarity with medi-
tation in isolated mountain retreats:
Ware dani mo
Sebashi to omou
Kusa no io ni
N akaba sashiiru
Mine no shiragumo
The white clouds
On the mountain-tops
Poke halfway into this thatched hut
I had thought too cramped
Even for myself. 26
Other poems, however, seem quite at home within the e s t a b ~
lished modes of court poetry:
Yo mo sugara
Kokoro no.yukue
Kino no sora ni
Tobu tori no ato
. If you would inquire
Where my heart goes
In the depth of night:
Where are the traces of bird's flight
Through yesterday's sky?27
This poem belongs to what Fujiwara Teika had called the soku,
or "distantly related," style, in which the last two lines do not
seem easily related to or to follow logically from the first three.
Koho instilled a taste for this kind of poetry in his pupil Muso
Soseki. Like Koho, Muso wrote-perhaps more significantly,
did not care that others knew that he wrote-waka poetry. Like
his teacher's, Muso's poetry was also collected in the Fiigashii
and in a private collection. Both men were so well known as
renga (linked-verse) poets that the famous renga theorist Nijo
Yoshimoto, who included several of Muso's renga stanzas in his
Tsukubashii of 1356, wrote of them as "composing renga night
and day."28 Such proclivities for the native literary arts were
undoubtedly instrumental in commending Muso to Emperors
Go-Daigo, Kogon and Komyo, to influential courtiers like Rei-
zei Tamesuke and Nijo Yoshimoto, and to powerful military
leaders like the Ashikaga brothers, Taka'uji and Tadayoshi.
This point has been overlooked by scholars who have tried
to account for Muso's eventual success, after a few false starts,
as the single most important figure in the political history of the
gozan establishment. He devoted himself to the task of making
Zen accessible and meaningful to the ascendant Ashikagas, at
the same time guaranteeing the perpetuation of the established
temple system under his own line during the difficult transi-
tional period after the split of the court into northern and
southern factions in 1331. One doubts that the Ashikagas, go-
ing out frequently to meet with Muso at Saihoji in the western
outskirts of Kyoto to exchange waka poems with him and be
pleasantly instructed in a not terribly rigorous Zen, would have
bothered to spend as much time with any monk who persisted
in bewildering them with alien and uncongenial Chinese poetry
158 JIARS VOL. 7 NO.2
and thorny, uncomfortable Zen riddles. Of course, it seems
equally unlikely that any Zen monk who wrote only waka and
renga poetry could ever have cut much of a figure within the
Zen temple world of the time, as many were in fact to do in the
fifteenth century.
When we consider his background, it is not surprising that
Muso's waka poetry should seem more polished and erudite
than his poems in Chinese, and in fact appear more in touch
with tradition, with their up-to-date language and frequent al-
lusion to earlier waka poems. Even his C h i n e s ~ poems often
seem to reflect waka traditions rather than Chinese. In the
headnote to one waka poem, for instance, Muso noted that "For
some years [1320-23], I lived in a retreat I built at Yokosuka,
on the Miura Peninsula in Sagami Province where the sea meets
the land":
Hikishio no
Ura tozakaru
Oto wa shite
Higata mo miezu
Tatsugasumi kana
There is a sound
As the tide draws far out
Into the bay,
But I cannot see the tidal flats-
Mist has covered them.
It is interesting to compare this waka poem with lines of a Chi-
nese poem that Muso wrote at about this time, for the Chinese
poem seems to follow less from any Chinese tradition than
from the one within which a waka like this could have been
I thought that with a hide tough as bark I could live
beyond the waves of the world,
But busy mouths that could melt iron followed me
And just when I had muted my emotions to the hues of
pale mist,
My sweet, dark dreams were shattered by the sound of
the evening tide going out ... 30 .
Muso appears to have been referring in both poems to a period
of political danger in his career following his resignation as
abbot of Nanzenji-a position delicately balanced between the
two feuding Imperial factions-and his return to the Kama-
kura area. While keeping himself as distant as possible from the
sort of political involvement that might prove fatal to his career,
however, Muso was not exactly living in isolation. Among sever-
al other important guests Muso received at his Yokosuka re-
treat Hakusen-an ("Moored Boat Retreat") in the summer of
1321 was Reizei Tamesuke (1263-1328), Teika's great-grand-
son and, after the success in 1291 of the famous lawsuit
brought before the Kamakura authorities by his mother, the
nun Abutsu, the literary heir of Teika's legacy. Muso wrote the
following rather conventional poem upon seeing Tamesuke to
his boat:
Kari ni sumu
Iori tazunete
Tou hito 0
Arujigao nite
Mata okurinuru
Putting on the face
Of someone who owns the place,
Again I see off
A visitor who has come calling
At this temporary dwelling.
Tamesuke's reply is, if anything, even more conventional than
Muso's poem, with its stale image of tears and the play on the
name of Muso's retreat:
Kyo no funaji no
Wakare ni mo
Ukabiyasuki wa
N amida narikeri
Although the paths
Our boats take at today's parting
Are not so very distant,
It is because of our tears
That they float so readily.
In spite of his earlier troubles with I-shan and a well-known
episode of "false enlightenment" in 1304 at the age of 30, Muso
seems to have become a focal point for students attracted by his
particular style of Zen, much to his dismay. In 1311, Muso built
a retreat called Ryusan-an; hounded by would-be students,
however, he abandoned it in 1312 to live at Jokyoji, at the time
headed by Koho. Musoleft there for Mino province the follow-
ing year to lodge at Eihoji (the "mountain designation" of
which was Kokeizan, "Tiger Valley Mountain"), again in order
to escape the hordes of students who had arrived to seek him
out. "I hid myself at the Keizan Temple in Mino, and even
though it was so deep in the mountains that there was not even
a real road of any sort to the spot, much to my annoyance
people kept calling to study Zen with me":
Yo no usa ni
Kaetaru yama no
Sabishisa 0
Towanu zo hito no
N asakenarikeru
I t would be merciful of people
Not to come calling and disturb
The loneliness of these mountains
To which I have returned
From the sorrows of this world.
This poem is an allusive variation (honkadori) on a famous poem
by the poet-priest Saigyo:
Tou hito mo
Yamazato no
Sabishisa nakuba
If it were not for the loneliness
Of this mountain village
Where people have given up call-
mg on me,
It would probably be
Wretched to live here.
Muso here follows the long native poetic tradition of the her-
mit-priest, for whom any dwelling at all merely reflects the
impermanence of life on earth; the true significance of life lies
rather in something other than these structures, built on one's
journey only to be abandoned without attachment. As Muso
wrote in a Chinese poem on the same topic,
A drifter my whole life, I never saved a thing:
The clouds in the mountains and moon in the creeks have
been my carpets;
East to West, I trod along this narrow path in vain-
It wasn't in the dwellings along the way.33
The waka poem he wrote subsequently "upon abandoning the
hermitage I had built in Shimizu in Min,o province" reflects
even more accurately than this Chinese poem the traditional
language of the waka tradition that was Muso's source for such
a subject:
Ikutabi ka
Kakusumi sutete
Sadamenaki yo ni
M usubu kariio
How many times
Have I left abandoned,
Living hidden away like this,
A temporary dwelling built
In an uncertain world?34
In the imagery of Muso's poetry, as in Saigyo's, it is the "path"
of Buddhism that one followed as one "returned home" to
one's original nature that was important, and not the tempo-
rary stopping places along the Way. In a waka poem that takes
its title from the Zen saying "To put one foot after the other is
to follow the Way," Muso makes clear that the "road home" is
not to be interpreted as taking any particular topographical
Furusato to
Sadamuru kata no
Naki toki wa
Izuku ni yuku mo
I eji narikeri
At those times
When I cannot decide the way
Back where I came from
Anywhere I go
Becomes the road home.
The sharp contrast between these conventional poetic atti-
tudes.of other-worldliness and noninvolvement in the affairs of
this world on the one hand, and on the other of Muso's extraor-
dinary gregariousness, so well attested in the historical records
as well as in poems to and from important people like Reizei
Tamesuke, requires that we ask how Muso was able to reconcile
the contradiction. As with many other problems of apparent
contradictions in Buddhist theory and practice, one possible
approach to this problem lies in the province of what was
known as "expedient measures" (hob en) , a technical term used
especially in Tendai Buddhism. Muso always claimed that he
was only unwillingly involved in the writing of poetry, as had
been so many Zen monks before him, especially Chinese mas-
ters like I-shan and Wu-hsueh. This pursuit, which had been
condemned in Buddhist texts centuries earlier as "wild words
and ornate speech," Muso thought of as only one "expedient"
among many that served to lure others toward the practice of
religion. best-known rationalization for the use of
"expedient measures" to this end is found in the "parable of the
burning house" of the Lotus Sidra (Saddharma-pu1'}rf,arlka; Myoho
Renge Kyo), in which a man resorts to promises of rich gifts in
order to lure unconcerned children from a burning house and
so save their lives. The use of expedient means thus implies an
awareness of different levels of audience; someone mature
enough to fully realize his perilous situation does not require
the lures required by the still immature. In this sense, Muso's
poetry speaks directly to the needs of his as-yet-benighted secu-
162 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
lar counterparts among the warrior and noble classes. To his
own Zen students, however, Muso delivered stern warnings to
forebear from such parlous distractions and to stick to their
meditation mats. In his most famous statement on the subject,
Muso divided his pupils into three grades:
Those who have zealously cast off all worldly ties and sin-
glemindedly pursue enlightenment to the exclusion of all
else-these are my first grade. Those whose Zen practice is
not pure and who cultivate a taste for scholarship-these
are my middle grade. Those who are blind to their own
spirituality and are fond of any drivel of the Patriarchs-
these are my lowest grade. Then there are those who, be-
sotted with poetry, conceive of their vocation as a literary
one-these are shaven-headed laymen, not worthy of in-
clusion in even the lowest grade. Nay, they are stuffed with
food and stupid with sleep, vagrant time-passers I call
frocked bums! The ancients had another name for them:
"robed ricebags." They are not monks, and are certainly no
disciples of mme!36
This division into three grades seems to reflect I-shan's own
division of his students into three groups depending, apparent-
ly, upon their aptitude for Chinese poetry. But this system of
ranking had even earlier precedent in China. The Ch'an monk
Ta-hui Tsung-kao (1089-1163), for example, wrote in 1127
that the monk Fa-hsiu "divided students into three grades"
according to the following test:
On a snowy day, the top grade are found seated in medita-
tion; the middle grade are grinding ink and wetting
brushes to write poems about the snow; and the third
grade are sitting around the fire eating and talking.
Muso also borrowed Ta-hui's unusual term, "the technique of
calling to the maid," for the poems he used as "expedient mea-
sures" to attract others' attention. The Chinese expression re-
ferred to a poem about a woman who frequently called out to
her maid to do this or do that, not because she actually required
attention, but because she wanted some means of indicating her
presence to her lover.
Muso was inevitably the target of frequent criticism from
contemporaries. Shuho Myocho (1282-1328), founder of the
important non-gozan "atokan;' (Daitokuji-Myeshinji) line of
Zen, for example, complained that Muse seemed to have more
in common with Tendai and Shingon Buddhism than he did
~ i t h Zen.
And indeed, Muse's experience with I-shan sug-
gests that his inability to deal with the stark contradictions of
the more traditional Zen style brought from China is the crux,
with his ascendency to power in the gozan, of an important
change in the Japanese interpretation of Zen. The problem of
"styles" is particularly vexing insofar as it tends to be dependent
on personalities; and yet, it is from the inevitable occasional, if
blurred, vision of human personalities that emerge from be-
hind the anonymity of dry historical record that we often seem
to find our best understanding of the shifting directions of
human institutions.
Muse's response seems to represent the truly native Japa-
nese pattern reasserting itself in the historical process of assimi-
lation and adaptation of what was felt instinctively to be alien.
Muse's style can be summed up by the word "mediation," or,
more specifically, the reduction of the tensions created by the
clash of cultural values. Perhaps we might locate the deepest
function of ancient wakan dialectic in the wa element's native
Japanese reading of yawarageru, "to soften, mollify," the bring-
ing of two things into "harmony," the reduction of tension by
On the surface, this problem appeared to
Muse's contemporaries, and so to later historians, as the contra-
diction of an unacceptably "Japanese" devotion to verbiage,
especially to poetry, in the person of someone theoretically
committed to the ancient Zen formula of "no reliance upon the
written word." But it seems more sensible to locate the truly
Japanese pattern precisely in the equation of that which was
ineffably profound (kokoro), whether in religion or poetry, with
its expression in words (kotoba), whether those of religion (i.e.,
dhiirani, mystical incantation) or of waka poetry. That this equa-
tion is fundamental to the Japanese pattern can be seen in
Muju Ichien's Shasekishu of 1283.
Muju, who represents the
very different style of a different time, was someone of whom
less "Chineseness" was expected, and so his loquacious anec-
dotes and gossip, told in the manner of a born storyteller, were
not regarded as a failing, even though he was a Zen monk of
the gozan Jufukuji in Kamakura and Tofukuji in Kyoto. The
164 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Shasekishu incorporates, from its preface on, a strong attempt to
provide a theoretical basis in earlier Chinese works, already
well-accepted in Japan, for a reconciliation between a stark and
very un-J apanese silenc-e on the one hand, arid the poetry and
story-telling that Buddhist doctrine had labelled "sins of the
mouth" on the other. Muju found this theoretical basis precise-
ly where earlier poets and monks had for over four centuries,
in the T'ang poet Po Chii-i's fervent defense of "wild words and
ornate speech to serve the cause of praising the Buddha's Law
in worlds to come with the effect of turning the Wheel of the
When Muso wrote waka in what the Tendai monk Shinkei
was to call a century later the Zen-like soku mode of "distantly
related verse" that came into fashion around 1200, we find that
he was as adept at bleaching the phenomenal landscape of illu-
sory "color" and reducing it to its essential "void" as any Shinko-
kinshu poet:
Kurenu yori
Y ube no iro wa
Kikage suzushiki
T anikawa no mizu
The colors of the evening
Were gone, before the darkening sky
Could be touched with crimson,
In the waters of a mountain stream,
In the cool shade of trees.
Yet he did not seem to have been particularly pleased that, as a
Zen monk, he was, if only by the exigencies of form alone,
expected to equate this congenial aesthetic vision with the Zen
mode of viewing reality, as we see in the following poem in
Autumn's colors drop from the branches in masses of falling
As cold clouds bring rain into the crannies of the moun-
tains ...
Everyone was born with the same sort of eyes:
Why must mine see this as a Zen koan?43
Muso clearly felt it more congenial to explore the implications
of this metaphysic-one he seems to have felt to be very J apa-
nese-in native rather than in alien terms.
Kokan Shiren, appearing to reach out toward China,
found it somehow lacking and insufficiently "rational"; the
more we read of his explorations in Chinese thought and let-
ters, the more we feel his fundamental ambivalence toward
China. The same ambivalence can be sensed when we read his
biography of the Chinese monk I-shan; we are never really sure
whether Kokan is praising or condemning I-shan's gentleness
where there ought to have been sternness, his silence where
there should have been guidance, his poetasting where others
usually insisted upon koans. There may, in fact, be some argu-
mentas to the integrity of the text, the original of which disap-
peared in a fire at Tofukuii in 1393, according to a colophon
dated 1407. But this very ambiguity accords so well with Ko-
kan's general view of everything else Chinese that we sense in
the end that this warping of his portrait's perspective can be
attributed to the superimposition of Chinese spectacles upon
Japanese vision. Kokan was, in fact, much less ambiguous with
those among his Japanese colleagues who did not seem to him
to act sufficiently like Zen monks. We feel the chill of his scorn,
for example, for what he cleverly derided as "kana monks,"o a
fine three-level pun that can be translated as "false name"
monks while implying also that Zen monks like Muso had aban-
doned the proper world of Chinese learning for frivolous fame
in the courts of Japanese cursive (kana) writing.
The word
also carries heavy implications of Tendai Buddhism, for the
term Kokan uses is the technical word used in the Tendai sandai
dialectic to mean "provisional reality," and so implies a willing-
ness to accept the superficial world of phenomenal illusion as
absolute Reality, and an unwillingness to see it, as Zen insists, as
Void. Kokan aimed his attack at monks who, like Muso, he
thought were more involved in Tendai and Shingon than in
Muso, to the contrary, found the Chinese master I-shan
altogether too alien: his Chinese poem cited above seems to be
saying, Why must he insist on seeing everything as Zen riddles
when I see a beautiful Japanese sunset? Muso's attitude is re-
flected, by and large, in his entire line, the largest and most
important in the gozan in the century that followed. But even a
Japanese as Sinicized as Muso's younger contemporary Chugan
Engetsu (1300-75) could feel the uncomfortable tug between
the outward "Chinese" forms of his life and something undeni-
166 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
ably Japanese within. A poem by Chugan sums up the problem
as it must have appeared to many a Japanese Zen monk:
The older I get, the more I detest affectation-
In fact, every now and then, I like the pretty things
of the world!
Giving in to my true nature, I open the window onto
the small pond,
And, chin on fist, gaze into the infinity beyond:
Blown by the breeze, butterflies flit through sweet-smelling
Dragonflies everywhere rest on open lotus flowers-
If the "cold and tasteless" in these seem so sweet to me,
What am I doing living in a Zen temple!45
1. TaishO ShinshU Daizokyo (Tokyo: 1969), vol. 81, p. 104b.
2. Ibid., p. 105b.
3. Erh-Ch'eng Ch'ilan-shu (Ssu-pu Ts'ung-k'an), Wai-shu, 11 :2b.
4. Uemura Kanko, Gown Bungaku Zenshil (GBZS) (Kyoto: Shibunkaku,
1980 reprint), vol. 1, pp. 228-241.
5. Ibid., p. 228.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid., p. 241.
8. MumyoshO (Tokyo: Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei [NKBT], 1965), vol.
65, p. 87.
9. GBZS, vol. 1, p. 95.
10. Ibid., p. 96.
11. Ibid., p. 74.
12. Zoku Gunsho Ruijil (Tokyo: Kangeikai, 1926), 9b: 463a. See also Ma-
kita Tairyo, "Zekkai Chushin to Minso to no kosho," Zengaku Kenkyil, LVII
(1970), p. 167.
13. GBZS, vol. 2, pp. 1237-1238.
14. As it apparently was not in China. Japanese have periodically raised
the question of the alien quality of Chinese thought that emphasized hsiao or
"filial piety" over what the Japanese prized as chil (chung, loyalty to one's
superior), never terribly important in neo-Confucian thought. For example,
the eccentric kokugakusha scholar Masugi Kaido, in the second novel of Yukio
Mishima's tetralogy The Sea of Fertility, Homba (Runaway Horses), makes pre-
cisely this distinction between alien Chinese Buddhist and Confucian thought
and native Japanese.
Chugan Engetsu (1300-1375) offers a fine object lesson in what might
happen to a gown monk who was perceived as disloyal to his own line. Chu-
gan had" studied in Kamakura for several years with the Chinese Soto monk
Tung-ming Hui-Jih (of the only Sow hne besides that of Dogen, one that
became part of the Rinzai-dominated gown). Leaving for China in 1325,
Chilgan spent a year, from 1330-1331, studying with the famous Chinese
Ch'an master Tung-yang Te-hui. Upon returning to Kamakura in 1339,
Chilgan had afalling-out with Tung-ming and announced that he intended
to follow Tung-yang's line instead. As a result, he was immediately ostracized
by the Kamakura monks, one of whom even set upon Chilgan with a sword.
As long afterward as 1362 a monk fired an arrow at Chilgan, causing him to
suffer a nervous breakdown so severe that he had to resign his post as abbot
of Kenninji. See Tamamura Takeji's biography of Chilgan in Gozan Bungaku
Shinshu (hereafter CBSS) (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1971), vol. 4,
pp. 1205ff; and his interesting article on Chilgan as "heretic," "Zenshil ni
okeru itan no mondai," in his Nihon Zenshilshi Henshil (Kyoto, Shibunkaku,
1981), vol. 2 (part 1), pp. 373-745.
15. Makita Tairyo, "Zekkai Chilshin to Minso to no koshO ... ," pp. 175
and 178. For Sung Lien's equally backhanded compliment to J orin Ryosa,
who accompanied Zekkai to China in 1368, see Ito Sho, RinkO ChOsho, (Kyoto:
Sogo Shiryokan, 1838) 2/1:34a-35a:
16. GBZS, vol. 2, p. 1351.
17. TaishO ShinshuDaizokyo, vol. 80, pp. 332b-c; GBZS, vol. 1, pp. 221-
18. See Tamamura Takeji, Muso Kokushi (Kyoto, Sara Shobo, 1977), pp.
6-10, 14, 16ff. See also TaishO Shinshu Daizokyo, vol. 80, p. 498b-c on Muso's
Tendai and Shingon background.
19. GBZS, vol. 3, p. 2026.
20. TaishO Shinshil Daizokyo, vol. 80, p. 498c.
21. Dai Nippon Bukkyo Zensho (Tokyo: Nippon Bukkyo Zensho Kankokai,
1956), vol. 95, p. 429.
22. Tamamura, Muso Kokushi, pp. 12lff. The question of Muso's dilu-
tion of Zen practice, and of his competency in general, is summarized in
English in Akamatsu Toshihide and Philip Yampolsky, "Muromachi Zen and
the gozan system," in Hall and Toyoda, eds., Japan in the Muromachi Age
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 322:....329.
23. Tamamura, Muso Kokushi, pp. 20ff.
24. TaishO Shinshil Daizokyo, vol. 80, p. 283a.
25. Ibid., p. 244a, and Dai Nippon Bukkyo Zensho, vol. 95, p. 388, contain
these lines of poetry. For Wu-hsiieh's position in the history of gozan litera-
ture, see Tamamura Takeji, Gozan Shiso (Nihon no Zen Coroku, vol. 8) (To-
kyo: Kodansha, 1978); a glance at chart F3 at the end ofthebook will serve to
illustrate the size of Wu-hsiieh's faction in Japan.
26. Filgashil, 1747.
27. Ibid., 2065 ..
28. Tsukuba Mondo (NKBT), vol. 66, p. 82; Yoshimoto was explaining in
this section the affinity between renga and Buddhism.
29. Gunsho R u ~ ' i l , 15:360b.
30. TaishO Shinshil Daizokyo, vol. 80, p. 477a.
31. Gunsho Ruijo, 15:362b.
32. Ibid.
168 JIABS VOL.? NO.2
33. Taisho Shinshil Daizokyo, vol. 80, p. 456e.
34. Fftgashil, 1783 ..
35. Ibid., 2053.
36. Taisho Shim/HI Daizokyo, vol. 80, p. 503e. See also Tamamura, Muso
Kokushi, p. 19 and p. 23, note 3.
37. Ibid., p. 108.
38. Ibid., p. 102; loku Gunsho Ruijil, 96:529a.
39. Akamatsu and Yampolsky, "Muromachi Zen ... ", pp. 322-24.
40. See, for example, Haga Koshiro, Higashiyama Eunka (Tokyo:
Hanawa Shobo, 1962), p. 201, for a discussion of the chanoyu (tea ceremony)
as an "artistically softened" (geijutsuteki ni yawarageta) derivative of the sarei tea
ceremony practiced within the Zen temples. It is clear from the headings of
this section-"The nature of the chanoyu as a 'wa' art," "The 'wa' of the con-
cept of the clwnoyu"-that Haga means more by 'wa' than merely "Japanese."
41. Shasekish'il (NKBT, vol. 85), p. 58, note 9 and p. 509, n. 3; also pp.
218-220. The equation of waka with Shingon dhiiranf can be found on pp.
222-225 and p. 513, n. 42.
42. Gunsho Ruijil, 15:361b.
43. Taisho Shins/HI Daizokyo, vol. 80, p. 480e.
44. GElS, vol. 1, p. 235.
45. GElS, vol. 2, p. 902.
a ;fr
b 11
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Rasavahinz and the Sahassavatthu:
A comparison
by Telwatte Rahula
The Rasaviihini (abbreviated as Rv.) is a non-canonical Buddhist
work belonging to the pakara?1a (Skt. prakarary,a) class of the Pilli
literature. The title, translated as "Stream of Delights," I is ap-
propriate, for it endeavours to produce the taste of the nectar
of the Dhamma. Ancient teachers of Sri Lanka maintain that
the work is called Rasaviihinibecause it produces the essence of
the Dhamma and of material accomplishment The pre-
amble invites "good men" (sujanii) to listen to it, as it is "indeed
delightful" (abhimudiivahii). The text, consisting of 32 bhary,a-
VaraS,3 aims to produce this delight through one hundred and
three simple narratives concerning monks, nuns, laymen and
laywomen of the past, historical or otherwise, who either at-
tained to mundane and spiritual happiness or became subject
to various misfortunes as the result of their deeds.
The text is divided into two major parts. The first part,
called jambudipuppattivatthu; contains forty stories originating
in J ambudIpa; the second part, called Sihaladipuppattivatthu,
embodies sixty-three stories of similar character originating in
the island of SIhala.
Although characters and events in some
stories in each part extend to the country of origin assigned to
the other, the division seems to be a reasonable one. Each part
is again divided into chapters (vaggas). This division, however,
is not based on any strict plan, as themes of the stories in all
chapters seem to overlap. There are four chapters in the first
part, and six in the second. Each chapter contains ten stories.
Three additional stories, followed by the colophon, are given at
the end of the tenth chapter. The colophon claims that the
work was completed unhiu'dered by any obstacle.
This is, however, not an original work. The proem clearly
states that the entire text is a revision of an earlier Pali work by
the Elder named Ratthapala, "a mine of the virtues of moral
conduct," who was an inmate of the Guttavarpka
monastic resi-
dence of the Great Monastery in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
The Pali compilation was found to be corrupt throughout (sab-
bam akula7(t) with repetitions and such other defects; and the
Rv. is t h ~ result of an attempt to remove these defects from that
popular work. The proem does not mention the name of that
compilation, but informs us that it was, in its turn, merely a Pali
translation of ancient stories which had been narrated by ar-
hants and recorded in Sinhala. We know nothing about that old
Sinh ala collection of stories which, if it ever existed in the form
of a book, is now lost. The Pali translation of the Elder Rattha-
pala, on the other hand, is supposed to be the work known as
the Sahassavatthu Atthakathii.
Our knowledge of the Sahassavatthu Atthakathii is based
mainly on the few references to it found in the Mahiiva7(tSa Tzkii.
Some details in the Mahiiva7(tsa TiM, quoted from the Sahassa-
vatthu Atthakathii, are found in the second part of the Rv. in
This work bearing the name Atthakathii is generally con-
sidered to be very old work, and, in any case, the Mahiiva7(tsa
Tzka is assigned to about the 8th or 9th century A.C.H A Pali
work bearing the name Sahassavatthuppakara1Ja is extant, and
that text includes some of the details which the Mahiiva7(tsa Tzka
quotes from the Sahassavatthu Atthakathii. The very fact that this
work embodies 93 stories, 92 of which are found in the Rv.,
enhances the view that the Elder Ratthapala's compilation was
the authority which the Mahiiva7(tsa Tzka refers to by the name
of Sahassavatthu Atthakathii.
The author of the Rv., the Elder Vedeha (l3th century),
does not mention this work by name. The Sahassavatthuppakar-
a1Ja (abbreviated as SV.)9 does not mention the author's name.
The Sv. is generally thought to be the basis of the Rv. Ven.
Buddhadatta, who edited the text, is convinced that it un-
doubtedly is the prototype of the Rv. A number of other schol-
ars, beginning with Hugh Neville, do think that the Sv. repre-
sents the prototype of the RV.IO It can, of course, be argued that
the Sv., like Ratthapala's compilation, professes to follow
the tradition of Sinhala commentaries and the expositions of
the teachers (szhalatthakathiinaya7(t ga1Jhitvacariyavadaii ca).1 1 A
monk of the Great Monastery like the Elder Ratthapala is the
most likely person to have had access to these traditions and
Presentation of the stories in the Sv. is not uniform, and
the subject-matter is not arranged in any proper order. This
confirms the Elder Vedeha's statement regarding the confused
character of the original. The text apparently has nine chap-
ters, but after the fourth, chapters are not numbered; and the
last two groups, with ten stories in each, are not called chapters
at all. Four stories in the first chapter have verses, and the gatha
in the first story is followed by a short commentary. This fea-
ture does not appear again. The second and third chapters
have no verses at all, and among the stories from no. 53 to no.
95, only one story (no. 87) contains any verse. The fourth chap-
ter introduces an altogether new format. The first seven stories
(nos. 31-37) begin and end with a versified outline of the nar-
rative which follows. Nos. 38, 39, and the next (no. 40 in the
Sv., but the text does not count it as a separate entity) begin in
the same style, but omit the repetition at the end. Again, the
first story in this chapter has the phrase "tar[L yatha'nusuyate"
after the introductory verse, but nos. 32-35 and 38 have "tar[L
kathar[L ti ce?" instead. The story of King KakavaI)I)a Tissa ends
as the "ninth," disregarding the independent story of VeJusu-
mana within it. As for the tenth story, to be expected in its
natural sequence, the reader is referred to the Mhv. The his-
torical accounts connected with the great national hero, unnec-
essarily disrupted by no. 41, continues through nos. 42-45.
One would not expect to find the story of King Dutthagamani,
for it was already mentioned at the end of the fourth chapter
(p. 89), but no. 46 narrates it "briefly" (sar[Lkhepena). Then fol-
lows the sentence: "The story of the royal prince Sali should be
known exactly in the way it is told in the Mahavar[Lsa." This one
sentence is called "Saliraja-kumara-vatthu dutiyar[L." The next sto-
ry, which is either the third from no. 46 or the ninth from no.
41, is mysteriously called the "fifth." Another chapter has elev-
en stories (nos. 67-75), but the last one has already appeared as
no. 41.12
Internal inconsistencies of a more serious character are
also noticed. Some stories bear different names in the begin-
ning and at the end. The Buddheniya vatthu (no. 7) becomes
172 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Buddheniyyamaka-vatthu at the end. Duggatitthiya vatthu (no. 33)
turns to be the story of Dhamma. After the introductory verse
in this story, there occurs the curious sentence: ''yatha Dham-
maya vatthu, tatka janitabbaJ!l." This would lead one to believe
that the author is referring to another story, but in fact the
story called Duggatitthiya vatthu is none other than the story of
Dhamma. Story no. 68 has the title Yakkhassa palayita vatthu in
the beginning, but concludes as the Sarar;,agamana-vatthu. Of-
ten, the heading is long, but is shortened at the end of the story.
Proper names sometimes vary within a story. Kakaval)l)a Tissa
(no. 39) is thus referred to as Kakaval)l)a Abhaya, and Rattha-
pala (no. 55) becomes Ratthika. RupadevI's story speaks of Ru-
pavat! (no. 31). The story of Amba the Minister, recorded twice
(nos. 41 & 75), also contains some minor variations between the
two narratives. There are two stories called Tissadahara-samar;,-
erassa vatthu (nos. 80 & 81), and another two stories (nos. 9 &
69) are called Micckaditthikassa vatthu.
The language of the Sv. is full of peculiarities that do not
conform to the standard Pali grammar. These usages are
thought to reflect the Sinhala influence, which was only natural
in light of the fact that the text translates Sinhala narratives.
Such sinhalized Pali forms are discussed by scholars.13 One
interesting example of direct Sinhala influence is found in the
sentence: "Senagutto Nandiyassa taJ!l datva attano bhagineyyam
akasi."14 The word bkagineyya (sister'S son) is employed to mean
"son in-law" under the influence of the Sinhala bar;,a, which
stands for both meanings. On page 134, we find pulila-rukkhe,
for which the Rv. has pipphali-rukkhe, and the Saddharmalanki'ir-
aya has pulila-gaseka. The word pulila does not seem to be a
legitimate Pali word recorded anywhere else.
A text in such confusion needs to be revised, and the Rv.
may be the result of an attempt to edit and improve the Sv.
Numerous passages in the Sv. show an unmistakable resem-
blance with the relevant portions of the Rv. This leads us to
believe that the Elder Vedeha is reproducing the same materi-
al, with editorial touches here and there. However, much can
be said against this suggestion. Many prose passages in the two
texts are very similar, but the Rv. not only reproduces a gram-
matically better sentence but also adds details, poetical elabora-
tions, and various comments that go a long way beyond the
limits of a mere edition. If the Sv: is the original work that
Vedeha thera treats in this manner, he could well have said so in
his proem. What he has said is that he is planning to free the
original from defects such as repetitions. He does not tell us
that it would be elaborated, too. The text has anakular[l karis-
sami, not varJr.wyissami or any other expressions to that effect. I:;
And where are those "repetitions" in the Sv.? We find one story
repeated in toto (nos. 41 & 75), and King Dutthagamal)I's story
is once mentioned merely by name, whereas it is recorded
"briefly" as no. 46. There are no repetitions in the present Sv.
to justify any revision from this point of view. It is true that the
Rv. is not the only work of its kind, and we do have a number of
other post-canonical works which are based on already existing
texts. This is especially true in the case of the var[lsakathas, such
as the Dzpavar[lsa, Mahavar[lsa, Thiipavar[lsa, and Hatthavanagal-
lavihara-var[lsa, etc. Notwithstanding the unfortunate fact that
earlier works in Sinh ala and Pali on which these books are
based are not available at present, it is well known that they are
not mere editions of the early works. The writers of these re-
vised works have usually extended their "reproductions" wher-
ever they thought more details were necessary, while freely
drawing upon the commentaries and other relevant sources.
The Rv. may be included in this class of works, though not
exactly a chronicle, 16 and its close connection with the chroni-
cles becomes particularly considerable in the second part. 17 Is
it, then, not the most natural thing for the Elder Vedeha to use
these very same sources while revising the Sv. and provide
more details where the Sv. was found deficient? This possibility
gains further weight from the Saratthadipzka Rasavahinz TiM
explanation of the phrase punaruttadidosehi as abyapitatibyapita-
punaruttadidosehi tar[l sabbar[l pubbe katar[l akular[l hutva thitar[l. But
of primary importance is what the author himself has said, and
he has not actually said anything about providing great detail.
If the Elder Ratthapala's work known to Vedeha thera was the
same as the present Sv., I am inclined to think that he would
have stated in more precise manner the kind of improvements
he planned to introduce. III It should also be remembered that
the Sv. does not contain the crucial account of Prince Sali, as the
Mahavar[lsa Tika says it did. Dr. Rahula, writing about 30 years
ago, concluded that the question whether the Sv. is the same
174 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
text as mentioned in the Mahavarrzsa Tzka or "whether these
MSS. represent an abridged form of the original Sahassavatthu
cannot be decided, unless and until some more MSS. are con-
sulted."19 Ven. Buddhadatta could obtain only one more Ms.
for his editions, but as to this point, viz., referring to the Maha-
varrzsa for the story of Prince Sali, it confirms the other MSS.
Further, the verses in the Rv. represent a completely inde-
pendent tradition. It is true that the Sv. has less than 35 verses
excluding the proem and certain repetitions, whereas the Rv.
has over a thousand gathas interspersed throughout the narra-
tives. Even where one can reasonably expect the Rv. to follow
the Sv., we do not find in the former similarity enough to
suggest any considerable borrowing from the latter. The pre-
amble of the Sv. is very different from that of the Rv., and the
only line the two texts have in common is tarrz sU1'}atha samahita,
which is anything but peculiar to any PaIi text. The three verses
in story no. 4 of the Sv. certainly contain a few lines which
appear in the Rv., but lines such as addasarrz virajarrz buddharrz are.
very frequently found in the Apadana and other similar
It is inexplicable why the Elder Vedeha, who quotes
from various other sources, does not consider the gathas in the
Sv. worthy of attention.
Poetical descriptions of persons, places and events in the
Rv. can be independent improvements on the original, but ma-
terial differences between the two versions of the same story
are too many to be entirely ignored. Some of these differences,
such as an increased figure, may well be explained away as a
"natural growth" in an age of grotesque exaggeration. Thus,
King Mahasena in the Sv. story (no. 23) offers daily alms to
2000 monks, whereas in the Rv. we find him far more gener-
ous, feeding 10,000 monks daily. In another Sv. story (no. 67),
a culprit is condemned to death the second time he is caught,
but according to the Rv., he is pardoned three times. On the
other hand, considerable differences between the two versions
of many narratives point to a third original source. These var-
iances in the Sv. become all the more interesting when one
finds that the Sinhala work called Saddharmalankiiraya (abbrevi-
ated Sdhl.), generally believed to be an enlarged translation of
the Rv., sometimes corroborates the Sv.
The Sdhpl is a popular religious work of the mediaeval
Sinhalaliterature. Its author is the Elder Dharmaklrti III, also
know as According to the Saddharmarat-
nakaraya, his first name was and J ayabahu the
name taken on becoming a mahathera. Dharmak"irti was a title
taken upon his becoming saTfZgharaja. Like Vedeha thera, this
learned monk also belonged to the Araiiiiavasi chapter. In the
Pali colophon to the Sdhl., the author says that he had already
written three other books (NikayasaTfZgraha, Balavatara-saiiiiaka,
and Jinabodhavali). The work was written toward the close of
the 14th century. It has 24 chapters, written in a mixed Sinhala
style full of Sanskrit tatsama words. The first three chapters do
not concern us here, as they deal with such matters as the
preaching of the Dhamma, and the bodhisattva's career. But
the next 21 chapters are directly related to the Rv. The author
does not mention the Rv. or Vedeha thera anywhere in the
Sdhl., but the 103 stories of the Rv. are presented here with
much additional information and many embellishments. More-
over, the verses appearing in the Rv. narratives are given to-
gether with a Sinhala translation thereof. The order of the
Sdhl. stories agrees with neither that of the Rv., nor of the Sv.,
but the work is at least as well organized as the Rv. Vedeha thera
includes 10 stories in every chapter, but his successor limits
each chapter to 5 narratives. The lengths of the chapters vary;
and the author reckons that the work embodies no less than
146 stories (ek siya susalisak pamar;,a vastu-katha).22
The view that the Sdhl. is based on the Rv. can be support-
ed by a variety of internal evidence. The work begins with the
same verse in salutation to the Buddha as found in the Rv. The
stories usually agree with the Rv. versions, and with a few ex-
ceptions, the gathas of the Rv. are also included in the Sdhl.
Although the subject-matter is described as "the noble teaching
expounded by the Enlightened One" (budun visin vadarar;,a
ladda VU saddharmaya), the author twice compares his work to "a
flow of the delight of nectar" (amrta-rasa-dharavak),23 which re-
minds us of the name Rasavahini. The division of the stories
into two parts, as in the Rv., is not recognized in the beginning
of the Sdhl., but after narrating 41 stories of J ambudlpa origin
(jambudvipotpanna), the author proposes to record the stories of
Sri Lankan origin (lanka-dv'ipotpanna).24 The text gives only
nine gathas in the Devaputra vastu (pp. 292-6), but it refers to
176 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
"the twenty verses given above" (yathokta gatha vissen), which is
exactly the number of gathas appearing in that particular story
in the Rv. In the story of Saddheyya, the Rv. has 24 verses, and
the SdhL, too, specifically mentions that the original narrative
contained 24 verses. This is particularly noteworthy, consider_
ing the fact that the Sdhl. story quotes no more than nine verses
that show a few important variations when compared with the
Rv. Similarly, the 38 verses quoted in the Rv. story of Uttara the
novice, borrowed from the Apadana, are referred to in the Sdhl.
(p. 205) as "the thirty-eight gathas beginning with Sumedho nama
sambuddho, etc.," even though this first verse is not fully quoted
in the Sdhl. narrative.
Nevertheless, with regard to certain details the Sdhl. also
preserves the traces of an ancient tradition not wholly incorpo-
rated in the Rv. We note that all the three works have Dhamma-
sOl)Qaka's story as the first in the collection, and that, strangely
enough, they all end with the story of Danta the house-holder.
The Sdhl., of course, has the additional Maitreya-vastu, which is
not a story like others. Apart from this, the order of presenta-
tion is not similar, although the Rv. and Sdhl. agree in a few
individual cases. I give the table of stories below. The titles are
from the Rv.
N arne of the vatthu Number in Rv. Sv. Sdhl.
Dhammasol)Qaka 1 1 1
Migal uddaka 2 4 3
Tinnarp jananarp 3 6 21
Buddheniya 4 7 39
Ahigul)thika 5 9 18
Saral)atthera 6 10 4
Vessamitta 7 11
Mahamandhatu 8 17 6
Buddhavammaval)ijaka 9 26 5
RupadevI 10 31 33
Nandiraja 11 37 11
Afifiataramanussa 12 38 32
Visamalomakumara 13 48 34
KaficanadevI 14 59 15
Vyaggha 15 62 22
Phalakakhal)Qadinna 16 63 23
N arne of the vatthu Number in Rv. Sv. Sdhl.
Corasahaya 17 64 24
Maruttabrahma.Q.a 18 65 26
Paniyadinna 19 66 25
Sahayassa pariccattajivitaka 20 67 27
Yakkhavancita 21 68 16
Micchadit thika 22 69 17
Pada pithika 23 70 19
U ttarasama.Q.era 24 71 12
Kavlrapatt ana 25 73 20
Coraghataka 26 76 7
Saddhopasaka 27 83 9
Kapa.Q.a 28 84 29
Devaputta 29 87 30
SIvalitthera 30 14 8
Mahasenaraja 31 23 31
Su va.Q..Q.atilaka 32 27 38
Kapa.Q.a 33 34 14
Indaguttatthera 34 49 35
Sakhamalapujika 35 13
Moriyabrahma.Q.a 36 28
Putta 37 21 37
Tebhatika-madhuva.Q.ijaka 38 94 36
BodhirajadhIta 39 60 41
KU.Q.<;lalI 40 80 40
Migapotaka 41 2 45
Dhammasuta-upasika 42 3 43
Ku<;l<;larajjavasitthera 43 5 44
Arannaka-Maha-abhayatthera 44 8 46
Sirinaga 45 12 86
Saddhatissa -mahamacca 46 13 68
Sama.Q.agama 47 15 47
Abhayatthera 48 18 76
Naga 49 19 48
Vatthulapabbata 50 20 72
Uttaroliya 51 22 49
Tambasumanatthera 52 24 71
Puvapabbatavasl Tissatthera 53 25 50
Culatissa 54 28 65
Tissa 55 29 69
178 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
N arne of the vatthu Number in Rv. Sv.
Ariyagalatissa 56 30 75
Gamadarkika 57 32 78
Dhamma 58 33 79
Kincisarigha 59 35 80
Saddhasumana 60 36 42
Kaka 61 50 74
KakavaI).I).atissaraja 62 39 51
Du t thagamaI).l -abha ya -maharaj a 63 46 52
Nandimitta 64 16 53
Suranimmala 65 42 54
MahasoI).a 66 43 55
Gothaimbara 67 44 56
Theraputtabhaya 68 57
BharaI).a 69 58
VeJusurnana 70 40 59
Khanjadeva 71 60
Phussadeva 72 61
Labhiyavasabha 73 62
Dathasena 74 63
Mahanela 75 45 64
Salirajakumara 76 47 66
Culanagatthera 77 52 70
MeghavaI).I).a 78 53 73
Dhammadinna 79 54 77
Ranhikaputta 80 55 82
Silutta 81 56 84
Nesada 82 57 83
Hema 83 58 85
KaI).asigala 84 61 88
N andivaI).ijaka 85 72 91
Nakula 86 74 67
Ambamacca 87 41 & 75 87
Vanara 88 89
J ayampatika 89 89 92
Davaputta or Rukkhadevata 90 87 93
Culagalla 91 77 96
PaI).Qarariga 92 78 94
Dubbitthi-Mahatissa 93 79 95
Gola-upasaka 94 82 98
TissasamaI).era 95 81 97
N dme of the vatthu
Number in Rv. Sv.
96 85
97 86
98 88
99 90
100 91
101 92
102 93
103 95
The Sv. has one story (P hussadevatthera, no. 51) not found
in the Rv. or Sdhl., although this famous Elder is mentioned
several times in the Pali literature.
The Sdhl. also embodies
one major narrative, i.e., the Padmavati-vastu, not included in
the other two works. The Rv. and Sdhl. have two separate
stories of Devaputta (the second one is known as Rukkhadevata-
vatthu also, but the Rv. introduces the story as Devaputta-vatthu),
whereas the Sv. has only one brief version. Now the no. 87 in
the Rv. and Sdhl. are identical, and this story of Amba the
minister is the one which is. repeated in the Sv. Altogether,
there are nine stories (Rv. nos. 35, 36, 68, 69, 71-4, and 88)
missing in the Sv. In the Sv. and Rv., nos. 11,31,37,40,47, and
87 tally. Further, nos. 2, 14,28,29,34,42-44,49,82,88, and
99-103 of the Rv. appear in the Sdhl. as nos. 3, 15,29, 30, 35,
43-45,48, 83, 89, and 100-104. Story no. 89 is identical in the
Sv. and Rv., but the Sdhl. calls it Dutiyajayampatika-vastu.
Some details found in the Sv. are either missing in the Rv.
and Sdhl. altogether, or preserved in one text only. Referring
to the agitation caused in Sakka's abode by DhammasollI).Qaka's
entering the forest, the Sv. says that the golden projection on
the side of the Vejayanta palace was shaken. In the Sv. story,
again, Dhammasol).Qaka while contemplating his self-sacrifice
observes that the tears shed by one being weeping for the be-
loved, such as parents, exceed the water in the four great
oceans. In no. 6, the naga himself announces that the con-
demned man can cure the queen. Buddheni (no. 7) has accu-
mulated merit at the time of SikhI Buddha, and her parents,
who were alive until she became mature, were eager to have her
married. The King attempts to kidnap her, motivated by his
desire to earn merit through her, and the thieves lie in wait for
her in a nimb forest. The snake charmer in story no. 9 attempts
180 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
to capture a nagaraja lying in his abode, and the golden flower
which the man sells brings a hundred thousand (coins). In story
no. 10, the younger sister's ornaments are inherited from her
mother; and her husband shows no interest in visiting her elder
brother. SIvalI (no. 14) is said to have renounced homelife on
the seventh day at the conclusion of the great almsgiving cere-
mony celebrating his birth. In story no. 17, Mandhatu is called
the "ninth king," and when he falls down from heaven, his
. eldest son comes to greet him. In the Nandiraja-vatthu (no. 37)
the senagutta tests Nandiya before his marriage. Indagutta the
Elder (no. 49) becomes an arhant by means of the meditational
topic of sarp,ghiinussati. Marutta the brahman (no. 65) marries
after his return from Takkasila, and, following the attempt on
his life, his relatives advise him not to nourish the assassin. In
story no. 66, we are told that the good-hearted man notifies the
gatekeeper when he arrives at the hall by the city gate. Though
Vassakara is mentioned in the story of Uttara the novice (no.
71), it is the king who sentences the novice after he has been
forcibly implicated by the thieves. A verse beginning with na
pita na ca te mata, etc., is attributed to Uttara in this story. The
Mahiivarp,satthakathii is referred to in the story of Dhamma-
The Sv. is often terse and lacking in poetical charm, but
some of its descriptions, e.g., the lotus pond mentioned on page
11, are unique. Such details are not found in the Rv. and Sdhl.
On the other hand, the Sdhl. confirms some other infor-
mation given in the Sv. Thus, in the story of Naridiraja, the
householder's name is given as Vedeha in the Sv. and Sdhl., but
the Rv. omits this significant name. Another story in these two
works preserves the name Sumana the merchant, whereas the
Rv. version speaks of a "householder." In the story of King
Asoka, the Sv. and Sdhl. mention the marvellous sword that
kills enemies even at a distance of hundreds of leagues, but the
Rv. is silent on t h i ~ feature. Such details, admittedly, do not
affect the main body of the narratives. Nevertheless, they indi-
cate the possibility that the Sdhl. author had access to an au-
thority other than the Rv. This would explain at least some of
the additional information contained in the Sdhl. A good ex-
ample of this is found in the story of the snake charmer. The
Sv. (p. 16) gives no detail of the thupa enshrining the bodily
relics of Kassapa Buddha. The Rv. preserves a greater part of
the traditional description of it, but refers to Setavya city in a
very general way only. The Sdhl., on the other hand, mentions
the country of KasI and the garden having the same name as
the city of Setavya. This information, as seen in the ancient
Buddhist tradition, was most probably included in the original
passage describing the thupa.
This view is further supported by Sdhl. stories like the
Saddheyya-vastu and its unique sequel, Padmavati-vastu, which is
completely missing in the other two works. The verses in the
Saddheyya-vastu are not strictly compatible with those in the Rv.
counterpart, and with regard to the other episode, the source
remains a greater mystery. The story of Pad(u)mavaU is well-
known in the ancient Buddhist tradition, 27 and the concluding
verse of the Saddheyya-vastu, with its reference to LajadayI-
devI-this verse appears in the Rv. also--makes its presence
quite in order. The whole account exactly follows the usual
style in prose passages with Pali verses and the Sinhala transla-
tion thereof. The Elder Dharmaklrti appears to quote the
verses, conclusion and all, from his original source, for he ac-
knowledgesthem in the usual phrase: "Therefore, it is said" (ese
heyin kiyana ladZ).28 Vedeha thera had no reason to omit this
popular story, and one cannot assume that it was dropped by
later copyists, for the prologue gives the precise number of 40
stories to be included in the jambudipuppattivatthu. It is interest-
ing to note that in the Sdhl. this story is followed by the Nandir-
aja-vastu. Now both the Sdhl. and Rv. versions of this tale refer
to the 500 paccekabuddhas as the sons of PadumavatI, but the Sv.
is silent on this point. It is possible that the original work, being
a mass of folk-lore, had these three stories together, but the
Elder Vedeha, retaining the reference to the 500 paccekabud-
dhas, omitted the story of their origin. However this may be,
this would show the relative independence exercised by the
three texts drawing materials from one and the same source.
The view that the present Sv. is probably an abridged form
of the original Sahassavatthu Atthakatha is forwarded by some
scholars. Dr. Rahula's comments on this point have already
been referred to. Sirimal Ranavella, another Sri Lankan, has
also pointed out this possibility.29 The question cannot be set"
tled without further research, particularly focussed on more
MSS. of the Sv., but one peculiar feature of the present Sv.
182 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
should be mentioned in this connection. This is, as already
mentioned above, the lack of verses in the Sv. Excluding a
number of repetitions in the fourth chapter, the entire work
has less than 35 verses. It is hard to reconcile this feature with
the well-established tradition of the Indian story-teller. Prose
passages in the iikhyiinas are usually interspersed with verses
that either continue the story or emphasize certain points al-
ready raised in the narrative. This format of the traditional
iikhyiina type is traced as far back as the Rgvedic period.
dhist stories Uatakas, avadiinas, etc.) are representative of this
literary species. 31 Hence, it is most probable that these narra-
tives were Qriginally intermixed with verses. No less than 72 out
of 93 stories in the Sv. are entirely in prose, with no trace of any
versification at all. It cann'ot be suggested that versified pas-
sages belonging to these stories were not known to Ratthapala
thera. The Sv. is definitely later than the third century A.C., as it
mentions King Sirinaga of Sri Lanka. By this time the stories of
Uttara and SIvalI were well-known from the Apadiina. The SZha-
lavatthuppakararJa is older than the SV.,32 and even this text has
some stories which are narrated entirely in verse. Of special
importance is the story of Phussadevatthera, common to both
these texts. In the Sv. it is given in prose, but the SZhalavatthup-
pakararJa presents the same story in a more elegant style, giving
51 giithiis in the course of narration. Why, then, does the Sv. not
produce any verse in stories like the Phussadeva and Dutthagii-
marJz vatthus? The reason, probably, is the obvious length of the
narratives. King Dutthagamal).I's is the longest narrative in the
Rv. The Sv. author refers to the Mhv. at the point where, as in
the Rv. and the Sdhl., one expects to find the story of the great
national hero. He treats the second longest story, the Siiliriijaku-
miiravatthu, in the same way. Immediately before the reference
to Prince Sali there appears what is actually a mere fragment of
the Dutthagamil).I saga, presented here as DutthagiimarJz raiiiio
vatthu. This vatthu begins, unlike any other in the text, with the
word paccha, indicating the character of an extract from the
middle of a larger narrative. The author himself admits that
the story is given only "in brief." More revealing is the illogical
number assigned to it. This means one of the two alternatives:
either the last five stories of the chapter embodying the stories
of the great warriors are missing, or the present work is a
summary of the Sahassavatthu Afthakathii with no proper ar-
rangement. Since it is not suggested that the Sv. has a lacuna,
the second alternative seems to be the case.
l. This paper is largely based on part of the Introduction to my Ph.D.
thesis: An edition of the Rasavahini-J ambudipuppattivathu, together with an English
translation, submitted at the Australian National University, Canberra, Aus-
tralia. The English rendering of the name Rasavahini is mine.
2. dhammamatarasa7[! loke vahanti Rasavahini, colophon, v. 2a-b ..
3. batti7[!sabhary,avarehi nirrhita Raiavahini, ibid., v. 3a-b. A bhary,avara (recit-
al) "usually consists of eight thousand syllables." Encyclopedia of Buddhism, ii, p.
690A. But Prof. Jayawickrama says that it is "usually reckoned as 6000 sylla-
bles." Thilpava7[!sa (PTS), p. 39 n. 47. The first Sinhala edition of the Rv. has
298 pp. with an average of 35 lines per page, 21 syllables per line. This
probably means that one bhary,avara of the Rv. consists of more than 6000 but
less than 8000 syllables.
4. According to the Saratthadipika, the text was also called Satavatthu.
This, however, does not mean that it should contain exactly one hundred
stories and no more.
5. Otherwise not known. Malalasekera refers to this as Ta7[!guttava7[!ka.
Pali literature of Ceylon, p. 224; DPPN, i. p. 985.
6. For these references, see: DPPN, ii, p. 1083; Walpola Rahula, History
of Buddhism in Ceylon, Intro., xxix.
7. Rahula, HBC., Intro., xxix.
8. ibid. Geiger's view that it belongs to the 12th century A.C. is refuted by
Malalasekera, who gives the approximate date as "the seventh or eighth cen-
tury." Pali Literature of Ceylon, p. 144. But see DPPN, ii. p. 798. when he says
that it was probably written in the ninth century A.C.
9. Sahassavatthuppakarary,a by Yen. Rarrhapala of Guttava1'fka Pirivery,a in An-
uradhapura, edited by Aggamahapandita Buddhadatta Nayaka Thera, Co-
lombo, 1959, xxxi pp. 200.
10. Rahula, HBC., Intro., xxvii.
11. Sv. 1. All references to the Sv. are from Ven. Buddhadatta's edition
in Sinhala script. No other edition of this text is available, although Ven.
Buddhadatta mentions about two earlier attempts to prepare a romanized
12. These points are, in the main, already discussed by Dr. Rahula. See
HBC., Introd., xxxi-xxxiii. I have attempted to add more details, while giving
my own examples as far as possible.
13. HBC., Intro., xxx-xxxi; Sv., Intro., xi-xii.
14. Sv. p. 74.
15. cf. panpury,ry,a7[! anakula7[!, Thilpava7[!sa, p. 147.
16. Buddhadatta, Pali Sahityaya, p. 398.
184 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
17. Source relations among these works, particularly between the lvl.alul_
va,!!sa and the Rv., are an important issue. Except for story no. 38, the first
part of the Rv. has nothing to do with the Mhv. or any other chronicle. It must
be remembered, however, that ail Pali chronicles in Sri Lanka claim to draw
upon an ancient Sinhala tradition.
18. Consider, for example, the Elder Vacissara's statement at the begin-
ning of the Thi1pava,!!sa.: YCl.mul ca. magadhaniruttikato pi thiipa- vaY(WJ viruddlwn_
ayasaddasamakulo sol Vattabbam eva ca balmll! pi yato na vuttam- tasrnii alum! puna
pi VaT!!.mrn imar!! vadamill TI!llpaVar!!.la, p. 147. Even the Nhv. admits its depen-
dence on the "tradition" (sutito ca upagata/!!).
19. HBC., Intro., xxix.
20. There are two giltluls common to the two texts. In the Rv. they both
occur in the second part. Dr. Rahula has quoted these two verses. HBC.,
Intro., xxxvii.
21. Various editions of this very popular religious work exist. The one
used in this study is the Saddlwrmillai!kilmya (Illustrated), edited by Ven. Pan-
dit K. Sri Gnanavimala Thera, Colombo, 1954, xii pp. 796.
22. Sdhl. p. 793.
23. ibid., p. 30 & p. 793.
24. ibid., p. 399.
25. Part of his story is given at Visuddhimagga 263, and JA. iv. 490 & vi.
30 mention his name. These references are from DPPN., ii, p. 258. Dr.
Rahula gives further references from the Sa/nantap(lsildikil, Sara.Ia/!!, and also
from the Sinhala work Saddharmamtrulkaraya. HBC., Intro., xxxiii. The story
is found also in the SfhalavatthupjJakarCl1.!, pp. 20-26.
26. The Rv. and Sdhl. refer to the Mhv. This fact in itself seems to
indicate the appearance of the existent Sv. at a date later than the MaMval!!sa
rikil, unless there existed another work by the name ofMahava,!!.>a A!!hakatlul.
27. DPPN., ii, pp. 135.
28. Sdhl. pp. 168-83.
29. AitiMsika lekhana sar!!gmhaya, no. 2, 1962, p. 2.
30. Winternitz, M., A Histmy oj'lndian Literature, i. p. 100ff.
31. See H. Oldenberg's article: "Akhyana type and the Jatakas," in jour-
nal of the Pali Text Society, 1910-12, p. 19ff.
32. SfhalavatthuppakarCl1.Ul, edited by Ven. A.P. Bucldhadatta Nayaka
Thera, Colombo, 1959, Introduction.
A Study of the Theories of Yiivad-bhiivikatii
and Yathiivad-bhiivikatii in the
by Ah-yueh Yeh
The Abhidharma-samuccaya (AS),l one of the basic texts of the
Yogacaravijfianavada, is called the "Mahayana Abhidharma" of
Asariga,2 since it consists of a number of quotations and expla-
nations from Abhidharma and Mahayana texts, organized and
explained systematically according to the theories of the Bodhi-
sattva-pitaka (pu-sa-tsang)a or Vaipulya (great extension, fang-
kung)b Dharma.
It is well-known that the vaipulya mentioned in many Bud-
dhist texts
is one of nine or twelve kinds of Dharma compris-
ing the Buddha's teaching. Of course, this vaipulya is not itself
Abhidharma. Still, the term vaipulya appears many times in the
Dharma-viniscaya (Dh V) chapter in AS; Asariga enumerates its
synonyms as vaidalya (splitting all obstacles, kuang-p'ou
), vaitu-
lya (incomparable, wu-Pi
) and bodhisattva-paramita-pitaka (pu-sa-
po-ro-mi-to-tsang;),4 and explains their meanings in various
ways. Why he does this is an interesting question for me; after
reading their meanings, I find that this Vaipulya-Dharma, which
explains the nily,svabhavata of all dharmas, possesses the charac-
teristics of the seven mahattvas,
which can effect the salvation
of all beings and purification of all countries without concern
for personal emancipation. In the same Dh V chapter, I also
find the two important technical terms yavad-
bhavikata (bh.) (as
far as actually being, chin-so-yu-shingf) and yathavad-bh. (exactly
as actually being, ru-so-yu-shing
). They are also mentioned in
the Saindhinirmocana-siitra (SNS)1 and Yogacara-bhiimi (YCbh).8
Therefore, I think that Asariga may want to use these two
terms from the SNS and YCbh to show that the AS is in the
186 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
group of Mahayana-vaipulya-dharmas; the main purpose of the
AS may be to show that bodhisattvas of the Y ogacara should
have the pure mind of anatman and tathata to effect the purifi-
cation and welfare of all people and countries. In any case,
these two terms, which contain all dharmas and dharmatas, have
been discussed by many scholarsY In this paper, I will try to
compare the theories of these two terms from the viewpoint of
the AS.
I. The Categories of yavad-bh. and yathiivad-bh.
The YCbh vol. 7710 and SNS vol. 3 explain the meanings of
samatha and vipasyana in diverse ways. Both texts deal with rela-
tions among the four object-elements (alambana-vastus)ll of sa-
matha and vipasyana meditation. They also explain that bodhi-
sattvas should know meanings in ten ways. Among these, the
first is yavad-bh. and the second yathavad-bh. The categories are
as follows:
1. yavad-bh.: The limit of all kinds of purity and impurity.
The "all" means the five skandhas, the six inside bases
(ayatanas) and the six outside ayatanas.
2. yathavad-bh.: The tathatas of all pure and impure dhar-
mas; the seven tathatas.
These two texts do not mention the relation of the yavad-bh.
and yathavad-bh. with the object of the limits of the entity (vastu-
parayantalambana), although this relation is discussed in the
YCbh vol. 26 and AS. Therefore, in SNS, these two technical
terms are used as ways of understanding meanings, while in
YCbh vol. 26, they are the objects of meditation, and in AS they
refer to jneya dharmas. Futhermore, the categories also have
some differences.
They are:
texts yavad-bh. yathiivad-bh.
YCbh 5 skandhas (all sainkrtas) meditative object (tattvata-
vol. dhiitu and ayatana (all dharmas) tathata)
26 4 aryiHatya (A-S) (all jneya- Yuktitva (4 yuktis)13
AS 5 skandhas 4 A-S, 16 akiiras, tathata,
18 dhiitus anitya-sainskara (s.),
12 ayatanas s. ---------------
From this classification, we find that Asanga, in AS, recom-
poses the categories from SNS and YCbh. Most notably, he puts
the Four Noble Truths (A-S), which in YCbh vol. 26 belong to
the yavad-bh., under yathiivad-bh. In YCbh vol. 36,14 yathiivad-bh.
is the truth of dharmas; yavad-bh. the totality of dharmas, and
both together the "meaning of truth" (tattvartha). Hien-yan-shen-
chio-lun (HYL,h)IS deals with the terms chin-so-chih-i,i ru-so-chih-
i) (vol. 5), chin-chu-so-yu,k and ru-chu-so-yu,l (vol. 6). The categor-
ies can be considered the same as in SNS.
II. The Meanings of yavad-bh. and yathiivad-bh.
If Asanga is the author of both YCbh vol. 26 and AS, why
does he put the four A-S in the yavad-bh. in YCbh vol. 26, and
then include them under yathiivad-bh. in AS? If the yavad-bh.
only means the empirical, or sainvrtti, and yathiivad-bh. only
means absolute, or paramartha,16 how can the four A-S be in-
cluded under both? In other words, if the four A-S have both
meanings, why cannot yavad-bh. and individually or
mutually have both meanings? This is an important problem.
In order to solve the problem, one should first study their
Yavat means "as far as"; yathiivat means rightly, suitably,
exactly. Bhiivika means actually being
or existing. Edgerton's
188 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Dictionary, p. 443, states that yathiivad-bh. is true or full actual-
ization, the state of coming to be truly actualized as the thing is
or should be. Yiivad-bh. is found in neither Edgerton's nor Wil-
liams' dictionary. Hsuan-tsang
translates it by chin-so-yu-hsin
chino means "as far as." Dr. Takasaki's SRGV, p. 173, translates
them by "being as far as" and "being as it is." They also might
be translated by "as far as actually being" and "exactly as actual-
ly being."
Ru-so-yu-hsing and chin-so-yu-hsing appear 17 times with dif-
ferent meanings in the YCbh. In YCbh vol. 67 (TTP 30, p ..
668c), these two terms are used to mean practice (bhavanii, hsiu-
). The same passage also appears in HTL (TTP 31, p.
556c). Hsuan-tsang sometimes uses chin-so-yu-hsing, ru-so-yu-
hsing,q and chin-so-chih-ir for his translations. In Fu-hsin-lun,s
(TTP 31, p. 802a), they appear as ru-lian-hsiu,t ru-li-hsiu, U ru-
lian-chih,v and ru-li-chih,w which are translated by paramiirtha. In
the Uttaratantra, Ratnamati translates them as ru-su-hsiu-hsing,x
and pen-hsiu-hsing.Y There, yiivad-bh. is the tathiigata-garbha-as-
titva, 18 and bhiivikata is not bhiivanii, but has some relation with
bhiivana (hsiu-hsing). Therefore, Prof. Vi explains that bhiivika
means to accomplish, must accomplish, or be accomplished.
For this reason, he contends that it means the same as hsiu-

In other words, without practice (bhavana), no one can
accomplish his ultimate aim. I think this "practice" may be con-
sidered the first key to the problem mentioned above. Anyway,
the meaning of the "bhiivikata" is diversification; when the pre-
fix yavad or yathiivad combines with it, its meaning or character
will vary somewhat.
III. The characteristics of yavad-bh. and yathiivad-bh.
Secondly, one should investigate the characteristics of ya-
vad-bh. and yathiivad-bh. As mentioned above, yavad-bh., signify-
ing the five skandhas, eighteen dhiitus and twelve ayatanas,
known collectively as the Three Dharmas (dh.), occupies the
first large part (Lakyar;,a-samuccaya) of the AS; the yathiivad-bh.,
signifying the four A-S, tathata, etc., occupies the last large part
(ViniScaya-samuccaya) of AS. Therefore, the theories of these
terms can be said to be the theories of the whole AS.20 It is well
known that the Three Dharmas and Four A-S, which have
various meanings, categories and characteristics, have been dis-
cussed in early Buddhism, Abhidharma and Mahayana Bud-
dhism. Asanga's selection of the two for the two main sections
of the AS is appropriate. Also important in Buddhism is the
theory of anatman, which opposes the theory of atman, the
absolute, eternal core of the personality. These Three Dh. and
Four A-S have, of course, the same purpose, that is, to maintain
the theory of anatman.
l. As Regards the Skandhas: The positing of the five skand-
has is a way to show that there is neither an absolute personality
nor an eternal soul in any person, but Asanga, in the AS, men-
tions that the five skandhas manifest the five aspects of the
Among them, the first atma-vastu is the rupa-s.,
which contains the body (deha, the six internal organs) and
property22 (parigraha, the six external objects). The second
atma-vastu is the vedana-s., which has the character of enjoy-
ment. The third atma-vastu is the sainjyna-s, which has the char-
acter of expressing or putting in words. The fourth atma-vastu
is the sainskara-s., which has the character of performing rightly
and wrongly. The fifth, atma-sva-vastu, is the vijnana-s., which
has the character of supporting the body, property, etc. There-
fore, the ASbh explains that the first four aspects are vastus of
atman, but the fifth is its own vastu, the character of the atman
The fifth is the principal atma-vastu; the other four are the
subordinate atma-vastus. But this principal atman is not the abso-
lute, eternal atman. It is the vijnana-s., which contains the quali-
ties of citta, manas and These three are synonymous, 23
and have the characteristic of being dependently originated
(pratztya-samutpada). In the AS, Asanga explains that citta is the
alaya-vijnana that possesses all seeds, because it is completely
saturated by the impressions of the skandhas, dhatus and aya-
tanas. This alaya-vijnana
also is called the mature-conscious-
ness (vipaka-vijnana) and the appropriative-consciousness (ada-
na-vijnana) by which one can collect impressions.
As regards the manas, Asanga explains that it has two as-
pects. The one, the always depends on the alaya-
vijnana, for it grasps it and thinks of it as Self (atman, aham)
with the four impure mentals. The other is the mind of imme-
190 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
diate-disappearance-consciousness, which will be the supporter
of the appearances of the consciousnesses. These two are also
mentioned in YCbh, MSS and AbK.25 As regards the Vijiiana,
Asanga explains the six consciousnesses, whicn individually de-
pend on their own sense-9rgans to recognize their own objects.
Therefore, variousknowledges and activities occur in the
world. Thus, this world is not created by the absolute, the At-
man or Brahman.
2. As Regards the Ayatanas
and Dhatus: According to the
Vijiianavadin, all representations or enjoyments of the six COll-
sciousnesses are the income (aya) through the six sense-organs
and their contact with the six objects. For this reason, these six
sense-organs and six objects are called the twelve ayatanas. In
addition, these twelve function in holding (dhararJa) the past
and present enjoyments of the six consciousnesses by serving as
the asraya (basis, or support) and alambana (object) of these six.
At the same time, as the Kuei-chi
says, the six consciousnesses
also can hold themselves, thus showing that their characteristics
are not lost. Thus, these eighteen together are called the eigh-
teen dhatus, because "holding" (dhararJa) is the meaning of
dhatu. However, dhatu has other meanings, such as gotra, bija,
hetu, etc., mentioned in the MSS and MAV.28 Asanga, in the
AS, enumerates four meanings: 1. sarva-dharma-bijartha, 2. sva-
lak:;arJa-dhararJartha, 3. karya-kararJa-bhava-dhararJartha, 4. sarva-
Among them, the first
represents the meaning of bija, and the other three are the
meanings of dhararJa, which applies not only to adana-vijiiana,
but also to eighteen dhatus.
3. The Relations o/Three Dharmas and Tathatiis: Although the
five skandhas, eighteen dhatus, or twelve ayatanas individually
have their special characteristics, they have very close relations,
which are mentioned
in the
(AMBS, a-pi-ti-mo ta-pipo-sa-lun
), AbK, PSP and AS. They are
as follows:
(1) The rupa-skandha(s.) contains ten ayatanas, ten dhatus
and one part of the dharma-dhatu;
(2) The vedana-s.;
(3) samfiia-s.;
(4) samskara-s. and avijnapti-[rupaJ (u-piao-seCC)"d belong to
the dharma-dhatu;
(5) The vijiiana-s. contains six vijniina-dhatus, and the
mano-dhatu (seven citta-dhatus) and the mana-ayatana.
Therefore, in these texts, only rupa-s., dharma-dhiitu and
mana-ayatana are classified as the Three Dharmas, which repre-
sent all dharmas by the relations among the five skandhas,
eighteen dhatus and twelve ayatanas. All the dharmas mentioned
above are classified into two groups: (1) samskrta-dharmas, which
are included in the skandhas only, and (2) asamskrtacdharmas
are included only in the dharma-dhatu. Therefore, it can be said
that all dharmas, samskrta or asamskrta, are included in these
Three Dharmas. Asanga in the AS enumerates the eight kinds
of asamskrta-dharmas. They are:
(1) kusala-dharma-tathata (shanla-chen-ju
) ,
(2) akusala-dharma-tathata (pu-shanla-shen-juee),
(3) avyakrta-dharma-tathata (wu-chila chen-juff),
(4) akiiSa (hsii-k'unggg),
(5) apratisamkhya-nirodha (fei-tse-me-[chen-ju]hh),
(6) pratisamkhya-nirodha (tse-me[ -chenj'u ]ii),
(7) aniiijya (pu-tunJi),
(8) samjiia-vedayita-nirodha (hsiang-so-me
The MahiSasaka (hua-ti-pu
) enumerates the nine
kinds of
asamskrta. The difference between them is that Asanga, I be-
lieve, adds the samjiia-vedayita-nirodha instead of the marganga-
tathata and pratitya-samutpada-tathata. About the meanings of
the tathatas, he especially explains that the kusala-dharma-tathata
is the anatman, the synonym of sunyata, animitta, bhilta-koti, par-
amartha and dharma-dhiitu, which are also mentioned
in the
MA V, MSS, etc.
Now, this is the second key to the problem, because from
the above statements, we find that yavad-bh. has both samskrta
and asamskrta characteristics, which contain the three tathatas.
Thus, tathata is related to both characteristics, and if some
entity has the characteristics of tathata, it can belong to either
category. In YCbh voL 26, the four A-S are included in yavad-
bh.; in AS they are included in yathavad-bh. Thus, the four A-S
may be considered to have some connection with the character-
istic of tathata.
Further, Asanga moves the four A-S from yavad-bh. to yath-
avad-bh., and he removes marganga-tathata, one of the four A-S,
from the group of tathatas which belong to dharma-dhiitu, the
side of yavad-bh. Therefore, it can be said that Asanga pays
special attention to the practical marga (path, tau
) on the side
of yathiivad-bh., because without practicing the marga of a
bodhisattva, one cannot attain tathata, the pure consciousness,
etc. I think this is the main reason why Asanga included the
four A-S under yathiivad-bh.
4. The Relation of Tathata and the Four A-S. The last large
part of the AS is theViniscaya-samuccaya (VS), in which the first
chapter, the Satya-viniscaya, details the four A-S, i.e.,dulJhka-s.,
samudaya-s., nirodha-s., and marga-s., in many ways. My concern
here, though, is only to study which tathatas appear in what
satya and with what meanings.
As regards the nirodha-satya, Asanga explains it from dif-
ferent aspects, such as lalu;arJa, gambhirya, samv'!ti, paramartha,
etc. Among them, we can find "tathata"34 twice in the explana-
tion of the lalu;arJa aspect:
(1) "[The characteristic of nirodha] which is the support of
nirodha, or the destroying (nirodhaka), or the nature of nirodha,
is the non-production of the troubles in the noble path in tath-
(2) "Higher than object, the elements of the evil depravities
are destroyed in tathata."
In the ASbh, we find spelled out some meanings of tathata
that are implied in the AS.
(1) In marga-s., for the explanation of darsana-marga: "This
wisdom of the similarity of supported and supporting
(samasamalambyalambana-.Jru'ina), means that by it the
tathata of the non-existence of the grasped and grasp-
ing is penetrated (tena grahya-grahakabhiiva-tathata-prati-
vedhat)." (TTP 31 p. 735a, ASbh, p. 76/20-21)
(2) For the explanation of the dharmajnana-lu;anti of
dulJkha, one of the sixteen .Jnana-ks.$anti: "Tathata is dis-
tinctly perceiving in the continuation of dulJkha-s.
Transcendental wisdom, the nature of right view (sam
is produced; when the opinion of suffering
is destroyed, the 28 evil propensities in the triple uni-
verse are destroyed." (TTP 31, p. 735a, ASbh, p. 77/3-
(3) For the explanation of the grasped, known as the
dharma-lu;anti1'nana, and the grasper, known as anvaya-
lu;antijnana: The ASbh explains that the path of the
transcendental world has two objects: tathata and
samyag-jiu'ina. The explanation of tathata is: "Tathatais
the object of the path of dharma-jiiana-pak!;a." (AS p.
671 1-2, ASbh. p. 77/12, TTP 31 pp. 682c, 735b)
(4) For the explanation of vyapin, a synonym of vajropama-
samadhi: "Pervading means supporting tathata as the
general character of all known things." (TTP 31, p.
742c, ASbh p. 93112)
(5) The nirantarasraya-pravrtti contains three kinds: l. cittas-
raya-pravrtti (p.), 2. margasraya-p., 3. dauJtulyasraya-p.
The explanation of the first is: "The mind-basis in revo-
lution (cittasraya-parivrtti) is dharmata; because of taking
away the all accidental impurities (agantukopaklefa) from
the pure innate mind (cittasya prakrtiprabhasvara), it is
called evolution, and this is the meaning of tathata in
revolution (tathata-parivrtti)." (TTP 31 p. 742c, ASbh p.
From the above statements, we find that Asanga puts tath-
ata in nirodha-s. only twice, and without defining its meanings,
whereas in the ASbh several of tathata's meanings and charac-
teristics are discussed. Asanga does not hold that duMha-s. is the
samnivefa-tathata (ta.) (i-chi-chen-ju
), samudaya-s. the mithyaprati-
patti-tao (hsieh-hsing-chen-ju
) , nirodha-s. the vifuddhi-ta. (ch'ing-
ching-chen-juPP) , marga-so the samyak-pratipatti-ta. (cheng-hsing-
). These are the four tathatas of the famous Seven
Tathatas which are mentioned in the SNS, YCbh, MA V,
MSA,35 etc. Anyway, the reasons Asanga does not do that, I
believe, are:
(1) In the chapter on the Three Dharmas, he has already
expounded the meanings of the kufala-tathata.
(2) In the chapter on the dul],kha-s., he has explained tatha-
ta's synonyms, anatman and funyata, as meanings of the
general characteristics of dul],kha.
(3) He has included the four A-S under yatMvad-bh., using
detailed explanations that can replace the explanations
of samnivefa-tathata, etc.
(4) At the end of the Satya-samuccaya, he contends that the
sixteen akaras of the four satyas can belong to the ordi-
nary world or the transcendental world.
However, Asanga asserts the value of tathata and the four
A-S as being closely related for the person who does his best to
194 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
study rightly the Vaipulya-Dharma and practice the path of the
bodhisattva, finally attaining the asraya-p. The explanations of
tathata and the asraya-p., given in the ASbh, are similar to those
in the MA V and MSA;39 all three texts expound theories of the
Pure Innate Mind and the accidental defilement. In any case,
Asariga also insists in the AS that there are three kinds of as-
raya-p. The ASbh comments that the first, cittasraya-p.,4o means
the tathatasraya-p., and the third, means the alaya-
vijiiana's revolution. The second, margasraya-p., connects the
first and third, and is related to the right practice of samatha
and vipasyana without which one can neither destroy the im-
pure defilements, nor arrive at the transcendental world. In
other words, without the margasraya-p., the cittasraya-p. and
cannot succeed. Therefore, it can be said that
the meaning of the margasraya-p. is related to the first key to the
problem mentioned above.
IV. Theories of Anatman
1. The Definition of Sunyata. For attaining the asraya-p. and
enjoying a peaceful life, it is important that we remember the
theories of anatman, which is synonymous with sunyata. A fa-
mous definition of sunyata, which is given in the YCbh,41
MAV,42 and RGV,43 also is quoted in ASH for the explanation
of the characteristics of sunyata, one of the four akaras of the
tasya abhaval]" anena nayena samanupasyana sunyata,
. punal], anyasya bhiival]" anena nayena yathiibhuta-jiiana-
bhaval]" etad avatiira-sunyatocyate, yathiibhuta-jiianam aviparito
(It is' non-existent in them-by this reason sunyata is rightly
observed. Again, another thing is the existent in them-
by this reason, in accordance with truth, one knows it is
existent. It is called "the entrance into sunyata"; the yathiibh-
uta-jiiana (knowing in accordance with truth) means non-
In this definition, (yatra),45 "tasya" (yat) and "anyasya"
are the important pronouns. According to the expla-
nation of Asariga, the means the skandhas, dhatus and
ayatanas: the "tasya" means the atman or atmiya of dharmas: the
"anyasya" means anatman. Therefore, in short, the eternal, per-
manent atman or atmiya of dharmas is the non-existence in the
Three Dharmas, i.e., all dharmas: Through this reason, one
rightly observes that there is sunyata. Anatman is the mode of
existence of the Three Dharmas.
However, "atmano nastita anatmano'stita sati sunyata"46 (Sun-
yata means the existence of the atman's non-existence and the
anatman's existence.) This concludes the definition of sunyata.
In other words, the negative of the atman and the positive of
the anatman are considered the characteristics of sunyata.
When we compare this theory with MAV, YCbh and RGV, we
find some differences: "avasi0ta" in the MA V implies the "abhu-
taparikalpa"47 hsu-wangjen-pei
), the unreal imagination or the
Creator of the phenomenal world. The YCbh
indicates the
prajiiapti-vadasraya (chia-yen-shuo-so-i
). In the RGV,49 it repre-
sents the Buddha-dharma. In this AS, however, the "anya" repre-
sents anatman, the synonym of sunyata. Therefore, the "exis-
tence of the anatman" is similar to the "abhavasya bhava"
(existence of the non-existent) in Maitreya's MA V.50
2. The Abandonment of AtmabhiniveSea. Anatman is also syn-
onymous with tathata. It is not only the non-existence of atman,
but also the existence of anatman. This is the peculiar theory of
the AS, especially in the second part of the Three Dharmas
chapter, where we find a long series of topics (60 prakaras)
examined with reference to what (katham), how many (kati) and
what for (kimartham ... p a r i ~ a ) . We find that the aim of this
section is nothing but the insistence of the applicability of the
theory of anatman throughout all the universe-this second
part is treated under the title of Skandha-dhatu-ayatana-prakara-
(the division of the aspects in the Three Dharmas),
discussing the 60 topics (prakaras, from dravyamat to anuttara)
that cover the whole universe. In other words, every kind of
matter or non-matter, truth or untruth, etc., is contained in the
60 prakaras, but there is no eternal, permanent atman in any of
them. Therefore, the purpose of discussing these prakaras is
abandonment (tyajanartha) of the atmabhiniveSa (strong attach-
ment to or false opinion about atman). But how many and what
kinds of atmabhiniveSa should be abandoned? Of course, there
are innumerable atmabhiniveSas to be abandoned; but, accord-
ing to the theory of Asariga, we can divide all dharmas or the
Three Dharmas into 60 pairs, in which we find 58 atmabhinive-
196 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
sas to be abandoned. (Three pairs, no. 34, atita, no. 35, anagata,
no. 36, pratyutpanna, have the same purpose: to abandon the
pravartakatman. )
The names of the 60 pairs (the 60 prakaras and 58 atmabhin-
ivesa-tyajanas) are given in the table at the end of the paper.
3. The Anatman of theJneya, All Dharmas. Among these 60
prakaras, jneya and vijneya have important meanings. Although
YCbh vol. 65 omits these two from the list of prakaras, Kui-chei
puts these two between the asainskrta and alambana; altogether,
he enumerates 60 prakaras from YCbh vol. 65 and 66.
seems that Kui-chei is interested in these two prakaras when he
finds the list of 60 prakaras which are enumerated at the end of
YCbh vol. 66. I am interested in these two prakaras, especially
the ''jneya'' prakara. The jneya means an object or thing to be
known. Its categories are wide and various. YCbh vol. 26 ex-
plains that the jneya-vastu (so-chih-shih
) contains all from the
asubha or maitri up to the marga-s.
In ASbh, the jneya some-
times represents the three dharmas,54 but there Asanga says
"sarvain jneyam,"55 because, he explains, jneya has five categor-
ies, i.e., rupa, citta, caitaska, cittaviprayukta and asainskrta. All but
the asainskrta are sainskrta. Thus, the sainskrta and asainskrta are
contained in these five categories, which are also called the five
dharmas or five vastus in the texts of Abhidarma and Vijiiana-
These texts mention that these five dharmas represent
all dharmas. Therefore, Asanga discusses the relation of these
five dharmas with the Three Dharmas to show that, altogether,
they represent all dharmas, since he already has shown that the
Three Dharmas contain all dharmas, in the chapter on the
Three Dharmas. Their relations are:
(1) Rupa belongs to rupa-s., contains ten rupa-dhatus, ten
rupayatanas and another rupa (avijnapti-rupa) which be-
longs to the dharma-dhatu and dharmayatana.
(2) Citta belongs to vijnana-s., contains the seven vijnana-
dhatus and the mana-ayatana.
(3) Caitasikas belong to the vedana-s., sainjna-s., and sain-
skara-s.; also, together they belong to the dharma-dhatu
and dharmayatana.
(4) Citta-viprayuktas belong to sainskara-s.; also, one'part be-
longs to the dharma-dhatu and dharmayatana.
(5) The asainskrta belongs to the dharma-dhatu and dhar-
AU dharmas can be pure or impure,57 when the citta or
caitasika is impressed by pure faith or impure passion. There-
fore, Asanga explains the jiieya-dharmas by 13 jiiiinas (from adhi-
to mahiirthajiiiina), because the jiieya-dharmas are the
objects (gocaras) of the 13 jiiiinas. Furthermore, Asanga, in the
Prativiniscayachapter, details the six kinds of jiieya (from bhriinti
to Among them, the bhriintyiisraya is the na-
ture of the abhuta-parikalpa, and abhriintyasraya is tathata. 58.
Thus, the jiieya means all dharmas which contain pure and
impure, etc. Asanga, in showing that there is no atman in any
dharma, claims that the purpose of explainingjiieya is for aban-
doning adherence to jiiaka and pasyaka as the atman. However,
when the 58 kinds of iitmiibhinivesa are destroyed, there is noth-
ing but pure aniitman, tathata, appearing in the whole dharma-
V. Conclusion.
As regards the problem of why Asanga includes the four
Arya-satya (A-S) under yathiivad-bhiivikata (bh.), there are two
keys: (1) the meaning of bhiivanii (practice) and miirgasraya-par-
ivrtti, and (2) the relation of tathata to the Three Dharmas and
Four A-S. I also respect Asanga's significant and scientific re-
composition of the categories of yiivad-bh. and yathiivad-bh. Yii-
vad-bh. signifies the Three Dharmas (rupa-s., dharma-dhiitu and
mana-iiyatana) , which contain all dharmas (sainskrta and
asainskrta). Also, Asanga explains that the five skandhas have
the five kinds of iitma-vastus. Among them, the iitma-sva-vastu,
the vijiiiina-s., which has the characteristics of the alaya-vijfiana,
iidiina-vijiiiina, manas and six vijiiiinas, proves that there is no
eternal atman in any person. Yathiivad-bh. signifies the Four A-
S, tathata etc. In the chapter on duly,kha-s., we find the theory of
aniitmanand sunyata, the synonyms of tathata; in the nirodha-s.
chapter, we find the tathata which belongs to the dharma-dhiitu,
on the side of yiivad-bh. Thus, tathata is related to both yiivad-bh.
and yathiivad-bh. only by means of the practice and abandon-
ment of the iitmiibhinivesa.
The theory of aniitman, the synonym of tathata and sun-
yata, is here different from that of the Madhyamika. Behind
198 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
this Vijiianavadin theory,' as always, is the notion that yavad-bh.
and yathavad-bh. are to be realized so that one can practice the
Vaipulya-Dharma and the bodhisattva's marga, for the sake of
the peace of the world.
The Table of the .60 Prakaras and 58 AtmabhiniveSa-tyajanas
Prakaras AtmabhiniveSa-tyajanas.
I. Dravyamat Atma-clravya
2. Prajnaptimat Prajnaptimad-atma
3. Sarnvrtimat SamkleSa-nimittatma
4. Paramarthasat Vyavadana-nimittatma
Jneya J naka-pasyakatma
6. Vijneya

7. Abhijneya Sanubhavatma
8. Rupin Rupyatma
9. Arftpin Arftpyatma
10. Sa-niclarsana
II. A-niclarsana
12. Sapratigha Asarvagatatma
13. A-pratigha Sarvagatatma
14. Sasrava Asravayuktatma
IS. Anasrava Asrava-viyuktatma
16. Sarana RaJ?ayuktatma
17. AraJ?a RaJ?a-viyukatma
20. Gredhasrita Greclhayuktatma
2-1. Greclha-viyuktatma
22. Sari1skrta Anityatma
23. Asamskrta Nityatma
24. Laukika Atmani loka
25. Lokottara Kevalatma
26. Utpanna Asasvatatma
27. An-utpanna Sasvatatma
28. Grahaka Bhoktratma
29. Grahya
30. Bahir-mukha A vttaragatma
31. Antar-mukha Vitaragatma
32. KleSa yu tatma
33. KleSa-viyuktatma
34. Atlta Pravartakatma
35. Anagata Pravartakatma
36. Pratyutpanna Pravartakatma
37. Kusala
38. Akusala
39. Avyakrta Dharmadharma-vimuktatma
40. Kama-pratisamyukta Kamavita-ragatma
41. Riipa-pratisamyukta Kamavita-ragatma
42. Ariipya-prati-samyukta Riipavita-ragatma
43. Saikp
44. Muktatma
45. Amuktatma
46. Darsana-prahaiavya Darsana-sampannatma
47. Bhavana-prahatavya Bhavana-sampannatma
48. Aprahatavya Siddhatina
49. Pratftya-samutpanna
50. Pratya Atma-hetuka-dharma
51. Sabhaga-tatsabhaga Vijnana-yuktayuktatma
52. Upattam Deha-vasa-vartyatma
53.lndriya Atmadhipati
54. DuJ:lkhaduJ:lkhata DuJ:lkhitatma
55. Sukhitatma
56. Samskara-duJ:lkhata
57. Savipaka
58. Ahara Ahara-sthitikatma
59. Sottara Atma-dravya-hlna
60. An-uttara Atma-dravyagra
5 Dharmas 3 Dharmas
1 !
aprati-sam khya-nir.
The Table of All Dharmas
12 Ayatanas 18 Dhatus




u r-vij fiana-dh.
flipa-s. vedana-s. samjfia-s. sall1skara-s.
, I I I
Five Skandhas



1. V.V. Gokhale, "Fragments from the Abhidharma-samuccaya of
Asanga" (AS[G]) Royal Asiatic Society, N.S. 23, 1947. Pralhad Pradhan,
(AS[p]), Santiniketan, 1950. Nathnal Tatia, Abhidharma-
samuccaya-bhi14ya (ASbh), K.P.J.R. Institute, Patna, 1976. Ta-shen-a-pi-ta-mo-
and Ta-shen-a-pi-ta-mo-tsa-chi-lun
both are translated by Hsuan-
tsangWW-Taisho Tripitaka (TTPXX), vol. 31, no. 1605, 1606. .
2. Ashok Kumar Chatterjee, The Yogacara Idealism (Motilal Banarsidass,
India, 1975), p. 31.
3. Abhidharma-mahii-vibhi14a-sastra (MVS, a-pi-ta-mo-ta-pi-po-sa-lunYY), vol.
126, TTP, 27, pp. 659c-660a. Yogacara-bhilmi (YCbh, yu-chia-su-ti-lun
) volS.
25, 77, 81, 85, TTP 30, pp. 418b- , 723c, 753b, 773a. Etienne Lamotte,
Saindhinirmocana-sutra (SNS) Paris, 1935, p. 89. Chieh-shen-mi-chinga
16, p. 698a. Hien-yang-chen-chiao-lun (HYL bbb) vol. 6, TTP 31, pp. 508e-509a.
cf. Dr. Egaku Mayeda, A History of the Formation of Original Buddhist Texts,
Tokyo, 1964, pp. 389-419.
4. The meaning of vaipulya is mentioned in AS[p] p. 7911-5. The rela-
tion of vaipulya with Bodhisattva-pitaka is dealt with at p. 79 114-15. The
meaning and the relation of vaipulya with Bodhisattva-paramita-Pitaka are dis-
cussed at p. 83 114-18. The many meanings of vaipulya, such as the nilysbhava,
etc., are explained at p. 83119 and p. 85. AS[g]p. 35. TTP 31, pp. 686a-687c,
5. ASbh, p. 96. This text notes that vaipulya, vaidalya and vaitulya are
synonyms of Mahayana, and explains the "sapta-vidham mahattvam." Among
them, (2) pratipatti, and (5) upayakallialya have the meanings of the Mahayanis-
tic activities for self and others. "Sainsara-nirvar;a-prat4thanat" is the important
meaning. The other meanings are noted at pp. 102-116. TTP 31, pp. 743c-
744a, 746c-752c.
6. AS[p], p. 80116-20. This part is not in the original Sanskrit text;
therefore, shin-so-yu-hsing"cc is retranslated as Dr. Rahula, per-
haps according to the AS[p], in his book, Le Compendium de la super-doctrine
(Philosophie) (Abhidharma-samuccaya) d'Asanga, (AS[r]), Paris 1971, p. 134,
translates it by "l'etat de destruction naturelle." They are mistakes, because
means "destruction" or "as far as" !Javat). Here, "as far as" is correct.
TTP 31, pp. 686c, 744c-745a ASbh, p. 98112. On pp. 90 & 91, theyathavad-
bh. means vipaSyana, i.e., "yavad-bhavikataya vicinoti, yathavadcbhavikataya-pravi-
cinoti," two of the four vipaSyanas which are explained in YCbh 30, TTP 30, p.
451b. At YCbh 64 (TTP 30, p. 657c), they are called "yavad-bhavikata-vipa-
syana" and "yathavad-bhavikata-vipaSyana."
7. SNS, pp. 98-99, "yavatta," "yathavatta." TTP 16, p. 699c.
8. Karunesha Shukla, Sravakabhilmi of Acarya Asanga (Sbh[s]) (K.P. Jayas-
wal Research Institute, Patna, 1973), pp. 195-196. Alex Wayman, Analysis of
the Sravaka-bhumi Manuscript (Sbh[w]) University of California, 1961, pp. 86,
110,113. YCbh, vols. 26, 30, 34,36,43,45,64,67,74,77,78,85,93, TTP 30,
pp. 427c, 451b, 452a, 475a, 486b, 529a, 657c, 668c, 709a, 725b, 773b, 775c,
777b, 789c, 833c.
9. Chigeo Kamata, "Ru-so-yu-hsing
yathavad-bhavikata tofff chin-so-
yavad-bhavikata." (Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies-JIBS) In-
202 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
dogaku Bukkyogaku Kenkyu
3-2, 1955, pp. 688-690. Jikido Takasaki, A.
Study on the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga, (RGV[tJl.,. Serie Orientale Roma, 33, 1966, p.
30L Gadjin Nagao, "Amareru mono"lll JIBS, 16-2, pp. 23-27. Josho
Nozawa, Taijo-bukkyo yuga-kiyo no kenkyuili Hozokan, Kyoto,J947, pp. 36,122.
Gadjin Nagao, Chukan to yuishikikkk Yuwanami, Tokyo, 1978, pp. 33-36, 100.
Noriaki Hakamaya: "On a Paragraph in the Dharma-viniscaya" JIBS 21-2,
1972, p. 4l.
10. YCbh vol. 77. (Identical in content to SNS vol. 3.) TTP 30, pp. 723c-
729a. SNS, VIII (Chinese text, vol. 3), pp. 88-121, TTP 16 pp. 697b, 703b.
11. (1) Savikalpa-pratibimba (yujen-peih-ying-hsianglll) is the alambana-vastu
of vipasyana. (2) Nirvikalpa-pratibimba (wu-fen-peih-ying-hsing
) is the alam-
bana-vastu of samathii. (3) Vastu-paryantata (su-pien-chi
), and (4) Karya-parini-
spatti (so-tso-cheng-pang
) are the alambana-vastu of samatha and vipasyana.
These names are also dealt in YCbh vol. 26 and AS. Altogehter, they belong
to the vyapyalambana (pen-man-so-yenPPP), the first of the other four alambanas.
The other three are: Carita-visodhana (ching-hsing-so-yen
), Kufalyalambana
), and Klesa-visodhanalambana (sheng-huo-so-yen
12. (1) pravrtti-tathata (ta.), (2) lak:far:a-ta., (3) vijiiapti-ta., (4) sain1Jivesa-ta.,
(5) mithyapratipatti-ta., (6) visuddhi-ta., (7) samyakpratipatti-t. These seven tatha-
tas are also mentioned in the Madhyanta-vibhiiga-bhii1ya (MA VB[n]), ed. by G.
Nagao, Tokyo, 1964, p. 43; Mahayana-sutralankara (MSA) ed. by Sylvain Levi,
Bibliotheque de l'licole des Hautes Etudes, t. 159, Paris, 1907, p. 168, and some
other texts. Cf. my book, A. Study on the Vijiiana-matra Theory from the Standpoint
of the Three Natures as the Mulatattva (SVT) Yuishiki shiso no Kenkyu
1975, pp. 594-618. The term tathata is the synonym of tat/va in the MA VB.
13. (1) apek:fa-yukti, (2) kiirya-kiirar:a-y., (3) upapattisadhana-y., (4) dharmata-
y ... The "yukti" means connection, reason, argument, proof, etc. ... Cf.
Monier-Williams, Sanskrit-English Dictionary (SED), Oxford, 1956, p. 853. The
meaning of "reason" is the Chinese tao-li
14. Nalinaksha Dutt, Bodhisattva-bhumi (BSbh), K.P.J.R. Institute, Patna,
1966, p. 25. YCbh 36, TTP 30, p. 486b.
15. HYL, TTP, 31 pp. 502b, 556c.
16. E. Obermiller, in his The Sublime Science of the Great Vehicle to Salva-
tion, Being a Manual of Buddhist Monism, (Acta Orientalia vol. IX, 1931), p. 138,
uses "Absolute and Empirical" for the two terms. But Dr. Takasaki, in his
RGV[t], p. 173, criticizes Obermiller's interpretation. Dr. Wayman, in his
Sbh[w] p. 86, uses "phenomenon" for yavad-bh. and "noumenon" for yathii-
17. Williams, SED, pp. 755, 843.
18. RGV[t], p. 173. TTP 31, p. 825a.
19. H. Vi, Hoshioron no kenkyu
, Yuwanami, Tokyo, 1960, pp. 115-116.
20. According to the Chinese version, the two parts of AS (7 volumes)
are: (1) pen-sujen
, vols. 1-3, (2) chyueh-tshejenxxx, vols. 3-7.
21. AS[p], p. 1113- ASbh, p. 1110- TTP 31, pp. 663a. 695a. The
"vastu" of the "atma-vastu" has many meanings, such as the matter, thing,
place, subject, substance, foundation, etc. Cf. Williams, SED, p. 932; Macdon-
ell: PSD, p. 274. Prof. S. Yoshimoto, "The Characteristics of Skandha-dhatu-
ayatana in Abhidharma-samuccaya" (JIBS, 27-1, 1978) p. 216, translates it by
"i-ch'u"YYY. Kue-chei in his Cha-chi-lun-shu-chi
(Wan-hsu-tsang-ching"aaa, 74, p.
317) adds "t'i"bbbb for its meaning.
22. ASbh p. 1/16-17 "deha-parigrahabhyam iti cakiur ca
. ... " TTP 31, p. 695 "Shen-tse-wei-yen-teng-lu-ken, Chi-tse-wei-se-teng-
lu_ching"Cccc. The "parigraha" means property. Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid San-
skrit Dictionary (BHSD), p. 321. The Chinese "chu"dddd means possession.
23. AS[g], p. 19112 AS[p]. p. 11/25 TTP 31, p. 666a. V. Bhattacharya,
The Yogacara-bhumi of AcaryaAsmiga (YCbh), Calcutta, 1959, p. 11. TTP 30, p.
280b. S.B. Shastri, Paiicaskandha-prakara7Ja of Vasubandhu (PSP), Ceylon,
1969, p. 15. TTP 31, p. 849c. SNS. TTP 16, p. 692c. In my book, SVT, pp.
214-216, I have detailed the alaya-vijfiana's synonymy with the theories of
some important texts.
24. ASbh, p. 11119-p. 13/20, TTP 31, p. 701b-702a explains the charac-
teristics of alaya-vijfiana in detail and proves its existence by the eight aspects
which are explained in YCbh vol. 51. TTP 30, pp. 579a-580. Chyileh-ting-
, TTP 30, pp. 1018c-1019a. N. Hakamaya, "Alaya-shiki-zon-zai
no hachi-Ion-shio ni kansuru shio-bunken"ffff, Komazawa-dai Bu-kigggg no. 36,
pp. 1-26.
25. AS[g], p. 19/14-17, TTP 31, p. 666a. YCbh, pp. 4,11. TTP, 30, pp.
279c, 280b. Mahayana-samgraha-sastra (MSS) (She-ta-chen-lun
) Sasaki text,
p. 6 cf. SVT, pp. 209-211. P. Pradham, (AbK), Patna,
1967, p. 51, TTP 29, p. 4b.
26. The AS and many Vijfianavadin texts put the "dhatu" before the
"ayatana," but sometimes "ayatana" before "dhatu." cf. Sh. Yoshimoto, ibid, p.
216. Naoya Funahashi, Chio-ki-yuichiki-shiso no kenkyu
, Tokyo, 1975, pp.
27. Cha-chi-lun-shu-chi, ibid. p. 318. Sh. Yoshimoto, ibid., pp. 218-219,
details many comparative meanings of dhatu from AbK, etc.
28. MSS, TPP 31, pp. 156-157, 324a, 406c. S. Yamaguchi, Madhyanta-
vibhaga-?zka (MAVT), Tokyo, 1966, p. 210118.
29. AS[p], p. 15112-13, TTP 31, p. 666c.
30. (AMBS), (A-pi-ta-mo-ta-pi-po-sa-lun)JJJ),
vol. 197, TTP 27, p. 987b, AbKB, pp. 53-54, TTP 29, p. 4b. PSP, pp. 18-19,
TTP 31, p. 850b, AS[p], pp. 12-13, TTP 31, p. 666a-b.
31. AS [p], p. 3117 omits this term, but ASbh, p. 4/4 says "samadanikam
avijiiapti-rupam." This "avijiiapti-[rupaJ" appears in PSP p. 2 and AbK p. 30 in
the explanation of rupa, and Abk, p. 50 and PSP, p. 16 explain that "avijiiapti-
[rupaJ" and asamskrta belong to dharmayatana and dharma-dhatu. TTP 29, pp.
3c-4c "Ju-shih-shau-teng-san, chi-wu-piao, wu-wei-mingfa, chi-fa-chieh
." The
meaning and translation of this "avijiiapti-[rupa}" are difficult. Dr. Alex Way-
man, in "A Study of the Vedantic and Buddhist Theory of Nama-rupa,"
Indological and Buddhist Studies, Volume in Honour of Prof. ].W. de Jong on
his Sixtieth Birthday, Canberra, 1982, p. 62, uses "reticence" to render it. Dr.
V.V. Gokhale, in his "What is Avijiiapti-rupa (concealed form of activity),"
Proceedings of All-India Oriental Conference, 1937, pp. 623-629, uses "concealed
form of activity." I have borrowed this in my paper "The Characteristics of
204 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Vijiiana and V\jfi.apti on the Basis ofVasbandhu's Paiicaskandha-prakara9a,"
Annals of B.O.R. Institute; vol. LX, Poona, 1979, p. 178.
32. Yenya Teramoto & Tomotsuki Hiramatsu, Sokanwa-sanyak-taiko Ibu-
, Kokushio-kankokai, Tokyo, 1974, pp. 72-73. TTP, 49, p. 17a.
Pu-tsu-i-lunmmmm, TTP, 49, p. 22a. This text has "nairatmya" instead of "aniii-
jya." Kue-Chei, in the vol. 2, TTP 43, p. 292a
says that "nairatmya" (wu_WO
), is mistaken. Mahasamghika has nine kinds
of asarhskrta, which are different from those of the MahISasaka. Pu-chiPPPP:
, TTP 68, p. 25a puts a table of the compara-
live asainskrta of Mahayana and Hlnayana. Wan-hsui-tsang-chin
, vol. 83, p.
231. Sh. Yoshimoto, Abidaruma-shiso
, pp. 243-244.
33. ASbh, p. 14/9-15/4, MAV[n], p. 23, MAV[p], pp. 38-39, MSS, TTP
31, p. 406b. P. Ghosa, Satasahasrika-prajiiaparamita (SSP), Bibliotheca Indica
3, p. 1412. TTP 6, p. 413c, TTP 7, pp. 73c-74a, cf. SVT p. 269.
34. AS[p], p. 62/8-9 and p. 62/13-14, TTP 31 p. 681c.
35. SNS, p. 99, TTP 16, p. 699c, YCbh, TTP 30, p. 725b, MA VT, pp.
133-135, MSV[n], p. 43. TTP 31, p. 456c. In MAV "tattva" is a synonym of
"tathata." MSA, p. 168. TTP 31, p. 653a-b. HYL. TTP 31, p. 493b. Fo-ti-ching-
, TTP 26, p. 323a. cf. SVT, pp. 594-612.
36. AS[p], pp. 12/20-13/5. TTP 31, p. 666a-b. ASbh, pp. 14/9-16, TTP
31, p. 702b. .
37. AS[p], pp. 40/10-4117. TTP 31, p. 67.5a-b. ASbh, pp. 81120-82.
TTP 31, p. 720b-c.
38. Ibid., p. 77114-21. TTP 31, p. 686a.
39. MSA, p. 88, TTP 31, pp. 622c-623a. MAV[n], p. 29. MAVT, p. 61.
TTP 31, p. 453a-b, p. 466b.
40. "cittasraya-parivrtti," ASbh, p. 93. "cittasaraya-pravrtti" etc. AS[p], p.
77. The difference between them is the "parivrtti" and "pravrtti." Triinsika and
MAV use "parivrtti." MSA uses both of them, cf. SVT, pp. 226-231. Dr.
Takasaki, "Ten_e
asraya-parivrtti to asraya-paravrtti .... " (Niho-bukkyo-
gakkai-nenpovvvv, no. 25), pp. 89-90.
41. "yad yatra na bhavati, tat tena sunyam iti samanupa.syati, yat punar atrava-
s4ta bhavati, tat sad ihast'iti yathabhiltam prajanati." YCbh, vol. 36. BSbh[w], p.
47. BSbh[d], p. 32/11-13, TTP, 30, pp. 488-489a.
42. MAV[n], p. 18. MAV[p], p. 9, TTP 31, pp. 451a, 464b.
43. RGV Oohnston text), p. 76. Dr. Vi, Hoshioron-kenkyu
, p. 589.
Takasaki: RGV, pp. 301-302, not 59.
44. AS[p], p. 40110-12, TTP 31, p. 675a "he-teng-k'unh-hsianf!xxx ... pu-
tien-tao-i."YYYY This "K'unh-hsiang"ZZZZ, is one of the
four common which belong to the duJ:kha-satya.
45. "yatra," ''Jat'' and "ava.s4ta" are mentioned in the texts of YCbh, etc.
46. AS[p], p. 40115, TTP 31, p. 675a, "Tz'u-wo-wu-hsing, wu-wo-yu-hsing
shih-wei-k'ung-hsing". aaaaa
47. MAV[n], p. 17 "hsu-wangjeu-pieh".bbbbb Nagao: "Amarerumono"ccccci-
bid., p. 27, cf. SVT, pp. 383,424,426.
48. YCbh[d], p. 32115-16, TTP 30,p. 489a.
49. RGV, p. 76, TTP 31, p. 840a.
50. MAV[n], p. 22/23 [p], p. 36/15.
51. AS[p], p. 15/18 uses "vikalpa" (Chinese, kuang1en-peiddddd) , but
AS[r], p. 22, not 16, according to the AS[g], p. 29 uses "prakiirabheda" lfen-pei-
chd_peieeeee). TTP 31, p. 672c. I agree with this.
52. YCbh, vol. 65. TTP 30, pp. 659a-662c, YCbh, vol. 66. TTP 30,
pp.666a-668a. The other texts are: YCbh, vol. 56. TTP 30, pp.()08a-
609b.HYL. TTP 31, pp. 506a-507 a. Tsa-chi-lun-shu-chi,fffff Wan-hsu-tsang-
chingggggg vol. 74, p. 386.
53. YCbh, vol. 26. TTP 30, p. 427b. Sbh[s], pp. 193-194.
54. ASbh, p. 6114 ''jJanca-skandhatmake jneye atmatmtya-svabhava ... "
TTP31 p. 698b.
55. AS[p], p. 16/15. TTP 31, p. 667b. "l-ch'ieh-chieh"shih-so-chih."hhhhh
56. AMVS, vol. 197. TTP 27, p. 987b. Sa-po-to-tsung-wu-shih-lun
TTP28, p. 995c. A-pi-ta-mo-pin-lei-tsu-lunjilii TTP 26, pp.712c, 719c. A-pi-t'an-
wu1a-hsing-ching.kkkkk TTP 28, p. 998c. YCbh vol. 100. TTP 30, p. 878c.
HYL, TTP 31, p. 480 b. Chu-she-lun-shih-i-shu,llI11 TTP 29, p.325b. Nimitta,
naman, vikalpa, samyag-jnana, and tathata are also called the five dharmas or
the five vastus. cf. SVT, pp. 576-589.
57. AS[p], p. 16. ASbh, p. 20. TTP 31, p. 667b, p. 705a.
58. AS[p], pp. 101122-102/2. TTP 31, p. 692c. ASbh, p. 136/17-19.TTP
31, p. 764a.
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7 c: 7

Book Reviews
Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism, by Stephen
Batchelor: Foreword by John Blofeld. New York: Grove 'Press,
1985. 143 pages. Bibliography, Glossary.
The Way of Siddhartha: A Life of the Buddha, by David J. and
Indrani Kalupahana. Boulder & London: Shambhala, 1982.238
Like the inheritors of other religious traditions, contempo-
rary Buddhists have been forced to rethink deeply-rooted meta-
physical and mythological assumptions in the light of the natu-
ralistic conclusions that seem to emerge from the investigations
of the dominant world-view of the modern world, that of sci-
ence. Buddhist metaphysical assumptions, such as the reality of
past and future lives, the existence of a universal moral principle
such as karma and the possibility of a human being's eliminating
all negative mental states, are at considerable variance with the
conclusions of many modern people, who---for reasons well or
ill-considered-tend to be skeptical or agnostic on such matters
(not to mention on the very viability of metaphysics). Buddhist
mythology, with Its largely hagiographical approach to human
lives and its cosmological vision of countless and variously popu-
lated worlds and realms, tends-to generations raised on form-
and redaction-criticism, psychobiography and the cold eye of
the telescope-to seem, quite often, like an exercise in science
Faced with their tradition's incongruence with "modernity"
at a number of (though not all) crucial points, Buddhists, both
Asian and Western, have adopted a variety of different strate-
gies. These have ranged from a reassertion of tradition, meta-
physics and mythology intact, on the grounds that Buddhism
actually has a subtler and more penettating view of reality than
science ever can provide; to claims that Buddhism-especially in
its "original" form-actually is the scientific world-view and
method (or democracy, or humanistic psychology, or any other
modern shibboleth) in religious disguise. It is between the claim
that Buddhism utterly transcends the problems posed by mo-
dernity and the claim that it is simply pre-modern modernity
that most thoughtful contemporary Buddhists try to find their
ground. The ground, however, is a difficult one to locate, for
the quesion of how to view traditional religious metaphysics and
mythology in the light of modernity is not easily answered: the
extremes of dogmatic assertion or "explicit or implicit rejection
are hard to avoid. (The last century of Christian theology, I
think, bears the most eloquent witness to this fact, and Buddhists
thinking through their own faith would do well to consider the
various strategies adopted by Christians, who have been facing
the problems posed by modernity longer, and with greater col-
lective seriousness, than have Buddhists.)
The two books under review, one an "existential approach
to Buddhism" and the other a "de-mythologized" novelization of
the Buddha's life, are written by eminently "modern" Bud-
dhists: the former by an Englishman who has become a b h i k ~ u
in the Tibetan tradition, the latter by a Sri Lankan scholar (col-
laborating with his wife) who is conversant with Western
thought and teaches at an American University. Both works are
re-presentations of aspects of the Buddhist tradition at least par-
tially in the light of "modern" perspectives, and each points up
both the promise and some of the problems inherent in such an
Stephen Batchelor is not the first to apply to Buddhism the
language and concepts of existentialism-he explicitly acknowl-
edges Herbert V. Guenther as a forerunner-but he is the first,
to my mind, to have done so in a really clear and compelling
manner. The basic premise of Alone with Others is that "The
survival of Buddhism depends upon the experiential redisco-
very of its inmost spark, and the articulation of that experience
in a language that speaks directly to the hopes and fears of
present-day man" (p. 129). For Batchelor, the language that
must be used is not that of one or the other of the Buddhist
traditions, nor that of the detached s"cholar, but that derived
from existentialism: "Today religious answers need to be freshly
formulated from below, i.e., in the light of the present existential
situation; they can no longer be imposed jTom above as though
they were self-sufficient universal truths in themselves" (p. 43).
Existentialism, for Batchelor, is not simply one among many
Western philosophies, but a way of analyzing the human condi-
tion that goes to the very foundations of that condition, and
thereby cuts across cultural boundaries. It is not just another
theory about existence, but, rather, the analysis of existence that
helps to formulate the categories in which theories about exis-
tence must be couched.
210 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
In his application of existentialism to Buddhism, Batchelor
draws freely from Marcel and Heidegger, as well as from such
existentially-oriented theologians as Tillich and Macquarrie. He
begins his analysis by delineating "the two most fundamental
dimensions of our existence: those of having and being: .. In
terms of having, life is experienced as a horizontal expanse pre-
cipitating towards ever receding horizons; in terms of being; life
is felt in its vertical depths as awesome, foreboding and silently
mysterious" (p. 25). Nowadays, Batchelor claims, secular and
material values are dominant, so "the urge to have creates an
ever widening gulf from the awareness of who and what we are"
(ibid.). Therefore, "The primary purpose of Dharma is to re-
establish a consciousness of being" (ibid.). Batchelor reviews the
legend of the Buddha's life and finds in it a paradigm of the
necessary human shift from the having-mode to the being-
mode, "a direct challenge to each one of us to respond to the
deepest questions of our existence in fully actualizing the poten-
tials of our innermost being" (p. 38).
After discussing the historically conditioned nature of Bud-
dhism, the inadequacy of anyone Buddhist school to the task of
"rediscovering" the essential Buddhist message, and the likeli-
hood that existentialism provides perhaps the only "point of
encounter where Buddhism and modern man can authentically
encounter one another ~ h i l e still retaining their individual dis-
tinctness" (p. 53). Batchelor resumes his existential analysis, pre-
senting the two basic categories that guide his main discussion,
being-alone and being-with: "These fundamental elements are
revealed in the paradoxical characteristic of existence of always
finding ourselves inescapably alone and at the same time inescap-
ably together in a world with others" (p. 58). Being-alone and
being-with simply describe the way we, as human beings, are; the
way in which we respond to our individual and social natures
will vary, but two basic options are open, inauthenticity and
authenticity: "In inauthentic being-alone we flee from facing the
totality of our existence [and from the facts of impermanence
and death] through absorption in the particular entities of the
world; in inauthentic being-with we ignore our essential related-
ness to others through indulging in self-concern" (p. 91).
"In both these cases," Batchelor says, "the turning point
from inauthenticity to authenticity is comprised of an experien-
tial recognition and acceptance of the funamental character of
our being which we have been evading and distorting" (ibid.),
i.e., impermanence and death, our responsibility to others and,
most broadly, our potential authentically to "be" fully human. In
the realm of being-alone, the turning point comes when one
recognizes one's own evasions and distortions of one's actual
individual situation and takes upon oneself responsibility for
achieving the "optimum mode of being." In Buddhism, especial-
ly in the Mahayana idiom out of which Batchelor is working, the
optimum mode is Buddhahood, and the turn toward Buddha-
hood and the responsibilities it entails is, or course, . taking
refuge. In the realm of being-with, the turning point comes
when one rejects selfishness and takes upon oneself responsibil-
ity for assisting others in their conscious or unconscious quests
for authenticity. In Buddhist terms, one develops equanimity,
active concern (love and compassion) and active commitment
(bodhicitta) toward others, based on the abandonment of self-
concern. (Sanskrit iitmagraha, Tibetan bdag 'dzin.)
Batchelor next analyzes the primary ways of effecting au-
thentic being-alone and being-with. Authentic being-alone is ef-
fected primarily through wisdom, based on the recognition that
"psychological disturbance increases in direct proportion to con-
ceptual distortion" (p. 100). The three primary conceptual dis-
tortions are three of the traditional viparyiisas: "the apprehen-
sion of what is impermanent to be permanent; the apprehension
of what is unsatisfactory to be satisfactory; and the apprehension
of what is without self-identity to have a self-identity" (p. 101).
The latter is the most fundamental, and it is only when we real-
ize that our instinctive, anxiety-producing view of the world as
divided into enclosed, independent entities is false that we en-
gender wisdom, and thus the beginning of the end of anxiety.
Authentic being-with entails "ethics," what is usually de-
scribed as the upiiya side of the Buddhist path, especially the
perfections of giving, moral discipline, patience and enthusiasm,
which serve, respectively, to alter our attitude from "centripetal"
miserliness to "centrifugal" generosity, to restrain ourselves and
act in an appropriate fashion, to combat anger, and to pursue
zealously what is wholesome. Batchelor emphasizes that, since
being-alone and being-with are absolutely fundamental to our
being, the Mahayana is quite appropriate in its insistence that
both prajna and upiiya be developed, for it is only if we "perfect"
ourselves both individually and in relation to others that we may
be said to have attained the optimum mode of being.
The optimum mode of being for the Buddhist tradition, as
noted above, is Buddhahood, which, in Mahayana formulations,
is considered to represent both the fulfilment of one's own aims
212 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
(svartha) and the fulfilment of the aims of others (anyartha). The
symbols of this fulfilment are the "bodies" of the Buddha, the
dharma-body and the form-body. When the latter is divided into
sambhogakaya and nirmaQakaya, one can analyse the bodies
existentially as follows: "The silent depths of personal experi-
ence (dharma-body). find progressive expression through ideas
and words (enjoyment-body) and are finally embodied in actions
(emanation-body)" (p.l19). Batchelor is quite emphatic in his
insistence that "The true spirit of Buddhism is that of a human-
ized religion" (p. 124), and, thus, that the Buddha must be seen
not as an ideal being with powers so far beyond the human as to
be unapproachable, but, quite simply, as a man who attained
and expressed the optimal mode of being of which humans are
Overall, I find Batchelor's analysis clear and compelling,
particularly within the limits he has set to his discussion. His
analysis of the way in which Buddhism both poses and answers
existential questions is convincing, and his plea for a return to
Buddhism's experiential foundations is eloquent. Alone With
Others is, simply, one of the best discussions of the existential
import of Buddhism that I have read; it bears reading by both
Buddhists and interested non-Buddhists alike, expecially those
who grapple with existential problems in existential terms.
I do have some reservations, though. In the first place, Bat-
chelor has-deliberately-Ieft out of his discussion a number of
central Buddhist doctrines, including karma and rebirth, and he
has consistenly downplayed the metaphysical implications of the
doctrines he has discussed. Granted, Buddhism will be utterly
hollow if its existential implications are ignored, but the fact that
it has important existential implications does not mean that its
metaphysics are not vital to it, too. Indeed, its metaphysics, in-
cluding the doctrines of karma and rebirth, as well as the ideal of
a total elimination of all negative mental states, have been cen-
tral to most Buddhists at most times, and have helped to provide
much of the context of Buddhism's "existential" significance.
Articulation or vindication of Buddhist metaphysical and cos-
mological doctrines may be philosophically problematic, but it
need not be seen as a hopeless task, to be abandoned with a
shrug and the contention that the existential aspect is vital and
the rest superfluous. I do not think that Batchelor is claiming
this, but it is an irriplication that might be drawn from his work
by the unwary or the metaphysically weary.
Second, I wonder sometimes why Buddhists so often feel
compelled to frame their discussions primarily in terms derived
from one or the other Western perspective, i.e., by beginning
with the Western perspective and then showing how Buddhism
"fits" with it. The sounder approach, it seems to me, is for Bud-
dhists to explore their own tradition as it has come down to
them, drawing insights and lessons (and criticisms) from the
West where possible. I realize that this often is difficult for those
whose very cultural background is "modernism," but the extra
effort requited to meet traditional Buddhism at least halfway
seems worthwhile, given that (a) Western viewpoints-including
existentialism-entail their own metaphysical presuppositions,
and (b) aspects of the modern worldview are at least as philo-
sophically problematic as those of traditional Buddhism. Again,
I think Batchelor is less guilty on this score than many (indeed,
he actually derives some of his existential categories from Bud-
dhism), but one hopes that he and other Buddhists will continue
seriously to attempt to interpret the world primarily through
Buddhist categories, and only secondarily through non-Bud-
dhist categories that may help them to understand Buddhism.
David]. and Indrani Kalupahana's The Way ofSiddhartha is
an attempt to present in novel form a "demythologized" life of
the Buddha, one derived entirely from the early nikayalagama
literature, without any reliance on such later, more hagiographi-
cal sources as the Jatakas, Mahavastu and Lalitavistara. The schol-
arly pioneer of this sort of approach is Ed ward J. Thomas, in The
Life of the Buddha as Legend and History (followed more recently by
Andre Bareau), but the Kalupahanas make explicit acknowl-
edgement of two more recent influences: Martin Wickrema-
singhe's Sinhala novel, Bavataranaya, and Bhikku NaI)amoIi's
chronological presentation of translations of relevant biographi-
cal material from the nikayas, The Life of the Buddha. Bavatarayana
contained a number of "inaccuracies" and "glaring misinterpre-
tations," however, so the Kalupahanas have attempted to com-
bine Wickremasinghe's imaginative format with NaI)amoli's ac-
The result is a book that is both entertaining and informa-
tive. Synthesizing a vast amount of canonical material, the Kalu-
pahanas present a version of the Buddha's life whose chronolo-
gy is at least as convincing as that of any other. The chronology,
of course, is most problematic for the years of the Buddha's
"ministry," and the Kalupahanas frankly admit that no sequence
can ever be established with certainty; they merely have present-
ed a sequence that is plausible and representative of the geo-
graphical area covered by the Buddha.
The Buddha presented by the Kalupahanas is earnest and
214 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
thoughtful, growing dissatisfied with the world of his day for a
combination of social and philosophical reasons. He agonizes
over his decision to renounce society, even discussing it with his
wife. Finally, after years of travail, he overcomes ignorance and
various temptations, and gains insight into the nature of reality.
After his enlightenment, he launches a forty-five-year career of
itinerant teaching, proclaiming throughout northeast India a
Dharma that is clear, coherent, comprehensive and-perhaps
most uniquely and importantly-empirically verifiable. The Ka-
lupahanas' Buddha is an attractive figure: reasonable, kind,
skillful, acute. This is not surprising: this is the view of the Bud-
dha we get in virtually all texts that describe him. Since the
outlines of the Buddha's character and life are well known, and
the Kalupahanas generally adhere to them, I will not rehearse
them here, but simply indicate what I think the book's strong
and weak points to be.
The book's single greatest strength is its integration into a
novelistic format of a considerable amount of philosophical ma-
teria!' The Kalupahanas have skillfully woven in with their ac-
count of the Buddha's wanderings and meetings most of the
important philosophical points made in the 5uttas, from such
obvious items as the four noble truths, the three marks of exis-
tence and the twelve links of dependent origination, to more
specialized matters, such as the question of the Buddha's omnis-
cience, the various types of knowledge, and Buddhist theories of
truth, as well as the Buddha's views on social classes, private
property and the proper conduct of government. In their choice
of material for inclusion, the Kalupahanas follow closely in the
tradition inaugurated by the late K.N. Jayatilleke, who por-
trayed the Buddha as a proto-empiricist, as concerned with the
problem of verification as a modern logical positivist, and differ-
ing from the logical positivist only in his admission of ESP. as a
legitimate source of knowledge (which, in turn, revealed the
reality of karma, rebirth and nirvana). This view of the Bud-
dha's philosophical approach is not uncontested, but it is at least
as compelling as alternative explanations, and certainly is a ver-
sion of the Buddha to which Westerners are likely to respond
My criticisms concern two matters: the Kalupahanas' ver-
sion of the Buddha's attitude toward women and their expurga-
tion from their life of the Buddha of virtually all mythological
references. The Kalupahanas generally are careful in their end-
notes to indicate the textual sources from which they have de-
rived a particular account, yet very little of their version of the
Buddha's encounters with women (especially his wife) is thus
well-documented. Their Buddha, quite simply, is a feminist; af-
fectionate and considerate toward his independent wife, Yasod-
. hara, to the point of discussing with her his wish to 'renounce the
world; motivated, in his renunciation, by a concern for the long-
term benefit of his wife and child; and reluctant to institute a
bhikkun'i sangha only because he fears the social disruption such
a move might entail. That the Buddha had some egalitarian
attitudes can be documented; that he' specifically and self-
consciously extended that attitute toward women is, I think,
questionable. One would like to think that the Buddha saw
through the sexism of his day as acutely as he saw through
philosophical confusions, but there simply is too little evidence:
the best we can probably conclude from the texts is that he
was ambivalent toward women, ambivalence itself marking a
considerable advance over the attitudes of most of his contem-
poraries. I respect the Kalupahanas' concern with excising "lat-
er" Buddhist elements from the Buddha's story; I wish they had
been as careful to keep out of their account 20th-century values
that it would be reassuring to believe the Buddha held, butthat
we have no evidence he actually did hold.
Further, while I do understand and appreciate the Kalupa-
hanas' attempts at demythologization, I am not entirely comfort-
able with them. What is most striking, I think, is the elimination
of virtually all mythological patterns from the Buddha's
thought. No Mara attempts to tempt or terrify the Buddha on
the eve of his enlightenment, no Brahma Sahampati dissuades
him from remaining in the bliss of nirvaI]a. It is true that there is
no canonical evidence for the story of Mara's assault under the
bod hi tree (although Sutta-nipata iii, 2 is suggestive), but Mara is
a factor in many canonical texts, while Brahma Sahampati clear-
ly has a role in canonical accounts of the Buddha's decision to
teach. What is important here is not so much particular incidents
as the more general problem raised by attempts at de-mythologi-
zation: we may live in a religiously de-mythologized world, but
that does not mean the that Buddha-for all his clarity and
rationality--clid. Indeed, to the degree that such beings as Mara
and Brahma were accepted parts of the ancient Indian land-
scape, there is no reason to think that the Buddha might not, in
fact, have experienced his conflicts and resolutions in part
through "encounters" with them. Again, it is one thing to elimi-
nate "mythological" elements added by later traditions of Bud-
dhist hagiography; it is another to eliminate mythological ele-
ments that even the earliest texts indicate may have formed part
216 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
of the mental furniture of the Buddha and his contemporaries.
Not only is there nb reason to think that the Buddha had totally
dispensed with the mythology of his day, but there is no reason
why he should have: mythology is an appropriate way of both
experiencing and symbolizing complex human dramas of the
sort undergone by the Buddha.
These objections aside, The Way of Siddhartha is an engaging
and rich exposition of the Buddha's life, one that might, with
a few caveats, profitably be used as an introduction to early
Buddhism. Indeed, though I think that Alone With Others and
The Way of Siddhartha raise-without answering-important
questions about how contemporary Buddhists do or might inter-
pret their metaphysical and mythological assumptions, they are
clear and aticulate works, whose authors deserve our thanks-
both for enriching our understanding of the Buddhist tradition
and for forcing us to think seriously about how the tradition best
can be understood by people living in the midst of that land of
no-land, "Modernity."
Roger Jackson
The Buddha, by Michael Carrithers. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1983. pp. x+ 102. Map, Bibliography & Index. Softcover
Michael Carrithers' short study of the Buddha's life and
thought is one of the recent volumes in Oxford University
Press's generally well received Past Masters series. The series
aims to make available to the general reader brief non-technical
introductions to the life and thought of significant individuals in
humanity'S past. It is an important series in two respects: first
because it is less culturally blinkered than other such efforts,
taking some account of the contributions of non-Western think-
ers to the intellectual development of mankind, and second be-
cause it finds a place in the intellectual mainstream for those
who have generally been considered "religious" thinkers and
therefore banished to the intellectual borderlands. The series
already has volumes on Jesus, Muhammad and Confucius and
this volume on the Buddha is a welcome addition.
Dr. Carrithers says that he intends to try and show what the
Buddha has to offer to contemporary Western thought and cul-
ture, and to do this by writing a biography of the man. In taking
this approach Carrithers is following the tradition in which the
life of the Buddha is seen as a dramatic representation of the
central truths of Buddhist doctrine and therefore as a very ap-
propriate method of communicating those truths. He does not,
however, simply retail the legendary accounts of the tradition,
accounts that show little or no interest in distinguishing between
what is historical and what is philosophically interesting. Instead
he uses those legendary accounts and brings them together with
the data the dispassionate historian can gather about the Bud-
dha's life, and in so doing illuminates the historical and cultural
context within which the Buddha lived and thought while still
preserving some tincture of the significance given to the histori-
cal individual by the tradition. This is no easy tightrope to walk
but Carrithers is, for the most part, successful in preserving his
The Buddha has four major chapters, each relating to a sig-
nificant;, part of the Buddha's life. The first, "Early Life and
Renunciation," locates the Buddha by outlining what we know
of life and thought in the Gangetic plain in the sixth century
B.C., stressing the burgeoning urban civilization of that time.
Carrithers provides an excellent capsule account of the varr.w
system (pp. 14-17) and the Buddha's response to it, and outlines
the importance of ~ h e renouncers, those mendicants who reject-
ed the structures of their society as part of a quest for salvation.
The second chapter, "To the Awakening," decribes the
Buddha's quest for salvation and is used by Carrithers as a
framework for the exposition of basic Buddhist soteriological
praxis. This means, of course, meditative practice. Some ex-
tremely complex issues are passed over rather lightly here (espe-
cially that of the function of the more advanced concentrative
states) but that is inevitable in a book 6f this type and Carrithers
is careful to indicate throughout his text that there are many
probleIl)s with which he does not intend to deal. There is, per-
haps, a little too much stress on the radically empiricist nature of
the Buddha's method (see especially pp. 38-39)-a stress which
is probably the result of excessive exposure to the influential
philosophizing of K.N. Jayatilleke's disciples-and not enough
emphasis on the importance of constructive philosophical analy-
sis at a very early stage of the Buddhist tradition. But, in the
context of the book as a whole, this is not a major problem.
Carrithers' exposition of the basic dynamics of the Buddhist no-
self theory (pp. 41-46)-always the biggest problem for the nov-
ice coming to Buddhism-is especially lucid and useful.
In the third chapter, "The Awakening," Carrithers provides
the reader with expositions of some of the central categories of
Buddhist doctrine structured around the four truths; he in-
cludesdiscussion of the five aggregates, dependent co-origina-
tion and the eightfold path, and the ultimate soteriological goal, itself. His expositions have the very unusual (for this
field of scholarship) characteristic of being both accurate and
interesting; above all he stresses the intimate link in Buddhist
thought between dispassionate philosophical description-dis-
cussion of the way things are-and compassionate soteriological
action. He also points out here, as throughout the work, that the
Buddha's analysis of the human condition and the conduct pre-
scribed to deal with that condition can in fact be seen to have a
great deal to offer to Western cultures, both intellectually and
In his final chapter, "The Mission and the Death," Car-
rithers outlines the Buddha's post-enlightenment preaching ca-
reer and links some of the elements perceptible in this career to
the future of Buddhism as a world religion, describing the rel-
evance of Buddhism for the ordinary man and showing how
ethics is related to philosophical theory. For this reviewer this is
the weakest part of the book: there are some exceedingly odd
remarks (p. 80) stressing Buddhism's tolerance and contrasting
it with "missionary religions such as Christianity and Islam," and
others (p. 95) suggesting that cultural relativism is now a gener- .
ally accepted theory in the West and was integral to the Buddhist
view of "the varieties of culture." In fact, of course, Buddhism
has historically been and continues to be a major (and very suc-
cessful) missionary religion, and one which has frequently ex-
hibited a degree of intellectual imperialism comparable to any-
thing in Christianity or Islam. Also, Buddhist intellectuals have
not, for the most part espoused relativism in any of its forms,
and it is probably only among anthropologists in the West that
any but the most innocuous forms of cultural relativism are
taken to have intellectual plausibiliy.
But these are minor caveats. For the most part The Buddha is
a lucid, accurate and interesting presentation of the Buddha's
life and thought, one which would be ideal for use as an intro-
ductory text for undergraduates in American universities and
from which even that peculiarly American academic animal, the
professional Buddhologist, can learn something. We have cause
to be grateful to Dr. Carrithers and it is strongly to be hoped that
his work has wide circulation.
Paul Griffiths
Buddhist and Western Psychology, ed. Nathan Katz. Boulder, Colo-
rado: Prajna Press, 1983. xi+271 pp., index, softcover, $15.95.
In his introduction to this volume, a companion to the same
editor's c61.lection Buddhist and Western Philosophy [Delhi: Stirling
1981], Professor Katz claims that the collection of essays he has
brought together is "about psychology, not ab9ut 'Buddhism'"
(p. x) and gives concrete expression to his claim by dedicating
the book to the late Rune E.A. johansson, one of the compara-
tively few Western psychologists with a respectable historical and
philological understanding of Buddhism. Unfortunately, the
collection does not, for the most part, fulfill its promise; the
dangers in using this kind of approach to explore
any discipline are those of superficiality and eclecticism, and the
results, all too often, are methodological and conceptual confu-
sion. Hard questions need to be asked: are the standard psycho-
logical theories of the West really usefully applicable to Buddhist
theory? Do we actually learn anything about either psychology
or Buddhism by juxtaposing, say, jung and Yogacara without
fully exploring their basic conceptual and cultural differences?
This not to say that the cross-cultural method is invalid or use-
less, simply that it needs to be exercised with great care and
methodological sophistication, a care and sophistication that is
not evident in most of the pieces in this collection.
The volume opens with a brief introduction by Chogyam
Trungpa in which we are told that the missing element in West-
ern psychology is "the acknowledgement of the primacy of im-
mediate experience" (p. 7). It is nowhere made conceptually
clear just what "immediate experience" is, much less how, other
than by practising Buddhist meditation, Western psychologists
might acknowledge its primacy. Such language is likely to do no
more than contribute to the prejudice of many Western psycho-
logical theorists that Buddhism is simply a set of esoteric disci-
The substance of the book is divided into four sections:
"Psychological Implications of Pali Buddhism" (sIx essays); "Psy-
chological Implications of japanese Buddhism" (three essays);
"Psychological Implications of Buddhism" (two essays);
and "Psychological Implications of Tibetan Buddhism" (two es-
The first essay, written by Rune E.A. Johansson shortly be-
fore his death in 1981, uses the Freudian concept of the defense
mechanism to explore and clarify material from the Nikiiyas con-
cerning various types of psychological and behavioural error
(dosa) and to suggest that the central Buddhist idea of iisava-
220 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
"inflow"-can be profitably understood using a modified Freud-
ian interpretive framework. He concludes by suggesting arice
again-as previously in his Dynamic Psychology of Early Bud-
dhism-that "inflation" (p. 23) might be an appropriate transla-
tion for ilsava.
George R. Elder's essay entitled "Psychological Observa-
tions on the 'Life of the Buddha'" is actually a neo-Jungian
analysis of one section of the Nidanakathii, a fifth-century Sinha-
lese text. Throughout Elder's analysis cosmology is psycholo-
gised arid dramatic narrative of external events is personalised
and internalised. His hermeneutical method seems to consist in
the presupposition that every event referred to by the text
which, for one reason or another, is judged by Western histori-
ans to be non-historical, must therefore be interpreted as point-
ing to some (more or less) profound psychological meaning. The
rather distressing lack ofa clearly enunciated hermeneutic
means that Elder appears to have no problem with-even to
delight in-offering contradictory interpretations of the same
event, and to use as a hermeneutical framework a philosophy
(that of Jung) which is at many key points simply not compatible
with the doctrines of the tradition which he claims to be treating.
Jan T. Ergardt offers an analysis of the concept of mind
(citta) in the Majjhima Nikaya, and applies Jungian categories to
the results he obtains. Ergardt's analysis of the Pali material is,
on the whole, careful and thorough; it is perhaps a direct result
of the profound obscurity of the Jungian conceptual framework
which Ergardt uses to interpret this material that it is difficult to
say exactly what his thesis is: it remains questionable whether
either a Jungian therapist or a Buddhist scholar can learn any-
thing from this piece.
Peter Masefield's study "Mind/Cosmos Maps in the Pali Ni-
kayas" presents a powerful and persuasive plea for a re-evalua-
tion of the significance of the links between cosmology and psy-
chology in the Pali literature. H ~ stresses that nibbana is
described in cosmological terms-as a place-just as often as in
psychological terms-as a state of mind-and that this is to be
expected given the thought-world of India at the of early
Buddhism. While agreeing with this major thesis, there are
many points of detail upon which this reviewer would take issue
with Masefield. To note just two: it's not at all clear that the
formless jhiinas are consistently viewed in the Nikayas simply as
modifications of the fourth jhiina of form, as Masefield states on
p. 79; there is in fact considerable evidence that they-and the
nirodha-samapatti to which they lead-are represented in some
strata of the Nikiiyas as independent of the meditations of form
and indeed as independently soteriologicaHy valid. Second, it is
almost certainly wrong to sugesst "the existence of an atta equiv-
alent to Atman"; for example, the Alagaddupamasutta
suggests otherwise (see K.R. Norman's paper, "A Note on Atta
in the Alagaddiipamasutta" [in Studies in Indian Philosophy, L.D.
Series 84, Ahmedabad, 1981. pages 19-29] for some discus-
sion). But these are points which cannot be discussed at length in
a review. Masefield's essay is valuable simply because it re-ap-
praises an aspect of the psychology of the Nikiiyas which is too
often undervalued. Work along these lines could be pursued by
a close study of the connotations of the term loka in this litera-
ture, a word whose meaning Masefield takes for granted in this
paper but whose macrocosmiclmicrocosmic bivalence might ac-
tually provide further support for some of the positions he
Mokusen Miyuki's essay-"The Ideational Content of the
Buddha's Enlightenment as Selbstverwirklichung"-is hard to
make sense of. To interpret him charitably, Miyuki seems to
suggest thatJung's concepts of self-realization and individuation
provide heuristically useful models for understanding the stan-
dard canonical accounts of the Buddha's enlightenment. This
may be so, but it can scarcely be said that Miyuki demonstrates it
in his study; instead; isolated sections of Buddhist texts are fil-
tered by Miyuki through a fine mesh of orthodox Jungian con-
cepts in such a way that the philosophical meaning(s) granted to
the texts by the traditions in which they have their life and
meaning are almost always completely obscured. To take just
one example: Miyuki appears to think that the Buddha's realiza-
tion of the truth of the paticca-samuppiida formula during his
enlightenment is i) a numinous experience (p. 96) and ii) " ...
the innate urge of the Self to realize itself' (p. 105). Such conclu-
sions illustrate the absurdities to which the comparative method
can lead when not balanced by careful historical, philological
and philosophical scholarship.
The concluding piece in the section on Pali Buddhism is
M.W. Padmasiri de Silva's "Emotions and Therapy: Three Para-
digmatic Zones," originally presented as an inaugural lecture at
the University of Peradeniya in 1981. This is a careful and illu-
. minating study of the Theravadin view of the nature of emo-
tions and of the proper therapeutic approaches to them. De
Silva contrasts the Buddhist therapeutic approach, stressing in-
trospective attention, with the two standard "Western" ap-
proaches: the behaviouristic and psychoanalytic. Professor de
222 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
Silva handles his materials-Buddhist and Western-with care
and sensitivity, and thus sheds a good deal of light on the prob-
lems inherent in any theory of the emotions, Western or East-
Akihisa Kondo brings together Y ogadira psychology with
the ideas of Karen Horney in his piece on "Illusion and Human
Suffering"; while both Horney and the Yogacara are interesting
in their own right it is not clear that either is illuminated by this
study. It is also unclear why this piece is included in the section
on Japanese Buddhism since the only Buddhist ideas to which
the author refers are standard Indian ones.
Steven Heine ambitiously contrasts psychoanalysis, Dagen
and existentialism in "The Meaning of Death in Psychoanalysis,
Existential Phenomenology, and Dagen Zen." More specifically,
he analyzes Freud, Heidegger, Sartre and Dagen on death in
fifteen pages. Despite the brevity and necessary superficiality of
his discussion, Heine's piece does benefit from its methodolog-
ical sophistication and does point the way forward for further
work in this area.
The section on Japanese Buddhism concludes with a re-
vised version of Richard J. DeMartino's impressionistic study of
"The Human Situation and Zen Buddhism," a piece which, ac-
cording to its author, (p. 192) was first written in 1957 and
appeared in print in 1960. Even in its revised form DeMartino's
study now has little more than historical interest and it is diffi-
cult to see why it was chosen for inclusion in this volume.
The section on the psychological implications of "Sanskrit
Buddhism" opens with a comparision of the paradigmatically
Madhyamaka prasanga "therapeutic argumentation" (p. 200)
and the Western "double-bind" analysis of schizophrenia. This
study, by Gustavo Benavides, is so condensed that it is difficult to
assess: it remains unclear to this reviewer, for example, that
either Nagarjuna or the Western double-bind theorists offer any
solutions to the logical/psychological problems they discuss, and
still less clear that those who hold the philosophical (non)-views
of the Prasangika Madhyamaka (evidently Benavides is amoung
them) have any business writing about them, since to do so is
merely to intensify the double-bind in which their unfortunate
readers necessarily find themselves.
Stephen Kaplan offers a piece on Yogacara epistemology
and holographic psychology. He analyzes the Yogacarin discus-
sion of the perceptual process-involving the trisvabhava the-
ory-using Karl Pribram's holographic psychology. Perceptual
images are likened to holographic images: fabricated, without
form and without location. This is how Kaplan understands the
notion of parikalpita-svabhava, the nature of existents as con-
structed by the mind. In this study-it seems that the interpretive
framework used to discuss Yogacara actually does illuminate it;
the idea of a hologram is a useful tool for coming to an under-
standing of Yogacarin epistemology of perception. The major
drawback, though, is the author's extremely cavalier treatment
of some extremely problematic philosophical issues: the causal
theory and the identity thesis do not exhaust the philosophical
options where perception is concerned, and they are not in any
case discussed with the rigour that they deserve.
The volume concludes with two pieces on the psychological
implications of Tibetan Buddhism. Herbert Guenther discusses
rdzogs-chen and Daseinsanalyse with his usual unfathomable pro-
fundity; enough has been written by now about Professor
Guenther's translation methods and literary style to make fur-
ther discussion otiose. All that need be said is that this piece, like
most of Guenther's work, will speak ony to the narrow circle of
his aficionados.
The volume's editor, Nathan Katz, concludes the collection
with a study of the "feminine" in tantric hagiography and in
Jungian psychology. Katz is clearly more aware than most of his
fellow cOritributors of the problems involved in applying J ung-
ian categories to Buddhism-or Buddhist categories to Jungian
theory-and claims that he simply wants to develop dialogue
between the systems rather than to undertake the interpretation
of one through the categories of another (pp. 242-3). This
methodological point is well taken, and Katz's careful compari-
son of the Jungian anima with the tantric <;lakin! embodies his
method well. There do indeed appear to be profound and sig-
nificant parallels between these two sets of symbols, and a full
discussion of the reasons for this is one of the more profitable
avenues along which cross-cultural psychological theory could
beneficially proceed.
This collection, then, has its moments: perhaps the best
pieces are those by Masefield, De Silva and Katz himself. But it
remains unclear whether the volume makes any significant con-
tribution to either psychological theory or the history of Bud-
dhism; even the groundwork in this field has not yet been done.
Paul Griffiths
A Lamp for the Path and Commentary, by Atisa, translated and
annotated by Richard Sherburne, S.]. London and Boston: AI-'
len & Unwin, 1983. Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
Introduction, Translation of Root Text, Translation of Com-
mentary, Appendices, Glossary, Bibliography, Index xiii + 226
Dr. Sherburne's translation of Atisa's famous Bodhipatha-
pradipa (BPP) and its autocommentary is certainly a welcome
addition to the field of Buddhist studies in general, and to the
study of Tibet's lam rim literature in particular.
It is obvious from Atisa's own remarks that even by his time
the extent and complexity of Mahayana exegesis was becoming
too vast for the ordinary monk or lay practitioner. That there
was a great need for a short synthetic work like the BPP is
evident from its immediate popularity (both in Tibet and in
India). Its success came from the fact that it presented in a
systematic and concise way the most important and relevant
points of Mahayana doctrine, in a format suitable for practice.
At the same time, it avoided the kind of extensive dialectics that
were all too popular at the time. In fact, Atisa mentions repeat-
edly that the time has come to concentrate, not on logic, but on
the guru's advice:
So throwaway your texts on argumentation
Which make inference supreme
And cultiv.ate the (Guru-) tradition's counsel (p. 145)
Hence, the work can be seen as a practical guide to the Ma-
hayana, and the fact that it was held in very high esteem is
attested by the hundreds of texts for which it served as a model
and inspiration. The BPP spawned one of the largest and most
pervasive genres of native Tibetan literature, the lam rim (Stages
of the Path). It is in fact the inspiration for Tsong kha pa's Lam
rim chen mo (The Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path), an
amazing synthetic work which is itself the source and inspiration
of hundreds of other smaller works, even to this day. Hence, the
appearance of the BPP with its Commentary in Dr. Sherburne's
English translation is a truly important and key step toward the
understanding of the lam rim literature as a whole.
Dr. Sherburrie's translation is on the whole quite accurate
and very readable. There are a few points however with which I
take exception. His translation in verse 5 of the lines:
Rang rgyud gtogs pa'i sdug bsngal gyis
gang zhig gzhan gyi sdug bsngal kun
yang dag zad par kun nas 'dod
One who wholly seeks a complete end
To the suffering of others because .
Their suffering belongs to his own (conscious) stream.
The last line of the translation can be misleading. It is not that
the being of highest scope (being described here) actually takes
the suffering of others into his own mind-stream, but that he
empathizes with their suffering (and desires its elimination) "be-
cause of the suffering which he himself experiences," which is to
say that realizing that all beings suffer as he/she does, the bodhi-
sattva seeks an end to all suffering in a way that disregards the
poundary of self and other.
The terminology in the translation might also be more stan-
dardized. For example, on pp. 27-28 we see use of both the
words "worship of" ("worship of body-offerings," "worship of
faith," "worship of praise") and the words "worship with" ("wor-
ship with ordinary things," "worship with pleasing objects"). But
it must be remembered that the particle gyi has more usages
than merely "possession." In this particular case, the translation
"worship of" is misleading; after all it is not body offerings, faith
or praise that are being worshipped. Instead, it is the Buddha
who is being worshipped with these. It seems that Dr. Sherburne
in fact realizes this point (he uses with in a number of cases, as
stated above). One might have wished that the translation consis-
tently read "worship with," however.
Dr. Sherburne's annotations do an excellent job of identify-
ing almost all of the works and passages cited. They however are
almost exclusively just that,providing little elucidation of some-
times obscure passages. Since even the Commentary is quite terse,
however, this might easily have made the annotations more ex-
tensive than the text. Hence, Dr. Sherburne's approach is un-
Finally, let me bring up a few doctrinal points on whose
interpretation I must disagree. Dr. Sherburne states that the
tathagatagarbha ("Buddha-nature") "would be rejected by strict
Madhyamika as holding to a position of reality" (p. 81). Granted
that the Madhyamikas do not accept a Cittamatra interpretation
226 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
of the theory of "Buddha-nature." Nonetheless, both Prasangi-
kas and Svatantrikas have a very developed and extensive litera-
ture expounding their own theory of the tathagatagarbha. In
fact, one of the main Indian works on the subject, Asanga's
commentary to the Uttaratantra, is held by many scholars to be a
Prasangika work.
Dr. Sherburne devotes extensive notes to the subject of Nir-
vaI;1a (p. 156 and p. 198) but his explanations do not correlate
with any that I have seen in my own study of the Tibetan com-
mentaries of the Abhisamyalankara and Sputartha (where the topic
of NirvaI)a is discussed at the very outset). For example, Dr.
Sherburne seems to indicate that "NirvaI)a with remainder" be-
longs to the sravaka, that "NirvaI)a without remainder" belongs
to the pratyekabuddha and that "Non-abiding Nirval}.a" (or, in
his terminology, "deferred NirvaI).a") belongs to the bodhisattva.
Instead, texts like Tsong kha pa's gSer phreng and Rong ston pa's
Tzka are quite clear: "Nirvana with remainder" and "Nirvana
without remainder" can both belong either to sravakas or to
pratyekabuddhas. In the former, the Arhant still possesses his
five skandhas, which remain because of karma accumulated pre-
vious to his attainment of Arhantship. In the latter, the Arhant
has exhausted this karma, his body has died. "Non-abiding Nir-
vaI)a," they state, exlusively refers to Buddhahood itself.
Be that as it may, since these doctrinal points do not directly
bear on the text, they do not detract from Dr. Sherburne's chief
task, the translation of this very important work. All in all, sup-
plemented with two very useful appendices on the system of
initiations, and an excellent glossary and bibliography, Dr. Sher-
burne's translation must be recognized both as a rigor-
ous work and, as was the original in eleventh century Tibet, a
superb introduction to the Mahayana for the novice.
Jose 1. Cabez6n
Religious Festivals in South India and Sri Lanka (Studies on Reli-
gion in South India and Sri Lanka, Vol. 1) Edited and prefaced
by Guy R. Welbon and Glenn E. Yocum. New Delhi: Manohar
1982, pp. xi-341, including Index.
Some readers will be disappointed in the treatment given
Hindu festivals by the 12 authors whose papers are contained in
thisvolume. Those who have witnessed South Indian festivals
will catch only occasional glimpses of the grand ritual perfor-
mances and the milling crowds they surely associate with their
experience. A majority of the papers are written by historians of
religion a : ~ d reflect a perspective on religion which is quite dif-
ferent from the exoteric meaning and experience of the crowd.
True to their profession, these'researchers turn to texts and
learned priestly informants whose apprehension and compre-
hension of what is going on at a festival can be remarkably
different than that of the other participants. Another source of
disappointment lies in the fact that the papers were written and
presented over a decade ago, at the 1971 meeting of the work-
shop of the Conference on Religion on South India. Thus, even
the anthropological papers miss the sense of "anti-structure"
that social anthropologist and theorist Victor Turner, writing in
the 1970's, has suggested characterizes such festivities.
The twelve papers in the collection can be roughly divided
into two groups: those which deal with the prescriptive, textual
aspects of a festival, and those which take a more descriptive
stance, viewing the festival as an on-going performance. In the
former group are two papers which concentrate on calendrical
aspects. of festival cycles and three papers on temple conventions
(iigama texts) spt::cifying rituals appropriate for certain dates
and commemorations. In the latter group of more descriptive
papers there are papers which discuss the relationships between
myth (or text) and theatrical and artistic modes of expression as
these combine to create a festival drama. Also in this category
are three papers which explore the relationships of festival and
The papers themselves tend to be rather technical. The one
common theme running through all the papers is the impor-
tance of the chronometric cyclicality of festivals. The first paper,
Karen L. Merrey's "The Hindu Festival Calendar," provides an
excellent introduction, as well as background reference, to this
theme. It is a detailed account of both the solar and lunar calen-
drical systems. Fred Clothey's paper, "Chronometry, Cosmology
and the Festival Calendar in the Murukan Cult," tries to demon-
. strate that the festival calendar integrates cosmic and ecological
time as well as the sequence in a god's career, which he calls
commemorative time. The three papers emphasizing the agamic
conventions of specific groups of temples-H. Daniel Smith's
"Festivals in the Pancaratra Literature," James Martin's "The
Cycle of Festivals at Parthasarathi Temple," (both on Vaiglava
systems) and J. Bruce Long's "Mahasivaratri: The Saiva Festival
228 JIABS VOL. 7 NO.2
of Repentance"-describe how particular rituals are allocated to
the calendrical cycle. The number of such rituals is impressive;
for the Parthasarathi temple there were "festivals" on 345 days
in a year, and in other temples, Martin says, the figure is much
higher. One question raised by such a high figure is what is
meant by "festival" in this context; if all of these are equally
"festivals" for the Brahman officiates, why are only some of
these occasions considered "festivals" by the rest of society?
The more descriptive papers tend also to be more eclectic.
Guy Welbon's paper "The CaJ;.Qala's Song" concentrates on a
ritual enactment of a text in which an untouchable pilgrim is
confronted by a demon (brahmariikshasa) before and after gain-
ing merit from his pilgrimage. The drama, only a small part of
the festival, and not even witnessed by the temple higher-ups, is
nonetheless quintessential of what many temple festivals are all
about, the public reenactment of a ritual drama. Clifford R.
Jones' "Ka!am E!uttu: Art and Ritual in Kerala" is about similar
sorts of drama in which, additionally, elaborate colored powder
drawings are made. His analysis concerns the history of the artis-
tic conventions of the drawing, but also suggests a vast realm of
further study to be done on the dramatic aspects of these rituals.
Glenn E. Yocum's "An-ke!iya: A Literary-Historical Approach"
demonstrates the value of comparative study of the relationship
between mythic narrative and ritual enactment. He brings to
bear a wealth of tradition from around Sri Lanka and through-
out Tamil Nadu on a Sinhalese game played in honor of Pattini,
the goddess of both fertility and smallpox.
Suzanne Hanchett's paper, "The Festive Interlude: Some
Anthropological Observations," Jane M. Christian's paper, "The
End is the Beginning: A Festival Chain in Andhra Pradesh," and
Donald K. Swearer's paper, "The Kataragama and Kandy Asa!a
Peraharas: Juxtaposing Religious Elements in Sri Lanka," all
emphasize that many aspects of festivals belong to the communi-
ty. While Hanchett's paper stresses that festivals are composed
of elements which are continually negotiated by different fac-
tions of the community, Christian's paper emphasizes how the
multiplicity of meanings in festival events represent different
social contingents. Swearer characterizes Sri Lankan festivals as
national religious celebrations wherein both Buddhism and
Hinduism are subsumed in a broader sense of community spirit.
One paper, Dennis Hudson's "Two Citra Festivals in Ma-
durai," stands above the rest in being able to bring all of these
aspects of festival together. Through myth and ritual, esoteric
doctrine and popular lore, textual authority and modern prac-
tice, and Saiva traditions are wedded-literally-in a
grand pageant: the marriage of Siva to sister,
Hudson suggests that this was accomplished historically when
the Telugu king Tirumala Nayaka merged two temple traditions
into a common myth to elicit the loyalty of certain segments of
society after the fall of Vijayanagar. Thus, despite the calendri-
cal cyclicity and a wealth of temple convention-indeed, by cl"ev-
er use of the illusion of these elements-festivals are at once
things in time and out of it, reflective of both past structure,
immediate structure and cosmic structure, as well as "anti-struc-
ture," the structure of rebellion against petrified conventions.
Peter Claus
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L.M. Joshi: a Brief Communication
I write this short communication while still reverberating with
the shock and sorrow at the death of our mutual friend, Lalmani
Joshi. His untimely departure is an immeasurable loss to us all,
not only personally but also professionally.
As many of you may know, he had just returned to India after
three years of visiting professorships at Amherst and Haverford
Colleges. He was in a very happy frame of mind in that he was
going to take up a very distinguished newly created Chair Of
Buddhist Studies affiliated with the Central Institute of Higher
Tibetan Studies at Saranath. This chair had been created espe-
cially for him by the Government of India's Ministry of Educa-
tion, in view of the central contribution he could make from that
vantage to Indian scholarship's systematic recovery of many of
its greatest "Shastric" treasures from the great Tibetan language
storehouse, the bsTan-'gyur. This wise and creative move by the
Ministry was tragically frustrated by Lalmani's sudden death.
Lalmani's last work of this life was to return to Patiala in June
to pay his farewells to the University and Center of Religious
Studies where he had spent so many productive years. He also
packed up his extensive Buddhist Studies library, perhaps the
best such library in India. He shipped the many crates of these
books to Saranath, went to Delhi to join his family, and suffered
the intestinal attack that proved fatal before ever reaching Sar-
anath. I would like to know how many of you feel as I do that we
should all join in an effort to establish a fund that could pur-
chase his library from his bereaved family and establish the col-
lection in a memorial building or room at the Central
Saranath. I think it would be the best way to fulfill his intention
and carryon his own life's work. It could be connected with our
international effort to support the Gal Ministry of Education in
maintaining the chair they had established, naming it after Lal-
mani, and filling it with another scholar who would continue in
such a direction of research, translation, and publication.
I have not at this stage thought through the mechanics of
collection, negotiation with the Gal Ministry and with the Cen-
tral Institute, and with Mrs. Joshi, so it is too early to begin
contributing just yet. But I would like at this time to know what
support there is for the idea and what suggestions for its execu-
Robert A. F, Thurman
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sury ($194.80 by BDM, and $71.58 by RH). Dr. Upasak, to whom we had
sent a check for $1100.00 representing UNESCO's grant, returned that
check and was paid, instead, from the funds being collected at the Vlth
CIABS - primarily in yen.
2 This balance does not include the yen funds collected by Dr. Yuyama and
not yet forwarded to the treasurer of the lABS.
3 Please .note that the difference between our current liabilities and our
current assets is so miniscule as to be very troublesome.
* This total includes the contributions of $200.00 (to the JIABS by the Rev.
Chang Sheng-yen) and $5.00 by Prof. S. Ichimura. Also a journal ad (1;2
page) by Brian Galloway, and the ad in v. VI, #1 placed by Chemical and
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** We still have some members whose payments worked out to some fraction
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recipients of the Japan Society for Promotion of Sciences sub-
Prof. AL. Basham
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John Brough (1917-1984) ,I
Friends and colleagues of Dr. John Brough, the late Pro-
fessor of Sanskrit at the Universities of London and Cam-
bridge, mourn the passinK of one of the most eminent scholars
of our generation. Brough's interests were wide-ranging, and
his contributions covered a broad expanse of fields, from San-
skrit literature, Indian linguistics and Nepalese folk tales, to
Central Asian history and Chinese Buddhist texts.
Early in his career, Brough made his mark in Indian and
Sanskrit literature with the publication of such pioneering arti-
cles as "Legends of Khotan and Nepal" (BSOAS 12 [1948]), and
his primer, Selections from Classical Sanskrit Literature (London:
Luzac and Co., 1951). Branching out into still more technical
areas of Sanskrit, Brough examined Indian philosophy of lan-
guage in the light of modern linguistic theory in such pioneer-
ing articles as "Theories of General Linguistics in the Sanskrit
Grammarians" (Transactions of the Philological Society, 1951) and
"Some Indian Theories of Meaning" (TPS, 1953); in recogni-
tion of their status as classics in the field, Fritz Staal reprinted
both in his A Reader on the Sanskrit Grammarians (Cambridge,
Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1972). Brough also brought
Tibetan and Chinese materials to bear on treatments of ques-
tions in Sanskrit and Buddhist studies. In one of his most well
known articles, "Thus Have I Heard ... " (BSOAS 13 [1950]),
Brough challenged this most sancrosanct translation of the
opening line of Buddhist siitras, proposing instead the transla-
tion, "Thus have I heard at one time," following the Tibetan
Brough also became known as a specialist in Prakrit dialec-
tology, and especially in GandharI Prakrit. In "The Language
of the Buddhist Sanskrit Texts" (BSOAS 16-2 [1954]), his re-
view of Franklin Edgerton's Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar
and Dictionary, Brough warned of the danger of treating Nepa-
lese orthographic idiosyncracies as authentic dialectical forms
of Buddhist Sanskrit. Perhaps Brough's singularly most impor-
tant contribution to Buddhist studies and Indology was his
monumental The Gandharf Dharmapada (London: Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1962). His masterful edition of the Central Asian
fragments of this important text, with detailed notes on the Pali
and Prakrit parallels, provided definitive evidence concerning
the phonetic and semantic features of the GandharI language.
In later years, Brough turned to Chinese sources with ever
greater frequency. In his "Comments on Third-Century Shan-
shan and the History of Buddhism" (BSOAS 28 [1965]),
Brough drew upon Chinese and evidence to detail
the importance of Northwest India, and especially Gandhara,
in the transmission of Buddhism to central and east Asia.
Brough's writing frequently displayed the acerbic wit and dry
humor for which he was so well known in person, making his
articles provocative and entertaining, as well as informative. In
his "The Chinese Pseudo-Translation of Arya-siira's Jataka-
mala" (Asia Major 11 [1964-5]), for example, Brough waggishly
examined the ludicrous attempt of two Sung-dynasty Chinese
translators, who knew no Sanskrit grammar and only a few
Sanskrit words, to render Arya-siira's ornate kavya into their
native language, and the disastrous results ensuing therefrom.
Returning to one of his earlier loves, Brough examined refer-
ences in Chinese materials to earlier Sanskrit grammarians in
his "I-ching on the Sanskrit Grammarians" (BSOAS 36 [1973]).
Late in his career, Brough used Chinese renderings of Bud-
dhist texts to ferret out the underlying Prakrit forms as,
for example, in his "Buddhist Chinese Etymological Notes"
(BSOAS 38 [1975]), and "The Arapacana Syllabary in the Old
Lalita-vistara" (BSOAS 40 [1977]).
I had the privilege of being Professor Brough's student
and, later, colleague at the School of Oriental and African
Studies, University of London, and benefitted greatly from his
extraordinary range of knowledge in Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit,
Tibetan, and Chinese. He was extremely generous in providing
the younger scholars whose work he supervised with copious
notes and comments on their research. In so doing, he offered
them ever-new critical insight into the vast area of Oriental
studies and was himself a paragon of the cross-cultural, multi-
language orientation so necessary for serious work in the field.
The world of Buddhist and Indological scholarship has lost a
truly eminent scholar and conscientious teacher; his contribu-
tions, however, will continue to inspire new generations of stu-
dents long after his passing.
Padmanabh S. J aini
Professor Rod Bucknell
Studies in Religion
The University of Queensland
St. Lucia, Queensland
Mr. Jose 1. Cabez6n
SeraJe Monastery, House 32
P.O. Bylakuppe
Distt. Mysore
Professor Peter Claus
Dept. of Anthropology
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
Professor Richard Gombrich
The Oriental Institute
The University of Oxford
Pusey Lane
Oxford, OXI 2LE
Professor Paul J. Griffiths
Dept. of South Asian Languages
and Civilizations
Foster Hall, East 59th St.
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637
Dr. Peter Harvey
Poplar Cottage
Nevilles Cross Bank
Durham City
Durham DHI 4JN
Professor Jeffrey Hopkins
Dept. of Religious Studies
Cocke Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Professor Roger Jackson
Dept. of Far Eastern Languages
and Literature
3070 Frieze Building
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Professor Padmanabh S. Jaini
Dept. of South and Southeast Asian Studies
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
Mr. Y. Krishan
C 11155 Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg
Bapa Nagar
New Delhi 110 003
Dr. Luciano Petech
Via Corvisieri 4
00162 Roma
Professor David Pollack
Dept .. of Foreign Languages, Literatures
and Linguistics
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627 .
Professor Telwatte Rahula
Dept. of Comparative Religion
McGill University
Professor Robert A.F. Thurman
Dept. of Philosophy and Religion
Amherst College
Amherst, MA 01002
Dr. Ah-Yueh Yeh
62-5, Chang-shing St.