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and Śūnyatā in the Early and Developed
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THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE BODHISATTVA DOCTRINE
As it has been seen in Chapter One which introduced Bodhisatta (菩 薩) doctrine as integral part of the Nikāya Sūttas with the shades of four meanings, of its doctrinal progress in the history of Pāli Buddhism. Nonetheless, the philosophical development of the Bodhisatta concept in the Nikāyas is not only about the personality of Gotama Buddha or six (twenty-four) other Buddhas, or the various of last lives of Gotama Buddha which seemed not to have been successful in responding to the needs of Buddhists affected by the doctrine of polytheism of other religions or other tendencies at certain times and places and so, Mahāyanists developed and practiced the doctrine of Bodhisattva after several centuries of Gautama Buddha’s passing away. There had been many reasons related with Buddhism and other traditions in such contexts. The issues related with them may be discussed under the following heads:
I. The Origins Leading to the Bodhisattva Doctrine
1. The Natural Tendencies of Development within Buddhism
a. Mahāyāna (大 乘 佛 教)
A contention arose in Vesali in the order a century later after the Buddha’s great decease. The contending monks offered frame certain new rules in the vinaya which were not accepted by the conservatives in the West. This gave rise to the convention of the second council (saṅgīti, 結 集) of seven hundred elder monks in the reign of Kālāśoka.
Thus, regional and doctrinal differences caused a breach in the unity of the saṅgha which was split up into two distinct branches of Buddhism: the conservative Theravāda (Teachings of the Elders, 源 始 佛 教) school, becoming popular in the South and more innovative Mahāsaṅghika (Great Assembly, 大 眾 部) school in the North. The latter became more popular in time for being closer to the spirit of the masses as liberal and inclined to allow great freedom of interpretation of the Buddha’s teachings. Besides, they were deposed to study more seriously the ideal of Bodhisattva and Buddhology.
It is uncertain whether division into sects had actually taken place by 300 B.C., though the spread of the faith into various regions led to divergence that became a major cause of schism. Missionary efforts supported by the great Mauryan emperor Asoka (阿 育 王) in the third century B.C. contributed to the religion’s spread.
It is generally believed that due to Asoka’s sponsorship of the faith, the Sarvāstivāda (Holders of the Doctrine That All Is, 一 切 有 部) school of Buddhism took strong root in northwest India after the Third Council and the Theravāda school in the South extending its influence to Sri-Lanka. Knowledge of Buddhism was carried as far west as Greece and the areas under its control. Buddhist teachings may have left a mark on early Christianity, though no clear evidence has survived. During the two or three centuries following Asoka’s reign, eighteen, twenty, or perhaps more Buddhist sects came into existence, marking the advent of what is called sectarian Buddhism.
People who heard the Buddha’s sermons were apparently able to grasp his meaning, but as time passed and the circumstances under which they had been delivered were forgotten, his sermons became increasingly difficult to be understood fully. It was the task of later Buddhists to define obscure words, draw inferences, and pull everything together into an orderly system of belief. The resulting studies and expositions are called Abhidharma (Pāli: Abhidhamma, 阿 毘 曇 論), or that which is ‘about the Law’.
The origins of Abhidharma literature may be traced to the few works of explanation or commentary in the sutras of primitive Buddhism. In time, however, such expository writings became more specialized and detailed and diverged too far from the sutras to be included among them.
Ultimately they came to constitute a distinct literary form occupying a separate division, or basket, in the canon, the Abhidharma-piṭaka (論 藏). Therefore, now in Buddhism there do exist Tipiṭaka (Skt. Tripiṭaka, 三 藏): Sutta Nikāyas (經 藏), Vinaya Nikāyas (律 藏) and Abhidhamma Nikāyas (論 藏 , the commentaries on the suttas) which were complete and also called the scriptures of primitive Buddhism.
Sectarian Buddhism concerned itself first and foremost with strict observance of the monastic precepts and study of the scriptures, pursuits that encouraged dogmatism. Emphasis was on literal interpretation of the canon. In contrast, a group of pragmatic reformers, members of the Mahāsānghika sect, favoured interpreting the words of the scriptures in accordance with their deeper meanings. And therefore, Mahāyāna Buddhism developed out of this reformist movement within the Mahāsānghika sect.
The Mādhyamika assertion is common to both the Abhidhārmika Buddhists as well as the Mahāyānists who refute the Sthaviras for overemphasizing the issues of existence and karma (causality) and thus take recourse to Nirvāṅa, which is without residue (freedom from existence). But these are doctrinal differences in the meaning of technical terms.
The central conception in early Buddhism is interpreted by Th. Stherbatsky as the concept of plurality of ultimate elements (dharmas). The central conception of Mahāyāna is their relativily (Śunyatā). The Buddha had reiterated again and again, that one should strive to save the other beings as it is the Bodhisattva ideal. In Mahāyāna we are ordained to accept the Bodhisattva ideal instead of the objective of the Arahat. For it is in Mahāyāna, indeed, that by following the practices of the Mahāyāna it is possible to transport the entire sentient world to Buddhahood.
Supported by new converts and by many Abhidharma Buddhists to whom the revisionist position appealed, Mahāyāna spread rapidly throughout India. At about the beginning of the first century A.D., scriptures based on Mahāyāna principles began appearing in a swelling stream that included a group of texts of various lengths called the Perfection of Wisdom Sūtras (Prajñāpāramitā-sūtras, 般 若 波 羅 密 經), the Vimalakīrti Sūtra (Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra, 維 摩 詰 經), the Flower Garland Sūtra (Avataṁsaka Sūtra, 華 嚴 經), the Lotus Sūtra (Saddharma- puṇḍarīka Sūtra, 妙 法 蓮 花 經), and the Amitabha Sūtra (Sukhavatīvyūha Sūtra, 彌 陀 經)... all destined to become great religious classics. Though these sūtras are presented as having been preached by Śakyamuni (釋 迦 牟 尼 佛) himself, the oldest of them could have been written no earlier than about 450 years after his death. It is impossible to know who the authors were, but they were no doubt devout Buddhists convinced that their writings revealed the Buddha’s true message. With the Mahāyānists four points were prominent:1. They were progressive and affirmative. 2. Whereas the Hīnayānists developed with the Order as the centre, the Mahāyānists concentrated rather upon the individual. 3. While the Hīnayānists laid the greatest stress upon the Tripitaka, the Mahāyāna was content to propagate the Buddha’s fundamental teaching wherever found. Compared with them, the Hīnayānists were both formal and systematic in their scholastic orthodoxy. 4. Whereas Hīnayāna was a forest or mendicant denunciative way, while Mahāyāna not excluding this feature, wished to make the Buddhist life open to all, priest and layman alike. With it the ideal became not the Arahata bent upon his own salvation but the Bodhisattva to which all may aspire. The Bodhisattva takes a vow to attain perfect knowledge and to save all sentient beings. This was and remains the most important of many important points in Mahāyāna.
The kernel of Mahāyāna is Deliverance for all, for all stand in relationship, which is causation, and Mind is the origin of all causation. Yet Mind, Buddha, and Beings are one. The real object of Mahāyāna Buddhism is to obtain enlightenment, to get rid of delusion, and to benefit others without hope of reward. Bodhi (菩 提), Bodhicitta (菩 提 心), Bodhisattva (菩 薩), Pāramitā (波 羅 密) are the words most frequently met with in Mahāyāna literature (佛 教 大 乘). When these are established, the notion of vow (praṇidhana, 願) is inevitable. May be, because of it, Sir. C. Eliot also stated that two conspicuous features of Mahāyāna were the worship of Bodhisattvas and the idealist philosophy.
According to Kogen Mizuno in the ‘Basic Buddhist Concepts’, the history of Indian Buddhism may be divided in detail with five periods as below:
1. The age of primitive Buddhism, which lasted from the time of Śākyamuni (c. 560 - c. 480 B.C) until the division of Buddhism into sects (about 300 B.C),
2. The age of sectarian Buddhism, which lasted from about 300 B.C. until the beginning of the first century A.D,
3. The early period of Mahāyāna Buddhism, which lasted from the beginning of the first century A.D. until about 300,
4. The middle period of Mahāyāna Buddhism, which lasted from about 300 to about 700,
5. The late period of Mahāyāna Buddhism, which lasted from about 700 to the early thirteenth century.
This is the process of Buddhist history which ran from the Buddha’s time to the present day. As a matter of fact, the most important and impelling force directing the progress not only of Buddhism, but also of all real religions for their long-term survival, must be the potential of association with the contemporary knowledge and the need of people at all times, which is invariably in flux as pointed out by the Buddha himself, ‘All is momentary and ever-changing’ (Sarvaṁ kṣaṇikaṁ) or ‘Materiality (and the rest) is impermanent, changing, becoming other. Whoever decides about, places his confidence in these dhammas in this way, is called mature in confidence (saddhānusārī, 隨 信 行).
Moreover, the teachings of Lord Buddha should neither be regarded as dogma, nor creed, nor formulated golden words absolutely obeyed and reverenced, but it had better use as a means ridding of the cycle of birth and death. As a result, the indispensable and inevitable improvements in due course of Buddhism for the sake of living beings at certain historical times leading to the present reality of the so-called ‘Theravāda (Southern) and Mahāyāna (Northern) Buddhism’ are but the active and living pictures of the only one Buddhism through ages with one aim to awaken all worldly beings and objects are transient (anitya, 無 常), momentary (kṣaṇika, 剎 那), perpetual flux (santāna, 流) and without any real substance (anātmakaṁ, 無 我) in order to follow the Buddha’s teaching – the Law of Causation (Pratītya-samutpāda, 緣 起 , 因 緣 生 起), to get rid of attachment (rāga, 貪), hatred (dveṣa, 瞋) and delusion (moha, 痴) and enlightenment. Therefore, here we should have a proper look at what we call the true meanings of Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna in order to consider them as brothers in the same family of Buddhism just as Beatrice Lane Suzuki in Mahāyāna Buddhism suggested: "Are we not losing ourselves in a forest of brambles when we spend so much time over the problem of the historicity of Hīnayāna or Mahāyāna? Why not accept both as representations of the same truths, and take that one to ourselves which is best suited to our own minds?"151
And as far as the usage of the Arahanta ideal in Hīnayāna and the Bodhisattva ideal in Mahāyāna is concerned, there are some ideas which we should consider.
D.T Suzuki in this context points out as follows:
"...As Buddhism is a religion and as every religion has its practical and social side, without which it will lose its reason of existence, the Laṇkāvatāra also prepares the Bodhisattva for his mission as one of the members of a co-operative life. In fact, this is what distinguishes the Mahāyāna from the Hīnayāna, for the latter’ s object of spiritual discipline does not extend beyond his own interest, attainment of Arhantaship, a solitary saintly life..."152
Har Dayal said that or "Arahan too self-centered", or "They were indifferent to the duty of teaching", or "The coldness and aloofness of the arhats led to a movement in favour of the old gospel of ‘saving all creatures’. The Bodhisattva ideal can be understood only against this background of a saintly and serene, but inactive and indolent monastic Order." 153
Or Isaline B. Horner in The early Buddhist Theory in Man Perfected expressed that:
"Arahan has been accused of the selfishness of being intent upon his own welfare, and not giving sufficient attention to enlightenment"154
Har Dayal also said that the Bodhisattva ideal of the Mahāyāna has been regarded as a protest against the Arahanta ideal of the Hīnayāna. But the charge of selfishness has to be levelled not against the Arahantas but against the Theravāda monks who have portrayed Arahantaship as a selfish ideal by their own behaviour and writings and thereby made a higher religious life (Brahmacariya) appear impractical.
In fact, these words are too extreme and prejudicial. How Arahanta (阿 羅 漢) who did extoll as the highest aim in the Saṇgha (僧 伽), in the Buddha’s time, the jewel of emancipation, a virtually purely Superhuman Teacher of the world which has been considered as selfish, limited, lack of true spiritual fervour and altruism, small, lower than Bodhisattva ideal...here it needs to be quoted what somewhat the Buddha taught in the Book of the Kindred Sayings155 to verify it as below:
"Throughout the seven abodes, brethren, up to the highest becoming, these are the topmost, these are the best in all the world, these Arahantas.
Thus spoke the Exalted One. The Well-farer having so said, the Teacher said this further:
"Ah, happy saints, the Arahantas! In them no craving’s seen.
The ‘I’ concept is rooted up: delusion’s net is burst.
These mighty heroes follow on, exempt from fear and dread: Lords of the tenfold-potency,159 great sages tranquilized: Best beings they in all the world; in them no craving’s seen.
They’ve won the knowledge of adept. This compound is their last.
That essence of the holy life that have they made their own. Unshaken by the triple modes, set free from birth to come. The plane of self-control they’ve won, victorious in the world. Upward or crossways or below – no lure is found in them. They sound aloud their lion’s roar ‘Supreme are they that wake’".
(Yāvatā bhikkhave sattāvāsā yāvatā bhavaggaṁ ete aggā ete
soṭṭā lokasmiṁ yad idam arahahto ti.//
In the Book of Kindred Sayings,161 the Buddha declared that Thera Sāriputta (舍 利 弗) profoundly realized and understood the doctrine of Pratītysamutpāda (the Dependent Origination, 緣 起 , 因 緣 生 起) as He himself did. Even if Lord Buddha could put questions on the matters in seven days and nights, Thera Sāriputta did not have any trouble in his answers. Furthermore, in the other Nikāyas, many theras and therīs such as Mahākassapa (大 迦 葉), Mogallāna (目 犍 蓮), Dhammadinna (法 那)... possessed capacities equal to the Buddha in terms of preaching, interpreting the Dhamma, or entering different stages of meditation, or performing many kinds of magical powers which proved that hundreds of his noble disciples also attained stages of spirituality equal to him and even the Buddha defined clearly that he is as an Arahanta:
"Now regarding the venerable Gotama, such is the reputation that has been noised abroad - That Blessed One is an Arahant, a fully awakened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha" .162
(Taṁ kho pana Bhagavantaṁ Gotamaṁ evaṁ kalyāṇo kittissado abhuggato: ‘Iti pi so Bhagavā arahaṁ sammāsambuddho vijjā-caraṇa-sampanno sugato loka-vikū anuttaro purisa-dhamma-sārathī setthā deva-manussānaṁ buddho bhagavā).163
The term Arahanta is a standard epithet of the Buddha, we also find that in some places the term ‘Buddha’ is an epithet of the Arahanta. In one gāthā section of the Majjhima Nikāya we find a poetical discussion of what it means to be an Arahanta:
"Who knows his former habitations and sees heaven and the sorrows ways,
Who has attained destruction of births, accomplished by super-knowledge, a sage is he.
Who knows his mind is quite pure, freed from every attachment,
Who has got rid of birth and dying, in the Brahma-faring whole is he.
Who is master of all states of mind, such a one Awake is called". 164
(Pubbenivāsaṁ yo vedi Atho jātikkhayaṁ patto, Cittaṁ visuddhaṁ jānāti pahīnajātimaraṇo pāragū sabbadhammānaṁ saggāpāgañ ca passati abhiññā vosito muni muttaṁ rāgehi sabbaso brahmacariyassa kevalī Buddho tādi pavuccatīti).165
Or in the Book of the Kindred Sayings the Buddha does not make any statement differentiating between Himself and an Arahanta as follows:
"The Tathāgata, Brethren, who being arahant, is fully enlightened, he it is who doth cause a way to arise which had not arisen before; who doth bring about a way not brought about before; who doth proclaim a way not proclaimed before; who is the knower of a way, who understand a way, who is skilled in a way. And now, brethren, his disciples are wayfarers who follow after him. That, brethren, is the distinction, the specific feature which distinguishes the Tathāgata who, being arahant, is fully enlightened, from the brother who is freed by insight".166
(Tathāgato bhikkhave arahaṁ sammāsambuddho anuppannassa maggassa uppādetā asañjatassa maggassa sañjānetā anakkhātassa maggassa akkhātā maggaññu ṁaggavidū maggakovido // Maggānugā ca bhikkhave etarahi sāvakā viharanti pacchāsamannāgatā // Ayaṁ kho bhikkhave viseso aya adhippālyoso idaṁ Nānālaraṇaṁ Tathāgatassa arahato sammāsambuddhassa panuavimuttena bhikkhuna ti //).167
The Buddha and Arahanta are, in every significant sense, identical in terms of spiritual achievement. As a very genaral rule, this seems to be the position found in the oldest sections of the Sutta piṭaka.
In the book Buddhist Images of Human Perfection, Nathan Katz showed out that:
"The paññāvimutto Arahant is said to be equal to the Buddha in terms of spiritual attainment, as they have both completely overcome the āsavā".168
The Milindapañha169 speaks of arahans outshining all other bhikkhus (毘 丘), overwhelming them in glory and splendour, because they are emancipated in heart. Arahanship is called the jewel of emancipation.
The commentary of Asaṇga (無 著) also puts forth the same kind of idea of Theravāda Buddhism where the Boddhisattva after having attained Enlightenment (bodhi, 菩 提) becomes an Arhant, a Tathāgata (如 來), i.e. Buddha, (佛 陀).170 That is to say nobody is beyond the stage of Arahantaship, the Arahanta ideal should be the ideal life of Buddhism which has truly originated from the enlightenment of the Buddha and is acknowledged by Him as the highest spiritual stage in His teachings.
And return to Mahāyāna part, we can conclude that to meet the potential of association with the contemporary knowledge and need of people at all times, Mahāyāna was formed and developed out. And it is Mahāyāna played a main and important role in arising the new doctrine of Bodhisattva in Sanskrit and Chinese sources which succeeded in the Bodhisatta concept in Pāli Nikāya, to which Edward Conze has said that the two great contributions which the Mahāyāna had made to human thought were the creation of the Bodhisattva ideal and the elaboration of the doctrine of "Emptiness".171
b. The New Concept of Buddhahood (佛 陀)
In the original Buddhist texts, the Buddha is only a human being like us but he realized the real nature, the truth of existence of men and things by his own efforts. But with the passage of time, the Buddha was soon idealized, spiritualized and universalized. The conception of Buddhahood was widened and elaborated under the circumstances in India where was influenced by Hindu theology and metaphysics. The Buddha is now no longer historical, he is the object of religious devotion, he is eternal, multiplied, immortalized, deified, spiritualized, universalized and unified.
The Lalitavistara (神 通 遊 戲 經) speaks of koṭis (koṭis)172 of Buddhas, as does also the Saddharma-Puṇḍarīka Sūtra (妙 法 蓮 花 經). The Suvarṇa-prabhāsa Sūtra (金 光 明 經) tells us of ‘thousands’, while the Sukhāvatī Vyūha (無 量 壽 經) estimates their exact number at 81 koṭi-niyuta-śata-sahasrāṇi (81 million niyutas)173 or "The Buddhas are like the sands on the banks of the Ganges". Each Buddha has his Buddha-kṣetra (佛 剎 , field), which he guides and ‘ripens’ in spirituality. A kṣetra (剎)174consists of many worlds and universes, with their heavens, purgatories, earths, devas (諸 天), pretas (餓 鬼), human beings (人) and animals (畜 生). A Buddha, who appears on this earth or in any other world, can never cease to exist. Gautama Buddha (瞿 曇 佛) also lives for ever (sadā sthitaḥ), the Buddhas are immortal. A Buddha’s
Buddhas are also superhuman (lokottara) and deificated in all their actions, even during their earthly lives. He eats, drinks, and takes medicine in illness only in order to conform to the ways of the world as he is really not subject to hunger, thirst, disease, or any human needs and infirmities. His body is not formed by the physical union of his reputed parents, and he is born as a child merely in order to act like ordinary human beings. duration of life is unlimited and immeasurable.175
If a Buddha is immortal and superhuman, his physical body cannot represent his real nature. He must therefore be essentially a spiritual Being, who either assumes a human form (incarnation) as an avatāra (無 量) or shows an unreal physical body to the people for their edification. In his created body (Rūpa kāya, 色 身) or Nirmāna kāya (應 身 / 化 身),176 he can appear anywhere in the universe to spread Dharma (法). In contradistinction to the rūpa-kāya, the Mahāyanists speak of a Buddha’s dharma-kāya (法 身 , cosmic, spiritual Body). A Buddha is the embodiment of dharma, which is his real Body. He is also identified with all the constituents of the universe (form, thought, etc). It is the same as the Absolute Reality (Tathatā, 真 如), which is also one and indivisible for the entire Universe. It is immutable and undifferentiated. If a Buddha’s real body is the cosmic Absolute, then it follows that all Buddhas are spiritually united in the dharma-kāya (法 身). "All Buddhas are one," declares the Mahāyāna Sūtrālaṇkāra (大 乘 大 莊 嚴 經).177 Buddhahood, which belongs to the realm of Freedom and Perfection (anāsrave dhātu, 無 漏 界), unites them all, as they have one Wisdom and one Aim. A Buddha also possesses a Body of Bliss or Enjoyment, which is radiant and glorious, and bears thirty-two special marks and eighty minor signs (sambhoga-kāya, 報 身). It is the result of the Merit, which a Buddha has acquired by his good deeds during many aeons and whatever sermons he gives in the Mahāyāna Sūtras (大 乘 經) are given in this capacity. The world he sees, the events taking place in connection with his appearance and the language he uses are all radiations from his Sambhogakāya.
Thus, the conception of Buddhahood (佛 陀) was developed to its ultimate conclusion in universal pan-Buddhism (as distinct from Pantheism) soon after Gautama Buddha’s death.
It was continued and intensified by the Mahāsāṇghikas, the Vetulyakas, the Andhakas and other Buddhist sects. They perhaps also thought and felt that so wise and virtuous a man as Gautama Buddha (瞿 曇 佛) could not end in blank nothingness. They transformed him into a living, immortal, powerful and gracious deva. They also bestowed on him all the mystical attributes of the impersonal Brahman (梵 天) of the Upanisads (幽 杷 尼 色). His humanity, his physical body and his death were therefore denied or thrown into the background, and he was endowed with the sambhoga-kāya (報 身) and the dharma-kāya (法 身). The Mahāyānists borrowed and assimilated the entire theology and metaphysics of Hinduism, and then evolved their impressive and comprehensive conception of the Buddha. The life of Gautama was the foundation of the edifice: the other sects supplied the material for the superstructure.
Then as the time passed on, as the Hindus could not love or adore the metaphysical Brahman of the Upaniṣads but needed deities of flesh and blood for their cult, so the Buddhists too could not approach the idealized and transcendental Buddha of the Mahāyāna with prayer and worship. Such a concept of Buddha again became an unsuitable and unattractive object for the pious Buddhist’s bhakti (信 心 , devotion, faith, love), because he had become too great, vast, nebulous, impersonal and incomprehensible for such relations. The Mahāyānists turned in their need to the earlier history of Gautama Buddha, when he was not the remote metaphysical Buddha, but only a charitable, patient and wise Bodhisattva, a married citizen and a denizen of this work-day world. As a Bodhisattva, he had helped many men and women with gifts of wealth and knowledge. He was a more humane and lovable figure at that stage of his career. The pious worshippers could pray to a Bodhisattva for health, wealth and mundane blessings, and that was all that they really wanted. The Bodhisattvas were thus chosen for worship and adoration in order to satisfy the needs of the devout and pious Buddhists. The Buddhists invented their class of saints (Bodhisattvas) chiefly by personifying the different virtues and attributes of Gautama Buddha’s personality. They also took up certain epithets that were applied to Gautama Buddha, and converted them into the names of some Bodhisattvas.
c. Bhakti or Devotion (信 心)
The Encyclopaedia of Buddhism178 defines the term bhakti from the root bhaj, which originally means, to divide, to share and which later developed to mean, to serve, to adore, and to love.
Scholars, who uphold that bhakti is of Buddhistic origin, consider the term saddhā generally translated as faith, to be the precursor of bhakti. But there is no substantial evidence to prove that bhakti evolved from saddhā. The term saddhā, in Buddhist scriptures, could mean faith, trust, belief or confidence. Faith in the Buddha is repeatedly declared to be essential for the spiritual development of the monks and the laymen. The disciples of a wise and virtuous teacher must love and revere him personally. It is Personality that secures the triumph of a religious movement, the dogmas and precepts shine in the light reflected from Personality. Bhakti cannot arise without the historical fact of the life and work of a great man. So, bhakti accepted, is not a belief in a system, but a love directed to a great person.179
For this reason, it could not have originated among the meta-physicians of the Upanisads, as A. B. Keith has assumed.180 There was no great man like Buddha or Mahāvira among them. Apart from the irresistible influence of Personality, the absence of any other objects of adoration led the Buddhists to concentrate their love and devotion on the Buddha. They did not hold the ancient devas in high esteem. They could not have any devotional feeling for them or pray to them. The devas were regarded by the Buddhists as glorified supermen, who enjoyed bliss and power, but who were subject to the law of death and rebirth and needed wisdom and liberation as much as the human beings on earth. They were far inferior to the Buddha in character and knowledge. As the Buddhists despised the devas, they put the Buddha in their place.
Owing to the change that it underwent, the Buddha’s personality lost its human conception and it ceased to attract the attention of the lay devotees. This as well as the intention to popularize Buddhism in order to save it from the complete disappearance, made the Mahāyānists evolve and develop the Bodhisattva doctrine which subsequently overshadowed the Buddha-personality. In order to counteract the concept of deities in Hinduism the Mahāyānists attributed divine qualities to Bodhisattva ideal. The belief in the efficacy of the transfer of merits gave an impetus to this new doctrine. With the development of the Bodhisattva, the influence of the bhakti cult (信 心) found free access to Buddhism.
In Mahāyāna, the feature of bhakti did never evolve to be a separate, independent school, but remained of one or the other schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Even the worship of Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩) and Amitābha (阿 彌 陀 佛) existed as feature shared by many schools. The real development of this worship into an independent school took place, not in India but in China and Japan.
In short, the deep-rooted feeling of bhakti found an outlet in the invention and adoration of the Bodhisattvas. For that reason, Har Dayal has said that "The Bodhisattva doctrine was the necessary outcome of two movements of thought in early Buddhism, viz. the growth of bhakti (devotion, faith, love) and the idealisation and spiritualisation of the Buddha."181
2. The External Influences of Other Traditions
a. Brāhmanism: the Bhāgavatas and Śaivas
Although the idea of bhakti originated among the Buddhists and was adopted in self-defence by the Hindus, yet the new sects, which arose after the fifth century B.C., exercised a profound influence on the further development of Buddhism. They established the cults of certain devas and deified heroes, and the Buddhists were compelled to endow their Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with similar attributes and powers.
The Bhāgavata sect, which was probably founded in the second century B.C in the western part of India, inculcated the worship of Bhāgavata (帗 伽 聽 , the Adorable) as the supreme Deity and was almost monotheistic. In course of time, the Bhāgavatas came to identify Vāsudeva (帕 子 仙) with Bhāgavat and the ancient sun-god Viṣṇu. The existence of a sect of Vāsudeva-worshippers at this period explains certain features of the Bodhisattva doctrine. Historical evidence establishes the existence of the powerful bhakti-cult of the worshippers of Vāsudeva in the centuries that followed the expansion of Buddhism.The Śaiva (濕 婆) sect was making progress during the same period. Śiva is also praised in the Mahabharata, but the chronology of that immense poetical encyclopaedia is uncertain.182 The Śaivas are mentioned along with the Vāsudeva-worshippers in the Milinda-pañha (p. 191, lines 6 ff., "siva vāsudevā ghanikā"). The sect of the Pāśupatas who worshipped Śiva existed in the second century B.C., if not earlier.183 Megasthenes wrote that the Indians also worshipped ‘Dionysos’: "The Indians worship the other gods, and Dionysos himself in particular, with cymbals and drums... he instructed the Indians to let their hair grow long in honour of the god."184 This ‘Dionysos’ has been identified with Śiva. The cumulative evidence of all these historical data points to the existence of a vigorous sect of Śiva-worshippers, who had chosen the ancient Rudra and Isāna of the Veda as their deity.
These sects were soon controlled and assimilated by the Brāhmaṇa priests (婆 羅 門), who were exerting themselves to stem the tide of Buddhism. The great revival of Brāhmanism (婆 羅 門 教) under the Śuṇga dynasty in the second century B.C. after the fall of the Maurya (孔 爵) dynasty in 184 B.C.,185 obliged the Buddhists to develop new methods of popular propaganda. The family of the Śuṇgas whose principal religion was Brāhmanism, became the principal rulers of India. Under Puṣyamitra (C.187-151 B.C),186 Buddhism underwent a savage persecution. With the support of the rulers of the Śuṇga dynasty, Brāhmanism started making an attempt to consolidate and spread its strength and power by setting itself on a campaign of great revival.
According to Nalinaksha Dutt,187 Har Dayal188 and Charles Eliot,189 Brāhmanism began a new policy of its doctrinal propagation by presenting itself as a universal religion, instead of having been the religion of a privileged class in a special region, or the one and only religion of India as a whole. As E. W. Hopkins has pointed out, the second century B.C. was a critical period in the history of Buddhism.190 With the cult of Bhāgavata of Brāhmanism patronised by the Śuṇgas,191 the cult of sun-worship,192 the Bhakti etc... took a chance in making their real revival in Indian society, which actually attracted masses into its fold. Such tendencies must have been the key elements pushing towards the outburst of the worship of heavenly Bodhisattvas as Buddhist counterparts of Brāhmanic deities, their incarnation... in the Buddhist community.
b. Zoroastrianism: Fire-worship
Zoroastrianism, the religion of ancient Persia, may also have contributed to the rise of the Bodhisattva doctrine in India, because it supplied a great deal of mythology to Judaism. Its fravashis and amesa-spentas bear a certain resemblance to the Bodhisattvas. The six amesa-spentas (immortal, holy or beneficent ones, archangels), who are associated with Ahura-Mazdah, are personified abstractions, and the chief Bodhisattvas are also really personifications of Wisdom and Love... Zoroastrianism influenced the development of Buddhism more directly through the cult of sun-worship, which was introduced into India in the third century B.C.193 Sun-worship is referred to in the Dīgha-Nikāya (i, 11, line 2l), and it is ridiculed in the Adiccupatthāna-jātaka (Jātaka ii, pp. 72-3). Many familiar names of the Mahāyāna are suggestive of sun-worship, e.g. Amitābha (無 量 光 , Measureless Light), Vairocana (毘 爐 枷 那 佛 , the Brilliant One)... It is probable that they established an organised sect of sun-worshippers on the basis of Zoroastrianism and the ancient Indian domestic rites of sun-worship. The solar myth penetrated deep into every phase of Buddhism, and many Bodhisattvas were endowed with solar attributes.
c. Accent Religion: Nāga-worship
Here, it is important to mention the point made by N. Dutt when he suggests that in spite of all the patronage of Aśoka and the glorious accounts of the popularity of Buddhism in Kashmir, the fact remains that Buddhism had to face a strong opposition in the country from the established beliefs in Nāga-worship being the practice of ancient Indian before the appearance of Buddhism. Without adverting to the antiquity of the Nāga-worship, it may be safe to state that Nāga beliefs were quite common in India when Buddhism made its appearance and that is the reason why the legends of Nāgas and their conversion by Buddha occur occasionally in the Buddhist texts. The Buddhist chronicles also speak of Kashmir as a land of lakes under the control of the Nāgas. They are generally associated with watery and mountainous regions, and so it is quite likely that Kashmir should be called a land of Nāga-worshippers.194
It is, nevertheless, very important to keep in mind that there could not be any influence of Christianity or Islam in the initial development of the Bodhisattva ideal because the birth of Christianity and advent of Islam into India took place at a later stage. Christianity certainly influenced the development of Mahāyāna Buddhism at a later period and was also influenced by Buddhism to some extent during its early phase because there were several channels of communication between the Buddhist and the Christian countries of Western Asia, Africa and Europe. The Buddhists could establish intercourse with the Christians in Alexandria, Southern India and Central Asia. The Gnostics, who were numerous in the Roman Empire in the early centuries of the Christian era, borrowed some ideas from Buddhism. The existence of a Christian community in Southern India during the sixth century is attested by the Egyptian writer, Kosmas’ Indikopleustes.195
d. Greek Art
Kozen Mizuno in ‘Basic Buddhist Concepts’ agreed with Har Dayal that Greek art played a role in the development of this concept. Before Kanishka’s reign,196 Northwest India had been the birth place of the Gandhāra (干 陀 羅) school of Buddhist sculpture which influenced by Greek statuary, revolutionized Indian sculpture. There were such symbols as stylized renderings of the Buddha footprints, the wheel of law, the Bodhi tree under which he attained enlightenment. And the Buddhists invented their pantheon of Bodhisattvas in order to worship half-divine half-human beings such as the Hellenic gods were.197
e. Persion Religion and Culture
According to Har Dayal, the Bodhisattva doctrine may well have been influenced by foreign cultures, because, according to him, features of Persian culture198 have shown their characteristics in the art at the lion-capital of Asoka’s pillar at Sarnath (鹿 苑), and also in the architecture of the palaces at Pataliputra (華 侍 成). Persia was a great empire from the time of Cyrus to the invasion of Alexander, and Darius I annexed the valley of the Indus about 518 B.C.199 Persian culture continued to exercise considerable influence on the nations of Asia during many centuries. Persia and India were close neighbours, and the Persians were in many respects more advanced in civilization than the Indians, so India certainly borrowed much from Persia during this period and Zoroastrianism, the religion of ancient Persia, may also have contributed to the rise of the Bodhisattva doctrine in India.
f. Propaganda among New Tribes
During the centuries that followed Alexander’s invasion of India, the northwestern part of India was repeatedly overrun by foreign invaders like the Pahlavas, the Cakas and the Kusans. It was a real meeting-place of nations. This international atmosphere favoured the introduction of new ideas in Buddhism.
The Buddhists grappled with the task of converting these sturdy and semi-barbarous tribes to their faith. Polytheism had to be tolerated and even rendered attractive. The Bodhisattva doctrine exalted Love and Activity and peopled the heavens with gracious Beings, who could be worshipped. It is likely that some deities of the new tribes were adopted as Bodhisattvas.
II. The Concept of Bodhisattva in Mahāyāna Sūtras
It is very difficult to regard the precise chronological brackets of the Bodhisattva (菩 薩) doctrine with many ideas.
The Encyclopaedia of Buddhism200 is of opinion that the Bodhisattva doctrine has taken shape around 1st century B.C. with the statement below:
"Round about the first century A.C. the luxuriant fancy of India began to invent and multiply divinities much in the fashion of the Ṛgvedic poets and the Buddhist theologians of the time were no exception. When personalities of Śiva and Viṣṇu were taking shapes in Hinduism, the figures of divine Bodhisattva were taking shape in Mahāyāna Buddhism."
In the opinion of Har Dayal201 the Bodhisattva doctrine probably originated in the 2nd century B.C.: "We may regard the second century B.C as the chronological starting-point for the development of the Bodhisattva". N. Dutt202 observes it to be around the 2nd or 1st century B.C. Nakamura203 and A.K Warder 204 have maintained that Bodhisattvayāna (菩 薩 乘) might have come into existence probably towards the beginning of the Christian era. The Encyclopaedia of Religion205 holds that the concept of Bodhisattva apparently emerged between the beginning of the first century B.C and the middle of the first century AD... Such are several representative ideas on the chronology of Bodhisattva doctrine accepted and used by scholars. It may, however, be supposed that these views actually refer to the outburst of the worship of Bodhisattva ideal (菩 薩 理 想) assignable to the development of Bodhisattva philosophy in Mahāyāna (佛 教 大 乘).
The concept of Bodhisattva as depicted in the Majjhima Nikāya was compiled around the fourth and third centuries B.C.206 The admission of Gotama Siddhārtha of being a Boddhiasattva before enlightenment should be taken to be a simple statement of the Bodhisattva ideal in the Pāli Nikāya: "...before awakening, while I was still the Bodhisattva ...".207 In this, we meet with the idea of transdevelopment of the Arahat ideal to the Bodhisattva ideal.
According to Bimala Churn Law, his opinion the chronology of the Pāli canonical literature should be classified as follows:1. The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all books. 2. Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing books. 3. The Sīla, the Pārāyaṇa group of sixteen poems. 4. Dīgha, Vol. I, the Majjhima, the Saṁyutta, the Aṇguttara Nikāyas. 5. The Dīgha, Vol. II and III, ... the collection of 500 Jatākas."208
The subjoined division relating to some transformation of the chronological order of the Dīgha Nikāya, Vol. II and III supposed to be composed after the Majjhima Nikāya, the term ‘Bodhisattva’, which might well have been pressured by the outburst of the new Buddhist Schools, especially the Mahāsānghika (大 眾 部)209 school with its philosophical progress because of disagreements with the Theravāda sect about the Vinaya as well as doctrine, particularly in term of Buddhology,210 is now deified in the good omens and extraordinary characteristics when "the Bodhisatta descending from the Tusita group entering his mother’s womb".211 The second landmark in the development of the Bodhisattva ideal is the deification of the portrait of seven Buddhas by manifesting the descent of the Bodhisattva from the Tuṣita paradise entering his mother’s womb. The Buddha’s descent on earth is the third step of development in the Buddhist teaching.
The profusely illustrated pictures of the Bodhisattva as found in the Jātakas are assumed to be the fourth phase of the philosophical progress of the doctrine. It is a genuinely strong religious trend reclining towards a mythological scope of Bodhisattva doctrine. It is not easy to analyse the revolution in Buddhism at the time which is often told to be caused by a marked decline in the order and exhaustion of its Arhat ideal for preaching the Dharma. That may be the reason Isaline B
Horner in The Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected 212 stated that:
"First, there is the original and positive element of the altruism of the arahan in foregoing his meditations in order to give counsel and instruction to other members of the Order and to the laity; and secondly, there is the increasing amount of solitude sought by the later arahants, which was possibly due to the loss of the inspiring presence and example of the Master".
The compilation of Jātakas has been a unique experiment in the history of Buddhism which took deep root in popular sentiment and evoked great applause among men of all countries of the world to accept the doctrine. It thus did not remain confined to Indian masses. For centuries, the ideal of Bodhisattva manifesting the power of the Buddha has been inspiring men to live up to the ideal of the Buddha in making the life of the beings peaceful and happy. That is to say, during a period of about four centuries from the 6th to the 3rd century B.C, Buddhology of the Pāli Nikāyas with its realistic conception of the Buddha, that of Sarvastivada (一 切 有 部) with its two kinds of Buddhakāya (佛 身), viz., Dharmakāya (法 身) and Rupakāya (色 身) has still centred around and has revered the enlightenment ideal of Buddhism, and has smoothly run among the Buddhist circles without much transformation. In the fifth phase of the doctrinal dissemination a strong commotion had been felt across the world to usher into a permanent stage of philosophical contention and unequivocal growth of the meditative trends and practices based on manifestations of the divine. The preceptors genuinely looked into the affair of men benefiting them by invocations of gods and goddesses that were adored by all.
The double Equipment characteristic of Knowledge (jñāna-sambhāra, 智 資) and Merit (punya-sambbhāra, 福 資) of the Buddha are deified as Bodhisattva Mañjuśri (文 殊 師 利 菩 薩) and Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩) respectively. In the Mahāyāna, Wisdom is considered to be somewhat more important than Mercy and is invoked in the opening verses of several treatises, and it has been praised in the Saddharma-Puṇḍarīka (妙 法 蓮 花 經). The glorification of Wisdom reaches its climax in the writings of the Mādhyamika school (中 論) of philosophy, which was founded by Nāgārjuna in the second century A.D. Wisdom (Prajñā, 智 慧) is extolled ad nauseam, while Mercy (karūṇā, 慈 悲) is not discussed in detail. But the later Mahāyāna emphasises Mercy more than Wisdom. It is emotional rather than argumentative.
It sometimes seems to ignore and discard Wisdom altogether, as when it declares that karūṇa is the one thing needful for a Bodhisattva. As this ideal gains ground, the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩) increases in importance till he becomes the supreme and unique Bodhisattva. The Mahāyāna slowly passes from the ascendancy of Mañjuśrī (文 殊 師 利 菩 薩) to the reign of Avalokiteśvara (Lord of Mercy) who is considered as Lord of Compassion (慈 悲 的 王).
The early Mahāyāna teaches that altruistic activity is one of the means of attaining Enlightenment, which is the goal. But the later Mahāyāna seems to forget even that far-off destination and prefers to loiter on the way. A Bodhisattva need not be in a hurry to win Bodhi and become a Buddha, as he can help and succour all living beings more effectively during his mundane career as a Bodhisattva. This idea also resulted in the subordination of the Buddhas to the Bodhisattvas. There is a marked tendency to regard Altruism as an end in itself. Avalokiteśvara does not seem to think seriously of becoming a Buddha. In the two great Bodhisattvas — Avalokiteśvara and Mañjuśrī, one can very well see the personifications of kindness / compassion and knowledge / wisdom respectively. They invite comparison with the Zoroastrian Amesha Spentas and with the Christian archangels. With such developments in Budhological realm, it is but natural that the number of Bodhisattvas became virtually endless. In fact, the important Mahāyāna scriptural texts like the Saddharma-puṇḍarīka Sūtra (妙 法 蓮 花 經), Avataṁsaka Sūtra (華 嚴 經) and so on provide a very long list of such Bodhisattvas and in essence, when the Bodhisattvas could not be named or designated, the compilers of those sūtras simply refered to those Bodhisattvas in millions, rather innumerable.213
In addition to Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩) and Mañjuśrī (文 殊 師 利 菩 薩), there are other important figures like Asita (who has been prophesied by Śākyamuni Buddha (釋 迦 牟 尼 佛) to be the Maitreya Buddha (彌 勒 佛), Samantabhadra (普 賢 菩 薩), Mahāsthāmaprāpta (大 勢 至 菩 薩) and Kṣitigarbha (地 藏 菩 薩) and so on and so forth, who have become important not only in India, but also in the Far East. These six Bodhisattvas along with Ākāśagarbha (虛 空 藏 菩 薩) and Vajrapāṇī (金 剛 手 菩 薩), form a group of eight Bodhisattvas (菩 薩) who have become more famous than the others. These and many others are worshipped both in the form of icons and through various methods of spiritual sādhanās (practices) especially by the Mahāyāna Buddhists. However, we should remember the fact that the Bodhisattvas in Mahāyāna Buddhism are not historical figures, but they are the enlightened ones from other worlds. They are also manifestations of the supreme power of the Buddha. It is a known fact that in all religious systems there are some kinds of symbolic figures which are prayed for granting wishes and are practiced for being awaken.
A Bodhisattva is a person in the school of the elders who is desirous of acquiring the characteristics of a perfect being, the enlightened-one. It appears as such in the Pāli Nikāyas. The accomplishment of such a state makes him content. But the ideal of Mahāyāna induces him to greater effort based on dynamic activity to help the other beings attain ultimate bliss; before that he does not lay ore to save beings from the state of suffering. Not satisfied with his own mitigation of desire some actions that make him subjected to malice and all kinds of cravings, he strives up on helping all other beings to come over the affray.
III. The Meaning and Status of Mahāsattva (摩 訶 薩)
It will be in the fitness of things if a special mention is made to Mahāyāna Sūtras (大 乘 經) in order to show the meaning and status of Mahāsattva, because the term Bodhisattva (菩 薩) is often coupled with Mahāsattva (大 人 , Great Being).
‘Mahā’ (大) means ‘great’ and ‘sattva’ (情) means either ‘being’ or ‘courage’. Nāgārjuna (龍 樹) gives a number of reasons why Bodhisattvas are called ‘great beings’. It is because they achieve a great work, stand at the head of a great many beings, activate great friendliness and great compassion, save a great number of beings. The Tibetans translate Mahāsattvas (摩 訶 薩) as ‘great spiritual hero’ and their aspirations are truly on a heroic scale. They desire to discipline all beings everywhere, to serve and honour all the Buddhas everywhere, and to purify all the Buddha-fields everywhere. They want to retain firmly in their minds all the teachings of all the Buddhas, to have a detailed knowledge of all the Buddha-fields to comprehend all the assemblies which anywhere gather around a Buddha, to plunge into the thoughts of all beings, to remove their defilements and to fathom their potentialities.214
In the beginning of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñā pāramitā (八 天 頌 若 波 羅 密 經), the Lord Buddha explained the meaning of great being (Mahāsattva, 摩 訶 薩), when Subhūti (須 菩 提) asked about it. The Lord says that a Bodhisattva (菩 薩) is called ‘a great being’ in the sense that he will demonstrate Dharma so that the great errors should be forsaken — such erroneous views as the assumption of a self, a being, a living soul, a person, of becoming, of not becoming of annihilation, of eternity, of individuality, etc.215 The Saddharmapuṇḍarika (妙 法 蓮 花 經) and the Vajracchedikā prajñāpāramitā Sūtras (金 剛 般 若 波 羅 密 經) say that Mahāsattvas also have good qualities and method of practice pāramitā (波 羅 密) as Bodhisattvas (菩 薩) and "...who under many hundred thousands of Buddhas had planted the roots of goodness." 216
In other words, Mahāsattva is like Bodhisattva who will be able to eliminate all his bad karmas (業) and sufferings and will show the emancipation way to all beings with all skills by his deep compassion. However, in Pāli Nikāyas, we do not find the word Mahāsattva, but in some Mahāyāna sūtras this term is used quite frequently like Bodhisattva and also often both terms appear together as in the Saddarmapuṇḍarika Sūtra (妙 法 蓮 花 經), Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (大 般 涅 槃 經)... for example the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Mañjuśrī (文 殊 師 利 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Mahāsthāma-prāpta (大 勢 至 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Nityodyukta (常 精 進 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Sadāparibhūta Bodhisattva (常 不 輕 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Aniksiptadhura (不 休 息 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ratnapāṇi (寶 掌 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Bhaiṣajyarāja (藥 王 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Pralānaśūra (勇 施 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ratnacandra (寶 月 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ratnaprabha (寶 光 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Pūrṇacandra (滿 月 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Mahāvikrāmin (大 力 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Anantavikrāmin (無 量 力 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Trailokyavikrāmin (越 三 界 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Bhadrapāla (賢 首 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya (彌 勒 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩), the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ratnākara (寶 積 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩)... and so on.217
The Saddharma-puṇḍarīka Sūtra shows the special status of Bodhisattvas who not only attempt search of Bodhi for the sake of themselves, but also devote their energy to saving all living beings. For that reason, they are named Mahāsattvas, great beings.
151Beatrice Lane Suzuki, Mahayana Buddhism, London, Fourth edition 1980, p. 35.
152D.T. Suzuki, Studies in The Laṇkāvatāra Sutra, Routledge & Kegan Pual Ltd., London, rpt. 1975, p. 214.
154Isaline Blew Horner, The early Buddhist Theory in Man Perfected: A Study of the Arahanta, London: Williams & Northgate Ltd., 1936, London, 1979.
155BKS, III, 69-70.
156Commentary: the fivefold mass consists of saddhā (faith), hiri-ottappaṇ (Cocentration), saccaṇ (āraddha) viriya (energy), sati (mindfulness), pañña (insight).
157Commentary: Satta-bojjhangā or the seven factors of enlightenment are mindfulness, Dhamma-testing, energy, zest, calm down, concentration, and poise (see A, VI, 14).
158The three sikkhā: adhi-śila, citta, pañña, the higher morals, mind and wisdom.
159The tenfold-potenccy (Dasa-balani) of a Tathāgata or an Arahant are:
1. The power of comprehension as it really is casual occasion as such and what is not causal occasion as such, 2. The power of comprehension as it really is the acquiring of deeds for oneself, past, future and present, both in their causal occasion and their result, 3. The power of comprehension as it really is the course leading to all boums, 4. The power of comprehension as it really is the world with its various and diverse features, 5. The power of comprehension as they really are the divers characters of beings, 6. The power of comprehension as it really is the higher or lower states of faculties of other beings, of other persons, 7. The power of comprehension as they really are the defilement of, the purification of, the emergence from attainments in meditation, 8. The power of memory of his manifold former birth habitations 9. A Tathāgata or an arahant, with his purified deva vision, surpassing that of men, sees beings as they are deceasing and uprising- he comprehends that beings are mean, excellent, comely, ugly, well-going according to the consequences of their deeds, and thinks. 10. A Tathāgata or an arahanta, by destruction of the cankers, enters on and abides in freedom of mind, freedom through wisdom that are cankerless, having released them here and now through his own super-knowledge...(See MLS, I, 69-70).
160S, III, 83-4.
161BKS, II, 35-7.
162DB, I, No. 12, Soṇadaṇḍa Sutta, 145.
163D, I, p. 111.
164MLS, II, No. 91 Brahmāyusutta, 330.
165M, II, Brāhmayusutta, 144.
166BKS, III, Chapter i, iv, 58.
167S, III, 66. 112
169Milindapañha, ed. V. Trenckner, PTS, 1962, p. 226.
170Walpola Rahula, Zen and The Taming of The Bull, London 1978, p. 74.
171Edward Conze, Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies, Bruno Cassier (Publisher) LTD, Oxford, London, 1967, p. 54.
172‘Koṭis: A million. Also explained by 100,000; or 100 laksa, i.e., 10 millions ‘quoted in DCBT’, p. 261.
173Lalita Vistara, Ed. S. Lefmann, Halle A..S., 1902-8, 402.10; Saddharma Puṇḍarīka, 228.4; Sukhāvatī Vyūha, p.10; in BDBSL, 25.
174Kṣetra: land, field, country, place; also a universe consisting of three thousand large chiliocosms; also, a spire or flagstaff on a pagoda, a monastery, but this interprets ‘Caitya’; quoted in DCBT, 250b.
175Suvarṇa-prabhāsa, Manuscript No. 8, Hodgson Collection, Royal Asiatic Society, London, fol.5a. 1 ff.
177Mahāyāna Sūtrālaṇkāra, editeù et traduit par S. Leùvi, Paris, 1907, 1911, p. 48, īī, 83. 2.
178EB, II, 678.
179EB, II, 680.
180Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, London, 1906, p. 493; see also BDBSL, 33.
182Cf. S. Sorensen, An Index to the Names in the Mahābhārata, London, 1904, p. 203.
183R.G. Bhandarkar, Sects, (Vaiṣṅnavism, Śaivism and Minor Religious System), Strassburg, 1913, pp. 116-117.
184J.M.McCrindle, India (Ancient India), London, 1877, p. 200, II, 5 ff.
185Ibid., p. 518.
186Kanai Lal Hazar, The Rise and Decline of Buddhism in India, Munshiram, M.Publishers, 1995, p. 47.
187Nalinaksha Dutt, Mahayana Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1978 (Revised Edittion), p. 2.
189Sir Charles Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, London, rpt. 1971, I, p. xxxiii.
190Cambridge History of India, I, Cambridge, 1922, p. 225.
191N.Dutt, Mahāyāna Buddhism, Calcuta, 1973, p. 2.
193R.G.Bhandarkar, Sects, Op.cit., pp.153,157.
194Rājat, I, 136, 140-4; see kṣemendra’s Samayamātṛkā, v.61 re. Kṛtyāśama-vihara.
195R.Garbe, Christenthum, (Indien und das Christenthum), Tubingen, 1914, p. 150; A.J.Edmunds, Gospels, (Buddhist and Christian Gospels), Tokyo, 1905, p. 42; also see BDBSL, 41.
196Kozen Mizuno, Basic Buddhist Concepts, Tokyo, fourth reprint 1994, p. 30.
197R.G. Bhandarkar, Sects, p. 153.
198V.A. Smith, Ashoka, pp. 140 ff.
199Ibid., p. 335. P.V.N. Myers, General History, Boston, 1919, p. 61.
200EB, III, 231.
202N.Dutt, Mahāyāna Buddhism, Delhi: Motilal, p. 1.
203H. Nakamura, Indian Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass, rpt. Delhi, 1996, p. 99.
204A.K Warder, Indian Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass, rpt. Delhi, 1997, p. 352.
205Mircea Eliade, The Encyclopaedia of Religion, Vol. 2, Collier Macmillan Publishers, London, 1987, p. 458.
206Prof. Rhys Davids supposed it to be composed some time before the date of Asoka (see "Buddhists India by T.W. Rhys Davids", page. 169). Meanwhile, Bimala Chum Law assigned pre-Asoka's age (see also "A History of Pali Literature by Bimala Chum Law", p. 28). Gombrich considered it to be at least the third century B.C (see "How Buddhism Began by Richard F Gombrich, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1997, p. 9)
207MLS, I, 207.
208Bimala Chum Law, A History of Pali Literaturere, Vol. I, Indological Book House, India, 1983, p. 42.
209N. Dutt, Buddhist Sects in India, Motilal Banarsidass, 1978 (Second Edition), pp. 58-9.
210N. Dutt, Aspects of Mahāyāna Buddhism in its Relation to Hīnayāna Buddhism, London: Luzac & Co: 1930. s..v. Mahāsanghikā.
211MLS, III, 165.
212Isaline B. Horner, The Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected, London, 1979, p. 191.
214Edward Conze (tr.), The Diamond Sūtra and The Heart Sūtra, London, 1957, p. 23.
215Edward Conze (tr.), Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñā-pāramitā, p. 7.
217LS, 4 & also see L. Hurvitz, Scripture of The Lotus Blossom of the Five Dharma, New York, 1976, pp.1-2.
Sincere thanks to Bhikkhuni Gioi-Huong for giving the digital files (Binh Anson, 07-2009).