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Roger Jackson'
Dept, of Religion
Carleton College
Northfield, MN 55057
Peter N. Gregory
University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, illinois, USA
Alexander W, Macdonald
Universite de Paris X
Nanterre, France
Steven Collins
Concordia University
Montreal, Canada
Volume 12 1989
Ernst Steinkellner
University of Vienna
Wien, Austria
Jikido Takasaki
University of Tokyo
Robert Thurman
Amherst College
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Number 1
the watermark
This Journal is the organ of the International Associatiorrof Buddhist Studies,
Inc. It 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 ]lABS is published twice yearly in the
summer and winter.
Manuscripts for publication (we mUst have two copies) and correspondence
concerning articles should be submitted to the ]lABS editorial office at the
address given below. Please refer to the guidelines for contributors to the
]lABS printed on the inside back cover of every issue. Books for review should
also be sent to the address below. The Editors cannot guarantee to publish
reviews of unsolicited books nor to return those books to the senders.
The Association and the Editors assume no responsibility for the views
expressed by the authors in the Association's Journal and other related
New Editor's Address
Roger] ackson
do Dept. of Religion
Carleton College
Northfield, MN 55057
Andre Bareau (France) Joseph M. Kitagawa (USA)
M.N. Deshpande (India) Jacques May (Switzerland)
R. Card (USA) Hajime Nakamura (japan)
B.C. Cokhale (USA) John Rosenfield (USA)
John C. Huntington (USA) David Snellgrove (U.K.)
P.S. Jaini (USA) E. Zurcher (Netherlands)
Both the Editor and Association would like to thank Indiana University
and Fairfield University for their financial support in the production
of the Journal.
The Editors wish to thank Mr. Kevin Atkins for his invaluable help
in the preparation of this issue.
Copyright The International Association of Buddhist Studies 1989
ISSN: 0193-600X
Indexed in Religion Index One: Periodicals, American Theological Li-
brary Association, Chicago, available online through BRS (Biblio-
graphic Retrieval Services), Latham, New York, and DIALOG Infor-
mation Services, Palo Alto, California.
Composition by Publications Division, Grote Deutsch & Co., Madison, WI 53704.
Printing by Thomson-Shore, Inc., Dexter, MI 48130.
1. Hodgson's Blind Alley? On the So-called Schools of
Nepalese Buddhism by David N. Gellner 7
2. Truth, Contradiction and Harmony in Medieval Japan:
Emperor Hanazono (1297-1348) and Buddhism
by Andrew Goble 21
3. The Categories of T'i, Hsiang, and Yung: Evidence that
Paramartha Composed the Awakening of Faith by
William H. Grosnick 65
4. Asanga's Understanding of Madhyamika: Notes on the
Shung-chung-Iun by John P. Keenan 93
5. Mahayana Vratas in NewarBuddhism
by Todd L. Lewis 109
6. The Kathavatthu Niyama Debates
by James P. McDermott 139
1. A Verse from the Bhadracarfprarpidhiina in a 10th Century
Inscription found at Nalanda
by Gregory Schopen 149
2. A Note on the Opening Formula of Buddhist Siitras
by Jonathan A. Silk 158
1. Die Frau im frilhen Buddhismus, by Renata Pitzer-Reyl
(Vijitha Rajapakse) 165
2. Alayavijiiiina: On the Origin and the EarlyDevelopment of a
Central Concept of Yogiiciira Philosophy by Lambert
(Paul J. Griffiths) 170
Hodgson's Blind Alley? On the So-Called
Schools of Nepalese Buddhism
by David N. Gellner
The way in which textbooks come to be written perhaps deserves
more attention than it generally receives in the history of ideas.
This short article explores one persistent mistake which has
appeared in numerous textbooks on Buddhism down to the
present day.' In these textbooks it is written that there are four
schools of Nepalese Buddhism, each named after the doctrine
it espouses.
The authority cited for this is Brian Houghton
Hodgson. In fact this is a mistake twice over: no such schools
exist or ever have existed; the idea that Hodgson asserted their
existence is based on a misunderstanding of what he wrote.
Nepalese Buddhism, that is, the Buddhism of the Newar
people of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, ought to have an im-
portant place in Buddhist studies. The Newars are the last sur-
viving South Asians who practise Indian Mahayana Buddhism,
whose sacred and liturgical language is Sanskrit, and whose
rituals are directly descended from those evolved in North India
during the heyday of Indian Mahayana and Vajrayana Bud-
dhism. Brian Hodgson spent more than twenty years in the
Kathmandu Valley between 1821 and 1843, and for most of
that time he was the British Resident (representative of the East
India Company to the court of Nepal).3
N early all the Sanskrit manuscripts of Buddhist texts come
from Nepal; as is well known, it was the manuscripts that
Hodgson sent to Paris which enabled Burnouf to undertake the
first modern study of Mahayana Buddhism. Hodgson was not
a Sanskrit scholar and did not study these texts himself. Through
his friend and parJJtit Amrtananda he did however carry out
much that would today count as fieldwork, though under very
8 ]IABS VOL. 12 NO.1
restrictive circumstances. (As British Resident his movements
were limited and closely watched by the Nepalese authorities.)
Hodgson's writings on Buddhism were initiq.lly considered as
an authoritative source on Buddhism as such.
Later, once Bud-
dhist scholarship was established in Europe, Hodgson's work
came to be regarded merely as a guide to Nepalese Buddhism.
Furthermore, this form of Buddhism came to be seen as an
unimportant oddity.
Some more historically-minded scholars did realize that
Nepalese Buddhism was representative of late Indian Bud-
dhism. It was for this reason that Sylvain Levi came to the
Kathmandu Valley in 1898 and wrote his history of Nepal, orig-
inally published in 1905 and recently re-issued, as a prelude to
writing the history of the whole of South Asia. Nepal or the
Kathmandu Valley (the two terms were, until recently, synonym-
ous) was, Levi wrote, "India in the making" (1905 I: 28). One
could observe "as in a laboratory" the relationship of late Bud-
dhism to Hinduism and Hindu kingship, a dynamic process
which in India eventually resulted in the absorption of Bud-
dhism by Hinduism.
Because of the difficulty of gaining access
to Nepal before 1951, and subsequently because of the complex-
ity of Newar culture, scholars have been slow to follow Levi's
lead. Since the 1970s, however, an increasing amount of work
has been done.
This work seems not to have made much impact on the
general world of Buddhist studies. Consequently, one still finds
repeated the old idea, for which Hodgson is wrongly cited as
authority, that there are different schools of Nepalese Bud-
dhism. The present article is intended therefore to alert bud-
dhologists to the fact that no such schools exist, or ever have
existed. The idea that they do arose from a misreading of
Hodgson's original intention, which was to describe Buddhist
schools of thought, not schools of Nepalese Buddhism. The
mistaken idea that there are schools of Nepalese Buddhism has
been repeated, parrot-like, in one textbook after another. Even
where this particular mistake is not made, Nepalese Buddhism
is frequently and quite misleadingly treated as an adjunct of
Tibetan Buddhism.
Buddhist studies owe a great debt to Hodgson for the manu-
scripts he sent back to Europe. At that time very little was known
about Buddhism in the West. Not surprisingly, therefore, he
wished to establish what the principal Buddhist doctrines were.
After working with his Am:rtananda, Hodgson
thought he had found the answer. He wrote:
Speculative Buddhism embraces four very distinct systems of
opinion respecting the origin of the world, the nature of a first
cause, and the nature and destiny of the soul. These systems are
denominated, from the diagnostic tenet of each, Swabhavika,
Aiswarika, Yatnika, and Karmika ... (Hodgson 1972 [1874] I:
According to Hodgson, the Svabhavika system explains
everything by the power "inherent in matter" (ibid.), i.e.,
svabhiiva; Buddhahood is achieved by understanding the nature
of the universal law. Hodgson identified as a sub-system. of
Svabhavika the Prajnika school: those who conceived of the
ultimate as prajiiii or wisdom. Both of these systems denied "a
single, immaterial, self-conscious being, who gave existence and
order to matter by volition" (ibid.). By contrast .
the Aiswarikas admit of immaterial essence, and of a" supreme,
infinite arid self-existent Deity (Adi Buddha) whom some of them
consider as the sole deity and cause of all things, while others
associate with him a coequal and eternal material principle; be-
lieving that all things proceeded from the joint operation of these
two principles (op. cit.: 25).
The final two schools, the Karmika and the Yatnika,
Hodgson believed to be more recent than the others, and he
argued that they must have arisen
to rectify that extravagant quietism, which, in the other schools,
stripped the powers above, (whether considered as of material.
or immaterial nature,) of all personality, providence and domin-
ion; and man of all his active energies and duties. Assuming as
just, the more general principles of their predecessors, they seem
to have directed their chief attention to the phaenomena of
human nature, to have been struck with its free will, and the
distinction between its cogitative and sensitive powers, and to
have sought to prove, notwithstanding the necessary moral law
10 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
of their first teachers, that the felicity of man must be secured,
. either by the proper culture of his moral sense, which was the
sentiment of the Karmikas, or, by the just conduct of his under-
standing, a conclusion which the Yatnikas preferred (op.cit.: 26).
In one textbook after another scholars have followed
Hodgson without applying thought or analysis to what he wrote.
One after another they have repeated that there are four schools
of Buddhism in Nepal. For a long time I was puzzled by these
statements, for they have no connection whatever with the actual
state of affairs in Nepal.
A careful reading of Hodgson's text makes it clear what the
status of these "schools" really was. Hodgson writes in a note,
when he first introduces the schools:
My Baudda pandit assigned these titles [of the schools] to the
Extract made from his Sastras, and always used them in his dis-
cussions with me. Hence I erroneously presumed them to be
derived from the Sastras, and preferable to Madyamika, &c.,
which he did not use, and which, though the scriptural denomi-
nations, were postponed to those here used on his authority as
being less diagnostic. In making these extracts we ought to reach
the leading doctrines, and therein I think we succeeded (op. cit.:
This makes it quite clear that the schools were invented by
Hodgson's pmp;iit, Amrtinanda. Furthermore, I think it is pos-
sible to understand why he invented them. The Kathmandu
Valley has never had sufficient resources to support large
monasteries of celibate monks pursuing a curriculum of
philosophical study, as had existed in India and grew up in
Tibet. Consequently, although was very learned,
he had no knowledge of the different philosophical systems of
Mahayana Buddhism. Hodgson, his employer, plied him with
questions, such as "What is matter, and what is spirit?," "Is
matter an independent existence, or derived from God?" and
"What is the cause of good and evil?"8 Amrtananda evidently
fell in with his employer's way of thinking and readily sys-
tematized the different elements of Buddhist doctrine he knew
into separate "schools."
The first two "schools" (the Svabhavika and Aisvarika) he
derived by a misunderstanding of the Buddhacarita. These two
doctrines are mentioned in a passage where the minister of the
young Buddha-to-be's father is trying to persuade him to return
from the forest and, if he must pursue his religious vocation,
to do so as king. The religious positions the minister is describing
are in fact non-Buddhist doctrines which Sarvarthasidda (the
future Buddha) rejects as inadequate.
Having wrongly accepted that these two positions were Bud-
dhist, Hodgson supposed that the other schools-which he and
Amrtananda derived from genuinely Buddhist doctrines-arose
subsequently and in reaction to them (as quoted above). Thus,
of the other "schools" the Prajnika or wisdom school represents
the Buddhist view that wisdom is the ultimate, equivalent to
nirvar;,a or liberation; the Karmika school represents the Bud-
dhist axiom that within this world everything is determined by
one's karma; and the Yatnika school represents the Buddhist
belief that karma is determined by the individual's intentions,
which it is always open to beings to improve upon. These three,
far from being alternatives, are integral parts of the most basic
and universal Buddhist teachings.
Evidently, on its initial appearance in 1828, Hodgson's de-
scription of Nepalese Buddhist schools excited some scepticism,
because eight years later he published "proofs" in the shape of
"quotations from original Sanskrit authorities" (Hodgson 1972
I: 73f.). Among the quotations illustrating the Svabhavika system
are the three verses of the Buddhacarita (ix.E 1-3 in Johnston
1972) already referred to. There are also two quotations whose
force depends on a misunderstanding of the phrase
svabhavasuddha, free of essence, and an inversion of its meaning
as 'governed by' or 'regulated by' svabhava (op. cit.: 73, 75).
Similarly, the verses given in support of the Aisvarika doctrine
include a mistranslation of a famous Buddhist verse so that the
Attained One (tathagata) instead of explaining the cause of all
things, is the cause of all things.
The other quotations Hodgson gives do all seem to repre-
sent genuine Buddhist doctrines, although their source is not
always correctly identified and their translation is unreliable.
There is no need to see them as representing separate "schools." -
In his quotations Hodgson gives separate space to the doctrines
of Adi-Buddha, Adi-Dharma and Adi-Sa:rp.gha, that is, the first
or ultimate Buddha, Dharma and Sarp.gha. Most of the verses
on the Adi-Buddha come from the Namasa'f(tgZti,l1 on the Adi-
Dharma from the Prajiiaparamita
and the few on the Adi-
Sarp.gha from the GU1Jakarar.u;lavyuha. Hodgson was right to see
the first and last of these as late, theistic developments.
. Even within Newar Buddhism, however, the doctrine of the
Adi-:-Buddha does not have the importance that many have, on
Hodgson's authority, assumed. (The terms 'Adi-Dharma' and
'Adi-Sarp.gha,' evidently Hodgson's and Amrtananda's inven-
tions, have, quite rightly, been forgotten.) One can see how
books get written by comparing the following passages describ-
ing Newar Buddhism. Oldfield was the British Residency sur-
geon from 1850 to 1863. His Sketches of Nepal summarizes
Hodgson's schools of Buddhism and, true to Hodgson's inten-
tions though without his caution, calls them "various systems of
speculative Buddhism" "propounded by the early Buddhist
teachers" (Oldfield 1981 [1880] II: 86). Oldfield describes the
history of Buddhism with a certainty and forthrightness uninhi-
bited by any knowledge of his subject; he concludes:
The system of Theology taught in the Buddhist scriptures of
Nipal [sic] is essentially monotheistic, and is based upon a belief
in the Divine Supremacy of Adi Buddha, as the sole and self-exis-
tent spirit pervading the universe (op.cit.: Ill).
Writing fifty years later, Landon defines Newar Buddhist belief
in the same way:
According to the later and now dominant school there are five
greater manifestations (Dhyani Buddhas) of the one Essential
Buddha (Adi Buddha) ... (Landon 1976 [1928] II: 219).
Finally, in the 1960s; the anthropologist Gopal Singh Nepali
At its higher level, Newar Buddhism is essentially monotheistic
and is based on the belief in one supreme God, that is Adi
Buddha ... (Nepali 1965: 289).
The case of the four schools discussed above is simple: they
do riot exist. The question of the Adi-Buddha is more complex.
The term is indeed used by Newar Buddhists, usually as an
epithet of Svayambhu, the holiest stupa of the Valley. According
to the local religious histories derived from the Svayambhu
Purii:r;,a, the Svayambhu stupa was the first thing to appear out
of the lake which the Valley used to be. More rarely, the term
"Adi-Buddha" is used as an epithet of the Buddha Dipankara.
In both these cases the prefix "Adi-" is often understood in
temporal terms. It is true that in some contexts and in certain
moods Newar Buddhists are inclined to a position which sees
all divine beings as one; but they do not call this one-ness Adi-
Buddha. I doubt very much whether this should be called
monotheism; pantheism is probably a better description. It is
also true that some of the texts of the Newar Buddhists, notably
the Gur;akararyjavyuha, describe the creation myth onto which
these three writers cited have fastened. This myth coexists with
other alternative accountsY In any case, no Newar Buddhist
would think of introducing his or her religion by saying that
they believe in a supreme deity called Adi-Buddha who created
the world in such-and-such a way. In general they have a proper
Buddhist indifference to the question of the creation of the
Once again a scholarly tradition has been created by
Hodgson's reliance on Western categories. Once again,
Hodgson's text has been used as a source but his intentions have
been misunderstood. In fact Hodgson nowhere asserts that be-
lief in the Adi-Buddha is the most fundamental of Newar Bud-
dhism's tenets; nor does he say that the Aisvarika school is domi-
nant in Nepal. The three authors cited on Nepal have failed to
appreciate that Hodgson was attempting to reconstruct "dogma-
tic" schools of the past on the basis of (mainly liturgical) texts
in use at his time. Hodgson would have agreed that certain
texts, such as the Namasar(l,giti, the Gury,kiirar;davyuha and the
Svayambhu Purar;a, presuppose the Aisvarika doctrine; but he
would never have made the crude and misleading assertions of
our three experts on Nepal.
One scholar who comes well out of this is E.J. Thomas. He
alone looked closely at Hodgson's text. He wrote:
[Hodgson] set a questionnaire, arranged according to his own
14 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
ideas of theology, often with leading questions .... It was no
wonder that the answers he obtained seemed to him "a sad jumble
of cloudy metaphysics," and that Burnouf was surprised that he
could not discover in his manuscripts anything like the "Bauddha
system" as described by Hodgson. Yet scholars continue to use
his terms, some of which, like dhyani-buddha, have never been
found outside his writings (Thomas 1933: 247-8) ..
Thomas was closer to the mark than he knew with the term
dhyani-buddha. Not only has it no justification in Buddhist scrip-
ture, it has no justification in N ewari usage either. It has gained
wide currency solely through the combination of Hodgson's
influence and the inertia of textbook tradition. The question-
naire Thomas refers to (see Hodgson 1972 I: 41-53) does indeed
contain leading questions. For all that, if used with care, it does
contain material of value.
Hodgson was ahead of his time in understanding that
sunyata does not mean "nothingness" (op. cit.: 26). Unfortu-
nately his many correct interpretations on matters of detail are
overshadowed by his having followed his parpjit Amrtananda in
hypostasizing two non-Buddhist schools and three perfectly
compatible Buddhist doctrines into five separate, non-existent
"schools" of Buddhist doctrine.
Those who followed and made use of Hodgson's writings
were, if anything, guilty of a worse error. They assumed, al-
though evidence to the contrary was there before them, that
Hodgson was describing schools of Nepalese Buddhism he had
observed in operation. In fact he was trying to reconstruct
schools of Buddhist philosophy on the basis of manuscripts
which were not philosophical but devotional in intention. Prob-
ably the writers of the textbooks on Buddhism mentioned above
simply followed one another. Since none of them had ever been
to Nepal and few made use of Levi's work (which tactfully ig-
nores Hodgson's schools), they had no reason to doubt what
they saw in previous texbooks. Since Hodgson's schools bore no
relation to what had by then been discovered to be the true
state of affairs where Buddhist doctrinal disputes were con-
cerned, it was naturally assumed that Hodgson must have been
describing Nepalese schools of Buddhism, a pseudo-fact which
was taken as further evidence of the supposed degeneracy of
Nepalese Buddhism.
Hodgson says that the titles of these "schools" were his
paTJdit's invention. But did Hodgson perhaps suggest to Amrta-
nanda the concepts he got back from him, by his insistent ques-
tions on doctrine? The answer, if it can be found so long after
the event, lies buried in Hodgson's voluminous papers in the
India Office library. For those interested in Nepalese Buddhism,
there is undoubtedly much else to be discovered there as well.
1. I would like to thank R.F. Gombrich and D.P. Martinez for comments
on an earlier draft of this article. My own research in Nepal, 1982-4, could
not have been undertaken without the support of a Leverhulme Study Abroad
2. See Monier-Williams (1890: 204), Kern (1896: 134), La Vallee Pous-
sin (1908: 93), Keith (1923: 301), Getty (1928: 2-3), Glasenapp (1936: 110),
Dasgupta (1962: 340-1; 1974: 97-8), Bareau (1966: 210), Pal (1974: 13) and
Snelling (1987: 218). Surprisingly, Hodgson's schools are even recorded by
the Nepalese historian D.R. Regmi (1965 1: 569) who, while he does not
endorse their existence, expresses no overt skepticism about them either..
3. On Hodgson'S life see Hunter (1896) and Philip Denwood's introduc-
tion to Hodgson (1972). Hodgson was assistant Resident from 1825 to 1833
and Resident from 1833 to 1843.
4. Hunter (1896: 276) describes how "Hodgson's first essays [on Bud-
dhism] produced an extraordinary sensation in Europe."
5. In the colourful language of Vincent Smith (1924: 382): "the chief
interest which [Nepal] offers to some students is the opportunity presented
by it for watching the manner in which the octopus of Hinduism is slowly
strangling its Buddhist victim." Fortunately, the frequent announcements of
the death of Newar Buddhism have been premature.
6. The single most important source is Locke (1980). His other works
(1975, 1985, 1987) should also be consulted. The best introduction to the
cultural history of the Valley, although disappointing on Buddhism, is Slusser
(1982). Anthropological work has been done by M. Allen (1973,1975,1983),
Greenwold (1974a, 1974b) and recently by Lienhard (1978,1984,1985,1986)
and myself (Gellner 1986, 1987b, 1988a, 1988b, 1989c). Greater detail can
be found in unpublished Ph.D.s by Riley-Smith (1982), Lewis (1984) and
Gellner (1987a). An important historical source is Kolver and Sakya (1985).
Riccardi (1980) summarizes what is known from inscriptions about the early
history of Buddhism in Nepal.
7. Thus Robinson and Johnson (1977: 186) write that "Buddhism fi-
nally became syncretized with Tantric Hinduism and today no longer exists
as a separate religion in Nepal, except for small minorities who still consider
themselves Buddhists. Its vestiges (prayer wheels and flags, stu pas) are found
16 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
today in the country's popular religion." This is quite untrue. Buddhism
among the Newars "has a separate organizational existence. It is not correct
to describe it as merely popular. Prayer wheels and prayer flags, far from
being "vestiges," are recent borrowings on the Newars' part, usually erected
by those who have spent time in Tibet.
8. See Hodgson (1972 I: 41-52), for Hodgson's questions and
Amrtananda's answers. The sketch of Buddhism contained therein is, as
Hodgson thought, valuable, but the persistent focus on doctrine enabled
Hodgson to project his imaginary schools onto the answers.
"9. Cf. Hunter (1896: 279-80) for mention of two controversies
Hodgson became involved in.
10. Ye dharma hetuprabhava hetu'T{/- tathagatol hy avadat ca yo
nirodha eva'T{/-vadimahasramal}. Hodgson (op. cit.: Illf.) was aware of the other,
correct translation. Apparently it was Amrtananda who insisted, in certain
moods, on the theistic interpretation.
11. Thus Hodgson's quotations, 6, 7,12,13,14,15, and 16 documenting
the Adi-Buddha doctrine correspond to verses 46, 47, 43-4, 44-5,59,60 and
61 respectively of the Namasa'T{/-giti (see Davidson 1981).
12. On the Adi-Dharma Hodgson's quotations 4 throu,gh 11 correspond
to verses 2, 3,4, 7, 9, 13, 17 and 19 respectively of Rahulabhadra's Praj-
naparamita-stotra (Conze 1959: 169-71). Hodgson gives the Ntasahasrika-praj-
naparamita as the source; the verses are indeed usually cited before the begin-
ning of that work. (See Vaidya ed. 1960: 1-2, where they are ascribed to
13. See Hodgson (1971 I: 43-4) for some of them.
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Leroux. 3 vols. Reissued 1986, Kathmandu and Paris: Raj de Condappa,
Toit du Monde and Editions Errance.
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Lewis T. (1984). The Tuladhars of Kathmandu: A Study of Buddhist Tradition in
a Newar Merchant Community. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Columbia Uni-
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Truth, Contradiction and Harmony in
Medieval Japan: Emperor Hanazono
and Buddhism
by Andrew Goble
I. Introduction
The thirteenth century witnessed an explosion of Buddhist
thought that articulated two quite distinct philosophical ap-
proaches. One, represented by the two schools of Zen (Rinzai
and Soto), stressed self-discipline and the quest for enlighten-
ment; the other, represented by various popular sects (Pure
Land, True Pure Land, Lotus Sect,Ji or Timely) articulated the
philosophy of salvation through external grace.
Both of these
developments represented a move outside of the framework
within which the traditional schools, with their enormous sacral
and secular influence, had contained these philosophies as sub-
sidiary currents within their own teaching traditions. N onethe-
less, the "older Buddhism" (as it is often referred to), particularly
that of the Tendai school centered at Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei,
actually weathered the assault rather well. True, Enryakuji's
defense of its position was sometimes conducted in the basest
secular terms (the desecration of Honen's tomb and the attempt
to dismember the body and throw the pieces into the Kamo
River being perhaps the most graphic example); but the temple
complex as a center of theory managed to maintain its overall
eclecticism and continued to exercise a strong influence as a
viable and integral part of the philosophical world. In other-
words, Kamakura Buddhism was not monopolized by the newer
schools which have traditionally drawn the attention of western
The philosophical world of medieval Japan (here the 12th
22 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
through 16th centuries, though other periodizations are possi-
ble) was a rich and multifaceted one. In the political and ethical
realms Chinese thought continued to exercise an extremely
strong influence; "native" Shinto thought experienced a strong
resurgence; numerous streams of Buddhism (as noted) were in
full flow; and in addition there were several widely acknow-
ledged "cultural" concepts-mappa, the age of degeneration;
muja, the idea of impermanence; and michi, the idea and practice
of following a particular path through which is revealed univer-
sal truths and understanding-which could easily take on lives
of their own (this is particularly evident in literature). It is pos-
sible, for heuristic purposes, to regard each element on its own,
but it is evident that, even should we come across dissonance
and contradiction among any of these, they were regarded by
medieval Japanese as coexisting without inherent contradiction
since it was generally assumed that each represented an equally
valid approach to the truths of the world which could be ap-
prehended by humans in their relativity.
While the subtle interweaving of all of these elements in
the medieval mind provides immense intellectual fascination,
there still remains the question of just how people would ap-
prehend and incorporate a plethora of alternatives. The Bud-
dhist world provided a multiplicity of choice; but how would
one respond to this when seeking to discover the essence of
Buddha's teaching and how would one apply these to one's own
beliefs? In contrast to this observation, we might also note that
for most people this may not have been an intellectually demand-
ing problem: those outside of the educated elite were essentially
unaware of the varying subtleties of doctrine; the aristocracy
combined, according to ability and preference, a mixture of
ceremony, esoteric ritual, study, and Amidist faith with some
facility in order to confront existential religious matters; and it
is certainly evident that many clerics, even if they studied widely,
did not advance their comprehension of doctrine too far beyond
the parameters of the teaching tradition in which they were
trained, a state of affairs not enhanced with the emergence of
the new schools which, given the strong tradition of factionalism
and restriction on the dissemination of knowledge which charac-
terized Japanese intellectual life, served to restrict communica-
tion and discussion even further.
. On the other hand, it is evident that the majority of the
seminal religious figures of the 13th and 14th centuries (Hanen,
Shinran, Nichiren, Dagen, Muso Soseki, to name a few) had all
received extensive textual training-importantly, in the Tendai
which they had been moved to pursue or em-
phasize specific elements of the wider corpus in response to
what they separately defined as the major religious and
philosophical concerns of their age. However, while the writings
of these figures may be studied in an effort to understand the
development of their thought, the crises or turning points in
their growth, there are very few sources available to help us
understand how educated individuals incorporated, rejected or
modified the religious and philosophical heritage to which they
were heir. This is unfortunate since, among other things, it
prevents a full understanding of the actual manner in which
Buddhist thought came, through individual minds, to exercise
its undisputed and enormous influence on medieval Japan. It
is possible to recreate these influences through an examination
of extant materials, and some recent original and creative work
in this area has provided some idea of both the "finger" and
the "moon".3 What I propose to do in this paper is to take some
preliminary steps in a complementary area; that is, examine the
response to Buddhism-how it came to be studied, what texts
were engaged, what was understood from those texts, and what
were some resulting intellectual acquisitions-of an articulate
intellectual with a deep philosophical interest who is not re-
garded as a thinker per se, but whose activities left an enduring
legacy on medieval culture, emperor Hanazono (1297-1348).
II. H anazono and His Quest
Hanazono's life spanned a period of momentous intellec-
tual, political and social changes which in many areas served as
the catalayst for the high point of the medieval age.
He acceded
to the Imperial rank in 1308, and remained emperor until 1318
when he was forced to "transfer sovereignty" because of a major
succession dispute then wracking the Imperial family. In the
last three decades of his life he played a major role in the cultural
and literary spheres as he sought answers to pressing existential
24 ]IABSVOL.12NO.l
and ethical questions. His contributions in these areas were sem-
inal. He was one of the few literary figures of the fourteenth
century to react to social changes and seek to produce a new
poetic form that would encompoass those changes, and thereby
attempt to retain for the aristocracy its leadership in the cultural
realm; his active patronage of one stream of Rinzai Zen Bud-
dhism, the Otokan school, played a major role in its early growth,
and thus contributed to its later emergence as the leading Rinzai
school; and it is to Hanazono that we owe the articulation of
what has come to be seen as the prevailing concept of medieval
sovereignty.5 Hanazono, unlike other medieval figures whose
contributions to the period can be more readily identified, did
not produce (as far as we are aware) a corpus of literary or
religious writings, or something that could be regarded as a
seminal work. However, he was a talented, well-connected and
prolific poet; as we know, this was an area of endeavor in
medieval Japan in which the literary and the religious were
inextricably bound. 6 He has also left us a fascinating diary (1311-
1332)/ a text that is one of the most complete sources available
for the study of the philosophical and psychological develop-
ment of an individual prior to the 16th century. It is also one
of the prime cultural and historical documents of the entire
medieval age.
Hanazono's status as emperor (and ex-emperor) enabled
him to establish contact with almost all traditions, schools of
thought, and with a wide variety of masters, teachers and men-
tors that was probably without parallel. The assumptions under-
lying the acquisition and transmission of knowledge-that it
ought to be secret, restricted and restrictive, and place stress
upon hereditary prerogatives to that knowledge-meant that
most people could become directly familiar with only parts of
their cultural heritage. By contrast, Hanazono was one of the
few medieval Japanese with virtually unrestricted access, should
he choose to exercise that prerogative, to almost the entire cor-
pus of knowledge that comprised his intellectual heritage.
Hanazono took full advantage of this opportunity. In seeking,
in essence, a key to understand himself and the world that would
provide him with a sure guide as he passed through life,
Hanazono read extensively (over 100 separate works) in
Japanese and Chinese historical and literary texts and in Chinese
and -Buddhist philosophical works. He pursued more than one
area at a time, and was thus simultaneously and constantly sub-
ject to a variety of information,traditions arid interpretations.
I have gone into aspects of this elsewhere,8 but it ought to be
borne in mind that Buddhism was not the only path he took in
order to discover eternally valid truths. Nevertheless, Buddhism
was never anything but central to his quest. -
More than 40 of the over 100 identifiable works that were
read by Hanazorio were Buddhist ones.
To name just a few,
he perused the Dainichi kyo (Great Sun Sutra), the Hoke kyo (The
Lotus Sutra) , the Saishoo kyo (Sidra of the Golden Light), the Shin
kyo (Heart Sutra), the works of Kiikai, Chih-i's Mo-ho-chih-kuanl
Maka shikan (Great Calming and Contemplation), the Hekiganroku
(Blue Cliff Record), the Chiatai Puteng lu (Chiatai Record of the
Universal Lamps), the Shosan jodo kyo (Sutra in Praise of the Pure
Land), the Amida kyo (Amitiibha Sutra), Honen's Senjaku [hongan
nembutsuJ shu (Collection of Passages [on the Original Vow of Amida)),
and works on Sanskrit and Chinese Buddhist terminology. This
is not an unimpressive list. The inclusion of both the classics of
Japanese Buddhism and more recent, even contemporary,
works suggest that his study was dynamic rather than arcane.
But as will become evident, not all of the texts which he read
were to exert an equal influence on him. Up to a point of course
this is what we would expect when considering the general proc-
ess of individual intellectual development. In addition to this,
however, in Hanazono's case there is an extra point to consider;
namely, the fact that as a member of the Imperial family it was
incumbent upon him to become normatively familiar with cer-
tain basic texts, and the cumulative, unconsciously reinforcing,
influence exerted by such w r i t i n g ~ needs to be balanced by the
more conscious influence that derived from texts that Hanazono
chose to study for his own personal edification and enlighten-
ment. In short, there were disparate purposes behind
Hanazono's study. This also meant that Hanazono pursued sev-
eralintellectual streams at one and the same time, an ongoing
dialogue in which he was constant re-evaluating his understand-
ing and his progress. As valuable and natural as this was- to
Hanazono, we will pursue his encounter with Buddhism from
a more heuristic perspective.
26 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
III. The Early Period
Hanazono began formal study of Buddhism in 1313, at the
age of 16, when he received instruction in Shingon doctrine
and on siltras such as the Jizo hongan kyo (The Siltra of the Original
Vow of Ksitigarbhti). 10 It is also from this period that Hanazono
initiated the daily practices for amassing merit that he was to
pursue diligently for the rest of his life. Every morning (except
when he was sick) he would, before eating any fish (that is,
animal flesh), perform his devotions, which consisted of reading
siltras and engaging in chanting and the recitation of mantras;
and when he inadvertently ate fish he would abstain from read-
ing the siltras. I I For the first decade or so he skip-read (tendoku)
the Lotus Siltra and the Saishookyo, and then in the third month
of 1322 he transferred his attentition to the Vimalakfrti (Yuima)
and La1ikavatara (Ryoga) siltras becallse, as he noted, he wanted
to try and read the entire corpus (issaikyo) of Buddhism.
addition to these specific practices, throughout his life Hanazono
participated in the religious observances and events that were
a customary part of the ceremonial life of the Imperial sphere,
such as readings and lectures on specified siltras (notably the
Saishookyo), lectures on various aspects of the Law, debates be-
tween representatives of different schools, and expositions by
members of particular schools.
While it is not clear precisely
what Hanazono (or anyone else for that matter) may have incor-
porated through this process, his occasional record of the ques-
tions addressed gives us some idea of his concerns. Accordingly,
we can at the minimum assume that points of doctrine were in
this way made familiar to him, as would have been the belief
that Buddhism was integral to the continuing existence of both
the polity and the nation.
Through 1318 Hanazono's contact with Buddhism followed
this standard path: no exceptional training, no particular inkling
of a desire to inquire more deeply into underlying doctrine, and
no recorded contact with the leading figures of the religious
world. Hanazono was, after all, quite young, and as Emperor
had his days filled with the demands of protocol and ceremony
that usually so exhausted sovereigns that they were only too
glad to abdicate and enter into a fulfilling retirement. Indeed,
as with most young emperors, Hanazono was rarely, if ever,
consulted on decisions that directly affected his life. Normally
this was not of major import. However, Hanazono lived in t u r ~
bulent times, and his period in the Imperial rank was beset with
entanglements and dissension-within Hanazono's jimyo-in
branch of the Imperial family, between that branch and the
Daikakuji branch of Go-Uda and Go-Daigo, between both
branches and the hereditary nobility, and between the Court
and the Kamakura bakufu-that went far beyond the range of
normal political competition, and were ultimately to prove
epochal. It cannot have been a particularly enjoyable period for
the sensitive and retiring Hanazono, and the train of events
which culminated in his forced abdication in 1318 were, despite
his efforts to convince himself otherwise, clearly quite trau-
matic. 14 His diary and some of his poetry immediately thereafter
indicate that he was beset by a pronounced mood of pessimism
in the depths of which he sought desperately to define his own
existence. Some measure of his mood may be gained from the
following entry from his diary. 15
Last night my beri-beri broke out once again and today it
became increasingly worse ... Even though I have been taking
treatment for the past two or three years, I have not yet noticed
that it has been doing any good. For many years I have been
afflicted by illness; certainly there is much illness in my body.
By nature I am retiring. Though from when I was a young child
I have much desired to retire from the world I have not yet been
able to accomplish that which is pent up in my breast. What
could compare to this for the depth of disappointment? My vit-
ality is exceedingly weak. Since I think that this body will have
but a short life, in my heart I think that I will study the Dharma,
yet my actions and my heart are at odds ... Nevertheless it would
not do to suddenly flee the world. My grieving at the depth of
my foolish nature knows no limit. Certainly with the floating
existence of evanescence and transience, who lives as long as the
pine or the camellia? Even a fish in insufficient water has this.
impressed upon its liver. Even though my desire to leave lay life
deepens with the years, futilely I am drawn into the affairs of
the world. Though feelings of shame and remorse arise of them-
selves, these feelings are not enough to accomplish this [goal].
If my faith was deep, how would worldly matters weary me? It
is said that famous retirees from the world whose faith cannot
be ground down are to be found in the morning markets. [But]
28 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
for someone. stupid like myself my resolve is too shallow and
pitiful. The dust of the world easily bothers me. Often, because
I am ill, I consider fleeing the world, yet my resolve is not up to
this. How saddening! The Buddhas and Heaven with their clear
vision must wonder what it is that I want to do. The day ends
and I have aimlessly accomplished nothing. I relate what is pent
up in my heart.
Clearly, Hanazono was a troubled youngman lacking much
confidence in himself. However, the circumstances of his abdi-
cation and his new status as ex-emperor provided him with both
the time and the predilection to delve into the broader questions
of life. In view of Hanazono's state of mind it comes as no
surprise perhaps that he would seek refuge in the teachings of
the Buddha, and that he would be receptive to the possiblity
that his problems could be solved by something outside himself.
Just after New Year of 1319 the gloom began to lift:
Today at daybreak I had an auspicious dream that I shall
achieve rebirth (0)0) [in the Pure Land]. This is the most funda-
mental desire in my heart. On two occasions in previous years I
have had this felicitous dream. And now I have had it yet again.
But, does this mean that the time is near? My feelings of joy are
without limit. From this day I shall in particular think of the
future life (gose). This dream I dare not speak about with others,
since my joy is so great.
As Hanazono notes, this was not the first time he had had
intimations of such a favorable future. Ii But why was it so signif-
icant? On one level educated Japanese subscribed to the Bud-
dhist (and Chinese) notion that the distinction between "real"
and "unreal" was an ambiguous one; that is, both were equally
real (or unreal). Accordingly, dreams provided entirely valid
guides to contact with the non-phenomenal world, and to the
ordering of one's life. Dreams could provide the rationale or
impetus for major changes in one's lifecourse, and indeed rec-
ords of the dreams of major figures were considered to be quite
profound texts. IH Thus, quite apart from his own particular state
of mind, it was entirely natural for Hanazono to give this dream
(and others we will encounter) credence. And the following day,
having decided to study some "inner texts" (naiten), he started
reading one of the most important Amidist works, Genshin's
Ojjoshil (Essentials of Rebirth). 19
Over the course of the next nine months Hanazono ac-
quainted himself with this text, possibly with others as well, and
apparently discussed Amidist beliefs with representatives of that
sect. As attractive as the promise of salvation must have been,
Hanazono became quite disturbed by the broader implications
of Amidist thought for the Japanese intellectual and cultural
tradition: it was, he realized, unashamedly exclusive in its ap-
proach to truth. His reaction to this provides considerable in-
sight; it also suggests that his basic attitude towards the diversity
of Buddhist thought, and the importance of intellectual engage-
ment of its doctrines, had been formed by this time:
The nembutsu sect which is currently popular is called the
Ikko senshu. Solely they have abolished all other practices and
their only one is the nembutsu. Even though the principle of
reliance upon external salvation is certainly a most appropriate
one, [they hold that] teachings and practices of the Greater and
Smaller vehicles, their expedient and their secret teachings (gon-
kyo mitsukyo) , their exoteric and the esoteric teachings, are all
useless and should be discarded. How sad! How sad! For this
reason I am desirous of restoring both sects of Tendai and Shin-
gon. However, I have not yet been able to achieve the meditation
practices of the five-fold meditation (goso) or the three esoteric
practices (sanmitsuitri-guhya), nor have I yet developed the power
for wisdom and concentration [necessary] to pursue the middle
path of focused intellect (shikan childo no chijo ryoku). Consequently
for the present I shall make the nembutsu my activity for salvation.
Meeting with the Amida I shall carry out the depths of the Law.
But I will not discard training and devotion entirely, and should
I become able to contemplate undistractedly I shall discard the
Thus, while Amidism provided one answer to the problems
of existence, it did so at the cost of doing violence to a much.
more fundamental belief, namely, that various teachings were
equally valid manifestations of the Buddha's truths, and to reject
this notion was, in effect, to invalidate japan's entire intellectual
heritage. Accordingly, Amidism could in this context only be
regarded as a temporary spiritual and intellectual prop; and
30 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Hanazono's decision, in broader terms, to limit the immediate
possiblity of his own salvation marked the first major turning
point in his intellectual development. This. is not to say that
Hanazono rejected nembutsu entirely for, as might be expected
from Hanazono's disposition to see value in any teaching or
school of thought, he still considered nembutsu doctrine worthy
of study. He also appears to have believed that there had to be
something more to nembutsu than he had been led to understand,
and he suspended judgement while he learned more about the
underlying doctrine.
To this end he began instruction under the priest Nyoku,
with whom he read Honen's Senjakushu, and whose learning he
came to regard so highly that he felt that the sect might not
weather his death successfully.2! Over the years he continued
to attend lectures on Amidist texts such as the Kammuryojukyo
(Sutra of Meditation on Amida Buddha), and maintained an active
interest in debates at court (some of which lasted two or three
days) at which Amidist teaching was discussed in some depth
by people who were fully versed in doctrine.
one of the more interesting answers in one debate was that
women who performed their devotions (shugyo) would be reborn
at the highest of the nine levels of the Pure Land.)23 Hanazono
meanwhile continued his Amidist studies under the tutelage of
Hondo, who would explain both esoteric and exoteric aspects
of Amidism, and on one occasion spent four consecutive days
explaining Pure Land mary:1ala to him.24 As a result of this study,
by mid-1322 Hanazono felt that he now had a good grasp of
the full depth of nembutsu teaching. In a diary entry from the
fifth month of that year Hanazono notes that nembutsu teaching
is of significance, that in its profoundest teachings it was not all
that different from the mainstream of Mahayana thought, and
that the main problem was that it is understood not in its totality
but in a "shallow and abbreviated form" by "base and stupid
people. "25
Still, study of nembutsu appears not to have satisfied
Hanazono's quest for an understanding of the truths of Bud-
dhism. No doubt his earlier skepticism about the broader value
of the teachings contributed to this; but in addition he had also
in early 1319 determined to pursue instruction in the esoteric
teachings of Shingon and Tendai.
IV. The Esoteric Path
Late in the first month of 1319 Hanazono received a visit
from the priest Jigen, destined to become one of Hanazono's
prime tutors over the years, who hap pend to have with him the
Shittanji ki, a guide to the Sanskritic Shittan (Siddham) alphabet
used in esoteric Buddhism. This marked the beginning of
Hanazono's study of the esoteric, and one month later the two
spent several days reading through the text while Jigen dis-
coursed on the elements of Sanskrit. They then moved on to
the Inkyo, a guide to the pronunciation of Chinese which had
been brought to Japan only a century earlier.26 Hanazonoap-
pears not to have studied Sanskrit per se at any stage but to have
limited his inquiry to Sanskrit terminology that he encountered
in the course of his study, and over the years Hanazono was to
seek Jigen's advice, or be directed to additional relevant guides,.
on matters Sanskritic whenever he felt the need.
In this
Hanazono was no different from any other student of Buddhism
in Japan, since the texts used were those in Chinese translation.
(I here except works, primarily in the Pure Land schools, written
in Japan for a Japanese popular audience). Still, no serious
student could afford not to recognize at least some Sanskrit.
However, Hanazono's interest in "restoring both schools of
Tendai and Shingon" was one that he took quite seriously. To
that end he felt it incumbent upon himself to become familiar
with a ride range of writings. Thus we find Hanazono acquiring
(courtesy of a priest from the Shingon headquarters of Mt.
Koya) a number of Kiikai's major writings, such as the Hizo
hoyaku ron (The Precious Key to the Secret Treasury) and the Sokushin
jobutsu gi (Attaining Enlightenment in This Very Existence).28 We
also find him having occasional contact with priests who could
explain to him the teachings of the Sanron sect,29 which was
somewhat unusual since this sect had died out as a major force
in the philosophical world some 150 years earlier and had there-
after sought to preserve itself by advocating a melding of Samon
and Shingon teaching.
What Hanazono gained from these
efforts is, unfortunately, not apparent, in part since they appear
not to have been central to his endeavors. Of more import was
his resolve to study Chih-i's Maka shikan, or Great Calming and
Contemplation, the work most central to an understanding of
32 jIABSVOL.12NO.l
Tendai doctrine.
. Hanazono's decision in the fourth month of 1319 to study
the Maka shikan received a very warm respopse from the aged
Tendai priest Chugen.
Chugen's death a short while later
caused a slight interruption to the program, but by the end of
the ninth month Hanazono had begun his study with Chugen's
disciple Chusei. The first recorded meeting between the two
involved (unspecified) major points of Tendai teachings and
the principle of regarding the myriad Dharma with clear intellect.
The meeting was a successful one for Hanazono, for Chusei
assured him that what he (Hanazono) regarded as the principle
accorded fully with Chugen's comment that "with respect to the
fundamentals of the texts of the Law, firstly distance [yourself]
from attachment, then practice the idea that phenomena are
not real".33 It was an auspicious start, and for the next three
years Hanazono appears to have looked towards Chusei, whom
he regarded as the most talented of the younger generation of
priests and whose expositions on the Dharma he considered mar-
velous, for support.
Yet Hanazono did not find it easy to work on the Maka
shikan. Even though on occasion he would "without caring
whether it is day or night" reflect on the Dharma and read the
text, he was still unable to obtain permission from ex-emperor
Go-Fushimi (1288-1336), his elder brother and head of the
Jimyo-in branch of the Imperial family, to lead a life of retire-
ment, making him pessimistic that he would ever get rid of the
attachments to the vulgar world that were impeding his prog-
In this context it became all the more important to him
that his teachers be able to give him satisfactory answers. Unfor-
tunately, he started to find his confidence misplaced.
In the ninth month of 1322 Hanazono asked Chusei to
clarify some points that had been raised in recent debates. The
answers were less than clear, which led Hanazono to feel that
despite Chusei's being a leading figure, and not someone who
was untrained, he had now begun to neglect his training and
that his heart was no longer seeking the path it ought. As
Hanazono recorded the episode:
As for the middle contemplation (chukan) [of the threefold
contemplation, sankan] destroying fundamental ignorance, I
asked and said "The import of Tendai is that three mindsequiv-
alent to one (isshin sankan) is something which cannot be departed
from for even one moment. But what of the term 'middle'?"
Chusei answered and said "From the beginning the import of
true teaching V'itsukya) [has been] three minds equivalent to one.
But this question is something from distinct doctrine (bekkya)." I
though about this later, and nonetheless as to destroying funda-
mental ignorance or not, on what can there be any doubts? I
looked at this with the ability of true teaching, and this [answer]
is already [as much as saying] there are teachings without people.
If one holds that there are no people, how can one have the
destruction of fundamental ignorance! This is quite dubious. At
some later date [I] must dispel this misconception (hima) ...
It should be noted that Chilsei's observation was perhaps an
accurate one,37 but Hanazono's dissatisfaction was equally valid
since Chilsei did not answer his question. Hanazono's following
question, about the merit of written vows, met with an "exceed-
ingly shallow" answer, and left him with a feeling of considerable
resentment; and even though he suggested that the unsatisfac-
toriness of the exchange may have been due to Chilsei's relying
upon some secret text (hitsuzo), a rationale that Hanazono was
to suggest on at least one other similar occasion,38 he could not
help but lament that this was the way Buddhism was in recent
times. (In fact Hanazono felt this way about many fields of
endeavor that he encountered).39
Importantly, however, Hanazono did not believe that the
problem lay with the texts, for the Law was itself efficacious
(and hadjust prevented an eclipse of the moon). To Hanazono,
the texts and the truth they contained were more enduring than
the practitioners themselves, and accordingly even in a degen-
erate age such as the present, into which he had had the misfor-
tune to be born,40 one must believe in it. In fact the Maka shikan
gave him some confort in this regard: "The thoughts to which
it gives rise are truly wonderful. It says in the text that the
elevated and the honored have elevated concentration, while
the base and the inferior have inferior concentration. How can
scholars of recent times not be base and inferior?"41
For Hanazono it was clearly an article of faith that an under-
standing of the truths of Buddhism could not be realized simply
through texts, nor simply through practice, nor could one hope
34 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
to approach an understanding by assuming that one's life could
be conducted without mindful attention to the way in which
one's activity melded with a broader, ongoing process. It is pos-
sible that Hanazono, as a sovereign, had some advantage over
the average person in coming to this point, for Tendai thought
in particular had devoted considerable attention to the question
of the relationship between the Dharma of the Law (buppa) and
the Dharma of the King (abO), and to the mutually interdependent
nature, the essential unity, of the two elements.42 Certainly
Hanazono was familiar with Jien's Jichin Kasha musa ki (Records
of a Dream), the most recent Japanese locus classicus on the ques-
tionY How he might address these various questions is
suggested in an extended diary entry from 1323.
Hanazono was informed that a scheduled outing to copy
the Lotus Sidra, an act which was designed to amass merit and
which, at least as far as Hanazono was concerned, should not
be regarded as just something to do, was to be cancelled on the
grounds that it would have caused too much trouble to people.
The Buddhist rationale put to Hanazono was that good deeds
consist in not causing trouble to the populace; that the truth of
Buddhism cannot be sought in external objects (such as copying
sutras); that to govern the state and nurture the people is the
penitence of the sovereign and enlightened lay person; that the
practicing of exoteric Buddhist services did not accord with the
principle of things; and that it was an evil habit of recent times
to conduct Buddhist activities which lay outside the sovereign's
dharma. If Hanazono had been more cynical he might have noted
that those in charge of the scheduling just could not be bothered
travelling all day in order to copy a sutra. However, since the
matter had been rationalized in Buddhist terms, he felt com-
pelled to question the explanation he had been given. And,
since he had only come into contact with the Lotus Sutra in any
significant way just over halt' a year earlier,44 the occasion also
provided Hanazono with the opportunity to demonstrate (at
least to himself) his own progress with the text. Yet again he
realized that a full understanding of Buddhism had escaped
those around him.45
As for myself, from the outset I have not sought the Dharma
outside of my heart, [yet] I wholly cannot wait for the copying
of the Lotus Siltra. Through the text written out in the copying
of the Lotus Sidra one becomes aware of one's Buddha-nature,
and through this achieves majestic penance. This is the great
import of meditation upon the Lotus Siitra. Accordingly, naturally
and without negligence when one plans exoteric practices, one
naturally summons faith in the inherency of the Buddha-nature.
This further is the usual method of the ordinary person. Thus
to hold that there is no Buddha Dharma outside of the mind and
[on that grounds] not practice devotions, then at what time will
the Buddha-nature appear? This is confusion about prior rights
and wrongs, and at the same time it does not incline towards
eliminating false discrimination. What this means is firstly not
to make burdens for people and [only then] perform devotions;
and secondly if one wishes to encourage the mind of negligence
write up the method of the way and use it as a companion.
Certainly to state that it is a bother to people and [thus] not
perform practices, this, further, returns to the process of the
causation of negligence. Great inconvenience, even though the
deed is one which is a root of merit (zenkon) , is unacceptable.
[But] where minor matters are concerned, if one attains great
profit then what matter is it? This is something where the Dharma
and the law of the world are to be weighed very carefully and,
on special occasions, decided. First and foremost, the secular law
and the truth of Buddhism cannot be two separate things. The
Lotus Siitra states that "in both ruling the world and discussing
meditation (jolsamadhi) all is patterned on the True Teachings
(shabO)." The import of this is particularly something of which a
sovereign should be cognizant.
Hanazono goes on, using a Zen example (from the Hekiganroku)
to buttress a Tendai position on the necessity of combining
religious with everyday practice, to note that, as Bodhidharma
had long ago informed Emperor Wu of the Liang, and despite
the belief in Japan in its efficacy, there is no Buddhist merit in
simply building temples; rather one has to first acknowledge
the importance of Buddhist practice.
The Lotus Sidra as an object of study was brought to
Hanazono's attention by Jigen, who had maintained regular
contact while Hanazono had been pursuing his instruction with
other teachers. Jigen was available to talk generally, to answer
questions about points of doctrine, and when necessary to direct
him to further texts. It was perhaps at Jigen's suggestion that
36 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Hanazono attended lectures dealing with a commentary to the
Dainichi kyo, the Dainichikyo sha, used in Shingon.
By late 1322
Jigen evidently deemed Hanazono sufficiently. advanced that
he drew his attention to another commen.tary, the Dainichikyo
gishaku, used in Tendai; and a month later provided him with
the introductory portions of both this sutra and of the Lotus
Sutra. (It might also be noted that Hanazono regularly attended
Court lectures (Hokke hakka) on the Lotus Sutra and would con-
tinue to do so in the future).47 In other words, prior to embarking
upon study of the actual scriptural basis of Tendai, Hanazono
had spent a period of preparation studying commentaries (in-
cluding the Maka shikan) that familiarized him with the content
and significance of those scriptures.
In light of the importance of the Lotus Sutra, it is somewhat
surprising that Hanazono makes only two references in his diary
to his study of that work. Yet he must have devoted considerable
time to reading it, for one of his only two writings on Buddhist
texts deals with the Lotus Sutra. This work, the Commentary on
the Chapters of the Lotus (Hokke Honshaku) is composed of an
introduction, and, for each of the 28 chapters, a comment of
three to seven lines on its meaning. It is thus not a philosophical
work per se, but one designed to indicate what Hanazono under-
stood to be the significance of the text, and to attest that the
unsurpassable wisdom of its contents makes it extremely val-
uable. Hanazono's introduction is as follows:
This the Lotus is the basic heart of the Buddhas of the three
periods, the categories of existence of all beings. The five flavors
of milk, cream, and butter [curds, butter, and clarified butter]
take clarified butter and make it into wonderful medicine. The
three carts of sheep, deer and ox meet with a great carriage and
correspond to the complete vehicle. As to the meaning of the
. innate ordinary stage, it indicates the palm of the hand as the
distant origin of one's lifespan. As to the truth of encompassing
three and returning to one, the correct explanation of skillful
devices is in the eye. Hearing this correct path, who dares breed
doubts? And those who now tread on the elevated traces of the
T'ai peak, further they have lost the path; those who draw from
the remaining streams in thorny valleys further stagnate in the
muddied watering holes of oxen. Hence even though [they] wait
for the words to strike their eye they do not yet know that the
meaning lies in their mind (kokoro). Or else, thinking that they
are renowned for their immense talents, large numbers have lost
the true route of Buddhahood. As for those with elevated schol-
arly achievement, their attachment to sentience deepens more
and more. If one clothes oneself in medicine, illnesses multiply,
and here the wondrous techniques of the
bodhisattva (Io) are perplexed. How painful! How sad! 1 for a
long time have dyed my mind in the Tendai teachings and in
small measure have studied the extant works (isM). Even though
my nature is stupid and shallow, at least I know that the truth
of complete reality does not emerge in the sentient (heijo) mind.
Truly, as to this, [1] do not fall into the doctrines that I get from
the various teachers, and accordingly it is sufficient to gladden
the mind [that exists] in the period of degenerate law after extinc-
tion (metsugo mappo). Thus 1 note the essentials of each chapter,
and further compose clumsy praise which I add on the left. In
any event, those who speak do not know and those who know
do not speak. Simply, I dare not stir up transgressions (tsumi) in
front of the masters.
Confident in the efficacy of practice and study, and of the
validity of the teachings themselves, Hanazono continued his
pursuit of the esoteric in all its forms. An added dimension to
this was provided by his initiation into the world of the marp,1ala.
As is well known, the ma1Jdala is central to esoteric ritual,
and so it was natural that Hanazono would received training in
this area, specifically in the Taizokai (Womb, Matrix) and Kon-
gokai (Diamond) ma1Jdalas.
This training was slightly compli-
cated (or enriched) by the fact that the Japanese esoteric tradi-
tion contained two major streams, one in Shingon (the T6mitsu),
and one in Tendai (Taimitsu). In addition, each stream was
further divided into two branches.
Hanazono received initia-
tion into at least three of these. In 1322 under the guidance of
Saki he was initiated into the dual ma1Jdala interpretation of the
Enchin (Chish6) branch of Taimitsu; his training under S6ki
continued, though apparently sporadically, but Hanazono was
permitted to participate in the chanting of the most secret
dhiira1Jl of the Miidera stream of Taimitsu. Also in 1322,
Hanazono was instructed in the interpretation of .the Diamond
ma1Jdala followed by the Ninnaji (Hirosawa) branch of T6mitsu.
Hanazono felt that all of this made him a vessel of the esoteric
38 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Dharma. 51 However, he does not appear to have regarded these
first two initiations as of sufficient consequence to elaborate
upon them when they occurred, but mentions them in passing
when he received what he felt was the more important third
initiation from ligen. It was important not necessarily because
of the content of the teaching, but because ligen had been in
frequent contact and, though young, was "most assuredly a
vessel of the Dharma".52 In mid-1323
Hanazono commenced
the preparatory practices (kegyo) required to enter the first of
four stages (shido) which when completed bring the right to be
considered a master. We have little further information until
nearly a year later when Hanazono commenced preparation
(suitably shortened in duration in consideration of his being a
Son of Heaven) for the second stage.
In the following years ligen, as before, continued to guide
Hanazono further in esoteric study. ligen introduced Hanazono
to Tendai six-syllable dharar;z (such as those relating to MaiijusrI
and Avalokitesvara ["thousand arm"]), explaining their purpose
and efficacy, and incidentally providing Hanazono with the op-
portunity to see that since the mind is fundamentally not self
and not other it ought not be difficult to abide in non-self; ligen
also interpreted Hanazono's dreams about Fugen and Kannon
appearing as one body, and directed him to works written by
his Dharma predecessors and those which contained "the essence
of the Lotus and Great Sun siUras and the essentials of the two
sects of Shingon and Tendai."55 Some idea of the nature of their
contact is suggested by the following diary entry:56
For a little while we discussed the Dharma, concerning the differ-
ence between exoteric and esoteric. We discussed [the passage
in the Dainichi kyo dealing with the triple formula for wisdom
that] "the mind of enlightenment is the cause, its root lies in
great compasion, and skillful means are the result." Consequently
the practices of exoteric teachings are to be transcended. We also
discussed the fact that current practitioners of Shingon do not
know the Truth. The import of attaining enlightenment in this
very existence has not yet touched their minds. Thus it is noted
in the original text [Dainichi kyo?] that the common and stupid
do not see the various heavens but gallop around like slaves in
a wealthy househould. Foolish priests practice the Dharma and
this must have [some] efficacy.
Hanazono's diary for the next few years is unfortunately
not extant, but seems that the relationship between the two
began to drop off after 1326; certainly Hanazono's letters to
Jigen in the late 1320's suggest that the contact was much less
frequent ihan Hanazono would have liked. Undoubtedly this
was in part related to Jigen's rise in the religious hierarchy and
to his growing links to Go-Daigo, either of which could have
made Jigen less accessible to Hanazono.
Hanazono did not let this impede his progress, for he acted
upon Jigen's advice and delved further into esoteric teaching.
From some time after 1325 until early 1329 Hanazono
studied esoteric teachings under priests fully (and hereditarily)
versed in one of the exclusive Tendai esoteric streams, the Eshin
school lineally descended from Genshin.
How Hanazono first
came in contact with the Eshin school and its then head Shinsa,
and the frequency of the contact, is unknown; certainly it could
not have been accidental, andJigen, the rising Tendai star, may
well have facilitated the enterprise. Hanazono's contact with this
school came at a propitious time, for it was coincident with a
change in emphasis in Tendai from scholasticism to the doctrine
of original enlightenment which, in addition to its philosophical
influence on seminal religious figures of the Kamakura period,
stressed direct master-to-disciple esoteric transmission (kuden,
or "oral hermeneutics") of the truth, and in Hanazono's day the
Eshin school was at the height of its fortunes. As in so many
"secret traditions" the teachings were sufficiently prized, and
some physical proof of the secret tradition evidently considered
desirable, that the school did acquire a textual basis (the Itchosho)
for its doctrines. Hanazono proved an adept pupil, and in the
first month of 1329 demonstrated his understanding by present-
ing Shinsa with what is his second textual work, the Oral Trans-
mission of the Seven Gates to the Dharma (Shichi ka homon kuketsu),
in consequence of which Hanazono received the seal of transmis-
sion of the esoteric Dharma.
The Seven Gates to the Dharma, as the title implies, is com-
prised of seven main sections, titled respectively: "Three Views
in a Single Thought"; "The Meaning of Focusing One's Mind
on a Single Thought"; "The Great Import of Calming and Con-
templation"; "The Deep Meaning of the Lotus (Hokke)"; "The
Meaning of the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light"; and "The
40 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Lotus (Renge) Cause"; plus a brief postscript. The lengthiest
section, that dealing with calming and contemplation (shikan) is
of particular interest, given Hanazono's ,earlier study of the
Maka shikan and the centrality in Tendai of the concept of shikan.
It is additionally noteworthy because in it Hanazono encapsu-
lates his understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of
the world, of nature, and of human society. The "Great Import
of Calming and Contemplation" is as follows:
This cannot be explained in words; in cannot be gauged by the
sentient consciousness. It is something that clearly transcends
[divisions of] doctrine and meditation and that far surpasses de-
bates of relative and absolute. It does not look back on the past
and [neither] does it look to the future. Consequently it is said
that it is impossible for it to have breadth and impossible for it
to have height. Hence, the mind of a single thought is beyond
speech and thus clear. Within each thought calming and contem-
plation manifests itself. However, is this the mind? And even so,
what are these thoughts? And what is manifest? One does not
see the thoughts, and the manifest is not describable. Even though
the words handed down from the past do not stop in their traces,
they drop into logic and resemble giving rise to wisdom and
understanding. In the great void it gives birth to clouds and mist,
in the broad oceans it gives rise to waves and billows. But it is
without a name. Is this the true core of objects? If a person asks
about calming and contemplation it blocks up the ears and is
gone. Even great teachers do not give explanations-but is this
what is spoken of? But even though thought does not reach it
nor words attain it, through innate and unfathomable compas-
sion it imparts nonarising benefit for sentient beings. The flowers
of the mountains pass through spring and open the brilliance of
the myriad branches, the leaves of the forest pass through autumn
and dye the reimbued crimsons. That is, even though the duality
of capacity and truth is not seen, each and everyone has the
essence of appropriate capacity and benefit.
As for doctrinal teachings, there are correct explanations
and correct practices; the various teachings of the one age [of
the Buddha] and the five periods cannot not constitute correct
teachings. But since when one traps fish or rabbits one forgets
the traps one used, the great net of the teachings is rent. Relative
and absolute are one, practice and interpretation are already not
differentiated. Thus thinking about the truth underlying, there
-is not the duality of sentient evaluation. There are the three
thousand realms and therefore no impediment. Thus it is said
fact and principle are interfused, and thus it is termed supreme
understanding. At such a time how can there be increase of fact
and principle? And since unenlightened man and the Buddha,
further, exist, one cannot possibly pass beyond the ground of
supreme understanding. The vault above guides, the palanquin
below carries. This is the wonderful working of heaven and earth.
A lord is a lord, a minister a minister, a father a father, a son a
son; externally there is loyalty, internally there is filial piety. This
is the wonderful working of human ethics. The peach season
creates scenery, the fragrant grasses impart their beauty. This is
the wonderful working of trees and plants. The wild geese in
autumn depart the cold, sheep and cattle in the evening descend
to the villages. This is the wonderful working of birds and animals.
Where facts and objects are in accord, do not walk on the path
of underlying principle, do not permit sentient disposition.
By 1329, then, after nearly a decade of continuous study,
it appears that Hanazono had completed his quest for under-
standing of the texts, practices and truths of esoteric Buddhism.
As some letters to Jigen suggest, this by no means meant that
he achieved detailed knowledge of every single point. However,
it is evident that he had come to a strongly-grounded, and
genuinely acknowledged, understanding of Tendai (and
perhaps Shingon) philosophy. Had Hanazono limited his Bud-
dhist inquiry just to this it would still have been a major achieve-
ment. However, through the same decade Hanazono had been
pursuing a parallel quest for enlightenment in one other school,
that of Zen.
V. Hanazono and Zen
Even though Zen had become well-established in Japan by
the end of the thirteenth century, Hanazono's contact with this
sect did not take on any viable (or even visible) form until 1320,
the year after he had begun serious study of esoteric Buddhism
and had also effectively rejected nembutsu teachings as a vehicle
through which he could understand Buddhism. Although there
is certainly no evidence from his diary that prior to this Zen
42 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
had raised its presence on his intellectual horizon, there is no
reason not to take him at his word when he remarks in a diary
entry from 1321 that he had had faith in Zen from an early age
but, because he had been unable to find a good instructor, "the
years had passed fruitlessly."51 It is not clear whether Hanazono
had tried instructors and had found them wanting or had just
been unable to obtain an instructor. Since he would undoubtedly
have mentioned the fact if the former had been the case, it is
more likely that the reasons are to be found in the latter. While
this may strike an odd note in light of Hanazono's position and
his demonstrably eclectic interests, there are ready explanations.
In the first place, of the two Zen traditions in Japan (Rinzai and
Soto), one would have been literally beyond Hanazono's reach.
The Soto school had from the beginning eschewed contact with
the capital, and its teachers and writings accordingly were not
readily available (in fact the one major lacuna in Hanazono's
reading was the literature produced by the Dagen school). In
the second place it is impossible to overlook the fact that the
rival Daikakuji branch of the Imperial family had been in the
forefront of contact with Zen masters and had built up ajealously
guarded network of contacts and patronage; by contrast,Jimyo-
in leaders such as Fushimi and Go-Fushimi, in whose shadow
Hanazono spent his early decades, evinced little interest in Zen.
Accordingly it would have been difficult for Hanazono by him-
self to make contacts in the Zen world.
That this was indeed so is borne out by the manner in which
he first had significant contact. Bypassing any formal procedures
or inquiries as to the possibility of obtaining a Zen tutor,
Hanazono's friend and intellectual confidant Hino Suketomo,
who at the time was contributing so greatly to Hanazono's study
of the Chinese intellectual tradition, took it upon himself one
evening to introduce Hanazono privately to a Zen priest. That
the introduction came through Suketomo was significant, for
Suketomo was one of a group of young intellectuals in the
forefront of a movement challenging prevailing social and intel-
lectual values, and he was accordingly much interested in having
contact with those with demonstrably new ideas.
The meeting
was to prove a major turning point in Hanazono's life. First, as
we shall see, it began the process which ledto Hanazono's attain-
ment of satori some years later. Second, it meant that Hanazono's
contact with Zen would be with a school of Rinzai Zen (the
atokan school, which had originated with Nampo Jomin) that
most esteemed a spare and intellectually demanding "Sung-
style" Zen.53 This attitude melded perfectly with Hanazono's
own great respect for both the Chinese intellectual tradition
over the Japanese one, and his preference for studying teachings
in their "unadulterated" and original forms. Indeed, so adamant
was Hanazono that different schools and traditions should be
kept distinct that he once remarked unfavorably upon the fact
that some people were, in imitation of the practices of the Sung
court, using Zen terminology to explain Confucian concepts.
In any event, early in 1320 Hanazono was brought into
contact with Myogyo (or Gatsurin Doko). So taken was
Hanazono with the profundity and lucidity of Myogyo's in-
terpretations of doctrine ("should he be called a dragon?") that
he spent the entire night discussing Zen.
However, Hanazono's
contact with Myogyo appears to have been somewhat sporadic
for the next year and a half,66 perhaps partly because Myogyo
may not have been convinced that Hanazono was prepared to
embark upon Zen training. Nevertheless, Hanazono's quest con-
tinued, and began to bear fruit late in 1321 when, in the course
of explaining his understanding of the accuracy or inaccuracy
of various textual interpretations (Hanazono does not say what
texts were involved), Myogyo indicated that Hanazono's under-
standing was correct. Overjoyed that at last he was getting some-
where ("without searching for a bright jewel on my collar I have
gained it by myself'), Hanazono averred that
The skill of the Buddha Law and the utmost principle of mental
attitude lie solely in this one sect of Zen. The teachings of none
of the other sects of the Greater and Lesser Vehicles can compare
with it. In particular I fasten my thoughts on its subtle import;
in moments of haste and when I stumble [I hold to it].
Hanazono's delight was no doubt enhanced by the fact that his
discovery of both teacher and teaching had been his first really
independent intellectual foray. Yet for the same reasons
Hanazono was diffident about advertising his progress. It was
nonetheless another important turning point, and Hanazono
was to consider Zen his prime vehicle of understanding and
44 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
enlightenment for the rest of his life, if for no other reason that
that his discoveries here preceded his progress in Tendai and
Shingon. ,
From this point Hanazono threw himself enthusiastically
into his Zen studies, and in the twelfth month encountered his
first koan when he and Myogyo read together the first Case of
the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record). Unfortunately, two weeks
later this promising start was cut short when M yogyo announced
plans to visit China. Before leaving, however, Myogyo bestowed
upon Hanazono secret teachings and a robe, signifying at the
minimum a willingness to acknowledge Hanazono as a full-
fledged disciple. The ceremony was brief, private, and slightly
irregular, since the two did not know when they would meet
again, and Hanazono felt that if it were made known he would
be heavily criticized, if only because most people did not know
just how profound Zen teachings were.
The next day, over-
joyed, Hanazono wrote to Myogyo that they would remain close
despite being separated by great distance and rough seas, and
that his only regret was that he could not personally bestow the
title of kokushi (National Teacher) on someone who so obviously
deserved it.
Myogyo's departure for China "in search of the Law" no
doubt confirmed in Hanazono a belief that "pure" Zen was the
only acceptable type, but it also left him without a teacher to
guide his efforts. Hanazono's interest did not wane, however,
for a few months later he records having a vivid dream in which
he met with Kobo daishi (Saicho) and Dengyo daishi (Kukai) and
discussed Buddhist texts with them. Oddly, however, the two
great priests, the founders of Tendai and Shingon in Japan,
gave all their answers in terms of Zen, and bestowed upon him
the seal of transmission. Slightly perplexed, since he felt that
he had already received the seal from Myogyo, Hanazono inter-
preted this to mean that the known exoteric and esoteric teach-
ings had failed to enlighten the world and that true enlighten-
ment would come from Zen.70
Some time after this Hanazono acquired his second teacher,
ShfIh6 Myocho (later Daito kokushi). Like Myogyo, he belonged
to Daio's stream, and it had perhaps been Myogyo who recom-
mended Hanazono to his fellow disciple. Myocho, "a fearless
and exceptional man whose teachings were not easily grasped,"71
was to become one of the most eminent Zen priests of the four-
teenth century, and it was with Myocho that Hanazono's study
of Zen began in earnest.72 Picking up where Myogyo had left
off, though clearly not believing that Hanazono had already
earned the' seal of transmission, Daito guided Hanazono through
more detailed study. They would meditate together (sometimes
at night with driving rain and thunder as an accompaniment),73
discuss the law, and Hanazono would be tested on his interpre-
tations of teaching drawn from the Jiatai Record of the Universal
Lamps, the Mumonkan and the Hekiganroku. Hanazono made
rapid progress, and his interpretation of the Tokusan koan of
the Mumonkan was deemed so good by M yocho that the latter
allowed that Hanazono's grasp of the Great Way was "pro-
found."74 Later in 1323 Myocho gave Hanazono the privilege
of an audience with himself and Zekkai Sotaku, the most senior
of Nanpo Jomin's disciples. The occasion proved to be a mixed
success, for while it provided an opportunity for studying the
Hekiganroku, Hanazono was less than enthusiastic about his ex-
changes with Sotaku:
1 questioned Sotaku and asked "What is the great truth of this
Buddha Law?" [So]taku answered [that it is] "Pearls scattered on
the back of a notebook bound in pearls." I further asked and
said "Simply is this [answer] the rope or is [the truth] somewhere
else?" [So]taku said "I cannot depart (hanarezu) from what his
majesty questions." I thought that this answer was quite contradic-
tory. Some days later I asked [Myo]cho and he said that this was
indeed the case.
However, other of Hanazono's encounters were more in-
structive. While Hanazono rarely records substantive exchanges,
the Chronicle of Daito Kokushi has several episodes that give some
flavor of the playful respect that appears to have characterized
relations between him and Myocho. One episode will perhaps
[Hanazono] said to the Master, "I won't ask about the
chrysanthemums blooming under the fence, but how about the
fall foliage in the forest?" The Master said "Even thousand eyed
Kuan-yin is unable to see it." The Emperor gave a shout. Then
he said "Where has she gone?" The Master bowed respectfully
46 ]IABSVOL.12NO.l
and replied "Please observe for yourself." The Emperor said
"You must not go through the night but you must arrive there
by dawn." The Master indicated his a s s e ~ t ... /
If Hanazono was ever in any doubt about Myocho's bril-
liance and insight, his concerns were fully laid to rest in early
1325 when Myocho, a central figure in one of the most signif-
icant religious debates of the fourteenth century, ran intellectual
and doctrinal rings around his Tendai opponents in a debate
held before Emperor Go-Daigo.
This success of an until-then
junior figure immediately catapulted Myocho to the front ranks
of the Zen world, a rise unfortunately assisted by the death of
Myocho's mentor Tsuo Kyoen on the way home from the de-
This startling coincidence of success and great loss in the
Zen world ("Has the period when the Law will be destroyed
been reached?") prodded Hanazono to step outside the purely
intellectual realm and into the fray of religious patronage: a
month later he bestowed upon Myocho's home temple of
Daitokuji the status of Imperial invocatory temple, support
which Hanazono was to give also to Myocho's successors until
his own death in 1348, and which he otherwise gave to no other
religious institution.
An added impetus, if any were needed,
was that it became clear to Hanazono during that same year
that the generous support being lavished upon Muso Sose:Zi,
another notable Rinzai priest, by Go-Daigo and the Kamakura
bakufu was not at all deserved. In Muso's case the broader picture
is somewhat more complicated than Hanazono and Myocho's
characterization of him as having only a stiff, bookish under-
standing of what Zen would suggest, but there is certainly some
justification, even allowing for Hanazono's purist perspective,
for his concern that the Zen world was populated by inferior
intellects that were doing great harm to the Zen tradition. HO And
it is probably this concern that lay behind Hanazono's untypical
willingness to countenance a departure from Zen tradition and
support Daitokuji as a "closed" temple, an exclusive preserve
of members of Daito's lineage.
At any rate, Hanazono, who occasionally berated himself
for his lack of diligence, continued meeting Myocho and focus-
ing his mind on the Hekiganroku, and "the more the Emperor
queStioned the Master, the more his ardor intensified. "82 Finally,
probably some time in 1326, Hanazono achieved satori. As re-
. corded in the Chronicle of Daito Kokushi
the seminal exchange
proceeded as follows:
The Master composed a statement of the Dharma for the
Separated for a million eons, yetnot apart for an instant
Face-to-face throughout the day, but not encountered for
a moment
Each person has this truth.
Tell me, in a word, the nature of this truth.
The Emperor wrote his answer directly on the Master's let-
ter: "Last night, just before dawn, the temple pillar answerd the
master." The Emperor then offered his enlightenment poem to
the Master:
The man who endured hardship and pain for 20 years
Does not change his old [life of] wind and smoke when
. .
spnng arnves.
Wearing clothes and eating meals are still like this.
Did the great earth ever contain even one speck of dust?
"This is what your disciple has understood. How will you
test me Master?" The Master wrote his response directly on the
Emperor's letter. "I have already tested you. Look!"
While satori does not require any specific period before it
can be achieved, that Hanazono (who is generally regarded as
having been one of Myocho's most outstanding disciplesr could
reach it after only a few years, during which time he was also
actively engaged in a wide variety of pursuits religious and other-
wise, is a strong testament to his abilities, and to the seriousness
of his pursuit of Zen.
In Zen, then, Hanazono first found answers to his quest
for understanding that were philosophically and psychologically
satisfying; and, as suggested by his continuing training under
Zen teachers (Myocho until his death in 1337, and Myocho's
successor until Hanazono's death in 1348) Hanazono was to
look to Zen and its discipline as his prime (but not sole) vehicle
for personal understanding for the rest of his life.
48 JIABS VOL. 12 NO. I
VI. Using the Acquisitions
By the end of the 1320's Hanazono had achieved what he
and his teachers considered a high level of insight into the truths
of Buddhism. Hanazono's subsequent endeavors reflected this
acquisition, and Hanazono was able to integrate successfully his
understanding into his writings.
As noted earlier, Hanazono
was one of a very few literary figures of the fourteenth century
who realized the need to produce a new poetic form capable of
maintaining, in the face of pronounced social and political
changes, the position of the traditional cultural elite as the arbiter
of japan's aesthetic heritage.
Hanazono, like all major poets since at least the time of
Fujiwara Shunzei (1114-1204), believed that the writing of
poetry was an act of religious devotion; concomitantly, it was
im possible for poetry to properly reflect the truths that informed
it as a michi or realm of endeavor unless the poet understood
Buddhist truthS.
In his obituary of Kyogoku Tamekane (1254-
1332), one of the towering figures on the medieval literary land-
scape,87 in a passage that suggests just how important Buddhism
was to the medieval aesthetic, Hanazono explicitly recognizes
the relationship, and the value and purpose of his own studies. 88
At the time of [Kyogoku Tamekane's] exile [1315] he en-
trusted me with ninety lines of poetry ... At that time I was still
young and was not deeply aware of the Way of Poetry. In recent
years I have often thought on these teachings (kuden) , and,
further, I have reflected on the deep import of esoteric and
exoteric scriptures ... Ordinary people are not cognizant [of the
true principles] ... In recent years I have met with Shiiho
[Myocho] sMnin and have learnt the essentials of the sect; I have
had audiences with Shinso Min and have heard the doctrines of
Tendai; I have perused the Five Classics and grasped the Way
of Confucius. With this insight I have thought about this Way
[of Poetry]. Truly the profound differences between error and
. correctness [in poetry] are akin to those of Heaven and earth.
With this [understanding], around last year ... I sent one
roll of poems [I had composed] in recent years [to Tamekane,
who noted that] "The tone of your poetry is truly marvellous.
You've achieved a deep understanding of its principles ... " With
this he certified me [as a master of poetry]. My feelings of joy
- were without parallel. I myself feared from the outset that these
poems would be of shallow merit, and I had doubts whether
their meaning would accord with the import of the esoteric and
exoteric scriptures. But now the import of his acknowledgement
is tha.t [my work exhibits] the true essence. With this I will learn
more and more about the truths of the Buddha Law ...
Lord Tamemoto [who had brought news of. Tamekane's
death] related that "Lord Tamekane stated to me that 'Although -
I knew that His Majesty [Hanazono] had ability in poetry, given
that the teachings I had imparted to him at the time of my exile
did not touch upon the innermost principles, it is. remarkable
that he should attain such profound subtlety (yUsui).' Tamemoto
replied 'Although there is no such thing as a sermon on poetry,
his mind and spirit are as one with the Dharma. Perhaps it is for
this reason.' [Tamekane] replied that 'If this is the case then one
can have no doubts [that Hanazono's poetry reflects the true
essence, for] there cannot be any sense of distinction between
the Dharma and poetry. '" When I heard this my faith was
strengthened all the more.
It is thus clear that Hanazono's poetic inspiration, certainly
from the early 1330's, derived in great measure from his exten-
sive study of Buddhism. The fusion of Hanazono's religious
understanding and his sense of poetry enable him to interweave
-image, freshness and Buddhist allegory to craft poems that could
be appreciated on more than one level: as an innovative poem,
as a religious allegory, or as a work that coherently melds both.
While detailed study of Hanazono's poetry-and his more than
130 poems demonstrate that he was a gifted poet-is beyond
the scope of this paper, we can usefully touch on some that
were composed specifically on Buddhist themes. Hanazono has
six poems in the Buddhist poem section of the Fugashu, the
Imperial poetry anthology that was compiled under his direc-
One is written in reference to Gatsurin D6k6; another
bewails the decline of the world and Buddhism; one alludes to
concepts in the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment; in two others allu-
sions to Man in the Hekiganroku inform the poemyn One of the
latter, evocative in its tranquility yet subtle in its allusions, adeptly
refers to the "Ky6sei's 'Voice of the Raindrops'" Man to address
the Tendai concept that the three truths of void, mediated and
provisional reality and the one truth encompassing all are
neither three nor one.
The sixth of the poems is an outstanding effort that some
scholars regard as one of the most "perfect and precise" of its
type. The topic of the poem comes from chapter 23 (The Former
Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King) of the Lotus Siltra.
The sun at dusk
Fades in brightness from the eaves
Where swallows twitter;
And among the willows in the garden
Blows the green breeze of the spring.93
The story of chapter 23 is that of the Bodhisattva Seen With
JoyBy All Living Things who, determined to imf9.0late himself
as an offering to the Buddha in gratitude for having heard the
Buddha preach, spends a lengthy period partaking of the fra-
grance of all flowers, anointing his body, and bathing in per-
fumed oil, and then by willpower sets his body ablaze with such
brightness that it illuminates all worlds. It is certainly no easy
matter to convert this into a simple poem. But, by employing
the sun to represent the body of the Bodhisattva, swallows for
humans, willows for existence, and the breeze for the Buddha-
spirit, Hanazono achieves his purpose: "UJust as the poem
suggests that the evening scene is more beautiful after the light
fades, so, too, allegoric;:ally it means that the spirit of the
Bodhisattva Seen With Joy By All Living Things is even more
beautiful after his body is gone."!H
VII. Conclusions
To return to the question of how intellectuals may have
apprehended Buddhism in medievalJapan, and bearing in mind
that this paper has not sought to comment upon the question
of doctrinal understanding (that is, did Hanazono get it right
or not, and was there a "right" to get) several points may be
First, at least for Hanazono, it is evident that over time the
intellectual quest took precedence over the psychological one,
though it is admittedly difficult to separate the two entirely. It
is aiso evident that a teaching needed to be well-grounded, cap-
able of providing an encompassing explanation of Buddhist
truths whose broader relevance could be discerned, and be ar- .
ticulated by teachers who could maintain the intellectual respect
of their pupil; after all, study was adynamic process, the pupil
progressively acquiring efoIhanced interpretative powers and. un-
willing to accept explanatIOns at face value. Study of BuddhIsm,
in short, entailed far more than mastering what had been handed
Second, it is evident that it is (and was) extremely difficult
to predict at the outset what course of study might be
There were several possible choices of texts, of teachers, and of
interpretative traditions. Likewise, more than one path could
be taken at the same time for different intellectual purposes.
The choice of any teacher, even defining this as a matter of
serendipity, was influenced by a range of social and political'
factors to which the student had to give heed, and this in turn
affected both study options and the type of understanding of
Buddhist truths that would be acquired. To extend this point
further, to state that somebody studied "Buddhism," or that
"Buddhism" was important, is, as Professor Pollack's study also
demonstrates, by itself an inadequate basis for addressing the
question of what "Buddhism" meant to medieval Japanese.
Third, it is nonetheless also apparent that the multivariate
nature of Buddhism was accepted, and that no teaching was by
itself considered inherently invalid; concomitatnly, as Hanazono
shows even while discovering his own intellectual medium, it
was a basic article of faith that there was no one ultimately
preferable path to understanding the Buddha's truths. At the
same time it also seems that very strong views could be held
regarding the quality of interpretation and the dangers to Bud-
dhism as a system of thought where exponents exhibited inferior
understanding. Yet even here evaluations were not necessarily
absolute: as Hanazono noted, in an observation which acknow-
ledged that different truths are understood at different stages
at the same time that it revealed a high level of insight on his,
part, there was no such thing as teachings without people. Put
briefly, the concept of a multi-faceted and multi-layered
. philosophical framework was an integral part of the medieval
and it encouraged a righ variety of approaches that
52 ]IABSVOL.12NO.l
together molded the medieval intellect and aesthetic.
. Perhaps a fourth point to make is that research on medieval
Buddhism could well examine the Tendaj tradition (and the
fortunes of "older Buddhism") in more detail; certainly it de-
serves considerably more attention than it has received to date.
Elite patronage assured Zen a strong niche in medieval
and popular appeal obviously was crucial to the spread of salva-
tion teachings; both have with good reason been extensively
studied. But it is evident from Hanazono's case-and he was
not a minor figure in the literary and cultural world-that Ten-
dai teachings, in all their forms, contributed a great deal to the
Japanese understanding of "Buddhism." Tendai teachers had
unrivaled access to Japan's educated elite, perhaps to the extent
of exercising some degree of intellectual hegemony, and it is
probable that ultimately, certainly through the mid-fourteenth
century, many new developments were filtered through them.
A final point brings us back to Hanazono, and slightly
beyond the issues dealt with in this article. His concern to under-
stand Buddhist teaching thoroughly, his willingness to have con-
tact with a wide variety of streams, and the obvious effort he
put into the endeavor, sprang from more than just personal
spiritual motives. As his understanding evolved, so too did the
sophistication of his attitude towards the role of Buddhism in
Japanese intellectual life. A major conclusion reached by
Hanazono was that the integrative wholeness of Buddhist truth
provided the rationale and metaphor for the social and cultural
role of the Imperial family itself, a role that, while intimately
bound with questions of patronage, vested interest, and doc-
trinal division (secular manifestations of stages of enlighten-
ment), had at the same time to overcome them and provide an
overarching and unified framework (as befits the truly en-
lightened) for Japan's cultural traditions. This formulation was
a major contribution to Japanese thought on its own terms and
in what it meant for the Imperial family. With the unsuccessful
effort of Hanazono's contemporary Emperor Go-Daigo (1288-
1339) to inform a similarly overarching view of the role of the
Imperial family with absolute political content as well, it was
Hanazono's approach that provided the theoretical justification
for the existence of the Imperial family that endured long after
its loss of political and economic leadership.
** An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Colloquium on
Buddhist Thought and Culture at the University of Montevallo, April 28/29,
1. For an introduction to the dimensions of the topic see: A. Matsunaga
& D. Matsunaga, Foundation of Japanese Buddhism, vol. 2 (Los Angeles & Tokyo:
Buddhist Books International, 1976); ].H. Foard, "In Search of a Lost Refor-
mation: A Reconsideration of Kamakura Buddhism," Japanese Journal of Relig-
ious Studies, 7.4 (1980), 261-291; M. Collcutt, Five Mountains (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1981); K. Kraft, "Zen Master Daita" (Doctoral Dis-
sertation, Princeton University, 1984); Hee-Jin Kim, Dagen Kigen: Mystical
Realist (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1987); T.]. Kodera, Dagen's For-
mative Years in China (Boulder: Prajna Press, 1980); H.H. Coates & Ishizuka
Ryugaku, Hanen the Buddhist Saint (Kyoto, 1925); A. Bloom, Shinran's Gospel
of Pure Grace (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1965) and "The Life of
Shinran Shanin: Journey to Self Acceptance," Numen, 16 (1968), 1-62; L.R.
Rodd, Nichiren: A Biography (Tempe: University of Arizona Press, 1977); ].H.
Foard, "Ippen Shonin and Popular Buddhism of the Kamakura Period" (Doc-
toral Dissertation, Stanford University, 1977).
2. The entire question of the continuing relevance and vitality of the
older sects through the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries has been unac-
countably neglected by Western scholars. For a recent effort to redress the
imbalance see R. Morrell, Early Kamakura Buddhism: A Minority Report (Ber-
keley: Asian Humanities Press, 1987).
3. W. LaFleur, Tlie Karma of Words (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1983); D. Pollack, The Fracture of Meaning (Princeton: Princeton U niver-
sity Press, 1986).
4. See A. Goble, "Go-Daigb and the Kemmu Restoration," (Doctoral
Dissertation, Stanford University, 1987); H.P. Varley, Imperial Restoration in
Medieval Japan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1971); M. Collcutt,
Five Mountains.
5. E. Miner, "The Collective and the Individual: Literary Practice and
Its Social Implications," in E. Miner (ed.), Principles of Classical Japanese Liter-
ature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985),50-52; the Otokan school
based at Daitokuji has come to be the pre-eminent Rinzai stream; Miura
Kei'ichi, Chilsei minshu seikatsu shi no kenkyu (Tokyo: 1982), 118 ff. has delineated
the essential elements of the medieval conception of sovereignty, though he
sees it as a formulation of the fifteenth, not the fourteenth, century.
6. For an informative discussion in English see LaFleur, 88 ff. In a
related vein see G. Ebersole, "Buddhist Ritual Use of Linked Verse in Medieval
Japan," Eastern Buddhist, 16.2 (1983), 50-7l.
7. Hanazono tenna shinki [hereinafter HTS] (Zaha shiryo taisei, 2 vols,
Kyoto, 1965; Shirya sanshu, 3 vols, Tokyo, 1982-1986).
8. A. Goble, "Chinese Influences in the Emperor Hanazono Diary"
(paper read at South Eastern Conferencel Association for Asian Studies, annual
conference, Charlotte,January 1988), and "Emperor Hanazono (1297-1348):
54 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
An Intellectual's Response to Social Change" (paper read at Association for
Asian Studies, annual meeting, San Francisco, March 1988). In a related area,
see also Wajima Yoshio, "Hanazono tenno no jubutsu bunri ron ni tsuite,"
Bukkyo shigaku, 10.1 (1962), 35-5l.
9. Hanazono provides lists of the works he had read through the end
of 1325 in HTS 13241121last, 1325112/30. However some works noted in the
diary (such as the Bonmokyo and the Senjakushu) do not appear in these lists.
10. HTS 1313/1/6, 1313/5/22, 1313110119.
11. HTS 1322/5/24, 1322/8/24, 1323112116. Hanazono's respect for the
works he read was not limited to Buddhism: "When I read this book [the
I-ching] I wash my hands, do not take off my belt, and do not take off my
cap. The reason for this is that it is the work of a sage, a book on the will of
Heaven, and [hence] I am respectful." HTS 1325/6/17.
12. HTS 1322/3/17.
13. For example, HTS 1322/8/28 for sutra readings; 1322/5/3 for lec-
tures; 1322/911, 1322110110, 1324/3/12, 1324/8/28-9/3 for debates. Many lec-
tures and debates took the form of formal presentations on the Lotus SiUra,
the Hokke hakkO, that were an important part of Court life. On the growth
and variety of the Hokke hakko see W.]. Tanabe, "The Lotus Lectures: Hokke
HakkO in the Heian Period," Monumenta Nipponica, 39 (19841, 393-407.
14. See A. Goble, "Go-Daigo and the Kemmu Restoration," 31-41; HTS
15. HTS 131911120. See also 1319/9/6, 1319110/26.
16. HTS 1319/1/9.
17. HTS 1317/2119. The other dream may have occurred in 1318, for
most of which the diary is not extant.
18. Hanazono's attitude towards dreams was somewhat ambivalent. He
noted at one point that they embodied both truth and falsehood and hence
should not be given credence (1325/6117), yet on other occasions (e.g. 1324112/
13, 1325112/5) he regarded them as quite revealing. Nonetheless, as attested
by such prominent religious figures as Jien, Shinran and Muju Ichien, dreams
could mark significant turning points. The entire area of dreams and their
significance in this context has barely been addressed by Western scholars;
for a brief introduction, see M. Strickmann, "Dreamwork of Psycho-
Sinologists," in Brown, C. ed, Psycho-Sinology (Lanham, University Press of
America, 1988),25-46.
19. HTS 13191111 O. The Ojoyoshu has been translated by A.K. Reischaeur,
"Genshin's Ojo Yoshu: Collected Essays on Birth into Paradise," Transactions
of the Asiatic Society of japan, 2d. series, 7 (1930), 16-97. For a study of the
work see A. Andrews, The Teachings Essential For Rebirth: A Study of Genshin's
"Ojoyoshu" (Tokyo, 1973).
20. HTS 1319/9118. Hanazono's predilection for according greatest value
to doctrines that were intellectually demanding is evident throughout the
diary and informs a wide variety of comments on practices and people. For
example, in his obituary of Saionji Sane kane (HTS 1322/9110 bekki) he notes
that "by nature [Sanekane] was simple and his literary talents few," and that
"at first he studied the Dharma [Zen] sect but he did not excel. In his later
year; he turned exclusively to the [A]mida [Pure Land]. Diligently he per-
formed nembutsu."
21. HTS 1320/12/16, 1321/3/7. On the latter occasion Hanazono re-
marked that "Last night Nyoku shOninpassed away. Approaching the end he
correctly recited the nembutsu. He is the person who has contributed to the
rise of the n ~ m b u t s u sect. Is it possible that [his death] will be the beginning
of the decline of this sect?" Nyoku was frequently involved in Court religious
ceremonies: see Kinpira koki (Shiryo sanshu, Tokyo, 1968-69), 1315/5/24.
Many of Hanazono's obituaries or comments on the deaths of contemporaries
leave little doubt of his sense of what is of most value. Figures in the the
intellectual and cultural realms (e.g. 132116/23, 24 Sugawara Arikane, 1325/
intercalary 1128 Kyoen) are accorded praise and their passing a sense of loss
that is generally not extended to political figures of the day (e.g. 1322/9110
Saionji Sanekane, 1324/6/24 emperor Go-Uda).
22. HTS 1322/5/3-7, 1322/10/10, 1323/9/2.
23. HTS 132517/15.
24. HTS 1321/9/21-24,1321110/8. Itis not clear what ma?;(iala Hanazono
viewed, or whether there was more than one.
25. HTS 1322/5/12.
26. HTS 131911126, 1319/2/28-30, 1319/3/2, 1322110/2,3. Jigen, born
in 1298, was the son of. Toin Saneyasu and full brother of Toin Kimikata,
both prominent members of the nobility. It is not known when Jigen died,
but he was still alive in 1352 when he resigned as Tendai zasu.
27. HTS 1322/10/2, 1322/10/3; undated but probably 133118 Hanazono
joko shosoku (Shinkan eiga [Tokyo, 1944], 1: 155).
28. HTS 1320/9114. The works received by Hanazono were the Ben
kenmitsu nikyo ron, Sokushin jobutsugi, joji jissogi, Shinkyo hitsuken, Hizo hoyaku,
Sango shiiki, and Unji gi. For translations of these see Y.S. Hakeda, Kukai:
Major Works (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972).
29. HTS 1323/7/10, 132517/15, 1325/9/2.
30. Matsunaga, Foundation of japanese Buddhism, 1: 64-75, 2: 274.
31. The Maka shikan/Mo-ho chih-kuan ofChih-i (538-597) and the concept
of shikan-"calming and contemplation" (very lucidly discussed by LaFleur,
The Karma of Words, 88) or "the immovable mind functioning in wisdom"
(Matsunaga, 1: 15 7)-was central to Tendai thought, and through this exer-
. cised an enormous influence on Japanese intellects. The full dimensions of
this influence have only just begun to be discussed in the West: see LaFleur,
50ff. For an overview of Tendai, see Matsunaga, 1:139-171. On Chih-i's
thought see L. Hurvitz, Chih-i (Melanges Chinois et Bouddhiques, 12, 1960-62),
'-0j.J'",-,."uy 183-372, and D. Chappell (ed.), T'ien-tai Buddhism: An Outline of the
Teachings (Tokyo, 1983). I have also found it useful to refer to D. B.
;Stevenson, "The Four Kinds of Samadhi in Early Tien-t'ai Buddhism," in
P.N. Gregory (ed.), Traditions of Meditation in Chinese Buddhism (Honolulu:
of Hawaii Press, 1986),45-97; and R.E. Buswell, The Korean Ap-
to Zen (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983).
32. HTS 1319/4/7.
33. HTS 1319/9/last.
34. HTS 1320/3/11, 13211917.
35. HTS 1321110117, 1322110116. Hanazono's desire to be rid of un-
wanted involvement in the worldly affairs that had so traumatized him is a
persistent theme in the diary. It is also evident that others, notably Hanazono's
elder brother Go-Fushimi, saw in this preference an abdication of responsibility
that on occasion sorely exercised them. For a good example of this see HTS
1323/4/9, 4111, 4/15; (1323/4/9) Go-Fushimi joko shojo (Kamakura Ibun
[Takeuchi Rizo ed., Tokyo, 1971- ; hereafter KJ], 36:28375); 1323/4/9 Go-
Fushimijoko yuzurijo (KJ, 36:28376).
36. HTS 1322/9/14.
37. D. Chappell (ed.), T'ieri-tai Buddhism: An Outline of the Fourfold Teach-
ings (Tokyo, 1983), 140-141, note 22, notes that at the level of Distinctive
doctrine the three truths of emptiness, provisional existence, and the middle
view (or mediated reality, Pollack, 80) are seen as independent, while in the
Complete doctrine they are interfused.
38. For example, HTS 1324/9/2. .
39. See Goble, "Emperor Hanazono (1297-1348): An Intellectual's Re-
sponse to Social Change."
40. HTS 1317/3/3.
41. HTS 1322110115, 16.
42. Exploration of this important point is beyond the scope of this paper.
Kuroda Toshio has addressed this question extensively. For a brief synopsis,
see his Jisha seiryoku (Tokyo, 1980),44-47. In this context, it is relevant that
Hanazono would refer to them on another occasion. As recorded in the Chroni-
cle of Daito Kokushi, one exchange between Hanazono and Myocho (see below)
was "The Emperor began, 'The Buddha's Law face to face with the King's
Law-how inconceivable!' The Master replied 'The King's Law face to face
with the Buddha's Law-how inconceivable!'" (translated by Kraft, "Zen Mas-
ter Daito," 277).
43. HTS 132111/21,22, and 1324112/21. Jien's Record of a Dream (jichin
Kaska muso ki) is discussed in D. Brown & Ishida Ichiro, The Future and the
Past (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), 412ff. Also, Akamatsu
Toshihide, "Jichin kasho musoki ni tsuite," in his Kamakura bukkyo no kenkyu
(Kyoto, 1957), 317-335. In noting this I do not mean to suggest that a work
. such as Jien's had to be read in order for members of the Imperial family to
be aware of the doctrine, which was after all a well known one. (See for
example Go-Uda's undated posthumous instructions to Daikakuji, in Naka-
mura Naokatsu ed., Daikakuji monjo [Kyoto, 1980], 1 :9-18). However,
Hanazono's acquaintance with Jien's writing does suggest serious attention to
the underlying subtleties.
44. HTS 1322112/5.
45. HTS 1323/6/26. Hanazono's reference to Bodhidharma is probably
taken from the commentary to the first Case in the Hekiganroku, "The Highest
Meaning of the Holy Truths." See Thomas &J.C. Cleary, The Blue Cliff Record
(Boulder & London: Shambhala Press, 1977), 1-9.
46. HTS 132011121,22, 1322/5111, 1322/10/2,3; 1319/10/2, 13211817,
47. HTS 1322111119, 11/28, 12/5, 12/28. See also note 13 above. The
basic commentary on the Great Sun SatTa, the Dainichikyo sho in 20 fascicles
that was used in Shingon, was written by Amoghavajra with supplemental
comments by the Tang monk I-hsing. A 14 fascicle edition of this, the
Dainichikyo gishaku, was edited by Chih-yen and Wen-ku, and was used in
48. For the Hokke honshaku see Ressei Zenshu, Onsenshu, vol 6 (Tokyo,
1917),87-103; Iwahashi Koyata, Hanazono tenno (Tokyo, 1962), 139-140. For
further information on concepts such as the five flavors or encompassing
three and returning to one, see Chappell, especially 55-82.
49. For concise discussions, see Minoru Kiyota, Shingon Buddhism (Tokyo
& Los Angeles: Buddhist Books International, 1983), 81-104; Matsunaga,
foundation of] apanese Buddhism, 1: 184-193; Yamasaki Taiko, Shingon: Japanese
Esoteric Buddhism (Boston and .London: Shambhala Press, 1988), 123-151.
50. Following Iwahashi, Hanazono tenno, 136-137.
51. HTS 1323/7/11, 1324/3/25, 1324/6116.
52. HTS 1323/7115.
53. HTS 1323/7111, 7114, 7115, 7118. Also Iwahashi, Hanazono tenno,
54. HTS 1324/6116.
55. HTS 1324/8/20, 21, 23, 24, 1325/5119; 1324112/21.
56. HTS 1325/8/21.
57. For Hanazono's letters to Jigen through 1331, see Shinkan eiga,
1:149-155. Jigen became head (betto) of Kitano shrine in 1328. He was ap-
pointed Tendai abbot (zasu) by Go-Daigo in 1330/4 (resigning in 1330111),
just after the Imperial progress to Enryakuji and in the middle of the period
when Go-Daigo was actively working to build his links with Enryakuji. Jigen's
sympathies were sufficiently with the Emperor that he was arrested by the
bakufu in the wake of move against it (the Genko Incident) in 1331
(HTS 1332/2/6).
58. The information in this section is drawn from Iwasa Miyoko, Kyogoku
ha waka no kenkyu (Tokyo, 1987), 100-112. I am indebted to Professor Robert
Huey of the University of Hawaii at Manoa for bringing this work to my
59. The work appears in print for the first time in I wasa, 112-117. I wasa
presents a convincing argument that the work was authored by Hanazono,
whereas previous biographers (such as Iwahashi, 140-141, who had been
unable to examine the text) have been reluctant to acknowledge that more
than the postscript was written by Hanazono. Confirmation of Hanazono's
authorship, and that in consequence he was given the seal of esoteric transmis-
sion, buttresses Iwahashi's view (Iwahashi, 138), based on a letter from
Hanazono to Jigen sent around 133118 (Shinkan eiga, 1:155), that Hanazono
must have received the esoteric transmission prior to that date. Iwahashi
implies that the seal was granted by Jigen, and it is of course by no means
impossible that Hanazono received the seal from more than one teacher. At
any rate it is clear that he did receive it from Shinso.
60. Iwasa, 113-114.
58 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
61. HTS 132118119. Here we must make allowance for the fact that the
diary has full yearentries prior to this only for 1313 and 1319. Still, the total
absence of references to Zen is striking.
62. For Hanazono's fulsome praise of Suketomo's talents see HTS 13191
intercalary 7/4. For a discussion of Suketomo and his times, see Inoue
Yoshinobu, "Hino Suketomom shoron," in Kyoto daigaku bungakubu kokushi
kenkyushitsu ed., Akamatsu Toshihide kyaju taikan kinen kokushi ronshU (Kyoto,
1972),581-595; Goble, "Go-Daigo and the Kemmu Restoration," 62-73.
63. Nanpo Jomin (1235-1308) studied under Rankei Doryii (Lan-chi
Tao-lung, 1213-1278), went to China, and upon his return established his
own flourishing school, initially at Siifukuji in Chikuzen. He was later recog-
nized as a national master with the title Daio Kokushi. The Zen teachers
Hanazono is known to have met were, with one exception, from this lineage:
Shuho Myocho (1238-1338, Daito Kokushi); Zekkai Sotaku (d. 1334); Tsiio
Kyoen (1257-1325, Fusho Daiko kokushi), and Kanzan Egen (1277-1360,
Muso daishi). The exception is Myogyo (Gatsurin Doko, 1293-1351, posthu-
mously Kenko Daitokokushi), Hanazono's first teacher. Myogyo had initally
been a disciple of Koho Kennichi (1241-1316) in Kamakura, but after Koho's
death he went to Kyoto and developed very close ties to Myocho.
64. See Goble, "Chinese Influences in the Emperor Hanazono Diary."
For some of the intellectual tensions involved in the reception of Zen in Japan,
see Pollack, The Fracture of Meaning, 111-133. For Hanazono's comment see
HTS 132217127.
65. HTS 1320/4/28. For biographical information on Myogyo see Tsuji
Zennosuke, Nihon bukkyashi, chusei 2 (Kyoto, 1949), 244-247, and notes 63
above and 69 below.
66. The diary records only two meetings between 1320/4/28 and 132118/
19: 1320110112, 1320110/24.
67. HTS 1321/8119.
68. HTS 1321112111, 12114, 12/25.
69. (}3211l2/26) Hanazono joko shojo (KI, 36:27927). Although by the
time of Myogyo's return in 1330 Hanazono was a disciple of Myocho, the two
did remain in contact, and Hanazono gave some support to Myogyo when
the latter was successfully turning Kyoto'S ChOfukuji into a Rinzai temple.
Indeed, Hanazono even composed a poem praising Myogyo. See also 1346112/
25 Hanazono-in shosoku (Shinkan eiga, 1: 157. Though Kamakura ibun,
36:27928, suggests that this letter should be dated 1321112/26, I have elected
to follow Shinkan eiga). In recognition of his work, in 1357 Myogyo was post-
humously granted the national master title of Kenko Daito kokushi.
70. HTS 1322/3110.
71. The Chronicle of Daita Kokushi, entry for 1316, in Kraft, "Zen Master
Daito," 277.
72. HTS 1323/5/23, 1323/9/14,9116. Though the first recorded meeting
took place on 1323/5/23, Hanazono notes that their discussion was "as before,"
though he does not give any indication of how long before. For a discussion
of the contact between Hanazono and Myocho, see also Tamamura Takeji,
"Hanazono tenno to Daito kokushi," in his Nihon zenshilshi ronsku (Kyoto,
1976),303.,.-314. For a study of Daito, see Kraft, "Zen Master Daito."
73. HTS 132317119.
74. HTS 1323110/18, 1323/12/14. Tsuji, Nihon bukk yo shi, 249, suggests
that the Mumonkan reference is to number 13, the "Tokusan Carried His
Bowls" kOmi .. See also Shibayama Zenkei Zen Comments on the Mumonkan (New
York: Harper and Row, 1974),99-100.
75. HTS 1323/12/14. "Pearls scattered on the back of a notebook bound
in pearls" is more literally "Pearls scattered on the back of a notebook bound
in thin purple cloth." The word for "thin purple cloth" is shira, which was
also an older term for "pearls." Accordingly the reply contains a wordplay
which I have translated in the text since it gives perhaps a b,etter flavor for a
Zen mondo. Zekkai Sotaku (d. 1334) was Nanpo jomin's oldest disciple, and
Myocho's senior. He began his training at Manjuji in Bungo, then studied
under jomin at SUfukuji in Chikuzen until 1306 when he went to Kyoto to
become the 7th abbot of He later served as 2nd abbot of Ryushoji,
fourth abbot of and from early 1333 until his death the following
year was head of jochiji in Kamakura. .
76. Kraft, 282. The exchange is in the Chronicle of Daito Kokushi for the
year 1321, but the dating is clearly wrong. The Chronicle (Kraft, 277) has
another exchange under the year 1316: "On another ocasion the Emperor
asked the Master, 'Who is the man who does not accompany the myriad
dharmas?' The Master waved the fan in his hand and said 'The Imperial wind
will fan the earth for a long time.'"
77. Discussed in Kraft, 113-119.
78. Kraft, 117. Kyoen's death clearly shocked people. As Hanazono
notes, revealing an interesting sidelight on conditions of the time, "Some say
that he was killed by a robber, others say that he was murdered on the road.
It is not known who did it. It is just inexplicable. (I later heard that his being
murdered was an empty rumor. He simply died suddenly)." (HTS 1325/int
1128). Kyoen (1257-1325), another disciple of Nanpo jomin, studied at
SUfukuji in Chikuzen, then, like Zekkai Sotaku, went to Manjuji and later, at
Emperor Go-Daigo's instruction, became eighth abbot of Nanzenji. In his last
years he served as Zen master to Go-Daigo, who bestowed upon him the title
Fusho Daiko kokushi.
79. 1325/2/29 Hanazono joko inzen (Dai Nihon Komonjo, Daitokuji monjo,
[compo Tokyo Daigaku Shiryo Hensanjo, 14 vols, Tokyo, 1943-1985] 1:12);
1337/8/26 Hanazono joko shinkan okibumi (DNK, Daitokuji monjo, 1:2). For
Hanazono's continuing contact with Daitokuji and Myoshinji through his pa-
tromige of Kanzan Egen (1277-1360), who became Hanazono's Zen teacher
after MyocM's death, see Kraft op. cit., especially 107ff., and 134717122
Hanazono joko shinkan okibumi (Shinkan eiga, 1: 162), 134717/29 Hanazono
joko shinkan okibumi (Shinkaneiga, 1:163).
80. 1325/10/2, 1325/10/10. The question of Muso Soseki's (1275-1351)
competence has attracted the attention of many commentators, but his crucial
role in the institutionalization of the Rinzai'Zen monastic institution is beyond
dispute. See Akamatsu Toshihide & Philip Yampolsky, "Muromachi Zen and
the Gozan System," in j.W. Hall & TQyoda Takeshi,japan in the Muromachi
60 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Age, 322-324; Collcutt, Five Mountains, 84 ff., 151-165; Pollack, The Fracture
of Meaning, 111-133.
81. The decision to designate Daitokuji as a closed temple was actually
made by Go-Daigo (133411/28 Go-Daigo tenno r i ~ i , DNK, Daitokuji monjo,
1:15) but Hanazono also accepted the decision (1337/8/26 Hanazono joko
shinkan okibumi) (DNK, Daitokuji monjo, 1 :2). For the context of Go-Daigo's
patronage, see Goble, "Go-Daigo and the Kemmu Restoration," 112-120,
288-307; Collcutt, 84-97; Kraft, 125-137; Akamatsu & Yampolsky, 324-325.
82. HTS 132311111,11120,12110,12114,1325/2/9,2/23,4/29,7117,8/24.
Also Kraft, 133-134.
83. The translation is Kraft's, "Zen Master Daito," 299 and 353 note 50.
Also Shinkan eiga, 1:158, 159; DNK, Daitokuji monjo, 13:3207.
84. Kraft, Ill.
85. Hanazono's explicitly political and social views, as noted most suc-
cinctly in his Admonitions to the Crown Prince (Kaitaishi sho), written in 1330,
will be the subject of a later study.
86. LaFleur, 88ff.
87. See R. Huey, Kyogoku Tamekane: Poetry and Politics in Late Kamakura
japan (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989)
88. HTS 1332/3/24.
89. The Fugashu (FGS), compiled around 1347, was the 17th Imperial
poetry anthology. Though formally compiled under the direction of
Hanazono, who wrote the Chinese and Japanese introductions to the collec-
tion, much of the actual work was done by ex-Emperor Kogon and Reizei
Tamehide (d. 1372). I have used the edition ofTsugita Kosho & Iwasa Miyoko,
Fugawakashu (Tokyo, 1974).
90. FGS, 2063, 2073, 2051, 2057 & 2067. The latter two contain the
Hekiganroku references, repectively to cases 46 (see following note) and 100
(the "Haryo's Sword Against Which A Hair is Blown" Man). Both are contained
in Sekida, Katsuki, Two Zen Classics: Mumonkan and Hekiganroku (New York
& Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1977).
9l. FGS, 2057. For the Hekiganroku reference, see Katsuki Sekida, 273-
277. R. Brower & E. Miner,japanese Court Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University
Press, 1961),388, provide a translation of this poem, but have attributed it
to ex-Emperor Fushimi (1265-1317).
92. See L: Hurvitz, Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1976),293-302.
93. FGS, 2046. Translated by Brower & Miner, 367. I have drawn heavily
on their interpretation. For a slightly different rendering of the poem, see
G. Sansom, A History of japan: 1334-1615 (London: Cresset Press, 1961), 131.
Sansom incorrectly suggests that the poem was included in Tamekane's
Gyokuyoshu of 1312, leading him to note that Hanazono was "still a youth but
older than his years."
94. Brower & Miner, 368.
Proper Names
Daio kokushi
Daito kokushi
Daito kokushi
Dengyo daishi fUJI:*rrr;
Dogen ,li:5C
. Enchin 1m rt
. Enryakuji li<1if'i'Y
Eshin lH:,
Fujiwara Shunzei
Gatsurin Doko }j f*5li:i!X
Go-Daigo lHU\II
Go-Fushimi lH1U1.
Go-U da 1,t' ;;
Ikko senshii r/;J "*
Ji BIi
Jien Qichin)
Jimyo-in j'ifaJlFO'l
Kobo dais hi
Kongokai m.J'l.
Kiikai S!:ilj
Kyogoku Tamekane
Muso Soseki ?Jil(illI!1'i
Nanpo Jomin r.iiiUllaJl

Nyokii S!:
Sanron .::.[a
Shinso ,C'1iZ
Soto ..-ifil

Tomitsu 'l1(\t'
Tsiio Kyoen ,UHiOO
Zekkai Sotaku
62 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Amida kyo
Bommo kyo
Chia-tai pudeng Iu
Dainichi kyo *- B
Dainichi kyo gishaku *- 8 .lC.UR
Dainichi kyo sho *- 81U;;'
Hekiganroku ,HO"
Hitsuzo hoyaku ron
Hokke kyo
Hokke honshaku
Jichin kasho muso ki
Jizo hongan kyo
Kammu ryoju kyo
Maka shikan
Mo-ho shih-kuan
M umonkan !!l\ Il!l
Ojo yoshu 111o'll',tt;
Ryoga kyo
Saishoo kyo :Iii
Senjaku (hongan nembutsu) kyo jlitR (HJL'i1:ffi;)
Shichi ka homon kuketsu
Shin kyo
Shittanji ki
Shosan jodo kyo
Yuima kyo
chiikan *fIJ!
gonkyo mitsukyo IIHHHJl
gose !f;:i!t
goso lit
hokke hakko
is shin sankan -'L,=:fIJ!
jitsukyo lHJl.
jo 1E
kegyo taW
kuden 0 (i:
mappo *it
metsugo mappo ili\\!f;:*it
mujo !l!\;'j\"
obo :fit
ojo l!j:
sankan =:fIJ!
sanmitsu =. '$
satori tli
shikan chudo no chijo ryoku li:ll!!*il!Z'iO'1E1J
shugyo (11',1'
tendoku 'Iii,'"
yusui l4'dDl
The Categories of T;i,, and Yung:
Evidence that Paramartha Com posed the
Awakening of Faith
by William H. Grosnick
:The question of whether Paramartha's version of the Awakening
,of Faith in Mahiiyiina (AFM) I may really be a Chinese composition
has long intrigued scholars of Buddhism. Because no original
\>Sanskrit manuscript of the AFM has ever been found nor any
'1':teference to the AFM discovered in any Buddhist text composed
'>lrilndia, scholars have long suspected that the AFM might not
, 'be a Chinese translation of an Indian work. The traditional
:attribution of the text to is even more suspect-as
,;rpaul Demieville pointed out, it is almost impossible to believe
> 'that the whom one associates with the Buddhacarita,
; the Mahiivibhi4ii, and the Sarvastivadins could have composed
\.a.ny Mahayana text, much less a sophisticated Mahayana treatise
> ,like the AF M. 2 And the discovery at the beginning of this century
i!; 6f Japanese references to the seventh century Buddhist figure
'Hui-chiin, a who is quoted as saying that the AFM was composed
'not by but by a "prisoner of war" who belonged to
(',.the T'i lun SchooV prompted many distinguished scholars, in-
'. " eluding Shinko Mochizuki and Walter Liebenthal, to argue that
;: the work was a Chinese fabrication by a person affiliated with
>Jhe native Chinese T'i lun School, which devoted itself to the
study of Vasubandhu's DaSabhumivyiikhyii.
Indeed, as recently
'"as 1958, Liebenthal went so far as to say that one could take it
as "established" that a member of the T'i lun School composed
AFM.5 Few would go so far as actually to name the member
the T'i lun School who wrote the AFM, as Liebenthal did '
(indeed, as Liebenthal himself remarked, it is difficult to believe
"that any member of the T'i lun School could have written the
AFM, given that the author of the AFM does not even seem to
know the ten bodhisattvabhumis described in the DaSabhumivya-
khya),6 but for a long time scholarly opinion has leaned in the
direction of assigning authorship of the AFM to the Chinese.
] ust recently Professor Whalen Lai has brought forward some
cogent new reasons for regarding the AFM as a Chinese compos-
In light of all this, it might seem rather daring to suggest
that an Indian actually composed the AFM, but that is what I
propose to argue. I do not intend to suggest that the Sarvastiva-
din or even a "Mahayana composed the
AFM. The first place that any is listed as the author
of the text is in Hui-yuan's Ta-ch'eng i chang,b a work composed
about a half century after Paramartha was said to have translated
the AFM, so the attribution of the text to probably
postdated its composition. But there are a couple of pieces of
important philological evidence, heretofore largely overlooked,
that seem to point strongly to an Indian Buddhist, most likely
Paramartha himself, as the real author of the text, or at least
of major parts of it.
The first piece of evidence is the use in
the AFM of the three categories of t'i,e hsiang,d and yung,e
categories which I will try to show were derived by the author
of the AFM from Sanskrit categories used in the Ratnago-
travibhiigamahiiyanottaratantraSastra (ReV) and which could not
have been formulated by anyone who did not possess a knowl-
edge of Sanskrit. The second piece of evidence is Paramartha's
interpolation of passages from the ReV into the
Mahiiyanasa1fl,grahabhii$ya (MSbh), which seems to show not only
that Paramartha was intimately familiar with the ReV and its
categories, but also that he was personally concerned about is-
to the AFM. When examined together with some
interesting biographical details from accounts of Paramartha's
life, this evidence seems to suggest the very real possibility that
Paramartha was the author of the AFM.
1. Indian Origins of the Categories of T'i, Hsiang, and Yurig
_ In the early "outline" (li-il section of the AFM, the author
makes use of the three categories of t'i, hsiang, and yung to
analyze what is meant by the "greatness" of the Great Vehicle
" '".
The mind's aspect as thusness (tathata) designates the
(t'i) of Mahayana, and the aspect of mind which participates in
the causes and conditions of birth and death designates the attri-
butes (hsiang) and function (yung) of the essence of Mahayana.
There are three meanings of the term. The first is the greatness
of essence (t'i), which means that all dharrnas form an undifferen-
tiated whole with thusness, to which nothing can be added and
from which nothing can be taken away. The second is the great-
ness of attributes (hsiang), which means that the tathiigatagarbha
is endowed with limitless virtues. The third is the greatness of
function (yung), so called because it can give rise to good causes
and results, both in this world and in others.9
v _
three categories are again employed-this time at greater
1length-in the "commentarial section" (chieh-shih fen)g of the
text to analyze thusness (chen-ju,h tathata), the central concept
For a long time scholars have suspected that this pattern
6f analysis pointed to the Chinese composition of the AFM, for
later Chinese.and Japanese Buddhist commentaries like Hui-
yiian's Ta-ch'eng i chang and Kukai's Sokushin-jobutsu-gi
abundant use of the triad of t'i, hsiang, and yung, as do Sung
Dynasty Neo-Confucian texts. And even though research has
shown that this mode of analysis only became popular after
Hui-yuan employed it in his Ta-ch'eng i chang-and Hui-yiian
derived it directly from the AFM itself-the sheer popularity of
the triad in China, together with its apparent absence in known
.Indian compositions, has suggested that this mode of analysis
Reflects a native Chinese way of thinking.
, What seems particularly Chinese about the triad is the use
of the term yung, which some scholars think is of TaOIst origin.
Ihe Neo-Taoist used the distinction between t'i and
yung to analyze the tao and its virtues, and Y oshito Hakeda,
following Zenryu Tsukamoto, has suggested that the early Bud-
68 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
dhist commentator Seng-chao
used this pattern of analysis in
, his Pan-Jo wu-chih lun.! 10 Walter Liebenthal has hinted ,that the
AFM triad of t'i, hsiang, and yung a grafting of this
N eo-Taoist distinction between t'i and yung onto the traditional
Buddhist between the nature of a thing (its svabhiiva,
or t'i), and its attributes (lak$ar;,a, hsiang).l1 This may make some
pliilosophical sense, since the Neo-Taoists used the term t'i to
refer to the original, undifferentiated tao which lies beyond the
distinctions of yin and yang, and contrasted this with yung, the
process by which the tao unfolds to reveal its many virtues, while
the AFM seems to make a parallel contrast between undifferen-
tiated thusness and its many distinct virtues. But from a philolog-
ical perspective it makes no sense whatsoever. In the first place,
the AFM discusses the apparent paradox between undifferen-
tiated thusness and its many clearly distinguishable virtues under
the categories of t'i and hsiang, not t'i and yung. In the second
place, what is discussed in the AFM commentary on the "func-
tion" (yung) of thusness are the Buddhist notions of the three
Buddha-bodies and the indivisibility of all beings from thusness,
topics which have nothing whatsoever to do with Taoism.
Moreover, since no one has yet discovered a native Chinese
composition predating the AFM which employs these three
categories together, it seems more reasonable to credit the au-
thor of the AFM for the popularity of this mode of analysis in
Rather than engage in vague speculation about native
Chinese "ways of thinking" it would make more sense to search
for the origins of the three categories in those Indian Buddhist
texts which might have directly influenced the AFM. Much re-
search in this area has recently been done by Japanese scholars
like Professor Hirowo Kashiwagi, whose recent book, Daijokishin-
ron no kenkyu gathers together much of the current Japanese
scholarship relating to the Indian Buddhist origins of these
Kashiwagi first examines the AFM reference to the three
categories as "greatnesses" (ta,m mahattva). The AFM itself, of
course, claims to be explaining what is meant by the "greatness"
of the "Great Vehicle" (the "mahii" of "Mahayana"). It was a
common practice in Indian Buddhist literature to explicate the
meaning of "greatness" in this way; many texts, like the
Bodhisattvabhumika and the YogiiciirabhumiSiistra, give a traditional
'list of seven mahattvas. 12 But there also seems to have been room
for free speculation on this theme---different chapters of the
DaJabhumivyiikhyii speak of all sorts of greatnesses, from the
greatness of the bodhisattva's vow to the greatness of his wisdom. 13
However, nowhere in any of these lists of greatnesses has anyone
yet a list similar to the AFM list three
of t'i, hszang, and yung. The conceptual ongInal of thecategones
themselves seems to have derived from a different source.
Following an idea first suggested by Professor Jikido
Takasaki, Kashiwagi suggests that the prototype of the AFM
.triad of t'i,hsiang, and yung may have been a pattern used in
Indian Yogacara literature for the analysis of faith (hsin,n Skt.
'adhimukti). Two Indian Yogacara works, the Vijiiaptimiitratiisiddhi
(VijS) and the MSbh, both speak of three types of faith or con-
'fidence to be cultivated by a Mahayana practitioner: faith in the
iiltimate reality (hsin shih yuO), faith in its virtues (hsin yu te
faith in its capacity to produce future results (hsin yu neng
). 14
This triad is not precisely identical with the AFM triad, but there
are some striking conceptual parallels. Both t'i and shih yu refer
.to the quintessential reality of something, and both hsiang and
te refer to properties. And the idea of capacity (neng) is implicit
{",;Ill what the AFM initially says about the greatness of yung, when
text says that the Great Vehicle "has the capacity to give
to good causes and results, both in this world and in others."15
is also worth noting that categories for the analysis of faith
undoubtedly be important for a treatise like the AFM
;l.;w.hich claims as its purpose the "awakening" or "arousal" of faith.
Since the author of the AFM was familiar with many
.. Xogacarin ideas, it is certainly possible that he had read either
MSbh or the VijS and based his three categories in part on
{:;;the three classifications of faith found in these texts. But as
Takasaki has shown, these three ways of classifying
;;fi}faith are also found in the RGV, the central commentary of the
tathiigatagarbha tradition and a text with which we
be quite sure the author of the AFM was familiar.
on the merits of faith from the final section of the RGV
-e;"'refer directly to ,these three classifications:
The basis of Buddhahood, its transfonnation,
70 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Its properties and the performance of welfare-
In these four aspects of the sphere of the Buddha's Wisdom,
Which have been explained above,
The wise one has become full of faith
With regard to its existence (astitva) , power (Saktatva),
and virtue (gur;attva),
Therefore, he quickly attains the potentiality
Of acquiring the state of the Tathagata (Takasaki translation).!7
With a slight change of order, the pattern of "existence" (astitva ),
"power" (saktatva) , and "virtue" (guTJattva) corresponds exactly
to the pattern of "reality," "virtue," and "capacity" found in the
MSbh and VijS.
Of these three categories for the analysis of faith, only the
category of gUTJa seems to have been left unchanged by the
author of the AFM. For it seems clear that the author of the
AFM had the idea of gUTJas, or virtues, in mind when he chose
the category of hsiang. In the initial outline section of the text
the author says that the "greatness of attributes (hsiang tar)
means that the tathiigatagarbha is endowed with limitless vir-
tues."18 This emphasis on the numberless virtues of the
Tathagata (and tathiigatagarbha) is a central theme of the ReV.
One of the seven main headings (or vajrapadas) of the ReV is
the topic of the gu1Jas of the Buddha, and under the heading
of gU1Ja in the opening section of the text, the ReV quotes the
following verse from the Srzmaladevzsutra:
o Sariputra, that which is called the Absolute Body, preached
by the Tathagata, is of indivisible nature, of qualities inseparable
from wisdom, that is to say, indivisible from the properties of
the Buddha which far surpass the particles of sand in the Ganges
River in number (Takasaki tr.).!9
Elsewhere, the ReV insists (as does the AFM),20 that the proper
understanding of emptiness requires that one understand that
the tathiigatagarbha is "not empty" of the buddhaguTJas.
The influence of the ReV theory of the virtues of the
Buddha is even clearer in the commentarial section of the AFM,
where one finds the following passage on the attributes (hsiang)
of the essence (t'i) of thusness:
From the outset it is naturally replete with all virtues .... It is
by nature endowed with the light of great wisdom .... It is mind
that is pure by nature. It is eternal, blissful, true self, and pure.
It is quiescent, unchanging, and self-abiding. It is endowed with
the inconceivable buddhadharmas, which are inseparable, indivis-
ible, and indistinguishable from its essence, and whose numbers
are greater than the sands of the Gange5 River.
Almost all of the virtues listed in this passage are discussed in
the opening chapter of the ReV. "Mind that is pure by nature"
(cittaprakrtivaimalyadhatu) is discussed there under the heading
of "all-pervasiveness" (sarvatraga).23 The four gUlJaparamitas of
eternality, bliss, true self, and purity are discussed under the
heading of "result" (phala).24 The terms "quiescent" (ch'ing-
) and "unchanging" (pu-pien t), which correspond to the
Sanskrit terms siva and sasvata, respectively, are used on two
separate occasions in the ReV under the heading of "changeless-
ness" (avikara).25 And the idea that thusness is endowed with all
of the innumerable buddhadharmas is discussed throughout the
Judging by content alone, it is clear that this commentary
on the attributes (hsiang) of thusness derives directly from the
ReV. And that the author of the AFM speaks of attributes
(hsiang) as "virtues" (kung-te
) seems to confirm that the author
()f the AFM had the Sanskrit category of gUlJa in mind when he
chose the term hsiang, for the term gulJa, as used in reference
to the Buddha, invariably refers to virtues. But it is worth noting
that the term gUlJa also frequently has the wider meaning of
"attribute, characteristic, or property," a meaning very close to
the Chinese hsiang.
The connection of the other two AFM categories of t'i and
yung to the ReV is a bit more complicated, however, and requires
that one understand the structure of the latter text.
The ReV actually uses two different sets of categories to
.sonduct its analysis. The first set of categories consists of the
Seven vajrapadas, or major topics addressed by the text. These
seven topics are: 1) the Buddha, 2) the Dharma, 3) the SaI).gha
(the traditional "three jewels"), 4) the Dhatu (the buddhadhatu or
"Buddha-nature," . which is synonymous with the tathagata-
garbha), and 5) enlightenment (bodhi), 6) virtues (gulJa), and 7)
72 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
the actions (karman) of the Buddha. Both Professors Takasaki
"and Kashiwagi have noted that the last three of these seven
topics have at least a superficial ,to the AFM triad
of t'i, hsiang, and yung.
The second set of categories is a set of
ten categories used to analyze the tathagatagarbha in Chapter
One and a closely related set of eight categories used to analyze
nirmala tathatain Chapter Two. This second set" of categories is
a simple expansion of a traditional set of six categories that
Professor Takasaki has shown is also used in several Y ogacara
texts like the and the Yogacarabhumi-
The six categories are: 1) svabhava (essence), 2) hetu
(cause), 3) phala (result), 4) karman (activity), 5) yoga (union), and
6) vrtti (function, mode of appearance). The six categories
were used to analyze the ultimate object of knowledge in
Mahayana Buddhism, referred to variously as dharmadhatu,
anasravadhatu, and tathata. The ReV uses this set of six
categories to analyze the two ways in which tathata appears,
first in ordinary beings (as the tathagatagarbha or samala
tathata) , and second in the Buddha (as nirmala tathata). And
though at first glance the AFM seems only to share the first
category of svabhava (t'i) with the list of six, that it uses the"
triad of t'i, hsiang, and yung to analyze tathata means that its
three categories are being used for the same purpose that the
six categories were traditionally used.
There seems little doubt that the author of the AFM had
in mind svabhava, the first of these six categories, when he for-
mulated his category of t'i. Next to tzu-hsing
, t'i is perhaps the
most frequently used Chinese term used in Buddhist texts to
translate svabhava and its meaning is certainly much closer to
svabhava than it is to bodhi (the vajrapada which precedes gu'IJa
in the ReV), or to astitva (the first of the three categories for
the analysis of faith). More important, when one looks at what
is said under the category of svabhava in Chapter Two of the
ReV, one notes a great similarity to what is said of the attributes
of the essence (t'i) of tathata in the AFM. This is what the ReV
says of the svabhava of nirmala tathata:
B uddhahood has been spoken of as being radiant by nature ...
This Buddhahood is now eternal, everlasting, and constant,
Being endowed with all the pure properties of the Buddha,
And is attained when the elements of existence take resort
To nondiscriminative and analytical wisdom ....
It is endowed with all the properties of the Buddha
Which are beyond the sands of the Ganges in number,
And are radiant and of uncreated nature,
And whose manifestations (vrtti) are indivisible from
itself (Takasaki translation).30
This is what the AFM has to say about the attributes of the
'essence (t'i) of thusness:
, From the outset it is naturally replete with all virtues .... It is
by nature endowed with the light of great wisdom .... It is mind
that is pure by nature. It is eternal, blissful, true self, and pure.
It is quiescent, unchanging, and self-abiding. It is endowed with
all the inconceivable buddhadharmas, which are inseparable, indi-
visible, and indistinguishable from its essence, and whose number
is greater than the sands, of the Ganges River.
[Both of these passages speak of the svabhava (or t'i) of thusness
eternal, radiant,pure, endowed with wisdom, and re- '
with innumerable virtues.
;.' .. It might be noted here that the author of the AFM is very
;;:careful in the above passage to state that he is speaking of the
'-,attributes (hsiang) of the essence (t'i) ofthusness. He apparently
that an important distinction needed to be made be-
t\.veen tathatii itself (its svabhava, or t'i), and the various attributes
'or virtues with which tathatii is said to be endowed. As described
,,;inan early passage of the AFM, tathatii is said to really "have
i::nb attributes." It is called "the limit of what can be verbalized"
;fand "an expression used to transcend expressions."32 By contrast,
tthe various virtues of the Buddha are attributes par excellence;
are verbalizations intended to characterize Buddhahood ..
!;;:!' The author of the RGV does not seem to have been particu-
aware of this apparent contradiction, either because he did
:jnot understand thusness in the same way or because he was
![content simply to make his point that thusness was not empty
n?finnumerable virtues. But the author of the AFM, though he
,;clearly accepted the idea that thusness was replete with innum-
virtues, felt that a lengthy explanation was needed. At
. end of his commentary on the greatness of the attributes

74 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
of thusness he appends the following question and answer:
Question: Above you said that thusnes,s in its essence (t'i) is un-
differentiated and free from all attributes. How can you now
say that it is endowed with these various virtues?
Answer: Although it really has these virtues it is still without any
attributes by which distinctions are made .... It is free from
discrimination and discriminated characteristics; it is non-
dual. What is explainable in terms of distinctions is only
what can be shown from the perspective of "activating con-
sciousness," which is characterized by birth and death. What
does this mean? Because all things are ultimately only mind,
they really are not to be found in thoughts. Ye,t because
there is the deluded mind which in its nonenlightenment
gives rise to thoughts and perceives objects, it is explained
as being ignorant. The nature of the mind does not arise;
it itself is the light of great wisdom. (But) if the mind gives
rise to "seeing" (the perceiving subject), then there comes
into being an "unseeing" attri!Jute (the perceived object).
The freedom of the mental nature from a "subject side" is
the universal dharma-realm. If the mind is stirred it is not
true cognition and it loses its original nature. It is not eternal,
blissful, true self, or pure. It is distressed, anxious, degener-
ate, and changeable, and so out of control that it possesses
more faults than there are sands in the Ganges River. It is
by contrast to this that one can say that the unmoved mental
nature has the attribute (hsiang) of having more virtues than
there are sands in the Ganges River. ... Thus all those pure
virtues are of the one mind and are not objects of thought.
The point that the author is making is that it is by contrast to
nonenlightenment that thusness is seen to be endowed with
innumerable virtues. Thusness in its own nature is free from
all forms of conceptualization; it is only from the perspective
of sar(l,sara that it can be seen to have attributes.
It is apparent from the detailed argumentation of the
foregoing passage that the author of the AFM devoted a great
deal of thought to reconciling the innumerable attributes (gur}as)
of the Buddha with the undifferentiated nature (svabhiiva) of
thusness. That he was even able to perceive that this problem
existed, much less come up with such an elegant solution,
)uggests that he someone. well schooled in the .Indian
CtatMgatagarbha and concer?ed Its cen-
;tral issues. As bnllIant as the native Chmese thmkers might have
been, it seems unlikely that one of them would have both been
:able to ide'utify and to resolve such a problem. What makes it
jeven more unlikely is that part of the above answer is apparently
phrased in classical Y ogacara terms. The expression "seeing"
i(chien W) and "attribute" (hsiangX) spoken of in the above passage
"seem to be early attempts to translate the Yogacarin terms dar-
ana-bhiiga (chienjen Y) and nimitta-bhiiga (hsiangjen Z). Since
Yogacara texts were only beginning to be introduced into China
at the time, it seems unlikely that anyone but an Indian would
have employed Indian Yogacara ideas to analyze a problem
arose in the first place in Indian Buddhist literature.
The question of the Sanskrit origin of the third AFM cate-
/gory of yung is a more intriguing problem. Looking through
()the two sets of categories employed by the ReV one can find
tWo Sanskrit terms which, like the Chinese yung, can mean some-
ahing like "function." The first of these is karman, the seventh
';Ofthe vajrapadas and the fourth of the six traditional Y ogacara
lcategories of analysis. The second of these is vrtti, the sixth of
;the Yogacara categories. Karman is generally translated as "work"
Jpr"activity," which is close in meaning to yung. Vrtti often means
;,something like "manifestation" or "mode of appearance,"
Monier-Williams lists a wide range of possible meanings
;Ofthe term, including "function" and "activity."34 That Hsiian-
!'tsang used yung on several occasions to translate vrtti in his
{translation of the Abhidharmakosa shows that eminent Chinese
it-ranslators of the period regarded yung and vrtti to be similar
.. As the seventh vajrapada, karman is also the third term in
triad of bodhi, gu'TJa, and karman, so from the point of view
,9f formal structure, karman would seem to bea likelier origin
Jor the category of yung than vrtti. But when one examines what
';the ReV says under the category of karman, one finds little that
what the AFM says under the category of yung. When
for example, of the karman, or activity, of the Buddha,
ghe ReV emphasizes that the Buddha's acts are effortless, con-
and free from false discrimination,36 whereas the AFM
nothing like this under the category of yung.
76 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
By contrast, what the AFM does talk about under the cate-
gory of yung is remarkably similar to what the ReV says under
the category of vrtti, for both texts use these headings to discuss
the theory of the Buddha-bodies. In Chapter Two of the Rev
the subject of Buddhahood is analyzed in the following manner
under the category of vrtti:
Now again it should be known that this Buddhahood, due to its
possession of properties uncommon to others, manifests itself,
though by means of a manifestation (vrtti) which is inseparable
from its immutable qualities like space, still in the forms of three
immaculate bodies, viz. "the Body of Absolute Essence
(svabhiivika)," "the Body of (siimbhogya)," and "the
Apparitional Body (nairmiinika)," with various inconceivable ac-
tivities like great skillful means, great compassion, and wisdom,
in order to be the support and welfare and happiness of all
sentient beings (Takasaki translation).37
In the commentarial section of the AFM we find the following
commentary on the function (yung) of thusness:
This function (yung) occurs in two different forms. The first is
what is seen by the minds of ordinary beings, sriivakas, and
pratyekabuddhas based on their "object-discriminating conscious-
ness." This is called the "transformation body" (nirmii'fJakiiya) . ...
The second is what is seen by the minds of bodhisattvas between
the initial and final stages based on "activating consciousness."
This is called the "reward body" (sar(lbhogakiiya).3H
The author of the AFM goes on to explain that both of these
Buddha-bodies are perceived because of incorrect thinking-
ordinary beings cannot perceive the sar(lbhogakaya because of
their attachment to corporeal form and bodhisattvas who have
not completed the stages cannot perceive the dharmakaya because
they are not yet free from dualistic thinking. If beings could
overcome these coarse and subtle illlusions they would perceive
the only true body, the dharmakaya. This thinking accords with
analysis found in the vrtti section of the ReV, which also sub-
ordinates the nirma1'}akaya and the sar(lbhogakaya to the dharma-
kiiya,39 and which suggests that the appearance of the former
two bodies is conditioned by illusions.
it was apparently a fairly common practice in Indian Yoga-
dira Buddhism to discuss the Buddha-bodies under the category
of vrtti, for this use of vrtti is also found in a verse from the
The last verse in a series of six which
describe the highest reality (aniiSravadhiitu) in terms of the same
six Yogacara categories used by the ReV says that the highest
.reality "manifests itself variously by the body of its own essence,
by that of enjoyment of and that of
(svabhiivadharmasar{lbhoganzrmazr bhznnavrttzkalt). 41 If It was a com-
mon practice to discuss the trikaya theory under the category of
vrtti then there were probably any number of sources besides
the Rev from which the author of the AFM might have derived
his category of yung.
There is another subject discussed under the vrtti category
of the ReV that parallels what is discussed under the category
ofyung in the AFM. This is the manifestation (vrtti) of thus ness
in beings of different levels of spiritual awareness, namely ordi-
nary beings, aryas, and Buddhas. Although other sections of the
RGV distinguish among the understandings that these three
types of beings have of thusness, thevrtti section of Chapter
One of the ReV affirms that all three are identical with thusness.
KariM 10 reads:
Those who have seen the truth say that
Ordinary being, iirya, or Buddha-
All are indivisible from thusness.
Thus all beings possess the tathiigatagarbha.
Our purpose of discussing tathata under the heading of vrtti was
apparently to make clear that thusness is manifested in all beings.
The author of the AFM also seems to have been aware of this
second use of the category of vrtti. In his commentary on the
function (yung) of thusness he explains that all buddhas and
tathagatas regard all beings as their own bodies, because "they
perceive truly that their own bodies and those of all beings form
asingle, undifferentiated whole with thusness and are not dis-
tillct from one another."43 This is another indication that the
author of the AFM was thinking of the San skirt vrtti when he
llsed the term yung.
What all of this means is that the three AFM categories of
t'i, hsiang, and yung seem to be related to traditional Indian
. Buddhist categories in a very complex and intricate way. It
seems clear that the author of the AFM was familiar with several
different sets of categories used in the 'ReV and elsewhere in
the Indian Buddhist philosophical tradition, including: 1) the
three categories for the analysis of faith (astitva, gu1}attva, and
saktatva) spoken of in the MSbh, VijS, and ReV; 2) the ReV
vajrapadas, and most especially the sixth vajrapada of gu1}a; and
3) the six Yogacara categories, which include the categories of
svabhiiva and vrtti, found in the ReV and several other texts.
Enough direct connections can be drawn between these Indian
categories and the categories of the AFM that there is no reason
to think that the three AFM categories represent native Chinese
ways of thinking. Indeed, the author of the AFM so skillfully
incorporates the subject matter traditionally discussed under
the various Indian categories into his own unique analysis that
it seems almost as if the use of those Indian categories was
second nature to him. This suggests very strongly that the author
of the text was an Indian.
Linguistic evidence also suggests that the author of the AFM
must have been an Indian, for it seems very unlikely that a
native Chinese working from the translations available to him
at the time could have conceived of the categories of hsiang and
yung. Neither Ratnamati's translation of the ReV (the Pao-hsing
lun,aa PHL), nor Paramartha's Fo-hsing lun
(FHL), a text which
incorporates large sections of the ReV, use the AFM term hsiang
to translate gu1}a (both use kung-te),44 nor does either text use
yung to translate vrtti (the PHL uses hsing,ac "activity,"45 and the
FHL usesjen-pien,ad "distinctions"46). So it is difficult to imagine
how any native Chinese, no matter how familiar he was with
translations of the ReV, could have discovered the categories
of hsiang and yung. Unless he knew that gu1}a meant both "attri-
bute" and "virtue," why would he substitute hsiang for kung-te?
And unless he knew that the Buddha-bodies were traditionally
discussed under the category of vrtti, why would he have used
the term yung instead of hsing or jen-pien? It seems clear that
the categories of hsiang and yung could only have been formu-
lated by someone who was doing his thinking in Sanskrit.
II. paramartha's Interpolations
If the author of the AFM needs to have known Sanskrit and
have been familiar with the ReV, the most likely person to
have composed the text would be Paramartha, who is tradition-
credited with being its translator. Paramartha is of course
Dbest known for being the Indian who first introduced Yogacara
ideas in any number into China, and he is credited with the
translation of such important Yogacara works as the Madhyanta-
i,0ibhaga, the Mahayanasar(lgraha, and the Vir{liatikavijiiaptimatra-
ttisiddhi. But his other translations also show that he was inti-
'crilately familiar with the ReV. In fact, it is probably no exaggera-
\ion to say that Paramartha knew the ReV better than any other
P'Ihdian translator who came to China. Not only has he tradition-
been considered the translator (and perhaps may be the
of the Fo-hsing lun, a text so heavily influenced by the
that Professor Hattori thought it to be a second version
;,(bfthat text,47 but Jikid6 Takasaki has also argued convincingly
that Paramartha employed the ReV to compose the Wu-shang
')zichingae (*Anuttarasrayasutra).4H And a comparison of Para-
'.martha's translation of Vasubandhu's Mahayanasar(lgrahabhOJya
r'(MSbh) with the other versions of the text (one Tibetan, two
Chinese), shows clearly that Paramartha interpolated an addi-
tional half-dozen passages based on the Rev into the MSbh
acknowledging their true source. (There is little doubt
:tJiat Paramartha himself was responsible for these interpola-
since one particular passage-' a direct quotation from the
'Rev giving the author's supposed reasons for writing his com-
mentary-omits a line which is found exclusively in the Chinese
'translation of the ReV, which almost certainly rules out the
:possibility of a native Chinese having added the passages).49 So
there is little doubt that Paramartha knew and esteemed the Rev.
>t _<
',," But what would be more important for determining
':?vhether Paramartha is likely to have written the AFM would be
,l<nowing what specific ideas from the Rev Paramartha person-
considered to be significant. The passages from the Rev
Paramartha inserted into the MSbh give some indication
,.6f this, for he obviously considered them important enough to
.,s'lleak them into another text. Interestingly enough, the ideas
.in these passages seem to show a very close connection to the
80 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
central ideas of the AFM.
Perhaps the most significant of the passages inserted by
Paramartha into the MSbh is the first one, a famous passage
from the Mahiiyanabhidharmasiltra (AbhidhS) that is quoted in the
The beginningless dhiitu is the foundation of all dharmas;
Because of its existence, there exists the gatis and the acquisition
of nirvii'IJa.
Since the AbhidhS is no longer extant, there is no way of knowing
exactly what the author of this passage originally intended, but
because the passage referred to the beginningless dhatu as the
source of the six gatis, the realms of transmigration within
sar(lsara, it was interpreted by Yogacaras as referring to the
alayavijiiana, the consciousness that is the basis of all defiled
states of mind. At the same time, because the passage also says
that the existence of this beginningless dhiitu is the basis of the
attainment of nirva1J,a, it was interpreted by the author of the
RGV as referring to the buddhadhiitu (Buddha-nature) and
tathiigatagarbha. The AbhidhS passage itself suggests that these
interpretations do not necessarily contradict one another-they
can be harmonized. And anyone familiar with the AFM knows
that this is essentially what the text sets out to accomplish, even
though it does not refer to this passage directly. Not only does
the AFM speak of the tathiigatagarbha and the alaya in virtually
the same breath, it also attempts to show how these two aspects
of the human mind are related. When the AFM speaks of the
pure, unevolved nature of the mind as identical with thusness,
it is explaining how the "beginningless dhiitu" can be responsible
for the attainment of nirva1J,a. And when it describes how the
human mind gives rise to deluded thoughts (nien
), it is explain-
ing how that same dhiitu can be responsible for the existence of
sar(lsara. It is entirely possible that one intent of the author of
the AF M was to clarify this enigmatic passage from the AbhidhS.
The AFM does not quote the whole AbhidhS passage, but
there are clear echoes of it found in the text. In the section of
the AFM which is aimed at correcting misunderstandings, for
example, the fifth error listed is the following:
Hearing the sutras explain that, based on the tathiigatagarbha,
sa'T{LSiira exists and that based on the tathiigatagarbha, there is the
attainment of nirvii'f)a, they misunderstand and say that sentient
beings must have a beginning.
The AFM corrects this error by saying that just as the
is "beginningless," so is ignorance,52' so it seems
--'that the author of the AFM had the beginningless dhiitu of the
AbhidhS in mind both when he described the error and when
'he explained how to correct it.
. .... Paramartha follows his insertion of this quotation into the
MSbh with the interpolation of a couple of passages derived
from the Rev which comment on the "beginningless dhiitu."
:,The first explains how this dhiitu is the basis of "all of the bud-
.dhadharmas, which are eternally joined together, inseparable
from wisdom, unconditioned, and more numerous than the
of the Ganges River."53 As we have seen, theAFM discusses
ihis idea of the innumerable buddhadharmas under the heading
!()fthe attributes (hsiang) of thusness. The second interpolation
that "if the tathiigatagarbha did not exist, there would
"not be the hatred of suffering nor the desire, wish, and longing
:for nirvii'f)a."54 This passage is also echoed in the AFM, which
twice says that the "permeation of thusness" (chen-ju hsiin-hsi
"enables beings to hate the sufferings of sar(lSiira and
seek nirviina."55
. This insertion into the MSbh of the AbhidhS quote and the
:ReV commentaries to it would itself be sufficient to establish
Paramartha was personally concerned with ideas that the
of the AFM thought important. But there are a couple
6f other interpolations that also show his interest in issues central
JO the AFM. Another passage taken from the Rev that
:raramartha interpolates into the MSbh compares the omnipres- .
of,the dharmakiiya to the omnipresence of space: "Just as
there is no physical form outside of the realm (dhiitu) of space/
"So there is no being in the realm of sattvas who is outside of the
"56 This analogy of the dharmakiiya to space is also
.found in the AFM:
. .'., . The freedom of the mind from thoughts is analogous to space,
82 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
for there is no place that it does not penetrate. The one mark
(hsiang) of the dharmadhiitu is this universal dharmakiiya of the
This AFM passage actually seems to derive from another verse
in the ReV which compares pure mind and space: "Just as space
pervades all without discrimination/ so the mind which is by
nature free from defilement/ pervades all without discrimina-
tion."58 As I have shown elsewhere, this analogy between pure
mind and space is only part of the much more extensive hsin-
complex that the author of the AFM seems to have derived
from the ReV notions of cittaprakrti and ayoniSomanaskara.
what is important to note here is that Paramartha's interpolation
shows that, like the author of the AFM, he too had a fondness
for the ReV's comparisons of pure mind and the dharmakaya to
the all-pervading character of space.
There is a third passage that Paramartha interpolates into
the MSbh which also seems connected to the AFM in a significant
way. This is a passage found in a commentary under the heading
of vrtti (sheng-ch'i
), which explains that of the three Buddha-
bodies, the dharmakaya is the most difficult to see:
Of the three bodies, the sa7[lbhoga and nirmiinakiiyas are easily
seen, but the dharmakiiya is only seen with difficulty. The dharma-
kiiya is easily seen by buddhas and bodhisattvas who are advanced
in their practice, but there are four types of beings who have
difficulty seeing it: ordinary beings, sriivakas, pratyekabuddhas, and
bodhisattvas who are beginning their practice. 60
This passage shows that Paramartha was aware of a second text
in addition to the ReV which discussed the theory of the three
Buddha-bodies under the category of vrtti, and so makes it all
the more likely that he would have chosen this model to follow
if he had written the AFM. The content of this passage and its
accompanying commentary also resembles the Buddha-body
discussion of the AFM. As in the AFM, the other two bodies are
subordinated to the dharmakaya. And in the commentary which
immediately follows the above passage, Paramartha's interpola-
tion explains that the appearance of the nirmana and
sarrtbhogakayas is due to the varying kinds of obstacles that obscure
the of different beings-a very similar explanation to the
one found in the AFM.6J
These various passages that Paramartha interpolated into
the MSbkdo not, of course, prove without a shadow of a doubt
Lthat Paramartha composed the AFM. Nothing-not even the
sworn testimony of his contemporaries--could really do that .
. But they do give an impression of what Paramartha, as an indi-
-vidual, was concerned about. Taken together, they seem to be
solid evidence that he was concerned about the very same issues
as the author of the AFM.
Ill. The Evidence from Paramartha's Biographies
What do the early catalogues and biographies tell us about
\he possibility that Paramartha composed rather than translated
. the AFM? About all that one can say with certainty is that they
"show that the early cataloguers and biographers were confused
.;;enough about the circumstances of the translation of the AFM
;1that anything is possible, including Paramartha's personal au-
thorship of the text.
, The earliest catalogue that mentions the AFM is the Chung
:fching mou lu
(CCML) , compiled by Fa-ching
and others in
'594. Under the heading of "doubts about commentaries," the
;.CCML lists the AFM with a note saying that "it is said that this
.;treatise was commented on (shihal) by Paramartha, but we do not
,find it listed in the catalogue of his works, which is why we list
'it as doubtful" (italics mine).62 Demieville suggests that this is
in.ot really an allegation that the treatise was fabricated in China,
.since the CCML has another heading for texts of that sort.
:'jt is interesting to note that there may have been some confusion .
at the time as to whether Paramartha translated the AFM or
wrote something in connection with it, since some editions
;of the CCML have Fa-ching using the character shih ("comment
rather than i
("translate"). In any case, Fa-ching does
in()t seem to have known much about Paramartha's works, since
;he attributes only 26 texts to him and, contrary to his usual
includes few specifics concerning the place or date of
l"' The most reliable of the early accounts seems to be the

,11 ..;::'::
84 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Li-taisan-pao chi
(LTSPC) ofFei Chang-fang,aOwhich appeared
in 597. This text attributes some 64 works to Paramartha, includ-
ing the translation of the AFM, so Fei m!lst have had a c c e ~ s to
information not available to Fa-ching. Quite possibly this infor-
mation came from a biography of Paramartha composed by
the nephew of Hui-k'ai,a
one of Paramartha's most
famous disciples,' since the LTSPC refers to this biography on
three occasions. According to the LTSPC, Paramartha translated
the AFM in 550 at the estate of Lu Yiian-che,ar the governor
of Fu-ch'un,as and wrote a two-chapter commentary on it.
Paramartha had fled to Lu's estate after the rebel Hou-ching
had deposed his first patron, Emperor Wu of Liang, shortly
after Paramartha's arrival in the capital.
This account is interesting for several reasons. First of all,
like the CCML, the LTSPC indicates that Paramartha wrote a
commentary on the AFM, which shows that the early biog-
raphers were aware of a tradition that held that Paramartha
composed something in connection with the AFM. Whatever
that commentary was (unless it was the AFM itself), it no longer
exists. Could confusion over whether Paramartha translated or
composed the AFM have led them to infer that he must have
composed such a commentary?
The LTSPC account is also interesting because it assigns a
very early date (550) to the translation of the AFM. If this date
is correct it means that Paramartha translated (or composed)
theAFM within four years of his arrival in China and, depending
on whether he went to Liang-an in 558 or 563, at least 8, and
perhaps as many as 13 years before he met Hi..Ii-k'ai and the
other distinguished monks with whom he translated the
Mahiiyanasa'I'{Lgraha and Abhidharmakosa. This means that Hui-
k'ai, who presumably was an important source for his nephew's
biography, could not possibly have known the precise cir-
cumstances of the translation (or composition) of the AFM.
Perhaps all he really knew was that the text had been finished
prior to his period of affiliation with Paramartha.
Of course, 550 is not the only date given in the early biog-
raphies. The K'ai yuan lU,au which was not written until 730 and
which is not generally regarded as very reliable, gives 552 for
the date of translation of the AFM.65 But whichever date one
accepts, if either, it is clear that early Chinese tradition assigned
.the AFM to the first stages of Paramartha's activity in China. It
'is only speculation, but if in fact he wrote the AFM, it is in a
way logical for Paramartha to have composed it early in his
career. Since the AFM is a compact introduction to the essentials
of Mahayana Buddhism, it seems like a kind of text a missionary
would have composed as part of his initial efforts .. And given
. the terrible political situation at the time (Paramartha's first
.patron, Emperor Wu of Liang, had just been forced to starve
1 himself to death by a rebel), Paramartha might have feared for
(his own life-an ample motive to set down in summary form
'everything that he considered essential to Mahayana Buddhism.
. .... In any case, if Paramartha composed the AFM in the early
'550's, there was plenty of time for this fact to have been lost to
.his later disciples. The twenty monks who were said to have
been with Paramartha at the estate of Lu Yiian-che were no
~ l o n g e r with him in 563. (or 558) when he met Hui-k'ai, Fa-t'ai,av
and the other monks who formed his last group of disciples.
indeed, in his extensive travels to avoid the political turmoil of
{the times, Paramartha had joined up with and separated from
many other Chinese monks in the interim (which also serves to
;;explain why the Chinese in Paramartha's different translations
.:Varies so much).66 Moreover, since the AFM was not a focal point
'()f interest in Paramartha's lifetime (it did not really become
important until Fa-tsang took an interest in it over a century
later), it is possible that Paramartha's later disciples did not even
care who wrote it. The avid interest aroused by the
'Mahiiyiinasa'Y{tgraha may have driven the AFM so far into the
,background that the text and its authorship were simply for-
(gotten .
. i On the other hand, about the time of Paramartha's death
Jin 569, there occurred an event that could have caused
Paramartha's last disciples to hide the fact of his authorship of
'the AFM,'had they known about it. This was the suppression
,of Paramartha's new translations of Yogacara texts, brought
'i,about by the monks of Nanking, who were perhaps jealous. of
itheir reputations, and who, in any case, had been schooled more
ialong Madhyamika lines, studying the PaiicavimSatikaprajiiii-
jJiiramitiisutra and the treatises of N agarjuna and Aryadeva. It
is at least plausible that one of Paramartha's disciples might
have attributed the AFM to a venerable Indian monk like Asva-
86 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
in an effort to win sympathy for the new texts. This too
is speculation, but since the earliest attribution of the AFM to
appears in Hui-yuan's Ta-ch,'eng i. chang, which may
not have been composed until 590 or SO,67 the tradition of As-
authorship may have developed rather late.
Still, Paramartha himself was not above falsely assigning
authors to Indian Buddhist texts, especiallY when those texts
bore some connection to the RGV. He may have been responsible
for attributing the authorship of the Fo-hsing lun to Vasubandhu,
though his disciples may also have had a hand in that.
But he
most definitely was responsible for inserting passages from the
Rev into the MSbh, thus implying that Vasubandhu wrote them.
And whether or not, as Takasaki suggests, he composed the
Wu-shang-i ching on the basis of the ReV, he had to have known
. that he was presenting a commentarial work as if it were an
authentic sutra preached by the Buddha. So Paramartha was
anything but scrupulous when it came to identifying the true
sources of texts, especially when the RGV was involved in any
way. If he had composed the AFM and then ascribed it to Asva-
it would at least have been consistent with his previous
Taken as a whole, the biographical information available
regarding Paramartha's life and work does not seem to point
as strongly to his authorship of the AFM as the other evidence.
(This is hardly surprising, considering that tradition holds him
to be the translator and not the author of the text). But it is
significant that the information that can be gleaned from the
catalogues and biographies allows plenty of scope for the possi-
bility that he wrote the AFM. The other very substantial evi-
dence: 1) that the author of the AFM must have had intimate
knowledge of the traditional Indian Buddhist philosophical
categories found in the ReV in order to have used the triad of
t'i, hsiang, and yung (and Paramartha had such knowledge); 2)
that the author of the AFM had to have known Sanskrit in order
to translate gu1Ja as hsiang and to discuss the BUGdha-bodies
under the category of yung (vrtti) (and Paramartha knew both
the language and this use of vrtti); 3) that the author of the
AFM tried to harmonize Yogacara and tathagatagarbha ideas (and
Paramartha was intimately familiar with both); 4) that the author
:of the AFM knew and used many of the same quotations and
allalogies that Paramartha used in his MSbh interpolations; and
5) that whenever the RGV w:as involved, was inclined
to falsify the true authorshIp of a text (and the mfluence of the
ilGVon the AFM is clear)-all this points strongly enough to
Paramartha's authorship of the AFM.
ilfr. Implications
These various arguments for Paramartha's authorship of
rthe AFM will undoubtedly appear more convincing to some
;;.cholars than to others. At issue, however, is a great deal more
than the authorship of a single text. Chinese Buddhism has
come under fire for substantially altering Indian Buddhist
Ideas, and the AFM is frequently held up as an example of the
2early sinification of the Buddhist tradition. If Paramartha did
fwrite the AFM, then there is a great deal more that is authenti-
Indian in Chinese Buddhist thought (both in the AFM
and in the many works that it influenced), than scholars
heretofore been willing to believe. And both those who
Chinese Buddhist thought and those who revel in native
contributions will have to rethink their positions.
Moreover, if Paramartha wrote the AFM, this would also
'itlter our picture of Indian Buddhism, particularly our picture
['l9fYogacara Buddhism as it developed in the late fifth and early
'sixth centuries following Asanga and Vasubandhu. Scholars
ihave had a tendency to dismiss some of the Y ogacara ideas in
;:the AFM as Chinese creations, and to attribute the AFM's linking
the tathagatagarbha and iilayavijiiiina to some sort of Chinese
Jpassion for harmony. They have often treated Indian Yogacara
wholly distinct from the tathagatagarbha tradition-
in spite of Takasaki's arguments that the RGV was written
tby a Yogacara.
But it is quite clear even from Paramartha's
finterpolations in the MSbh, not to mention his translations of
l'h,oth tathiigatagarbha and Yogacara texts, that some Indian
'yogacaras were well acquainted with the tathiigatagarbha litera-
itlire. If Paramartha wrote it, the AFM would serve as a classic
;example of Yogacara-tathagatagarbha syncretism, providing a
88 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
clear model of how Indian Y ogacaras of the time harmonized
the teaching of the tathagatagarbha with other, more "classically"
Y ogacara conceptions.
l. The Ta-ch'eng ch'i hsin lun, T 1666.32.575-583. There also exists, of
course, the translation of (T 1667), but since this other translation
is probably a redaction of Paramartha's version, and since it carries with it a
plethora of scholarly problems of its own, all references will be to Paramartha's
2. Paul Demieville, "Sur L'Authenticite du Ta Tch'eng K'i Sin Lauen," in
Chaix D'Etudes Bauddhiques (1929-1970) (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1973), p. 63.
3. In ch. 5 of his Sanran gensha mangiyoaw (T 2299.70.228c), Chinkai,ax
a twelfth century Japanese monk, quotes Hui-chlin's Ta-ch'eng ssu-lun hsilan i as
saying this. Tan'ei,a
a fourteenth century monk, also cites this passage in his
Kishin ketsugishO.
Demieville, p. 66.
4. Mochizuki maintains that the AFM was composed by Tan tsun
(*504-*588), a member of the southern faction of the T'i lun School, in collab-
oration with his disciple Tan-ch'ien
(542-607). Liebenthal believes that Tao-
(dates unknown), a member of the northern faction of the school,
was the author. Liebenthal, "New Light on the Mahayana-Sraddhotpada Sastra,"
T'oung Paa, 46 (1958), pp. 160,210.
5. Liebenthal, p. 158.
6. Liebenthal, pp. 177-78.
7. See his "A Clue to the Authorship of the Awakening of Faith:
Redaction of the Word 'Nien,'" The Journal of the International
Association of Buddhist Studies UIABS), 3, No.1 (1980), pp. 34-53 and "Hu-Jan
Nien-Ch'i (Suddenly a Thought Rose): Chinese Understanding of Mind and
Consciousness," jIABS, 3, No.2 (1980), pp. 42-59.
Liebenthal lists 17 possible emendations to the AFM, many of which
he attributes to a "worshipper of Amitabha" (pp. 195-97). It is difficult to
judge whether all of these passages are by another hand (or hands), but the
references to Pure Land Buddhist ideas do seem inconsistent with the rest of
the text. It is also possible that a disciple of Paramartha's might have added
occasional explanations (prefaced by the term yu be), to the original text.
9. T 1666.32.575c.23-28.
10. Yoshito S. Hakeda, The Awakening of Faith Attributed to
(New York: Columbia U. Press, 1967), p. 112. In my opinion, nothing in
Seng-chao's use of the terms t'i and yung even remotely resembles the AFM's
use of these terms. It isn't even clear that Seng-chao uses the terms in contrast
to one another. For example, in one passage Seng-chao writes, "activity (yung)
is quiescence (chi
) and quiescence is activity. Activity and quiescence are of
, ne (t'i)." Chao"lun, T 1858.45.154c.16-17. Clearly,yung is being under"
in to chi, not t'i.
11. LIebenthal, p. 166. .
:, 12. The seven mahattvas listed in the Bodhisattvabhumi are 1) dharma"
2) pittotpada"m., 3) adhimukti"m., 4) adhyasaya"m., 5) saT[tbhara"m., 6)
:/u"ila"m., and 7) samudagama"m. Hirowo Kashiwagi, Daijokishinron no kenkyu
f(TOkyo: Shunj?sha: 1981), p. 482.
.. . 13. KashIwagI, p. 483.
14. T 1585.31.29b.23-27, T 1595.31.200c.21-27. Kashiwagi, p. 484.
15. T 1666.32.575c.28.
16. Jikido Takasaki, "Nyoraizo"setsu ni okern shin no kozo," Komazawa
:[Jaigaku Bukkyogakubu Kiyo, 22 (1964).
.... 17. Chiu"ching i"ch'eng pao"hsing lun (PHL) 4, T 161 1.3 1.847a. 16-20.
Jikido Takasaki, A Study on the Ratnagotravibhaga (Uttaratantra) (Rome:
Is.M.E.O., 1966), p. 382.
18. T 1666.32.575c.26-27.
19. PHL 1, T 1611.31.821b.I-3. Takasaki, Study, p. 144.
20. T 1666.32.576a.25-26.
21. PHL 3, T 1611.31.835b.28-29.
22. T 1666.32.579a.I4-20.
23. PHL 3, T 1611.31.832b.8. Takasaki, Study, p. 233.
24. PHL 3, T 1611.31.829b.9. Takasaki, Study,p. 207.
25. PHL 3, T 1611.31.835a.20. Takasaki,Study, p. 257.
.... 26. Takasaki, Study, pp. 228-29 (yoga). This passage is missing in the
. Chinese. PHL 3, T 1611.31.835b.23ff. and Takasaki, Study, p. 259 (asaT[tbheda).
jPHL 4, T 1611.31.841b.ll and Takasaki, Study, p. 315 (svabhava).
. 27. Monier"Williams, A Sanskrit"English Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon
'i'ress, 1899), p. 357.
.. 28. Kashiwagi, p. 485.
29. Jikido Takasaki, "Description of the Ultimate Reality by Means of
Six Categories in Mahayana Buddhism," Indogaku bukkyogaku kenkyu (IBK), 9
(1961), pp. 731-40.
30. Takasaki, Study, pp. 314-15. PHL 4, Tl611.31.841b.2-12.
31. T 1666.32.579a.I4-18.
32. T 1666.32.576a.I4-15.
33. T 1666.32.579a.21-b8.
34. Monier"Williams, p. 1010.
35. Hirakawa, Index to the Abhidharmakosabha,5ya (Tokyo: Daizo Shuppan
Kabushikikaisha, 1977), 2, p.474. .
.' 36. See, for example, PHL 1, T 1611.31.821b.8-9 (Takasaki, Study,
145) or PHL 4, T 1611.31.846a.21-23 (Takasaki, Study, p. 355).
37. PHL 4, T 1611.31.842c.2-7. Takasaki, Study, p. 324.
38. T 1666.32.579b.20-25.
39. PHL 4, T 1611.31.843b.16-18. Takasaki, Study, p. 331.
40. PHL 4, T 1611.31.842c.27-843b.12. Takasaki, Study, p. 328-29.
41. Takasaki, "Description," p. 737.
42. PHL 3, T 1611.31.831c.21-22.
43. T 1666.32.579b.13-14.
44. PHL 1, T 1611.31.820c.24, 821a.7. Fo-hsing lun (FHL) 2, T
1610.31.798c.19 or FHL 4, T 1610.31.812c.9-813a.2 ..
45. PHL 3, T 1611.31.828b.19.
46. FHL 2, T 1610.31.796b.3.
47. Masaaki Hattori, "BusshOron no ikkOsatsu," Bukkyoshigaku 4 (1955),
p. 160ff
48. Takasaki, Study, pp. 49-53.
49. Takasaki, "Shindai-yaku ShOdaijoron-Seshin-shaku m okeru
nyoraizosetsu," in Yuki-kyoju shOju kinen bukkyoshi shisoshi ronshil (Tokyo: Daizo
Shuppan, 1964), p. 256.
50. MSbh 1, T 1595.31.156c.12-13. Takasaki, "Shindai-yaku," p. 243.
51. T 1666.32.580a.26-28.
52. T 1666.32.580a.29-b.1.
53. T MSbh 1, T 1595.31.156c.28-157a.1. Takasaki, "Shindai-yaku,"
54. MSbh 1, T 1595.31.157a.4-5. Takasaki, "Shindai-yaku," p. 244.
55. T 1666.32.578b.8, 22-23.
56. MSbh 13, T 1595.31.252b.17-18. Takasaki, "Shindai-yaku," p. 244.
57. T 1666.32.576b.12-13.
58. PHL 3, T 1611.31.832b.8-9.
59. See my article entitled "Cittaprakrti and AyoniSomanaskara in the Ratna-
gotravibhaga: A Precedent for the Hsin-Nien Distinction of the Awakening of
Faith," ]lABS, 6, No.2 (1983), pp. 35-47.
60. MSbh 14, T 1595.31.258h.22-25. Takasaki, "Shindai-yaku," p. 247.
The MSbh uses all six of the traditional categories in this section.
61. MSbh 14, T 1595.31.258b.25-c.12. Takasaki, "Shindai-yaku," pp.
62. CCML 5, T 2146.55.142a.16. Demieville, p. 4.
63. Demieville, p. 6.
64. LTSPC 11, T 2034.49.99a.5,l1.
65. K'ai-yiian shih-chiao lu 6, T 2154.55.538b.6-7. Demieville, p. 10.
66. Some scholars who believe that the AFM was fabricated in China
have argued that the terminology of the AFM differs from that ordinarily
employed by Paramartha-that whereas, for example, Paramartha usually
translates tathatii as ju-ju be and avararJa as chang, bf the AFM uses chenju bg and
Demieville points out quite aptly that Paramartha never really translated
anything directly into Chinese himself, but instead worked with whole teams
of translators, and those translation teams changed frequently. So any stylistic
or terminological variations in his translations are more likely to be evidence
of a change in his staff than to be evidence that he did or did not translate a
given text (Demieville, pp. 68-70).
67. Demieville, p. 62.
68. Takasaki, "Shindai-yaku," p. 261.
.(;.los;ary of Chinese Characters
-4-\ 1.*
a J!. u ):1"

aa . .J- ritii
ad lif
ae hI<.
al :':t:. M
aJ -t- @.
.am tl
i${!,E-. -
ao "i"!. .1-" fA
as *"
bb 3l 'if
be J..-
bd ,...J--,

be -10-1.0.
bh hVc
jIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Demieville, Paul. "Sur L'Authenticite du Ta Tch'eng K'i Sin Louen. In Choix
D'Etudes Bouddhiques (1929-1970). Leyden: 'E. J. Brill, 1973, pp. 1-79.
Grosnick, William. "Cittaprakrti and AyoniSomanaskiira in the Ratnagotravibhiiga:
A Precedent for the Hsin-Nien Distinction of the Awakening of Faith."
]lABS, 6, No.2 (1983), pp. 35-47.
Hakeda, Yoshito S., tr. The Awakening of Faith Attributed to AsvaghoJa. New
York: Columbia University Press, 1967. . I
Hattori Masaaki. "BusshOron no ikkosatsu" ( -it ti (1\ - ! '1/:1. ) Buk-
kyoshigaku ( 1t ),4 (1955), pp. 160-74. \ ;T;
Kashiwagi Hirowo. Daijokishinron no kenkyu( *- t)
Tokyo: Shunjilsha, 1981).
Lai, Whalen. "A Clue to the Authorship of the Awakening of Faith:
Redaction of the Word 'Nien.'" ]lABS, 3, No.1 (1980), pp. 34-53.
_______ ''Hu-Jan Nien-Ch'i (Suddenly a Thought Rose): Chinese Un-
derstanding of Mind and Consciousness." ]lABS, 3, No.2 (1980), pp.
Liebenthal, Walter. "New Light on the Mahiiyiina-Sraddhotpiida Siistra." T'oung
Pao, 46 (1958), pp. 155-216.
Takasaki Jikido. A Study on the Ratnagotravibhiiga (Uttaratantra). Rome:
Is.M.E.O., 1966.
Takasaki Jikido. "Description of the Ultimate Reality by Means of Six
Categories in Mahayana Buddhism," IBK, 9 (1961), pp. 731-40.
__ Shodaijoron-Seshin-shaku ni okem nyoraizo setsu"
i:m In
Yukikyoju shOju kinen bukkyoshi shisoshi ronshtl ( 4-
C(4t rf: tf. Tokyo: 1964,
Asanga's Understanding of Madhyamika:
Notes on the Shung-chung-lun
by John P. Keenan
1. Introduction
Since Madhyamika and Yogacara are the two principal sastra
schools of Indian Mahayana Buddhism, the relationship be-
. tween these two schools is of central importance in understand-
ing the development of Mahayana thinking. Yet the main Yoga-
cara thinkers of the classical period-Maitreya-natha, Asanga,
and Vasubandhu-do not, it would appear, refer to the
. Madhyamika masters Nagarjuna and Aryadeva nor outline their
view of Madhyamika philosophy.
Edward Conze writes that "these two schools were engaged
in constant disputes and the works of one have no authority for
the other."l Yet upon a closer examination, it becomes clear
that such disputes look place between later proponents of these
. schools and, as will be shortly evident, Madhyamika texts do
indeed retain their authority for Yogacara thinkers.
In contrast to Conze's opinion, Nagao Gadjin argues that
"Madhyamika philosophy, which began with Nagarjuna, is pres-
ently believed to have been wholly inherited by Maitreya-natha,
Asanga, and other Yogacaras."2 According to his understanding,
Yogacara differs in the way it interprets emptiness but in no
. wise rejects the main themes of Madhyamika. Nagao has pre-
sented this view by focusing on analogous passages from Nagar-
juna's Madhyamakakarika and Maitreya-natha's Madhyanta-
He convincingly shows the lines of doctrinal develop-
ment from the Madhyamika notion of the middle path to the
Yogacara interpretation of the same. Yet in these Yogacara texts
. no specific reference is made to Nagarjuna or Madhyamika. It
. a.lmost seems that, although these lines of developing thought
did occur in cognizance of one another, the Yogadira thinkers
intentionally refrained from mentioning Madhyamika and did
not accept its authorative status, as C o ~ z e maintained.
Yet this is not the case, for there does exist a commentary
by Asanga which interprets the Mahaprajiiaparamitasutra through
Nagarjuna's Madhyamakakarika. This text is invaluable in de-
lineating the development from Madhyamika to Yogacara. It is
the intent of this paper to offer evidence in support of Nagao's
thesis of the organic relationship between Y ogacara and Ma-
dhyamika by examining this text and outlining Asanga's under-
standing of Madhyamika and the Madhyamika ideas that under-
lie his explanation of the central Y ogacara theme of the three
patterns of consciousness.
II. Asmiga on Madhyamika
The text in question is the Shun-chung-lun-i ju tai-pan-jo-po-
mi-to-ching chu-hinja-men, "Introduction to the Doctrine of the
Introductory Section of the Mahaprajiiaparamitasutra in accord
with the Meaning of the Madhyamikasastra (i.e., Madhyamaka-
karika)." Ui Hakuju has restored the Sanskrit title as Madhyamika-
Unfortunately no Sanskrit version is extant and
apparently no Tibetan translation was made. The sole source
for our consideration then is the Chinese translation made in
543 by Gautama-Prajnaruci, a translation which was charac-
terized by Ui Hakuju as "rude" or "immature."5 Indeed, it is
because of the poor quality of this translation that the Shun-
chung-lun has received scant attention both in Japan and in the
West, for the difficulties in interpretation are numerous and
often not amenable to definitive solution. Unfortunately, its
Asangan authorship cannot be definitely established, since it is
attested only by this Chinese text. There is, however, little reason
to reject this Chinese attribution. The text is clearly Indian,
delving into the intricacies of formal logic and argumentation
in a way few early Chinese attempted. The "rudeness" of the
translation in part comes from the difficulty of finding Chinese
terms for the Sanskrit terminology. Modern Japanese scholars
accept Asanga as its author. 6 Indeed, the only reason to reject
"t is for the anachronistic reason that the text treats Madhyamika
not Y ogacara. In this article its AsaIigan authorship is
accepted as probable and its thematic structure employed to
;'.scertain AsaIiga's understanding of the basic Madhyamika
teachings ..
," Although composed by the Yogacara thinker AsaIiga, the
Hsun-chung-lun presents no Yogacara philosophy. One might
'hpect that AsaIiga would interpret Madhyamika in Yogacara
fashion, through the basic themes of the three patterns of con-
Indeed, that is what Sthiramati does in his commen-
y:7 In fact, the Hsun-chung-lun is a straightforward
;Madhyamika commentary. This leads Mochizuki Shinkyo to
that it represents an early work of AsaIiga and dates
.to a pre-Yogacara period when, as is recorded in Vasubandhu's
he was struggling with the notion of emptiness and
:;,before he adopted Yogacara.
It does seem probable that this
represents an early stage in his developing understanding
lpf emptiness as presented in the Prajiiaparamita literature and
by Nagarjuna.
;,:::.;. AsaIiga's interpretation of Nagarjuna's stanzas should
convince the scholar oflater Tibetan and Chinese disputes
'petween Madhyamika and Y ogacara that AsaIiga himself, at this
'stage at least, fully accepted and affirmed the basic Madhyamika
';fiotions, and, inasmuch as he never is recorded to have re-
'pudiated Madhyamika in any later text, that he maintained his
to Madhyamika throughout his entire career. His
,intention in this text, it would seem, is to explicate Nagarjuna's
.:basic teaching. The anonymous of the brief introductory
;.ote explains:
NagaIjuna was a master of the basic teaching and,
relying on the Mahiiprajiiiipiiramitii, composed the full text of the
Miidhyamika-siistra. But he did not exhaust its ramifications. The
Mahayana siist-ra master Asanga understood points not yet
):/'. clarified and composed this article in a discerning manner.
t{pis note agrees with Nagao's appraisal of the role of AsaIiga
:;ih. inheriting Madhyamika thought. It further specifies that
,\lasariga identified his task as the explication of the ramifications
igrMadhyamika thought, not as the offering of an alternative


96 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
philosophy to Madhyamika. The Bussho kaisetsu daijiten explains:
As this text is an interpretation focused on .the eight negations
and prapaiica in the dedicatory stanzas' of the MadhyamakaMrikii,
it is not a complete commentary on the Madhyamakakiirikii.
Nevertheless, inasmuch as it is an interpretation of Nagarjuna's
Madhyamakakiirikii by the Yogacara Asailga, one can surmise that
at their origin these two schools were not in opposition. 10
It would seem reasonable then to conclude that the Hsun-chung-
lun presents Asanga's early understanding of Madhyamika and,
in comparison with Asanga's mature thought as expressed in
the Mahiiyiinasar{lgraha, can be used to highlight some aspects
of the development from Madhyamika to Yogacara.
III: The Content of the Hsun-Chung-Lun
The Hsun-chung-lun focuses from beginning to end on the
dedicatory stanzas of Nagarjuna's Madhyamakakiirikii and their
themes of prapanca and the eight negations. Asanga describes
his effort clearly:
These (dedicatory) stanzas from the fiistra (i.e.,
Madhyamakakiirikii) summarize its basic meaning and it is in their
light that I now reinterpret its un explicated significance. This is
the meaning I treat, for it is this that severs the craven attachments
of sentient beings. I compose this essay in accord with this [basic]
meaning and do not present an ordered treatment [of Nagar-
juna's entire text). I I
The first chiian distinguishes counterfeit perfection of wisdom,
engrossed in prapanca, from true perfection of wisdom, charac-
terized by an absence of prapanca. Refutations are offered on a
number of heretical views: Mahesvara, time, atoms, an original
source, original matter, etc. In addition, as Mochizuki Shink6
observes, this section would appear to be the first Chinese text
to examine arguments through the three marks of logical
reasoning: thesis, reason, and example.
The second chiian
treats the eight negations, developing the theme of emptiness
and denying essence to all things, even the truth of ultimate
The text begins by quoting the dedicatory stanzas of the
I bow before universal wisdom-
"Not passing away and not arising,
Not annihilated and not eternal,
Not one and not many,
Not coming and not going,
Buddha taught dependent co-arising
To sever all prapaiica-
Thus I bow my head in reverence
Before the best of all Dharma teachers."I:l
Asanga understands these stanzas of Nagarjuna to describe uni-
versal wisdom (sarvajiiana) and sees Nagarjuna's source as the
Prajfiaparamita teaching. Immediately after stating his intent
to closely follow the structure of these two stanzas in the passage
quoted above, a questioner asks:
What intent do you understand [Nagarjuna] to have had in com-
posing his sastra? What doctrine did he rely upon214
Asanga responds by citing the Mahaprajiiaparamitasutra in a pas-
sage that distinguishes the true perfection of wisdom from a
counterfeit perfection of wisdom that issues from a preaching
of the perfection of wisdom "in accord with one's own ideas and
understanding,"15 and which consequently fails to understand
itsnature as skillful means (upaya) and treats wisdom as a goal
to be attained.
By contrast, true perfection of wisdom relies
on not the slightest doctrine,17 since in the perfection of wisdom
there is no true doctrine. IS Thus, even if one articulates the
doctrine of emptiness that all things are impermanent and
empty, that can still be a counterfeit perfection of wisdom, if it
constitutes attachment. 19 Quoting the appropriate passages from
the Madhyamakakarika, Asanga strongly argues against taking
emptiness as yet another view, for "all views are transcended by
eIIlptiness."2o In support he quotes a passage from an unknown
work of Rahulabhadra, the third master of the Madhyamika
lineage after Nagarjuna and Aryadeva:
98 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
The counter against all views is
Emptiness as taught by the Tathagata.
Neither seek after nor be attached to emptiness;
For, when one is attached to emptiness, emptiness becomes reified.
Seek neither emptiness nor non-emptiness;
Both are to be abandoned.
Do not cast aside the Buddha's words,
Spoken in so many places.
All views are to be rejected because they arise from prapaiica
and, as Nagarjuna's stanzas teach, the Buddha taught dependent
co-arising in order to sever prapaiica. The term prapaiica has
caused some confusion among scholars.22 Asanga offers a defi-
The term prapanca means attachment to the duality between
attaining as something real and the thing [attained] as something
real and the inability truly to apprehend the equality of all charac-
teristics. The term prapanca denotes a ludicrous dialogue [as oc-
curs on stageJ.23 In a word, it is the apprehending of essences.
The Buddha taught dependent co-arising in order to sever such
ludicrous dialogue, and Asanga explains that "all that which is
dependently co-arisen is prapaiica,"25 for any view, even about
the doctrine of Prajnaparamita, being conceptually and coher-
ently expressed, functions within the duality of a subjective at-
taining and an object attained.
In the Hinayana the Buddha introduced doctrinal meaning by
arranging it in an ordered fashion in order to counter the doctrine
of the heretics.
Dependent co-arising is then explained as the presentation of
the teaching on the twelvefold chain of conditioned arising from
primal ignorance to old age and death, seen by Asanga as a
deconstructive strategy functioning within the realm of prapaiica
to refute the various views propounded by the heretics, which
occupy the next eight columns of the text. When asked why
then Nagarjuna composed the Madhyamakakarika, Asanga an-
swers not just by referring to the views of the heretics, but by
negating the genesis of all such dualistic views.
fIe employed reason to introduce the meaning of the Mahii-
prajftiipiiramitii to lead sentient beings to abandon prapaftca. Hav-
ing done so, through reasoning they will speedily enter the per-
fection of wisdom.
Upon being asked just what this perfection of wisdom is, Asailga
responds by quoting the first of the Nagarjuna's stanzas on the
eight negations, which he describes as upon the su-
tras, an ordered interpretation of the Agamas. "28 He then pro-
ceeds to interpret the eight negations as signifying the absence
bfany essence which might validate the genesis of views, insisting
thatnothing ever arises or passes away in an essentialist context.
The questioner, thinking perhaps to hoist Asailga upon his
own petard, raises the question of the truth of ultimate meaning.
Does that not truly exist?
If that were the case [and the truth of ultimate meaning were a
real identifiable essence], then there would be two levels of truth,
the worldly truth and the truth of ultimate meaning. Only if
these two truths were to exist [in that essentialist fashion] would
your assertion hold.
The questioner continues to press his point, arguing that apart
from worldly truth, there is a truth of ultimate meaning, and
that this validates his assertion. He quotes the Madhyamakakii1;ika
to the effect that both of two truths are real (;:::: tiW),
apparently a misquotation of chapter 24.9. Asailga agrees fhat
the Tathagata preached the doctrine of the two truths, but points
out that in so doing in fact he was preaching the such ness of
things and it is incorrect to understand the two truths as two
disparate levels of truth:
[N agarjuna] neither rejected [the truth of ultimate meaning] nor
bifurcated [it from the truth of worldly convention]. If in the
two truths one regarded ultimate meaning as disparate, then the
suchness of beings would be separate from things true in the
There are then no solid reasons for propounding a dualistic
suchness of things. In fact the two truths do not refer to two
sc:parate levels of truth. Both truths have the same characteristic:
100 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
being without essential characteristic. It is precisely this absence
of essence and original emptiness that constitutes truth as
beyond deconstruction ( . ! ~ " ; f . . 7.rk.).31 As?-ilga presents yet
another stanza from the Madhyamakaktirikii:
These two truths are both non-existent
And are not projected in ludicrous dialogue.
They are neither imagined nor separated.
This meaning characterizes truth.
This stanza shows, Asanga explains, that while all tathiigatas rely
upon the two truths, they all in fact have no support. They do
not rely on worldly truth and they do not rely on the truth of
ultimate meaning, for their minds are unsupported. Being with-
out essential characteristic, ultimate meaning cannot be,
mediated in thinking. It cannot be employed as a thesis to refute
other theses.
Thus no thinking of any kind can identify the essence of the
truth of ultimate meaning. Therefore it cannot refute arising,
nor passing away. To conceive the truth of ultimate meaning as
a subtle essence that can be brought to speech is itself an expres-
sion of selfhood.
This inability of thought to identify ultimate meaning does not,
however, imply the abandonment of reasoning. Rather it casts
reason in a deconstructive role in negating the assertions of
prapanca consciousness in its mistaken formulation of views and
attachment to propositional claims. Indeed, the remainder of
Asanga's text turns to an examination of reason in the context
of emptiness and outlines norms of logical consistency that can
apply to all questioning.
IV. The Move to Yogiiciira
Yogacara attempts to develop a critical understanding of
consciousness as the dependently co-arising support for both
illusion and wisdom. It tries to explicate the ramifications of
Madhyamika insight into emptiness and dependent co-arising
. n tenns of a reflective understanding of consciousness as a
between the . latent in the
conSCIOusness and themamfested actIvItIes of the ac-
tIve consciousnesses of sensation, perception, and thinking. The
attempt is to critically ground insight into the genesis of
illusion and into the nature of awakening within a reflective
understanding of consciousness by idenJifying the basic struc-
ttre and functioning of the mind through critical analysis.
( - The Hsun-chung-lun, although Madhyamika in its entire
contains inchoate Yogacara themes. One can discern a
parallelism between the above themes and Asanga's pre-
of the three patterns of consciousness in the
. The theme of prapaiica echoes Asanga's presentation of the
pattern <parikalpita), which is defined as:
The appearance of conscious constructs [as real], despite the fact
that objective things are not real and are only conscious construc-
rt[he appearance of what seems to be an object over against the
fkilowing subject and the imagining of that object to be an essence
{tonstitutes the basic illusion of primal ignorance and engenders
to such putative objects as if they themselves already
meaning. Asvabhava comments:
In reality there is neither an object known (griihya) nor a knowing
subject (griihaka). There is simply a host of mental constructs
within unreal imagining in virtue of which imagination takes on
the appearance of an object.
explanation probably is based upon the first stanza of the
!1yf.adhyantavibhaga, which affirms the existence of unreal imagin-
ling, but the non-existence of the apparent duality within that
tiIp.agining. This is the basic text used by Nagao to outline the
kX?gacara development of the Madhyamika notion of the middle
Asanga's Mahayanasarrtgraha further describes the imag-
l!fied pattern as thinking endowed with concepts and having as
the permeation of language.
The Hsun-chung-lun in
prapaiica as "ludicrous dialogue" and the "duality

102 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
between attaining and the thing [attained]" is then an early
attempt to understand this imagined pattern of consciousness,
for it too treats the illusory nature of subject-object knowing
and the influence of the ludicrous dialogue of prapafica in engen-
dering that illusion. . ~
Similarly, . the definition of the perfected pattern (pa-
rini$panna) in the Mahayanasarrtgraha is that it is:
The complete absence of all images as objective realities in that
same other-dependent pattern.
The Hsun-chung-lun treats true perfection of wisdom as the ab-
sence of prapafica and non-attachment to one's own ideas and
understanding. In the Mahayanasarrtgraha Asariga explains the
Mahaprajfiaparamita as the counter-agent to all views, echoing
once again the theme of the Hsun-chung-lun that true perfection
of wisdom abandons all views.
The crux of the matter, however, is the Yogadira under-
standing of the other-dependent pattern, for Asanga defines it
as the basic nature of consciousness, becoming manifest either
in the imagined pattern or in the perfected pattern. The other-
dependent pattern is defined as follows:
The other-dependent pattern consists in all the conscious con-
structs that have the container consciousness as their seed and
that are comprised within unreal imagining.
These mental constructs are engendered chiefly through the
permeations of language, for it is in imagining that words refer
to objective essences over against the subjective knower that the.
other-dependent pattern functions in an imagined, illusory
The central insight in the teaching on the three patterns
relates to this other-dependent pattern, for that is the fulcrum
upon which the other two patterns turn.
The Mahayana"
sarrtgraha describes the other-dependent pattern in the following
With what intent did the World-Honored One teach in the
Abhidharmamahayanasutra that "there are three factors: that which
pertains to the pure aspect, that which pertains to the defiled
aspect, and that which pertains to both?" That which pertains to
the defiled aspect is the imagined pattern. That which pertains
to the pure is the fully perfected pattern. The other-dependent
pattern itself is that which has both these aspects. This was the
intention of the World-Honored One.
The Yogacaras employ this notion of the threefold other-depen-
dent pattern of consciousness to explain the meaning of the
fipparent the the Prajfia-
paramita sCrIptures. Asanga explams that m the other-de pen-
cleht pattern there is neither arising nor passing away, for the
arising of essences is negated as imagined, yet the other-de pen-
clent pattern is recovered and affirmed as itself other-dependent,
i.e., dependently co-arisen. Nagao explains that it is in virtue
6tbecoming perfected and thus eliminating the imagined world
o{illusion that "the other-dependent pattern is restored as other-
dependent. To be fully perfected means that this restoration
[of the basic other-dependent pattern] is realized .... "43
. This developed notion of the other-dependent pattern is
riot present in the Hsun-chung-lun, for it implies the critical
Yogacara understanding of the structure of consciousness as
the interplay between the container and active consciousnesses.
Thus the Mahayanasarrtgraha differs from the Hsun-chung-lun in
that it moves within a realm of conscious interiority where mean-
ing is established through analysis of the internal functioning
both of insight and understanding, and of ignorance and misun-
.... Nevertheless, in its treatment of the two truths the Hsun-
chy,ng tun presents basic themes that seem to have led Asanga
to develop such a critical understanding. The main poiht of that
was that the two truths are not to be conceived as
two disparate levels of truth, one worldly and falsifiable and
Dne true and beyond deconstruction, because that would attrib-
utean essence, however subtle, to the truth of ultimate meaning.
Asanga thinks, both truths are characterized as empty
and without essential characteristic. Being without essential
the truth of ultimate meaning is ineffable and
lJ.I1obtainable in words and concepts, while worldly truth, being
enunciated and expressed, can make no claim to anything
104 ]IABSVOL.12NO.l
beyond a provisional validity.
From a Yogacara perspective, the question this elicits is how
truth, both worldly and ultimate, is grounded within the struc-
ture and functioning of conscious understanding.
If truth is
not a double-layered essence out there to be encountered by
the subjective mind, then how does it occur? It is in response
to such questions that the Y ogacaras developed their critical
understanding of consciousness and their account of the three
patterns, for truth, just as ignorance, must be identified within
its operational structure. Central to the endeavor is their under-
standing of other-dependent consciousness.
The fulcrum structure of other-dependent consciousness
allows Asanga to offer a critical understanding of conversion
(asraya-parivrtti) and to outline the realization of truth. Upon
conversion, one abandons attachment to the putative realities
of the imagined pattern and realizes non-discriminative wisdom
and awakening. But in the Mahayana understanding this does
not sever all mental function, for the task of carrying out
bodhisattva action necessitates a wisdom and encompasses an
awareness of all the myriad factors that constitute the world.
Awakening includes not only insight into silent emptiness, but
also insight into the suchness of thinking as itself dependently
co-arisen. Awakening does not abolish the structure of con-
sciousness, but rather enables one to recover the heretofore
obstructed and obfuscated pattern of other-dependence itself.
In this recovery one neither imagines things to be essences nor
remains in silent awareness of uncharacterizable emptiness, but
rather, in full awareness of the genesis of views from language
and of their ultimately "ludicrous" quality, brings to skillful
speech and clear reason doctrines that flow from emptiness and
leads others toward awakening. This mode of being fully con-
scious of the other-dependent functioning of consciousness is
insight into the limited, but valid role of worldly truth.
Here the distinction in the Hsun-chung-lun between counter-
feit perfection of wisdom, caught in the web of prapaiica, and
true perfection of wisdom, liberated therefrom, is expressed in
terms of the Yogacara focus on conscious interiority. The theme
of the restoration of the other-dependent structure of conscious-
ness brought about by the realization of the pattern of full
perfection represents a critical explication of the two truths, for
f?both 'are understood by the same consciousness to be essence-
:'free and empty. Asariga has grounded both truths in the
mind functioning through insight into the ultimate
i'ineaning of emptiness in the recovery of its other-dependent
,.':. 44'
Both awareness of ultimate meaning and of worldly truth
(;;occur in the same consciousness. They are not disparate levels
to separate realities, but differing modes express-
the identical awareness of emptiness-the one in abeyance
::-6f all words and the other in an employment of all words. In
meaning one realizes the emptiness of all things. In
';worldly truth one realizes the dependently co-arisen being of
:a:"ilthat is empty, for dependent co-arising is the designation of
'rmptiness within the world of mediated and verbalized mean-
" In these points one can, perhaps, discern the developmental
iHi-tes of Asariga's thinking from the Hsun-chung-lun to the
rJl.1ahiiyiinasar{tgraha in his progressive focus on conscious interior-
in his attempt to critically ground the Madhyamika
which he fully accepted and articulated within his under-
of conscious understanding.
. 1. Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies, 1934-1972, San Francisco: Wheelright
1980, p. 52.
2. "From Madhyamika to Yogacara; An AI).alysis of MMK XXIV.I8
MV 1.1-2," in The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
:ifl (1979), p. 29.
:J} 3. Ibid. Also see "Kii-i yorisansh6setsu e," [From the Meaning of Empti-
1n,:ess to the Theory of the Three Patterns], in Chilkan to yuishiki, Tokyo:
{,I,)"anami, 1978, pp. 180-206.
4. Indo tetsugaku kenkyil, Tokyo: Sanseid6, 1938, vo!' 1, p. 400.
;!ti'i ' 5 Ibid

':'"' " 6. Besides the references to Ui in note 4 and to Mochizuki in note 8,
Kajiyama Yiiichi, Chilkan shiso, vo!' 7 of the Kosa: Daijo bukkyo series. 1982,
Shunjusha, p. 10 .
. ;.::;;. 7. In his MillamadhyamakasaT[ldhinirmocanavyiikhyii, T. 30, #1567. This
also awaits further study. It is also influenced, so it would seem, by
and is important in delineating the structure of Madhyamika-
synthesis. See Donald S. Lopez, A Study of Sviitantrika (Ithaca: Snow
106 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Lion, 1987) for the best study in a Western language ofthese late developments
in Indian Buddhist thinking. On Sthiramati's chronology, see Yuichi Kajiyama
"Bhavaviveka, Sthiramati, and Dharmapala," in Beitr{ige zur Geistesgeschicht;
Indiens: Festschrift fur Erich Frauwallner (Wien, 1968), pp. 193-203.
8. Butten daijiten, 3.2526c.
9. T. 1656, p. 39c.11O-12.
10. Bussho kaisetsu daijiten, 5.242d.
11. T. 1565, pp. 39c.29-40a.3.
12. Bussho kaisetsu daijiten, 5,.242d.
13. T. 1565, p. 39c..24-28.
14. T. 1565, p. 40a.4-5.
15. T. 1565, p. 40a.7. See Edward Conze, The Large Sutra on Perfect
Wisdom, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975, pp. 263-265.
16. T. 1565, p. 40a.13-14.
17. T. 1565, p. 40a.21. See Conze, The Large Sutra, p. 265.
18. T. 1565, p. 40a.22.
19. T. 1565, p. 40b.6.
20. T. 1565, p. 40b.13-14.
21. T. 1565, p. 40b.19-20.Compare Candrakirti's Prasannapada:
"Emptiness is taught in order to lay to rest all prapaiica without exception.
Thus the intent of emptiness is the laying to rest of prapaiica in its entirety.
But you, in [attributing] to emptiness the sense of hypostatize it."
Uacques May, Candrakirti Prasannapadii Madhyamakavrtti, Paris: Adrien-
Maisonneuve, 1959, p. 23, #491.)
22. Franklin Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary, pp. 380-81.
23. M. Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit English Dictionary, p. 681c, includes
among the meanings of prapaiica "ludicrous dialogue (as in drama)." This
seems to be the sense of the Chinese
24. T. 1565, p. 41a.1-3.
25. T. 1565, p. 41a.8.
26. T. 1565, p. 41a.9.
27. T. 1565, p. 44c.24-25.
28. T. 1565, p. 45a.6.
29. T. 1565, p. 45a.14-16.
30. T. 1565, p. 45a.23-24.
31. T. 1565, p. 45b.2.
32. T. 1565, p. 45b.7-8; reference is the Madhyamakakiirikii 18.9, but
Asanga relates the stanza to the two truths.
33. T. 1565, p. 45c.6-8.
34. Mahiiyanasa'T[tgraha 2.3; Etienne Lamotte, La Somme du Grand vehicle
d'Asaitga, Louvain: Editions Peeters, 1973, p. 90; Nagao Gadjin, Shodaijoron:
Wayaku to chilkai, Tokyo: Kodansha, 1982, p. 281.
35. Lamotte, La Somme, p. 90, n. 3.
36. Nagao, "From Madhyamika to Yogacara," p. 36.
37. Mahiiyanasa'T[tgra,ha 2.16; Lamotte, p. 108; Nagao, pp. 328-329.
38. Mahiiyanasa'T[tgraha 2.4; Lamotte, pp. 90-91; Nagao, p. 283.
39. Mahiiyanasa'T[tgraha 2.22; Lamotte, pp. 115-118; Nagao,
ppo 400 Mahiiyiinasarp.,graha 202; Lamotte, ppo 87-88, Nagao, po 2750
41. Nagao, Shodaijaron, po 2730
420 Mahiiyiinsarp.,graha 2029; Lamotte, po 125; Nagao, po 3760
430 Keepan,john Po, "The Intent and Structure ofYogacara Philosophy:
Its Relevance for Modern Religious Thought," Otani daigaku shinshii saga ken-
kujo: Kenkyiijohi5," #15,19870
'Y. 440 Mahiiyiinasarp.,graha 2026; Lamotte, po 121; Nagao, po 3620
450 Madhyamakakiirikii 240180
;:Mahayana Vratas in Newar Buddhism
T. Lewis
This study is concerned with the Mahayana vrata, aparticu-
iiI-type of devotional ritual that is still performed in the Newar
'i3hddhist community of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepali. Part I
J;tlefly traces the vrata's Indic origins and history, introduces
context, then outlines the most popular contempo-
Newar observances. In Part II are case studies of vratas
to Mahakala and Tara; a preliminary understanding
vratas is developed both ethnographically and
translations from modern printed texts.
.This article explores the role of ritual in this Buddhist com-
W]lnity of Nepal. Although the Newar tradition represents a
yet continuing survival of later Indian Mahayana-
Buddhism, it has received scant attention to date by
This article is intended to begin the documentation
description necessary for an emerging and important field
within Buddhist studies. .

and Context
, ..
The term vrata dates back to Vedic times, where it has the
JJie'anings "will" and "law" (Monier-Williams 1899: 1042; Kane
1!Q74:5). In ancient India, the vrata was apparently an obligatory
;ti!ual prescribed for high caste individuals to atone for different
:Ufisdeeds. By the time the Purii1J,as were composed, it also re-
If erred to a religious vow or a voluntary ritual practice designed
.Jplease a particular deity. In these texts, and in the popular
produced by medieval Indian commentators (niban-
'!t'f?karas), vratas dedicated to a divinity were highly elaborated,
occupying substantial portions of popular religious literature
(Wadley 1983: 148). Brahman-led vratas are still an important
part of modern Hinduism (Babb 1978) and are performed
throughout the Indian sub-continent, including modern Nepal.
Vratas are one example of the many Indian religious prac-
tices that have been adapted into later Mahayana Buddhism.
That vratas date back many centuries in the N ewar tradition is
attested to by the antiquity of manuscripts describing the proper
forms of observance (Malla 1981). This genre of printed ritual
text remains one of the most common in modern Kathmandu.
The stories recounted in these texts (vratakatha) provide
im portant source materials for understanding N ewar B uddhisrn
and the layman's religious ethos characteristic of later Indian
Buddhism. Because they are one of the simplest and most com-
mon genres of doctrinal explication, the vratakatha provide a
focus of study that simplifies the often bewildering multiplicity
of the Newar Buddhist tradition. Simply stated, vratakatha join
the avadana and jataka texts as source materials that show what
form Mahayana-Vajrayana Buddhism takes on the popular
Newar Civilization
The fertility of valley soils, the riches from trans-Himalayan
trade, and relative geographical isolation all endowed the
Kathmandu Valley (until 1769, the defining area of all "Nepal")
with the ability to support a rich, artistic, and predominantly
Indicized civilization. Many ancient Indian traditions endure in
the distinctive urban society and culture of the Newars. In one
of the most complex civilizations in Asia today, both Hindu and
Buddhist religious traditions are observed in rich multiplicity.
Caste defines the social order and dominates socio-cultural
discourse, with Hindu or Buddhist identity a boundary marker
at the highest levels. The former city-states of the Valley-
Bhaktapur, Patan, and Kathmandu-all evolved in parallel form
according to the caturvarr;a model (Brahman, Vaisya,
Siidra), though differing in details of caste nomenclature.
The Newar Buddhist community consists entirely of house-
holders (Locke 1986). The priestly elite, an endogamous caste
of vajracaryas, has for centuries married, though they still inhabit
pweiIings referred to as vihiira (N ew. bahii). Like married Tibetan
1 mas of the Nyingmapa order, they serve the community's
needs, with some among them specializing in textual study,
medicine, astrology, and meditation. The spiritual elite still pas-
ses on vajrayana initiations (Skt. abhi$eka; New. dekka) through
. guru-chela ("teacher-disciple") lineages.
. All born as vajracaryas should take formal initiations that
establish their caste and ritual status, empowering each man to
be eligible to perform basic rituals for laymen (Gellner 1988) .
. the traditional line of this abhi$eka is in the main vihiira (mu
bONi) of the father's lineage. If a vajracarya wants to perform
special clients, howe:er,.he must seek further
cion. ThIs, too, IS often found III hIS baha, although connectIons
with "outside" vajracarya specialists have been common. Today,
a school exists in Kathmandu for teaching young vajracarya men
inthese and other priestly subjects.
. The Newar Buddhist tradition is formally two-tiered, with
to ritual initiations an indexical determinant. At the top
are those who take esoteric vajrayana initiations (Skt.: dik$a;
'New.: dekka) that direct meditation and ritual to tantric deities
sllch as Sarp.vara, Hevajra, and their consorts (yoginzs). In mod-
em practice, only the highest castes-Vajracarya, Sakya, and
pray-and select artisans (Chitrakars) are eligible for admission
into this elite realm. The Vajrayana Masters who pass on the
dik$a go on meditative retreats (N ew.: puru$an cvanegu) to acquire
their powers and insight (Lewis 1984: 446). Only about 15 per-
cent of Newar Buddhists today can claim these initiation rights
and only a small minority of them actually take dik$a.
Most Newar Buddhists participate in the exoteric level of
Mahayana devotionalism. They direct their devotions to caityas
(especially the greatstupas such as Svayambhu) and make regular
offerings at temples dedicated to the celestial Bodhisattvas (such
asAvalokiteSvara) and Buddhist savioresses (such as Tara). They
also support the local vajracarya saT(lgha that helps them, in re-
tllrn, look after their spiritual destiny in this world and beyond.
This exchange between laymen and the saT(lgha-with ritual pro-
tection and merit accumulation gained in return for material
patronage-is fundamental to all Buddhist societies. Indeed,
the anomalies of caste and saT(lgha in their community,
Newar Buddhist laymen closely resemble co-religionists in other
112 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
countries. A vast and complex web of ritual relations link laymen
to their vajracarya priests.
. As was common throughout Asia, local merchants are prom_
inent among Buddhist laymen. Eligible for dekka, the Dray and
Sakyas have been the major patrons of Buddhist shrines across
the Kathmandu Valley and most active in performing special
devotions. For them, the vratas are especially popular. Mer-
chants also make the most conspicuous donations, such as those
that paid for the publication of the ritual guidebooks presented
in Part II.
Newar Vratas: Overview:
Vratas are special forms of priest-led, lay-sponsored worship
that focus devotional attention on an individual deity. Groups
of individuals devote one or more days to making offerings,
while maintaining a high state of ritual purity and abstaining
from certain foods. Tradition a series of boons for each
type of vrata and all are supposed to add appreciably to one's
stock of pUTJya. By so doing, the vratas here, as in India (Wadley
1983), are performed to improve the devotee's destiny. .
In the Buddhist vratas, there is a standard structural order:
led by a vajracarya priest (who is often aided by several vajracarya
assistants), laymen worship a guru-maTJ{iala that includes all
major deities of the Mahayana Buddhist cosmos. They then
participate in a kalasa puja to the special vrata deity3, take refuge
in the triratna-maTJ{ialas (Buddha, Dharma, Sarp.gha), and finally
make offerings to the vrata deity, again on a maTJ{iala. Most texts
specify that the vajracarya . should explain the maTJ{iala
bolism(s) and tell the story (katha) (or stories) associated with
the particular vrata. As the latter is done, all participants hold
a special thread (New. bartaka; Skt. vratasutra) unwound from
the kalasa. This symbolic act links the deity to each individual
and binds the circle of devotees in worship. Broken up and tied
around the neck, this thread is a special prasad laymen take away
from all vrata ceremonies. ;
According to a recent N ewar puja manual, there are texts
specifying vratas for every deity in the Indic pantheon and fo(.
every special religious occasion (Vajracarya 1981: 135). We now:
survey the most important vratas still observed by Mahayana!
Buddhists in modern Nepal. '5
Dhalarp Danegu or Vrata
By far the most popular of the Buddhist vratas, dhalarrt
danegu, has ancient roots in Nepal (Gellner 1987: 347ff). A
twelfth century Tibetan source mentions what was probably an
early version of this rite (Roerich 1953: 1008) and notes its
transmission from Nepal to Tibet (Lewis 1988). Locke (1987)
bas provided a long description ofthis.observance, rightly noting
that variant traditions for it exist in the Valley.
This vrata should be performed on one of the two a$tam'i
days, i.e. the eighth day of either lunar fortnight (Wilson 1828:
473). The deity is one of the forms of AvalokiteSvara, popularly
.called Amoghapasa Lokesvara or Karul)amaya. Groups may be
organized to perform the vrata once, or monthly for one or
more years (Macdonald and Stahl 1979: 129, 131).
The traditional day to star a year-long vrata series is mukha
OJtam'i,4 in the fall. Organizers for these longer programs arrange
for the vajracaryas' services and prepare for the main pujas. In
taking on this considerable task, they usually have a specific
religious goal in mind. The group may do the vrata in one place,
. travel to different Avalokitesvara temples in the Kathmandu
Valley, or choose other landmarks in the religious geography.
In whatever context, each person usually performs the vrata
individually, although a woman may sometimes perform it for
an absent husband, making two sets of offerings. This vrata is
open to all laymen and nowadays women are by far in the
Basundhara Vrata
Newar Buddhists regard Basundhara (Sanskrit: Vasudhara)
as a goddess of fertility and prosperity. In a recent printed text,
Kumar!, and Basundhara are all said to be forms (rupa)
ofP:rthiv!, the Earth goddess (Vajracarya 1981: 81). If pleased,
Basundhara can multiply the family's wealth and sustain the
vitality of the lineage. Given these benefits, it is understandable
that most N ewar Buddhist merchants have done the Basundhara
iJrata at least once in their lifetimes (Lewis 1984: 242). Many do
it yearly.
This vrata is most commonly observed on a regular basis in
families with a guthi to underwrite the expenses. One time of
the year is designated as best for starting this two day rite: the
114 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
dark thirteenth day of the month Bhadra.
As with dhalarrt danegu, a vajracarya must direct the PUjiis,
with the family fasting. Because gold is the goddess' favorite
color, all of the puja accessories, including the ritual thread and
the women's shawls, are made with materials of this color. The
most popular form of Basundhara vrata observed in modern
Kathmandu is a two-day version: the first day proceeds accord_
ing to the general order, but on the second day, all of the
offering materials are gathered together, resanctified by the
vajracarya, then carried to the riverside and discarded. A large
feast is held for the family afterwards.
PUrI)ima Vrata (Dharmadhatu Vrata)
This vrata is done to worship Svayambhu as this was the.
favorite vrata of the stupa's mythological founder, Santikar
Acarya (Shakya 1977). The proper moment for this observance
is relatively rare: it should be done on a day when there is a
c o ~ u n c t i o n of a full moon and sarrtlhu, the start of a new solar
month. Performing Purr;,ima Vrata is intended to awaken the
desire for reaching complete enlightenment (Vajracarya 1981: 84).
Esoteric Observances
Those who have taken dekka form a closed community de-
fined by the vajracarya guru-chela lineage into which they have
been initiate.d. On an occasional basis (typically alternate years),
the vajracarya gurus collect subscriptions and host ritualized.
gatherings that include vrata-styled devotions to the chief
esoteric deities and special dances. (One popular venue for such
gatherings is the BijesvarI (or Akasa Joginz) temple west of
Kathmandu.) These are, of course, closed to non-initiates and
still largely unknown. We mention them to demonstrate that in
the context of N ewar MahayanalVajrayana Buddhism, the vrata
constitutes a recurring principle of ritual and community organi-
Satya NarayaI)a Vrata
This vrata to the lndic deity Vi-?I)u is done on ekadasz, the
'eventh day of either lunar fortnight. The ritual specialist is
a Newar Brahman. Though the requirement of fasting
dpurification is the same in the Buddhist vrata, the ritual is
'pler, exoteric of to a
.. . ge placed m a small ratha located m the mIdst of the devotees.
is done across the Nepalese hills, the Brahman also tells
fftgries (Wadley includes a sample of these stories
artIcle on Hmdu vratas (1983: 152-154).)
Satya NarayaI).a vrata is common. in
tHlIidu practICe and ,many Newar lay BuddhIsts stIll perform It.6
tiThe,reason commonly given fordoing this vrata is the boon of
good fortune in worldly matters such as finding a suit-
husband, having a male child, and insuring business pros-

,Vratas and Hindu-Buddhist Relations
,The Buddhist community's involvement with the Brahman-
Satya arayaI).a vrata raises the _com of Hindu -B ud-
relatIOns. The vrata text for Arya Tara Illustrates the great
fn:fiuence that Brahmanical ritual orthopraxy has exerted on
ritual practice. The priests use pancagavya (the five
milk, curd, ghee, dung, urine) for purification;
oblations from conch shells (argha); chant mantras essential
[QJ}lthe success of the ritual; and bestow prasad and tika marks
foreheads. In short, Newar vajracaryas conform to
rIiost of the ritual procedures derived from ancient Brahmanical
although it is not completely correct to regard them
,Beyond the fact that their outward form is organized in
ys congruent with Brahmanical ritual usages, the vratas pre-
IHed in Part II clearly exemplify the Buddhist textual tradi-
)1'S classical statements of spiritual superiority over Hinduism.
the rites are always anchored in worshipping the triratna-
IDMddha, Dharma, Sarpgha-and the guru ma1}r;lala of the
Vajrayana pantheon. Second, the great gods of the
in?ian tradition are specifically proclaimed as converts to Bud-
as in the case of Siva-Mahankal, who "wears
on the crown." According to the later Buddhist texts,
is also a world guardian who emanated from and serves
116 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
the celestial Bodhisattva Sristikantha A valokiteSvara (Lewis
1984:474). For Mahayana Buddhists to worship ViSI)u for
worldly boons is not a "syncretic action':, as some observers have
claimed: it is consistent with ancient Buddhist texts defining
both orthodox.y and orthopraxy which allow laymen the choice
of worshipping all gods for their worldy betterment (Robinson
1966).10 To perform a Mahayana vrata is' to be reminded
explicitly of this subordination of all "Hindu" deities, as the
classical norms of Buddhist hierarchy are translated into popular
devotional practice.
Summary: Vratas and Mahayana Buddhism
Vratas create one of the main religious constituencies within
the Newar Buddhist community, uniting families and friends
who regularly perform rites to a chosen deityll. Most groups
are not exclusive, have shifting'memberships, and are relatively
ephemeral. The esoteric rituals are important and recurring
occasions of demarcation between Vajrayana initiates and the
rest of Newar Buddhist society.
Vratas underline the Mahayana Buddhist layman's chiefre-
ligious orientations. The most popular vratas, not surprisingly,
are to deities with the most important temples in Kathmandu:
Avalokitesvara, Mahakala, Svayambhu, Tara. Relying on priests
from the sar{tgha, laymen make offerings (dana) to these deities,
who, in return, are thought to grant specific boons, good
tune, heaven, or even supernormal powers and the possibility,
of enlightenment itself. As the stories in the accounts below
proclaim, the vrata devotee's underlying religious motivation is
to make large quantities of pU1Jya that can unambiguously im-
prove one's destiny in sar{tsiira. ..,
It is important to highlight the vratakatha, the stories
serted in the ritual proceedings. Recounted by the officiant for;
the patron, these tales provide a doctrinal element in the per;;;
formance of the vrata. Both translations in Part II provide exam-J
pIes of the literary style common in "popular" Buddhist texts:;
to illustrate a doctrinal point or explain a practice, the Buddha,
tells a story and often, as we see in the Tara text, stories
embedded inside of stories. The plots are simple and the
clear, if simple-minded. All the katha also assert linkages betweeJiJ
their "accounts and the Buddhas, making explicit claims for their
These sorts of stories, thus, are important sources for
articulating the Mahayana Buddhist layman's sense of world,
religious ethics, and ethos.
'.,"' Finally; we can comment on the structure of Indic Buddhist
tradition from these vratas in their Nepalese setting. Newar Bud-
"dhist tradition is centered in the vajracarya sa'T(tgha whose mem-
bers preserve the texts and serve as "masters of ritual ceremony".
"Tradition is outlined in the texts, but it must be "extracted"
"iecurringly by those taking on the roles handed down through
guru-guru lineages. Buddhism in every society is as dependent
,\onvihara institutions as on the lay patrons who provide a liveli-
rhood for the sa'T(tgha specialists. The Newar vrata observances
show that this inter-relatedness and synchronicity was funda-
rllental to all Buddhist societies, including those adhering to
Vajrayana traditions,
;i[ Studies of Two Modern Vrata Texts
Notes on the Author and the Texts
Kathmandu vajracaryas have long been known as the most
ritualists in the Valley (Locke 1985: 256); not surprisingly,
{(the two modern vrata texts translated in this article were com-
,posed by a member of a Kathmandu sa'T(tgha. For the past 30
Badri Bajracarya has been a dominant figure working to
the condition of Newar Buddhism. In 1977, he started
for vajracarya young men to teach them the proper
forms, mantras, and literary traditions that are at the fouIl-
of their priestly role. These efforts have been supported
many laymen and Badri has a regular enrollmenmt of over
fiRf,ty students, ages 8 to 25, who come for instruction. He has
_rffee?ed in ha." promir:ent. elder .vajracarya. pandits
I:i-l.e,nodically partICIpate In the teachIng, IncludIng Sansknt study.
The texts presented here are a product of his attempt to
)ve the modern Vajrayana tradition. To reverse the decline
the ritual proficiency among many vajracaryas, a trend that
saccelerated since the conquest of the Valley in 1769, Badri
other leading vajracaryas have written many ritual manuals.
118 JIABS VOL. 12 NO. I
These texts are similar in the way in which they outline and
explain the chief pujas of the Newar tradition. Both draw upon
older Sanskrit manuscripts. Texts su<;:h as these are intended
primarily for fellow priests and devout laymen (uPasakas). Be-
sides providing a wealth of information on Newar Buddhism,
these selections can also be read as examples of modern efforts
to restore the older Mahayana-Vajrayana tradition. 12
In terms of general content, both texts present the same
information: they specify the vrata's ritual agenda, then recOunt
the story (or stories) that explain the origin or proven efficacy
of the observance. Our texts do differ in their depth of coverage:
the Tara vrata manual is more for vajracarya priests, as it contains
a detailed outline of each ritual, complete with mantras; the
Caturdasi vrata text is more for laymen: it is much shorter, giving
only the most minimal ritual outline, and focuses on describing
the supernormal powers (siddhi) that can be attained by perform-
ing the vrata.
In rendering the translations I have retained the author's
terse shorthand style and insert minimal explanatory glosses
parenthetically. The divisions in the guidebooks have also been
retained. Further exploration of many subjects in these texts
must be reserved for later publications.
The Tara Vrata
Tara is the most popular goddess of the Northern Buddhist
tradition (Beyer 1973; Sircar 1967): she is regarded as the em-
bodiment of AvalokiteSvara's compassion and has 21 forms. In
Nepal, Tara is most often worshipped in her white and green
incarnations (Vajracarya 1972); Saptalocana Tara, the "Seven-
eyed Tara," is also common in Newar shrines. 13 In the
Kathmandu Valley, there are two especially popular places for
performing this vrata nowadays: the Tara temple in Itum Baha
and the Tara tirtha north of Sankhu, at Bagduval. (The text
translated below is to the green Tara and describes an incident
from the sacred history of the latter place.) We also should note
that the old N ewar Buddhist greeting, "Taremarp" (popularly
thought to be derived from "Tara": "I take refuge in
Tara"), indicates this deity's historical importance in the
Nepalese se.tting. . .
Accordmg to the popular Newar understandmg, the Tara
vrata should be done at least once early in one's lifetime, since
performing the vrata can avert a person's premature death. For
this reason it is also observed in the name of a person who is
seriously ill.
This very detailed text alludes to several practices that merit
special comment. The requirement of torama offerings suggests
connections with Tibetan Buddhist ritual traditions and is doubt-
less a marker of cultural history (Lewis 1988; Lewis 1989;
Templeman 1981: 38). The guide also prescribes that the par-
ticipants make clay caityas, a ritual called dya/:t tkayegu in Newari.
For this, householders use special molds to fashion caityas of
various styles from black clay. Chanting mantras during every
part of the process, they impart life eJlva") to each caitya by
inserting paddy grains into it. Dya/:t tkayegu is usually done in
the holy lunar month called GUl)la, a time in the early summer
monsoon for special Buddhist devotions (Lewis 1984: 349-368).
In the Kathmandu Valley, this is also the period when the Tara
vrata is most commonly observed .
. Translation
(Badri Bajracarya, Sri Aryya Tara Devyaih Vrata Vidhi Katka
Kathmandu: Popular Art Printing Press, 1980.)
Rites and practices to be performed for the worship of Arya Tara
Construct a Tara mar;dala. Place in the centre of the mar;dala
an iron tripod (mas) for [holding the] kalafa. Place on the tripod
a big kalafa. Arrange the following items in their proper place
around the kalafa: medicine powder (kalafavasa), five different
kinds of grain (pancabihi) , jasmine flowers, grains of unpolished
rice (akhe), parched rice (taye) , buds of a kind of long lasting
grass (pancapallava kosbur[l) , a jasmine branch, a tuft of tuphi
(yellow flowering shrub that is usually used for making brooms),
a ceremonial umbrella (chatra), feather of a pea-fowl, and a tiny
earthen bowl filled with polished rice with a whole betel nut
and a coin set on it (kisam. Place grain powder symbolic of the
120 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
astamar;,gala on a traditional dish called thayebhu.
Place on the four corners: ceremonial metal mirrors Vola
nhayekan) and vermillion powder stgnds(sinhal;mu). Pass the
sacred green string of five strands five times round the kal
space. Place a5tamar;,gala and wind bells (phayegan) in their proper
places. Also put up a canopy. Arrange around the mar;,r;iala of
Arya Tara certain items: Buddhist begging bowls (gulupa), water
bowls (tinea) and barley flour images (torama). Place oblation
pots (baupa) , curd bowls (pati) , a small kalasa, a tiny earthen
vessel with a serpent painted on it (nagabhonca) , and a lamp
(mata) in front of the mar;,r;iala. Consecrate the pancagavya in a
small earthen bown and an oval-shaped bowl of rice beer (patra),
and perform the gurumar;,r;iala puja on a ma1Jr;iala with a lotus
pattern and with an image of a deity at the center.
Do a ceremonial cleansing with water from a holy river.
Perform argha puja (an offering of water to the Sun god). Con-
secrate the votive offerings. Perform gurumar;,r;iala puja. Purify
with pancagavya. Sanctify the clay to be used for fashioning caitya
shrines. Have the shrines fashioned from the sanctified clay that
has been pressed into moulds. Sprinkle red power and holy
water over them. Perform samadhi meditation. Offer puja to all
of these: the small kalasa, pati, nagabhonca, lamp (mata), the large
kalasa, a5tama1Jgala, mirror, and the sinhal;mu. Worship the image
of the deity installed there. Offer puja to the gulupa, deva, tinea,
and the toramas. Sanctify the big mar;,r;iala and place flower petals
on it. Sanctify also the ball of thread by sprinkling water on it
Perform puja as presecribed in saptabidhana (i.e. with mudra se-
quences accompanied by mantra recitations). Make a bali offering
[for spirits] and perform cakupuja [in honour of the guardians
of the four quarters].
After this, all those who are undergoing the Arya Tara vrata
may be asked to squat in an orderly row and to construct mar;,r;ialas.
before them. Have them receive pancagavya and make votive
offerings. Have them perform gurumar;,r;iala puja. Make them
worship the mata lamp and the clay caityas made with their own
hands. Have them duly perform mar;,r;iala pllja of the Buddha,
Dharma, and Sangha. Have them take refuge in the triratna by
repeating in chorus "Ratna triyar(t me (Buddha/Dharma!
Sarpgha) sarar;,ar(t" three times.
Method of Worshipping the Large Arya Tara MaJ)<;lala
Sprinkle on the ma17rjala holy drops of water from a conch
shell while reciting these mantras:
Keep touching the vW17rjala with your ring finger covered
with yellow powder while reciting the following devotional couplet:
Place a flower on the small wheat cake image (goja) while
HUM." Then sprinkle a drop of water on the goja while reciting:
Placing Flowers on the MaJ)<;lala
TICCHA SVAHA" [and place a flower] on the head [of the
mary;lala] .
Recite: "OM TARE TUTARE TURE SVAHA" [and place a
flower] on the heart [of the ma17rjala].
. . Recite: "OM HRM TRIM HUM PHAT sv AHA" [and place a
flower] on the navel [of the ma17rjala).
Placing Eight Lotus Flower Petals on the MaJ)<;lala
SVAHk and place a lotus petal in front [of the ma17rjala).
SV AHA" and place a lotus petal on the right [of the ma17rjala].
,sy AHk and place a lotus petal [behind the ma17rjala].
122 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
CCHA sv AHA" and place a lotus petal on the left [of the
mary;lala ].
sv AHA" and place a lotus petal [on the right down side corner
of the mar:u;lcda].
SV AHA" and place a lotus [petal on the right upside corner of
the ma1J(iala.]
sv AHA" and place a lotus petal [on the left upside corner of
the ma1J(iala].
sv AHA" and place a lotus petal [on the left down side corner
of the ma1J(iala].
Placing 21 Lotus Flower Petals on the Mal)<;lala
Placing Flower Petals at the Four Corners of the MaI;H;lala
J. Recite: 01\1 VAJRA LASYE HUM and place flower petals on
't:he right up side corner.
,;\ Recite: 01\1 VAJRA MALETAA1\1 and place flower petals on
'theright down side corner.
Recite: 01\1 VAJRA GITYE HRI1\1 and place flower petals on
:.tpeleft up side corner .
..... Recite: 01\1 VAJRA NRTYE AB and place flower petals on
the left down side corner.
Placing Ten Flowers on the Square-shaped Dasakrodha Patra
.,.Recite the following mantras and place flower petals in the
the south, in the west, in the north, in the southeast, in
.the southwest, in the northwest, in the northeast and, for the
,sttwo, on the either sides.
Placing Flowers on Four Entrances of the Mar;c;lala
[Recite:] 01\1 VAJRAM KusAvA VAjRAPUSPA1\1 PRA-
TICCHA sv AHA [and place flower petals] on the easterIl entrance.
SV AHA [and place flower petals] on the southern entrance.
[Recite:] 01\1 VAjRA SPHOTAvA VAjRAPUSPA1\1 PRA-
TICCHA sv AHA [and place flower petals] on the western en-
[Recite:] 01\1 VAjRAM BESAvA VAjRAPUSPA1\1 PRA:
TICCHA SV AHA [and place flower petals] on the northern en-
Placing Flowers for the Governors (Lokapala) of the Ten Directions
Do puja with [offerings consisting of] wheat, maize, peas\
rice, sweetmeats, fruits, betalleaf, betal nuts etc. .
'Sprinkle holy water on the sacred string from the conch
hell. Apply a yellow tika mark to its knot. Have the worshippers
twenty-one times to the sacred string with their palms, the
right left_ for the man:.tra
%rrecitatlon 1S_: 'OM NAMO ARYA Sl!T-
" After this, the sacred string is placed round the mar:uj,ala.
VASASYE SVAHA". Now do pancopacara puJa.
Then twenty-one jasmine flowers are placed in the center
of the sacred thread with the recitation of the mantra: "OM
Perform pancopacara puJa.
Offer argha water. Recite the dasa kusala 15 and offer the
......... Take rice and flowers dipped in water and let the liquid
lOwdown to the goJa. [The mantra recited is:]
126 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
/ / STOTRA / /
Offer the ratnamarpjala and bow to it. Put the sacred string
round the worshipper's neck. Read from the holy manuscripts
the teaching of the dharma [i.e. the vratakatha]. Take a special
fruit -scented bath Construct [a small] marpjala and
worship it with offerings of rice and sanctified food (saga'f(l).
Dispense the tika benediction. Then the pujii is over. Gently rub
the sacred string with sacred water from the kalasa. Give out
the stuff from the special ritual plate (thiiyabhu).
Holy water from the kalasa may not be distributed at this time:
it is distributed only on the river bank.
Hand over the mirror and sinhaltmu [ready for carrying].
Let the chief worshipper carry the kalasa and other worshippers
the maIJ.<;lala to immerse them in the river.
Place at the river bank the kalasa. Fashion a caitya and niiga
from sanctified sand. Duly worship and circumambulate them.
Take water in the cupped palm and splash gently on the kalasa ..
Take consecrated water collected from the kalasa as a blessing
and return home and have a feast.
The Vratakathii:
The Sanctity of Tara TZrtha at Bagduval
A Brahman named GUI).akar dwelt in a village called
Bimavati Nagar near the Himalaya. He had only one son named
Dhanakar. He was married to a lovely woman of high birth.
Dhanakar was addicted to the habits of eating abhorred food,
drinking alcohol, and visiting prostitutes. GUI).akar, his father,
insisted on his total abstinence from such addictions, but was
unable to deter him.
Ultimately, his father died. After the death of his father,
Dhanakar became much more addicted to the habit of drinking
alcohol and visiting prostitutes. His wife, on the other hand, was
very kind and faithful to her husband. Although he had such a
good wife, he did not abstain from visiting prostitutes, eating
unclean food and drinking alcohol. Very much fed up with his
bad habits, [one day] his wife implored him, "My lord, why have
you taken up the harmful habit of drinking? Your father did all
he could to prevent you from becoming an addict. He is no more
and now there are none to tell you not to be given over to such
bad and harmful habits. Since you have not [yet] given up your
bad habits, I pray that you not be an addict."
Dhanakar grew very angry with his wife for all that she had
said to him. He beat her and sent her away. She did not know
where to go and so went to the forest with her heart broken.
Finally she sat down to rest under a tree and sobbed to herself,
"1 might have acted sinfully in my previous life as a result of
which 1 am now punished and married to such a cruel husband.
1 must be the most ill-fated woman in the world. Where am 1 to
go? Who shall 1 stay with? 1 am distraught with my life. I wish
1 were taken away by death but death is not imminent. So 1
should kill myself."
Thinking in this way while roaming round the forest, one
day she saw a sage living in a cave. She approached him and
asked, "Why, saint, are you living alone in the forest?" The sage
said that he would tell her something helpful. He said, "All those
who are born must die. All in this present life must face the
consequences of the actions that they performed in their previous
, lives. Similarly in our next lives we reap the results of the deeds
that we do in our present life. If we do good deeds, we live a
happy life. If we do evil deeds, we live an unhappy life. To be
born, to be old, and to die are great sufferings. The cause of my
128 ]IABSVOL.12NO.l
living in such a lonely place near the Himalayas is to get rid of
all this suffering." He further went on to say, "Oh gentle lady!
Whose wife are you? What is your naI?e? Why have you come
to this forest? Who is here escorting you? Who have you come
here with? Tell me the truth."
Upon his asking these questions, the female Brahman could
not hold back her tears and sobbed out her story to the sage:
"Close to this village lived a Brahman named GUl)akar who had
a bad-natured son called Dhanakar. He was addicted to drinking
and prostitution. His father died without being able to correct
his character, despite great exertions. After the death of his father
he went from bad to worse and even stopped returning home.
Once when he came home I begged him to give up his bad habits.
But he beat me and sent me away. I am this wretched man's
wife. I feel I am very unfortunate and roam this forest now with
the intention of committing suicide."
After hearing what the female Brahman said in her tearful
words, the sage said, "0 gentle lady! I am going to tell you
something good. Listen! Human life, you know, is very precious.
Only very fortunate beings can [ever] have a human life. You
need to remember with reverence Arya Tara and pray to her
for deliverance from your sufferings. Mind you, 0 gentle Lady!
Those committing suicide become blemished with an evil destiny,
as illustrated in the following story:
"Once there lived in a city a devout and pious merchant
whose wife was arrogant, unfaithful, and ill-natured. No matter
how well fed and nicely clad she was by her husband, she never
acknowledged it gratefully. She always found fault with him and
picked a quarrel. Dissatisfied with this wife, the merchant married
a second wife. Upon doing this, his first wife committed suicide
by throwing herself into a pond. Because of this suicide, she was
doomed to hell and subjected to untold sufferings. For this
reason, 0 gentle Lady, do not commit suicide! If you want to be
liberated from your sufferings, pray to Goddess Arya Tara. To
the east of this Sankhod Mountain is the bathing spot of the
Goddess Arya Tara who, as instructed by Amitabha [Buddha],
visited the holy spot to liberate suffering people from their mis-
eries. Go to bathe at this holy t'irtha and offer sincere prayers to
the goddess Arya Tara. Then you will be delivered from your
Hearing this from the sage, the female Brahman asked him
how the Tara t'irtha came into being. The sage replied, "0 Gentle
Lady, Listen, I'll tell you how it originated. Once when the de-
ousted Lord Brahma, Mahesvara and Indra from
their thrones, these gods went to take resort in Ugra Tara, a
,go<!,dess in tu.rn asked themto pray and recite the mr:ntra
,',of Arya Tara. StraIght away the gods to the present SIte of
'the Tara Tirtha and recited the mantra of Arya Tara as directed.
''After the recitation of the mantra by the gods, the goddess Arya
.Ftara made her appearance right at the tirtha and liberated
" Brahma, Mahdvara and Indra from their miseries. 0
"Gentle Lady! You also may perform puja to Ugra Tara Bajrajo-
;gini:; go to bathe Tara Tirtha where you should also meditate
'and offer prayers.
;. Hearing this [second story] from the sage, the female
,Brahman climbed up the hill with enthusiasm to have a darsan
;ofUgra Tara Bajrajogini: [of Sankhu] and thereafter went to the
Tara Tirtha. On reaching the tirtha, she bathed and offered pujii,
said heartfelt prayers.
In answer to her prayers, the goddess Arya Tara took pity
:"on the female Brahman and appeared before her in green com-
Jplexion and in abhaya mudrii holding a flower in one of her hands.
;iThe female Brahman fell prostrate on the ground before the
;;goddess and offered her pujii while chanting devotional songs.
f;{The goddess blessed her and vanished out of sight. The female
Brahman spent the rest of her life at this Tiira Tirtha living upon
,.fruits and water nearby, meditating and observing the Arya Tara
:;vrata and offering prayers to the triratna. When she finally died
was transported to Sukhiivati bhuvana.
V rata
- -'
,.iOur second Mahayana vrata concerns Mahakala (New.
dya:), a very popular deity in Nepal who is found in
different settings. Opposite GaI).esh or Hanuman, his images
!guard the entranceways of most Newarviharas (Locke 1985: 8).
;M.a.hakala is also commonly found alone as a protector inside
,exterior niches of private homes. Moreover, a free-standing
of Mahakala is located just outside the former town
tP,9tmdaries of Kathmandu and this temple receives great atten-
I ..
130 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
tion from both Hindu and Buddhist devotees. The regular
priests of this tern pie are vajracaryas.
Mahakala likely evolved from the lndic Siva-Bhairava as
later Buddhists incorporated this fierce deity into their pan.
theon. (One Newar Buddhist myth, in fact, recounts his coming
to Nepal from Tibet (Lewis 1984: 75).) The deity's Buddhist
identity is also shown iconographically: he is depicted with the
eastern celestial Buddha, on his crown. There are
also several later tantras dedicated to Mahakala known in Sanskrit
and Tibetan recensions found in the Kathmandu Valley.
The introduction to the vrata text states that the CaturdaSi
vrata is also called the Mahii7(lkal vrata and that it has been
popular in Nepal "from ancient times." The vrata should be
observed only on the fourteenth day of the dark lunar fortnight,
a time typically associated with dangerous, blood sacrifice-taking
deities. The introduction also cites the textual source of the
vratakatha as "the Kanitabdana
in which Sakyamuni Buddha
explains the rite to his famous disciple Sariputra.
(Badri Bajracarya, Mahii7(lkal. Kathmandu, 1978. 16 pages.)
Bathe in a holy river. With the purity of mind and body,
clad in clean clothes, display a scroll painting of Maharp.kal in
a pleasant place. Decorate the site with flags, festoons, and a
canopy. Get all of the materials required for the vrata ready and
then begin the pilja.
The pilja may begin by invoking the great teacher for bles-
sings. Seek refuge in the triple gems. Construct a maTJrjala of
Maharp.kal, the guardian deity of the Buddhist Dharma, and
worship it by making offerings of flowers, incense, lighted wick,
and then make an olibali offering
Look at Maharp.kal and
pledge to observe the eight precepts. 19 He who on this fourteenth
day of the dark lunar fortnight performs this fast, pledging to
observe the eight precepts wholeheartedly, will have full control
over his enemies and can ascend to the status of head of state.
The Emancipation that may result from this caturda.Sf vrata is
well illustrated in the following story:
In the remote past there dwelt in the city of Varanasi a king
named Brahmadatta. Every month or: the fourteenth day of the
dark lunar fortnight he visited the Siva temple located to the
south of the city, bathed, worshipped Maharpkal, fasted, and
then pledged to observe the eight precepts. As a result of this
meritorious act, his country never suffered from natural disasters
and his reign was blessed.
One day, a foreign king came to attack Varanasi with his
army that was well equipped with weapons. At the sight of the
the people of Varanasi were panic-stricken. They ap-
proached the king, led by spokesmen. One of them said, "Your
Majesty Brahmadatta! Our country is about to be attacked by a
foreign enemy. The country is in a panic. Oh Your Majesty!
Command us as to what we should do!"
The king responded: "Countrymen! Pleasures are short-
lived. They are as precarious and transitory as silvery water drops
on lotus leaves. Do not panic because of this king's army. Be
assured that they will be driven away through my meritorious
Upon hearing this, the spokesman replied, "Your Majesty!
We have no knowledge of what powers you have by virtue of
your meritorious actions. We want you to demonstrate this power
by resisting and destroying the present enemy. It will be pointless
to repent after our country has fallen into the hands of its
After hearing the request of his people, King Brahmadatta
immediately went to the holy river and bathed. The he went to
the Siva temple that night, fasted, and worshipped Maharpkal.
He also meditated upon Mahal)kal constantly without diverting
his attention from other things. As a result, the deity Maharpkal
. in his terrifying form appeared before the king and asked in a
manner: "Oh King! Why are you invoking me in medita-
tion?" Once the king saw Maharpkal, he bowed down to him and
chanted a hymn of praise which is written here:
[ 1 ] Hail to you Maharpkal, destroyer of evildoers and bestower
of boons!
[ 2 ] Hail to you of the round red eyes, bright like a flaming light!
[3] Hail to you with curly brown hair and rough skin!
[ 4 ] Hail to you with a big and terrifying dark body that is sur-
rounded by a halo!
[5] Hail to you with shapely body and shapely limbs!
[ 6 ] Hail to you with a fierce fanged face that loves flesh and
[ 7] Hail to you with the stamp of Buddha on your
crown and clothed in tigerskin! '
[ 8 ] Hail to you, the world in miniature, you with the thousand
After chanting this hymn, the King then said, "0 Lord
Maharpkal, the mightiest of the mighty, I am going to the
battlefield. I pray to receive your boon of the the eight
powers that will enable me to vanquish my enemies."
Upon hearing this supplication, Maharpkal granted him the
powers and then vanished out of sight. These siddhi
were as follows:
1. anjanasiddhi: power of being in visible to enemies;
2. guthikasiddhi: power of being invulnerable to enemies;
3. padukasiddhi: power of being able to fly in the sky;
4. sidhausadhisiddhi: power of being immune to and
for living a long life;
5. manisiddhi: power of being able to have inexhaustible
6. mantrasiddhi: power of being able to materialize one's desires;
7. basyasiddhi: power of being able to vanquish enemies;
8. rajyasiddhi: power of being able to rule over the country
Armed with such precious powers, when King Brahmadatta
went like a lion to the battlefield with his hand raised high, his
enemies were panic-stricken and ran to him for refuge.
Maharpkal, who has been regarded as an effective ally in
vanquishing enemies and who has acted as a guardian for the
protection of the Buddhist Dharma and Sarpgha, deserves our
veneration and invocation.
Buddha, the Enlightened One, narrated this story to'
Sariputra on how the Maharpkal vrata helped King Brahmadatta
single-handedly vanquish the enemy king and his army and
peacefully rule over his country for many years. Therefore he
who the caturdafi vrata invoking Maharpkal will succeed
; his work and be free from dangers posed by enemies.
1. Field work was conducted in Kathmandu from 1979-82 and in 1987.
The author gratefully acknowledges grant support from the Fulbright Fellow-
ship Program and assistance from the U.S. Educational Foundation in
Kathmandu. Ratna Muni Bajracarya and Mani GopalJha merit special recog-
nition for their most helpful critical readings of the translated texts.
Note that Newari and Sanskrit terms have been rendered according to
the spellings in the texts, and except for rendering vrata consistently through-
the article, I have made no attempt to correct their spellings to conform
ito'dassical Sanskrit orthography. The problem is that as yet there is no au-
thoritative, comprehensive dictionary for the Newari language (New.: Neva:
Bhay), although Manandhar (1986) has been used where relevant. Readers
will note the N ewar author's inconsistency in rendering b and v, and y and j,
among others. Although this may appear sloppy to the philological scholar,
the Newar reader suffers no loss of understanding.
2. This overview aptly presents the hierarchy of Newar society (based
Quigley 1986: 78 and Gellner 1986: 105):
'priestly castes
,High Castes
:Agricultural Castes
Service Castes
Unclean Castes

Painters, potters, oil pressers, barbers, etc.
Butchers, Tailors, Sweepers, etc.
Other important studies on Newar society have been made by Gerard Toffin
(1975 and 1986), Colin Rosser (1964), and Hiroshi Ishii (1986 and 1987).
Consult Toffin (1986) for the most complete bibliographical information. For
.an important study of a vrata performed predominantly by Hindu Newar
layfolk, see Linda litis' monumental translation and analysis of the Svastiinz
Vrata (1985). '
3. The kalaia is a ceremonial vessel. As stated in a modern Newar
commentary, "The main aim of the Kalasa pujii is to make the deity present
jn theKalasa by means of Siidhana and then through the of the Kalasa
bring about a participation in nirvana itself." (Quoted in Locke 1979: 96).
" .. 4. According to the Newar Buddhists, this is the day when an image
of Buddha is placed on top of the linga at Pasupati, the central
temple of modern Nepalese Buddhism.
5. This vrata is included because it is commonly done among non-vajrii_
caryas, ie. among the Mahayana laymen that constitute roughly 95% of Newar
6. Most Newar Buddhist laymen do not express embarrassment for
their in a ritual guided by a Brahman priest. This willingness to
do so exemplifies the extent to which urban Buddhists feel free to utilize the
extraordinarily broad spectrum of religious options in their midst. It is not
surprising that business families would take to this vrata, just as they readily
worship during the Tihar festival.
7. According to my surveys, about 65% of the Kathmandu Dray families
have a member who once did Satya Narayary,a Vrata.
8. The proper assessment of later Buddhist ritualism must proceed
from the following historical perspective: modern Newar Buddhist and
Brahmanical ritualism represent two lineages originating from ancient Indian
religious traditions. Both draw upon a common core of symbolism, ritual
procedure norms, and basic cosmological assumptions.
Despite each being doctrinally diverse and institutionally acephalic,
Hindu and Buddhist traditions have, at times, profoundly affected each other,
as Hindu-Buddhist relations for 1700 years created the chief dialectic in Indiall
religious history. Both should be seen as totalizing cultural phenomena, with
philosophical doctrines and myths that proclaim their spiritual domination in
any religious environment, including over each other. (See Lewis 1984: 468...:
481 for a fuller treatment of this complex issue.)
9. To regard the Vajracaryas as "Buddhist Brahmins" (Greenwold
1974) is more true is the social domain than in religious content: most Buddhist
ritual implements differ from Hindu analogs, the mantras chanted are distinctly
Vajrayana, and later Buddhist doctrine is interwoven in a thoroughgoing
manner. One must emphasize the transformations as well as continuities be-
tween the Vajracaryas and Brahmans to understand N ewar religious history.
10. This accommodation is well-documented in Theravada societies
(Tambiah 1970; Gombrich 1971). It is noteworthy that there are also passages
in the Mahayana literature that object to offerings made to non-converted
deities. (See Snellgrove 1987: 76.)
11. The other main sources of Newar religious organization are
guthis, institutions created to facilitate members' performing specific rituals
(cremations, temple worship, pilgrimage, etc.), usually on a regular basis,
Much has been written on the wide array of gu/his in the Newar communities
(Toffin 1975; Gellner 1987; Lewis 1984: 174-182). A few gu/his in Kathmandu
were formed to underwrite regular vrata performances.
12. Wadley's comments on these manuals in India apply to the Newar
context, as do several of her conclusions, "While an explanation for this grow;
ing popularity cannot be explicitly stated, several factors clearly are important.
Increasing literacy allows thousands to use texts where once they had relied
solely on oral traditions ... Finally, texts are valued in Hinduism in part.
because of their traditional inaccessibility: to many newly literate persons,
reading a pamphlet is more authentic and prestigious than reciting the stories
of elders. The stories of the elders themselves taken the of
h teachiBg of gurus, to whom people had httle access. Currently, then, WrItten
,t e
are replacing the elders and act as a stand-in for the traditions of the
teX 50) "
ru 0983: 1 .
gu 13. This pamphlet includes a sixty-verse Sanskrit dharm;i to Tara called
(TariiSata) Nama Stotra Prarambha. The first 27 verses describe
;he setting of Sakyamuni's revelation of this dharary,i on Mount Potalaka, Vajra-
t cni Bodhisattva's request to preach, and a brief account of the boons won
fIr'reciting this dhiirary,i. The next fifteen verses give the 108 Names of Tara,
itheach form's mantra. The final verses give rules concerning the recitation
recount the fruits of recitation. The published text (Vajracarya
1972) also provides another Tara avadana different from the one translated
in this study.
14. A common Indic ritual that consists of five kinds of offerings: flowers,
.incense, light, balm, food. See Lewis 1984: 192-198.
15. This dhiirary,i very commonly chanted by a vajracarya priest for a
. This recitation is said to absolve the hearer from 10 forms of papa
16. Affiitabha Buddha's paradise .
. 17. This Sanskrit title for this text, the Kanitavadana, has not been men-
tioned in any published Nepali account. The only study of a Newari avadana
}s.thatby Jorgensen (1931), the Vicitrakarry,ikavadanor;lr7hrta; but in this work,
.ihereis no mention of the Mahakala story.
e:;> 18. In the Newar tradition, this bali can literally mean an animal sacrifice.
'While blood offerings are approved by some tantric Buddhist texts, some
laymen prefer to offer substitutes that do not entail actual killing. See Owens
.(1988) for a discussion of the relationship between N ewar Buddhist traditions
arid blood sacrifice.
19. This ancient Buddhist custom of laymen taking on extra precepts
(beyond their usual five) during a special observance is also still common in
Theravada countries (Wells 1975) .
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The Kathavatthu Niyama Debates *
by James P. McDermott
A series of debates concerning what has been variously trans-
lated as "assurance," "fixity," "destiny," and "certitude" (Pali:
niyama. Cf. the related niyata) is scattered widely through the
These controversies are primarily con-
cerned with the implications of entry into the way of deliverance.
According to the Kathiivatthupakara1J,a Atthakathii, the Andhakas,
their sub-groups the Aparaseliyas and Pubbaseliyas, and the
Uttarapathakas, as well as the Theravadins were involved in the
controversies over niyama. The purpose of this paper is to under-
take a systematic analysis of the Kathiivatthu niyama debates in
order to determine the fundamental underlying doctrinal con-
The first debate centered on niyama occurs at Kvu IV.8.
The controversy focuses on the implications of an account from
the Ghatzkiira Sutta (M II.45ff.). According to this text the
Bodhisatta was born as a brahmin, Jotipala, during the lifetime
of Kassapa Buddha. His friend, the potter Ghatlkara, invited
Jotipala to go with him to hear Kassapa Buddha preach. Jotipala
refused, insulting Kassapa Buddha in the process. But GhatIkara
. did not give in, and one day boldly seizing his higher caste friend
by the hair coerced Jotipala into agreeing to accompany him.
Having heard Kassapa Buddha in person, Jotipala joined the
sar(l,gha and became a monk. The Mahiivastu relates that Jotipala
expressed his aspiration to become a Buddha himself in the
presence of Kassapa Buddha (Mhvu 1.319ff, esp. 1.335), who
then prophesied Jotipala's eventual enlightenment.
The point at issue atKvu IV.8 concerns whether it is proper
to speak of Jotipala's entry on the path of assurance (niyama
okkanti) under the teaching (pavacana) of the Buddha Kassapa.
140 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
The Andhakas and Uttarapathakas maintained the affirmative.
. The Theravadins, to the contrary, argued that to so hold would
imply that the Buddha-to-be must have been a disciple of Kassa-
pa, which would conflict with the concept of a Buddha as self-de-
veloped (sayambhu) , as one who discovers the path for himself
without the aid of a teacher.
Buddhaghosa's commentary clarifies the meaning of niyama
in this context: "Niyama and brahmacariya (the religious life) are
equivalents for the noble (four-stage) path. And there is no
entrance on that path for bodhisattas, except when they are ful-
filling the perfections ... " (KvuA IV.S). Thus it becomes clear
from the Theravada perspective that the Buddha-to-be could
not have undertaken the austerities which he did prior to his
enlightenment in his last life had he already entered the path
of assurance (niyama); for this is a middle path between the
extremes of self-indulgence, on the one hand, and radical asceti-
cism, on the other. 3
An important implication of the commentary to this con-
troversy, though it is not clear from the Kathavatthu text itself,
is that the Theravadin is concerned to avoid falling into the
admission of predeterminism or a concept of fixed destiny.
Thus, when Buddhaghosa writes: "Buddhas prophesy: 'he will
become a Buddha' simply by the might of their own insight,"4
his point is that Kassapa's prophecy concerning J otipala is to
be seen simply as an enlightened prediction, an example of a
Buddha's insight into the passing of beings according to their
own kamma, rather than as determining his future destiny.
The commentary to Kvu XIII.4 further underlines this
point. It suggests that when a Buddha makes such a prophecy
about an individual, this bodhisatta "may be called assured (niyata)
by reason of the cumulative growth of merit."5
The desire to avoid implying a concept of fixed destiny
implicitly seems to underlie the Theravadin argument at Kvu
VI.I as well. Here the debate concerns whether niyama is uncon-
ditioned (asarikhata). The Andhakas,6 among others, contend
that assurance or fixedness on the path (niyama) is uncon-
ditioned. The intent is to maintain that once one is fixed on the
path so as to assure its fruition, the nature of this assurance is
such that it cannot cease. To argue otherwise is to claim that
assurance is no assurance. The Theravadin objection is that to
use the term "unconditioned" in this way wrongly makes assur-
(niyama) equivalent to nibbiina, which alone in the Therava-
din view is to be classified as unconditioned (asarikhata). Such
an equivalence must be avoided because, as Dhammasarigani 983
makes clear, the unconditioned element is morally indetermi-
nate, ethically neutral (avyakata). The unconditioned stands
the sphere of moral causation. Once this state is achieved,
no further kammic effect is worked on the individual. To main-
tain that this was equally true of entering the path of assurance
inevitably would seem to lead to a concept of determinism.
In light of a distinction basic to the arguments at Kvu XIII.
3 and 4, and, to a lesser extent, Kvu VI. 1 as well, it becomes
more obvious still that niyama (assurance) cannot imply a deter-
minism beyond moral causation. The debate at Kvu XIII.4 cen-
.ters on whether one who is assured (niyata) enters the path of
assurance (niyamar{t okkamati). The Pubbaseliyas and
Aparaseliyas argue the affirmative (KvuA XIII.4.). The Thera-
vadin, to the contrary, distinguishes between assurance (niyama)
oftwo types, depending on whether it is in the right (sammatta
'fi,iyama) or wrong (micchatta niyama) direction. The former is the
noble path which ends in arahantship. The latter, which results
from committing one of the five cardinal crimes (anantarika
kamma )-namely: 1) patricide, 2) matricide, 3) killing an arahant,
4)wQunding a Buddha, or 5) causing a schism in the Buddhist
sarrtgha. (A V.129)-leads to immediate retribution. As the com-
. mentary notes, apart from these two categories, no other mental
phenomena are invariably fixed (KvuA XIII.4.).
Kathavatthu XIII.3 deals with a special case in the application
Of the concept of immediate retribution. The issue concerns
cases where an individual instigates one of the five crimes result-
ing in immediate retribution on death. The U ttarapathakas were
fully consistent in insisting that one who had instigated such a
crime could not enter on the right path of assurance (sammata
niyama). The Theravadin, however, on the basis of a concept
<;>f complete kamma recognized special circumstances under
Which it might be possible for such an individual to enter the
rightpath of assurance (sammatta niyama).
< In his commentary, Buddhaghosa notes that the Therava-
".dinposition distinguishes between two ways in which one can
instigate a cardinal crime, namely 1) through a permanent,
:, ',-: .
142 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
standing injunction involving a consistent attitude and on-going
effort, or 2} through an occasional or impulsive injunction (KvuA.
XIII.3.). Both parties to the debate agree there is no question
that the former way assures one's doom', because there is volition
to carry through. In the latter case, however, the Theravadin
considers remorse and reform possible.
For the Uttarapathaka, even this provides no escape from
the inevitability of immediate retribution on death, and no pos-
sibility for entry.on the right path of assurance. His reasoning
is that remorse (kukkucca) and the agitation and distraction
(uddhacca) that accompany it constitute one of the five hind-
rances (nfvara17as).7 The hindrances blind our mental vision so
that we can neither work for our own benefit nor for that of
others. In their presence, neither absorption concentration
(appana samadhi) nor access concentration (upacara samadhi) is
possible. Each of the hindrances must be permanently overcome
to attain arahantship, and hence, the Uttarapathaka would
argue, assurance (niyama) on the right path.
In opposition the Theravadin imagines a hypothetical case
in which, perhaps on impulse, someone encourages another to
commit one of the four crimes entailing immediate retribution
on death. What if the instigator repents and backs out before
the actual crime is ever committed? Or perhaps, for whatever
reason, the crime is never committed and the instigator comes
to regret his evil intention. In such a case, the Theravadin maine
tains, having come to his senses, the instigator might eventually
overcome his agitation and feelings of remorse. It then could
be possible for him to enter onto the path of proper assurance.
While the Uttarapathaka position is intended to underscore
the heinous nature of the five cardinal crimes, the Theravadins
recognized that, at least to a certain extent, the ethical potential.
of a deed can be counteracted by repentance. Since kamma is
defined as the intentional impulse (cetana) and the act which
follows upon it, the removal of either or both inevitably lessens
the seriousness of the act and reduces its kammic impact.
As I have noted elsewhere, the specific issue at Kvu XIII.3
is but one aspect of a broader controversy which is the focus of
twin debates recorded at Kvu XXI.7 and S.9 Kathiivatthu XXI.8
deals with a thesis shared by the Andhakas and Uttarapathakas
(KvuA XXI.S.) that all kamma is fixed (niyata) in its consequences.
Certain acts by nature bear fruits that ripen in this life, while
thers ripen in the next life, and still a third type of kamma
in existences. Since the three. types are not
convertible one mto another, they must be saId to be fixed
(niyata) in.thei.r To the proponents of this posi-
tion, this ImplIes that certam fixed consequences are bound to
folloW as a result of any given deed, and that the same kammic
effects will be produced whenever that deed is committed. To
the Theravadin this view seems to imply that all action leads
either to assurance in the right direction (sammatta niyama) or
assurance in the wrong direction (micchatta niyama). Since, as we
have already seen above, only commission of one of the crimes
'entailing immediate retribution on death (anantarika kamma)
leads to micchatta niyama, a whole additional category of wrongful
acts which do not entail fixed (niyata) consequences must be
posited. Similarly, not every good deed guarantees attainment
of nibbiina or entry on the path of assurance (niyama okkanti).
Infact, concludes the Theravadin, the vast majority of human
cannot be spoken of as having predetermined conse-
quences, their fruits being colored by the overall character and
moral habit of those who do them, as well as by the circumstances
In the twin to this debate about fixed kamma, the issue is
whether all phenomena are fixed by nature. The Pali reads:
sabbe dhamma niyata 'ti? (Kvu XXI. 7.) Again the Andhakas and
certain Uttarapathakas assert the affirmative (KvuA XXI.7.).
Their point seems to be a simple one: No matter how much
any phenomenon (dhamma) may change, it never gives up its
fundamental nature. To illustrate: matter is material by nature.
,It cannot be otherwise. It can be nothing but matter. That by
nature it cannot be a mental phenomenon goes almost without
It cannot have the nature of feeling, consciousness, or
the like. Thus it is said to be fixed (niyata). All other dhammas
are similarly conceived to be fixed, of immutable nature.
The Theravadin rejects this apparently straightforward
yiew. From his perspective to claim that all dhammas are fixed
(niyata) amounts to a claim of moral determinism; that is, to a
Claim that all phenomena are fixed in terms of their rightness
(sammatta niyata) or wrongness (micchatta niyata). In other words,
this would amount to holding that every dhamma belongs either
144 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
to the category of wrong entailing fixed evil results or to the
category of right entailing fixed good results. Such is contrary
to the sutta where three categories (riisi) are enumerated, namely:
1) micchatta niyato riisi, 2) sammatta niyato riisi, and 3) aniyato nisi,
the last and by far the largest of these categories consisting of
that which is not immutably fixed. 10
According to the commentary (KvuA VA & XIX.7.), the
Uttarapathakas are the proponents of two related theses debated
at Kvu VA and XIX.7 respectively. The former controversy
focuses on the Uttarapathaka claim that "in one not fixed
(aniyata) [on the path] there is insight (iiiiTJa) for going on to
assurance (niyiima gamaniiya )." The rejoinder treats this as a
claim that only the ordinary individual not yet engaged on the
path is capable of developing the insight necessary to assure
achievement of the goal, whereas the path is in fact restricted
to those who have already attained assurance. The point of the
thesis, rather, is that even in one not yet fixed in his pursuit of
that path, the possibility of developing the insight necessary for
success may nonetheless exist. S.Z. Aung and Mrs. Rhys Davids
have described this debate as "a curious bout of ancient dialectic.
At the end of each section the sectary is brought up against the
same rejoinder, compelling him either to contradict his proposi-,
tion or to withdraw."ll As Buddhaghosa's commentary suggests
(KvuA VA.), the contention stems from the Theravadin use of
the term "assurance" (niyiima) as a synonym for the path or way
to arahantship. Thus the Theravadin argument is ultimately
little more than the simple claim that only one already engaged
on the path is assuredly on the path.
Kathiivatthu XIX.7 concerns accanta niyiimato in the case of
an ordinary person <puthujjana). As The Piili Text Society's P i i l i ~
English Dictionary notes, the term accanta can be variously trans"
lated as 1) "uninterrupted, continuous, perpetual," or 2) "final,
absolute, complete."l2 The Uttarapathakas hold that in the case
of a member of 'oi polloi there is accanta niyiimatii. If this is to
be taken as a claim that the entrance of such an individual on
the path is assured, this is to be denied; for members of the
masses are capable of the worst of crimes. If, on the other hand, .
the thesis is to be read as a claim that the assurance of immediate
retribution on death which follows upon commission of a cardi-
nal crime is perpetual, it must be denied as well; for this assur-
nee of retribution extends to the immediately following exis-
orily (KvuA XIX.7.). Finally, if the proposition be taken
to assert that a member of 'oi polloi can feel absolute certitude,
still be rejected because doubt is only put away for good
byone who entered something that the ordinary
person (puthuJJana) .by de!l.mtlOn has not done. .' .
.... In defense of hIS pOSitIOn the Uttarapathaka CItes A IV.II:
;'Consider the person whose ways are wholly black and evil; it
is. thus, monks, he plunges once [-that is, once and for all-]
and drowns."13 The Theravadin denies that this passage is rele-
vant. This denial is clarified by Buddhaghosa's commentary,
\Vhieh suggests that the Uttarapathaka has relied too much on
the letter (vacana) of the text at the expense of its spirit (attho). 14
The Kathiivatthu niyiima debates are thus seen to provide
tlarifieation of what entry onto the path of assurance involves.
They further distinguish assurance in the right direction (samma-
,tta niyiima) from the assurance (micchatta niyiima) of immediate
retribution which results from iinantarika kamma. But why the
interest in these issues which in and of themselves
seem to be of relatively minor import? The answer would seem
.tolie in the recognition that the concept of assurance or the
admission of fixed states of any kind other than nibbiina itself
lead all too easily to the heresies of fatalism/determinism
(niyativiida) , or the belief that "all beings, all that have breath,
all that are born, all that have life are without power, strength,
energy; have evolved according to destiny (niyati), species (sanga-
ti) and nature (bhiiva )." 15 In the Siimmanaphala Sutta (D 1.53.)
view is attributed to Makkhali Gosala. Thus the niyiima de-
,:bates, at least in part, seem formulated implicitly to avoid falling
into the trap of Ajlvika determinism .
'" *Research for this paper was begun with support from a Canisius College
,faculty Summer Research Grant, and completed under a sabbatical leave
p:ovided by Canis ius College with additional support of an N.E.H. Grant for
:Coliege Teachers. An early version of this paper was presented at the VIth
)'V0rld Sanskrit Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 13-20, 1984.
. 1. Kvu IV.S, V.4, VLl, XIII.3-4, XIX.7, and XXI.7-8. In preparing
146 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
this essay the following editions of the Pali texts of the Kathiivatthu and its
commentaries have been used: Bhikkhu J. Kashyap, ed. The Kathiivatthu
Nalanda Devanagarl Pali Series (Pali Publication Board, Bihar Government'
1961); Mahesh Tiwary, ed. The Vol. II;
Atthakathii. (N alanda, Patna: N ava N alanda Mahavihara, 1971); Burmese script
edition of the Kathiivatthu Millatikii and Anutikii from the Paiicapa_
kara1'}amilla(ikii and Paiicapakara1'}iinutikii (1960). The Millatikii and Anut'ika
have been consulted throughout. They add little of significance to the
philosophical understanding of the text.
2. See KvuA IV.7 and IV.8.
3. The story of Jotipala seems to have been particularly problematic
for the Buddhists, since it is also a subject of concern to King Milinda in the
Milindapaiiha (Miln 221-233.). There, however, the issue is different, being
concerned with how someone of J otipala's attainments could have abused the
Buddha Kassapa. Nagasena's solution to the dilemma, it is to be noted, is not
fully consistent with the usual understanding of how kamma operates.
4. KvuA IV.8 as trans. by Shwe Zan Aung & Mrs. Rhys Davids, Points
of Controversy, or Subjects of Discourse (London: Luzac for P.T.S., 1960 reprint
of 1915 ed.), 168, and adopted by Bimala Churn Law, The Debates Commentary,
Pali Text Translation Series, No. 28 (London: Luzac for P.T.S., 1969 reprint
of 1940 ed.), 97.
5. As trans. by Aung and Rhys Davids, Points of Controversy, 275, and
adopted by Law, Debates Commentary, 175. Aung and Rhys Davids read puiiii'u-
ssadattii for puiiiiassa datvii. See 275, fn. 3.
6. See KvuA VI.l.
7. On the nfvara1'}as see D I. 73, A I.3, S 11.23, and M 1.60, for example.
Also see Nyanaponika Thera, The Five Mental Hindrances, Wheel Publication
No. 26 (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1961).
8. See James P. McDermott, "Karma and Rebirth in Early
in Wendy D. O'Flaherty, ed. Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions,
(Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1980; Indian ed. Delhi: Motilal Banarsi-
dass, 1983), 187-189 on the concept of complete kamma in the Pali Nikii)'as
and the
9. See James P. McDermott, "The Kathavatthu Kamma Debates," Jour:
nal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 95.3 (1975), 429-430.
10. See D III.217. Cf. Nett 96.
11. Aung and Rhys Davids, Points of Controversy, 178, fn. 1.
12. T.W. Rhys Davids and William Stede, P.E.D. (London: Luzac for
P.T.S., 1966 reprint of 1921-1925 ed.), s.v.
13. As trans. by E.M. Hare, The Book of the Gradual Sayings, Vol. IV,
P.T.S. Translation Series, No. 26 (London: P.T.S.; distr. Routledge & Kegan
Paul, 1978 reprint of 1935 ed.), 7. Parenthesis added by this writer following
the reading of KvuA XIX.7.
14. See KvuA XIX.7.
15. D 1.53 as trans. by David J. Kalupahana, Causality: The Central
Philosophy of Buddhism (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1975),33. On
the perceptive translation of sarigati as "species" see ibid., 33-36.
'Verse from the Bhadracarzprar.tidhana
a 10th Century Inscription found at

:fY,Gregory Schopen
;Although it has not been previously recognized or identified, a
from the Bhadracarzprar.tidhiina occurs in a 10th Century
from Nalanda which was published more than forty
ago. The inscription, unique in some ways, of
;tour separate parts which are "engraved round the base of the
ofa small stupa. The first part-A-is a donative record
in two verses of an elaborate kiivya style; B consists of a
verse which is dearly identical to verse 46 of Watanabe's
of the Bhadracarzprar.tidhiina I; C contains what is usually
"the Buddhist creed"; and D contains two more verses
'Sihich come from Buddhist literature.
i1; A first reading of the inscription was left in manuscript by
!!iranand Sastri. When this Il!anuscript was edited and readied
by N.P. Chakravarti he added a very muchim-
proved reading of his own in a footnote.
I re-edit the text here
basis of the plates published in, Nalanda and Its Epigraphic'
MLterial, but my text differs only occasionally from that given

'. The inscription-which has not previously been trans-
of interest from a number of points of view. It provides
a late record of religious activity undertaken by a monk
,f8.r the sake of his teacher.
It provides us with another instance
,2;Lthe inscriptional use of religious verses of a kind already
from other sites. From Swat we have two inscriptions
contain a verse that is also found in the Mahiiparinirviir.ta-
the Avadiinasataka, the Dzgha- and SaT(lyutta-nikiiyas, the

Jri 149

150 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Theragatha, the Jataka, the Gandhari Dharmapada, and the
; another inscription containing a verse that occurs
in the Mahavastu, the Dzgha, the Dham1Jlapada, the Udanavarga,
and in the concluding verses of the Pratimok:;as of the Milla-
sarvastivadins, Mahasanghikas and Sarvastivadins also comes
from Swat. 5 There is at least one more verse of a similar kind
and distribution found at Swat and another at Guntupalli.
of these are much earlier than our Nalanda inscription, but the
verses found in D are of exactly the same kind: they too also
occur in the Udanavarga, the Avadanasataka, the Divyavadana,
the Dzgha- and Sa7(l.yutta-nikayas, etc. 7 If nothing else our N alanda
inscription establishes the continuity of the old practice of using
apparently well known verses in Buddhist inscriptions.
The primary importance of our inscription, however, must
lie in the fact that it contains the only verse of the Bha-
dracarzprar;idhana known to occur in an Indian epigraph, and
its occurrence establishes the fact that the Bhadracarz was known
and actually used in the 10th Century at N alanda. 10 Moreover,
although several specifically identifiable dharar;zs have been
found at a number of sites, II this verse is the only passage from a
Mahayana text so far known to occur in an Indian inscription. This
fact may suggest that, apart from Dharar;z texts, Mahayana liter-
ature--contrary to what we might think-was not widely
The fact that this passage occurs in a 10th Century
inscription, coupled with the fact that the only known references
to "classical" Mahayana texts in Indian inscriptions come from
the 11 th Century, 13 could suggest in turn that if this literature
was known at all outside of narrow scholarly circles,14 it was
known only very late.
It may also be significant that when a
passage from a Mahayana text does finally occur in an Indian
inscription it occurs in a single inscription together with two
other passages from demonstrably non-Mahayana texts. This at
the very least is curious, although it may have some connection
with the equally curious fact that the one Mahayana text to be
cited in an Indian inscription is also one of the Mahayana texts
which the Indo-Tibetan tradition from the 9th Century on spe-
cifically associates with the Sautrantikas.
(1) orp [I I] yo buddha
1()k-ottare tad itare U U - U 3 tattval).4 I
(2) sastre prabhakaramatil). saviteva loke sitansu-tulya-carito
pi yaso visuddhal). [I I]
(3) tasya yati-kairava-sltadhamna buddhakareI).a
yatina suguI).akareI).a
[ I ]
aropito bhagavatal). sugatasya caityal). (4) sva[r]I).I).acala-
pratisamasthitir eva bhuyat I I
... pUI).yenanena labdhasau
bauddham padam anuttararp
sreyo-[ma]rge niyufijita lokarp sarpsara-pi<;litarp
1 I
'The scribe or engraver has used here-and at several other
places-v for b, writing vuddha-. 2 This is Chakravarti's emenda-
tion; there is no sign of an e-matra on the plate. 3 There are four
ak:;aras which cannot be read here with certainty. 4 The plate
has tatva/:t, which Chakravarti emends to what is printed as
tatval;(ttvM. The latter is obviously a typographical error. 5 The
scribe or engraver has again written vuddha-. 6 Chakravarti reads
svagur}iikare1'}a, but the first is clearly su-; compare the su-
ofsugatasya later in this same line. 7 The scribe has written lavdhii-
sau. 8 The scribe here has used v for p, writing vUjita'J!l.
(1) orn [I I] yavata nabhasya bhaveya I
2)sa(tva) tathaiva(2 I
(2) karmatu
yavata I
tavata mama praI).idhanarp I
'C akravarti reads ni5thii, but a comparison with the same word
at the end of line 3 where the long a is clear makes this unlikely.
2)(2Chakravarti reads this line as: sa case5ata ni5thii tathaiva. i. The
second syllable is hard to interpret. Sastri had read -va, but the
textual parallels suggest -tva-, which is possible. The bottom
part of the involved appears to be broken. Chakravarti
reads the third syllable as -se-, but a comparison of it with -sa-
in lines 1 and 2 of A, or with sa- of line 3 of B, makes it unlikely
152 JIABS VOL 12 NO.1
that a s is involved here. A comparison of it with a- of aropito in line
3 of A, or with the a- of apramattas in line 2 of D, on the other
hand, suggests it was intended for initial a-. This is also what
the textual parallels have. But if read in this way the line is short
a syllable. Chakravarti makes up for it by reading an i at the
end of the line, but what he reads for i is almost certainly only
a dat:tr;la. The textual parallels suggest that the scribe has inadver_
tently omitted a -se-. (For the grammar of this line see Edgerton's
remarks on it at BHSG 8.10).3 Chakravarti reads karma tu as
if tu were a separate indeclinable; cf. BHSG 8.53-.55. 4 Chak-
ravarti reads [kr'i]Satu, but the reading kle.satu is virtually certain
and confirmed by the textual parallels: kle.satu. 5 Chakravarti
reads ni$tha, but I see no trace of the a-matra, and the textual
parallels read nis.tha.
"Buddhist formula in two lines"
( 1) arabhadhvarp yu jyadh varp buddha 1-sasane
dhunIta mrtyunab sainyarp na-(2)-<;lagaram iva kunjarabl
yo hy asmin dharmma-vinaye apramattas
prahaya jati-sarpsararp dubkhasyantarp I I
I The plate reads again vuddha-. 2 Although Chakravarti read
-sasane, and although this is obviously what was intended, there
is no a-matra visible in the plate.
Orp. He who was, in the unfolding of the lotus of instruction
of the Buddha which goes beyond the world ...
For the Teacher, Prabhakaramati was in the world like the
rays of the sun; his presence too was like the beams of the moon;
and b.rilliant.. . .
. . .... By his pupIl, the cool delIght to the mght bloommg flowers
6rascetics, the ascetic Buddhakara, a mine of qualities, .
a caitya of the Blessed One, the Sugata, was raIsed-may It
'!ldure like a mountain of gold!
the merit of this may that one (Prabhakaramati)
obtain the unsurpassed station of a Buddha! .
o may the world, afflicted by continuous rebirth, be fixed on
fortunate path!
great as the full extent of the sky would be-
50 too the full extent of all living beings without remainder;
great as the full extent of acts and imperfections-
so great is the full extent of my vow.
:'Buddhist formula in two lines"
Xoumust begin! You must set forth! You must attach
to the instruction of the Buddha!
Ihis would topple the army of death like an elephant
.. does a hut of reeds.

lndeed, he who, being attentive, will practice in this
;'teaching and discipline
abandoned the continual cycle of births,
.will effect the end of suffering.
154 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
1. K. Watanabe, Die Bhadracar'i. Eine Probe buddhistisch-religioser Lyrik
(Leipzig: 1912). .
2. H. Sastri, Nalanda and Its Epigraphic Material (Memoirs of the Ar:
chaeological Survey of India, No. 66) (Delhi: 1942) 106-07 & n.l; pI. XI. This
volume was reprinted by Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi, 1986.
3. For earlier examples of religious acts undertaken by a monk for the
sake of his teacher see H. Luders, Mathura Inscriptions (Abhandlungen der
Akad. der Wissen. in G6ttingen. Phil.-Hist. Kl., Dritte Folge Nr. 47), ed. K.L.
Janert (G6ttingen: 1961) 29 (64-65); S. Konow, KharoshtM Inscriptions with
the Exception of those of Aloha (Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, 11.1) (Calcutta:'
1929) LXXXVIII (171-72); T. Bloch, "Notes on Bodh-Gaya," Annual Report'
of the Archaeological Survey of India, 1908-09 (Calcutta: 1912) 156-57; etc."
4. G. Buhler, "Three Buddhist Inscriptions in Swat," Epigraphica Indica
4 (1896/97) 134(A); H. Luders, "A Buddhist Inscription in Swat," Journal oj
the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1901) 575-76. For the textual
occurrences see F. Bernhard, Udanavarga 1.3 (Abhandlungen der Akad. der:
Wissen. in G6ttingen. Phil.-Hist. Kl., Dritte Folge, Nr.54) Bd. I (G6ttingeri:'
1965) 96.
5. Buhler, Epigraphia Indica 4 (1896/97) 135(B); Bernhard, Udanavarit.
6. Buhler, Epigraphia Indica 4 (1896/97) 135(C); Bernhard,
VII.12, Bd. I, 160; LK. Sarma, "Epigraphical Discoveries at Guntupalli,"
nal of the Epigraphical Society of India 5 (1975) 58 [the verse here is in need of
re-editing]; Bernhard, Udanavarga, Bd. I, 350. (In addition to thi
verses already referred to the ye dharma hetuprabhava verse is, of course,
frequently found in Indian inscriptions, but its chronological and geographical:
distribution has as yet not been systematically studied. For textual
in prose in Indian inscriptions see S. Konow, "Two Buddhist Inscription;:
from Sarnath," Epigraphia Indica 9 (1907/08) 291-93 (d. D. Kosambi,
Pali Inscription at Sarnath," Indian Antiquary 39 (1910) 217); R.
G. Schopen, "The Indravarman (Avaca) Casket Inscription Reconsidered}J
Further Evidence for Canonical Passages in Buddhist Inscriptions," The journa{l
of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 7.1 (1984) 107-23.)
various 'Pratityasamutpada Sutras' found in Indian inscriptions see the
ing and the sources cited in them: ].W. de Jong, "A propos du,l
nidanasalllyukta," Melanges de sinologie offerts a Monsieur Paul Demieville, t.IU
(Paris: 1974) 137-49; O. von Hinuber, "Epigraphical Varieties
Pali from Devnimori and Ratnagiri," in Buddhism and Its Relation to 0thij,1
Religions: Essays in Honour of Dr. Shozen Kumoi on his Seventieth Birthday (Kyot?,;1
. H. K. et Tung-Hung, "A propos
mInIatures voufs du v
sleele decouverts a Tourfan et au Gansu," Arts aszatZI[UfSJl

40 (1985) 92...,.106.,1
7. Bernhard, Udanavarga IV.37-38, Bd. I, 138. J
8. For some remarks-not always well supported--:-on the use of
see Et. Lamotte, "De quelques influences grecques et scythes sur Ie

Academie des & ,rendus des
l'annee 1956, 500ff. (ThIS was later mcorporated mto Et. Lam<?tte, Hzstozre
indiendes origines a l'erdaka 1958) 546ff.); Et. Lamotte,
iT} trait! de la grande de (L0.u:am: 1949) 688 & .n.4. For
for practice of mscnbmg relIgIOus verses on objects of worshIp
interesting story in the Mulasarvastivada-vinaya where the Buddha
llilinself specifies that exactly the same verses as occur in section D of our
should be written above a? image of himself painted on a cloth
ilg.Gnoli: The Gilgit Manuscript of the Sayanasanavastu and
Onentale Roma 50) 1978) the SImIlar story-agam
the same two verses whICh occur m D-m the Rudrayanavadana (P.L.
tVl.,idya, Divyavadana (Buddhist Sanskrit Texts no.20) (Darbhanga: 1959) 466
Roth, "Symbolism of the Buddhist Stupa" in The Stupa-Its Religious,
and Architectural Significance, ed. A.L. Dallapiccola & S.Z.-A. Lalle-
, t (Wiesbaden: 1980) 194 n.61, 197; and G. Roth, "The Physical Presence
e Buddha and its Representation in Buddhist Literature," in Investigating
n Art, ed. M. Yaldiz & W. Lobo (Berlin: 1987) the second of
papers Roth suggests that the verses that occur in D are the two verses
ch-according to some texts-are "represented" by the two bells of an
;i1' 9. For an excellent bibliography on the Bhadracar'i see A. Yuyama, Indic
cripts and Chinese Blockprints. (Non-Chinese Texts) of the Oriental Collection
Australian National University Library, Canberra (Occasional Paper 6. The
alian National University. Centre of Oriental Studies) (Canberra: 1967)
0; for the Sanskrit version add, at least: Shindo Shiraishi, "Samanta-
a's Bhadracari-praI}.idhanam. Die Bhadra-Carl genannten Wunschge-
des heiligen Samantabhadra," Memoirs of the Faculty of Liberal Arts &
tion, Yamanashi University, No. 11 (Dec. 1960) 10-17; Shindo Shiraishi,
'er die Ueberlieferung und Komposition des Textes Samantabhadra's
racaripraI}.idhana," Memoirs of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Education,
nashi University, No. 12 (Dec. 1961) 1-6; Shindo Shiraishi, "Bhadracari.
,Sanskritext des heiligen Jiun. Abdruck im Jahre 1783," Memoirs of the
1iy of Liberal Arts & Education, Yamanashi University, No. 13 (Dec. 1962)
;W.T. de Bary, ed., The Buddhist Tradition in India, China & Japan (New
: 1969) 172-78 [a translation from the Skt.]; M. Tatz, "The Vow of
evolent Conduct (introduction, translation and commentary)," Studies in
,,:Asian Art and Culture (Raghuvira Commemoration Volume), Vol. 5, ed.
"handra & P. Ratnam (New Delhi: 1977) 153-76.-for some interesting
,rvations on the Indian manuscript of the Ga1Jif,avy1:tha translated into
, ese in the 8th Century by Prajiia-and this is the only Chinese version
contains the Bhadracar'i-see S. Levi, "King Subhakara of Orissa," Epi-
hia Indica 15 (1919/20) 363-64; Jan Yun-Hua, "On Chinese Translation
fillii.1;!\vataIp.saka-Siitra' Original from Udra," The Orissa Historical Research Jour-
!W(l959) 125-32. On the Chinese translations and the relationship of the
I' racari to the Ga1Javyuha see L.O. G6mez, "Observations on the Role of
aI;tdavyuha in the Design of Barabudur," in Barabuif,ur. History and Signifi-
ofaBuddhistMonument, ed. L.O. G6mez & H.W. Woodward,Jr. (Berkeley:
) 183ff.
156 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
10. The verses in D are not specific to anyone text but-like many
similar verses-were freely used by the compilers of a variety of Buddhist
texts. The verse in B, however, is both specific to and characteristic of the
Bhadracarf. It appears to occur nowhere else., Knowledge of the verse might
in this case, therefore, be taken to imply knowledge of the text as a whole.
11. G. Schopen, "The Text on the 'DharaQ.i Stones from Abhayagiriya':
A Minor Contribution to the Study of Mahayana Literature in Ceylon," The
Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 5.1 (1982) 100-08'
G. Schopen, "The and
Indian Inscriptions. Two Sources for the Practice of Buddhism in Medieval
India," Wiener Zeitschrift filr die Kunde Sildasiens 29 (1985) 119-49.
12. The Bhadracar'i itself apparently came to be classified as a "Dhiirani
Text" at some stage. It is frequently found, for example,in manuscript
tions of dhiirar;'is from Nepal; M. Winternitz & A.B. Keith, Catalogue of Sanskrit
Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. II (Oxford: 1905) 260; H. Halen
Handbook of Oriental Collections in Finland (Scandinavian Institute of Asiari
Studies Monograph Series, No. 31) (London & Malmo: 1978) 85-86 (285);
Ry6tai Kaneko, et aI., "A Descriptive Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts
in the Possession of the Toyo Bunko," Memoirs of the Research Department of
the Toyo Bunko 37 (1979) 171, 189, etc. Unfortunately the history and function:
of these collections is far from clear. But if the Bhadracar'i was so classified
already in the 10th Century then the verse which occurs in our inscription
may have to be considered only another instance of a "dhiirar;'i" in an Indian:'
13. "The Sarnath Stone Inscription of Karna: (Kalachuri) Year 810':;
(= 1058 C.E.) records the fact that a copy of the
had been made and given to the community of monks at Sarnath, and that"
something else had been given-what is not clear-to insure its constant red::
tation (V.V. Mirashi, Inscriptions of the Kalachuri Chedi Era (Corpus Inscrip(
tionum Indicarum, IV.l) (Ootacamund: 1955) 275-78); "The Nalanda In-.
scription of Vipulasrimitra" (11th Century) also seems to refer to the same
text as "'the Mother of the Buddhas' in eight thousand (verses)" (yasya hrdaye
sahasrair prativasati sa'l'J'lbuddha-janan'i; N.G. Majumdar, "Nalanda In!:
scription 6f Vipulasrimitra," Epigraphia Indica 21 (1931132) 97-101; cf. J.C::'
Ghosh, "The Date of the Nalanda Inscription ofVipl,llasrimitra," Indian
1 (1934) 291-92.,
14. The Bhadracar'i, for exam pIe, was known to a few Buddhist scholiasts:';
to Bhavya (c. 6th Century; C. Lindtner, "Matrceta's Prar;idhiinasaptati!"P
Asiatische Studien / Etudes asiatiques 38.2 (1984) 102), Santideva (c. 8th Century;';
C. Bendall, r;ikshasamuccaya. A Compendium of Buddhistic Teaching compiled
r;iintideva chiefly from Earlier Mahiiyiina-Sutras (Bibliotheca Buddhica I) (St},
Petersbourg: 1897-1902) 290.8, 291.9, 297.1), KamalasIla (late 8th
G. Tucci, Minor Buddhist Texts, Part II (Serie Orientale Roma IX,2) (Roma:::
1958) 221.2); G. Tucci, Minor Buddhist Texts, Part III (Serie Orientale
XLIII) (R?ma: 1971) 13.12), and AtIsa (10thlll th Century; Lindtner,Asiatifche
Studien I Etudes asiatiques 38.2 (1984) 103). The problem, of course, is that we)::
have no idea how widely these men and their works were known in actual 4
Bddhist communities and their "importance" h2.s almost certainly been badly
by modern interest in .. . .
15. It is of some slgmficance to note that mscnptlOnal eVIdence suggests
'hat Dhlira1Jltexts were publically known much earlier and much more widely
!han the texts we think of as "classically" Mahayana. cE. the papers cited in
11.11 above. " . . .
16. L. de La Vallee Poussm noted the assoCIatIon of the Bhadracarf WIth
he Sautrantika nearly seventy years ago (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics,
td; J. Hastings (Edinburgh: 1909) Vo!' 2, 259n; cf. Vo!' 12, 194), but good
documentation for this association has only recently been made available in
of excellent works by Katsumi Mimaki (see K. Mimaki, La rifutation
de la permanence des choses (Sthirasiddhidi4mJa) et la preuve de la momen-
des choses (K$a1Jabharigasiddhi) (Paris: 1976) 197 and notes; K. Mimaki,
Sa1Jmukhf-dhiira1J'i ou 'Incantation des six portes,' texte attribue aux sau-
trantika (I)," Indogaku bukkyogaku kenkyu 25.2 (1977) 972-65; Mimaki, "Le
chapitre du BIo gsal grub mtha' sur les Sautrantika. Un essai de traduction,"
Zinbun 15 (1979) 164 n.l.
A Note on the Opening Formula
of Buddhist Siitras
by Jonathan A. Silk
Since at least the time of Buddhagosa, controversy has sur-
rounded the interpretation of the stock opening of Buddhist
sutras-in Sanskrit evarh maya srutam ekasmin samaye bhagavan
(place name) viharati sma. The main problem centers around
whether the sutra was heard (Srutam) at one time, or whether the
Blessed One was dwelling (viharati sma) at one time. The phrase
ekasmin samaye (at one time), standing between the two verbal
terms, could be understood to modify either. I
The most often cited study of the problem isJohn Brough's
paper, '''Thus Have I Heard .. .'," written forty years ago.
considering the evidence of the canonical Tibetan translations
of Buddhist texts, Brough noted that the xylographed editions
of the Kanjurs he consulted read the opening phrase as follows:
'di skad bdag gis thas pa dus geig nal beam ldan 'das ... , that is,
they punctuate after the equivalent of Sanskrit ekasmin samaye.
These Tibetan texts therefore understand the phrase to mean
that the sidra was heard at one time. In a note, Brough mentiolls
that in Constantin Regamey's edition of the Bhadramayakara-
vyakara'Y),a the phrase is punctuated after thos pa, that is, after
what in Sanskrit would be srutam. According to Brough, how-;
ever, there is no punctuation at all in the Narthang xylograph
used by Regamey, either after thos pa or after dus geig na. Brough.
suggested that the main mark of punctuation, the shad (= San-
skrit da'Y),t;ia), after dus gcig na had merely been broken off the
printing block in the N arthang edition. It is very possible that.
a portion of the full-length mark of punctuation, the shad, could,
have been broken on the wooden printing blocks and thus prinr:
what appears to be the inter-syllabic mark, tsheg. (Mistaking the
eading might be especially likely in the Narthang edition,
hotoriouslY difficult to read.) As far as Brough knew, and as far
as Iknow, Kanjurs-xylographed or manuscript-always punc-
tuate with a shad after dus geig na, thus grouping "at one time"
*ith "heard." .
The fact that Kanjur texts, even in all available Kanjur
editions, contain a given punctuation does not, however, mean
that this represents the totality of, as Brough puts it several
times, "the Tibetan punctuation." The first purpose of the pres-
ent note is to draw attention to an interesting reading in a
'Tibetan manuscript, a reading which so far seems to have es-
Caped notice, and to invite further study which will address the
,questions that the reading raises. .
.. / In 1937 Giuliana Stramigioli published an edition of the
Bhavasarikrantisutra from a Tibetan manuscript.
In her intro-
Huction she writes:
Ho adoperato per la mia traduzione un manoscritto del monas-
tero di Toling, del sec. XIII 0 XIV, copia di uno pili antico,
. probabilmentedel X-XI secolo. Esso e uno dei pochi manoscritti
. conosciuti,. il quale abbia conservato la grafia antica; troviamo
percio myi invece di mi, e il da drag finale, in seguito perdutosi;
a volte pero e adopterata anche la grafia moderna. Altra caratteris-
tica dell'antica grafia e it punta prima del dary;la (lib. sad).
Stramigioli's edition (printed in Tibetan type) seems to re-
all of the archaic features she mentions in the passage just
,<jlloted. In many ways the orthography is similar to that familiar
through the Tibetan materials from Tun-huang.
!ccess to a photograph of the manuscript, or to the manuscript
we cannot be certain, but the author seems to have faith-
ftIlly transcribed the original. It is therefore with considerable
!9terest that we notice the reading of the formulaic sutra open-
irig:.'di skad bdag gis thas pal dus geig na beam ldan 'das rgyal pa'i
.... In a thirteenth or fourteenth century manuscript,
a copy of a tenth or eleventh century original, we have
very punctuation Brough asserted not to be found in Tibe-

How are we to account for this singular reading? I cannot
160 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
find even one example of a reading parallel to this in all the
Tun-huang materials available to me.
Since, moreover, the
catalogues of non-Tun-huang Tibetap manuscripts generally
do not quote the manuscripts, or they quote only the colophons
it has not been possible for me to determine whether the readini
occurs, for example, in old but non-Tun-huang materials. If
the punctuation of the Bhavasankrilnti manuscript preserves an
authentic tradition, the complete non-occurrence of this punc-
tuation in the palpably early Tun-huang texts is very interesting;
It is noteworthy that we do find some non-standard versions of
the opening formula among these manuscripts. Stein 308 reads
'di' skad bdag gis : thos pa' dus gcig gi tshe na' II, Stein 443 bdag gls'
thos pa +i dus gcig na I, and Stein 463.11 'di skad pdak gyis thos pa'i
dus kcig na 1.
Yet I cannot find even one instance of punctuation;
after thos pa...
The place of origin of the Bhavasankrilnti manuscript is thel
monastery of Toling [(m)tho l(d)ing], located in western
It was founded in the tenth century by Yeshes 'od, patron of:
the famous translator Rin chen bzang po, and it was at this;
monastery that Atisa composed his Bodhipathapradzpa. The;
Bhavasankrilnti itself was translated by Jinamitra, DanaSila and:)
Ye shes sde. Of these three it seems that at least Jinamitra waS;
connected with the monastery of Toling during his
Could it be that the manuscript or its ancestor(s) represents
early copy of the translators' original, unaffected by any attemptsJ
at revision or standardization? Or is it possible that the manu-:;!
script's punctuation represents an old West Tibetan tradition,X:l
It would not be impossible that such a tradition was not pre"
served even in the ancient Tun-huang texts since they, after
were recovered from the eastern-most reaches of the TibetariJ!

confirm the information provided above, it be
sary m the first place to locate the Bhavasankrilntz
itself, and verify its readings. Likewise, attempts must be ma? .. : ...
to locate other instances of such punctuation in Tibetan
It is not, of course, only to the manuscripts that we
turn in considering the traditional understanding of the
for commentators have often taken up the question. AlreadY.jNf
1933 Alexander von StaeI-Holstein had noticed some of
He reported Kamalaslla's awareness, expressed
?his commentary to the Vajracchedika (Tah. 3817; P 5217),
the phrase could be interpreted in at least two ways,9 and he
to the remarks of the * Mahiiprajiiaparamitopadda. 10
While some of Stael-Holstein's other comments need to be some-
what corrected, II to him goes the great credit of raising the issue
bf the commentators' understandings of the phrase. Later,
!Brough discussed the views of Buddhaghosa and Haribhadra,
atid N.H. Samtani introduced the views of Viryasridatta's Artha-
virtisetiya-sutra commentary.12
I recently came across another passage which may also be
bfinterest to us in our consideration of the problem of the
opening formula. In a commentary to the Triskandhaka attrib-
Uted by tradition to Nagarjuna, the Bodhyapattidesanavrtti (Ta-
hoku 4005; Peking 5506), we find the following (Derge Tanjur,
;iuJo 'gre/, ji, 178b7-179al):
'0 na 'di na bdag gis thos pa la sogs pa dang po dang tha ma med pas
bka' ma yin no zhe na I de ni ma yin te I 'phags pa dkon mchog brtsegs
. pa chos kyi rnam grangs stong phrag brgya par gleng gzhi la sogs par
'di dag thams cad gsungs pa'i phyir ro II 'di ni de'i nang nas dum bur
bton pas de med pa la 'gal ba ci yang med do II
Now, here someone might say that since the [traditional] begin-
ning and ending [of a sutra, namely] "by me was heard" and so
on, are absent, this is not [the Buddha's] word. But this is not
so, because all of these are spoken in the introduction to the
Aryaratnakutadharmaparyiiyasatasiihasrika and so on. Since this
[sutra, the Triskandhaka,] has been extracted from within that
[collection], there is absolutely no contradiction in it lacking that
" . Even setting aside for the moment the question of the au-
}porship of the commentary, this passage should, in itself, be
;ipportant for any future study of the Triskandhaka. There is a
clear awareness here that the sidra was not originally an
:iIldependent work, taught in and of itself by the Buddha. Rather,
formulae which make up the Triskandhaka were lifted
'Qutof the Ratnakuta.
The passage could be relevant to our
[giscussion of the stock opening formula of Buddhistsutras, how-
since it quotes that formula as '''by me was heard,' and so

162 ]IABSVOL.12NO.l
on." The fact that the phrase "at one time" is not explicitly
included might indicate that somehow the two parts of the phrase
were conceived of as independent. Note that the term 'di skad,
the Tibetan equivalent of Sanskrit evam, is also omitted here, as
it is in many of the Tun-huang manuscripts. This may have
been felt by some to be unimportant or a non-essential part of
the formula, despite the fact that some commentaries discuss it
at length. There are probably many other passages in Indian
commentaries which contain other comments relevant to the
present issue. These passages remain to be noticed.
1. It could also, of course, be taken with both. The mezozeugma is not
rare in Sanskrit.
2. John Brough, '''Thus have I Heard .. .'," Bulletin of the School of
Oriental and African Studies 1311 (1949): 416-26. See also the paper by N.H.
Samtani, "The Opening of the Buddhist Sutras," Bhiirati: Bulletin of the College.
of Indology 8/2 (1964-65): 47-63. A recent paper by Okamoto Yoshiyuki in
Toyogaku Kenkyu 12 (1986): 21-28, which apparently treats this opening for-
mula, was not accessible to me.
3. Giuliana Stramigioli, "BhavasaIi.kranti," Rivista degli Studi Orientali
16/ 3-4 (1937): 294-306. This article also contains two Italian translations, .
one from the Tibetan, the other from the Chinese text of the sutra.
4. Ibid, 296, emphasis added.
5. The manuscript, or at least the transcription provided by the author, .
does not, however, present any instance of the so-called reverse gi-gu, common
in Tun-huang manuscripts. The transcription does record, however, the use
of the tsheg before the shad after every letter, not just after nga. The double
shad is often used in non-sentence final position. ..
6. I have checked through the recent detailed catalogue of the Stein
collection published by the Taya Bunko: Yamaguchi Zuiho et a!., Sutain Shilshii
Chibettogo Bunken Kaidai Mokuroku, 10 volumes (Tokyo: Tayo Bunko, 1977-
86). The serial numbers of this catalogue are the same as those established
by Louis de la Vallee Poussin. See his Catalogue of the Tibetan Manuscripts from
Tun-Huang in the India Office Library (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962).
The Yamaguchi catalogue quotes the beginning of each manuscript, but not
always as far as the formula. Often of course the manuscripts are fragmentary
and do not, as it were, begin at the beginning. The Paris collection was not
accessible to me, with the exception of those texts published by Arian
MacDonald (Spanien) and Yoshiro Imaeda in Choix de Documents Tibitains
Conserves a la Bibliotheque Nationale, 2 vols (Paris: Bibliotheque Nationale, 1978-'
79). The opening formula seems to occur in only one manuscript reprinted;
h. re and then in the form bdag gi"s thos pa dus gCi'gnal (Pelliot tibetain 504).
'7. The ":" seems to represent a similar mark in the manuscripts. I
;{; ns
the 'a-chung with a "flag" on the right shoulder by " + ," and the
gi-gu by "f. The omission of 'di skad in the formula seems, by the
\>yto be fair.1y common. See below.
8. Alexander von StaeI-Holstein, A Commentary to the Kat;yapaparivarta
&eking: The National Library of Peking and the National Tsinghua Univer-
sity, 1933): iv, and note 8.
9. Stael-Holstein quotes Kamalaslla as follows: dus gcig na ces bya ba ni
gcig gi tshe ste I dus thams cad du chos dkon mchog 'di lta bu dag thos dka' bar
1i;Uzn pa yin no I yang na bdag nyid mang du thos par ston to II dus gcig na 'di thos
kyigzhan na ni gzhan dag kyang thos so zhes ston to II yang na dus gcig na bcom
lJan'das bzhugs so zhes 'og ma dang sbyar te I. Luis O. G6mez suggests reading
1hospar stan te I for thos par ston to II, and reading with Peking dus gcig na 'di
tho! kyi gzhan dag kyang thos so zhes ston to II. He then tentatively translates this
as follows.: '."At. one time' means at time [in
'which means thaut IS dIfficult to hear preCIOUS teachmgs (dharmas) lIke these
'kIlthe time. Also [the phrase can be construed in two ways]: It may mean
;filat 'only I [Ananda] heard [the Dharma] in full,' and 'I heard it at one time,'
others also may have heard it. Or, connecting [the phrase] with the
1ofIowing [clause, it could be read as], 'at one time the Blessed One was
If we follow StaeI-Holstein's reading and not that of Peking, the
to last sentence would mean "others also may have heard it on other
?,l(';,"';1;",. "
10. See Etienne Lamotte, Le Traite de la Grande Vertu de Sagesse de Nagar-
, Tome I (Louvain: Universite de Louvain, Institut Orientaliste, 1981;
pnginally 1944): 87.
11. His remarks (note 8) on *Prthivlbhandhu's commentary to the Sad-
(P 5518) seem to show that he was not aware that this text,
!trarislated from Chinese (T. 1723), was in fact authored by K'uei-chi. See
1i\idra Yuyama, A Bibliography of the Sanskrit Texts of the Saddharmapurpj,ar'ika
Australian National University Press, 1970): 63. StaeI-Holstein in
Same note mentions the views ofK'uei-chi as expressed in T. 1700 (XXXIII)
a Vajracchedika commentary.
ltP. 12. See Samtani's "The Opening of the Buddhist Siitras," p. 57ff, and
published edition: The ArthaviniScaya-Siltra & Its Commentary
\(!fj,bhandana), Tibetan Sanskrit Works Series 13 (Patna: K.P. J ayaswal Research
1971): 68 (introduction) and 74ff (text).
13. Compare the wording of the "colophon" of the Sanskrit text of the
which reads: evarh paiicatrirhSat-tathagata-namani papa-sodhanayop-
bhagavatarya-sariputram uddiSya bodhisattvanarrt sarvapatti-viS-
Edited by Kimura Takayasu in "Bonbun Sanbonkyo ni tsuite,"
[q.1ShO Daigaku Sogo Bukkyo Kenkyiljo Nenpo 2 (1980): 179.
Die Frau imfrilhenBuddhismus, by Renate Pitzer-Reyl. Marburger
studien Zur Afrika- und Asienkunde, Serie B, Asien, Band 7.
Berlin: Verlag Von Dietrich Reimer, 1984. 104 pp.
This instructive study devoted to a critical consideration of
the position of women in early Buddhism is probably the only
full-length recent German monograph on the subject. Though
it takes into account (and at some levels grows from a review of)
previous work in the field, it also, significantly, encompasses
some distinctive interpretative elaborations which can both sharp-
en and deepen modern understanding of the portrayal of women
in the ancient Pali sources. Die Frau im frilhen Buddhismus should
attract the especial attention of those interested in feminist con-
cerns and gender issues as they relate to early Buddhism; but
students of religious history might also find the clearly and care-
fully articulated investigation it presents quite informative, for
although the origin and the development of women's contacts
with early Buddhism are indeed important to the history of reli-
gion, the details involved are rarely given close scrutiny in the
many publications of this decade that have sought to clarify the
relationship between women and the world's religious traditions.
Historical-textual approaches tend to dominate the discus-
sions in Die Frau im frilhen Buddhismus. Its essential subject matter
is presented in five sections. Pitzer-Reyl sketches initially the
status of women in pre-Buddhist India dominated by the patriar-
chally oriented Vedic-Brahmanical belief system, and then delves
into the place accorded to women in early Buddhism through a
fairly detailed consideration of a set of interrelated topics. Most
notable among these are the origin and the ground-rules of the
female religious Order (bhikkhunz sarigha), the reasons motivating
women to enter the Order, the education of novices and ordina-
tion, the life-style of nuns (with particular a focus on the religious
goals that they held before them) and the lay woman's role vis
a vis Buddhist practice, as well as the social world which had
come under the influence of Buddhism. The study closes with
some reflective remarks on early Buddhism's depiction of women.
Buddhism, which is shown to have manifested a reformist
outlook and egalitarian proclivities at its inception, indeed
emerges as quite a contrast to Brahminism in Pitzer-Reyl's intro-
ductory clarifications. Highlighting the starkly negative position
accorded to women in both the secular and religious spheres
within the laws of Manu, Pitzer-Reyl indicates in no uncertain
terms that Buddhism considerably softened the overriding patri-
166 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
archalism inherent in Brahminism, providing women previously
. unavailable opportunities to participate in religious life as fully
valued persons. However, the ascetic grounding of Buddhism's
soteriological quest, it is also pointed out, actually resulted in the
retention of some old perceptions relating to the feminine: the
identification of women as seductresses, possessed with a salva-
tion-hindering sexuality ("erlosungshinderlichen Sexualitat") is
especially mentioned in this connection. Though Pitzer-Reyl is
careful to observe that this is not the sum and substance of the
Buddhist portrayal of women, it is nevertheless taken as a notable
informing idea in Buddhism's stance in regard to gender, one
which was apt to be highlighted or reinforced in stressful and
demanding situations (like those associated with the founding of
the female Order, or again, in contexts of individual difficulty
encountered by monks engaged in ascetic practice).
In delving into the details of the investigation Pitzer-Reyl
turns first to the canonical record of the events leading to the
founding of the female religious Order (Mahaprajapati's pleas
for admittance, Ananda's supportive intervention and the
Buddha's own positiye assessment of women's capacities for
spiritual advance). Significantly, the Buddha's celebrated hesita-
tions about allowing women to join the Order are attributed in
large part to an anxiety concerning their impact on monks' cele-
bate life. But in the course of a rather close examination of the
historic eight ground rules (garudhamma) instituted as a precon-
dition in this context, Pitzer-Reyl finds several indications of
female subordination. Rules governing both the uposatha and
pavarana ceremonies, for instance, are viewed as providing for
the male control of the female religious, though considered over-
all, the latter are also shown to have retained some measure of
independence in the conduct of their spiritual activities.
Why did women want to join the Buddhist Order? What
were the social backgrounds of those who actually did so? These
important questions are addressed on the basis of the information
which the Therigatha and its commentary in particular provide
(and withal taking into account modern inquiries of Horner,
Caroline Rhys Davids, et al.). The decision to enter the samgha,
it is argued, was often arrived at under the influence of religious
elders, including the Buddha; but women were also moved by a
yearning for salvation that sprang from within (characterized as
"die Sehnsucht nach Erlosung, den Wunsch nach Befreiung vom
Rad der Existenzen"). The samgha which was open to all social
classes provided, Pitzer-Reyl observes, a secure refuge to many
~ i d o w s and former wives of monks. Though almost the entire
c;ste spectrum was represented in it, those in the less privileged
lower castes were under-represented there: Buddhism's elitist
spiritual demands, it is surmised, probably struck a more respon-
sive chord among the cultured rather than the illiterate poor at
the bottom of the social ladder.
Pitzer-Reyl's clarifications of the novitiate prescribed for new
entrants to the Order (siimar;,erfs), the requirements governing
their ordination (upasampadii) and the life-style of fully fledged
bhikkhunzs follow in the main the relevant canonical details as
given in the Vinaya texts. Care was taken, it is shown, to ensure
that only properly prepared and instructed persons were received
into the Order; and save during the brief rainy season (vassa)
spent communally indoors under strict rules, the female religious
are portrayed as leading itinerant existences, conforming to the
hallowed tradition of homeless renunciation-begging their
meals from lay folk, occasionally preaching or discussing the
dhamma among them, and, above all, cultivating an esoteric
spirituality. In view of the exclusion of all opportunities for self-
indulgence and the stringent enforcement of chastity, a Buddhist
nun's life is described as ascetic, and in some ways strictly so
(without even scope for charitable work, unlike in the case of
their Christian counterparts in Europe). Still, asceticism, we are
also reminded, did not become its end: the goals held forth,
rather, were spiritual self-culture and the liberated (arahant) state.
How successful were women in attaining these goals? Draw-
ing attention to the Bhikkunz Vibhariga Pitzer-Reyl maintains that
the female Order had to contend with problems of discipline,
laxity and the like (which, significantly, are noted to have been
sometimes resolved with help in the form of the Buddha's own
caring intervention). But through a survey of the Therigiithii ar-
ticulations (where, it is observed-some in terse, pointed verses,
others in long details-the thoughts of bhikkunzs who had attained
the arahant state are recorded), women's success in their
soteriological endeavours are of course duly highlighted. Not
only did many female religious grasp the essentials of the dhamma,
but they also gained proficiency in higher concentration cul-
minating in supernormal knowledge (abhiiiiiii) , projecting their
crowning experience of liberation itself as an unparalleled sense
of calm (formally articulated by the expression, "I have become
cool, quenched"). Viewing these achievements in the light of the
conception of the arahant state projected in the Sutta pitaka, Pitzer-
Reyl emphasizes that nuns thus became equals to monks in reach-
168 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
ing the most elevated levels of religious insight.
Notable elucidations on women's overall influence and social
standing under early Buddhism emerge from the discussions in
the latter part ofthe monograph where the preaching and teach-
ing activities of nuns and the role of lay women are examined.
Even though the bhikkhun'is were not members of a missionary
Order, they are nevertheless shown to have been a channel for
the communication of the dhamma especially among women in
the laity (who traditionally looked after the material needs of the
samgha). However, not the smallness of their number (as Olden-
berg indeed had suggested) but rather their "subordination"
("Unterordnung") to the male fraternity, according to Pitzer-
Reyl, was the single major constraint against the expansion of
the influence of the female religious both within the samgha as
well as the wider society outside. Still, many evidences for a
positive estimation of Buddhism's attitudes to women are finally
detailed. Underscoring the gender neutral approaches implicit
in the Buddha's teachings, the inclusion of women in his earliest
circle oflay followers and his unhesitating association with women
drawn from all strata of society in his religious discussions, Pitzer-
Reyl notes that Buddhism brought about certain "improvements"
("Verbesserungen") in their condition. These improvements are
shown to be highly significant vis a vis Brahmanism, and are
notably linked to Buddhism's repudiation of the rituals central
to that system (where women played an unesteemed secondary
part), and the rejection of many of the underpinnings of its
thinking about women as such (that maternity and the bearing
of sons was important, and the devaluation of widows, the unmar-
ried and the barren, for example, are noted to have no place in .
Buddhist thinking). Testimony to the salutary impact of Bud-
dhism's religious revaluation ("religioser Aufwertung") of
womanhood are identified within several Nikaya sources: accord-
ing to Pitzer-Reyl, under Buddhist influence, daughters became
less unwelcome, wives were apt to become more respected and
treated as companions and mothers acquired a greater say in
domestic affairs. Yet Horner's more admiring judgements in this
sphere (as set forth in Women Under Primitive Buddhism, London,
1930, pp. 52 ff.) are not endorsed, and are in fact described as
plainly excessive ("geradezu iiberschwenglich"). Viewed as a
whole, Pitzer-Reyl finds in Buddhist sources a notably improved
consideration for women in comparison with Brahmanism, as
well as a retention of some of the attitudes inherited from the
latter system. Taking into account Nikaya sources (Anguttara
Nikiiya, II, 62, and also Diana Y. Paul, Women in Buddhism, Berke-
ley, Calif., 1979, pp. 33ff.), Buddhism's negative perspectives
regarding femininity are located in its characteristic perception
of women as an embodiment of sexual vitality and passion. Bud-
dhism,.in Pitzer-Reyl's opinion, did not basically transform tra-
ditional Indian ideas on the conduct and the ways of women.
What was achieved, it is emphasized, was something more limited:
it softened their harsher features, avoiding in its writings projec-
tions of a profound devaluation of women.
Despite reliance on translations instead of original texts, Die
Frau im frilhen Buddhismus deserves to be viewed as a well re-
searched, scholarly investigation. Its basic conclusions, which
bring to light the existence of a body of positive ideas and prog-
ressive attitudes towards women within early Buddhism, are par-
ticularly noteworthy, for they can indeed help correct tendentious
projections of the system evident not only in important present-
day writings on feminism (cf. Marilyn French, Beyond Power:
Women, Men and Morals, London, 1985, comments on Buddhism),
but also, more significantly, in certain studies on early Buddhism
itself (Uma Chakravarti's references to "discrimination against
women" in The Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism, Delhi, 1987,
pp. 33, 35 merit especial mention in this connection). However,
certain aspects of Pitzer-Reyl's exposition are vulnerable to criti-
cism. Believers in particular might be somewhat chagrined by
the rather bald statement (made early in the monograph apropos
the implications of the garudhammii) that a bhikkunl can never
rise to the dignity of a bhikkhu ("Eine Bhikkhuni kann nie die
Wiirde eines Bhikkhus erlangen"): this way of putting things
obscures the fact (of course fully recognized elsewhere in the
study) that a woman could be an arhant, the highest dignity in
Buddhist religious life which, needless to say, was the final goal
of every man in the Order as well. In this connection it is also
useful to observe that the roles assigned to monks in the conduct
of some religious functions within the bhikkunl samgha hardly
deserve to be judged from purely abstract perspectives as a cir-
cumstance which reflects a particular distribution of authority
among gender groups. These roles could well have been viewed
by contemporaries as supportive involvement which was not only
desirable (given culturally impressed perceptions about women's
need for protection), but religiously meaningful as well
(for after all, the Buddha and his leading disciples were males).
On the other hand, those who are mindful of recent clarifications
on the many subtle ways in which male prejudices can be lodged
in both thought and theories (cf. M. Vetterling Braggin, 'Feminin-
ity', 'Masculinity' and 'Androgyny': A Modern Philosophical Discussion,
Totowa, N.J., 1982;]. Grimshaw, Philosophy and Feminist Thinking,
Minneapolis, Minn., 1986) would no doubt note that Pitzer-Reyl's
textual analyses proceed on mainly conventional lines, and that
they encompass ilo attempts to probe into the thinking in Bud-
dhist sources on the basis of the insights and the new evaluative
frames which current feminist philosophical critiques have
tended to generate. However, a case could well be made for
bringing the latter to bear on those analyses, for patriarchal at-
titudes are sometimes camouflaged.
Even so, taken as a whole, there is much to commend in
this monograph. Many readers might perhaps note with relief
that naive reductive accountings that loom large in many modern
studies relating to early Buddhism are absent here: what one
encounters, rather, is an attentiveness to texts and for the most
part a balanced interpretation of their contents. Accordingly, Die
Frau im frilhen Buddhismus should indeed be ranked among the
small (yet growing) number of writings that seek to investigate
and discuss an important subject-the status of women in Bud-
Vijitha Rajapakse
Alayavijiiiina: On the Origin and the Early Development of a Central
Concept of Yogiiciira Philosophy, Two volumes, by Lambert
Schmithausen. Studia Philologica Buddhica, monograph series,
IVa-b. Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 1987.
vii-ix + 700 pp. ISBN #4-906267-20-3.
There has been, until now, no monographic treatment of
the iilayavijiiiina concept in any Western language. There are, of
course, obligatory (usually brief) discussions of the concept in
virtually every work on Yogacara. But if we consider only works
written in languages other than Japanese, the best single resource
remains Louis de La Vallee Poussin's brief introduction to the
topic written more than fifty years ago ("Note sur l'alayavijiiana,"
Melanges chinois et bouddhiques 3 (1934): 145-168). The work
under review here far outstrips anything previously available on
the topic, and will, no doubt, remain the starting-point for further
research for a long time to come.
The first volume of Schmithauscn's work (241 pages) con- -
tains his text; the second (475 pages) contains his notes (1495 of
them), bibliographies, and other critical apparatus. The relative
size of these two volumes shows the author's interest in supplying
complete documentation for every point he makes; one of the
great strengths of his work is the extent to which it provides not
only references to but also (often) critical evaluations ofthe work
of other scholars in this field. This is especially valuable in the
case of Schmithausen's discussions of Japanese scholarship, since
this is so often difficult of access for Western Buddhologists.
While Schmithausen's work may not be "a full account of the
history of research on iilayavijiiiina" (pp. 1-2)-he disclaims any
such intention-it is considerably more comprehensive in this
respect than anything else in a Western language known to this
reviewer, and the best we are likely to get until Schmithausen
himself offers us more. The extensive and detailed discussion of
the theories of Suguro Shinjo, Sasaki Yodo, Enomoto Fumio,
and Kajiyama Yuichi (among others) in chapter seven (pp. 144-
182) is without parallel in Western-language work.
The first volume contains twelve chapters and two appen-
dices. The heart of the argument is found in the first five chapters,
in which Schmithausen's theory as to the origin of the iilaya-con-
cept is presented and argued for. The remaining chapters and
the appendices are devoted to more specific issues, including
methodological questions and particular disagreements with
other scholars. I shall not attempt to survey all this in a brief
review, but shall rather attempt to lay bare the main lines of
Schmithausen's argument, to express some reservations about
his methodology, and to give at least a taste of the rich material
to be found in the book.
In chapter one (pp. 1-17) Schmithausen states his goal,
which is to explore "the origin of the concept of alayavijiiana"
(p. 2), to get at "the question of its very birth ... the specific
question of why and in which context alayavijiiana as a peculiar
type of v&'iiiina, clearly distinguished from at.least the ordinary
forms of the six traditional vijiiiinas, and also expressly called
'alayavijiiana,' was first introduced" (pp. 9-10). This question, if
I understand Schmithausen's comments on it aright, is not simply
about the origins of a particular concept (i.e., the concept that
there is a type of vijiiiina different in kind from the usual six, a
type whose existence is required in order that certain dogmatic
and exegetical needs be fulfilled); neither is it simply about the
origin and first use of a term-iilayavijiiiina. Rather, it is a question
172 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
about the context in which such a concept and such a term first
came together, a much more limited issue. Schmithausen
explores this issue by examining the majo:r occurrences of the
term in the "earliest pertinent Yogacara source" (p. 11), which
he judges to be portions of the so-called "Basic Section" of the
Yogiiciirabhilmi (i.e., the seventeen-bhilmi text, sometimes called
bahubhilmikavastu), and locating therein a passage that he judges
to show the coming together of the concept and the term in the
way needed to answer the question with which he began. In
chapter two Schmithausen isolates such a passage and analyzes
it, and in chapters three through five he sketches the lines of
development that sprang from it.
Before turning to the specifics of Schmithausen's theory,
some comments on his presuppositions and method are in order.
He is, as he says, "hopelessly enmeshed in the historico-philolog-
ical method and its presuppositions" (p. vii), and all his theories
on the relationships among the various strata of Y ogacara texts
are predicated upon the reliability of that method as he practices
it. In his earlier works on the history and provenance of Yogacara
texts (especially "Sautrantika-Voraussetzungen in Virpsatika und
Trirpsika" [Wiener Zeitschrift fur die Kunde Sud- und Ostasiens 11
(1967): 109-137], and "Zur Literaturgeschichte der alteren
Yogacara-Schule" [Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenliindischen
Gesellschaft Supplementa 113 (1969): 811-823]) Schmithausen ar-
rived at his conclusions largely through terminological and stylis-
tic analyses. If a particular term with a precise technical meaning
in later texts is not found in a particular text or text-corpus, or
is found only in obviously non-technical contexts, this is taken
as good grounds for thinking that the text in question belongs
to an earlier stage of development than the texts in which these
terms are found with their full technical meanings. Similarly, if
it can be established, by study of the known corpus of a specific
author, that he has certain clearly recognizable thought patterns
and habits of style, then a work that lacks these patterns and
habits may reasonably be thought not to belong to that author.
The method is one that, given the fragmentary state of Indian
Buddhist texts, and the fact that most of them do not survive in
the language in which they were written, requires an enormous
degree of philological expertise, including, in the case of the
text-corpus with which Schmithausen works, skill in Sanskrit, in
various forms of Middle Indo-Aryan, Tibetan, Chinese, and
Japanese. Schmithausen possesses the necessary skills in abun-
dance, probably to a greater extent than any other Western
scholar of his generation; but he is, to the taste of this reviewer,
not sufficiently alive to the inherent limitations of his method,
especially when applied to materials as fragmentary and prob-
lematic as what remains of early Indian Yogacara texts.
These limitations can best be brought out by looking at the
disagreements between Schmithausen and Hakamaya Noriaki,
one of the best and most productive of the younger generation
of Japanese scholars now working on Yogacara. To these dis
agreements Schmithausen devotes an entire chapter (pp. 183-
193), and in his comments on them reveals a good deal about
his own methodological presuppositions. Schmithausen rejects
what he takes to be Hakamaya's excessively high valuation of the
deliverances of the Buddhist tradition on such matters as the
date and authorship of texts, and charges Hakamaya, inter multos
alia, with allowing these deliverances (on, e.g., such matters as
Asanga's role in the compilation or authorship of the
Yogiiciirabhilmi, and on the Abhidharmasamuccaya's status as a
Mahayana work) to warp his reading and interpretation of (some
of) the texts of the tradition. Schmithausen advocates, in contrast
to Hakamaya's presupposition that the deliverances of the tradi-
tion are to be trusted unless there are pressing reasons to the
contrary, a kind of methodological skepticism in such matters:
the traditional judgments of Buddhists about the provenance of
texts are to be ignored unless they can be supported by the
findings of historico-philological study.
There is, no doubt, some justification for Schmithausen's
approach; especially where lndic materials are concerned, the
scholar can place little confidence in the quasi-legendary attribu-
tions given them by the tradition. But it is far from clear, to this
reviewer at least, that the findings of the historico-philological
method are, when applied to materials of this kind, worthy of
all that much more confidence. And this is especially true when
Indian Buddhist texts are under discussion, since all too often
these do not survive in any Indic language and the terminological
studies upon which Schmithausen relies so heavily have to be
undertaken at one or two removes from the original. The result
of this lack of proper materials and the speculative and debatable
nature of just about every premise in Schmithausen's cumulative-
case inductive arguments for his conclusions means that they are
often (perhaps usually) only marginally, if at all, more likely to
be true than are the deliverances of the tradition. To a
philosopher it would be hard to choose between the two sets of
174 JIABS VOL. 12 NO.1
Another major drawback of the historico-philologital
method, in Schmithausen's hands just as much as in those of
other practitioners, is that it shows a fondness for
disjecta membra as against complete texts and contexts. For exam-
ple, in his debate with Hakamaya over the proper understanding
of the Abhidharmasamuccaya's definitions of sunyatii (this section
of the Abhidharmasamuccaya does not survive in Sanskrit;
Pradhan's reconstruction [Pralhad Pradhan, ed., Abhidhar-
masamuccaya of Asariga, Santiniketan, 1950, p. 40, lines 10-18] is,
as usual, an unsatisfactory melange of the Tibetanand Chinese
variations; Schmithausen provides a far more accurate Sanskrit
retranslation in notes 1213 and 1223, pp. 478, 480),
Schmithausen's arguments gain what power they have solely by
separating a particular definition-that concerning the defining
characteristics of sunyatii-from its broader context and
then constructing an argument from silence. While it is certainly
true that the doctrine of dharmanairiitmya is not explicitly men-
tioned in this section of the Abhidharmasamuccaya, this is not suf-
ficient reason by itself to conclude that the author/compiler of
the text did not have the doctrine in mind. This is especially true
since the text as a whole can scarcely be read without coming to
the conclusion that its author/compiler was clearly aware of and
meant to express various important dimensions of the dhar-
manairiitmya doctrine (e.g., in its discussion of the three kinds of
sunyatii [Pradhan, loco cit.], and in its analysis of the dharma-
categories [Pradhan, ed. cit., pp. 16ff.]). The fact that it is possible
to point to isolated definitions which neither state nor imply the
dharmanairiitmya doctrine shows only that the text picks up and
makes use of a number of definitions that go back to a very early
period; it does not show that the text's author/compiler was un-
aware of later traditions and doctrines.
Schmithausen's debates with Hakamaya thus illustrate splen-
didly both the strengths and the weaknesses of his method. The
latter are evidenced principally in its reliance upon long chains
of probabilistic arguments whose premises are weak, and in its
fondness for disjecta membra over complete texts; for, that is to
say, Formgeschichte over Redaktionsgeschichte. This does not mean
that the traditionalist is always in better case; on the questions
at issue in the Schmithausen-Hakamaya debates this reviewer
would judge Hakamaya to have the better of it as far as the
exegesis of the Abhidharmasamuccaya is concerned, and
Schmithausen to have the better of it as far as the history and
compilation of the Yogiiciirabhumi is concerned. But these are
necessarily tentative judgments; they can only be justified by
arguments too lengthy for a review of this kind. I have given the
methodological issues this much space only because they are so
important for understanding Schmithausen's enterprise in the
work under review.
To return to Schmithausen's substantive conclusions: he
identifies a passage from the samiihitabhumi as the "initial pass-
age," the text-place in which the concept that there is a vijiiiina
quite other than the standard six sensory consciousnesses comes
together with the (quasi)-technical term iilayavijiiiina for the first
time. In this "initial passage" the iilaya-concept is used to explain
exit from the attainment of cessation (nirodhasamiipatti). This is
a condition in which mind and its concomitants have altogether
ceased to function, as also have the six sensory consciousnesses.
The possibility of leaving such a condition is explained by the
continued presence in it of the iilaya. The "initial passage" is not
yet formalized into a proof, as it later is in the Viniscayasangrahar}l,
but Schmithausen sees in it, and only in it, the fulfillment of his
requirements for a passage that illustrates the "birth" of the iilaya-
concept. He makes the fascinating though highly speculative
suggestion (pp. 28ff.) that the use of the term iilayavijiiiina in
this "initial passage" may possibly show Sailkhya influence, as
also may the (later) development of the typically Yogacara
theories about the active sensory consciousnesses and the manas.
These are suggestions which will repay further investigation.
This "initial passage" reveals that the earliest Y ogacara ideas
about the iilaya present it as possessing (or perhaps simply con-
sisting in) the seeds (bfja) of the active sensory consciousnesses;
as sticking to or hiding within the material sensory conscious-
nesses; and (by implication) as a subtle "gap-b\idger," preventing
death in advanced states of trance. Nothing is said or implied in
Schmithausen's "initial passage" about the presence of the iilaya
in other states, or about the iilaya as the object of attachment,
the basis of iitmabhiiva, or about the iilaya and citta- or vijiiaptimiit-
ratii. All these. themes are, of course, well-developed in later
Yogacara, but are entirely absent here. Schmithausen's prelimi-
nary conclusions are that these aspects of the iilaya were not yet
thought of at the time of its "birth," and thus that the very earliest
stages of Yogacara thought about the iilaya show little or no
significant connection with Mahayana thought (p.33). This con-
clusion is in broad agreement with much of Schmithausen's ear-
lier work on the Yogacara, and rests upon certain definite prior
convictions of his about what is and what is not a Mahayana
176 JIABS VOL. 12NO. 1
In chapters three, four, and five (pp. 34-108), Schmithausen
traces something of the course of the developments by which
the alayavijiiana came to have the attributes given to it in mature
Yogacara theory (as, for example, in the Mahiiyiinasangraha). In
doing this he uses mostly materials from the "Basic Section" of
the Yogiiciirabhilmi, the Sarr-dhinirmocanasiltra and the Vinis-
cayasangrahaTJ-z, attempting to show, in somewhat circular fashion,
that there are perceptible strata within this material through
which a more-or-Iess linear development of ideas about the iilaya
can be traced, and, at. the same time, basing his discrimination
of these strata almost entirely upon the fact that certain com-
plexes of ideas and terms are present (or not present) at particular
This kind of circularity is endemic to the historico-
philological method, and is especially evident in these chapters
of Schmithausen's work. Its presence, as Schmithausen is himself
aware (p. 34 and passim), makes his conclusions far less than
certain; but it detracts not at all from the value of the materials
he gathers and expounds here: I have no space to discuss the
corpus of material presented and analayzed by Schmithausen,
much less the details of his historical teconstruction. It must
suffice to say that he traces the conceptual developments that
connected the iilaya to the rebirth process, that is, to the grasping
and appropriating of a new body, in chapter three; those that
connected the negative terms upiidiina, and so forth,
with seeds (b'ija), and thus made the iilaya the locus for the oper-
ations of (I note in passing that Schmithausen cites
and discusses extraordinarily valuable textual material on this
difficult term: see especially notes 461-482) in chapter four; and
the attempts on the part of Yogacara theorists to show in what
sense the iilaya meets the traditional requirements for being a
vijiiiina (i.e., that it cognizes or represents an object) in chapter
In sum: Schmithausen's work is a model of careful and exact
philological scholarship, and is a major contribution to Buddhist
studies. It makes available, through its analysis of texts from the
Yogiiciirabhilmi (see especially appendices I and II, pp. 220-241),
and through its critical comments on Japanese studies of early
Yogacara, much material not previously studied, and in so doing
suggests many avenues for further research. The groundwork
is laid here for future philosophical studies of the psychology
and epistemology of the Yogacara. Schmithausen also exhibits
astonishing linguistic virtuosity in this work: he shows his COffi-
mandover all the necessary Buddhist (:anonicallanguages as well
as over the secondary literature in Japanese, and is capable, in
addition, of writing a technical monograph in a language not his
own. I suspect that few, if any anglophone Buddhologists could
match these skills; Schmithausen may thus serve as an appro-
priate role-model for those now entering the field. While this
reviewer has reservations, expressed above, about Schmit-
hausen's method, and about many of the details of his stratifica-
tion of the texts and his historical reconstruction of the develop-
ment of ideas, these are entirely outweighed by the values of the
materials he presents and analyzes.
Dr. David Gellner
St. John's College
Oxford University
Dr. Andrew Goble
Edwin O. Reischauer Institute
of Japanese Studies
Harvard University
1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Dr. Paul J. Griffiths
Dept. of Theology
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46446
Dr. William Grosnick
Dept. of Religion
La Salle University
Philadelphia, PA 19141
Dr John P. Keenan
Dept. of Religion
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
Dr. Todd T. Lewis
Dept. of Religion
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027
Dr. James P. McDermott
Dept. of Religious Studies
Canisius College
2001 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14208
Dr. Gregory Schopen
Dept. of Religious Studies
230 Sycamore
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405
!VIr. Jonathan A. Silk
Dept. of Asian Languages
& Cultures
3070 Frieze Building
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Dr. Vijitha Rajapakse
35950 Timberlane Drive
Solon, OH 44139