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Peter N. Gregory
Roger Jackson
Dept. of Religion
Carleton College
Northfield, MN 55057
University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA
Alexander W. Macdonald
Universite de Paris X
Nanterre, France
Ernst Steinkellner
University of Vienna
Wien, Austria
Jikido Takasaki
University of Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan
Steven Collins
University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Robert Thurman
Columbia University
New York, New York, USA
Volume 16 1993 Number 1
the watermark
This Journal is the organ of the International Association of 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, psy-
chology, textual studies, etc. The JIABSis 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 lIABS editorial office at the address
given below. Please refer to the guidelines for contributors to the JIABS 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 publications.
New Editor's Address
Donald S. Lopez, Jf.
Dept. of Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Michigan
3070 Frieze Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Andre Bareau (France)
M.N. Deshpande (India)
R. Gard (USA)
B.G.Gok/:lale (USA)
John C. Huntington (USA)
P.S. Jaini (USA)
Joseph M. Kitagawa (USA)
Jacques May (Switzerland)
Hajime Nakamura (Japan)
John Rosenfield (USA)
David Snellgrove (U.K.)
E. Zurcher (Netherlands)
Both the Editor and Association would like to thank Carleton College for its
[mancial support in the production of the Journal.
Copyright The International Association of Buddhist Studies 1993
ISSN: 0193-600X
Indexed in Religion Index One: Periodicals, American Theological Library
Association, Chicago, available online through BRS (Bibliographic Retrieval
Services), Latham, New York, and DIALOG Information Services, Palo Alto,
Composition by Institute of Budqhist Studies, Berkeley, CA 94704.
Printing by Thomson-Shore, Inc., Dexter, MI48130.
1. Religion, Kinship and Buddhism: Ambedkar's Vision of a Moral
by Anne M. Blackburn
2.Vasubandhu on sarpskiirapratyayarp vijiIiinam
by Robert Kritzer 2L1
3. Is It a Crow (P. dharpka) or a Nurse (Skt. dhiitnj, or Milk (Skt. kira)
or a Toy-Plough (P. varpka)?
by Stephan H. Levitt 5{
Issues on the Field of East Asian Buddhist Studies: An Extended Review
of Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese
Thought, ed. Peter N. Gregory (T. Griffith Foulk) 9
1. Collected Papers, vol. 2, by K. R. Norman (Nirmala Salgado) 18:
2. The Dating of the Historical Buddha. Die Datierung des Historischen
Buddha, part I, ed. Heinz Bechert (A. K. Narain) 18'
3. Gender and Salvation: Jaina Debates on the Spiritual Liberation
of Women, by Padmanabh S. Jaini (Serinity Young) 20:
A Bibliography of Buddhist Materials in the Recorded Sound Collection
. of the Library of Congress
by Floyd B. Hooker 20'
lABS Financial Statement, 1991
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism: Ambedkar' s
Vision of a Moral Community
by Anne M. Blackburn
On October 13, 1935 Dr. B. R. Arnbedkar (1891-1957), a leader
of the Mahar Untouchable community, of Maharashtra, India,
announced his intention to renounce Hinduism. Just over twenty
years later and shortly before his death, Ambedkar publicly converted
to Buddhism. Today, a generation after this conversion, many
Mahars identify themselves as Buddhists. Still more revere Ambedkar
for offering Untouchables an alternative religious and social vision.
Scholarly treatments of Ambedkar and his movement uniformly
assert that Ambedkar's Buddhist conversion was an attempt to
strengthen the Mahar community against the dominant Hindu social
and political hierarchy by providing his followers with an alternative,
and egalitarian, identity. These studies have not, however, explored
either the historically conditioned nature of Ambedkar's view of
Buddhism or the logic behind Ambedkar's choice of religious, and
specifically Buddhist, conversion as a mobilization technique for
Untouchables. The following pages are a preliminary attempt to
understand the historical background to Ambedkar' s interpretation of
Buddhism and the reasons for his choice of religious, and specifically
Buddhist, conversion. I argue that Ambedkar understood Buddhism,
religion, kinship and nationalism as a related set of terms with social
and political implications, and that Ambedkar drew upon Indian
cultural resources as well as "Orientalist" interpretations of Bud-
. dhism in order to create a model for a moral community ideologically
2 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
coexistent with, although not subordinate to, Brahmanical Hinduism
and Iridian nationalism.
Indic Culture and Moral Criticism: R.B. Khare
Studies of Ambedkar and Mahar (or Dalit, the term now preferred
by the Mahar community) Buddhism typically conclude that its
character as an Indian religion was a crucial reason for Ambedkar's
choice of Buddhism rather than, for instance, Christianity. Common
sense appears to dictate that compatibility with the surrounding
Indian culture was essential to the psychological renewal promised
by Buddhist conversion.
Despite this, until recently scholars have
not pursued in detail the links between Buddhism's Indian-ness and
its apparent attraction as an alternative for Untouchable Hindus.
However, R.S. Khare's new study of the Untouchable Chamars in
Lucknow and their moral stance vis-a.-vis Brahmanical hierarchy
suggests a way to refine discussions of Buddhism as an Indian
cultural resource for Untouchables. In a move away from Dumontian
models of Indian society which assume a holistic Indian social order
defined by Brahmanical ideology, Khare argues against the caste
system as a complete explanation of Indian society.
Insisting on the
presence of multiple "evaluative and decision-making structures"
within the contemporary "Indian social order," Khare asserts that
"other indigenous moral orders may explain more and explain it
better."4 This attempt to show the existence of, and relations among,
several visions and moral criticisms of Indian society has suggestive
implications for an analysis of Ambedkar' s choice of Buddhism.
Khare argues for a distinction between a Brahmanical and an
"Indic" sphere of discourse and action whiCh is visible in the self-
reflection and action of Lucknow Chamars. For this community,
philosophical issues and categories which form part of Indic culture
serve as a source for and site of moral challenges to Brahmanical
authority. Khare describes Lucknow Chamar reflection on and action
within an Indic philosophical frame as an effort to "show the
hierarchical person an equalitarian mirror that the Indic civilization
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 3
The relations between the spheres of discourse and action
identified as Indic and Brahmanical are not, however, straightfor-
wardly oppositional. Although a relation of contrast is fundamental
to the criticism brought by Lucknow Chamars against upper-caste
dominance, a successful attempt to wage a moral battle based on
Indic issues and categories relies also upon the relations of "con-
trolled difference and sharing" which obtain between Untouchable
and uppercaste Indians.
Khare is careful to note that in the ritual and
political dynamics of the Chamar community social dependence as
well as cultural antagonism characterize relationships between
Untouchables, Brahmins and ascetics (who may be Brahmins or
Untouchables with broadly ranging levels of anti-Brahmanical
The locus of moral criticism within the Indic sphere, according
to Khare, is the figure of the ascetic, since the ascetic and the Brahmin
are the two predominant "genres of moral power" in Indian culture.
Here the ascetic is defined by a set of individual goals accessible to
householders as well as to homeless renouncers. These goals are
renunciation, self-control and austerities'? In other words, Khare
posits two realms of moral authority within the Indian cultural
sphere: ascetic and Brahmanical. The two may, and do, overlap at
times but are seen by the Lucknow Chamars as participating in an on-
going pattern of moral contestation.
The ascetic ideal is, by this
reading, the natural site upon which to contest Brahmanical domi-
nance since it offers a source of indigenous philosophical criticism
based on moral and spiritual ideals shared (although to varying
degrees) by Brahmin and ascetic alike. Chamar reflections on the
. moral status of Brahmanical hierarchy do not rest on a simple
opposition between Brahmin and ascetic. In order to contest
Brahmanical assumptions of inequality, Khare shows, Lucknow
Chamars insist upon an understanding of asceticism which empha-
sizes the individual as locus of spiritual morality.
By achieving jdentity with "the Universal Spirit," the ascetic
remembers the fact that equality and "innate sameness" are the
fundamental characteristics of humanity.9 By identifying equality, in
religious and philosophical terms, as a fun.damental characteristic of
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
humanity Lucknow Chamars try to place Brahmanical assumptions
of social inequality on the moral defensive. Khare argues that the
ascetic as "cultural construct" helps Untouchables to clarify the
moral nature of social deprivation, to identify "moral issues, para:..
doxes, and sources Of resentment" and to articulate the cultural
foundations for "ultimate moral individuality and identity.' '10 Thus
asceticism, understood as a form of spiritual discipline accessible to
all Untouchables, be they householders or not, reinforces a view of
the person which emphasizes equality and individual moral respon-
sibility. This view, which is not, of course, that commonly found in
Brahmanical sources, in tum helps Untouchables to identify the
grounds upon which they can criticize Brahmanical social practices;
that is, for failing a broader, Indic moral test of accountability. At the
same tiine, moral individualism empowers Untouchables to battle
existing upper-caste dominance. "Only a new moral accountability,"
Khare claims, "could combat [the Untouchable's] abject social
dependency and disadvantage. 11
Khare's discussion of Lucknow Chamar ideology clearly helps
counter visions of a holistic Brahmanical Indian social order. The
multiple religious exemplars (including Hindu sectarian and non-
Hindu figures) upon which Lucknow Chamars draw for their view of
the ascetic ideal also challenges simple definitions of Hinduism 12
More important for my purposes, however, is the fact that Khare's
account of Lucknow Chamars' distinction between Indic and
Brahmanical cultural spheres and his consideration of the ways in
which Lucknow Chamars understand Indic culture as a source for
moral criticism of Brahmanical hegemony has implications for a
discussion of the creation of Buddhist tradition within the contempo-
rary Indian cultural sphere. For these Chamars, the Buddha serves as
one of many ascetic exemplars. Buddhism is thus understood as but
one representative of an encompassing cultural and moral sphere-
the Indicphilosophical and spiritual tradition.
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 5
Buddhist History and Intracommunal Morality: B. R. Ambedkar
Is this interpretation of the Buddhist tradition as one of many
possible representatives of an Indic philosophical and spiritual
tradition the only way Indian Untouchables understand Buddhism's
relation to Brahmanical social and political dominance? It is clear
from the writings of B. R. Ambedkar that this Mahar leader (famous
also for his role in political negotiations with the British during the
pre-Independence period and in the creation of a constitution for
independent India) did choose to emphasize the distinction between
a Brahmanical and an Indic cultural sphere. Ambedkar's oeuvre,
furthermore, shows that he too saw Indic culture as a source from
which to develop criticisms of the dominant Brahmanical caste
structure. However, in contrast to the ideological focus of the
Lucknow Chamars described by Khare, Ambedkar's primary focus
is not criticism of the Brahmanical system with intent to change that
system of social relations through emphasis on a shared and
encompassing Indic morality. Instead, Ambedkar uses a polemical
critique of Brahmanical religio-social dominance as the foundation
upon which to develop an Indic-based alternative to the Brahmanical
social order. This alternative is, significantly, designed to coexist
with, rather than displace, Brahmanical Hinduism. Ambedkar's
historical view of Brahmanical-Buddhist relations and his discussion
of religion, morality, social welfare and nationalism reflect this
strikingly different strategy for the mobilization of Untouchables.
Ambedkar's vision of two coexisting religious traditions is
reflected in his view of the history of Buddhism and Untouchability,
and in his view that the social and moral function of religion is the
creation of communal identity. Ambedkar develops a history of
Buddhism in India which highlights the teaching ofGotama Sakyamuni
as an indigenous Indian cultural response ("Indic" in Khare's terms)
to "degraded" Aryan society. The dominant society at the time of
Gotama S[k:yamuni was, according to Ambedkar, a Brahmanical
Aryan community suffering from social, religious and spiritual
degradation. The Buddha's teaching, initially a "religious revolu-
tion," became a social and political revolution exemplified by equal
opportunity for low-caste individuals and women as well as equal
access to education.!3 The Buddhist "revolution" was also marked by
a challenge to the infallibility of the Vedas and a revision of regnant
conceptions of kamma (Skt. karma).14
Ambedkar depicts a history of "mortal conflict" between Bud-
dhism and Brahmanism. When today's Untouchables' ancestors,
described as a single tribe separated from other communities only on
tribal grounds, adopted Buddhism they did not revere Brahmins or
employ them as priests. They even "regarded them as impure." The
self-imposed isolation ofthese Buddhists angered the Brahmins, who
responded by preaching ,"against them contempt and hatred with the
result that [they] carne to be regarded as Untouchables."15 At this
stage then, presumably pre-Asokan (although Ambedkar's chronol-
ogy is unclear), untouchability was assigned to an isolated tribe of
Buddhists on the basis of religious competition. Subsequently,
however, the Mauryan empire marked the pinnacle of Buddhist
authority in political and religious spheres. That the Brahmins "lived
as the suppressed and Depressed Classes" during this period is
shown, Ambedkar claims, by Asoka's restriction of sacrificial
Brahmanical subordination to the Buddhist Mauryan
empire was followed, according to Ambedkar, by a Brahmanical
revolution waged by Brahmins against the principles of Buddhism
which had "been accepted and followed by the masses as the way of
life.' '17 Buddhist principles were so well established at this point that
Brahmin challengers were forced to promulgate Manusmrti in order
to "embody" the principles of this Brahmanical revolution. For
Ambedkar, the redaction of this text marks a crucial shift in the
Brahmanical understanding of hierarchy, associated with the transi-
tion from Brahmanical to Hindu social identity. Manusm[ti codifies
a new ly hereditary caste system, distinct from the more flexible va111a
system which characterized pre-Buddhist Aryan society, and repre-
sents the antithesis of the Buddhist Mauryan social order.1
Mter the
"Brahmanical revolution," as Brahmins attempted to counter Bud-
dhist principles established during the Mauryan empire, Buddhist
UntouchaNes were further stigmatized on the basis of meat-eating.
Brahmins, realizing the power of Buddhist ideals, attempted to
challenge Buddhism by adopting an extreme form of Buddhist
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 7
asceticism as standard behavior. Buddhists, by now Buddhist Un-
touchables, continued meat-eating since, in their peripheral relation-
ship to Brahmin village life, they did not kill the animals and could
therefore preserve the Buddhist precept of ahirpsa, or non-injury to
sentient beings.19
In contrast to the Lucknow Chamar ideology depicted by
Khare, Ambedkar's history of Buddhism and untouchability in
tension with Brahmanism and Hinduism shows a decided emphasis
on the formation of social identity through collective historical
experiences. Where Lucknow Chamars refer to a lineage of ascetics
drawn from several Indian religious traditions, Ambedkar stresses
the continued historical identity of isolable and competing social
groups. Instead of developing a sustained critique of Brahmanical
hierarchy with reference to an array of moral exemplars representa-
tive of broader Indic values, Ambedkar locates a specifiable Buddhist
tradition and community in historical time in order to show Untouch-
ables that their disadvantaged position stems from a clearly demar-
cated religious identity prior to the institutionalization of a hereditary
caste order linked to a discourse on ritual purity. Thus, while Chamar
ideology attempts to show the moral inconsistency of the Brahmanical
Hindu hierarchy within Indic categories, Ambedkar does not recog-
nize the Brahmanical order as a moral system by criticizing it in
Buddhist terms. This stems from his view that the Brahmanical social
order, at least after the promulgation of Manusmrti, represents an
inherently immoral manipulation of mass obedience to religious
sanction in order to safeguard the interests of Brahmin elites. It is also
the natural extension of Ambedkar's historical view of distinctive
religious traditions that do not participate in any broader shared
system of religious or moral principles.
Ambedkar's apparent commitment to the formulation of a
collective, tribal, history for Buddhist Untouchables can be clarified
with reference to his views on kinship and the social and psychologi-
cal importance of ancestral identity. Arguing that the only way for
Untouchables to end their social isolation is to "establish kinship with
and get themselves incorporated into another community," Ambedkar
(acknowledging a debt to Robertson Smith) elaborates the benefits
of kinship:
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
From the point of view of the group, kinship calls for a feeling
that one is first and foremost a member of the group and not
merely an individual. From the point of view of the indi-
vidual, the advantages of his kinship with the group are no
less and no different than those which accrue to a member of
the family ... Kinship makes the community take responsibil-
ity for vindicating the wrong done to a member...It is kinship
which generates generosity and invokes its moral indignation
which is necessary to redress a wrong ... Kinship with another
community is the best insurance which the Untouchable can
effect against Hindu tyranny and Hindu oppression.
In order to establish kinship, the members must all conceive
themselves to be "sprung from one ancestor and as having in their
veins one blood." It does not, however, matter whether this is in fact
the case, since at this later stage of human evolution religion, rather
than blood relations, establishes kinship bonds. Ambedkar's iriter-
pretation of Buddhist history thus establishes the historical basis for
Untouchables' kinship with non-Indian Buddhists and depicts a
return to Buddhism as a return to familial identity.21 Kinship bonds,
established through shared religious identification, are thus expected
to strengthen Untouchables' position with respect to other social
groups within a broader Indian social order. Such bonds, however,
while they are significant in providing the impetus to redress social
inequities suffered by Untouchables, are insufficient for the creation
and maintenance of a specifically Untouchable social and ethical
order. Other aspects of religion, as understood by Ambedkar,
guarantee this latter goal. -Ambedkar understands religion as the
promulgation of an "ideal scheme" which aims to transform the
social order into a moral one.2
Religion is equated with fraternity and
defined by social rather than supernatural relations. Ambedkar
defines the moral order toward which religion aims as one that
maintains human unity and social equality.23 Equality is linked to a
particular notion of individuality, understood as the ability to choose
one's own social relations, an act denied, argues Ambedkar, by the
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 9
hereditary caste order and, presumably, by a social order in which
kinship determines identity.24 Only the status of morality as a
religious value safeguards the "growth of the individual" in a context
bf equality.25
A morai commuIiity is formed out of shared religious identifica-
tion because religion serves as a social force. "Those who deny the
importance of religion," writes Ambedkar, "fail to realize how great
is the potency and sanction that lies behind a religious ideal as
compound [sic] with that of a purely secularideal."26 Secular law,
Ambedkar declared in a 1954 All India Radio broadcast, may be
broken by anyone, while religion must be respected by alL 27
Ambedkar's understanding of religion's social force relies explicitly
upon his reading of Durkheim, which leads him to state that religious-
ness is characterized by both by its "sacral" and by its social charac-
Although Ambedkar does not detail the relationship between
collective experience and the creation of "the sacred" it is clear that
he sees social experience as a source of "the sacred" and as the site
where individual awareness of religious sanction is expressed. Reli-
gious sanction, for Ambedkar, relies upon shared social experience
and such shared experience is limited to equal individuals within the
moral community of religious kin established by commensality and
the adoption of a common ancestral tradition. Religion itself, as a
social mechanism, also creates a moral community consisting in
relations of equality and individuality among its members. Although
this morality is intracommunal and so cannot by itself produce
intercommunal justice, the moral value of equality and individuality
help give community members the ability to assert themselves
Ambedkar's Buddhism: A ''New Vehicle"
This understanding of religion and its role in the creation of a
moral social order makes it clear that Ambedkar's 1956 conversion
to Buddhism aimed to develop a community of neo-Buddhist
righteousness coexistent with other religious communities in post
Independence India. 29 Further evidence of this attitude toward
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
conversion is visible in Ambedkar's discussion of the relationship
between the conversion of Mahar Untouchables under his leadership
and the strength of an Indian nation. In 1936, shortly after the famous
declaration that he would not die a Hindu, Ambedkar conceded that
what the consequences of conversion will be to the country
as a whole is well worth bearing in mind. Conversion to Islam
or Christianity will denationalise the Depressed Classes. If
they go to Islam, the nUl11ber of Muslims will be doubled ... and
the danger of Muslim domination also becomes real. If they
go to Christianity .. .it will strengthen the hold of Britain on the
On the eve of conversion Ambedkar described his choice of
Buddhism as the least harmful route for the country since B u d d h i ~ m
is "a part and parcel of Bharatiya Culture." "I have taken care," he
declared, "that my conversion will not harm the tradition of the
culture and history of this land."31 Elsewhere Ambedkar sharply
delineated between religious and civil status, stating that while
kinship holds a community together it is citizenship which binds a
society.32 His realistic assessment of continued social inequality also
reflects this teligious-civil distinction:
The Depressed Classes may not be able to overthrow inequi-
ties to which they are being subjected. But they have made up
th,eir mind not to tolerate a religion that will lend its support
to the continuance of these inequities.
Ambedkar thus places an interpretation of Buddhism in relation
to several other views on social identity and social order. To
guarantee morality within the Untouchable community, as well as a
strong response to extra-communal forces, Ambedkar's Buddhist
history emphasizes collective historical experience and religious
distinctiveness within Indian cultural history. His choice to empha-
size the indigenous, or Indic, nature of Buddhism is, like that
evidenced by Lucknow Chamar ideology, an attempt to mobilize
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 11
Indian cultural resources for social change. Ambedkar's decision to
build a separate moral community rather than to attempt
alteration of Brahmanical ideology through the mobilization of
shared moral values reflects Ambedkar' s distinctive awareness of the
relationship between national pluralism and religious identity and his
choice to separate inter-and intracommunal relations.
Ambedkar's complex response to the problem of forging a new
identity for the Mahar community requires a particular vision of
Buddhism. What is the view of traditional Buddhism upon which
Ambedkar draws and from where does it emerge? In the first place,
it is important to note that Ambedkar distinguishes between historical
Buddhism, existing forms of Buddhism at the time of his conversion
and the Buddhist ideals tb which he converted and which he was
determined to spread. He develops the term "navayana"forthelatter,
a Buddhist tradition appropriate for communities in the twentieth
century. This "new vehicle" was understood as a direct expression of
the "prior tradition" and "pristine purity" of "early" Buddhism, thus
allowed Ambedkar to. skirt the distinction between Theravada and
Ambedkar's navayana included some noticeably recent
influences which might be called modemist.
He charged contempo-
rary monks to adopt Christian forms of social action and argued that .
successful propagation of Buddhist dhamma (Skt. dharma) required
a "Buddhist Bible."36 .
I have shown that Ambedkar depicted ancient Buddhism as a
. "religious revolution," a social reform movement which redressed
inequalities in caste and gender relations. To support his view,
Ambedkar interprets key Buddhist concepts to link them more
closely to a vision of Buddhist social reform. A Buddhist view of
kamma, for instance, is depicted as a Buddhist revision of a
Brahmanical philosophical position to transform the latter into a
principle more conducive to social change. While the idea of kamma,
"as formulated by the Brahmins, thought the Buddha, was calculated
to sap the spirit of revolt completely," presumably by providing an
explanation of social inequality, the Buddha revised the concept to
cover only group (rather than individual) responsibility and restricted
the efficacy of karmic processes to a single lifetime.
- -- -------
12 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Further, Ambedkar understands the Buddha's teaching that
everything is characterized by dukkha, or unsatisfactoriness, as
referring specifically to interpersonal relatiol!s. In one instance
Ambedkar presents a dialogue in which the Buddha teaches that the
root of dukkha is class conflict and asserts elsewhere that "the
Buddha's conception ofDukkha is material."38 Nib ban a (Skt. nirvifI;1a)
the state or process which describes enlightenment, is considered a
precursor for moral action in the world and explicitly associated with
a non-monastic lifestyle. Nibbana "means enough control over
passion so as to enable one to walk on the path of righteousness."39
Ambedkar's interpretation of dukkha and nibbana implies that moral
action, for which nibbana is preparation, will rectify the material
suffering of inequality. Ambedkar sees a concern for human welfare
(defined generally with reference to non-violence and social equal-
ity) as a central teaching of Buddhism and associates such welfare
with rationality. For instance, Ambedkarexplains his principles for
distinguishing between Buddhist dhamma and dangerous Brahmanical
Anything therefore which is rational and logical, other things
being equal, maybe taken to be the word of the Buddha ... The
Buddha never cared to enter into a discussion which was not
profitable for man's welfare. Therefore anything attributed to
the Buddha which did not relate to man's welfare cannot be
accepted to be the word of the Buddha.
In other words, Ambedkar articulates a view in which feelings of
individual self-worth and moral responsibility are both generated and
sustained by the forces of kinship and religious sanction. Kinship
itself provides the psychological strength with which to recognize
and redress social inequality. This strength does not, however,
proceed simply from a sense of unity. It is engendered also by the
intracommunal values of equality and individuality which are
protected by religious sanction. Ambedkar's vision of ancient
Buddhism as a tradition of egalitarian social reform and his exegesis
of key Buddhist concepts are clearly crucial to his belief that
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 13
Buddhism would, indeed, protect such values. Although Ambedkar
does not explicitly link these views to political mobilization, it
appears from his continued involvement in political affairs as well as
his views ori citizenship and nationalism that Buddhist individuals,
fortified by the forces of religious kinship, are expected to contest
social inequality in the political arena rather than in an arena of shared
Am bedkar , s Buddhism Reconsidered
Interpreters of Ambedkar' s views on Buddhism as a tradition of
social reform and rationality adopt one of two general attitudes, both
of which obscure the historically conditioned nature of Ambedkar' s
historical vision. Some scholars accept Ambedkar's vision of Bud-
dhist social reform as unremarkable, depicting a natural affinity
between Ambedkar's interpretation and historical Buddhism in the
development of Mahar ideology. Janet Contursi, for instance, in her
analysis of Dalit resistance to caste Hindus in a Pune slum, simply
states that:
The Buddha provided one of the earliest critiques of orthodox
Brahmanism, which for centuries propagated social and
spiritual inferiority of women and the lower castes. The
Buddha attempted 10 counter Brahmanism with a philosophy
of spiritual equality and a notion of atheistic morality as the
essence of social and religious duty. Ambedkar coupled these
aspects of the Buddha's philosophy with an emphasis on
rationalism to create a vision of a secular, egalitarian soci-
Owen Lynch proceeds similarly, concluding that "Buddhism was
truly Indian, yet it was also ideologically consistent with [the
Untouchables'] goal of mobility and the new ideas they had come to
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Eleanor Zelliot seems at times to adopt Ambedkar's interpreta-
tion 'of Buddhist history without question, as when she follows a
comment on Ambedkar' s biography of the Buddha with a description
of Buddhism as "egalitarian."44 On another occasion, however, in a
piece co.-authored with Joanna Macy, Zelliot stresses the distance
between Ambedkar's vision and what they call "traditional Bud-
As a scholar of political theory and a champion of the
downtrodden, Ambedkar projected upon the Dhamma his
own faith in rationalism and his over-riding concern for social
Given the drive for equality that motivated Ambedkar to lead
his people into Buddhism, it is clear why he interpreted the
Dhamma in ~ o c i a l terms. That this social emphasis led [sic]
to exclude or distort some teaching, fundamental to tradi-
tional and canonical Buddhism is understandable ...
This stance is notable for its sympathy to Ambedkar's position and
motivations and for its postulation of a stable "traditional" Buddhism.
More recently, Timothy Fitzgerald has attempted a more subtle
reflection on Ambedkar's failure to "give an adequate account of
traditional Buddhism." After helpfully detailing specific areas in
which Ambedkar's final work (published posthumously), The Bud-
dha and His Dhamma, fails to follow standard Buddhist metaphysIcal
positions, Fitzgerald concludes that "there is nothing distinctively
Buddhist about the exposition given in The Buddha and His
Dhamma ... And all of the key concepts of traditional Buddhism have
been fudged over, so that one cannot legitimately hold that there is
any serious re-interpretation of traditional Buddhism in this book."46
Neither view of "traditional" Buddhism-as a social reform
movement or as some other stable entity interpreted (or misinter-
preted) from a social reform perspective-is historically accurate. It
is now clear that, although Pali Buddhist literature includes responses
(sometimes satiric) to Brahmanical ideas and social institutions,
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 15
depictions of the Buddha as a radical social reformer are inaccurate.
Although caste and gender are not depicted as absolute barriers to
soteriological goals, neither gender nor caste relations appears to
have been substantially refashioned in society at large in response to
Buddhist teachings.
The alternative view is also untenable. As the
recent work of so-called post-Orientalist historians and anthropolo-
gists so clearly indicates, it is no longer possible to ignore the
historically conditioned quality of a term like "Buddhism."
Deconstructing many ofthe foundational categories and assumptions
of scholarship on South Asia and other colonized cultural areas, these
scholars have detailed the many ways in which nineteenth and early
twentieth century contact between European colonialists and Asian
peoples resulted in the creation of still dominant notions of "reli-
gion," "ethnic identity" and "nationalism."49 Such studies have also
indicated the ways in which these notions, forged in the crucible of
colonialism influenced by Enlightenment and Romantic philoso-
phies, have been used by contemporary South Asians to develop local
and national identities.
In other words, the Buddhist "tradition" upon which Ambedkar
drew in his formulation of Buddhist history and philosophy appro-
priate to the Mahar community was itself the product of interpreta-
tion. This point, now a commonplace in discussions of "modem"
Theravada Buddhism, has until now eluded treatments of Untouch-
ables' conversion. As Philip Almond has clearly shown, interpreta-
tions of Buddhism in the nineteenth and early twentieth century
frequently stressed the rational and atheistic character of Buddhism,
as well as the purity of its "original" (understood as that represented
by Pali sources) teaching. The Buddha was often depicted as a social
reformer, especially as a Luther-like figure attempting to root out
superstition and idolatry.51 Such views of Buddhism (now termed
"Orientalist") influenced many of the translations from Pali texts
available during Ambedkar's era, as well as much of the secondary
literature. Furthermore, Ambedkar's South and Southeast Asian
partners in discussions of Buddhism and its potential revival were
members of a generation educated under these same Orientalist
influences. Ambedkar had clear ties to the Maha Bodhi Society (itself
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
partly the product of Orientalist agenda in what was then Ceylon)
and, from his youth, was exposed to works by a growing number of
South Indian intellectuals interested in philosophy.
I argue, then, that Ambedkar adopts the interpretations of Buddhism
dominant during his lifetime and subjects this "constructed" vision
to further refinement by creating a conceptual tapestry woven from
diverse strands. Ambedkar thus the Buddhism of his day-
rational, atheistic and bent on reform-to other ideas crucial to his
vision-"religion," "morality," "kinship" and "nation." This inter-
pretation of Ambedkar's views also offers, I would suggest, an
important corrective to the post-Orientalistemphasis on the colonialist-
colonized relationship as the chief site of "constructed" traditions.
Such scholarship has critically enlarged our understanding of. the
colonial experience by analyzing the ways in which colonized
cultures were (re )conceptualized and essentialized by imperial schol-
ars and civil servants. As a result, we have been forced to confront
a politics of representation which has outlived the specific context of
colonial domination. However, in the necessarily insistent attempt to
document such processes, post-Orientalist scholars have restricted
their vision to the conceptual products of colonialist-colonized
contact. This, unfortunately, creates an argument from silence which
suggests that re-presenting cultural traditions, and "constructing"
them in the process, is an activity limited to Western minds and
politics. This implies in turn a certain dearth of creativity on the part
of those colonized?2 Ambedkar's Buddhist history thus provides a
striking reminder that South Asians informed by their own visions
further refined the "constructed" products of Orientalism.
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 17
1. I am grateful to Dominic Lopes, Steven Collins and Frank Reynolds for their
responses to an earlier draft of this paper. I have consciously chosen to read broadly
in Ambedkar's work, covering mueh of his career and examining published works
and posthumously published manuscripts. I try to understand these works as a
conceptual whole, leaving aside an analysis of the relationship between individual
works and external political events, as well as an analysis of the audience to which
Ambedkar directed each piece. Although my approach necessarily "flattens" the
textual evidence of Ambedkar' s career, I believe that it is appropriate, although by
no means exhaustive, to focus on the relations among key ideas present in
Ambedkar's immense oeuvre. For an accessible introduction to Ambedkar's life
and word see Sangharakshita (1986). The classic biography of Ambedkar is Keer' s
(1962). An attempt to link more closely the development of Ambedkar's views on
conversion to those on constitutional reform should examine his attitude toward
"state religion" (see Ambedkar (1989) an_d Ramteke (1983).
2. See Ling (1980), Lynch (1969) and Zelliot (1977, 1978)).
3. I understand "ideology" to mean self-reflective principles expressed
through speech or action. See Appadutai (1986), Collins (1989) and Inden (1986a)
for criticisms of the "holistic" view and alternative analytical perspectives.
4. Khare (1984), pp. 141-2.
5. Khare (1984), p. 17. See also Ling (1980).
6. Khare (1984), p. 23. See also Inden (1986a), p. 768.
7. Khare (1984), p. 25.
8. I am not concerned here with an evaluation of Khare's quite Dumontian
description of Brahmin-ascetic tension as a structural feature of Indian culture, or \
with an analysis of the way Khare' s description of the ascetic as individual appears
to reflect some of Dumont's views.
9. Khare (1984), p. 59.
10. Ibid. p. 24.
11. Ibid. p. 59.
18 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
12. Ibid. ch. 2-3.
13. Ambedkar (1987), pp. 153,221-2.
14. Ambedkar (1957), p. 89.
15. Ambedkar (1969), pp. 44, 96.
16. Ambedkar (1987a), p. 268).
17. Ibid. p. 274.
18. Ibid. pp. 285-6.
19. Ambedkar (1961), p. 47.
20. Ambedk:ar (1989), pp. 414-5
21. Ibid. pp. 416-7.
22. Ambedk:ar (1987a), p. 6.
23. Ramteke (1983), p. 184 and Ambedkar (1989), p. 407.
24. Ambedk:ar (1989), p. 260.
25. Ambedk:ar (1957), p. 325.
26. Ambedk:ar (1987a), p. 23.
27. Ramteke (1983), p. 184.
28. Ambedkar (1989), p. 179.
29. The adjective "neo-Buddhist" is appropriate given Ambedkar's own use
of the term ''navaydna.'' See below.
30: Quoted in Ramteke (1983), p. 127.
31. Quoted in Ramteke (1983), p. 191.
32. Ambedk:ar (1989), p. 416.
Religion, Kinship and Buddhism 19
33. Ibid, p. 383.
34. Ramteke (1983), p. 169 and Sangharakshita (1986), p. 131.
35. See Gombrich and Obeyesekere (1988) and Queen (1991) for a compara-
tive, Sri Lankan; case.
36. Keer (1962), p. 50.3 and Ramteke (1983), p. 10.8.
37. Ambedkar (1957), pp. 91, 243.
38. Ibid. pp. 57-8, 511.
39. Ibid. pp. 237-8.
40.. Ibid. p. 3-5 1.
41. I do not mean to imply that the choice of arena presents a stark opposition
between moral and political contestation. As Khare's study shows, political
mobilization may be buttressed by the perceived power of shared mor3I values.
42. Contursi (1989), pp. 447-8-
43. Lynch (1969), p. 98.
44. Zelliot (1978), p. 97.
45. Zelliot and Macy (1980.), pp. 134, 142, emphasis added.
46. Fitzgerald (1989), p. 66, original emphasis.
47. In the Agganna-Suttanta, for instance, Brahmanical supremacy is graphi-
cally disputed (by pointing out the undeniably human at-'ibutes of Brahmin
women) without questioning the existence of caste structures themselves.
48. See Gombrich (1988) and Sponberg (1992).
49. For instance, see Inden (1986b) and Guha (1989).
50.. For instance, see Kemper (1991) and Spencer (1990.).
5l. Almond (1988), ch. 3-4. Almond notes, however, that interpretations of the
Buddha as social reformer varied with changes in the European political climate.
HilliS VOL. 16 NO.1
He argues that some scholars, notably Oldenberg, moved away from a reformist
interpretation when that view appeared dangerously close to VIctorian socialism
(1988, pp. 75-6).
52. I am grateful to Sheldon Pollock for suggestive comments and questions
in this regard.
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Vasubandhu on sarpskiirapratyayarp.
by Robert Kritzer
The principle of conditioned origination (pratityasamutpiida) is
one of the most fundamental and profound of all Buddhist teachings;
Louis de la ValIee Poussin points out that it was, in fact, by
discoverip.g pratityasamutpiida, that the Buddha became the Buddha
(La Vallee Poussin 1913:v). Over the course of time, a formula to
express this .principle, consisting of gradually increasing numbers of
members (aiJ.gas) developed, until finally the 12-membered formula,
. with which all students of Buddhism are familiar, emerged (for
studies of this process, see Aramaki 1986 and 1989). As Takasaki
Jikido suggests, we cannot understand this formula in terms of a
simple, linear chain of causes, in which each member is caused by
a prior member and, in turn, produces a subsequent member. Instead,
the members must be divided into groups, and the relationships
among the members of each group, as well as the relationships among
the various groups, must be examined (Takasaki Jikido 1987:151).
In fact, Buddhist philosophers, from the period of the early
abhidharma texts onward, have interpreted the formula and explained
the relationships among the members and groups of members in
various ways, according to the degree of reality they attribute to the
constituents of experience and their general understanding of causa-
tion. Not surprisingly, thinkers belonging to different schools have
come to dramatically different conclusions about conditioned origi-
nation; for example, the Sarvastivadin school, which believes that
dharmas are real, implies that a real entity is that which has arisen
through conditioned origination, while the Madhyamika Nagarjuna,
Vasubandhu 25
who denies the reality of dharmas, says that entItIes are empty
precisely because they arise through conditioned origination (yab
pratityasamutpadab siinyatiiIp. tlim. pracak$mahe-Madhyamaka-
karikai) XXIV18ab; Madhyamakasastra: 220. See also Nagao
1989:5). .
Although the Yogacaras, unlike the Madhyamikas, speak the
same abhidharmic language as the Sarvastivadins in analyzing the
pratityasamutpada formula, they too disagree with the Sarvastivadin
interpretation. Again, this is natural, since the Yogacara school
ascribes a greater degree of reality, and hence causal efficacy, to
vijiiiina than to the other dharmas, and vijiiiIna is perhaps the most
important member of the fonnula. According to Sarvastivada, the
members of the formula can be divided into three groups: avidya and
sarpski'ira belong to the past life; vijiiiIna, nlimariipa, $ac;1ayatana,
sparsa, vedana, tr$I).a, upadiIna, and bhava to the present; and jati and
jarlimaraI).a to the future (Abhidharmakosabhif$ya: 131). In their
"three lifetimes/twofold" (san shih Jiang ch 'ung; for a discussion of
this subject, see Matsuda 1982a) causation system, the two members
from the past life are the cause of the first five members of the present
~ life, which are considered resultant; the last three members of the
present life, which are considered causal, are, in turn, the cause of the
future life (AKBh:134). Thus, the Sarvastivadins consider vijiiiIna
in the formula to be result rather than cause.
The Yogacaras, on the other hand, divide the members differ-
ently. According to them, there are four groups of members: the
projecting (iIk$epaka) group (avidya, scupski'ira, and vijiiana); the
projected (iIk$ipta) group (nlimariipa, $ac;1ayatana, sparsa, and vedan),
the actualizing (abhinirvartaka) group (tr$I).a, upadiIna, and bhava),
and the actualized (abhinirvftf1) group (jati and jaramaraI).a)
(Abhidharmasamuccaya:26). This arrangement is known as the "two
lifetimes/single" (Jiang shih i ch 'ung) causation system; the project-
ing group, which belongs to the earlier lifetime, projects the seeds of
thelaterlifetime (namely, the projected group), while the actualizing
group, which also belongs to the earlier lifetime, activates these seeds
and thus causes the later lifetime to arise (again, see Matsuda 1982a).
In this system, vijiiiIna belongs to a causal group of members, and,
26 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
although Asanga does not explicitly identify it as such here, its
funCtion of receiving the impressions of past karma and projecting
them as the seeds of the next lifetime leaves little doubt that it is, in
fact, iiJayavijiiiina.
It is clear, then, that in these two analyses of the pratityasamutpada
formula, the nature and position of vijiiaila is particularly significant,
and we can suppose, furthermore, that in any similarly abhidharmic
discussion of pratityasamutpada, the treatment of vijiiiina will give
us a clue to the fundamental doctrinal stance of the author. In this
paper, I shall examine several conflicting expositions of
pratityasamutpada in general, and vijiiiinfiilga in particular, all by
Vasubandhu, and I shall discuss their broader doctrinal implications.
Part One
In Chapter Three of the Abhidharmakosa, Vasubandhu devotes
nineteen verses (vo 20-38) to a discussion of conditioned origination
(pratityasamutpada). During the course of this discussion, we can
find two conflicting of consciousness as a member (anga)
of the pratityasamutpada formula, that is to say, of consciousness
conditioned by the karmic forces (sarpskiirapratyaymp vijiiiinam). In
verse 2Ic, consciousness is defined as the skandhas at the moment
of conception (sarpdhiskandhas tu vijiiiinam - AKBh:13I). In his
comment in the Abhidharmakosabha$ya on verse 28ab, however,
Vasubandhu states that sarpskiirapratyayarp vijiiiinam actually refers
to the stream of the "six ordinary kinds of mind" (for translation, see
Schmithausen 1987:650) in the inteimediate realm, and he cites a
siitra definition for support (karmak$epavasac ca vijiianasantatis tliip
tliip gatirp gacchati / jvalagamanayogenantarfibhavasambandhat /
tadanyasarpskiirapratyaymp vijiiiinam / evarp calqtva tad upapannmp
bhavati vijiiiinfiilganirdese"vijiiiinmp katamat? / $a9vijiiiinakayiiJ)"
iti - AKBh: 140).
In his translation of the A bhidh arm akosa, Louis de la Vallee
Poussin does not mention which school accepts the second definition;
Vasubandhu 27
in his translation of the Ch' eng wei shih lun, on the other hand, he
attributes it to the Sarvastivadins: "D' apres les Sarvastivadins, Ie
membre Vijfiana = les six Vijfianas (Manovijfiana, oeil-vijfiana, etc.)
de l'existence intermediaire" (La Vallee Poussin 1929:200). P. S.
JaW makes the same attribution in the introduction to his edition of
the Abhidharmadipa: "The other [i. e., not pratisazp.dhivijiiifna]
meaning, viz., the six vijiiiinas, although occurring in the Vibhailga-
sutta of the Sazp.yutta-nikiiya, is most probably a later addition
introduced by the Abhidharmikas. This becomes evident from the
attempt of the to apply this term not only to the moment
of rebirth consciousness, but also to a long preceding period called
antarii-bhava, where alone the six vijiiiinas could be understood to
function" (Jaini 1977:58-59). More recently, Marek Mejor has
introduced a translation of the Abhidharmakosabhii$ya' s comment
on A.KIll28ab, together with the text and translation of the corre-
sponding portion of Sthiramati's commentary, Tattviirtha, as
on the pratityasamutpiida" (Mejor 1991:96), thus
indicating that he, too, considers the six-vijiiifnakiiya defmition to
represent the Sarvastivadin position.
Although N. H. Samtani has pointed out that the
Arthaviniscayasiitranibandhana identifies another interpretation of
the. six- vijiiifnakiiya definition, in which the six vijiiiinas are described
as sazp.skiiraparibhiivitiil}., as a Sautrantika view (this is Vasubandhu' s
position in another text, the Pratityasamutpiidavyiikhyii; see below),
and recognizes that this contradicts Jaini's opinion, which he quotes,
he does not go into the matter any further (A VS, intro.:143-144).
Kata Junsha shows that Vasubandhu, in his comment on AKIII28ab,
is actually attacking the Sarvastivadin iivasthika interpretation of
pratityasamutpiida; according to Kata, Vasubandhu makes this attack
. in the name of the Sautrantika. However, he, too, fails to explore
Vasubandhu's interpretation of vijiiifna in detail (KatO 1989:315-
317). In this paper, I hope to show that the, first of these two
definitions (sarpdhiskandhiis tu vijiiifnam) represents the orthodox
Sarvastivadin position, while the second (vijiiiinarp. katamat?
$agvijiiifnakiiyiil}.) is Vasubandhu's own opinion, and I shall try to
explain the implications of Vasubandhu's position.
nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
The Sarvastiviidin Definition - pratisaq1dhivijiiana
Since the exposition of conditioned origination in the AK is rather
involved, I shall first explain the context in which each definition
occurs. In the beginning of Chapter Three, the Exposition of the
Universe (iokanirdesa), Vasubandhu enumerates the various realms,
destinies, etc., into which. beings are reborn, and he explains
antariibhava, the intermediate existence between death and rebirth.
He then denies that there is any soul (iitman) that is reborn; rather,
"the skandhas alone, conditioned by defilement and action, enter the
womb by way ofthe series (that is given the name) of the intermediate
existence, like a lamp" (niitmiisti skandhamiitrarp tu
kiesakarmiibhisarps1q:tam/ antariibhavasarptatyiikuk$im eli pradipavat
- .AKIlll8; AKBh:129). To explain this conditioning process,
whereby defIlement and action result in rebirth, and birth, in turn,
results in defIlement and action, Vasubandhu introduces the topic of
pratityasamutpiida. The frrst definition of vijiiiina can be found at the
beginning of this discussion.
In AKIll20, Vasubandhu states that the twelve members of the
pratityasamutpiida formula can be divided among three lifetimes, and
in AKIll21-24, he defines each member as being a "state" (dasiior
avasthi) of the five skandhas. However, in verse 25, using the word
ldla, he indicates that he personally disagrees with this interpretation,
which he attributes to the Sarvastivadin or V a i b h ~ i k a school
(iivasthikal). kile$to 'yam -AKIll25a; AKBh: 133. See also La
ValIeePoussin 1971, v. 2: 66, n. 5). It is among the verses that present
the iivasthika interpretation that our first definition of vijfiiina is
Thus, Vasubandhu, himself, has identified.the first definition as
being that of the Sarvastivadins. Furthermore, as I mentioned above,
near the beginning of his comment on verse 28ab, he attacks the entire
iivasthika interpretation, to which, he says, the Sautrantikas object,
questioning whether it accurately reflects the meaning of siitra Catra
Vasubandhu 29
tusautiantikavijiiapayantilkirpkhalvetai[:aya ucyanteyayasyetil)
iihosvit sfitrarthal) -AKBh: 136). Moreover, at the end of the same
section, he again explicitly identifies everything contained in the
avasthika interpretation as V a i b h a ~ i k a doctrine (sa eva tu
vaibhaikanyayo yal) pfirvam uktal) -AKBh: 140), a point noted by
de la Vallee Poussin in his translation (La Vallee Poussin 1971, v. 2:
Similar avasthika interpretations of pratityasamutpada, including
definitions of vijiianiiilga resembling that found in AKIII21c, can be
traced to earlier Sarvastivadin texts, although not to the earliest
group. I have not found such interpretations in the Sarvastivadin
Abhidharmapitaka, either in early texts, such as the Dharmaskandha
(A pi ta mo fa yiin tsu lun) , which contains extensive discussions of
both sazpskfirapratyayazp vijiianam and niimarilpapratyayazp vijiianam
(T. l537:506c-508b; see Schmithausen 1987:464-465, ns. 1114,
1119), or in later texts, such as the Jiianaprasthana (A pi ta mo fa chih
lun) , which is cited by de la Vallee Poussin as the source of the
division of members into three lifetimes (T. 1544: 921 b; also, see the
earlier translation, A pi t'an pa chien tu lun, T. 1543: 775b-c;La
Vallee Poussin 1971 v. 2:60, n. 1). Nor does the Abhidharmamrta
(A pi ta 'n kanlu wei lun), one of the earliest Sarvastivadin manuals,
contain an avasthika interpretation, although it does divide the
members among the three lifetimes, as well as classifying each
member as klesa, karma, or du1)kha(T. 1553:97Oc-971c; Aams:70-
73). However, at least three abhidharma texts prior to the
Abhidharmakosa claim that the avasthika interpretation represents
the correct understanding of the twelve-membered pratityasamutpada
The earliest source that I have found is the Maha vibhaa (T. 1545
- Api ta mo ta pip'o sha lun ; T. 1546 - A pi t'an pi p'o sha lun),
which is again cited by de la Vallee Poussin in a footnote to the
translation of AKIII 21a (La Vallee Poussin 1971,v. 2:62, n. 1). The
Mahavibhasa first distinguishes its own, avasthika, interpretation
from the kaIJ.ika interpretation of Sarmadatta (She ma ta to) and the
sazpbandhika interpretation of the Vijiianakayasiistra (A pi ta mo shih
shen tsu lun - T. 1539)(T. 1545: 118c-119a; T. l546:93c-94a).
nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
In the k$aI)ika interpretation, all twelve members are present in a
single moment, as in the case of someone who harms a sentient being
due to passion: his mental confusion is a\j.dyii; his volition is
saIpskiira; his consciousness (i.e., his awareness of the object of his
crime) is vijiiiina, etc. (T. 1545:118c; identical to AKBh: 133).
According to the siiIpbandhika interpretation, which de la Vallee
Poussin explains as "par la liaison des causes et effets" (La Vallee
Poussin 1971,v. 2: 65), a number of members can be present in a
single moment: for example, when someone conceives of passion for
an object, his ignorance (about the true nature of the object) is avidyii;
his desire is saIpskiira; his discrimination of the object is vijiiiina, etc.
But these members do not consist of all five' skandhas. Some
members, on the other hand, do consist of all five skandhas: for
example, the arising of all the skandhas in the new lifetime is jiiti, and
their deterioration is jaramaraI)a But these members do not occupy
a single moment (T. 1545:118c).
According to the Mahiivibhii$ii's own interpretation, each mem-
ber refers to the five skandhas at a different moment; this is clearly
the same iivasthika system described inAKIII21-24. Its definition
of vijiiiina, however, appears somewhat different at first glance.
According to Hsiian-tsang' s translation, vijiiiina is the pratisaIpdhicitta
(hsii hsin), together with its accompaniment (chu pan), which the
Kokuyaku Issaikyo explains as the remaining four skandhas (T.
1545:118c; KIK, Bidonbu, v. 8: 9, n. 19). The earlier translation
(attributed to Kiityiiyaniputra) has hsiang hsii hsin instead of hsii
hsin, which is not significantly different (T. 1546:94a). Nor, I think,
is there any difference in meaning between this pratisaIpdhicitta and
the saIpdhiskandhas of AKIII21; according to the iivasthika system,
the five skandhas at this.point in the development of the new life can
be called vijiiiina (or citta, since the terms are synonymous here; see
AKII34ab; AKBh:69), because vijiiiina is the predominant element .
(AKIII25b; AKBh: 133). Vasubandhu perhaps condensed the expres-
sion metri causa, and YaSomitra, judging from his comment on
Vasubandhu's second definition (samskiirapratyayaIp vijiiiinaIp
pratisaIpdhicittam eviibhipretaIp syiit- AKVy: 299), considers the
expressions identical.
Vasubandhu 31
Similar to the Mahavibha$a's definition are those of the
*Abhidharmahrdayasiitra (A pi t'an hsin Iun ching) and the
* Sarpyuktabhidharm ahrdaya, or * K$udrakabhidharmahrdaya, (Tsa
a pi t'an hsin Iun). The * Abhidharmahrdayasiitra defines vijiHina as
the pratisarpdhicitta (hsiang hsu hsin) together with its associates (T.
1551:860c). The *Sarpyuktabhidharmahrdaya defines it as the
present salPtati (hsien tsai hsiang hsin), which here seems to be
equivalent to the five skandhas at the first moment of the present life,
since the next member, namariipa, is defined in the following way:
"that salPtati, (after) it already (exists), and while the six ayatanas are
not completely differentiated, is called niimariipa" (Pi hsiang hsu i Jiu
ju fen wei man shuo ming se - T. 1552:935b).
The * A bhidh arm ahrdaya or * A bhidharmasiira (A pi t'an hsin
Iun) also agrees with the Mahavibha$ain maintaining that the twelve
members of the pratityasamutpada formula refer to twelve sets, or
states, of the skandhas and that the formula should not be understood
in terms of a single moment. Its definition of vijiilina, on the other
hand, is rather surprising; it states that vijiilina is the bijacitta
produced by the previous member, salPskiira (pi sheng chung hsin
shih shih - T. 1550:827a). This would seem to support Mizuno
Kogen's statement that the * A bhidh arm ah[daya sometimes contains
doctrines that diverge from orthodox Sarvastivada (Mizuno 1961:73).
Although Willemen does not comment on it in his translation, this
definition deserves further exploration, especially since the term
chung hsin, or chung shih, is a synonym for aJayavijiilina in some
vijiiaptimatratatexts (Nakamura 1975:650).
Allof the abhidharma texts mentioned above define vijiiliniiilga
as the initial moment of the present lifetime and as the karmic link
between the past life and the present. In the Mahavibha$a,
* Abhidharmahrdayasfitra, and * Sarpyuktabhidharmahrdaya, more-
over, this vijiilina cannot possibly be the six vijiilinakayas because,
as we discover from the definitions of the following arlgas, the six
sense organs are not yet present at the moment referred to as vijiilina.
Furthermore, although the Dharmaskandha, which is much earlier
than Mahavibha$a, defines salPskiirapratyayarp vijiilinam as the six
vijiilinas (but not in the antarabhava - T. 1537:507a), in none of
32 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
these post-Mahiivibhii.$ii texts, to the best of my knowledge, is
vijiiiiniiilga ever defined as the six vijfiiinakiiyas, nor is the definition
from the Pratityasamutpiidasiitra that is quoted, by Vasubandhu in his
comment on AKIll28ab ever discussed. Thus, I have found no
evidence suggesting that the Sarvastivadins, from the period of the
Mahiivibhiis!i, interpreted vijiiiiniiilga as the six vijfiiinakiiyas in the
intermediate existence, while there are a number of Vaibha$ika texts
that present the iivasthika interpretation as orthodox, not to mention
the fact that Vasubandhu, himself, identifies it as Vaibha$ika
Further confirmation can be found in Sarp.ghabhadra's two texts,
* Nyiiyiinusiira (A pi ta mo shun cheng Ii lun) and
* Abhidharmapitakaprakara1).asiisanasiistra or * Sam ayapra dipika (A
pi ta mo tsang hsien tzung lun). In both texts, Sarp.ghabhadra quotes
Vasubandhu's gloss on verse 21c and continues with a further
explanation: "In the mother's womb, at the time of conception, the
five skandhas in a momentary state are called Consciousness
because, at this moment, consciousness is the most prominent (of the
skandhas. This consciousness) is only manovijiiiina because, in this
state, the causes of the production of the (other) five vijiianas (i. e.,
the sense organs) are not yet possessed" (yii mu t'ai teng chen chieh
sheng shih i ch 'a na wu yiin ming shih. tz'u ch 'a na chung shih tsui
sheng ku. tz'u wei i shih yii tz'u wei ching wu shih sheng yiian yu
wei chii ku. - T. 1562:484b; also, T. 1563:841a). Again, in neither
of these texts could I find the six-vijiiiinakiiyas definition.
Vasubandhu's Definition in Abhidharmakosabhiisya-The Six
vijiiiinas in the Intermediate Realm
In order to show that the six-vijiiiinakiiyas definition in fact
represents Vasubandhu's own opinion in AKBh, I must begin by
summarizing his rather long and complicated comment on AKIII28ab:
"The origination is the cause; that which originates is the result"
(hetur atra samutpiidal) samutpannarp phalarp matam - AKBh: 136).
Vasubandhu 33
vasubandhu explains the verse, saying that all the members are both
pratityasamutpada and pratityasamutpanna. He then mentions the
differing opinion of a Sthavira PUIT.lasa, who adduces four reasons to
prove that. that which is pratityasamutpada cannot be
pratityasamutpanna (AKBh: 136). .
It is at this point that Vasubandhu attributes to the Sautrantikas
the criticism of the avasthika interpretation, mentioned above;
according to which nothing of the sort can be found in the sutras.
There follows an argument between the Sautrantika and the
Sarvastivadin concerning the authority and completeness of the sutra
definitions of the members of the formula. In the course of this
argument the Sarvastivadin maintains that they are not complete and
the meaning is not clear (na vai sarvarp nirdesato nitartharp bhavatl).
The Sautrantika, who has the last word in this dispute,. states that the
sutra is, in fact, complete (evam ihfipy avidyadinarp paripu17)a eva
nirde.sal) na savasesal}), and he proceeds to point out the logical flaws
in the avasthika interpretation: "Why do you introduce something of
a different kind (other than avidya; i. e., the five skandhas) into (your
definition of) avidyfi? Although the five skandhas are found in these
'states,' only that (entity) whose existence or non-existence deter-
mines the existence or non-existence of some (other entity, i. e., the
following member) can be established as a member. Although the
arhat possesses the five skandhas, he does not have any sarpskaras
(that, according to your interpretation would have to be) caused by
the five skandhas. Why (not)? Because (the sarpskaras that
constitute sarpskiiriIl;1ga) are only caused by avidya (which the arhat
does not have). Likewise, (he does not have) any vijiiana that goes
to good, bad or immovable destinies, or trSI)a, upadana, etc. (There-
fore,) the meaning of the sutra is just as was stated (in the sutra)"
(jatyantarasya tv avidyayarp kirpkrtai) praksepai) / yady api ca tasv
avasthasu paficaskandha vidyante yasya tu bhavifbhavayor yasya
bhavabhavaniyamai) tad eviIl;1garp vyavasthapayitum / saty api ca
pancaskandhake sarpskiira na bhavanti paiicaskandhahetukal) / kirp
tarhi/ avidyahetuka eva/ tatha pUI)yapuI)yanefijyopagarp ca vijiianarp
na bhavati trSI)opadanadayas ceti / yathanirdesa eva siitrarthai) -
AKBh:137; La Vallee Poussin 1971, v. 2:76). Yasomitra explains
34 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
that the vijiiana here is pratisaIp.dhivijiiana (AKVy:293).
The point of this argument seems to be that, if the members of the
formula are defined as states of the skandhas, t!Ie arhat would still be
ensnared in saIp.sara, simply because he still possesses the skandhas.
However, we know that the arhat is able to reverse the samsaric
process precisely because he destroys the first member, avidya.
Thus, although he possesses the skandhas until his death, he does not
produce the conditions for rebirth and the continuation of saIp.siira.
Vasubandhu next returns to the four points of Piil1).asa, refuting
the first of them, and then discusses the question of whether
pratityasamutpada is aSaIpslqia. This in tum leads into an etymologi-
cal discussion of the term, pratityasamutpada, which is followed by
various opinions regarding the question of why the Buddha expressed
the principle of conditioned origination in two ways: asmin satidaIp.
bhavati and asyotpadad idam utpadyate.
Finally, Vasubandhu offers his own interpretation of the formula.
As KatO has remarked, although Vasubandhu rejects in principle
avasthikapratityasamutpada and treats the formula largely in terms of
a theory of cognition, his definitions of vijiiana, namariipa, and the
$ac;Iayatanas are not inconsistent with an embryological interpreta-
tion, which is how Kata characterizes avasthikapratityasamutpada
(Kata 1989:315). While Vasubandhu does not define these members
as states of the skandhas, he does trace the early development of the
new being from its beginning as consciousness, mentally projected
by the past life, through the appearance of the other three mental
skandhas, together with riJpaskandha (i.e., namariipa), to the devel-
opment of the six sense organs ($ac;Iayatana). However, as I showed
at the beginning of this paper, for Vasubandhu, vijiiana does not refer
only to the moment of pratisaIp.dhi consciousness; rather, it encom-
passes the series of vijiianas that constitute the intermediate existence
between one life and the next, as well as the moment of rebirth into
the next life. This interpretation of the definition from the
Pratityasamutpadasfitra, which he quotes here (vijiianaIp katamat /
$ac;Ivijiianakaya iti - AKBh: 140), can be justified because, accord-
ing to abhidharma, the sense organs are all present in the intermediate
existence (sakaJaksal)-AKIII14c; AKBh:125), and thus conscious-
Vasubandhu 35
ness can include all six vijnanakayas (it is to this abhidharmic rule
that Jaini alludes in the passage quoted above). If, on the other hand,
explains Yasomitra, the sutra had intended for vijnanifilga to refer
exclusively t ~ pratis81p.dhivijnana, it would have said, "What is
vijiiana? Manovijnana," because, at the moment of conception, only
manovijnana is present, not the other five vijniinas (ev81p. tu
-vaktavy81p. syat / vijnanarp. katamat / manovijnanam iti / na hi
pratis81p.dhik$ane pancavijnanakayasambhavo 'sti/manovijnanenaiva
pratis81p.dhibandhat - AKVy:299). Yasomitra then quotes from
AKIll42a-c to support his claim that pratis81p.dhivijnana can only be
manovijnana, a point on which Vasubandhu and the Sarvastivadins
agree (see Sarp.ghabhadra's comment, quoted above).
Curiously, Sarp.ghabhadra does not, as far as I can tell, comment
on this portion of AKBh. The Chinese commentator, P'u Kung, on
the other hand, does. In his Chu she lun chi, P'u Kuang first explains
that Vasubandhu' s intention is to include both the stream of vijnanas
in the intermediate realm 'and the upapattibhava, which is equivalent
to pratis81p.dhivijnana, in his definition of "This vijnana
passes through both the intermediate realm and the moment of
conception. Although the moment of conception is only manovijnana,
in the state of the intermediate realm, (this vijnana) produces all six
vijnanai' (tz'u shih t'ung yil chung sheng erh yu. sheng yu sui wei
i shih yil chung yu wei t'ung ch'i liu shih.). Then, after quoting .
Vasubandhu's approval of the Pratityasamutpadasutra 's definition of
vijnana as the $a4vijnanakayas, P'u Kuang states, "If one relies on
the Sarvastivadins, vijnanifilga is only the single moment of
upapattibhava and does not pass through the intermediate realm;
therefore, (for them) it is only manovijnana" (jo i sh.uo i ch 'ieh yu pu
. shih chih sui sheng yu i ch 'a na pu t'ung ch 'ung yu ku wei i shih-
T. 1821:172c). Clearly, P'u Kuang believes that Vasubandhu
disagrees with orthodox Sarvastivadin doctrine.
I have puzzled over Vasubandhu's locating vijniinifilga in the
intermediate realm, since I have found no other independent text in
which it is similarly placed. Perhaps one could say that Vasubandhu
here is trying to modify the SarvastivaCIins' unequivocal identifica-
tion of vijnana with the present life, but his commentators (see P'u
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Kuang, quoted immediately above; see also AKVy:299; Sthiramati's
Tattviirtha, quoted in Mejor 1991:101-102) understand him to
include the moment of pratisarpdhi into the pt:esent life as well, and
it seems to me that, in terms of causation, the intermediate realm is
more closely related to the present life than to the past. I can only
conclude that his purpose here is simply to provide a rationalization
for adopting the sutra definition; as I have mentioned above, placing
vijiiiina in the intermediate realm is the simplest way for him to justify
the six-vijiiiinakiiya definition in abhidharmic terms. In the second
part of this paper, I shall speculate on Vasubandhu's reasons for
adopting this definition.
Vasubandhu's Definition in the Pratityasamutpiidavyiikhyii-
sarpskiiraparibhii vi tiil;1 sac;Ivijiiiinakii yiil;1
Like P'u Kuang, Viryasridatta, also draws attention to the
difference between two definitions of vijiiiiniiIiga, in a passage of the
Arthaviniscayasutranibandhana. (This passage corresponds to a
portion of the Pratityasamutpiidavyiikhyii, in which Vasubandhu
quotes the view of an opponent whom he will soon refute [Honj6
1989: 173]; Viryasridatta, on the other hand, seems to approve of this
view.) The Arthaviniscayasutra, itself, contains the text of the
Pra tityasam utpiidasutra and hence the six -vijiiiinakii ya definition, but
Viryasridatta, who, according to Mejor, follows the Kashmirian
Vaibha-?ikas (Mejor 1991:18), points out that elsewhere
sarpskiirapratyayarp vijiiiinam is identified with pratisarpdhivijiiiina,
and he quotes AKIII21c (sarpdhiskandhiis tu vijiiiinam). He also
refers to the well-known sutra statement, according to which
niimarupa could not solidify into a fetus if vijiiiina did not descend
into the mother's womb (Digha Nikiiya II 63; quoted in La Vallee
Poussin 1913:12), and understands it to imply that vijiiiina in the
pratityasamutpiida formula refers to pratisarpdhivijiiiina and hence
can only be manovijiiiina.
He then points out the discrepancy between this interpretation
Vasubandhu 37
and the definition in the A VS, but he argues that there is no
contradiction (virodha). According to him, the A VS (i.e., the
Pratityasamutpadasiitra) definition is overly broad and not specific to
the context of rebirth; therefore, he says, it is not lifk$a1J.ika. To
support this assertion, he compares the siitra definitions of vijiiiina
and the riipa portion of nifmariipa and shows that, in the case of riipa,
too, the siitra likewise gives an all-inclusive definition that does not
pertain to the specific context of vijiiiinapratyayarp namariipam.
Furthermore, he states that the lifk$81J.ika definition is to be found
elsewhere, i. e., in the verse of AK.
However, Viryasridatta is also able to rationalize the siitra
definition; that is to say, he is able to understand it in the context of
the pratityasamutpada formula. He mentions by name the Sautrantikas,
who, he says, believe that the vijiiiina conditioned by the sarpskifras
is not pratismpdhivijiiiina but rather the six vijiianas, which are
permeated by the sarpskaras (sautriintikamatena tv avirodha eva /
yasmat tasya sarpskaraparibhavitai) $ac;lvijiianakayai)
sarpskarapratyayarp vijiiiinam i$tmp na pratisarpdhivijiianam eveti
-AVSN:118-119; Honjo 1989:67-69). This passage is significant
because it is the only explicit attribution of a six-vijiianakaya
definition to the Sautrantikas that I have found. However, the
interpretation of the six vijiianakayas here as sarpskiiraparibhavita is
not identical to Vasubandhu's interpretation in AKBh, according to
which they are the stream of vijiianas in the intermediate realm; I shall
discuss the differences later in the paper. Moreover, as Honjo has
noted, there are many passages in A VSN that correspond to
Vasubandhu's Pratityasamutpadavyakhya, including the first part of
this one (Bonjo 1989: 173), and it is to this text, and not to the AKBh,
that Viryasridatta is referring when he mentions the opinion of the
Sautdintikas in the above passage.
In the PSVy, which has beel). studied notably by Matsuda
Kazunobu, Muroji Gijin, and Lambert Schmithausen, Vasubandhu
includes a long (folios 17 a5 - 26b5 in the Peking edition of the Bstan
'gyur) discussion of vijiiiinfiilga, in which he mentions the view of
certain "others" (gzhan dag) who maintain that smpskiirapratyaymp
vijiiifnam is the pratismpdhivijiiifna in the mother's womb (see above
38 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
concerning the correspondence between this . passage and AVSN).
Schmithausen has identified a passage, beginning with f. 20b4
(Schinithausen 1987:467, n. 1128) and continuing to f. 22b4, in
which Vasubandhu refutes this view as being'inconsistent with both
siitra (mdo sde dang' ga1- f. 20b6-f. 21 b8) and reason (rigs pa dang
'gal-f. 21 b8-f. 22b4). Among the several opinions that Vasubandhu
. attacks is the one quoted with approval in A VSN, to the effect that
the pratisaIp.dhivijiiifna definition is 1ak$a1)ika and the six- vijiiifnakaya
definition abbiprayika, and that the siistra defmition does not
contradict the siitra definition (PSVy:f. 20b7-21a2).
Vasubandhu ridicules this position, saying that the two defini-
tions are indeed irreconcilable. He shows that, in the case of the riipa
portion of namariipa, the siitra definition, namely that riipa consists
of the four mahiibhiitas and the four upadayariipas, and the sastra
definition, presumably that riipais the material portion of the embryo,
are compatible since the embryonic riipa does, in fact, consist of the
mahiibhiitas and the upadayariipas. In the case of vijiiifna, however,
the six vijiiifnakayas are not present at the moment of conception, so
. sastra contradicts siitra (nying mtshamS sbyor ba na mam par shes pa
gang yin pa de mam par shes pa 'i tshags drug ma yin pas / 'dir chos
'dra ba ci yod / 'dii ni 'du byed kyi rkyen gyis mam par shes pa bstan
pa brtsams pa yin pas zla 1a ci 'i phyir bya - PSVy:f. 21a3-4; see also
Wayman and Wayman 1974:55n., where this passage is referred to;
howeve!, I am not sure whether Wayman understands it in the same
way that I do).
Instead, Vasubandhu here defines sarpskiirapratyayarp vijiiifnam
as vijiiifna Ci. e., the six vijiiifnakayas) penneated by the sarpskiiras (de
Itar na 'du byed kyis yongs su bsgos pa mam par shes pa de nyid 'du
byed kyi rkyen gyis yin gyi nying mtsham sbyor ba'i mam par shes
pa ni ma yin no - PSVy : f. 23al-2). Schmithausen describes this
vijiiifnaas follows: "the salJlskiira-pratyayaIp. vijiiifnam is the vijiiifna
of the prior existence which receives the Impressions of kanna and
- by continuously propagating itself along with this impression -
becomes, in its tum, the cause of a new existence (beginning with
namariipa)" (Schmithausen 1987:253, n. 51).
Furthennore, although Vasubandhu rejects the V a i b h ~ i k a asser-
Vasubandhu 39
tion that the six-vijiianakaya definition is abhiprayika while the
pratisarpdhivijiiana definition is lak$al)ika, he, too, as Matsuda points
out (Matsuda 1982b:63-64), considers the sutra definition to be
intentional: according to him, sarpskarapratyayarp vijiifinam is ulti-
mately the stream of alayavijiiana penneated by the sarpskaras ('dir
don nyid gang zhe na / 'du byed kyis yongs su bsgos pa'i kun gzhi
mam par shes pa 'i rgyun yongs su gyur pas yang srid 'byung bar nus
pa ni 'dir 'du byed kyi rkyen gyis mam par shes pa yin par dgongs
pa yin no - PSVyf. 24al-2; Matsuda 1982b:64). The remainder of
Vasubandhu's discussion of vijiifinailga concerns alayavijiiana, the
discussion of which, according to Matsuda, is similar to that found
in the Karmasiddhiprakaral)a, yet another text by Vasubandhu
(Matsuda 1982a:44).
Part Two
In all interpretations of pratityasamutpada in the. context of
rebirth, vijiifina is the most important member, since it is exactly at
vijiiana that the kannic legacy of one life passes on to the next.
However, as we have seen, different interpretations disagree regard-
ing two interrelated questions: to what stage in the rebirth process
does vijiifiniiilga correspond; and what is its causal nature - is it
cause, result, or both cause and result? All three answers to the
second question have been proposed in one text or another during the
history of the exegesis of the fonnula (for an example of a text that
takes vijiianailga to be both cause and effect, see Alex Wayman's
description of Tsong kha pa's interpretation - Wayman 1984:181-
As I have shown above, vijiiana, in the Sarvastivadin system,
refers to the first moment of the present lifetime, and it is result
(ph ala) , since it is based on klesa and karma (AK III 26ab;
AKBh: 134). There is some disagreement as to whether or not vijiiana
is vipaka. According to the Sarvastivadins, it is not, because for them,
pratisarpdhi is always defiled (upapattibhaval) kli$tal) - AKIII 38a;
40 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
AKBh:151), while viplika must be morally neutral (vipliko 'vyaJqto
dhaimal). - AK IT 57 a; AKBh:95). However, as Schrnithausen has
shown, pratisaIpdhivijiiana is, in fact, consid,ered to be viplika in
Theravadin abhidharma, in the Abhidharmasamuccayabhii-5ya, and
in parts ofthe Yogiiciirabhiimi (Schmithausen 1987:38;307 ns. 256-
257). On the other hand, certain Yogacara texts, for example Ch 'eng
wei shih lun (T. 1585:19a; La Vallee Poussin 1929:217) and
Mahiiyanasa1!1grahabhii-5ya (MS:15; Lamotte 1973:53-54), have ad-
duced the defiled nature of pratisaIpdhivijiiana as proof that it could
not be sa1!1skfirapratyayaIp vijfianam, which, according to them, must
be viplika and hence neutral. Regardless of the moral nature of
pratisaIpdhivijiiana, there is certainly nothing about it that suggests
the strongly causal and projecting qualities of the six vijiianakiiyas,
permeated by the saJ.!1Skfiras, as described by Vasubandhu in PSVy.
In the PSVy, Vasubandhu locates vijiiana in the prior lifetime,
and, by calling it sa1!1skfiraparibhiivita, he shows that, rather than
being a resultant entity, projected by karma into the next life, it is a
causal entity, whose ability to project the next life is conditioned by
karma. As for pratisaIpdhivijfiana, it is, according to PSVy, the fIrst
moment of niimariipa in the present life (mdo sde 'ill las mam par shes
pa 'i rkyen gyis phung pO lnga pa 'i ming dang gzugs bstan pas nying .
mtshams sbyor ba 'i mam par shes pa de ji ltar de dang lhan cig byung
ba'i ming dang gzugs kyi rkyen du rung - PSVy f. 21b4;
Schmithausen 1987:467 n. 1128).
The general similarities between the explanations of
pratityasamutpiida in the Abhidharmasamuccaya and the PSVy have
been noted by Matsuda (Matsuda 1982a:47-48), and the interpreta-
tions of vijiiana, in particular, coincide in substance. According to .
the AS, vijiiana, which is considered a projecting (iik-5epaka) member
of the formula and hence belongs to the prior life, "supports the bond
of beings' actions" (sattvanii1!1 karmabandhaIp ca dhiirayati - AS:
25); the ASBh explains that this is "because it arises simultaneously
with the impressions produced by the Karmic Forces"
(saIpskiiriihitaviisaniisahotpattel)- ASBh:32). This seems to be the
same function that is implicit in Vasubandhu' s vijiiana permeated by
the sa1!1skiiras. Furthermore, "it is the condition of Individual
Vasubandhu 41
Existence" (pratyayas ca bhavati namariipasya - AS:25), because
"Individual Existence attains growth due to the entrance of con-
sciousness into the mother's womb" (matul) kuk$au vijiiiinavakriintya
namariipavivrddhigamanat - ASBh:32). The consciousness men-
tioned by the ASBh here must be pratisarpdhivijniina and, being
associated with the later lifetime, cannot be the same as. the vijiiiina
that arises simultaneously with the karmic impressions. In the
immediately following description of the function of nifmariipa,
which "makes beings grasp the basis of personal existence"
(iitmabhiivarp ca sattviin grahayati - AS:25), the identification of
pratisarpdhivijiiiina with the initiation of nifmariipa, similar to that in
PSVy, becomes clear.
Thus, both Asanga in AS and Vasubandhu in PSVyrecognize two
types of consciousness, a causal one, which is identified (at least
provisionally) with the six vijiiiinakayas, and a fruitional one,
pratisarpdhivijiiiina, which is not considered sarpskfirapratyaya and
which is associated with nifmarilpa. The idea that the six vijiianas can
be permeated by the sarpskfiras, which has been attributed to the
Sautrantikas (see A VSN:118-119, quoted above; also, La Vallee
Poussin 1929: 217), is criticized in certain Yogacara texts that
explicitly teach ilia ya vijniina, for example, TriIpsikiibha$ya (TrBh: 3 8)
and Ch 'eng wei shih lun (T.1585:19a; La Vallee Poussin 1929:217),
in order to prove that sarpskfirapratyayarp vijnanam must be
iilayavijnana. However, a similar notion appears in the
pratityasamutpada section of an earlier Yogacara text, the Savitarka-
sa vicarabhilmi of the Yogacarabhilmi: "For example, a person in the
past has performed and accumulated acts, whether meritorious,
unmeritorious, or immovable (iiniiijya), whether physical, verbal, or
mental, which are conditioned by ignorance. His consciousness,
accompanied by those acts, continues to exist up to the moment of
death and becomes the cause of the consciousness at the moment of
conception" (yathapihaikatyena pilrvam avidu$avidyagate-
navidyapratyayarp PUlJyapuI)yiiniiijyarp kayavfii1manal)karma lqtarp
bha va ty upacitarp / tatkarmopagarp [Schmithausen's correction from
the manuscript of Bhattacharya's tatkarmopabhogarp; Schmithausen
1987:472 n. 1153] casya vijiiiinam amaraI)asamayad anuvrttarp
42 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
bhavati pratisandhivijiiiInahetubhiitarp - YBh:198-199; also,
Schmithausen 1987:178). As for pratisarpdhivijiiiIna, it is explicitly
called vipakavijiiiIna, and it is said to be by the causal
consciousness. The relationship between this vipakavijiiiIna and
niimariipa is explained in tenns of the mutual dependence of vijiiiIna
and niimariipa (YBh:199).
Schmithausen, who considers this passage to predate a system-
atized notion of aJayavijiiiIna, emphasizes that both the causal and the
vipaka consciousnesses here are the series "consisting of one or the
other of the ordinary six kinds of vijiiiIna" (Schmithausen 1987: 178).
However, he does not suggest that it therefore represents a non-
Y ogacara, for example, a Sautdintika, doctrine. According to
Schmithausen, the earliest Y ogacara thought, which he says is found
in portions of the YBh, does not encompass a fully developed theory
of aJayavijiiiIna, explicitly identified as such. This raises the question
of the development of Yogacara doctrine and its relationship to the
Sautrantika school, a question that is very pertinent to the study of
texts such as AKBh and AS. Vasubandhu, whose name is associated
with both the Sautrantikaand Y ogacara schools, of course figures
critically in any discussion of the relationship between them.
There are many different opinions regarding Vasubandhu, espe-
cially concerning his dates and to how many people his name refers,
but Hirakawa Akira, in his introduction to the Index to the
Abhidharmakosa, summarizes the most commonly held views re-
garding his philosophical beliefs: "It is generally accepted among
scholars that the author of the Kosa was ordained in the Sarvastivada
School, but his thoughts were closer to those of the Sautrantika
School. The doctrine of the Salitrantika School is based on 'the
prajfiapti,' which includes the teaching of bija; therefore, the devel-
oped fonn of this doctrine can be related to the doctrine of
Vijfianavada. It does not necessarily mean that the Sautrantika
School itself developed into the Vijfianavada, but it can be easily
assumed that the author of the Kosa belonged to the Sautrantika
School[and] later chariged to the Vijfianavada, for there is a certain
common ground between the doctrines" (Hirakawa 1973:xi-xii).
According to this way of thinking, Vasubandhu wrote the AKBh
Vasubandhu 43
when he was a Sautrantika, the Trirpsikiiwhen he was a Yogacara,
and texts like the KarmasiddhiprakaraJ).a and the PSVy at some time
in between, while he was presumably in the process of conversion
from Sautrantika to Yogacara. For example, Muroji suggests just
such a development (Muroji 1985:[2]), while Matsuda implies
something similar when he states that the iiJayavijiiiina that is
expounded in PSVy and KS is different from that of the Yogadira
school since it is "tinged with a Sautrantika hue" (Matsuda 1982a:44).
This model ofVasubandhu's literary and philosophical develop-
ment is largely based on two types of evidence: traditional accounts
of his life and the contents of his writings. According to Mejor, the
reliable information in the Chinese and Tibetan biographies and
historical sources "may be summarized in two points: 1) V asubandhu' s
composition of the Abhidharmakosa-karikii and bhii$ya and a
subsequent controversy with a Kashmirian V a i b h a ~ i k a master,
Sanghabhadra, 2) Vasubandhu's conversion to Mahayana under the
influence of his elder brother Asanga" (Mejor 1991:7). As for the
content of his works, in the AKBh, as is well known, Vasubandhu
frequently criticizes V a i b h ~ i k a positions, while supporting posi-
tions that he identifies as, or we know from other sources to be,
Sautrantika. In works such as PSVy and KS (to summarize Lamotte
on the latter), Vasubandhu, although he mentions iiJayavijiiiina, does
not propose a doctrine of consciousness-only; furthermore, he quotes
almost exclusively from non-Mahayana siltras, mentions the opin-
ions mostly of non-Mahayana schools and teachers, and takes
recognizably Sautrantika positions on a number of important issues
(Lamotte 1935-36:176-179). Finally, in Trirpsikii, his exposition is
clearly and classically Y ogacara.
There may, however, be another way to explain why Vasubandhu
asserts a "Sautrantika" position, at least in our case of
sarpskiirapratyayarp vijiiiinam. Before I come to this, it is necessary
to discuss briefly two differing opinions regarding the composition
of the Y ogiiciirabhilmi, a text that precedes Vasubandhu and with
which he was presumably acquainted (concerning the question of the
relationship between YBh and AKBh, see Yamabe 1990, in which
the possibility of Vasubandhu's bija theory being traceable back to
44 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
YBh is raised).
In his monumental work, Alayavijiiiina, Schmithausen, in the
course of trying to explain the context in w h i c ~ the Yogadira concept
of aJayavijfilina first arose, concludes that the Yogacarabhfimi is
probably "a compilation consisting of several (or at least two)
heterogeneous (or at any rate chronologically distinct) layers"
(Schmithausen 1987:13), rather than the work of a single author. He
goes on to identify three layers of the text: an oldest layer, in which
there is no reference to aJayavijfiana; a middle layer, in which there
are occasional references to aJayavijfilina, but no reference to the
Sarpdhinirmocanasfitra; and the newest layer, in which aJayavijiiana
is discussed in detail and the Sarpdhinirmocanasfitra is fully utilized
(Schmithausen 1987:14). The assumption that underlies
Schmithausen's view of the stratification of Yogacarabhfimi is that,
roughly speaking, the less mention of aJayavijfilina and reference to
Mahayana sfitra there is, the older the layer. Aramaki Noritoshi, on
the other hand, in a personal communication, takes a different
approach in determining the strata of the text. Aramaki agrees with
Schmithausen regarding the portions comprising the oldest layer, but
he takes issue with his identification of the other two layers, locating
some portions containing Sarpdhinirmocana material and detailed
treatments of aJayavijfilina in the middle layer and some portions
containing scant mention of aJayavijiilina in the newest layer.
According to Aramaki's theory, his middle layer contains the
Yogacara exposition of ultimate truth (paramfirth a vyavasthiina) ,
namely the doctrine of aJayavijfilina, while the newest layer contains
an exposition of provisional truth (sam vrtivya vasthiina) , which
presupposes aJayavijfiiina theory. In this layer, Aramaki sees the
origin of the Yogacara abhidharrna.
In the case of Vasubandhu's texts, as well as Asailga's
Abhidharmasamuccaya and Mahayiinasarpgraha, we are dealing
with a different situation. All of these texts belong to a later period
than even the newest layer of the Yogacarabhfimi; each is composed
by a single, identifiable author, and by the time these works were
written, the doctrine of aJayavijfiiina was no longer in the early stages
of the process of formation. Nonetheless, Aramaki's distinction
Vasubandhu 45
betweeri paramarth a vya vas thana and saIpvrtivyavasthana can per-
haps help us understand the intention of these texts.
First, let us consider the two works of Asanga. The purpose of
MahayanasaJpgraha is specifically to expound the doctrine of
alayavijiiana,or, to use Aramaki's terminology, the Yogacara
paramarthavyavasthana, and it contains systematic proofs and elabo-
rations. The Abhidharmasamuccaya, on the other hand, while it
occasionally mentions the term, does not expound aJayavijiiana in
detaiL Rather, as I hope to show in forthcoming work on this text,
Asanga, having already worked out a philosophical system based on
alayavijiiana, attempts in AS to produce an abhidharma, a
samvrtivyavasthana, consonant with, and supportive of, his
paramfirthavyavasthana. In the case of Asanga' s interpretation of the
pratityasamutpada formula, his two-lifetime (liang shih i ch 'ung)
system, in which the causal vijiiana of the past life projects the seeds
of the present life, only makes sense if viIiiananga is really
filayavijiiana. However, since his purpose is to explain the twelve-
membered formula and not to prove the existence of alayavijiiana,
Asanga sees no need to mention it by name. This is in contrast to MS
1.33, where, as one of a number of proofs of alayavijiiana, he states
that saIpskiirapratyayaIp vijiianam can only be alayavijiiana (MS: 15;
Lamotte 1973:53).
Similarly, although he eloquently expounds alayavijiiana and
vijiiaptimatrata in TriIpsika, Vasubandhu is writing for different
purposes in ASBh and PSVy. PSVy is a commentary on a sutra, the
Fenpieh yiian ch'i ch'u sheng fa men ching (T. 717; referred to by
Matsuda as the * AdiviSe$avibhagasutra [Matsuda 1982a:42]), the
subject of which, as its name suggests, is pratityasamutpada, and
Vasubandhu, in commenting on it, does not have to refer to
vijiiaptimatra theory, even though he uses the term alayavijfiana. The
fact that he does not mention the system of eight vijfianas need not
mean that he does not believe in it, contrary to Matsuda (Matsuda
1982a:44). Nor does his accepting on the level of "intentional
meaning" the identification of vijfiananga with the six
. sarpskaraparibhavitavijfianas a position associated by some (see
above) with the Sautrantika school, while rejecting the Sarvastivadin
46 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
identification of it with pratisarpdhivijiiiIna, prove that he is himself
a Sautdintika, at least in the sense of accepting the doctrines of other
teachers, such as Srilata, who are designated as Sautrantikas.
Recently, Honja Yoshifumi, in an article that'explores a number of
points raised by Kata Junsha in his book on Sautrantika (Kata 1989),
has suggested the possibility that Vasubandhu was the proponent of
a Mahayana Sautrantika doctrine, distinguishable from the "ortho-
dox," Hinayana Sautrantika of SriIata (Honja 1990). My own, very
tentative, theory is that Vasubandhu espouses Sautrantika or
Sautrantika-like ideas for the purpose of constructing Yogacara
abhidharma; this is, perhaps, not so different from Honja' s proposal.
In any case, by contrasting the abhipraya of the
sarpskiiraparibhavitavijiiiInas with iilayavijiiana, Vasubandhu im-
plies that, for him; iilayavijiiiIna belongs,to the re,aIm of ultimate truth
while the six vijiianas belong to that of provisional truth.
To return to the AKBh, there is some question in my mind as to
whether or not Vasubandhu's definition of sarpskiirapratyayarp
vijiiiInam in his comment on AK ill 28ab is substantially the same
as his definition in PSVy. At first glance, they appear somewhat
different. In AKBh, Vasubandhu does not use the expression
sarpskiiraparibhavita. to describe vijiiiIna, and this expression, with
its connotations of bija-theory, is one of the most striking features of
his discussion in PSVy. Furthermore, in PSVy, he does not mention
the intermediate realm, in which he locates at least a portion of
sarpskiirapratyayarp vijiiiInam in the AKBh. Although Sthiramati, in
his commentary on AKBh, calls the stream of vijiianas in the
intermediate realm karmaparibhavita (Mejor 1991:101-102), he is
perhaps, under the influence of what Vasubandhu says in PSVy,
reading too mlich into AKBh. More important is the fact that, in
AKBh, Vasubandhu, as I mention above, has been understood by his
commentators to include pratisarpdhivijiiiIna, along with the stream
of the six vijiianas in antarabhava, in his definition of
sarpskiirapratyayarp vijiiiInam. This would seem to be inconsistent
with the causal nature ascribed to vijiiiIna in PSVy as well as with the
statement that pratisarpdhivijiiiIna is the first moment of niimariipa in
the later lifetime.
Vasubandhu 47
However, AKBh is again quite a different type of text than either
Trs or PSVy. Although in verse VllI40ab Vasubandhu claims to have
presented an abhidharma system largely in agreement with the
school (kasmiiravaibhasikaniitisiddhal) prayo mayiiyarp.
kathito 'bhidJiarmal) - AKBh:459; quoted by Mejor, who takes this
verse to mean that Vasubandhu's o\vn doctrinal standpoint agreed
with that of the Vaibha$ikas [Mejor 1991:19]), it is well known that
. he rejects the Sarvastivadin position on many crucial points. Nev-
ertheless, even if the author of the Abhidharmadipa is correct in
assuming, as J aini puts it, that "the Kosa is not an authentic
Vaibhiishika treatise but only a mouth-piece of the Mahayanist
Vasubandhu disguised as a Vaibhashika acharya" (Jaini 1977:129),
his intention in writing AKBh is not to expound Mahayana,
specifically Yogadira, doctrine, even less so than it is in PSVyor KS.
In the case of his discussion of pratiyasam utpada, Vasubandhu seems
mostly concerned with undermining the Sarvastivadin avasthika
interpretation and with promoting the Pratiyasamutpadasiitra as
scriptural authority. Having established in the AKBh that
saIp.skfirapratyayarp. vijiiiinam is the six vijiiiinakayas without using
any suspiciously Yogacara terminology such as paribhavita, he is free
to interpret this six-vijiiiinakaya definition in a more overtly
Yogacara fashion in PSVy. It thus seems possible that Vasubandhu,
in the AKBh, is adjusting the a bhidh arm a system so painstakingly
worked out by the in order to make it consonant with
his Yogacara beliefs.
In his introduction to Abhidharmadipa, Jaini identifies sixteen
points on which the author of AD attacks Vasubandhu for departing
from orthodox V doctrine. In a significant number of these
cases, the "Sautrantika" position taken by Vasubandhu is either
virtually identical to that of the Y ogacara school (for example,
regarding the cittaviprayuktasaIp.skfiras) or, as Jaini puts it, "fore-
shadows the theory of fIlaya-vijiiiina" (Jaini 1977:110), for example,
regarding the anusayas. Jaini draws attention to the fact that the
Dipakara accuses Vasubandhu of being a vaituiika, i.e., accepting
Mahayana, (see above; also, Jaini 1977: 128), and, in a discussion of
the controversy about sarvastivada, states: "Although the main attack
on the Sarvastivada comes from the Sautrantika Kosaldlra, the
Dipakara's reference to the alaya-vijiiana and to the abhuta-parikaJpita
unmistakably shows that his real opponel)ts were Yogachara-
Vijfianavadins ... " (Jaini 1977:121). However, Jaini takes the
Dipakara's accusations as confirmation of the traditional, and still
commonly accepted, assertion that Vasubandhu was a Sautrantika
when he wrote AKBh and later converted to Mahayana and Yogacara.
I, on the other hand, would like to suggest that the Dipakara may
have been right, that Vasubandhu, when he wrote AKBh, may
alreadyhave been a Yogacara, and that the Sautrantika views that he
espoused provided a better abhidharmic infrastructure for the doc-
trine of aJayavijiiana than did the Sarvastivadin positions that he
attacked. I believe that what he says about sarpskarapratyayarp
vijiianam in AKBh and PSVy supports my speculation.
Thus, we have seen that the orthodox Sarvastivadin definition of
vijiiananga from the time ofthe Mahavibhasa, is pratisarpdhivijiiana
(consciousness at the moment of conception). This interpretation is
compatible with the Sarvastivadin "three lifetimes/twofold" (san shih
liang ch'ung) system of causation. Although Vasubandhu presents
the Sarvastivadin avasthika interpretation of the pratityasamutpada
formula, which includes this definition of vijiiana, in the verses of the
Abhidharmakosa, he indicates that he personally disagrees with it,
and, in the Bhasya, he gives his own opinion, that vijiiananga consists
of the stream of the six vijiianas in the intermediate realm, as well as
pratisarpdhivijiiana. In a later work, the Pratityasamutpadavyillya,
he takes the sutra definition to mean that vijiiana refers to the six
vijiianas, perfumed by the sarp.skaras (sarpskfiraparibhavita), in the
past life. Furthermore, he states that this definition is only provisional
and that vijiiana in the pratityasamutpada formula must ultimately be
identified with alayavijiiana. My opinion is that Vasubandhu, at the
time he wrote the A bhidharm akosabhasya, may have already held the
beliefs that he expressed in later works such as the
Vasubandhu 49
PratityasamutpiIdavyakhyiI and KarmasiddhiprakaraI}.a, beliefs that
can perhaps be better characterized as Yogadlra than as Sautrantika.
Chinese Sources
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*Abhidharmahrdayasiitra (A pi t'an hsin Iun ching). T. 1551.
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Ch'eng wei shih Iun. DharmapaIa. T. 1585.
Chu she Iun chi. P'u Kuang. T. 1821.
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XVI). New edition. Brnxelles; Institut BeIge des Hautes Etudes Chinoises.
Matsuda Kazunobu
1982a "[FumbetsuengishoshOhi5mongyo (AVVS)]-Kyoryobu Seshin no
Enkisetsu." Buddhist Seminar, no. 36,1982. pp.40-70.
1982b "Seshin [Enkigyoyaku (PSVy)] ni okeru arayashiki no teigi." Indogaku
Bukkyogaku Kenkyii, vol. 31, no. 1, December 1982. Pp. 63-66.
Mej or, Marek
1991 Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosa and the Commentaries Preserved in the
Tanjur. Stuttgart; Franz Steiner Verlag (Institut ftir Kultur und Geschichte
Indiens und Tibets an def Universitat Hamburg, Alt- und Neu-Indische
Studien, 42).
Mizuno Kogen
1961 "Abhidharma Literature," in Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. Colombo;
Government of Ceylon. Fasc. 1, pp. 64-80.
Muroji Gijin
1985 Introduction to Jogoron Chibettoyaku koteibon (Tibetan text of
Karmasiddhiprakara.IJ.a). Kyoto; privately printed.
Nagao, Gadjin
1989 The Foundational Standpoint of Miidhyamika Philosophy. Translated by
John P. Keenan. Albany; State University of New York Press.
Nakamura Hajiroe
1975 Bukkyo Daijiten. Tokyo; Tokyo Shoseki Kabushikikaisha.
Schmitbausen, Lambert
1987 Alayavijiiana. Tokyo; The International Institute for Buddhist Studies
(Studia Philologica Buddhica; Monograph Series IV).
TakaSaki Jikido
An Introduction to Buddhism. Translated by RolfW. Giebel. Tokyo; The
ToM Gakkai.
Wayman, Alex
1984 "Dependent Origination - The Indo-Tibetan Tradition," in Buddhist
Insight. Delhi; M:otilal Banarsidass (Religions of Asia Series, number 5).
pp. 163-192.
Wayman, Alex and Wayman, Hideko
1974 The Lion's Roar of Queen Srimfila. New York; Columbia University
Press (Buddhist Traditions; Volume X).
Yamabe Nobuyoshi
1990 "B-ifa Theory in ViniscayasarpgrahaI,li" Indogaku Bukkyogaku Kenkyil,
vol. 38, no. 2, March 1990. pp. 13-15.
54 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Chinese Temls
A pi ta mo fa shih lun
A pi ta mo fa yun tsu lun
A pi ta mo shih shen tsu lun
A pi ta mo shun cheng Ii lun
A pi ta mo ta pi p'o sha lun
A pi ta mo tsang hsien tzung lun
A pi t'an hsin lun
A pi t'an hsin lun ching
A pi t'an kan lu wei lun
A pi t'an pa chien tu lun
A pi t'an pi p'o sha lun
. Ch' eng wei shih lun
chu pan
Chu she lun chi
chung hsin
chung shih
Fen pieh yuan ch'i ch'u sheng fa men ching
hsiang hsu hsin
hsien tsai hsiang hsin
:SJ\. JJrJ Jtg fJJ MJ

hsii hsin *I/L\
jo i shou i ch'ieh yu pu shih chih sui sheng yu i ch'a na pu t'ung
chung yu ku wei i shih

if-*IJ JJB /P 3M r:p if" 1ft "
liang shih i ch'ung
Vasubandhu 55
pi hsiang hsti i liu ju fen wei man shou ming se
:tEJ *1 B 1\ .A 5J\. *
pi sheng chung hsin shih shih
p'u Kuang
san shih liang ch'ung
She rna ta to

Tsa a pi t'an hsin lun
tz'U shih t'ung yti chung sheng erh yu. sheng yu sui wei i shih yti
chung yu wei t'ung ch'i liu shih.
<> <>

yti mu t' ai teng chen chieh sheng shih i ch' a na wu ytin ming
shih. tz'u ch'a na chung shih tsui sheng ku. tz'u wei i shih yu tz'u
wei ching wu shih sheng yuan yu wei chu ku.
<> <>

Is It a Crow (P. dhmpka) or a Nurse (Skt.
dhatnj, or Milk (Skt. k$ira) or a Toy-Plough
(P. 'varpka)? '
by Stephan Hillyer Levitt
In a recent article Alex Wayman raised the question as to
whether in a certain -passage found in the Yogacarabhiirnisastra,
traditionally attributed in Tibet and China to Asailga-the verses of
which are comparable to Suttanipata270-273 and SaIpyuttanikaya
1.207 -208-the reading of the Yogaclfrabhiimisastra as in the Tibetan
Buddhist canon (Tanjur), Tib. rna rna "nurse" (Chinese equivalent in
Taisho, "wet nurse"), presumably Skt. dhatri "nurse," was the more
original or whether the reading in the Pili sources, P. dharpka "crow,"
was the more original.! The conclusion drawn was that the Northern
Buddhist reading was the more original. The more general conclusion
was that here was an example of Northern Buddhist sources
clarifying a point regarding the early Buddhist tradition. Of the
Yogaclfrabhiimisastra's immediate source for the verses, it was noted
that Asailga "presumably took the set [of verses] from the Sa:rp.yukta-
Agama in the Sanskrit Buddhist canon."
I agree with Wayman that a component from the Northern
Buddhist tradition should be included with an examination of Pili
materials to place early Buddhism more in focus, but I question
whether what he has pointed to here is an example of this. Wayman
failed to consider the alternate reading in the PaIi tradition, which is
the preferred reading in the 2nd edition of the text of the Suttanipata
edited by Andersen and Smith, and he failed to look at a second and
earlier reading in the Chinese tradition of the text in question. In the
present paper I examine more thoroughly and in detail the tradition
of the readings in question and examine more carefully Wayman's
Is It a Crow? 57
Suggestion -which deserves serious consideration, that the original
Buddhist reading here should be *uddhailka, a theoretical form for
"lap", which leads to dhaipka in the PiiIi capon and dhatri in the
Northern Buddhist canon, intending reference to the ailka-dhatri "a
nurse who carries a baby on her lap." The paper is thus an
examination into the textual tradition of this passage. It is hoped that
it will clarify the complicated situation regarding the textual tradition
of the passage.
It should be added that one of the earlier Chinese translations
preserves two lines of verse which appear to have dropped out of the
Pali text of these verses. The Northern Buddhist tradition in this way
seems to amplify the Pali tradition here.
TheSarpyuktagama, the suggested immediate source of the
Yogacarabhfimisastra for the verses in question, known from frag-
ments and quotations in Sanskrit, from Chinese translations, and
translations of individual sfitras only in Tibetan, would probably have
drawn on the same sources as the Pali canon, and probably can be
dated to some time before the middle of the 2nd c. C.E. Two
translations of the Sarpyuktagama exist in Chinese which in fact
include the verses in question. One is a partial translation dating from
350-431 C.E. The other is a full translation dating from 420-479 C.E.
Asanga has been dated to the late 3rd c. - mid-4th c. C.E., the
4th c. C.E., the late 4th c. - mid-5th c. C.E., and to the 5th c. C.E. Alex
Wayman has accepted a date of 375-430 AD. for Asanga. Against
the traditional Tibetan and Chinese ascription of the
Yogaciirabhfimisastra to Asanga, Hakuju Ui and Giuseppi Tucci
have viewed it to be a work of Maitreya, Asanga's alleged teacher,
dated by Ui to c. 270-350 C.E. (Asanga, c. 310-390 C.E.), by
Hariprasad Sastri to c. 150-265 C.E. More recently, Paul Demieville
has brought into question the historicity of such a personage as
Maitreya, and Tucci has bowed to Demieville's opinion. (See in this
regard G. P. Malalasekera (1966) on Asanga.) The earliest Chinese
translations of a section of the YogacarabhfimiSastra were made in
414-421 C.E. and 431 c.E., which indicates that the text was extant
by the early part of the 5th c. C.E. The entire Yogacarabhfimisastra
nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
was translated into Chinese in 646-647 C.E. The Tibetan Buddhist
canon (Kanjur and Tanjur) assumed its present form more or less by
the 13th - 14th c. C.E., bringing together, translations of Indian
Buddhist texts which had been made from Sanskrit since about the
9th c.C.E.
The Suttanipata and the SaIpyuttanikaya are each collections
independent of one another in the Hili tradition. The Suttanipata is
in particular noted for the primitive aspects of many of its verses. It
has been viewed to be probably the most ancient part of the Pali
Suttapitaka. Suttanipata 271 is repeated in Cul1aniddesa 420. The
verses of SaIpyuttanikaya I.207-208, it can be added, arerepeated in
Nettipakarana 147. There is no collection parallel to the PaIi
Suttanipata in the Northern Buddhist tradition, though Anesaki has
located over half the suttas from this collection in Northern Buddhist
texts, and believes there is evidence that the Pili Suttanipata as such
was consulted by the Northern Buddhist tradition. And, A. F. Rudolf
Hoernle has drawn attention to a fragmentary Sanskrit version of the
Attakavagga of the Suttanipata from eastern Turkestan. According to
tradition the PITli canon, transmitted orally at first, was put in written
form in Sri Lanka in the 1st c. C.E. It is the only canon of the various
sects which grew up after the Second Council in VesaIi (circa 383
B.C.E.) that has remained preserved complete.
I mention these points so that we can gain clearer focus at the
outset on the texts we are dealing with.
The variant reading in the Pili sources for the word in
question, which is the preferred reading in the PITli text of the
Suttanipata as in the seconnd edition of Dines Andersen and Helmer
Smith (1913), accepted in the later printing of the text by Lord
Chalmers in the Harvard Oriental Series (1936), is P. varpka. The
1913 edition of Andersen and Smith is generally accepted as
In both V. Fausb61l's first edition of the Suttanipata (preface
Is It a Crow? 59
1885), based only on four manuscripts, and in Buddhaghosa's
suttanipata commentary, Paramatthajotika ell), edited by Helmer
. Smith (1916-17) and also using four manuscripts, a variant reading,
vamka, is given. The second edition of the Suttanipata by Andersen
and Smith adopted this reading, varpka, as the preferred reading. This
second edition was based on eleven manuscripts, including two of
Buddhaghosa's Suttanipata commentary. Not all of the manuscripts,
though, covered the entire text. At this point in the text use was made
by Andersen and Smith of five manuscripts of the Suttanipata and two
manuscripts of the Paramatthajotikathat is, use was made here fully
of seven manuscripts, to which was added also reference to Fausby;l1' s
edition. Lord Chalmers, in the preface to his printing of the text and
translation, noted that he had come to the conclusion that "apart from
minor matters and a very few real divergences of readings, the text
of the Sutta-Nipata (thanks to this distinguished parampara of Danish
scholars) was practically a textus receptus."
M. Leon Feer's edition of the Sarpyuttanikaya, which was
published early (1884-1904), the volume with the passage in question
appearing in 1884, and which was based on only four manuscripts
of the text and one of its commentary, does not show this reading.
Similarly, the reading does not appear in the manuscripts used for the
more recent edition of Buddhaghosa's commentary on the
Sarpyuttanikaya, the Saratthappakasini, edited by Frank L. Woodward
(1929-37). This edition uses two Sinhalese manuscripts, Burmese
readings in Sinhalese editions, two unfinished Sinhalese editions, and
a transcription of a large part of the commentary on the Sagathavagga,
with corrections and variant readings by a Sinhalese scholar. P. V.
Bapat's Po ana printing of the Suttanipata (1924), which is based in
general on adopted readings in Asian and European printings of the
text, and which adopts dharpka as its reading, will not be considered
here. The reason for the adoption of the reading dharpka by Smith for
his edition of Buddhaghosa's Suttanipata commentary will be
discussed below. It should be noted that the reading varpka is
common in the Sinhalese manuscripts of both the Suttanipata and its
commentary, and has been recorded to date only in Sinhalese
manuscripts. There are two possible reasons, as I see it, why the
60 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
reading varpka does not appear in our editions of the Sarpyuttanikaya
and its commentary, but both of these are uncertain until more
manuscript work is done on the text of the passage in question. The
possibilities will be noted below in their proper context.
A varpka in the context here is a toy, specifically a toy-plough.
While the word for "toy-plough" is listed in T. W. Rhys Davids and
William Stede (1921-25) as varpkaka, the word occurs in several
related forms in a listing of toys and amusements, varpka being a
standard one of these forms. For exam pIe, Dighanikaya 1.6 ( varpkaka),
Dighanikaya commentary 1.86 (text, varpkaka; v.1. varpka),
Vinayapitaka II. 10 (text, varpkaka; v.1. varpgaka, varpkata),
Ailguttaranikaya Y203 (text, varpka; v.l. varpkaka). In the Dighanikaya
commentary I.86, Buddhaghosa defines it as "gamadiirakanarp
kijanakakhuddakanarpgalarp," "a small plough (used) for a toy of
village youngsters," and this definition is accepted, for example, by
Woodward in his translation of the Aflguttaranikaya ([1936], 41).
Showing the term's more basic meaning in such an applica-
tion, DhammapiHa in his Therigatha commentary 15 uses it in an
explanation of khujja in Therigatha 11 to mean "something crooked."
("Tihikhujjehi muttiya ti varpkakehi parimuttiya ti attho." "The
meaning of 'by 3 khujja-s released' is '[from] crooked things set
free. "') From the context here, the 3 khujja-s are a quem, a mortar,
and the crooked backed lord. But in Theragatha 43 khujja is explained
to be a sickle, a plough, and a spade. ("Sumuttiko sumuttiko sahu
sumuttiko mhi tihi khujjakehi asitasu maya naflgalasu. maya
khuddakuddalasu maya." "With gladness set free, gloriously set free
with gladness, with gladness I am set free by the three crooked things
- that of my sickle, my plough, my trifling spade.") In both cases
the crooked things represent the ills of life. Implied by the use of the
expression khuddakuddala is that they are basically trifling and
insignificant, perhaps not unlike a varpka or toy-plough itself.
The term is also used figuratively in reference to crows, with
the meaning "crooked, deceitful, dishonest," in such popular texts as
Iiitaka III.313 (Vattakajataka), Jataka VI. 524 (Vessantarajataka),
and Petavatthu IV.134 (a
). For instance, in Vattakajataka we read,
"Niccam ubbegino kiika varpka papena kammuna, / laddho piI)c;1o na
Is It a Crow? 61
pined, kiso ten' asmi vattaka." ("Continuously full of anguish
because of evil doing, a lump of food obtained does not satisfy
deceitful crows. I am lean because of that, 0 quail.") The commen-
tary notes, "varpka ti kakiinam eva niimmp.," "'Varp.ka' is a name of
crows." In Vessantarajiitaka we read, "Adassanena mayharp te
ji1)1)assa paridevato / bhiyyo Varpka ca palitii bahii hessanti
brahmana ti." ( "Without seeing the wailing of the infirm, those many
brahman teachers would be forme but more grey deceitful ones (i.e.,
It is true that T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede (1921-
25), note that the reading varpka in Andersen and Smith's edition of
the Suttanipiita is "probably to be read dhiinka as SnA 303 [Smith's
edition of Buddhaghosa's commentary], =kaka." But in context of
the usage of the term varpka as an allusion to crows in Pali
literature-and popular literature at that-the reading dharpka,
"crow," is a logical, linguistically supportable development from
varpka, "toy-plough." One can posit a logical development here
which can explain the two readings in the Pali sources, "toy-plough"
and "crow":
["something crooked"]
(D 1.6, DA 1.86, A V.203, ...
[Th2A lS!Thl, 43].)
[applied to crows]
'''Crooked ones' is a name of crows."
(J ll.313 and c., J Vl.524,Pv IV.l 34 (a
What we have charted here is a process of semantic shift,
followed by the substitution of a more common word for a less
common synonym. The process of semantic shift can be seen in
English, for instance, in the word "bead." This originally meant
"prayer." But on account of the use of rosaries it came to refer to a
small, round object. Thus, the expression "to count your beads,"
which originally meant "to count your prayers," on account of the
reckoning of prayers by small balls, lost its original sense. Similarly,
"boon" originally meant "prayer ," but through the use of such phrases
62 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
as "ask a boon" and "grant a boon" it came to mean "a favor" or "a
good thing received." With regard to the use of a more common word
for a less common word we can look to the \lsage of such English
words as "pens" and "pense," meaning "thought," loan-words from
the French penser,. which are now represented only by the English
words "pensive" and "pansy," more common native English usage
having taken their place. In this regard, the word "pansy" has taken
the place in popular usage for the more native English term
"heartsease. "
With regard to the readings vmpka and dhmpka in the
Suttanipata the opposite development would not be logical since one
would not proceed from a common word for a thing to a rare word
for the same thing. From a linguistic standpoint, a popular but
infrequent usage might, out of context, readily supplant a usage for
something looked down upon, as a toy, and this in tum might easily
be replaced by a more common word.
The shift here from v to dh, is further supported by an .
orthographic confusion in Brahmi script which has been recorded by
K. R. Norman in the notes to his translations of the Thera- and Theri-
. gathaand,the Suttanipata. While the orthographic alternation seems
to be recorded as going both ways, it is recorded as usually going from
v to dh. Among the cases reported in the Suttanipata, in all but one
case outside the present one it is recorded as going from v to dh. (K.
R. Norman, it should be said, accepts at this point the reading dharpka
as had T. W. Rhys Davids and William Sterle (1921-25) noted above,
seemingly on the basis of the easiest reading in accordance with the
Further, the reading vmpka, "toy-plough," makes perfectly
good sense here, while the reading "crow," as Alex Wayman clearly
notes, presents difficulties and simply does not work well: "Arising
from where, thoughts set loose (release) the mind as children set loose
(release) a toy-plough" (Sn 270; Answer in Sn 271 - "Arising from
this existence, thoughts ... ").
Firstly, we have here a dynamic image which, makes refer-
ence to something that sows seeds, a plough, albeit a toy-plough.
Compare in this regard Sarpyuttanikaya I.172, where it is said that the
Is It a Crow? 63
Buddha is a farmer, or Petavatthu II.968 where a munificent person
is likened to a farmer. In the same vein, Ariguttaranikaya I.239 states
that a farmer makes a field into good firewood. Dighanikaya II.353
states that a farmer, having taken a plough with seed, ought enter a
forest. And Majjhimanikaya 1.127 states that man makes the great
earth into what is not earth. Sarpyuttanikaya 1.21 and Jataka IIL472
both make reference to sown seeds as in a good field. And
Sarpyuttanikaya V.379 and 380 compare unbroken seeds to a good
field and broken seeds to a bad field. The list is long.
Secondly, the image here, compares two things looked down
upon in the tradition -1) a varpka, an amusement (see, for exarnple,
Dighanikaya 1.6; or Ariguttaranikaya V. 203, where playing with a
toy-plough is one step beyond playing with one's own excrement);
and 2) vitakka, defined by Buddhaghosa in this context in his
Sarpyuttanikaya commentary as "papavitakka," "sinful thought,"
and in his Suttanipata commentary as "nava kamavitakkadaya," "the
nine beginning with sensual thought" (acc. to Cullaniddesa 269 -
kamavitakka "sensual thought," vyapadavitakka "cruel thought,"
vihirpsavitakka, "malign thought," fiativitakka "thought of family,"
jan apa da vi takka , "thought of country," am aravitakka , "thought of
immortality," par' anuddayatapatisarpyuttavitakka, "thought in
sympathy with those bound to a master," labhasakkarasilokapa-
tisarpyuttavitakka, "thought bound to gain, honor, and fame," and
anavafifiatdpatisarpyuttavitakka, "thought bound to pride").3
The image of a varpka or "toy-plough" here, allows as an
interpretation that just as a child sets aside his toy-plough as he
becomes a bit more mature, and goes on to become prey to sensual
desires (Ariquttaranikaya V.203-204), so the setting aside of sensual
desires and other impure thoughts for more mature ones, such as
buddhavitakka, dhammavitakka, sarighavitakka, etc., can remove the
mind from its involvement with the world and lead to the cessation
of rebirth. All is in the seeds sown. Such a dual interpretation of the
image is in accord with the succeeding two verses, as in the P ~ l i order
of the verses, which expand on each point in turn.
Certainly, one is on firmer ground in taking the allusion to
refer to an amusement mentioned not uncommonly in early p ~ n i
64 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
sourCes, rather than as an amusement not mentioned in Pali literature.
until Buddhaghosa. Also, the usage of the word vaip.ka here is
consonant with the context in which it is mentioped in AIiguttaranikaya
V. 203-204 and other sources. And, its usage allows us to understand
vitakka as sinful on one hand, and as meritorious on the other, which
is to say that the verses have a positive didactic value .as their context
would lead us to suspect, whereas referenve to a crow here does not
allow this. We cannot have in the Indian context a noble crow.
Herein, no doubt, lies Buddhaghosa's emphasis on sinful thought in
this context. Further, reference here to a crow runs counter to the
compassionate spirit of Buddhism in any period of its history, since
such a reference, as understood by Buddhaghosa, involves an
amusement in cruelty to creatures, which is against the precept of
ahilpsif or non-injury. Can we expect such a reference to be placed
on the lips of the Buddha in a very early Buddhist verse, or for such
a noble and holy personage as the Buddha to utter such a reference?
The real difficulty here has come from an over-reliance by
translators on the reference to a crow introduced by Buddhaghosa in .
his explanations of the passage in his two commentaries. All
translations to date, even when the reading vaip.ka is accepted by the
translator, translate here, "crow," and it is clear from Buddhaghosa's
statements here that he most certainly understood "crow." It is simply
not clear, however, whether itis the image introduced by Buddhaghosa
which led to the reading dhaip.ka, or whether by Buddhaghosa' s time
the tradition already had understood varpka to mean "crow" as in the
Jiftaka usages, and had effected a change in the reading to dhaip.ka.
In other words, it is not clear whether Buddhaghosa read vaip.ka and
understood kaka "crow," or read dhaip.ka.
It must also be added that, since the image is first uttered by
a yakkha, understood in the Buddhist context to be a demon, it is
conceivable that we have in the word vaip.ka in Sn 270 and 271 an
instance of the common Indian predilection for punning. In the mouth
of the Yakkha the reference is to vaip.ka,"deceitful one, i.e. crow,"
whereas when spoken by the Buddha the image is reversed, referring
wittily to varpka "toy-plough." Certainly, there is a priori reason for
arguing this, since if I can see the wit here, certainly the Buddha, or
Is It a Crow? 65
the author' of his words here, both of whom most certainly had more
wit than I, and a greater familiarity with Pali or any allied language
than I, must have seen it. Further, the verses are filled with wit in that
they contain images which can be taken, depending on one's
understanding, to lead either to further involvement with sensual
desires, etc., or to enlightenment, And, we have the testimony of
Buddhaghosa's understanding of the image in question. I have two
main difficulties with the image of a crow here: firstly, the lack of
testimony to such an amusement prior to Buddhaghosa (though he
perhaps can be considered to present an old interpretation); secondly,
. vaIPka as a toy-plough seems to be an older usage from a linguistic
standpoint than varpka as a word for "crow," (though the usage of
) vaIPka meaning "crow" seems to be a popular usage and may perhaps
be considered old on this account).
Since the three Sinhalese manuscripts of Buddhaghosa's
commentary on the Suttanipfita which were used by Smith in his
edition are unanimous in reading varpka, while the single Burmese
manuscript used reads dhazpka, we perhaps should adopt this reading
simply because it is the less obvious. Smith's adoption of dhazpka in
. this context would appear to have been because it is the more obvious
and easier reading, since what follows refers to a children's game
.. with crows. On the other hand, we may have in varpka in the
Sinhalese manuscripts of Buddhaghosa's commentary a hyper-
. correct reading. The resolution to the situation must await additional
manuscript work with the Smpyuttanikfiya and its commentary.
Certainly, we must assume that such a Sinhalese reading as varpka
in Suttanipfita manuscripts would not have been unknown to
.. Buddhaghosa, since he spent a number of years studying Pali texts
in Sri Lanka.
With regard to the reading vazpka in general,we must recall
that Pali manuscripts in Southeast Asia in the main are based on those
from the Mon kingdom of Dvaravati, whose Theravada tradition
would seem, on the basis of archeological evidence, to have come
from Amaravati in South India. While there may have been some
contact with Sri Lanka during this period, there is no c1earindication
of major contact with Sri Lanka until the 11th - 12th c. C.E. It is not
66 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
unlikely, therefore, that the readings in Pali manuscripts in Sri Lanka,
which according to the MahavaIpsa, preserved an archaic Buddhism
going back to the mission of Mahinda during the reign of Asoka in
the 3rd c. B.C.E. (though there may have been even earlier Buddhist
contact), might reflect archaic readings not incorporated in Burma
and elsewhere in Southeast Asia - especially if these readings are
not supported by Buddhaghosa, whom Burmese tradition regards as
one of its own. It can be emphasized that Sinhalese manuscripts today
preserve many old traditions. There are, for example, three Sinhalese
manuscripts of a pre-canonical version of a section of the Apadana
which treats the former human births of the Buddha.
It is altogether conceivable that Suttanipata manuscripts
might reflect an older Sinhalese tradition on the point in question, or
perhaps simply an older tradition in general, while Sarpyuttanikaya
manuscripts might not. It should be kept in mind that theSuttanipata
is generally judged to be older than the Sarpyuttanikaya. On this
account, its textual tradition might preserve an older reading not
found in the Sarpyuttanikaya tradition, regardless of the Sinhalese
factor which appears to be present here.
It might be worthwhile to note here Buddhaghosa's state-
Suttanipata commentary -
kuta samutthaya ti kuto uppajjitva; mana ti kusalacittarp;
vitakka ti Abhayasutte (v.1. Ba Uragasutte) vutta nava
kamavitakkadayo; kumarakadharpkam (v.l. skgn varpkam) iv'
assajanti ti yatha gamadaraka kilanta kakarp suttena pade
bandhitva ossajanti khipanti, evarp kusalamanarp akusalavitakka
kuto samunhaya ossajanti ti pucchati.
"Kutasamutthaya" means "having arisen from where?" "Mana"
. means "pure state of mind (heart)." "Vitakka" is called in the
Abhayasutta (v.1. Uragasutta) "the nine beginning with sensu-
Is It a Crow? 67
ous thought." "Kumfirakfi dharpkam iv' ossajanti"" means "as
village youngsters playing, having bound a crow with a string
to the foot let (him) loose (ossajanti) and throw him forth so,
having arisen from somewhere, impure thoughts dismiss
(ossajantl) pure thought, thus it is questioned."
sarpyuttanikfiya commentary -
Kuto nidana ti, kinnidana, kirp. paccaya? ti attho. Kumfirakfi
dharpkam 4 iv' ossajanti ti, yatha kumarald kakarp. gahetva
ossajanti khipanti, evarp. papavitakka kuto samunhaya cittam
ossajanti? ti pucchati ... . Ito samutthaya manovitakko (so in
text) ti, yatha dighasuttakena pade baddharp. kL.\:arp. kumaraka
tassa suttapariyaritarp. anguliyarp. vethetva ossajanti, so dlirarp.
gantva pi puna tesarp. padamUle yeva patati, evam evarp. ito
attabhavato samuttthaya papavitakka cittarp. ossajanti.
"Kuto nidfina," "what is it tied to," "what does it rest on," this
is the meaning. "Kumfiraka dharpkam iv' ossajanti" means, "as
children, having seized a crow let (him) loose and throw (him)
forth, so having arisen from where sinful thoughts let loose
(ossajanti) the heart, thus it is questioned." ... "Ito samutthaya
manovitakko" means "as children let loose (ossajantl) a bound
crow with a long string to the foot, having twisted around a toe
of it the end of a string, and having gone a distance, just so again
it falls to their foot, just so having arisen from one's own nature
from this existence sinful thoughts let loose (ossajantl) the
B uddhaghosa never uses another verb form to define ossajan ti,
and there is no indication that he means by it anything other than the
standard meanings for the word which would indicate "let loose,
release, dismiss." The translations of the verses in question are for the
most part poetic, and the translators at this point with regard to the
verb ossajanti are for the most part far from literal. Instead, they are
trying to indicate in few words the image presented by Buddhaghosa.
The translations here are interpretive. Wilhelm Geiger notes at this
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
point in his translation (1925-30; vol. 1, 1930, p. 325) that, "Das
Original istdunkel, die Ausdrucksweise iiusserst knapp," but it is not
that the words themselves, and the verb ill particular, presented
trouble, but that the idea spelled out by Buddhaghosa is not spelled
out in the text. Thus Geiger, whose rendering here is perhaps the most
literal, although not quite literal, translates (Saipyuttanikaya I.207,
equivalent to Suttanipata 270):
Woher sind die Herzensgedanken
(Die da sind), wie (wenn) Knaben eine KrBhe freilassen [italics
Following Geiger closely on this point is Karl Seidenstticker
(1931). In a footnote, Seidenstticker quotes from Buddhaghosa's
commentary. Interestingly, he makes reference to the reading vaIpka,
which he construes as amounting to the same thing as dhaIpka.
Seidenstticker translates (Suttanipata 270):
W oher erheben sich die Regungen des Denkens, wie Kinder
eine Krahe fliegen lassen?
Also somewhat literal in this regard, but clearly based on
Buddhaghosa's commentary and particularly on Buddhaghosa's
usage of the verb khipanti, is the recent translation of K. R. Norman
(1984-92) (Suttanipata 270):
Whence arising do thoughts toss up the mind, as young boys
toss up a (captive) crow.
It might be noted that K. R. Norman's translation in part seems to be
in reaction to Alex Wayman's emphasis on Mrs. Rhys Davids'
translation; this will be addressed below.
Against these translations, we have the translation of M.
Coomara Swamy (1874) (Suttanipata 270):
Whence emanating, do thoughts harass the mind, as boys drive
Is It a Crow? 69
a crow (here and there)?
'v. Fausbll (1881) translated (Suttanipata 270, numbered 273 in
translation): '. .
Whence arising do doubts vex the mind, as boys vex a crow?
Lord Chalmers (1932) translated (Suttanipata 270):
Whence thoughts which plague the mind
as boys a captive crow?
Mostrecently, H. Saddatissa (1985) translated (Suttanipifta 270):
From where do evil speculations arise and harass the mind as
do boys a crow?
And, consonant with these translations, yet set off from them,
we have Mrs. Rhys Davids' translation (1917?-30; pt. 1, [1917])
(Sazp.yuttanikaya 1.207, equivalent to Suttanipiita 270):
And whence spring thoughts into our minds down sinking,
Like [tethered] crow pulled by boy-captors earthward?
Mrs. Rhys Davids' translation appears to have been influ-
enced greatly by the comment of M. Coomara Swamy to his 1874
translation (n. 2,p. 155): "This freak: of Hindu boys may even now
. be witnessed in India. Having captured a crow, and attached a c0rd
. to one of its legs, they let him fly here and there, with the sole object
of pulling him in repeatedly. Even thus childish thoughts harass one's
mind." this is clearly different from the description of Buddhaghosa
in which, it would seem, it is the string breaking the crow's flight
which. causes it to fall. Mrs. Rhys Davids' phrase, "minds down
sinking," may perhaps reflect an extension of Buddhaghosa' s usage
of the verb patati here, but with a transference of image, together with
Coomara Swamy's notice to childish thoughts harassing our minds.
In accord with Mrs. Rhys Davids' translation, and also
following M. Coomara Swamy's comment, Karl Eugen Neumann
(1905; 2nd ed., 1924) earlier had translated (Suttanipata 270):
W oher erheben geistig sich Gedanken,
Wie Kindernach dem Vogel hinzuhaschen?
Lord Chalmers' image of a "captive crow" in his 1932
translation, followed by K R Norman, relies on Mrs. Rbys Davids'
translation and ultimately on Buddhaghosa' s image. And E. M. Hare
([1944]), relying on Mrs. Rhys Davids' interpretation as well,
translated (Suttanipata 270):
Whence risen mind-perplexities
Drag down as boys will drag a crow?
It is not that we have a problem with the translation of
ossajanti here, but rather that we have an omission of its translation
and a substitution of such English words as "harass," "drive," "vex,"
"plague," "pull," "drag," and the German "hinzuhaschen," in an act
of poetic license.
I give here a literal translation of the verses complete,
utilizing the reading vazpka:
"Passion and anger have their basis wherefrom?
Aversion, attachment, horripilation [from aversion or attach-
ment] are born wherefrom?
Having risen from where, thoughts set loose the mind
As children [set loose] a toy-plough
"Passion and anger have their basis from here.
Aversion, attachment, horripilation [from aversion or attach-
Is It a Crow?
ment] are born from here.
Having risen from here, thoughts set loose the mind
As children [set loose] a toy-plough."
"Things sprung from desire (punningly, sap) are come into
existence from oneself as if born from the trunk of a
Each clinging to (or, hanging on to) objects of desire, as a
stretched out creeper in a wood or, jungle, as the case
. may be.
"From whence the basis the ones who know,
Each dispels
Hear, 0 yakkha (a being bound by passion and
anger, which on this account exercises control over
them in others, which is to say, has the power to create
aversion and attachment).9
They cross this hard to cross flood
Not crossed before, for no renewed existence."
The reading for varpka, or dharpka, in the Tibetan Tanjur is
Tib. ma ma "nurse," and this word is listed in Sarat Chandra Das'
Tibetan-English dictionary with reference to four different types of
nurses for which Das has provided Sanskrit equivalents. On one of
these forms, ailkadhatri, Wayman bases his argument that the Pl'iJi
original form from which dharpka developed was *uddhfiilka,
theoretical form for "lap," which the Sanskrit Buddhist canon is
supposed to have replaced with a word for "nurse," intending
reference tothe ailkadhatri. The Chinese equivalent in Taisho at this
point is "wet nurse."
Wayman notes that these verses in the YogacarabhilmiSastra
are probably taken from the Sarpyuktagama of the Sanskrit Buddhist
canon. They are not contained in the Tibetan Kanjur, though. They
do, however, occur four times in the Chinese Buddhist canon, twice
in Nanjio 544 translated by GUI).abhadra, dated 420-479 C.E., Taish6
vol. 2 (Agon Bu 2), pp. 361ab (No. 99(1314 and 363b-364a (No.
99(1324; and twice in Nanjio 546, an anonymous partial translation
dated 350-431 C.E., Taisho voL 2 (Agon B,u 2), pp. 479bc (No.
100(313) and 481c-482a (No. 100(323). In the later Chinese
translation (No. 99), the reading in both places is that the child relies
on a "wet nurse," as the text reads also in the Chinese translation of
the Yogficfirabhiimisastra. But in the earlier translation, the text of
No. 100(313) reads that the child grasps, or seizes the "mother's
milk," the verb being different and the two characters used later for
"wet nurse" being here in the opposite order; and in No. 100(323) the
text reads that the child grasps, or seizes the "milk," no character for
"mother" being used here. There is, in short, not just one Northern
Buddhist reading. There is the reading "nurse" in the Tibetan version
of Asanga's text, the reading "wet nurse" (literally, "milk mother")
in the Chinese version of Asanga's text and in both versions of the
text in the later complete Chinese translation of the Sarpyuktfigama,
and the readings "mother's milk" and "milk" in the two versions of
the text in the earlier incomplete Chinese translation of the
Sarpyuktfigama. The verb in the earlier translation of the
Sarpyuktfigama is "seize, or grasp", not "rely on" as in the later
translation and the translation of Asanga's text.
There are two other differences found in Chinese texts of the
verses as in the Sarpyuktfigama which are significant. Firstly, the
Yogficfirabhiimisastra reverses the order of Suttanipata 271 and 272.
However, in all the Chinese translations of these verses in the
Sarpyuktfigama, Suttanipfita 271 is simply dropped. It would seem
that in the text given by Asanga, verse 271 was reinserted. This
presents the very strong possibility that it was reinserted in a different
position than its original position. Secondly, the translation of the
verses in No. 100(313) appears to contain two extra lines of verse for
Suttanipfita 272 between the first and second lines of verse. Since
Suttanipfita 272 contains two fewer lines of verse than do Suttanipfita
270,271, and 273, it is entirely possible that we have preserved here
two lines of verse which dropped out in the PaIi version and most
N o r t h ~ r n Buddhist presentations of these verses. Wayman argues
that the Northern Buddhist reading "nurse" in these verses clarifies
Is It a Crow? 73
a point regarding early Buddhism, an argument this writer questions.
But here, on the other hand, the reading of these two lines of verse
I1lay well amplify and make a correction to the. tradition of early
Buddhism against that preserved in the Piili canon.1
But let us return to the list of nurses. What is the source for
The list occurs toward the very beginning in the 'dul-ba
section of the Kanjur, which is to say the section on vinaya. The
Sanskrit equivalents as given by Das would be based on a listing in
the Sanskrit-Chinese dictionary MahiIvyutpatti, entries no. 9478-
9481 as in Sakaki'sedition (Kyoto, 1916), nos. 283.1-4in Wogihara's
1959 edition and in the 1910-11 2nd ed. of Minaev's edition in
. Bibliotheca Buddhica, provided with an index and prepared for press
'by Mironov.
These terms, with only two exceptions, occur only in Bud-
dhist Sanskrit literature: in the MiilasarviIstiviIdavinaya (which
would no doubt be the source of the Kanjur list), in the A vadiInasataka
. (2nd c. C.E.) T. Thich draws on the (itself perhaps not completed
before the 3rd c. C.E.), and in the DivyiIvadiIna (4th c. C.E., with
. some passages prior to the 3rd c. c.E.), which draws on the
A vadiInasataka and the MiilasarviIstiviIdavinaya. I must add that
while in general the A va diIn asa taka is seen to draw on the
MiilasarviIstiviIdavinaya, and the DivyiIvadiIna is seen to draw on the
A vadiInasataka and the MiilasarviIstiviIdavinaya, considering the
dates involved, it may well be that the A va dan aSataka and DivyiIvadana
are simply drawing on the same tradition as or a parallel tradition to
the MiilasarviIstiviIdavinaya. The forms occur in Buddhist Sanskrit
literature only in a cliche list (see Edgerton [1953], 200a).
Further, the form in currency in the literature for the ailkadhiItri
. the specific nurse on which Wayman focuses, is aIpsadifhtri also
written aIpsadhiItri and in manuscripts atsadhiItri not aiJ.kadhiItri
itself. AilkadhiItri occurs in its stead in Buddhist literature only in the
MahiIvyutpatti and in an aberrant listing in DivyiIvadiIna 475.12-18,
which contrasts with the six other listings in DivyiIvadiIna, as also
with the listings elsewhere in the literature (Edgerton [1953] cites two
instances in the MiilasarviIstiviIdavinaya and four instances in the
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
A va diin asa taka, and indicates that there are other instances as well),
in substituting as well stanyadhiitri (1. 16; 1. 13 stanadhiitri is printed)
for ksiradhiitri, in substituting kricjapanikiidhatri (1. 13 kricjapanikay
for kricjanikii (onakff) , with or without dhatri following, and in
providing only one of each sort of nurse instead of two as elsewhere.
The aberrancies of Divyiivadiina 475.12-18 can be attributed to the
list's providing descriptions of each type of nurse and using in the
name of the nurse the word used in the description. For instance,
ksiadhiitri, "a nurse for milk," is described as :'yii darakarp stanyarp
piiyayati," "she who has an infant drink the milk of her breast," and
so in this passage she is called the stanyadhiitri. Just s o ~ the
arpsadhiitri (arpsaO) is described, with less ambiguity than the terms
arpsa or arpsa in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit allow, as "ya darakarp
azikena parikarsayaty azigapratyazigani ca sarpsthapayati," "she who
carries by the side an infant and places the limbs and minor limbs,"
and she is called the azikadhatri.
With regard to the forms arpsadhiitri(arpsaO) and azikadhiitri,
Edgerton's mind on this matter was divided. While he notes that
azikadhari "a nurse who carries a baby on her hip" would seem to be
the original form "since in India babies are carried on the hip" (p. 5b),
he also notes that this is not supported by Mfllasarvastivadavinaya
3.134.12, which reads "dhiitryarpsagato nisaI)I)o" (, and that in
any event it is arpsadhiitri and arpsadhiitri for which currency is
supported. Edgerton's judgment on the seeming primacy ofazikadhiitri,
though, is no doubt due to his interpretation of the term arpsadhatri
as meaning "shoulder nurse," instead of viewing this form to be a
Prakritization of the equally common arpsadhiitri. This would be a
"nurse who carries a baby on her side," a "nurse for the side." (See
T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede [1921-25], p. 1 a under arpsa,
"(b) a part (lit. side)" and such usages as given s. v. as ekena arpsena
... ekena arpsena.) Thus, it would be, as indicated above, synonymous
with azikadhiitri of Divyiivadiina 475.12-18 since, strictly, azika refers
to "the curve in the human, especially the female, figure above the
hip (where infants sitting astride are carried by their mothers, hence
often = 'breast' or 'lap')," though such a curve is a curve of the side,
or to "the side or flank" (Monier-Williams [1899], 7a). Strictly, in
Is It a Crow? 75
English usage, the lap is the front side of the lower trunk and the
thighs of a seated person. A standing person has no lap (see the
oxford English Dictionary 6.64, usage 5). "Lap," strictly, is not
intended here.
The form on which Wayman is focusing his
argument for his reinterpretation of the reading dharpka, arikadhatri,
never had early currency in India. In short, its first occurrence, and
only citable occurrence in Buddhist literature proper, can be ex-
plained on the basis of its context in the passage in question in the
4th. c. C.E. Divyavadana. .
It can be seen from context, and as Edgerton notes, that these
types of nurses are the kinds regularly provided for princes and rich
men's sons, two of each kind being provided. The reading varpka,
though, refers to what Buddhaghosa in his Dighanikaya commentary
defines as a "plaything of village children," and the reading dharpka
is taken by Buddhaghosa in his Suttanipata commentary to refer here
to "village children playing"-and the text itself in its simple usage
of kumaraka gives no indication that we have here a reference to
princes and the sons of rich men only. Indeed, the image would lose
force if this were the case. It must also be rem em bered that it is later
Buddhism in India which came to be associated especially with the
wealthy. Such a reference might well be incongruent in earlier
Buddhist material, in which this association did not obtain.
Perhaps more important, the word kumaraka used in the
. verses does not refer to infants, who would use the services of these
nurses, but to young children, especially young boys. For instance,
Ariguttaranikaya Y.203-4 refers to a dahara kumara who, when he
has grown older is referred to as kumara, and when still older and his
sense faculties have come into play is referred, to as kumara In
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, Divyavadana 475.12-18 refers to such
infants as daraka . To be sure, the usage and import of usage of such
terms in the different languages concerned has not been studied fully,
but it appears that kumaraka in normal usage refers to children
beyond the tenderest of ages.
There are only two other mentions of these types of men-
tioned in Buddhist Sanskrit literature which I have been able to find.
One is in the instance of the laiganika (Onaka) dhatri or just
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
kri9anika, "a nurse who plays with an infant," a comparable nurse to
which, the kilaI)adhai, is mentioned in the sixth anga of the
Svetambara Jain Siddhanta, l'fayadhammakahasutta 1.1. The lan-
guage here, as of the entire Jain Siddhanta, is Ardha-Magadhi.
According to Jain tradition, the authority of their Siddhanta does not
reach back before the 5th c. C.E. (though it seems certain that much
of it is older, and that at least parts of it may go back as far as the
earliest disciples of Mahavira, or at latest to the 2nd c. after
Mahavira's death probablyin 468 B.C.E.).
The other reference is in fact to the ankadhatri as such in
A bhayadevasilri 's JiIatadharmakathavrtti, Abhayadevasuri's San-
skri t commen tary on the sixth anga of the Svetam bara Jain Siddhan tao
This reference no doubt rests ultimately on the aberrant listing in
Divyavadana 475.12-18, but speaks to a late currency for this fonn
which might explain its usage in the Mahavyutpatti.
There are no references to any such nurses in Sanskrit
literature proper, or in PaIi literature.
While we do appear to have an instance or instances of the
single usage of the name of one of these nurses in Jain tradition, as
opposed to Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit tradition, shouldn't we how-
ever on the basis of the translations in the Chinese Buddhist canon
expect such a reference-if it were to occur in Buddhist tradition-
to be the k$iradhatri (Divyavadana 475.12-18, stanyadhatn")? Of
possible note in this regard is that the term dhatri alone also occurs
in the Mahavyutpatti at a different location in a list headed by words
for "father" and "mother," preceded by word for "mother," and follo-
wed by words for a "pregnant woman" and for a "woman who has
reached puberty." It would seem that "wet nurse" is the intended
purport for dhatri alone.
Leaving aside specific points regarding the usage of this list
of nurses, in interpreting very early Pali verses such as those here,
ought one not rely primarily on the Pali tradition, and only second-
arily and when there is support for this from within the PaIi tradition,
on other Indic traditions? Can one read into this material part of a later
Buddhist Sanskrit tradition without internal justification for it in the
PaIi material itself?
Is It a Crow? 77
It is not clear whether we have in the terms for these nurses
alate tradition of the early centuries C.E., or an earlier tradition which
does not surface in the literature until the early centuries c.E. The
ofa comparable form for one of these terms in Ardha-
Magadhi, and the form arpsadhatri standing beside arpsadhatri,
suggest a tradition with a Prakritic basis - a tradition with its basis
in the popular traditions of the Prakrit-speaking segment of Indian
society. The tradition, further, is a tradition of the wealthy, who as
time passed became more and more associated with Buddhism in
India. The tradition is not mentioned in standard Sanskrit literature,
is only hinted at, perhaps, in standard Prakrit material, and is not
mentioned in the Pilli tradition. This point has been alluded to before,
but it is worth repeating. Can we expect such a tradition of the
privileged few to appear in early Buddhist literature which was
directed toward a general audience? On what basis can it be read into
early Buddhist material?
If I might follow another historical line of argument for a
moment, so as to put more t1esh on the bones, it is to be considered
in this regard that of the list of toys given in Ailguttaranikaya V.203,
only one finds mention either in Sanskrit literature or in Buddhist
Hybrid Sanskrit literature. Varpka, for instance occurs in the
Mahavyutpatti as meaning "crooked" only. The Sanskritic tradition
looks down, on toys and playthings. This is because the brahman
purveyors of the Sanskritic tradition did not see such pastimes to be
conducive to spiritual progress. Even in the P::i1i tradition, which
mentions toys and playthings more they are mentioned with
scorn. For instance, as noted, in Ailguttaranikaya V. 203 playing with
a varpka or other toys is one step beyond playing with one's own
excrement. If the Theravada tradition of the early centuries C.E. and
earlier was feeling pressure to omit such references, can we not
expect that a stray reference such as that here might not be explained
away or altered? While conjecture, this may in part explain the
variation between varpka and dharpka in our Suttanipata manu-
scripts. Certainly in this context we would not expect such a reference
to a varpka in this text to be preserved in the Sanskrit Buddhist canon.
This is not to say that there are not occasional references to toys in
78 nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
Mahayana literature of the early centuries C.E. See, for instance, the
reference to varpsaghatikii, a bamboo stick as a kind of toy, in
Divyiivadiina 475.19, which mayor may reflect the game of
varpsa mentioned in Dighanikiiya I.6. Given Buddhaghosa's under-
standing of the reference to "crow" here, it is further understandable
that this would not fit well in a tradition, such as the Mahayana, which
emphasizes bodhisattvas and compassion toward fellow creatures. In
such sources, is it not therefore likely that a reference to cruelty
toward crows might in its tum be altered?
It should be emphasized, though, that 'Wayman's logic,
modified, works well with regard to a development Skt. k$ira or Skt.
stanya > Skt. dhiihri on the mediating basis of the form Skt.
k$iradhiitri or Skt. stanyadhiitri. The impetus for such a change would
have come from the development in India of ideas regarding the
innate purity of children, which we can see for instance in the
development of adoration for as a baby. Allusion to a child
setting free, which is to say initially grasping, the mother's milk does
not fit well with this.
The initial Northern Buddhist reading of "grasp" for the verb
here is probably in accord with the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
interpretation of ossajati as apotsdati (apa-ut-...JsD) in Divyiivadana
203. While in Divyiivadiina 203 this form carries the same force as
avasrjati, apa- as a prefix can be constructed sometimes to change the
direction of action of a verb (as it does for instance in the case of...J sr),
and before nouns it is sometimes equivalent to the negative prefix.
See Monier-Williams (1899). It is not at all inconceivable that
Northern Buddhist writers here might have construed apa-ut-...Jsrj as
the opposite of ut-...Jsrj or ava-...Jsrj "let loose," i.e., as "seize, grasp."
This would be in accord with the data we have for this passage.
We seem in the Northern Buddhist tradition to be left with
substitution pure and simple. P. varpka -7 P. dharpka in FaIi tradition.
But both are found to be unacceptable in the Buddhist Sanskrit
tradition, perhaps in part in conjunction with a Buddhist Sanskrit
interpretation of ossajati as apotsrjati, and so Skt. k$ira or Skt. stanya
is substituted, this leading perhaps to a late reading Skt. dhiitri on the
basis of Skt. ksira or Skt. stanya suggesting Skt. ksiradhiitn- or
Is It a Crow? 79
stanyadhatri (using Wayman's line of reasoning) when this reading,
itself is found to be unacceptable.
In other words, we may indeed have substitution pure and
simple on account of the Buddhist Sanskrit interpretation of the verb
and on account of philosophical difficulties, be they from reference
here to a children's toy, traditionally looked down on inlndic and
particularly in Sanskritic thought; or from comparing thoughts to
something innately "crooked" as a crow; or from a reference here to
what was understood to be a children's game which had as its nature
. an element of cruelty toward life on the part of children. This leads
to a reading Skt. or Skt. stanya, which is not inconsistent with
the image in Suttanipata 272. This is followed, on account of a
comparatively late idea regarding human development, by a second
substitution of Skt. dhatri, perhaps in accord with a line of reasoning
outlined by Wayman, but utilizing the form or stanyadhatri
as the mediating form between the two readings. The dating with
regard to this latter change, even using the late form stqnyadhatri,
would be feasible. We must remember, though, that Skt. dhatri alone
as listed in Mahavyutpatti 188.49 (Minaev's 2nd ed.; Sakaki's ed.,
entry no. 3926) seems to carry the purport "wet nurse." It is
conceivable that the listing of four different types of nurses for
wealthy infants could have been bypassed completely.
This may not be the whole story, though. Hand-in-hand with
the above, it may be that the reading dharpkaIp-as it appears
in its accusative singular form in the verses in question-was
consulted and construed to read P. dhatri, "nurse," as well, on the
basis of orthographic confusion. while the period from which we first
have evidence of the reading Skt. dhatri is before the development of
NaqarIi script, there is a linear development for northern Indian
scripts. Certain orthographic practices and confusions in Nagari
scripts no doubt predate Nagan. From the vantage point of Nagari
scripts, the vowel "-a" is sometimes indicated by a hook above the
line. This is sometimes confused as an anusvavara. This can be seen,
for example, in the manuscripts of Viradevaganin' s Mahipalacarita,
on which I worked with Dr. W. Norman Brown. Similarly, anusvara
is sometimes indicated in a comparable fashion-this can be seen in
80 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
some of the manuscripts in the University of Pennsylvania Library's
collection. There is also the possibility here for a confusion between
it and the ligature used for" -j"'. Such confusion is in evidence, for
example, in readings for the patityagramaniI7).aya, the text I edited for
my doctoral dissertation. The confusion of "-k-" for" -t-" would be
part and parcel of the confusion of" -karp" for" -ti", and would rest
on the way in uhich "-k-" is drawn. It is entirely conceivable that
hand-in-hand with the historically demonstrable substitution of Skt.
dhatri for Skt. ksfra or stanya, which can be seen in the Chinese
translations of the Sarpyuktagam, there was a consultation of PiHi
texts which read P. hdarpkarp, or other texts which read dharpkarp,
and that this was construed in such fashion as to reinforce interpreatation
of the reading here as Skt. dhatrion the basis ofa PaJi form dhatL
Certainly, the reinsertion of Suttanipata 271 in Asanga's text, which
is otherlwise dropped in Northern Buddhist versions of the verses,
suggests possible consultation of p ~ n i texts. Of note, of course, is that
Anesaki has suggested that the p ~ n i ccnon may have been consulted
by the Northern Buddhist tradition. An such a consultation of a Pali
reading may help explain in part why we seem to have used as a
mediating fonn in the Northern Buddhist tradition a form which
otherwise occurs in Northern Buddhist tradition only in listings with
its related forms. Reliance on the form is being suggested in part
through consultation of a tradition outside the Northern Buddhist
tradition itself.
The point of the argument in the recent article under
discussion is that we have in the instance discussed an example in
which Northern Buddhist sources throw light on Pili materials.
While this is sometimes the case, and while certainly Northern
Buddhist materials must be considered in the study of early Bud-
dhism, the situation with regard to the reading here is not an instance
of such a case. The problematic reading; dharpka "crow" can be
explained perfectly well from within Pali materials themselves, and
Is It a Crow? 81
an earlier reading varpka "toy-plough" can be seen. And just as Pali
tradition here preserves two readings, so also does Northern Buddhist
tradition, ksira or stanya "milk," anddhiitri "nurse," which appear to
be later. In fact, as just noticed, the Pali material here may help in part
explain the second of these Northern Buddhist readings. We do,
however, have an instance in which the Northern Buddhist tradition
appears to throw light on the Pali tradition in the preservation of the
twO lines of verse which may have dropped out of Suttanipiita 272
in one of the Chinese translations of these verses, that at Taish6 vol.
2 (Agon Bu 2), p. 479bc (No. 100(313)). All of this gives us a very
full idea of the development within the Buddhist tradition of the
passage in question, with its various readings.
1. See Alex Wayman, "Is it a crow (p. dharpka) or a nurse (S. dhfitn)?",
in Joumal of the American OrientEl Society 102.3 (July-October 1982), 515-16.
All references to Pilii texts here are to the editions cited in T. W. Rbys Davids and
William Stede, The Piili Text Society's Piili-English Dictionary (1921-25; Rpt.
. London and Boston, 1972). References to Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit texts are to the
editions cited in Franklin Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and
Dictionary, 2 vols. (1953; 1st Indian ed. New Delhi, 1970). Statements given in
Sarat Chandra Das, A Tibetan-English Dictionary with Sanskrit Synonyms, rev.
and ed. by Graham Sandberg and A. William Heyde (1902; Rpt. Alipore, West
Bengal, 1960) are so indicated. When no editions exist, this is so indicated. When
specific editions or translations of texts are the focus, or when Chinese texts are
referred to, fuller bibliographical data is given.
I would like to thank Mr. Francis Parr of the Oriental Division of the New
York Public Library, Mr. Thompson Cha of Flushing, New York, and my neighbor
IyIr. Paul Chu for their help with the text of the Chinese versions of Suttanipata270-
273 in the Smp.yuktfigama after I had located these. I note that this paper was
originally penned in the spring of 1983. Additions and revisions had to be made,
though, and these could not be researched until the spring of 1985, when they were
started and in the main completed. Before they could be finished, though,
circumstances intervened, and I could not get back to this paper till the summer of
1988. After that another period intervened till I could get to making further
revisions on this paper. In 1992 it was further revised in line with the comments
of an anonymous reader for JIABS.
During this period, on January 24, 1987, Dr. Royal Weiler, my adiguru
and a true scholar and humanist, passed on. I would, with humility, like to dedicate
this article to his memory.
82 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
2. Earlier, Tilak Raj Chopra (1966), 96n. similarly refers to such an
alternation for a passage in the Kusajiitaka on the basis of a similarity in Nepali
script between v and dh. Here, it would seem, dh> v. In the notes to K. R. Noonan
(1969) see the notes for v. 1083 (v> dh). In the notes to K. R. Nonnan (1971) see
the notes for v. 7 (v> dh), v. 419 (dh> v), v. 464 (v> dh). K. R. Nonnan also refers
to T. W. Rbys Davids and William S tede (1921-25), under dhanayati for an instance
of v> dh. K. R. Nonnan (1984-92) and (1987) note for the Suttanipiita, aside from
the instance in question, v. 44 (v> db), v. 165 (v> dh), v. 349 (v> dh), v. 531 (v
> dh), v. 646 (v> dh), v. 684 (dh> v), v. 910 (v> dh), vv. 1071-72 (v> dh), v.
1114 (v> dh). K. R. Nonnan (1984-92) also notes an alternation between dhaIpka
and vazpkainE. Hardy (1901),338. The reading here is dhazpka; vazp.lcabeing listed
as a v.l., though vazpka appears earlier in the verse. The new edition, N. A.
Jayawickrama (1977),126 and 132, reads vazpkahere instead, and lists dhazpkaas
the v.l. The translation, 1. B. Horner, assisted by N. A. Jayawickrama (1974), 148
also lists vazpka as the preferred reading. Vazpka is translated in this verse as
"crooked" and as "uncertainty." See their n. 1 and n. 3 regarding a possible
explanation for the reading dhazpka, utilizing the commentary to J III.313 noted
above. The reading c;Jhazpka in N. A. Jayawickrama (1950), 41, mentioned by
Nonnan (1984-92), is without doubt a misprint for dhazpka.
3. In this regard, from a comparative standpoint, see Sir Thomas More's
Four Last Things on "fantasy" with regard to the negative attitude toward loose
thought in Pre-Elizabethan England.
4. Woodward notes, "So SnA 303; Nett. 147,244; both texts and MSS.
but Sn text v ~ . " As noted here, this is not so with regard to Suttanipiita
commentary manuscripts.
5. Geiger and Seidenstiicker, as also Mrs. Rbys Davids below (perhaps
followed by E. M. Hare as well), construe mana vitakkii of the text as being in
composition. This is on account of the way in which M.Leon Feer (1884-1904)
construed these words in his printing of the text of the Smpyuttanikiiya in 1884.
Both Geiger's translation and Mrs. Rbys Davids' translation are translations of the
Smpyuttanikiiya. It is clear from Buddhaghosa's commentaries of both the
Suttanipiitaas well as the Smpyuttanikiiya,though, that vitakkais to be understood
as the subject of the verb ossajanti, and mana the object. Thus, Buddhaghosa's
understanding in his Smpyuttanikiiya, commentary, given above, was "papavitakka
(for vitakka) cittaIp. (for mana) ossajanti."
6. Or conceivably, " ... As children (set loose) a 'crooked one' (vazpka, i.e.
crow)?" The answer in Suttanipiita 271, though, " ... As children (set loose) a toy-
plough (vazpka, 'something crooked')."
7. See T. W. Rbys Davids and William Stede (1921-25) on the difference
between wood, jungle, and forest in Pilii imagery as a place of pleasures and sport
("wood"), as a place of danger and frightfulness ('jungle"), and as the resort of
ascetics noted for loneliness ("forest").
8. Compare Smpyuttanikiiya III.103 regarding the annihilation of the
Is It a Crow? 83
}dJa11dhas. -The. remain as long as the of true character
. 's not attained, 1.e., of thetr cause and removal. There IS a dtrect alluslOn and contrast
to the image of birth from the trunk of a Banyan, nigrodhasseva kbandhaja;
"iii su/1EI1ipata 272.
. 9. See in_this regard, S. H. Levitt, "Kurukh nad, Sanskrit niItha. Burmese
nat' in Haryana Sahitya Akademi Journal of Indological Studies 1(1986), 119-35.
In the most usual usage, the Burmese nats correspond to the yakkhas of Sri Lanka.
"See also T. W. Rbys Davids and William Stede (1921-25) on yakkha. That it is a
. yakkhahere who is the interlocutor, asking for a way out of bondage by passion
. and anger, presents a forceful image.
- 10. While it is not a scholarly translation, there may be some utility in
,;giving here the translation of these two lines of verse as these were given to me:
... ,.
Roots born from the earth and after entering into the earth,
Each one having its _ different place, they go by their own desire,
These two lines fit well in Suttanipata 272. I present them here in a
"", footnote only, rather than in the text of the paper, simply to peint attention to them,
, with the hope that at some future date a scholar better qualified than myseJf to deal
!with the Chinese text, might present a better translation.
11. It should be added that T. W. Rbys Davids and William Stede (1921-
25) and vol. 1 of A. M. Ghatage's Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Sanskrit appear to
continue the reference to "lap" with regard to defming aIika. Perhaps it may be done
iaccurately in a number of circumstances.
12. This notice to the ankadhiitri is perhaps in a listing as in Buddhist
Sanskrit literature. My references to these terms have come from lexicons, that to
'the aIikadhiitri from A. M. Ghatage's incomplete dictionary. I have been unable to
consult the printings o(the text and its commentary to see if ankadhatri occurs in
, this context in a listing.
Texts and Translations
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Issues in the Field of East Asian Buddhist Studies: An Extended
Review of Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in
Chinese Thought, ed. Peter N. Gregory
by T. Griffith Foulk
This article began as a review of a substantial anthology of
scholarly articles that appeared several years ago:
Peter N. Gregory, ed. Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to
Enlightenment in Chinese Thought. Kuroda Institute Studies in
East Asian Buddhism, no. 5. Honolulu: University of Hawaii
Press, 1987,
Two considerations, however, have led me greatly to extend the
scope and length of the review, with the result that it now includes
a broad overview of the field (East Asian Buddhist studies) and sub-
field (Chinese Buddhism) to which the review volume belongs, as
well as an in-depth treatment of each of its ten chapters. First, I felt
that some recognition of the series in which the volume appears,
Kuroda Institute Studies in East Asian Buddhism, was called for.
This series, which was launched in 1983 with the publication of
Studies in Ch 'an and Hua-yen (edited by Robert Gimello and Peter
Gregory), includes seven volumes to date, all but one of which are
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
multi-'author anthologies.I The series has emerged as a showcase fOr
the best of conten1porary North American scholarship on East Asian
Buddhism, and the list of scholars who have contributed articles to
it reads very much like a who's who in the field today. Because
Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese
Thought is fairly representative of the scholarship that has appeared
thus far in the Kuroda Institute series, and because the series itself can
be regarded as the standard bearer of East Asian Buddhist studies in
North America today, this review seemed an appropriate place to
assay some of the general features of that field as it has evolved over
the past two decades. Secondly, I found that the individual chapters
of Sudden and Gradual, together with the Introduction by editor Peter
N. Gregory and the Afterword by Tu Wei-ming, raise a number of
fundamental methodological and historiographical issues that de-
serve more detailed treatment than would have been possible in a
short review. Taking the volume as a whole as a starting point, then,
I shall proceed to layout the general parameters of the field of East
Asian Buddhist Studies as it has evolved in North America; to address
various questions of methodology in Buddhist Studies and the study
of religion in general; and to evaluate each of the individual chapters
of Sudden and Gradual in light of those broader issues.
Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese
This volume, a collection of ten articles focused on a more or less
common theme, grew out of a conference on "The Sudden/Gradual
Polarity: A Recurrent Theme in Chinese Thought." The conference,
sponsored by the Committee on Studies of Chinese Civilization of the
American Council of Learned Societies, was held at The Institute for
Transcultural Studies (located at the Zen Center of Los Angeles) in
May, 1981. The original set of twelve papers presented at the
conference was distributed by the organizers to a number of
universities and research institutes with major East Asian libraries in
September, 1981. According to the introductory note accompanying
Review of Sudden and Gradual 95
that set of papers, one of the main objectives of the conference was
to explore how the philosophical and polemical categories of
"sudden" (tun) and "'gradual" (chien), which are used in diverse
Ways in a variety of medieval Chinese Buddhist text, "formed part of
a larger discourse in Chinese intellectual history":
The conference thus sought to take an approach different from
those of previous discussions of the significance of the sudden!
gradual controversy in Chinese Buddhism. Instead of trying to
locate the source of the debate within the Indian Buddhist
heritage, the conference attempted to provide a new perspective
on the process of Buddhism's accommodation with some of the
dominant themes in Chinese intellectual history, as well as
Buddhism's effect upon that tradition.
Another aim of the conference, expressed in the same note, was
to investigate how the sudden/gradual controversy found in Chinese
Buddhism "could be reformulated as a paradigm by which to
elucidate the basic tensions in other traditions of moral and spiritual
The co-organizers of the conference, Peter N. Gregory (editor of
the volume under review and director of the Kuroda Institute) and
Robert M. Gimello, as well the majority of the other scholars who
originally presented papers (including Jeffrey L. Broughton, Francis
H. Cook, Neal A. Donner, Luis O. G6mez, Miriam Levering, John R.
McRae, and Robert B. Zeuschner) are specialists in Chinese Bud-
dhism and/or the historical connections between Chinese, Indian, and
Tibetan Buddhism. These scholars, who are sometimes labeled
Buddhologists (more on this neologism later), are representative of
the growing East Asian wing of the field of Buddhist studies in North
America today. Reading between the lines of the stated aims of the
conference, I would venture to say that the agenda reflected the
interests of this cohort, in effect acknowledging its insularity and its
need to open up lines of communication with scholars outside the
field of Buddhist studies. In this case, the common ground for
meeting with outside scholars was defined as Chinese intellectual
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
history, or Sinologyin general. Apart from the Buddhologists, papers
were presented at the conference by a historian of Chinese art (James
Cahill), a specialist in Chinese literature ( ~ c h a r d J. Lynn), and a
specialist in Neo-Confucian thought (Rodney L. Taylor). Concluding
remarks were made by Confucian scholar Tu Wei-mingo
I would suggest that the stated desire for a closer association with
the mainstream of Western Sinology (which, it may be observed, has
inherited . something of the traditional elite Confucian antipathy
toward Chinese Buddhism) has another dimension to it as well. It
represents a rejection of the notion, long held by many leading
Europeanscholars of Buddhism, that the study of Chinese Buddhist
texts is valuable chiefly for the light it sheds on the Buddhist tradition
in its native India. Here we find a new generation of East Asian
Buddhologists insisting that Chinese BuddhislIl is worth studying in
its own right as an independent., if not entirely indigenous, set of
Chinese phenomena.
Editor Peter Gregory notes that the book which finally emerged
from the 1981 conference has taken a shape in many ways different
from the original cast of papers. Six of the original twelve papers
(those by Broughton, Cook, Gimello, Levering, Taylor, and Zeuschner)
do not appear, and others have been revised or completely rewritten.
Other major changes were the addition of new papers written
specially for the book by Whalen Lai and Robert E. Buswell, Jr., and
the inclusion of translations of seminal essays by Paul Demieville
(originally published in 1947) and R.A. Stein (Qriginally published
in 1971). Despite these changes, Gregory asserts, the working
assumption that inspired the conference "still operates as an under-
lying presupposition for the volume and provides an important
context in which the various chapters should be understood" (p. 4).
In other words, the volume is still intended "to place what has often
been seen as a strictly Buddhist problematic within the broader
context of Chinese thought and culture" (p. 1).
The volume as a whole is only partially successful in this venture.
Peter Gregory's Introduction and the Mterword by Tu Wei-ming do
address the issue of the "peculiarly sinitic" character of the concep-
tion of sudden enlightenment in Chinese Buddhism. However, the
Review of Sudden and Gradual 97
chapters by Demieville, Stein, and Gomez, which together comprise
part I (entitled "The Sudden and Gradual Debates") focus on a rather
. different problem: the applicability of the sudden/gradual polarity
that was formulated in the Ch' an school of Chinese Buddhism to the
cross-cultural; comparative study of religion. The investigation of
this issue, it will be recalled, was a stated aim of the original
conference, but it is not mentioned in the editor's Introduction to the
book. Ironically, with the addition of the chapters in Part I, the book
does a much better job of addressing the issue than the original
'conference papers. Part II, entitled "Sudden and Gradual Enlighten-
ment in Chinese Buddhism," consists of chapters by Lai,Donner,
McRae, Gregory, and Buswell-all East Asian Buddhologists.
Among these, only the piece by Lai touches on the question of the
. broader (non-Buddhist) context of the Chinese Buddhist understand-
ing of sudden and gradual enlightenment. The other chapters in Part
n focus rather narrowly on the sudden/gradual polarity as it was
employed by particular Chinese Buddhist teachers or schools, and
make few if any attempts to draw connections to non-Buddhist
systems of thought or broader trends in Chinese culture. The
, remaining two chapters, by literature specialist Lynn and art historian
Cahill, are relegated somewhat forlornly to a much shorter Part III,
.'" entitled "Analogies in the Cultural Sphere." The title of this part
unintentionally implies that Chinese Buddhism is somehow outside
the sphere of Chinese culture. It also suggests that developments in
Chinese literary and art theory that employed the Buddhist categories
of sudden and gradual were extraneous to the mainstream of the
Buddhist tradition, which (one might gather from Part II) was chiefly
concerned with philosophical matters and a religious "practice"
which neatly reflected doctrinal formulations. This is unfortunate, for
the chapters by Lynn and Cahill bear witness to the fact that the
isolation of East Asian Buddhist studies from the mainstream of
Sinology is detrimental to both sides. Other contributions from
outside the circle of Buddhologists would have been a welcome
addition. Whatever the reason for their absence, the very paucity of
essays in Part III undermines the claim that the sudden/ gradual
polarity is more than just a Buddhist problematic, and gives the
impression that few Sinologists find the topic interesting or important
enough to write about.
All of this is not to find fault either with thE; editor's basic project
or with the quality of the individual essays, which is generally high.
The editor is to be commended for his vision of an East Asian
Buddhist studies which is more attuned to broader Sinological issues,
and better able to command an audience outside a narrow circle of
specialists. If he is to be criticized, it is only for raising expectations
in the Introduction which go unfulfilled in the body of the work. That,
perhaps, is the price that one must pay for venturing to point one's
colleagues in new directions. By the same token, it is not entirely fair
to judge the individual chapters by the expectations raised in a frame
that is basically extrinsic to them. Most of the chapters in Part II are
models of good, sound East Asian Buddhological research-a virtue
that only appears a vice in the context of a call to expand the scope
of the field itself.
Editor Gregory's Introduction does an excellent job of alerting
the reader to a situation that might otherwise be a cause of
considerable bewilderment in the chapters that follow: the fact that
the descriptive tenns "sudden" (tun) and "gradual" (chien) were
applied in varying ways to a number of different objects in Chinese
Buddhist thought, so that no single, overarching lexical definition of
their meaning is possible. Gregory notes, for example, that when
applied to enlightenment (wu), "sudden" in some contexts means that
the object of realization can only be apprehended in its entirety or "all
at once," rather than piecemeal or gradually, since the object itself is
a truth or principle (11) that is essentially one and indivisible. In other
historical contexts dealt with in the essays, we find that sudden
enlightenment (tun-wu) could mean an enlightenment in which all of
the disparate qualities of Buddhahood are gained "at once," or
simultaneously. Or it could mean an enlightenment that is "immedi-
ate" in the sense of being direct and intuitive rather than relying on
mediating concepts or expedients (upaya; fang-pien); or an enlight-
enment that is inborn rather than produced or acquired through any
meditative, devotional or moral exercises; or an enlightenment that
Review of Sudden and Gradual 99
is apprehended fully in a moment of "seeing" rather than through a
gradual process of self-purification; or simply an enlightenment that
is endowed with all properties that are good and true (albeit
unspecified) as opposed to the gradual (false, dangerous, inferior,
impossible, etc.) enlightenment that is attributed to an opponent in a
polemical debate. To this I would add that in some. cases the
categories of "sudden" and "gradual" are set up as mutually exclusive
termS in a strict dichotomy, and in other cases they represent a
polarity-the extremes of a continuum in which any number of
intermediate positions are possible. Matters are further complicated
by the fact that the various dichotomies and polarities that have been
formulated using "sudden" and "gradual" as key terms do not
necessarily correspond to each other in any predictable way. Thus,
. for example, thinkers who hold that enlightenment is innate in all
living beings (the subitist or "sudden" position in the dichotomy of
inborn vs. produced or acquired), have not always stressed insight
(the subitist position in the polarity of seeing vs. purification) as a
method of realizing or manifesting the innate enlightenment in
everyday life. Furthermore, as the editor points out, the terms
"sudden" and "gradual" have been applied in various ways not only
to enlightenment, but to teachings (chiao) and cultivation (hsiu) as
One thing that is clear from the Introduction, and borne out by the
evidence presented in the volume as a whole, is that from a historical
point of view it is dangerous to speak loosely of "the" (singular)
sudden/gradual polarity in Chinese Buddhism, or "the" subitist
position. Historically, there were many different polarities and
dichotomies, and many different subitist positions. These occurred at
different times and places, and there is no valid a priori reason for
assuming any thematic similarities or historical relations between
them. Any such connections must be drawn on a case by case basis,
following a careful study of each of the particular historical instances
in which the terms "sudden" and "gradual" were actually brought into
play. Several of the essays under review do in fact present detailed
philological analyses of such specific instances. But nowhere in the
volume as a whole do we find the sort of follow-up study necessary
. nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
to establish historical connections among them, or to prove the
hypothesis that "the" sudden/gradual polarity was a recurring theme
even, in the history of Chinese Buddhism" let alone in Chinese
intellectual history in general.
This being the case, are the editor and certain of the other
contributors to the volume making an error of historical judgment
when they speak: of "the" sudden! gradual polarity as if a single,
underlying issue (or even a single complex of demonstrably related
issues) had already been shown to exist? I would not make this
charge. The problem, rather, lies in a failure clearly to distinguish
research methodologies and the types of definitions being employed.
As was indicated above, the historical-philological method of
dealing with technical philosophical terms such as "sudden" and
"gradual" is not to assume any semantic unity, but to determine the
meanings of the terms in question by examining their usage in as
many different historical contexts as possible. Definitions arrived at
by this method have been called lexical definitions.4 Because lexical
definitions are reports of actual historical usage, they can he judged
true or false, and are in principle always open to critical review. Once
the meanings of a term have been pinned down in a lexical definition,
they can be analyzed to see if there is a semantic common denomi-
nator that underlies all of them, although there need not be:
irreducible ambiguity is a common fact of actual usage, and hence a
common feature of lexical definitions.
An entirely different methodological approach-one that is often
taken in the comparative study of religion-is to begin with a
stipulative definition of a particular type of religious phenomenon
and then go looking in the world's religions for concrete historical
instances that fit the typology. Stipulative definitions function to
establish the meaning of a symbol for use within a particular field of
discourse, and thus in principle cannot be judged true or false on the
basis of evidence of any sort. Because they are essentially arbitrary,
stipulative definitions need not accord in any way with their lexical
counterparts, but often they are used to eliminate ambiguity by giving
priority to one of the established lexical meanings of a term.
Now, if we ask which of these two approaches informs the
organization of the present volume, the historical-philological or the
Review of Sudden and Gradual 101
comparative-typological, the answer is both-but in a rather haphaz-
ard fashion. When the editor and certain other contributors speak of
"the" sudden/gradual polarity, it seems that they are making use of
astipulative definition. The definition in question, we shall see, was
one originally formulated by Paul Demieville in "Le miroir spiri-
tuel,"5 the first essay in the present volume. Demieville was not really
concerned with the lexical meanings of tun and chien in Chinese
texts: his aim was to present a typology for use in the comparative
study of religion, and he proceeded to test that typology by applying
it to texts selected from the Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Islamic, and
Christian traditions. As he explicitly stated, "in composing this brief
study I have not asked myself any historical questions ... we may see
here a comparative essay" (p. 33). Demieville himself is more or less
. clear about what he is up to, but a number of follow-up studies
(including ones in this volume) take him to task for philological
deficiencies, as though he was presenting a lexical rather than a
stipulative definition of "subitism."
By the same token, no matter how fruitful Demieville' s stipulative
definition of the sudden/gradual polarity may be as a device for
comparing different. intellectual and religious traditions around the
world, the similarity in thought patterns that this approach discovers
in different traditions must not be construed as proof of any direct
historical connection among them. The same holds true even if the
different intellectual traditions being compared all fall within the
Chinese culture sphere: structural similarities revealed by the com-
parative-typological method do not constitute proof of historical
relatedness. The existence of the sudden/gradual polarity as an
underlying theme or pattern of thought that exerted itself throughout
the course of Chinese intellectual history can only be.demonstrated
by the historical-philological method.
These questions of research methodologies and types of defini-
tions present themselves implicitly in Sudden and Gradual, but
. neither the Introduction nor any of the individual chapters address
them directly. In general, it may be observed that the field of Buddhist
studies has lacked sophistication in these regards, having tradition-
ally been preoccupied with the fundamental task of sorting out and
102 . JIABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
trying to make sense of the great mass of Buddhist literature that has
been preserved in several difficult Asian languages. If East Asian
Buddhist studies, in particular, is to emerge, from its comfortably
exotic cocoon of highly specialized philological and doctrinal
concerns and begin to interact in mutually beneficial ways with other
areas of Asian and religious studies, it will be necessary for scholars
in the field to distance themselves a bit from the normative traditions
they specialize in and give more thought to such theoretical ques-
tions. As we shall see in the following section, East Asian Buddhist
studies is a relatively new branch of Buddhist studies in the West, and
one that has relied heavily on sectarian Japanese Buddhist scholar-
ship in learning to stand on its own.
The Field of East Asian Buddhist Studies
Like the fields ofIndology, Japanology, and Sinology; Buddhist
studies is not tied to anyone academic discipline, arid in theory can
encompass any number of scholarly approaches and methods. A
major difference, of course, is that Buddhist studies is not in principle
delimited by any geopolitical, cultural, or linguistic boundaries
either. Indeed, research in the field almost always has a cross-
cultural, multi-lingual aspect. This is because as Buddhism spread
from India throughout the rest of Asia (and recently to the West), it
manifested itself at every place and time in a complex combination
of imported and indigenous elements of belief and practice, which
scholars feel compelled to sort out. Moreover, in many lands, the
scriptures held as sacred and used on a daily basis by Buddhist monks
and nuns have been written in foreign languages. For example,in
much of Southeast Asia the Pali canon has long been regarded as
authoritative, and in Korea and Japan the major Buddhist canons are
written in classical Chinese. Even the study of Indian Buddhism is
not free from cross-cultural, multilingual considerations, for it relies
in good measure on texts translated from Indic languages that survive
only in Tibetan and/or Chinese. Thus Buddhist studies, which is
probably regarded by most outsiders as a rather narrow specializa-
tion, focusing as it does on a single religious tradition, is in actuality
Review of Sudden and Gradual 103
nearly as broad in scope and potentially as diverse in methodology
as the nebulous field of Asian studies itself.
In fact, the tremendous cultural diversity of the Buddhist.
tradition, the vast time frame that it spans, and the sheer number and
difficulty of the Asian languages pertinent to its study, effectively
preclude anyone scholar (even one who adheres to a single
disciplinary approach) from researching Buddhism in all of its
historical contexts. A degree of specialization is necessary, and not
surprisingly, Buddhist studies admits to the same sort of national,
linguistic, cultural, and "area" subdivisions that are found in Asian
studies. The most fundamental division in the field is between the
Buddhism of lands that historically have fallen more within the
sphere of Indian cultural influence, and the Buddhism of lands that
have been more influenced by Chinese culture. That is to say, the
primary division is between the Buddhism of South, Souiheast and
Central Asia on the one hand, where the main languages of the
Buddhist cannons are Pali, Sanskrit, and Tibetan, and East Asian
Buddhism on the other hand, where the major canons have all been
comprised chiefly of texts written in classical Chinese. Further
subdivisions in the field tend to follow national and linguistic
boundaries. Thus we speak of the Buddhism of Thailand, Cambodia,
Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, and so on, as distinct objects of study.
Nevertheless, because Buddhism itself is a cross-cultural phenom-
enon, the areas of specialization that individual scholars have carved
out for themselves within Buddhist studies generally straddle linguis-
tic and cultural boundaries.
Although Buddhism can, in principle, be studied from the
standpoint of many different humanistic and social sCientific disci-
plines, historically the study of Buddhism in the West has been
dominated by philological concerns. As J. W. de Jong demonstrates
. in an article published in 1974 entitled "A Brief History of Buddhist
Studies in Europe and America,"6 the prevailing attitude among the
leading Western (mostly European) scholars of Buddhism over the
past century has been that "once texts have been properly edited,
interpreted and translated it will become possible to study the
development of religious and philosophical ideas."7 De Jong' s article
104 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
was followed a decade later by an update entitled "Recent Buddhist
Studies in Europe and America: 1973-1983."8 These articles are of
interest not only for the valuable information t ~ e y contain, but for the
prejudice they display in virtually ignoring the work of the younger
generation of scholars (mostly in North America) specializing in East
Asian Buddhism. De Jong is not alone when he states that
Without any doubt, the study of Indian Buddhist texts deserves
a central place in Buddhist studies because it forms the basis for
any serious work in the study of religion, philosophy, history
and art.
There are still many scholars in the field of Buddhist studies who
believe that real Buddhism is Indian Buddhism, and thatthe "serious"
study of Buddhism is impossible without a mastery of the linguistic
tools necessary to carry out the philological study of Indian Buddhist
texts. First and foremost among those tools, of course, is a knowledge
of Sanskrit and Pali. De J ong notes that "most Western scholars begin
by studying Sanskrit and Pali and acquire later sufficient knowledge
of Tibetan and Chinese to read Tibetan and Chinese texts translated
from Sanskrit or other Indian originals."lo In this view, a knowledge
of Chinese (orrather "Buddhist Chinese"-the idiosyncratic lan-
guage of Indian texts in translation) is an important, but decidedly
secondary, concern for the serious scholar, who uses Chinese texts
as a window on a relatively early stratum of original Indian texts that
were either lost or greatly changed subsequent to their translation.
But if a knowledge of Chinese is secondary, then a knowledge of
Japanese is clearly tertiary, for until modern times no Indian texts
were translated directly into that language. Thus, de Jong contends,
very few Western scholars of Buddhism can read Japanese, and very
few have been able to make much use of the great wealth of Japanese
secondary scholarship in the field. He goes on to note that Western
Sinologists have recognized the importance of Japanese scholarship,
and argues that "it is undoubtedly necessary for Western Buddhist
scholars to follow the example of the Sinologists."ll
Review of Sudden and Gradual
The irony of these remarks concerning the dearth of Western
scholars proficient in Japanese is that they are true only if the image
of the scholar of Buddhism as a philologist concerned primarily with
the exegesis of Indian texts is held to be definitive. The most
outstanding example of a scholar who did not fit that mold is Paul
Demieville (1894-1979), whom de Jong himself rightly named in his
1974 article as the leading figure in the field of Chinese Buddhist
studies. Demieville's long list of publications shows clearly that his
interest in Chinese Buddhism extended far beyond texts and issues
that were pertinent to the study of Indian Buddhism, although he
excelled in that line of multilingual, cross-cultural research as well.
As editor-in-chief of the Hobogirin, an encyclopedic dictionary of
Buddhism based on Chinese and Japanese sources which was
arranged in order of Japanese pronunciation and published in Japan,
Demieville not only recognized the value of Japanese scholarship,
but took the lead in making its findings more widely accessible to
researchers in the West. Moreover, Demieville's study of Chinese
Buddhist texts was not restricted to matters of Buddhist philosophy,
but took into account the broader context of Chinese literature and
culture. It is fitting that a translation of an essay by Demieville, "Le
miroir spirituel,"12 should be included as the first chapter in Sudden
and Gradual, for in many ways his work is exemplary of the type of
broadly Sinological approach to Buddhist studies that editor Gregory
By the 1970s, there were also a number of other established
European and American scholars, such as Hubert Durt, Philip
Yampolsky, Leon Hurvitz, and Stanley Weinstein, who had spent
years studying in Japan, were fluent in Japanese, and were in fact
making extensive use of Japanese Buddhist scholarship in their
. studies of East Asian Buddhism. The ranks of such specialists have
been swelled since the mid-1970s by many younger scholars who
have also come into their own, not by the route that de J ong describes,
but by first learning Chinese and Japanese, and then (depending on
individual research interests) perhaps studying enough Sanskrit to
investigate the Indian precedents of ideas found in Chinese Buddhist
texts. East Asian Buddhist studies, conceived as a more or less
independent field, has thus expanded in the vVest (and particularly in
North America) to the point where it has a following roughly eqUal
in numbers to Indian Buddhist studies. S i m i l a ~ developments, it may
be noted, have been taking place in the fields of Tibetan and
Southeast Asian Buddhism, where an increasing number of younger
scholars are treating those traditions as worthy of study in their OWn
right, and not merely as reflections of Indian Buddhism.
This is not the place for a comprehensive survey of recent
Western scholarship in East Asian Buddhist studies, but I shall make
some general observations about the sorts of topics that have been
addressed in the Kuroda Institute series, and the kinds of approaches
that authors represented in the series have taken.
In the first place, it may be noted that despite Demieville's
example of a Buddhology with strong Sinological (or, by analogy,
Japanological) underpinnings, East Asian Buddhist studies in North
America has tended to travel along avenues laid out and paved by
Japanese scholarship. Buddhist studies in Japan is a thriving and.
diverse field, but in general it is divided along lines that are similar
to those described above, with Indian and Tibetan Buddhism forming
one main branch and East Asian Buddhism another. The former
branch, which from the Japanese perspective deals with types of
Buddhism that are relatively alien culturally and linguistically, gotits
start in the last decades of the nineteenth century, following the Meiji
Restoration, and has from the beginning been strongly influenced by
the European philological modeL Not only were the methods of late
nineteenth and early twentieth century European scholarship adopted,
but many of the attitudes as well. Even today it is not uncommon to
hear Japanese Indologists remark that it is impossible to study
"genuine" (meaning "original") Buddhism without a knowledge of
Pali and Sanskrit. This branch of Japanese Buddhist studies tends to
look down on the academic study of Chinese and native Japanese
Buddhism as peripheral and less rigorous, although a great many of
the scholars involved in all aspects of the field are themselves closely
affiliated (often by birth into temple families) with one or another of
the major Japanese Buddhist denominations, and may dabble on the
side in the history or thought of their particular schooL The
Review of Sudden and Gradual 107
ambivalence and reticence evinced by many Japanese Indologists
and Tibetologists toward the study of their native Buddhist traditions
is a product of divided filial loyalties -toward the first generation
ofJapanese scholars in the field and their European teachers on the
one hand, and'toward temple priest fathers and bill-paying parishio-
ners on the other. The very proximity and familiarity of the native
Buddhist traditions also breeds a certain contempt among Japanese
scholars, but the personal and political risks involved mitigate against
bringing innovative, critical methods of scholarship to bear too close
to home. Ancient Indian Buddhism is not only "genuine," it is
relatively safe to treat in an objective manner. Needless to say, it is
the other, East Asian branch of Japanese Buddhist studies that has
served as an inspiration and model for scholars studying Chinese and
Japanese Buddhism in the West. This branch is much older and much
less influenced by Western critical methods, having developed over
the centuries within the context of the Japanese Buddhist tradition
itself. The leading academic research centers for each of the
historically important schools (shU) of Japanese Buddhism, such as
Zen, J6do, J6do Shin, Nichiren, Tendai, and Shingon, are universities
and institutes run by Buddhist denominations which define them-
selves as legitimate spiritual heirs to the schools in question. Many
of the faculty and research staff are members of the denomination's
clergy. Research tends to focus on the history of the parent school
(understood as a spiritual lineage), with a great emphasis on the lives
and teachings of founders and other revered ancestral teachers. When
attention is directed to Chinese Buddhism, it is often in the context
of tracing a lineage back to Chinese ancestors, or establishing the
orthodoxy of doctrines and practices by elucidating the Chinese
precedents for them. Schools of Chinese Buddhism that are regarded
as largely defunct (having few or no living spiritual, doctrinal, or
institutional heirs in Japan) receive relatively little attention, al-
though the freedom to treat them critically is correspondingly greater.
Because Japanese scholars of Chinese Buddhism tend to focus
narrowly on particular Buddhist schools and patriarchs, most of them
would not be regarded by Western standards as true Sinologists.
Indeed, although they can read classical Chinese (kanbun) with great
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
facility in the traditional Japanese manner of grammatical restructuring
cum transliteration (yomikudashl) , very few can speak modern
Chinese. The East Asian Buddhist scholarship that goes on in the
denominational universities and research centers in Japan generally
meets high standards of objective verification and intellectual
honesty, and it is unsurpassed in its thorough marshaling and
. utilization of historically pertinent textual sources. It is constrained,
nevertheless, by the fact that it is part of a normative tradition. Much
of the work produced can aptly be described as having a theological
dimension (more on this term below).
The influence of Japanese scholarship on East Asian Buddhist
studies in the West is evident in the considerable concern with the
history of schools, founders, patriarchs, and lineages that is evinced
in the first five volumes in the Kuroda Institute series. Although
Western scholars do not have the same vested interests as the
Japanese and are generally more willing to take critical, even,
revisionist approaches in their research, the fact remains that the basic
topics and problems addressed are often ones that have been defined
by denominational interests in Japan. Moreover, the original textual
sources that Western scholars consult are frequently ones that
Japanese scholars have already discovered and/or identified as
relevant to the topic. Often they are texts that have also been edited,
annotated, and translated into modem Japanese.
Considering that the field of East Asian Buddhist studies in the
West is still young, it is perhaps appropriate that it should have
undergone a period of apprenticeship to Japanese scholarship and
only now be starting to articulate its own unique set of interests. That
a movement toward greater independence from Japanese scholarship
is under way is clear from the first five volumes in the Kuroda
Institute series. There is a growing awareness that reliance on
Japanese scholarship, while it has been invaIuable in establishing
East Asian Buddhism as a legitimate field of study, has had the
unfortunate side effect of isolating the field from Sinology and
Japanology on the one hand, and from the mainstream of religious
studies on the other.
That isolation is felt all the more keenly because the leading
Review of Sudden and Gradual 109
Japanese specialists in East Asian Buddhism generally do not read (or
if they do read, do not respond to) the work that appears in
publications such as the Kuroda Institute series. P a ~ of t.he problem
is simply that they are not accustomed to readmg m Western
languages at all, and very little Western scholarship on Buddhism is
ever translated into Japanese. (An interesting exception is Demieville' s
"Le miroir spirituel," which appeared in Japanese translation in
Zengaku kenkyii in 1960.13) Japanese Indologists and Tibetologists,
conversely, have long made good use of publications in German,
French, and English, while occasionally grumbling about the infre-
quency with which their own work is recognized abroad.
In any case, the sense of isolation felt by some Western scholars
of East Asian Buddhism is reflected both in the desire to be part of
the Sinological mainstream, and in attempts to address issues in the
comparative study of religion. We have already seen how the book
under review, Sudden and Gradual, exemplifies the former tendency.
A movement toward the comparative approach is evident in the
organization of the fourth volume in the Kuroda Institute series,
entitled Traditions of Meditation in Chinese Buddhism (also edited
by Peter Gregory). That volume treats various Buddhist systems of
"meditation," which (as is acknowledged in the volume itself) is a
Western category-one that has been abstracted from its original
historical context to serve as a basis for comparative study in the field
known as "history of religions." Similarly, volume six of the Kuroda
Institute series, Buddhist Hermeneutics (edited by Donald Lopez),
uses a category that derives from the Judeo-Christian exegetical
tradition as a device for focusing attention on more or less compatible
strategies of scriptural interpretation that were formulated in a
number of different Buddhist schools. Neither the volume on
meditation nor the one on hermeneutics include articles by scholars
from outside the field of Buddhist studies, or articles that treat
religions other than Buddhism in any depth, but both volumes do lay
. the groundwork for broader comparative study. Buddhist
Hermeneutics, moreover, cuts across cultural if not religious bound-
aries, for it includes contributions from scholars in many regional and
linguistic branches of Buddhist studies. The same is true of the most
110 HABS VOL. 16 NO.1
recent volume in the series, Paths to Liberation: The Marga and its
Transformations in Buddhist Thought (edited by Robert F. Buswell,
Ir. and Robert M. Gimello). That a series dedicated to East
Asian Buddhism should open itself up in this way is also indicative
of the fact that the East Asian branch of Buddhist studies is
sufficiently established for its members to reach out to and identify
with the field as a whole.
Buddhology and Buddhist Theology
In the preceding pages I have occasionally used the tem
Buddhology to refer to the academic study of Buddhism, and the tem
Buddhologist to refer to specialists in that study. These neologisms
have entered the vocabulary of scholars both inside and outside the
field, but they are plagued with certain ambiguities and connotations
that render them distastefulto insiders, who generally prefer to speak:
of "Buddhist studies" and "scholars of Buddhism." The issue at stake
behind this seemingly trivial semantic distinction is the sensitive one
of belief and objectivity. But what exactly is the definitional problem,
and how might it be resolved?
In one modern dictionary, Buddhology is defined as "the study
of Buddha and of the nature and various forms of Buddhahood."14
Buddhology in this definition is clearly conceived as the Buddhist
counterpart of Western theology, with Buddha and Buctdhahood
replacing God and the divine as objects of study. Western theology
can be characterized as a normative discipline which posits certain
truths about the existence and nature of God and the divine as
axiomatic and then proceeds to elaborate and systematize them using
rational arguments and conventions of evidence and proof. Given this
understanding of theology, it is not difficult to find rough parallels
in the vast literature of the Buddhist tradition. Indeed, there are
numerous texts in which the truths of enlightenment (bodhl) and the
existence of enlightened beings (buddhas) and beings on the way to
Buddhahood (bodhisattvas) are accepted as articles of faith and
subjected to various more or less systematic interpretations which
draw out their meaning and implications for the religious life. In this
Review of Sudden and Gradual 111
sense, for example, one could speak of the Buddhology of the Lotus
Sutra, which contains a polemical reinterpretation of Buddhahood
and the path that leads to it. Similarly, the medieval Chinese Buddhist
debates over the nature of enlightenment that revolved around the
complex terms "sudden" and "gradual" could be viewed as prime
exaIIlples of Buddhological polemics, since the one thing taken for
granted by all parties to such debates was the truth and value of
enlightenment itself (however it was interpreted).
This understanding of Buddhology as a sort of Buddhist theology
has gained some acceptance, but it is precisely the association with
theology that makes many contemporary scholars of Buddhism
eschew the term as a description of their own work. Of the ten
chapters that comprise the volume under review, eight focus directly
or indirectly on various Chinese Buddhist interpretations of enlight-
enment as "sudden" and! or "gradual." The authors of these chapters,
however, all adopt a scrupulously historical, descriptive stance, and
strive to avoid taking the sort of normative or apologetic positions
. that are characteristic of theology. To be sure, they report on Chinese
Buddhist beliefs in enlightenment and attempt to explain the inner
logic of Chinese Buddhist theories about the nature of enlightenment.
But their own scholarship (formally, at least) is not grounded in any
particular beliefs about the nature or value of enlightenment, nor is
it (theoretically speaking) concerned with judging the truth or
falsehood of Buddhist doctrines according to any ultimate criteria.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that these scholars and various
others who have published essays in other anthologies in the Kuroda
Institute Buddhism series, whether they like the appellation or not,
are often called Buddhologists. Thus, if we were to accept the
foregoing dictionary definition of Buddhology as a sort of Buddhist
theology, we would have to describe contemporary Western
Buddhologists as scholars who take the Buddhology of other,
historical persons and texts as the object of study, but do not
(intentionally, at least) engage in Buddhology themselves. But such
a description is clearly too convoluted and confusing to serve any
useful purpose.
The solution I propose is simply to refer to Buddhist treatments
. nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
of enlightenment (bodhl), enlightened beings (buddhas), the path to
enlightenment (marga), and so on, as Buddhist theology - under-
standing theology broadly as the study of d i v ~ n e things or religious
truth as it is carried on within a normative tradition. This will allow
us to reserve the. term Buddhology for the "objective" (non-
normative) study of Buddhism, including the history and present
state of its social organizations, practices, literature, and systems of
philosophy and theolo gy. The scholars now called B uddholo gists are,
for the most part, actually engaged in this latter kind of study. Most,
I believe, would be willing to accept my definition ofBuddhology as
broadly descriptive of their own field of research.
Of course, when it comes to the professional credentials that
count the most-those that establish a person's position in an
academic department and in the humanities or social sciences in
general-some scholars who work on Buddhism prefer to be
identitied primarily by the disciplines (anthropology, history of
religions, etc.) to which they adhere, and only secondarily as experts
on a particular object of study. This is an attitude shared, no doubt,
by many Asianists who accept the particular "area studies" and
"-ologist" labels that apply to them when in congenial surroundings
such as meetings of the Association for Asian Studies, but prefer to
wear a disciplinary hat to the office.
Ambivalence about the terms Buddhology and Buddhologist is
especially strong among scholars in the field of East Asian Buddhist
studies, for several reasons. In the first place, it is a fact that quite a
few (certainly not all) of the younger generation of scholars now
active in academia have at one time or another, either in Asia or North
America, participated in the life of Buddhist monastic andlor lay
communities. Such intimate involvement tends to raise the level of
intensity in the debate over belief and objectivity, although again
there is a double standard at play. An academic conference held at
the Zen Center of Los Angeles, for example, will strike many scholars
of religion as more "suspect" in its objectivity than one held on the
same topic at the University of Notre Dame. Secondly, there is the
legacy ofD. T. Suzuki (1870-1966), who for more than half a century
worked to win respect in the West for Mahayana Buddhism in
Review of Sudden and Gradual 113
general, -and the Zen (Ch' an) tradition in particular. Many of today' s
academic specialists would frankly admit that they were first
attracted to Buddhism by Suzuki's writings, and would credit Suzuki
with sowing the seeds that eventually grew into today's field of East
Asian Buddhist studies; it is no accident that the study of Zen now
holds such a prominent place within that field. However, it. must also
~ b e conceded that Suzuki, while unquestionably a great scholar, was
essentially a Buddhist missionary and theologian who tirelessly
preached the truth of the experience of enlightenment (satan) and
. interpreted it in a way that he felt was best suited to his Western
audience. Western scholars, to be sure, no longer rely on Suzuki's
English writings. Indeed, it was at the point when scholars started to
go beyond Suzuki, to investigate the primary and secondary Chinese
and Japanese sources that he used, and to reach their own conc1u-
.' sions, that East Asian Buddhist studies in the West really began to
come of age. But elements of theology, whether overt or subtle, are
also common and accepted in the Japanese language scholarship on
East Asian Buddhism upon which Western scholars relied in taking
~ t h i s step. Difficulties have sometimes arisen when the topics ad-
dressed and the conclusions reached in Japanese Buddhist theology
are carried over into ostensibly critical Western scholarship without
being recognized and tagged as coming from a normative tradition.
For example, the Zen Buddhist claim that "enlightenment" is an
ineffable something that lies beyond the grasp of intellectual
conceptualization and analysis is often repeated uncritically by
scholars, despite the boldly self-contradictory (not to mention self-
serving) nature of this sort of apophatic religious rhetoric. Such
normative elements have great appeal: they are what make many
books on Zen, even those that are rather academic in style, popular.
Nevertheless, their presence violates a different set of norms - those
. of critical scholarship - and leaves Buddhologists open to attack or
... condescending dismissal by critics from other disciplines.
In the pages that follow, I treat each of the chapters in the volume
. under review separately, discussing them in light of the main issues
raised above: the development. of East Asian Buddhist studies in
North America and the influence of European and Japanese scholar-
114 . JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
ship on it; the nascent movement in the field toward broader cultural_
historical and comparative approaches; and the corresponding need
for greater sensitivity to methodological i s s u ~ s such as the problem
of definition and the relation between critical Buddhology and
Buddhist theology.
Reviews of Individual Chapters in Sudden and Gradual: Approaches
to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought
"The Mirror of the Mind," by Paul Demieville
Demieville's "Le miroir spirituel," translated under the title"The
Mirror of the Mind," is the first chapter in Part I "The Sudden and
Gradual Debates." The debates referred to in this heading, presum-
ably, are (1) the controversy that took place in mid-eighth century
China between the competing Ch' an schools of Shen-hsiu and Shen-
hui (who claimed that his teacher Hui-neng was the true sixth
patriarch in the lineage of Bodhidharma), and (2) the controversy at
the so-called "Council of Lhasa" in Tibet in the late eighth century,
which is supposed to have pitted the Ch'an monk Mo-ho-yen against
the Indian monk Kamalasila. However, only the lengthy essay by
G6mez, which comprises the third and final chapter of Part I, actually
focuses in any detail on the intellectual history of these two debates.
Demieville's point of departure, it is true, is the famous story in the
Platform Siitra about the verses written by Shen-hsiu and Hui-neng
in their competition to become the successor of the fifth patriarch,
Hung-jen. But Demieville is not terribly concerned with the history
of the polemical dispute that is reflected in that story, nor does he
trouble himself with a detailed investigation of the doctrinal meaning
of the verses, which he airily declares is "clear" (it is anything but,
as G6mez demonstrates). Are we to infer from this that Demieville
was a poor intellectual historian or a sloppy philologist? No, because
as I indicated above, his project in this essay is not to investigate the
lexical meanings of the Chinese terms tun and chien, but rather to
formulate a typology for use in the comparative study of philosophy
and religion. That Demieville' s definition of the polarity is stipulative
Review of Sudden and Gradual 115
and not lexical is apparent from the fact that he contemplates
alternative names for his proposed typology - "perfectivism" vs.
imperfectivism" and "totalism" vs. "evolutionism" - before set-
tling on "subitism" and "gradualism." It is clear from these alterna-
tives that finding an accurate translation for tun and chien is not a
criterion, and that Demieville' s choice of terms is essentially
arbitrary. _
As is generally the case with stipulative definitions, Demieville
presents his subitismigradualism typology near the beginning of his
essay, and then proceeds (in what he terms a "vagabond inquiry") to
apply it to a wide variety of test cases drawn from all of the world's
major religious traditions. (Lexical definitions, conversely, are
typically formulated by way of conclusion to a historical-philologi-
cal study). The typology is actually a complex, multi-dimensional
one, comprised not of one polarity but a constellation of polarities
that Demieville lays out in sequence. In explaining the typology here,
it will suffice to list the qualities that Demieville lines up on the
subitist side of the ledger, only naming the opposite pole occasion-
ally. The subitist position holds that: 15 the seeing of the absolute in
ourselves occurs "suddenly" and unexpectedly, outside all temporal
conditions, causal or otherwise; the absolute is seen as a totality, "all
at once"; seeing the absolute is intuitive, not analytic; it comes about
in a revolutionary manner; any active effort to see the absolute is
repudiated; aspiration is solely for a passive experience of the
absolute; (in the Christian context) it comes via grace, not exertion
(p. 31); (in Platonism) it is sufficient to resort to a wholly negative
effort, a purging of the passions (p. 30); the absolute is innate and
fundamental, but it is necessary to remove the veils of delusion which
obscure it.
Although stipulative definitions often serve to remove the
ambiguities inherent in ordinary language, Demieville' s definition of
the subitist position seems to contain at least one rather obvious
inconsistency. On the one hand, he holds that subitism repudiates all
effort at religious cultivation, while on the other he says that the
subitist position allows for or even makes a requirement of the
"negative" effort of purifying the mind. This inconsistency would
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
amount to a self-defeating contradiction if he were trying to establish
a sudden/gradual dichotomy. But his subsequent application of the
typology makes it clear that he is concerned r,ather with formulating
a cluster of polarities, each of which admits to varying degrees of
subitism or gradualism. Thus, if I read him correctly, Demieville
would want to say that although the most extreme subitist position
is to repudiate all effort, to make a "negative" effort is still closer to
the subitist pole, relatively speaking, than to make a positive effort
which seeks to develop moral qualities, intellectual knowledge, or
skill in meditative exercises. Actually, if Demieville had been
concerned with formulating a strict dichotomy, even the elimination
of the obvious inconsistency indicated above would not save him
from logical contradiction, because the most extreme subitist posi-
tion already contains an element of gradualism (as he defines those
terms). That is, to repudiate action is itself a kind of action, and to hold
an aspiration for even a completely passive experience is itself a kind
of seeking. In the final analysis, to maintain any sort of attitude or
position whatsoever vis-a.-vis the absolute, including one that is
resolutely apophatic, or even to remain purposefully silent, is to be
something of a gradualist.
Indeed, the logic of Demieville's typology is such that no
historical examples of an absolutely thoroughgoing subitistic phi-
losophy or religious stance could possibly be found: pure subitists
leave no traces. This, we shall see, is treated as a problem by Gomez
but it is not really a problem for Demieville, because his stipulative
typology is not based on (and cannot be challenged by) historical
evidence of any sort. A stipulative typology can serve as a fruitful
heuristic device even if, from the historical perspective, it turns out
to be a null set. Moreover, it can serve as a tool for comparative study
even if all of the historical phenomena investigated tum out to have
inductable dissimilarities. In short, it can remain an ideal type,
forever hypothetical, and still serve its intended function. Viewed in
this light, the refutations elicited from Stein and Gomez, and indeed
the very existence of the Sudden and Gradual volume, are testimonies
to the success of Demieville's typology.
This is not to say that Demieville's essay is entirely free from
Review of Sudden and Gradual 117
problems. Early on, having just presented his definition of subitism
and gradualism, he apparently loses sight of his own project
momentarily when he states that
in the eighth century in particular, all Chinese philosophy
centered around the Buddhist controversy over "subitism" and
"gradualism"; we can even say that this debate epitomized,
though the nomenclature varied, certain themes characteristic
of Chinese thought over the centuries.(p. 17)
To make such a claim, of course, is to enter into the historical and
philological arena, and to open oneself up to challenge on the basis
of concrete textual evidence. The issue raised, of course, is precisely
the one that editor Gregory identifies as the unifying theme of the
book. But as soon as Demieville makes the claim, he changes the
subject, explaining that
it is not this doctrinal question that I propose to examine here
in its breadth. I would like to limit myself to commenting on the
metaphor of the mirror as it occurs in the verses of the Platform
SUtra, and to exploring its Chinese and Buddhist antecedents,
as well as parallels outside Asia. (p. 17)
With this, Demieville gets back on track with his comparative
enterprise, for the "antecedents" and "parallels" he refers to are
basically phenomena identified on the basis of typological similarity
rather than historical connection. Demieville's approach in the
remaind,er of the essay is to adduce examples, culled more or less at
random from different religious and philosophical traditions, of the
use of a mirror as a metaphor for the human mind. Naturally, the
metaphors cited work in many different ways, but there are some
frequently recurring themes, such as the equation of dust or tarnish
on the surface of a mirror with delusions or disturbances that obscure
the essential purity of the mind or prevent the mind from reflecting
things as they are. Demieville takes this diverse data and applies his
typology to it as a framework for cross-cultural comparison. Thus,
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
he points out ways in which each of the metaphors represents a more
or less subitistic or gradualistic position.
Because Demieville's framework is extemal to the data Com-
pared, he can take this approach without regard for the questicinof
whether or not the various philosophers and theologians he cites
actually used a terminology or conceptual scheme directly translat-
able as "sudden" and "gradual." A similar approach is taken by
structural anthropologists, Marxist fu"1d Freudian historians, and
indeed scholars in any discipline that attempts the universal applica-
tion of a theoretical framework which has been formulated by
stipulative definition.
The assumption is often made, of course, that the forces or
patterns discovered in a particular culture, individual, or historiCal
situation under investigation really exist "out there" in the object of
study, and not merely in the imagination of the investigator. In the
physical sciences, the ultimate test of such claims is the ability to
predict (or manipulate predictably) the behavior of measurable
phenomena. Epistemological problems take a back seat to pragmatic
results (except, perhaps, at the cutting edge of theoretical physics,
astronomy, and so on). It is more difficult to test the explanatory value
of theoretical frameworks in the social sciences, where controlled
experiments are harder to set up, and the gathering of data is often
indistinguishable from the interpretation of data (so that the "facts"
are the product of the theories they are supposed to test). When we
come to the comparative study of religion and philosophy, which is
greatly influenced by the social scientific method, the epistemologi-
cal problems are even more acute and the recourse to quasi-scientific
testing of theories against data is even more dubious.
Thus, defining it as loosely as he does, Demieville has no trouble
finding examples of subitism (in varying degrees) all over the world.
But do these examples constitute data that proves the usefulness of
his typology for explaining or predicting religious ideas? Obviously
not, because of the circularity of the method, which amounts to a kind
self-fulfilling prophecy, and does not permit objective testing. As I
noted above, I do not think Demieville would claim anything more .
than heuristic value for his typology, at least with respect to religions
Review of Sudden and Gradual 119
outside of China. But if and when the comparativist does assert that
the patterns or tendencies he or she discovers in the world's religious
thought really exist "out there," or does claim that the theoretical
framework employed has positive explanatory and predictive power
and not merely an aesthetically pleasing form, on what objective
basis might these claims be tested? It is at this point, I would argue,
that we are inevitably drawn outside the circle of the comparative
project with its stipulative definitions and artificial universal catego-
ries. It is at this point that we are forced to ask the historical question:
did the people whose ideas and beliefs we are studying really make
explicit, demonstrable use of the categories of thought that we, from
our lofty (and thus superficial) comparative vantage point, would be
inclined to attribute to them?
Actually, even if the comparativist carefully disclaims any
historical validity for his or her typology (we have seen that
Demieville makes just such a disclaimer), there is no avoiding this
tum toward historical investigation. In the final analysis, to say that
a comparative project has heuristic value is precisely to affirm that
it raises interesting historical questions, and lends focus and excite-
ment to concrete historical research. In the real world of academic
religious studies, neither the comparative-typological nor the histori-
cal-philological method ever stands alone: we are constantly moving
back and forth between them. Such a turnabout in approach is
immediately evident in the volume under review, for the second
chapter in Part I, by R.A. Stein, is a narrowly philological study_
"Sudden Illumination or Simultaneous Comprehension: Remarks on
Chinese and Tibetan Terminology," by R.A. Stein
In this chapter, Stein investigates the precise semantic range of
the Chinese and Tibetan words that Demieville translates as "sud-
den" (subit). He demonstrates that the Tibetan term cig-char, which
is used at times to translate the term tun in Chinese Buddhist texts,
always means something closer to "simultaneous" (simultanej than
"sudden." From this he infers that the Chinese tun is ambiguous,
120 .JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
sometimes meaning "sudden" and sometimes meaning "simulta_
neous." He. argues that when tun means "sudden," as in the
expression i-shih tun, it is translated by t h ~ Tibetan skad-cig (:::
Sanskrit ekak$aIJ.a "in one moment") . Stein was inspired to write the
article, he says, by Demieville's "inadequate" translation of tun in a
Chinese text which purports to record the Ch' an controversy in Tibet
(p. 50). While disclaiming any expertise in Chinese Buddhist
philosophy, he implies that the lexical ambiguity of the term tun,
which Demieville was apparently unaware of, undermines the latter's.
discussion of the subitistlgradualist polarity. Stein's philological
observations are pertinent. to the historical study of the sudden and
gradual debates, of course, but to the extent that they are intended to
be a criticism of Demieville's treatment of subitism in "Le miroir
spirituel," they miss the mark. Demieville's stipulative definition of
subitism actually includes the sense of simultaneity, and in any case
is in principle immune from challenge on lexical grounds.
"Purifying Gold: The Metaphor of Effort and Intuition in Buddhist
Thought and Practice," by Luis O. Gomez
This chapter, the third and final one of Part I, is basically a
sustained response to the piece by Demieville. Gomez challenges the
latter's "facile comparisons" by demonstrating the great diversity of
the "two separate polemical contexts" (Shen-hui's attacks on "North-
ern" Ch'an, and the so-called "Council of Lhasa") and "three distinct
cultural milieux" (India, China, and Tibet) in which the sudden!
gradual controversies took place. Gomez takes as his point of
departure "the hypothesis that there is a complex of doctrines and
images, similarity among which points to a discrete religious and
intellectual phenomenon that may be adequately described as the
sudden-gradual dichotomy or polarity" (p. 68). His project, in brief,
is to refute the hypothesis by showing that the actual historical
controversies were too complex, and the meaning of the superficially
similar metaphors that were used too diverse, to be adequately
described by the sudden! gradual polarity as Demieville defines it.
Gomez brings to bear an impressive array of historical and philologi-
Review of Sudden and Gradual 121
cal evidence in proving his point, which is that "whenever we let the
texts speak for themselves we see how inaccurate are the categories
of polemicists and scholars alike-'quietism,' 'gradualism,' 'subitism,'
'pure calm'" (p. 111).
Gomez's criticism of Demieville is devastating if one accepts his
assumption that the latter's project was to accurately describe a
discrete historical phenomenon. If, however, one views Demieville' s
typology as a stipulative definition, then Gomez's criticism appears
to be tilting at windmills. Gomez himself starts with what is basically
a stipulative "preliminary definition" of the sudden! gradual polarity,
borrowed from Demieville. The fact that the definition ultimately
proves inadequate to describe the religious and intellectual phenom-
ena that he treats does not detract from its usefulness as a heuristic
Although he does not address the methodological issues directly,
'Gomez comes across in this chapter as an opponent of the compara-
tive approach. The high degree of specialization required to master
the linguistic and philosophical subtleties of any single religious
tradition, he suggests, dooms the broad comparativist to superficial-
ity. Gomez's conclusions, which gain force from the very breadth and
complexity of the evidence he adduces, lead one to a rather
pessimistic conclusion about the feasibility of establishing a common
ground for meaningful dialogue between Buddhologists and scholars
in other fields. This is ironic, given the stated aspirations of the book,
and Gomez's own fundamental sympathy with the search for
universals in human thought and religious life.
"Tao-sheng's Theory of Sudden Enlightenment Re-examined,"
by Whalen Lai
This is the first chapter in Part II, "Sudden and Gradual
Enlightenment in Chinese Buddhism." As Lai notes in his introduc-
tory remarks, a number of scholars have held that "the theory of
sudden enlightenment-one of the main features of the Southern
school of Ch' an-was first proposed by Tao-sheng (c. 360-434), who
is also remembered for asserting the doctrine of a universal Buddha-
122 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
nature" (p. 169), Lai sets out to reconstruct the development of Tao-
sheng's "subitisrn," noting among other things the influence upon
Tao-sheng's thought of ideas deriving from the ~ i n a y a n a Abhidhanna
and the Neo-Taoist philosophy of dark learning (hsuan-hsueh). He
also stresses the point that Tao-sheng's earlier formulations of the
theory of sudden enlightenment were unrelated to the doctrine of
innate Buddha nature, which he only came to espouse toward the end
of his career.
For the reader who comes to this chapter with Stein's and
G6mez's philological studies fresh in mind, the blithe manner in
which Lai speaks of "the" (singular) theory of sudden enlightenment
in Chinese thought cannot help but seem naive and overly simplistic.
Lai apparently shares G6mez's assumption that Demieville's typol-
ogy was intended to describe an actual historical phenomenon, but
unlike G6mez he raises no questions about the accuracy or appropri-
ateness of its application to the historical data. The result is a
confusing conflation of unrelated philosophical issues under the hazy
rubric of the sudden/gradual debate. At one point Lai describes Tao-
sheng's mature subitism as the view that enlightenment cannot occur
piecemeal or in stages, since the principle (Ii) to which one awakens
allows no variance (i.e., it can only be grasped all-at-once or not at
all); this he traces back to the Neo-Taoist Wang-pi's concept of the
oneness of principle. Elsewhere Lai describes Tao-sheng's subitism
as growing out of the theory that all karmic retribution, even the
reward for good deeds, is transcended in a sudden leap which occurs
at the end of a nine-stage path of liberation; this he traces back to a
"Hinayana detour" that Tao-sheng supposedly took by studying the
Abhidharma-hrdaya under Hui-yuan (344-416). Finally, Lai identi-
fies Tao-sheng's subitism with the doctrine of "one vehicle" found
in the Lotus Sutra, and labels the opposing "three vehicles" position
"gradualism." The problem is that three completely different notions
of "sudden" are operative here. The three are brought together,
perhaps, in Demieville's typology, but that essentially arbitrary
association is construed by Lai as a historical connection. In other
words, Lai assumes that Tao-sheng formulated a single, multivalent
theory of sudden enlightenment by drawing on the aforementioned
Review of Sudden and Gradual 123
:sources and finally, at the end of his career, tied it together with the
'doctrine of innate Buddhahood drawn from the Nirva1J.a Siltra.
. This historical scenario appears all the more dubious when one
realizes that most of what Lai says about Tao-sheng's purported
i.subitism derives from sources other than Tao-sheng's own writings.
'As Lai himself states,
nothing containing a sustained argument for subitism has been
preserved in Tao-sheng' s writings. We have only his allusions
to it and recollections by others. (p. 173)
.Jndeed, so much of what we know about Tao-sheng' s thought comes
to us via the claims of later biographers and polemicists that even: the
association of Tao-sheng' s name with a theory of sudden enlighten'-
ment could be nothing more than the work of later proponents of a
;subitist position who were seeking a suitably prestigious "founder"
. for their doctrine.
The connection that Lai draws between Tao-sheng' s thought and
Neo-Taoism is one of the few instances in Part II where Buddhist
} ideas are placed in the broader context of Chinese intellectual history.
Unfortunately, the connection rests on little more than the fact that
STao-sheng's biographical notice in Hui-chiao's Kao-seng-chuan
. (Biographies of Eminent Monks) describes his approach to interpret-
jng Buddhist siltras by using a metaphor that also appears in a work
;,by Wang-pi, and derives from the Chuang-tzu: "having caught the
. fish, one can forget the trap." The use of such a stock image, however,
. tells us little mote than that Tao-sheng's biographer Hui-chiao was
.aliterate Chinese. As the essay by Gomez demonstrates, superficially
similar metaphors can often be shown to convey different meanings
. when one takes specific historical contexts into account and exam-
ines the deeper structures of the arguments employed. Lai further
argues that "in his actions as well, Tao-sheng exemplified the
freedo!ll of spirit associated with Neo-Taoism" because he paid no
regard to certain Buddhist precepts such as not sitting on high seats
and not eating after midday (p. 171). But the association of such
behavior with Neo-Taoism is gratuitous. Often in the history of
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Chinese Buddhism there were monks who ignored or adapted rules
of conduct found in the Indian Vinaya texts; it would be absurd to
assume that they were all motivated by the spirit of Neo-Taoism.
Many, such as the Vinaya master Tao-hsuan (596-667), were
essentially conservative reformers.
"Sudden and Gradual Intimately Conjoined: Chih-i's T'ien-t'ai
View," by Neal Donner
Donner's project in this second chapter of Part II is to elucidate
Chih-i's (538-597) use of the concepts sudden and gradual "in the
context of his thought on teaching and practice." Because, as we learn
in this essay, Chih-i's entire corpus can be characterized as empha-
sizing the combined pursuit of doctrinal studies (the "gate of
teachings" chiao-men) and the practice of meditation (the "gate of
contemplation" kuan-men), the context that the author chooses to
work with is really Chih-i's thought in its entirety.16 Undaunted by
the voluminous, architectonic nature of Chih-i's major works and
Chih-i's penchant for creating numerous complex systems of catego-
rization, Donner manages to summarize the T'ien-t' ai master's
thought in a manner that is at once comprehensive, coherent and
insightful. Indeed, quite apart from the technical issue ofChih-i's use
of the terms sudden and gradual, this chapter stands as a good general
introduction to T'ien-t'ai Buddhism.
Donner deals with the question of the meaning of the terms
sudden and gradual in Chih-i's thought as a straightforward problem
of lexical definition. In other words, he sets aside all preconceived
notions such as Demieville's typology and simply investigates the
meanings of the terms in the context of Chih-i's writings. This
procedure reveals that Chili-i's use of the terms revolved around a
completely different set of issues than those treated earlier by Tao-
sheng or those raised later in the two "debates" involving monks
associated with the Ch' an school. Indeed, as Donner cautiously notes,
"the word tun, which we are accustomed to translating as 'sudden,'
is not, so far as I have found, applied adjectivally by Chih-i to the
word WU, which we usually translate as 'enlightenment'" (p. 220).
Review of Sudden and Gradual 125
Rather, Chih-i used the terms sudden and gradual to distinguish types
. of teaching and types of meditative practice.
In a nutshell, the "sudden teaching" for Chih-i (represented by the
A vatazpsaka-siitra) was the doctrine first preached by the Buddha
after his enlightenment, without the use of any expedient devices
(upaya, fang-pien) or concessions to the capacities of the individuals
in his audience. The "gradual teachings" for Chih-i included the
entire collection of siitras expounded subsequently by the Buddha, all.
of which were said to have made some use of expedients. Donner
makes the point that for Chih-i, "sudden" was not a term of
unqualified approbation, since a balance between sudden and gradual
elements (i.e., a direct presentation of the highest truth coupled with
the use of expedients), which Chih-i believed existed in the Lotus
Siitra, made for a more successful teaching. Furthermore, a purely
sudden teaching, as Chih-i conceived of it, would be free from all
signification and hence would not be a teaching at all: "a perfect
teaching that is completely unadulterated with the provisional, or
upaya, cannot even be spoken" (p. 218). Sudden (or, more accurately,
"perfect and sudden") meditation in Chih-i's scheme of things is any
contemplative exercise in which the object of meditation (that upon
which the mind is focused) is ultimate reality itself, understood as the
emptiness of all dharmas. "Gradual" meditation, by way of contrast,
.involves fixing the mind on traditional ("Hinayanistic") objects such
as the constituent elements of the body, the breathing, a circle on the
ground, or various doctrinal formulae. Here again, Donner makes the
point that since ultimate reality for Chih-i has no signs or features
(hsiang) on which the mind might be fixed, a truly "perfect and
sudden" meditation would not be meditation at all. As long as
"ultimate reality" is made into an object of meditation, there is a
gradual element. In short, in both doctrinal study and the practice of
meditation, there was no question of completely abandoning the
gradual in favor of the sudden: as Donner's title indicates, in Chih-
i's view the two were "intimately conjoined."
Donner's article is a good example of the influence that Japanese
. scholarship has had on East Asian Buddhology in the West. Like
much of the Japanese work on Chinese Buddhism, Donner focuses
on the "founder" of a lineage, viewing him as a creative genius who
was steeped in, and yet gave new impetus and direction to, the
Buddhist tradition. There is no attempt to deal with broader issues
pertaining to Chinese intellectual history or the comparative study of
religion, and little inclination to interpret the founder's thought
within its social or political contexts (it is known, for example, that
Chih-i and his leading disciples actively competed for imperial
patronage). Whether one views these as methodological shortcom-
ings or simply the qualities of a certain style of scholarship that
prefers to analyze Buddhist doctrines on their own terms is a matter
of opinion. However one feels about its Japanese-style parochialism
Donner's article is a finely crafted, engaging piece of work that
evinces a mastery of its subject matter. Unlike many other studies that
are cast from the same mold, it manages to present Buddhist ideas in
a manner that is eminently accessible to the non-specialist.
"Shen-hui and the Teaching of Sudden Enlightenment in Early Ch 'an
Buddhism," by John R. McRae
This chapter, the third in Part II, contributes to a debate about the
influence oftheCh'an master Shen-hui (684-758) that has been going
on for six decades in the modern Japanese field of the history of the
Zen (Ch'an) lineage (zenshiishl). As such, it takes for granted
considerable background knowledge of the historical and doctrinal
issues involved.
The debate in question was initiated by the Chinese scholar Bu
Shih, who discovered records of Shen-hui's teachings among the
Tun-huang manuscripts and first published his assessment of Shen-
hui's role in the history of the Ch'an movement in the early 1930s.
Hu Shih saw Shen-hui (and the Ch'an movement in general) as the
champion of a "practical" Chinese mentality which although it had
been temporarily "dazzled and dumbfounded" by Indian Buddhism,
recovered its senses and sought emancipation from all "superstitious"
beliefs in buddhas, bodhisattvas, magical powers, charms and spells,
and from "unintelligible metaphysics" and pedantic
scholasticism. 17 According to Hu Shih, the "first battle in the Chinese
Review of Sudden and Gradual 127
; Revolt against the Buddhist conquest" was actually fought in the fifth
'century by Tao-sheng, and "the war-cry was Sudden Enlightenment
versus Gradual Attainment."18 This war-cry "was destined in the
'course of a few centuries to sweep 'away all worship and prayer, all
'constant incantation of sutras and dharanis, all alms-giving and merit
gathering, and even all practices of dhyana or Zen."19 Final victory
inthe battle against the alien religion was gained by Shen-hui, who
"successfully promoted the sudden enlightenment doctrine of his
teacher Bui-neng, and thereby put an end to the Indian practice of
"meditation (dhyana). In Bu Shih's view, "this new Chinese Zennism
'of Hui-neng and Shen-hui did riot develop a working methodol-
sudden enlightenment doctrine served only to cut attach-
. rnents to all views and methods, leading by a negative path to
;"intellectual emancipation." With the subsequent emergence of the
Ch'an masters Ma-tsu and Lin-chi, however, the Ch'an movement
developed a distinctive pedagogical method, which was to force the
student to discover the truth through his own efforts by withholding
all explicit instructions and giving him nothing but enigmatic
sayings, shouts, or blowS.
McRae remarks that "Bu Shih's basic work on Shen-hui was
widely accepted by other authorities, although usually without
reference to his largely interpretive scheme" (p. 231). This is only
partly true. Bu Shih's larger interpretive scheme, we have seen,
'hinged on the notion of the Chinese mentality and its supposed
antipathy to the Buddhist religion. The "authorities" who made use
;;., of Hu Shih's work, with few exceptions (e.g., Jacques Gernet and
<Walter Liebenthal), have all been Japanese scholars. Those authori-
such as D. T. Suzuki, Sekiguchi Shindai, and Yanagida Seizan,
],have in fact embraced Bu Shih's interpretation to the extent that they
"view the Ch'an movement as a radical reformation within Chinese
Buddhism that stripped the religion of its unassimilable foreign
,trappings and outfitted it instead in distinctively Chinese garb.
tHowever, Japanese scholars have resisted the anti-Buddhist aspect of
\' Hu Shih's theory by insisting that Chinese Ch' an preserved the inner
g",spiritual essence of Indian Buddhism (namely, enlightenment) even
as it modified or rejected the external forms.
128 . nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Suzuki, for example took Hu Shih to task for failing to understand
that the enigmatic sayings of the Ch'an masters were profound
expressions of "prajfHi-intuition,"22 not merely non-sequiturs calcu-
lated (in Hu Shih's view this was a "conscious and rational method")
to rebuff students or mock Buddhist philosophizing. Hu Shih, for his
part, did not hesitate to point out the "propagandist" (i.e., missionary)
dimension of Suzuki's writings on Zen, and to chide him for being
a "pious Buddhist" who for that reason "will never understand
Chinese Ch' an."23 The exchange between Suzuki and Hu Shih, which
McRae mentions in passing, was at bottom a disagreement between
a Buddhist theologian who insisted on the ultimate reality of a trans-
historical, ineffable and inconceivable truth (enlightenment), and a
skeptical historian who was educated in both the elite Confucian and
Western positivist traditions.
Japanese scholars of the history of Zen (Ch'an) have certainly
reacted, both favorably and unfavorably, to key aspects ofHu Shih's
interpretive scheme, but they have not devoted much thought or
research to the ideological or sociological content of the vague
"Chinese mentality" that is supposed to have domesticated Indian
Buddhism. That issue, of course, is identified by editor Gregory as
a central theme of the volume under review, and Bu Shih's rather
simplistic and chauvinistic views on the matter certainly cry out for
critical reassessment. McRae, however, much like the Japanese, does
not pursue the question of the broader context of Chinese thought and
culture in any detail.
The issue that McRae is primarily concerned with is one that has .
long been central to the Japanese field of Zen studies: the question
of the internal developmenfofthe early Zen (Ch'an) school (Zenshii,
Ch 'an-tsung). The Chinese word tsung, although commonly trans-
lated as "school," may better be rendered as "lineage" in this context.
As is well known, one of the ways in which the Ch' an movement in
China sought to define and legitimate itself was producing quasi-
genealogical tables which purported to trace the spiritual "blood
lines" or lineage of ancestral teachers through which the Buddha
Sakyamuni's dharma (here meaning his enlightened state of mind as
opposed to his verbal teachings) had been handed down. Prior to the
Review of Sudden and Gradual 129
discovery of Shen-hui's records and other Tun-huang manuscripts
dating from the eighth century which contain conflicting versions of
~ t h e early Ch'an lineage, Japanese Zen historians generally accepted
.the version that had been handed down within the Ch'an and Zen
schools uncontested since the Sung dynasty (960-1279). That was the
account, contained in Sung texts such as the Ching-te ch 'uan-teng Iu
(Ching-te Era Record of the Transmission of the Flame), of twenty-
eight patriarchs in India culminating in Bodhidharma, six patriarchs
in China culminating in Hui-neng, and a subsequent branching out
; into the two lineages of Ma-tsu and Shih-t' ou and the so-called Five
Houses ofthe late T' ang and Five Dynasties. The study of Tun-huang
manuscripts, however, revealed that this traditional version of the
. Jjneage was merely the last in a series of fabrications. To the Japanese
this was not only a matter of detached scholarly interest: it threatened
the theological foundations of the modern Zen denominations by
undermining their traditional claims to transmit the enlightenment of
the buddhas and patriarchs.
Hu Shih's theory of Shen-hui's role in the history of the early
.Ch' an movement, for example, severed the connection posited in the
.traditional lineage between the Fifth Patriarch Hung-jen and the Sixth
Patriarch Hui-neng. Both Hung-jen and his disciple Shen-hsiu, in Hu
Shih's view, still made use of Indian Buddhist methods of dhyiina,
and henGe fell into the "gradual attainment" camp that Hui-neng and
Shen-hui repudiated. Hu Shih thus posited a radical disjunction
between the Ch' an of the first five patriarchs and the Southern school
. that was championed by Shen-hui, and depicted the new pedagogical
methods of Ma-tsu' s Hung-chou school and the later Lin-chi school
as developments that grew naturally out of Shen-hui' s "revolution."
Sekiguchi Shindai, a Japanese scholar with ties to the Tendai school,
went even further than Hu Shih in dismantling the traditional lineage,
arguing that the "Southern" lineages of Ma-tsu and Shih-t' ou had
merely usurped the name and genealogy of Shen-hui's school while
rejecting its teachings. In response to these challenges, scholars
associated with the Zen denominations have striven to reconstruct the
.. traditional lineage linking Bodhidharma, Hui-neng and Ma-tsu by
modern methods of philology and text criticism. The leading
nABS VOL 16 NO. 1
postwar figure in this effort, which has produced some excellent
scholarship but nevertheless has an undeniable theological and
polemical dimension to it, has been Yanagida Seizan.
McRae enters into this debate by challenging several key aspects
of Hu Shih's thesis. For one thing, he brushes aside the notion that
the doctrine of sudden enlightenment originated with Tao-sheng,
stating that it was Shen-hui who first championed it (p. 231). Such
a position might seem to highlight Shen-hui' s role as a pivotal figure
in the development ofCh'an, but one of McRae's main points is that
modern scholarship (following Hu Shih) actually "overestimates
.. Shen-hui's significance and distorts the nature of his contributions"
to the development ofCh'an (p. 231). Mter all, McRae argues, "the
teaching of sudden enlightenment was only one of the many relevant
doctrinal and practical factors involved" in the emergence of Ch'an
(p. 232), not the sole defining factor, as Hu Shih would have it.
Moreover, a careful examination of Shen-hui's biography and
doctrinal development reveals "a much closer relationship between
him and the N orthem school than has previously been thought to have
existed" (p. 232). Having thus disposed of Hu Shih's depiction of
Shen-hui as a revolutionary who single-handedly effected radical
changes within Chinese Buddhism, McRae goes on to challenge the
notion that Hui-neng's doctrine of sudden enlightenment, as pro-
moted by Shen-hui, was directly inherited and continued in the later
Ch' an tradition represented by Ma-tsu, Shih-t' ou and their followers.
Like Sekiguchi, McRae argues that we should not put much stock in
the fact that the later Ch'an school adopted the name "Southern
school" from Shen-hui: "this continuity of sectarian label obscures
the single most important distinction in eighth-and ninth-century
Ch'an: that between the 'early Ch'an' factions (the Northern,
Southern, and Ox-head schools), and the 'classical Ch' an' beginning
with Ma-tsu's Hung-chou school" (p. 229).
In this connection, McRae introduces what appears to be a
scheme of periodization-"early" and "classical"-for use in the
study of the history of Ch'an. He characterizes the texts of early
Ch' an as works that "contain a wide variety of doctrinal formulations,
practical exhortations, and ritual procedures." These works "attempt
Review of Sudden and Gradual 131
to fuse new meanings and a new spirit of dedication into conventional
Buddhist doctrines and practices" (p. 229). Classical Ch'an, by way
of contrast, "is distinguished by its almost total dedication to the
practice of 'encounter dialogue,' the spontaneous and unstructured
repartee between masters and students." Classical Ch'an texts "are
more unifonn in their dedication to the transcription of encounter
dialogue incidents, and they delight in baffling paradoxes, patent
absurdities, and instructive vignettes of non-confonnist behavior" (p.
229). For McRae, the "disconfonnity" between early and classical
Ch' an, as seen in the marked differences in their textual legacies, is
such that "understanding the dynamics of the early-to-classical
transition is one of the most important issues now facing Ch' an
studies" (p. 229). Whereas Hu Shih assumed a direct historical
connection between Shen-hui's doctrine of sudden enlightenment
and the apparent iconoclasm of the Ch' an school in the generations
following Ma-tsu and Shih-t' ou, McRae sees only a weak link
between the two. Shen-hui's use of sudden enlightenment as a
polemical slogan, he suggests, may have "worried subsequent
[Ch'an] masters into avoiding even the hint of gradualism and the
spectre of unilinear, goal-oriented logic in the presentation of their
own ideas" (p. 256), and contributed to the fonnation of the encounter
dialogue approach by "establishing a standard of rhetorical purity"
that disallowed all dualistic fonnulations as symptomatic of "gradu-
alism" (p. 258).
G6mez in his chapter subjects Shen-hui's doctrine of sudden
enlightenment to an abstract critique on philosophical grounds, and
concludes that it embraces a number of ambiguities and logical
inconsistencies. The crux of Shen-hui's problem, according to
G6mez, is that "if he does not speak" about the need to cultivate
specific causes and conditions leading to the attainment of enlight-
enment, "any doctrine can be attributed to him, yet if he proposes a
method, he has abandoned strict subitism" (p. 87). Indeed, as I noted
earlier, strict subitism as Demieville defines it is a doctrinal position
that inevitably involves its proponents in self-contradiction (because
the very act of advancing a doctrine about enlightenment may be
criticized from the subitist standpoint as a form of gradualism.)
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Gomez concludes that "Shen-hui's inconsistencies are best under_
stood in his own polemical context.. .. His position is critical rather
than constructive: it is formed by a set of obje<;tions to his opponents
not by a structured system" (p. 86). '
McRae stresses the polemical context of Shen-hui's doctrine of
sudden enlightenment even more than Gomez. Indeed, he offers no .
explanation or analysis of the doctrine, apparently because he does
not view it as a systematic philosophical position at all, but rather as
a rhetorical device or slogan that Shen-hui employed to refute
opponents, inspire mass audiences, and gain converts. He notes that
Shen-hui's "emphasis on the idea of sudden enlightenment is greatest
where his polemical tone is most strident and his overall practical and
theoretical framework is most backward" (p. 256). McRae also paints
an intriguing picture of Shen-hui as a proselytizer whose "chosen role
of inspiring conversion to the Buddhist spiritual quest was combined
with an overriding concern with the initial moment of religious
inspiration" (p. 254). In other words, Shen-hui was a sort of Buddhist
evangelist who used the rhetoric of subitism to deny the necessity of
a long and difficult regimen of meditation and other forms of
monastic discipline, and to excite a quick and fervent acceptance by
his audiences of the notion that enlightenment was at hand-that they
were already, as it were, saved.
McRae's periodization scheme is helpful insofar as it draws
attention to the appearance in Chinese Buddhism of a genuinely new
type of sacred literature - the so-called discourse records (yii-lu) ,
which are couched in the form of verbatim transcriptions of ex-
changes (wen-ta) between enlightened Ch' an masters and their
interlocutors. The scheme, however, has a number of conceptual and
historiographical problems that need to be addressed.
In the first place, precisely because McRae convincingly relates
stresses the differences in teaching styles between s Southern
school and the Hung-chou school of Ma-tsu, one is left wondering
what itis that justifies the association of all these schools with a single
"Ch' an" tradition. The account of the Ch' an lineage found in Sung
texts, of course, relates all of these schools by positing them as central
Review of Sudden and Gradual 133
and peripheral branches in a genealogy of dharma transmission that
is supposed to have been founded by the first patriarch of Ch'an,
Bodhidharma. That, however, is a religious myth that took final shape
in the mid-tenth century, more than a century after the heyday ofMa-
tsU's Hung-chou school (which was, incidentally, probably the first
to call itself the "Ch' an lineage"). Modern historians need to stipulate
the common denominators that unify the Ch'an tradition, and/or
adduce positive evidence of historical connections between the
schools mentioned in the traditional (Sung) account if they wish to
speak meaningfully of a "Ch' an school" that is supposed to have
evolved through distinct stages (e.g., "early" and "classical") in the
seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries. McRae, we have seen, argues
. that the doctrine of sudden enlightenment cannot stand alone as the
defining characteristic of the Ch'ah tradition, but he offers no
. alternative definition.
Another problem with McRae's periodization scheme is that it
assumes that the texts which contain the encounter dialogues of the
Ch' an masters of the "classical" period (Ma-tsu et al.) are in fact
records of a new kind of Buddhist practice that began during the
T'ang dynasty, and not merely works belonging to a new genre of
Buddhist literature that may have first appeared after the demise of
the T' ang. As McRae himself points out, "we simply do not have any
texts relevant to the earliest period of classical Ch' an that did not pass
through the hands of Sung dynasty editors, who either knowingly or
unknowingly homogenized the editions they produced" (p. 230).
None of the texts containing "transcripts" of encounter dialogue, he
notes, have turned up among the finds at Tun-huang. Nor, I would
add, did many of the texts of classical Ch' an find their way to Japan
prior to the thirteenth century, or into the catalogues of Buddhist texts
compiled by Japanese pilgrims to China in the ninth century.24
Indeed, we have no way of knowing for certain that the Sung editors
of the discourse record literature were not, in large part, actually the
authors of the encounter dialogues that they present in the form of
"transcripts." The literature in question is not merely homogeneous, .
it is highly formulaic, stylized, and metaphorical - all of which
points to its essentially fictional character. The encounter dialogues
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
are presented in the fonn of "spontaneous and unstructured repartee
between masters and students," to borrow McRae's words, but the
reality of the process by which the dialogues ~ p p e a r on paper before
our eyes is probably one of long and careful thought, stylistic
imitation and experimentation, rewriting, and editing by third parties.
The "spontaneity" of these dialogues (like that of much great
literature) exists within a narrowly circumscribed framework of
conventions and expectations.
"Sudden Enlightenment Followed by Gradual Cultivation: Tsung-
mils Analysis of Mind," by Peter N. Gregory
Like the three that precede it in Part II, this chapter is dedicated
to the elucidation of a single Chinese Buddhist thinker's use of the
categories "sudden" and "gradual." The figure featured is Kuei-feng
Tsung-mi (780-841), known in the Buddhist tradition both as the fifth
patriarch of the Hua-yen lineage, and as a Ch'an master who
belonged to the lineage of Shen-hui. Modem scholars have been
attracted to the study of Tsung-mi because his writings include the
earliest known attempts by any Chinese Buddhist historian system-
atically to summarize and compare the doctrines and practices
espoused by various competing branches of the early Ch'an school.
In this chapter, however, Gregory sets out to "examine the context,
content, and doctrinal basis" of a position espoused by Tsung-mi
himself, namely, the theory of sudden enlightenment followed by
gradual cultivation (p. 280).
As Gregory explains it, the setting in which Tsung-mi
formulated this theory was one of bitter sectarian rivalry among the
proponents of the different Ch'an lineages. That rivalry had its
beginnings in Shen-hui's criticism of the Northern line of Ch'an as
a mistaken "gradual" approach, and his use of the "sudden" designa-
tion to champion the Southern lineage of Hui-neng. Thus,
in Tsung-mi's day the words "sudden" (tun) and "gradual"
(chien) had become shibboleths of contending factions, whose
Review of Sudden and Gradual 135
mutual antagonisms he described in martial imagery. Not only
were Ch' an Buddhists divided against themselves, but, accord-
ing to Tsung-mi, the Chinese Buddhist world as a whole was
split between those who identified themselves with the scholas-
tic traditions-such as Hua-yen and T'ien-t' ai-and those who
identified themselves with the practice oriented tradition of
Ch' an .... He perceived the primary split as lying between the
scholastic traditions of Buddhist learning (chiao) and the more
practice-oriented tradition of Ch' an, which emphasized the
necessity of the actualization of enlightenment in this very life.
These statements are somewhat misleading in two respects. In the
first place, the term "gradual" took on such a derogatory connotation
in the aftermath of Shen-hui's diatribe against the Northern school
that all parties claiming to represent the "Ch' an" tradition used it to
denigrate their rivals' positions, not to characterize their own. In other
words, no group embraced the "gradual" label as its shibboleth.
Secondly, the characterization of Tsung-mi's view of Ch'an as
"practice-oriented" (as opposed to the more "scholastic" T'ien-t' ai or
Hua-yen traditions) is problematic. Tsung-mi wascertamly aware
that the distinction between teachings and practice had originally
been drawn by T'ien-t'ai Chih-i, who was not merely a scholastic, but
a "dhyana master" (ch 'an-shih) who in fact placed great emphasis on
practice as well as teachings. Indeed, in his Ch 'an Preface Tsung-mi
included the T'ien-t'ai lineage founded by Chih-i in a list of ten
competing lineages of Ch' an. 25 Moreover, we know from Tsung -mi' s
accounts that the more radical branches of early Ch' an (e.g., the Pao-
t'ang and Hung-chou schools) used the rhetoric of sudden enlighten-
ment to deny the efficacy of various aspects of traditional Buddhist
practice, including morality, meditation, and doctrinal study. Pre-
cisely because they stressed the "sudden" position that enlightenment
was something innate, unconditioned, and thus (strictly speaking)
unattainable by any means, these branches of Ch'an were portrayed
by Tsung-mi as considerably less practice-oriented than the T'ien-
l' ai branch.
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
The expression, "Ch'an for practice, T'ien-t'ai and Hua-yen fOr
doctrine," is one that became popular in Chinese Buddhism sometime
after the Sung; the Ch' an it refers to was different than the types of
Ch'an assayed by Tsung-mi and the distinction it embodies should
not be anachronistically ascribed to him. Similarly, the idea that the
T'ien-t'ai and Hua-yen schools transmit only doctrinal teachings
(chiao) whereas the Ch' an school transmits the formless dharma of
enlightenment itself is a feature of Ch' an school polemics that only
gained widespread credence after Tsung-mi's day. These notions-
that Ch' an is more practice-oriented (jissen-tela) and more conducive
to the personal realization (taiken) of enlightenment than other
schools of Buddhism-are frequently reiterated in the works of
modern Japanese scholars associated with the Zen school. They are
typical of the sectarian biases and theological claims that can slip
unnoticed from Japanese sources into otherwise critical Western
In any case, it would be better to describe Tsung-mi's view ofthe
split in Ch' an as one between radicals who interpreted "sudden
enlightenment" in such a way as to reject some or all forms of
spiritual cultivation, and conservatives whose interpretation of the
"sudden" doctrine still left room for traditional Buddhist practices.
This distinction is evident, for example, in Tsung-mi' s assessment of
the ten lineages of Ch'an:
Some carry out all the practices, while others disregard even the
Buddha. Some let the will take its course, while others restrain
their minds. Some respect the sutras and vinaya as a standard,
while others consider the sutras and vinaya an obstruction to the
By most accounts, the attitude toward practice evinced by the Ch'an
master Shen-hui, from whom Tsung-mi claimed spiritual descent,
places him on the radical side of this spectrum. Tsung-mi's own
sympathies, however, were clearly with the conservatives. As
Gregory shows, Tsung-mi's doctrine of "sudden enlightenment
followed by gradual cultivation" actually relegates sudden enlight-
Review of Sudden and Gradual 137
to the status of an initial insight (chieh-wu); full enlighten-
ment or complete realization (cheng-wu) only comes after an
extended period of gradual cultivation (chien-hsiu) in which moral-
ity, meditation, and doctrinal study all playa vital role. At pains to
attribute this position to Shen-hui, Tsung-mi was forced by the lack
oftextual evidence to claim that a commitment to gradual cultivation
had been Shen-hui' s true intention but that the necessity of combating
the false Northern school position had led the master to emphasize
only the initial phase of sudden enlightenment. There is no reason to
doubt that Tsung-mi genuinely admired Shen-hui's use of the
rhetoric of sudden enlightenment, but it seems evident that part of his
project was to appropriate Shen-hui'sprestige and turn it against the
sort of radical no-practice Ch'an that Shen-hui's name had been
associated with.
Gregory is right on the mark when he contrasts the ecumenical
approach taken by Tsung-mi with the polemical style of Shen-hui.
Precisely because Tsung-mi took the conservative side in the
aforementioned debate, he depicted the Ch' an tradition in a manner
that included all approaches and points of view, relativized extreme
positions by juxtaposing them with their opposites, and favored the
principles of balance and harmony as criteria of truth and legitimacy.
Whereas Shen-hui used the categories of sudden and gradual
recklessly and inconsistently to attack his opponents, Tsung-mi
protested that the terms represented a metaphorical use of language,
that they therefore had different meanings in different contexts, and
that it was ignorant and abusive to wield them as slogans without
taking heed of such distinctions;
Gregory does an excellent job of outlining Tsung-mi's explana-
tion of the five different ways in which "sudden" and "gradual" can
be applied to the categories of cultivation (hsiu) and enlightenment
(wu). Tsung-mi makes it clear that different analogies are operative
in each case. For example, the theory of "gradual cultivation followed
by sudden enlightenment" (chien-hsiu tun-wu) is illustrated by the
analogy of chopping down a tree: "one gradually cuts away at it until
it suddenly falls" (p. 282). Conversely, "sudden cultivation followed
by gradual enlightenment" (tun-hsiu chien-wu) is analogous to the
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
approach taken by the student of archery who aims at the bull's eye
(i.e., resolves to attain supreme enlightenment) right from the start
then gradually improves his ability actually to hit it. Tsung-mi p o i n t ~
out that the terms "cultivation" and "enlightenment" have different
meanings in these. various contexts. Thus, when "cultivation" is
called gradual, it refers to a process of spiritual discipline or training,
but when "cultivation" is called sudden, it does not necessarily
indicate the instantaneous completion of such training: in the case of
"sudden cultivation followed by gradual enlightenment," it is only
the intentionality of the practitioner that is "sudden" (because a
person aiming at a bull's eye harbors no notion of step-by-step.
progress toward the goal). Likewise, the "sudden enlightenment" that
is said to follow gradual cultivation represents complete realization
(cheng-wu) , whereas the "sudden enlightenment" that precedes
gradual cultivation is to be understood as an initial insight (chieh-
All of these distinctions, Gregory argues, are "useful for provid-
ing a conceptual framework for making sense out of the confusion
that has often marked discussions of the sudden-gradual controversy"
(p. 284). In other words, Gregory holds that Tsung-mi's analysis of
the meaning of the concepts sudden and gradual is still useful to
modern scholars, not only as historical data, but as a framework for
distinguishing the various philosophical positions actually taken by
Chinese Buddhists in the seventh and eighth centuries. This is a bold
claim, since Tsung-mi himself clearly had a stake in the controversies
he reported on, and was not merely an objective observer. Gregory
goes a little overboard in portraying Tsung-mi as an evenhanded,
critical scholar in the modern mode, but on the whole I am inclined
to agree with his assessment. At the very least, because Tsung-mi
stressed the ambiguity and complexity of the terms sudden and
gradual in actual usage, his analysis serves as a corrective to those
overly simplistic modern accounts which speak in the singular of
"the" theory of sudden enlightenment in the history of Chinese Buddhism.
As Gregory indicates, the theory of sudden enlightenment
followed by gradual cultivation that Tsung-mi himself favored
"presupposes a three-staged model of the Buddhist path: (1) initial
Review of Sudden and Gradual 139
insight (chieh-wu), (2) gradual cultivation (chien-hsiu), and (3) final
enlightenment (cheng-wu)" (p. 283). In Tsung-mi's view, the first
step in this process, which he calls sudden enlightenment, takes place
when a good teacher explains things to an ordinary deluded person
they at once realize that [their own marvelous knowing and
seeing is the true mind, that the mind-which is from the
beginning empty and tranquil, boundless and formless-is the
dharmakaya, that the nonduality of body and mind is the true
self, and that they are no different from all Buddhas by even a
hair. (p. 286)
In other words, sudden enlightenment is the realization that one is
already completely endowed with Buddhahood, and that strictly
speaking it is not necessary (or even possible) to cultivate Buddha-
hood. Nevertheless, Tsung-mi argues, it takes time and effort for such
a realization to mature and to make its full benefits felt in people's
lives. It is like the sun, which rises suddenly but takes time to melt
the morning frost. Enlightenment is "sudden" in the sense that it is
perceived as something innate and fundamentally inalienable, but
cultivation is still necessary to uproot completely the karmic proclivi-
ties that give rise to deluded notions of self. Conversely, Tsung-mi
stressed that for cultivation to be effective, it must be undertaken on
the basis of sudden enlightenment. That is, the practitioner must
cultivate without harboring any hopes of personal gain or any
illusions that cultivation really produces or changes anything .
. This being Tsung-mi's interpretation of sudden enlightenment, I
would question the aptness of Gregory's frequent reference to it as
an "experience." When Tsung-mi speaks of the importance of
"practice based on enlightenment (i wu hsiu-hsing), he seems to be
referring to the correct understanding with which to undertake
practice, an understanding that can be gained simply by hearing a
teacher explain the doctrine of innate Buddhahood. If Tsung-mi had
viewed sudden enlightenment as an "experience" that is a prerequi-
site to true Buddhist practice, it would indeed have been strange (as
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Gregory suggests) that he did not advocate any sort of preparatory
practice leading up to sudden enlightenment. Gregory's use of the
category of "experience" to explain Tsung-mi's position leads him
to make a rather awkward distinction:
Whereas chieh-wu is always a sudden experience of insight,
cheng-wu can be either gradual or sudden depending on
whether it is regarded from the standpoint of the process of
the actualization of final enlightenment or the actual experi-
ence of that enlightenment. (p. 284)
It would be easier to explain Tsung-mi's position by saying that
cheng-wu is gradual when it is viewed as the product of gradual
cultivation (chien-hsiu) and sudden when it is viewed as having the
identical "content" as initial insight (chieh-wu). To speak of the
"actual experience" of cheng-wu is to suggest that Tsung-mi under-
stood it as something qualitatively different from both the initial
insight of sudden enlightenment and the subsequent process of
gradual cultivation-an interpretation that would effectively place
Tsung-mi in the ranks of those who advocated "gradual cultivation
followed by sudden enlightenment." The notion that enlightenment
is an ineffable experience (taiken), as opposed to an insight or
that is informed by (if not necessarily communicable
through) discursive concepts, is a motif of modern Japanese (espe-
cially Rinzai) Zen rhetoric which Gregory seems to have borrowed
more or less unconsciously in his otherwise astute treatment of
Tsung-mi's thought. The problem with the rhetoric of "experience"
is that it inevitably suggests a nexus of enabling causes and
conditions, even if enlightenment is conceived as an experience that
occurs "suddenly" in a temporal sense. This is inconsistent with the
rhetoric of sudden enlightenment employed by Shen-hui and Tsung-
mi, which tends to posit enlightenment as something innate, uncon-
ditioned, and fundamentally atemporal.
Having dealt with the historical context and philosophical content
of Tsung-mi's theory of sudden enlightenment followed by gradual
cultivation, Gregory devotes considerable attention to the question of
the doctrinal basis of that theory. Given the stated aims of the volume,
Review of Sudden and Gradual 141
it is surprising to find here that he makes no attempt to locate Tsung-
rni's ideas within the broader context of Chinese thought and culture,
but treats them as an outgrowth of a strictly Buddhist problematic that
was inherited from India.27 In brief, Gregory explains the theory of
sudden enlightenment followed by gradual cultivation as a corollary
of Tsung-mi's analysis of mind, which he argues was basically a
synthesis (a la the Awakening of Faith, an earlier Chinese Buddhist
apocryphon) of the Indian Buddhist doctrines of tathagatagarbha and
aJayavijiiana. This account is plausible, if a bit simplistic in its
treatment of another immensely complex set of Buddhist technical
terms, but the reader is left wondering if the synthesis that Gregory
argues for was a uniquely Chinese development, and if it was, why
the Chinese were the first to come up with it. The question of the
influence of indigenous Chinese thought and culture is one which
naturally arises here, but Gregory does not take the opportunity to
pursue it. Gregory might also have focused some attention on Tsung-
mi's training in the Confucian classics and association with Confu-
cian bureaucrats as a means of explaining his opposition to the more
radical subitists in the Ch' an camp, but he lets this opportunity pass
as well. In the end the reader is left with a well written and
infomiative, if rather conventional, piece of Buddhological scholar-
"The 'Short-cut' Approach of K'an-hua Meditation:
The Evolution of a Practical Subitism in Chinese Ch' an
Buddhism," by Robert E. Buswell, Jf.
This chapter, the fifth and final one in the Part IT, represents a
departure from the focus on a single Buddhist thinker that character-
izes the four preceding chapters. It offers instead a bold and
speculative historical reconstruction of "a long process of evolution
in Ch' an whereby its subitist rhetoric came to be extended to
pedagogy and finally to practice" (p. 322). Buswell's thesis, in brief,
is that the contemplative technique called k'an-hua ch 'an ("Ch' an of
observing the [critical] phrase"), which first appeared in the Sung
dynasty, grew out of attempts to develop a "sudden" style of
. nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
meditation that would be consistent with the subitist rhetoric and
subitist pedago gy that had characterized the mainstream of the Ch' an
school since the latter part of the T' ang.
The term k'an-hua (literally "observing phrases") has been used
within the Ch' an and Zen traditions since the 13th century to refer in
a general way to the contemplation of kung-an (Jpn. koan)-those
ostensibly verbatim records of exchanges between famous Ch' an
masters and their interlocutors that were selected out of that vast
hagiographicalliterature of the Ch' an school as especially dra.'llatic,
enigmatic, or pithy expressions of the awakened mind. Buswell,
however, uses the term k'an-hua in a more restrictive way to refer
specifically to the practice of contemplating (k'an) a single word or
phrase (hua-t' au) that is taken as the crux of a kung-an. K' an-hua in
the latter, more technical sense was the innovation ofT'a-hui Tsung-
kao (1089-1163), an influential Ch'an master in the Lin-chi lineage
whose interpretation Buswell takes as definitive:
In kung-an investigation, according to Ta-hui, rather than
reflect over the entire kung-an exchange, which could lead the
mind to distraction, one should instead zero in on the principal
topic, or most essential element, of that exchange, which he
termed its "critical phrase" (hua-t' au). Ta-hui called this new
approach to meditation k'an-hua Ch' an-the Ch' an of observ-
ing the critical phrase-and alleged that it was a "short-cut"
(ching-chieh) leading to instantaneous enlightenment. (p. 347)
Buswell implies here, without presenting any historical evidence,
that Ta-hui himself invented the terms hua-t'ou and k'an-hua.
Whether or not that is true, the fact remains that in the centuries
following Ta-hui the terms were used in an ambiguous fashion in the
Ch'an and Zen traditions. The term hua-t'ou referred to kung-an in
general, as well as to what Buswell calls "critical phrases," and the
term k'an-hua indicated the general study and appreciation of kung-
an as well as the use of single phrases as focal points for non-
discursive mental concentration.
Buswell himself stresses the difference "between kung-an inves-
Review of Sudden and Gradual 143
tigationas a pedagogical tool and k'an-hua practice as a meditative
technique" (p. 347). The distinction he wants to draw is between the
more literary and intellectual practice of collecting, editing, and
commenting on kung-an, which began in the late tenth and eleventh
centuries as a means of instructing students, and the use of a single
haa-t' au as a device for concentrating the mind and cutting off
discursive thinking, which began in the twelfth century with Ta-hui
and his followers. It was with Ta-hui, Buswell asserts, that kung-an
stopped being merely pedagogical devices or "Literary foils" and
emerged as "contemplative tools for realizing one's own innate
enlightenment" (p. 346). This development, he suggests, was in part
a reaction against the tendencies of "lettered (wen-tzu) Ch' an," which
had drifted from the pedagogical use of kung-an into an ever more
refined and erudite study of kung-an as literary artifacts.
Buswell's main point, however, is that Ta-hui promoted k'an-
haa meditation chiet1y as a kind of "'sudden' expedient, intended to
catalyze an equally 'sudden' awakening" (p. 349). Using the same
simile for "sudden cultivation" that had been employed by Tsung-mi
centuries earlier, Ta-hui likened the repeated observation of a hua-
t'ou to the training of an archer who aims directly at the bull's eye
every time he shoots: the k'an-hua exercise is "sudden" in the sense
that it aims directly at full enlightenment, and makes no provision for
gradual progress toward the goal. One important difference between
Tsung-mi's interpretation of the archery simile and that of Ta-hui, of
course, is that the former used it to describe "sudden cultivation
followed by gradual enlightenment," whereas the latter did not admit
to gradualism of any sort. From Ta-hui's point of view, there were
no degrees of success in k' an-huameditation-only "hit" or "miss"-
and it was enough to hit the target but once. This was because, in the
words of Ta hui' s teacher Ytian-wu: "If one generates understanding
and accesses awakening through a single phrase [i.e., the hua-t'au] ,
a single encounter (Chl) , or a single object, then immeasurable,
innumerable functions and kung-an are simultaneously penetrated"
(p. 346). Ta-hui himself said: "Understanding one is understanding
all; awakening to one is awakening to all; realizing one is realizing
all. It's like slicing through a spool of thread: with one stroke all its
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
strands are simultaneously cut" (p. 350). According to this interpre_
tation, enlightenment is "sudden" in the sense that all the qualities of
Buddhahood are gained at once, or
Buswell does a good job of showing how Ylian-wu and Ta-hui
promoted the contemplation of hua-t' au as a direct or "short-cut" (as
opposed to step-by-step) approach to enlightenment. He fails,
however, to make the case that Ta-hui's method of k'an-hua
represented the culmination of a long process of evolution which led
from subitist rhetoric to subitist pedagogy and finally to subitist
practice. Buswell's argument in support of this thesis is ingenious and
plausible at first glance, but in the end it breaks down because of two
flaws in its conceptual foundation and a lack of supporting historical
The first conceptual flaw is the assumptioh that the Ch' an School
in the Sung, dominated as it was by proponents of the Lin-chi lineage,
had evolved directly from the so-called Hung-chou school of Ma-tsu
(709-788), which in turn had evolved from the "Southern" school of
Hui-neng (which was promoted by Shen-hui). Buswell posits a
continuous, more or less unilinear development from (1) the subitist
rhetoric of Shen-hui in the eighth century to (2) the pedagogical
technique of "encounter dialo gue" (chi-yiian wen-ta) invented by the
Hung-chou school in the mid-T' ang, to (3) the instructional use of
kung-an in the Yuan-men and Lin-chi schools in the tenth and
eleventh centuries, and finally to (4) the subitist style of k'an-hua
meditation perfected by Ta-hui, arguably the most influential Lin-chi
master of the Southern Sung. In stating his case, Buswell proposes
a three part periodization of Ch'an history-"early," "middle," and
"classical" -which is a modified version of McRae's bipartite
division of Ch' an history into "early" and "classical" periods.
Basically, he accepts McRae's definition of "early Ch'an," but
reserves the term "classical Ch' an" for "the systematizations of
Ch' an lineage, doctrine, practice, and institutions that were com-
pleted during the Sung, and that descended, in large part, from the
Hung-chou schooL." (p. 327). This leaves the multifarious Ch'an
movements that flourished from the middle eighth to the middle nintn
centuries, inCluding the Hung-chou, Ho-tse (Shen-hui's school), Niu-
Review of Sudden and Gradual 145
t'ou, Pa6-t'ang and Ching-chung schools described by Tsung-mi, to
. be classified as belonging to "middle Ch' an." Buswell defends his
addition of a middle period to McRae's scheme in the following way:
Given the proliferation of Ch' an schools during this period, as
well as the pronounced regional character of those schools, to
intimate that post-Northern school Ch'an refers solely to the
Hung-chou line oversimplifies the vibrancy ofeh' an during the
eighth century. Of course, identifying such a transitional period
is not to deny that Hung-chou was the most important of these
middle Ch' an schools in the later evolution of the tradition. Nor
does it reject the notion that soine of the distinguishing
characteristics of Rung-chou, such as encounter dialogue, came
to typify mainstream Ch' an during the Sung dynasty. But it was
not until such repartee was codified into the kung-an form that
it can be termed "classical"; in Ma-tsu' s time it was still one of
a number of variant forms of Ch'an, all of which had a chance
at predominance. (p. 327)
Thus, Buswell assigns the Hung-chou school's practice of "encoun-
ter dialogue" to the middle period, and singles out the kung-an genre
as a more appropriate emblem of the classical Ch' an of the Sung.
The fundamental problem with Buswell's treatment of the history
ofCh'an is that it follows the Sung Ch'an school's own mythological
account of its origins and development, as presented in "records of
the transmission of the flame" such as the Ching-te ch 'uan-teng iu,
while offering no concrete historical evidence that might serve to
verify that account. It is true that Ch' an mythographers in the Sung
traced the main branches of their spiritual lineage back through Lin-
chi and the Hung-chou school to Hui-neng, but their claims cannot
be accepted as valid historical evidence for the actual transmission
of ideas, practices, or institutional forms along those same lines. For
one thing, the Sung "flame histories" are clearly theological rather
than historical documents: they deal with the mysterious transmis-
sion of something avowedly formless, signless, ineffable, and
ultimately "untransmittable"-the "Buddha mind" or enlighten-
. JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
ment-and m a . . ~ e no attempt to trace the spread or development of
concrete, historically verifiable phenomena such as doctrines Or
practices. Secondly, the account of the early Ch' an lineage (from
Sakyamuni to Bodhidharma and Hui-neng) given in the Sung "flame
histories" has been shown by the study of Tun-huang materials to be
a fabrication, and there is no reason to expect any greater historical
veracity in the same literature's account of the lineage in the
generations following Hui-neng. A primary concern of the Sung
Ch' an mythographers was to create a genealogy that would allow
them to claim spiritual descent from Hui-neng. The masters of the
Hung-chou school could have been included in the lineage simply
because they provided a convenient link in that retrospective
Buswell asserts that "classical" (Sung) Ch' an doctrines, prac-
tices, and institutions derived in large part from the Hung-chou
school of middle Ch' an, but he does not adduce any evidence for this
connection other than the claims of the Sung Ch'an mythographers
themselves. The fact of the matter is that virtually all of the
information we have on the Hung-chou school, with the exception of
Tsung-mi's brief synopsis of its teachings, comes from partisan
Ch' an "flame histories" and "discourse records" that were compiled
in the Sung and later. As I argued above in my review of McRae's
chapter, the extant texts that present themselves as transcripts of
"encounter dialogues" involving masters of the Hung-chou school
could very well be works of religious fiction largely composed in the
Sung. Moreover, as I have demonstrated elsewhere, the only extant
account of Hung-chou school monasteries dates from the Sung, and
probably represents a retrospective attempt to create a Ch' an founder
(the Hung-chou master Pai-chang) for Sung Ch'an monastic forms
that actually derived from the mainstream of Buddhist (not uniquely
Ch'an) institutions in the T'ang.28 In short, the claim that classical
(Sung) Ch' an evolved mainly from the Hung-chou school is in part
unprovable, and in part demonstrably false.
Finally, I would argue that the very conception of the "Ch'an
school" as a vast, multi-branched but nevertheless cohesive spiritual
lineage (tsung)-a notion that informs both McRae's and Buswell's
Review of Sudden and Gradual 147
sch.emes-was the Ch' an
11lythographers. It IS true that Tsung-mI, m the mId-nmth century,
(grouped seven (and in another list, ten) different schools under the
rubric of Ch'an, but neither he nor the followers of the schools he
discussed had any concept of membership in a single multi-branched
'''Ch' an lineage" of dharma transmission. Most of the schools in
,:question did not even use the name .Ch'an to identify their own
lparticular lineages.
. . Because the Sung Ch' an school succeeded in establishing its own
of its identity and origins as historical "fact," and because the
ISung account of the history of the Ch' an lineage still provides the
for much of the modem scholarship in the field, it is
'-indeed appropriate to label Sung Ch' an as "classical" in the sense of
and "definitive." I heartily endorse Buswell's remark that
ever had a "golden age," that age was the Sung, not the
fr'ang. By the same token, McRae's distinction of "early" and
:"classical" Ch' an is viable insofar as the "encounter dialogue" texts
that he identifies with classical Ch' an were really the classics of Sung
As a scheme of periodization for the history of a homogeneous
,>entity called "Ch' an," McRae's formula suffers from the same
:;;conceptual flaw as Buswell's, but it works rather well as a device for
;:fdistinguishing two types of literature: (1) relatively discursive texts.
;{which derive from the Northern'school and the Ho-tse school of
were largely ignored or forgotten by Sung Ch'an editors,
. and are known to modem scholars because they were preserved at
"Tun-huang; and (2) texts featuring "encounter dialogue," which were
associated with the Hung-chou school and other major branches of
the Ch' an lineage as it was understood in the Sung, were promoted
by Sung editors as sacred records of that lineage, and were handed
down to modem times within the Ch' an and Zen traditions. McRae,
we have seen, notes the "disconforrnity" between these two types
,ofliterature and states that "understanding the dynamics of the early-
;.Jo-classical transition is one of the most important issues J?ow facing
;{Ch' an studies." Part of the solution to this problem, I would suggest,
,':rAs to realize that there may not have been any "transition" at all.
. Researchers today assume that there must have been some historical
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
continuity between the schools that produced these very different
types of literature because modem scholarship itself has identified
the aforementioned Tun-huang texts as works belonging to the
"Ch' an schooL" However, in making this identification (which is not
made in the Tun-huang texts), modem scholarship has actually relied
on the Sung conception of the history of the Ch'an lineage.
The second conceptual flaw in Buswell's thesis is the hazy
formulation ofthe basic categories used: "rhetoric," "pedagogy," and
"practice." The notion that the development of a terse rhetoric and a
radical pedagogical style represented two distinct stages in the
evolution of Ch' an subitism breaks down because the two categories
themselves are often coextensive. That is to say, the particular
historical expressions of subitist doctrine that Buswell labels as
rhetoric also had an unmistakably pedagogical function, and the
ostensibly pedagogical techniques he cites clearly made use of
rhetoric. Consider, for example, the following passage in which
Buswell introduces his thesis:
The rhetorical purity McRae sees as one of the foci of Shen-
hui's teachings was further elaborated by his contemporaries
in the Hung-chou school. There, more illocutionary forms of
discourse became not merely a rhetorical device but also a
unique pedagogical technique: that of the "encounter dia-
logue" (chi-yiian wen-ta). The Hung-chou school attempted
to use this new style of religious repartee as a means of
catalyzing enlightenment in its students. The wider implica-
tions of this rhetoric and pedagogy were subsequently ex-
plored by later teachers in the Lin-chi Line, who attempted to
reconcile them with Ch' an praxis as well. This attempt led to
the development of a "sudden" style of meditation: that of
the kung-an (public case) or hua-t'ou (critical phrase) inves-
tigation. (p. 322)
Here Buswell holds up Shen-hui as the architect ofthe Ch' an rhetoric
of sudden enlightenment, but in the same sentence he makes it clear .
that Shen-hui used that rhetoric in the context of teaching. Indeed,if
we are to accept Gomez's and McRae's accounts of Shen-hui's
pedagogical methods, it would seem that they consisted mostly of
Review of Sudden and Gradual 149
rhetoric and included very little practical instruction concerning
moral behavior or techniques of meditation. Similarly, "encounter
dialogue" may be regarded as a pedagogical technique in the sense
of a teacher actually employing witty repartee, apparent non-
sequiturs, scatology, etc., to shock his students and shake them out
of their ordinary deluded way of thinking, or it may be viewed as
"merely a rhetorical device," namely, a fictional depiction of teachers
speaking and acting in such a manner: after all, we have no historical
accounts of the encounter dialo gue "method" apart from the literature
which purports to record actual dialogues. But even if "encounter
dialogue" is to be understood as a pedagogical technique in the first
sense, it is clearly a technique that relies heavily on rhetoncal
devices; and even if "encounter dialogue" is understood as something
"merely" rhetorical, a flashy motif in a popular genre of religious
literature, it still (like all fiction) can have a pedagogical function.
However one looks at it, the distinction between rhetoric and
pedagogy is difficult to sustain.
The distinction between Ch'an practice and Ch'an rhetoric and
pedagogy is even more problematic in Buswell's presentation. For
example, at the beginning of the chapter he says that
J propose in this chapter to focus on ... the development of
distinctive techniques of meditation unique to Ch' an. Ch' an's
presumption of contemplative expertise-as the adoption of the
name "Meditation" (ch'an, dhyana) for the school implies-
compelled it to create forms of meditation that it could claim
exclusively as its own, by breaking away from the practices
common to the earlier Sino-Buddhist schools. It accomplisbed
this by condemning earlier Sino:. Indian techniques as gradual
while claiming that Ch' an taught more direct approaches to
meditation. (p. 321)
The distinction between practice and rhetoric breaks down here,
for as Buswell himself argues, the creation of new forms of
meditation was accomplished through the rhetorical devices of
. "condemning" and "claiming." One could, perhaps, try to restore
consistency to this passage by arguing that the Ch' an school used the
rhetoric of sudden enlightenment to create new theories (rather than
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
forms) of meditation. The more fundamental problem, however, is
that the theoretical understanding with which a practitioner under_
takes a particular contemplative technique is actually an integral part
of the technique itself. Indeed, there are many forms of meditation
in the Buddhist tradition which consist solely in the mental contem_
plation or review bf theories and doctrines.
Another fallacy in the passage just quoted is that the term "Ch' an
lineage" (ch' an-tsung) was not adopted as the name of a school until
the ninth century, and even then did not gain much currency until the
Sung. The earliest sporadic appearances of the term are in literature
associated with patriarchs of the Hung-chou school, but those
occurrences are ambiguous (tsung could mean "essential principle"
rather than "school") and may well have been Sung interpolations.
Furthermore, at the time when the name Ch'an was adopted as the
name of a lineage, it no longer meant "meditation" (dhyana). The
reinterpretation of the term ch' an had already begun in the works of
Chili-i, who used it on occasion to refer to the whole of Buddhist
The reinterpretation was continued in a more radical
fashion in texts such as the Platform Siitra and the sayings of Shen-
hui, where dhyana and prajiifiwere identified. By the time the name
Ch'an was adopted by the followers of Ma-tsu in the Hung-chou
school (if indeed it was-I suspect the adoption was even later), it had
clearly come to mean "enlightenment," not "meditation" in the
original Indian sense. There were many followers of the Ch' an school
in the Sung who emphatically denied that theirs was the "meditation"
school. Ch' an, they argued, was a synonym for the Buddha Mind (fo-
hsin), i. e., enlightenment, that their lineage transmitted "outside the
teachings"; it had nothing t9 do with "practicing dhyana" (hsi-
ch' an).30 It is evident from this that the Ch' an school was not, as .
Buswell argues, compelled by its name to "create forms of meditation
that it could claim exclusively as its own." All that was necessary was
to deny that the name Ch'an meant "meditation" (dhyana) at all.
The distinction between practice and pedago gy is also difficult to
sustain in Buswell's presentation. For example, he describes the
Hung-chou masters' "non-conceptual, illocutionary style of teach-
ing-by beating, shouting, or virtually any other kind of physical
gesture" as a "new pedagogical style" aimed at catalyzing enlighten-
Review of Sudden and Gradual 151
rnent. But from the standpoint of the student who approaches a master
'and asks to be enlightened (a common motif in the "encounter
dialogue" literature), it is just as clearly a mode of practice. Indeed,
: one of the most common forms of religious practice described in
,'Ch' an records is traveling about seeking encounters with enlightened
'rnasters. Within the Sung Ch'an monastic institution, specific times
and procedures were established for the practice of entering a
?inaster's room and receiving his instruction.
, In general, Buswell's distinction of rhetoric, pedagogy, and
. practice reflects a narrow conception of Ch' an practice (particularly
rneditation) that excludes intellectual activity. It is this conception
'that underlies his assertion that Ta-hui was the fIrst to use kung-an
",,;'in connection with a meditative technique: prior to Ta-hui, the study
and contemplation of kung-an still involved discllrsive thinking, and
did not advance from the levels of rhetoric and pedagogy to that
praxis (i.e., meditation). The ostensible exclusion of intellectual
from the domain of meditation, it may be noted, is precisely
position taken by Ta-hui himself in his advocacy of the k'an-hua
Ii,0method. Buswell explains that for Ta-hui "the purpose of the hua-
.... is to enable the student to transcend the dualistic processes
,[,(; of thought in a single moment of insight. ... Any kind of intellectual-
of the hua-t'Du, any attempt to understand it in terms of
16 ordinary conceptual thought, was repeatedly denied by Ta-hui" (p.
\,"349). It is clear from Buswell's account that Ta-hui denigrated all
?,attempts to understand kung-an conceptually as a sort of gradualism,
and that he associated subitism with the complete frustration and final
abandonment of the intellectual approach to enlightenment. Ta-hui's
interpretation of k'an-hua as a device for cutting off discursive
',thinking, and the anti-intellectual rhetoric that he used to convey this
{tr:interpretation, were very influential in the subsequent development
;:eof the Chinese Lin-chi and Japanese Rinzai traditions. So-called
;tHakuin Zen, the style of Zen which dominates the modern Rinzai
still makes much use of Ta-hui's mode of rhetoric. Japanese
of Ch'an associated with the Rinzai school, such as D.T.
and his student Furuta Sh6kin, have also been strongly
by Ta-hui' s interpretations of kung-an and enlightenment.
. JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Buswell himself relies on Furuta's studies of the history of kung-an
in this chapter, and seems to be influenced by the modern Rinzai
stress on non-intellectual practice (shugy6) ~ n d the nonconceptual
experience (taiken) of enlightenment.
One of the central themes in Buswell's account of "the evolution
of a practical subitism" that culminated in Ta-hui's method of k'an-
hua is that of the sinification of Buddhist doctrine and meditation. In
his view, "it was the Ch'an school that undertook the most protracted
experiments at adapting Indian meditative practices to China." The
major stepping stones in the development of Ch' an that led from
Indian meditative models to Ta-hui were: the collapsing of the Indian
distinction between samiidhi and prajiiii, as represented by the
Platform Sutra; the rejection of that Indian nomenclature altogether
in favor of theories of meditation that stressed the practice of no-
thought (wu-nien); and the development of a distinctively Ch'an
rhetoric and pedagogy-"encounter dialogue"-which in turn gave
rise to the kung-an literature. At each stage in this process of
evolution, Buswell argues, Buddhist doctrine and practice moved
farther and farther away from their Indian roots and became
increasingly sinicized. The driving force behind the entire process
was the notion of sudden enlightenment which "implies, of course,
that there is a more direct means to awakening than the complex,
intricate series of steps taught in Indian Buddhist texts" (p. 325). The
basic problem was that
if this Chinese ideal of a sudden, immediately available
approach to enlightenment was to become accessible in prac-
tice, the contemplative techniques that catalyzed awakening
had also to be sinified. Buddhism has traditionally prided itself
on its pragmatic outlook toward religion, in which its doctrinal
positions are presumed to derive from, and be supported by,
explicit meditative programs. Since it is impossible to separate
the ontology of Buddhism from its soteriological schemata and
meditative practices, it was inevitable that Buddhist meditation
would also come within the purview of the sinification that was
occurring on the doctrinal front. (p. 326)
Review of Sudden and Gradual 153
from the difficulty of positing a homogeneous "Ch' an"
;tradition that is supposed to have spanned the T' ang and Sung, there
,are several problems with this view of the sinification of Buddhism.
In the first place, it is not true that the notion of sudden
"enlightenment necessarily implied a, "more direct means to awaken-
;ing." As the present volume makes abundantly clear, sudden enlight-
was interpreted in many different ways in the history of
Chinese Buddhism, and sOIp.e of those interpretations explicitly deny
.that there are any recommendable or possible "means td' awakening,
awakening is something innate and present no matter what one
C:does. Buswell himself is perfectly aware of this, and he explains Ma-
;tsu'S interpretation of sudden enlightenment in precisely these terms.
s "ontology," if it can be called that, suggested no purposive
at ail, but rather "letting the mind be free," since there is
Buddhahood to attain other than the mind that one already
It would probably be more appropriate to call this a
than an "explicit meditative program," but even if we
it as such a program, it must be admitted that the meditative
:ilt'Ctechnique being recommended consists of nothing more than taking
heart the words "do not cultivate" or "let the mind be free." In other
;A('words, Ma-tsu's doctrine either implies no method of meditation at
or a method that is virtually indistinguishable from thinking about
doctrine itself. In either case, this interpretation of sudden
leaves no room for the notion that meditative practice,
(1 as opposed to doctrinal understanding, is necessary to catalyze an
:{.;"experience" of enlightenment. Ma-tsu, as best we can tell, rejected
,both cultivation and any sort of special experience that it might
;.produce, on the grounds that "the ordinary mind is enlightenment."
An interpretation of sudden enlightenment such as Ma-tsu's, of
': .. course, need not have been taken literally by monks engaged in a
15. monastic routine of worship, study, debate, and seated meditation.
all; purposely to change one's ordinary behavior in any way
r.upon hearing Ma-tsu's teaching would also be to engage in a sort of
:':>cultivation, and thus to mistake his advice. One might just as well
':;;;understand "letting the mind be free" to mean giving up expectations

and attachments to results even as one continues to engage in ordinary
forms of monkish cultivation. I would not argue, as a number of
eminent Buddhologists have in the past, that Ma-tsu's teaching
necessarily implies a rejection of seated meditation (tso-ch 'an).
Indeed, the point I wish to make is precisely that an interpretation
of sudden enlightenment such as Ma-tsu' s has no logically necessary
or historically predictable implications whatsoever for religious
practice. Far from driving the evolution of Buddhist practice in China
in a particular direction, as Buswell argues, sudden enlightenment
rhetoric tended to undennine the theoretical bases of practice and
therefore, paradoxically, to open the door to any and all practices that
Buddhists felt like engaging in. Tsung-mi's account of the early
schools ofCh' an bears witness to the tremendous diversity in practice
that arose among Buddhists who all accepted the doctrine of innate
Buddhahood but could not agree on its practical implications.
Diversity and eclecticism also characterized the Sung Ch'an school,
which was united not by any common practices but by a common
mythology: the notion of a "Ch' an lineage" through which the
Buddha's fonnless dharma was transmitted. Buswell makes it seem
as if k'an-hua was the most important, if not the definitive, practice
in Sung Ch' an, but that is not the case. Indeed, k' an-hua is never even
mentioned in Sung Ch' an monastic codes, which layout detailed
procedures for many other religious practices and rituals.
The vast production and enjoyment of "encounter dialogue" and .
k'ung-an literature in the Sung, I would argue, was one example of
a new (and, as Buswell notes, uniquely Chinese) fonn of religious
practice that was able to flourish in the laissez-faire climate fostered
by sudden enlightenment rhetoric. It is difficult, however, to see Ta-
hui's protest against this style of intellectual, lettered Ch' an as a
further stage in the sinicization process. If anything, I would describe
his insistence on the practice of concentration, in which the mind was
focused ona single object (the hua-t'ou) and brought to a stop, as a
return to a more Indian style of meditation in which trance (samadhl)
and wisdom (prajiia) function in tandem. Ta-hui' s insistence on a
"breakthrough" experience of awakening can also be seen as harking
back to traditional Indian models of a path to liberation that admits
Review of Sudden and Gradual 155
clear-cut stages.

Sudden and the Gradual of Chinese Poetry Criticism: An
'IEip1anation of the Ch'an-Poetry Analogy," by Richard John Lynn

This is the fIrst of the two chapters that comprise Part II of the
"Analogies in the Cultural Sphere." Lynn introduces his
by quoting a passage from the Ta-ching t'ang shih-hua
["(Discussions of Poetry from the Hall of Him Who Always has the
:C1assicsby His Side) by Wang Shih-chen (1634-1711):

Hung Sheng, [whose courtesy name is] Fang-ssu [1646?-1704]
once asked Shih Yii-shan [Shih Jun-chang, 1619-1683] about
the method of composing poetry (shih-fa). He replied by fIrst
relating what I had once said about the main principles of poetry
(shih ta-chih): "Your teacher says that poetry is like an exquisite
and towering Pagoda that appears at the snap of the fIngers or
like the twelve towers of the five cities of the immortals that
ephemerally exist at the edge of heaven. I do not agree. To use
a metaphor, poetry is like someone building a house out of tiles,
glazed bricks, wood, and stone-he must put them all together,
one by one, on solid ground." Hung then replied: "This
constitutes the difference between the meaning of sudden and
gradual enlightenment of the Ch'an sect" (ch 'an-tsung tun
chien erh-l). (p. 381)
Lynn says that by the time this passage was written in the
2,;seventeenth century, "it had become commonplace to discuss poetry
of Ch' an, to say that poetry in some way or ways 'is like'
ti;J{Uu) Ch'an" (p. 381). As Lynn explains it, this was a motif that fIrst
widespread in Sung dynasty literature on poetics. There are
few intimations of the Ch' an-Poetry analogy in works dating from
T' ang, but "statements linking Ch' an and poetry on a theoretical
constitute one of the most common features of Sung poetry
(p. 384). _On the other hand,the Ch'an-Poetry analogy
had detractors and opponents," and from the middle of the
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
twelfth century on there were Neo-Confucian theoreticians who
borrowed the Buddhist concept of wu (enlightenment) to talk about
poetry but denied that it had anything to do w i ~ h Ch'an. Lynn's stated .
aim in the chapter is to survey the primary sources in which the
Ch' an-Poetry analogy appears, limiting himself to the Northern and .
Southern Sung eras. Setting aside the question of why various Sung
poets and critics took the approach they did, Lynn indicates that he
is content simply to take stock of "such things as who said what, when ...
did he say it, and what other critics were subsequently influenced in .
either a positive or negative way" (p. 383).
It is evident from the quote that stands at the beginning of the
chapter, and from Lynn's subsequent introduction of his topic, that
the debate concerning the Ch' an-Poetry analo gy took place on at least
two different levels. In the first place, there was disagreement among
critics who accepted the basic terms of the analogy but differed on
the question of whether the creative process in writing poetry is best
likened to sudden enlightenment or to gradual enlightenment.
Whichever position such critics took, they were united in their
willingness to liken the completion of a poem to the attainment of
"enlightenment" as taught in the Ch'an Buddhist tradition. The
second level of debate was between critics who were content to talk
. about poetry in terms of Buddhist enlightenment, and those who c
"attempted to emancipate wu from its Buddhist context" (p. 382),
thereby challenging the validity of the Ch' an-Poetry analogy itself,
including both the "sudden" and "gradual" positions. All of this is
implicit in Lynn's presentation, but he does not make the distinction
Indeed, the chapter as a whole would benefit from an explicitly
stated thesis or hypothesis at the outset, and a conclusion which sums
up the significance of the data presented. As it stands, the examples
that are cited from the works of various Sung poets and critics are
interesting, but the reader is left to his or her own devices to sort out
the evidence and decide what it proves. Despite the stated aim of the
chapter, not all of the Sung critics cited treat the relationship between
Ch' an and poetry as something analogical: some claim that great
poetry must flow from a state of mind that is fostered by the actual
Review of Sudden and Gradual 157
practice of Ch'an meditation techniques. Moreover, not all of them
are concerned with distinguishing "sudden" and "gradual" ap-
proaches to the creation of poetry. In many cases, it is author Lynn
-biinselfwho labels the poets in question as "gradualists" or "subitists,"
based on his own criteria (which are never explicitly defined). In
.short, there is considerable confusion in the chapter as to the issues
.under discussion and the standpoint from which the categories of
:"sudden" and "gradual" are applied. The author does a better job of
.distinguishing the various meanings of wu (enlightenment) when it
is used by critics as an analo gy for success in or mastery of the poetic
Although Lynn begins his survey of primary sources with the
Northern Sung era, he does offer one example of a T' ang writer who
the later craze.for the Ch' an-Poetry analogy." The T' ang
... critic he cites is Liu Yti-hsi (772-842), who stated that Buddhists
of Sakyamuni") have gained fame for their poetry because
are accomplished in samadhi (ting) and prajiia (hUl), which
them to give rise to a verbal expression that is "marvelous
and profound (shen)." Thus, Liu concluded, one should
in the flowers that bloom in the forest of Ch' an and shun the
i.; pear and jade that might be fished up out of the river!" (p. 384).
::Despite Lynn's assertion that this is an example of the Ch'an-Poetry
;.,-analogy, it is evident from the passage just quoted that Liu regarded
Buddhist monks as excellent poets whose skill derived in
:'::large measure from their cultivation of samtidhi in communal
;-?meditation halls ("forests of ch' an; ch' an-lin). In other words, for Liu
relationship between ch 'an (i.e., meditation) and poetry was
practical, not analogical.
Incidentally, "ch'an forests" in the ninth century were facilities
;;for meditation found at all Buddhist monasteries; the appearance of
term in the text does not necessarily mean that Liu was speaking
of "Ch' an school" (ch' an-tsung) monks. Nevertheless, it is a fact that
from Sung times on many Ch' an school monks composed poetry, and
':that the ability to do so well was regarded within the school as prima
facie evidence of deep spiritual insight. This explains the huge
of enlightenment verses, dharma transmission verses, verse


nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
commentaries on cases in the kung-an literature, and verses (fa-Yii)
recited in ritual contexts that survive in the annals of the Ch'an
school. Lynn, however, does not concern h i m ~ e l f with the historical
phenomenon of Buddhist monks using poetry to express (or even to
gain) spiritual insights. Nor does he treat the historical question of lay
poets who may have gained inspiration through the practice of
Buddhist meditation.
Su Shih (1037-1101), "the great painter, poet, calligrapher, writer
of prose, and statesman," is the first of the Sung critics whom Lynn
deals with. Lynn cites a poem by Su Shih as an example of the use
of the Ch'an-Poetry analogy, but in this poem too we find that what
the poet-critic is really concerned with is the way in which great
poetry flows from the actual practice (or experience) of emptiness
(kung) and quietude (ching). Again, the relationship between Ch'an
and poetry is practical, not analogical.
Lynn concludes his discussion of Su Shih with the observation
that "although he does not seem to have ever explicitly formulated
a 'sudden' approach to poetic success or 'enlightenment,' the many
references to freedom and spontaneity in his writings indicate that he
surely would have been in the 'sudden' camp if he had to choose
sides" (p. 386). He goes on to state that
by contrast, Su's contemporary Huang T'ing-chien was a
thoroughgoing "gradualist." Although like Su he advocated
spontaneity, he believed that spontaneity could only achieve
valid results if it operated "within the rules .... "
With remarks such as these, Lynn departs even further from his
stated aim in the chapter, and involves himself in quite a different
project: using his own criteria of "subitism" or "gradualism" to label
the various Sung poet-critics treated in his survey, regardless of
whether the figures themselves ever used those terms. Thus, for
example, in the following pages, we are told: that Huang's disciple
Ch' en Shih-tao was a "gradualist" since he emphasized learning (p.
388); that the poet-critic Fan Tsu-yu (1041-1098) took a "gradualist"
Review of Sudden and Gradual 159
approach since he recommended systematic study and practice (p.
'389); that Wu K'o's poetry criticism "seems to be more like the
sudden enlightenment of the Lin-chi school-not training or study
'.but the accidental or arbitrary device will shock or startle one into
enlightenment [i.e., understanding the meaning of a poem]" (p. 394);
'and that Yen Yii "seems to be a thoroughgoing gradualist at heart, at
least in the sense that he advocates a long and arduous gradual
preparation for the sudden breakthrough" of poetic attainment (p.
A07). The problem in an of this is that Lynn never defines his criteria
Jor judging the various poet-critics he treats as "subitists" or
';'gradualists." He apparently assumes that the terms need no clarifi-
'cation-an assumption that very few readers 'who have made it
through the preceding chapters of Sudden and Gradual will be likely
,'to share.
.... This chapter succeeds, in part by design and in part inadvertently,
in raising many interesting questions about the influence of Ch' an
,Buddhist doctrine and practice on theories of poetic creativity in
:;'lo;cSung China, and about the role played by poetry in the spiritual lives
Buddhist monks. Due in part to confusion in the conceptual
of the chapter,none of the questions are treated system-
:jI;atically enough to lead to any clear conclusions. Nevertheless, the
r,:lauthor does convey a sense of the range and richness of the available
and opens a number of different avenues for future research.
As/'Tung Ch'i-ch'ang' s 'Southern and Northern Schools' in the History
I@:"and Theory of Painting: A Reconsideration," by James Cahill
.; According to James Cahill, "the theory of the Southern and
:', Northern Schools (nan-pei tsung lun) by Tung Ch'i-ch'ang (1555-
'; 1636) is ... one of the crucial and influential formulations in Chinese
.:' painting theory." Most Chinese theorists of painting after the time of
;{ its publication in the early seventeenth century "echo it, or argue with
;.l,it, or are somehow affected by it" (p. 429). The theory, as Cahill
r:iexplains it, was basically an analogy: "painting of Type A is to
of Type B as Sudden Enlightenment (Southern) Ch' an is to
enlightenment (Northern) Ch'an." Actually, it is clear from
. JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Cah:ilr s explanation that Tung was not really concerned with
defining two types of painting in any cleat-cut way. Rather, his aim
was to distinguish two schools or lineages (!sung) of painters, the
Northern and Southern, which he claimed parted company in the .
T'ang, just as the.Northern and Southern schools of Ch'an had
separated in the T'ang. The Northern lineage, as Tung traced it, was
"that of the colored landscapes of Li Ssu-hsun and his son Chao-tao; .
it was transmitted to Chao Kan, Chao Po-chu and his brother Po-s
in the Sung period, and on to Ma Yuan and Hsia Kuei and their group" ..
(p. 430). The Southern Lineage, on the other hand, was "that of
Wang-wei, who fIrst used graded washes [in ink monochrome
painting] and thus completely transformed the outline-and-color
technique. This was continued by Chang Tsao, Ching Hao and Kuan
T'ung, Tung Yuan and Chu-jan, Kuo Chung-shu, Mi Fu and his son
Yu-jen, down to the Four Great Masters of the Yuan" (p. 430).
Implicit in this formulation, of course, was the superiority of the
"Southern" style of ink painting: anyone in the least familiar with the .
story of the Ch'an split into Northern and Southern lineages would
have known that the former was the discredited and defunct line of
the "gradualist" Shen-hsiu, whereas the latter represented the ortho-
dox transmission of the true dharma from the fifth patriarch Hung-
jen to the champion of sudden enlightenment, the sixth patriarch Hui-
The question that Cahill focuses on in this chapter is why Tung's
retrospective formulation of Northern and Southern schools of
painting, based as it was on the analogy of the Northern/gradual and
Southemlsudden schools of Ch' an, was "hailed as though it were a
great historical truth." He proposes to analyze Tung's theory on two.
levels: (1) its function as a polemical device in a concrete historical
setting-a Ming dynasty debate that had social and political as well
as artistic ramifications, and (2) its intrinsic appeal as an analysis of
artistic creativity, presented as a universal truth.
With respect to the first of these considerations, Cahill argues
convincingly that it was precisely the vagueness of the Ch' an analogy
that made Tung's theory such a potent polemical device. Other
schematic histories of painting produced earlier in the Ming dynasty
Review of Sudden and Gradual 161
had also arranged old masters in opposing groups or lineages, using
such criteria as period (Sung painting versus YUan painting), socio-
economic status (painting by professional masters versus that done
by amateur, literati artists), and style (looser, more spontaneous styles
versus ones that are careful and detailed) (p. 430). In the earlier
schemes, "these criteria of division ... tended to interlock into grand
unhistoricalpatterns in which Sung dynasty professionals working in
detailed, decorative, academic styles were opposed to YUan dynasty
amateurs working in free, spontaneous styles" (p. 430). The weak-
ness of such formulations, Cahill notes, was their artificiality: very
few of the old masters who were placed in a particular group actually
met all of the objective criteria that were supposed to be definitive
of the group. By using vague categories that were suggestive of some
these distinctions but not objectively definable, Tung's Southern and
Northern school theory avoided the weaknesses of its predecessors
and left no room for criticism on factual, historical grounds.
Cahill does not pursue the point, but Tung's use of the sudden/
gradual distinction was similar in some respects to that of the T' ang
eh'an polemicist Shen-hui, as described in the chapter by John
McRae. I would also note that the success of the Ch' an school's
ideology of "a separate transmission" from Sung times on was, like
the success of Tung's later formulation of artistic lineages, due in
large part to its vagueness. The dharma that the Ch' an school claimed
to transmit was not only described as the essence of the Buddha's
teachings (namely, enlightenment itself), it was avowedly formless
and ineffable. Thus, when Ch'an genealogies were formulated, the
quasi-historical claim that this or that individual monk belonged in
the lineage by virtue of his inheritance of the dharma could not be
challenged on any empirical grounds. Perhaps what led Tung to
formulate the Ch'an/painting analogy was not so much the applica-
bility ofCh'an theories of sudden enlightenment to the realm of art
as the usefulness of the Ch' an concept of a historically concrete and
yet indefinable lineage.
Bracketing such polemical concerns, Cahill also raises the
question of what Buddhism and painting have in common that
renders the Ch' an/painting analogy intelligible, and allows "recog-
162 nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
nizable affinities or resem blances between beliefs and tendencies and
movements in them." The answer he suggests is that
although both can be discussed in rational terms, truly signifi-
cant choices in both must be made on nonrational grounds; and
on these choices may hang one's spiritual fulfillment, one's
very "salvation." The last term, in reference to art, is only partly
metaphorical; the highest creative achievements apparently
break on the consciousness of their artists as a kind of
enlightenment, and failure, or partial failure, is perceived as
falling short of a spiritual goal. (p. 433)
Given the wealth of information on various theories of sudden
enlightenment contained in Parts I and II of the volume, it is a bit
disappointing that the only similarity between Buddhism and paint-
ing that Cahill mentions here is that they both make choices on
nonrational grounds. There are many more interesting parallels that
could be drawn out in this context. For example, the "sudden"
position, which states that enlightenment cannot be the product of any
cultivation or artifice because it is something innate and uncondi-
tioned, is analogous in some ways to the notion that painting only
attains perfection when it is something spontaneous and natural-the
work of "liberated masters" (i-chia) rather than mere "fabricators"
(tso-chia). Cahill does a better job of exploring similarities between
the concept of sudden practice in the Buddhist tradition and Tung's
idea that the scholar-amateur painters of theSouthem school were
able to "cut through the long process of technical training and reach
the highest attainments in painting directly" (p. 437). Here again,
however, there is little indication that the author is cognizant of the
Buddhological articles that appear in Part II, such as Gregory's
presentation of Tsung-mi's metaphors for sudden and gradual
Cahill dismisses the idea of "actual Ch' an content" in Chinese
painting theory, reaffirming his position that Tung's use of Ch' an in
the Southern and Northern schools theory is basically analogical.
"Neo-Confucian ideas," he argues, "make up a much more pertinent
intellectual setting for Tung's beliefs" (p. 438). The latter assessment
Review of Sudden and Gradual 163
may be true in the sense that Tung was more directly influenced by
Neo-Confucian writings, but it is also true that the specific Neo-
Confucian ideas that Cahill cites in this connection (such as the
erasure of inner-outer distinction) were actually derived in good
measure from the Buddhist tradition.
Cahill also dismisses the idea of Ch' an content in Tung's.
landscape paintings and challenges the notion that any Chinese
paintings, even the so-called Ch' an paintings of the late Sung period,
can be regarded as "direct expressions of a Ch'an-enlightened state
of mind." After all, he argues, "their artists may not, in fact, have been
Ch' an practitioners at all, enlightened or otherwise." I would add that
the Ch'an tradition itself does not seem to have regarded skill in
painting as evidence of spiritual attainment, although it did make
such a claim for skill in composing poetry. Cahill does,however,
subscribe to the notion that the so-called Ch'an paintings of the late
Sung "present, through analyzable artistic means, a vision of nature
and natural phenomena that is consistent with the Ch' an mode of
. experience." That experience he characterizes as "apprehending
reality in a single, sudden act of perception, instead of reading and
absorbing it part by part" (p. 439). Such a mode of apprehension, we
have seen,is. associated with a number of sudden enlightenment
theories in the history of Chinese Buddhism, including that ascribed
to Tao-sheng; there is no good historical reason to describe it as a
specifically "Ch' an" motif.
Mterword: "Thinking of 'Enlightenment' Religiously,"
by (Tu Wei-ming
One would expect the Afterword to a volume such as Sudden and
Gradual to present some sort of overview or concluding remarks
regarding the issues raised and data presented by the various
contributors. In the Afterword, however, Tu Wei-ming gives little
more than a polite nod to "the enormous erudition ... that the
preceding chapters have demonstrated" (p. 448), after which he
launches into his own idiosyncratic interpretation of the meaning of
"enlightenment" in the Chinese cultural milieu. Tu' s vision of
. JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
enlightenment, we shall see, is a creative amalgam of ideas drawn
from such diverse sources as Confucianism, existentialism a la Jean
Paul Sartre, and the Zen of D.T. Suzuki. If it, were published as an
independent piece, the Afterword might be evaluated as a stimulating
thesis that suffers mainly from a lack of supporting textual and
historical evidence. Appearing as it does at the end of a Kuroda
Institute volume replete with concrete evidence from the Chinese
Buddhist tradition that directly contradicts Tu's interpretation, how-
ever, the piece becomes an ironic reminder of the fact that some
sinologists and students of Chinese thought still pay little heed to the
legacy of Chinese Buddhism or the work done on it by modem
Tu begins his discussion by harking back to the exchange
between Hu Shih and Suzuki (discussed above in connection with the
chapter by John McRae), noting that despite their many differences,
"they both agreed that it [Ch'an] is uniquely Chinese" (p. 447). He
also observes, more or less correctly, that throughout all the advances
in scholarship on Ch' an over the past thirty years, "the primacy of
'enlightenment' as the ultimate concern of Ch'an spiritual training
remains unquestioned" (p. 447). Arguing from these two premises,
Tu then asserts that
If Suzuki and Hu were right in characterizing Ch' an as uniquely
Chinese, and if our understanding of Ch'an as the quest for
enlightenment is on the mark, then there must be a peculiarly
sinitic mode of approaching the enlightenment experience. (p . 448)
Tu's reasoning here seems plausible enough on the surface, but it
suffers from a logical flaw and numerous historical errors that could
have been avoided had the evidence of the volume itself been taken
into account. In the first place, although it follows from the two stated
premises that the Ch'an quest for (or understanding of) enlighten-
ment must have been uniquely Chinese, it does not follow that there
must be something that can properly be caned "the" (singular) "sinitic
approach to enlightenment." Indeed, one thing that the present
volume makes very clear is that the Chinese Buddhist tradition has
Review of Sudden and Gradual 165
included a number of different, sometimes contradictory, interpreta-
tions of and approaches to enlightenment. Such contradictions are
nowhere more apparent than within the Chinese Ch' an tradition
itself, which (as G6mez, McRae, Gregory, and Buswell all demon-
strate in their chapters) was far from monolithic. At best, it could
perhaps be said (following McRae and Buswell) that the various
branches of the Ch' an school occupied a rhetorical or polemical
common ground, to wit, that in matters of enlightenment "sudden"
is always presented as superior to "gradual." We have seen, however,
that the meaning and practical implications of "sudden enlighten-
ment" have been subject to sundry and conflicting interpretations
within the Ch' an tradition. Unanimity in the adoption of the slogan
certainly cannot be taken as evidence for a single "sinitic approach
. to enlightenment."
Editor Gregory is on the mark when he observes in his Introduc-
tion that the sudden/gradual polarity in Chinese Buddhist thought
reflected and gave form to "a deeply rooted tension in Chinese culture
between effortful cultivation and spontaneous intuition ... , a tension
reflected, in its broadest scope, in the respective stances of Confu-
cianism and Taoism-or between conformity and naturalness ... " (p.
8). Tu, however, speaks as if it were the subitist position alone that
is representative of the "uniquely sinitic approach to enlightenment."
He states, for example, that "the subitists' faith is '" deeply rooted in
the indigenous traditions of Chinese thought and religion" (p. 453),
and argues that subitist Ch' an, Mencian Confucianism, and Chuang
Tzu's Taoism all share a "deep-rooted sinitic faith in the perfectibility
of human nature through self-effort." (p. 455)
After discussing "the classical Confucian sense of learning as
enlightenment" and finding it compatible with "the Taoist idea that
in the pursuit of Tao we must learn to lose ourselves" (p. 499), Tu
proceeds to address the case of Ch'an Buddhism:
Without a faith in human perfectibility, there is no intelligible
basis for initiating the process of self-realization as a personal
responsibility. Without a faith in self-effort, there is no inner
strength that can be independently mobilized for the purpose.
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
The pivotal difference between this Confucian, Taoist, and
Ch' an faith in self-effort on the one hand, and the reliance on
an outside source in devotional religions ,on the other, lies in the .
perception of human nature. Confucians, Taoists, and Ch'an
Buddhists all believe that, although we are nor what we ought ..
to b ~ , what we are is both the necessary and sufficient condition .
for us to become what we ought to be. (p. 450)
Tu's characterization of Ch'an here adequately describes the ap- .
proach taken by some historical representatives of the tradition, in .
particular the conservative Tsung-mi and his doctrine of "sudden
enlightenment followed by gradual cultivation." But it completely
ignores the historical evidence that more radical branches of Ch' an
such as the Pao-t' ang and Hung-chou schools tended to interpret
sudden enlightenment in a way that denied the necessity of self-
cultivation, or even portrayed cultivation as something that exacer-
bates delusion. In fact, these radical subitists took the position that
human nature is not perfectible, precisely because it is already
perfect. The whole point of the sudden enlightenment doctrine, in this
latter view, is that self-realization is a kind of gnosis or intuition that
involves neither a process nor any special effort, and does not change
anything. By lumping Confucianism, Taoism, and Ch' an Buddhism
togetJ:ler the way he does, Tu paints a picture of an all-encompassing
"sinitic faith" that glosses over the tensions that existed in Chinese
thought at large, and among Chinese Buddhists, between the ideals
of purposeful cultivation on the one hand, and spontaneity and
naturalness on the other.
The distinction that Tu introduces between the "Confucian,
Taoist, and Ch' an faith in self-effort" and the "reliance on an outside
source in devotional religions" seems to be based on the modern
Japanese interpretation of Zen as a religion of "own power" (jirila)
as opposed to the Pure Land tradition's reliance on the "other power"
(tarila) of Amida Buddha. It is disappointing to find this hackneyed
characterization of Zen trotted out in the Mterword to a volume that
so clearly exposes its superficiality and inaccuracy. The distinction
between "own power" and "other power" was never a major issue in
Review of Sudden and Gradual 167
Chinese Buddhist thought, and is scarcely gennane to the sudden!
gradual polarity. If one were to introduce the distinction as an
interpretative criterion, however, one would have to conclude that the
more radically subitist representatives of the Ch'an tradition were
closer to the "other power" position than the "own power" one. The
essence of the "other power" theology, at least in its more radical
manifestations (e.g., the teachings of Shinran), is that one is already
saved by Amida's vow, so no cultivation is necessary: one need only
have faith in that fact. Similarly, the radical subitist position is that
one is already possessed of Buddha nature, so no cultivation is
necessary: one need only realize that fact. Both the radical Pure Land
and the radical subitist positions, moreover, seem to posit a reality
which, although its essence is a faith or an insight that humans have
access to, clearly transcends and renders ultimately irrelevant the
human capacity for self-transfonnation. Tu is wrong, therefore, when
he claims that "subitist Ch' an" preaches enlightenment through self-
effort and that in it "no reference is made to a transcendent reality that
provides a real fiat for this incredible human capacity" (p. 448).
Having posited the belief that "human nature is perfectible
through self-effort" as the cornerstone of all indigenous traditions of
Chinese thought, Tu has little choice but to argue that
lest we should misconstrue sudden enlightenment as an easy
way out of the rigorous spiritual discipline required of all
serious students of Ch' an, let us assume that the sudden-gradual
debate is not about the necessity of practice but, given the
centrality of diligent spiritual discipline, about what the authen-
tic method of achieving enlightenment ought to be. (p. 453)
Once again, it is difficult to see how anyone who had read the
preceding chapters in Sudden and Gradual could deny that the
necessity of cultivation was one of the main bones of contention in
at least some of the historical debates that we subsume under the
rubric of sudden versus gradual. Tu, nevertheless, asserts that "the
subitists and gradualists alike were in favor of diligent spiritual
discipline" (p. 453), arguing that they only disagreed about the
nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
method of achieving enlightenment. The gradualists, he implies,
embraced the methods of scripture, tradition, ritual and teaching,
whereas the subitists did not. Given the diver$ity of thinkers in the
history of Chinese Buddhism who have taken some sort of sudden
enlightenment position, it would have been helpful if Tu had
identified just who he was referring to. Most of the figures associated
with subitism in the preceding chapters, including Tao-sheng, Chih-
i, Tsung-mi, Ta-hui, and even Shen-hui, do not fit Tu's description
of "the subitists" very well. Moreover, it is not clear what diligent
practices Tu's subitists are supposed to have embraced as a method
of achieving enlightenment. In the end, his account seems to be based
more on cliches made popular by D. T. Suzuki (e. g., that Zen rejects
texts and rituals in favor of immediate experience) than on any
historical evidence. Tu's use of the category of "experience" to
characterize the subitist position is especially problematic because
experience implies a nexus of enabling causes and conditions,
whereas the rhetoric of sudden enlightenment employed by figures
such as Shen-hui, Tsung-mi, and Ma-tsu tends to posit enlightenment
as something innate and unconditioned.
Tu's idiosyncratic interpretation of human nature and enlighten-
ment also seems to be inspired in part by Sartre's existentialism. As
human beings, he suggests, we are forever on a projectory that issues
from and leads back to our fundamental human nature, but are always
to some degree alienated from that nature. "Enlightenment," he
says, is nothing other than "the light and warmth of human nature for
self-disclosure, self-expression, and self-realization" (p. 450), but
that self-realization is never complete:
Even though what we ought to be is what our human nature
originally is, we existentially are neither. This human predica-
ment presents a challenge: although we are born humans, we
must continuously learn to be human; although our human
nature has intrinsic resources for our ultimate self-realization,
we must learn the way to tap them for our own "salvation." ...
Evil, in this sense, does not have ontological status. It. is but an
Review of Sudden and Gradual 169
existential description of what has gone wrong. (p. 451)
This is a far cry from what anyone in the Chinese Buddhist.
tradition ever had to say about enlightenment, sudden or otherwise.
The idea that living beings have, in a primordial moment of
nescience, somehow lost sight of their own intrinsic enlightenment
(pen-chueh) and wandered deluded through the round of birth-and
death is, of course, found in Chinese Buddhism, as for example in
Tsung-mi's analysis of mind. However, unlike the Confucian tradi-
tion that Tu locates himself in, Buddhists never developed the notion
of a fixed (or even dynamic) "human nature." The "nature" (hsing)
that Buddhists speak of realizing or "seeing" (chien) in enlighten-
ment is the Buddha nature (fo-hsing), or the "undifferentiated
dharmakaya of the Tathagata" (p. 292), within which so-called
human nature exists as something conditioned, insubstantial, imper-
manent, and devoid of any fixed characteristics. Furthermore,
. Chinese Buddhists have frequently held that a complete and perfect
realization of the Buddha nature-meaning a complete eradication or
transmutation of the delusion that ordinarily obscures it-is possible
for human beings, not only "ontologically" (to use Tu's terminol-
ogy), but "existentially." Indeed, we have seen that one of the
meanings of "sudden enlightenment" in Chinese Buddhism is
precisely that all of the qualities and powers associated with
Buddhahood are recovered "at once," completely and simulta-
Although Tu presents his analysis of the "uniquely sinitic
approach to enlightenment" in the guise of intellectual history, his
disregard for proven lexical meanings of the term "enlightenment"
(wu) in the history of Chinese Buddhism shows that he is not really
concerned with applying the historical-philological method, but is in
fact proffering a stipulative definition of enlightenment. Unlike
Demieville, however, whose stipulative definition of "subitism" is
posited as an aid to the comparative study of world religions, Tu
evinces no interest in cross-cultural comparisons. Tu's approach, in
fact, is neither historical nor comparative, but fundamentally theo-
logical in nature. That is to say, he takes a certain understanding of
the divine and its relationship to human beings as axiomatic and
proceeds to work out its implications using rational arguments. Thus,
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
for ex,ample, the reader is informed that
Human nature, as conferred by the mandate of heaven, is
actually a concrete manifestation of' the tacit "covenant",
between man .and heaven .... Each person, in the holistic cosmic
vision, forms an affinity with the total environment as a filial
son or daughter of heaven and earth. The particular enlighten_
ment that is available to the person is self-discovery. Self-
discovery takes the form of representing that which one .'
originally has as one's birthright .... The process that leads to .
enlightenment is always gradual, whereas the experience itself,
no matter how well one is prepared, is always sudden. (p. 451).
With this kind of categorical, normative statement about the human
condition, Tu stops speaking the language of intellectual history and
Sinology altogether and lends a contemporary voice to the already
cacophonous theological discussions of the meaning of sudden
enlightenment that flourished in medieval China.
Indeed, one of the noteworthy features of the Mterword is that
Tu not only adopts a theological stance himself, but criticizes the
modern academic community (Western scholars of Chinese Bud-
dhism) for failing to do so. He indirectly chides the contributors to
the volume by observing that despite the general agreement among
scholars that enlightenment is the ultimate concern of Ch' an spiritual
training, "a concerted effort to analyze 'enlightenment' as a scholarly
enterprise is rare" (p. 448). Moreover, he says, there is an
implicit demand that we must try to take an inside participant's .
point of view if we are to make sense of enlightenment as a
religious experience. Surely we do not find it convincing to say
that the only respectable scholarly mode of analysis is from the
perspective of the disinterested observer. But to learn to be
. religiously musical is one thing, to actually experience enlight-
enment is another-something, to say the least, extraordinarily
difficult. The gradualists, in outlining the procedure by which '
enlightenment study is to be pursued, provide us with a way of .'
Review of Sudden and Gradual 171
applying our sophisticated conceptual apparatus of classifica-
tion and analysis. The subitists, without giving us any handle
by which we can exert our research effort, compel usto dismiss
them as unintelligible. (p. 453)
1n other words, if scholars take an insider's point of view they may
.. be able to make sense of enlightenment as explained by Tu's
';;unnamed gradualists, but because the academic community is
;f"dedicated to the programmatic pursuit of knowledge" it is "not at all
.. suited to appreciate the seemingly situational and inspirational
of subitism (p. 453). The'only way to make sense of the
sudden enlightenment position, Tu would have us believe, is to
experience enlightenment."
This claim is familiar to Western students of Ch'an and Zen
(Buddhism, thanks to D.T. Suzuki, and many have been bamboozled
'by it in the past. The contributors to Sudden and Gradual, however,
; evidently believed that they were able to get a handle on various
(exponents of sudden enlightenment doctrines) in the history
Chinese Buddhism and did not feel compelled to dismiss those
subitists as unintelligible. To defend his assessment of the limitations
hof scholarship, Tu would have to maintain that when these modem
.. , .... scholars employ a "sophisticated conceptual apparatus of classifica-
Cc 'tion and analysis" to render their eminently intelligible accounts of
enlightenment (tun-wu) they are, ipso facto, missing the true
'J,import (or "experience") of enlightenment. Tu complains that
have not made a concerted effort to analyze "enlighten-
;( ment," but when confronted with a volume that attempts to do just
t that, he lapses into theological rhetoric borrowed from modern
:}, Japanese Zen, claiming that enlightenment by its very nature must
'>'forever elude the grasp of the intellect.
The fundamental difficulty that besets the academic treatment of
r enlightenment in the West, I would submit, is not that scholars are
blinded to enlightenment by their intellectual apparatus or constitu-
;:tionally incapable (e.g., by dint of cultural or linguistic differences)
:::of understanding East Asian Buddhists when the latter talk about
f'-enlightenment. The problem is that the language of theology,

. JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Buddhist or otherwise, a.nd the language of critical scholarly inquiry
have different scopes and operate by different sets of rules. Although
one person might be fluent in both languages, things can nevertheless
be said in one that defy (grammatically, as it were) translation into
the other. The scope of critical historiography, as we understand it in
the West, is limited to facts of human experience that are, in principle
at least, ascertainable by scientific methods. Thus, if critical histori-
ography is to accept enlightenment as factual grist for its mill, it
cannot define or interpret enlightenment in a manner (a la Ch' an and
Zen theology) that places it, wholly or partially, in a miraculous or
sacred realm beyond the scope of ordinary experience and rational
Basically, critical scholarship has two approaches at its disposal.
One approach is to treat enlightenment as an article of religious faith,
doctrine, or ideology. In this case, the ascertainable facts open to
investigation are the things that people have actually said or written
about enlightenment, and the observable behavior of persons who
claim enlightenment as a motivating factor- in their lives. This is the
approach taken by most Buddhologists, including the contributors to
the present volume, Sudden and Gradual. The other possible ap-
proach would be to treat enlightenment as some sort of definite,
measurable, repeatable experience that human beings actually have,
quite apart from the manifold ways in which they describe it. In this
case, the ascertainable facts open to investigation would be the
objective causes and conditions that occasion the experience, and the
physiological and psychological states that attend it.
Neither of these critical approaches, of course, is likely to satisfy
Ch'anlZen Buddhist believers in enlightenment. The first approach,
with its insistence on putting quotation marks around everything said
in the tradition about enlightenment, and its refusal to evaluate the
truth content of such statements in terms of any objective referent,
may strike the believer as a de facto denial of the reality that
corresponds to the name enlightenment. And even when the critical
scholarly method of fastidiously avoiding normative judgments is
correctly understood as entailing neither an affirmation nor a denial
of that reality, the believer may well dismiss it as irrelevant
Review of Sudden and Gradual 173
pussyfooting. The second admits that the name enlighten-
:ment refers to a real expenence, but then proceeds to deny as
,superstition the function within that experience of any sacred or
'transcendent spiritual forces. It denies the validity of the religious
,language used 'to explain enlightenment, in effect reducing enlight-
enment to something the Ch'anlZen tradition explicitly states it is
'not: a conditioned response to a nexus of physical and psychological
stimuli. Thus, critical scholarship, if it plays by its own rules, is bound
to disappoint the believer. Only theological discourse, because it is
'free to treat enlightenment as a concrete fact of human experience that
.js nevertheless explicable in religious language as the operation of
'sacred forces or principles, is equipped to communicate with
:lJelievers on their own terms.
. Theologians, of course, can be insensitive to or intolerant of each
s positions without breaking the rules of theological discourse,
SI\which allow dogmatic axioms to stand unchallenged as "revealed" or
JJpersonally "attested" truths. Because theologians take the point of
of inside participants in their own religious traditions, more-
l"over, it can be difficult for them to study foreign traditions in a
manner. The idea that scholars should strive to be
musical," as Tu puts it, is one that I subscribe to
'wholeheartedly. My criticism of Tu is not that he is too sympathetic
,to Buddhist theology to maintain scholarly objectivity, but that he is
not sympathetic enough. That is to say, he does not listen to the rich
variations on the theme of enlightenment that the Chinese Buddhist
rI tradition has produced, but drowns them an out with his own song of
...,. truth-his own ideology of enlightenment. The perspective of the
l'disinterested observer, wherein one strives to bracket one's own
i,opinions and agendas and apply the methods of historical criticism,
." is in fact necessary if one is to give bygone, foreign religions and
persons a truly sympathetic hearing and not merely discern in them
,i the echo of one's own voice.
'Concluding Remarks
The five years that have elapsed since the publication of Sudden
and Gradual have seen a number of interesting and encouraging
developments in the field of East Asian Buddhist studies in North
For one thing, there has been an noticeable increase in fruitful
exchange between Buddhologists and humanists in other disciplines
specializing in China, Korea, and Japan. Several successful confer-
ences have brought scholars of Buddhism together with histOrians,
linguists, art historians, and experts in Taoism and "popular"
religion to read papers and discuss topics of mutual interest, and more
such gatherings are currently in the planning stages. A few research
projects involving principals from Buddhist studies and other disci-
plines are also underway. These developments, to a significant
degree, have been instigated by Buddhologists who have become
increasingly aware ofthe conceptual and methodological limitations
of the Japanese scholarship with which they were trained. Impetus
has also corne from the "other side," however, as a growing number
of younger Sinologists, in particular, have come to realize that
ignorance of Buddhism (that ostensibly "alien" religion) represents
a not insignificant gap in their own academic training. It is gratifying
to see that among the current generation of graduate students and
junior faculty, many of the old prejudices which have in the past kept
Buddhologists isolated from their Sinological and Japanological
colleagues seem to be dying out.
Another significant change that has occurred as East Asian
Buddhologists wean themselves from traditional (Japanese) ap-
proaches t9 the field is an increasing experimentation with post-
modernist, poststructuralist, and post-Marxist approaches to ideol-
ogy. Bernard Faure's recent book, The Rhetoric of Immediacy: A
Cultural Critique of Chan/Zen Buddhism (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1991) comes to mind as the most striking example
of this tendency, but it shows up in the work of others as welL More
generally, the past decade has seen movement away from the
philosophical (sometimes theological) treatment of Buddhist doc-
trine in the abstract and toward a consideration of the specific social-
historical contexts in which Buddhism as a religion (complete with
institutions, cult, and doctrines) flourished. It is this tendency,
Review of Sudden and Gradual
perhaps, that has led Buddhologists into areas traditionally covered
by other disciplines, both humanistic and social scientific, and
facilitated the increasing interdisciplinary exchange mentioned above.
In the final analysis , however, the distinctive expertise of the East
Asian Buddhologist is (and should continue to be) the ability to read
and interpret Buddhist texts of all genres.
1. The following volumes have appeared in the series to date:
RobertM. Gimello and PeterN. Gregory, eds., Studies in Ch'an and Hua-yen. The
Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Human Values, Studies in East
Asian Buddhism, No.!. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983.
William R. LaFleur, ed., Dagen Studies. The Kuroda Institute for the Study of
Buddhism and Human Values, Studies in East Asian Buddhism, No.2. Honolulu:
University of Hawaii Press, 1985.
JohnR. McRae, The Northem School and theFormation ofEarlyCh'anBuddhism.
The Kuroda :Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Human Values, Studies in East
Asian Buddhism, No.3. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.
Peter N. Gregory, ed, Traditions of Meditation in Chinese Buddhism. The Kuroda
Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Human Values, Studies in East Asian
Buddhism, No.4. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987.
Peter N. Gregory, ed. Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in
Chinese Thought. The Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Human
Values, Studies in East Asian Buddhism, No.5. Honolulu: University of Hawaii
Press, 1987.
Donald S. Lopez, Jr., ed. Buddhist Hermeneutics. The Kuroda Institute for the
Study of Buddhism and Human values, Studies in East Asian Buddhism, NO.6.
Honolulu: University of Hmyaii Press, 1988.
Robert E. Buswell, Jr. and Robert M. Gimell, eds., Paths to Liberation: The Marga
and its Transformations in Buddhist Thought. The Kuroda Institute for the Study
of Buddhism and Human Values, Studies in East Asian Buddhism, NO.7.
Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992.
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
2. Unpublished cover note distributed with original set of papers from the
conference on "The Sudden/Gradual Polarity," Los Angeles, 1981.
3. Ibid.
4. Richard Robinson, Definition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954),35-58.
5. Paul Demieville, "Le miroir spirituel" (1947), reprinted in Choix
d'etudes bouddhiques, 131-156.
6. The Eastem Buddhist 7.1 (May, 1974):55-106, and 7.2 (October,
7. Ibid, 7.2:8l.
8. The Eastem Buddhist 17.1 (Spring, 1984): 79-107. Other surveys of
aspects of the field of Buddhist studies include: J.W. de Jong, "The Study of
Buddhism. Problems and Perspectives," in Buddhist Studies: Selected Essays of
J. W. deJong, ed. by Gregory Schopen (Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1979),
15-28; Edward Conze, "Recent Progress in Buddhist Studies", in Thirty Years of
Buddhist Studies (Oxford: Bruno Cassirer, 1967), 1-32; Philip Yampolsky, "New
Japanese Studies in Early Ch'an History," in Early Ch'an in China and
Berkeley Buddhist Studies Series, no. 5, ed. by Lewis Lancaster and Whalen Lai
(Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1983), 1-11; and Lewis Lancaster, "Buddhist
Studies," in The Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. by Mircea Eliade (New York:
Macmillan, 1987) 2:554-560.
9. The Eastern 17. I 82.
10. Ibid, 7. 2: 71 .
11. Ibid, 7.272.
12. Paul Demieville, "Le miroir spirituel" (1947), reprinted in Choix
d'etudes bouddhiques, 131-156.
13. Zengakukenkyi150 (Kyoto, 1960), 158-177.
14. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (Unabridged
edition). New York: Random House, 1973.
15. Unless otherwise noted, the following list of subitist characteristics is
based on Sudden and Gradual, 15.
16. Actually, much of the systematization of "Chih-i's thought" was
accomplished by later proponents of T' ien-t' ai, notably Chan-jan (717-782), a fact
that Donner neglects to bring out.
17. Hu Shih, "Development of Zen Buddhism in China," in The Chinese
Social and Political Science Review XV (no. 4, Jan., 1932): 481 ff.
18. "Development of Zen Buddhism in China," 485.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid, 503.
21. Ibid, 504.
22. Suzuki Daisetsu, "Zen: A Reply to Hu Shih," in Philosophy East and
West 3.1 (April, 1953) 25-46.
23. Hu Shih, "Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism in China: Its History and Method,"
Review of Sudden and Gradual 177
in philosophy East and West:3 (no. 1, April, 1953):16.
:. 24. See YanagidaSeizan, "The Li-taiFa-Pao Chi and TheCh'anDoctrine
of Sudden Awakening," trans. by Carl Bielefeldt, in Whalen Lai and Lewis R.
Lancaster, eds., Early Ch 'an in China and Tibet (Berkeley Buddhist Studies Series,
No.5. Berkeley,: pniversity of California Press, 1983), 13-49.
25. TaishO shinshii daizokyo 48.400c, 1-2.
26. TaishO shinshii daizokyo 48.400c, 5-7. Translation by. Jeffrey T,.
Broughton, "Kuei-feng Tsung-mi: The Convergence of Ch' an and the Teachings"
(Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1975), 117-118.
27. This omission may have been due to limitations of space, for Gregory
has treated the Chinese context of Tsung-mi' s thought thoroughly in other works,
"the roost recent of which is Tsung-mi and the Sinificadon of Buddhism (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1991).
28. T. Griffith Foulk, "The 'Ch'an School' and Its Place in the Buddhist
Monastic Tradition" (ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, 1987),264-383.
29. See Donner, p. 212.
30. See, for example, the Shih-men lin-chien lu, Dainippon ZokuzOkyo
178 JIABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
Glossary of Chinese and Japanese Tenns
ch'an-tsung tun chien erh-i
chi-yUan wen-ta
chien-hsiu tun-wu
hsUan -hsUeh



'tft .


Review of Sudden and Gradual 179

i-shih tun

i-wu hsiu-hsing
jiriki Ern
ju t<o



k'an-hua ch'an




Ii f!
nan-pei tsung lun

, miiM


shih ta-chih
ii'1 El

nABS VOL. 16 NO.1



tun-hsiu chien-wu


"' ........
T l
zen shu


Collected Papers. Vol. 2. by K. R. Norman. London: The Pali
Text Society. 1991. 276 pages
This volume, as its title indicates, is the second volume ( of three) of a collection
of papers written by K.R. Norman. It includes twenty-two articles flrst published
between 1977 and 1983 in selected journals. The articles include Pali etymological
studies that are based in both Jain and Buddhist texts, and treatments of a wide range
of topics, from a translation and critical analysis of the eighth chapter of the
. UttaItidhyayana Sutra to an essay on the early history of the Pali Text Society. The
.. artides are arranged in the order in which they were flrst published.
In "The Buddha's View of the Devas," Norman indicates that the so called
"problem" of describing Buddhism, with its polytheistic elements, as "non-
theistic" only emerges in the endeavors of Western scholars to classify Buddhism.
The problem disappears if one interprets non-theistic to mean "accepting the
existence of devas, but denying them any causal role in the universe" (1). He shows
that "The real problem of Buddhism vis-a-vis the devas was not in accommodating
them into the Buddhist cosmology, but in fltting the eternal gods of the Rgveda into
the system of sarpsiira" (1). He proceeds to examine critically several Pali Text
Society translations of the Sangiirava Sutta one of the two canonical passages on
the subject-and he also discusses the relevant Sinhalese and Burmese manu-
scripts. Norman shows that the early translations are unsatisfactory because they
do not give the full context of the brahman Sangarava's question to the Buddha:
"kinnukho, bho Gotama, atthi deva? d ... ", nor do they clarify that the Buddha's
claim that there certainly are devas, ("tbiinaso me taIp Bhiiradvlija, viditaIp
yadidarp atthi de va fl') is actually the Buddha's attempt to verify the eternal reality
of the devas; and that this interpretation takes care of the confusion rendered in the
old translations when the questioner flrst refutes the Buddha's answer and then
accepts it. Norman demonstrates that the words atthi de va should be corrected to
atthi adbidevain order to render the passage meaningful. The passage would then
show that the Buddha, rather than acknowledging the brahmanical gods to the
brahman Sangarava, was asserting that there were indeed earthly princes (devas)
in addition to beings who were superior to them (adbidevas)-like himself. The
second essay on this topic, "Devas and Adhidevas in Buddhism," examines the
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
K8IJ1J.akattbala Sutta-the second of the canonical suttas which illustrate the
Buddha's view of devas. Norman shows that once again adhi has been mistaken
for attbj and that the text becomes more meaningful when this rendering is
presented. He concludes that in these two suttas, the Buddha asserted the existence
of both earthly princes (devas) and superior beings (adhi de vas) , who are both
subject to rebirth. The two articles are significant not just in clarifying the
misperceptions that arise in previous translations-but also in illustrating the
importance of recognizing the nature of devas and adhidevas for Buddhism as a
In "AM in the Alagaddiipama-sutta," Norman examines the six wrong views
on atta in this text. He shows that, contrary to the views of some scholars such as
E.J. Thomas and R. Gombrich, Buddhism was acquainted with the Upanishadic
notion of the world soul. This is clearly evident in the AJagaddupama Sutta since
in proving that what is anicca and dukkba cannot be atta the Buddha must refer
to an assumed know ledge of the Upanishadic atman which is both ni tya and sukkha.
He substantiates this view by showing that both a Jain text and the
provide very similar arguments denying the existence of the Upanishadicatman,
know ledge of which these texts must presuppose. He shows that while the BUddha
might not specifically deny the existence of attain the PaIi canon, the Buddha did
deny the existence of a permanent individual self. This article is a useful one not
only because it questions and corrects previously held notions concerning the
Buddha's views on atta, but also because it renders the significance of attarelevant
to the broader context of the meaning of papcca-samuppada.
The essay "Dhammapada 97: a Misunderstood Paradox" is significant because
it explains the double meaning of saddho in this little understood verse in the
Dhammapada. While Erghart's translation of the verse indicates thai one who is
without faith (assaddho) is an uttamaporiso, later translators have refrained from
this usual translation of assaddho because of the confusion it brings to the context
of the verse. Norman shows that there is an important difference between "to have
faith in" and-for lack of direct experience-"to take some one's word for
something." While both may be considered accurate renderings of saddahad, it is
the verse itself that indicates that faith is not necessary, but there is a question as
to whether the reference is to faith in the necessity of faith, as opposed to direct
knowledge. Norman shows that, like assaddho, the other adjectives in the verse
have double meanings, a "good" one and a "bad" one. He suggests that the bad
meanings were lost by the time this pre-Buddhist verse was included in the
Buddhist collection. Norman's insights into a single riddle-like verse of the
Dhammapada points to the likelihood that other similarly paradoxical verses
should be examined for possible double-entendres.
The essay "The Pratyeka-Buddha in Buddhism and Jainism" is a philological
examination of the term pratyeka. Norman shows that the concept of the
pratyekabuddha is pre-Buddhist and pre-Jain. He demonstrates that both the terms
patteyaJpacceka may be derived from pratyaya buddha. Since pratyaya has the
.... eDse of nimitta, this could refer to a buddha who was awakened by an external
.s aUs
as opposed to those buddhas who were self-awakened. Norman discusses the
of the pratyeka-buddha conception into Buddhism and Jainism and
sUggests that it was originally borrowed from another sect and then used to flIl in
: tile gap between bl!ddha and savaka. His examination sheds light on a new meaning
;of the concept of the pratyeka-buddha, who is not just an individual buddha, but
'originally was considered as a buddha who was enlightened in a certain way.
< In "Four Etymologies of the Sabhiya Sutta," Norman considers the etymolo-
gies of the four words viriyava, ariya, kusala and iijiiniya to determine the history
of the sutta. He maintains that itwas originally composed in a Prakrit and by means
'of a comparison with Tibetan texts indicates that the Sutta tradition was quite
different from the commentarial tradition. He suggests that a study of the Sabhiya
and its commentary across traditions shows evidence of a commentarial
tradition that may have crossed sectarian boundaries. He urges caution in using
metrical analysis alone to determine the dating of a text, since in the case of the
.Sabhiya Sutta this is obviously misleading.
;.. In "Magadhisms in the Kathavatthu" Norman examines the nominative and
vocative singular masculine "e" forms in the atthakathifs and in the Kathifvatthu.
'He indicates that these forms were known and recognized by Buddhaghosa. He
. demonstrates that the language of the Kathavatthu and the Eastern Ashokan
:inScriptions share affinities and indicates that the Kathavatthu was fIrst uttered in
Magadha. He suggests that the close relationship between the language of the
Kathifvatthu and Sinhalese arose from the colonisation of Ceylon by people from
Eastern India and that is likely that the "e'.' forms of the Kathavatthu are due to the
influence of Magadhi, rather than Sanskrit or Prakrit.
The volume includes four essays on the Ashokan pillars. In "Middle Indo-
Aryan Studies XIT' :Norman examines recensions of the Ashokan edicts in order
to ascertain the procedure for the transmission of exemplars. He shows that the
majority of Ashokan inscriptions are based on just two "master" exemplars. In the
''Notes on the so-called the Queen's Edict of Ashoka," he provides a new and
corrected version of the inScriptions and shows that the main purpose of this edict
was to give instruction about the accounting procedure involved concerning gifts
made by the second queen. In "Ashokan Sila-tha:Qlbas and he
emphasizes the importance of discerning the difference between the two types of
pillars. He shows that Ashokan inscriptions give no indication that stone pillars did
not exist before his time and that-in the light of the paucity of evidence available
to the linguist-the art historian and the archeologist may be helpful. In "Notes on
The Ahraura: Version of Ashoka' s First Minor Rock Edict," Norman discusses the
unusual words buddhase salile, "the body of the Buddha," found in this version
only, and also discusses the numerals 256 which are missing form this version, but
appear in most others. He shows that a particular sentence in the edict including
these discrepancies was misread by the scribe, who made conjectures and added
his own meanings when he inscribed the edict. Thus Norman's philological critique
clarifles the signifIcance of miswritten ak$ar8S and presents a clarifIcation of this
186 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
otherwise misunderstood edict.
. "The Dialects in Which the Buddha Preached" is a slightly revised version of
"The Language in Which the Buddha Taught." These essays discuss the well-
known Vinaya passage concerning the proposed translation of the Buddha's Words. .
Norman sets out to explain two problems: 1) Why, though they knew the difference
between the two languages, Pili was referred to as Magadhi by the missionaries
to Ceylon, and 2) Whether Buddhaghosa's sources, which say that the BUddha
spoke Magadhi, are correct. He shows that since Pili., the language of the canon
waS akin to Magadhi, Buddhagbosa probably called the language of the c a n o ~
Magadhi-and hence also the language of the Buddha.
The Pili. text society has added a useful index of references to Old and Middle
Indo-Aryan words used in the volume and inserted the pagination of the original
versions in addition to cross references to other articles by Norman on similar
subjects. However, apart from these alterations in the presentation of the papers
since their fIrst appearance, there has been no effort made to reorganize the papers .
in any useful way. For example, several of these articles may be grouped according
to subject matter, such as the four articles on the Ashokan edicts, the three articles
on Pall etymologies and the two articles on the Buddha's view of the devas. While
the cross-references do serve as a useful guide to the reader who wishes to pursue
a study of Norman's views on a particular topic, it might have been even more
helpful if in doing so slhe were not obliged to search within and across the volumes
of Norman's collected essays. Nevertheless, credit must be given to the Pali Text
society for the work it has done in collecting and re-presenting these essays which
originally appeared in a large number of journals.
The publication of this volume and its two companion volumes will be useful
not just in providing easy accessibility to Norman's numerous philological studies
on Pili. and Middle Indo-Aryan Studies, but also in reminding scholars that
retranslations of the PaIi texts are long overdue.
Nirmala S. Salgado
The Dating of the Historical Buddha. Die Datierung des Historischen
,Buddha, Part I (Symposien Zur Buddhismus Forschung, IV. I),
Edited by Heinz Bechert. Gottingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1991,
iX-V: 525 pp.
Although many dates have been proposed in the past for the death of the
historical Buddha, the two most commonly accepted now are 543/44 'and 483/86
B. C.; the ftrst by most Buddhists and the second by most modem scholars. Both
dates are originally on the accounts provided by the ancient chronicles of Sri
'LanIa!. and; and the cornerstone is the date of ASoka.
'Actually, the second date is a corrected version of the ftrst after a critical
of the sources. Most modem scholars have found the second date,
on the so-called "corrected long Chronology," unproblematic.
;;It. But in 1988 a Symposium was held under the sponsorship of the Akademie
;'ri{tlder Wissenschaften (Academy of Sciences) in Hedemunden near Gottingen to open
question again. The volume under review originates from this Symposium.
';riFifty-two scholars contributed to the Symposium. Of these ftfty-two, there were
from Germany, including sixteen from various seminars at Gottingen, and
')i four non-European guests who probably happened to be there. Among other
participants there were two each from France and Norway, and one each
Sweden, Austria, Belgium, and U. K. There were ftve from Japan, three from
A. and one each from Israel and Nepal.
The present volume is the ftrst of two (or three?) parts of the publication of
results of this Symposium. In the present volume there are thirty-eight papers
an Appendix consisting of an extract from Lamotte's Histoire du Bouddhisme
':Indien. Seven of the papers are in German and two in French. The rest are in
,?'EngHsh. Apart from the Introductory Essay by the editor of the volume, Heinz
.'l:Bechert, the number of 37 papers have been arranged thematically under eight
'1i sections as below:
History of Research
;'.: II. The Date of the Buddha in thecontext of the Indian Cultural History
:> m. The Chronology of Buddha: The Indian Tradition Evaluated
N. The Spread of the Theravada Chronology and. its implications
V. Traditions of Late Indian and Tibetan Buddhism
Central Asian Traditions
VII. East Asian Traditions
The Axial Age Theory
Although the body of the volume consists of thirty-eight papers, its spirit is
< represented by three papers of Heinz Bechert (pp. 1-21; 222-236; 329-343), thefrrst
"' of which is the Introductory Essay. It is the result of an idea nourished by him for
more than ten years. In a paper read at the conference seminar ofIndological studies
in Stockholm in 1980, he formulated the view that the "corrected long chronology"
cannot be upheld any longer. A summary of his view was also presented at the 2nd
conference of the International Association of Buddhist Studies at Nalanda in
January, 1980. Bechert's paper was subsequently published, thanks to the
encouragement he received for its publication from Eggermont (Bechert, 1983: 29-
In his Introductory Essay, Bechert opens with a statement:
There is no information on the dates of the historical Buddha, the founder
of the Buddhist religion, which has been unanimously handed down by aJJ
major Buddhist traditions and universally accepted by scholars, nor have
. scholars been in a position to arrive at a general agreement concerning this
question. (italics mine) (p. 1).
But two pages later, having recognized that this "corrected long chronology"
has served as something of a bed-rock for Indian chronology, Bechert appears to
take a second look at this categorical statement and remarks that,
Notwithstanding a very small number of exceptions, we meet with this
"corrected long chronology" in practically all the modern handbooks of
Indian history, world history, history of religion etc. published in Western
countries or in South Asia during the last hundred years. It is generally
presented as an established fact.." (italics mine) (p. 3)
As part of the "Concluding Remarks" of his Essay, Bechert accepts:
We cannot provide the historians with a new chronology of the Buddha's
dates which would be approved by all or by most experts. We may state that
this symposium has at least made it clear that the "general agreement among
scholars that Buddha died within a few years of 480 B. c." has become a
thing of the past. The chronology is only one of the several chronological
hypotheses, the validity of which was argued for in one contribution only.
The majority of the contributors-including those who have analysed
indirect evidence-suppose that the date of the Buddha's Parinirvai;la
OCCUlTed considerably later than 480 B. C. but they could not agree how
much later the event would be dated. (italics mine) (p. 20)
Referring to "the origins of chronological information and its use by historian,
(sic ?)" and citing "examples of the fabrication of chronological constructions and
synchronism" in the case of Sri Lanka, Becbert fmally ends the "Concluding
Remarks" of his Essay:
It seems that, as a consequence of our fmdings, various assumptions
concerning the now generally accepted Indian chronology before Alexander's
campaign should be reconsidered. This refers to historical dates as well as
to those reflecting cultural developments and literary works, and it includes
the problem of the chronological relations between early Indian and early
Greek philosophy and their possible mutual influence which will be
discussed by W. Halbfass in his contribution to the second volume." (italics
mine) (p. 21)
}In his second contribution, evaluating the Indian tradition, Bechert states (pp. 234-
From the material available for evaluation the conclusion seems to force
itself on us that there is no substantial evidence at all in favour of the
corrected long chronology, while there are many arguments which point to
a later date on the Nirv8I}.a.
If this is the case, the question arises whether the short chronology should
be accepted, because it is clearly the earliest Buddhist Chronological
Tradition. However, one hundred years, A. B. is a suspiciously round figure.
In an earlier contribution, I argued that it is not impossible that Asoka
decided to have his consecration performed after his conversion to Bud-
dhism on the auspicious occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the
Nirv8I}.a, which happened to fall within this period of time. However, I think
that this suggestion is unlikely in the highest degree, because we have no
evidence for the handing down of exact chronological information in India
before the Maurya period, and because Asoka was not yet deeply influenced
by Buddhism at the time of his consecration. Therefore, this date of one
hundred years handed down in the relevant Indian texts in (sic.) nothing but
another round figure without historical value.
Thus, the only way to fix the date of the Nirv8I}.a seems to be the use of
indirect evidence. Possible methods have been listed in the introductory
essay, and they have been made use of by several co-authors of this volume.
From all available evidence, it seems to be that the Parinirv8I}.a of the Buddha
must have taken place sometime before Alexander's Indian campaign.
However, I doubt that the information which has been handed down would
allow us to determine, with any reasonable degree of certainty, the decade
or two decades in which this event took place. On the other hand, the indirect
evidence which has been presented during the Symposium has given
sufficient reason to suppose that the Buddha's Parinirv3J:la must be dated
considerably later than calculated by the corrected long chronology, viz., in
the 4th cenrurj and probably after the fIrst decade of that century. I would
like to refer in particular to the reasons put forward by Wilhelm Halbfass
Hermann Kuke, and Georg Von Simson. From these, the conclusion o n ~
must come to is that Buddhism was still arather YQung movement at the time
of Asoka. As I suggested above, the existence of Buddhist mythological lore
at the time of Asoka by no means disproves these arguments, because such
beliefs originate very soon after the demise of Indian religious leaders even
today, and this is to be expected all the more for that early period. And in
fact, von Simson's conclusions are corroborated by the evaluation of the
archaeological material presented by Herbert Hartel. (italics mine)
In the last paragraph of the "Conclusion" of his paper, Bechert states:
Some authors, e. g. H.W. Schumann and K. R. Norman, do not reflect my
views correctly when they cite me as the short chronology, i.e.
ca. 368 B. C. In 19821 expressed the view "that any suggestions of this kind
(i.. e. accepting the short chronology) may be premature. Later on I clearly
stated that there is no basis for accepting the short chronology as a histOriCal
In the Preprints I have suggested that "the Buddha's NirYfiIJ.a may be dated
between about 80 and 130 years before Asoka's coronation, i. e. not a very
long time before Alexander's Indian campaign, i. e. between ca. 400 B. C.
and ca. 350 B. C. After the symposium, I still subscribe to this supposition.
I would think that a somewhat later date is not inconceivable, but I consider
Alexander's Indian campaign as the deflnitive terminus ante quem. Accord-
ing to my understanding, the symposium has not produced unambiguous
evidence which would allow us to make a more exact statement. It also
remains rather unlikely that such evidence will be discovered in the
foreseeable future. (italics mine) (p. 236)
To restate, itis clear from the excerpts quoted above that Bechert would fIrstly,
reject all the theories of early dates which include not only the dead ones, but also,
and particularly, the very live ones, i. e. not only 544/43 B. c., but the "corrected"
version of it, 486/483 B. c., which incidentally fmds support in the "Dotted
Record" too. Secondly, he does not fInd any basis for accepting the "short"
chronology as a historical date. Thirdly, he is convinced that "the parinirvfllJ.a of
the Buddha must have taken place sometime before Alexander's campaign, i. e.
between ca. 400 and ca. 350 B. C. and, while "a somewhat later date is not
inconceivable," he considers Alexander's Indian campaign as the "definitive
terminus ante quem."
Whether or not the Symposium succeeded in its objective, Heinz Bechert
deserves full credit for planning and conducting it. I only wish he had a few more
from among those who believed in the traditional dates, even if it meant
s less homogeneous Symposium. I cannot help also noticing a hidden Eurocentric
~ o t i v a t i o n in Bechert' s endeavour, indicated by the obsession with Alexander and
the miracle of Greek civilization. .
. Time and space will not permit me to cover fully all the contributions. I will
have to be selective. But the conclusions arrived at by some, and the circumstantial
created by others, do not help confum Bechert's claim that the
Symposium, declared the "corrected" long chronology "as a thing of the past."
Leaving aside two papers in the last section (VIII) dealing with the Axial Age
theory, which appear to me as unnecessary inclusions, it is clear by and large that
the nine papers of Sections V to VII, dealing with the East Asian and Central Asian
traditions on the one hand and those of the late Indian and Tibetan Buddhism on
the other (see pp. 399,409-10,415,437,447-48,456,485,489,499), are either
uncommitted or support one or the otherversions oflong, and longer, chronologies.
Chinese sources favour not only the so-call "corrected" and "uncorrected" versions
of the long chronology, but even provide extended versions ofit. Franke has noted
that Chinese secular histories have, as a rule, never mentioned the Buddha and his
presumed dates. This is above all true for the annalistic histories (p. 447). Durt has
stated that "the Korean and Japanese Buddhist sources do not contain any original
material for objective dating of the life of the Buddha" (p. 485). And Gronbold
remarks that "In the Buddhist Tantric texts there was neither inclination nor
. necessity to calculate the date of the historical Buddha." (p. 399).
Section IV (pp. 329-84) deals with the spread of the Theravada chronology and
its implication. The fIrst of its five papers is again contributed by Bechert. He states:
As we have seen, the Theravada chronology is attested for the fIrst time in
an inscription of the first century B. C. By the time of the composition of
the Mahavamsa, it was already accepted as the Buddhist chronology in Sri
Lanka. It came to be used as the Buddhist chronology by all followers of
the Theravada tradition, including Buddhists in Burma, Thailand, and other
Asian countries. However, it was also known and used by Buddhists of other
denominations, as mentioned in the Introductory Essay (above, pp. 16 f).
There it has also been mentioned that the Theravada chronology was
recommended by the World Fellowship of Buddhists for acceptance as the
standard Buddhist chronology.
The chronology of the "Dotted Record," which has been referred to in
various sections of this volume, should also be mentioned in this context,
because there is no doubt that it originated from the Theravada tradition. If
calculated in the Christian era, a few years ei ther side of 485 B. C. is recorded
in this document for the Buddha's Parinirv8i;1a. This means that it differs
from the Theravada chronology by approximately 60 years. The explanation
of this difference remains disputed. As long as Wickremasinghe' s chrono-
logical hypothesis of an earlier Buddha era of 483 B. C. in Sri Lanka Was
widely accepted, it wa<; easy to bring the Theravada chronology and that of.
the "Dotted Record" into agreement. After this hypothesis was disproved
(see above, p. 223), it became more difficult to (1xplain the correspondence-
of the "corrected long chronology" and the "Dotted Record". (p. 341)
However, Bechertappears more interested in the chronological miscalculation
in the Sri Lankan sources and the debate over apparent traces of short chronology
in Dipavarpsa, thereby emphasizing only the negative aspects of the basis for the
Theravada chronology. In this connection he has given special importance to
questions raised recently by W. H. de Zoysa of Sri Lanka, who proposes 384 B ..
C. as the "correct Buddhist era." A detailed presentation of his theory is made by
Keifer Pulz (pp. 363-77).
Mallebrein examines the evidence of the Bodh Gaya inscription, which
indicates continued use of the Theravada chronology in India. Mabes Raj Pant
provides information on the date of the historical Buddha according to Nepalese
tradition, and states:
From this it is quite clear that to frod out the year of the parinirvill}.a we have
to subtract 1811 from the given Saka year 1194. In doing so, we get the result
(1194-1811=617) that the Buddha's parinirvill}.atookplace 617 years before"
Saka SaI!lVat started. As Saka Sru:p.vat starts 78 years later that the Christian
era, to get the year of the Buddha's parinirvill}.a in the Western calendar one
should subtract 78 from 617, which gives the result of 539 B. C. This, of
course, is five years earlier than the date generally accepted. (p. 361)
Out of the remaining three sections of the volume, number I has four papers dealing
with the history of research on the date of the Buddha. In the frrst, Hartmann,
analysing studies published in Western languages (pp. 27-45), remarks on the
contributions of Indian scholars:
Not all their contributions are marked by the methods of critical research,
and it is difficult at time to clearly differentiate articles which can be still
be considered scholarly from those which are either unscientific or written
from the standpoint of a believer be he a Jain or Buddhist. There are some
which are betternot taken too seriously, but generally it can be observed that
the treatment of questions of Buddhist history rather differs from the way
in which some Indian scholars deal with other historical and semihistorical
periods and events of their own past like, for instance, the age of the ~ g v e d a
or the Mahabharata war. Again, this can be easily explained by the fact that
Buddhism is absent from India and that Buddhist matter seem to have little
direct bearing on Hindu culture and the Hindu conception of its own past.
Therefore, no urgent need is felt to search for indications which might help .-
to date back to time immemorial events connected with the establishment
of Buddhism. (p. 27)
It is true that the problem of the date of the Buddha has not in India attracted
the required attention it deserves. But, in my opinion, this is not because "Buddhist
matters seem to have little direct bearing on Hindu culture and the Hindu
conception of its own past." This Hindu-Buddhist dichotomy in life and culture of
India is uncalled for. Also, I think Hartmann's statement about Indian scholarship
is unfair on the whole. This not only shows bias in the author but also a selection,
wittingly or unwittingly, of some of those studies which do not belong in the
category of critical scholarship in India itself, and which are generally not taken
seriously. It is like creating one's straw man and shooting at it, examples of which
are noticed elsewhere in the volume, too.
The quality of Gustav Roth's survey of Hindi writings (pp. 49-54) is marred
by his selection of authors. It is unfortunate that while he devotes five out of six
pages of his paper to one scholar, Pandit Bhagvad Datta, who was respected for
his knowledge of the Aryasamaj, he omits to mention even the names of many other
historians whose writings in Hindi were marked by critical and balanced
scholarship and which found acceptance in modern scholarship.
Braun's short contribution (pp. 45-48) is made with the limited objective "to
clear up some misunderstandings about the MaJaJaiJkaravatthu and to outline its
position in the history of Bmmese Buddhism." I wish a fuller treatment of the
history of Burmese research and acceptance of the so-called Theravada chronology
had been presented to the seminar. Similarly, it is surprising that Hajime Nakamura
too, contributes and equally short paper (pp. 55-57) to give an account of Japanese
research on the problem, which hardly does justice to Japanese scholarship. In a
work like the present volume the subjects and authors could be assigned and
planned better, and provided a fuller, more representative and thorough coverage
than has been made available to readers.
Section II, which consists of the largest number (ten) of papers, deals with the
problem in the contexts of Indian cultural history. The first paper of this section
is by Harbert Hartel, on "The Archaeological Research on Buddhist Sites." This
paper is important not only because its author is the only archaeologist in the group
but also because he paper has influenced five or six scholars to change their minds
on the issue. Hartel "scouts" through the ancient Buddhist sites of Kusmagara,
Bodh Gaya, Rajagrha, Sarnath, Kausambi, Sravasti, Vaisllii, Lumbini, and
Kapilavastu (Tilaurakot and Piprahwa-Ganwaria) and doubts "if all the places
where the Buddha lived, or which he is said to have visited, existed already in the
6th century B. C." Hartel adds, "as the argumentation is open to attack, I wish to
express my firm conviction that the shorter dating of the NBP will finally prove
correct. From this point of view and under the consideration that we possibly have
to date the first settlement of one or the other place in question later than the sixth
century B. c., then the dating of the Buddha in the fifth to the fourth century B.C.
is quite probable" (italics mine) (p. 80).
As noted, Hartel was the only archaeologist representing the discipline in the
Seminar. None of the archaeologists, it may be noted, who have actually worked
at the above-mentioned sites and reported their results, and even others who have
flrst hand experience of scientillc excavations and explorations in the relevant
regions of Bihar, D. P. and Nepal, upon whose work-results Hartel has based his
study, are not quite so sure as he is. And, to the best of my knowledge, the only
site in India Hartel himself worked was Sonkh near Mathura, which is just outside
the core relevant region under discussion. I have been fortunate in not only
personally visiting almost all the relevant sites the regions of eastern D.P., Bihar
and Nepal but also in actually directing and participating in the scientific
excavations of such sites in the region as of Kumrahar (Pataliputra), VaisaIi,
Rajghat (Varanasi). Prahladpur and Ayodhya, and I have directed a village-to-
village archaeological survey of some of the eastern districts of U.P. On the basis
of my knowledge and experience, I am afraid I cannot support the conclusion
arrived at by Hartel.
Now, among the sites listed by Hartel, two important ones, Sarnath and
Kusmagar, have not yet been scientillcally excavated to the natural soil. At
Lumbini also it is not clear whether the excavations down to the natural soil were
scientifically done in any considerable area. At Bodh Gaya, where, as Hartel has
noted, no trenches could be dug "at the temple itself to determine the older use
of this place," excavations were recently (1981-85) carried out by the Archaeologi-
cal Survey ofIndia at a mound adjacent to the temple known as Taradih. It is proven
now that this region was "a very old settlement area reaching back to chalolithic
times"-as Hartel admits (p. 64).
Again, of the remaining sites listed by him, Hartel appears to be incorrect in
his information, with the result that his following statement regarding Rajagrha is
Quite a surprise lies in the fact that an old age for Rajagrha could not be
proved anywhere. The existing radiocarbon dates lie at245 105, 260 100,
265 105 for habitation and defense. The wallfrom New Raj agrha, allegedly
of AjataSatru' s time has been built between 400 and 300 B. C. according to
all calculations. As it remains unexplained whether some of the associated
wares found again together with the NBP have an earlier origin, the time of
the rise of Rajagrha can best be pushed to 500 B. C. after these results.
Whatever may come, Rajagrha belongs basically to the younger ancient
cities of India. (p. 65)
But the carbon dates to which Hartel has referred belong to the samples from
period Ill-A at the New Rajagrha excavated by R. Singh of Archaeological Survey
of India and not from the Old Rajagrha. Hartel has mixed up the old and the new
in Rajagrha.
Regarding Kausambi he admits that:
Archeologists agree that the early habitation levels are dating back to a
period just prior to the advent of the Northern Black Polished Ware, i. e. at
the t.ime when the fortifications were built." (italics mine) (pp. 66-67)
But after referring to the "heated debate" on the dating of the fortification, he adds:
In the light of the pottery and associated fmds a date not earlier than sixth
century B. C. is in all probability very near to the truth." (p. 67)
According to Hartel, the same is the case with Sravasti, which he says is in all
probability not older than the sixth century B. C.
In regard to Vaisili, he agrees that:
The pottery situation above the natural soil is quite similar to the one
reported from Sravasti, both starting in the NBP period with stray fmds of
Late specimens of PGW. (pp. 68-69)
But, unlike his statement for Sravasti date, he states that,
The date of this earliest habitation at VaisaIi is to be ftxed rather around 500
B. C. (pp. 68-69).
Lastly, discussing the identity of ancient Kapilavastu, Hartel takes into
account the results of work of the sites of Tilaurakot and Piprahwa-Ganwaria. But,
as in the case of other sites, here, too, he does not agree with the excavator's dating
of its earliest period, as 800-600 B. C. In his opinion, "here also nothing is
perceptible which could have allowed a dating of Ganwaria older than 500 B. c."
In this case Hartel's comparison of "an interesting circular wall" the ftrst
occupational layers" at Ganwaria with a similar wall in his own excavation at
Sonkh (Mathura district), which is to be dated according to him in the earliest
Mauryan time, is hardly justified. How casual Hartel is in making such compari-
sons based on similarities may be noted from his estimates of dating of Sravasti
and Vais[li (pp. 68-69). The negative picture presented by Hartel is essentially
based on an understanding of the NBP dates which is not correct, or is at best only
partial. He as only conveniently selected the lower limit of the NBP chronology,
the early phase of which would belong in the 7th-6th centuries B. C. and the late
phase would begin in the 4th-3rd century B. C. His observation that "the majority
prefers lower dates" is misleading.
Most of the participants in the Seminar who, to the best of my information,
were not archaeologists, appear to have taken Hartel's analysis for granted. Thus,
apart from Bechert in his Introductory Essay (p. 14) and again in his second paper
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
(p. 235), Von Simson (p. 99), Kulke (p. 107) in Section II and Bareau (p. 221) in
Section III, were lured by it to give up their earlier views. The space does not pem-lit
me to go into fmther details of the archaeological evidence here, but I will discuss
them soon elsewhere.
In his paper entitled "Der Zeitgeschichtliche Hinterground der Entstehung des
Buddhismus und scine Bedeutung fUr die Datierungs frage," Von Simson
concludes (English Summary):
One of the possible ways of approaching the question of the date of the
Buddha is the analysis of the economic and cultural milieu in which his
religious movement started. The origin of the Buddhist Sangha is in this
paper seen in connection with the emergence of cities in the Central Ganges
Basin. Decisive of the development of early Buddhism seems to have been
its support by rich landowners, merchants, [manciers, physicians, etc. who
belonged to an urban milieu where rational thinking had got the upper hand
over brahmanical ritualism and where discussions among competing
movements not bound by tradition were usual.
There is some reason for the assumption that the Buddhists did not belong
to the earliest among these new groups bound to an urban milieu. Especially
the Buddha's concept of the Middle Way between the more radical attitudes
of the earlier period. If this is true, the Buddha should not be placed at the
beginning, but some time after the emergence of cities in the area. In the light
of archaeological evidence (see H. Hartel's contribution to this volume
above, (pp. 61-89, this would suggest a rather late date forthe founder of
the new religion. (p. 99)
Concluding his paper on the significance of the Buddha's date for the history of
North India, Kuke states:
Another interesting result of these deliberations would be the realization.
that, according to a later date of Buddha, the process of state formation,
beginning with the rise of the mahajanapada kingdoms in the early fifth
century and leading to the emergence of the Maurya empire in the late fourth
century, occurred within one and a half centuries, certainly a tremendously
short period for such a far reaching socio-political development. In view of
this discernment it may be necessary to reassess the possible impact of
Alexander's short appearance in Northwestern India on this last stage of
state formation in early India, leading from kingdom to empire.
Buddha's Nirvfu:1a may not be any longer the "earliest certain date of
Indian history." However, it would be wrong to conclude that therefore
Alexander's Indian campaign has to be regarded as India's earliest historical
date, as often assumed mainly be European historians. The earliest historical
date of Indian history now certainly is the conquest of Gandhara and the
Indus valley by Darius around 520 B. C., a date which, so far, we had been
used to associate with the life of Buddha and t..l:Ie rise of Magadha. (p. 107)
There are two papers in this section which deal with the date of Mahavira and
bis synchronism with the Buddha. Mette observes in his paper that "all attempts
to throw light on the beginnings of J ainism have to rely on early Buddhist literature"
and that "Buddhist remarks which appear to refer to Jainism, possibly reach back
in tbe past, to a time when the person of Mahavira had not yet reached its later
inlportance" (p. 137). Eggermont states that "Mahavira died in the month of
Pbalguna 252 B. C. in the 15th year of Asoka's reign at the age of 62 years" (p.
151). This is in keeping with 261 B. C. as the date of the Buddha's death, given
by him in his paper in Section III (pp. 237-251). Both the Buddha and Mahavira
would thus be contemporary to Asoka! This is sufficient to give a shock treatment
to tbose who believe in the earlier dates; no wonder Bechert received encourage-
ment in the initial stages of his pursuit of the problem, as acknowledged by him
There is an interesting long paper in this section (pp. 152-82) by Gananath
Obeyesekere which deals with the myth, history and numerology in the Buddhist
Chronicles. While I am not inclined to attach significance to numerology in the
discussion -for I believe ailka-jyoti$a is a foreign gift to India late enough for our
consideration of the date of the Buddha-I also do not subscribe to the philosophy
of suspicion suggested by Obeyesekere. But I would like to draw attention to his
conclusion, which is worth consideration:
Once the chronological imperative in the Theravada Buddhist construction
of history is formed, it motivates the later recording of historical events.
They too must be given chronological specificity. As Bechert points out, this
concern with chronological specificity, generally co-exists with accuracy
from the reign of Devanampiyatissa onwards. Prior to this reign there is
chronological specificity but not accuracy as I noted in respect of the post-
parinirvfu:1a events. Even in the period after Devanampiyatissa, where
records were, for whatever reason, not available, chronological specificity
was retained but not accuracy. This is where Dhatusena's patriIine comes
in: since accurate records were not available, the gap in chronology was
filled by category numbers. Rhetorical devices took the place of chronologi-
cal accuracy, but these rhetorical devices did not violate the norm of
specificity. That the Mahavarpsaconcern with chronological specificity was
successful is very clear from the fact that modem historians have been
seduced into thinking that chronological specificity indicates accuracy. (p.
The last three papers in this section, by Von Hinilber, Lienhard and Halbfass,
all dealing with the indirect evidence of linguistics and literature-Indian and
Greek-throw interesting light on the discussion and help create an ambiance
hostile to the long chronology.
Although Hintiber admits that "languages do not develop at an any predictable
let alone regular pace," and "it is impossible to use linguistic evidence alone in
solving chronological problems" (p. 183), he concludes his paper with the
Here, we are confronted with the result of a complicated linguistic process
the working of which cannot be observed directly. Starting from t h ~
normalized language of the Buddhist religious literature, we have to Work
our way back almost exclusively by help of the inner evidence deduced from
the surviving texts to uncover the beginning of this process during the life-
time of the Buddha. The duration of this gradual development, which at the
same time is a function of space and time, can hardly be estimated, if only
approximately. Therefore, the inscriptions of Asoka stand as the flrst datable
testimony of Middle Indic as long as the date of the Buddha has yet tobe
found. (pp. 192-93)
Discussing the indirect evidence of classical poetry, Lienhard concludes:
Applying the Long Chronology, we would place early kavya as it was
known to these Buddhist authors somewhere between 580 and 530 B. C.,
which defmitely seems to lie too far back in time. A better, more probable
date can be concluded by applying a "shorter chronology" and flxing
Buddha's Parinirvfu;la, as Andre Bareau does, around 400 B. C. with a
margin of about twenty years added or deducted. This would move early
kavya to the period of ca. 500-450 B. C. and allow us, in a much more
convincing way than the. Long Chronology does, to accommodate the
beginnings and the development of a new poetry which, from the latter part
of the Late Vedic period onward, lead to the formation of early kavya." (p.
Halbfass examines the early Indian references to the Greeks and the flrst Western
reference to Buddhism and asks,
But how do we account for Megasthenes' own apparent silence concerning
Buddhism, in view of the fact that he visited Patalipura and should, if we
accept the traditions about this city, have noticed conspicuous Buddhist
monuments and, moreover, have heard about Buddhist life and thought?
Dible says that for Megasthenes the Buddhists were still too insignificant
to be mentioned separately. However, this would be rather strange-' chose
etrange', as Henri de Lubac notes-if, indeed, Buddhism had already been
alive and growing, and enjoying the patronage of various rulers in this area, .
fot a period of two centuries. Could it really have been that inconspicuous
and insignificant that Megasthenes either overlooked it or provided that he
heard about it, chose not to mention it all? Of course, we are not entirely
. certain that he never mentioned it; and at any rate, the value of such an
argumentQm a silentio (sic) would be limited. But the fact itself that the
extant fragments do not provide clear references is remarkable. Although it
does not allow us to draw precise and definitive chronological conclusions,
it could be used for a cumulative argumentation in favour of a later date for
the Buddha At the very least, it would seem to be easily compatible with
the assumption that Buddhism was not yet two centuries old at the time of
MegaSthenes, that it had not yet produced distinctive monuments and
institutions, and that, instead, it was still rather young and not yet fully
visible when Megasthenes visited the city of Patalipura around 300 B. C.
(italics mine) (pp. 207-8)
Since Halbfass himself acknowledges the weaknesses in his speculation I need
not discuss his points further here, except to note that ifby "distinctive monuments"
those in durable material like stone are meant, the question of their existence before
Moka, does not arise, a fact well known to art historians and archaeologists.
Section III includes seven papers. We have already referred to papers of
Bechert and Eggermont. But one may note with surprise that Andre Bareau, who
had so clearly expounded and supported the so-called "corrected" long chronology
in his earlier contributions, and agreeing even in his present contribution to this
volume that "the ASokan inscriptions of Rumindei and Nigli Sagar prove that, in
250 B. C. Buddhist mythology and devotion had reached a very high stage of
development," has taken for granted the archaeological evidence as put forth by
Hartel and states without a question:
However, the recent and important results of the archeological work in the
Gangetic region prove, as an eminent professor has clearly shown during the
symposium, that the Bhagavant' s life could not have begun much before the
middle of the 5th century B. C. (italics mine)
Therefore, if we set the date of the Buddha's Parinirvfu;la around 400 B. C.,
within a margin of about twenty years added or deducted, we are probably
not very far from the historical truth. (italics mine) (p. 221) .
In perhaps the longest paper of the volume (43 pages) Akira Hirakawa makes
a detailed evaluation of the sources on the date of the Buddha and states in the end
. Most of the sources in the Tripitaka claim that King Asoka lived about one
hundred years after the death of the Buddha. It is safe to surmise that among
the Buddhists in India, the theory that the Bud9ha's death occurred on
hundred years before the time of King Asoka was predominant. This dating
is supported also from the perspective of the development of the Sangha, and
we can conclude that this theory is the most reasonable. (p. 295)
In his second short contribution to the volume Hajime Nakamura concludes
that the Buddha was born in 463 B. C. and died in 383 B. C.
K. R. Norman examines various aspects of evidence related to the dates of both
the Jina and the Buddha and sets out to conclude systematically as follows:
1. All Buddhist schools agree in their accounts of the First Council in 1 A. B.
2. All Buddhists schools agree, in general terms, in their accounts of the
heresy of the Vajjis (Vrijis) and the holding of the Second Council (except
for the number of heresies). The Mahasanghikas also include the story in
their Vinaya, so they cannot have been heretics. All sources date the event
100 A. B., but this is unlikely. The accounts in the Pali chronicles and the
Samantapasiidika state that all the theras concerned had seen the BUddha.
If this is true, then the council can scarcely have been later than 65 A. B.
3. The Vajjis were presumably expelled from the order, and we hear no more
about them. Their expUlsion was confused by the Theravadins with a later
schism, that of the Mahasanghikas. That schism was caused by Mahadeva's
five points. Some Northern accounts date from this schism c. 137 A. B. and
connect the occurrence with the Nandas. This must have been c. 325 B. C.
If we assume that the number 137 means 37 (i.e. and indeterminate small
number, say 20-25) years after the date of the Second Council, then we get
a date for the Buddha of c. 410 B. C.
4. If we assume that he list of five Vinaya-dharas is a list of teachers and
pupils, rather than a list of successive chiefs of the Vinaya, and take an
average of 30 years for their difference in ages, then we get a date of c. 415
B. C. for the death of the Buddha.
5. The Jain tradition gives a date of 155 years after the death of Mahavira
for the coronation of Candragupta, which we can date c. 320 B. C. We have
a firm connection between S thiHabhadra and Candragupta's immediate
predecessor Nanda, and we have a date of 170 years after the death of
Mahavira for the death of SthiHabhadra's predecessor, the sixth Jain
patriarch Bhadrabahu. He therefore died about fifteen years after
Candragupta's coronation. By taking an average figure of 15 years for each
of the six patriarchs we can date the death of Mahavira 75 years before the
coronation of Candragupta, i. e. c. 395 B. C.
6. We shall probably not be far out if we assume that both Mahavira the Jina
and Gotama the Buddha died within the period of ten years either side of
400 B. C. (pp. 311-12)
Finally in the last contribution of section III, Gen'ichi Yamazaki discuss the
list of Patriarchs in the Northern and Southern legends, and on the basis of his study
. fIXes "the NirvID;la year at around 486 B. c.," with the rider that "as this is a rough
calculation errors of a few years would naturally be unavoidable" (p. 320), and
states in his Appendix A, that "the period bf two centuries from the days of
Bimbisara to the building of the Maurya empire was not long but quite natural" (p.
A 325).
It is not surprising to note several linguistic inadvertences, spelling and
grammatical mistakes in a book of such length and with such a diverse background
of contributors. To give only a few examples: p. 37, "intends to established' for
, "intends to establish"; p.44. "He than demonstrates" for "then demonstrates"; p.
71, "Kapilavastu should, therefore, be sought not very farm from it" for
''Kapilavastu should, therefore, be sought not very far from it"; p. 80, "the scouting
through the Buddhist sites has, rouse doubt in our mmd" for "the scouting through
the Buddhist sites has, roused doubt in our mind"; p. 325, line 2; "in" for "is";
.. p.361, line 18, "earlier" for "later."
Lastly, I must again express my appreciation for Heinz Bechert's continued
endeavour for almost a decade to rediscover and settle, if possible, for good, the
date of the historical Buddha. Even if he has not been able to deliver the goods he
has certainly succeeded in forcing others to give second thoughts to their
A. K. Narain
Gender & Salvation: Jaina Debates on the Spiritual Liberation of
Women, by Padmanabh S. Jaini Berkeley, CA: University of
California Press, 1991, 229 pp.
Padmanabh S. J aini has assembled a fascinating and significant anthology of
six Jaina texts on the topic of strimok$a, the salvation of women. The texts date
from c. 150 C.E. to c. 1700 and one of the many rewards of this collection is the
historical unfolding of the arguments. Specialists will rejoice in the copious notes
while non-specialists can easily sample the original texts. In his preface Robert
Goldman points out the value of texts such as these for fIlling in the early social
history ofIndia, a history he describes as having been misrepresented by scholarly
studies exclusively based on the normative texts of Brahmanical culture and not
giving due weight to those of the Jains, Buddhists, and Ajivikas.
J ainism is perhaps best known for its radical formulation of ahirpsa., non-injury
to living things, to the point where Jaina ascetics may eventually starve themselves
to death, and for the nudity of some of its monastics, the sky-clad (Digambaras)
who contrast with the white cloth-clad (Svetambaras). Not surprisingly, the debate
about the spiritual qualifications of women often focuses on the issue of nudity.
Importantly, the nudity of male ascetics was and continues to be acceptable in
Indian society. The nudity of women was and remains highly problematic.
The Jaina texts are interesting both for the arguments they put forward about
women's spiritual abilities and for the ways in which they formulate their
arguments. For instance, Sakatayana, a ninth century defender of women' s spiritual
abilities said that women's spiritual inabilities cannot be proved through either
"perception, inference, or scriptural testimony." (pp. 49-50) These are exactly the
types of evidence that are almost universally used in such arguments. Scriptural
testimony, though, turns out to be rather malleable, as is shown in another ninth
century Jaina text that sets itself against women's spiritual abilities:
Q: How do you then reconcile your position with the sutra text which says
that all fourteen gunasthanas [the fourteen stages of spiritual development]
are possible for a woman?
A: The word "maI}usil).si" [woman] in the sutra means a man who is
characterized as psychologically female (bhavastriviSista-manu$ya); he
may be called a woman because he experiences the female libido (striveda).
(p. 110)
We are all familiar with these exegetical strategies.
Essentially the Svetambaras (clothed) support the spiritual abilities ~ f w o m e n
while the Digambaras (nude) oppose it. The Digambaras argue that women are
inherently inferior to men and therefore cannot achieve salvation, and they offer
four reasons or proofs to support this claim.
1. Women differ morally from men in that they cannot commit the extremely
. iInpure acts that men can; consequently women cannot be bominto the lowest hell.
lama cosmology posits three realms: various hells, the earth, and various heavens.
The hells and heavens are multi-layered: the lowest hell is for the worst acts and
the highest heaven for the purest acts. The argument follows that since women's
Illoral nature prevents them from being born in the lowest hell, therefore, as an act
of cosmic balance, their moral nature prevents them from being born in the highest
Heaven. In other words, being more temperate morally than men is perceived as a
liIllitation-if they cannot be as bad they cannot be as good. The Digambara
argument reads:
The excellence of knowledge and so forth, required for mokg is not found
in women;
because such excellence and so forth must have absolute perfection;
just as women lack the ultimate extreme of demerit,
which is the immediate cause of rebirth in the seventh hell. (They
therefore also lack the absolute perfection required for attaining moksa.)
2. Both the Digambaras and the Svetfunbaras agree that mok$a can only be
achieved by being a monastic, but for the Digambaras, monastics must be nude and
this is their second reason why women cannot achieve salvation-because they
.. cannot be nude. For the Digambaras clothes indicate a clinging to possessions and
the mendicant must be free of all such things. Both sects deny women nUdity, but
the Svetfunbaras still allow women to become mendicants and therefore have
access to salvation. Significantly, S vetfunbara monks are not nude either, which for
the Digambaras means they are not mendicants, so by arguing in favor of clothed
nuns, the Svetfunbaras are also arguing for clothed monks. Obviously this was a
significant factor in the debate about women. Since this whole debate was in the
hands of men, in a sense the Svetfunbaras were arguing for themselves, not just for
3. Women have inferior skill in debating. Actually, women were not allowed
to participate in debates, although J aini finds evidence for women participating in
debates in the Utt:lrfidhyayana Siltra. Jaina debates were more than a measure of
scholarship; they also involved the summoning of occult powers in order to defeat
opponents, and such powerful public displays by women were highly problematic.
4. Their inferior position in society and the ecclesiastical order. The Digambaras
argue further against the spiritual potential of women based on the inferior status
of women within Indian society. For example, because of the rule of primogeniture
only sons, not daughters, may inherit a king's throne and in every household the
man, not the woman, is the master of the house. The idea seems to be that women's
inferior social position reflects her inferior spiritual position.
204 JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
From time to time Jaini also informs the reader about other aspects of the actual .
lives of Jaina women, such as when he discusses the rules governing Jaina nuns
rules which appear to be remarkably similar to those of the Buddhist nuns. Po;
instance, the .svetlimbaras, supporters of the full liberation of women, require the
Even if a nun is ordained for a hundred years she must pay homage to a
young monk, even if that monk has been ordained that very day, by going
forth to meet him and by greeting him in reverence. (p. 20)
Since the texts in this book focus on Jaina nuns it is a particularly Valuable
source for comparative studies with Buddhist nuns. The fact that at the time of
Mabavira a much higher percentage of nuns (all clothed) than monks existed in the
J aina monastic communities, a percentage that holds today among the .svetlimbara
sect, prompts questions about the Jaina community and the Buddhist community.
For instance, what effect does their being in the majority have on the Jaina .
understanding of women' s spiritual abilities? Did their superior numbers keep this
debate alive? Wby has the order of Jaina nuns survived while the demise of the
order of Buddhist nuns has been widespread since at least medieval times? While
Jaini does not go into these questions, the materials he is presenting will be of
enormous help to scholars working on women in South Asia. This study of Jaina
women creates new questions for the study of South Asian women in general and '
helps us to look at old questions in new ways. For instance, learning that Jaina
women can no longer participate in debates, though Jaini fmds evidence that they
did in the past, leads one to reflect on the importance of debating in B uddbism and
to wonder if (a) this limitation was placed on Buddhist nuns (probably) and (b) if
so, how significantly did that contribute to the decline of the order of Buddhist
nuns? Such debates were often public events which helped focus the attention of,
the laity on the monastic orders and often led to contributions. Falk's study of the .
decline of the Buddhist order of nuns in India! suggests that the contributions from
the laity were significantly less for nuns then for. the monks, thereby hastening the
end of the order of nuns. Not being able to debate could have had economic effects
as far reaching as the spiritual effects. .
The elaborate discussions about why a female body prevents one from .
achieving mok$a provide a much needed background for the shorter Buddhist
discussions as to whether liberation can be achieved in a female body, as for
instance in the Vimalakirti SiItra. Both the Jains and the Buddhists list types of .
beings that are restricted to men, and these lists are used in arguments about the
ability of women to achieve mok$a. The Buddhists have the five ranks, listed in
chapter 11 of the Lotus SiItra as: Bra.brna, Indra, a guardian of the four quarters
(these three are all divine beings), a Cakravartin (world conqueror), and a .
Bodhisattva. In Sanskrit.these words are all masculine. The Jains, in turn, have a
list of the five great illustrious beings which includes two of those in the Buddhist,
list, the Cakravartin and Indra, and adds the great hero, his faithful brother, and the
Tirthailkara, none of whom can be female. This helps us to understand that what
appears to be a narrow sectarian view is really part of a pan-Indian attitude toward
women. This was not, however, taken as the final word on the subject, and Jaini's
pithy analysis of the Buddhist positions in relation to the Digambara and
svetfunbara positions is eye-opening. One important distinction, though, exists
between the Jaina and Buddhist positions on women's spiritual potential: while
Buddhist scriptures preserve a positive statement on the spiritual potential of
women attributed to the Buddha on the occasion of the founding of the order of
nuns, no documents exist which show that Mahavira was ever questioned on this
Similarly, the frequent references to Sita, the Hindu heroine, as an example
of a spiritually accomplished woman, show the J ains dealing with a major internal
sect difference and, at the same time, defining themselves in relation to the Hindu
society that surrounds them. And, in the same way as the Jaina discussion sheds
light on the Buddhist and Hindu it also fits in with and sharpens our
focus on discussions about the nature of women from other times and places, such
as Aristotle's biological arguments. Jaini's very particularized and detailed study
awakens within the reader unpleasant memories of the various other religious,
philosophical and scientific analyses that have denigrated women throughout the
.. centuries. The fourth point of Mary Daly's seven-point analysis. of the ways
patriarchy undermines women is obsessive and compulsive attention to detail used
to dehumanize women.
Here, among these Jaina texts, is another example of just
that. The arguments of the Digambaras discuss details about women as if these
details were the very essence of women and in the process they lose sight of women
as living human beings whom they are denying access to salvation. For instance,
the earliest text (c. 150 C.E.) presented by Jaini, and therefore the frrst extant Jaina
text to deny women mendicant status, states:
#7 In the genital organs of women, in between their breasts, in their
navels, and in the armpits, it is said (in the scriptures that) there are very
subtle living beings. How can there be the mendicant ordination (pravrajyff)
for them (since they must violate the vow of ahiIpsfi) [by crushing these
beings through the simple everyday motions of their bodies]?
#8 Women have no purity of mind; they are by nature fickle-
minded. They have menstrual flows. (Therefore) there is no meditation for
them free from anxiety. (p. 35)
This text is quoted as scriptural authority and elaborated upon 1500 years later:
Moreover, it is said in the scriptures that on account of the constant flow of
the menstrual blood, various types of minute beings are generated in the
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
genitals of women; this also occurs on other parts of her body, such as her
breasts. For this reason, women suffer from constant itching caused by these'
beings (which does not allow) them ever to have any cessation of sexual
desire. Harm also occurs to those minute beings due to the destruction
brought upon them. How therefore can a woman assume the mahavratas (of
a mendicant when she cannot be totally free from sexual desire or causing.
injury to living beings)? (p. 166) .'
These ideas about women's bodies lead to the notion that through the physical
contact of sex, women cause men to kill millions of these minute beings when men
rub against their skin and inside their vaginas.
Both sects agree, though, that one of the fundamental causes of being born a
woman is having committed vices, such as cheating and crookedness, in other lives.
In other words, women are associated with cunning. Secondly, once a person,
female or male, is so advanced spiritually that they have generated the Jaina view
of reality, called samyaktva, they cannot be reborn as a female. The highest
wisdom, short of liberation itself, erases any femaleness.
In conclusion, Jaina discussions as to whether or not women can achieve
salvation require defining first what leads to salvation for men; only then can one
argue that women either have or lack the same spiritual capacities as men or not.
In other words, the debate, in the end, centers on what it takes to achieve salvation.
A sidebar to this debate, but one that continues to appear down through the
centuries, is the discussion it generates about hermaphrodites, who are denied
initiation as mendicants by both sects. One Digambara text makes an explicit
connection between hermaphrodites and women:
Moka having the characteristic (of the Four Infinities, knowledge, percep-
tion, bliss, and energy) is possible only for men and not for women. This
is because, like the hermaphrodite, she is unfit for it and because of the
impossibility of establishing any proof for the existence of that mok$a. (p ..
Such an argument shows its androcentric bias: the religious hero is exclusively
male; women and other non-males, such as hermaphrodites, are deviant.
FNancy Auer Falk, "The Case of the Vanishing Nuns: The Fruits of
. Ambivalence in Ancient Indian Buddhism," in Unspoken Worlds: Women's
Religious Lives in Non- Western Cultures, eds. Nancy A. Falk & Rita M. Gross
(San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1980) .
. 2. Mary Daly GynlEcology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (Boston:
Beacon Press, 1978).
Serinity Y Dung
A Bibliography of Buddhist Materials in the Recorded Sound
Collection of the Library of Congress
by Floyd B. Hooker
The Recorded Sound Collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.
C., shelves approximately two million sound recordings. In this magnificent
collection are treasures on Buddhism which are an unusual resource for Buddhists
and Buddhologists alike. These works reflect the development of Buddhism from
its earliest times in ancient India to the various schools of the present day. The
works were recorded in different parts of the world (i.e., North America, Europe,
Asia and Australia). A few excerpts from a recent brochure in the Recorded Sound
Reference Center are informative:
The Library of Congress acquired itsfrrst sound recording, a wax cylinder
recording of the voice of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, in 1904, but did
not begin to systematically collect recordings until 1925 .... Private collec-
tors have donated thousands of recorded treasures, performing artists have
contributed copies of their radio programs, and corporations and associa-
tions have transferred their recorded archives to the nation .... The Library's
sound recording holdings now grow by nearly 100,000 items each year,
through copyright deposits, gifts, and purchases.
This article lists works from all of the major schools of Buddhism. Items in
section I, LECTURES, TALKS AND SEMINARS, were recorded exclusively on
cassette, in English or with English translation. Those in section II, CHANTS,
SHELF were recorded predominantly on LP or compact disc with jacket notes in
. English andlor one of the many languages of Europe, or of Asia with transliteration
and romanization.
The bibliography was compiled by extensive on-line searching of the
computer catalogue database of The Library of Congress and downloading to 5 1/
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
4 inch disk. WordPerfect 5.1 was used to edit the succeeding disk on an IBM
Personal Computer. Every consideration has been given to provide the researcher
with the maximum amount of useful information; bence, it is annotated uSing
information from the computer records where that was ,available. Recordings that
contain both sacred and secular selections have been included. Moreover, the shelf
list numbers, which are required to request a work in the Recorded SOund
Reference Center of the Library of Congress, are printed in bold and have been
verified by comparing them with the published works. The recordings are
catalogued by the Library of Congress using a voluminous and dynamic text known
as Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. Thus, differences in the way cataloguers
record data are to be expected and are reflected in this publication. Since the Use
of diacritics varies with the publisher, sometimes varying within the same
publication, the diacritics in this bibliography correspond to those used by the
various publishers. This bibliography contains those materials on Buddhism which .
were catalogued by November 3, 1992.
In maintaining such an immense collection, some minor errors of detail are
inevitable. Since they pose no major obstacles to the researcher, I have not noted
them here. For any errors of transcription in this publication however, I take full
Finally, I want to thank the staff of the Library of Congress, particularly Mr.
Edwin Mathias of the Recorded Sound Reference Center, for their and useful
assistance and for allowing me expanded access to the Library's collection. My
thanks are also due to Ven. Katugastota Uparatana Thera, who, amid his
multifarious duties as Buddhist chaplain of American University and Coordinating
Director of The Bhavana Society, found time to make his personal computer
available to me for the duration of tliis project.
1. Aaronson, Bernard Seymour. Tantric chanting, poetry & hypnosis.
{Sausalito}: Big Sur Recordings, RSS CASS 11016, {1969}. 2 sound cassettes:
2. Aitken, Robert. Therapeutic implications of life in a Zen Buddhist training
center. {Sausalito}: Big Sur Recordings, RSS CASS 11334, {1972}. 1 sound
cassette: analog.
3. Bstan-'dzin-rgya-mtsho, Dalai Lama XIV, 1935-. Compassion. Ithaca:
Snow Lion, RYE 1615, {198-?}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
General note:
Lecture, delivered to the Theosophical Society in Wheaton, Ill. Presents a
speech of the Dalai Lama in which he describes political, social, and cultural
Recorded Sound Collection 211
conditions in Tibet.
4.---. Harvard seminars. Jeffrey Hopkins, trans. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB
1639-1650, {between 1981 and 1986}. 12 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Talks in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English. "Arranged by the
American Institute of Buddhist Studies, co-sponsored by the Center for the Study
of World Religions of the Harvard Divinity School"-Narration. Issued also as
monograph The Dalai Lama at Harvard / H.H. the Dalai Lama of Tibet; translated
and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins. Ithaca, N.Y.: Snow Lion. 1988. Lectures, delivered
in Emerson Hall, Harvard University, Aug. 3-7, 1981.
Presents a five-day lecture series delivered by the Dalai Lama with the help
of translator Jeffrey Hopkins. The Dalai Lama reviews the most fundamental
teachings of Buddhism by teaching the four noble truths. He goes on to elucidate
the topics of selflessness, meditation, tantric practice, and the power of great
compassion. He concludes by discussing the will to attain enlightenment.
Added corporate authors:
American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
Harvard University, Center for the Study of World Religions.
5. ---. 37 practices of all Buddha's sons. ---. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB
1616-1619, {198-?}. 4 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Talks in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English. Recorded prior to
the Kalachakra initiation in Madison, Wis.
Presents a commentary by the Dalai Lama, using a translator, on the path of
the Bodhisattva as found in the work of Rgyal-sras Thogs-med Bzan-po-dpal
(1295-1369) titled Rgyal-sras lag len so bdun ma
Added different title:
Thirty-seven practices of all Buddha's sons.
6.---. Vajrasattva ---. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYE 1610,
{198-?}.1 sound cassette: analog.
General note:
Lecture in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English.
Presents a lecture by the Dalai Lama in which he describes vajrasattva
meditation and recitation, a mantric technique for purifying ill deeds and
infractions of vows. .
7.---. Wisdom and compassion in tanlIa. ---. Ithaca: Snow Lion,
RYE 1620, {198-?}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
General note:
Lecture in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English.
Presents a lecture of the Dalai Lama who, through,a translator, expounds on
wisdom and compassion in tantric Buddhism.
8. Campbell, Joseph, 1904-. China and Buddhism. {Sausalito}: Big Sur
Recordings, RSS CASS 10961, {1969}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
Added series personal:
Campbell, Joseph, 1904- World Mythology Series.
9.---. Tibet. Sausalito: Big Sur Recordings, RYE 2514, {between 1969
and 1977}. 1 sound cassette (1 hr.): analog.
General note:
Recorded Aug. 16, 1969 in San Francisco, Calif.
Joseph Campbell presents the plight of the Tibetan lamas and describes the
major phases of death as depicted in the Tibetan book of the dead. Huston Smith
tells the story of his discovery of multi-toned chanting in a Tibetan lamasery in
Added author personal:
Smith, Huston.
10. Cox, Harvey Gallagher. Beyond secularity. {Sausalito}: Big Sur Record-
ings, RSS CASS 11068, {1968}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
11. Dreyfuss, George. Debate in Tibetan Buddhism. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB
1942-1946, {198-?}. 5 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a series of lectures by George Dreyfuss, the ftrst Westerner to receive
his Geshe degree, detailing the fundamentals of debate and its importance for
spiritual development in Tibetan Buddhism. Includes question/answer sessions
with the audience covering a broad range of issues surrounding individual practice.
12. Ganden Tri Rinpoche. Bodhisattva vows. Sharpa Tulku, trans. Ithaca:
Snow Lion, RYE 1604-1605, {198-?}. 2 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Lecture in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English by Sharpa Tulku.
"These talks were made possible by the AIBS"-Publisher's catalog.
Presents a description by Ganden Tri Rinpoche of the bodhisattva vows as he
leads a group of listeners in taking them.
Recorded Sound Collection 213
Added author corporate:
American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
, 13. --. Revelation ofManjushri. -. -. {Ithaca}: {Snow Lion}, RYB
]870-1883, {198-?}. 14 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Lectures in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English by Sharpa Tulku.
"These talks were made possible by the AIBS"-Publisher's catalog.
Presents a series of lectures delivered by Ganden Tri Rinpoche as a
coromentary on a text titled Revelations of Manjushri 0. e. Mafijusri). This
coromentary is a discussion of the graded path to enlightenment.
Added author corporate:
American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
14. ---. Three principle aspects of the path.--- Ithaca: Snow Lion,
RYE 1892-1897, {between 1984 and 1986}. 6 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Lectures in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English. "These talks
,'> were made possible by the AIBS"-Publisher' s catalog. Recorded in Boston,
~ M a s s .
rr Summary:
,'. Presents a two-day seminar led by Ganden Tri Rinpoche in which he lectures
f;and answers questions from participants regarding Buddhist practice to attain
r salvation.
1'. Added author corporate:
American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
15. Gorton, David Cole. A Zen approach to dying. {Sausalito}: Big Sur
Recordings, ~ S S CASS 11395, {1974}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
16. Govinda, AnagarikaBrahmacari. The cultural heritage of Tibet. {Sausalito}:
Big Sur Recordings, RSS CASS 11406, {1972}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
17. ---. The practice of Tibetan Buddhism. {Sausalito}: Big Sur Record-
ings, RSS CASS 11462, {196-?}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
18. ---. The teaching of Tibetan Buddhism. {Sausalito}: Big Sur
Recordings, RSS CASS 11461, {196-?}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
19. Hopkins, Jeffrey. Approaching the tantras. Ithaca: Snow Lion, R YB 1925-
1927, {198-?}. 3 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Recorded in Melbourne, Australia.
Presents a series of three lectures by Jeffrey Hopkins concerning the self-
generation of proper motivation in Tibetan Buddhist and the meaning of
compassion, emptiness, and deity yoga. .
20.--. Death and dying. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYE 1 0 1611-1614
{between 1983 and 1986}. 4 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Lecture delivered in 1983.
Presents a lecture by Jeffrey Hopkins on the stages of death, the inteIUlediate
state, and rebirth. The talk is based on teachings from a book by A-kya Yoils-'dzin
Dbyans-can -dga' -ba' i -blo-gros titled G / i'i sku gsum gyi mam gzag rab sgal s gran
me, previously translated by Hopkins and Lati Rinbochay as Death, intermediate
state, and rebirth in Tibetan Buddhism.
21.---. Seminar on compassion. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1658-1662,
{198-?}. 5 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a series of talks given by Jeffrey Hopkins at a weekend seminar
focusing on emptiness meditation, compassion, and kindness.
22. ---. Seminar on death and impermanence. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB
1933-1935, {198-?}. 3 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents seminar talks of Jeffrey Hopkins discussing the concepts of imper-
manence and death from the perspective of Tibetan Buddhism. Includes a question!
answer session with the audience.
23. ---. Seminar on grounds and paths. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1898-
1900, {198-?}. 3 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents seminar lectures by Jeffrey Hopkins centered on a text titled,
Presentation of the Grounds andPaths, Beautiful Omamentofthe Three Vehicles .
. The lectures discuss the development of mental and spiritual attitudes, called
"grounds" and "paths," which lead to enlightenment. Included are question!
response sessions with audience.
24.---. Seminar on the two truths in the four tenent {sic} systems. Ithaca:
Snow Lion, RYB 1928-1931, {198-?}. 4 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents seminar talks of Jeffrey Hopkins centering on the two truths in the
Recorded Sound Collection 215
foU! tenets systems of Tibetan Buddhism. Includes discussions on the nature and
jjn1its of conceptual consciousness and on the need to experience direct perception.
Question/answer sessions with the audience provide some practical clues to
individual application of these principles.
Added different title:
Seminar on the two truths in the four tenet systems.
25. lyer, Raghavan Narasimhan. Buddhism and communism. Santa Barbara:
Centerfor the Study of Democratic Institutions, LWO 4742, reel 261, {196-?}. 1
sound tape reel: analog, 3 3/4 ips, 112 track,7 in.
General note:
Duration: 46 min., 16 sec.
An analysis of the two systems and what they enjoy in harmony, what
differences can be resolved or accommodated, and where the two can never meet.
Discussion follows.
Added author corporate:
Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.
26. Jayewardene, Junius Richard. Professional. luncheon meeting. {N.p.}:
{n.p.}, LWO 5746, reel 104, {n.d}. 1 sound tape reel: analog, 71!2ips, full track,
General note:
An address to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, June 24, 1968.
Junius R Jayewardene, the Ceylonese minister of state, speaks on his trip to
Japan to visit Buddhist temples and meet with Buddhist leaders. His talk focuses
on the similarities between the forms of Buddhism practiced in Ceylon and Japan.
Includes a question-and-answer session.
Added author corporate:
Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.
27. Kennett, Jiyu, 1924-. Zen view of dying. Sausalito: Big Sur Recordings,
RYB 2517, {between 1975 and 1977}. 1 sound cassette (1 hr., 30 min.): analog.
General note:
Recorded at a conference held Feb. 21-23, 1975 in Berkeley Calif.
Presents Rev. Jiyu Kennett, Roshi giving a talk about the Zen Buddhist attitude
toward death. She stresses that the person who lives well and does the best he can
in daily life will also die well. Following her talk, Rev. Kennett responds to
audience questions on euthanasia, the afterlife, and other topics.
28. Lancaster, Lew. The histo.ry & philosophy of Buddhism. {Sausalito}: Big
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Sur Recordings, RSS CASS 10989, {1971}. 1 sound cassette: analog .
. 29. Rimpoche, Gelek. Compassion. {Ithaca}: {Snow Lion}, RYE 1867-1869
{198-?}.3 sound cassettes: analog. '
Presents a series of talks in which Gelek Rimpoche outlines BUddhist
psychology, the development within the individual of Buddhist ways of thinking
and acting.
30. Smith, Huston. Journeys into civilization. {Sausalito}: Big Sur Record_
ings, RSS CASS 11021, {1968}. 2 sound cassettes: analog.
31. Suzuki, Shunryu. Teachings & practice of Zen. {Sausalito}: Big Sur
Recordings, RSS CASS 10967, {1968}. 2 sound cassettes: analog.
Uniform title:
Teachings and discipline of Zen.
32. Tara Tulku. Foundation of excellence. Robert Thurman, trans. Ithaca:
Snow Lion, RYB 1884-1888, {198-?}. 5 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Lectures in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English. "These talks
were made possible by the AIBS"-Publisher's catalog.
Presents a series of lectures by Tara Tulku on the stages of the path of
enlightenment. The text which is the basis of his teaching is the most abbreviated
of Tson-kha-pa' s many versions describing these stages. These lectures consist of
practical instructions for any person seeking to progress toward his or her own
highest fulfillment.
Added author corporate:
American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
33. -_.-. Mindfu{1}ness and clear compassion. ---. Ithaca: Snow Lion,
RYB 1603, {between 1983 and 1986}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
General note:
Speech in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English. "These talks were
made possible by the AIBS"-Publisher's catalog. Recorded at the Insight
Meditation Society, Barre, Mass., Oct. 28, 1983.
Presents a speech delivered by Tara Tulku in which he delineates the role of
mindfulness in the practice of meditation.
Added author corporate:
American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
Added different title:
Mindfulness and clear compassion.
Recorded Sound Collection Lit
34.---. Psychology seminar. ---. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1651-
, {198-?}. 7 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Talks in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English. "These talks were
made possible by the AIBS"-Publisher's catalog.
. Summary:
Presents a series of talks by Tara Tulku who provides, through a translator, an
overview of the Abhidharma, Pramana, Madhyamilca, and Tantrika psychologies
developed in India and Tibet during twenty-five centuries of investigation and
experimental practice.
Added author corporate:
American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
35. Thub-bstan-luiJ.-rtogs-bstan-'dzin-'phrin-las, 1903-1983. In praise of
dependant {sic} arising. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1862-1866, {198-?}. 5 sound
cassettes: analog.
General note:
Lectures in Tibetan with intermittent translation into English.
Presents Kyabje Ling Rinpoche's commentary on a classic Tsmi-kha-pa text
referred to in the narration as The intertwined praise, which is itself a commentary
on an older text by another writer titled, Praise to the teachings of Buddha which
show the interdependent origination. Both of these texts deal with the Buddhist
doctrine of Sunyata, nothingness.
Added different title:
In praise of dependent arising.
36. Thmman, RobertA.F. Culture as mandala. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1889-
1891, {198-?}. 3 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a lecture on the triple mandala of the Dalai Lama which consists of
the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana mandalas.
37. --. Female dieties {sic}. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1919-1921, {198-
?}. 3 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a lecture by Robert T1imman in which he details the mythology,
symbolism, and practice associated with various female deities of the Tibetan
Buddhist pantheon.
Added different title:
Female deities.
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
38.---. Fierce dieties. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYE 1913-1914, f198-?}. 2
sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a lecture by Robert Tburman on the Buddhist view of evil, apparent
fOlms of evil, wrathfulness, and anger. Includes a question/answer session with the
audience. Following the lecture is Robert Tburman's commentary accompanYing
a slide show of Tibetan tankas. . .
39. Trungpa, Cbogyam, 1939-. Buddhism andmeditation.{Sausalito}: Big Sur
Recordings, RSS CASS 10995, {1970}. 2 sound cassettes: analog. .
40. Wallace, B. Alan. Mahamudrii. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1917-1918,
{198-,?}. 2 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a lecture by Alan Wallace exploring Mabamudrameditation. The fIrst
stage of this is Samatha meditation in which one attains and seeks to maintain the
barest level of samadbi. In the second stage of Mabamudra meditation one seeks
to probe the ultimate nature of the mind and gain a direct empirical realization of
41. ---. Path of awakening in Tibetan Buddhism. {Ithaca}: {Snow Lion},
RYB 1915-1916, {198-?}. 2 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a lecture by B. Alan Wallace describing the training and developmen-
tal stages on the Tibetan Buddhist path. Special empbasis is placed on the
importance of proper motivation. Includes a question/answer session with the
42. ---. Stabilizing the mind. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1947-1960,
{between 1984 and 1986}. 14 sound cassettes: analog.
General note:
Recorded in Amberst, Mass. during the autumn of 1984.
Presents an in-depth series of lectures by Alan Wallace in wbich be explores
the cultivation of mental stability, of mental clarity, and of the integration of these
two. This is a practical course of mental discipline designed to beigbtenone's
awareness both during daily activities and periods of solitude.
43. ---. Student-teacher relationship. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB 1911-
1912, {198-,?}. 2 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a lecture by Alan Wallace in whicb be presents the concept of
Recorded Sound Collection 219
gutUyoga and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different types of
. student-teacher relationships. In a questionlresponse session with the audience he
.... also gives advice concerning individual practice.
44.---. Theory & exploration of consciousness. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB
.. 1936-194l, 6 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a weekend seminar given by Alan Wallace exploring Western
assumptions about the nature of consciousness and comparing these to the Tibetan
Buddhist concept of the mind. Includes question/answer sessions with the audience
about the relation of these ideas to individual practice.
Added different title:
Theory and exploration of consciousness.
45. Watts, Alan Wilson, 1915-1973. BeatZeil-beatHasidism. {Sausalito}:
Big Sur Recordings, RSS CASS 11297, {1967}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
Added author personal:
Friedman, Maurice s.
46. ---. The diamond way. {Sausalito}: Big Sur Recordings, RSS CASS
11361, {1969}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
47. Zasep TuIku Rinpoche. Six session guru yoga. Ithaca: Snow Lion, RYB
1857-1861, {between 1981 and 1986}. 5 sound cassettes: analog.
Presents a series of seven lectures delivered by Zasep TuIku Rinpoche on the
practice of six session guruyoga.
Added different title:
Six session guruyoga.
1. Bhattacharya, Deben, compo Religions of India. {Chicago}: Argo, Argo
ZFB 55, {1971}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Hindi.
General note:
The Living tradition. Sung and played by local musicians. Recorded between
1954 and 1968. Program notes by the compiler on slipcase.
Hindu: temple bells and drums. Vedic chants. Raga Asavari. Kazhagam.
Mariyammn Padal. Mira's Bhajan. Buddhist: Namo tatsat. Tibetan prayer. Pali
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
prayer. Sikh: In praise of guru Nanak.
2. Buddhist drums, bells, and chants. {New York}: Lyrichord, Lyrichord
LLST 7200, {1970?}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in. ,
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
"Recorded at actual services in the temples of Kyoto, Japan". Program notes
on container.
Drum of the zen service. Hannya shingo (Heart sutra). Goeika (Pilgrim chant).
Aki-wasan (Jodo funeral). Goshygyo-wasan (Pilgrim funeral). Cheshi (Meian
priests). Shomyo (Shichi-kango). Somyo (Godai-gan). Temple bells (Myoshinji).
3. Chanting with tamboura & dulcimer. {Sausalito}: Big Sur Recordings, RSS
CASS 11551, {1970}. 1 sound cassette: analog.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
Added author personal:
Kimmel, Tenny.
Added author corporate:
Ram Dass.
4. Chinese Buddhist music. {New York}: Lyrichord, Lyrichord LLST 7222,
{1971}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Recorded by J. Levy at Precious Lotus Monastery, Lan Tao Island, Hong
Kong, and Good-fortune Monastery. Commentary by L. Picken and Levy on
Waking the monks. Morning service. Recitation with large bell. Solo melodic
chant. Morning service nuns. Pei-tou liturgy (Great bear liturgy). Hua-yen tzu-mu '
liturgy (solo chant) Shui-Iu fa-hux (plenary Requiem Mass) Ch'ing-ming (Cer-
emony at graves of ancestors) Ch'ac-u wang-hun (private Requiem Mass).
Added author personal:
John Levy.
5. Cho, Kyu-dong, compo Sounds of Korean temple bells. Seoul, Korea:
Korean Cultural Treasues {sic} Institute, Matrix no. EJ, {1966}. 1 sound disc:
analog, mono., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
Recorded Sound Collection 221
General note:
Narrated in English by Song Du-Young and others. Contains selections from
the compiler's Buddhist Temple Bells of Korea. "Notes on Korean temple bells"
({4} p. illus.) inserted in slipcase.
. . Added author personal:
Song, Du-Young.
Added author corporate:
Han'guk Munhwajae Yon'guhoe.
Added different title:
Buddhist temple bells of Korea.
6. Dai hannya tendoku e. {Chicago}: Phillips, Philips 6586021, p1974. 1
sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Musical sources. Ceremonial, ritual, and magic music, II, 3. Unesco collection.
Title on container: Shomyo-Buddhist ritual from Japan. Ceremony performed by
the Buzan division of the Shingon sect. Program notes by P. Landy and T. Kido
on container.
Added different title:
Shomyo-Buddhist ritual from Japan.
Added series titles:
Musical sources. Ceremonial, ritual, and magic, II, 3. Unesco collection.
7. Fanbai: chant liturgique bouddhique: lecon du soir au Temple de Quanzhou.
Paris, France: Ocora, Ocora C 559080, p1989. 1 sound disc (66 min., 3 sec.):
digital, stereo., 4 3/4 in., compact.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Sanskrit.
Series title:
General note:
Chanted in Sanskrit. Parallel title on container (romanized): Fan pai. Program
notes (unpaged) inserted in container. Recorded Jan. 29, 1987 in the Temple
Kaiyuan, Fukien Province, China.
Harmonisation-Xiang zan-Fo shuo Amito jing-Mengshan shishi yi-
Hymne a Amitabha-Circumambulation-Da huixiang-San gui yi-Dabei
zhou-Jialan zan-Sortie.
Participants note:
Monks of the Temple of Quanzhou.
Added author corporate:
K'ai-yuan gSU (Ch'uan-chou shih, China).
Added different title:
. . ,
. 8. Folksongs of Nepal. New York: Lyrichord, LyrichordLLST7330, {197?}. '
1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Newari.
General note:
Title on container: Folksongs of Nepal. "Field recording by Stefano Castelli"_
Container. Program notes in Italian with English translation on container.
Padma Sambhava can't eat-Ganv ganv bathauta-Sunna na sunna-Do you
hear?-Sunna nahin-Soldier's letter-The condition of man-Song of the
unhappy maiden-Story of Manu Tamang-Jhyaure: Lhasa gita-Evening
jhyaure-Jhyaure of the Dharma-Story ofPadma Sambhava-Jayangri: Shaman
therapy-Story of the man with two houses-The rani of the jungle-Mountaineer' s
love song.
Participants note:
Various performers.
Added author personal:
Castelli, Stefano.
Added different title:
Folk songs of Nepal.
9. Gunarathan, Henepola Mahathera. Buddhist devotions; Theravada tradi-
tion. {New York}: Sheikh Records, Sheikh Records SRLP 002, {1970}. 1 sound
disc: analog, mono., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Pall: Venerable Mahathera Henepola Gunarathan. English: Edwin H. Kaplin.
Introduction. Homage. Three refugees. The 5 precepts. Meditation on benevo-
lence. The blessings. The 3 jewels. Loving kindness.
10. Gyuto Monks. Freedom chants from the roof of the world. Salem:
Rykodisc, Rykodisc RCD 20113, p1989. 1 sound disc: 25 digital, stereo., 4 3/4 in.,
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
General note:
Recorded at Skywalker Ranch soundstage, Nov. 15, 1988, and at the Cathedral
Recorded Sound Collection 223
of St. John the Divine, New York, Dec. 3; 1988.
Yamantaka (27:44}-Mahakala (26:58)--#2 for Gaia (9:17).
Participants note:
. The Gyuto Monks; with Philip Glass, Mickey Hart, and Kitaro (3rd work).
Added authors personal:
Glass, Philip.
Hart, Mickey.
Kitaro, 1953-.
Added different title:
Gyuto Monks in America, 1988.
11. Japan. Record 4, Buddhist music. Kassel, W. Germany: Musicaphon,
Musicaphon BM 30 L 2015, {1960?}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm,
12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Japanese.
Series title:
Unesco Collection. Musical anthology of the Orient; 15.
General note:
Title on container: The music of Japan, record IV, Buddhist music. Vocal and
instrumental music. Program notes in English, French, and German bound in
container. Recorded between 1953 and 1957.
Hokku=Great summons to prayer-Fusatsullore=Ceremony of communal
penitence-Sange=the scattering of lotus flowers-Shichi-butsu=shornyo, per-
fonned as a funeral hymn for the death of a monk or nun-Santobachi=percussion
Buddha of wisdom in the splendour of his thousand colours-Mas6-biwa=the lute
. of the blind monks-Kaichin=evening signal to retire.
Participants note:
Buddhist monks in various monasteries and temples in Japan.
Added different titles:
Japan IV.
Japan 4.
Japan four.
Music of Japan IV.
Music of Japan 4.
Music of Japan four.
Buddhist music.
12. Japanese Buddhist ritual. {New York}: Folkways Records, Folkways
Records FE 4449, {1956}. 1 sound disc: analog, mono., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
. nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Language note:
. Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Ethnic folkways library. Recorded by D.G. Baring, principally at the
Noumanji Temple at Kawasaki. Program notes by D. G. Haring (7 p. ill.) inserted
in contariner.
Large temple bell. Morning prayers. Gongs and drum. Wasan goeka hymn.
Wasan goeka hymn. Hymn of Mt. Hiei. Memorial service. Tenri-kyo Chant.
Nokuchumnu. PiIramita. Teritori.
Added authors personal:
Miyoshi, Akira, 1933-Nokuchurunu.
Hirose, Ryohei, 1930---PiIramita.
Yuasa, Joji, Teritori. .
Added author cOIporate:
Tokyo GojiisOdan.
13. Japanese temple music; Zen, Nembutsu, and Yamabushi chants. {New
York}: Lyrichord, LyrichordLLST7117, {1970?}. sound disc: analog, stereo., 33
113 Ipm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Recorded by K. Takasago during temple ceremonies in Kyoto, Japan. Program
notes on container.
Sutra chanting (Nembutsu) by priests of the Jodo Sect at Kurodani Temple:
Koge (Chant of purification); Sanporai (Salutation to Tri-Ratna); Shibujo (prayer
of invitation to B uddah); Kokaige Preachings of Buddah Zen solo chants by priests
at Myoshinji Temple: Daishindarani; Prayer to Avalokitesvara. Chanting of
morning services by Yamabushi of the Shuken Sect at Shogoin Palace: Hokesampo
sutra; Hannyashingo (Zen heart sutra); Kito (prayers for peace and security).
Added author personal:
Takasago, Katsumasa.
14. Ladakh: musique de monastere et de village. Paris, France: Le Chant
monde, Le Chant du monde LDX 274662, p1989. 1 sound.disc: digital, stereo.,
3/4 in., compact.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Miscellaneous.
Series titles:
Musee de l'homme.
Collection du Centre national de la recherche scientifique et du Musee de

. ,
; General note:
Recorded Sound Collection 225
Additional title on container: Ladakh: monastic and village music. Program
and texts in French and English (31 p.: ill.) inserted in container. Recorded
'Aug. 1976. Contents: ,
'. Musique de monastere: Rituel en l'honneur de A-phyi-Epopee du roi Ge-sar:
iCnat du roi Ge-sar; Chant du cheval Rkyang-shes-Musique de village: Musique
pour Ie tir a I'arc Danse de l'oiseau; Sur ce papier blue--Sur Ie stupa de cristal-
Chant de bon augure-Chant en l'honneur d'un la
Participants note:
Performed by Tibetan Buddhists and native musicians.
Added author personal:
Helffer, Mireille.
15. Liang, Tsai-p'ing. Music of cheng. {N.p.}: Four Seas Record Pub. Co.,
Four Seas Record Pub. Co. Matrix no. 7112251; 7112253, 7112263, {1971}. 3
sound discs: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
Uniform title:
Works, cheng. Selections.
General note:
Title from album. Performed by the composer. Program notes in Chinese and
English on album.
:' Buddhist prayer song. Night rain in plantain leaves. Hundred birds courting
',the phoenix. Ascending the tower. Wild geese alighting on the sandy shore .
. " .. ' Relieving my heart. Flowers on brocade. Longing for an old friend. Winter ravens
sporting over the water. Song of the sweetcake vandor {sic} Lament of a laundry
lady. Universal celebration. Dream image of life. Floating lotus. Reunion at the
'silverriver. Pei-tsiko. Mien tab hsui. Mutual longing. {Restoration song} Old song
in memory of homeland} {Battle song}.
16. Luneau, Georges, compo Musique tiMtaine. {Paris, France}: Ocora,
Ocora OCR 71, {ca. 1972}. 1 sound disc: analog, mono., 33 113 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: French.
General note:
Recorded 1971 at the monasteries of Thamiand Thamu in the province of
Khumbu in north-east Nepal, the Sherpa region near the Tibetan frontier. Durations
on labels. Notes by Luneau in French with English translation by J. Benett ({5}
p. illus.) on and bound in album. .
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
.Mani-Rimdu: Ceremonie de bienvenue. Procession et "roI-'cham." RitueI en.
l'honneur de la Venerable Yoghini de Diamant.
17. Mayuzumi, Toshiro, 1929-. Nirvana-symphony; Mandala-symphony.1be
Netherlands: Philips, Philips 9500 762, p1978. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/
3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Japanese.
Uniform title:
Nehan kokyokyoku.
General note:
The 1st work for male chorus (12 parts) and orchestra, sung in Japanese. Words
of the 1st work: the Zen Sutra "Suramgamah" and the Tendai text "Shomyo." .
Durations: 34:00; 20:33.
Participants note:
Japan Chorus Union (1st work); NHK Symphony Orchestra; Yuzo Toyama
(1st work), Kazuo Yamada (2nd), conductors.
Added authors personal:
Toyama, Yuzo, 1931-cnd.
Yamada, Kazuo, 1912-cnd.
Mayuzumi, Toshiro, 1929-Mandala symphony.
Added authors corporate:
Japan Chorus Union, prf.
NHK Kokyogakudan, prf.
Added different titles:
18. Music in Sikkim. {New York}: ABC Command, ABC Command COMS
9002, p1975. 1 sound disc: analog, mono., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Music of the earth. Recorded in Sikkim Dec. 1969. and Jan. 1970. Durations
on container; program notes and texts with translations ({ 14} p. ilL) inserted.
Ceremonial and folk music: Lepcha band ceremonial music. Sukhbir (a
narrative singer) Lepchanarrative song. Tibetan folk song. Sherpa folk song. Metal
and bamboo jew's harps. Music of the Buddhist liturgy: Hymn for shawms and long
trumpets. Private memorial service (excerpt).
Added series title:
Music of the earth.
Recorded Sound Collection 227
..... 19. Music of Southeast Asia. {New York}: Folkways.Records, Folkways
;Records FE 4423, {1959}. 1 sound disc: analog, mono., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
. Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General "note:
Ethnic folkways library. Traditional and popular music. "Recorded in Burma,
Malaya, Thailand, Viet Nam, Laos, South China." Program notes by H. Cowell
({3} p.) inserted in container.
Bmma: Shan song; Flower of heaven; The southern island; Buddhist ceremo-
ntal ode. Malaya: Chinchem; Siku. Thailand: Admiration of a sleeping maiden;
Orchestral compositions (2 works) Viet Nam: Folk sQng; Recitation from Hue van.
Laos: Woman's song; Folk dance; Love song. South China: Folk tune.
Added series title:
Ethnic folkways library.
20. The Music of Tibet; the Tantric rituals. {New York}: Anthology,
Anthology AST 4005, {1970}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Hindi.
General note:
A Musical anthology of the Orient, 6. An Anthology of the world's music. Title
album. Performed by the lamas of Gyume and GyutO Monasteries, Lhasa,
Tibet, now living in exile at Dalhousie, North India. Notes ({ 12} p. illus.) bound
in album.
Drumbeat to summon deities. Guhyasamaja tantra. A prayer of refuge.
. Invocation of mGon-po. Invocation of Mahakala. Prayer of ablution and purifica-
,tion. Selections from Guhyasamaja tantra, chap. 5. Prayer to mGon-po. Prayer to
. Hla-Mo. Prayer to Chos-rGyal. Prayer for the preservation of Buddha-Dharma.
Invocation of Mahakala. Prayer to Mahalcala.
Added series titles:
A Musical anthology of the Orient, 6.
An Anthology of the world's music.
21. The Music of Viet-Nam II. Entertainment music and music of the
modernized theatre. Kassel, W. Germany: Musicaphon, Musicaphon BM 30 L
2023, {1974?}. 1 sound disc: analog, mono., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Vietnamese.
Series title:
Unesco Collection. Musical anthology of the Orient; 23.
. JIABS VOL. 16 NO.1
General note:
.Titles on container: Viet-Nam II; Music of Viet-Nam Record II. Program notes
in English, French, and German bound in container.
Bai trong lay and thet-Buddhist chants and prayers-Bai ha-RespectfuJ.
invitation to the Goddess of the West-Xang Xa-Rao nam, hoi ai-oan-Binh
ban-The wind blows and bends the weeping willow-The four generations-The
beautiful tay thi-Longing for the past.
Participants note:
Native musicians.
Added different titles:
Music of Viet-nam 2.
Music of Viet-nam two.
Viet-Nam II
Viet-Nam 2.
Viet-Nam two.
Entertainment music and music of the modernized theatre ..
22. Musica Tibetana. {Stuttgart, W. Germany}: Fono Gesellschaft, Fono
GesellschaftFGLS 304705, {1969}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 331/3 rpm, 12
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Folk, art, sacred, and liturgical music performed by native musicians.
Introductory notes in German, French, Italian, and English on slipcase; notes on
the music in German (leaf) inserted.
Tibetische Nationalhymne. Tanzweise. Kinderlied.Zithersolo. Hirtenlied.
Volkslied. Lied "Katanige." Hirtenweise. Bauerngesang beim Dreschen. Epische
Gesange historischen Inhalts. Damnye-Solo. Hirtenlied Volksweise. Kinderlied.
Weise fiir vier Floten. Tanzlied. Puja im kloster Rumtek. Om Mani Padme Hum.
Puja imkloster Svayambunath. Chor des Gyuto-Klosters. Gyaling-Solo. Tibetisches
Totenbuch. Totenmusikfiir Schwarzhut-Iamas. Hymnen des Milarepa. Lamatanze.
23. Musique bouddbique de Coree. France: Vogue, VogueL VLX253, p1969.
1 sound disc: analog, mono., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Korean.
Series title:
Collection Musee de l'homme.
Series different title:
Serie Loisirs.
Recorded Sound Collection 229
General note:
'. Performed by monks in the Tae Ch'o Sung order. Recorded 1964 in the Sae
(the New Temple), Seoul, South Korea.
, Contents: .
:,',' Koryong-san-Sam kwi eui ryeh/Panya simgyong (l)-Panya simgyong
;(2)--Hwach'ong-'-Ch'onsu para.
; Added author personal:
i., Levy, John.
24. Musique rituelle tibetaine. Paris, France: Ocora, Ocora OCR 49, p1983.
'J sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
. Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
Edition statement:
General note:
Buddhist chants and instrumental music. Field recordings, texts, and photos.
'by Georges Leneau. Ethriographical notes and notes on the recordings in English
and French (6 p.: ill.) bound in container. Recorded Apr. 1969 at Tibetan religious
communities presently located in Nepal.
Ceremonie d' offrande-Appel de conques-Moulin a prieres-Ceremonie de
de benediction-Ceremonie a Yamantaka.
Added author personal:
.. Leneau, Georges.

t 25. Musique sacree des moines tibetains. France: Arion, Arion ARN 33 335,
1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
il; . Language note:
k'; Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
'i.e General note:
! "
,0 Buddhist chants. Unidentified performers. Recorded in Buddh Gaya and
,;. Dharamsala, India and in Swayambunath (Katmandou), Nepal by Gerard Kremer.
. Contents:

. Moine tibetain en priere-Appel des conques-Office du matin-Tambours
a deux peaux-Office de I' apres midi -Moines tibetains en priere a Dharamsala-
;t" Trompes telescopiques-Office du sair.
Added author personal:
Kremer, Gerard.
26. Padmasambava chopa with theMahakala offering: A Tibetan Buddhistrite
from Nepal. New York: Lyrichord, Lyricbord u..ST 7270, {1974'7}. 1 sound. disc:
analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
General note:
Chants and instrumental music. Sung in Tibetan. R ~ c o r d e d by T. Laird at the
Sri Karma Raj Maha Vehave monastery, Swayambunath, Nepal, Mar. 27-Apr.
2, 1973.
Padmasambava prayer-Mahakala prayer.
Participants note:
Performed by monks of the Kargyiidpa sect.
Added different title:
Tibetan Buddhist rite from Nepal.
27. Prayer and devotion. Regensburg, W. Germany: G. Bosse Verlag, RZA.
2075, p1985. 2 sound cassettes: analog.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
Series title:
Music of the globe; 4.
General note:
Traditional music. Program notes in English ({ 20} p.: ill.) bound in container.
Field recordings.
Tibetan ritual-Jewish music-Islamic religious chanting from Yeman-
Liturgical chants of the Armenian Mechitharist Community.
28. Rituals of the Drukpa Order. {New York}: Lyrichord, Lyrichord llST
7255, {1973?}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item:. Hindi.
General note:
Tibetan Buddhist rites from the monasteries of Bhutan, v. 1. Chants and
instrumental music performed by monks at Thimphu, Bhutan, and nuns at Punakha,
Bhutan. Recorded in 1971 by J. Levy. Program notes by J. Levy ({ 6} p. ill.) inserted
in container.
In praise of Genyen. Offering of the golden drink. Long trumpets: Throat
ornament; Two notes prolonged. Invitation to Gonpo. Petition to Chakchen.
Invoking Tshetro's blessing. Supplication to the buddhas. Aspiration to be reborn
in the western paradise. Petition to Dramar. Prayer for Lama's long life. Large
mani-wheel, with mantra. Rite to cure disease. Tibetan shawrn processional music
Processional music for shawrns and percussion. Long trumpets: Auspicious
Recorded Sound Collection 231
Added author personal:
Levy, John.
Added series title:
Tibetan Buddhist rites from the monasteries of Bhutan. v. 1.
29. Ritue1 du soir. {France}: Playa Sound, Playa Sound PS 33504, {1980?}.
disc (44 min.): analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
Series different title:
Musiques de l' Asie traditionnelle; v. 4. Tibet.
General note:
Title on container verso: Bod kyi san sol kyi flo1 mo. Program notes by Hubert
Fraysseix with English translations on container.
Added different title:
Bod kyi san sol kyi flo1 mo.
Added series uniform titles:
Musiques de 1'Asie traditionnelle; v. 4.
Musiques de l' Asie traditionnelle. Tibet.
30. Sacred dances and rituals of the Nyingmapa and Drukpa Orders. {New
York}: Lyrichord, Lyrichord LLST 7256, {l973?}. sound disc: analog, stereo., 33
113 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Hindi.
General note:
Tibetan Buddhist rites from the monasteries of Bhutan, v. 2. Chants and
instrumental music performed by monks at Nyimalung and Tongsa, Bhutan.
Recorded in 1971 by J. Levy. Program notes by J. Levy ({6} p. ill.) inserted in
Peling shachham, deer dance. Dramatse ngachlam, drum dance. Lama norbu
. gyamtsho, annual ritual dedicated to Padma Sembhava. Supplications to Padma
. Sambhava: Entreaty to the three Buddha-bodies; Invitation to Padma Sambhava;
Rise up, Padma; Words of prayer; Tibetan shawms.
Added author personal:
Levy, John.
Added series title:
Tibetan Buddhist rites from the monasteries of Bhutan.
31. Sarachchandra, Ediriweera R. Saraccandrage Simhabiihu. Colombo, Sri
Lanka: Singlanka, RYB 2354, {198-?}. 2 sound cassettes (ca. 120 min.): analog,
stereo., Dolby processed.
nABS VOL. 16 NO.1
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Sinhalese.
Uniform title:
General note:
In Sinhalese. Title on container: Sarachchandra's Sinhabahu. Notes on inserts
in Sinhalese, notes on container in English.
Based on the style of the folk opera known as Na<;iagama, this work dramatizes
the legend of the, which attributes the origin of the Sinhala race to a
lion who consorted with a princess of Vanga (modem Bengal).
Added author personal:
Mahanama, 5th cent.
Added different title:
Sarachchandra's Sinhabahu.
32. Satoh, Somei, 1947-. Margaret Leng Tan plays Samei Satah. {San
Francisco}: New Albion Records, New Albion Records NA 008, p1986. 1 sound
disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Undetermined.
Uniform title:
General note:
The 1st work for violin and piano; the 2nd work for two pianos with electronic
tape delay; the 3rd work for soprano, piano, and percussion; the 4th work for piano
with electronic tape delay. The text of the 3rd work taken from Buddhist chant.
Margaret Leng Tan, piano; Frank Almond, violin (1st work); Lise Messier,
soprano, Michael Pugliese, percussion (3rd work). Recorded at the State University
of New York at Purchase, Aug. 6-8,1985.
Birds in warped time II : 1980 (l1:lO)-Litania: 1973 (12:58)-Theheavenly
spheres are illuminated by lights: 1979 (11:45)-Incarnation II: 1970 (10:11).
Added authors personal:
Tan, Margaret Leng, prf.
Almond, Frank, prf.
Messier, Lise, prf.
Pugliese, Michael, prf.
Satoh, Somei, 1947- Birds in warped time, no. 2.
Satoh, Somei,
Satoh, Somei, 1947-Heavenly spheres are illuminated by lights.
Satoh, Somei, 1947-Incarnation, no. 2.
Recorded Sound Collection 233
33. Shakuhachi: flute traditionnelle japonaise. France: Auvidis, Auvidis AV
6508, p1984. 1 sound disc: digital, stereo., 4 3/4 in., compact.
. Language note:
Predominant language of item: None.
Series title:
Musique zen; vol. 2.
General note:
Issued also as analog disc (A V 4508) and cassette (A V 5508). Program notes
in English and French by A. Saron (6 p.) in container. Recorded in Japan.
Koku-reibo (20:46)-Mukaiji-reibo (25:32).
Participants note:
Judo Notomi (in 1st work), Goro Yamaguchi (in 2nd work), shakuhachi.
Added authors personal:
Notomi, Judo, 1895- prf
Yamaguchi, Goro, 1933- prf.
34. ShOmyo: chant Jiturgique bouddhique, secte Shingon: Kob6daishi mieku.
Paris, France: Ocora: Ocora C 558 657, p1987. 1 sound disc: digital, stereo., 4 3/
4 in., compact.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Sanskrit.
Series title:
Musiques traditionnelles vivantes. II, Musiques rituelles et religieuses.
Series different title:
Japon; 7.
General note:
Sung in Chinese, Japanese, or Sanskrit. "Disque realise avec la collaboration
du Musee Guimet et l' Association musicale franco-japonaise"-Container. Pro-
gram notes in French by Akira Tamba, with English translation by Michael Vogel
(11 p.: ill.) in container. Recorded at the Maison de Radio-France, Oct. 25, 1985,
under the direction of Akira Tamba.
Jimbun-Sh6rei-Damichisan: Zen san-Rishukyo-Eko.
Added authors personal:
Kukai, 774-835.
Tamba, Akira.
Added different title:
K6b6da1shi mieku.
Added series uniform title:
Japon (Radio-France); v. 7.
nABS VOL. 16 NO. 1
35. ShOmy6: chant lirurgique bouddhique, secte Tendal. France: Occra, Ocara
558539, p1979. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 113 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Japanese.
Series title:
Musiques traditionnelles vivantes. II, Musiques rituelles et religieuses.
Series different title:
Japon; v. 2.
General note:
Program notes by Akira Tambain English and French on container. Performed
by B uddhist monks. Recorded Oct. 21, 1978, at the Maison de Radio-France, Paris.
Added series uniform title:
Japon (Radio-France); v. 2.
36. Singhalese music, singing, and drumming. Kassel, W. Germany:
Musicaphon, Musicapilon BM 30 SL 2566, {between 1977 and 1984}. 1 sound
disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Sinhalese.
Series title:
An Anthology of South-East Asian music. Sri LaIika.
General note:
Program notes and recording data by Josef Kuckertz in English and German
and texts with English and German translations (8 p.: ill.) bound in. Recorded Mar.
3-5, 1972 by JosefKuckertz in the Kandy and Matale regions and in Ambalangoda;
13th-14th selections recorded 1976-1977 by Cyril de Silva Kulatillake.
Nelum-gi (4:50)-Nelum-gi (2: 53)-Nelum-sindu (1:36}-Andahera (:29)-
Harvest song (1:03)-Tiila tika sivpada(2:00)-Nelum-gi (3:04)-Song to honor
the local gods (1:00)-Talamala-gi (1:41)-Cradle-song (1:21)-Pil-gi (:57)-
Chiirnikii (4: l1)-Gajaga-vannama (5: 18)-Mailgala ~ t a k a (2:41)-Athya-bera
(5: 11)-Suddha-matra (2:00)-Magul-bera (2:09}-Asirvada-kavi (1 :02)-Ritual-
song with drum (yak-bera) accompaniment (2:31)-Samayan-bera (5:17).
Added author personal:
Kuckertz, Josef.
37. The Songs of Milarepa: Tibetan music from the Mahayana Buddhist
Nunnery. New York: Lyrichord, Lyrichord LLST 7285, {197-?}. 1 sound disc:
analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
Recorded Sound Collection 235
Milaladup: Milarepa's prayer (17:53)-Predictions of Marpa: song / attrib to
Milarepa (3: 15)-Please return: song / attrib to Dakpu Rimpoche (6:35)-We are
SO glad: song / attrib. to Dakpu Rimpoche (3:00)-Mabakala prayer (10:16).
Participants note:
Performed by nuns of the Mahayana Buddhist Nunnery, Tilokpur, India.
Added author personal:
Mi-Ia-ras-pa, 1040-1123.
Added author corporate:
Mahayana Buddhist Nunnery (Tilokpur, India).
38. Sri Lanka. {Paris, France}: Ocorn, Ocorn 558552, p1982. 1 sound disc:
analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: French.
Added author personal:
Vuylsteke, Herman C.
Added series title:
Musiques traditionnelles vivantes. II, Musiques rituelles et religieuses.
39. Les Tambours magiques de CeyJan. France: Playa Sound, Playa Sound PS
33516, {1973?}. 1 sound disc: analog, mono., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Sinhalese.
Series different title:
Musiques de l' Asie traditionnelle; v. 12. Ceylan.
General note:
Ritual music. Title on container: Sri LaIikave- Sampradayika sa.riJ.gitaya.
Program notes by Francnois Jouffa with English translations on container.
Recorded in Sept. 1973 by Franqois Iouffa during the shooting of his film "The
Temple de la dent de Bouddha a Kandy (20:45)-Ordination d' une bonzesse
a Gangodawila (lO:OO)-Cremation a Ambalangoda (1:44)-Exorcisme a
Hikkaduwa (8:00)-Hommage a Siva (1:45).
Added author personal:
Jouffa, Franc;ois.
Added different title:
Sri Lailkave Sampradayika sa.riJ.gitaya.
Added series uniform titles:
Musiques de l' Asie traditionnelle; v. 12.
Musiques de l' Asie traditionnelle. Ceylan.
40. TempJerituals andpubJic ceremonies. {New York}: Lyrichord, Lyrichord
lLST 7257, {1973?}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 113 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Hindi.
General note:
Tibetan Buddhist rites from the monasteries of Bhutan, v. 3. Chants and
instrumental music performed by monks at Kyichu and Bumthang District of,
Bhutan. Recorded in 1971 by J. Levy. Program notes by J. Levy ({ 6} p. ill.) insetted"
in container. """"
Nyule drelwa, calling down of deities to subjugate evil spirit, and Kulwa, its
death, stabbed by Black Hat. Part of jinbeb, the coming down of grace. MOnks in
procession playing portable instruments, followed by chanting of the Heart-drop
teaching. Dramnyen choshe, song of offering. Dramnyen choshe, song in praise of
Chinese silk. Monks, a clown, crowds and instruments and public. End of festival.
Manip, reciting Milarepa poem and mantra. Cymbals (silnyen) Cross-flute (zurlim)
Manip reciting Milarepa poem. Manip as story-teller.
Added author personal:
Levy, John.
Added series title:
Tibetan Buddhist rites from the monasteries of Bhutan. v. 3.
41. Tibet, Lieder aus demLand der Gotter. Giitersloh, W. Germany: Athena,
Athena 53 134G, {1960?}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 10 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Undetermined.
General note:
Recorded by Dr. Rene von Nebesky-Wojkowitz in Tibet, 1950-1959.
Lieder der Karawanenstrasse: Karawanenglocken undLied des Maultiertreibers.
Gebetslied eines Bettelmonchs. Lamaistisches Legendenlied. Volkslied aus Lhasa. "
Tanzlied aus Osttibet. Ausschnitt aus dem Kesar-Epos-Aus den Klostern Tibets:
Gebet eines reinkarnierten Lamas. Gebetsgesang. Anrnfung einer Orakelgottheit.
Nachtlichte Diimonenbeschworung: Ton der Trommeln; Zimbeln; Oboen und
Knochenfloten; Rezitieren der Zauberformeln. Begleitmusik eines kultischen .
Maskentanzes. Gebet der Klostergemeinde und Tempelmusik.
Added author personal:
Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Rene de.
42. Tibetan Buddhism: tantras of GyiitO: MahakaJa. {New York}: Nonesuch,
Nonesuch H-72055, {1973}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Hindi.
General note:
Recorded Sound Collection 237
Recorded at GyiitbTantric College, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, by David
Lewiston. Explorer series. Durations on labels. Program notes by Lewiston on
slipcase. .
. Added author personal:
Lewiston, David.
Added author corporate:
Gyiitb Tantric College.
Added different titles:
Tantras of Gyiitd.
43. Tibetan Buddhism: tantras of GyiitO: Sangwa diipa. {New York}:
Nonesuch, Nonesuch H 72064, p1975. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm,
12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Hindi.
General note:
Recorded at Gyiitb Tantric College, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, by David
Lewiston. Explorer series. "Forty lamas and monks chant a recitation of part of the
gyushung (text of the tantra) which, in its entirety, lasts over seven hours."
Duration: about 41 min. Program notes by F. Fremantle and D. Lewiston on
Added author personal:
Lewiston, David.
Added author corporate:
Gyiito Tantric College.
Added different titles:
Sangwa diipa.
Tantras of GyiitO.
44. Tibetan Buddhism: the ritual orchestra and chants. {New York}: None-
such, Nonesuch H 72071, p1976. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Hindi.
General note:
Explorer series. "Rituals of the Drukpa Kagyii Order {performed by the}
Lamas and Monks of Pal Phuntsol Chokorling, Tashi Jong, Himachal Pradesh,
India. "Recorded by David Lewiston." Durations and program notes by L.
Lhalungpa and D. Lewiston on container.
Padma Sambhava tsechu sadhana: Invocation. Mahakala sadbana: Dunkye.
Mahakala sadhana: Dakye.
Added author personal:
Lewiston, David.
45. Tibetan music from Ladakh andZanskar.New York: Lyrichord, Lyrichoru
LLS! 7383, {1982?}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 113 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Sino-Tibetan.
General note:
Field recordings of folk songs, folk instrumental music, Buddhist chants, and
Buddhist ritual instrumental music. Sung probably in Ladakhi. Recorded by Eric
Larson. Various performers. Recorded in Ladakh and Zanskar, summer, 1982.
Folk songs and music. Dance music-Wedding demo--
Apundu lu-Shari ti zug nyima-Yangs-Sporting music-Sngasa pon-po Iu.
Chant and sacred music. Two gya-ling airs-The heart sutra-Prayer
Procession-Hemis mela closing roImo-Prayer of Nagmjuna.
Added author personal:
Larson, Eric.
46. Tibetan ritual music. {New York}: Lyrichord, Lyrichord LLST 7181,
{196-?}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo., 33 113 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Hindi.
General note:
Chanted and played by lamas and monks of the 4 great orders. Recorded May-
June 1961 by Peter Crossley-Holland. Program notes by P. Crossley-Holland on
Offering of the saviour Gompo; chorus and orchestra (Gelugpa Order)
Invocation of the Gompo; unacc. chant (Kagyupa Order) A Buddha prayer; unacc.
chant (Gelugpa Order) Offering to the guru Drakmar; chant and instrumental music
(Nyingmapa Order) Glorification of the past Buddha; unacc. chant.
Added author personal:
Crossley-Holland, Peter, 1916-.
47. Tibetan Tantric Choir, prf. Guhyasamaja Tantra., chapter II; Melody for
Mahakala. Stanford: Windham Hill Records, Windham Hill Records WD-2001,
p1987. 1 sound disc: digital, stereo., 4 3/4 in., compact.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
General note:
Program notes by Robert A.F. Thurman and Fred Lieberman ({5} p.) in
container. Durations: 23:33; 25:08. Recorded at Fantasy StudioD, Berkeley, Calif.
Guhyasamaja Tantra, chapter II-Melody for MahaIcala.
Recorded Sound Collection 239
Participant note:
Tibetan Tantric Choir of the Gyuto Monks.
Added different title:
Melody for Mahakala.
48. The Way of Eiheiji; Zen-Buddhist ceremony. {New York}: Folkways
records, Folkways Records FR 8980, {1959}. 2 sound discs: analog, mono., 33 11
3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Recorded in the Eiheiji, Fukui Prefecture, Japan, 1957, by John Mitchell.
Manual sequence. Explanatory notes by Elsie P. Mitchell, text of the ceremonies
in Japanese and Japanese (transliterated) with English translations, and glossary
(15 p.) laid in container.
Added author personal:
Cultus, Buddhist.
49. Yeshe DOIje Rinpoche, prf. Tibetan Buddhism: Shedur, a ghost exorcism
ritual. New York: Nonesuch, Nonesuch H-72081, p1978. 1 sound disc (44 min.):
analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
Series title:
Explorer series.
General note:
Notes by Glenn H. Mullin on container. Performed by Yeshe DOIje Rinpoche
in Tibetan. Recorded Apr. 1977, in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India by David
Added author personal:
Lewiston, David.
Added different title:
Shedur, a ghost exorcism ritual.
50.Yokomichi,Mario, etal. ShOmyo taikei. Japan: Columbia, ColumbiaGES-
3 6 7 ~ 3 7 0 1 , 3727-3730, 1983-1984. 32 sound discs: analog, stereo., 33 1/3 rpm,
12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Japanese.
General note:
In 8 containers; in part stereo., in part mono. Program books which include the
music (8 v.: ill.; 31 cm.) in containers.
1. Nanto--2. Shingon-3. JOdo--5. JOdo Shinshii----6. Zen-7
Hokke-{8} Bekkan. Tendai sb6myo / Tab Donin dokush6. .
Participants note:
Sh6myo (Buddhist chant) performed by singers and instrumentalists of the
various sects.
Added author personal:
Yokomichi, Mario, 1916.
51. Yokoyama, Katsuya, 1934-, prf. Zen: classical shakuhachi masterworks.
Mainz, W. Germany: Wergo, Wergo SM 1033/34, p1982. 2 sound discs: analog,
stereo., 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: None.
Series different title:
General note:
Honkyoku. Subtitles on container: Katsuya Yokoyama plays classical
shakuhachi masterworks =Katsuya Yokoyama spieltMeisterwerke der klassischen
sh8kuhachi-Musik. Program notes in English and German on container. Katsuya
Yokoyama, shakuhachi. Licensed by RVC Corp., Tokyo; 1st pressing, 1976, RCA
Records, Tokyo.
Shika no toone (with Ranpo Yokoyama, shakuhachi)-Tsuru no sugomori-
Komoi jishi-San-an-Tamuke-Yamagoe- Honshirabe-Saga ri ha-Hi fu mi
hachikaeshi-Azumajishi-San-ya-Nezasa shirabe-Daha-Shingetzu-Kokuu.
Added different titles:
Katsuya Yokoyama plays classical shakuhachi masterworks.
Katsuya Yokoyama spielt Meisterwerke der klassischen Shakuhachi-
52. Zen, goeika, and sMmyo chants in actual Buddhist temple services. {New
York}: Lyrichord, Lyrichord LLST 7116, {1970?}. 1 sound disc: analog, stereo.,
33 113 rpm, 12 in.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: English.
General note:
Recorded by K. Takasago in Kyoto, Japan. Program notes on container.
Program notes on container.
Sutra chanting in the Zen Rinzai Sect at Myoshinji Temple: Hokekyo no. 25;
Daihishu; Shikuseigan. Goeika: Waka (short poems) sung by 20 women pilgrimS
from Ishikawa Prefecture at Myoshinji Temple the pipa or (in the 4th and 6th
Recorded Sound Collection 241
works) the chin. Snow in sunny spring. Moonlight over tbe spring river. Chinese
soldier's march. A Buddhist chant. Plum blossoms. The lament of Empress Chen.
The running brook. Song of the frontier. The hero's defeat.
Added author personal:
1. Amemiya, Yasukazu. Zen percussions; Natsu nebutsu; monochrome sea.
France: RCA, RCA RC 9217, p1978. 1 sound disc.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: None.
2. Japan, shomyo Buddhistritual. {France?}: Unesco, Unesco D 8036, p1991.
1 sound disc: digital, stereo., 4 3/4 in., compact, 1 booklet (7 p.).
Language note:
Predominant language of item: None.
Series different title:
Anthology of traditional musics.
General note:
Variant title: Japon, ritue1 bouddbique shomyo.
Participant note:
Buzan Division of the Shingon Sect.
3. Musique sacree des moines tiMtains. Paris, France: Arion, Arion ARN
64078, p1989. 1 sound disc: digital, stereo., 4 3/4 in., compact.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
General note:
Program notes inserted in container. Recorded by Gerard Kremer. Recorded
in 1976 in India and Nepal.
Contents: Rituels tibetains a Bodh Gaya: Moine tibetain priant; Rituel du
matin.-Rituels tibetains a Swayambunath: Tambour a deux peaux; Rituel de
fapres-midi ; Trompes telescopiques-Rituel tibetain a Dharamsala: Moines
tibetains priant ; Rituel de soir.
Added author personal:
Kremer, Gerard.
4. Musique TiMtaine du sikkim. France: Vogue, Vogue L VLX 187, p1968.
1 sound disc.
Language note:
Predominant language of item: None.
5 Musiques du toit du monde: Ladakh et Nepal. France: P18yasound
Playasound PS 65021, p1988. 1 sound disc: digital, stereo., 4 3/4 in., compact. '
Language note:
Predominant language of item: Tibetan.
General note:
Buddhist chant, folk: songs, and folk: music of Ladakh and Nepal. Sung Or
chanted in Tibetan. Parallel title on container: Roof of the world musics. Collected
by Gerard Kremer. Program notes in English and French (7 p.: ill.) inserted in
container. "The recordings on this CD have been collected in the Tibetan
monasteries of Ladakh and Nepal"-container.
Rituel tibetain-Danse sherpa-Le flutiste de Kathmandu-Danse du dbime_
Le flutiste de L'Himalaya-La ballade du "gaine"-Musique traditionnelle_
Danse sorathi-Le prieur tibetain.
Added author personal:
Kremer, Gerard.
Added different title:
Roof of the world musics.
International Association of
Buddhist Studies
Financial Statement
January 1 - December 31, 1991

Computer Program
Loan repayment to
International Association
of Shin Buddhist Studies
Bank charges/returned
Ending Balance
Lewis Lancaster,
The $5,200 loan repayment was for a loan given to the
Association to pay for printing and typesetting fees in 1990
when we had a severe cash flow problem. OUf income for
the year came from dues collected at Berkeley $14,016.00
and dues collected in Japan representing the years 1987-
1991 of $7,990.00. Having used our resources, we owed
$4,500 for printing and mailing of 14.2 at the end of the year.
For this reason, we have been forced to raise the dues to
cover our expenses for the journal.
:Ms. Anne M. Blackburn
Dept. of South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Univeristy of Chicago
. Foster Hall
1130 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Prof. T. Griffith Foulk
Dept. of Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Michigan
3070 Frieze Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Dr. Floyd B. Hooker
430 Taylor St. N. E., Apt. D-32
Washington, D. C. 20017
Dr. Robert Kritzer
17-12 Shimofusa-cho
Koyama, Kita-ku
Kyoto 603
Dr. Stephan H. Levitt
144-30 78th Road, Apt. IH
Flushing, NY 11367
Prof. A. K. N arain
Varanassi 221005
Prof. Nirmala Salgado
Dept. of Religion
Angastana College
Rock Island, IL
Prof. Serinity Young
Sacred Heart University
5151 Park Ave.
Fairfield, CT 06432