Robinson Johnson Mahayana

Robinson Johnson Mahayana - 98 CHAPTEfi FOUR the other...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–9. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
Background image of page 9
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: 98 CHAPTEfi FOUR the other hand, it was such an elegant and thorough summary of Abhidharma analysis that it formed the basis for Yogicara Abhidharma studies for centuries afterward. It has even survived to the present as a cornerstone of the Tibetan monastic curriculum (see Section 11.3.3). Mahayana tradition identifies the author of this work as Asanga's brother and states that Asanga converted him to Yogacara beliefs soon after the work was completed. Modern scholarship has called this point into question, but the conversion of the Abhidharmakos‘a and its commentary to the Yogicira cause cannot be denied. Digniga—the foremost pupil of the author of the Abhidharmakosa—seems to have remained a Sautrintikan, and he definitely contributed to another enterprise at which Hinayina continued to excel: formal logic and epistemology. In fact, Dignaga's writings revolutionized these subjects and had a long-term efl'ect on philo— sophical debate in all major Indian traditions for centuries afterward (see Sec— tion 6.2). By and large, Hinayinists ignored the Mahayana polemics except to point out that the Mahayana Sfitras were obviously not the teachings of the histori- cal Buddha and that the doctrine of emptiness undercut the truth value of the Path. The Hinayina term for the Mahiyinists was Vaitulika, which means ei- ther Expansionists or Illusionists, referring either to the expanded Mahayana Siitras or to the Mahayana teachings on the interpenetration of reality and il— lusion. One branch of the Sarvistividins, the Mfilasarv'a'stividins, recast their canon in a literary form similar to the great Mahayana Sfitras, but it is impos- sible to tell whether they did this in response to the Mahayana movement or simply to keep up with the literary tastes of the period in general. The willingness of both the Hinayina and Mahayana schools to translate the teaching into Sanskrit and to keep abreast of other intellectual trends dur- ing this period was obviously an effort to keep the Buddha’s message modern and competitive, not only among themselves but also with regard to Hinduism and other religions that were also adapting to those trends. However, this will- ingness to adapt ultimately provoked a small backlash in later centuries, in that some monks felt that the original teachings had been adulterated and lost. This feeling led‘them to search out pre-Sanskrit copies of the canon, a quest that in the fifth century CE. led the south Indian monk Buddhaghosa to Sri Lanka, There he found not only what was apparently an old recension of the Pali Canon, but also the archaic Sinhalese commentaries. which he was led to believe were coeval with the canon. These he translated into Pali, at the same time writing a great summary of the Theravidin position (see Section 7.2). Thus began a renaissance in Theravidin studies that, in a circuitous way, led to Theravada being the only I-linayina school to survive the demise of Buddhism in India relatively intact (see Section 7.3). w Soteriology and Pantheon of the Mah'a'yana 5.1 THE BODHISA'I'TVA PATH ahiyina is synonymous with the course ' ' I . yam: (vehicle), or ta 5 ca— M reer) of the bodhisattva. In the early Mahayana Sfitras (conri’pdsed before the second century C.E.), this is a sim le Path ' ' Else arousal of the bodhicitta (mind-state; that is, aspiration) for sfgicfiffegcli wakemng, and 'moves on to the practice of the six piraml'ta' (perfections) for ah): 02:]: untilbthe goal is reached. Between 100 and 300 c s the e o m: t c 10 o ‘ ' i I, “hem; ofpaths and stages dstages) was introduced, and an elaborate . The Mahayana Sfitras address their teaching equally to the monastics and Iaity, exhortmg both to recite, copy, and explain the Sfitras, an enterprise that monastic Hinayina schools reserved for the monks and nuns. But althou h the laity and monastics Were regarded as equal in some respects both coursges maintained that monastic life was superior to lay life, and the Iaity still had to Spy formal honor to monastics. Only the more libertarian Sfitras authorized e laity to preach Dharma to monastics. The most famous of such Sfitras the Vinmlakirti-mrdefa, depicts Vimalakirti, the householder-bodhisattva encour— aglng a crowd of young patricians to leave the household life When the protest that they cannot do so without their parents' consent, Viinalakirti tell: Ithem to‘ arouse the bodhicitta and practice diligently, because that is equiva- ent- to .going forth.” Far from diminishing the monastic vocation this con cession 15 Simply second—best for those unable to take the ochre robe. - 100 CHAPTER FIVE Although the literature reveals a number of lay preachers, it mentions no organized noncelibate communal life and no householder clergy. House— holder—bodhisattvas were welcome to study meditation and-philosophy, and probably were allowed to spend protracted periods of retreat in the monaster- ies. They could teach the doctrine and were encouraged to propagate it. But so far as we know, the Mahayana Sfitras were composed by monks, and there is not a single important treatise attributed to any Indian Buddhist lay person. The bodhisattva Path begins with instruction from a Buddha, a bod- hisattva, or some other spiritual friend. This instruction plants seeds of Virtue in the mind of the hearers, inducing them to perform good deeds, through i ' which they acquire more and more roots of goodness. After many lives, thanks the infused race of the various teacher-saviors and the merit'earned re— igonding to china, a person becomes able to put forth the bodhscrtta. Initially there are two motives for this aspiration—the de51re for one s own Awakerung and compassion for all living beings who suffer in sarnsira (Strong EB, secs. 4.4.1, 4.4.2)—but along the Path one realizes the sameness. of self and others. and transcends the duality of purpose. Amusing the bodhicitta is an extremely meritorious deed. It cancels past had karma, increases merit, OE bad re- births, and ensures good ones. In keeping with developing Mahayana Views of the cosmos—which came more and more to resemble modern holographic theory, in that each part of the cosmos contained the whole—the first arous- ing of the bodhicitta was said to contain the whole of the Awakened mind- state, albeit in an unstable form. I I New bodhisattvas proceed to consolidate their bodhiCitta and advance on the Path by cultivating good qualities working for the welfare of livmg beings, based on a set of vows or pranidhEna (earnest resolutions). Some vows are quite general, stating, “When we have crossed the stream, may we ferry others across. When we are liberated, may we liberate others." Others—such as those of Dharmikara, who later became the Buddha Amitibha—are more specrfic. Dharmikara made three or four dozen vows in the form, “May I not attain supreme, perfect Awakening until [such-and-such a benefit] is assured beings who are born in my Buddha-land" (where he [Amitibha] would live and teach the Dharma to his devotees). Bodhisattva vows are usually binding until the end of the bodhisattva career, a matter of aeons. Even when the great bod- hisattvas have passed beyond dualistic cognitions and intentions, they are mo- tivated, as if on automatic pilot, by the force of their original vows. Bodhisattvas are supposed to declare their vows in the presence of a Bud- dha, which means that they must wait until 3 Buddha appears in the world. The Tathigata then gives the bodhisattva a prediction that after a certain num— ber of ages he/ she will become a Buddha of such-and-such a name, reigning in such-and-such a Buddha-land, which will have such-and-such excellences. Ordinary bodhisattvas who have not yet had the good fortune to be born in the same generation as a Buddha make their vows in the presence of other human bodhisattvas or even with the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the 10 di- rections as their witnesses. SOTERIOLOGY AND PANTHEON OF THE MAHKYANA 101 The six piramiti (perfections) are the main course of the bodhisattva ca- reer. As we have noted (see Section 3.2.3), the early schools advocated all these qualities and extolled graphic instances of them in the jam/eds. Mahayana dif- fers from the earlier tradition in making the extremes the model for ordinary devotees (Strong EB, sec. 4.4.3). ‘ A quality is practiced to perfection when the most difficult acts are exe— cuted with a mind fi'ee fiom discriminatory ideas, without self—consciousness, ulterior motives, or self-congratulation. The perfect giver, for example, does not think “I give" and has no fictive concepts about the gift, the recipient, or the reward that ensues fi-om the act. Thus, prajfiE—piramitfi (perfection of wis- dom) is necessary in order to complete the other five perfections, which in turn form the groundwork for the development of wisdom. DJna (perfection of giving) consists of giving material things, knowledge, Dharma-instructions, and one's own body and life to all beings, then in turn transferring or reassigning the ensuing merit to supreme Awakening and the welfare of other beings, rather than aiming it at one's future bliss in samsara. The bodhisattva practices giving and encourages others to do so as well. file (perfection of morality) consists of following the 10 good paths of ac- tion, transferring the merit, and prompting others to do similarly. The 10 paths involve refraining from the following: killing, stealing, engaging in illicit sex, lying, speaking divisively, speaking harshly, chattering fi'ivolously, having covetous thoughts, having hostile thoughts, or believing false views. KsEnti (the perfection of patience) is founded on nonanger and nonagita— tion. It involves patient endurance of hardship and pain, forbearance and for- giveness toward those who injure and abuse the bodhisattva, and patient assent to difficult and uncongeni'al doctrines, specifically those of the Mahayana scriptures. Virya (the perfection of vigor) involves applying persistent energy and zeal in overcoming one’s faults and cultivating good qualities. in studying Dharma and the arts and sciences. and in doing good works for the Welfare of others. The term uirya is derived from vim (a martial man, a hero). It corresponds to right effort, the sixth factor of the Noble Eightfold Path of early Buddhism, but more explicitly it signifies heroic endeavor to benefit other living beings. Dhyfl'na (the perfection of meditation) consists of entering into the medita— tive absorptions and attainments, yet not accepting rebirth in the paradises to which such states normally destine one in the next life. PrajfiE-pfmmi'tfi (the perfection of wisdom) is personified as a goddess, be- cause the word prajfi'é’ (wisdom, insight, discernment) is grammatically femi— nine. She is the mother of all Buddhas, for through her they become Awakened Ones. A famous hymn endows her with feminine traits and mater~ nal loving kindness (Strong EB, sec. 4.2.1). Wisdom in the Pegfirction of Wis- dom Sfitms is defined as full acceptance of the doctrine asserting that phenomena, in the ultimate sense, neither arise not cease. Only a mahEsatrva (fearless great being), the Mahiyinists say, can accept this teaching. Three de- grees of assent are distinguished. The first is acceptance of the words of the 1 oz CHAPTER FIVE teaching. The second is conforming assent, attained in the sixth bodhisatt‘ya— stage and consisting of an intense but not definitive co-nViction. The thir is ultimate acceptance that dharmas are non-arming. This full acceptance, the later texts allege, is to be attained with the eighth stage. . The early theory of stages seems to have recognized only seven-bod- hisattva-stages, with acceptance that the dharmas are non—arismg conung in the seventh. The number of stages was increased from 7 to 10 about 200 C.E. Variant lists of stations and stages circulated for a while, but eventually became standardized as follows (Strong EB, sec. 4.4.4): (3.) The stage of the "lineage," where the beginner strives to acquire a stock of merit and knowledge. This extends from the first thought of Awakening until the “experience of heat," the first signpost of success in meditation. (b) The stage of “practicing with conviction." Here the bodhisattva culti- u vates four “factors of penetration," namely, “meditative heat, climax, _ "patience," and “the highest mundane Dharma." These meditative experi- ‘ ences overcome and expel the antithesis between subject and object, lead— ing to nondiscriminative knowledge. Stages (a) and (b) are preparatory to the actual bodhisattva—stages. (c) The 10 bodhisattva-stages, namely: (1) the joyful. (2) the stainless. (3) the illuminating, (4) the flaming, (5) the very-hard—to—conquer, (6) the face- to—face, (7) the far-going, (8) the immovable, (9) the good-insight, and (10) the Dharma—cloud. Each stage is practiced in concert with a perfec— tion, with four perfections being added to the early hst of six: (7) skill in means, (8) determination, (9) power, and (10) knowledge. The first bod— hisattva-stage is the Path of vision, following immediately after I the high- est mundane Dharma.” Stages 2 to 10 form the Path of meditative cultivation, in which nondual awareness is perfected. (d) The Buddha—stage follows the diamondlike ramifth (cancer—ination), which is the last event on the Path of cultivation. This plays an important role in Mahayana Abhidharma also, where it is realized by bod- hisattvas as they sit on the Diamond Throne of Awakemng. In it they ful- fill the perfections of dhyina and prajfii in the moment Just before attaining bodhi, destroying all the residues of defilement. Mahayana doc- trine maintains that the ultimate Path consists in awareness that the causes of suEeting have been destroyed and will never arise again. In this sense, the bodhisattva's final realization is identical with the arhant s. ‘r There were some differences of opinion concerning the duration of the . bodhisattva career, but the prevalent view was that it takes three immeasurable aeons: one to or through the first bodhisattva-stage, one from thEre. through the seventh stage, and one for stages eight to ten. Some later Mahayamsts ob- jected to this elaborate schematization, for a variety of reasons. The cotte~ spondence between the stages and perfections conflicts With the earlier teaching that the six perfections are mutually dependentsThe spiritual states described are very similar to those in Hinayina descriptions of the arhants SOTERIOLOGY AND PANTHEON OF THE MAHAY‘NA 103 ' Path, for which no such long ages are deemed necessary. However, the overall progression—from good works and faith through aspiration and training to realization; from deliberate practice to spontaneous exercise; and from mun- dane knowledge to transcendental wisdom—seems valid. [t is an unusually detailed account of the universal path from which people learn and mature. and of the way of holiness in many diverse religions. The 7 or 10 bodhisattva- stages, with their vivid metaphorical names, may have begun with the actual experience of a meditator or a small school of contemplatives for whom the series was a firsthand description, the list then passing into the hands of those who were unfamiliar with the experiences and who produced elaborate theo- ries about them. The doctrine of three immeasurable aeons may have origi— nally been meant metaphorically, in keeping with the deliberately extravagant style of the Mahayana Si'itras, but Indian schoolmen took it literally. Later In- dian sects tried to find shortcuts in this extended path, and many Chinese Mahayana schools rejected the enormous time scale entirely. 5.2 BUDDHIST WOMEN IN THE MAH‘YANA The status of women in the Mahayana presents a paradox. In contrast to the prominence of eminent arhant nuns at the time of the Buddha (see Section 3.4.3), the Order of Nuns by the time of Mahiyina’s rise was considerably re- duced. At the same time, howeVer, Mahayana texts continued to develop lit- erary and mythic images of women as possessots of wisdom and compassion, able to teach men and lay people, similar to the depictions of Sister Dham- madinni in the earlier texts. The texts proclaimed that at least one lay woman and queen, Srimilidevi (Strong EB, sec. 4.3.5), might be considered a female Buddha, and that the goddess Prajfiipiramiti (Perfection of Wisdom) is the mother of the Buddhas. The goddess Hiriti, with the guardian deity Mahakila (Great Dark One), was also included in Mahayana worship services. Thus a shift occurred. There is nothing in the Mahayana Sfitras comparable to the Pali Then'githfi, which reports the experience of human women attaining Awakening, but there is nothing in the early Si‘itras comparable to the new Mahayana exaltation of goddesses and female Buddhas. Apparently, nuns participated little in the elaboration of these Mahayana ideas, although the Pali commentaries suggest that Mahayana monks actively campaigned for nuns to support their cause. Few Mahayana nuns are remem- bered in history. When the Chinese pilgrim I—ching (635—713 C.E.) visited north India, he found nuns generally poor and undervalued; in his opinion, the status of Chinese nuns was considerably better. In the Mahayana texts, literary portraits of women's role as bearers of in- sight, compassion, and spiritual attainment existed side by side with strands of androcentrism and misogyny. Some of the new Si'itras, contrary to the earlier teachings, declared that female birth excluded the attainment of nirvana. Asanga wrote that all women are defiled and of little intelligence. Still. some 1“, CHAPTER FIVE Mahayana texts state that, in ultimate terms, femaleness and maleness are both empty, thus providing an opening for the traditional position of gender neu- trality when it comes to the attainment of Awakening. This opening laid the seeds for new roles for Buddhist women both in the Tantric period, which was to follow, and in the Buddhist feminist movement today. 5.3 IMAGES OF THE BUDDHA The image of the Buddha represents a significant innovation in Buddhist art. As we have already noted, in the earliest Buddhist art the primary image of the deceased Buddha was the stfipa, the reliquary mound intended to function as a locus for pilgrimage and as a reminder of the doctrine of impermanence. Early Buddhology found it inappropriate to represent the Buddha in iconic form because the Buddha had made it clear that he was not to be identified with his body. Why, then, did this attitude change in the first century 3.011.? Part of the answer may be found in traditions outside of Buddhism. Some early Indian traditions did not use anthropomorphic images, whereas others, stemming from the pre-Aryan civilization of the Indus, did use a variety of images of male and female individuals and deities. This iconographic tradition reap- peared in popular religious art of the third to first centuries 3.013., concurrent with the development of theism and bhakti (devotion) in early popular I-Iin- duism. Buddhists, watching trends in Hinduism, may have wanted a more per— sonal focal point for their worship than the abstract stfipa. A specifically Indian style of Buddha-image was developed in the upper Ganges city of Mathura, which had long specialized in producing images of yaksas and yaksinis, male and female deities of superhtunan power and size worshiped by devotees seek- ing worldly protection and benefits. The Mathura Buddha greatly resembled ‘ the yaksa images both in form and function. The earliest sculptors invariably represented him as massive and strong, with his right hand in a gesture of of- fering protection. Such an image of the Buddha must be considered “popu- lar.” that is, a response to the worldly needs of his worshipers. Greek traditions also seem to have played a role in the development of the Buddha-image. In addition to Mathura, Gandhara in northwest India pro- duced numerous early Buddha-images. This was an area that had experienced many foreign invasions and dynasties, and was thus open to Hellenistic influ- ences. The Gandharan Buddha greatly resembles Apollo and wears a Roman toga, but lacks the warmth of the Mathuran modeling. Unlike Mathuran arti- sans. Gandharan artisans created narrative sculptures of the Buddha's life, por— traying specific incidents in realistic detail, with the Buddha in various poses. In later centuries, the hieratic and narrative modes of Mathuran and Gandha— ran sculpture gradually combined until in the Gupta period (fourth to seventh century on.) the classical meditative, transcendental Buddha—image developed. Images of the great bodhisattvas appeared concurrently with images of the Buddha in the first century B.C.E. No images were identified with specific SOTERIOLOGY AND PANTHEON OF THE MAHKYKNA 105 bodhisattvas until the following century, when images of Maitreya (see Sec- tion 5.4.1) were sculpted. In the second century c.a., differences between the iconography of Buddha and bodhisattva images began to appear, along with the first image of a Cosmic Buddha, Amitibha (see Section 5.5.4). dated 104 C.E. The image of the pensive bodhisattva—his right foot on his left knee, his right hand to his templhwhich was to have a long history in Buddhist art, also first appeared at this time. These artistic trends suggest that the late first and early second centuries mark the beginning of independent bodies of bod- hisattva and Cosmic Buddha lore. Only later were images of Avalokiteivara, Mafijus'ri, and Tiri produced. Mahayana versions of Sikyamuni—identifiable because they portray him sitting western style on a throne, an attitude com— mon to the Mahayana Sfitras but never used in the earlier texts—were not sculpted until the third or fourth century c.s. These images probably reflect the growing tendency among Mahiyinists at that time to view themselves as a distinct group, separate from their Hinayina contemporaries and forebears. r 5.4 THE COSMIC BODHISATTVAS Many Mahiyina Sfitras begin with a catalog of the assembly present on the occasion when the Sfitra was uttered by the Buddha. The Lotus Sam, for ex- ample, opens with Sikyamuni sitting on Mount Grdhrakfita (Vulture Peak) surrounded by twelve hundred arhant-bhiksus, eighty thousand nonrelapsing bodhisattvas, Sakra, the Four Great Kings, Siva, Brahma, and contingents of spirit beings. This is a literary device that, in addition to cataloging the pan- theon, expresses the early Buddhist claim that Sikyamuni is the teacher of gods and men. The chief innovation in this Mahayana pantheon is the class of great bod- hisattvas, also called mahisattvas (great beings). The Lotus Slim: names 23; the Vimalakim‘, more than 50. Of these, three became most important: Maitreya, . Mafijuiri, and Avalokiteivara. All three figure as interlocutors in Mahayana Sfitras, where they appear as men and converse with the great disciples and Sikyamuni. These great beings are nonhistorical; there is no evidence that any one of them is an apotheosis of a human hero, as was the case with the Hindu Rama. Instead, they appear to be unabashed products of the visionary, shamanic mode of perception that is celebrated in these Sfitras. Strangely, no Sfitra preaches devotion to a celestial bodhisattva until the third century C.E., a full three centuries after these beings entered the literature. 5.4.1 Maitreya (Strong EB, sec. 1.9) Maitreya was the earliest cult bodhisattva. mentioned even in the early Hinayana Sfitras. A Pali Sutta (D26) predicts that in the distant future there will arise in the world a Blessed One named Metteyya (Pali for Maitreya), who will be attended by a company of thousands of monks just as éikyamuni 1 06 CHAPTER FIVE is attended by a company of hundreds. At present, this bodhisattva is residing in the Tusita heaven (where future Buddhas traditionally spend their penulti— mate life), awaiting his last birth. The pious might look forward to that event, dedicating the merit of their current practice to the goal of being reborn as a human being at that time, when all human beings will gain Awakening. In order to pass the interlude happily and to be sure of rebirth along with Maitreya when he comes, they could meanwhile seek rebirth in the Tusita paradise. One recommended way of securing a desired rebirth is to concen— trate one's thoughts on it at the moment of death. Thus, King Dutthagamani of Sri Lanka, dying in 80 B.C.E., fixed his last thoughts on Metteyya's heaven where, the chronicles assure us, he was reborn. Similarly, the Chinese pilgrim Hsiian—tsang vowed to be reborn in the Tusita heaven with Maitreya. Life in the presence of Maitreya is the Buddhist equivalent of the Christian millen- mum. Maitreya, unlike the Buddhas before him, is alive, so he can respond to the prayers of worshipers. Being compassionate, as his name indicates (its Sanskrit root means benevolent), he willingly grants help—being a high god in his present birth, he has the power to do so. His cult thus ofi'ers its devotees the advantages of theism and Buddhism combined. Just as the Buddha had received occasional revelations and inspirations from devas, Mahiyina masters went into trances and journeyed to the Tusita heaven, where Maitreya revealed Dharma~themes to them. On occasion, he also de— scended to Earth to divulge texts, which makes it exceedingly dificult to de— cide whether the Yogicirin texts attributed to Maitreyanitha, "Lord Maitreya," are the works of a human author who took that name, or are the outcome of a meditator's visionary experiences. Beginning from the time that Gandharan art first appeared, Maitreya was frequently represented, perhaps as a result of the messianic expectations— originating probably in present-day Iran—that coursed through India and the Mediterranean world after 200 B.C.E. Many images and paintings of him sur— vive in central Asia. He is often shown sitting on his throne in western fash- ion. In China, he is also known as “the laughing Buddha," an apocryphal figure who was deemed a preincarnation of Maitreya. Known in Chinese as Pu-tai Ho—shang (Hemp-bag monk; in Japanese, Hotei), his rotund figure is often mistaken by westerners for Sikyamuni Buddha when they find images of him in curio shops. He appears as the savior in the last picture of the ox— taming series of Ch’an and Zen Buddhism. 5.4.2 Mafiiusri Mafijusri shares with Maitreya preeminence among the bodhisattvas in the Mahiyina Sfitras up to 300 C.E. In the Lotus Sam he remembers deeds of for— mer Buddhas that were unknown even to Maitreya. [n the Vlmalakirti he alone of all Sikyamuni’s disciples has wisdom and eloquence enough to stand up to that formidable householder, Vimalakirti. In the Gandavyfiha, the last chapter of the Avatamsaka Sfitra, he counsels the youth Sudhana in his search for Awak— SOTERIOLOGY AND PANTHEON OF THE MAHKYKNA 107 f ening. Many smaller Sfitras are devoted to his legend, attributes, and teach- ings. Curiously, he is scarcely mentioned in the Prry'fiE-piramita' Sfirras, and he is absent from the Buddhist art of all schools prior to 400 CE. When he does appear in art, he is shown as a bodhisattva bhiksu, with a five—pointed coifi'ure or tiara, a sword (to cut ignorance) in his right hand, a book (the Prajria- paramita') in his left, and a lion for his mount. The name Manjusri means "gentle or sweet glory." He is also called Mafijughosa (Sweet Voice) and Vagisvara (Lord of Speech). This last epithet ‘ also belongs to Brahma, whose roles as patron of science, custodian of mem— ory, lord of inspiration, and most ancient of beings Mafijusri takes over in the Mahayana pantheon. The nuclei around which this bodhisattva-figure grew are a gandharva (youthfiil celestial being) named Pificasikha (Five-Crest), who appears in the Pali Suttas; and a Brahmi, Sanatkumira (Forever—a-youth), who in one tale takes on Pificasikha's appearance because his own is too subtle for lower gods to see. Mafijusri's connection with these two beings is revealed in his standard epithet, kuma‘m-bhfita, which means “in the form of a youth," or - “having become the crown prince." Mafijusri is the crown prince of Dharma because, similar to other tenth-stage bodhisattvas, he is on the verge of be- coming a King of Dharma, a Buddha. In due course, devotees endowed Mafijuéri with a legend of his own. Sev— enty myriad aeons ago and seventy-two hundred billion Buddha—fields to the east of this world, Mafijusri was a pious king who offered worship to a Tathigata and aroused the bodhicitta. l-Ie resolved to pursue an endless but unhurried career toward Awakening, staying in samsira as long as there re- mained even one being to be saved. Although he has now fulfilled all the virtues of a Buddha, he has not yet considered becoming one, although even— tually he will. This implies that there will come a time when the last living being has been saved, a rare eschatological statement in the Buddhist tradition. Merely hearing his name subtracts many aeons from one's time in samsira. Whoever worships him is born time and again in the Buddha-family and is ‘ protected by his power. Those who meditate on his statue will be similarly fortunate and will reach Awakening. If a devotee recites the Saramgama-sama'dhi Sfitra and chants Mafijus'ri's name, then within seven days Mafijusri will come to the worshiper, appearing in a dream if bad karma hinders the supplicant from receiving direct vision. Mafijusri also takes on the form of a poor man or an orphan to test the kindness of his devotees. 5.4.3 Avalokitesvara (Strong EB, sec. 5.2.1) Avalokitesvara first appears as a mere name in the lists at the beginning of the Vimalakim’, and later, the Lotus St‘ma. His first significant role is in the SukhEvati-uyfiha Sfitm, where he and Mahisthimapripta are Amitibha Bud- dha’s chief attendants. They are the only bodhisattvas in Sukhivati whose light is boundless; owing to them, that world-realm is luminous everywhere and al- ways. Both used to be men in this world; on dying they went to Sukhivati. 1 03 CHAPTER FIVE The Avalokitei‘vam Sam: was incorporated into the Lotus Slim as late as the third century CE. To this day, however, it circulates as an independent work in China and Japan, where it is the main item in the liturgy of the Kuan-yin cult. A few verses at the end describe Sukhavati and claim that Avalokiteévara now stands to the left of the Amitabha and fans him. The rest of the text says noth- ing about Amitibha but depicts Avalokiteévara as an omnipresent, omnipotent savior—deity subordinate to no one. He has purified his vows for countless aeons under millions of Buddhas. I-Ie possesses all virtues and is especially rich in love and compassion. He rescues those who invoke him from fire, ship— wreck, falling off a precipice, missiles, armed robbers and enemies, execution, chains and shackles, witchcraft, demons, wild beasts. snakes, and thunderbolts. His skill in means is infinite: Through it he takes whatever form will help liv- ing beings. He adopu the guise of :1 Buddha, a bodhisattva, a disciple, Brahma, Indra, and other gods. Like Mafijusri, he has played the role of a Buddha and will play it again, without getting "trapped" innirvina. In this respect the ce— lestial bodhisattvas are said to be superior to the Buddhas. , The origin of this bodhisattva-figure is obscure. The name Avalokiteévara is composed of avalokita (observed; looked down upon or observing; looking down) and is‘vam (lord). The general idea is that the Bodhisattva observes the world and responds to the cries of living beings. He is also called Lokeévara, “Lord of the World.” A variant name—Avalokitasvara, in which “svara” means sound or voice—underlies the Chinese short name Kuan-yin, “sound-re- garder." The longer Chinese name, Kuan-shih-yin, “regarder of the world’s sounds," is beautifully clear but does not correspond to any known Sanskrit form of the name. Avalokiteévara is praised for his voice, which resembles thunder or the tides. He is usually represented in art as a bejeweled lay man wearing a high crown bearing a cross—legged image of Amitibha. He often holds a lotus in his hand. In the Tantric period (600-1200 C.I-‘..), he came to be represented with 11 heads, and with 4, 10, 12, 24, or 1,000 arms ready to help people in trouble. In Tibet, Avalokitesvara was revered as the country’s patron, protector, and founder of the Tibetan race. Tibetans everywhere wor- shiped him for his compassionate response to the sufi'erings and trials of life. In China, Avalokiteévara was eventually represented as a woman. At present she is worshiped as a madonna of gentle compassion throughout east Asia, with the Chinese calling her Kuan-yin; the Japanese, Kannon; the Koreans, Kwanse’fim; and the Vietnamese, Quan-am. 5.4.4 Other Bodhisattva Tradltlons Samantabhadra (Universally Auspicious) became popular rather late. He is not mentioned at the beginning of the Lotus Sam, but in Chapter 26, a late addi— tion, he comes to the world with a fabulous retinue to ask Sikyamuni to ex— pound the Lotus 8mm. He promises to protect the monks who keep this Sfitra, and to avert the menaces of human enemies and demons. Mounted on a white elephant with six tusks, he will accompany the preacher, appearing and re— minding him when he forgets any part of the text. If devotees circumambulate SOTERIOLOGY AND PANTHEON OF THE MAHIYANA 109 for 21 days, Samantabhadra will show his body on the let, inspiring the devo- tees and giving them talismanic spells (Strong EB, sec. 5.2.3). In Buddhist symbolism, Samantabhadra represents daily practice and appli- cation, which must proceed by gradual but firm steps, similar to the elephant on which he sits. Samantabhadra is often paired with Mafijusri, the personifi— cation of wisdom, whose lion leaps and roars with the confidence that comes from experiential understanding. Together the two bodhisattvas thus symbol- ize twin requisites of spiritual growth: application and wisdom. Samantabhadra also appears in the Average-aka (Flower Ornament) Sim, as does Mafijusri, particularly in its later section called the Gapdavyfiha (Flower Array) Sam, where he appears as the greatest of all the bodhisattvas (Strong EB, sec. 4.3.6). This textual tradition became very popular in China (Hua- yen) and Japan (Kegon), and was particularly worshiped by women there. It was also portrayed in the top level of has-reliefs on the great javanese stfipa Borobudur (see Section 7.2). In Tibet, Samantabhadra came to be regarded as the great Cosmic Buddha who founded the tradition of Dzogchen meditation (see Section 11.3.3). We have learned how some bodhisattvas, such as Maitreya and Avalokites— vara, were important throughout the Buddhist world. Others became more important beyond greater India. Tara (Savioress) became very important in Tibet as the feminine aspect of compassion closely associated with Avalokites- vara. According to the Tibetan historian Tiranatha, she vowed to work for the salvation of all not as a man, as most do, but as a woman. She first appears in sixth—century Indian art with Avalokiteévara and, like Prajfiipiramiti, is called the Mother of all the Buddhas; unlike Prajr'iapiramiti, however, she be- came a deity who actively saves her devotees from worldly distress (Strong EB, sec. 5.2.2). 5.5 THE COSMIC BUDDHAS Sikyamuni was the object of adoration even during his lifetime. Although he reproved those who were attached to his person, Buddhists of all schools have glorified his body, ascribing to it the 32 major and 80 minor marks of a super— man, extolling its radiant complexion, sweet perfume, and unflagging six-col— ored aura. Similarly, from the earliest years Buddhists have regarded Dharma as more than simply a doctrine. It is the constant, the real, the true, the good, the valu— able, the harmonious, the normative. The nature of things, dharmata' (Dharma- ness), is analogous to the Stoic idea of natural law: the fixity, regularity, and necessity in phenomenal occurrences. Perception of Dharma in the moral sphere is the Buddhist version of conscience. Full understanding of the Dharma is Awakening; full experience of the Dharma, nirvana. Thus, Dharma should be not merely respected but also worshiped and sought as a refuge. The Buddha and the Sangha are to be revered because they “have become 1 1 0 CHAPTER FIVE Dharma." When the early sects agreed that the Buddha embodied the Dharma, it was not that they were personifying the teaching, but that in their view the Buddha actualized the Dharma, which his teaching then revealed. From this background it should be clear that the religious fervor the Mahiyinists brought to their worship of the Cosmic Buddhas as the embodi- ment of the hypostatic Dharma was not entirer unprecedented in the Bud- dhist tradition. What was new was the cosmology: the landscape in which Awakening is to be pursued, the role of the Buddha and Dharma in relation to the creation of the cosmos, and the ground rules for negotiating one's way through it. No longer was one confined to one's own abilities or to this mis- erable world as the primary means and arena for the practice. Through faith in the Cosmic Buddhas, combined with a moral life, one could be reborn in an idyllic Buddha—land beyond the realm of samsira, where the great Buddha in charge of the land would provide assistance in the remaining steps along the way to Awakening. 5.5.1 Multiple Bodies of the Buddha and the Buddha-Lands From the beginning, the Buddha was held to have two types of lea'ya (body): the rfipa-kaya (physical or form—body) and the nirmina-kiya (apparition-bod- ies) that he could conjure up through his supernormal powers. There was also the sense that he embodied the Dharma, although this concept was not reified (made into a thing) until the rise of the Mahisanghiltas, who held that the true Buddha was transcendent, as was the process of dependent co-arising, which, though not personalized, fulfilled many of the functions of a Creator in its role of giving rise to experienced phenomena. As we noted previously (see Section 4.3), these two concepts eventually fused and led to the identifi- cation of the true Buddha with the Dharmaltflya (Dharma-body) at the same time that the concept of the one Dharma was being converted to a metaphys— ical absolute, the basic creative principle operative throughout the cosmos and immanent in all things. Because this doctrine also held that all conditioned phenomena were illusory, it reduced the status of the Buddha's physical body to an apparition body (Strong EB, sec. 5.1). Because the early texts main- tained that the Buddha could create many apparition-bodies at once, it stood to reason that there should be apparition-bodies in all times and places; that benevolent omnipotence should respond to the needs of all suffering beings. Thus Buddhas must currently be elsewhere in the universe, as well as in the past and future of this world—realm. Early Buddhist cosmology had posited only one lokadha‘tu (world system), consisting of four continents on Earth together with assorted hells below and heavens above. Later the belief arose that a universe in which 2 Buddha acts consists of one billion such worlds (a so-called great chiliocosm). In the 10 di- rections (east, southeast, south, southwest, west, northwest, north, northeast, nadir, and zenith), there are universes “as numerous as the sands of the Ganges.” Some but not all of these universes are Buddha-lands, in each of which a Tathigata lives and teaches the Dharma. i l SOTERIOLOGY AND PANTHEON OF THE MAHAYANA 1 1 1 The Buddha-Esme (Buddha—lands, also Buddha-fields) differ fiom the heav~ ens of the gods in that they are presided over by a Buddha so that the inhabi- . tants can practice the Way, earn merit, and gain wisdom. Thus devotees practice to be reborn in these lands—calling upon a Buddha’s name, worshiping him, expressing faith in him, and living a pure life—so that once they attain their desired Buddha-lands, their Buddhas will help them to mature further in the spiritual Paths. Although the Cosmic Buddha-lands are fully separate from samsira, and residence there results in the full Awakening of the supreme Bud- dhas, they are very similar to the heavens of the gods in earlier Buddhism in a number of respects. The inhabitants are freed from labor, and the necessities of life come to them for the mere wishing. Sex is attenuated or entirely elimi- nated, as in the earlier Brahmi—worlds, and birth takes place without coitus or gestation. However, not all the Buddha-lands are the same, as the different Buddhas who preside over them made different vows, as bodhisattvas, con- cerning the features they would create in their Buddha—lands. Certain features of these Mahayana paradises deserve comment. Their many jewels, jewel-trees, and diamond bodies indicate a low opinion of or- ganic matter as perishable and impure. In this penchant they follow an aes— thetic that first appears in the St'itra Pitaka (D.17). Jewels, moreover, are visionary substances, believed to possess occult properties and radiate spiritual forces. Concentrating on them induces trances fostering visions of paradise that tend to be bright, with gemlilte colors and shapes. This Mahiyana space myth expressed a radical expansion of worldview and a corresponding change in values from the earlier Buddhist texts. The drama of salvation was no longer confined to this physical world-realm, and help from outside might be expected. Sikyamuni’s followers were not spiritual orphans, for extraterrestrial friends stood always ready to protect them: not only gods such as Sakra, Brahma, and the Four Great Kings, but also great bodhisattvas and Buddhas. This vision of endless space populated by spiritual beings corresponds to the general worldview of classical Hinduism, which was also developing at this time. 5.5.2 Sskyamuni According to the Lotus St'itra Sikyamuni remained the foremost of the Cosmic Buddhas until Tantrism transformed the lndian Buddhist pantheon. The Lotus ranks among the most worshiped of the Mahayana Sfitras not because of profound technical philoso— phy, of which it contains only a few fragments, but because of its assertion in graphic parables and concrete religious language that the historical Gautama is in reality an everlasting, ever—present cosmic father. As the Sfitra opens, Sakya~ muni enters samidhi, the earth quakes, and a ray shoots forth from the tuft of hair between his brows, illuminating myriad Buddha-fields in the eastern di- rection and revealing their inhabitants, from denizens of the hells up to the Buddhas and their assemblies. This extraordinary apparition serves to establish the Buddha’s stupendous power and knowledge, and to set the scale for his savmg activities. 1 1 2 CHAPTER FIVE The Buddha then tells Siriputra that only a Tathigata knows all the dhar- mas as they really are. As the Dharma is exceedingly diffith to fathom, the Buddhas employ their supreme skill in good means to accommodate the doc— trine to the varying capacities of living beings. Siriputra pleads with the Bud- dha to reveal the True Dharma. The Buddha consents and declares: “It is for a single aim that the Tathigata appears in the world, namely to impart to living beings the knowledge and vision of a Tathigata.” The Buddhas, furthermore, preach the Dharma by means of only One Vehicle, the Buddha-yam: (Buddha- vehicle). But when a Buddha appears in a degenerate epoch, among beings who are corrupt and lacking in merit, he uses the expedient device of the Three Vehicles (arhant, private—buddha, and bodhisattva). Siriputra rejoices to hear the Buddha say that the arhants are not condemned to an inferior nirvana; that they too will reach supreme, perfect Awakening. Sikyamuni then predicts that Siriputra will become a Buddha in the distant fiature. Sariputra asks the Buddha to dispel the perplexity that the idea of the One Vehicle has occasioned among sincere Hinayinists in the assemny Sakyamuni responds with the parable of the burning house. A rich householder had a vast and decrepit mansion inhabited by hundreds of living beings. A fire broke out, and the man devised a stratagem to get his 20 young sons out of the house. They did not come when he called them, because they were too engrossed in their playing to notice the ames. So he told them that toy carts—bullock carts, goat carts, and deer carts—awaited them outside. The boys came out and found that there was only one kind of cart, a magnificent bullock cart. Siriputra agrees that the father was not guilty of telling a falsehood as his aim was to save his children. Sikyamuni says that the Buddha, being the father of the world, is not guilty of falsehood either, because he was employing upaya (skillful means) when he announced that there are three vehicles. Just as the rich man gave each of his sons the best of carts, so the Buddha leads all 'beings to the same supreme Awakening (Strong EB, sec. 4.1). Sikyamuni states, "Many trillions of aeons ago, I realized supreme perfect Awakening." When a Tathagata who so long ago reached perfect Awakening goes through a semblance of attainment, he does so in order to lead beings to maturity. Without becoming extinguished, he makes a show of it so that weak beings will not take his continuing presence for granted. When these people are convinced that the apparition of Tathigatas is rare, they become more zeal— ous. Sikyamuni declares that he resides forever on Mount Grdhrakfita, preach- ing the Dharma, and that when the unawakened imagine that this ordinary world is engulfed in flames at the end of an aeon. it is really a paradise with gardens, palaces. and aerial cars, teeming with gods and human beings. The Lotus Sfitra is obviously an attempt to provide Sikyamuni with a re— splendent Buddha—land in no way inferior to that of the mythic Cosmic Bud- dhas described in other Sfitras. However, the “this world" portrayed in the Lotus bears little if any resemblance to the human world; and as the Sfitra re- places the historical Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha with a mythic, supernatural version of all three, it actually devalues the human condition and the potential for Awakening here and now. The career of the historical Buddha is said to be SOTERIOLOGY AND PANTHEON OF THE MAHIYANA 1 13 simply a show; any comprehensible expression of the Dharma inherently in- adequate; and the great human disciples as-yet—unawakened. Faith is no longer directed to a teaching that can be tested in practice. Rather, it is directed to the hope that one will have the opportunity to see the Tathagata and hear his teaching in a transfigured realm. As with the cult of Maitreya, valid efforts at practice in this lifetime are thus limited to acts of faith, making vows, and afu firmations of commitment in the hope of hearing the Dharma at the end of the aeon. Many later Mahayana teachers found that they had to counteract this implication of the Lotus Sim—and cults of other Cosmic Buddhas as well—4s when the japanese Zen master Hakuin (see Section 10.7) said, “This very place is the Lotus Land, and this very body is the Buddha," in order to spur his students on to the higher practice in this lifetime. 5.5.3 Aksobhya Aksobhya was the earliest of the nonhistorical Cosmic Buddhas. In the Vi- malakirti-nirdes‘a Sikyamuni says to the assembly, “There is a land named Abhi— rati and a Buddha named Aksobhya. This Vimalakirti died in that land and came to birth here." To satisfy the assembly’s longing to see the land, Vi- malakirti enters samadhi, grasps Abhirati, and sets it down in this world to be seen. Afterward it returns to its proper place in the East. In the Small Peyiacn'an of Wisdom, Sikyamuni exerts his wonder-working power and enables his as— sembly to see Aksobhya and his retinue. Neither Sfitra advocates devotion to Aksobhya. Apparently, however, rebirth in Abhirati was sought by some peo- ple (Strong EB, sec. 5.4.3). It could be attained through moral acts or even through hearing Aksobhya's name. This Buddha became moderately popular in Tantrism. In art he is represented as blue, with a vajra (diamond) in his right hand, his left hand in bhfimi-spars‘a-mudrfi (the earth-witness gesture), and a blue elephant for his mount. The name Aksobhya means “immovable” or “imperturbable.” Legend holds that while he was still a bodhisattva he made a vow to practice deeds without anger. The bodhisattva who does similarly will go to birth in Abhirati. Paradoxically, Aksobhya's expressions in the systems of Unexcelled Yoga Tantras (see Section 6.3.3) are all wrathful forms of Siva, ex- pressing the Tantric concept that awakened forms of wrath are ultimately based on nonanger. 5.5.4 Amita‘bha (Am ita) Amitibha (Unlimited Light) and Amitiyus (Unlimited Life Span) are alternate names for the same Buddha. Chinese A—mi—t'o and japanese Amida are ren- dered from the short form, Amita. The cult of this Buddha dates back at least to 100 C.E. Although the origin legends of the cosmic bodhisattvas are vague and sub- ject to conflicting versions, the Amitibha legend is specific, furnished with history-like detail, and unified. Successive translations of the Sukhé‘vafi-vyfiha Sam. and a related surviving late Sanskrit text, reveal—in spite of significant variations—a consistent pattern of development. The later the version, the 1 14 CHAPTER FIVE more Amitibha is glorified over Sikyamuni, and the fewer the restrictions on his power. The spiritual development of Amita begins with a bhiksu named Dharmikara (Mine or Treasury of Dharma), who countless aeons ago heard a sermon from the Buddha Lokeévararaja and expressed a fervent desire to be- come a Buddha like him. He implored the Buddha to teach him the way to supreme perfect Awakening and the qualities of a pure Buddha—field. The Tathigata then taught him the excellences and amenities of innumerable Bud- dha-lands for ten million years. Dharmikara took these good qualities, con- centrated them all in one Buddha-land, and meditated on them for five aeons. Then he went to his future Buddha-land, Sukha'vati, the Land of Bliss (Strong EB, sec. 5.4.1). In his Buddha—land, said Dharmikara, there would be no evil destinies (hell, animals, ghosts). There would be only a nominal difference between human beings and gods. All beings born there would almost, but not quite, be arhants destined for nirvana. Unless their bodhisattva vows bound them to further rebirths, they would be reborn only once. Nevertheless, their life span in Sukhavati would be unlimited. Evil would not be known there even by name. All beings would be able automatically to hear whatever Dharma—theme they wished, yet there would be neither teaching nor learning because all would be capable of direct cognition and would be able to recite the Dharma informed by omniscience. The most crucial question concerning a Buddha—land is how to attain re- birth there. Dharmikara’s vows provide a specific answer, although different versions of the Sukhdvati-vyfiha Si'itra vary somewhat. In the (fifth-century?) Chinese version adopted as orthodox by the Chinese and Japanese Pure Land sects, Amida’s 18th vow states that all living beings in the 10 directions who with sincere faith desire rebirth in his land will attain it by calling this desire to mind only 10 times. Only those who have committed atrocities or slandered the True Dharma are excluded. The 19th vow states that all living beings in the 10 directions who arouse the thought of bodhi, cultivate all the virtues, and wholeheartedly vow to be reborn in Amita’s land will, when they die, see Amita and a large retinue before them. The 20th vow states that if living be— ings in the 10 directions hear Amita’s name, fix their droughts on his land (that is, meditate on it), plant the roots of virtue, and wholeheartedly dedicate the resulting merit to rebirth there. their desire will be fulfilled. Although the Pure Land doctrine that developed around this Sfitra can be characterized as one of salvation by faith, the actual conditions for salvation specified in these vows qualify as a doctrine of faith and works. Salvation is not afl'ected by Amita's power alone. The candidate must also make an eEort by living a virtuous life. From the point of view of earlier Buddhism, how— ever, it is obvious that the work requirements for rebirth in this streamwinner land (see Section 2.3.2) have been considerably relaxed from what they were in the Sfitra Pitaka. Wisdom, in particular, is conspicuous by its absence. Having proclaimed his vows, Dharmiltara practiced the bodhisattva course for a trillion years until finally, 10 aeons ago, he became the Tathigata SOTERIOLOGY AND PANTHEON OF THE MAHKYKNA 11 5 Amitibha, presiding over the world—realm Sukhivati a trillion Buddha-fields away to the west, a realm endowed with all the virtues he had vowed that it would have. In India, Amitibha never became as popular as Sakyamuni. He is not very frequently represented in Indian art. Chinese pilgrims in the seventh century however, reported that the worship of Amitibha was widespread in India. lri the Lotus Sam and in Tantrism, Amitabha figures as one of the Five Tathigatas who rule the four cardinal points and the center, but there is no separate Amitzibha sect in Tibet. The Far East was where the Buddha of the Western paradise became a dominant focus of reverence. 5.5.5 Vairocana Vairocana (Shining Out) is an epithet of the sun. Originally it was simply an epithet of Sikyamuni, but in due course the name acquired separate identity as a celestial Buddha. In the Tantric set of the Five Tathigatas, he occupies the center, which is Sakyamuni's position in the exoteric Mahayana mandala (sa- cred Circle, cosrnoplan). The Chinese Hua—yen (see Section 8.5.2) view that Vairocana is the Dharma—body of Sikyamuni thus reaffirms the identity from which Vairocana was historically derived. The Mahavairocana Sfitra, a Yoga Tantra (see Section 6.3.2) composed in about the seventh century, consists of Vairocana's revelations to the Tantric equivalents of bodhisattvas. Vairocana did not become popular either in art or in cult until the seventh century, when his role as Sikyamuni's transcendental counterpart gave him preeminence in the Tantric cosmoplans and their asso- Ciated rites. MahEvairocana (Great Resplendent One)—a form equated with the cosmos as a whole—appears both in the Hua—yen school of China and the Shingon school of japan (see Section 10.4). Called Dainichi (Great Sun) injapanese, he is conceived of as the “Cosmos as Buddha," whose body, speech, and mind make up the universe. 5.5.6 Bhaisajyaguru—The Healing Buddha (Strong EB, sec. 5.4.2) The healing Buddha, Bhaisajyaguru (Master of Healing), or Bhaisajyaraji (I'Fmg of Healing), appeared late in the Mahiyina pantheon. Other bod- hisattvas and Buddhas were concerned with healing also, but this Buddha's prime focus was on all aspects of the art; in Tibet he was the patron of medi- cine and monastic physicians. Two Si‘itras were written establishing his cult: the Bhai'sajyagum Sum, of which a Sanskrit version exists, and the Saptabuddha Sfitra. Both Si‘itras exist in Chinese and Tibetan translations, but in India no images of Bhaisajyaguru predate the Bhaisajyagum Sfitm’s transmission to China by die fourth century as. This suggests a central Asian origin of his cult that later spread to India to be noticed by Santideva (circa 650450 C.E.) of Na— landa University. ...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course RELS 103 taught by Professor Samuels during the Spring '08 term at Western Kentucky University.

Page1 / 9

Robinson Johnson Mahayana - 98 CHAPTEfi FOUR the other...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 9. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online