20: Mahāyāna Sūtras

Tue., Aug. 19th, 16:00-18:00

Time in the “Diagram of the Avatamsaka Single Vehicle Dharmata”

Chu, Song-ok (Seoul National University, Seoul, KOR)

Euisang, a Korean Master of the Hwaom School, summarized the concept of time of the Mahavaipulya Buddhavatamsaka Sutra as “There is mutual identity between the nine time periods and the ten time periods, / Yet they are not in disorder but are clear and separate”, which are the thirteenth and fourteenth lines of “Verse on Dharma-nature.”

In Buddhism, time is understood not as existing objectively but as being generated in human consciousness. In other words, time is not an abstract thing without contents but is related to the concrete contents of consciousness. Time in Buddhism can be understood as the continuity of karma because the contents of consciousness do not differ from the karma generated through the body, mouth, and consciousness. Therefore, time in Buddhism unfolds not in a single time-line, “past-present-future”, but in a multiple and mutual time-line such as the nine time periods and the ten time periods.

Euisang also designed the diagram of Dharmadhatu with his “Verse on Dharma-nature”, which begins with “Dharma” and ends with “Buddha”. This diagram shows the progress of the nine time periods and ten time periods. In this paper, I will try to show why Euisang’s idea on time is essential to understand Dharma-nature and how he concretized his idea on time in his diagram, the visualization of Dharmadhatu.


A Study of the Khotanese Summary of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra

Katayama, Yumi (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, JPN)

The manuscripts of the main Mahāyāna sūtras, such as the Śūraṅgamasamādhisūtra, the Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra, and the Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabharājatathāgatasūtra are found in Khotanese translations as well as Sanskrit manuscripts. But the Saddharmapunḍarīkasūtra, one of the popular Mahāyāna sūtras in Khotan, has not been found in a complete Khotanese translation. All we have is a brief summary of the sūtra in sixty-one lines of verse, with two fragmentary variants. This summary of the sūtra was translated by Sir Harold Walter Bailey from Khotanese into English, but little attention has been given to the parallel expressions in the commentary of this sūtra.

The aim of this paper is to make clear that, by comparing the Kashgar manuscripts of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra with the Khotanese summary of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra, this Khotanese summary is found to be influenced – directly or indirectly – by the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkopadeśa written by Vasubandhu.


A Study on zhìhuì in the Dà āmítuó jīng

Xiao, Yue (The Research Institute of Bukkyo University, Kyoto, JPN)

This paper addresses the formation of the doctrine of zhìhuì 智慧 ‘wisdom’ in the Dà āmítuó jīng大阿彌陀經, the oldest version of the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha. In an earlier paper, I suggested that wisdom is a significant feature which plays an important role in the Dà āmítuó jīng, in that rebirth in Sukhāvatī aims not only at overcoming Samsara, but also at attaining the wisdom of Amitābha.

In my recent papers, I argued that the oldest version of the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha does not faithfully represent the original Indian text as commonly believed by many scholars, but is simply a version created by its Chinese translator. I also pointed out that no evidence can establish that the vows in the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka are a revision of what we find in the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha. On the contrary, much evidence indicates that the text of the Dà āmítuó jīng is just based on the translator’s own notions. It is difficult to imagine that there was an original text with twenty–four vows, akin to those in the Dà āmítuó jīng, even though scholars continue to look for it. Therefore, during the time when the Dà āmítuó jīng was translated into Chinese, the system with about forty-eight vows, akin to those in the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka, had already been in existence. This paper will continue focusing on the formation of two kinds of twenty-four vows in the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha through a consideration of the doctrine of wisdom in the Dà āmítuó jīng. This analysis will be approached in the following ways.

Firstly, I will undertake a comparative study of the doctrine of wisdom that appears in the vows of the Dà āmítuó jīng and its counterparts in other versions. Secondly, I will focus on the differences between the doctrine of zhìhuì in the Dà āmítuó jīng and that found in other versions. Thirdly, I will undertake a discussion on the formation of the vows containing the term zhìhuì in the Dà āmítuó jīng and compare this to other versions. Finally, I will discuss the formation of the doctrine of wisdom highlighted in the Dà āmítuó jīng.


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