22: Originality and the Role of Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhists Texts

Wed., Aug. 20th, 09:00-15:00

Originality and the Role of Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhists Texts

Cathy Cantwell; Jowita Kramer; Elisa Freschi

The section is aiming at exploring the concept of originality, authorship and the role of intertextuality in Buddhist literature. We would like to discuss the relation of innovation on the one hand and perpetuation of earlier textual material on the other. Making use of whole sentences or even passages from older texts without marking them as quotations seems to have been common practice among Indian and Tibetan Buddhist authors. It is not unusual to find only a few quotations marked explicitly as originating from another text. Most of the passages parallel to older works are incorporated “silently”. Although within the Buddhist traditions this relationship is not the topic of explicit reflections, it can be investigated by taking a closer look at the methods and strategies applied by Buddhist authors. With a view to this, we would like to discuss, for example, the following questions.

—What are the aims of adaptive reuse? How are they achieved?
—How are originality and creativity related to adaptive reuse?
—Are different kinds of reuse (citations, paraphrase, references, re-arrangement etc.) employed for different ends?

By dealing with these and related questions on the basis of a wider range of individual case studies from different Buddhist backgrounds, the panel will contribute to a deeper understanding of concepts of originality, innovation and authorship in Buddhist traditions of India and Tibet.


Re-presenting a Famous Revelation: Dudjom Rinpoche's Work on the Ultra Secret Razor Lifeforce Vajrakīlaya (yang gsang srog gi spu gri) of Pema Lingpa (padma gling pa, 1450-1521)

Cantwell, Cathy (University of Oxford, Canterbury, Kent, GBR)

This paper represents one section of a four year project on issues of authorship and textual development over the generations in relation to tantric revelations, focusing on the works of the erudite scholar/lama Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (bdud 'joms 'jigs bral ye shes rdo rje, 1904-1987), relating to the tantric deity, Vajrakīlaya. One of the leading lamas of his generation, Dudjom Rinpoche received his own revelations, as well as contributing to the texts of previous lamas of his tradition. Such was his reputation that in the early 1970s, the Bhutanese Royal family requested him to edit the Collected Works of Pema Lingpa (padma gling pa, 1450-1521), the national saint of Bhutan. Some twenty years before, Dudjom Rinpoche had already made contributions to Pema Lingpa's corpus, including compilations of a number of ritual practice texts for Vajrakīlaya, as well as commentarial instructions on these texts. Thus, there are two aspects to Dudjom Rinpoche's work to be considered here, firstly, his own writings on Pema Lingpa's Vajrakīlaya revelations, and secondly, his work as an editor – or as the chief editor of a team – working on the Vajrakīlaya section of Pema Lingpa's corpus. The paper considers the nature of Dudjom Rinpoche's contributions, and what they might tell us about Tibetan approaches to maintaining vibrancy, as well as textual coherence, in revelatory traditions.


Intertextuality and (Un?)Originality in the Sanskrit Dīrghāgama Manuscript and the Development of Āgama/Nikāya Literature

DiSimone, Charles (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, GER)

The Gilgit Dīrghāgama manuscript is a Sarvāstivāda / Mūlasarvāstivāda text containing a collection of ancient canonical Buddhist sūtras, composed in Sanskrit with some Prakrit and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit elements and written on birch bark folios in the Gilgit/Bamiyan Type II script, also known as Proto-Śāradā. This collection had been lost for centuries and was recently rediscovered in what is thought to be the border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 20th century. Like the Dīghanikāya of the Theravāda tradition preserved in Pali, the Dīrghāgama is rife with examples of intertextuality and its author(s) either influenced by or freely borrowing (or some mixture thereof) from other Buddhist texts. While the Dīrghāgama and Dīghanikāya often parallel one another, there are numerous differences and the two collections often disagree on topics and content.

This paper will focus on issues of intertextuality in one of the texts from the Dīrghāgama, the Prasādanīya-sūtra. Many passages in the Prasādanīya-sūtra are found in similar wording in other Mahāyāna and Mainstream Buddhist sūtras. Additionally, the Prasādanīya-sūtra follows the same general structure, theme, and topics of its Pali counterpart, the Sampasādanīya-sutta but the actual content of the two texts wildly diverge. These differences in content seem to reflect differing (Mūla)sarvāstivāda and Theravāda views and considerations when faced with answering pan-Buddhist questions as the traditions were developing. By analyzing the instances of intertextuality found in the Prasādanīya-sūtra and the specific differences between it and the Sampasādanīya-sutta, it is hoped that new information concerning authorship and textual transmission will come to light.


Different Manuscripts, Different Works, Different Authors, but Always the Same Story: On Textual Re-use in Buddhist Narrative Literature

Formigatti, Camillo Alessio (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, GBR)

Buddhist Narrative Literature is a maze of works, and finding one's own way through it is often a very challenging task, even if the final destination is already clearly set. For instance, if the aim is the preparation of a critical edition of a given work by a more or less known author, an integral part of this enterprise consists in tracing the source−or sources−of the narrative material employed by the author. A correct assessment of the various textual and visual sources of the story narrated in a jātaka or an avadāna is necessary for at least two reasons: to help the editor in the editorial choices and to give a better appraisal of the author's literary skills in re-using the ‘raw’ material for his artistic purposes. However, this approach presupposes the figure of an author and takes into consideration only one or two layer of intertextuality, namely the reuse of narrative motifs and/or the reuse of stylistic devices. In this paper I will focuse on one additional layer which has been neglected so far, namely the reuse of whole texts for the creation of new Frankenstein-like works like the Divyāvadāna.


Veṅkatanātha's Buddhist Opponents as They Emerge in the Buddhist Texts He Reused

Freschi, Elisa (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

Veṅkaṭanātha (also known with the honorific title Vedānta Deśika, traditional dates 1269–1370) is a polygraph author of South India and a key figure of Śrī Vaiṣṇavism and of the theological and philosophical systematisation of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta. One of the common threads of his production is the attempt to integrate within Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta other schools of Indian philosophy and theology. Accordingly, the reuse of previous texts is a key element of his production. Does this apply also to his relation to Buddhist sources?

The present paper will deal with this topic from the specific perspective of the reuse of Buddhist texts, especially focusing on the difference in the reuse of Buddhist texts by Veṅkaṭanātha and by his forerunners. It is in fact noteworthy that Buddhist quotes are almost absent in Veṅkaṭanātha's predecessors, i.e., Yāmuna and Rāmānuja, although the former's Āgamaprāmāṇya could have been the right place to discuss the validity of Buddhist texts. By contrast, Veṅkaṭanātha often refers to Buddhist concepts and quotes from Buddhist texts. Furthermore, while sharing the wide-spread attitude of mentioning “Buddhists” as opponents who have it all wrong, so that a certain thesis has to be abandoned if there is the risk that it leads to Buddhist-like consequences, he nonetheless actually engages in more accurate debates on specific topics.


Re-use of Text in Pali Commentarial Legal Literature

Kieffer-Pülz, Petra (Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz, Weimar, GER)

Reuse of text is a common means in Indian commentarial literature. Pāli literature is no exception to this. Within Pāli literature legal literature forms a separate unit. Since it aimed, and still aims at clarification of monastic legal matters, it grew voluminous over the past 2000 years. Not only was the monastic law code (Vinaya) commented on in commentaries, subcommentaries, subsubcommentaries, etc., but also parts of it (Pātimokkha). Moreover, Vinaya handbooks were written to condense or summarize the relevant legal material (Khuddasikkhā, Mūlasikkhā, Vinayavinicchaya, Uttaravinicchaya, Pālimuttakavinayavinicchaya), and these again were amply commented on. Excluding treatises on specific topics (sīmā), and commentaries that survived only in form of citations preserved in the still existent commentaries, we have all in all at least twenty-six law commentaries handed down (the number would be still higher, if texts only available in manuscript form would be taken into account too). The authors of these commentaries consulted the earlier law commentaries and re-used their texts to different degrees and in varying ways. Consequently many shades of re-use of text can be observed. In the present contribution some of these types of re-use shall be discussed.


Sthiramati's Commentarial Techniques in his Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra Commentary

Kramer, Jowita (University of Munich, Munich, GER)

This paper will focus on the role of intertextuality and originality in the eleventh chapter of Sthiramati’s Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra commentary, called the “Investigation of the Doctrine” (dharmaparyeṣṭi). Summarizing the philosophical viewpoints of the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, the dharmaparyeṣṭi chapter is considered one of the most important sections of the work. Thus, it appears perfectly suitable to serve as a basis for a comparison of its author’s compositional style and commentarial strategies with other philosophical commentaries ascribed to Sthiramati (e.g. the Pañcaskandhakavibhāṣā and the Triṃśikāvijñaptibhāṣya). Drawing on examples from these texts the presentation will aim at showing the relations between textual reuse and innovation, demonstrating the employment of explicit and “silent” quotations as well as at analysing the authors’ possible motives for the utilization of a particular strategy. Moreover, the paper will be concerned with doctrinal inconsistencies found in the commentaries and while thus trying to provide new insights into the question of the *Sūtrālaṃkāravṛttibhāṣya’s authorship, its overall aim is to shed new light on the concepts of authorship, creativity and intertextuality in the context of Buddhist commentarial literature.


Some Questions on the Compilation of Tantras in Tibet and India.

Mayer, Robert (Oxford University, Canterbury, GBR)

This exploratory paper is based on our analysis of patterns of literary compilation discernible in Bon and rNying ma tantras. Some questions are raised about the possible impact of cultural values on their modes of compilation. Did the Tibetan cultural emphasis on lineage and lineage purity exert any noticeable influence within these Bon and rNying ma texts? Do they differ noticeably in this respect from Indian Tantric compilations of the same period?


Response to the Views on the Originality and the Role of Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhist Texts

Wallace, Vesna (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)

This presentation will be a response to the papers presented on the panel section titled “Originality and the Role of Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhist Texts.” It will include the analysis of the given presentations in light of the theories of literary criticism, and it will examine the ways in which the studies of the originality and intertextuality of Buddhist texts contribute to the field of literary studies.


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