Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations

By Reginald A. Ray | Go to book overview

Sūtra is willing, if reluctantly, to grant Buddhist authenticity to those following the scholastic path. Thus the text quotes the Buddha as remarking, "I have two forms of teaching the truth: self-realisation and discoursing. I discourse with the ignorant [bāla]and [disclose] self-realisation to the Yogins" ( Las 70.20-21 [Sz., 149]). On the other hand, as this passage makes clear, the text regards the path of scholarship as the inferior one, fit only for bāla. 116 This term is, in fact, frequently used to refer to Buddhist scholastics (for example, 22.119 [44]; 53.9 [112]). It is interesting that the text reflects a blanket criticism of scholarship, criticizing those ignorant ones, heretics, śrāvakas, and pratyekabuddhas 117 who remain attached to words and letters (8.12 [18]). Further, although no Mahāyānist scholastics are explicitly referred to in the text, there are several mentions of doctrines, reminiscent of the scholastic Madhyamaka, against which the Lan + ̄kāvatāra Sūtra inveighs (41.2-7 [85]; 39.1ff. [85]; 67.30ff. [144]). Thus, the threefold division of bodhisattva, pratyekabuddha, and śrāvaka is found throughout the Lan + ̄kāvatāra Sūtra interwoven with the twofold classification. 118


Appendix: The Minor Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra on Forest Bhikṣus

Another different and revealing perspective on forest renunciation, as seen by the Mahāyāna, is provided by another Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra , preserved in Tibetan, a text roughly one-tenth the size of the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra just examined, called by Ensink the "minor Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra " (E., 133-38). The shorter text is closely related to the longer in several ways: it is called a Mahāyāna sūtra, and the term Mahāyāna119 is used in the body of the text ( Rps-m 132.21 [E., 138]); Rāṣṭrapāla is again the interlocutor; the text espouses full and complete enlightenment as its highest ideal (126.26-27 [133]); it frequently mentions emptiness (śūnyatā), 120 (132.19-20 [138]); and it extols the forest life. In spite of such continuities, the minor Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra shows some important differences in terminology and perspective from the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra .

The text begins with a question to which the rest of the text will provide a response: "Exalted One, of what character are the beings that bring the teaching of the Tathāgata to ruin?" ( Rps-m 126.12-13 [E., 135]). The text begins the main section of its response to this question by telling us that an individual should reflect, "Am I desirous to destroy the mass of my own suffering or am I desirous to reach the unsurpassed, complete enlightenment [anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi]?" 121 (126.25-28 [133]). These two, we next learn, correspond respectively to, on the one hand, the vehicle of the śrāvaka (Śrāvakayāna) 122--discussion of which occupies most of this text--and, on the other, the "great vehicle" or Mahāyāna, explicitly mentioned but not discussed in any detail. The text then continues, "When he wishes to reach nirvāṇa by the career of the śrāvakas he must practise the teaching of the śrāvakas: he must accept the restrictions of the prātimokṣa" 123 (126.28-127.3 [133]). In other words, if one is interested in following the Śrāvakayāna, he will become a bhikṣu and follow the rules of the prātimokṣa. For the minor Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra , apparently, the prātimokṣa is definitive of the Śrāvakayāna. The text then initiates its discussion of the Śrāvakayāna

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Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Conventions xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 10
  • 1 - The Buddhist Saints and the Two-Tiered Model of Buddhism 15
  • Notes 36
  • 2 - Buddha Śākyamuni as a Saint 44
  • Notes 68
  • 3 - Saints of the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā 79
  • Notes 99
  • 4 - Some Orthodox Saints in Buddhism 105
  • Conclusion 136
  • Notes 141
  • 5 - Saints Criticized and Condemned 151
  • Notes 173
  • 6 - Cults of Arhants 179
  • Notes 205
  • 7 - The Solitary Saint, the Pratyekabuddha 213
  • Notes 241
  • 8 - Bodhisattva Saints of the Forest in Mahāyāna Sūtras 251
  • Appendix: the Minor Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra on Forest Bhikṣus 275
  • Appendix: the Minor Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra on Forest Bhikṣus 280
  • 9 - Ascetic Traditions of Buddhist Saints 293
  • Notes 318
  • 10 - The Buddhist Saints and the Stūpa 324
  • Notes 352
  • 11 - The Cult of Saints and Buddhist Doctrines of Absence and Presence 358
  • Notes 386
  • 12 - The Buddhist Saints and the Process of Monasticization 396
  • Notes 423
  • Conclusion: Toward a Threefold Model of Buddhism 433
  • Notes 447
  • Bibliography 448
  • Index 469
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