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

By Reginald A. Ray | Go to book overview

In the end, by claiming that the Buddhist cult of saints is not original to the Buddha's message and to Buddhism but that it began to creep into and contaminate Buddhism from the earliest times, Bareau and other proponents of the two- tiered model put themselves in an awkward position. This is the position of seeing the entire history of Buddhism, beginning literally within a few years of the Buddha's death and among his most devoted disciples, as an increasing betrayal of the original tradition. Phenomena of betrayal are, of course, part and parcel of the history of religions but, for the reasons suggested in this and previous chapters of this study, it is difficult to believe that a betrayal of this magnitude occurred among the earliest Buddhists.


Notes
1.
In the following discussion, Mps will be referred to by the Sanskrit title, with indication being given, in the text or notes, as to which version is meant. When supplying terms for quotations in English from the Pāli text, Pāli terminology will be given. Apart from this exception, the general practice will continue to be followed of using the Sanskrit forms of terms. I thank Frank Reynolds for conversations that led me to the theme of this chapter.
2.
This discussion draws particularly upon the work of Bareau, who has analyzed the text in several studies, including 1962, 1963, 1970-71, 1974, 1975, and, specifically on Mps, 1979. In 1979, Bareau examines the six principal versions of Mps (one version each in Pāli [P.] and Sanskrit [Skt.], four in Chinese [Chin. A-D]) and concludes that this text formed gradually over several centuries. The number and order of the episodes vary from one version to the next, and less than half are found in all six versions. Nevertheless, an analysis of the six versions reveals (1) that there is a common plan among them; (2) that the texts share certain principal episodes; and (3) that the principal episodes almost always appear in the same order ( 1979, 46). The Mps in its various versions contains more than eighty episodes, analysis of which allows the construction of a relative chronology that indicates a temporal order in which the episodes were added to the text. (This, of course, does not tell us the order in which these individual units originally came into existence, a point presently of importance.) Bareau also hypothesizes an absolute chronology, in which he locates the addition of texts to Mps over some four centuries from the death of the Buddha (ca. 480 B.C.E.) to the beginning of the common era. However, he tells us, we should realize that this is "a fragile enough hypothesis" (47). As Bareau sees it, Mps may be divided into nine major sections, according to locale of the incidents, and these may be divided into two major groupings, as follows (48):
I. Mps-p 1-- Mps-p 2.20
1. In the environs of Rājagṛha
2. From Rājagṛha to Pāṭaligrāma
3. At Pāṭaligrāma
4. From Pāṭaligrāma to Vaiśālī
5. At Vaiśālī
II. Mps-p 2.21-- Mps-p 6.26
In the environs of Vaiśālī
From Vaiśālī to Kuṭinagarī
At Kuśinagarī: the final hours of the life of the Buddha
At Kuśinagarś: the last rites of the Buddha

-386-

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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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