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Encyclopedia > Mahayana Sutras

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Buddhism
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History of Buddhism
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Foundations
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Key Concepts
Several Buddhist terms and concepts lack direct translations into English that cover the breadth of the original term. ...

Three marks of existence
Skandha · Cosmology
Saṃsāra · Rebirth · Dharma
Dependent Origination · Karma
According to the Buddhist tradition, all phenomena (dharmas) are marked by three characteristics, sometimes referred to as the Dharma seals, that is dukkha (suffering), anicca (impermanence), and anatta (non-Self). ... The skandhas (Sanskrit: Pāli: Khandha; literally: heap or bundle) are the five constituents or aggregates through which the functioning and experience of an individual is created according to Buddhist phenomenology. ... Buddhist cosmology is the description of the shape and evolution of the universe according to the canonical Buddhist scriptures and commentaries. ... For other uses, see Samsara (disambiguation). ... Rebirth in Buddhism is the doctrine that the consciousness of a person (as conventionally regarded), upon the death or dissolution of the aggregates (skandhas) which make up that person, becomes one of the contributing causes for the arising of a new group of skandhas which may again be conventionally considered... Dharma (Sanskrit: धर्म) or Dhamma (Pāli: धम्म) in Buddhism has two primary meanings: the teachings of the Buddha which lead to enlightenment the constituent factors of the experienced world In East Asia, the character for Dharma is 法, pronounced fǎ in Mandarin and hō in Japanese. ... The doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit: प्रतित्यसमुत्पादा) or Paticcasamuppāda (Pāli: पतिचसमुपादा; Tibetan: ; Chinese:緣起) Dependent Arising is an important part of Buddhist metaphysics. ... Karma (Sanskrit: कर्मन karman, Pāli: कमा Kamma) means action or doing; whatever one does, says, or thinks is a karma. ...

Major Figures
A number of noted individuals have been Buddhists. ...

Gautama Buddha
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Practices and Attainment

Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
Four Stages of Enlightenment
Paramitas · Meditation · Laity
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Regions
Buddhist beliefs and practices vary according to region. ...

Southeast Asia · East Asia
India · Sri Lanka · Tibet
Bhutan · Western Countries
Theravada (Pali; Sanskrit: Sthaviravada) is one of the eighteen (or twenty) Nikāya schools that formed early in the history of Buddhism. ... The Aomori Daibutsu (Big Buddha), Aomori, Japan. ... Tibetan Buddhism is the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet, the Himalayan region (including northern Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Ladakh), Mongolia, Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia (Russia), and northeastern China (Manchuria: Heilongjiang, Jilin). ... The Indo-Greek king Menander (155-130 BCE) is the first Western historical figure documented to have converted to Buddhism. ...

Branches

Theravāda · Mahāyāna
Vajrayāna · Early schools
Pre-sectarian Buddhism Theravada (Pāli: theravāda; Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda; literally, the Way of the Elders) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand). ... Relief image of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin from Mt. ... A mandala used in Vajrayana Buddhist practices. ... Divisions among the early Buddhist schools came about due to doctrinal or practical differences in the views of the Buddhist Sangha following the death of the Buddha. ... The term pre-sectarian Buddhism is used to refer to the Buddhism that existed before the various subsects of Buddhism came into being. ...

Texts
There are a great variety of Buddhist texts. ...

Pali Canon · Mahayana Sutras
Tibetan Canon Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Mahayana Sutras Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of... The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism. ...

Comparative Studies
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Portal: Buddhism
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Lands

Bhutan • China • Korea
Japan • Tibet • Vietnam
Taiwan • Mongolia

Doctrine The grounds of Koreas Buryeongsa Temple. ... Tibetan Buddhism is the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet, the Himalayan region (including northern Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Ladakh), Mongolia, Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia (Russia), and northeastern China (Manchuria: Heilongjiang, Jilin). ...

Bodhisattva • Bodhicitta
Karuna • Prajna
Sunyata • Buddha Nature
Trikaya • Eternal Buddha

Mahayana Sutras Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Scriptures Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History 4th Buddhist Council Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      A statue of a Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha. ... In Buddhist thought, bodhicitta (Ch. ... For the army colonel see Colonel Karuna. ... Prajñā (Sanskrit; Pali: paññā; Tibetan: shes rab, Chinese: 般若, banruo) meaning wisdom, cognitive acuity; or know-how -- but especially the Buddhist wisdom that is based on a realization of dependent origination, not-self, emptiness, etc. ... Śūnyatā, शून्यता (Sanskrit, Pali: suññatā), or Emptiness, is a term for a concept or set of concepts playing an important role in some versions of the Buddhist metaphysical critique, but also having important implications for Buddhist epistemology and phenomenology. ... Buddha-nature (originally in Sanskrit, Buddha-dhatu - Buddha Element, Buddha-Principle) is a doctrine important for many schools of Mahayana Buddhism. ... The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ... A stone image of the Buddha. ... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Mahayana Sutras Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of...

Prajnaparamita Sutra
Avatamsaka Sutra
Lotus Sutra
Nirvana Sutra
Vimalakīrti Sutra
Lankavatara Sutra

History Perfection of Wisdom is a translation of the Sanskrit term prajñā pāramitā (Hanzi. ... The Avataṃsaka SÅ«tra (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the most influential scriptures in East Asian Buddhism. ... The Lotus Sutra or Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma (Sanskrit: Saddharma PuṇḍarÄ«ka SÅ«tra; 妙法蓮華經 Chinese: MiàofÇŽ Liánhuā JÄ«ng; Japanese: Myōhō Renge Kyō; Korean: Myobeomnyeonhwagyeong) is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sutras in East Asia and... See Mahaparinibbana Sutta for the sutta of the Pali Canon. ... Chinese :   維摩詰經 Sanskrit :   विमलकीर्ति-निर्देश-सूत् Vimalakirti Sutra This scripture is considered one of the most profound, as well as literarily excellent of the Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist sutras. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Silk Road • Nagarjuna
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Bodhidharma
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Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of Buddhist scriptures (sutras) that were recorded by Buddhist monks from the first century BCE onwards. Blue-eyed Central Asian and East-Asian Buddhist monks, Bezaklik, Eastern Tarim Basin, 9th-10th century. ... For other uses, see Nagarjuna (disambiguation). ... Asanga (also called Aryasanga), born around 300 C.E., was a great exponent of the Yogacara. ... Vasubandhu (Sanskrit. ... Bodhidharma (early 6th century CE) was the Buddhist monk traditionally credited as founder of Zen. ... Image:Buddhasunset crop. ... Sutras may refer too: Sutra, a concept regarding Hinduism Sutras (album), an album by 1960s rock musician Donovan ... (1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century - other centuries) The 1st century was that century which lasted from 1 to 99. ...

Between the 1st Century B.C. to the 1st Century A.D., the two terms Mahayana
and Hinayana appeared in the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra or the Sutra of the
Lotus of the Good Law.[1]

Some Buddhist scholars who have extensively studied both have noted similarities in the core teachings of Buddhism and only minor differences in the emphasis of the bodhisatva ideal in Mahayana Buddhism [2] Although there is no scholarly consensus on the origins of Mahayana sutra, certain authors such as A.K. Warder claim Mahayana sutras were mainly composed in the south[3] of India, later the activity of writing additional scriptures was continued in the east[4] and north[5] of India. Prince Siddhartha Gautama as a bodhisattva, before becoming a Buddha. ...


Mahayana Buddhists traditionally believe that the Mahayana sutras, with the possible exception of those with an explicitly Chinese provenance, are an authentic account of the life and teachings of the Buddha. These sutras form the basis of the various Mahayana schools and are accepted as transmitting the genuine doctrines of the Buddha by devotees of Mahayana Buddhism. The various early Buddhist schools, however, declared the Mahayana sutras to be heretical, saying they are late compositions which were never proclaimed by the historical Buddha. They claim the Mahayana sutras contain various untruths and falsifications, and therefore do not represent the life and teachings of the historical Gautama Buddha[6]. The advocates of such views within the Early schools are mentioned and condemned in some early Mahāyāna sūtras[7]. Relief image of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin from Mt. ... Divisions among the early Buddhist schools came about due to doctrinal or practical differences in the views of the Buddhist Sangha following the death of the Buddha. ... Siddhartha and Gautama redirect here. ...

Contents

Historicity and Background

Generally, scholars conclude that the Mahayana scriptures were composed from the first century CE onwards, with some of them having their roots in other scriptures, composed in the first century BCE. The Mahayana sutras are thus not included in the more ancient Agamas, nor in the Sutta Pitaka of the Theravada, both of which represent an older stratum of Buddhist scriptures, which some claim can be historically linked to Gautama Buddha himself. For the Buddhist texts called the Agamas, see Nikaya. ... The Sutta Pitaka (suttapiṭaka; or Suttanta Pitaka; Sanskrit सूत्र पिटक Sutra Pitaka) is the second of the three divisions of the Tipitaka or Pali Canon, the great Pali collection of Buddhist writings, the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. ... Theravada (Pāli: theravāda; Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda; literally, the Way of the Elders) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand). ... Siddhartha and Gautama redirect here. ...


Mahayana beliefs

The tradition in Mahayana is that the Mahayana sutras were written down at the time of the Buddha and stored for five hundred years in the realm of the dragons (or Nagas). The tradition further claims that the teachings of the Mahayana sutras are higher than the teachings contained in the Agamas and the Sutta Pitaka, and that people were initially unable to understand the Mahayana sutras at the time of the Buddha (500 BCE). This is the reason given, according to some Mahayana accounts, for the need to store these sutras in the realm of the dragons for 500 years, until suitable recipients for these teachings arose amongst humankind[8]. The nagas ( snake) are an ancient race of snake-humanoid beings first depicted in ancient Vedic Hindu mythology and oral folklore from at least 5000 B.C.E. Stories involving the Nagas are still very much a part of contemporary cultural traditions in predominantly Hindu (India, Nepal, and the island... For the Buddhist texts called the Agamas, see Nikaya. ... The Sutta Pitaka (suttapiṭaka; or Suttanta Pitaka; Sanskrit सूत्र पिटक Sutra Pitaka) is the second of the three divisions of the Tipitaka or Pali Canon, the great Pali collection of Buddhist writings, the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. ...


Scholars' opinion on historicity

The accounts of the texts specific to the Mahayana school (the Mahayana Sutras) are often seen by scholars to not represent a true historic account of the life and teachings of Buddha. The traditional account of why these accounts are not preserved in the older Tripitaka texts (the Pali Canon and the Agamas) of Early Buddhism, invariably involve stories of mythical dragons (Nāgas) and denigrating accounts on the intelligence of humankind (not clever enough) at the time of the Buddha. Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Mahayana Sutras Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ... For the Buddhist texts called the Agamas, see Nikaya. ... The term Early Buddhism can refer to: Pre-sectarian Buddhism, which refers to the Teachings and monastic organization and structure, founded by Gautama Buddha. ... It has been suggested that Phaya Naga be merged into this article or section. ...


Mahayanist attitude to the Mahayana Sutras

One Mahayana tradition holds (based on the Sandhi-nirmocana Sutra) that Gautama Buddha's teachings may be divided into three general hierarchical categories, known as the "three turnings of the wheel of dharma" – the Hinayana turning, and two Mahayana turnings: the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Wisdom), and Yogacara. The Mahayana Sutras would thus belong to the two later turnings, and not form part of the 'Hinayana' turning. Prajñā (Sanskrit; Pali: paññā; Tibetan: shes rab, Chinese: 般若, banruo) meaning wisdom, cognitive acuity; or know-how -- but especially the Buddhist wisdom that is based on a realization of dependent origination, not-self, emptiness, etc. ... Pāramitā or PāramÄ« (Sanskrit and Pāli respectively): Perfection or Transcendent. In Buddhism & Jainism, the Paramitas refer to the perfection or culmination of certain practices. ... Perfection of Wisdom is a translation of the Sanskrit term prajñā pāramitā (Devanagari: प्रज्ञा पारमिता, Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多/般若波罗蜜多, Pinyin: bānruò-bōluómìduō, Japanese: hannya-haramita), which is one of the aspects of a bodhisattvas personality called the paramitas. ... Yogācāra (Sanskrit: yoga practice), also spelled yogāchāra, is an influential school of philosophy and psychology that developed in Indian Mahayana Buddhism starting sometime in the fourth to fifth centuries C.E., also commonly known as consciousness-only or mind-only (Sanskrit: cittamātra) (although scholars increasingly...


The spirit in which Mahayana sutras are to be understood is stated in the Vimalakirti Sutra: Vimalakirti Sutra (Chinese 維摩經 wéimó jing, Japanese 維摩経 yuima-gyō, Korean 유마경 yuma-gyeong, Sanskrit विमलकीर्ति-निर्देश-सूत्र Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa-sūtra. ...

  • relying on the meaning and not on the literal expression;
  • relying on gnosis and not on consciousness;
  • relying on the ultimate teachings definitive in meaning and not insisting on the superficial teachings interpretable in meaning;
  • relying on reality and not insisting on opinions derived from personal authorities;

In other words, these teachings should not necessarily be taken literally but understood directly by sages through contemplative gnosis. Certain Mahayana sutras (such as the Srimala Sutra and the Mahaparinirvana Sutra) state that they themselves are definitive (nitartha) or complete statements of final Dharma and do not require further interpretative explication. The Śrīmālā Sūtra (full title: ) is one of the main early Mahayana Buddhist texts that taught the theories of tathagatagarbha and the Single Vehicle, through the words of the Indian Queen Śrīmālā. It was translated to... Nirvana Sutra or Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (Chinese: Niepan Jing (涅槃經); Japanese: Nehangyō (涅槃経)) is one of the major texts of Mahāyāna Buddhism. ...


Nature of the Mahayana Sutras

Diversity

The teachings as contained in the Mahayana Sutras as a whole have been described as a loosely bound bundle of many teachings, which was able to contain the various contradictions between the varying teachings it is comprised of[9]. Because of these contradictory elements, there are very few things which can be said with certainty about Mahayana Buddhism[10][11].


Polemical

Being restatements of a doctrine, part of nearly every Mahayana Sutra contains a denigrative section of varying length, denunciating the earlier, original doctrine of Early Buddhism. Some scholars have commented on the unpleasant nature of these polemical statements, noting that such negative comments are mostly absent in the earlier texts (the Agamas and Pali Canon), which are of a more tolerant and understanding nature[12]. The term Early Buddhism can refer to: Pre-sectarian Buddhism, which refers to the Teachings and monastic organization and structure, founded by Gautama Buddha. ... For the Buddhist texts called the Agamas, see Nikaya. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ...


Collections of Mahayana Sutras

The Mahayana Sutras survive predominantly in primary translations in Chinese and Tibetan from original texts in Sanskrit, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit or various Prakrits. From these Chinese and Tibetan texts, secondary translations were also made into Mongolian, Korean, Japanese and Sogdian. The Tibetan language is spoken primarily by the Tibetan people who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering South Asia, as well as by large number of Tibetan refugees all over the world. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (BHS) is a modern linguistic category applied to some of the Mahāyāna Buddhist Sutras, such as the Perfection of Wisdom. ... Prakrit (also spelt Pracrit) (Sanskrit: , original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual, i. ... The Sogdians were an ancient people of Central Asia, who inhabited the region known to the West as Sogdiana. ...


Mahayana Canon

Although there is no definitive Mahayana canon as such, the printed or manuscript collections in Chinese and Tibetan, published through the ages, have preserved the majority of known Mahayana sutras. Many parallel translations of certain sutras exist. A handful of them, such as the Prajñāpāramitā sutras like Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra, are considered fundamental by most Mahayana traditions. The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra or Heart Sutra or Essence of Wisdom Sutra (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदयसूत्र Prajñāpāramitā Hridaya SÅ«tra; Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多心經, BōrÄ›bōluómìduō XÄ«njÄ«ng; Japanese: 般若心経, Hannya Shingyō; Korean: Pannya Shimgyŏng) is a well-known Mahāyāna Buddhist sutra that is very... The Chinese Diamond Sutra, the oldest known dated printed book in the world, printed in the 9th year of Xiantong Era of the Tang Dynasty, i. ...


The standard modern edition of the Buddhist Chinese canon is the Taisho Tripitaka, redacted during the 1920s in Japan, consisting of eighty-five volumes of writings which, in addition to numerous Mahayana texts, also include Agama collections, several versions of the Vinaya, Abhidharma and Tantric writings. The first thirty-two volumes contain works of Indic origin, volumes thirty-three to fifty-five contain works of native Chinese origin, volumes fifty-six to eighty-four contain works of Japanese composition. the eighty-fifth volume contains miscellaneous items including works found at Dunhuang. A number of apocryphal sutras composed in China are also included in the Chinese Buddhist Canon, although the spurious nature of many more was recognized, thus preventing their inclusion into the canon. The Sanskrit originals of many Mahayana texts have not survived to this day, although Sanskrit versions of the majority of the major Mahayana sutras have survived. Chinese Printed Sutra Page Song Dynasty, Nantoyōsō Collection, Japan The Chinese Buddhist Canon (Chinese: 大藏經; Cantonese: Dai Zorng Ging; Mandarin: Dà Zàng Jīng), which meanes Great Treasury of Scriptures, is the total body of Buddhist literature deemed canonical in China, Korea and Japan and includes texts from Nikaya... For the Buddhist texts called the Agamas, see Nikaya. ... The Vinaya (a word in Pali as well as in Sanskrit, with literal meaning discipline) is the textual framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha. ... The abhidhamma is the name of one of the three pitakas, or baskets of tradition, into which the Tipitaka (Pali; Sanskrit: Tripitaka), the canon of early Buddhism, is divided. ... This article is an overview of Tantra and an in-depth look at the Tantra of Hinduism. ... Location of Dunhuang Dunhuang (Chinese: , also written as 燉煌 till early Qing Dynasty; Pinyin: ) is a city in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China. ... The Chinese Buddhist Canon (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; literally Great Treasury of Scripture) is the total body of Buddhist literature deemed canonical in China, Korea and Japan and includes texts from Nikaya as well as Mahayana schools. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...


Divisions

Mahayana sutras are divided into a number of traditions. Some, like the Prajñāpāramitā sutras, are almost completely philosopical in nature. Others are texts based on lives of Bodhisattvas and Buddhas outlining their vows for sentient salvations, or are made for the benefits of suffering beings. The latter two classes usually contains specific dharana and mantras. Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Scriptures Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History 4th Buddhist Council Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      A statue of a Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha. ... Media:Example. ... Dharana (Pronounced Dhaaranaa, with a voiced, aspirated dh) is the sixth of the eight steps of Patanjalis Ashtanga Yoga. ... In Tibet, many Buddhists carve mantras into rocks as a form of devotion. ...


List of the Mahayana Sutras

  • Texts of Indian or Central Asian origin

The Lalitavistara Sutra (English: Extensive Sport Sutra) is a Mahayana Buddhist Vaipulya sutra that describes the sports (lila) of Gautama Buddha. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Lotus Sutra or Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma (Sanskrit: Saddharma PuṇḍarÄ«ka SÅ«tra; 妙法蓮華經 Chinese: MiàofÇŽ Liánhuā JÄ«ng; Japanese: Myōhō Renge Kyō; Korean: Myobeomnyeonhwagyeong) is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sutras in East Asia and... Perfection of Wisdom is a translation of the Sanskrit term prajñā pāramitā (Devanagari: प्रज्ञा पारमिता, Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多/般若波罗蜜多, Pinyin: bānruò-bōluómìduō, Japanese: hannya-haramita), which is one of the aspects of a bodhisattvas personality called the paramitas. ... The Chinese Diamond Sutra, the oldest known dated printed book in the world, printed in the 9th year of Xiantong Era of the Tang Dynasty, i. ... The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra or Heart Sutra or Essence of Wisdom Sutra (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदयसूत्र Prajñāpāramitā Hridaya SÅ«tra; Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多心經, BōrÄ›bōluómìduō XÄ«njÄ«ng; Japanese: 般若心経, Hannya Shingyō; Korean: Pannya Shimgyŏng) is a well-known Mahāyāna Buddhist sutra that is very... The Ten Stages Sutra (Sanskrit Daśabhūmikasūtra-śāstra, Dasabhūmikabhāsya; Chinese 十地經論, 十地論, 地論; pinyin shi di jing lun; also known as the Sutra on the Ten Stages) is an influential Mahayana Buddhist scripture... Vimalakirti Sutra (Chinese 維摩經 wéimó jing, Japanese 維摩経 yuima-gyō, Korean 유마경 yuma-gyeong, Sanskrit विमलकीर्ति-निर्देश-सूत्र VimalakÄ«rti-nirdeÅ›a-sÅ«tra. ... Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment Buddhist Sūtra, original Chinese title is Yuanjue jing; 1 fasc. ... The Platform Sutra (more fully, the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch) is a Buddhist scripture that was composed in China. ... The Amitabha Sutra, or Shorter Sukhavativyuha Sutra, is a Mahayana Buddhist text associated with Pure Land Buddhism. ... The Avataṃsaka SÅ«tra (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the most influential scriptures in East Asian Buddhism. ... The Contemplation Sutra is one of the three major Buddhist sutras found within the Pure Land branch of Buddhism. ... The Infinite Life Sutra, or Larger Pure Land Sutra, is a Mahayana Buddhist text associated with Pure Land Buddhism. ... Nirvana Sutra or Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (Chinese: Niepan Jing (涅槃經); Japanese: Nehangyō (涅槃経)) is one of the major texts of Mahāyāna Buddhism. ... The Sanghata Sutra (Ä€rya Sanghāta SÅ«tra) is a Mahāyāna Buddhist scripture widely circulated in northwest India and Central Asia. ... The , usually spelled Shurangama Sutra or Surangama Sutra in English is a Mahayana sutra and one of the main texts used in the Chan school in Chinese Buddhism. ... The Sutra of Forty-two Chapters (Also called the Sutra of Forty-two Sections) 四十二章經) is regarded as the first surviving Buddhist sutra translated into Chinese. ... The Golden Light Sutra (金光明經; Chinese: jin1 guang1 ming2 jing1; Japanese: Konkōmyō Kyō), an important Buddhist text, was originally written in India (Sanskrit romanization: Suvarnaprabhasa-sutra), and was translated several times into Chinese. ... The Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva (Chn. ... The Ullambana Sutra is a Mahayana sutra which consists in a brief discourse given by the Gautama Buddha principally to the monk Mahāmaudgalyāyana (Mokuren in Japanese) on the practice of filial piety. ...

Brief discriptions of the Sutras

Perfection of Wisdom Texts

These deal with prajñā (wisdom or insight). Wisdom in this context means the ability to see reality as it truly is. They do not contain an elaborate philosophical argument, but simply try to point to the true nature of reality, especially through the use of paradox. The basic premise is a radical non-dualism, in which every and any dichotomist way of seeing things is denied: so phenomena are neither existent, nor non-existent, but are marked by sunyata, emptiness, an absence of any essential unchanging nature. The Perfection of Wisdom in One Letter illustrates this approach by choosing to represent the perfection of prajñā with the Sanskrit/Pali short a vowel ("अ", IPA: [ə]) -- which, as a prefix, negates a word's meaning (e.g., changing svabhava to asvabhava, "with essence" to "without essence"; cf. mu); which is the first letter of Indic alphabets; and which, as a sound on its own, can be seen as the most neutral/basic of speech sounds (cf Aum and bija). For the 1986 American crime film, see Wisdom (film). ... Look up Insight in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Perfection of Wisdom is a translation of the Sanskrit term prajñā pāramitā (Devanagari: प्रज्ञा पारमिता, Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多/般若波罗蜜多, Pinyin: bānruò-bōluómìduō, Japanese: hannya-haramita), which is one of the aspects of a bodhisattvas personality called the paramitas. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... The IPA symbol for the Schwa In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean: An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in any language, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel. ... Svabhava is a Sanskrit term encountered in Buddhism which literally means own-being or own-becoming. It might more meaningfully be rendered as intrinsic nature, essential nature or essence. Much of Buddhism denies that such a svabhava exists within any being; but the Buddha in the Tathagatagarbha sutras (notably the... The character ç„¡ in cursive script. ... “Om” redirects here. ... In Hinduism and Buddhism, the Sanskrit term bīja (Jp. ...


Many sutras are known by the number of lines, or slokas, that they contained.


Edward Conze, who translated all of the Perfection of Wisdom sutras into English, identified four periods of development in this literature: Eberhart (Edward) Julius Dietrich Conze (1904 - 1979) was born in London of mixed German, French, and NetherlandsDutch ancestry. ...

  1. 100BCE-100CE: Ratnagunasamcayagatha and the Astasaharika (8,000 lines)
  2. 100-300CE: a period of elaboration in which versions in 18,000, 25,000, and 100,000 lines are produced. Possibly also the Diamond Sutra
  3. 300-500CE : a period of condensation, producing the well known Heart Sutra, and the Perfection of Wisdom in one letter
  4. 500-1000CE : texts from this period begin to show a tantric influence

The Perfection of Wisdom texts have influenced every Mahayana school of Buddhism. The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra or Heart Sutra or Essence of Wisdom Sutra (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदयसूत्र Prajñāpāramitā Hridaya Sūtra; Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多心經, Bōrěbōluómìduō Xīnjīng; Japanese: 般若心経, Hannya Shingyō; Korean: Pannya Shimgyŏng) is a well-known Mahāyāna Buddhist sutra that is very...


Saddharma-pundarika

Also called the Lotus Sutra, White Lotus Sutra, Sutra of the White Lotus, or Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma; Sanskrit: Saddharmapundarīka-sūtra; 妙法蓮華經 Cn: Miàofǎ Liánhuā Jīng; Jp: Myōhō Renge Kyō. Probably composed in the period 100 bce100 ce, the White Lotus proposes that the three yanas (Shravakayana, Pratyekabuddhayana, and Bodhisattvayana) are not in fact three different paths leading to three goals, but one path, with one goal. The earlier teachings are said to be 'skilful means' in order to help beings of limited capacities. Notable for the (re)appearance of the Buddha Prabhutaratna, who had died several aeons earlier, because it suggests that a Buddha is not inaccessible after his parinirvana, and also that his life-span is said to be inconceivably long because of the accumulation of merit in past lives. This idea, though not necessarily from this source, forms the basis of the later Trikaya doctrine. Later associated particularly with the Tien Tai in China (Tendai in Japan) school and the Nichiren schools in Japan. The Lotus Sutra or Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma (Sanskrit: Saddharma PuṇḍarÄ«ka SÅ«tra; 妙法蓮華經 Chinese: MiàofÇŽ Liánhuā JÄ«ng; Japanese: Myōhō Renge Kyō; Korean: Myobeomnyeonhwagyeong) is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sutras in East Asia and... Binomial name Gaertn. ... Pliny the Younger advances to consulship. ... Pliny the Younger advances to consulship. ... Yana is a Sanskrit word with a range of meanings including nouns such as vehicle, journey, and path; and verbs such as going, moving, riding, and marching. ... The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ... Tiantai (天台宗, Wade-Giles: Tien Tai) is one of the thirteen schools of Buddhism in China and Japan, also called the Lotus Sutra School. ... Tendai (Japanese: 天台宗, Tendai-shÅ«) is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism, a descendant of the Chinese Tiantai or Lotus Sutra school. ... Nichiren Buddhism (日蓮系諸宗派: Nichiren-kei sho shÅ«ha) is a branch of Buddhism based on the teachings of the 13th century Japanese monk Nichiren (1222–1282). ...


Pure Land Sutras

There are three major sutras that fall into this category: the Infinite Life Sutra, also known as the Larger Pure Land Sutra; the Amitabha Sutra, also known as the Smaller Pure Land Sutra; and the Contemplation Sutra, or Visualization, Sutra. These texts describe the origins and nature of the Western Pure Land in which the Buddha Amitabha resides. They list the forty-eight vows made by Amitabha as a bodhisattva by which he undertook to build a Pure Land where beings are able to practise the Dharma without difficulty or distraction. The sutras state that beings can be reborn there by pure conduct and by practices such as thinking continuously of Amitabha, praising him, recounting his virtues, and chanting his name. These Pure Land sutras and the practices they recommend became the foundations of Pure Land Buddhism, which focus on the salvific power of faith in the vows of Amitabha. The Infinite Life Sutra, or Larger Pure Land Sutra, is a Mahayana Buddhist text associated with Pure Land Buddhism. ... The Amitabha Sutra, or Shorter Sukhavativyuha Sutra, is a Mahayana Buddhist text associated with Pure Land Buddhism. ... The Contemplation Sutra is one of the three major Buddhist sutras found within the Pure Land branch of Buddhism. ... The Buddha Amitabha, 13th century, Kamakura, Japan. ... Amitabha Buddha pictured in the Ushiku Daibutsu in Japan Amitābha (Sanskrit: अमिताभः, Amitābhaḥ; Chinese: 阿彌陀佛, Ä’mítuó Fó; Japanese: 阿弥陀如来, Amida Nyorai; Vietnamese: 阿彌陀佛, A Di Ðà Phật; Tibetan: འོད་དཔག་མེད་; Lhasa dialect IPA: [; Mongolian: CaÉ£lasi ügei gerel-tü) is a celestial buddha described in the scriptures of the Mahāyāna school... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Scriptures Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History 4th Buddhist Council Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      A statue of a Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha. ... The Buddha Amitabha, 13th century, Kamakura, Japan. ...


The Vimalakirti Nirdesha Sutra

Composed some time before 150CE., the Bodhisattva Vimalakirti appears in the guise of a layman in order to teach the Dharma. Seen by some as a strong assertion of the value of lay practice. Doctrinally similar to the Perfection of Wisdom texts, another major theme is the Buddhafield (Buddha-kshetra), which was influential on Pure Land schools. Very popular in China and Japan where it was seen as being compatible with Confucian values. Vimalakirti Sutra (Chinese 維摩經 wéimó jing, Japanese 維摩経 yuima-gyō, Korean 유마경 yuma-gyeong, Sanskrit विमलकीर्ति-निर्देश-सूत्र VimalakÄ«rti-nirdeÅ›a-sÅ«tra. ... The Roman army consists of 400,000 men. ... Confucianism (儒家 Pinyin: rújiā The School of the Scholars), sometimes translated as the School of Literati, is an East Asian ethical, religious and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of Confucius. ...


Samadhi Sutras

Amongst the very earliest Mahayana texts, the Samadhi Sutras are a collection of sutras which focus on the attainment of profound states of consciousness reached in meditation, perhaps suggesting that meditation played an important role in early Mahayana. Includes the Pratyutpanna Sutra and the Shurangama-samadhi Sutra. The Pratyutpanna Sutra (also Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra, lit. ... The , usually spelled Shurangama Sutra or Surangama Sutra in English is a Mahayana sutra and one of the main texts used in the Chan school in Chinese Buddhism. ...


Confession Sutras

The Triskandha Sutra, and the Suvarnaprabhasa Sutra (or Golden Light Sutra), which focus on the practice of confession of faults. The Golden Light Sutra became especially influential in Japan, where one of its chapters (on the Universal Sovereign) was used by the Japanese emperors to legitimise their rule, and it provided a model for a well-run state. The Golden Light Sutra (金光明經; Chinese: jin1 guang1 ming2 jing1; Japanese: Konkōmyō Kyō), an important Buddhist text, was originally written in India (Sanskrit romanization: Suvarnaprabhasa-sutra), and was translated several times into Chinese. ...


The Avatamsaka Sutra

A large composite text consisting of several parts, most notably the Dasabhumika Sutra and the Gandhavyuha Sutra. Probably reached its current form by about the 4th Century CE, although parts of it such as those mentioned above, are thought to date from the 1st or 2nd century CE. The Gandhavyuha sutra is thought to be the source of a cult of Vairocana that later gave rise to the Mahavairocana-abhisambodhi tantra, which became one of two central texts in Shingon Buddhism, and is included in the Tibetan canon as a carya class tantra. The Avatamsaka Sutra became the central text for the Hua-yen (Jp. Kegon) school of Buddhism, the most important doctrine of which is the interpenetration of all phenomena. The Avataṃsaka SÅ«tra (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the most influential scriptures in East Asian Buddhism. ... This article is about the primordial Buddha Vairocana. ... Shingon (眞言, 真言 true words, also kongōjō 金剛乘, 金剛乗 pinyin jÄ«ngāngchéng diamond vehicle), is a major school of Japanese Buddhism, and is the other branch of Vajrayana Buddhism besides Tibetan Buddhism. ... The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism, consisting of more than 300 volumes and many thousands of individual texts. ... This article is an overview of Tantra and an in-depth look at the Tantra of Hinduism. ... Huayan (華嚴, Pinyin: huáyán, Sanskrit: Avatamsaka) or Flower Garland is a tradition of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy that flourished in China during the Tang period. ...


Third Turning Sutras

Sutras which primarily teach the doctrine of vijnapti-matra or 'representation-only', associated with the Yogacara school. The Sandhinirmocana Sutra (c 2nd Century CE) is the earliest surviving sutra in this class. This sutra divides the teachings of the Buddha into three classes, which it calls the "Three Turnings of the Wheel of the Dharma." To the first turning, it ascribes the Agamas of the Shravakas, to the second turning the lower Mahayana sutras including the Prajna-paramita Sutras, and finally sutras like itself are deemed to comprise the third turning. Moreover, the first two turnings are considered, in this system of classification, to be provisional while the third group is said to present the final truth without a need for further explication (nitartha). The well-known Lankavatara Sutra, composed sometime around the 4th Century CE, is sometimes included in this group, although it should be noted that it is somewhat syncretic in nature, combining pure Yogacara doctrines with those of the tathagata-garbha system, and was unknown or ignored by the progenitors of the Yogacara system. The Lankavatara Sutra was influential in the Chan or Zen schools. The Sandhinirmocana Sutra (Sanskrit: Discourse Explaining the Thought or Sutra on Unfurling the Real Meaning) is a Buddhist scripture classified as belonging to the Consciousness-only school of Buddhist thought. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Zen (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Zen (disambiguation). ...


Tathagatagarbha Class Sutras

Especially the Tathagatagarbha Sutra, the Shrīmālādevi-simhanāda Sūtra (Srimala Sutra) and the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra (which is very different in character from the Pali Mahaparinibbana Sutta). These texts teach that every being has a Tathagatagarbha: variously translated as Buddha nature, Buddha seed, Buddha matrix. It is this Buddha nature, Buddha Essence or Buddha Principle, this aspect of every being which is itself already enlightened, that enables beings to be liberated. One of the most important responses of Buddhism to the problem of immanence and transcendence. The Tathagatagarbha doctrine was very influential in East Asian Buddhism, and the idea in one form or another can be found in most of its schools. The Buddha in these sutras insists that the doctrine of the Tathagatagarbha is ultimate and definitive (nitartha) - not in need of "interpretation" - and that it takes the Dharma to the next and final, clarifying step regarding the Emptiness (shunyata) teachings. The Tathagatagarbha doctrine says that each sentient being contains the potential to become a Buddha. ... The Tathagatagarbha Sutra is an influential and doctrinally striking Mahayana Buddhist scripture which treats of the existence of the Tathagatagarbha (Buddha-Matrix, Buddha-Embryo) within all sentient creatures. ... The Śrīmālā Sūtra (full title: ) is one of the main early Mahayana Buddhist texts that taught the theories of tathagatagarbha and the Single Vehicle, through the words of the Indian Queen Śrīmālā. It was translated to... Nirvana Sutra or Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (Chinese: Niepan Jing (涅槃經); Japanese: Nehangyō (涅槃経)) is one of the major texts of Mahāyāna Buddhism. ... Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... For the Mahāparinirvāṇa SÅ«tra, a text of East Asian Mahayana Buddhism, see Nirvana Sutra. ... Buddha-nature (originally in Sanskrit, Buddha-dhatu - Buddha Element, Buddha-Principle) is a doctrine important for many schools of Mahayana Buddhism. ... Śūnyatā, शून्यता (Sanskrit), Suññatā (Pāli), stong pa nyid (Tibetan), Kuu, 空 (Japanese) qoÉ£usun (Mongolian), generally translated into English as Emptiness or Voidness, is a concept of central importance in the teaching of the Buddha, as a direct realization of Sunyata is required to achieve liberation from the cycle of...


Collected Sutras

Two very large sutras which are again actually collections of other sutras. The Mahāratnakūta Sūtra contains 49 individual works, and the Mahāsamnipāta Sūtra is a collection of 17 shorter works. Both seem to have been finalised by about the 5th century, although some parts of them are considerably older.


Transmigration Sutras

A number of sutras which focus on the actions that lead to existence in the various spheres of existence, or which expound the doctrine of the twelve links of pratitya-samutpada or dependent-origination. The doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit: प्रतित्यसमुत्पादा) or Paticcasamuppāda (Pāli: पतिचसमुपादा; Tibetan: ; Chinese:緣起) Dependent Arising is an important part of Buddhist metaphysics. ...


Discipline Sutras

Sutras which focus on the principles which guide the behaviour of Bodhisattvas. Including the Kāshyapa-parivarta, the Bodhisattva-prātimoksa Sūtra, and the Brahmajāla Sūtra.


Sutras devoted to individual figures

A large number of sutras which describe the nature and virtues of a particular Buddha or Bodhisattva and/or their Pure Land, including Mañjusri, Ksitigarbha, the Buddha Akshobhya, and Bhaishajyaguru also known as the Medicine Buddha. Statue of Manjusri (Monju) at Senkoji in Onomichi, Japan MañjuÅ›rÄ« (文殊 Ch. ... Bodhisattva (地藏菩薩), often known by the Japanese name Jizō (地蔵) or the Chinese name Dizang (地藏 Dìzàng), is a popular Mahayana Buddhist Bodhisattva, usually depicted as a monk. ... In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Five Wisdom Buddhas (Jp. ... Bhaisajyaguru (薬師 Ch. ...


Proto-Mahayana Sutras

Early in the 20th Century, a cache of texts was found in a mound near Gilgit in Pakistan. Amongst them was the Ajitasena Sutra. The Ajitasena Sutra appears to be a mixture of Mahayana and pre-Mahayana ideas. It occurs in a world where monasticism is the norm, which is typical of the Pali Suttas; there is none of the usual antagonism towards the Shravakas (also called the Hinayana) or the notion of Arahantship, which is typical of Mahayana Sutras such as the White Lotus, or Vimalakirti Nirdesha. However, the sutra also has an Arahant seeing all the Buddha fields, it is said that reciting the name of the sutra will save beings from suffering and the hell realms, and a meditative practice is described which allows the practitioner to see with the eyes of a Buddha, and to receive teachings from them that are very much typical of Mahayana Sutras. For other uses, see Gilgit (disambiguation). ...


References

  • Nakamura, Hajime. 1980. Indian Buddhism: A Survey with Bibliographical Notes. 1st edition: Japan, 1980. 1st Indian Edition: Delhi, 1987. ISBN 81-208-0272-1
  • Warder, A. K. Indian Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. 3rd revised edition: 1999.
  • Dutt, Nalinaksha. Buddhist Sects in India, Motilal Banararsidass, Delhi, 2nd Edition, 1978
  • Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Macmillan, 2004.

Notes

  1. ^ Theravada - Mahayana Buddhism By Ven. Dr. W. Rahula http://www.buddhistinformation.com/theravada.htm
  2. ^ I have studied Mahayana for many years and the more I study it, the more I find there is hardly any difference between Theravada and Mahayana with regard to the fundamental teachings... There are also some points where they differ. An obvious one is the Bodhisattva ideal. Theravada - Mahayana Buddhism By Ven. Dr. W. Rahula http://www.buddhistinformation.com/theravada.htm
  3. ^ ‘The south (of India) was then vigorously creative in producing Mahayana Sutras’ – AK Warder, Indian Buddhism, 3rd edition, 1999, p. 335.
  4. ^ Mahayanism in all probability germinated in the south, where the offshoots of the Mahasanghikas had their centres of activities, but where it appeared more developed was a place somewhere in the eastern part of India, a place where the Sarvastivadins were predominant.' Buddhist Sects in India, Nalinaksha Dutt, Motilal Banararsidass Publishers (Delhi), 2nd Edition, 1978, p. 243)
  5. ^ ‘The sudden appearance of large numbers of (Mahayana) teachers and texts (in North India in the second century AD) would seem to require some previous preparation and development, and this we can look for in the South.’ AK Warder, Indian Buddhism, 3rd edition, 1999 p. 335.
  6. ^ The early schools, wherever they were strongly established, adhered to the textual tradition of their Tripitaka and denounced the Mahayana sutras as fabrications, 'not the words of the Buddha'. AK Warder, Indian Buddhism, 3rd edition, p. 393.
  7. ^ for example: "Thinking in this way, they deprecate these Sūtras. They reject them, condemn them, speak badly of them, and also engage in interpolation. In many ways they are involved in these sūtras in order to reject, undermine and eradicate them. They also perceive people who believe in these Sūtras to be enemies. From the very beginning they are obstructed by karmic obstructions. Based on that, they continue to be obstructed by karmic obstructions. It is easy to designate the beginning of these karmic obstructions; it is difficult to designate during how many hundreds of millions of epochs they will continue to arise." Sandhi-nirmocana-sūtra, John Powers trans, Dharma Publishing 1995 (title: Wisdom of the Buddha), p125)
  8. ^ ‘though the Buddha had taught them (the Mahayana Sutras) they were not in circulation in the world of men at all for many centuries, there being no competent teachers and no intelligent students: the sutras were however preserved in the Dragon World and other non-human circles, and when in the 2nd century AD adequate teachers suddenly appeared in India in large numbers the texts were fetched and circulated. ... However, it is clear that the historical tradition here recorded belongs to North India and for the most part to Nalanda (in Magadha)’– AK Warder, Indian Buddhism, 3rd edition, 1999
  9. ^ It has become increasingly clear that Mahayana Buddhism was never one thing, but rather, it seems, a loosely bound bundle of many, and — like Walt Whitman — was large and could contain, in both senses of the term, contradictions, or at least antipodal elements., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, page 492
  10. ^ There are, it seems, very few things that can be said with certainty about Mahayana Buddhism, Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, page 492
  11. ^ But apart from the fact that it can be said with some certainty that the Buddhism embedded in China, Korea, Tibet, and Japan is Mahayana Buddhism, it is no longer clear what else can be said with certainty about Mahayana Buddhism itself, and especially about its earlier, and presumably formative, period in India., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, page 492
  12. ^ ‘Practically every Mahayana sutra repeats this denunciation of the 'inferior' (hina) way of the pupils in more or less shrill tones and at varying length, contrasting rather unpleasantly with the tolerance and understanding characteristic of most earlier Buddhist texts.’ Indian Buddhism, AK Warder, 3rd edition, p. 341

External Links

  • Mahayana Sutras
  • Sutras with commentaries
  • Buddhist Scriptures in Multiple Languages
  • Mahayana Buddhist Sutras in English
  • English translations of many Mahayana Buddhism texts
  • BuddhaNet's eBook Library (English pdfs)
  • Translations of major Tathagatagarbha sutras
  • Kandarakasutta, English translation
  • Mahaparinirvana Sutra English translation in html and discussion
  • Mahaparinirvana Sutra, English translation
  • The Eschatology of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra
  • Sanghata Sutra, English translation
  • Surangama Sutra, English translation

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Mahayana Buddhists believe that the Mahayana sutras, with the exception of those with an explicitly Chinese provenance, are an authentic account of teachings given during the Buddha's lifetime.
The tradition in Mahayana is that the Mahayana sutras were written down at the time of the Buddha and stored for five hundred years in the realm of the dragons (or Nagas).
The tradition further claims that the teachings of the Mahayana sutras are higher than the teachings contained in the Agamas and the Sutta Pitaka, and that people were initially unable to understand the Mahayana sutras at the time of the Buddha (500 BCE).
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