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Encyclopedia > Nirvana Sutra

See Mahaparinibbana Sutta for the sutta of the Pali Canon. For the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra, a text of East Asian Mahayana Buddhism, see Nirvana Sutra. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ...

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Buddhism
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History
The History of Buddhism spans from the 6th century BCE to the present, starting with the birth of the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. ...

Dharmic religions
Timeline of Buddhism
Buddhist councils
map showing the prevalence of Dharmic (yellow) and Abrahamic (purple) religions in each country. ... 563 BCE: Siddhārtha Gautama, Buddha-to-be, is born in Lumbini, Ancient India. ... // 1st Buddhist council (5th century BC) The first Buddhist council was held soon after the death of the Buddha under the patronage of king Ajatasatru, and presided by a monk named Mahakasyapa, at Rajagaha (todays Rajgir). ...

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

Four Noble Truths
Noble Eightfold Path
Buddhist Precepts
Nirvāṇa · Three Jewels
The Four Noble Truths (Pali: Cattāri ariyasaccāni, Sanskrit: Catvāri āryasatyāni, Chinese: Sìshèngdì, Thai: อริยสัจสี่, Ariyasaj Sii) are one of the most fundamental Buddhist teachings. ... The Dharma wheel, often used to represent the Noble Eightfold Path The Noble Eightfold Path (Pāli: Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo; Sanskrit: Ārya ṣṭāṅga mārgaḥ; Chinese: 八正道, Bāzhèngdào; Japanese: 八正道, Hasshōdō, Thai: อริยมรรคแปด, Ariya Mugg Paad) is, in the teachings of the Buddha, declared to be the... Śīla (Sanskrit) or sīla (Pāli) is usually rendered into English as behavioral discipline, morality, or ethics. ... Buddhist concept. ... Symbol of the triratna, as seen in the Sanchi stupa, 1st century BCE. The Three Jewels, also rendered as Three Treasures, Three Refuges or Triple Gem are the three things that Buddhists give themselves to, and in return look toward for guidance, in the process known as taking refuge. ...

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 · Dharma
Saṃsāra · Rebirth · Shunyata
Pratitya-samutpada · 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. ... 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. ... Saṃsāra, the Sanskrit and Pāli term for continous movement or continuous flowing refers in Buddhism to the concept of a cycle of birth (jāti) and consequent decay and death (jarāmaraṇa), in which all beings in the universe participate and which can only be escaped... 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... Śūnyatā, शून्यता (Sanskrit), Suññatā (Pāli) or stong pa nyid (Tibetan), generally translated into English as Emptiness or Voidness, is a concept of central importance in the teaching of the Buddha, intimately related to the doctrine of the three marks of existence (ti-lakkhana). ... 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
Disciples · Later Buddhists Standing Buddha sculpture, ancient region of Gandhara, northern Pakistan, 1st century CE, Musée Guimet. ... A number of noted individuals have been Buddhists. ...

Practices and Attainment

Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
Four Stages of Enlightenment
Paramis · Meditation · Laity
Media:Example. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The four stages of enlightenment in Buddhism are the four degrees of approach to full enlightenment as an Arahant which a person can attain in this life. ... Pāramitā (Sanskrit) or Parami (Pāli): Perfection or Transcendent (lit. ... Buddhist meditation encompasses a variety of meditation techniques that develop mindfulness, concentration, tranquility and insight. ... In canonical Buddhism, householder refers to a particular strata of society whose individuals are typified by having a home life and family. ...

Regions
Buddhist beliefs and practices vary according to region. ...

Southeast Asia · East Asia
India · Sri Lanka · Tibet
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 (Simplified Chinese: 藏传佛教) is the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet, the Himalayan region (including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and 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
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. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... 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. ...

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. ... Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of Buddhist scriptures that began to be compiled from the first century BCE. They form the basis of the various Mahayana schools, and survive predominantly in primary translations in Chinese and Tibetan from original texts in Sanskrit or Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. ... The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism. ...

Comparative Studies
Culture · List of Topics
Portal: Buddhism
The cultural elements of Buddhism vary by region and include: Buddhist cuisine Buddhist art Buddharupa Art and architecture of Japan Greco-Buddhism Tibetan Buddhist sacred art Buddhist music Buddhist chant Shomyo Categories: Buddhism-related stubs ... Contents: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z The following is a List of Buddhist topics: A Abhidharma Ahimsa Ajahn Ajahn Chah Ajanta Aksobhya Alexandra David-Néel...

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M a h a y a n a Relief image of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin from Mt. ...

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B u d d h i s m This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ...

Countries & Regions

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

Doctrine The grounds of Koreas Buryeongsa Temple. ... Tibetan Buddhism (Simplified Chinese: 藏传佛教) is the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet, the Himalayan region (including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and 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

Scriptures This article does not cite its references or sources. ... 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. ... Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of Buddhist scriptures that began to be compiled from the first century BCE. They form the basis of the various Mahayana schools, and survive predominantly in primary translations in Chinese and Tibetan from original texts in Sanskrit or Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. ...

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 華嚴經; pinyin hua yan jing) 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... 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. ...

4th Buddhist Council
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Asanga • Vasubandhu
Bodhidharma
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Nirvana Sutra or Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (Chinese: Niepan Jing (涅槃經); Japanese: Nehankyō (涅槃経)) is one of the major texts of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Note that this is one of two Buddhist texts having approximately the same title, the other being part of the Pali Canon. However, both for historical reasons and for the sake of clarity, the former is generally referred to by its Sanskrit title, Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (or simply "Nirvana Sutra"), and the latter by its Pali title, Mahaparinibbana Sutta. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Blue-eyed Central Asian and East-Asian Buddhist monks, Bezaklik, Eastern Tarim Basin, 9th-10th century. ... A statue depicting Nagarjuna at the Samye Ling Monastery, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Nāgārjuna (నాగార్జున in Telugu, 龍樹 in Chinese) (c. ... Asanga (also called Aryasanga), born around 300 C.E., was a great exponent of the Yogacara. ... Vasubandhu (Sanskrit. ... Bodhidharma was the Buddhist monk (usually Indian by most accounts) is credited as the founder of Chan/Zen Buddhism in 6th century China. ... Mah is an ancient Persian god of the moon, one of the Yazatas. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... There are a great variety of Buddhist texts. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... For the Mahāparinirvāṇa SÅ«tra, a text of East Asian Mahayana Buddhism, see Nirvana Sutra. ...

Contents

Overview

The Mahaparinirvana Sutra is a voluminous and major Mahayana scripture which purports to enshrine the Buddha's "final explanation" of his Doctrine, an explanation characterised by "exhaustive thoroughness" and allegedly delivered on the last day and night before his parinirvana. The Buddha in this sutra declares that this scripture is "peerless" and the "all-fulfilling conclusion" of authentic Dharma (verbalised Truth), and that "all the various secret gates to Dharma, the words of implicit meaning uttered by the tathagatas [Buddhas] are gathered up in this Mahaparinirvana". It is in this sutra, the Buddha states, that he will impart to his followers the "intended gist" of his teachings. It is proclaimed by the Buddha as "unique, perfect, pure .... the most excellent, the foremost of all sutras". So powerful is this scripture deemed to be that the very hearing of its name is said by the Buddha to bring happiness, and it is claimed that merely by listening to it, most people will lay the causal foundations for later Awakening (bodhi). The scripture further presents itself as providing the correct understanding of earlier Buddhist teachings, such as those on non-Self and Emptiness: "non-Self" in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra refers to the impermanent, mundane, skandha-constructed ego, whose seeming reality is called by the Buddha "a lie" (in contrast to the true supramundane Selfhood of the Buddha), while "Emptiness" is explicated as meaning empty of that which is compounded, painful, and impermanent. The Buddha, in the Fa-xian version of the text, points out that worldly beings who misapprehend the authentic Buddhist Doctrine "... have the notion that there is no Self, and are unable to know the True Self." This True Self, of course, is not the suffering-generating and limited clinging ego - not the conditioned and transitory "self" which unawakened persons clutch at as their identity - but the Self-which-signifies-Buddha: all-knowing and all-pure Ultimate Reality, unconstrained by the limitations and illusions of samsara. Standing Buddha sculpture, ancient region of Gandhara, northern Pakistan, 1st century CE, Musée Guimet. ... In Buddhism, parinirvana (Sanskrit -- Pali: Parinibbana -- Chinese: 般涅槃; Pinyin: bō niè pán) is the final nirvana, traditionally understood to be within reach only upon the death of someone who attained complete enlightenment. ...   (Sanskrit) (Devnagari: धर्म) or Dhamma (Pali) is the underlying order in nature and human life and behaviour considered to be in accord with that order. ... Tathāgata (Sanskrit; Pali The one thus-come or The one thus-gone; Chinese: 如來; Pinyin: Rú lái; Japanese: nyorai) This is traditionally interpreted as one who comes and goes in the same way (as the previous Buddhas). Tathāgata is the name which the historical Buddha Sakyamuni (Siddhattha Gotama... The death of the Buddha, or Mahaparinirvana, Gandhara 2-3rd century. ... Bodhi, the Pāli and Sanskrit word for awakening or enlightenment, is an abstract noun formed from the verbal root budh (awake, become aware, notice, know or understand), corresponding to the verbs bujjhati (Pāli) and bodhati or budhyate (Sanskrit). ... Śūnyatā, शून्यता (Sanskrit), Suññatā (Pāli) or stong pa nyid (Tibetan), generally translated into English as Emptiness or Voidness, is a concept of central importance in the teaching of the Buddha, intimately related to the doctrine of the three marks of existence (ti-lakkhana). ... 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. ... The Wheel of Life as portrayed within Buddhism, showing the cycle of Samsara, or reincarnation. ...


The Nirvana Sutra is an enormously important scripture, not least because of its influence on Zen Buddhism and in view of its traditional status as the final Mahayana pronouncements of the Buddha on the eve of his physical death. It is striking for its teachings on the eternal, unchanging, blissful, pure, inviolate and deathless "Self" of the Buddha. Here the sutra controverts the familiar Buddhist dictum that "all dharmas [phenomena] are non-Self", and in the Dharmakshema version the Buddha even declares that "in truth there is Self (Atman) in all dharmas". That Self is "indestructible like a diamond". Any idea that the Buddha (who is the immortal Self) is impermanent is vigorously rejected by the Buddha in this sutra, and those who teach otherwise are severely criticised. He insists: "Those who cannot accept that the Tathāgata is eternal [nitya] cause misery." In contrast, meditating upon the eternality of the Buddha is said to bring happiness and protection from rebirth in evil realms. Zen is a form of Mahāyāna Buddhism notable for its emphasis on praxis and experiential wisdom, particularly as realized in the form of meditation known as zazen, in the attainment of enlightenment as experienced by the Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama. ... Media:Example. ... Atman is a Sanskrit word, normally translated as soul or self (also ego). ...


Much of the central focus of the Nirvana Sutra falls on the existence of the salvific Buddha-dhatu (Buddha-nature, Buddha element, or Buddha principle), also called the Tathagatagarbha ("Buddha-matrix" or "Buddha embryo"), in every sentient being (animals included), the full seeing of which ushers in Liberation from all suffering and effects final deliverance into the realm of Great Nirvana (maha-nirvana). This "True Self" or "Great Self" of the nirvanic realm is said to be sovereign, to be attained on the morning of Buddhahhood, and to pervade all places like space. The Buddha-dhatu is always present, in all times and in all beings, but is obscured from worldly vision by the screening effect of tenacious negative mental afflictions (kleshas) within each being (the most notable of which are greed, hatred, delusion, and pride). Once these negative mental states have been eliminated, however, the Buddha-dhatu is said to shine forth unimpededly and the Buddha-sphere (Buddha-dhatu/ visaya) can then be consciously "entered into", and therewith deathless Nirvana attained. Buddha-nature (originally in Sanskrit, Buddha-dhatu - Buddha Element, Buddha-Principle) is a doctrine important for many schools of Mahayana Buddhism. ... The Tathagatagarbha doctrine says that each sentient being contains the potential to become a Buddha. ... Buddhist concept. ...


The Tathagatagarbha is presented by the Nirvana Sutra as a wholly positive, liberational power, and is stated by the Buddha, in the earliest extant version of the sutra (the "six fascicle text" of Fa-xian, q.v.), to "nurture/sustain the person". It is further called "true life" (true "jiva"), and said to be utterly invulnerable to all harm. It is likened to a "precious jewel" and is described as being "indestructible like a diamond" - the hardest substance known to mankind.


The highest form of NirvanaMahaparinirvana — is also discussed in very positive, "cataphatic" terms in the Nirvana Sutra. Mahaparinirvana is characterized as being that which is "Eternal (nitya), Blissful (sukha), the Self (atman) and Pure (subha)". This state or sphere (visaya) of ultimate awareness and Knowing (jnana), however, is said to be accessible only to those who have become fully awakened Buddhas. Even 10th-level Bodhisattvas (i.e. the very highest level of Bodhisattva) are not able clearly to perceive the Buddha-dhatu, and they further fail to see with clarity that the immutable, unfabricated Dhatu dwells indestructibly within all beings. The longer versions of the Nirvana Sutra additionally give expession to the new claim (not found in the shorter Chinese and Tibetan versions) that, because of the Buddha-dhatu (Buddha-principle/ Buddha-nature), absolutely all beings without exception, even icchantikas (the most incorrigible and spiritually base of beings), will eventually attain Liberation and become Buddhas. This is because all beings without exception are transitory manifestations of the Buddha Nature, and when beings arrive at their end, as they eventually must, their real nature, the Buddha Nature, is revealed as it always has been and always will be: unchanging and indestructible. Buddhist concept. ... The death of the Buddha, or Mahaparinirvana, Gandhara 2-3rd century. ... The icchantika is, according to some Mahayana Buddhist scriptures, the most base and spiritually deluded of all types of being. ...


Some scholars detect Brahmanist or Hindu influence upon this scripture, but the text itself is at pains to distance itself from all such (from its own point of view) "heterodox" teachings and asserts itself to be quintessentially Buddhist. Brahmanism, also Brahminism, is the name given to Hinduism by some authors in the 19th century CE.[1] The term is considered derogatory by many Hindus. ... Hinduism (known as in some modern Indian languages[1]) is a religion that originated on the Indian subcontinent. ...


Versions

The text of the Nirvana Sutra in the original Sanskrit has survived only in a number of fragments, which were discovered in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Japan. It does exist in Chinese and Tibetan versions of varying lengths. Faxian, the monk who initially brought the text to China from India, prepared a brief translation containing six fascicles, but Dharmakṣema's slightly later translation had forty fascicles. Still later, Huiguan, Huiyan, Xie Lingyun, and others during the Liu Song dynasty integrated and amended the translations of Faxian and Dharmakṣema into a single edition of thirty-six fascicles. That version is called the "southern text" of the Nirvana Sutra, while Dharmakṣema's version is called the "northern text." There is also a Tibetan translation, compiled in about 790 by the Indian panditas Jinamitra, Jnanagarbha and the Tibetan scholar-monk Devacandra, which is comparable in length to Faxian's translation. Thus, there are four extant versions: Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... 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. ... Faxian(Chinese: ; pinyin: ; also romanized as Fa-Hien or Fa-hsien) (ca. ... Xie Lingyun, 謝靈運 (385-422) was a Chinese author. ...   The Song Dynasty (宋朝, previous spelling Sung) (420-479) was first of the four Southern Dynasties in China, followed by the Qi Dynasty. ... 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. ... A revolt against Empress Irene leads to Constantine VI being declared sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire. ...

  • The "six fascicle text", translated during the Eastern Jin Dynasty by Buddhabhadra and Faxian between 416 and 418, T 376.12.853-899.
  • The "northern text", with 40 fascicles, translated in the Northern Liang kingdom by Dharmakṣema between 416 and 423, T 374.12.365c-603c.
  • The "southern text" with 36 fascicles, complied in the Liu Song Dynasty by Huiguan and Huiyan, in approximately 453, T 375.12.605-852.
  • The "Tibetan text", translated in 8th century Tibet by Jinamitra, Jnanagarbha and Devacandra.

It is also known from Chinese catalogues of translations that at least two other Chinese translations were done, slightly earlier than Faxian, but these are no longer extant. The Jin Dynasty (晉 pinyin: jìn, 265-420), one of the Six Dynasties, followed the Three Kingdoms and preceded the Southern and Northern Dynasties in China. ... There were two Indian Buddhist masters named Buddhabhadra in China during the 5th century CE: Buddhabhadra (Shaolin Abbot) Buddhabhadra (translator) Category: ... Faxian(Chinese: ; pinyin: ; also romanized as Fa-Hien or Fa-hsien) (ca. ... Events Krakatoa undergoes a massive explosion. ... // Events December 28 - Boniface succeeds Zosimus as Pope Council of Carthage - discussion of Biblical canon Births Deaths December 26 - Pope Zosimus In Other Fields 418 is the area code for telephone numbers in the Quebec City region of the province of Quebec of Canada. ... The Northern Liang (Chinese character: 北凉, Hanyu pinyin BÄ•i Liáng) (397-439) was a state of the Sixteen Kingdoms in China. ... Events Krakatoa undergoes a massive explosion. ... Events On the death of Honorius, the primicerius notariorum Joannes seizes the throne of the Western Roman Empire, and is declared emperor. ... Events Theodoric II succeeds his brother Thorismund as king of the Visigoths. ... (7th century — 8th century — 9th century — other centuries) Events The Iberian peninsula is taken by Arab and Berber Muslims, thus ending the Visigothic rule, and starting almost 8 centuries of Muslim presence there. ... Tibet (older spelling Thibet; Tibetan: བོད་; Wylie: Bod; Lhasa dialect IPA: [; Simplified and Traditional Chinese: 西藏, Hanyu Pinyin: XÄ«zàng; also referred to as 藏区 (Simplified Chinese), 藏區 (Traditional Chinese), ZàngqÅ« (Hanyu Pinyin), see Name section below) is a plateau region in Central Asia and the indigenous home to the Tibetan people. ...


Quotations from the Nirvana Sutra

The Buddha on his eternal and blissful ultimate nature as he stands on the brink of physical death:


" ... if you perceive things truly, you will become free from attachment, separated from them, you will indeed be liberated. I have well crossed the watery waste of existence. I abide in bliss, having transcended suffering, therefore I am devoid of unending desire, I have eliminated attachment and gained Liberation [moksha]. There is no old age, sickness or death for me, my life is forever without end. I proceed burning bright like a flame. You must not think that I shall cease to exist. Consider the Tathagata [i.e. Buddha] to be like [Mount] Sumeru: though I shall pass into Nirvana here [i.e. physically die], that supreme bliss is my true nature [dharmata]." (Tibetan version)


"The Buddha-Tathagatas are not eternally extinguished in Nirvana like the heat of an iron ball that is quickly extinguished when cast into water. Moreover, it is thus: just as the heat of an iron ball is extinguished when thrown into water, the Tathagata is likewise; when the immeasurable mental afflictions have been extinguished, it is similar to when an iron ball is cast into water - although the heat is extinguished, the substance / nature of the iron remains. In that way, when the Tathagata has completely extinguished the fire of the mental afflictions that have been accumulated over countless aeons, the nature of the diamond Tathagata permanently endures - not transforming and not diminishing." (Fa-xian version)


On his teaching of "non-Self" (the "worldly self", which ultimately does not exist eternally, but obscures the True Self) and the tathagata-garbha:


"When I have taught non-Self, fools uphold the teaching that there is no Self. The wise know that such is conventional speech, and they are free from doubts.


"When I have taught that the tathagata-garbha is empty, fools meditatively cultivate [the notion] that it is extinction [uccheda], subject to destruction and imperfect. The wise know that it is [actually] unchanging, stable and eternal."


" ... just as cow's milk is delicious, so too is the taste of this [Nirvana] Sutra similar to that. Those who abandon the teaching given in this sutra concerning the tathagata-garbha are just like cattle. For example, just as people who intend to commit suicide will cause themselves extreme misery, similarly you should know that those ungrateful people who reject the tathagata-garbha and teach non-Self cause themselves extreme misery." (Tibetan version)


"And, also, the wise person clearly thinks: "For what reason do beings speak about the Self? Why is it that beings speak about the Self? If this Self exists, it must be [either] one or many. If it is one, how can there be such as Kshatriyas, Brahmins, Sudras, humans and gods, hell, hungry ghosts, animals, or big and small, or old age or the prime of life? For this reason, I know that the Self is not one. If the Self is many, how can we say that the Self of the being is one and all-pervading, knowing no bounds? Be it one or many, in either case, there is no Self."


In contrast to the illusory, conditioned, worldly self, the Self of the Buddha is real and enduring: "The Tathagata's Body is not causally conditioned. Because it is not causally conditoned, it is said to have the Self; if it has the Self, then it is also Eternal, Blissful and Pure." (Dharmakshema).


"The Tathagata also teaches, for the sake of all beings, that, truly, there is the Self in all phenomena." (Dharmakshema).


On Nirvana:


"Noble son, there is 'Nirvana', but that is not Maha-nirvana [i.e. Great Nirvana]. Why is Nirvana not Maha-nirvana? The elimination of the mental afflictions [kleshas] without having seen the Buddha-dhatu [Buddha-principle, Buddha-nature] is called 'Nirvana' and not Maha-nirvana. Thus, because [= when] a person has not seen the Buddha-dhatu, there is [for that person] no eternity nor Self, although there is bliss and utter purity. Hence, even though the mental afflictions have been eliminated, it should not be called 'Maha-nirvana'. When one has seen the Buddha-dhatu and eliminated the mental afflictions, that is called 'Maha-parinirvana'. Because of having seen the Buddha-dhatu [i.e. the dharmakaya or dhammakaya], it is said to be Eternal, the Self, Blissful and utterly Pure, and therefore that elimination of the mental afflictions is said to be Maha-parinirvana." (Dharmaksema version) 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. ...


"It is not the case that the inherent nature of Nirvana did not primordially exist, but now exists. If the inherent nature of Nirvana did not primordially exist, but does now exist, then it would not be free from taints, nor would it be eternally [nitya] present in nature ... [Nirvana] is primordially existent and does not just come into existence in the present. Because of the obscuring darkness of the mental afflictions, beings do not see it. The Tathagata, endowed with omniscient awareness [sarvajna-jnana], lights the lamp of insight with his skill-in-means and causes bodhisattvas to perceive the Eternal, the Bliss, the Self and the Purity of Nirvana." (Dharmaksema version) (Translations based on Stephen Hodge).


Textual history

The text contained in the Faxian and Tibetan translations is roughly equivalent to just the first quarter of the greatly expanded Dharmaksema version. Given that all known Sanskrit fragments correspond solely to material found in the Faxian and Tibetan versions, and the corresponding part of Dharmaksema, it is generally accepted that this portion of the text was compiled in India, possibly, as the text itself hints, somewhere in southern India, before it was transferred to Kashmir. The additional material in the long Dharmaksema version would seem to be of Central Asian origin. Kashmir (or Cashmere) may refer to: Kashmir region, the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent India, Kashmir conflict, the territorial dispute between India, Pakistan, and the China over the Kashmir region. ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ...


Like the majority of Mahāyāna sūtras, the Nirvana Sutra evidently underwent a number of stages in its composition, which is of some importance for any discussion of the Tathāgatagarbha and Buddha-nature (buddha-dhātu) doctrines. A leading scholar in this field is the Japanese scholar Masahiro Shimoda, who posits a short proto-Nirvana Sutra, which was he argues was probably not distinctively Mahāyāna, but quasi-Mahāsanghika in origin and would date to 100 CE, if not even earlier. He suggests that an expanded version of this core text was then developed and would have comprised chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 of the Faxian and Tibetan versions, though it is believed that in their present state there is a degree of editorial addition in them from the later phases of development. The Mahāsāṃghika (Devanagari महासांघिक, also transliterated Mahasanghika, and Mahasamghika) (lit. ... -1...


Shimoda argues that the main theme of this core text was the permanence and transcendence of the Buddha and that the treatment was strongly Mahāsanghika in its "theology". At this stage of the textual history, the living eternal presence of the Buddha in the great caityas would have been the main concept. The prevalence of this kind of thinking is corroborated by several of Gregory Schopen's essays dealing with the belief that the Buddha was still present as a living force in the caityas containing the remains of his body. The key technical term in this portion of the text is buddha-dhātu. This term is difficult to translate because it has several ranges of connotation, all of which are implied by the use of the term in the text. Apart from the spiritual dhātu or nature of an embodied Buddha, dhātu also refers to the relics enshrined in the caityas. Because these dhātus are enclosed in the caityas, this makes them alive with the Buddha: he is considered to be still present in a real sense. This is what made pilgrimages to caityas so important, to the extent that many people, including possibly the followers of the Nirvana Sutra at this stage of the text, wanted to pass into nirvāna in the presence of the Buddha dwelling there. Contrary to earlier scholarly understandings of Buddhism, this seems to have been a very widespread idea and wish. The presence of the Buddha is also dealt with in other ways in early Mahāyāna texts, but the overall concern is the same: how to enter into the presence of the Buddha for the salvific benefits this would offer. Hence the Sukhāvatī-vyūha Sūtras and other Pure Land texts, and the Pratyutpanna Sūtra also deal with the means to achieve this. There are a great variety of Buddhist texts. ...


A close reading of its text leads scholars to argue that the people who promulgated the Nirvana Sutra, at least at this early stage of its composition, were neither monks nor laymen, but a previously unremarked group of Buddhist practitioners, who called themselves ācāryas (teaching masters). Their role is clearer in what are believed to be the earlier portions of the Faxian version, though they had already begun to be written out of the frame by the time of the second phase that comprises the remaining chapters of the Faxian and Tibetan versions. From the account given in the text, it seems that these people did not live sedentary monastic lives, but travelled as preachers (dharma-bhānika) and pilgrims. They followed a kind of Vinaya, but one based on the sūtras rather than one of the conventional Vinayas used in the monasteries. Thus, they could perhaps be linked with the forest-dweller tradition, given that they held themselves aloof from the monasteries and did not engage in the type of criticism of the lax monastic life-style that is characteristic of the later layers of the text. Importantly, it seems from the Nirvana Sutra that these ācāryas also came to see themselves as bodhisattvas, which might challenge the popular idea that Mahāyāna had its origins as a lay movement. 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 Sutta Pitaka (or Sutra Pitaka) is the second of three divisions of the Tipitaka, the great Pali collection of Buddhist writings. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


The second textual phase, which can actually be further sub-divided, suggests important changes in the Nirvana Sutra movement. The proponents increasing became sedentary, though some degree of wanderering still seems to have occurred. However, this shift to a sedentary life-style had immediate repercussions which can be seen in this part of the text. Sociologically, there are vehement criticisms of lax, corrupt and venal monks who alter the Vinaya to suit their life-style. The kind of things being criticized seem to correspond in large measure to exactly the accommodating changes that the Mūla-sarvāstivādins made to their Vinaya. In contrast, the Nirvana Sutra shows some connections with the Mahāsanghika Vinaya, though these connections may well be the result of convergent development. That is, the early exponents of the Nirvana Sutra were not necessarily Mahāsanghikas themselves, but may have become affiliated with them. The Sarvastivada (roughly, Proclaiming that all exist) --a reference to one of the distinguishing doctrines of the school, the existence of dharmas in all of the three times (past, present, and future). ...


It is at this phase of textual development that the concept of icchantikas makes its appearance. This term was first used to denote the many worldly monks leading settled lives. It was then extended and worsened in its connotations to include those who have destroyed any chance of liberation in themselves. The later idea that they somehow become freed by divine intervention or otherwise is not found in the earlier portions of the Nirvana Sutra, which on the contrary suggests that eventually all beings who can be saved by any means will be saved by the Buddhas, who will then cease to appear in the universe for all eternity. This view was apparently modified in slightly different ways both in China and Tibet, but in a manner that give icchantikas some hope of eventual liberation.


It is also at this stage of development that the Tathāgatagarbha concept makes its appearance in the Nirvana Sutra. As in the case of buddha-dhātu, this term also appears to have strong links to the caitya veneration, for as a technical term, a garbha can either be the enshrined contents of the caitya or the caitya itself. Glossing tathāgatagarbha as a bahuvrhi compound, the caitya is a tathāgata-container. This interpretation underlies the position of the Tathāgata-garbha-sūtra with respect to living beings: they all contain the, or perhaps a, Tathāgata. The other interpretation of the term, as a tat-purusha compound, is that the tathāgatagarbha is the enshrined content of the caitya . The Nirvana Sutra adopts this interpretation as its viewpoint, that beings are embryonic Tathāgatas by virtue of the pervasiveness of the buddha-dhātu. This therefore became the central message of the Nirvana Sutra, that all beings are potential Tathāgatas by virtue of buddha-dhātu or tathāgatagarbha.


English edition

  • The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra in 12 Volumes, translated by Kosho Yamamoto and edited by Dr. Tony Page (Nirvana Publications, London, 1999 - 2000).

This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Atman is a Sanskrit word, normally translated as soul or self (also ego). ... Media:Example. ... Faith (saddha/ sraddha) is an important constituent element of the teachings of the Buddha - both in the Theravada tradition as in the Mahayana. ... The death of the Buddha, or Mahaparinirvana, Gandhara 2-3rd century. ... The Kunjed Gyalpo (All-Creating King) is a Buddhist Tantra written in Tibetan which centres upon the direct teachings of the primordial, ultimate Buddha (Adibuddha), Samantabhadra, who presents himself as the essence of the utterly pure Buddhic Mind (bodhichitta). ... Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of Buddhist scriptures that began to be compiled from the first century BCE. They form the basis of the various Mahayana schools, and survive predominantly in primary translations in Chinese and Tibetan from original texts in Sanskrit or Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. ... Buddha-nature (originally in Sanskrit, Buddha-dhatu - Buddha Element, Buddha-Principle) is a doctrine important for many schools of Mahayana Buddhism. ... 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. ... Buddhism is generally viewed as a religion without a Supreme Being or Creator God. ... The Anunatva-Apurnatva-Nirdesa (Instructions on Non-Decrease and Non-Increase) is a Buddhist sutra belonging to the Tathagatagarbha class of sutras. ... 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... The Angulimaliya Sutra is a Buddhist scripture belonging to the Tathagatagarbha class of sutras, which teaches the reality of the Tathagatagarbha (Buddha-Essence) immanent within all beings and, indeed, within all phenomena. ...

External links

  • "Nirvana Sutra": full text of "Nirvana Sutra", plus appreciation of its teachings
  • Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (log in with userID "guest")
  • Chapters 1 through 6 of the Mahāyāna-mahāparinirvāna-sūtra, translated by Charles D. Patton, II
  • Chapter 12 translation by Kosho Yamamoto (scroll down), prefaced by discussion by Young-Ho Kim regarding Tao Sheng's theory on the Buddha-nature of the icchantika, said to be vindicated in this chapter
  • Chapter 18 translation by Kosho Yamamoto
  • Nirvana Sutra a one-act opera by Chris Renk (2006)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Nirvana - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1271 words)
Hinduism and Jainism also use the word nirvana to describe the state of moksha, and it is spoken of in several Hindu tantric texts as well as the Bhagavad Gita.
It carries further connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace; the realizing of nirvana is compared to a fire gone out when its fuel supply is finished; this fuel being primarily the false idea of self, which causes (and is caused by) among other things craving, consciousness, birth, death, greed, hate, delusion, ignorance.
Calling nirvana the 'opposite' of samsara or implying that it is apart from samsara may not be doctrinally accurate.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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