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    The Lalitavistara and Sarvastivada
     
    [ 作者: Thomas, E. J.   来自:期刊原文   已阅:3839   时间:2007-1-10   录入:douyuebo


    ·期刊原文
    The Lalitavistara and Sarvastivada

    By Thomas, E. J.
    Indian Historical Quarterly
    16:2 1940.06 p. 239-245


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                    p. 239

                The position  of the  Lalitavistara-sutra  in its
            relation to Pali Buddhism has been variously  judged.
            The work  was described  by Rhys  Davids  some  fifty
            years ago as, "a poem of unknown date and authorship,
            but probably  composed in Nepal, and by some Buddhist
            poet who lived  sometime  between  six hundred  and a
            thousand  years  after  the birth  of the Buddha."(1)
            This  illustrates  the  extraordinary  misconceptions
            then prevailing, as well as the attitude  of the Pali
            school, which sought to reconstruct the early history
            of  Buddhism   from  Pali  sources  alone.   But  the
            Lalitavistara  is not a poem, there is no probability
            that  it  was  composed  in  Nepal, and  it  contains
            passages as old as anything in Pali.

                It was against this attitude of the Pali scholars
            that the late L.  de La Vallee Poussin  protested  in
            his Buddhisme, etudes et materiaux (pp. 2-4) where he
            wrote:

                "Pre-occupied  in  establishing  the  history  of
            Buddhism  and in starting  by fixing  its origin, the
            orientalists abandon the path so intelligently opened
            up by Burnouf; they relinquish the examination of the
            Northern sources, and take no account of them, they
            attach themselves  passionately  to the exegesis
            of the Southern  Scriptures, which in appearance  are
            more archaic and better documented.  The results that
            these labours  give us are of the highest importance,
            both for the history of religions  in general as well
            as for that of Buddhist and Indian ideas. Oldenberg's
            book is a perfect exposition: Pall Buddhism cannot be
            better described, its intellectual  and moral factors
            more  artistically  demonstrated, or  a more  precise
            exposition given of the idea that a Singhalese doctor
            makes  of his religion  and his destiny.  Oldenberg's
            error was to entitle  his book, Buddha, his life, his
            doctrine  and his community.  He should  have  added,
            `according  to Pali sources and the principles of the
            Singhalese Church."'

                And he went on:

                "Far  front  giving  us the key to the origin  of
            Buddhism  and  the  understanding  of its  historical
            evolution, the examination of the canon and the Pali
            ------------------------
            1. Hibbert Lectures, p. 197.


                                     p. 240

            chronicles gives us information about only one of the
            sects of the Southern school.  Futher, these accounts
            have an absolute  value  only for an epoch relatively
            late in the history of this Church.  To describe  the
            fortunes  of the  community, the constitution  of the
            Sangha, the formation of the Scriptures, and the life
            of the Master according to documents  which date from
            the  first  or the fourth  century  of our  era is an
            illusory  undertaking.  Consecrated  by the faith and
            piety of the schools, learnedly  elaborated, proud of
            a  regularity   (suspect,  although  exaggerated   by
            certain  authors) ,  the  Pali  canon  boasts  of  an
            authenticity of little probability. Like the Buddhist
            monks  of naive piety  and imperfect  critical  sense
            European  scholars  have not hesitated  to admit this
            authenticity.  It was only at a recent epoch taht the
            books were fixed in writing; but does not India offer
            us in the  fastidious  preservation  of the  Vedas  a
            marvellous example of memory and fidelity? This pious
            hypothesis does not hold against the facts."

                These incisive  words of the industrious  scholar
            whose  loss  we  are  still  deploring  are  not  yet
            obsolete.  They still stand as a protest  against the
            idea  that  by  excising   the  marvellous   and  the
            contradictory  in the accounts  of the Pali school it
            is possible to arrive at a sound historical basis. It
            may be here remarked  that the recent  investigations
            of Mrs.  Rhys Davids have been equally destructive of
            the theories  of Oldenberg  and T.  W.  Rhys  Davids,
            though without advancing on the lines suggested by La
            Vallee Poussin.

                Although  this  article  is  concerned  with  the
            doctrinal  relations  of the Lalita-vistara  with the
            Sarvastivada school, it is necessary to say something
            about the structure  of the sutra.  When the Sanskrit
            text  was first  published  (1877-8) it was found  to
            contain  many verse passages  embedded  in the prose.
            The question  was raised  as to which  was the older,
            the prose or the verse; but it ws a futile proceeding
            to try  and  solve  the problem  by setting  up rival
            theories  of  the  structure  of the  sutra  without
            looking for the sources of the verse passages. It can
            now be seen  that many  come  from  the canon  of the
            Sarvastivadins.  On the other  hand, when  we find  a
            passage in Sardulavikridita metre, it suggests a very
            late period of literary activity. But there is now no
            doubt that not only many of the verses  but also many
            of the prose passages are textually taken from the


                                    p. 241

            Sarvastivadin scriptures. That there was such a canon
            was not even recognized  when Childers declared, "the
            North  Buddhist  books have no claim  to originality,
            but are partly adaptations  of the Pali sacred books,
            made  several  centuries  after  Gautama's  time, and
            partly  late outgrowths  of Buddhism  exhibiting  the
            religion in an extraordinary  state of corruption and
            travesty."(2)

                The real  facts  have  been  stated  by La Vallee
            Poussin.  It should  be almost self-evident  that the
            most  widely-spread  group  of schools  in India, the
            Sarvastivadins, a group  that  continued  to flourish
            widely  long after  the Pali school  had been cut off
            from its Indian home, should  have had a canon of its
            own.  Although not entirely identical  with the Plai,
            the structure  of the Agamas  and much of the wording
            is the same.  As La Vallee Poussin said, "We speak in
            the singular of the canon.  It is not doubtful that a
            considerable  body of scriptures  served as basis for
            the two canons of Sthavirian  sects, the canon in the
            Pali  language   and  the  Sanskrit   canon   of  the
            Sarvastivadins.   This  body  of  scriptures  may  be
            referred  to under  the name of the Buddhist  canon."
            (3) It is from  the  Sarvastivadin  source  that  the
            ancient   passages   both  prose   and  verse, in the
            Lalita-vistara  were take.  How the whole  sutra  was
            compiled will need more detailed investigation.  Here
            we have only to consider how the Mahayana compiler or
            compilers  of  the  Lalita-vistara   dealt  with  the
            doctrinal matters in the passages incorporated.

                Althought the metaphysical  doctrines of Mahayana
            are not ignored, the whole  interest  is concentrated
            on the nature of a Bodhisattva  and his attinment  of
            Buddhahood, when he becomes an omniscient  Tathagata.
            The Boddhisattva-doctrine itself was not new, for all
            the schools recognized it, as well as the doctrine of
            a Tathagata with his ten powers.  But while according
            to the older doctrine the
            ---------------------
            2. Childers' Dictonary, preface, p. xii.
            3. Le dozme et la philosophie du Bouddhisme, p. 97.


                                    p. 242

            Bodhisattva  in his last birth was a being  who still
            had to learn the painful  facts of old age, sickness,
            and  death,  in  Mahayana   he  knew   the  essential
            doctrines  already and had acquired all the qualities
            of a Buddha except those peculiar to a Tathagata.  At
            the very beginning of the actual sutra (ch. 2) we are
            told  how  the  Bodhisattva   was  dwelling   in  the
            excellent abode of Tusita. Then follow over four pages
            of epithets beginning thus:

                "Adored  by adorable  ones, having  obtained  his
            abhiseka, praised, lauded, and extolled  by hundreds
            of thousands  of gods, having  obtained  the abbiseka
            produced  from his vow, having acquired  the full and
            purified   buddha--knowledge    due   to   all   the
            buddha-qualities, having  won the highest  perfection
            of skill in means, knowing the brahma-states of great
            friendliness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, having
            reached the peak of fulfilment of all the bodhipaksikadharmas
            consisting  of the stations of mindfulness, the right
            effort, the bases  of psychic  power, the faculties,
            the powers, the parts  of enlightenment, and the way,
            having  his body  adorned  with  the marks  and minor
            marks due to the accumulation  of unmeasured  merit."
            (Lal. p. 8).

                Nor were these attainments  lying dormant, for we
            are  told  that  while  the  Bodhisattva  was  in his
            seraglio,

                "He was not deprived  of hearing  the doctrine, or
            deprived of meditating on the doctrine. Why was that:
            It  was  because  the  Bodhisattva   had  long  shown
            reverence  for  the  doctrines  and  reciters  of the
            doctrine, he was eagerly  earnest  for the  doctrine,
            delighting    in   the    doctrine,   unwearied    in
            investigating  the doctrine, exceedingly  liberal  in
            bestowing  the doctrine, teaching  it without reward,
            ungrudging  in the gift  of the  doctrine, not having
            the closed fist of a teacher." (Lal. p. 215).

            Yet the narrative  retains  the story  as told in all
            schools, and when  the Bodhisattva  acts like  an
            ordinary man of the world, it is repeatedly said that
            this  is due  to lokanuvartanakriyadharmata, the rule
            of acting  in accordance  with  the  practice  of the
            world.  In the  same  way, when  as an infant  he was
            being  taken  to  the  temple, he knew  that  It  was
            unnecessary as he was devatideva, but he consented to
            go "in accordance with the custom of the world."

                When in the older story he first learns  the dark
            facts of human life, he is distressed  and returns to
            his palace in agitation of heart.


                                    p. 243

            The Lalita-vistara retains the accounts of his asking
            what an old man, a sick man and the others  were, but
            adds  the words, jananncva, although  he knew, for he
            was not really  an ignorant  youth, but a Bodhisattva
            already  understanding  the reality of existence, and
            he asked in accordance with the dharmata, the rule of
            action followed by all Bodhisattvas.

                These are instances of direct modification of the
            story, but the  latter  portion  of the  Sutra  gives
            example of a different way of expressing  the special
            teaching   introduced   into   the   narrative.   The
            traditional  course of events remains unchanged.  The
            contest with Mara is recounted  with the addition  of
            much mythological  detail, then the attainment of the
            four dhyanas, the divine eye, the remembrance  of the
            former  births,  the  chain  of  causation   and  the
            destruction of the asravas, all given in the words of
            the  older  sutras.  The  events  at the  Bodhi  tree
            follow, the journey to Benares, and the first sermon.
            Most of the essential narrative is given in the words
            of the older  texts  and  the Mahayana  protions  are
            distinct insertions. These display what may be called
            devotional  Mahayana, for although  sunyata  and such
            Mahayana doctrines  are taken for granted, no attempt
            is made to emphasise  them or expound them.  When the
            Bodhisattva   is  going  to  the  Bodhi  tree  Brahma
            Sahampati  informs  the gods, and his speech consists
            of a repetition of the Bodhisattva's achievements.

                It might have been thought that after the recital
            of the chain  Of causation  some  explanation  of the
            formula  in the style  of Nagarjuna  would  have been
            given, but what follows is chiefly a series of stutis
            by various  gods.  In one of them Buddha replies, and
            gives a verse  account  of his enlightenment, but the
            nearest approach to any Mahayana metaphysics is where
            he says he has attained by enlightenment  the void of
            the world (jagacchunyam), which arises from the chain
            of causation, and which is like a mirage or a city of
            Gandharvas.  That the standpoint  is Mahayana  can be
            seen from the


                                    p. 244                                                                                                                               use of certain terms, such as dharmatathata, bhutakoti, tathagatagarbha,

            use   of  certain   terms,  such   as  dharmatathata,
            bhutakoti,  tathagatagarbha,  and  sunya.  Even  maya
            occurs, but in the  sense  of "deceit, and  it merely
            illustrates  the dependence  on Sarvastivada, in this
            case on the Abhidharma.(4) The terms occur along with
            matasrya  and irsya, and they also occur together  in
            the  Sarvastivadin  list  of upaklesas, and here  are
            mentioned  among  the  forest  of vices  (klesaranya)
            which Buddha had cut off.

                The  additions  to  the  first  sermon  are  more
            extensive, but still without any tendency  to develop
            the doctrine.  It is followed by a versified  version
            of the chain of causation addressed to Kaundinya, the
            first  of the five  disciples.  Then Maitreya, one of
            the Bodhisattvas  present asks Buddha for the sake of
            Bodhisattvas  present to expound how the Wheel of the
            Doctrine has been turned. But no exposition is given.
            What  follows   is  little  more  than  a  string  of
            epithets. Buddha replies;

                "Profound, Maitreya, is the Wheel, for  it cannot
            be acquired  by grasping: hard  to  perceive  is  the
            Whell through the disappearance  of duality...."
                This list then passes into a description of the
            Tathagata:

                "Even so, Maitreya  has the Wheel of the Doctrine
            been turned by the Tathagata;  through the turning of
            which  he  is called  Tathagata;  he is called  fully
            enlightened  Buddha;  he is called  Svayambhu;  he is
            called Dharmasvami; he is called Nayaka; he is called
            Vinayaka; he is called Parinayaka; he is called
            Sarthavaha.... "

                This  extraordinary   list  continues   for  over
            fourteen  pages, and this, Buddha  tells Maitreya, is
            the turning of the Wheel and a summary exposition  of
            the virtues of the TAthagata.  If explained at length
            the Tathagata  might expound  for a kalpa or the rest
            of a kalpa.  Of real  explanation  there  is nothing,
            although in a poem immediately  following the turning
            of the Wheel  is said  to be anutpadam.  This  is the
            very  word which  forms  the basis  of the system  of
            Nagarjuna in his Madhyamakarikas. There can be little
            -------------------------
            4. Lal., p. 486. Maya is translated `esprit de deception'
               by La Vallee Poussin in his translation of the
               Abhidharmakosa. vol. I, bk. ii, $ 27. Cf. Mahavyutpatti,
               104.

     

                                    p. 245

            doubt that this avoidance of points of difference and
            metaphysical  subjects  of dispute is due to the fact
            that  the  sutra  is intended  for  lay  people.  The
            compilers have aimed at harmonising  the old accounts
            with the more exalted conception  of the Bodhisattva.
            There is one place where a severe judgment  is passed
            on the holders of other views.  In the account of the
            Bodhisattva's  passing  from  the Tusita  heaven  and
            being  conceived  Ananda  expresses  his  wonder, and
            Buddha replies  that in the future there will be some
            who  will  disbelieve  that  the  Bodhisattva  passed
            through the processes  of conception  and birth.  But
            those who reject the excellent  sutra, whether  monks
            or lay people, will be hurled  at death into the hell
            of Avici. Faith is needed, and Buddha illustrates by a
            parable:

                "It  is as if, Ananda, a certain  man had  a son,
            and the man was  of fair  speech, received  presents,
            and had many friends.  The son, when his father died,
            was not left  desolate, but was well received  by his
            father's  friends.  Even so, Ananda, any of those who
            shall believe in me I receive as my friends --  those
            who have taken refuge in me.  The Tathagata  has many
            friends,  and  these   friends   of  the   Tathagata,
            truth-speakers, not speakers of falsehood, I hand on.
            They  that  are  truth-speakers  are  friends  of the
            Tathagata, the  Arhats  and  perfect  Buddhas  of the
            future.  Faith should  be practised.  Herein  this is
            what I make you to understand."

                But the basis of the faith has been changed.  The
            sport, lalita, of the Bodhisattva  is not merely  his
            sport  in the seraglio, but all  the  acts  which  as
            Bodhisattva he had to perform. His fight with Mara is
            expressly  said to be done in sport, and finally  the
            whole  sutra is said to be played  (vikridita) by the
            great Bodhisattva.

     

     

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