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JNeatrour: Buddhist Sects

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion.buddhism,alt.philosophy.zen
From: tyagi@houseofkaos.abyss.com (nagasiva)
Subject: JNeatrour: Buddhist Sects
Date: 12 Jan 1996 15:04:31 -0800

[from talk.religion.buddhism: jneatrou@casbah.acns.nwu.edu (John Neatrour)]
[Prefacing post of a series]

I promised a taxonomy of Buddhist sects based on doctrinal 
distinctions and here is a first installment. I have used as my 
principal sources:

The Shambala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen 
       - Shambala - 1991
Buddhist Thought in India 
       - Conze - U of Mich Press - (c) 1962
The History of Buddhist Philosophy 
       - Kalupahana - Hawaii
Mahayana Buddhism 
       - Williams - Routledge - 1989
Buddhist Sutras 
       - Kogen Mizuno - 1982

While these may not represent the very latest scholarship, it provides
a stable average of recent scholarly opinion not likely to alter
too quickly. 

Since there have been some recent discussions about the Hindu context
of Buddhism I have included a prefatory diagram to indicate differences
within the Indian context.

This should be regarded as a work in progress, it is not complete.
My design was to present: clear doctrinal distinctions, distinctions
in evaluating acts (does it depend on the actor, action, or the object
of action?), lists consisting of the founder, time and geographic 
activity, doctrines, texts (sutras and commentaries), ways in which 
Mahayana schools were influenced, and indian philosophic influences
were also developed but are at present incomplete.

There are evidences of disagreement (not a bad thing) at very 
early stages in the development of Buddhism. Later with the rise
of the systematizing tendencies of the Abhidharma schools there
was overt doctrinal division. Abhidharma is the scholastic 
systematization of the Dharma, BTW.

Looking over the literature it seems to me that there is an early 
period of fragmentation (pre Mahayana) followed by a period where
the different doctrinal strands are re-collected to form the 
Mahayana schools many of which seem to aim at a higher synthesis, 
a non-sectarian Buddhism. I have also done some work on the 
Mahayana schools which I will post as it becomes complete.

NONE of these schools are non Buddhist in my view. All have equal
claim to be founded by the historic Buddha whether they call him
Gautama or Shakyamuni. Thus the founder listed is the one who
most clearly articulated the flavor of the school. The 'original'
Buddhist school does not exist. What one sees in the Abhidharma
developments is an increasing reliance on chop logic that wrenches
statements out of the context that gives them meaning.

It has been remarkable to note that many of the doctrinally 
difficult points that led to debate have supporting passages 
in the Agamas, the earliest sutras. So despite the activity of 
the Abhidharmists, my personal impression is that the differences
are treatable (from the practical point of view if not the 
scholarly) as mere differences of emphasis.

Although this study has the form then of an Abhidharma exercise of
sorts, it has had the paradoxical and pleasant effect of inducing
a certain weariness with Abhidharma exercises. They seem to have
led to the unnecessary factionalization of Buddhism. The 
Sautrantikas, recalling that in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra the
Buddha advised reliance on the teachings (Sutras) and the
discipline (Vinaya) rejected Abhidharma activity as inadvisable.
Maybe it is so.

So on to the diagrams:

jn
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[from talk.religion.buddhism: jneatrou@casbah.acns.nwu.edu (John Neatrour)]
[First of a series]

The Indian Context:

                     The Origin of the World:
                                /\
                               /  \
     is knowable absolutely.  /    \ is unknowable absolutely. 
                             /\         [ Buddhism ] 
                            /  \
                           /    \
                          /      \
              is created./        \ is uncreated.
                         |          [ some later Buddhists ]
                         |
     ---------------------------------------------------
     |                   |                 |           |
   from Being.     from Non-Being    from both.  from neither.
     |     \                .        [Jainism]   [Vedanta]
     |      \               .
     |       \              .
     |        \             .
 Materialist Spiritualist   .
                .          .
                  . joined by desire
                    [Upanisads]

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[from talk.religion.buddhism: jneatrou@casbah.acns.nwu.edu (John Neatrour)]
[Second of a series]

The Pre Mahayana Sects                                                        
                     

 ( 0 BE)              Parinirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha
                                    |                                      
                               Early Buddhism                                 

                                    |                                   |
                                   / \                                       
                                  /   \                                       
 (70-100 BE)               Sthavira   Mahasanghika                           
                                   \ /
                                    |
                        (conflict over rules is 
                         resolved without split)                              
                                                
                                    |
                                    |                            
 (Conze 140 BE)                    / \--->[Issue: What is a 
 (SD 280-40 BCE)                  /   \    liberated person?]
                                 /     \   
                                /       \
                 Sthavira Branch           Mahasanghika Branch
                                           Transcendentalists
   (arahantship is the highest             (the Sthaviras attribute 
    attainment  of practice)                excessive perfection to 
   (the Buddha has no        \              advanced practitioners)
    transcendece)             \            (the Buddha has transcendece:
                               \            is not tainted by living in
                                \           the world)
                                 \
                                  \
 (SD 240 BCE)                    / \---> [Issue: What is the nature 
                                /   \     personal continuity?]
                               /     \
                              /       \
                      Sthavira        Vatsiputriya / Pudgalavada Branch
                                      Personalists
   (claim the 'person' is a self      (accepts no-self but also assert
    substance in disguise)             a sense in which it is appropriate
                             |         to speak of a person existing) 
                             |
                             |          
                             |
  (Conze 236 BE)            / \-----> [Issue: What is the nature of 
  (SD 240 BCE)             /   \       the reality of elements that 
                          /     \      constitute a person?]
                         /       \
        Sarvastivada Branch    Vibhajyavada Branch
        Absolute Realists      Analytical Realists
        (past, present,        (past, present, and       
         and future exist       future are differentiated)  
         simultaneously)

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[from talk.religion.buddhism: jneatrou@casbah.acns.nwu.edu (John Neatrour)]
[Third in a series]

Transcendentalists:

Doctrines:

SD:
1) the world is mind produced:
   absolute - conditioned, Nirvana - Samsara, mundane - supramundane
2) all things are names only without substance
3) Buddha has a supramundane as well as mundane aspect
4) bodhisattvas can appear in lower modes of existence to teach

K:
1) "The Buddha lives in the world but is untainted by it"
   thus there is a transcendent aspect of Buddhahood.
2) giver-giving-recipient
   denied that the purity of a gift depended on purity of recipient
   denied reality of giver
   only giving has value
3) evaluated Action only, denied Subject or Object

Shambhala:

                          Mahasanghika 
                         /   |       | \ 
                        /    |       |  \----------\        
                       /     |       |              \
         Ekavyahavarika Bahushrutiya Prajnaptivada   Gokulika
                   |                                    |
         Lokottarivada                               Chaitika


Conze: 

                          Mahasanghika 
                               |
                               |
   200 BE       -----------------------------------------
               |                  |                     |
               |                  |                     |   
         Ekavyahavarika         Gokulika                |
               |                |      |                |       
         Lokottarivada   Bahushrutiya Prajnaptivada   Chaitika  300 BE        
            
                                                        |
                                                        |
               -----------------------------------------------------
               |               |                |                  |
           Purvasaila      Aparasaila       Rajagirika        Siddharthika




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Subject: JNeatrour: Buddhist Sects
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[from talk.religion.buddhism: jneatrou@casbah.acns.nwu.edu (John Neatrour)]
[Fourth in a series]

Personalists or Pudgalavada:

Founder: Vatsiputra (a student of Sariputra)

Active:

Doctrines:

SD:
1) there is a person (pudgala) neither identical with the aggregates 
   (skandhas) nor different from them.
2) the person is the basis of rebirth, warrants karmic reaction, and
   can continue to exist upon entry into Nirvana.

K:
1) Personalist agrees with Sthavira that truth and reality are 
   inexpressible. 
2) Sthavira criticizes Personalist as saying 'person' exists 
   in truth and reality.  


  280 BC                     Vatsiputriya     
                                   |
                                   |
                   ---------------------------------------
                   |               |         |           |
  100 BC      Dharmattariya Bhadrayanuya Sammatiya    Sannagarika
                                             |                            
                                         ---------
                                         |       |
                                    Avantaka    Kaurukulla


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[from talk.religion.buddhism: jneatrou@casbah.acns.nwu.edu (John Neatrour)]
[Fifth in a series]

Analytical Realists:

(Sh 240 BCE)                  Vibhajyavada     
                                    |    
                        -----------------------
                        |           |         |
                  Theravada   Mahishasaka  Kashyapipa
                                    |
                                    |
                             Dharmaguptaka

VIBHAJYAVADA: (240 BCE - 7th c CE)
-------------

(simply an umbrella classification
 for the subsects? - jn)
 
THERAVADA: 
---------

Founder: Moggaliputta-tissa
Active:  ( ~240 BCE - present)
         Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam
         Europe, the Americas

Doctrines:

(SD)
1)  emphasis on individual working on self liberation.
2)  monastic arhat is practice ideal.
3)  lay meditation practice recently encouraged.

Texts:

Sutras:  
       Pali Sutras
       Pali Vinaya with 227 monks rules
       Pali Abhidharma 
         (includes Kathavatthu by Moggaliputta-tissa)

Commentaries:
       Milindapanha
       Visuddhimagga by Buddhaghosa (4c CE)

Influenced Mahayana:

MAHISHASAKA:
------------

Doctrines: 

(SD)  present phenomena are real, not past and future



DHARMAGUPTAKA:
-------------

Founder:   Dharmagupta a Sinhalese monk (SD)
  
Active:    South India (SD)
  
Doctrine:  

(SD)
    Offerings to the Buddha not the Sangha are greatly meritorious. 
      (Actions evaluated in terms of Object.) 

Texts:

Sutras:
       4 Part Vinaya with 250 monks rules, 348 for nuns. 

Commentaries:

Influenced Mahayana: through Vinaya



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Subject: JNeatrour: Buddhist Sects
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[from talk.religion.buddhism: jneatrou@casbah.acns.nwu.edu (John Neatrour)]
[Sixth in a series]

Absolute Realists:

(Conze 236 BE)                Sarvastivada / Vaibhasika
                                           |
                                           |
(Conze 350 BE, SD 150 BCE)            Sautrantika

SARVASTIVADA:
-------------
Founder:

Active: N India, Kashmir, China.

Doctrines:

(SD)
1) denies reality of self as substance or soul
2) affirms reality of dharmas
3) conditioned dharmas do not come into existence
   but simply change from latent to manifest state
4) early form of trikaya (three body) doctrine of
   Buddhahood

Texts:

Sutras:  
       Sanskrit Sutras (in Chinese translation)
       Sanskrit Vinaya (only Vinaya-vibhasa survives)
       Sanskrit Abhidharma (portions may be older than the Pali
         Abhidharma but the present form is due to Vasubandhu)

Commentaries:
       Abhidharmahridaya
       Lokaprajnapti (a mythical cosmology)
       Mahavibhasa edited under Vasumitra
       Vibhasa               by Katyaniputra
       Abhidharmakosa        by Vasubandhu (4th c CE)

Influenced Mahayana: through Abhidharma and Vunaya

SAUTRANTIKA:
-----------
Founder:

Active:

Doctrines:

(SD)
1) dharmas exist only momentarily, duration is an illusion
2) subtle consciousness _only_ persists for causal continuity
3) subtle consciousness reabsorbs other four skandhas
   at death (or in between moments?) for instance

Texts:

Sutras:
       Sutras only
       Rejected Abhidharma in toto 
         (Mahaparinirvana Sutra says to rely on teaching (sutras)
          and discipline (vinaya) without mentioning a higher
          teaching (abhidharma).)

Commentaries:

Influence on Mahayana : Yogacara 
 
That's all for now. Mahayana will come out later if there is interest.
Also I will update these if there is interest.

jn
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