THE
ARCANE
ARCHIVE

a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


TOP | YRONWODE | ARCANE ARCHIVE.ORG | RELIGION | BUDDHISM

[Help] On the name of Theravada

To: talk.religion.buddhism
From: jneatrou@casbah.acns.nwu.edu (John Neatrour)
Subject: Re: [Help] On the name of "Theravada"
Date: 5 Apr 1996 00:29:33 GMT

In article <3161FC79.32BA@central.murdoch.edu.au>,
Binh Anson   wrote:
>
>	Thanks, John, for your kind explanation (as always). N.R. Reat (Buddhism, A 
>History - 1994) wrote that:
>
>	Sthaviravada (Sanskrit) = Theravada (Pali) = Doctrine of the Elders

you are most welcome. 

>	Now, my question are: when did the term "Theravada" first appear ? in what period 
>? in what document ? Similarly, when did the term "Mahayana" first appear ? in what 
>document (or scripture) ?

the term Sthaviravada/Theravada first appeared at the time of the 1st schism
with the Mahasanghikas (= Larger Sangha) so 3rd century BCE. as far as
Mahayana as a term is concerned the earliest Mahayana Sutras are listed in
Akira Hirakawa's History of Indian Buddhism. these are from 1st century CE so
a difference of 200-300 years is possible. the first really completely self
conscious use of the term Mahayana is in the Lotus Sutra at 2-3 century CE.

now this is further complicated by the fact that Williams in his Mahayana
Buddhism has cited a very early sutra found in ruins in Afghanistan that has
strong Mahayana tendencies without the polemic. this sutra did not make its
way into the Tibetan or Chinese canons and so although it seems much earlier
than the Lotus Sutra, and quite Mahayana, has no reference to Mahayana as a
school.

some authorities have hinted that Mahayana is an elaboration of Mahasanghika
since there is a lot of similarity between a larger vehicle and a larger
sangha.

to complicate matters further, the Sarvastivadins regarded themselves as
Sthaviravadins! i.e. the elder branch of the teaching lineage in comparison
with the Vibhajyavadins and Theravadins and their related schools.

now i don't know where you are going with this Binh but there are several
related questions that make Mahayana-Theravada relations extremely murky.
particularly with regard to lineage and ordination tradition issues, for
instance:

Tibetan Mahayana seems to be in an ordination tradition which follows the
Sarvastivada/Mulasarvastivada tradition, that is the vinaya current in Tibetan
practice.

Ch'an/Zen had the ordination tradition of the 4 part vinaya of the
Dharmaguptakas, a school more closely related to the Theravada. however, the
lineage contains names common to Theravada, Sarvastivada, and Sautrantika
schools. although the Mahasanghika and Sarvastivada vinayas were used, the
Chinese (and after the Japanese) preferred the Dharmaguptaka vinaya
supplemented by the additional bodhisattva vinaya.

in Chinese and Japanese canons the Vissudhimagga of Buddhaghosa is regarded as
canonical and exists in Chinese translation. this is natural since the
definition of 'canonical' is more liberal. however the root abhidharma text is
Vasubhandu's Abhidharmakosha which is principally a discussion of Sarvastivada
and Sautrantika doctrines, plus others.

anyway the history is quite tangled and the time spent in trying to untangle
it may possible be better spent practicing? nevertheless, i am happy to
discuss this in any direction you feel curious.

cheers,
jn



The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist: tyaginator@arcane-archive.org.

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.

SEARCH THE ARCANE ARCHIVE

There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase

OTHER ESOTERIC AND OCCULT SITES OF INTEREST

Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races