Dear Stephen and friends,
thanks for the historical correctness. It is true that many of the
Mahayana teachings can be traced back to the pre-Mahayana Sectarian
Buddhism period in India, although Mahayana schools tend to make a
direct reference to the Buddha and rule out their "Hinayana" linkage
Your historical treatment of the subject matter is truly of scholarly
importance. But, it may not be simply a misunderstanding, as you
suggest. Rather, it is more a matter of how much a person is aware of
the historical development of specific Buddhist doctrines.
Furthermore, it is usually possible to discuss things just in the
present context, in which case, a topic can be either Theravada,
Mahayana (including Vajrayana), or common to both. I think this
simple distinction is sufficient for the ongoing discussion.
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Stephen Hodge wrote:
I whole-heartedly support the moderator's request for mindfulness in
However, I should like to comment on this "When a Mahayana concept
such as antaraabhava ...." as there seems to be some kind of
misunderstanding here, also found in some other messages.
The antaraabhava concept is not specifically Mahayana -- in fact it
is hardly ever mentioned explicitly and some schools within Mahayana
may even reject it, depending upon their doctrinal antecedents. As
Bhante Kumaara has kindly listed, there are many suttas in the
Nikayas (and Agamas) which clearly seem to endorse this idea.
Whether these are accepted at face value or interpreted in another
manner seems to depend upon various factors -- mainly I suspect due
to Abhidharmic considerations. The pre-Mahayana schools varied in
their acceptance or otherwise of an antaraabhava.
According to the data we have on hand, the idea was accepted by the
Purvasaila, Sammatiya, Sarvastivada, Vatsiputriya and late Mahaisaka
but rejected by Theravada, Mahasanghika, early Mahisasaka. So it is
likely that the anataraabhava doctrine was accepted by the majority
of pre-Mahayana Buddhists in India based on rough numerical estimates
of the followers of each school. It is therefore inaccurate to
charcterize antaraabhava as a Mahayana doctrine -- not that this will
deter some from "getting heated up".