Re: hiinayaana - "word usage official 'update' "
- Hi Stephen,
due to the ending '-ika').
> No, as far as I know, based on the Tib and Ch parallels, it is the
> prefix.Phew, that's a relief.
The term is
> supposed to be found in the Mahasisaka Agama, where they recognizethree
> classes of skandhas: 1. k.sa.nika-skandha, 2. janmi-skandha and 3.lifetime and
> aasa.msaarika-skandha -- momentary skandhas, skandhas lasting a
> those lasting until one enter the vajropama-samaadhi.This is interesting. If the reference is reliable, it would seem to
imply that the Mahisasaka Agamas (of which apparently none now
exist) contained doctrines that are not found in the existing
agamas. Vajropama samadhi is i believe another sarvastivada term,
also not found in the agamas, though as usual there are probably
some germs for the idea.
Do you know how these skandhas are philosophically related? The
developed abhidhamma schools of the Theravada and others would claim
that only the ksanika skandhas exist in the ultimate sense. Was the
mahisasaka position similar?
> you are right about the Sarvastivadin connection -- though this isdharmas.
> interesting in view of their idea of the enduring existence of
Exactly! The real question was time, and the philosophical
examination of time seems to have been the special concern of the
At root, of course, the issue is fear of death, the primal
motivation for all deep spiritual practice. I think this became
identified historically with the death of the Buddha himself. The
poignant descriptions of the varied reactions of the Buddha's
followers at his passing indicate a deep level split in their
relation to time. Some lamented the passing away 'all too soon'
(atikhippam), and there is a clear emphasis on the wish for the
Buddha to remain for the aeon, ie, practically forever. But the
sages reflected on the nature of impermanence.
I think the popular Buddhist folk, with their Jataka stories telling
of the continuity in time of the Bodhisattva, with his distinctive
personality, friends and relatives, etc., are the heir of the
lamenters at the parinibbana. The abhidhammikas, with their doctrine
of the inconceivable quickness of rise&fall, are the heirs of the
wisely reflecting sages.
But i think the doctrines became so extreme as to become virtually
incommensurable, quite possibly reflecting a widening gulf in
communication between the lay and monastic communities. The
sarvastivada, with its doctrine that dhammas are momentary, yet last
forever, is a sustained, sophisticated attempt to work out a
coherent philosophical reconciliation of these two positions.