Buddhist ethics are traditionally based on what Buddhists view as the enlightened perspective of the Buddha, or other enlightened beings such as Bodhisattvas. The Indian term for ethics or morality used in Buddhism is sīla. Śīla in Buddhism is one of three sections of the Noble Eightfold Path, is a code of conduct that embraces a commitment to harmony and self-restraint with the principal motivation being nonviolence, or freedom from causing harm. It has been variously described as virtue, right conduct, moral discipline and precept. Sīla is an internal and intentional ethical behavior, according to one's commitment to the path of liberation, it is an ethical compass within self and relationships, rather than what is associated with the English word "morality". Sīla is one of the three practices foundational to Buddhism and the non-sectarian Vipassana movement — sīla, samādhi, paññā as well as the Theravadin foundations of sīla, Dāna, Bhavana, it is the second pāramitā. Sīla is wholehearted commitment to what is wholesome.
Two aspects of sīla are essential to the training: right "performance", right "avoidance". Honoring the precepts of sīla is considered a "great gift" to others, because it creates an atmosphere of trust and security, it means the practitioner poses no threat to another person's life, family, rights, or well-being. Moral instructions are handed down through tradition. Most scholars of Buddhist ethics thus rely on the examination of Buddhist scriptures, the use of anthropological evidence from traditional Buddhist societies, to justify claims about the nature of Buddhist ethics; the source for the ethics of Buddhists around the world are the Three Jewels of the Buddha and Sangha. The Buddha is seen as the discoverer of hence the foremost teacher; the Dharma is the truths of these teachings. The Sangha is the community of noble ones, who practice the Dhamma and have attained some knowledge and can thus provide guidance and preserve the teachings. Having proper understanding of the teachings is vital for proper ethical conduct.
The Buddha taught that right view was a necessary prerequisite for right conduct, sometimes referred to as right intention. A central foundation for Buddhist morality is the law of rebirth; the Buddha is recorded to have stated that right view consisted in believing that: "'there is fruit and ripening of deeds well done or ill done': what one does matters and has an effect on one’s future. Karma is a word which means "action" and is seen as a natural law of the universe which manifests as cause and effect. In the Buddhist conception, Karma is a certain type of moral action which has moral consequences on the actor; the core of karma is the mental intention, hence the Buddha stated ‘It is intention, O monks, that I call karma. Therefore, accidentally hurting someone is not bad Karma. Buddhist ethics sees these patterns of motives and actions as conditioning future actions and circumstances – the fruit of one's present actions, including the condition and place of the actor's future life circumstances.
One's past actions are said to mold one's consciousness and to leave seeds which ripen in the next life. The goal of Buddhist practice is to break the cycle, though one can work for rebirth in a better condition through good deeds; the root of one's intention is what conditions an action to be bad. There are three negative roots. Actions which produce good outcomes are termed "merit" and obtaining merit is an important goal of lay Buddhist practice; the early Buddhist texts mention three'bases for effecting karmic fruitfulness’: giving, moral virtue and meditation. One's state of mind; the Buddhist Sangha is seen as the most meritorious "field of merit". Negative actions accumulate bad karmic results, though one's regret and attempts to make up for it can ameliorate these results; the Four Noble Truths express one of the central Buddhist worldview which sees worldly existence as fundamentally unsatisfactory and stressful. Dukkha is seen to arise from craving, putting an end to craving can lead to liberation.
The way to put an end to craving is by following the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha, which includes the ethical elements of right speech, right action and right livelihood. From the point of view of the Four Noble Truths, an action is seen as ethical if it is conductive to the elimination of Dukkha. Understanding the truth of Dukkha in life allows one to analyze the factors for its arising, craving, allows us to feel compassion and sympathy for others. Comparing oneself with others and applying the Golden Rule is said to follow from this appreciation of Dukkha. From the Buddhist perspective, an act is moral if it promotes spiritual development by conforming to the Eightfold Path and leading to Nirvana. In Mahayana Buddhism, an emphasis is made on the liberation of all beings. Therefore, special beings called
A Buddhist chant is a form of musical verse or incantation, in some ways analogous to Hindu, Christian or Jewish religious recitations. In Buddhism, chanting is the traditional means of preparing the mind for meditation as part of formal practice; some forms of Buddhism use chanting for ritualistic purposes. While the basis for most Theravada chants is the Pali Canon and Vajrayana chants draw from a wider range of sources. In the Theravada tradition, chanting is done in Pali, sometimes with vernacular translations interspersed. Among the most popular Theravada chants are: Buddhabhivadana Tiratana Pancasila Buddha Vandana Dhamma Vandana Sangha Vandana Upajjhatthana Metta Sutta Reflection on the Body; the traditional chanting in Khmer Buddhism is called Smot. Since Japanese Buddhism is divided in thirteen doctrinal schools, since Chan Buddhism and Buddhism in Vietnam – although sharing a common historical origin and a common doctrinal content – are divided according to geographical borders, there are several different forms of arrangements of scriptures to chant within Mahayana Buddhism.: Daily practice in Nichiren buddhism is chanting the five character of Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō.
A Mahayana sutra that reveals the true identity of Shakyamuni as a Buddha who attained enlightenment numberless kalpas ago. Kumarajiva's translation, honoured, is entitled the Lotus Sutra of the wonderful law; the mystic relationship between the law and the lives of the people courses eternally through past and future, unbroken in any lifetime. In terms of space, the Nichiren proclaims that the heritage of the ultimate law flows within lives of his disciples and lay supporters who work in perfect unity for the realization of a peaceful world and happiness for all humanity. Nichiren practitioners will chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo - the true aspect of all the phenomena and recite certain chapters from the Lotus Sutra, in particular the 2nd and 16th chapters. Pure Land Buddhists Namu Amida Butsu or Namo Amituofo. In more formal services, practitioners will chant excerpts from the Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life or the entire Smaller Sutra of Immeasurable Life. Popular with Zen, Shingon or other Mahayana practitioners is chanting the Prajñāpāramitā Hridaya Sūtra during morning offices.
In more formal settings, larger discourses of the Buddha may be chanted as well. In the Chinese and the Japanese traditions, repentance ceremonies, involving paying deep reverence to the buddhas and bodhisattvas, as well as executing rituals to rescue and feed hungry ghosts, are occasionally practiced. There is no universally used form for these two practices, but several different forms, the use of which follows doctrinal and geographical borders. Within Chan, it is common to chant Sanskrit formulae, known as dhāraṇīs in the morning. In the Vajrayana tradition, chanting is used as an invocative ritual in order to set one's mind on a deity, Tantric ceremony, mandala, or particular concept one wishes to further in themselves. For Vajrayana practitioners, the chant Om Mani Padme Hum is popular around the world as both a praise of peace and the primary mantra of Avalokitesvara. Other popular chants include those of Tara and Amitabha. Tibetan monks are noted for their skill at throat-singing, a specialized form of chanting in which, by amplifying the voice's upper partials, the chanter can produce multiple distinct pitches simultaneously.
Japanese esoteric practitioners practice a form of chanting called shomyo. In the Ghitassara Sutta, the Buddha teaches: Bhikkhus, there are five dangers of reciting the Dhamma with a musical intonation. What five? Oneself gets attached to the sound, others get attached to the sound, householders are annoyed, saying, “Just as we sing, these sons of the Sakyan sing”, the concentration of those who do not like the sound is destroyed, generations copy it. These, are the five dangers of reciting the Dhamma with a musical intonation. John Daido Loori justified the use of chanting sutras by referring to Zen master Dōgen. Dōgen is known to have refuted the statement "Painted rice cakes will not satisfy hunger"; this statement means that sutras, which are just symbols like painted rice cakes, cannot satisfy one's spiritual hunger. Dōgen, saw that there is no separation between metaphor and reality. "There is no difference between paintings, rice cakes, or any thing at all". The symbol and the symbolized were inherently the same, thus only the sutras could satisfy one's spiritual needs.
To understand this non-dual relationship experientially, one is told to practice liturgy intimately. In distinguishing between ceremony and liturgy, Dōgen states, "In ceremony there are forms and there are sounds, there is understanding and there is believing. In liturgy there is only intimacy." The practitioner is instructed to listen to and speak liturgy not just with one sense, but with one's "whole body-and-mind". By listening with one's entire being, one eliminates the space between the liturgy. Thus, Dōgen's instructions are to "listen with the eye and s
Buddhist texts were passed on orally by monks, but were written down and composed as manuscripts in various Indo-Aryan languages which were translated into other local languages as Buddhism spread. They can be categorized in a number of ways; the Western terms "scripture" and "canonical" are applied to Buddhism in inconsistent ways by Western scholars: for example, one authority refers to "scriptures and other canonical texts", while another says that scriptures can be categorized into canonical and pseudo-canonical. Buddhist traditions have divided these texts with their own categories and divisions, such as that between buddhavacana "word of the Buddha," many of which are known as "sutras," and other texts, such as shastras or Abhidharma; these religious texts were written in many different languages and scripts but memorizing and copying the texts were of high value. After the development of printing, Buddhists preferred to keep to their original practices with these texts. According to Donald Lopez, criteria for determining what should be considered buddhavacana were developed at an early stage, that the early formulations do not suggest that Dharma is limited to what was spoken by the historical Buddha.
The Mahāsāṃghika and the Mūlasarvāstivāda considered both the Buddha's discourses, of his disciples, to be buddhavacana. A number of different beings such as buddhas, disciples of the buddha, ṛṣis, devas were considered capable to transmitting buddhavacana; the content of such a discourse was to be collated with the sūtras, compared with the Vinaya, evaluated against the nature of the Dharma. These texts may be certified as true buddhavacana by a buddha, a saṃgha, a small group of elders, or one knowledgeable elder. In Theravada Buddhism, the standard collection of buddhavacana is the Pāli Canon; some scholars believe that some portions of the Pali Canon and Agamas could contain the actual substance of the historical teachings of the Buddha. In East Asian Buddhism, what is considered buddhavacana is collected in the Chinese Buddhist canon; the most common edition of this is the Taishō Tripiṭaka. According to Venerable Hsuan Hua from the tradition of Chinese Buddhism, there are five types of beings who may speak the sutras of Buddhism: a buddha, a disciple of a buddha, a deva, a ṛṣi, or an emanation of one of these beings.
These sutras may be properly regarded as buddhavacana. Sometimes texts that are considered commentaries by some are regarded by others as Buddhavacana. Shingon Buddhism developed a system that assigned authorship of the early sutras to Gautama Buddha in his physical manifestation, of the Ekayana sutras to the Buddhas as Sambhoghakaya, the Vajrayana texts to the Buddha as Dharmakaya. In Tibetan Buddhism, what is considered buddhavacana is collected in the Kangyur; the East Asian and Tibetan Buddhist canons always combined Buddhavacana with other literature in their standard collected editions. However, the general view of what is and is not buddhavacana is broadly similar between East Asian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism; the Tibetan Kangyur, which belongs to the various schools of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, in addition to containing sutras and vinaya contains tantras. The earliest Buddhist texts were passed down orally in Middle Indo-Aryan languages called Prakrits, including Gāndhārī language, the early Magadhan language and Pali through the use of repetition, communal recitation and mnemonic devices.
Doctrinal elaborations were preserved in Abhidharma works and Karikas. As Buddhism spread geographically, these texts were translated into the local language, such as Chinese and Tibetan; the Pali canon was preserved in Sri Lanka where it was first written down in the first century BCE and the Theravadan Pali textual tradition developed there. The Sri Lankan Pali tradition developed extensive commentaries as well as sub-commentaries for the Pali Canon as well as treatises on Abhidhamma. Sutra commentaries and Abhidharma works exist in Tibetan, Chinese and other East Asian languages. Important examples of non-canonical Pali texts are the Visuddhimagga, by Buddhaghosa, a compendium of Theravada teachings and the Mahavamsa, a historical Sri Lankan chronicle; the earliest known Buddhist manuscripts, recovered from the ancient civilization of Gandhara in north central Pakistan are dated to the 1st century and constitute the Buddhist textual tradition of Gandharan Buddhism, an important link between Indian and East Asian Buddhism.
After the rise of the Kushans in India, Sanskrit was widely used to record Buddhist texts. Sanskrit Buddhist literature became the dominant tradition in India until the decline of Buddhism in India. Around the beginning of the Christian era, a new genre of sutra literature began to be written with a focus on the Bodhisattva idea known as Mahayana sutras. Many of the Mahayana sutras were written in Sanskrit and translated into the Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist canons which developed their own textual histories; the Mahayana sutras are traditionally considered by Mahayanists to be the word of the Buddha, but transmitted either in secret, via lineages of supernatural beings, or revealed directly from other Buddhas or bodhisattvas. Some 600 Mahayana Sutras have survived in Chinese and/or Tibetan translation. In the Mahayana tradition there are important works termed Shastras, or treatises which attempt to outline the sutra teachings and defend or exp
Buddhist monasticism is one of the earliest surviving forms of organized monasticism in the history of religion. It is one of the most fundamental institutions of Buddhism. Monks and nuns are considered to be responsible for the preservation and dissemination of the Buddha's teaching and the guidance of Buddhist lay people; the order of Buddhist monks and nuns was founded by Gautama Buddha during his lifetime between the fifth and fourth centuries BC. The Buddhist monastic lifestyle grew out of the lifestyle of earlier sects of wandering ascetics, some of whom the Buddha had studied under, it was not isolationist or eremetic: the sangha was dependent on the lay community for basic provisions of food and clothing, in return sangha members helped guide lay followers on the path of Dharma. Individuals or small groups of monks – a teacher and his students, or several monks who were friends – traveled together, living on the outskirts of local communities and practicing meditation in the forests.
Monks and nuns were expected to live with a minimum of possessions, which were to be voluntarily provided by the lay community. Lay followers provided the daily food that monks required, provided shelter for monks when they were needed; some Buddhist schools assert that during the Buddha's time, many retreats and gardens were donated by wealthy citizens for monks and nuns to stay in during the rainy season. Out of this tradition grew two kinds of living arrangements for monastics, as detailed in the Mahavagga section of the Vinaya and Varsavastu texts: avāsā: a temporary house for monastics called a vihara. More than one monk stayed in each house with each monk in his own cell, called a parivena. Ārāma: a more permanent and more comfortable arrangement than the avasa. This property was donated and maintained by a wealthy citizen; this was more lavish. It consisted of residences within orchards or parks. One of the more famous Arama is Anathapindika's, known as Anathapindikassa arame, built on Prince Jeta's grove.
It had buildings worth 1.8 million gold pieces built in a beautiful grove, with the total gift worth 5.4 million gold pieces. After the parinirvana of the Buddha, the Buddhist monastic order developed into a cenobitic movement; the practice of living communally during the rainy vassa season, prescribed by the Buddha grew to encompass a settled monastic life centered on life in a community of practitioners. Most of the modern disciplinary rules followed by monks and nuns—the Patimokkha—relate to such an existing, prescribing in great detail proper methods for living and relating in a community of monks or nuns; the number of rules observed. There are a larger number of rules specified for bhikkhunis. Buddhism has no central authority, therefore many different varieties of practice and philosophy have developed over its history, including among monastic communities, sometimes leading to schisms in the sangha; the information presented here, unless otherwise noted, characterises only certain Buddhist monks who follow the most strict regulations of the'Southern Schools' tradition.
The oldest existing set of texts concerning a Buddhist form of life are those of the Pāli Canon. Although no copy of these texts comes from the time of the Buddha, because of its relative age the Pāli Canon is used by some monastic communities to define their conduct and identity. In some schools of Buddhism, notably those lineages in South East Asia that compose Theravada, the Buddhist monastic community is theoretically divided into two assemblies, the male bhikkhu assembly, the female bhikkhuni assembly. According to some stories, although his followers consisted only of men, the Buddha recognized women as followers after his stepmother, asked for and received permission to live as an ordained practitioner; the Buddha's disciple Ananda insisted on including female order. Female monastic communities in the bhikkhuni lineage were never established in the Vajrayana communities of Tibet and Nepal. Ordination in the bhikkhuni lineage continues to exist among East Asian communities, attempts have been made at a revival in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.
Such divisions are more made in the Northern schools, or in the West. Monks and nuns are expected to fulfill a variety of roles in the Buddhist community. First and foremost, they are expected to preserve the discipline now known as Buddhism, they are expected to provide a living example for the laity, to serve as a "field of merit" for lay followers, providing laymen and women with the opportunity to earn merit by giving gifts and support to the monks. In return for the support of the laity and nuns are expected to live an austere life focused on the study of Buddhist doctrine, the practice of meditation, the observance of good moral character; the relative degree of emphasis on meditation or study has been debated in the Buddhist community. Many continued to keep a relationship with their original families. A Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni first ordains as a Samanera for a year or more. There are some conditions which must be met in order to be allowed into Buddhist monaticism, such as age between 7 and 70 and haven't broken sīla in some manners when undertaking them.
Male novices ordain at a young age, but no younger than 8. Women choose to orda
History of Buddhism
The history of Buddism spans from the 5th century BCE to the present. Buddhism arose in the eastern part of Ancient India, in and around the ancient Kingdom of Magadha, is based on the teachings of Siddhārtha Gautama; this makes it one of the oldest religions practiced today. The religion evolved as it spread from the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent through Central and Southeast Asia. At one time or another, it influenced most of the Asian continent; the history of Buddhism is characterized by the development of numerous movements and schools, among them the Theravāda, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna traditions, with contrasting periods of expansion and retreat. Siddhārtha Gautama was the historical founder of Buddhism; the early sources state he was born in the small Shakya Republic, part of the Kosala realm of ancient India, now in modern-day Nepal. He is thus known as the Shakyamuni; the republic was ruled by a council of household heads, Gautama was born to one of these elites, so that he described himself as a Kshatriya when talking to Brahmins.
The Early Buddhist Texts contain no continuous life of the Buddha, only after 200 BCE were various "biographies" with much mythological embellishment written. All texts agree however that Gautama renounced the householder life and lived as a sramana ascetic for some time studying under various teachers, before attaining nirvana and bodhi through meditation. For the remaining 45 years of his life, he traveled the Gangetic Plain of central India, teaching his doctrine to a diverse range of people from different castes and initiating monks into his order; the Buddha sent his disciples to spread the teaching across India. He initiated an order of nuns, he urged his disciples to teach in dialects. He spent a lot of his time near the cities of Sāvatthī, Rājagaha and Vesālī. By the time of his death at 80, he had thousands of followers; the years following the death of the Buddha saw the emergence of many movements during the next 400 years: first the schools of Nikaya Buddhism, of which only Theravada remains today, the formation of Mahayana and Vajrayana, pan-Buddhist sects based on the acceptance of new scriptures and the revision of older techniques.
Followers of Buddhism, called Buddhists in English, referred to themselves as Sakyan-s or Sakyabhiksu in ancient India. Buddhist scholar Donald S. Lopez asserts they used the term Bauddha, although scholar Richard Cohen asserts that that term was used only by outsiders to describe Buddhists. After the death of the Buddha, the Buddhist sangha remained centered on the Ganges valley, spreading from its ancient heartland; the canonical sources record various councils, where the monastic Sangha recited and organized the orally transmitted collections of the Buddha's teachings and settled certain disciplinary problems within the community. Modern scholarship has questioned the historicity of these traditional accounts; the first Buddhist council is traditionally said to have been held just after Buddha's Parinirvana, presided over by Mahākāśyapa, one of His most senior disciples, at Rājagṛha with the support of king Ajāthaśatru. According to Charles Prebish all scholars have questioned the historicity of this first council.
Over time, these two monastic fraternities would further divide into various Early Buddhist Schools. The Sthaviras gave birth to a large number of influential schools including the Sarvāstivāda, the Pudgalavāda, the Dharmaguptakas and the Vibhajyavāda; the Mahasamghikas meanwhile developed their own schools and doctrines early on, which can be seen in texts like the Mahavastu, associated with the Lokottaravāda, or ‘Transcendentalist’ school, who might be the same as the Ekavyāvahārikas or "One-utterancers". This school has been seen as foreshadowing certain Mahayana ideas due to their view that all of Gautama Buddha's acts were "transcendental" or "supramundane" those performed before his Buddhahood. In the third century BCE, some Buddhists began introducing new systematized teachings called Abhidharma, based on previous lists or tables of main doctrinal topics. Unlike the Nikayas, which were prose sutras or discourses, the Abhidharma literature consisted of systematic doctrinal exposition and differed across the Buddhist schools who disagreed on points of doctrine.
Abhidharma sought to analyze all experience into its ultimate constituents, phenomenal events or processes called dharmas. During the reign of the Mauryan Emperor Aśoka, Buddhism gained royal support and began to spread more reaching most of the Indian subcontinent. After his invasion of Kalinga, Aśoka seems to have experienced remorse and began working to improve the lives of his subjects. Aśoka built wells, rest-houses and hospitals for humans and animals, he abolished torture, royal hunting trips and even the death penalty. Aśoka supported non-Buddhist faiths like Jainism and Brahmanism. Aśoka propagated religion by building stupas and pillars urging, among other things, respect of all animal life and enjoining people to follow the Dharma, he has been hailed by Buddhist sources as the model for the compassionate chakravartin. Another feature of Mauryan Buddhism was the worship and veneration of stupas, large mounds which contained relics of the Buddha or other saints within, it was believed that the practice of devotion to these relics and stupas could bring blessings
Mahāyāna is one of two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. This movement added a further set of discourses, although it was small in India, it had long-term historical significance; the Buddhist tradition of Vajrayana is sometimes classified as a part of Mahāyāna Buddhism, but some scholars consider it to be a different branch altogether. According to the teachings of Mahāyāna traditions, "Mahāyāna" refers to the path of the Bodhisattva seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings called "Bodhisattvayāna", or the "Bodhisattva Vehicle". A bodhisattva who has accomplished this goal is called a samyaksaṃbuddha, or "fully enlightened Buddha". A samyaksaṃbuddha can establish the Dharma and lead disciples to enlightenment. Mahāyāna Buddhists teach that enlightenment can be attained in a single lifetime, this can be accomplished by a layperson; the Mahāyāna tradition is the largest major tradition of Buddhism existing today, with 53% of practitioners, compared to 36% for Theravada and 6% for Vajrayana in 2010.
In the course of its history, Mahāyāna Buddhism spread from India to various other South and Southeast Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. Mahayana Buddhism spread to other South and Southeast Asian countries, such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Burma and other Central Asian countries before being replaced by Theravada Buddhism or other religions. Large Mahāyāna scholastic centers such as Nalanda thrived during the latter period of Buddhism in India, between the seventh and twelfth centuries. Major traditions of Mahāyāna Buddhism today include Chan Buddhism, Korean Seon, Japanese Zen, Pure Land Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism and Vietnamese Buddhism, it may include the Vajrayana traditions of Tiantai, Shingon Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, which add esoteric teachings to the Mahāyāna tradition. According to Jan Nattier, the term Mahāyāna was an honorary synonym for Bodhisattvayāna – the vehicle of a bodhisattva seeking buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.
The term Mahāyāna was therefore adopted at an early date as a synonym for the path and the teachings of the bodhisattvas. Since it was an honorary term for Bodhisattvayāna, the adoption of the term Mahāyāna and its application to Bodhisattvayāna did not represent a significant turning point in the development of a Mahāyāna tradition; the earliest Mahāyāna texts use the term Mahāyāna as a synonym for Bodhisattvayāna, but the term Hīnayāna is comparatively rare in the earliest sources. The presumed dichotomy between Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna can be deceptive, as the two terms were not formed in relation to one another in the same era. Among the earliest and most important references to Mahāyāna are those that occur in the Lotus Sūtra dating between the 1st century BCE and the 1st century CE. Seishi Karashima has suggested that the term first used in an earlier Gandhāri Prakrit version of the Lotus Sūtra was not the term mahāyāna but the Prakrit word mahājāna in the sense of mahājñāna. At a stage when the early Prakrit word was converted into Sanskrit, this mahājāna, being phonetically ambivalent, was mistakenly converted into mahāyāna because of what may have been a double meaning in the famous Parable of the Burning House, which talks of three vehicles or carts.
The origins of Mahāyāna are still not understood and there are numerous competing theories. The earliest Western views of Mahāyāna assumed that it existed as a separate school in competition with the so-called "Hīnayāna" schools. According to David Drewes, for most of the 20th century, the leading theories about the origins of Mahāyāna were that it was either a lay movement or that it developed among the Mahāsāṃghika Nikaya; these theories have been overturned or shown to be problematic. The earliest textual evidence of "Mahāyāna" comes from sūtras originating around the beginning of the common era. Jan Nattier has noted that some of the earliest Mahāyāna texts, such as the Ugraparipṛccha Sūtra use the term "Mahāyāna", yet there is no doctrinal difference between Mahāyāna in this context and the early schools, that "Mahāyāna" referred rather to the rigorous emulation of Gautama Buddha in the path of a bodhisattva seeking to become a enlightened buddha. Nattier writes that in the Ugra, Mahāyāna is not a school, but a rigorous and demanding "spiritual vocation, to be pursued within the existing Buddhist community."Several scholars such as Hendrik Kern and A.
K. Warder suggested that Mahāyāna and its sutras developed among the Mahāsāṃghika Nikaya, some pointing to the area along the Kṛṣṇa River in the Āndhra region of southern India as a geographical origin. Paul Williams thinks that "there can be no doubt that at least some early Mahāyāna sutras originated in Mahāsāṃghika circles", pointing to the Mahāsāṃghika doctrine of the supramundane nature of the Buddha, close to the Mahāyāna view of the Buddha. Anthony Barber and Sree Padma note that "historians of Buddhist thought have been aware for quite some time that such pivotally important Mahayana Buddhist thinkers as Nāgārjuna, Candrakīrti, Āryadeva, Bhavaviveka, among many others, formulated their theories
Chinese Buddhist canon
The Chinese Buddhist Canon refers to the total body of Buddhist literature deemed canonical in Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese Buddhism. The traditional term for the canon." The Chinese Buddhist canon includes Āgama and Abhidharma texts from Early Buddhist schools, as well as the Mahāyāna sūtras and scriptures from Esoteric Buddhism. There are many versions of the canon in East Asia in different places and time. An early version is the Fangshan Stone Sutras from the 7th century; the earlier Lung Tripitaka, Jiaxing Tripitaka, Zhaocheng Jin Tripitaka are still extant in printed form. The complete woodblocks are the Chenlong Tripitaka; the Tripiṭaka Koreana or Palman Daejanggyeong was carved between 1236 and 1251, during Korea's Goryeo Dynasty, onto 81,340 wooden printing blocks with no known errors in the 52,382,960 characters. It is stored at South Korea. One of the most used version is Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō. Named after the Taishō era, a modern standardized edition published in Tokyo between 1924 and 1934 in 100 volumes.
It is one of the most punctuated tripitaka. The Xuzangjing version, a supplement of another version of the canon, is used as a supplement for Buddhist texts not collected in the Taishō Tripiṭaka; the Jiaxing Tripitaka is a supplement for Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty Buddhist texts not collected, a Dazangjing Bu Bian published in 1986 are supplements of them. The Chinese Manuscripts in the Tripitaka Sinica, a new collection of canonical texts, was published by Zhonghua Book Company in Beijing in 1983-97, with 107 volumes of literature, are photocopies of early versions and include many newly unearthed scriptures from Dunhuang. There are newer. Written in Classical Chinese; the Mi Tripitaka is the Tangut canon. Eric Grinstead published a collection of Tangut Buddhist texts under the title The Tangut Tripitaka in 1971 in New Delhi; the Taishō edition contains classical Japanese works. The Dunhuang edition contains some works in old Western Regions languages; the Tripitaka Sinica mentioned above features a Tibetan section.
A number of apocryphal sutras composed in China are excluded in the earlier canons, such as composed stories the Journey to the West and Chinese folk religion texts, High King Avalokiteshvara Sutra. Modern religious and scholarly works are excluded but they are published in other book series. Pali Canon Sanskrit Buddhist literature Tibetan Buddhist canon