The evidence outside the textual corpus does not corroborate the conclusion that Mahayana started around the beginning of Common Era. The principal reason is the utter lack of inscriptional and archaeological records in support of such a conclusion. There is just an isolated inscription and an image depicting Amitabha, the deity most central to Mahayana during the whole period of five centuries. The inscriptions refer to Hinayana groups: the Sarvastivadins, Mahasanghikas and Chetiyas etc.

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Ask a question Forword The Mahayana Buddhism: Language, Literature and the Ramification is one of our recent prestigious publications containing eleven scholastic articles that were presented at the National Seminar, held in February, , organised by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata. The papers have been divided into two categories - some on textual studies of the Mahayana ideals and the rest includes variegated schools of Mahayana Buddhism, Mahayana arts and archaeological remains, impact of the Mahayana Buddhism on modern society and such other topics.

The present collection may be considered as a sequel to the work entitled Introducing Mahayana Buddhism published by the Asiatic Society a few years back. The present collection of papers has been edited with a highly informative Introduction by our esteemed friend, a renowned Pali scholar Dr. The present literary production, though small in size, will certainly be a very useful text for students interested in Buddhistic studies as well as of Indology.

We express our deep regret for not assembling all the articles read at the Seminar for not receiving those from the delegates of the said Seminar. However, the articles compiled here reveal the prisms of the Mahayana Buddhism to the readers. In arranging articles we have first placed those which are on textual studies of the Mahayana-ideals, The rest are discussions on critical studies on the genesis, rise of various schools, which contributed to the ramification of the Mahayana philosophy or ideals, Mahayanic arts, archaeological remains, impact of Mahayana on the modern society and so on.

In this connection we take the advantage of reminding of a publication entitled Introducing Mahaya1la Buddhism under the joint editorship of Professor Biswanath Banerjee, and Professor Sukomal Chaudhuri, published by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata.

The scholars interested in Buddhistic studies as well as of Indology might know in details on Mahayana Buddhism, its origin, schools, ideology, literature, language, arts etc. The dogmatic Buddhism is, generally, known as Hinayana Theravada or Sravakayana Buddhism, and in course of time, after the Mahaparinirvana the Great Decease of the Lord Buddha: new ideas developed, the seeds of which are found in the Pali and Sanskrit Canonical literature specially at the time of Kaniska and post-Kaniska age.

The devotional attitude towards Buddha and his deification are gradually being noticed in the literature written in Sanskrit, better to say, in Buddhist Sanskrit language.

The texts of these periods extensively reveal a developed philosophy or theory of Buddhism which came to rescue the people in general with the institution of the various ideals of Buddhism like 1 the conception of Bodhisattva, 2 the development of Bodhicitta, 3 the goal of Buddhahood, 4 the practice of Paramita, 5 Trikaya theory of the Buddha, 6 the ten stage?

Dasabhumi of spiritual development, and 7 the concept of Dharmasunyata or Tathata and Buddhalogy etc. These are all the Mahayanic touchstones or characteristics of Buddhism. Besides the Buddhist Sanskrit, the Hybrid Sanskrit and even Prakrt language were used as the medium to preach the Mahayana thoughts in its early stage.

Later on with the contact of the foreigners some of the Buddhist Mahayana literature got to be rendered in Chinese, Tibetan and other languages by the scholars or pundits of the then age. Thus the Mahayana did assist in orienting the social thoughts and beliefs both in India and abroad. Moreover, the advent of the iconic representation of the Buddha and Bodhisattva-figures, Stupas, Caityas, and munificent archaeological shrines and constructions etc.

Further a band of scholars and pundits did flourish the Mahayana literature by their intellectual compositions from the 1st century A.

The Madhyami ka and Vijananavada schools of the Mahayana are immensely rich with the contribution of the above noted teachers. The esoteric Buddhism seems to be an appropriate mode of expressing the significance and essential characters of the Buddhistic Tantras.

It is generally held that the Tantric Buddhism is a mystic development from the Mahayana. In no way the impact of Mahayana theology be ignored in the religious and social life and behaviours of Indian culture which was culminated in the Vajrayana, Mantrayana, Tantrayana, Kalacakrayana, Sahajayana of the later age.

We are indebted to scholars and delegates who attended this Seminar and made it fruitful one by their participations in their discussions and contributions of papers. In spite of our earnest endeavour there may be some lapses which have crept into the book due to inadvertence.

We crave the indulgence of the readers for these printing errors. I am also grateful to Professor Manabendu Banerjee, General Secretary of the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, for helping us in all respect to edit this volume. In fine, I express my deep indebtedness to my recently deceased teacher Professor Biswanath Banerjee, former President of the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, for rendering me valuable suggestions to edit this work.

Thanks are also due to Professor Pallab Sengupta, former President of the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, for his genuine interest, to get this work published.


Mahavastu Avadana Vol Ii

Affection comes into being from keeping company; following on affection, this suffering arises. Seeing the danger that comes from affection, one should wander alone like a rhinoceros horn. Cultivating at the right time love, equanimity, compassion, liberation and gladness, unimpeded by the whole world, one should wander alone like a rhinoceros horn. The three versions of this text are in three important languages for the transmission of Early Buddhist texts. It is interesting to see these languages side by side.


Mahavastu avadana. Edited Radhagovinda Basak.

Furthermore, both contemporary reconstructions and traditional accounts contain a plurality of voices and perspectives on history, relying on different and usually very fragmentary data, especially when it comes to such factual details as which language or languages the Buddha may have taught in. While we offer here a tentative and small sample of views and hypotheses, this is by no means comprehensive, nor conclusive, and should be taken as a starting point for further reflection rather than as a definitive account of the distant Buddhist past. It should be understood that different types of Sanskrit texts employ different sociolinguistic registers , with different degrees of conformity to standardized rules of grammar: in this, Buddhist texts are in no way unique, and thus terms like " Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit " should perhaps be used with some caution and contextual care. The use of Sanskrit as a sacred language survives in the Newar Buddhism of Nepal , and arguably the vast majority of Sanskrit Buddhist manuscripts have been preserved by this tradition.


The Mahāvastu-Avadāna



Mahavastu Avadana Vol I


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