viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009







Oxford, the Clarendon Press


{partially scanned, (re)proofread, and formatted by Christopher M. Weimer, March 2002}

Vol. X Part I of The Sacred Books of the East

translated by various Oriental scholars and edited by F. Max Müller


CHAPTER1.The Twin Verses3
"2.On Earnestness9
"5.The Fool20
"6.The Wise Man (Pandita)23
"7.The Venerable (Arhat)27
"8.The Thousands31
"11.Old Age41
"13.The World47
"14.The Buddha (the Awakened)49
"19.The Just64
"20.The Way67
"22.The Downward Course74
"23.The Elephant77
"25.The Bhikshu (Mendicant)85
"26.The Brâhmana (Arhat)89






THE Dhammapada forms part of the Pâli Buddhist canon, though its exact place varies according to different authorities, and we have not as yet a sufficient number of complete MSS. of the Tipitaka to help us to decide the question[1].

Those who divide that canon into three Pitakas or baskets, the Vinaya-pitaka, Sutta-pitaka, and Abhidhamma-pitaka, assign the Dhammapada to the Sutta-pitaka. That Pitaka consists of five Nikâyas: the Dîgha-nikâya, the Magghima-nikâya, the Samyutta-nikâya, the Anguttara-nikâya, and the Khuddaka-nikâya. The fifth, or Khuddaka-nikâya, comprehends the following works: 1. Khuddaka-pâtha; 2. DHAMMAPADA; 3. Udâna; 4. Itivuttaka; 5. Sutta-nipâta; 6. Vimânavatthu; 7. Petavatthu; 8. Theragâthâ; 9. Therîgâthâ; 10. Gâtaka; 11. Niddesa; 12. Patisambhidâ; 13. Apadâna; 14. Buddhavamsa; 15. Kariyâ-pitaka.

According to another division[2], however, the whole Buddhist canon consists of five Nikâyas: the Dîgha-nikâya, the Magghima-nikâya, the Samyutta-nikâya, the Anguttara-nikâya, and the fifth, the Khuddaka-nikâya, which Khuddaka-nîkaya is then made to comprehend the whole of the Vinaya (discipline) and Abhidhamma (metaphysics), together with the fifteen books beginning with the Khuddaka-pâtha.

The order of these fifteen books varies, and even, as it would seem, their number. The Dîghabhânaka school

[1. see Feer, Journal Asiatique, 1871, p. 263. There is now at least one complete MS. of the Tipitaka, the Phayre MS., at the India Office, and Professor Forchhammer has just published a most useful List of Pâli MSS. collected in Burma, the largest collection hitherto known.

2. See Childers, s. v. Nikâya, and extracts from Buddhaghosa's commentary on the Brahmagâla-sutta.]

p. x admits twelve books only, and assigns them all to the Abhidhamma, while the Magghimabhânakas admit fifteen books, and assign them to the Sutta-pitaka. The order of the fifteen books is: 1. Gâtaka [10]; 2. Mahâniddesa [11]; 3. Kullaniddesa [11]; 4. Patisambhidâmagga [12]; 5. Sutta-nipâta [5]; 6. DHAMMAPADA [2]; 7. Udâna [3]; 8. Itivuttaka [4]; 9. Vimânavatthu [6]; 10. Petavatthu [7]; 11. Theragâthâ [8]; 12. Therîgâthâ [9]; 13. Kariyâ-pitaka [15]; 14. Apadâna [13]; 15. Buddhavamsa [14][1].

The Khuddaka-pâtha is left out in the second list, and the number is brought to fifteen by dividing Niddesa into Mahâ-niddesa and Kulla-niddesa.

There is a commentary on the Dhammapada in Pâli, and supposed to be written by Buddhaghosa[2], in the first half of the fifth century A.D. In explaining the verses of the Dhammapada, the commentator gives for every or nearly every verse a parable to illustrate its meaning, which is likewise believed to have been uttered by Buddha in his intercourse with his disciples, or in preaching to the multitudes that came to hear him.


The only means of fixing the date of the Dhammapada is trying to ascertain the date of the Buddhist canon of which it forms a part, or the date of Buddhaghosa, who wrote a commentary on it. This, however, is by no means easy, and the evidence on which we have to rely is such that we must not be surprised if those who are accustomed to test historical and chronological evidence

[1. The figures within brackets refer to the other list of books in the Khuddaka-nikiya. See also p. xxviii.

2. M. Léon Feer in the Journal Asiatique, 1871, p. 266, mentions another commentary of a more philosophical character, equally ascribed to Buddhaghosa. and having the title Vivara Bra Dhammapada, i.e. L'auguste Dhammapada dévoilé. Professor Forchhammer in his 'List of Manuscripts,' 1879-80, mentions the following works in connection with the Dhammapada: Dhammapada-Nissayo; Dh. P. Atthakathâ by Buddhaghosa; Dh. P. Atthakathâ Nissayo. 3 vols., containing a complete translation of the commentary; Dh. P. Vatthu. Of printed books he quotes: Kayanupassanakyam, a work based on the Garâvaggo, Mandalay, 1876 (390 pages), and Dhammapada-desanakyam, printed in 'British Burma News.']

p. xi in Greece and Rome, decline to be convinced by it. As a general rule, I quite agree that we cannot be too sceptical in assigning a date to ancient books, particularly if we intend to use them as documents for tracing the history of human thought. To the initiated, I mean to those who have themselves worked in the mines of ancient Oriental literature, such extreme scepticism may often seem unscientific and uncalled for. They are more or less aware of hundreds of arguments, each by itself, it may be, of small weight, but all combined proving irresistible. They are conscious, too, of having been constantly on the look out for danger, and, as all has gone on smoothly, they feel sure that, in the main, they are on the right road. Still it is always useful to be as incredulous as possible, particularly against oneself, and to have before our eyes critics who will not yield one inch beyond what they are forced to yield by the strongest pressure of facts.

The age of our MSS. of the canonical books, either in Pâli or Sanskrit, is of no help to us. All Indian MSS. are comparatively modern, and one who has probably handled more Indian MSS. than anybody else, Mr. A. Burnell, has lately expressed his conviction that 'no MS. written one thousand years ago is now existent in India, and that it is almost impossible to find one written five hundred years ago, for most MSS. which claim to be of that date are merely copies of old MSS. the dates of which are repeated by the copyists[1].'

Nor is the language, whether Sanskrit or Pâli, a safe guide for fixing dates. Both languages continue to be written to our own time, and though there are some characteristic marks to distinguish more modern from more ancient Buddhist Sanskrit and Pâli, this branch of critical scholarship requires to be cultivated far more extensively and accurately before true scholars would venture to fix the date of a Sanskrit or Pâli text on the strength of linguistic evidence alone[2].

[1. Indian Antiquary, 1880, p. 233.

2. See some important remarks on this subject in Fausböll's Introduction to Sutta-nipita, p. xi.]

p. xii

The Buddhists themselves have no difficulty in assigning a date to their sacred canon. They are told in that canon itself that it was settled at the First Council, or immediately after the death of Buddha, and they believe that it was afterwards handed down by means of oral tradition, or actually written down in books by order of Kâsyapa, the president of the First Council[1]. Buddhaghosa, a learned and in some respects a critical scholar, living in the beginning of the fifth century A.D., asserts that the canon which he had before him, was the same as that fixed by the First Council[2].

Several European students have adopted the same opinion, and, so far as I know, no argument has yet been advanced showing the impossibility of the native view, that some collection of Buddha's doctrines was made immediately after his death at Râgagaha, and that it was finally settled at what is called the Second Council, or the Council of Vesâlî. But what is not impossible is not therefore true, nor can anything be gained by appealing to later witnesses, such as, for instance, Hiouen Thsang, who travelled through India in the seventh century, and wrote down anything that he could learn, little concerned whether one statement tallied with the other or not[3]. He says that the Tipitaka was written down on palm leaves by Kâsyapa at the end of the First Council. But what can be the weight of such a witness, living more than a thousand years after the event, compared with that, for instance, of the Mahâvamsa, which dates from the fifth century of our era, and

[1. Bigandet, Life of Gaudama (Rangoon, 1866), p. 350; but also p. 120 note.

2. See Childers, s.v. Tipitaka. There is a curious passage in Buddhaghosa's account of the First Council. 'Now one may ask,' he says, 'Is there or is there not in this first Parâgika anything to be taken away or added?' I reply, There is nothing in the words of the Blessed Buddha that can be taken away, for the Buddhas speak not even a single syllable in vain, yet in the words of disciples and devatâs there are things which may be omitted, and these the elders who made the recension, did omit. On the other hand, additions are everywhere necessary, and accordingly, whenever it was necessary to add anything, they added it. If it be asked, What are the additions referred to? I reply, Only sentences necessary to connect the text, as 'at that time,' 'again at that time,' 'and so forth.'

3. Pèlerins Bouddhistes, vol. i. p. 158.]

p. xiii tells us in the account of Mahinda's missionary journey to Ceylon (241/318), that the son of Asoka had to spend three years in learning the Tipitaka by heart from the mouth of a teacher[1]? No mention is then made of any books or MSS., when it would have been most natural to do so[2]. At a later time, during the reign of King Vattagâmani[3] (88-76 B.C.), the same chronicle, the Mahâvamsa, tells us that 'the profoundly wise priests had theretofore orally (mukhapâthena) perpetuated the Pâli of the Pitakattaya and its Atthakathâ (commentary), but that at this period the priests, foreseeing the perdition of the people assembled, and in order that the religion might endure for ages, recorded the same in books (potthakesu likhâpayum)[4].'

No one has yet questioned the dates of the Dîpavamsa, about 400 A.D., or of the first part of the Mahâvamsa, between 459-477 A.D., and though no doubt there is an interval of nearly 600 years between the composition of the Mahâvamsa and the recorded writing down of the Buddhist canon under Vattagâmani, yet we must remember that the Ceylonese chronicles were confessedly founded on an older Atthakathâ preserved in the monasteries of the island, and representing an unbroken line of local tradition.

My own argument therefore, so long as the question was only whether we could assign a pre-Christian date to the Pâli Buddhist canon, has always been this. We have the commentaries on the Pâli canon translated from Sinhalese into Pâli, or actually composed, it may be, by Buddhaghosa. Buddhaghosa confessedly consulted various

[1. Mahâvamsa, p. 37; Dîpavamsa VII, 28-31; Buddhaghosha's Parables, p. xviii.

2. Bigandet, Life of Gaudama, p. 351.

3. Dr. E. Müller (Indian Antiquary, Nov. 1880, p. 270) has discovered inscriptions in Ceylon, belonging to Devanapiya Maharâga Gâmini Tissa, whom he identifes with Vattagâmani.

4. The same account is given in the Dîpavamsa XX, 20, and in the Sârasangraha, as quoted by Spence Hardy, Legends, p. 192. As throwing light on the completeness of the Buddhist canon at the time of King Vattagâmani, it should be mentioned that, according to the commentary on the Mahâvamsa (Turnour, p. liii), the sect of the Dhammarukikas established itself at the Abhayavihâra, which had been constructed by Vattagâmani, and that one of the grounds of their secession was their refusing to acknowledge the Parivâra (thus I read instead of Pariwána) as part of the Vinaya-pitaka. According to the Dîpavamsa (VII, 42) Mahinda knew the Parivâra.]

p. xiv MSS., and gives various readings, just as any modern scholar might do. This was in the beginning of the fifth century A.D., and there is nothing improbable, though I would say no more, in supposing that some of the MSS., consulted by Buddhaghosa, dated from the first century B.C., when Vattagâmani ordered the sacred canon to be reduced to writing.

There is one other event with reference to the existence of the sacred canon in Ceylon, recorded in the Mahâvamsa, between the time of Buddhaghosa and Vattagâmani, viz. the translation of the Suttas from Pâli into the language of Ceylon, during the reign of Buddhadâsa, 339-368 A.D. If MSS. of that ancient translation still existed, they would, no doubt, be very useful for detrmining the exact state of the Pâli originals at that time[1]. But even without them there seems no reason to doubt that Buddhaghosa had before him old MSS. of the Pâli canon, and that these were in the main the same as those written down at the time of Vattagâmani.


The whole of this argument, however, rested on the supposition that Buddhaghosa's date in the beginning of the fifth century A.D. was beyond the reach of reasonable doubt. 'His age,' I had ventured to say in the Preface to Buddhaghosha's Parables (1870), 'can be fixed with greater accuracy than most dates in the literary history of India.' But soon after, one of our most celebrated Pâli scholars, the great Russian traveller, Professor Joh. Minayeff, expressed in the Mélanges Asiatiques (13/25 April, 1871) the gravest doubts as to Buddhaghosa's age, and thus threw the whole Buddhist chronology, so far as it had then been accepted by all, or nearly all scholars, back into chaos. He gave as his chief reason that Buddhaghosa was not, as I supposed, the contemporary of Mahânâma, the

[1. A note is added, stating that several portions of the other two divisions also of the Pitakattaya were translated into the Sinhalese language, and that these alone are consulted by the priests, who are unacquainted with Pâli. On the other hand, it is stated that the Sinhalese text of the Atthakathâ exists no longer. See Spence Hardy, Legends, p. xxv, and p. 69.]

p. xv author of the Mahâvamsa, but of another Mahânâma, the king of Ceylon.

Professor Minayeff is undoubtedly right in this, but I am not aware that I, or anybody else, had ever questioned so palpable a fact. There are two Mahânâmas; one, the king who reigned from 410-432 A.D.; the other, the supposed author of the Mahâvamsa, the uncle and protector of King Dhâtusena, 459-477. 'Dhâtusena,' I had written, 'was the nephew of the historian Mahânâma, and owed the throne to the protection of his uncle. Dhâtusena was in fact the restorer of a national dynasty, and after having defeated the foreign usurpers (the Damilo dynasty) "he restored the religion which had been set aside by the foreigners"' (Mahâv. p. 256). Among his many pious acts it is particularly mentioned that he gave a thousand, and ordered the Dîpavamsa to be promulgated. As Mahânâma was the uncle of Dhâtusena, who reigned from 459-477, he may be considered as a trustworthy witness with regard to events that occurred between 410 and 432. Now the literary activity of Buddhaghosa in Ceylon falls in that period[1].'

These facts being admitted, it is surely not too great a stretch of probability to suppose, as I did, that a man whose nephew was king in 459-477, might have been alive in 410-432, that is to say, might have been a contemporary of Buddhaghosa. I did not commit myself to any further theories. The question whether Mahânâma, the uncle of Dhâtusena, was really the author of the Mahâvamsa, the question whether he wrote the second half of the 37th chapter of that work, or broke off his chronicle in the middle of that chapter, I did not discuss, having no new materials to bring forward beyond those on which Turnour and those who followed him had founded their conclusions, and which I had discussed in my History of Sanskrit Literature (1859), p. 267. All I said was, 'It is difficult to determine whether the 38th as well as the (whole of the) 37th chapter came from the pen of Mahânâma, for

[1. 'Ungefähr 50 Jahre älter als Mahânâma ist Buddhaghosha,' see Westergaard, Über Buddha's Todesjahr, p. 99.]

p. xvi the Mahâvamsa was afterwards continued by different writers, even to the middle of the last century. But, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, it is most probable that Mahânâma carried on the history to his own time, to the death of Dhâtusena, 477 A.D.'

What I meant by 'all the circumstances of the case' might easily be understood by any one who had read Turnour's Preface to the Mahâvamsa. Turnour himself thought at first that Mahânâma's share in the Mahâvamsa ended with the year 301 A.D., and that the rest of the work, called the Sulu Wansé, was composed by subsequent writers[1]. Dharmakirti is mentioned by name as having continued the work to the reign of Prâkrama Bâhu (A.D. 1266). But Turnour afterwards changed his mind[2]. Considering that the account of Mahâsena's reign, the first of the Seven Kings, terminates in the middle of a chapter, at verse 48, while the whole chapter is called the Sattarâgiko, 'the chapter of the Seven Kings,' he naturally supposed that the whole of that chapter, extending to the end of the reign of his nephew Dhâtusena, might be the work of Mahânâma, unless there were any strong proofs to the contrary. Such proofs, beyond the tradition of writers of the MSS., have not, as yet, been adduced[3].

But even if it could be proved that Mahânâma's own pen did not go beyond the 48th verse of the 37th chapter, the historical trustworthiness of the concluding portion of that chapter, containing the account of Buddhaghosa's literary activity, nay, even of the 38th chapter, would be little affected thereby. We know that both the Mahâvamsa and the somewhat earlier Dîpavamsa were founded on the Sinhalese Atthakathâs, the commentaries and chronicles preserved in the Mahâvihâra at Anurâdhapura. We also know that that Vihâra was demolished by Mahâsena, and deserted by nearly all its inmates for the space of nine years (p. 235), and again for the space of nine months

[1. Introduction, p. ii. The Kûlavamsa is mentioned with the Mahâvamsa, both as the works of Mahânâma, by Professor Forchhammer in his List of Pâli MSS.

2. Introduction, p. xci.

3. See Rhys Davids, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1875, p. 196.]

p. xvii (p. 237). We can well understand therefore why the older history, the Dîpavamsa, should end with the death of Mahâsena (died 302 A.D.), and why in the Mahâvamsa too there should have been a break at that date. But we must not forget that, during Mahânâma's life, the Mahâvihâra at Anurâdhapura was restored, that some kind of chronicle, called the Dîpavamsa, whether it be a general name of any 'chronicle of the island,' or of our Dîpavamsa, or, it may be, even of our Mahâvamsa, was ordered to be published or promulgated (dîpetum) under Dhâtusena, the nephew and protegé of Mahânâma. Therefore, even if we do not insist on the personal authorship of Mahânâma, we may certainly maintain that historical entries had been made in the chronicles of Anurâdhapura during Dhâtusena's reign, and probably under the personal auspices of Mahânâma, so that if we find afterwards, in the second half of the 37th chapter of his Mahâvamsa, an account of events which had happened between the destruction of the Mahâvihâra and the reign of Dhâtusena, and among them an account of so important an event as the arrival of Buddhaghosa from Magadha and his translation of the Sinhalese Atthakathâ into the language of Magadha, we may well suppose that they rest on the authority of native chronicles, written not long after the events, and that therefore, 'under all the circumstances of the case,' the age of Buddhaghosa can be fixed with greater accuracy than most dates in the literary history of India.

There is one difficulty still remaining with regard to the date of the historian Mahânâma which might have perplexed Turnour's mind, and has certainly proved a stumbling-block to myself. Turnour thought that the author of the commentary on the Mahâvamsa, the Vamsatthappakâsinî, was the same as the author of the Mahâvamsa, viz. Mahânâma. The date of that commentary, however, as we know now, must be fixed much later, for it speaks of a schism which took place in the year 601 A.D., during the reign of Agrabôdhi (also called Dhâtâpatisso). Turnour[1] looked

[1. Introduction, p. liii.]

p. xviii upon that passage as a later interpolation, because he thought the evidence for the identity of the author and the commentator of the Mahâvamsa too strong to be set aside. He trusted chiefly to a passage in the commentary, and if that passage had been correctly rendered, the conclusion which be drew from it could hardly be resisted. We read in the Mahâvamsa (p. 254):

'Certain members of the Moriyan dynasty, dreading the power of the (usurper) Subho, the bâlattho, had settled in various parts of the country, concealing themselves. Among them there was a certain landed proprietor Dhâtusena, who had established himself at Nandivâpi. His son named Dhâtâ, who lived at the village Ambiliyâgo, had two sons, Dhâtusena and Sîlatissabodhi, of unexceptional descent. Their mother's brother (Mahânâma), devoted to the cause of religion, continued to reside (at Anurâdhapura) in his sacerdotal character, at the edifice built by the minister Dîghasandana. The youth Dhâtusena became a priest in his fraternity, and on a certain day, while he was chaunting at the foot of a tree, a shower of rain fell, and a Nâga, seeing him there, encircled him in his folds, and covered him and his book with his hood. . . . Causing an image of Mahâ Mahinda to be made, and conveying it to the edifice (Ambamâlaka) in which the thera's body had been burnt, in order that be might celebrate a great festival there, and that he might also promulgate the contents of the Dîpavamsa, distributing a thousand pieces, he caused it to be read aloud[1].'

If we compare with this extract from the Mahâvamsa a passage from the commentary as translated by Turnour, we can well understand how he arrived at the conclusion that it was written by the same person who wrote the Mahâvamsa.

Turnour translates (p. liv):

'Upon these data by me, the thera, who had, with due

[1. Mr. Turnour added a note in which he states that Dîpavamsa is here meant for Mahâvamsa, but whether brought down to this period, or only to the end of the reign of Mahâsena, to which alone the Tîkâ extends, there is no means of ascertaining (p. 257).]

p. xix solemnity, been invested with the dignified title of Mahânâma, resident at the parivena founded by the minister Dîghasandana, endowed with the capacity requisite to record the narrative comprised in the Mahâvamsa, in due order, rejecting only the dialect in which the Singhalese Atthakathâ are written, but retaining their import and following their arrangement, the history, entitled the Palapadôruvamsa (Padyapadânuvamsa), is compiled. As even in times when the despotism of the ruler of the land, and the horrors arising from the inclemencies of the seasons, and when panics of epidemics and other visitations prevailed, this work escaped all injury; and moreover, as it serves to perpetuate the fame of the Buddhas, their disciples, and the Paché Buddhas of old, it is also worthy of bearing the title of Vamsatthappakâsinî.'

As the evidence of these two passages in support of the identity of the author and the commentator of the Mahâvamsa seemed to me very startling, I requested Mr. Rhys Davids to copy for me the passage of the commentary. The passage runs as follows:

Yâ ettavatâ mahâvamsatthânusârakusalena Dîghasanda-senâpatinâ kârâpita-mahâparivenavâsinâ Mahânâmo ti garûhi gahitanâmadheyyena therena pubba-Sîhala-bhâsitâya Sîhalatthakathâya bhâsantaram eva vaggiya atthasâram eva gahetva tantinayânurûpena katassa imassa Padyapadâ-nuvamsassa atthavannanâ mayâ tam eva sannissitena âraddhâ, padesissariya-dubbutthibhaya-rogabhayâdi-vividha-antarâya-yuttakâle pi anantarâyena nitthânam upagatâ, sâ buddha-buddhasâvaka-pakkekabuddhâdînam porânânam kikkam pubbavamsatthappakâsanato ayam Vamsatthappakâsinî nâmâ ti dhâretabbâ. . . . Padyapadânuvamsa-vannanâ Vamsatthappakâsinî nitthitâ.

Mr. Rhys Davids translates this:

'The commentary on this Padyapadânuvamsa, which (latter work) was made (in the same order and arrangement, and retaining the sense, but rejecting the dialect, of the Sinhalese commentary formerly expressed in the Sinhalese tongue) by the elder who bore the name of Mahânâma, which he had p. xx received from the venerable, who resided at the Mahâparivena built by the minister Dîghasanda, and who was well able to conform to the sense of the Mahâvamsa--(this commentary) which was undertaken by me out of devotion to that (history), and which (though thus undertaken) at a time full of danger of various kinds--such as the danger from disease, and the danger from drought, and the danger from the government of the province--has been safely brought to a conclusion--this (commentary), since it makes known the meaning of the history of old, the mission of the ancients, of the Buddhas, of their disciples, and of the Pakkeka Buddhas, should bear the name Vamsatthappakâsinî. . . .

'End of the Vamsatthappakâsinî, the commentary on the Padyapadânuvamsa.'

This shows clearly that Turnour made a mistake in translating this exceedingly involved, yet perfectly intelligible, passage, and that so far from proving that the author of the commentary was the same person as the author of the text[1], it proves the very contrary. Nay, I feel bound to add, that we might now argue that as the commentator must have lived later than 601 A.D., the fact that he too breaks off at verse 48 of chapter 37, seems to show that at his time also the Mahâvamsa did not extend as yet beyond that verse. But even then, the fact that with the restoration of the Mahâvihâra of Anurâdhapura an interest in historical studies revived in Ceylon, would clearly show that we may trust the date of Buddhaghosa, as fixed by the second part of the 37th chapter of the Mahâvamsa, at all events till stronger evidence is brought forward against such a date.

Now I am not aware of any such evidence[2]. On the contrary, making allowance for a difference of some ten or twenty years, all the evidence which we can gain from other quarters tends to confirm, the date of

[1. Dr. Oldenberg informs me that the commentator quotes various readings in the text of the Mahâvamsa.

2. The passage, quoted by Professor Minayeff from the Sâsanavamsa, would assign to Buddhaghosa the date of 930-543 = 387 A.D., which can easily be reconciled with his accepted date. If he is called the contemporary of Siripâla, we ought to know who that Siripâla is.]

p. xxi Buddhaghosa[1]. I therefore feel no hesitation in here reprinting that story, as we find it in the Mahâvamsa, not free from legendary ingredients, it is true, yet resting, I believe, on a sound foundation of historical fact.

'A Brâhman youth, born in the neighbourhood of the terrace of the great Bo-tree (in Magadha), accomplished in the "viggâ" (knowledge) and "sippa" (art), who had achieved the knowledge of the three Vedas, and possessed great aptitude in attaining acquirements; indefatigable as a schismatic disputant, and himself a schismatic wanderer over Gambudîpa, established himself, in the character of a disputant, in a certain vihâra[2], and was in the habit of rehearsing, by night and by day with clasped hands, a discourse which he had learned, perfect in all its component parts, and sustained throughout in the same lofty strain. A certain Mahâthera, Revata, becoming acquainted with him there, and (saying to himself), "This individual is a person of profound knowledge, it will be worthy (of me) to convert him;" enquired, "Who is this who is braying like an ass?" The Brâhman replied to him, "Thou canst define, then, the meaning conveyed in the bray of asses." On the Thera rejoining, "I can define it;" he (the Brâhman) exhibited the extent of the knowledge he possessed. The Thera criticised each of his propositions, and pointed out in what respect they were fallacious. He who had been thus refuted, said, "Well, then, descend to thy own creed;" and he propounded to him a passage from the Abhidhamma (of the Pitakattaya). He (the Brâhman) could not divine the signification of that passage, and enquired, "Whose manta is this?"--"It is Buddha's manta." On his exclaiming, "Impart it to me;" the Thera replied, "Enter the sacerdotal order." He who was desirous of acquiring the knowledge of the Pitakattaya, subsequently coming to this conviction, "This is the sole road" (to salvation), became a convert to that faith. As he was as profound in his eloquence (ghosa) as Buddha himself, they conferred on him the appellation of Buddhaghosa (the

[1. See Bigandet, Life of Gaudama. pp. 351, 381.

2. On this vihâra, its foundation and character, see Oldenberg, Vinaya, vol. i. p. liii; Hiouen-thsang, III, p. 487 seq.]

p. xxii voice of Buddha); and throughout the world he became as renowned as Buddha. Having there (in Gambudîpa) composed an original work called Ñânodaya (Rise of Knowledge), he, at the same time, wrote the chapter called Atthasâlinî, on the Dhammasangani (one of the commentaries on the Abhidhamma).

'Revata Thera then observing that he was desirous of undertaking the compilation of a general commentary on the Pitakattaya, thus addressed him: "The text alone of the Pitakattaya has been preserved in this land, the Atthakathâ are not extant here, nor is there any version to be found of the schisms (vâda) complete. The Sinhalese Atthakathâ are genuine. They were composed in the Sinhalese language by the inspired and profoundly wise Mahinda, who had previously consulted the discourses (kathâmagga) of Buddha, authenticated at the three convocations, and the dissertations and arguments of Sâriputta and others, and they are extant among the Sinhalese. Preparing for this, and studying the same, translate them according to the rules of the grammar of the Mâgadhas. It will be an act conducive to the welfare of the whole world."

'Having been thus advised, this eminently wise personage rejoicing therein, departed from thence, and visited this island in the reign of this monarch (i.e. Mahânâma, 410-432). On reaching the Mahâvihâra (at Anurâdhapura), he entered the Mahâpadhânâ hall, the most splendid of the apartments in the vihâra, and listened to the Sinhalese Atthakathâ, and the Theravâda, from the beginning to the end, propounded by the Thera Sanghapâla; and became thoroughly convinced that they conveyed the true meaning of the doctrines of the Lord of Dhamma. Thereupon paying reverential respect to the priesthood, he thus petitioned: "I am desirous of translating the Atthakathâ; give me access to all your books." The priesthood, for the purpose of testing his qualifications, gave only two gâthâs, saying, "Hence prove thy qualification; having satisfied ourselves on this point, we will then let thee have all our books." From these (taking these gâthâ for his text), and p. xxiii consulting the Pitakattaya, together with the Atthakathâ, and condensing them into an abridged form, he composed the work called the Visuddhimagga. Thereupon, having assembled the priesthood, who had acquired a thorough knowledge of the doctrines of Buddha, at the Bo-tree, he commenced to read out the work he had composed. The devatâs, in order that they might make his (Buddhaghosa's) gifts of wisdom celebrated among men, rendered that book invisible. He, however, for a second and third time recomposed it. When he was in the act of producing his book for the third time, for the purpose of propounding it, the devatâs restored the other two copies also. The assembled priests then read out the three books simultaneously. In those three versions there was no variation whatever from the orthodox Theravâdas in passages, in words, or in syllables. Thereupon, the priesthood rejoicing, again and again ferventIy shouted forth, saying, "Most assuredly this is Metteya (Buddha) himself," and made over to him the books in which the Pitakattaya were recorded, together with the Atthakathâ. Taking up his residence in the secluded Ganthâkara-vihâra (at Anurâdhapura), he translated, according to the grammatical rules of the Mâgadhas, which is the root of all languages, the whole of the Sinhalese Atthakathâ (into Pâli). This proved an achievement of the utmost consequence to all beings, whatever their language.

'All the Theras and Âkâriyas held this compilation in the same estimation as the text (of the Pitakattaya). Thereafter, the objects of his mission having been fulfilled, he returned to Gambudîpa, to worship at the Bo-tree (at Uruvelâya, or Uruvilvâ, in Magadha).'

Here[1] we have a simple account of Buddhaghosa[2] and

[1. Mahâvamsa, p. 250, translated by Turnour.

2. The Burmese entertain the highest respect for Buddhaghosa. Bishop Bigandet, in his Life or Legend of Gaudama (Rangoon, 1866), writes: 'It is perhaps as well to mention here an epoch which has been, at all times, famous in the history of Budhism in Burma. I allude to the voyage which a Religious of Thaton, named Budhagosa, made to Ceylon, in the year of religion 943 = 400 A.D. The object of this voyage was to procure a copy of the scriptures. He succeeded in his undertaking. He made use of the Burmese, or rather Talaing characters, in transcribing the manuscripts, which were written with the characters of Magatha. The Burmans lay much stress upon that voyage, and always carefully note down the year it took place. In fact, it is to Budhagosa that the people living on the shores of the Gulf of Martaban owe the possession of the Budhist scriptures. From Thaton, the collection made by Budhagosa was transferred to Pagan, six hundred and fifty years after it had been imported from Ceylon.' See ibid. p. 392.]

p. xxiv his literary labours written by a man, himself a priest, and who may well have known Buddhaghosa during his stay in Ceylon. It is true that the statement of his writing the same book three times over without a single various reading, partakes a little of the miraculous; but we find similar legends mixed up with accounts of translations of other sacred books, and we cannot contend that writers who believed in such legends are therefore altogether unworthy to be believed as historical witnesses.

But although the date which we can assign to Buddhaghosa's translation of the commentaries on the Pâli Tipitaka proves the existence of that canon, not only for the beginning or the fifth century of our era, but likewise, though it may be, with less stringency, for the first century before our era, the time of Vattagâmani, the question whether Buddhaghosa was merely a compiler and translator of old commentaries, and more particularly of the commentaries brought to Ceylon by Mahinda (241 B.C.), or whether he added anything of his own[1], requires to be more carefully examined. The Buddhists themselves have no difficulty on that point. They consider the Atthakathâs or commentaries as old as the canon itself. To us, such a supposition seems improbable, yet it has never been proved to be impossible. The Mahâvamsa tells us that Mahinda, the son of Asoka, who had become a priest, learnt the whole of the Buddhist canon, as it then was, in three years (p. 37)[2]; and that at the end of the Third Council he was despatched to Ceylon, in order to establish there the religion of Buddha (p. 71). The king of Ceylon, Devânampiya Tissa, was converted, and Buddhism soon became the dominant

[1. He had written the Ñânodaya, and the Atthasâlinî, a commentary on the Dhamma-sangani, before he went to Ceylon. Cf. Mahâvamsa, p. 251.

2. He learnt the five Nikâyas, and the seven sections (of the Abhidhamma); the two Vibhangas of the Vinaya, the Parivâra and the Khandhaka. See Dîpavamsa VII, 42.]

p. xxv religion of the island, The Tipitaka and the Atthakathâ, such as they had been collected or settled at the Third Council in 242 B.C., were brought to Ceylon by Mahinda, who promulgated them orally, the Tipitaka in Pâli, the Atthakathâ in Sinhalese, together with an additional Atthakathâ of his own. It does not follow that Mahinda knew the whole of that enormous literature by heart, for, as he was supported by a number of priests, they may well have divided the different sections among them, following the example of Ânanda and Upâli at the First Council. The same applies to their disciples also. But the fact of their transmitting the sacred literature by oral tradition[1] was evidently quite familiar to the author of the Mahâvamsa. For when he comes to describe the reign of Vattagâmani (88-76 B.C.) he simply says: 'The profoundly wise priests had heretofore orally perpetuated the Pâli Pitakattaya and its Atthakathâ (commentaries). At this period these priests, foreseeing the perdition of the people (from the perversions of the true doctrines), assembled; and in order that the religion might endure for ages, wrote the same in books.' No valid objection has yet been advanced to our accepting Buddhaghosa's Atthakathâs as a translation and new redaction of the Atthakathâs which were reduced to writing under Vattagâmani[2], and these again as a translation of the old Atthakathâs brought to Ceylon by Mahinda[3]. There is prima facie evidence in favour of the truth of historical events vouched for by such works as the Dîpavamsa and the Mahâvamsa so far back at least as Mahinda, because we know that historical events were recorded in the monasteries of Ceylon long before Mahânâma's time. Beyond Mahinda we move in legendary history, and must be ready to surrender every name and every date as soon as rebutting evidence has been produced, but not till then.

I cannot, therefore, see any reason why we should not treat the verses of the Dhammapada, if not as the utterances of Buddha, at least as what were believed by the

[1. On the importance of oral tradition in the history of Sanskrit literature see the writer's Ancient Sanskrit Literature, 1859, pp. 497-524.

2. Mahâvamsa, p. 207; Dîpavamsa XX, 20.

3. Mahâvamsa, p. 251.]

p. xxvi members of the Council under Asoka, in 242 B.C., to have been the utterances of the founder of their religion; nor can I see that Professor Minayeff has shaken the date of Buddhaghosa and the general credibility of the Ceylonese tradition, that he was the translator and editor of commentaries which had existed in the island for many centuries; whether from the time of Vattagâmani or from the time of Mahinda.


We now return to the question of the date of the Buddhist canon, which, as yet, we have only traced back to the first century before Christ, when it was reduced to writing in Ceylon under King Vattagâmani. The question is, how far beyond that date we may trace its existence in a collected form, or in the form of the three Pitakas or baskets. There may be, and we shall see that there is, some doubt as to the age of certain works, now incorporated in the Tipitaka. We are told, for instance, that some doubt attached to the canonicity of the Kariyâ-pitaka; the Apadâna, and the Buddhavamsa[1], and there is another book of the Abhidhamma-pitaka, the Kathâvatthu, which was reported to be the work of Tissa Moggaliputta, the president of the Third Council. Childers, s.v., stated that it was composed by the apostle Moggaliputtatissa, and delivered by him at the Third Mahâsangîti. The same scholar, however, withdrew this opinion on p. 507 of his valuable Dictionary, where he says: 'It is a source of great regret to me that in my article on Kathâvatthuppakaranam I inadvertently followed James D'Alwis in the stupendous blunder of his assertion that the Kathâvatthu was added by Moggaliputtatissa at the Third Convocation. The Kathâvatthu is one of the Abhidhamma books, mentioned by Buddhaghosa as having been rehearsed at the First Convocation, immediately after Gotama's death; and the passage in Mahâvamsa upon which D'Alwis rests his assertion is as follows, Kathâvatthuppakararanam paravâdappamaddanam abhâsi Tissatthero ka tasmim sangîtimandale, which simply means 'in that Convocation-assembly

[1. See Childers, s.v. Nikâya.]

p. xxvii the Thera Tissa also recited (Buddha's) heresy-crushing Kathâvatthuppakarana.'

This mistake, for I quite agree with Childers that it was a mistake, becomes however less stupendous than at first sight it would appear, when we read the account given in the Dîpavamsa. Here the impression is easily conveyed that Moggaliputta was the author of the Kathâvatthu, and that he recited it for the first time at the Third Council. 'Wise Moggaliputta,' we read[1], 'the destroyer of the schismatic doctrines, firmly established the Theravâda, and held the Third Council. Having destroyed the different (heretical) doctrines, and subdued many shameless people, and restored splendour to the (true) faith, he proclaimed (pakâsayi) (the treatise called) Kathâvatthu.' And again: 'They all were sectarians[2], opposed to the Theravâda; and in order to annihilate them and to make his own doctrine resplendent, the Thera set forth (desesi) the treatise belonging to the Abhidhamma, which is called Kathâvatthu[3].'

At present, however, we are not concerned with these smaller questions. We treat the canon as a whole, divided into three parts, and containing the books which still exist in MSS., and we want to find out at what time such a collection was made. The following is a short abstract of the Tipitaka, chiefly taken from Childers' Pâli Dictionary:

I. Vinaya-pitaka.

  1. Vibhanga[4].
    Vol. I, beginning with Pârâgika, or sins involving expulsion.
    Vol. II, beginning with Pâkittiya, or sins involving penance.

  2. Khandhaka.
    Vol. I, Mahâvagga, the large section.
    Vol. II, Kullavagga, the small section.

  3. Parivârapâtha, an appendix and later resumé (25 chapters). See p. xiii, n. 4; p. xxiv, n. 2.

[1. Dîpavamsa VII, 40.

2. Dîpavamsa VII, 55.

3. Dr. Oldenberg, in his Introduction to the Vinaya-pitaka, p. xxxii.

4. Oldenberg, Vinaya-pitaka I, p. xvi, treats it as an extended reading of Pâtimokkha.]

p. xxviii

II. Sutta-pitaka.

  1. Dîgha-nikâya, collection of long suttas (34 suttas)[1].
  2. Magghima-nikâya, collection of middle suttas (152 suttas).
  3. Samyutta-nikâya, collection of joined suttas.
  4. Anguttara-nikâya[2], miscellaneous suttas, in divisions the length of which increases by one.
  5. Khuddaka-nikâya[3], the collection of short suttas, consisting of--
    1. Khuddakapâtha, the small texts[4].
    2. Dhammapada, law verses (423)[5].
    3. Udâna, praise (82 suttas).
    4. Itivuttaka, stories referring to sayings of Buddha.
    5. Suttanipâta 70 suttas[6].
    6. Vimânavatthu, stories of Vimânas, celestial palaces.
    7. Petavatthu, stories of Pretas, departed spirits.
    8. Theragâthâ, stanzas of monks.
    9. Therîgâthâ, stanzas of nuns.
    10. Gâtaka, former births (550 tales)[7].
    11. Niddesa, explanations of certain suttas by Sâriputta.

[1. The Mahâparinibbâna-sutta, ed. by Childers, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, translated with other Suttas by Rhys Dayids (S.B.E. vol. xi). Sept Suttas Palis, par Grimblot, Paris, l876.

2. The first four are sometimes called the Four Nikâyas, the five together the five Nikâyas. They represent the Dharma, as settled at the First and Second Councils, described in the Kullavagga (Oldenberg, I, p. xi).

3. Sometimes Khuddaka-nikâya stands for the whole Vinaya and Abhidhamma- pitaka, with the fifteen divisions here given of Khuddaka-nikâya. In the commentary on the Brahmagâla-sutta it is said that the Dîghanikâya professors rehearsed the text of the Gâtaka, Mahâ and Kulla Niddesa, Patisambhidâmagga, Suttanipâta, Dhammapada, Udâna, Itivuttaka, Vimâna, and Petavatthu, Thera and Therî Gâthâ, and called it Khuddakagantha, and made it a canonical text, forming part of the Abhidhamma; while the Magghimanikâya professors assert that, with the addition of the Kariyâpitaka, Apadâna, and Buddhavamsa, the whole of this Khuddakagantha was included in the Suttapitaka. See Childers, s.v. Nikâya;. See also p. x.

4. Published by Childers, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1869.

5. Published by Fausböll, 1855.

6. Thirty translated by Sir Coomâra Swâmy; the whole by Fausböll, in Sacred Books of the East, vol. x.

7. Published by Fausböll, translated by Rhys Davids.]

p. xxix

    1. Patisambhidâmagga, the road of discrimination, and intuitive insight.
    2. Apadâna[1], legends.
    3. Buddhavamsa[1], story of twenty-four preceding Buddhas and of Gotama.
    4. Kariyâpitaka[1], basket of conduct, Buddha's meritorious actions[2].

III. Abhidhamma-pitaka.

  1. Dhammasangani, numeration of conditions of life[3].
  2. Vibhanga, disquisitions (18).
  3. Kathâvatthupakarana, book of subjects for discussion (1000 suttas).
  4. Puggalapaññatti or pannatti, declaration on puggala, or personality.
  5. Dhâtukathâ, account of dhâtus or elements.
  6. Yamaka, pairs (ten divisions).
  7. Patthânapakarana, book of causes.

Taking this collection as a whole we may lay it down as self-evident that the canon, in its collected form, cannot be older than any of the events related therein.

There are two important facts for determining the age of the Pâli canon, which, as Dr. Oldenberg[4] has been the first to show, should take precedence of all other arguments, viz.

1. That in the Tipitaka, as we now have it, no mention is made of the so-called Third Council, which took place at Pâtaliputta, under King Asoka, about 242 B.C.

2. That in the Tipitaka, as we now have it, the First Council of Râgagaha (477 B.C.) and the Second Council of Vesâlî (377 B.C.) are both mentioned.

From these two facts it may safely be concluded that the Buddhist canon, as handed down to us, was finally closed

[1. Buddhaghosa does not say whether these were recited at the First Council.

2. Partly translated by Gogerly, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Ceylon, 1852.

3. Cf. Gogerly, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Ceylon. 1848, p. 7.

4. See Oldenberg's Vinaya-pitaka, Introduction. p. xxv. The kings Agâtasatru (485-453 B.C.), Udâyin (453-437 B.C.), and Munda (437-429 B.C.) are all mentioned in the Tipitaka. See Oldenberg, Zeitschrift der D. M. G., XXXIV. pp. 752, 753.]

p. xxx after the Second and before, or possibly at, the Third Council. Nay, the fact that the description of the two Councils stands at the very end of the Kullavagga may be taken, as Dr. Oldenberg remarks, as an indication that it was one of the latest literary contributions which obtained canonical authority, while the great bulk of the canon may probably claim a date anterior to the Second Council.

This fact, namely, that the collection of the canon, as a whole, must have preceded the Second Council rests on an argument which does great credit to the ingenuity of Dr. Oldenberg. The Second Council was convoked to consider the ten deviations[1] from the strict discipline of the earliest times. That discipline had been laid down first in the Pâtimokkha rules, then in the commentary now included in the Vibhanga, lastly in the Mahâvagga and Kullavagga. The rules as to what was allowed or forbidden to a Bhikkhu were most minute[2], and they were so firmly established that no one could have ventured either to take away or to add anything to them as they stood in the sacred code. In that code itself a distinction is made between the offences which were from the first visited with punishment (pârâgika and pâkittiya) and those misdemeanours and crimes which were put down as punishable at a later time (dukkata and thullakkaya). With these classes the code was considered as closed, and if any doubt arose as to the criminality of certain acts, it could be settled at once by an appeal to the Vinaya-pitaka. Now it so happens that, with one exception, the ten deviations that had to be considered at the Second Council, are not provided for in the Vinaya-pitaka; and I quite agree with Dr. Oldenberg's argument that, if they had been mentioned in the Vinaya-pitaka, the Second Council would have been objectless. A mere appeal to chapter and verse in the existing Pitaka would then have silenced all dissent. On the other side, if it had been possible to add anything to the canon, as it then existed, the ten, or nine, deviations might have been condemned

[1. Oldenberg, Introduction, p. xxix.

2. Oldenberg, loc. cit. p. xx.]

p. xxxi by a few additional paragraphs of the canon, without convoking a new Council.

I think we may be nearly certain, therefore, that we possess the principal portion of the Vinaya-pitaka as it existed before the Council of Vesâlî.

So far I quite agree with Dr. Oldenberg. But if he proceeds to argue[1] that certain portions of the canon must have been finally settled before even the First Council took place, or was believed to have taken place, I do not think his arguments conclusive. He contends that in the Parinibbâna-sutta, which tells of the last days of Buddha's life, of his death, the cremation of his body, and the distribution of his relics, and of Subhadda's revolt, it would have been impossible to leave out all mention of the First Council, if that Council had then been known. It is true, no doubt, that Subhadda's disloyalty was the chief cause of the First Council, but there was no necessity to mention that Council. On the contrary, it seems to me that the unity of the Parinibbâna-sutta would have been broken if, besides telling of the last days of Buddha, it had also given a full description of the Council. The very title, the Sutta of the Great Decease, would have become inappropriate, if so important a subject as the first Sangîti had been mixed up with it. However, how little we may trust to such general arguments, is best shown by the fact that in some very early Chinese renderings of the Hînayâna text of the Mahâparinibbâna-sutta the story is actually carried on to the First Council, two (Nos. 552 and 119) mentioning the rehearsal under Kasyapa, while the third (No. 118) simply states that the Tiptaka was then collected[2].

[1. Loc. cit. pp. xxvi-xxviii.

2. There are several Chinese translations of Sûtras on the subject of the Mahâparinirvâna. Three belong to the Mahâyâna school: 1. Mahâparinirvâna-sûtra, translated by Dharmaraksha, about 414-423 A.D.; afterwards revised, 424-453 (Nos. 113, 114). 2. Translation by Fa-hian and Buddhabhadra, about 415 A.D.; less complete (No. 120). 3. Translation (vaipulya) by Dharmaraksha I, i.e. Ku Fa-hu, about 261-308 A.D. (No. 116). Three belong to the Hînayâna school: 1. Mahiparinirvâna-sûtra. translated by Po-fa-tsu, about 290-306 A.D. (No. 552). 2. Translation under the Eastern Tsin dynasty, 317-42O A.D. (No. 119). 3. Translation by Fa-hian, about 415 A.D. (No. 118).]

p. xxxii

We must be satisfied therefore, so far as I can see at present, with fixing the date, and the latest date, of a Buddhist canon at the time of the Second Council, 377 B.C. That some works were added later, we know; that many of the treatises included in the canon existed before that Council, can hardly be doubted. The second chapter of the Dhammapada, for instance, is called the Appamâda-vagga, and if the Mahâvamsa (p. 25) tells us that at the time when Asoka was converted by Nigrodha, that Buddhist priest explained to him the Appamâda-vagga, we can hardly doubt that there existed then a collection (vagga) of verses on Appamâda, such as we now possess in the Dhammapada and in the Samyutta-nikâya[1].

With regard to the Vinaya, I should even feel inclined to admit, with Dr. Oldenberg, that it must have existed in a more or less settled form before that time. What I doubt is whether such terms as Pitaka, basket, or Tipitaka, the three baskets, i.e. the canon, existed at that early time. They have not been met with, as yet, in any of the canonical books; and if the Dîpavamsa (IV, 32) uses the word 'Tipitaka,' when describing the First Council, this is due to its transferring new terms to older times. If Dr. Oldenberg speaks of a Dvi-pitaka[2] as the name of the canon before the third basket, that of the Abhidhamma, was admitted, this seems to me an impossible name, because at the time when the Abhidhamma was not yet recognised as a third part of the canon, the word pitaka had probably no existence as a technical term[3].

We must always, I think, distinguish between the three portions of the canon, called the basket of the Suttas, the

[1. Feer, Revue Critique, 1870, No. 24, p. 377.

2. Introduction. pp. x, xii.

3. Dr. Oldenberg informs me that pitaka occurs in the Kankîsuttanta in the Magghima Nikâya (Turnour's MS., fol. the), but applied to the Veda. He also refers to the tipitakâkâryas mentioned in the Western Cave inscriptions as compared with the Pañkanekâyâka in the square Asoka character inscriptions (Cunningham, Bharhut, pl. lvi, No. 52). In the Sûtrakrid-anga of the Gainas, too, the term pidagam occurs (MS. Berol. fol. 77 a). He admils, however, that pitaka or tipitaka, as the technical name of the Buddhist canon, has not yet been met with in that canon itself, and defends Dvipitaka only as a convenient term.]

p. xxxiii basket of Vinaya, and the basket of Abhidhamma, and the three subjects of Dhamma (sutta), Vinaya, and Abhidhamma, treated in these baskets. The subjects existed and were taught long before the three baskets were definitely arranged. Dhamma had originally a much wider meaning than Sutta-pitaka. It often means the whole teaching of Buddha; and even when it refers more particularly to the Sutta-pitaka, we know that the Dhamma there taught deals largely with Vinaya and Abhidhamma doctrines. Even the fact that at the First Council, according to the description given in the Kullavagga, the Vinaya and Dhamma only were rehearsed, though proving the absence at that time of the Abhidhamma, as a separate Pitaka, by no means excludes the subject of the Abhidhamma having been taught under the head of Dhamma. In the Mahâkarunâpundarîka-sûtra the doctrine of Buddha is divided into Dharma and Vinaya; the Abhidharma is not mentioned. But the same text knows of all the twelve Dharmapravakanâni[1], the 1. Sûtra; 2. Geya; 3. Vyâkarana; 4. Gâthâ; 5. Udâna; 6. Nidâna; 7. Avadâna; 8. Itivrittaka; 9. Gâtaka; 10. Vaipulya; 11. Adbhutadharma; 12. Upadesa; some of these being decidedly metaphysical.

To my mind nothing shows so well the historical character both of the Kullavagga and of Buddhaghosa in the Introduction to his commentary on the Dîgha-nikâya, as that the former, in its account of the First Council, should know only of the Vinaya, as rehearsed by Upâli, and the Dhamma, as rehearsed by Ânanda, while the much later Buddhaghosa, in his account of the First Council[2], divides the Dhamma into two parts, and states that the second part, the Abhidhamma, was rehearsed after the first part, the Dhamma. Between the time of the Kullavagga and the time of Buddhaghosa the Abhidhamma must have assumed its recognised position by the side of Vinaya and Sutta. It must be left to further researches to determine, if possible,

[1. See Academy, August 28, 1880, Division of Buddhist Scriptures.

2. Oldenberg, Introduction, p. xii; Turnour, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vi, p. 510 seq.]

p. xxxiv the time when the name of pitaka was first used, and when Tipitaka was accepted as the title of the whole canon.

Whenever we see such traces of growth, we feel that we are on historical ground, and in that sense Dr. Oldenberg's researches into the growth of the Vinaya, previous to the Second Council, deserve the highest credit. He shows, in opposition to other scholars, that the earliest elements of Vinaya must be looked for in the short Pâtimokkha rules, which were afterwards supplemented by explanations, by glosses and commentaries, and in that form answered for some time every practical purpose. Then followed a new generation who, not being satisfied, as it would seem, with these brief rules and comments, wished to know the occasion on which these rules had been originally promulgated. What we now call the Vibhanga, i.e. the first and second divisions of the Vinaya-pitaka, is a collection of the stories, illustrating the origin of each rule, of the rules themselves (the Pâtimokkha), and of the glosses and comments on these rules.

The third and fourth books, the Mahâvagga and Kullavagga, are looked upon as possibly of a slightly later date. They treat, in a similar manner as the Vibhanga, on the rules not included in that collection, and give a general picture of the outward life of the monks. While the Vibhanga deals chiefly with the original so-called pârâgika, sanghâdisesa, and pâkittiya offences, the Khandhaka, i.e. the Mahâvagga and Kullavagga, treats of the so-called dukkata and thullakkaya crimes. The arrangement is the same, story, rule, and comment succeeding each other in regular sequence. If we follow the guidance of the Vinaya-pitaka, we should be able to distinguish the following steps in the growth of Buddhism before the Second Council of Vesâlî:

  1. Teaching of Buddha and his disciples (543/477 A.D. Buddha's death).
  2. Collection of Pâtimokkha rules (first code).
  3. Comment and glosses on these rules.
  4. Stories in illustration of these

Dioses del panteón Taoísta

Dioses del panteón Taoísta

Los Tres Oficiales (San Kuan)

T'ien Kuen

Ti Kuan

Shui Kuan

Los Tres Hermanos Mao

Mao Ying

Mao Gu

Mao Zhong

Los Tres Principales (San-yuan)




El Oscuro Señor del Norte

Zhen Wu o Xuan Wu, es uno de los dioses más reverenciados de la China tradicional, y solo superado en admiración por Guan Yin y Guan Gong.

Generalmente representado vestido de negro, cogiendo una espada y en ocasiones con un cinturón de jade. Su largo pelo negro, cae por toda su espalda, junto a una tortuga y una serpiente.

Capaz de controlar los elementos y poseedor de una gran magia. Es el santo patrón de la montaña de Wudang, en la provincia de Hubei, donde se dice que consiguió la inmortalidad.

Dou Mu - Yuan Jun

Dou Mu es la Madre de la constelación del Carro. Se suele pintar con tres ojos en cada una de sus cuatro caras, las cuales miran hacia los cuatro puntos cardinales. Tiene cuatro brazos en cada una de las caras de su cuerpo.

Dos de sus manos estan palma con palma mientras que las otras seis sostienen un sol, una luna, una campana, un sello dorado, un arco y una alabarda. Dou Mu guarda un alto puesto dentro de la jerarquía divina dentro del Taoísmo, y se cree que tiene la capacidad de salvar a la gente de los deminios y de los problemas. Su nacimiento se celebra el noveno día del noveno mes lunar. Hay templos de Dou Mu muy famosos en la montaña de Tai en Shandong, en el monasterio de la Nube Blanca en Beijin, en la montaña de Qian en Liaoning y en la montaña de Weibao de Yumnan.

Guan Yin

Se le llama "el que escucha el llanto del mundo". Es indudablemente la deidad china mas popular de todas. China estuvo infestada de templos dedicados a su figura, que era venerada tanto por taoístas como por budistas, tanto por hombres como por mujeres, por ricos y por pobres. Guan Yin ha sido a veces representado como un hombre y a veces como una mujer, y al final la imagen femenina es la que ha prevalecido y se ha hecho mas popular en la actualidad.

Se representa como una mujer joven y hermosa, con labios rojos a veces vistiendo un pañuelo y llevando en su mano derecha una rama de sauce y en la izquierda un vaso.

Se le reza como salvadora de todo tipo de infortunios, y como proveedora de fortuna y de justicia. También ayuda a las mujeres que no tienen hijos o a las mujeres estériles.

Guanyin siempre está acompañada de Shancai y Longnü, niño y niña respectivamente.

Longnü es hija menor del Rey Dragón del mar Oriental.

Una vez, salió a hurtadillas del palacio del padre provocó un gran desastre, de ahí su expulsión del palacio. Desesperada, acudió a Guanyin y ésta la aceptó como acompañante.

Guan Gong

Guan Gong o Guan Yu fue objeto del segundo culto Taoísta mas importante de la China del siglo III. Fue un militar altamente condecorado famoso por su inamovible lealtad, que demostró hasta su muerte en el campo de batalla. Inmediatamente se le empezó a rezar como a un inmortal y a través de los siglos la gente ha seguido creyendo en la intercesión celestial de Guan Gong.

Se le suele representar como un hombre alto y fornido con una larga barba de semblante resuelto y cara roja. Detras de el aparece sus asistentes, el General Zhou Chang y el General Guan Ping, su hijo, que tiene la cara de color blanco. Guan Gong siempre lleva su enorme espada de doble filo. Es venerado por aquellos que creen en la lealtad, por los militares, los comerciantes, los que deseen tener un hijo o los que desean exorcizar algún espíritu.

El Emperador de Jade

Huáng, es el mas alto legislador de los cielos Taoístas, aunque actúa mas como fuerza legisladora. Se le representa sentado en un trono con un semblante impasivo parcialmente cubierto por los colgantes de perlas que salen de su sombrero.

Lleva una tabla en sus manos que representa su autoridad. El día del nacimiento del Emperador de Jade se celebra el noveno día del primer mes lunar, que suele coincidir con el inicio de la primavera.

Los Tres Oficiales (San Kuan)

Mandan sobre todas las cosas en las tres regiones del universo, guardando y registrando todos los actos buenos y malos y equilibrando la buena y la mala fortuna. T'ien Kuen, Regulador del Cielo, dispensa la felicidad. Ti Kuan, Regulador de la Tierra, dispensa la remisión de los pecados. Shui Kuan, Regulador del Agua, ahuyenta a los deminios.

La compasión de estos tres oficiales no tienen limites. La veneración de estos tres dioses se origino en un rito Taoístas del Maestro Celestial.

Los tres Principales (San-yuan)

Shang-yuan reina en invierno y en primavera; Hsia-yuan, en verano; y Chung-yuan, en otoño. Se cree que habitan en la estrella polar.

T'ien Shih

Es el titulo dado a Chang Tao-ling - Zhang Daoling, fundador de la secta del Maestro Celestial. Se cree que recibió de los dioses el Ling-pao (tesoro espiritual) escrito en tabla de oro.

Consiguió fabricar el elixir de la inmortalidad, lo probo y ascendió al cielo, dejando sus secretos a su hijo, entre los que incluía formulas mágicas. Desde entonces el titulo de T'ien Shih ha pasado de padres a hijos. El actual vive en Taiwan y lidera la secta de las Cinco Medidas de Arroz.

Lu Tung Pin - Dongbin

Es el mas famoso de los ocho inmortales, un grupo de famoso y poderosos dioses Taoístas. Se le tiene por uno de los cinco padres fundadores de la secta Taoísta Quan Zhen. La leyenda cuenta que Lu Tung Pin era un mortal en la dinastía Tang de la provincia de Shanxi.

Fue un candidato fallido del servicio al gobierno, lo que le hizo ser relegado hasta la edad de sesenta y cuatro años. En todo ese tiempo conocio al taoísta inmortal Han Zhong Li, que le enseño el camino del Tao. Eventualmente fue alcanzando el grado de inmortal.Da salud, exorciza los demonios, resuelve la disputa y promueve el cultivo del Tao. Viste un sombrero plano que cae sobre su frente. Generalmente lleva una espada de doble filo y a veces un escudo.

Los tres hermanos Mao

Mao Ying, Mao Gu y Mao Zhong nacieron en la montaña de Jun Qu. Cuando Mao Ying tenia dieciocho años, fue a la montaña de Heng para iniciarse en el camino del Tao.

Cuando cumplió treinta y un años volvió a la montaña de Jun Qu teniendo en su haber milagrosos poderes curativos. Sus hermanos, que formaban parte del gobierno, vieron el nivel alcanzado por su hermano y decidieron imitarle y dedicarse al camino del Tao.

Así, los tres hermanos se convirtieron en famosos misticos y curanderos; se cree que ascendieron a la inmortalidad.

Tras la muerte de los tres, la montaña de Jun Qu seria rebautizada con el nombre de la montaña de Mao.

Qiu Chu Ji

Qiu Chuji, fue un monje que vivio entre la dinastía Jin y de Yuan. Hijo de campesinos, cuando era adolescente se marcho a Shandong a estudiar Taoísmo. Wang Chong Yang, uno de los fundadores del Taoísmo Quanzhen, fue su maestro. Tras abandonar a Wang Qiu, fundo la secta de la Puerta del Dragón dentro del Taoísmo Quanzhen.

Sus relaciones con el Emperador mogol le aseguraron la pervivencia del Taoísmo y le permitió fundar el monasterio de la Nube Blanca de Beijin. Allí se convirtió en inmortal. Tras su muerte fue enterrado en un templete del monasterio.

Songzi Niang Niang - Di Mu Niang Niang

Song-zi niang-niang, es una diosa Taoísta conocida por su beneficio en el nacimiento de los niños. Tradicionalmente, si una mujer no queda embarazada despues de varios años de matrimonio, la mujer va a rezar al templo de Songzi Niang Niang.

Uno de los metodos tradicionales era coger ceniza del incensario del Templo de Songzi Niang Niang y mezclarla con el agua para beberla. Este acto atraería el poder de la diosa al cuerpo de la mujer y resolvería su problema. El hombre también podía rezar a esta diosa para pedirle hijos.

Soberano Imperial Wen chang

Wen chang, es el dios de la cultura y es también el patrón de los escolares, los estudiantes y los burócratas. Se le representa como un mandarin. Escribe los actos de los mortales en el "Registro de Canela", un libro continuamente actualizado donde los destinos de los hombres estan ordenados por el Cielo y modificado por las acciones humanas. Wen Chang ha sido venerado durante 2000 años como una constelación del carro. El culto de Wen Chang es uno de los mas extendidos en China.

Durante el reinado del emperador Jen de la dinastía Yuan (1279-1368), se otorgó a Wen-chang el título de "Soberano Imperial de Tze-tung". En el edicto imperial se especifica que la deidad es "Soberano Imperial Wenchang, promotor de la benevolencia y controlador de la riqueza que sirve como el origen e inicia la salvación". De esta forma, los espíritus de Wen-chang y Tze-tung fueron combinados en uno solo.

Tai Yi Jiu Ku Tian Cun - Tai Yi Jiu Ku Tian Zun

Conocido como el "Salvador del Sufrimiento" , es otro de los dioses mas importantes y uno de los reyes del décimo infierno Taoísta. Despues de muertos, todas las almas humanas se presentaran frente a Tai Yi y serán sentenciadas. Se le representa montado sobre un león de nueve cabezas.

Lleva una jarra en su mano derecha y una espada en la izquierda. La jarra esta llena de agua bendita mientras que la espada es para someter a los demonios y castigar a los malvados. Los Taoístas creen que si se repite continuamente el nombre de Tai Yi mejoraran su futuro.

Zhong Kui o Jung Kwae

Es un dios muy veneredo porque aleja los fantasmas y las fuerzas demoníaca mientras que atrae la buena suerte y el éxito. Se le representa como un enorme guerrero de enmarañada barba, que porta una espada que usa para cumplir sus obligaciones. A veces lleva un sequito de fantasmas y es también seguido por murciélagos (símbolo de la buena suerte). Hay innumerables historias que cuentan las aventuras de Zhong Kui amansando a los demonios.

Hsi Wang Mu (Reina Madre de Occidente)

Poderosa diosa que reina sobre un paraíso occidental de los inmortales en las montañas K'unlun, viajando en dragones y gansos. Su consorte masculino es Tung WangKung, que representa el Yang creador para el receptivo Yin de la diosa. Su símbolo es el Melocoton de la Inmortalidad, que ella cultiva en su jardín.

Ts'ao Kuo Chiu - Cao Guojui

Representa la nobleza, dada las relaciones que mantuvo con la dinastia imperial Sung. Ts'Ao Kuo-Chiu salió de su casa avergonzado después de que su hermano fuese ejecutado por asesinato. Se convirtio en un ermitaño y se dedico a seguir el Tao. Cuando se encontró con los inmortales, Chung Li Chu'an y Lun Tung-pin, éstos le preguntaron dónde estaba el camino y el señaló el cielo. Luego le preguntaron dónde estaba el cielo y el señaló su corazón. Entonces le enseñaron los secretos de la perfección y se convirtió en inmortal.

Chang kuo-Lao, Zhang Guo Lao

Se cuenta que fue el director de la Academia Imperial, pero se retiro a vivir como un ermitaño a la Montaña de Chung-t'iao. Se le requirió en la corte por orden de la Emperatriz Wu, pero el Viejo Zhang Guo fingido estar muerto.

Tenia una mula mágica que podía viajar varios kilometros en un solo día, cuando llegaba a su destino, la mula podía plegarse como un papel, podía desdoblarla soplando con agua.

Se le representa montando la mula al reves y con un tambor de bambú con forma de tubo que simboliza la longevidad, dentro del cual lleva unos palillos de hierro usados como castañuelas

Li T'ieh-kuai, Li Tieguai

Lleva una muleta de hierro y su cara es negra. Representa a los lisiados y deformes. Intenta aliviar el sufrimiento humano. Se convirtió en inmortal por intercesión de Hsi-wang-mu, reina de los inmortales.

Un día en que su alma viajaba al monte Hua, pidió a su discípulo que guardara su cuerpo y lo incinerara si no regresaba a los siete dias, pero el alumno tuvo que ausentarse al sexto día y quemo el cuerpo del maestro.

El alma de Li regreso, y al no encontrar su cuerpo, tuvo que introducirse en el cuerpo de un anciano que acababa de morir. Al introducirse fue cuando se dio cuenta que aquel cuerpo estaba lisiado, en principio pensó en abandonar el cuerpo, pero lao-Tse le convenció para que se lo quedara, dandole una muleta y un brazalete de oro. Tiene una calabaza en su mano en la que lleva medicinas con las que ayudar a la gente. Algunos Taoístas piensan que en ella guarda, el elixir de la inmortalidad, hecho de melocotones del jardín de Hsi-wang-mu.

Ho Hsien-ku, He Qiong

Es representada con una flor de loto (simbolo de pureza) y un melocoton en sus manos. La leyenda dice que vivio en la epoca de la Emperatriz Wu (684-705) en las Montañas de Yun-Mu.

Una noche tuvo un sueño en el que pulverizaba una piedra en la que podia leerse "Yun-Mu" y se la comia. Desde ese momento empezo a practicar voto de castidad. Iba de pico en pico de las montañas, recolectando frutas, las cuales daba a su madre, ya que ella no necesitaba comer. A oidos de la Emperatriz llego su historia y esta pidio que Ho Hsien se presentara ante ella. En el camino a palacio desaparecio, y de este modo fue como se hizo inmortal. Es la representante de las mujeres.

Han Hsiang Tse, Han Xiangzi

Han Hsiang-Tzu era alumno de Lu Tung-ín, consumado flautista. Trepó al árbol de los melocotones de la inmortalidad, pero se cayó, y se hizo inmortal justo antes de llegar al suelo. Es el patrón de la música y tiene el poder de lograr que las plantas crezcan y florezcan inmediatamente al son de la música de su flauta