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AND ITS LITERATURE
Buddha and Buddhism
is a part of purification based on the Majjhima
patipada (Middle path) which avoids the two extremes Kamesu kama sukhallakanuyoga (the attitude of sensual indulgence)
(asceticism and self-mortification) This doctrine was enunciated by the
historical personality of Gautama, the Buddha in the sixth century B.
is no consensus of opinion among scholars regarding the source of
Buddhism, because Buddhism has been influenced by all the philosophical
school prevalent at that time. As Oldenberg says: "Hundreds of
years before Buddha's time, movementsw were in progress in Indian
thought, which prepared the way for Buddhism."2
Buddha, before gaining enlightenment, went to Alara Kalama and Uddaka
under whom he followed their religious observances. Alara Kalama is
supposed to be the Acarya of Sankhya philosophy. But Keith, while
pointing out several similarities between Sankhya and Buddhism, says
that "the proof of Sankhya influence is obviously indirect and not
in itself complete."3 Oldenberg also thinks in a somewhat similar
the other hand, Jacobi is of opinion that Buddhism has been derived from
a corresponding theory of the forerunners of Jainism.5 Pande also
accepts this view though not very emphatically.6 This view can be
supported by reference to Pali literature itself. After being
dissatisfied with the teachings of Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta,
the Buddha went at last to mount Gaya-Uruvela. Following the others, he
himself occupied a spot beside the Nairanjara river and with full
purpose of heart he set himself the task of enduring self-mortification,
restraining every bodily passion, and giving up thought about substance
With purity of heart, he observed the rules of fasting which no worldly
man can bear. Silent and still, lost in thoughtful meditation, he spent
six years.7 He himself says that he experimented with the four types of
religious practices of severe penance (tapa),
avoidance (jeguccha), and
seclusion (pavivitta).8 Here avoidance appears to be a reference to Jainism for it is said
"I used to walk up and down conscientiously extending my compassion
even to a drop of water, praying that even the dangerous bacteria in it
may not come to harm.9 "Such practices are mentioned at another
place in the Majjhima Nikaya.10
We shall compare them later with Jaina practices in the chapter on
Ethics. These may bear testimony to the Jain view that the Buddha was a
Jain muni at a certain stage of his ascetic life.
Devasena (8th century) says that the Buddha was a great learned disciple
of the saint Pihitasrava sho ordained him as muni Buddhakirti in the
Sangha of Parsvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankara of the present era.
But after a time the Buddha started taking flesh and dead fish as food
and putting on a red cloth, he preached his own Dhamma, saying that
there was no harm in taking such food.
sabassa sismo mahasudo buddhakittimurno.
varam dharitta pavatthiyam tena eyantam.
natthi Jivo jaha phale dahiya duddhasakkarae.
tam vamchitta tam bhakkhanto na pavittho.
na vajjanijjam davadavvam jahajalam taha edam 11
loe ghositta pavatthiyam sabbasavjjam
is, however, no direct admission of this fact in any of the Buddhist
texts, although the Buddha's own account of his six years of penance
leaves little doubt as to the possibility of his being influenced by the
doctrines of Jainism. It is also possible that the Buddha's attitude to
meat-eating as well as to other forms of ultra-strict restrictions on
human conduct (as seen also from his controversy with Devadatta in
respect of the five rules, pancavatthu) was the reason for the
establishment of a new religion where self-mortification is denounced as
vulgar and futile.
literature is rich and varied and is found in several ancient and modern
languages such as Pali, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Nepale,
Japanese, Sinhali, Burmese, Thai, Combodian Uigur, Sogdian, Kuchanese
and other languages of Central Asia. But for this survey our attention
will be confined only to the Buddhist literature in Pali and Sanskrit.
literature can be classified as follows :- (i) Pali literature
consisting of (a) Canonical, (b) Extra Canonical, and (c) Non-Canonical
works. The last is further divided into (a) Atthakathas, (b) Tikas, (c)
Tippanis, (d) Sanghas, and (e) pakaranas. (2) Sanskrit literature
consisting of (a) Hinayana, and (b) Mahayana works.
Pali Canon, which represents the Theravada Buddhism, is popularly known
as Tipitaka, the three baskets;12 the three Pitakas
(Baskets-or) parts, are the Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka and the
Abhidhamma Pitaka. Like most other literary works of Ancient India, the Tipitaka
too grew gradually over a period of several centuries. The three
Councils stand out as landmarks in the process of its growth and
development. It is generally accepted by scholars today that the Tipitaka,
as we have it, including Kathavatthu,
the last work to be attached to it by the Chairman of the Council
himself, was accomplished shortly after the Third Council. During the
Third Council it was decided to propagate Buddhism abroad. Mahinda, a
pupil of Tissa and a son (according to another tradition, the younger
brother of Asoka) was appointed to introduce Buddhism into Ceylon. In
Ceylon, the Canon was preserved through oral tradition until it was
reduced to writing in 84 B. C. during the reign of king Valagamba.13
Vinaya Pitaka is the head of
the canon and is considered earlier than the Sutta
Pitaka.14 It deals with rules and regulations to be observed by the
members of the Buddhist order in their daily life. The Vinaya comprises
three main parts: (i) Suttavibhanga, consisting of (a) Mahavibhanga, and
(b) Bhikkhuvibhanga. (ii) Khandaka, consisting of (a) Mahavagga. and (b)
Cullavagga. (iii) Parivara or Parivarapatha.
Patimokkha is the main part of
the Vinaya Pitaka. It is said
that the life of a good monk "is restrained by the restrainst of
the Patimokkha". (patimokkhasamvarasamvuto).15
contains 227 rules out of which 152 were probably original while the
remainder may have been added at the time of the compilation of the Vinaya Pitaka. The Suttavibhanga
is a commentary on the Patimokkha. It deals with Parajikadhamma, Sanghadisesadhamma, Aniyatadhamma, Pacittiyadhamma,
Patidesaniyadhamma, and Sekkiyadhamma.
The Khandhaka is the
supplement of the Suttavibhanga.
It contains the special rules for admission into the order, the Buddhist
ceremonies such as Uposatha,
modes of eating, begging, dwelling etc. The Parivara
is of later origin. It consists of nineteen sections.
Buddhist monachism as an institution was influenced by the Jaina
monastic rules and regulations. For instance, Vassavasa,
Uposatha, Pavarana and rules for admission to the order, are very
similar to the rules of Jaina monachism. One may, therefore, expect many
references to Jainism in the Tipitaka.
But the direct references to Jain monachism are very few in the Vinaya Pitaka.
Sutta Pitaka is the chief source of our knowledge of the Dhamma; it
is, therefore, called Dhamma. It is divided into five Nikayas, viz. Digha
Majjhima, Samyutta, Anguttara and the Khuddaka.
The first four are mainly in prose and contain discourses, attributed to
the Buddha and his disciples. The remaining Nikaya is a miscellaneous
collection of smaller works, most of which are in verse. The Digha Nikaya contains the longest thirty-four Suttas arranged into
three parts (Vaggas), viz. Silakkhandha (1-13), Mahavagga (14-23) and
Patikavagga (24-34). In several Suttas of Digha Nikaya there are
references to Jainism and particularly to Nigantha Nataputta The most
significant among them are the Brahmajala (1), Samannaphala (2),
Kassapasihanada (8), Mahaparinibbana (16), Patikasutta (54),
Pasadikasutta (21), Atanatiya (32), and Sangiti Sutta, which provide
invaluable data on the life and thoughts of Nigantha Nataputta. The Majjhima
Nikaya is a collection of 152 discourses. The Culasihanada (11),
Culasaccaka (35), Mahasaccaka (86), Upali (56), Kukkuravatika (55),
Abhayarajkumara (58), Dighanakha (74), Sandaka (76), Culasakuladayi
(79), Devadaha (101), and Samagama (104) contain references to Syadvada
and other Jaina conceptions, and are, therefore, helpful in assessing in
greater detail the Buddhist attitude to Jainism. The Samyutta
Nikaya and Anguttara Nikaya consist of various types of Suttas. They are older
as well as later, shorter as well as longer. The Samyutta (grouped together) Nikaya
is of 56 Samyuttas and atleast 2,990 Suttas with the division of five
Vaggas, viz. the Sagathavagga (1-11), Nidanavagga (12-22). Khandhavagga
(23-34) Sadayatanavagga (35-45) and mahavagga (45-56). Sankhadhammasutta,
Acelakassapasutta, Acelasutta, Sattajatilasutta and Nanatitthiyasutta
refer to Jaina ethics and philosophy. The Anguttara
Nikaya is very similar to the Thananga of the Jainas. It deals
mainly with the religious topics under the numbers from one to eleven.
The number of the Suttas in the Nikaya is about 2308 which are divided
into Vaggas containing as a rule o10 Suttas each. Atthangikasutta,
Anandavaga, Tikanipata, Tapodhamma-sutta, Vappa-sutta and
Lokayatika-sutta provide some very useful data for the understanding of
several ancient Jaina concepts. The Khuddaka Nikaya is a collection of
short pieces which are both diverse and unsystematic both in content and
arrangement. There is on unanimity about the pieces which belong to this
Nikaya. According to the Ceylonese tradition it consists of (1) Khuddakapatha
(a collection composed of only 9 short Suttas), (2) Dhammapada
(a collection of 423 memorial verses), (3) Udana
(a collection of solemn sayings of the Buddha), (4) Itivuttaka ("Thus-has-been-said" closely resembles the
Udana) (5) Suttanipata, a very
archaic in character consisting
or four Vaggas, (6) Vimanavathu,
(7) Petavatthu, (8) Theragatha, (9) Therigatha,
(10) Jataka (11) Niddesa Mahaniddesa, and Calla
Niddesa, (12) Patisambhida-magga,
(13) Apadana, (14) Ruddhavamsa,
and (15) the Cariyapitaka.
Among these Udana (Sattajatilasutta), Suttanipata (Dhammikasutta),
Therapadana, (Abhayattherapadana), Jataka (Mahabodhi) and the Dhammapada
have preserved some valuable references to Jainism, though somewhat
Abhidhamma Pitaka is a later
development. It is an attempt at scholastic analysis of the Buddhist
psychology and philosophy. It does not deal with systematic philosophy.
It is merely a supplement to the Dhamma.16 Abhidhamma is highly honoured
particularly in Burma. It comprises the following books: (1)
Dhammasangani (2) Vibhanga, (3) Kathavatthu, (4) Puggalapannatti, (5)
Dhatukatha, (6) Yamaka and (7) the Patthana. The Abhidhamma of the
Sarvastivadins was entirely different. There is no reference to Jainism
in this Pitaka.
Paritta or Mahaparitta is a collection of cano ical texts which is used for
magical purposes Such Paritta ceremonies are still in vogue in Ceylon
and are believed to avert evil and bring about well-being and happiness.
is another classification of the Buddhist scriptures into nine angas17 :
(1) Sutta, (2) Geyya (mixed prose and verse), (3) Gatha (verse), (4)
Udana (ecstatic utterences), (5) Veyyakarana (explanation) (6)
Itivuttaka (sayings beginning with the phrase
"Thus-said-the-Buddha") (7) Jataka (stories of former births
of the Buddha), (8) Abbhutadhamma (stories of wonders), and (9) Vedalla
(questions and answers)18.
the Canonical literature, there are some other works which wee highly
honoured and regarded as Extra-Canonical books, such as the Nettipakarana, Petakopadesa and the Milindapanha. The first two works are regarded as canonical in
Burma. There are no references to Jainism in these two works. The third
one the Milindapanha (P. 259),
of course, referes to The Jain theory that water contains small insects
and therefore should be used after getting it filtered and heated.
Tripitaka consists of
speeches, conversations, songs, sayings, narratives and monastic rules
and regulations. The most of the Canon is placed in the mouth of the
Buddha himself. But it is difficult to pick out with a certainty the
actual words of the Buddha as there are in the Tripitaka contradictions,
repetitions, interpolations which are characteristics of ancient
Davids19 has given a chronological table of Buddhist literature from the
Buddha's time to the time of Asoka which is as follows:-
The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical
words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.
Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing
The Silas, the Parayana, the Octades, the Patimokkha.
The Digha, Majjhim, Anguttare, and Samyutta Nikayas.
The Suttanipata, the Thera and Theri Gathas, the Udanas, and the
The Suttavibhanga and the Khandhakas.
The Jatakas and the Dhammapada.
The Niddesa, the Itivuttaka and the Patisambhidamagga.
The Peta-and Vimana-Vatthus, the Apadanas, the Cariva Pitaka, and the
The Abhidhamma books, the last of which is the Kathavatthu, and the
earliest probably the Puggalapannatti.
reviews this chronological table and concludes that it "is too
catechetical, too cut and dried and too general to be accepted inspite
of its suggestiveness as a sure guide to the determination of the
chronology of the Pali Canonical texts."20 In his concluding
chapter he presents his conclusions on the chronology of the Pali
Canonical literature as follows21 :-
The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found in the identical
words in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.
Episodes found in identical words in two or more of the existing books.
The Silas, the Parayana group of sixteen poems without the prologue, the
Atthaka grous of four or sixteen poems, the Sikkhapadas.
Digha, Vols. II and III, the Thera-Theri-gatha, the collection of 500
Jatakas, Suttavibhanga, Patisambhidamagga, Puggalapannatti and the
The Mahavagga and the Cullavagga, the Patimokkha completing 227 rules,
the vimanavatthu and Petavatthu, the Dhammapada and the Kathavatthu.
The Cullaniddesa, the Mahaniddesa, the Udana, the Itivuttaka, the
Suttanipata, the Dhatukatha, the Yamaka and the Patthana.
The Buddhavamsa, the Cariyapitaka and the Apadana.
the whole we can say that the present Pali Canonical literature must
have been compiled up to the third century B. C. In other words the
Third Council is the lower limit for this purpose, though some very
minor changes could have been made up to the final writing during the
reign of king Vattagamani of Ceylon (1st century B. C.). Law Draws the conclusion
that the lower limit is the last quarter of the first century B. C. His
conjecture is based on the Mitindapanha
(about the first century A. D.) which refers to the fact that when it
was compiled, the division of the canon into three pitaks and five
nikayas was well established.22 He furthere says: "The Sinhalese
commentaries, the Maha-atthaktha,
the Mahapaccariya, the Maha-knundiya,
the Andhaka and the rest
pre-supposed by the commentaries of Buddhadatta, Buddhaghosa, and
Dhammapala, point to the same fact, namely, that the Canon become
finally closed sometime before the beginning og the Christian era. Thus
we can safely fix the last quarter of the first century B. C., as the
a matter of fact, it is doubtful whether the Canon compiled in the Third
Council was indeed the same which has come down to us in the Pali
Tipitaka. For no one can deny that between the third century B.C. and
the first century B. C. when then the writing down took place; the
Tripitaka might have undergone many changes, especially muchaddition.
Thus the Pali Tipitaka as it
now exists is not exactly identical with the Pali Tipitaka compiled in
the Third Council; but the later accretions, interpolations and
amendments do not appear to be so numerous and significant as to make
the present Canon less valuable as an authentic record of the life and
teachings of the Buddha.
literature, as we have already stated, can be divided into four
categories: (1) Atthakathas, (ii) Tikas, (iii) Tippanis, and (iv)
Pakaranas. Out of these Non-Canonical works only a few like the
Atthakathas of Buddhaghosa were found to be useful for my study. Some of
the references to Jainism in Commentaries throw much light on the
attitude of the later buddhist monks to Nigantha nataputta and some of
the impressions recorded by them do not coincide with the actual
conditions as known to us from more authentic sources.
instance, in the commentaries on24 Dighanikaya
Buddhaghosa in the course of explaining the reference to the death of
Nigantha Nataputta states that Nigantha Nataputta enjoined upon his
followers in his last hours to accept the Buddha's teachings as he had
realised the folly and futility of his doctrines. Further Buddhaghosa
misunderstood the principle of Syadvada
and complained that Nigantha Nataputta taught his followers in two
contradictory ways: to one he was supposed to have said that his
doctrine was nihilism (ucchedavada) and to the other that it was eternalism (sassatavada).
As a result, Buddhaghosa says they quarrelled violently among
themselves, and the order of Nigantha Nataputta was divided into two.
This reference certainly indicates the time around the fifth century
when religious disputations were creating mutual misunderstanding and
certain dogmas were being explained according to their own whims and
fancies in order to influence the masses. Such instances are also found
in Jaina literature.
Pali had been the language of Theravada Buddhists only Sanskrit had been
a medium which was utilized by both the Hinayana and the Mahayana
Buddhists. The Vaibhasika and
the Sautrantika schools belong to the Hinayana Buddhists and the Madhyamika
or (Sunyava da and the Yogacara
or Vijnanavada schools are of
mahayana Buddhists The vast litereture of these schools is available in
different languages. We find there some valuable references to Jain
philosophy in the works of Nagarjuna. Aryadeva, Dharmakirti, Vasubandhu,
Arcata, Santaraksita, Prajnakaragupta, Jetari etc. who refuted the Syadvada and other Jaina concepts which are dealt with in the
present thesis in respective chapters. A large amount of work on
Buddhist philosophy is lost and existed only in Tibetan or Chinese
translation which could not be used here.
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