For what it is worth, we present here the details concerning the names of the originators of the Mahāsaṅghika heresy, according to the various translations of Vasumitra. Kumārajīva (T 2032) mentions three names only, which he identifies as bhikkhus, not groups. In the Tibetan translation by Dharmākara (Tanjur, Mdo. XC, 11) the same three names […]
Shizuken Sasaki has published a series of eight papers on the state of Buddhist sects during the reign of Aśoka, constituting one of the most sustained bodies of original research on the topic. His work combines extensive translations and systematic presentations of a range of works, particularly the underutilized sources in the Chinese Vinayas, subjected […]
The search goes on for something that we can identify as the earliest Vinaya, the principles of monastic conduct that have set the standard for Buddhist monastics from the Buddha until now. For scholars this is part of the enigmatically meaningful need to search for the origins of things. For myself as a practicing monk, […]
Vasumitra mentions that the Dharmaguptakas held that stupa worship was meritorious, which is hardly unusual. But the school also preserves a unique list of 26 sekhiya rules pertaining to conduct around the stupa. The obvious reading of these two bits of information is that the Dharmaguptakas had a special emphasis on the stupa cult. But […]
We have examined at some length the more important sources dealing with the first schism, and it is evident that it is not possible to fully resolve the differences. Clearly there were multiple forces acting to break the Sangha apart, and it is not easy to tell which may have been the decisive factor in […]
When writing Sects & Sectarianism, I tried to account for the modern critical assessments of the evidence as best I could. However, since this is a part-time project done amid a busy schedule, it’s difficult to keep up with everything. Just recently I came across an article by Heinz Bechert dealing with Aśoka’s ‘so-called’ schism […]
Why are there so many schools of Buddhism? Are the differences just cultural, or do they have fundamentally different visions of Dhamma? This work assesses the claims of the traditions, and takes into account to findings of modern scholarship. It pays special attention to the origins of the monastic orders. If we are to understand the differences, and sometimes tensions, between the schools of Buddhism today, we must examine more closely the forces that spurred their formation.