Tag Archives: schism

The First Mahāsaṅghikas

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 […]

Sasaki and Schism

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 […]

Mahāsaṅghika—the Earliest Vinaya?

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, […]

Dharmaguptakas and the Stupa

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 […]

Dhamma or Vinaya?

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 […]

Saṅghabheda and Nikāyabheda

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 […]

Sects & Sectarianism

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.