The Info List - Pre-sectarian Buddhism

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PRE-SECTARIAN BUDDHISM, also called EARLY BUDDHISM, THE EARLIEST BUDDHISM, and ORIGINAL BUDDHISM, is the Buddhism that existed before the various subsects of Buddhism came into being.

Some of the contents and teachings of this pre-sectarian Buddhism may be deduced from the earliest Buddhist texts, which by themselves are already sectarian.


* 1 Name * 2 Timespan * 3 Earliest Buddhism and the Śramaṇa movement

* 4 Contents and teachings of earliest Buddhism

* 4.1 Methodology

* 4.1.1 Scholarly positions * 4.1.2 Textual comparison * 4.1.3 Resolving inconsistencies

* 4.2 _Dhyana_ and insight

* 4.3 Core teachings

* 4.3.1 Death, rebirth and _karma_ * 4.3.2 _Dhyāna_ * 4.3.3 Insight and mindfulness * 4.3.4 Soul * 4.3.5 The Noble Eightfold Path * 4.3.6 The Four Noble Truths * 4.3.7 Satipatthana * 4.3.8 Bodhipakkhiyādhammā

* 5 Schayer - Precanonical Buddhism

* 5.1 Methodology * 5.2 Ideas and practices * 5.3 Criticism

* 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 Quotations * 9 References

* 10 Sources

* 10.1 Printed sources * 10.2 Web-sources

* 11 Further reading * 12 External links


Various terms are being used to refer to the earliest period of Buddhism:

* "Pre-sectarian Buddhism" * " Early Buddhism ", * "The earliest Buddhism", * "Original Buddhism", * "The Buddhism of the Buddha himself." * Precanonical Buddhism

Some Japanese scholars refer to the subsequent period of the early Buddhist schools as _sectarian Buddhism_.


Pre-sectarian Buddhism may refer to the earliest Buddhism, the ideas and practices of Gautama Buddha himself. It may also refer to early Buddhism as existing until about one hundred years after the Parinirvana of the Buddha, until the first documented split in the Sangha .

Contrary to the claim of doctrinal stability, early Buddhism was a dynamic movement. Pre-sectarian Buddhism may have included or incorporated other Śramaṇic schools of thought , as well as Vedic and Jain ideas and practices.

The first documented split occurred, according to most scholars, between the second Buddhist council and the third Buddhist council . The first post-schismatic groups are often stated to be the Sthaviravada and the Mahasanghika . Eventually, eighteen different schools came into existence. The later Mahayana schools may have preserved ideas which were abandoned by the "orthodox" Theravada, such as the Three Bodies doctrine, the idea of consciousness (_vijnana_) as a continuum, and devotional elements such as the worship of saints.


See also: Early Buddhist schools and History of Buddhism in India Siddartha Gautama depicted in Greco-Buddhist style during his extreme fasting prior to be "Awakened ", 3rd -2nd century CE, Gandhara (modern eastern Afghanistan), Lahore Museum , Pakistan

Pre-sectarian Buddhism was originally one of the śramaṇic movements . The time of the Buddha was a time of urbanisation in India , and saw the growth of the _śramaṇas_, wandering philosophers that had rejected the authority of _ Vedas _ and Brahmanic priesthood , intent on escaping _saṃsāra _ through various means, which involved the study of natural laws , ascetic practices , and ethical behavior .

The _śramaṇas_ gave rise to different religious and philosophical schools, among which pre-sectarian Buddhism itself, Yoga , Jainism , Ājīvika , Ajñana and Cārvāka were the most important, and also to popular concepts in all major Indian religions such as _saṃsāra_ (endless cycle of birth and death) and _moksha _ (liberation from that cycle). Nevertheless, despite the success that these wandering philosophers and ascetics had obtained by spreading ideas and concepts that would soon be accepted by all religions of India , the orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy (_āstika_) opposed to śramaṇic schools of thought and refuted their doctrines as "heterodox" (_nāstika_), because they refused to accept the epistemic authority of _ Vedas _, denied the existence of the soul and/or the existence of Ishvara ("Supreme God").

The ideas of _saṃsāra_, _karma_ and rebirth show a development of thought in Indian religions: from the idea of single existence, at the end of which one was judged and punished and rewarded for one's deeds, or _karma_; to multiple existences with reward or punishment in an endless series of existences; and then attempts to gain release from this endless series. This release was the central aim of the Śramaṇa movement. Vedic rituals , which aimed at entrance into heaven, may have played a role in this development: the realisation that those rituals did not lead to an everlasting liberation led to the search for other means.



Scholarly Positions

According to Schmithausen, three positions held by scholars of Buddhism can be distinguished regarding the possibility to extract the earliest Buddhism:

* "Stress on the fundamental homogeneity and substantial authenticity of at least a considerable part of the Nikayic materials;" * "Scepticism with regard to the possibility of retrieving the doctrine of earliest Buddhism;" * "Cautious optimism in this respect."

Textual Comparison

Information on the contents and teachings of the earliest Buddhism cannot be obtained from the existing Buddhist schools, nor from the early Buddhist schools, since they were sectarian from the outset.

One method to obtain information on the oldest core of Buddhism is to compare the oldest extant versions of the Theravadin Pali Canon , the surviving portions of the scriptures of Sarvastivada , Mulasarvastivada , Mahisasaka , Dharmaguptaka and other schools, and the Chinese Agamas and other surviving portions of other early canons.

The oldest recorded teachings are the texts of the four main nikayas of the Sutta Pitaka , together with the main body of monastic rules, the Vinaya Pitaka . Scholars have also claimed that there is a core within this core, referring to some poems and phrases which seem to be the oldest parts of the Sutta Pitaka.

Resolving Inconsistencies

The reliability of these sources, and the possibility to draw out a core of oldest teachings, is a matter of dispute. According to Tillman Vetter, the comparison of the oldest extant texts "does not just simply lead to the oldest nucleus of the doctrine." At best, it leads to

... a Sthavira canon dating from c. 270 B.C. when the missionary activities during Asoka's reign as well as dogmatic disputes had not yet created divisions within the Shtavira tradition.

According to Vetter, inconsistencies remain, and other methods must be applied to resolve those inconsistencies. Exemplary studies are the study on descriptions of "liberating insight" by Lambert Schmithausen, the overview of early Buddhism by Tilmann Vetter, the philological work on the four truths by K.R. Norman, the textual studies by Richard Gombrich, and the research on early meditation methods by Johannes Bronkhorst .


A core problem in the study of early Buddhism is the relation between _dhyana _ and insight. The Buddhist tradition has incorporated two traditions regarding the use of _dhyana_ (_jhana_). There is a tradition that stresses attaining insight (_bodhi _, _prajñā _, _kensho _) as the means to awakening and liberation. But it has also incorporated the yogic tradition , as reflected in the use of _jhana_, which is rejected in other sutras as not achieving the final result of liberation . The problem was famously voiced in 1936 by Louis de La Vallee Poussin, in his text _Musila et Narada: Le Chemin de Nirvana_.

Schmithausen notes that the mention of the four noble truths as constituting "liberating insight", which is attained after mastering the Rupa Jhanas, is a later addition to texts such as Majjhima Nikaya 36. Schmithausen discerns three possible roads to liberation as described in the suttas, to which Vetter adds the sole practice of _dhyana_ itself, which he sees as the original "liberating practice":

* The four Rupa Jhanas themselves constituted the core liberating practice of early buddhism, c.q. the Buddha; * Mastering the four Rupa Jhanas, whereafter "liberating insight" is attained; * Mastering the four Rupa Jhanas and the four Arupa Jhanas, where-after "liberating insight" is attained; * Liberating insight itself suffices.

This problem has been elaborated by several well-known scholars, including Tilman Vetter, Johannes Bronkhorst, and Richard Gombrich.


The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta is regarded by the Buddhist tradition as the first talk of the Buddha. Scholars have noted some persistent problems with this view. Originally the text may only have pointed at "the middle way" as being the core of the Buddha's teaching, which pointed to the practice of _dhyana_. This basic term was extensified with descriptions of the eightfold path, itself a condensation of a longer sequence. Under pressure of developments in Indian religiosity, which began to see "liberating insight" as the essence of moksha , the four noble truths were added, as a description of the Buddha's "liberating insight".

Death, Rebirth And _karma_

Main articles: Karma in Buddhism , Rebirth (Buddhism) , and Saṃsāra (Buddhism)

According to Vetter, the Buddha at first sought "the deathless" (_amata/amrta_), which is concerned with the here and now. According to Edward Conze, _Death _ was an error which could be overcome by those who entered the "doors to the Deathless", "the gates of the Undying." According to Conze, the Buddha saw death as a sign that "something has gone wrong with us." The Buddha saw death as brought on by an evil force, Mára , "the Killer," "who tempts us away from our true immortal selves and diverts us from the path which could lead us back to freedom." Our cravings keep us tied to Mára’s realm. By releasing our attachments we move beyond his realm, and gain freedom from _saṃsāra _, the beginningless movement of death and rebirth .

_Karma _ is the _intentional_ (_cetanā _) actions which keep us tied to _saṃsāra_. Two views on the liberation from _saṃsāra_ can be discerned in the śramaṇic movements. Originally _karma_ meant "physical and mental activity". One solution was to refrain from any physical or mental activity. The other solution was to see the real self as not participating in these actions, and to disidentify with those actions. According to Bronkhorst, the Buddha rejected both approaches. Nevertheless, these approaches can also be found in the Buddhist tradition, such as the four formless _jhanas_, and disidentification from the constituents of the self.

Bruce Matthews notes that there is no cohesive presentation of _karma_ in the Sutta Pitaka, which may mean that the doctrine was incidental to the main perspective of early Buddhist soteriology . Schmithausen is a notable scholar who has questioned whether _karma_ already played a role in the theory of rebirth of earliest Buddhism. According to Schmithausen, "the karma doctrine may have been incidental to early Buddhist soteriology." According to Vetter, "the deathless" (_amata/amrta_) is concerned with the here and now. Only after this realization did he become acquainted with the doctrine of rebirth. Bronkhorst disagrees, and concludes that the Buddha "introduced a concept of karma that differed considerably from the commonly held views of his time." According to Bronkhorst, not physical and mental activities as such were seen as responsible for rebirth, but intentions and desire.


Main article: Buddhist meditation

_Dhyāna _ may have been the core practice of pre-sectarian Buddhism, but became appended with other forms of meditation throughout its development, like _ Vipassanā _ among the earliest.

Both Schmithausen and Bronkhorst note that the attainment of insight and mindfulness , which is a cognitive activity, cannot be possible in a state wherein all cognitive activity has ceased. According to Vetter and Bronkhorst, _dhyāna _ itself constituted the original "liberating practice". Vetter notes that "penetrating abstract truths and penetrating them successively does not seem possible in a state of mind which is without contemplation and reflection." Vetter further argues that the eightfold path constitutes a body of practices which prepare one, and lead up to, the practice of _dhyana_.

According to Bronkhorst, _dhyana_ was a Buddhist invention, whereas Alexander Wynne argues that _dhyana_ was incorporated from Brahmanical practices , in the Nikayas ascribed to Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta . These practices were paired to mindfulness and insight, and given a new interpretation. Kalupahana argues that the Buddha "reverted to the meditational practices" he had learned from Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta. Norman notes that "the Buddha's way to release was by means of meditative practices." Gombrich also notes that a development took place in early Buddhism resulting in a change in doctrine, which considered _prajna_ to be an alternative means to "enlightenment".

According to Richard Gombrich, the sequence of the four _rupa-jhanas_ describes two different cognitive states. Alexander Wynne further explains that the _dhyana_-scheme is poorly understood. According to Wynne, words expressing the inculcation of awareness, such as _sati_, _sampajāno_, and _upekkhā_, are mistranslated or understood as particular factors of meditative states, whereas they refer to a particular way of perceiving the sense objects.

Insight And Mindfulness

According to Johannes Bronkhorst, Tillman Vetter, and K.R. Norman, _bodhi_ was at first not specified. K. R. Norman:

It is not at all clear what gaining _bodhi_ means. We are accustomed to the translation "enlightenment" for _bodhi_, but this is misleading It is not clear what the buddha was awakened to, or at what particular point the awakening came.

According to Norman, _bodhi_ may basically have meant the knowledge that _nibbana_ was attained, due to the practice of _dhyana_.

Bronkhorst notes that the conception of what exactly this "liberating insight" was developed throughout time. Whereas originally it may not have been specified, later on the four truths served as such, to be superseded by _pratityasamutpada_, and still later, in the Hinayana schools, by the doctrine of the non-existence of a substantial self or person. And Schmithausen notices that still other descriptions of this "liberating insight" exist in the Buddhist canon:

"that the five Skandhas are impermanent, disagreeable, and neither the Self nor belonging to oneself"; "the contemplation of the arising and disappearance (_udayabbaya_) of the five Skandhas"; "the realisation of the Skandhas as empty (_rittaka_), vain (_tucchaka_) and without any pith or substance (_asaraka_).

Discriminating insight into transiency as a separate path to liberation was a later development. This may have been to due an over-literal interpretation by later scholastics of the terminology used by the Buddha, or to the problems involved with the practice of _dhyana_, and the need to develop an easier method. According to Vetter it may not have been as effective as _dhyana_, and methods were developed to deepen the effects of discriminating insight. It was also paired to _dhyana_, resulting in the well-known _sila-samadhi-prajna_ scheme. According to Vetter this kind of preparatory _"dhyana"_ must have been different from the practice introduced by the Buddha, using kasina -exercises to produce a "more artificially produced dhyana", resulting in the cessation of apperceptions and feelings. It also led to a different understanding of the eightfold path, since this path does not end with insight, but rather starts with insight. The path was no longer seen as a sequential development resulting in _dhyana_, but as a set of practices which had to be developed simultaneously to gain insight.

According to Alexander Wynne, the ultimate aim of _dhyana_ was the attainment of insight, and the application of the meditative state to the practice of mindfulness. According to Frauwallner, mindfulness was a means to prevent the arising of craving, which resulted simply from contact between the senses and their objects. According to Frauwallner this may have been the Buddha’s original idea. According to Wynne, this stress on mindfulness may have led to the intellectualism which favoured insight over the practice of _dhyana_.


According to Bronkhorst, referring to Frauwallner, Schmithausen and Bhattacharya,

It is possible that original Buddhism did not deny the existence of the soul.

The Noble Eightfold Path

According to Vetter, the description of the Buddhist path may initially have been as simple as the term "the middle way ". In time, this short description was elaborated, resulting in the description of the eightfold path. Vetter and Bucknell both note that longer descriptions of "the path" can be found, which can be condensed into the Noble Eightfold Path . One of those longer sequences, from the _CulaHatthipadopama-sutta_, the "Lesser Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant's Footprints", is as follows:

* _Dhammalsaddhalpabbajja_: A layman hears a Buddha teach the Dhamma, comes to have faith in him, and decides to take ordination as a monk; * _sila_: He adopts the moral precepts; * _indriyasamvara_: He practises "guarding the six sense-doors"; * _sati-sampajanna_: He practises mindfulness and self-possession (actually described as mindfulness of the body, kdydnussati); * _jhana 1_: He finds an isolated spot in which to meditate, purifies his mind of the hindrances (nwarana), and attains the first rupa-jhana; * _jhana 2_: He attains the second jhana'; * _jhana 3_: He attains the third jhana; * _jhana 4_: He attains the fourth jhana; * _pubbenivasanussati-nana_: he recollects his many former existences in samsara; * _sattanam cutupapata-nana_: he observes the death and rebirth of beings according to their karmas; * _asavakkhaya-nana_: He brings about the destruction of the asavas (inflow, mental bias), and attains a profound realization of (as opposed to mere knowledge about) the four noble truths; * _vimutti_: He perceives that he is now liberated, that he has done what was to be done.

The Four Noble Truths

K.R. Norman concluded that the earliest version of the _Dhamma-cakka-ppavattana_ sutra sutta did not contain the word "noble", but was added later. Lambert Schmithausen concluded that the four truths were a later development in early Buddhism.

Carol Anderson, following Lambert Schmithausen and K.R. Norman, notes that the four truths are missing in critical passages in the canon, and states:

... the four noble truths were probably not part of the earliest strata of what came to be recognized as Buddhism, but that they emerged as a central teaching in a slightly later period that still preceded the final redactions of the various Buddhist canons.

The four truths probably entered the Sutta Pitaka from the Vinaya, the rules for monastic order. They were first added to enlightenment-stories which contain the Four Jhanas, replacing terms for "liberating insight". From there they were added to the biographical stories of the Buddha:

t is more likely that the four truths are an addition to the biographies of the Buddha and to the Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta.

According to both Bronkhorst and Anderson, the four truths became a substitution for prajna, or "liberating insight", in the suttas in those texts where "liberating insight" was preceded by the four jhanas. According to Bronkhorst, the four truths may not have been formulated in earliest Buddhism, and did not serve in earliest Buddhism as a description of "liberating insight". Gotama's teachings may have been personal, "adjusted to the need of each person."

This replacement was probably caused by the influence and pressures of the wider Indian religious landscape, "which claimed that one can be released only by some truth or higher knowledge."


Main article: Satipatthana

According to Grzegorz Polak, the four _upassanā_ have been misunderstood by the developing Buddhist tradition, including Theravada, to refer to four different foundations. According to Polak, the four _upassanā_ do not refer to four different foundations, but to the awareness of four different aspects of raising mindfulness:

* the six sense-bases which one needs to be aware of (_kāyānupassanā_); * contemplation on vedanās , which arise with the contact between the senses and their objects (_vedanānupassanā_); * the altered states of mind to which this practice leads (cittānupassanā); * the development from the five hindrances to the seven factors of enlightenment (_dhammānupassanā_).


According to Warder the Bodhipakkhiyādhammā , the 37 factors of enlightenment, are a summary of the core Buddhist teachings which are common to all schools. These factors are summarized in the _ Maha-parinibbana Sutta _, which recounts the Buddha's last days, in the Buddha's last address to his bikkhus:

Now, O bhikkhus , I say to you that these teachings of which I have direct knowledge and which I have made known to you — these you should thoroughly learn, cultivate, develop, and frequently practice, that the life of purity may be established and may long endure, for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, well being, and happiness of gods and men.

And what, bhikkhus, are these teachings? They are the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right efforts, the four constituents of psychic power, the five faculties, the five powers, the seven factors of enlightenment, and the Noble Eightfold Path. These, bhikkhus, are the teachings of which I have direct knowledge, which I have made known to you, and which you should thoroughly learn, cultivate, develop, and frequently practice.

Alex Wayman has criticized A.K. Warder, for failing to present an integrated picture of early Buddhism. But according to Gethin, the bodhi-pakkhiyadhamma provides a key to understanding the relationship between calm and insight in early Buddhist meditation theory, bringing together the practice of jhana with the development of wisdom.


A separate stance has been taken by Stanislaw Schayer, a Polish scholar, who argued in the 1930s that the Nikayas preserve elements of an archaic form of Buddhism which is close to Brahmanical beliefs, and survived in the Mahayana tradition. Contrary to popular opinion, the Theravada and Mahayana traditions may be "divergent, but equally reliable records of a pre-canonical Buddhism which is now lost forever." The Mahayana tradition may have preserved a very old, "pre-Canonical" tradition, which was largely, but not completely, left out of the Theravada-canon.


Schayer searched in the early texts for ideas that contradict the dominant doctrinal positions of the early canon. According to Schayer, these ideas have

... been transmitted by a tradition old enough and considered to be authoritative by the compilers of the Canon. The last conclusion follows of itself: these texts representing ideas and doctrines contradictory to the generally admitted canonical viewpoint are survivals of older, precanonical Buddhism.

Edward Conze notes further:

They assume that wherever the Canon contains ideas which conflict with the orthodox theories of the Theravadins and Sarvastivadins, and wherever these ideas are taken up and developed by the Mahayana, we have to deal with a very old, "pre-Canonical" tradition, which was too venerable to be discarded by the compilers of the Canon.


Regamy has identified four points which are central to Schayer's reconstruction of precanonical Buddhism:

* The Buddha was considered as an extraordinary being, in whom ultimate reality was embodied, and who was an incarnation of the mythical figure of the tathagata; * The Buddha's disciples were attracted to his spiritual charisma and supernatural authority; * Nirvana was conceived as the attainment of immortality, and the gaining of a deathless sphere from which there would be no falling back. This nirvana, as a transmundane reality or state, is incarnated in the person of the Buddha; * Nirvana can be reached because it already dwells as the inmost "consciousness" of the human being. It is a consciousness which is not subject to birth and death.

Accordin to Ray, Schayer has shown a second doctrinal position alongside that of the more dominant tradition, one likely to be of at least equivalent, if not of greater, antiquity.

Schayer's methodology has been used by M. Falk. Falk details the precanonical Buddhist conceptions of the cosmos, nirvana, the Buddha, the path, and the saint. According to Falk, in the precanonical tradition, there is a threefold division of reality:

* The rupadhatu, the samsaric sphere of name and form (namarupa), in which ordinary beings live, die, and are reborn. * The arupadhatu, the sphere of "sheer nama," produced by samadhi, an ethereal realm frequented by yogins who are not completely liberated; * "Above" or "outside" these two realms is the realm of nirvana, the "amrta sphere," characterized by prajna. This nirvana is an "abode" or "place" which is gained by the enlightened holy man.

According to Falk, this scheme is reflected in the precanonical conception of the path to liberation. The nirvanic element, as an "essence" or pure consciousness, is immanent within samsara. The three bodies are concentric realities, which are stripped away or abandoned, leaving only the nirodhakaya of the liberated person. Wynne notes that this pure consciousness was the central element in precanonical Buddhism:

Schayer referred to passages in which "consciousness" (_vinnana_) seems to be the ultimate reality or substratum (e.g. A I.10) 14 as well as the _Saddhatu Sutra_, which is not found in any canonical source but is cited in other Buddhist texts — it states that the personality (pudgala) consists of the six elements (dhatu) of earth, water, fire, wind, space and consciousness; Schayer noted that it related to other ancient Indian ideas. Keith’s argument is also based on the _Saddhatu Sutra_ as well as "passages where we have explanations of Nirvana which echo the ideas of the Upanishads regarding the ultimate reality." He also refers to the doctrine of "a consciousness, originally pure, defiled by adventitious impurities."

Conze mentions ideas like the "person" (pudgala), the assumption of an eternal "consciousness" in the saddhatusutra, the identification of the Absolute, of Nirvana, with an "invisible infinite consciousness, which shines everywhere" in Dighanikdya XI 85, and "traces of a belief in consciousness as the nonimpermanent centre of the personality which constitutes an absolute element in this contingent world."

According to Lindtner, in precanonical Buddhism Nirvana is

... a place one can actually go to. It is called _nirvanadhatu_, has no border-signs (_animitta_), is localized somewhere beyond the other six _dhatus_ (beginning with earth and ending with _vijñana_) but is closest to _akasa_ and _vijñana_. One cannot visualize it, it is _anidarsana_, but it provides one with firm ground under one’s feet, it is dhruva; once there one will not slip back, it is _acyutapada_. As opposed to this world, it is a pleasant place to be in, it is sukha, things work well.

According to Lindtner, Canonical Buddhism was a reaction to this view, but also against the absolutist tendencies in Jainism and the Upanisads. Nirvana came to be seen as a state of mind, instead of a concrete place.

Elements of this precanonical Buddhism may have survived the canonisation, and its subsequent filtering out of ideas, and re-appeared in Mahayana Buddhism. According to Lindtner, the existence of multiple, and contradicting ideas, is also reflected in the works of Nagarjuna, who tried to harmonize these different ideas. According to Lindtner, this lead him to taking a "paradoxical" stance, for instance regarding nirvana, rejecting any positive description.


According to Conze, Schayer's approach and results are "merely a tentative hypothesis". Conze notes that it is also possible that these ideas later entered Buddhism, as a concession to "popular demand, just as the lower goal of birth in heaven (svarga) was admitted side by side with Nirvana." According to Conze, the real issue is:

Did Buddhism originate among an elite of intellectuals, of philosophical ascetics, and then become a popular religion only at the time of Asoka? Or was it, even from the earliest times onwards, a popular religion based on the cult of the Bhagavan, of the Lord Buddha? And if so, was this religious side a part of its very essence, or just as propagandistic concession to laymen?


* Atthakavagga and Parayanavagga * Buddhist Paths to liberation * Basic Points Unifying the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna * Buddhist councils * History of Buddhism * Outline of Buddhism


* ^ _A_ _B_ A.K Warder: "...a reconstruction of the original Buddhism presupposed by the traditions of the different schools known to us." * ^ This kernel of doctrine is presumably common Buddhism of the period "before the schisms of the fourth and third centuries BC. It may be substantially the Buddhism of the Buddha himself." * ^ See also Atthakavagga and Parayanavagga#Interpretation as heterodox * ^ Collin Cox: "Virtually all later sources agree that the first schism within the early Buddhist community occurred with the separation of the Mahasamghika school, or "those of the great community," from the remaining monks referred to as Sthaviras, or the "elders."". * ^ See also Atthakavagga and Parayanavagga * ^ Flood moksa/nirvana - the goal of human existence." * ^ Well-known proponents of the first position are A.K. Warder and Richard Gombrich . * ^ A proponent of the second position is Ronald Davidson. * ^ Well-known proponent of the third position are J.W. de Jong, Johannes Bronkhorst and Donald Lopez. * ^ Warder: "When we examine the Tripitakas of the eighteen schools, so far as they are extant, we find an agreement which is substantial, though not complete. Even the most conservative of the early schools seem to have added new texts to their collections. However, there _is_ a central body of sutras (dialogues), in four groups, which is so similar in all known versions that we must accept these as so many recensions of the same original texts. These make up the greater part of the Sutra Pitaka." * ^ Most of these non-Indian texts are only available in a Chinese translation, with the exception of some individual scriptures found in Nepal, which are composed in Sanskrit . The Gandhāran Buddhist Texts were recovered from Afghanistan . The central body of sutras in these texts is so similar that they are considered to be different recensions of the same text. * ^ The Digha Nikaya , Majjhima Nikaya , Samyutta Nikaya and Anguttara Nikaya * ^ Nakamura: "It has been made clear that some poem (Gāthā) portions and some phrases represent earlier layers Based upon these portions of the scriptures we can construe aspects of original Buddhism Buddhism as appears in earlier portions of the scriptures is fairly different from what is explained by many scholars as earlier Buddhism or primitive Buddhism. * ^ See Louis de La Vallée Poussin, _Musial and Narad_. Translated from the French by Gelongma Migme Chödrön and Gelong Lodrö Sangpo. * ^ In his often-cited article _On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism_ * ^ Sammyuta Nikaya 56:11 * ^ "Mara" is deeply rooted in Indo-European mythology. See also Mare (folklore) * ^ According to Bronkhorst, the Buddha's approach was a psychological one . He explains the incorporation of "inactivity asceticism" as effected by followers of the Buddha who misunderstood the Buddha's understanding of _karma_. Bronkhorst himself asks the question where this different view of _karma_ came from, and speculates that the Buddha may have inherited it from his parents, or "modified his views in this respect in the light of the experiences that led to, or constituted, his liberation." * ^ Wynne: "Thus the expression _sato sampajāno_ in the third _jhāna_ must denote a state of awareness different from the meditative absorption of the second _jhāna_ (_cetaso ekodibhāva_). It suggests that the subject is doing something different from remaining in a meditative state, i.e., that he has come out of his absorption and is now once again aware of objects. The same is true of the word _upek(k)hā_: it does not denote an abstract 'equanimity', it means to be aware of something and indifferent to it The third and fourth _jhāna-s_, as it seems to me, describe the process of directing states of meditative absorption towards the mindful awareness of objects. * ^ According to Gombrich, "the later tradition has falsified the jhana by classifying them as the quintessence of the concentrated, calming kind of meditation, ignoring the other - and indeed higher - element. * ^ Majjhima Nikaya 26 * ^ Anguttara Nikaya II.45 (PTS) * ^ Samyutta Nikaya III.140-142 (PTS) * ^ Bronkhorst: "(Frauwallner 1953: 217-53; Schmithausen 1969: 160-61; Bhattacharya, 1973)." See also Bronkhorst (2009), _Buddhist Teaching in India_, p.22 ff.

* ^ See also:

* Anderson (1999): "The appearance of the four noble truths in the introduction, enlightenment, and gerundival sets in the Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta provide evidence for Norman's correct conclusion that the teaching was probably not part of the earliest version of the Sutta. * Batchelor (2012): "In a 1992 paper entitled "The Four Noble Truths," Norman offers a detailed, philological analysis of The First Discourse, and arrives at the startling conclusion that "the earliest form of this sutta did not include the word ariya-saccaؐ (noble truth)" (Norman 2003: 223). On grammatical and syntactical grounds, he shows how the expression "noble truth" was inexpertly interpolated into the text at a later date than its original composition. But since no such original text has come down to us, we cannot know what it did say. All that can reasonably be deduced is that instead of talking of four noble truths, the text merely spoke of "four.""

* ^ In his 1970 publication _Indian Buddhism_, which predates the discoveries of Norman, Schmithausen, Vetter, Bronkhorst and Gombrich. * ^ DN 10 * ^ quote from Schayer 1935, p.124 * ^ M. Falk (1943, _Nama-rupa and Dharma-rupa_ * ^ See Digha Nikaya 15, _Mahanidana Sutta_, which describes a nine-fold chain of causation. Mind-and-body (_nama-rupa_) and consciousness (_vijnana_) do condition here each other (verse 2 ">

* ^ _A_ _B_ Leon Hurvitz: "... stressed that the written canon in Buddhism is sectarian from the outset, and that presectarian Buddhism must be deduced from the writings as they now exist." (quote via Google Scholar search-engine) * ^ _A_ _B_ J.W. De Jong: "It would be hypocritical to assert that nothing can be said about the doctrine of earliest Buddhism the basic ideas of Buddhism found in the canonical writings could very well have been proclaimed by him , transmitted and developed by his disciples and, finally, codified in fixed formulas." * ^ According to A.K. Warder, in his 1970 publication "Indian Buddhism", from the oldest extant texts a common kernel can be drawn out. According to Warder, c.q. his publisher: "This kernel of doctrine is presumably common Buddhism of the period before th great schisms of the fourth and third centuries BC. It may be substantially the Buddhism of the Buddha himself, although this cannot be proved: at any rate it is a Buddhism presupposed by the schools as existing about a hundred years after the parinirvana of the Buddha, and there is no evidence to suggest that it was formulated by anyone else than the Buddha and his immediate followers." * ^ Richard Gombrich: "I have the greatest difficulty in accepting that the main edifice is not the work of a single genius. By "the main edifice" I mean the collections of the main body of sermons, the four Nikāyas, and of the main body of monastic rules." * ^ Ronald Davidson: "While most scholars agree that there was a rough body of sacred literature (disputed)(sic) that a relatively early community (disputed)(sic) maintained and transmitted, we have little confidence that much, if any, of surviving Buddhist scripture is actually the word of the historic Buddha." * ^ Bronkhorst: "This position is to be preferred to (ii) for purely methodological reasons: only those who seek nay find, even if no success is guaranteed." * ^ Lopez: "The original teachings of the historical Buddha are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to recover or reconstruct." * ^ Gombrich: "I know this is controversial, but it seems to me that the third and fourth jhanas are thus quite unlike the second."


* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Hurvitz 1976 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Nakamura 1989 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Hirakawa 1990 . * ^ Gombrich 1997 , p. 11-12. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Jong 1993 , p. 25. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ Warder 1999 . * ^ Gombrich 1997 , p. 11 -12. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Lindtner 1997 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Mun-keat 2000 , p. ix. * ^ Warder 2000 , p. 262. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. 101-106. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ _J_ _K_ _L_ Bronkhorst 1993 . * ^ Lindter 1997 . * ^ Lindter 1999 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Wynne 2007 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Cox 2004 , p. 502. * ^ _A_ _B_ Warder 1999 , p. 5. * ^ Potter 1996 , p. 31-32. * ^ _A_ _B_ Lindtner 1999 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Samuel 2010 . * ^ Nilakanta Sastri 1988 , p. 300. * ^ _A_ _B_ Warder 2004 , p. 32-33. * ^ Norman 1997 , p. 28. * ^ Warder 2004 , p. 35. * ^ Svarghese 2008 , p. 259-260. * ^ Samuel 2008 , p. 8. * ^ _A_ _B_ Flood 2003 , p. 273-274. * ^ Norman 1997 , p. 28-29. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. vii. * ^ Warder 1999 , p. 0. * ^ Warder & 1999 , p. inside flap. * ^ Bronkhorst 1997 , p. viii. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Gombrich 1997 . * ^ Davidson 2003 , p. 147. * ^ Bronkhorst 1997 , p. vii. * ^ Lopez 1995 , p. 4. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Vetter 1988 , p. ix. * ^ _A_ _B_ Nakamura 1989 , p. 57. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ _J_ _K_ _L_ _M_ _N_ Vetter 1988 . * ^ Schmithausen 1990 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Schmithausen 1981 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Norman 1992 . * ^ Bronkhorst 1997 . * ^ bronkhorst 1993 . * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 133-134. * ^ _A_ _B_ Vetter 1988 , p. xxi-xxii. * ^ Vetter, 1988 & xxi-xxxvii . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Vetter 1988 , p. xxviii. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Anderson 1999 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Bucknell 1984 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Vetter 1988 , p. xxxiii. * ^ _A_ _B_ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 3. * ^ Conze 2008 , p. vi. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Conze 2008 , p. viii. * ^ Bronkhorst 1998 . * ^ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 13-14. * ^ _A_ _B_ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 14. * ^ bronkhorst 1998 , p. 14-15. * ^ bronkhorst 1998 , p. 15. * ^ bronkhorst 1998 , p. 16. * ^ _A_ _B_ Matthews 1986 , p. 124. * ^ Schmithausen 1986 . * ^ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 13. * ^ Schmithausen 1986 , p. 206-207. * ^ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 16. * ^ Cousins 1996 , p. 58. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. xxvii. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. xxx. * ^ Kalupahana 1994 , p. 24. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Norman 1997 , p. 29. * ^ _A_ _B_ Gombrich 1997 , p. 131. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Wynne 2007 , p. 140, note 58. * ^ Original publication: Gombrich, Richard (2007), _Religious Experience in Early Buddhism_, OCHS Library * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Wynne 2007 , p. 106. * ^ Wynne 2007 , p. 106-107. * ^ Norman 1997 , p. 30. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. xxix, xxxi. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 100-101. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 101. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. xxxiv-xxxvii. * ^ Gombrich 1997 , p. 96-134. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Vetter 1988 , p. xxxv. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. xxxvi. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. xxxvi-xxxvii. * ^ _A_ _B_ Wynne 2007 , p. 105. * ^ Williams 2000 , p. 45. * ^ _A_ _B_ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 99. * ^ Bucknell 1984 , p. 11-12. * ^ Carr & Mahalingam 1997 , p. 948. * ^ Anderson, 1999 & 17-20 . * ^ Anderson, 1999 & 20 . * ^ Batchelor 2012 , p. 92. * ^ Anderson 1999 , p. viii. * ^ Anderson 1999 , p. 21. * ^ Anderson 1999 , p. 17. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 99-100, 102-111. * ^ _A_ _B_ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 108. * ^ Bronkhorst 1993 , p. 107. * ^ Polak 2011 . * ^ Warder 1999 , p. 82. * ^ Gethin 2001 , p. 343. * ^ Gethin 2001 , p. xiii. * ^ _A_ _B_ Akizuki 1990 , p. 25-27. * ^ Ray 1999 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Reat 1998 , p. xi. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Conze 1967 , p. 10. * ^ Ray 1999 , p. 374. * ^ Ray 1999 , p. 374-377. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Ray 1999 , p. 375. * ^ Walshe 1995 , p. 223, 226. * ^ _A_ _B_ Ray , p. 375. * ^ _A_ _B_ Wynne 2007 , p. 99. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Conze 1967 , p. 11.



* Akizuki, Ryōmin (1990), _New Mahāyāna: Buddhism for a Post-modern World_, Jain Publishing Company * Anderson, Carol (1999), _Pain and Its Ending: The Four Noble Truths in the Theravada Buddhist Canon_, Routledge * Batchelor, Stephen (2012), "A Secular Buddhism", _Journal of Global Buddhism_, 13: 87–107 * Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993), _The Two Traditions Of Meditation In Ancient India_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ. * Bronkhorst, Johannes (1998), "Did the Buddha Believe in Karma and Rebirth?", _Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Volume 21, Number 1, 1998_ * Bucknell, Rod (1984), "The Buddhist to Liberation: An Analysis of the Listing of Stages", _The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Volume 7, 1984, Number 2_ * Buswell, Robert E. (2004), _Encyclopedia of Buddhism_, Macmillan * Carr, Brian; Mahalingam, Indira (1997), _Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy_, London; New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-03535-X * Conze, Edward (1967), _Thirty years of Buddhis Studies. Selected essays by Edward Conze_ (PDF), Bruno Cassirer * Conze, Edward (2008), _Buddhism. A Short History_, Oneworld * Cousins, L. S. (1996), "The dating of the historical Buddha: a review article", _Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Series 3, 6(1), 57–63_ * Cox, Collett (2004), _Mainstream Buddhist Schools. In: Buswell (ed.), "MacMillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism"_, Macmillan * Davidson, Ronald M. (2003), _Indian Esoteric Buddhism_, Columbia University Press, ISBN 0-231-12618-2 * Flood, Gavin; Olivelle, Patrick (2003), _The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism_, Blackwell * Gethin, R.M.L. (2001), _The Buddhist Path to Awakening_, Oneworld Publications * Gombrich, Richard F. (1997), _How Buddhism Began_, Munshiram Manoharlal * Harrison, Paul (2004), _Mahasamghika School. In: Buswell (ed.), "MacMillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism"_, Macmillan * Hirakawa (1990), _History of Indian Buddhism_, volume 1_, Hawai'i University Press__ _ * Hurvitz, Leon (1976), _Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma_, Columbia University Press * Jong, J.W. de (1993), "The Beginnings of Buddhism", _The Eastern Buddhist_, 26 (2) * Kalupahana, David J. (1994), _A history of Buddhist philosophy_, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited * Lindtner, Christian (1997), "The Problem of Precanonical Buddhism" (PDF), _Buddhist Studies Review_, 14: 2 * Lindtner, Christian (1999), "From Brahmanism to Buddhism", _Asian Philosophy_, 9 (1) * Lopez, Donald S. (1995), _ Buddhism in Practice_ (PDF), Princeton University Press * Matthews, Bruce (1986), _Post-Classical Developments In The Concepts of Karma and Rebirth in Theravada Buddhism. In: Ronald W. Neufeldt (ed.), "Karma and rebirth: Post-classical developments"_, SUNY * Mun-keat, Choong (2000), _The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism. A comparative study based on the Sutranga portion of the Pali Sarpyutta-Nikaya and the Chinese Sarpyuktagama_, Harrassowitz Verlag * Nakamura (1989), _Indian Buddhism__, Motilal Banarsidass__ _ * Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1988), _Age of the Nandas and Mauryas_, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0466-X * Norman, K.R. (1992), _The Four Noble Truths. In: "Collected Papers", vol 2:210-223_, Pali Text Society, 2003 * Norman, K.R. (1997), _A Philological Approach to Buddhism. The Bukkyo Dendo Kybkai Lectures 1994_ (PDF), School ofOriental and African Studies (University of London) * Polak, Grzegorz (2011), _Reexamining Jhana: Towards a Critical Reconstruction of Early Buddhist Soteriology_, UMCS * Potter, Karl H. (1996), _Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies Part VII: Abhidharma Buddhism to 150 A.D._, Motilall Banarsidass * Ray, Reginald (1999), _Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations_, Oxford University Press * Reat, N. Ross (1998), _The Salistamba Sutra_, Motilal Banarsidass * Schmithausen, Lambert (1981), _On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism". In: Studien zum Jainismus und Buddhismus (Gedenkschrift für Ludwig Alsdorf), hrsg. von Klaus Bruhn und Albrecht Wezler, Wiesbaden 1981, 199-250_ * Schmithausen, Lambert (1986), _Critical Response. In: Ronald W. Neufeldt (ed.), "Karma and rebirth: Post-classical developments"_, SUNY * Svarghese, Alexander P. (2008), _ India : History, Religion, Vision And Contribution To The World_ * Vetter, Tilmann (1988), _The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism_, BRILL * Walsh, Maurice (1995), _The Long Discourses of the Buddha. A Translation of the Digha Nikaya_, Wisdom Publications * Warder, A.K. (2004), _Indian Buddhism, 3rd Revised edition_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ. * Wynne, Alexander (2007), _The Origin of Buddhist Meditation_, Routledge


* ^ Bhikkhu Sujato, _Sects & Sectarianism. The origins of Buddhist Schools. Conclusion_ * ^ Sister Vajira & Francis Story (trans.)(1998), "Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha" (DN 10)


History of Buddhism (general)

* Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993), _The Two Traditions Of Meditation In Ancient India_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ. * Gombrich, Richard F. (1997), _How Buddhism Began_, Munshiram Manoharlal * Norman, K.R. (1997), _A Philological Approach to Buddhism. The Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai Lectures 1994_ (PDF), School ofOriental and African Studies (University of London) * Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), _The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century_, Cambridge University Press

Early Buddhism

* Schmithausen, Lambert (1981), _On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism". In: Studien zum Jainismus und Buddhismus (Gedenkschrift für Ludwig Alsdorf), hrsg. von Klaus Bruhn und Albrecht Wezler, Wiesbaden 1981, 199-250_ * Vetter, Tilmann (1988), _The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism_, BRILL * Wynne, Alexander (2007), _The Origin of Buddhist Meditation_, Routledge

Modern understanding


* A handful of Leaves Essential publications on Buddhist history * Louis de La Vallée Poussin, _Musial