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the Prajnaparamita Literature

Discussion of general East-Asian Mahayana Buddhism, Sutras & Shastras.

the Prajnaparamita Literature

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:57 pm

I've been reading Conze's book on the Prajnaparamita literature, aptly titled THE PRAJNAPARAMITA LITERATURE (2nd Edition; 1977). It's a very brief book, and I gather it's intended mostly for academic scholars. It comprises a chronological survey of the original literature, in the various countries. There is then an annotated bibliography. And following these are brief summaries of commentarial literature.

Conze refers to the basic writing as "the Asta" -- or sometimes in good scholarly shorthand form simply as "A" -- which is the Astasahasrika (where "asta" means "8"). It is "The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines", in 32 chapters, and the "eight" referred to is the eight thousand lines. The work is in prose, but nonetheless the number of lines is used as its overall identifier, as if it were in verse instead. Each line is made of 32 syllables. In translation to English (as Conze has done and published elsewhere), the text "...is about 110,000 words long".

As to the content of the writing, Conze generalizes:

    "Two kinds of ideas can be distinguished in the Asta. The first set contrasts point by point with the Abhidharma. The second is newly created by the Mahayana. The persons against whom these writings are directed are perpetually referred to as the 'Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas'. ...the new ideas arose historically speaking as a reaction against the Abhidharma traditions of the Sarvastivadins."
Among the "new ideas", Conze singles out three:

    "1) The greater interest in the Absolute [leading] to such terms as 'Suchness', etc. 2) The new concept of skill in means, through which, in the spiritually advanced, all doings and thoughts become tools of an all-embracing compassion. 3) The concept of the dedication of merit. One gives up the merit one has acquired, and transfers it to other beings, so that they may gain full [awakening]."
To close this post of appreciation of Conze, and of the Prajnaparamita literature, I'll copy the way that Conze sums up the Prajnaparamita:

    "The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences: 1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or Buddha-to-be), i.e., one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings. 2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a 'being', or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment. To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect."
--------------------------------------------------

Now, I -- as "Joe" -- would personally caution that the meaning of what's within and behind the word "accept", there, is more than an "acceptance". It is an uncontradictory incorporation -- and is silent -- with body and mind, based on genuine awakening, wherein we are able to use all our original Human inheritances, once uncovered, completely freely.

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: the Prajnaparamita Literature

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:06 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
    "The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences: 1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or Buddha-to-be), i.e., one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings. 2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a 'being', or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment. To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect."
--------------------------------------------------

Now, I -- as "Joe" -- would personally caution that the meaning of what's within and behind the word "accept", there, is more than an "acceptance". It is an uncontradictory incorporation -- and is silent -- with body and mind, based on genuine awakening, wherein we are able to use all our original Human inheritances, once uncovered, completely freely.

:Namaste:,

--Joe


Sounds perfectly fine by me Joe!
:Namaste:
Just don't ask me to vote. :tongueincheek:
Mijn Oude Vriend uit de woestijn begrijpt geen Nederlands. <3
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Re: the Prajnaparamita Literature

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:13 am

fukasetsu wrote:Just don't ask me to vote. :tongueincheek:

For our Bernie? Or Trump? :lol2:

(never mind; just pulling your beard) ;)

--Joe
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