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Bapat, P. Purushottam Vishvanath Overview. Publication Timeline.

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The Treaties on the Path to Liberation (解脫道論) and the Visuddhimagga

To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. Venerable Analayo. Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. The first part of the ar- ticle offers a brief survey of the importance of the Visuddhimagga, followed by an examination of the possible association of the Path to Liberation with the Abhaya- giri monastery.

Then some significant differences between the two works are taken up, followed in the final part of the article by an evaluation of these differ- ences. Once he had completed the task for a second time, the devas again took away the fruits of his labours, so that he had to write it a third time. Once he had finished the third version, the devas restored the other two copies. Upon examination, it was found that the three versions did not differ from each other at all.

Endo and Pind ; for a critical assessment of Buddhaghosa's role cf. Kalupahana In addition to the Chinese translation, an extract from the same work has been preserved in Tibetan. The Tibetan text has been edited by Sasaki and Bapat Bapat cf.

Skilling 7. Bapat , Bechert and Endo Bapat b: LIV, however, highlighted the absence of any reference to Ceylonese names or places; the use of transcriptions of medical terminology that points to Sanskrit originals; and the existence of the above-mentioned extract on the ascetic practice preserved in Tibetan translation.

These together prompted him to assume an Indian origin for the work. Yet, the absence of references to Ceylo- nese names or places might be due to the nature of the work, which unlike the Visuddhimagga does not contain stories this was pointed out by Kheminda in Ehara XXXVIII; on these narrations cf.

Furthermore, the use of Sanskrit medical termi- nology does not appear to have been uncommon in Ceylon this argument was also raised by Kheminda in ibid. In later times, other works of Ceylonese provenance have also been rendered into Tibetan see the survey in Skilling , so that the existence of a Tibetan translation would not in itself exclude Ceylonese origins for the original text.

Hence the question of the provenance of the Treatise on the Path to Liberation remains, for the time being, unresolved. This is rather significant, as it would imply that "the Vi- suddhimagga, which hitherto has been considered to be entirely [Buddhaghosa's] own work, is in reality a revised version of Upatissa's Vimuttimagga". The School Affiliation of the Path to Liberation In order to evaluate the relationship between the Visuddhimagga and the Path to Liberation, a central question to be solved would be the school affiliation of the latter.

Buddhaghosa considers "those" who hold that the ascetic practices cannot be classified in this manner as lacking an under- standing of the true nature of the ascetic practices. Malalasekera expresses doubts about a dependency of the Visud- dhimagga on the Path to Liberation, and Hazra believes that "it is impossible for us to decide whether he [i.

Buddhaghosa] had some definite work before him, which he merely re- vised" though it is not clear to what extent this statement was made with awareness of the Path to Liberation, as neither in his detailed survey of the Visuddhimagga nor in the index a reference to this work can be found. Buddhaghosa counters that in this case a non-returner would become an arahant, [then] an arahant a Paccekabuddha, and [then] a Paccekabuddha a Buddha.

Yet, the relevant passage in the Path to Liberation only explains 13 T 32, no. Moreover, the actual view quoted by Buddhaghosa concerns the pro- gression from stream-entry to non-return, whereas the Path to Liberation only addresses progress from non-return to full liberation.

In sum, of the altogether four instances mentioned by Bapat, in the first case the Tibetan version disagrees with the Chinese text, while the last case seems un- certain. An additional passage of relevance would be Buddhaghosa's criticism of at- tempts to relate the nature of the sense-organs to an excess of a particular ele- ment. These instances certainly point to a considerable degree of affinity between the Path to Liberation and views attributed to the Abhayagiri monastery.

Yet, that the Path to Liberation "contains some minor points accepted by the Abhayagiri Monastery does not necessarily imply that it had any special connexion with that centre". Significant Variations between the Path to Liberation and the Visuddhimagga Though at the present state of our knowledge the question of the school af- filiation of the Treatise on the Path to Liberation does not seem to find a definite answer, it remains beyond doubt that, in spite of the basic structure and mode of presentation in the Visuddhimagga being closely similar to the Path to Liberation, a number of points can be found where Buddhaghosa's presentation differs.

Out of these differences, in what follows two particular themes will be examined more closely: the way in which the quality of wholesomeness is handled in the two versions, and the scheme used in the Path to Liberation and in the Visuddhimagga to describe the progress of insight. Bapat a and Hayashi The pattern underlying the positions taken by the two works in regard to con- duct and the ascetic practices recurs again in relation to concentration. The Path to Liberation distinguishes between wrong and right types of concentration.

Yet, by defining concentration as something that by nature is wholesome a shift of emphasis takes place that is in line with the position taken in the same work in regard to conduct and the ascetic practices.

Thus it considers the distinguishing of name and form as an implementation of the first truth, which thereby fulfils purification of view. In this way, the Path to Liberation covers the progress of insight based on the scheme of the four noble truths. To employ the four noble truths scheme in this way is rather apt. The importance of the four noble truths is also reflected in the standard descriptions of the attainment of stream-entry during a gradual instruction given by the Buddha, where it is the de- livery of a teaching on the four noble truths that causes the stainless dustless eye of the Dhamma to arise.

In this other occurrence, the seven purifications are part of a set of altogether nine purifications. Yet, it is rather puzzling that Buddhaghosa should employ only the seven stages of purifi- cation in order to delineate the progress to insight. As a result of having recourse to the seven-fold scheme, instead of availing himself of the complete scheme of nine purifications, Buddhaghosa treats awakening under the heading of "purifica- tion by knowledge and vision".

On the term kusala and its implications cf. As al- ready noted by Nagao 75, the title of the Visuddhimagga reflects this shift of emphasis from the four noble truths towards the seven purifications. A type of knowledge and vision that has been de- veloped through clarity of perception would certainly be inferior to the full libera- tion through the destruction of the influxes that can be expected from insight into the impermanent nature of the five aggregates, a form of contemplation that the discourses regularly related to full awakening.

The full scheme of nine purifications in the Dasuttara-sutta has the addi- tional stages of "purification of wisdom" and "purification of liberation".

Conclusions On the highly probable supposition that Buddhaghosa knew a version of the Path to Liberation, the above discussed instances give the impression that Bud- dhaghosa at times deliberately departed from the model set by his predecessor, even if this meant that he had to depart from the canonical sources. The two main types of departures, discussed above, involve a conception of the nature of whole- someness that seems to give more importance to externals and the employment of an incomplete scheme of purifications for describing the progress of insight.

In the thought world of the early discourses, emphasis is placed on the men- tal condition behind any action in order to determine its wholesome or unwhole- some nature.

Instead, these discourses inculcate an attitude of continuous vigilance with awareness that replaces any self-complacency, thereby ensuring that any practice undertaken will serve its purpose in diminishing unwholesome qualities and increasing wholesome ones. With the passage of time, however, such an introspective attitude can easily get lost and become replaced by an emphasis on externals of behaviour, whose adopting is assumed to automatically ensure that wholesomeness increases.

Such an attitude can then find its expression in a concern with precise enacting of mi- nutes aspects of behavioural codes according to the prescriptions given in the Vi- naya and its commentaries, thereby running the danger of losing the purpose of such prescriptions out of sight. Thus the Treatise on the Path to Liberation stands out as a good example for the poten- tial that the Chinese canon has to offer to Buddhist studies.

Thanks to the inde- fatigable efforts of the Chinese translators over many centuries, the vast corpus of material translated into Chinese presents us with a treasure grove of material for deepening our understanding of developments in the history of Buddhist thought. Cousins b; for treatments of the progress of insight cf. Adikaram, E. Weera- ratne ed. Bapat, P. Bechert, H. Bapat Felicitation Vol- ume, N. Samtani et al. Bhattacharya, Vidhushekhara ed.

Cousins, L. Crosby, K. Ehara, N. M et al. Endo, T. Franke, R. Gunawardana, R. Hayashi, T. Kalupahana, David J. Law, B. Malala- sekera ed. Malalasekera, G. Nanayakkara, S. Weeraratne ed. Norman, K. Jha ed. Premasiri, P. Sasaki, G. Skilling, P. Related Papers. The Teachings of the Abhayagiri School, pp.

The Path and the Castle. By Daniel Millet Gil. By Dr. Vijitha Kumara. By Max Deeg. Translations or Adaptations?

Publications by Bhikkhu Anālayo

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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. Venerable Analayo.

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Love and Compassion in the Visuddhimagga. It is with great pleasure that I make the following acknowledgements. Buddhaghosa Buddhist scholar Britannica. Visuddhimagga Buddhaghosa - Buddhism - Oxford.

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