The Kalama Sutra: Trusting in one’s own
experience is appealing to the venturesome
consciousness…some want to make up their
PRINCIPAL BUDDHIST SCHOOLS OF
Theravada: Thera - an
"elder" (someone there
from the beginning with
the Buddha); vada -
"doctrine,” literally the
"speaking” of the Elders
there with the Buddha
Location: south and
PRINCIPAL BUDDHIST SCHOOLS OF
Maha- "Great,” cognate or related to " magna" and yana-
THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF BUDDHIST
THE FIRST BUDDHIST COUNCIL 499/8 BCE
Elder Mahakassapa heard Subhadda say:
Five hundred arhants "Enough your Reverences, do not grieve,
participated. do not lament. We are well rid of this great
Elder Mahakassapa called this recluse (the Buddha). We were tormented
meeting was his hearing a when he said, 'this is allowable to you, this
disparaging remark about the
is not allowable to you' but now we will be
strict rule of life for monks.
able to do as we like and we will not have
The doctrines and rules were
to do what we do not like."
memorized and then passed
down for some centuries
New schools emerged: some
held only two baskets: vinaya
and sutta, but others added a
third, the abhidharma.
This was a fateful event – the
beginnings of Buddhist
philosophy per se.
THE FIRST BUDDHIST COUNCIL CONT.
At the first council, Ananda
recited the each of the
nikayas in the sutra pitaka.
Four of these “bodies” or
nikayas were recognized:
the Long, medium
connected and numerical
One, the shorter body is
found only in the pali.
EARLY BUDDHIST LITERATURE:
Watch Aly Konkol’s
on this topic here
and others on flying
mansions or as
some (odd ones
WHAT IS MEANT BY THESE TERMS?
They refer to the length of
the discourse of the
Buddha on particular
The sutras are the
principal basis upon which
the Buddha’s formal
teachings may be known.
Venerable Upali (formerly Jain) spoke with
Buddha on particulars of the monastic rule.
This monk was well qualified for the task
as the Buddha had taught him the whole of
the Vinaya himself (or Buddha borrowed
The Vinaya, of course, forms the from Jain tradition!).
rules for monastic discipline.
In keeping with the Buddha’s
own democratic ideals, he
stated that minor rules could be
Disputes broke out
concerning which elements
of the discipline are minor
and which major.
So all were kept in the
formulation of the formal
monastic code the Buddha
set out for monks.
THE VINAYA CONT.
The Theravadin Vinaya: more
strict in maintaining “precisely
what the Buddha taught.”
Two sections of vinaya:
skandhaka – miscellaneous
details, information on
government of the order.
The sutravibhanga contains
the pratimoksa – “towards
This is the fundamental principle
vows taken by a monk and which
propel a monk more rapidly to the
cutting off of desire and attainment
The sutra vibhanga encourages
monks to be mindful of all their
actions and to analyze them.
The code is meant to enable thus as
well, samatha and vipasyana the
calming and analytical elements of
The distinctions among the Vinaya
practices are relatively minor for all
sects. Example: Tibetan meat-eating
and Zen sake drinking.
This is he distilled essence of the Basket of
This dates back to approximately the 3rd
One hundred years after the Buddha’s
awakening, splits in the monastic community
The Therigatha nun poems.
THE SECTIONS OF THE ABHIDHARMA
The Kathavatthu (Debates) section
sets out a number of philosophical
issues over which Buddhist sects
The vibhanga (Analysis) discusses
the skandhas, pratitya samutpada
and so forth.
Also found are many lists; concerning
types of causation, experience,
karma notions of time, and
worldview. Aly Konkol’s Kathavatthu
may be viewed here
THE LISTS OF ABHIDHARMA
Many lists that were meant to categorize all
conceivable relations and experiential
The terms were considered a phenomenon
in the cosmos.
Each term was seen to have its own identity,
intrinsic existence svabhava .
THE SEVEN BOOKS OF THE
1. Dhammasangini – “The Enumeration of Phenomena”
States of “Consciousness"
Wholesome, unwholesome and indeterminate.
21 types of consciousness
2. Vibhanga - "Book of Analysis"
18 chapters dealing with aggregates, sense bases, elements, truths
faculties, dependent arising, foundations of mindfulness, supreme
efforts, means to accomplishment factors of enlightenment, the
eightfold path, and meditative states.
Includes the "Heart of the doctrine" - a psycho-cosmic topography of
the Buddhist universe.
THE SEVEN BOOKS OF THE
3. Dhatukatha - the "Discourse on Elements"
All phenomena understood with reference to three categories of the
aggregates, sense bases and elements.
4. Puggalapannatti - "Concepts of Individuals"
Definitions of different types of individuals.
5. Kathavatthu - "Points of Controversy"
Polemical treatise ascribed to the son of Emperor Asoka.
6. Yamaka - "Book of Pairs"
Definitions and precise usage of technical terms.
7. Patthana - "The Book of Conditional Relations"
most important of all works - also known as "The Great Treatise" is 2500
pages in length.
Applies 24 conditional relations to all phenomena.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE EARLY SCHOOLS.
We mentioned the Buddha’s unwillingness
to answer Malunkyaputta’s questions,
abstract questions about whether the
universe has a beginning or an end.
For example: In the Majjhima
nikaya – the middle length
teachings - the Buddha
criticizes those wishing to
make a system out of his
thought. His job was, again,
that of a doctor: he tells
beings how to pull the arrow
out without stating the nature
of the arrow.
THERIGATHA: HYMNS OF THE EARLIEST
BUDDHIST BHIKSUNIS (NUNS)
To watch Ms.
documentary on this
topic, click here
DEVELOPMENT OF EARLY SCHOOLS
Watch the student
the Disputes Texts
The meeting with more advanced and
sophisticated philosophical traditions of Vedic
culture may have propelled these early Buddhists
to formulate answers to specific philosophical
How does one become reborn, for example, if there is no
The Abhidharma answers this kind of question.
How does one deal with inconsistencies in the Sutras
or discourses of the Buddha?
The analogy of a doctor may describe ways in which
one patient is prescribed one type of practice to calm
his or her mind and another, may be given a doctrine
that enables discernment of the real analytically.
This gives rise to the pivotal Buddhist notional of the
conventional and ultimate levels of truth.
Conventionally, the Buddha may have stated
something that goes against what he said in other
arenas to address different topics.
THE PROHIBITION AGAINST SCHISM.
While splits and schism occurred, these monks
tended often to live together relatively peaceably in
the same monasteries.
There are reports however of physical violence a the
Buddhist monastic university at Nalanda.
According to Fa Xian, at some point he witnessed
"Hinayana" monks beating Madhyamaka monks for
This group went too far in its anatman doctrine.
CONTROVERSIES THAT AROSE.
Can a monk use salt? Can a monk use gold?
The Monks of the east of India are thought to have been
more liberal in this period.
These, in conflict with their more conservative Western
brother and sisters, broke off to form a major splinter
group – the Mahasamghikas.
The difference is not unlike controversies one finds in
other religious traditions.
Examples: For Jews, turning on a light switch – is it lighting a
fire on Sabbath or not?
For Christians, if organ playing is not prohibited in the New
Testament, then are they permissible or not?
THE SIX PERFECTIONS (PARAMITA)
1. generosity (dana)
2. morality (sila)
3. patience (ksanti)
4. diligence (viryam)
5. concentration (dhyana)
6. wisdom (jnana)
Ayatanas - sense fields,
realms or spheres =
The eye/The visible
The ear/The audible
The body/The tactile-
The Mind/Mental Objects
DHATUS AND DHARMAS
18 Dhatus-"element" or "place" for existence
There are 18 dhatu-s "places" for, existence.
6 senses (Skt. indriya) = Five senses + mental picture
6 consciousnesses (vijnana) = Five organs + brain
Dhamma-s / Dharma-s- The "building blocks" of the
Conditioned/Caused-For example, the 5 aggregates
Unconditioned/Uncaused-For example, nirvana and
1. The First Council (after Buddha’s death)
First Recitation by Ananda, et. al., of the tripitaka - The Three Baskets.
2. The Second Council (ca. One hundred years after the second council)
Signaled split of Mahasamghikas - "The Great Samgha Guys" from
Sthaviravada, "The Old Guys."
3. The Third Council (ca. 250 BCE)
Convened by Buddhist Emperor Asoka,
signaled the Sarvastivada/Vibhajyavada split.
Buddhist Western Major Events World Figures and Events
• Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great (550
• Life of Siddhartha Guatama, the historical Buddha: conventional dates: 566- B.C.E.)
- 120* 6th Century B.C.E. * 486 B.C.E. (According to more recent research, revised dates are: 490-410 • Confucius (551-479)
BCE). • Zarathustra (630-553)
• Birth of Mahavira (550)
• Socrates (469-399)
• First Buddhist Council at Rajagaha (486) after the Parinirvana*, under the
• Plato (427-347)
patronage of King Ajatasattu.
- 20 5th Century • Battle of Marathon (490)
• The Buddhist Canon as it exist today was settled at this Council and preserved
• Greek-Persian Wars (490-479)
as an oral tradition.
• Partheon Built (438)
• Second Buddhist Council at Vesali (386)about 100 year after the Parinirvana.
• Aristotle (384-322)
• First schism of the Sangha occurs in which the Mahasanghika school parts
144 4th Century • Alexander the Great (356-323)
ways with the Sthaviravadins and the Theravadins.
invaded India (327)
• Non-canonical Buddhist Council at Pataliputra (367)
THE MANY SCHOOLS OF BUDDHISM
Sravakayana Schools (a.k.a. Hinayana) Schools v. Mahayana Schools.
The Sravakayana Schools are split into 3 divisions
Theravada (a.k.a. Sthaviravada)
Dharmaguptaka, and so on..
The fourth division is under the Mahayana Schools
VIBHAJJAVĀDA SCHOOL: LET’S THINK ABOUT THAT
BUDDHISM IS ABOUT REASON, WISDOM MORE
THAN MEDITATION, THOUGH BOTH ARE REQUIRED
is an umbrella classification
for Buddhist denominations
that promote analysis as a
primary tool for developing
'insight' (Sanskrit: prajñā). This
doctrine holds that the first step
to insight is to be achieved by
the aspirant's experience,
critical investigation and
reasoning; instead of by blind
Past, Present and Future are
distinct – subject to analysis or
breakdown by moments.
SARVASTIVADA SCHOOL –
Kosha: 25c-d. “He who
affirms the existence of the
dharmas of the three time
periods [past, present and
future] is held to be a
the most influential school in
the northwestern part of
India. I first century BC, in
Gandhara (click for more art).
THE FORMATION OF THE MAHASAMGHIKAS
AND THE OPPOSING SCHOOLS.
The Mahasamghika seemed to have come to embody the
liberal attitude expressed in the Buddha’s advice to the
Trust your own experience, not just my words alone.
This gives rise to at least 18 minor schools all grouped as
Hinayana, Sravakayana among which only the Theravada
This was perhaps the most conservative of the 18
schools – Rahula.
All these emerge in opposition to the Mahasamghika.
Here we have a significant development in the history of
THE BUDDHIST WORLDVIEW
and concepts emerge
from the bubbling
broth of Buddhism –
with an agreement
again that the
experienced world is
the locus of reality.
THE FURTHER DIVISION
OF THE MAHAYANA :
The Middle Way and
THE PERFECTION OF WISDOM
EXCERPTS FROM THE HEART SUTRA
AVALOKITA, THE HOLY LORD AND BODHISATTVA, WAS MOVING IN THE DEEP COURSE OF
THE WISDOM WHICH HAS GONE BEYOND.
HE LOOKED DOWN FROM ON HIGH, HE BEHELD BUT FIVE HEAPS, AND HE SAW THAT IN
THEIR OWN-BEING THEY WERE EMPTY.
FORM IS EMPTINESS AND THE VERY EMPTINESS IS FORM ;
EMPTINESS DOES NOT DIFFER FROM FORM, FORM DOES NOT DIFFER FROM EMPTINESS,
WHATEVER IS EMPTINESS, THAT IS FORM,
ALL DHARMAS ARE MARKED WITH EMPTINESS ;
THEY ARE NOT PRODUCED OR STOPPED, NOT DEFILED OR IMMACULATE, NOT DEFICIENT OR
NO EYE, EAR, NOSE, TONGUE, BODY, MIND ; NO FORMS, SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTES,
TOUCHABLES OR OBJECTS OF MIND ; NO SIGHT-ORGAN ELEMENT, AND SO FORTH, UNTIL WE
COME TO :
NO MIND-CONSCIOUSNESS ELEMENT ; THERE IS NO IGNORANCE, NO EXTINCTION OF
IGNORANCE, AND SO FORTH, UNTIL WE COME TO : THERE IS NO DECAY AND DEATH, NO
EXTINCTION OF DECAY AND DEATH. THERE IS NO SUFFERING, NO ORIGINATION, NO
STOPPING, NO PATH.
THERE IS NO COGNITION, NO ATTAINMENT AND NO NON-ATTAINMENT.
OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA
THE MAHAYANA THREE CYCLES OF
1. Theravada: the Elder’s
The doctrine of no
Doctrine a.k.a. he individual self. Read: 5
Hinayana – the “Inferior skandhas
Vehicle” in Mahayana
Two Mahayana Schools: The doctrine of no self for
external phenomena, no
1. The Madhyamaka – the self-existence for
“Middle Way School.” subject/object or
2. The Yogacara/Cittamatra
– the “Yoga-praxis”/Mind- The doctrine of the ultimate
only school nature of consciousness .
THE TWO TRUTHS
1. Samvrti (Concealing or
masking truth )
The world of linguistic or verbal
2. Paramartha (Ultimate
The inconceivable truth known by Spiderman: unmasked
Buddhas and Aryan bodhisattvas
in meditative equipoise
Watch Paul Kacynski’s documentary on
the great Nagarjuna, here
THE THREE NATURES IN YOGACARA
The “conceptualized nature”
The “interwoven with other
nature” of reality
The “completed” or
“perfected nature” –
known by a Buddha or
Aryan bodhisattva in Cale Bakken explains this
meditative equipoise nicely in his documentary here
THE EIGHT CONSCIOUSNESSES OF
1- 5. The Five Sense
6. The Mental
7. The Ego
consciousness - Manas
8. The Repository or