Upanisadic Tradition and The Early School of Vedanta as Noticed in Buddhist Scripture - Nakamura Hajime

Harvard-Yenching Institute Upanisadic Tradition and The Early School of Vedanta as Noticed in Buddhist Scripture Author(s): Nakamura Hajime Source: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1/2 (Jun., 1955), pp. 74-104 Published by: Harvard-Yenching Institute Stable URL: . Accessed: 03/03/2011 03:47 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at .
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  Harvard-Yenching Institute Upanisadic Tradition and The Early School of Vedanta as Noticed in Buddhist ScriptureAuthor(s): Nakamura HajimeSource: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1/2 (Jun., 1955), pp. 74-104Published by: Harvard-Yenching Institute Stable URL: Accessed: 03/03/2011 03:47 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Harvard-Yenching Institute is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies.  UPANISADICTRADITIONANDTHE EARLYSCHOOLOF VEDANTA AS NOTICEDINBUDDHISTSCRIPTURE NAKAMURAHAJIME TOEKY UNIVERSITY [Sections11-VIof this articleareessentiallya translationofpages178-235ofmyShokinoVedanta tetsugakuVIM.(D;-3-- y Af(EarlyVedantaPhilosophy), Tokyo, 1950,pp. 32+536.Iwishto thank ProfessorDanielH. H. INGALLS, who carefully editedmy English versionfor publication.] I INTRODUCTION ThehistoryofVedainta,which hasbeen themostimportantofthe manyphilosophical schoolsof India, becomesclear onlyafterthetime ofSanikara,whois frequentlycalled the greatestIndian philosopher.The schoolunder discussion takes its namefrom vedanta,a term referringto that portion ofIndian scripturecomprised intheUpanisads,a portion which theschool called Vedanta especiallyesteems.Thesrcinof theschoolwhich came tobear thisnamemust be placedshortlyafterthe completion of theearly Upanisads,that is, about 300B. C.*Thisleaves aperiodofroughlyathousand years (c.300 B.C. toA.D. 700-750)during whichthe schoolmusthaveexisted anddeveloped beforethe timeofSantkara.Unfortunately,thepre-Sanikaranworks ofVedanta,with theexceptionof theBrahmasfttras,theM&ndlikya-karikas,and theVtkyapadiya,haveallbeenlost,and ourstudy ofthepositionofVedantaduringthatperiodmust bebased to a *Thereisno evidenceof theapplicationofthe nameVedantatothe schooluntilamuch laterdate.Dr. NAKAMURA discusses thispointindetail inanearlier sectionofShokinoVedantatetsugaku.Onpage156 he furnishestheearliestoccurrencehe hasfoundofthetermvedantavada:inSanskrit, Bhaskara (9th centuryA.D.) onBrahmasuitra 11.2.8, page 112;inTibetan, Bhavya (= Bhavaviveka,6thcenturyA.D.): rig byed kyimthar smraba=vedantavada.Ofvedd&ntavadinhe notes theuseby SamkaracaryaonBrahmasuitra1.4.22 andII.2.17.-D.H.H.I. 74  UPANISADICTRADITION AND EARLY SCHOOLOF VEDANTA 75largeextentonfragmentaryreferencesin the worksof otherschools and sects of India. Professor V. A. SUKHTANKAR,oneof themosteminentof modern Sanskritists,oncewrote(WZKM22[1908].129): Itwillbe averyvaluablemeans toascertain howtheVedanta teachingswereunderstoodinthe early days,if we canfind references totheminearlyIndian works.The first to come into considerationfor this purposearethe Buddhisticand Jainascriptures.ButIamnot aware of any referenceintheformer. Suchreferences doexist, however. Indeed,athorough investigationof thevolumi-nous Buddhist canon reveals many passages whichcontribute toourknowledgeofthepositionheldbythepre-Santkaraschool towhichwe may extend,inretrospect,thelatertermVedanta. II EARLYBUDDHISM AND UPANISADIC THOUGHT In the early days of Buddhism most of the Vedic scripturesalready existed,and various branchesofstudy concerningtheVedawereactively pursued.Referencesboth to theVedaandtoVedicbranches oflearningarefrequentin thescripturesofearlyBuddhism.Theearly Upanisadsmust also have existedatthistimeandevenbefore,but we findin theearliestBuddhist sourcesnoreference to the nameUpanisadnor to branches of studyimmediately concerningtheUpanisads. Weconclude,therefore,thattheUpanisads were known to these early Buddhists merelyaspartof theVeda,withoutspecialvaluebeing attached to them.The school whichspeciallyesteemedandconcentrated upon theUpanisads,ifitexistedatall,wasinsignificantandwasnot re-cognizedas anindependent philosophical school by the Buddhists.Nevertheless,wemaynotice afew passages of Buddhist scrip-turewhichreflectUpanisadic practices and ideas. Thus, we aretold of a brahminwhowas conversant withthe mantas (= Veda),who wandered about thecountry alwaysasan itinerant priest,livingongleaningsand thefruits of trees, and who wished for 'nothingness' (akificafifia) .' 1 Again we read of an itinerant brahmin who observed afast and recited thewords of the three 1 Suttanipata,verses976-978.  76NAKAMURAHAJIME scriptures(trayi) .2 These brahmins must have been negligent ofthekarmakaindaof the Veda and have been guided byviewssimilarto those of theUpanisads,which contain frequent praiseoftheitinerantlifeand which teach the identity of atma withbrahma.Itistruethat the ideal of itinerant life hadexistedbefore the time oftheUpanisads(cf., e. g., the sarvamedha).Butsuchan idealmaybecalledUpanisadicinsofar as it is consistentwiththeteaching of theUpanisads.Wefind inearly Buddhist texts frequentmentionandrefuta-tion ofthe doctrine that the Lord (issara) is the creator of theworld.3 The title, Lord, belongs to Brahma; it cannot be appliedto lowerdeities, but only to the highest God, the supreme ruleroftheworld. This Brahma, is the Great Brahma, vanquisherand unvanquished, all-seeing and all-subduing lord, paramountdisposeroflife, abiding forever,fatherofallcreatures that wereorareto be! 4 SuchaconceptofBrahma was not expressed bytheBuddha norbyhisdisciples,but nodoubt was current amongthepeople oftheirtime.5 Now, the attributes which BuddhistcanonicaltextsgivetothisBrahmaas world creator or worldrulerareclosely parallel to the attributes of God in the earlierUpanisads.Foursuchattributesarespecially worthy of ourattention.First, accordingtotheBuddhist accounts, Brahma has 2 Tsaa hanching 4Pr, (Nj. 99>Samyuktagama), ch.9, ?255;cf.TTI1.63c.Theabbreviationsusedhereand hereafter are asfollows:Nj. Bunyiu NANJIO(NANJO Bunyul'ft ),ACatalogueof theChinese TranslationoftheBuddhistTripitaka . . .,Oxford, 1883,pp. xxxvi+479.Thenumberfollowing Nj. isthat of theentry in thisclassifiedcatalogue.<=translatedfrom>translated as TTTheso-calledTaishoTripitaka(Taisho shinshii daiz5ky5 kiEUMFg*0. ft,Tokyo,1924-1932).References are tovolume,page, andpagesection.'Among thefive sortsofphilosophersmentionedin theMahabodhijitakaare in-cluded philosophers whoregardedtheLordas cause of theworld(issarakaranavadins);cf.Jaitaka V.228. ThetheorythatalldeedsofmenarecausedbytheLord (A ) Jis --EW EM W$S TTI.435b)andthetheorythatpleasure,suffering,non-pleasureandnon-sufferingare oftheLord'screation(issaranimmdnahetu-cf.AAguttaranikdyaI.173)are alsomentioned.'Majjhima-NikayaI.326-327;Digha-Nikaya1.18.Cf.alsoUiHakuju 5fr#f , Indo tetsugakukenkyiuFP'T*W[Studies inIndianPhilosophy],Tokyo,1926-1930) III.104-105. 5 ThispointisfullydiscussedbyUi, op. cit.,142-147.
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