REL 340-02

Begin Mahayana section

“Great Vehicle”

  • polemical literature: Theravada becomes Hinayana (“Lesser Vehicle”) ~7th cent CE
  • some M. texts date to ~1st cent CE
  • difficult to date origin
  • bodhisattva becomes more important
  • emptiness of all dharmas (s’unyata)
    • more mystical than in T.
  • worship/reverence of Buddha
  • Perfection of Wisdom sutras, oldest M. text

Bodhisattva

  • a being working across multi-lives to perfect attributes on the path to Nirvana
  • as opposed to arhat (monk/nun)
    • seen as selfish
    • nihilistic
  • eventually have magic attributes
  • “good karma” = merit
  • transfer of merit

Emptiness (s’unyata)

  • things lack sva-bhava (own-essence)
  • abhidharma schools of thought on nature of rebirth
    • enumerate factors of reality
    • elaboration on 5 skhandhas
  • consciousness & meditation

Perfection of Wisdom Sutra

  • prajna=wisdom, paramita=perfection
  • 6 perfections
    1. giving
    2. morality
    3. patience
    4. vigor
    5. meditation
    6. wisdom
  • stages of enlightenment (bhumis “realms”)
  • beginnings of belief in supernatural powers
    1. joyous (giving)
    2. purity (morality)
    3. luminosity (patience)
    4. radiance (vigor)
    5. difficult to conquer (meditation)
    6. face-to-face [with truth] (wisdom)
    7. going far (upaya, skill in means)
    8. immovable (bilocation, multilocation)
    9. good insight (dr. doolittle + omnilinguialism)
    10. dharma cloud (rays of wisdom from prior Buddhas settle on head)
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