A Comparison of the Pāli and Chinese Versions of the Brahma Saṃyutta, A Collection of Early Buddhist Discourses on Brahmās, The Exalted Gods Mun-Keat Choong

A Comparison of the Pāli and Chinese Versions of the Brahma Saṃyutta, A Collection of Early Buddhist Discourses on Brahmās, The Exalted Gods Mun-Keat Choong

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  BSRV 31.2 (2014) 179–194  Buddhist Studies Review ISSN (print) 0256-2897doi: 10.1558/bsrv.v31i2.179  Buddhist Studies Review ISSN (online) 1747-9681 © Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2014, Ofce 415, The Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Shefeld, S1 2BX A Comparison of the P ā li and Chinese Versions of the  Brahma Saṃyutta , a Collection of Early Buddhist Discourses on Brahmās, the Exalted Gods M UN -K EAT  C HOONG S CHOOL   OF  H UMANITIES , U NIVERSITY   OF  N EW  E NGLAND , A USTRALIA mchoong@une.edu.au A BSTRACT This article rst briey examines the textual structure of the Brahma Saṃyutta  of the Pā li Saṃyutta-nikāya  in conjunction with two other ver- sions preserved in Chinese translation in Taishō vol. 2, nos 99 and 100. Then it compares the main teachings contained in the three versions. This comparative study of these three different versions focuses on some shared images of Brahmās and on disagreements of some teach - ings presented in the three versions. It reveals similarities and signi - cant differences in structure and doctrinal content, thus advancing the historical/critical study of early Buddhist doctrine in this area. Keywords   Brahmā, Fantian 梵天 ,  Saṃyukta , Saṃyutta ,  Xiangying s 相應 , Sagātha-vagga ,   Bazhong Song 八眾誦 ,  geya-aṅga ,  geyya-aṅga Introduction The Brahma   Saṃyutta, the sixth  saṃyutta  of the Pāli Saṃyutta-nikāya  (abbrevi - ated S), is represented in Chinese by two versions, one in the Za Ahan Jing   雜阿含經 ( Saṃyuktāgama , abbreviated SA,   Taishō vol. 2, no. 99), the other in the Bieyi Za Ahan Jing 別譯雜阿含經   (  Additional Translation of Saṃyuktāgama , abbreviated   ASA,   Taishō vol. 2, no. 100). This  saṃyutta/xiangying 相應  is a collection of various discourses on the subject of Brahmās. In the late Vedic tradition, Brahmā is the creator of the universe, belonging to one particular class of Indian divine beings ( deva s). However, in the three versions this idea of a singular Brahmā has given way to the idea of a plurality of Brahmās, individual exalted gods existing in the universe. The discourses contained in the Pāli and Chinese versions of the Brahma  © Equinox Publishing Ltd 2014 180 Mun-Keat Choong Saṃyutta reect the early Buddhist adaptation of general Indian religious beliefs about Brahmā as it was at the time of the Buddha.In this article I rst briey examine the textual structure of the three versions. Then I compare the main teachings contained in them, making use of new edi - tions of the Saṃyuktāgama : Yin Shun’s Za Ahan Jing Lun Huibian   雜阿含經論會編  [ Combined Edition of Sūtra and Śāstra of the Saṃyuktāgama ] (abbreviated CSA) and the Foguang Tripiṭaka   Za Ahan Jing  (abbreviated FSA). 1  This will reveal similarities and signicant differences in structure and doctrinal content, thus advancing the study of early Buddhist teachings in this area.   Textual structure The Pāli Brahma Saṃyutta is the sixth of the eleven  saṃyutta s comprised in the Sagātha Vagga  of the Saṃyutta-nikāya . The two corresponding Chinese versions, one in Taishō vol. 2, no. 99 ( Saṃyuktāgama ) and the other in Taishō vol. 2, no. 100 (  Additional Translation of Saṃyuktāgama ), do not have any title of the collec - tions, including the section title, Sagātha Vagga . They were translated from now lost Indic-language srcinals. In the Combined Edition of Sūtra and Śāstra of the Saṃyuktāgama  version, the Saṃyuktāgama  text bears the title Fantian    Xiangying   梵天相應  ( Brahma Saṃyukta , Connected with Brahmās) comprised in the title Eight Assemblies Section (the Ba zhong 2  Song   八眾誦 )   supplied by the editor, Yin Shun. 3  The Fantian    Xiangying  is the counterpart of the Pāli Brahma Saṃyutta . It is also the sixth of the eleven  xiangying s 相應 /  saṃyukta s in the Eight Assemblies Section of the reconstructed Saṃyuktāgama version (Choong 2000, 20, 247). The same location — the sixth of the eleven  saṃyukta s — applies also to the recon-structed  Additional Translation of Saṃyuktāgama  version. 4   In earlier editions of Saṃyuktāgama ,  saṃyukta titles are lacking and the beginning and end of each  saṃyukta  have to be inferred from the  sūtra  contents. The Sagātha Vagga /Eight Assemblies Section pertains to the  geya-aṅga (P.  geyya-aṅga ) portion of Saṃyutta-nikāya / Saṃyuktāgama . 5 1. These two new editions incorporate textual corrections, modern Chinese punctuation, com - ments, and up-to-date information on Pāli and other textual counterparts, including differ - ent Chinese versions of the text. 2. Skt aṣṭau pariṣadaḥ ; P. aṭṭha parisā . 3. The section title, 八眾誦 Bazhong Song , is not found in the T vol. 2 of the SA version (no. 99) and the ASA version (no. 100). See CSA i 48–49 (in ‘Za Ahan Jing Bulei zhi Zhengbian 雜阿含經部類之整編  [Re-edition of the Grouped Structure of SA]’), and iii 219. T 30, no. 1579 ( Yogācārabhūmi śāstra ), 294a, 772c: 八眾 . T 24, no. 1451 (the Mūla-Sarvāstivāda Vinaya ), 407 on the title Sagāthā Vagga.  Cf. also Bucknell (2007) for a discussion on the sequence of the  Sagātha-vagga and   the Eight Assembles. The author considers that the sequence of the Sagātha-vagga derives from the Eight Assembles. See also CSA i 7–9, 22–3, 44–5, 64–5, and Choong (2010). 4. Yin Shun (1971, 670–672); CSA i 23, n. 10.5. Choong (2000, 20, n. 12, 247–249; 2010, 59; 2012, n. 5). Geya  is one of the three aṅga s rep- resented in the structure of S/SA:  s ūtra  (P.  sutta ) ‘discourse’ (short, simple prose),  geya  (P.  geyya ) ‘stanza’   (verse mixed with prose), and vyākaraṇa (P. veyyākaraṇa )   ‘exposition’. These three aṅga s are the rst three of nine types of early Buddhist text ( navaṅga ) classied accord - ing to their style and form.   They are regarded by some scholars as historically the earliest ones to have appeared, in sequence, in the formation of the early Buddhist texts (Choong 2000, 9–11; 2010, 55–61). Also, only these three aṅga s are mentioned in M 122 ( Mahāsuññatā- sutta )  III 115 and its Chinese counterpart, MA 191 T 1 739c. This suggests the possibility that only these three aṅga s existed in the period of Early (or pre-sectarian) Buddhism. Rupert  © Equinox Publishing Ltd 2014 181  A Comparison of the Pāli and Chinese Versions of the Brahma Saṃyutta The Pāli Brahma Saṃyutta belongs to the Tāmraśāṭiya/Vibhajyavāda school (often called Theravāda), 6  the SA   version belongs to the Sarvāstivāda school, and the ASA version may belong to the Kāśyapīya school (or to an unidentied school). 7 The Pāli Brahma Saṃyutta  comprises fteen discourses (S 6.1–15). Of its Chinese counterparts, both the SA and ASA versions have ten discourses (SA 1188–1197; ASA 101–110).   The Pāli Brahma Saṃyutta therefore has ve more discourses than the two Chinese versions. All discourses in the SA and ASA versions have Pāli counterparts. Two dis - courses in the SA and ASA versions have their Pāli counterparts located in other collections than in Brahma Saṃyutta (SA 1189 = ASA 102 = S 47 Satipaṭṭhāna Saṃyutta  18; SA 1192 = ASA 105 = S 1 Devatā Saṃyutta 37). On the other hand, three discourses in the Pāli version (S 6. 1, 12, 14) have no SA and ASA counterparts. Two discourses in the Pāli version have their Chinese counterparts in the Brāhmaṇa Saṃyukta and the Devatā Saṃyukta  (S 6.3 = 婆羅門相應 Poluomen Xiangying  SA 99 = ASA 265; S 6.10 = 諸天相應 Zhutian Xiangying  SA 1278 = ASA 276). The full set of Chinese-Pāli and Pāli-Chinese counterparts is shown in Tables 1 and 2.The identication of the Chinese-Pāli and Pāli-Chinese counterparts shown in these tables is open to discussion. As is indicated in Table 1, the discourses of both the SA and ASA versions are completely in accord with regard to their structural arrangement. As is evident in the two tables, the discourses in the Pāli version match up very loosely with the discourses of the two Chinese versions as regards sequence, whereas the two Chinese versions match up with each other entirely in the sequence of the discourses. The SA and ASA versions are therefore struc - turally much closer to each other than to the S  version. Fragmentary Sanskrit counterparts of segments of the Chinese SA version (and the ASA version) were published by Fumio Enomoto (1994). 8  The published Sanskrit counterparts of the discourses on the subject of Brahmās consists of six fragments, corresponding to SA 1188, 1189, 1192, 1194, 1196, 1197 (= ASA 101, 102, 105, 107, 109, 110). These fragmentary Sanskrit texts are useful for conrming certain Chinese technical terms. Gethin on the H-Buddhism Discussion Network suggests that the PTS reading ‘  suttaṃ geyyaṃ veyyākaraṇassa hetu ’ (M 122: III 115) should be corrected to ‘  suttaṃ geyyaṃ veyyākaraṇaṃ tassa hetu’  , following the Burmese/Ceylonese version’s reading: ‘ no kho Ānanda arahati sāvako  satthāraṃ anubandhituṃ yadidaṃ suttaṃ geyyaṃ veyyākaraṇaṃ tassa hetu’   (‘It is not right, Ānanda, that a disciple should seek the Teacher’s company for this reason, namely  sutta ,  geyya , veyyākaraṇa. ’). This Pāli version’s reading is clearly supported by the Chinese version (T 1, 739c04): ‘ 佛言。阿難。不其正經.歌詠.記說故。信弟子隨世尊行奉事至命盡也。 ’ ( ‘The Buddha said: Ānanda, it is not for this reason, namely  sūtra ,  geya , vyākaraṇa , that a disciple follows the World Honoured One with respect until the end of life.’). See the discussions on H-Buddhism posted on 21–23, 31 October 2011 under this subject: Disagree - ment in Readings of Sutra/Geya/Vyakarana.6. Cf. Cousins (2001, 168; 2010), and Cheng (2012) on the discussion of the terms, Tāmraśāṭiya and Tāmraparṇīya (P. Tambapaṇṇiya). Anālayo (2013, 228) considers ‘the expression Theravāda — being the term that is evidently considered acceptable by the tradition it refers to — is about the best choice one could make’.7. Choong (2011, 62, n. 6). Yin Shun (1971, 804–807). Both Bingenheimer (2009) and Bucknell (2011) argue that the ASA version should belong to the Sarvāstivāda school. This issue is dis - cussed by Choong (2011, 62, n. 6).8. Enomoto (1982,   38–42). Cf. also Chung (2008, 226–228).  © Equinox Publishing Ltd 2014 182 Mun-Keat Choong Several individual Brahm ā s inconsistently recorded in the three versions of  Brahma Saṃyukta 9   10 The name, Brahmā, srcinates in the late Vedic tradition, in which Brahmā (also identied as Puruṣa, the cosmic Man or primal Person) is   one way of referring 9. Different from CSA iii 180, n. 11.10. Different from CSA iii 180, n. 14. SA (  Chinese  )ASA (  Chinese  ) S (Pali)   1188101 6.2 (cf. A 4.21)1189102 (cf. SA-u 4)47.18 (in Satipaṭṭhāna Saṃyutta ) 11901036.1111911046.1311921051.37 (in Devatā Saṃyutta ) 1193106 (cf. SA-u 5)6.7–9 9 11941076.6 10   11951086.411961096.5 11971106.15 Table 1. Chinese-Pāli correspondences of the Fantian Xiangying ( Brahma Saṃyukta ). S (Pali)SA (Chinese)ASA (Chinese) 6.1None None (cf. EA 19.1)6.2 (cf. A 4.21)11881016.399 (in Poluomen Xiangying 婆羅門相應 , Brāhmaṇa Saṃyukta ) 2656.411951086.511961096.611941076.7–91193 106 (cf. SA-u 5)6.101278 (in Zhutian Xiangying 諸天相應 , Devatā Saṃyukta ) 276 (cf. EA 21.5)6.1111901036.12NoneNone 6.1311911046.14NoneNone6.151197110 Table 2. Pāli-Chinese correspondences of the Brahma Saṃyutta.
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