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Buddhism Notes

a148 Mahayana Buddhism, psychedelic monarchism. Its appeal to the hallucinatory mind is like that of legitimist absolutism in the political sphere. All conflict is reduced to a theoretical minimum, spiritual order is clearly established. And Mahayanism is far more logical than Catholicism, far more satisfying to the mind. It suggests something like Bourbonism or Jacobitism perhaps, certainly not for oriental despotism. Christ and God are1 beings not of the same stuff as we, they are supposedly beings of an inherently higher order, demanding our obedience as master to slave. Buddhism is the only satisfying international transcultural religion. There are the germs of many others perhaps, but they never developed for themselves such beautiful and appealing propaganda, they do not leap so easily to mind. Kushan propaganda symbols etc.

a150 Kushan kingdom, ruled from old Kabul,* where the greater part of the Mahayana scriptures were composed. Something akin to speculation but what is produced is intended as definitive truth. The varieties of Buddhism have helped to make Buddha an incomparable symbol. Any valuable philosophy must learn how to project itself, disseminate symbols for popular consumption. Buddhism an admirably simplified version of common Hindu religious ideas.

a81 Eliphas Levi. Levi's form of Catholicism leads necessarily to decadent romanticism. What he makes forbidden is what is most exotically fascinating...Yet how is it to be enjoyed if it is inextricably bound up with the pangs of hell? By masochism, decadence etc. That which is to be desired must not be forbidden, as the Buddhists knew. By making certain things forbidden, and these not things which threaten the survival of the race, not things we automatically shy from in repulsion, Levi is a decadent. He opens up an exciting new world then says we may not enter on pain of hell.

a95 On the good elements in the character of Jesus. Jesus perhaps the original Jesus as the preacher of 'the form of religion' of a kind of original hippy philosophy of despising all worldly aspirations. Self sufficiency 'the kingdom of God is within you', timelessness. This is not quite the same as Buddhism, it does not advocate any self discipline, simply a turning away from conventional values that can be practised by men who have a great inner resourcefulness of their own, scholars, contemplatives, musicians, museum addicts, lovers of architecture, dreamers of all kinds. Buddha outlines a technique to produce a state of comparative desirelessness. Jesus proclaims and demonstrates the ideal.

aa156 Dharmapala worship intensified by need to resist Hun invasions. Correspondences between different realms of experience. Needs of a situation finding expression in many features of the organism.

aa51 In the Saddharma Pundarika idea of salvation by faith. ..original Buddhist pessimism has faded into the background but the book is in no sense shallow, for we are still left with the form of enlightenment, even if freed from particularistic accretions. I wish I understood it better... monasticism and its appeal. study celibacy...Buddhism more Epicurean than Christianity. While containing ascetic elements it does tend to see spiritual progress in terms of progressively increasing pleasure and well being rather than in terms of mortification and suffering.

ab347 Meaning and value of Buddhism to the west. Buddhism is study with a value not dissimilar to that of Schopenhauer's philosophy. It is a vast interesting & valuable field of study with no end to it. Unlike Christianity it does not immediately embrace the believer. The anatta element is very strong in B. The Christian soul may feel cherished & cared for even in its sinfulness, the Buddhist does not even exist as an individual. B. insists on the need for enlightenment as paramount. thus though we study it mostly we are still stuck in Maya. ie we are not necessarily searching for Buddhist enlightenment, but even within a strictly Buddhist context that does not have to matter. Myself as radically unenlightened, having no idea where I am going, full of ineffectual desires.

ac119 Western Buddhism suggests the idea of cure for mental illness. What else is the perception of Dukkha in our society? Why else the need for such peace and freedom from perturbation? The opposite ideal is of man or woman possessed with desire and delighting in it. One may think of the Greek athlete, perhaps the famous statue of the nude discus thrower. Possessed with desire one desires even immortality. And one may get it. I am not for a this worldliness that spoils the enjoyment of life with the frustrating finality of death.

ad30 Anatta. The loss of ego, of the straightforward desire that gets frustrated. Through contemplation one may raise oneself to a mystical pitch.

ad33 When one considers the Greeks, Greek art, culture, sexuality, one sees the importance of memory. The difference between civilisation and unorganised barbarism has much to do with memory. Culture as such tends towards the Buddhistic. Its concern is with contemplation, with the ecstasy that can be remembered and recreated rather than that which all know and which all too quickly passes. Contemplation is essential to art. The barbarian experiences ecstasy enow, of the moment rather than of the memory. Greek art and intimations of Buddhism. Greek art and Buddhist philosophy as essentially onto the same thing, onto the immediate and present state of mind. Affirmation/negation. What is sought is the satisfaction of the mind, one that is repeatable either in meditation or aesthetic experience. Does it matter if the ulterior significance of the symbols that give satisfaction be thought of as life or death? Elgin marbles. Crowleyan Buddhism & his thelemic dissolution of the opposites of affirmation and negation in the Mahayana concept of the void. The real difference is between these and the frustrated fury of the will.

ad93& Turbulence of childhood. Memory. Say the decadent was concerned with preserving a civilised sensibility in a sea of modern vulgarity. the modern situation is worse. One resists clichés because they are a source of actual suffering. They are not experienced like that by everybody & there must be a reason for that. Partly because they are filled with magic. Sermons can be interesting. Fundamental objection to Christianity, coercive thought. Why should I accept these values these presuppositions, and isn't the underlying demand that I should accept them a source of oppression? Starting point of Buddhism that this suffering must be removed, a felt imperative.

ae1 Parallels between Buddhism and western philosophy should not be pushed too far, as they may tend to demean Buddhism. Buddhism it must be remembered a form of mysticism, always it bears in mind the possibility of achieving the pearl of great price the hidden source of a rare and total satisfaction. Nearly all Buddhism a form of esoterism... therefore Buddhist not capable of the extremes of pedantry to which his European counterpart may sink. Russell, Kant.

ae218& Schopenhauer's extreme atheism. His pessimism as springing from this. The idea that only the present moment exists. The significance of this in Buddhism and Buddhist logic. Any state of present and immediate suffering and frustration becomes intensified into a hell. In such circumstances the vital necessity is to find a means of escape. This philosophy of the bad trip. but also of the good trip, especially in some of the Mahayana phases. Resemblance to Christianity in that both have as entry point a state of extreme suffering from which escape is required. The spiritual toilet as it were. Did Buddhism influence Christianity, via Persia perhaps? Persian priestcraft. Christianity as Judaised Buddhism. the Judaic contribution is the fascination with temporal history. The saved the sanctified the holy in Buddhism as well as in Christianity have become free. ..

ae26 Scherbatsky's book. trying to demonstrate the truth of the Buddhist ideas, or their superiority to certain western ideas. From our point of view no longer committed to these tags ends of Kant and Hegel, this explicit purpose of his enterprise is largely irrelevant. But insofar as he illuminates what the Buddhists are actually saying, the philosophical aspect as it were, these philosophical excursions are actually very useful.

ae35 Buddhist dialectic. That a thing is described by what it is not. this also relates to the thing in itself. Logic of negativity.

af140& In the 1960s a large component of the 1890s. In 1967 the incipient Buddhism of the earlier decade returned. The art of the decadent movement was most congenially suited to the philosophy of Schopenhauer, which was essentially Buddhistic (Catholicism as bastard Buddhism), therefore the aesthetic theory behind it was very sound. Wagner's music would fit in with this. Art is release from the frustration of the will. How should it be that the will should continue to be frustrated? By reason of its ambition. The discontent of the Nietzschean at the society around him has much to do with the ideas held. It is less in the brutal instinct that the aggression of a morality of the weak is felt, as in the enlightened knowing subject. The Nietzschean and the Buddhist are nothing like so far apart as has seemed. For the Buddhist to have experienced disillusion he must have desired powerfully, his ideals and purposes must have been far above that of the ordinary person. Art is release from the conflict of wills, from the pressure of alien will.

af248 Much of this Yogachara stuff is extremely interesting. The stream of thought called John causation. No soul. Nothing constant persisting only that one past state is the cause of this present state. that the only continuity. Instantaneous existent. When I say the past me was me what do I mean? that what is now present was caused by that which was past. There is also memory, but the past does not exist. The idea of a soul would suggest that it does in a manner continue, that my past belongs to me in a way that suggests it still exists.

af283 Yogachara no soul doctrine. Why a soul? To show how you are the same person as you were then, but the past does not exist. All that exists is the now. I have memory indeed. One set of mental phenomena produce another set. Buddhists considered to be arrogant nihilists by the other schools.

af308 Quote p 343-4 Buddhist Logic on stream of thought. Does the past have a form of existence? O'Brien's philosophy of history, from 1984. What is it that makes statements about the past true of false? It must be the relation they have to the present, to memory & to extrapolated sequences of cause and effect. Is this the reality they have a constructed reality based in the present and the theories and categories to which we adhere? Change these theories and categories a bit we can have possibility instead, something infinitely larger, something one may want to call God. Even the present is constructed. What has reality apart from my immediate consciousness? God, possibility. Photographs. How much reality do we give the past? etc etc

af311 I am attracted to the Buddhist idea of reality as the point instant. What other reality is there, can there be? If the past does not exist, if it is only construction and extrapolation, could we not extrapolate or construct differently? And could this not be just as true? In a world where there is an infinite number of possible things that could be thought, why cannot we think what we like, or at least what we can? Why not believe in ghosts, spirits, all kinds of gratifying things? Reality of the present and the future.

af372 Because it is essentially an oriental Tibetan commentary rather than a work of western scholarship the Nagarjuna book is heavy going and a bit tedious, but in a few places Nagarjuna's extraordinary genius shines through. Primary aim of Buddhism as escape from suffering. Emptiness or unreality of all phenomena. Non inherent existence, it is called the void as it is known. Show that suffering is unreal, how? Because all phenomena are unreal. This is immensely comforting. the attitude of the Tibetan does not seem to be disputatious. Gudmunsen's book sees Buddhism as having developed like western philosophy. so does Scherbatsky. Nagarjuna was against the Abhidhamma and Dharmakirti was against him. The Tibetans see just many different points of view or aspects of truth. Phenomena have phenomenal reality but it is illusory like dream reality. The true reality is the void which becomes rather like a God, a new sort of God. The truth is that phenomena are merely phenomena. They may be thought away Perceive them truly and they do not exist. They spring form illusion

ak155 Chaudhuri's easy dismissal of the Buddha's whole weltschmerz (Continent of Circe). Vision of human suffering. He regards it as ridiculous that he should have been so upset by the sight of a corpse & that he should feel moved to protest against the basic conditions of existence. Philosopher's angst. Ordinary life is just not satisfying, the imitation of others seems horribly empty, the perverse will is the true will. Perversity reveals truth. Identity of freedom and truth. Conformism and the lie.

am199 Koestler's attack on Zen in The Lotus and the Robot treats it as something utterly dead. But western religions could be seen in the same way if we focus on uninspired people. Mishima (in The Golden Temple) is concerned with affirmation and negation. Kashiwagi is a kind of sage though evil in a bad sense. ie his values are the expression of inadequacy, but this is a suggestion that may be made to any insistence upon individuality, any strong individual will. I think individuality can be a value in some forms of Buddhism as with sufism & other forms of mysticism. It may be a reversal of the exoteric doctrine. Even the introduction to the book fails to meet the full depth of the theme. She writes of the 'twisted' interpretation of Zen koans. But this goes to the heart of the dispute about where wisdom lies. Heart of the dispute between esoteric and exoteric. Certainly the crime was an act of madness. But the ideas discussed by Kashiwagi are by no means negligible. We can think of them as heresy. but if we are true Protestants we believe that in heresy true wisdom lies. The search for affirmation, this is Nietzschean. A certain type of conventional thinking will regard this as 'twisted'....the problems that interest a modern student come up right in this religious context. It is hard to see how Christianity could deal with it. Such thought would have to be anti Christian.

am86 Appeal of Buddhism to the depressed. Indeed it does seem a release from the pressure of the will. Like art and nature. But it is also a release from the pressure against the will. Does our civilisation say the whole of Buddhist culture was misconceived? With all its universities? Like Catholics who thought lamaism the work of the Devil because it was so like Catholicism. In some respects the Christianity of the west seems markedly inferior to B. constructed by people, the Church Fathers, scarcely to be thought of as wise. Compared to B. Christianity is deeply tendentious. It takes up a contentious stand, quite offensively insists upon a belief. This is arbitrary & tyrannical. Yet the reality, ones own reality, is a rejection of this tyranny. In a state of depression affirmation seems difficult. It seems the province of the primitive. Teenage blacks. Ordinary worldly success is nothing it is illusion just like moving from one place to another. Actually it is particularly dangerous because of relaxation after effort & the strongly promoted idea that it is the real good. A culture that believes in affirmation so much adolescent crassness. The fat four year old.

ap262 Reflections on Jainism. Quote. "Of all the great religious sects of India, that of Nataputta is perhaps the least interesting, and has apparently the least excuse for being. A religion in which the chief points insisted upon are that one should deny god, worship man and nourish vermin has indeed no right to exist". Interest of Jainism. It is an ascetic ideal, in a more uncomplicated form than Buddhism. Crudeness of the original impulse. A religion which looks after its members, forming only certain classes in society. Jains do not engage in agricultural pursuits. See how an ascetic, life negative, moralistic religion can be conducive to wealth. Protestants, puritans too. Practice preceding philosophy. Other points. The condemnation of Jainism because of its atheism. We might see this as an interesting mark of enlightenment. If we think atheism is superior to theism, that it marks enlightenment. But then what is the nature and meaning of such enlightenment? And what is the significance of our own so called enlightenment?

ap291 What is enjoyment? How could one enjoy being in the world? All the things there are to enjoy. Starting with the beauties of the environment, then going all the more particularly into the details of one's own life. Doing something like a Lockean analysis of all the ideas that come into the mind. Enjoyment generated. I think of Heidegger on 'care' as something of primary importance for Dasein. The reality of my child, for example. Al the things in which one can take pleasure, all presenting themselves as forms. Reality/unreality. Buddhist questions start to arise. Problems of the horror trip. And of world weariness for that matter. Contemplative enjoyment reaches a point where it begins to seem futile. Would one want it to go on forever? Philosophy and its significance. Efforts to think beyond the limitations of the ordinary. Illegitimate logical and grammatical error, say Wittgenstein and Winch. But look at the value of philosophy for eighteenth century Britain. The culture was philosophy driven. Buddhism is profoundly philosophical. It contemplates the questions that arise. Think of all the things there are to enjoy if one knew one was dying. It is not that all one is a attached to is unreal, it is that it is possibly just a small segment of what is real. One is surrounded by forms which interact on every level. Forms that engage the emotions. But to look in this way brings detachment. Does one want nirvana or does one want extinction? None of these questions will arise if one sticks to a rigidly protected common sense. But how is interesting philosophy then to arise? Theosophy. Buddha, Christ, Shiva, Mohammed, all arguing it out.

b152 The classic Buddhist objection to karmically conditioned will presented as an objection to will as such.

cc10 Mahayana Buddhism The Lotus of the True Law. We must all become Buddhas then we are to become extinct. No negative creed this. It is glorious to become extinct after having been through everything, to have achieved all that there is to achieve. .. we need a few people who are as intolerant as early Buddhists or the Christian fathers

cc73 Saddharma Pundarika. Monkey Temple. Claims to be a more quintessential form of Buddhism than the particular philosophical teachings of the Theravada. The religious feeling outgrows the original message in fact like mediaeval Christianity. Magic though looking primitive is in fact a deeper penetration of the cosmos than any rational or philosophical doctrine. Buddha a far better symbol than Christ. See the growth of superior forms of the Buddha beyond and above Gautama. The truth is older than the message. Faith even for a moment. Not understanding nor pursuit of rigorous discipline. Just gaining access. No more need for the constraints of religion, the world of religious understanding is before you. ... Particular certainly about one particular thing brings with it a great sense of confidence and joy, then later it is discovered that the truly valuable thing is the sense of confidence and joy itself and the original doctrine which was supposed to bestow it is transformed into or replaced by a pure (magical) symbol whose function it is to invoke that sense. Buddha was only incidentally the founder of the religion that bears his name. etc etc

cc80 Saddharma Pundarika an attempt to come to terms with the fundamental reality of Buddhist religious experience, ie it is not necessary to understand the complicated Buddhist philosophy nor yet to obey rigorously all its moral prohibitions.

dd125& Is the ultimate ideal a state of activity (Nataraja) or of absolute stillness and freedom from all qualities (Nirvana) or something that subsumes and comprehends these opposite ideals?...Buddhists disagreed with the Brahmins over the value to be placed upon the life force. They look for an end to willing from the point of view of suffering. The desire for that very permanence which the pagan will philosopher takes pleasure in denying...a will to absolute truth is permissible and satisfiable though it must be void of all particular content. As such it leaves will philosophy behind and unites with the Buddhist.

dd15 Buddhism very tempting. The only scientific religion as highly developed with respect to the mental world as is our science with respect to the physical. Our science cannot refute, it fits human aspiration and purpose in a way which makes almost any western developed philosophy of life look hopelessly primitive. ..yet Ellora.. Heraclitus... Perhaps Buddhism does rest on some unproven hypotheses. And is it born of weariness? Try to see Heraclitus in terms of a reaction against Pythagoras. Pythagoras's assumption that goodness and truth are eternal.

dd18 Quote from the Milinda on sinning intentionally or unintentionally.

dd36 Tathagataship. The form of Buddhahood an ideal worked out to express the perfections of one man remains as a symbol of perfect enlightenment and originality. ie an ideal to be aspired to in its own right. Acquiescence in eternal recurrence the opposite of the Buddhist craving for the cessation of pain. One Buddhist error. The wheel of birth means a perpetually renewable innocence & world weariness is not the only possible result of contemplating all the suffering. Sensual culture of the Milinda. Islamic sensual culture as in Saadi. We seem to lack such and this is an impoverishment. Increasingly the pervading culture in our society is essentially distraction.

f54 Monkey temple at Khatmandu. I felt how the elaborate philosophy of Buddhism one worked out was really unnecessary for the common people who only needed to trust in their superiors to be guided into religious states of mind by art or ritual. Buddhism a rationalistic religion. Russell's philosophy also a rationalistic religion.

ff160 Khwajagan Sufis of Transoxiana inheriting from Buddhism a tough mindedness which distinguishes them from the more bhakti minded southern schools.....the most totally aware is the most totally unique, namely Buddha of which there is only one eternal principle.

ff251 Patronisation of Buddha and universal love. Respect excludes love at least for an explicit point of view.

ff55& Excellence of Buddhism, the most brilliantly conceived of religions. Buddhist culture descending magnificently from superb philosophical insights, an aristocratic religion and therefore capable of expressing the deepest philosophical insights. Our esoteric tradition lost in the 18th Century...... Alan Bennett should be honoured. B logical extension of the love of nature and art...in our civilisation the only equivalent of B is esoteric & neoplatonic Christianity, founded on nothing so rational....religious equivalent of modern science.

gg160 Allan Bennett. Case of a deep interest in drugs leading naturally to a committed Buddhism. Interest primarily in states of mind. a very introverted religion. Squalor in which he used to live. His type has spread somewhat and is not uncommon today. To it the external conditions of life do not really matter so long as peace can be secured for meditation. In a sense the mind has been spoiled and it would be ridiculous to think of redirecting it into more normal channels, these would seem paltry. As a way of life quite logical etc..

gg168 Nonsense of Christianity. India eventually rejected Buddhism. The young Russell for 'theology and heraldry because they are absurd'. Christianity as the nonsense religion of the world, a system as comprehensive as Buddhism but in place of the Buddhist account of things putting something absurd.

gg44 Ch'an Buddhism. A method of conditioning in accordance with a few simple suggestions. The end has been predetermined by rational thought it presupposes predetermined ends. The feeling one is reaching the sublime inner core of truth by destroying the mind, but this destruction takes place in a tradition that assumes the long tradition of Buddhist culture. Certainly a way of reaching complete self assurance once one has accepted the end.

hh125 A life is a destiny and a problem, having attained nirvana why rest there? It is not only nirvana that is perfect in itself. Or maybe it is if this is how we define nirvana but maybe nirvana is not necessarily a particular transcend state of mind. Quite ordinary things may be perfect in themselves and faced with a choice between the motionless and the moving there is no logically compelling reason why one should choose the motionless. Moreover insofar as one retains human physical and mental energies one will naturally choose the moving. For the joy of perfection one will have to lapse from perfection occasionally.

hh153 Allen Ginsberg has become a Buddhist. That is the logical culmination of his development of expressionism, also an interesting comment on Buddhism and its origins. Expressionism taken to the point where all experience without question is welcomed, identical to the Buddhist injunction to experience every emotion, leads to disillusion, the starting point of Buddhism.

j231 One thing that struck me at the Monkey temple near Khatmandu was how the pure philosophical core of Buddhism had been so to speak decorated with other concepts, far more primitive means of bringing people to the same essential point. In fact once the religious hierarchy not speaking of living human beings but of matters such as who was or is enlightened and who not, visions surrounding the various stages of advance, in fact a once born religion in which it is better to trust than to think, in which idolatry is no longer idolatry because it leads in the same direction........ religion becomes magical sacramental.

mm47 Buddhist disillusion. Perhaps the Buddhists were as aware as any of the true path of satisfaction as some kind of worldly renown. Italian renaissance values. However given the despotic conditions that prevailed in those days personal ambition meant courts, and courts meant cringing before psychopathic sadists, ie personal ambition was really dangerous.

pp332 Philosophical issues raised by issues like memory transfer and personality transfer...superb illustration of the Buddhist doctrine of karma and anatta. The continuity of Mr Smith is not just bodily, it is karmic continuity. He will suffer at the hands of Mr Smith what will seem to be undeserved suffering.. the soul within in reality there is no soul within in reality we are all the same. In inflicting revenge, in absolute sadism we are all instruments of karma. Sadism is the opposite of love, both are based on the illusion of a separate individual soul.

pp359 In Buddhism union of philosophy and psychology. All logical terms equally psychological, and vice versa. as religion it is sheer philosophy. The Zen satori, psychologically quite admirable. more than other doctrines however it leaves the world as it is. history of Buddhist thought. the abhidhamma. analysing experience into its constituent elements. the sunyata doctrine the void that insight or enlightenment is into the absence of 'spooks'. Zen that this insight is not to be obtained by some special process of meditation or preparation that you are all right as you are that the world is all right as it is that the game goes on. there is a philosophical position here. it can also lend itself to brainwashing for it can make an alliance with whatever system of belief you choose to join it to. but it is good in the sense that it detaches this long quest for enlightenment from the wide range of other philosophical questions. In a sense it narrows the scope of Buddhism. its foundation is paradox and that leaves you free. but to use it as a philosophy rather than a helpful technique can be to misuse it. The 'absurdity' of which adolescents are enamoured used to justify any set of principles however shallow.

rr158 The Buddha nature is not a human nature. Is there not a christianised conception of nirvana which is demiurgic and repressive? If you see the Buddha coming down the road kill him. What is the value one is to put upon imperfection? I might look on myself under the aspect of one still playing out his karma. Or in the light of a bodhisattva helping the rest of humanity towards nirvana. What then is nirvana? The end of dukkha of suffering. But is it not more than that a point of enlightenment or understanding? In that case it remains something rather mysterious, rather open to dispute. I believe in promoting understanding. But how can we say what this is until we have reached it? But if we have reached it we are in nirvana and no longer here. Would it be right to say I have no right to judge anything except from the viewpoint of nirvana? .... the b. scheme provides the form of philosophical explanation not the substance. one reason why the Buddha steered so clear of metaphysics. But the b. scheme has led to a westernised, bastardised, christianised, Buddhism which does produce a philosophical substance out of the form. So for all our knowledge about spiritual philosophical religious matters we have to refer to something which we necessarily can't know can't in fact verify for ourselves. Even insofar as we can enter such a state of mind as on acid we will not be able to hold it to retain it. If this is what we think all b. monks….

rr25 Society with a religious foundation like our own mediaeval Catholic but without the barbarous imbecility that is at the centre of Christianity. Even monasticism with its celibacy and asceticism is justified from the point of view of relieving population pressure.

rr29 Toynbee on Buddhism, he sees surviving Buddhism as some kind of petrified anachronism, but I think Buddhism is a marvellous religion and an excellent foundation for society. Toynbee is just too unscholarly, he imposes an ideology of cultural progress upon history that is not even rooted in a coherent psychological theory.

ss63 Amitabha believed to have come from Iran. Buddhism is the most rational religious tradition, perhaps the only rational religious tradition. Conze says that till the late 19th century Buddhism appeared to nearly all European observers as a farrago of nonsense. Compared with Buddhism it is Christianity that is a load of nonsense. Buddhism is concerned with philosophical speculations about reality and with an entirely honest psychology. Christianity can only be understood in terms of the emotions of the excluded. Christianity is from the outset a profoundly political religion. Only in Tibet through the gelugpas did b. gain control of the state. this was an admirable expedient and the profoundly philosophical sceptical tenor of the Mahayana ensured that even this 'theocracy' was not founded in superstition but had a very rational base. If Buddhism is about wisdom then Christianity is about politics. Both communism and Nazism are natural developments of Christianity.

ss69 Why one may be tempted to dismiss the Theravada, including the Questions of King Milinda, as narrow and sectarian. It is not that it is narrow and sectarian. It is at least the equal of most of the original and acclaimed philosophies and ideologies the west has spun forth in the past two hundred years, but it does lack that profound scepticism about itself that is one of most attractive hallmarks of the Mahayana. The Theravada says do not take this doctrine on faith try it for yourself, the Mahayana says ultimately all this talk of Buddhas and enlightenment may be discarded, it is relative, it does not have ultimate truth or value.

vv47 Character of the Buddhist monk. Buddhist monasteries originated in India and survive in Ceylon, but they somehow seem to belong to the Mongol race. Perhaps this is just a prejudice. But there is in the Mongol face just that inscrutability that gives the Buddhist adept a superior air.

yy133 What is attractive in Platonism, concept of an objectively rational wisdom by which the values current in society could be criticised. Obviously there are several different types of philosophy that might fit this. Platonism tends to state the ideal conditions of such a philosophy without precisely defining it. This applies in other fields too, like politics and science, and thus it proved capable of a lot of profound inspiration. To say that the solution is only to be realised in mystical vision is to say nothing. See here the great resemblance of Platonism to Buddhism. Tolerance.

yy240 Consolation, healing. Buddhism. Joachimite eschatology. Joachimite prophecy has similarities to Buddhism. Idea of a healing process within this world not conceived purely miraculously.

zz109 Milarepa book, fine literature and very conscious of itself as such, entertaining and amusing as it says itself. Milarepa's austerities. It is said that such extremes of austerity are not required in the present age. In this Kali Yuga the Hindus say though virtue is so rare less is required to be saved. A saint like Milarepa. How much of his story can one believe? Human nature does not change all that much. One may take the story as an admirable dramatisation of whatever it was that he did achieve.

an 357 See how people impugn the originality of those who work within a tradition like scholastics or Buddhists. Yet no one would criticise the architects of a developing tradition like high gothic on those grounds. Try and think of thought in this way. Take the originality of Buddhist philosophy. Today we would tend to criticise a philosopher for being a Buddhist at all. For us the important thing is to be a free spirit. But this could be as silly as the same criticisms directed at architects. There was a time when paganism meant barbarism and Christianity meant civilisation. To revert to Roman paganism would be to revert to the problems that bred Christianity. Of the basic truth or falsity of the Buddhist myth (not to speak of the Christian which is more problematic) perhaps this is something which really is only an issue for the ignorant masses. And not simply a question of lies either. The creation of something. What we have created in our science and architecture.

ao 244 Christianity was a war to the death against the classical. Buddhism on the other hand… Buddhist kingdoms, the world weariness to which it is a response. The characteristically Indian imagination its jewels treasures etc. I am reading a history of Ceylon.

Mr. Moore:


Your notes contain lots of fascinating information and new theories. 


I am curious your proof about the statement in note a150 "Kushan kingdom rules old Kabul where the greater part of Mahayana scriptures were composed.".  Could you  show me some references which would support this statement?


I am very interested in the history of Mahayana Buddhism and also believed that Mahayana Buddhism, including Chinese Buddhism, had been influenced by other ancient civilizations in Central Asia.


Your response will be highly appreciated.


Chun Lee


Ill try to locate the precise reference I used. Meanwhile I found this.


ms2385 <http://www.nb.no/baser/schoyen/5/5.19/ms2385.jpg>

MS in Sanskrit on birchbark, Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 6th c., 46 ff., 6x18 cm, single column, (5x17 cm), 5-6 lines in Gilgit/Bamiyan ornate type book script.

/Binding:/ Afghanistan, 6th c., Poti with 1 string hole, dividing the leaves 40 % - 60 %.

/Context:/ MSS 2179, 2372-2386 and 2416 come from a Library that must have been of considerable size originally, maybe 1400 MSS or more. It probably belonged to a Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika which was in Bamiyan, according to the report of the Chinese monk, Xuan Zhang (604-662) who visited this monastery in the 7th c. Ca. 60 birch bark scrolls and fragments in Karosthi script in British Library, which according to Prof. Richard Salomon are "The Dead Sea Scrolls of Buddhism" (The Times, 26.06.1996). Similar fragments were in the Hackin collection in
Kabul Museum, which was destroyed during the recent Afghan civil war. There are 725 leaves and fragments with similar scripts from this period found in Chinese Turkistan, now in Berlin.

ms2385 <http://www.nb.no/baser/schoyen/5/5.19/ms2385b.jpg>

/Provenance:/ 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan,
Afghanistan (-6th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan; 3. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

/Commentary:/ The hoard contains a great number of hitherto unknown Buddhist texts, as well as the oldest surviving MS testimony to some of the most important texts of Mahayana Buddhism. Among these are the by far oldest Prajnaparamita MSS known (2nd-3rd c.) This literature is the earliest scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahasanghikas are regarded as the traditional Buddhist school, which first propagated Mahayana ideas. The present collection stands right at the roots of the formation of Mahayana Buddhism, and is its single most important source.

/Published: /To be published in: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, ed.: Buddhist manuscripts.




Firstly I did not mean to imply that the scriptures were composed in Kabul city  itself, only that the Kushan kingdom, ruled from Kabul  (the summer capital) was where they were composed, in the reign of  King Kanishka.. Actually the  summer capital was 35  miles north of  Kabul. The fourth Buddhist council convened by him  and is often seen as the birth of the Mahayana. Nagarjuna, Asvaghosha and Vasumitra all lived at this time. Of course the kingdom stretched far into India.



Mr. Moore:
Thanks for your valuable information and reference material. I wish one
day I can see those MSS....
I fully agree with you that Kushan Empire might have played a major
role in Mahayana Buddhism formation. However, I had some questions which
I could not find answer:
1. To my understanding, the 4th Buddhist Council (convened during
Kanishka ruling period) might not exist at all. It was mentioned in Xuan
Zhang's book (according to the legend). Is there any other evidence or
book that can support this?
2. According to some historian, Kanishka probably ruled around on or
before 100 AD. If this is true, Asvaghosha and Nagarjuna (both were
after 100 AD per Chinese documents), could not be at the same period as
Kanishka. Although some book said that Kanishka courted Asvaghosha.
3. One of Asaghosha's most important writing had quoted lots of
Mahayana Sutra, including Prajnaparamita Sutra, which is considered as
the earliest Mahayana's scripture. Therefore, I suspected that some
Mahayana's scripture might already exist before Kushan....
4. According to Chinese and Tibet's documents, Nagarjuna was born in
southern India, and went to Nalanda Monastery. I don't know if he ever
visited or stayed Gandhara region (he might..). Some scholar suspect
that he was the author for some Mahayana's scripture.
Anyway, your kind response and valuable information are highly
appreciated. I wish you do well on your book and hope to read it as soon
as they are completed. If you have any new theory and like to share with
me, it will be even better.
Chun Lee