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II. A Study of Paramartha's Life of Vasu-bandhu; and the Date of Vasu-bandhu

  • J. Takakusu

Paramārtha (a.d. 499–569), or Kula-nātha as he was sometimes called, was a Brahmin of the Bhāradvāja family of Ujjayinī, West India. In 539 a.d. the Emperor of China, Wu-ti (502–549), sent a mission to Magadha, North India, in search of a learned Buddhist and the original Mahā-yāna texts. The Indian Court despatched Paramārtha, who was then staying at Magadha, with 240 bundles of palm-leaf texts, besides 64 works which he afterwards translated.

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page 33 note 1 Of these only 32 translations exist at present: see Nanjio's Catalogue, p. 423 (104, 105).

page 33 note 2 A district in Canton : lat. 23° 7′; long. 113° 15′.

page 33 note 3 Now Nan-king.

page 34 note 1 See Bulletin de l'Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient, July, 1904.

page 35 note 1 This is attributed to Maitreya, but really a work of Asaṅga. Compare Nanjio's 1170.

page 35 note 2 No work called “Upadeśa” is preserved, but several books called Śāstra, Kārikā or Ṭīka, are found in the Chinese collections. See Nanjio's Catalogue, p. 371, 5.

page 35 note 3 Nanjio's Nos. 1183, 1184, 1247; compare No. 1171 (2).

page 35 note 4 Nanjio's Nos. 1267, 1269, 1270.

page 35 note 5 Nanjio's Nos. 1263, 1264, 1279.

page 35 note 6 Nanjio'a Nos. 1273 and 1275.

page 36 note 1 Nanjio's Nos. 1206, 1207, 1209.

page 36 note 2 Nanjio's Nos. 1232, 1233.

page 37 note 1 Nanjio's Nos. 1231, 1168.

page 37 note 2 Nanjio's Nos. 1215, 1238, 1239, 1240.

page 37 note 3 Nanjio's Nos. 1171 (2, 3, 4).

page 37 note 4 Probably Nanjio's No. 1219.

page 37 note 5 Nanjio's No. 1205 (?).

page 38 note 1 See my note at the end of the translation, Tong-pao, July, 1904.

page 39 note 1 See above, p. 35, note 1.

page 39 note 2 See above, p. 35, note 6.

page 40 note 1 The restoration to Kiṅkara seems to be far-fetched. I suggest ‘Kekaya’ for it ; the Chinese translation, , ‘what-matter,’ may be taken to be not quite accurate.

page 40 note 2 .

page 40 note 3 Chavannes, “Voyage de Song-yun” (Bulletin de l'Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient, July–September, 1903).

page 40 note 4 See my I-tsing's “Record,” pp. lvii-lviii.

page 41 note 1 . ‘Lao’ is generally ‘about 70 years.’ We shall not be much wrong if we take him to be about that age.

page 41 note 2 Asaǹga is said to have died at the age of 75. His next younger brother, Vasu-bandhu, will be about 70 or more. Cf. Duff, “Indian Chronology,” p. 35.

page 42 note 1 There are two works sometimes assigned to Vasu-bandhu, the Śata-śastraṭīka (No. 1188) and Bodhi-cittotpādana-śāstra, translated a.d. 404 and 405 respectively. The dates have been referred to in Professor Macdonell's History of Sanskrit Literature, p. 325. It is, however, doubtful whether these books are really his, as Nanjio already pointed out in his Catalogue, p. 371, and they have not been utilized by me at all. No. 1219, the ‘San-wu-sin-Lun,’ is very likely identical with Paramārtha's ‘San-pao-sin-Lun,’ as I have pointed out in my translation, but I have not included it in the list. Further, No. 1205, the Dharma-Cakra-pravartana-śāstra, is probably the same as the ‘Door of Nectar’ (Amṛta - dvāra) mentioned by Paramārtha, but this too I have omitted as doubtful.

page 43 note 1 I-tsing's “Record,” pp. lvii-lviii.

page 44 note 1 Hiuen-tsang'a “Mémoires,” iii, 183; iv, 223.

page 44 note 2 Bulletin de l'Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient, Jan.-Mars, 1903, p. 49.

page 44 note 3 The Queen - mother seems to have exercised her influence; see Duff, “Chronology of India,” p. 38 (515).

page 44 note 4 Cf. Duff, l.c., p. 33; Cakravarti's letter to Professor Rhys Davids, also quoted in Liebich's “Datum Candra-gomin's,” p. 5.

page 45 note 1 But the work, “Vyākaraṇa,” mentioned by Paramārtha is said to have been in eight divisions and thirty-two chapters; this clearly points to Pāṇini's Grammar. Candra's work is in twenty-four chapters. Vasu-rāta seems thus to have been versed in Pāṇini as well as in Candra.

page 45 note 2 Liebich, l.c., p. 11.

page 45 note 3 See my I-tsing's “Record,” p. lviii, d. 7. Yue-kuan may be Candra-gomin, as M. Sylvain Lévi thinks, but, if so, he cannot be the grammarian who was the predecessor of Vasu-rāta.

page 45 note 4 Vikramāditya reigned 452–480 (cf. Mabel Duff, “Chronology of India,” p. 33). Bālāditya was the successor to the throne, according to our “Life,” and ruled from 481 onward.

page 46 note 1 “T‘ien-chu” is generally the name for India. Perhaps it means “Madhyadeśa,” if not the Sindhu (Indus) itself from which the Chinese “T‘ien-chu” was originated.

page 46 note 2 This may be “Raśmi-samaya,” but nothing is known about it.

page 46 note 3 This will be something like “Satyānusāra.” In fact, it seems to point to his “Nyāyānusāra,” which is directed against the Kośa. For particulars see Nanjio's No. 1265 and his remarks there.

page 46 note 4 Hiuen-tsang's “Mémoires,” iii, 183; iv, 223; I-tsing's “Record,” p. lviii; see also Nanjio's remarks in his Catalogue, Nos. 1265 and 1266.

page 47 note 1 Two citations which bear the name of Vārṣa-gaṇya have been found by Garbe, s. ph., pp. 36–37. The Sāṁkhya-tattva-kaumudī calls him Bhagavān Vārṣa-gaṇya.

page 47 note 2 This work unfortunately does not exist in the Chinese collection of Indian works.

page 47 note 3 Most of the Catalogues of the Chinese Tripiṭaka give both names:— Thus we see that the text was known throughout as the “Sāṁkhya. śāstra” (Seng-chia-lun).

page 48 note 1 See Hall, “Contribution to the Bibliography of the philosophical systems of India,” p. 5; Oppert, MSS. in the private Library of S. India, No. 5212. As to this latter, I doubt still whether it is Gauḍapāda's work.

page 48 note 2 The Chinese Sāṁkhya-kārikā gives ‘Kauśika’ as his family name.

page 48 note 3 The ‘Rain-host’ is an incorrect interpretation of Vārṣa-gaṇya, derived from Vṛṣa-gaṇa (lit., Bull-herd, but the Gaṇa of Vṛṣa).

page 48 note 4 I submitted my translation of Vasu-bandhu's “Life” to Professor Garbe, who kindly wrote to me in reply as follows:— “Ueberraschend ist Ihre mir sehr einleuchtende Vermuthung, dass Vindhyavāsa mit Īśvarakṛṣṇa, dem Verfasser der Sāṁkhya-kārikā, identisch sei. Wenn diese Identification richtig ist (was ich nicht bezweifle), so wäre das Alter der Sāṁkhya-kārikā erheblich höher anzusetzen, als bisher geschehen ist, und mit genügender Sicherheit festzustellen. Ich habe schon ‘Sāṁkhya-philosophie,’ 59 gesagt, dass ich die Sāṁkhya-kārikā für älter halte, als sonst immer angenommen wird.”

page 48 note 5 Garbe, s. ph., pp. 36–37. The citations do not contain anything contrary to the Sāṁkhya doctrine. The Skt. -vāsa and -vāsin, like -vāda and -vādin, are used indiscriminately in Chinese.

page 51 note 1 The text has , ‘in the nine hundred years’ i.e. at a time in 900–999 years, therefore it means the tenth century after the Buddha's Nirvāṇa. A Chinese date of the Nirvāṇa is generally discredited, and with it any calculation of date from the Nirvāṇa. But one must not confound Paramārtha's calculation with any other Chinese ones, because he is not a Chinese, and he is giving us a tradition current in India in his time.

page 51 note 2 The “Dotted Record” was attached to the Vinaya-piṭaka, and every year at the end of the Vassa ceremony the presiding priest used to add a dot to it. This process is said to have been kept up till 489 a.d., when Saṁgha-bhadra added the last dot after his Vassa residence at Canton, China. For the details see my “Pāli Elements in Chinese Buddhism,” J.R.A.S., July, 1896; Kasawara, and Müller, Max in the Academy, 03 1, 1884 ; Indian Antiquary (1884), p. 156.

page 51 note 3 See my “Pāli Chrestomathy,” p. lxxiv, notes to p. 113.

page 52 note 1 Saṁgha-bhadra may be the same person as one whom we hare in our “Life,” the opponent of Vasu-bandhu. Both flourished at the same time. But one is a Vaibhāṣika (Nos. 1265 and 1266 belong to him) and the other is a Theravādin (No. 1125 translated by him); therefore the identification seems to be improbable. The teacher of Saṁgha-bhadra the Theravādin came with him to Canton. It in just possible that he may be Buddha-ghosa himself (see I.c., p. lxxv). I hope this may be stated with more certainty after an edition of the Chinese and Pāli “ Samanta-pāsādikā” which I am preparing is brought out.

page 52 note 8 No. 1273, translated into Chinese a.d. 383.

page 52 note 3 Nos. 1273 and 1264, translated a.d. 383 and 437–439 respectively; cf. also Nos. 1279, 1263.

page 53 note 1 Hiuen-tsang's “Mémoires,” xii, 214. “The Chinese Saṁyukta-ratnapiṭaka- sūtra” (No. 1329, a.d. 472), vol. vi, makes Aśva-ghoṣa and Caraka the contemporaries of Kaniṣka. “The Record of the Indian Patriarchs” (No. 1340, a.d. 472), vol. v, Aśva-ghoṣa and Caraka live under the King. See also Wassilieff, “Buddhismus,” p. 52, note.

page 53 note 2 Nanjio, Nos. 1351 and 1182.

page 53 note 3 For Katyāyanī-putra's work, see above, p. 52, notes 2, 3. Vasu-bhadra'a two works (Nos. 1381 and 1271) were translated into Chinese in a.d. 382 and 391 respectively. Our text of Vasu-bandhu's life has Vaśa-subhadra for Vasubhadra, but for the reasons above stated (see above, p. 50, under P'o-p'o-li), I take it to be Vasu-bhadra, the ‘śa’ being superfluous.

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