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Bart Dessein

Abstract

This contribution argues that one’s Buddhist identity is not a monolithic singularity, but a layered construct, consisting of the acceptance of the Buddha-word (Buddhavacana) as one’s core Buddhist identity, one’s particular monastic school and code as a first layer around this Buddhist ‘nucleus,’ and philosophical interpretations of the Buddha-word as the outer layer of one’s Buddhist identity. These three layers are represented in the traditional three collections of Buddhist literature (tripiṭaka): Sūtra, Vinaya, and Abhidharma. The ‘canonical’ status of the Abhidharma collection is the least stable of these three. The ‘Abhidharmic’ layer is therefore the layer that enables ‘networking,’ as the acceptance of the Buddha-word and one’s monastic affiliation are beyond negotiation. It is to this intricate connection between identity formation, canonisation, and networking in the Indian and Chinese political spheres that the subsequent pages are devoted.

Text, History, and Philosophy

Abhidharma across Buddhist Scholastic Traditions

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Edited by Bart Dessein and Weijen Teng

Text, History, and Philosophy. Abhidharma Across Buddhist Scholastic Traditions discusses Abhidhamma / Abhidharma as a specific exegetical method. In the first part of the volume, the development of the Buddhist argumentative technique is discussed. The second part investigates the importance of the Buddhist rational tradition for the development of Buddhist philosophy. The third part focuses on some peculiar doctrinal issues that resulted from rational Abhidharmic reflections. In this way, an outline of the development of the Abhidharma genre and of Abhidharmic notions and concepts in India, Central Asia, China, and Tibet from the life time of the historical Buddha to the tenth century CE is given.
Contributors are: Johannes Bronkhorst, Lance S. Cousins, Bart Dessein, Tamara Ditrich, Bhikkhu Kuala Lumpur Dhammajoti, Dylan Esler, Eric Greene, Goran Kardaš, Jowita Kramer, Chen-kuo Lin, Andrea Schlosser, Ingo Strauch, Weijen Teng and Yao-ming Tsai.

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Edited by Bart Dessein and Weijen Teng

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Bart Dessein and Weijen Teng

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Bart Dessein and Weijen Teng

Series:

Charles Willemen, Bart Dessein and Collett Cox

This volume deals with the Sarvāstivāda school of Buddhism, the major philosophical school of Hīnayāna. First a general outline is given of the school's origin in the (Indian) Buddhist synods. Part one ends with a general survey of Sarvāstivāda Literature.
In the actual corpus the philosophical texts of Sarvāstivāda are treated in detail. The organization of the work follows the geographical spread of Sarvāstivāda. In these Parts special emphasis is laid on the Central Asian history of the school, as well as on how the school eventually reached China ('Abhidharma and Kosa Schools'). Treatment is based on the Chinese versions of the major works of the school (Sūtrapiṭaka, Abhidarmapiṭaka and Vinayapiṭaka).
All in all, this major work throws a new light on the relationship between Sarvāstivāda and Mūlasarvāstivāda and provides an innovative view on the Dārsṭtantika and Sautrāntika Schools.