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Die Asrayaparivrtti-theorie in der Yogacarabhumi.

By Yogacarabhumi (YBh) Sakuma means the well-known encyclopedic work in seventeen bhumis, which have exegetical treatises called Viniscayasamgrahani (VinSg), etc. This huge work is completely available in Tibetan translation in the Tanjur, and is completely available in Chinese, where it occupies nearly all of vol. 30 in the Japanese edition of the Chinese Buddhist canon. Certain sections have been edited in Sanskrit. In common with previous scholarly work on this bulky work, it has not been found possible to solve problems about it without going to other works, especially Yogacara books but also Abhidharma, etc.

Sakuma's approach is to find the various instances of a term asrayaparivrtti (or -paravrtti), first in the basic seventeen bhumis, which he refers to as mauli bhumi, while in my readings in this literature I have found it referred to by Tibetan words equivalent to bahubhumika and bhumivastu. Then Sakuma traces out all the instances of the expression in the exegetical parts. He claims that this term does not occur in the early Buddhist canon but seems to be a notion developed in this Yogacara tradition. The treatment of these instances of the term asrayaparivrtti fills up the first volume.

In the light of Sakuma's topic, the contents of his second volume are somewhat surprising. Most of the space is devoted to passages, in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and German translation, that were selected from the Sravakabhumi, which is probably the earliest composed among the seventeen bhumis. The present reviewer recognized all the passages, because long ago his Berkeley dissertation, Analysis of the Sravakabhumi Manuscript, was published (1961).(1) Besides, the reviewer translated from the Tibetan the "Calming (the Mind)" section of the Lam rim chen mo, whose author in this section mainly resorted to the Sravakabhumi.(2) And since these passages selected by Sakuma are not directly on the topic of asrayaparivrtti, they give the impression of a previous dissertation labor. Presumably, he changed course and bore down on asraya-p. passages and so he follows in Teil II with passages from other parts of the basic seventeen, as well as from the exegesis that especially dealt with this term. We would have expected Sakuma to have integrated these materials with what is presented in Teil I, but then he probably would have had to drop a large part of Teil II. In vol. 1, p. 4, he claimed that these other passages from the Sravakabhumi do form a background for the asrayaparivrtti theory even if the term does not occur therein. But then the entire Pali canon could have been cited, even if the term does not occur therein.

His next is a confession of difficulties:

Die Grunde hierfur sind, dass zum einen die SrBh |Sravakabhumi~ die fruheste Stufe der Entwicklung dokumentieren durfte, zum anderen aber die von K. Shukla besorgte Edition der Sravakabhumi leider nicht befriedigt, da sie aufgrund zahlreicher Fehllesungen keine verlassliche Basis fur einer ideengeschichliche Auswertung des Textes darstellt. Da die Photos der Handschrift, auf die wir bislang angewiesen sind, haufig schwer lesbar sind und uberdies auch die Handschrift selbst nicht frei von Fehlern und Lucken ist, ist eine Edition des Textes allein auf dieser Basis in der Tat sehr schwierig.

I have cited this passage because it clarifies why Sakuma went to Hamburg to study the topic.

It happens that a doctoral dissertation was completed at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985, by Ronald M. Davidson on the topic of asrayaparivrtti.(3) Of course, the present reviewer does not know if this dissertation inspired Sakuma's dissertation on the same topic. In any case, a scholar in Hamburg provided a copy of Davidson's dissertation for Sakuma's use. In vol. 1, p. 5, Sakuma says:

In Davidsons Darstellung der Asrayaparivrtti-Theorie spielt die Frage der Verfasser der Texte eine grosse Rolle. Im Falle der YBh betrachtet er offenbar, wie etwa A. Wayman, Asanga nicht nur also Kompilator dieses Textes, sondern weitgehend als Autor, der seine eigenen Ansichten formuliert. Die Argumente, die Schmithausen gegen dies Auffassung vorgebracht hat, werden nicht berucksichtigt, ebenso wenig neuere Beitrage japanischer Gelehrter zu diesen Thema. In Anbetracht der von Schmithausen, Suguro und anderen aufgezeigten Evidenz, die gegen die Annahme eines einzigen Verfassers (im strengen Sinne) spricht, mochte ich im Gegensantz zu Davidson die Frage des Verfassers der YBh auf sich beruhen und den Text fur sich selbst sprechen lassen."

And a little later:

Davidson folgt Wayman auch darin, dass er das Samdhinirmocanasutra fur alter halt als die YBh, und den Mahayanasutralamkara fur alter als die Viniscayasamgrahani. Auch in diesen beiden Fallen geht er auf die von Schmithausen vorgebrachten Gegenargumente nicht ein. Zur Stellung des Samdhinirmocanasutra mag ein Verweis auf Schmithausen und Suguro genugen; es ist offensichtlich spater als die Mauli Bhumi der YBh, aber alter als die Endredaktion der VinSg,...

First, let us note the complaint that Davidson neglected to treat Schmithausen's arguments. Why, in that case, does Sakuma not summarize these arguments, rather than just citing the references for them? It would have been admirable to have devoted a page, half for Schmithausen's arguments and half for Suguro's arguments.

Second, as to the latter citation of Sakuma's disagreements with Davidson and distantly with the present reviewer, about the placement of the Samdhinirmocanasutra, this can be easily disposed of. One may refer in my Analysis of the Sravakabhumi Manuscript, 110-11, to a passage on the three doors of vipasyana. This passage is virtually the same as is found in the Samdhinirmocanasutra, ch. 8, sect. 10.(4) This is a proof that the author of the Sravakabhumi--agreed to be oldest part of what Sakuma calls Mauli Bhumi--had available and used the Samdhinirmocanasutra.

Third, there is the issue of authorship, single or multiple. The reviewer would rather not write a review at all than to give the impression that the review is a kind of platform for retorting to professors in Japan and Germany. The address of the person holding a theory means nothing to the present reviewer. The main thing is "to call a spade a spade."

As to the authorship of the Yogacarabhumi, may I explain the catalog attributions. The Tibetan canon says it is by Asanga. The Chinese canon puts its author as Maitreya. This was done by Hsuan-tsang, who headed the translation group that rendered the huge work into Chinese. The reason for putting Maitreya's name should be clear by the following information. The Chinese Buddhists mainly followed scriptures (sutra) rather than sastras. There were the followers of the "Pure-Land" scriptures, the Hwa-yen (Avatamsaka), the Lotus Scripture (Saddharmapundarika), the Lanka school with the Lankavatarasutra, and so on. The Heart Sutra and the "Diamond Cutter" among Prajnaparamita scriptures were always popular. Faced with a disinclination on the part of the Chinese Buddhist monks to read ponderous tomes of sastras, the translators resorted to strategems. Kumarajiva said the bulky Prajnaparamitasastra was by the celebrated Nagarjuna--by whom it was not; and this "worked." When Paramartha came to China, Vasubandhu was the most famous of the more recent Buddhist teachers, so the Buddhagotrasastra was said to be by Vasubandhu--by whom it was not; and this "worked." Hsuan-tsang had a similar problem with the huge Yogacarabhumi, so he said it was by Maitreya (the future Buddha)--by whom it was not; and this "worked." Hsuan-tsang need not feel he was guilty of a misattribution because Paramartha's Life of Vasubandhu told the story of Vasubandhu's elder brother Asanga ascending by yoga to the Tusita (heaven) and there being instructed by Maitreya on the seventeen bhumis. Therefore, the "Maitreya," as author of the YBh in the Chinese canon, amounts to an alternate reference to Asanga.

Finally, for the foregoing citations from Sakuma's introduction to Teil I, his remark, "und den Text fur sich selbst sprechen lassen," seems to refer to what is in fact the best accomplishment of Sakuma. This amounts to determining the meaning of asraya--the first member of the compound asrayaparivrtti. In the summary of his index of important words (I:157), there is asraya as atmabhava, as alayavijnana, as tathata, as pravrttikarana, as sadayatana, as samtati, as Trager (carrier), and as Vermogen (ability). He alludes to the different usages of asrayaparivrtti in his "English Summary," and concludes, "As we have shown in the above, the Asrayaparivrtti theory in the YBh has many layers." However, there is no way that Sakuma can interpret such findings of different usages to claim that it proves multiple authors of the YBh. The reason is that while Sakuma lists these terms as though they are distinct usages of asraya, it is possible that they can be grouped to show only a few distinct meanings. For example, the Vermogen with the pravrttikarana; the samtati and the Trager with the alayavijnana. Besides, if there are truly distinct meanings of the asraya, the meaning of the parivrtti may also change; and I find no evidence that Sakuma has taken this possibility into account. And every author uses words of his language in different ways, sometimes concretely, sometimes metaphorically, and so forth.

Through Sakuma treated the present reviewer as belonging to the previous generation, I shall not burden this review with a recital of my own relevant publications, especially in essays, of the intervening years. However, one recent essay should be mentioned because it bears on the authorship of the YBh. Prompted by a seminar on Buddhist Sanskrit at Sarnath, Varanasi, India, my essay(5) sets forth the kind of Sanskrit that is in the so-far edited Sanskrit of the YBh as a kind of hybrid. That is to say, it is an imposition of school Sanskrit, not violating the rules of Panini, on different kinds of Buddhist Sanskrit of texts that in various ways violate the rules of Panini. And I claim that one person did this, called Asanga or Aryasanga, accounting for the various parts of the YBh and exegetical sections. Thus, what makes the Sravakabhumi seem to be older than other parts of the YBh is not to be construed as much earlier in terms of the author's composition; but earlier in the kind of Buddhist Sanskrit texts that were subjected to Asanga's school-learned Sanskrit. That is to say, for the Sravakabhumi, the author mainly used scriptures in the four Agamas (versions of which are preserved in Chinese translation); and these four sets of Buddhist texts are probably at least as old as the Pali canon.

Sakuma has various disagreements with Davidson. Perhaps the biggest "bone of contention" is over Davidson's unwillingness to allow the physical as a major component in the kind of transformation referred to by the term asrayaparivrtti. Sakuma tries hard to establish this physical component because he wants to prove that the term has a primary use for sex change of the Vinaya. Since I intend to counter Sakuma in this matter, it is necessary to cite his whole paragraph:

Davidson glaubt nicht, dass der Begriff bzw. Terminus "asrayaparivrtti" primar die Geschlechtsumwandlung im Kontext des Vinaya bezeichnete. Sein Argument, dass dieser Gebrauch die sonst nicht ubliche Verwendung von "asraya" im Sinne von "Geschlechtsorgan" voraussetze, ist allerdings nicht zwingend, da "asrayaparivrtti" in diesem Sinne durchaus als "Umgestaltung des Korpers"--durch Auswechslung der Geschlechtsmerkmale--aufgefasst werden kann, ganz analog der Verwendung im Kontext der Yoga-Praxis, wo es "Umgestaltung des (bewusstseinsfahigen) Korpers (bzw. der sechsfachen Basis)" durch Ersetzung von dausthulya durch prasrabdhi bedeutet. Ausserdem ist Davidson der Beleg aus der VinSg (TEXT VinSg 13) fur asrayaparivrtti--Geschlechtsumwandlung unbekannt geblieben.

Sakuma presents his views on this topic later on. There he takes the Tibetan term lus su gyur pa and tries to mold this into an equivalence to asrayaparivrtti, which is rendered into Tibetan as gnas gyur pa. It is indeed sad to see Sakuma's contortions here. He himself gives the Tibetan passage and translates it. It has the same Tibetan expression lus su gyur pa, applied to the karma of changing from a male to a female body, and vice-versa; but here these are in a list of happenings at the time of death. Also, the Buddhist Sanskrit-Tibetan dictionary Mahavyutpatti (ed. Sakaki, 4066-71) presents the intra-uterine stages, headed by the Tibetan title Lus su 'gyur pa'i rim pa'i ming. But the term asrayaparivrtti was used in the Yogacara literature as a yoga attainment during life.

As to Sakuma's reference to the terms dausthulya and prasrabdhi, these are terms of the highest importance for his study. The terms occur numerous times in the work under review. Usually, Sakuma simply gives the Sanskrit forms so that one must peruse at length to find out what he intends or understands by the terms. In short, prasrabdhi counteracts the dausthulya and thus brings on the asrayaparivrtti. Since prasrabdhi is of two kinds, mental and physical, Sakuma thought the Yogacara attributes a physical side to the asrayaparivrtti. Sakuma renders dausthulya as Schlechtigkeit ('badness'), its opponent prasrabdhi as Leichtigkeit ('lightness' or 'ease'); karmanyata, prasrabdhi's associate, as Wirkfahigkeit ('capability of work') or Geschmeidigkeit ('pliability'). The reviewer had to decide how to translate these terms when rendering from the Tibetan the "Calming (the Mind)" section of the Lam rim chen mo. I was influenced by the Sanskrit words, the Tibetan translations, and the contexts in which these terms occur. That is why I rendered dausthulya as 'contamination'--in fact, it is a turbid contamination. It is difficult to imagine how 'lightness' or 'ease' could counteract dausthulya in the way I translate it, or even if it is rendered 'badness'. Something is wrong with Sakuma's rendition. I followed the Tibetan translation shin tu sbyangs pa, emphasizing purification, so I rendered prasrabdhi as 'cathartic'. For the karmanyata, my 'serviceability' agrees with his Wirkfahigkeit. In a passage ascribed to Sthiramati I rendered parivrtti as 'exchange';(6) the alternate form paravrtti also can be rendered that way.

In retrospect, there seems something out-of-joint or unworthy in Sakuma's using his introduction to quarrel with someone else's dissertation on the topic, as though Sakuma knows better about these matters. While Sakuma deserves congratulations for his achievement, I found little evidence that he does know better.

1 University of California Publications in Classical Philology, volume 17.

2 Alex Wayman, Calming the Mind and Discerning the Real: Buddhist Meditation and the Middle View, from the Lam rim chen mo of Tson-kha-pa (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978), 97-172; also pp. 386-90 for "Varieties of Discerning |vipasyana~."

3 His dissertation is entitled "Buddhist Systems of Transformation: Asrayaparivrtti/-paravrtti among the Yogacara."

4 Cf. Etienne Lamotte, Samdhinirmocana Sutra (Louvain: Bibliotheque de l'Universite, 1935), Tibetan text, pp. 92-93; French translation, pp. 212-13.

5 The essay, "The Scholarly Reception of Edgerton's BHS Grammar and Dictionary," is due to appear in a seminar volume, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath. Varanasi.
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Author:Wayman, Alex
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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