Author Topic: Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman  (Read 2268 times)

Offline Hanzze

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Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman
« on: October 17, 2011, 04:45:31 am »
Some weeks ago I had the fortune to receive Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman Vol. II (engl. translation 1978) as a present from a Monk.

Generally I am not well into the different Schools and Traditions so I would kindly ask how much this work is related and accepted among the different schools and traditions.
Further I would like to ask if Mahayana Yogis are generally familiar with this work.

Thanks!
*smile*

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 07:27:39 am »

Offline Ben Yuan

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Re: Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2013, 12:10:08 am »
The Satyasiddhi is highly accepted within Chinese Buddhism. I am not sure if it exists or is known today in any other branch. But it is a text which clashes directly with the Abhidharmakosa school, or Chu-she (Kusha in Japan) - so I don't think you'd have much to worry about.

Essentially, for the Mahayana, one important aspect historically has been to respond to the Sarvastivada Abhidharmika claim that dharmas exist, and do so in all three times to boot! The Satyasiddhi is a classic refutation of that. The text was made the focus of the Ch'eng-Shih (Satyasiddhi in Chinese) School in the 520s, founded by the students of Hui-tz'u who popularised the text in the 490s.

By the end of the 6th century the followers of this school had mostly assimilated with the San-lun (Madhyamaka) School because the approach is essentially identical - both critique the same views and both reach the same conclusion.

Needless to say, neither school existed past the Great Buddhist Persecution in 842. However, they both transmitted to Korea and Japan, founding the Jojitsu (Satyasiddhi) and Sanron (Madhyamaka) schools. The Jojitsu school, just like in China, was eventually assimilated into the Sanron school because of the similarity of doctrines. But in Chinese Buddhism as you may well know, San-lun is completely compatible with and was assimilated and accepted into Ch'an and Pureland traditions during the Sung Dynasty, which was a period of great synthesis of all the Chinese schools.

The Satyasiddhi text is essentially an anti-Sarvastivada (Chu-she) Sautrantika text. That is to say, it rejects the idea that Dharmas or phenomena have any real existence, and claims instead that things only conventionally exist momentarily in the present, the past and future don't exist. Thus, they also claim that the experiences you have are not of actual objects, but of representations which sprout in the mind like seeds - this is why you can have memories and imagine things after they happen (thus being complementary to Yogacara and Ch'an). The Chu-she are right in examining the elements of existence as a way of removing one's attachments to them as impermanent factors in the process of life, but even this experience isn't sufficient - one has to transcend the view of emptiness due to multiple constituent factors, transcend the very consciousness of emptiness. This deeper contemplation is what is referred to by Satyasiddhi, the accomplishment of truth. This is clearly completely complementary to the Madhyamaka view of transcending both existence and emptiness.

Offline t

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Re: Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2013, 02:07:46 am »
Some time back, I read from a source (lost the link) that claims this text is highly suspected to be from the Mahasanghika side and one of Sarvastivada's many opponents back then... and thanks to the great translator Kumarajiva, we can read it today from its first Chinese translation back then...

Offline Ben Yuan

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Re: Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2013, 03:55:04 pm »
Yeah you are right, but the Mahasangika is a massive umbrella term by the time of Harivarman. According to Paramartha's version of Mahasangika history, by the mid 2nd Century BC it had split into five sects, the Bahusrutiya sect believing in the two truths and the delayed revelation of Mahayana and all that jazz. He claims it was this sect from which the Satyasiddhi Shastra comes.

Warder's "Indian Buddhism" will probably be the best source for getting precise on this, but the critique is essentially a Sautrantika one.

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2013, 08:10:14 am »
Thanks for you effort that you put in your explaining, Ben Yuan.
Yes t, I also saw some information, that he is liked when its useful and rejected when not and that form all opponents.

So over all, it's not very well known and "used" among the Mahayana Sects? Did I assume that right?


 


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