The study of activity and realistic recognition of an enlightened Buddhist monk

– The focus of Ven. Dong-in Lee and Ven. Moobul –

Kim, Kyung-jib / Dongguk University

After the opening of a port in Korea in 1876, an enlightened Buddhist monk who changed the Korean buddhism by introducing a new civilization, appeared in Korean society. The works of Ven. Dong-in Lee and Ven. Moobul were known in details all over the world. The two Buddhist monks were able to work supported by the enlightenment party and Japanese Buddhism. They carefully studied world trends and the development of Japan.

They realized that the wealth and power of Western Europe and Japan were results of their successful development of industry and commerce, and therefore asserted that Korea would have to do the same in order to measure up to them.

These activities and realistic recognitions were results of their concerns of a restraint of an inflow of Western civilization and a progressive direction of Korea in modern times.

Nevertheless their views that only followed the Japanese style so that overcome of the limitation, corresponded with our un-diversified actuality. However it wasn’t easy to foresee the changes of the enlightenment period at that time, and their serious and carefully analyzed views were rated highly.

* Keywords

a enlightened Buddhist monk, a enlightenment party, Japanese Buddhism, Ven. Dong-in Lee, Ven. Moobul

The Occurrence and Completion of Mercy in the Śūnyatā-vāda of Mādhyamika

– Centering around Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra –

Nam, Sooyoung / Buddhist College of Guinsa

The mahāyāna buddhism emphasizes mercy on all living beings, though it based on the śūnyatā-vāda. But the practice of śūnyatā-vāda reveals itself on the form of thorough non-attachment on all things. Therefore the śūnyatā-vāda of mādhyamika insists on the non-attachment even on nirvāṇa. But how the mercy can be possible, if bodhisattva who realized śūnyatā cuts off all attachment on all things even including all living beings?

But the mādhyamika texts show that the mercy is placed on the center of practice all the same. If so, how both the mercy and the śūnyatā can be exist together? In addition, what is the motive of mercy and by which process bodhisattva completes it? So present writer examined in such topics centering around the early mādhyamika text Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra. As the result of that examination, present writer found that the base of all practical rules is not the wisdom of prajñā but the mercy in the mādhyamika.

Also present writer found that Mahāprajñā pāramitā-śāstra asserts three kinds of mercy that are 1) the mercy which takes the all living beings as it’s object, 2) the mercy which takes dharma as it’s object, and 3) the mercy which takes no object, and the last is the highest one buddha practices.

The examination on this description of Mahāprajñā pāramitā-śāstra through Madhyamaka-śāstra and Vajracchedikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra shows that the mercy, which is the base of wisdom of prajñā, is completed as the most purest one by the wisdom of prajñā in it’s turn. In other words, the relation between mercy and wisdom of prajñā in the śūnyatā-vāda of mādhyamika is not antagonistic but complimentary, that is the wisdom of prajñā is attained based on the mercy and the very mercy is completed as the most purest one by the wisdom of prajñā.

The other fact, which this examination found, is that the wisdom of prajñā is not the motive of the mercy in mādhyamika, though it completes the mercy as the most purest one. On the contrarly, mādhyamika thought the mercy is the motive of wisdom of prajñā. This shows the opinion of Nakamura Hajime, that the mercy is caused by the idea of non-difference of me and others, is not correct, because the idea of non-difference of me and others can be possible by the wisdom of prajñā. So present writer made efforts to search the motive of mercy centering around Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra and Tenzin Gyatso’s exposition.

The supplementary exposition of Tenzin Gyatso to the some obscure exposition on the motive of mercy in Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra shows that the mercy is caused through the process of 1) the occurrence of empathy on sufferings, all living beings undergo, by right understanding on the suffering, 2) the occurrence of intimacy on the all living beings by right understanding of pratītyasamutpāda which means co-dependence. Therefore it would be correct that the mercy is not caused by the idea of non-difference between me and others but caused by 1) the empathy on sufferings, all living beings undergo, which occurred by right understanding on the suffering, 2) the intimacy on all living beings which occurred by right understanding of pratītyasamutpāda which means co-dependence.

But the idea of non-difference between me and others, proposed by Nakamura Hajime, is not nothing to the mercy. That is, as the wisdom of prajñā caused by the mercy completes the mercy as the most purest one, so the idea of non-difference between me and others contributes to completion of the mercy.

So the process from occurrence to completion of the mercy in the śūnyatā-vāda of mādhyamika would be 1) the occurrence of empathy on sufferings, all living beings undergo, caused by right understanding on the suffering, 2) the occurrence of intimacy on the all living beings caused by right understanding of pratītyasamutpāda meaning co-dependence. 3) the occurrence of mercy which takes all living beings as it’s object (=the occurrence of mercy), 4) the occurrence of boddhicitta, 5) the occurrence of mercy which takes dharma as it’s object by the right understanding of pudgala-nairātmya, 6) the occurrence of mercy which takes no object by the right understnding of dharma-nairātmya (=the completion of mercy).

* Keywords

mahāyāna buddhism, mādhyamika, śūnyatā-vāda, the occurrence of mercy, the completion of mercy, the wisdom of prajñā, the mercy which takes the all living beings as it’s object, the mercy which takes dharma as it’s object, mercy which takes no object, empathy on the sufferings, intimacy on the all living beings, pratītyasamutpāda meaning co-dependence

Majo(馬祖)’s Idea of Tao(道) and its Ecological Structure

Lee Bub-san / Professor of Dept of Seon studies
Dongguk University

This paper is what analyzed the passage of “平常心 is just Tao”(平常心是道) appearing in Majo’s thought of Zen(禪) from ecological point of view, which Tao is recognized as the most important value in Oriental cultural area, this analysis was done in terms of that “Tao is following the nature(道法自然)”. Not to mention, to discriminate between Tao in Majo’s thought of Zen and the one in Chinese traditional thought, this paper gives an outline about Tao in the philosophy of Lao-tse and Chung-tze(老莊思想) as the preliminary stages for analyzing Majo’s Zhen thought.

Materials for cultivation of Zen to realize actual circumstances of life is all around the natural ecology. Practicing Zen without having roots of the natural ecology is just as looking for a horn of rabbit, there is every no probability of that. Zen master’s question for Buddhist meditation(話頭) of “平常心 is just Tao” means that daily life is just the existing condition of the truth. Both the doctrine that we can gain ‘Awakening the Enlightenment’ in every life or a natural phenomenon and understanding all existences as appearance of Buddha nature are attracting public attention in terms of that they are establishing ecological ontology. Therefore, the ecological realization of Buddhism forms the basis of awakening the enlightenment through Zen cultivation. Because this society couldn’t be peaceful, unless we recognize the actual circumstances of life and realize all lives exist equally.

In spite of a materially affluent society, nowadays, it can be said human beings and an ecosystem is passing through a very serious crisis due to destroy of nature and poverty of spiritual culture. We should become aware that humankind can bring to a crisis leading to self-destruction, since it can cause polarize extremely if individual inequality and distributive discrimination will more deepen. Ecology is really a good science because it lets human beings come close to nature´s true face and expect the green future of the globe. Consequently, if we lay out a schemes which have the public practice the cultivation can enlighten their conscience in their nature through Zen cultivation, it would more revitalize ecosystem by operating on Zen thought and ecology each other. We can find that model in Majo’s thought of Zen.

* Key Words

Tao, Nature, Ordinary mind(평상심), Ecology, Buddha nature

On the ecological culture of Ahiṃsā

Kim, Chi-on / Research Professor

of Jin-Gak Buddhist Order

This paper treats on ahiṃsā(不殺生, non-violence) in Indian philosophy and Buddhism from a view of ecological culture. The crisis of ecological system of today originates from the human-oriented prejudice. As the countermeasure, the human-oriented view must be substituted for the ecological culture in basing the view of ecology-centered. Ahiṃsā and the prohibition of meat-eating can be the first step for settling ecological culture.

This research is an attempt to grasp its actual state to unravel the origin and formation of the ahiṃsā and the prohibition of meat-eating in Indian philosophy and Buddhism. This work shows that the motive forces of ahiṃsā are the fear of retribution, the sympathy of pain and great compassion. It has very important significance in Mahāyāna Buddhism that all living beings have the nature of Buddha. Taking life is the killing seed of the innate Buddhahood of living beings. Therefore, it is most difficult for killer to join Buddha’s way. That’s why we must not take life and meat-eating.

However, It must be practiced without remaining on religious commandments and doctrine in the form of hypocrisy. We must realize that we are beings who possess Buddha nature, the same as all living beings. Moreover, considering all living beings as innate and potential Buddha must be practiced.

Key Words

ecological culture, ahiṃsā, the prohibition of meat-eating, the fear of retribution, the sympathy of pain, the seed of the innate Buddhahood of great compassion.

Choi Uisun’s Zen Thoughts and the Spirits of Tea Tao

Kim, Young-doo / Professor

Wonkwang University.

As a way to understand Choui Uisun(1786-1866)’s Zen thoughts and his spirits of Tea Tao(茶道), this study attempts to review the social circumstances and situations in the periods of his birth, growth and buddhist priest, focusing on the figures and events closely related with him. Human being is generally influenced in establishing his/her own behavioral direction by the social circumstances in that period. In this point, this author considers the review of the social circumstances as necessary to understand Choui’s achievements and thoughts. Also, this study reviewed Choui’s Zen thoughts and his spirits of Tea Tao.

The 81 years of Choui’s life was the confused period in the circumstances of domestic politics. The Korean society had experienced the inflow of foreign powers and cultures suddenly, and the start of Catholicism in Korea had added the chaotic conflicts between traditional and foreign cultures. In that period, he had kept the exchange with renowned figures such as Chusa Junghee Kim, Dasan Yackyoung Chung, Hyunju Hong, and Jaha Sin, and then attempted to mollify himself through Zen and Tea Tao. It is considered that these activities were helpful for establishing his spiritual base.

If there had been no exchange with Choui about Zen, Tea Tao, poems, painting and calligraphy, the renowned figures, mentioned above, should have spent their own grim lives. In this view, Choui’s distributions of the writing works like Dasinjeon and Dongdasong must be one of his most meaningful achievements. Especially, Dongdasong can be considered as a sacred scripture of Korean Tea Tao, and Choui can be called an saint of Tea Tao.

Also, the Zen thoughts presented in his writing works are deep and magnanimous, so it can be generally said that he attained spiritual enlightenment in various kinds of Zen. Through his own review of various Zen thoughts, he created Ilmeeseon(一味禪) and made it realized as Tea Tao. Therefore, Jeungjung(中正) and Jeungdo(中道) in Tea Tao of Dongdasong can be interpreted as the true shape and norm of Zen and can be used as the life index. In this view, his achievements should be respectable in our history.

* Key Words

Choui Uisun, Zen thought, The Spirit of Tea Tao, Ilmeeseon, Jeungjung. Jeungdo

Korean Seon Centers and their Present State

Lee, Bup-san /

Professor, Dongguk University

Korean Buddhist order of Jogye follows the tradition of Boddhidharma who is the 28th linage of the Buddha. His teaching of seon reached the highest in China at the time of the master Jogye Hyereung around the 7th century. Korean Jogye order named after this master because Doyeu, who received the inga (認可) from his linage of Seadang Jijang (738-817 C.E.) at the kingship of Heonduk (821 C.E.).

At the beginning of the introduction of seon from China to the Silla dynasty, it had various conflicts with the sects of kyo (敎) tradition. However, the conflicts settled down in Korye dynasty when ganhwaseon (看話禪) which Daehye of the Song dynasty advanced was getting popular among the Buddhists. The main center of ganhwaseon has been Songkwang-sa located at Jeolla providence since Bojo and others inspired the movement of jeonghyegyelsa (定慧結社).

In the dynasty of Joseon, the tradition of Jogye did not have its full development because the government suppressed Buddhism in general. In the time of the invasion of Japan, it has been almost disappearing. It is Gyenghoe (1849-1912 C.E.) who revived the ganhwaseon in Korea. He organized jenghye (定慧) in 1899 at the Haein-sa, and practiced seon with 17 students during winter time. After then, Bumoe-sa and Tongdo-sa and other temples opened the seon centers. In 1942, there were 68 centers and around 505 monks and nuns practiced seon.

Jogye tradition reached a further step when the master Hyobong became the first supreme patriarch in 1946. At the present time, there are 94 centers and around 2,319 monks and nuns take part in ganhwa meditation. The seon centers are the place not only for monks and nuns but also for Buddhists in general. there should be many things to give Koreans better life if they used for their well-being.

* Key Words

Korean Seon Center, Korean Buddhist order of Jogye, The present state of The senier monk at a Seon center and The Seon Temples, The reform measures Of Seon center, Ganhwa Seon.

Meditation in Multiple Contexts: Early Buddhist Manuscripts and Inscriptions

Jason Neelis

In order to place Buddhist meditation in historical and philosophical contexts, scholars have attempted to identify different textual layers of the early tradition. Answers to these challenging questions depend largely on constructing a relative chronology of ideas based on analysis of early and late phases of Pāli canonical texts and comparisons with parallels in Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, and other Buddhist literatures. As Tilmann Vetter explains, a “common core” of doctrinal foundations for meditation practices among these textual traditions can sometimes be identified. However, it is very difficult to identify this common core of early ideas with the historical Buddha since subjective criteria are employed to determine which ideas are more original than others. Presuppositions about earlier and later strata remain problematic without external evidence from early manuscripts and inscriptions.

Early Buddhist manuscripts and inscriptions provide valuable perspectives on Buddhist meditation. Buddhist manuscripts in the Gāndhārī language from the 1st – 3rd centuries CE supply early written testimony of ideas connected with practices of meditation. In contrast to the literary evidence from Gandhāran manuscripts, Buddhist inscriptions reveal only limited information about meditation, which is difficult to associate with the physical evidence of donations to the Buddhist Saṅgha. Epigraphical references to meditation(dhyāna) and concentration(samādhi) do not provide details about specific techniques, but tend to be associatedwithworshipoftheBuddha,relics,andthe Dharma-body(dharmakāya). Buddhist literary and epigraphic references to ideas, terms, classifications, and practices illustrate different concerns with meditation.

A. Manuscripts

Fragments of manuscripts in the Kharoṣṭhī script and the Gāndhārī language supply the earliest evidence for the written transmission of literary texts with references to meditation practices. Prior to a veritable avalanche of recent discoveries of Kharoṣṭhī manuscripts since 1994, the only Buddhist manuscript in Gāndhārī was an incomplete version of the Dharmapada found near Khotan in 1892 and definitively edited by John Brough in 1962. Brough emphasized that the birch-bark scroll of the Khotan Dharmapada was “… accepted to be the oldest manuscript now extant of any Indian text” and “… the only Budhist text from the earlier period which has survived in any Indian language other than Pāli and Sanskrit” (1962: 1). Based on paleographic and linguistic features, Brough and other scholars generally date the Khotan Dharmapada to the second century CE. Parallels with the Pāli Dhammapada and the Sanskrit Udānavarga permit comparisons of this popular verse text, which was widely transmitted from very early stages of the Buddhist literary tradition. Certain verses of the Khotan Dharmapada specifically refer to practices of meditation (Gāndhārī J̅aṇa corresponds to Pāli jhāna and Sanskrit dhyāna) and concentration (Gāndhārī samadhi corresponds to Pāli and Sanskrit samādhi). Examples drawn from the Bhikṣuvarga of the Khotan Dharmapada include:

i. Bhikṣuvarga 58(Pāli Dhammapada 372, Udānavarga 32.25)

nasti J̅aṇa aprañasa praña nasti aJ̅ayado yasa jaṇa praña ya so hu nirvaṇasa sadi’i

“There is no meditation for one who is without wisdom, no wisdom for one who is not meditating. He, in whom there are meditation and wisdom, is indeed close to nirvāṇa.”

ii. Bhikṣuvarga 61(Pāli Dhammapada 365, Udānavarga 13.8)

salavhu nadimañea nañeṣa svihao sia añeṣa svihao bhikhu samadhi nadhikachadi “One should not despise what one receives. One should not wander about envying others. A bhikkhu envying others does not attain concentration.”

iii. Bhikṣuvarga 65-66 (= Pāli Dhammapada 271-2, Mahāvastu 3.422)

na śila-vada-matreṇa bhoṣukeṇa va maṇo adha samadhilabhena vevita-śayaṇeṇa va

phuśamu nekhamasukhu aprudhajaṇasevida bhikhu viśpaśa mavadi aprate asavakṣaye

“Not merely by virtuous conduct and vows nor, again, by much learning, nor by the attainment of concentration, nor by sleeping in seclusion, do I attain the happiness of the absence of desire, not attained by worldlings. Nor has a bhikkhu attained confidence, as long as he has not attained the destruction of the āsavas.”

References to dhyāna and samādhi in verses belonging to the “section on monks” (bhikṣuvarga) indicate that meditation was an essential component of monastic life, but these verses admonish monks not to practice meditation without wisdom(prajñā) and warn that attainment of concentration(samādhi) is not possible if envy and “intoxicants”(āsravas) are not eliminated. Since these didactic verses appear in Gāndhārī, Pāli, and Sanskrit Dharmapada-type literature, a “common core” of monastic attitudes towards the significance of meditative practices may be detected.

Another fragmentary version of the Bhikṣuvarga preserved in Kharoṣṭhī fragments belonging to the British Library collection and dated in the first century CE has recently been edited by Timothy Lenz. The twelve didactic verses with parallels in the Khotan Dharmapada and the Uraga-vagga of the Pāli Suttanipāta implore monks to eliminate anger, impurities, and thirst in order to “leave behind this life and the next, just as a snake leaves behind his old, worn-out skin” according to the common refrain(Lenz 2003: 59 ff.). Although these fragments do not contain explicit references to dhyāna or samādhi, praise for monks who have “understood that everything (*in this world) is unreal,” who have transcended “all the diversified world,” and who have “no desires (*which act as causes) for the bondage of the mind that will lead to rebirth” strongly suggest meditative contexts. The final verse of the British Library version praises “that monk who rids himself of the five hindrances.” Rupert Gethin points out that abandonment of the five hindrances(nīvaraṇa) of (1) sensual desire, (2) ill will, (3) tiredness and sleepiness, (4) excitement and depression, and (5) doubt frequently introduces Pāli stock descriptions of the four dhyānas/jhānas and figures prominently in various similes used to illustrate the basic principle of Buddhist meditation: “One stills and clears the mind and then turns it towards investigation and insight.”

Similar phrases and themes related to meditation practice appear in a Gandhārī version of the Rhinoceros Sūtra preserved in a British Library Kharoṣṭhī fragment edited by Richard Salomon. Like the Dharmapada, the Rhinoceros Sūtra is also a relatively early and popular verse text with parallels in the Uraga-vagga of the Suttanipāta, the Culla-niddesa, and the Paccekabuddhāpadāna in Pāli and in the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Mahāvastu-avadāna of the Mahāsaṅghika-Lokottaravādins. Verses sharing the common refrain that “one should wander alone like the rhinoceros” can be divided into three types, according to Salomon (2000: 7):

1) exhortations against the dangers of attachments in the first half of the text;

2) prescriptions for a solitary ascetic lifestyle predominate in the second half; and

3) explanations of the value of finding good companions and warning against bad associations interspersed throughout.

While the text does not strictly concern meditation techniques, themes of eliminating attachments and solitary withdrawal are closely related. For example, the 29th verse of the Gāndhārī version (with close parallels in Pāli texts) connects withdrawal with meditation:

29. salaṇa to J̅aṇo aricamaṇa dhaṃmeṣo ṇico aṇudhaṃma[ya]ri [a]///

“Not abandoning withdrawal [and] this meditation, always acting in accordance with the dharma among phenomena … (*one should wander alone like the rhinoceros).”

Several verses refer to the abandonment of doubt (24c), the fetters of passion, hatred, delusion, and desire (35a-b), and the five obstructions of the mind (37a) with the gerund prahae or prahai (Sanskrit prahāya / Pāli pahāya).

24. bhayea mitra paḍibhaṇavaṃta bahoṣuda dhaṃmadhara uraḍa (*añae dhaṃmaṃ vi)yigitsa prahae ek(*o care khargaviṣaṇagapo)

“One should cultivate a friend who is intelligent, learned, a master of the dharma, noble. (*Having understood the dharma) and abandoned doubt, (*one should wander) alone (*like the rhinoceros).”

35. raga ca doṣa ca prahae mokho taṣ̅a ya sarvasay(*o)ya(*ṇa)ṇi (*asaṇtrasaṃ jivitasaṃ)śayasi(*ṃ) ek(*o) care kharga(*v)iṣaṇa (*gapo)

“Having abandoned both passion and hatred, [and] delusion and desire [and] all the fetters, (*not trembling [even when]) in doubt (*of [one’s] life), one should wander alone (*like) the rhinoceros.”

37. prahai paṃcavaraṇaṇi cedaso uvakileśa vavaṇuja sa(*r)va (*abhibhuya sa)rvaṇi pariṣ(*e)aṇi eko care khargaviṣa(*ṇagapo)

“Having abandoned the five obstructions of the mind, having expelled all the defilements, (*having overcome) all dangers, one should wander alone (*like) the rhinoceros.”

The injunction to abandon the “five obstructions of the mind” in the Rhinoceros Sūtra is similar to praise for the monk who rids himself of the “five hindrances” in the Dharmapada verse discussed earlier, with only slight differences in terminology (avaraṇa/āvaraṇa instead of nivaraṇa/nīvaraṇa).

Clear associations between practices of meditation and published Gāndhārī manuscripts in the British Library collection are elucidated in the Prasaṇa sūtra edited by Mark Allon. This sūtra is the third in a group of three “Ekottarikāgama-type” sūtras which may have belonged to a Gāndhārī “Section of Fours” similar to the Catukka-nipāta of the Aṅguttara-nikāya in Pāli. The third text elaborates the four “efforts” or “abandonings” (Gāndḥarī prasaṇa / Pāli padhāna / Sanskrit pradhāna, prahāṇa) included in lists of the 37 factors which contribute to awakening (bodhipākṣyadharma), which are listed as 41 in a Gāndhārī manuscript in the Senior collection edited by Dr. Andrew Glass. Rupert Gethin suggests that the discrepancy between Pāli padhāna (“effort”) and Sanskrit prahāṇa (“abandoning”) may have been deliberate, since “it does seem that the Buddhist tradition as a whole preserves an explanation of the term which focuses on the notion of abandoning.” In any case, the Gāndhārī Prasaṇa sūtra can be compared with parallels in at least four Pāli suttas as well as Central Asian Sanskrit fragments from Turfan and Chinese translations (including An Shigao’s translation of an anthology of Ekottarikāgama sūtras). The order of the four “efforts” varies considerably in the textual sources and the sequence in this Gāndhārī version is apparently unique because the groups are not divided into “profitable” (kuśala) and “unprofitable” (akuśala) pairs. “Restraint” (sabara corresponds to Sanskrit saṃvara) and “abandoning” (prasaṇa, here corresponding to Sanskrit prahāṇa) appear as the first and fourth members, with “protecting” and “development” as the second and third members in the Gāndhārī Prasaṇa sūtra:

1) Sabara (Sanskrit saṃvara) “restraint”

2) Aṇorakṣaṇa (Sanskrit anurakṣaṇā) “protecting”

3) Bhavana (Sanskrit bhāvanā) “development”

4) Prasaṇa (Sanskrit prahāṇa) “abandoning”

The efforts of protecting (2) and developing (3) both involve concentration (samādhi). The “effort of protecting” (aṇorakṣaṇaprasaṇa) is aimed at preserving “profitable” (kuśala) states of mind, including “signs of concentration” (samasinimiti corresponds to Sanskrit samādhi-nimittam). A monk’s perception of corpses in various states of decomposition is considered a beneficial “sign of concentration” because this meditative practice leads to the destruction of desire and lust (Allon 2001: 281 ff.). The elaboration of the “effort of development” (bhavanaprasaṇa) lists seven “limbs of awakening” (Gāndhārī bujaghu / Pāli bojjhaṅga / Sanskrit bodhyaṅga), which includes the “awakening factor of concentration” (samasibujaghu = samādhi-bodhyaṅga) as the sixth item (Allon 2001: 129, 289-96). Rupert Gethin (2007 [1992]: 173-7) points out that the seven factors of awakening are frequently juxtaposed to the five hindrances (nīvaraṇa), which are referred to in Gāndhārī versions of the Dharmapada and Rhinoceros Sūtra. This version of the Prasaṇa Sūtra does not include a discussion of the fourth “effort of abandoning” which may have been reserved for another scroll due to lack of writing space at the bottom of the recto. Based on Pāli parallels, the missing section probably calls for the abandoning of thoughts of sensual pleasure(kāma), hatred(vyāpāda), and cruelty (vihiṃsā) (Allon 2001: 297).

This brief survey of passages in published editions of early Buddhist manuscripts that can be related to meditation themes shows that the general practice of meditation (dhyāna), attainment of concentration(samādhi), abandonment of the five hindrances(nīvaraṇa), and the cultivation of the factors leading to awakening(bodhipākṣyadharamas) were promoted as important religious goals. However, the published materials represent only a small sample of the wide range of early manuscript fragments with passages that can shed light on Buddhist meditation. Other passages in unedited fragments of the British Library and Senior collections discuss the four stages of dhyāna. At this symposium, Dr. Andrew Glass has presented his research on instructions on meditation in a group of four sūtras in Scroll 5 of the Senior collection to appear shortly as the fourth volume in the Gandhāran Buddhist Texts series. Kharoṣṭhī manuscripts in the Schøyen and Bajaur collections are likely to provide additional references to meditation practices and themes.

B. Inscriptions

In contrast to the literary evidence from early Buddhist manuscripts, inscriptions provide relatively little information about specific techniques or practices of meditation. Since early Buddhist inscriptions typically record donations of various items to resident monastic communities and to stūpas and other shrines, the epigraphic evidence gives many concrete details about worldly aspects of Buddhist practices of giving for religious merit. Although inscriptions generally do not directly address contemplative practices, a preliminary effort to find epigraphic references to dhyāna, samādhi, and other terms reveals some surprising ways in which concerns with meditation have been expressed. The survey is limited to early Brāhmī inscriptions from Sāñcī and Mathurā and to Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions from the Northwest, and is therefore not comprehensive. With the exception of two problematic Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions on a copper ring and seal from Taxila, dhyāna and other common terms for meditation were not popular elements in proper names. An interesting title for those who practice meditation(prāhaṇīka) appears in a Kuṣāṇa period Brāhmī inscription on a pillar base donated by two Buddhist monks in Mathura:

“This pillar base is the the gift of the monks Śurīya and Buddharakṣita, the practisers of meditation (prāhaṇīk[ā]n[aṃ]). May this surrender of a pious gift (deryadharmmaparītyāgena) be for the bestowing of health on all practicers of meditation(pr[ā]haṇīkānaṃ).”

This rarely attested title is clearly related to the practice of the four “efforts” or “abandonments.” Gregory Schopen’s observations about ambivalent attitudes towards ascetic meditating monks who are more typically ridiculed rather than praised in passages in the Mūlasārvāstivāda-vinaya (often associated with Mathurā) may help to explain why names or titles related to meditation are uncommon in Buddhist inscriptions. Although numerous literary passages (including examples from Gāndhārī manuscripts examined earlier in the presentation) emphasize ideals connected with meditation practices, inscriptions and Vinaya texts concerned with everyday features of Buddhist monastic life paint a very different picture.

Epigraphical references to meditation are more closely associated with epithets of the Buddha and his relics than with names and titles of individual monks or nuns. In an example from the first century CE Kharoṣṭhī inscription of Senavarma (also cited in the paper by Andrew Glass), the Buddha is elaborately praised as

“… complete in the meditations, powers, releases, concentrations, and attainments through all the good dharmas and knowledges.”

Epigraphic formulae in reliquary donations recorded in the Senavarma and other Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions refer to the relics of the Buddha as saturated with virtue(śīla), concentration(samādhi), and wisdom(prajñā):

1) Senavarma reliquary inscription (lines 7a-b): “relics [of him] saturated with virtue, saturated with concentration, wisdom, release, knowledge, and sight”

2) Kopśakasa reliquary inscription: “[These relics are] saturated with virtue, saturated with concentration, and saturated with wisdom”

3) Inscription of Abdagases in year 98: “I establish these relics of the Blessed one [which are] saturated with virtue, saturated with concentration, saturated with release, and saturated with release.”

A similar formula is applied to the Kākanādaboṭa monastery (rather than relics) at Sāñcī in a Brāhmī inscription dated in Gupta year 93 (= 412-3 CE), in which the “sense-faculties [or the donor or of the monastic residents?] remain absorbed in the virtues of morality(śīla), meditation(samādhi), and wisdom(prajñā).” In these inscriptions, concentration(samādhi), virtue(śīla), and wisdom (prajñā) refer to components of the eightfold path, which is commonly divided into these three categories of religious practice. The Ramaka Kharoṣṭhī dedication of year 74 (= ca. 16 CE) is somewhat analogous, since it connects a relic deposit with a “loosely formulated summary” of the four truths:

“To what measure should this relic deposit [be beneficial?] [May it lead] to the elimination of arising (samudayapraṇae), to the cultivation of the path (magabhavaṇae), to the destruction of desire (maṇorasakṣae), [and] to the cutting off of suffering (du[kha]daïae bhoto).”

The practice of inscribing the pratītyasamutpāda formula of “dependent arising” on relic caskets, stūpas, and other objects is first attested in a Kharoṣṭhī reliquary inscription from the Kurram valley in northwestern Pakistan dated in the middle of the second century CE. Daniel Boucher identifies this formula in many other inscriptions from South and Central Asia, and argues that inscriptions with the pratītyasamutpāda indicate a “dialectic” between “concrete and abstract modes of defining and locating the Buddha” in his corporal relics or in the Dharma body, which becomes the focus of Mahāyāna practices connected with the “Cult of the Book.” Thus, epigraphically attested formulae reflect basic Buddhist doctrinal positions which are elaborated in much greater detail in literary traditions.


Early Buddhist manuscripts and inscriptions supply external evidence for ideas and ideals, terms and classifications, and practices of meditation in the first and second centuries CE. Since the evidence from manuscripts is fragmentary and epigraphic sources only tangentially address meditation, it is very difficult to identify a “common core” of doctrinal foundations for meditation based on these sources. Gāndhārī manuscripts show that principles of meditation and concentration, especially the aims of abandoning attachments and eliminating the five hindrances, were important concerns. Kharoṣṭhī and Brāhmī inscriptions do not necessarily corroborate the textual tradition, since proper names and titles related to meditation are very rare, and epigraphic formulae link dhyāna and samādhi to epithets and relics of the Buddha rather than actual techniques. Passages in inscriptions which paraphrase or explicitly refer to basic tenets of the four truths, eightfold path, or dependent arising illustrate correlations between Buddhist literature and epigraphy, so the contrast between epigraphic and textual sources is not absolute. Although I was unable to address meditation in early Buddhist art, architecture and archeology, Dr. Glass incorporates relevant materials from Gandhāra into his presentation. A nuanced history of Buddhist meditation remains to be written, since new discoveries of manuscripts, inscriptions, and artifacts continue to enrich our understanding of chronological and regional contexts. My effort to examine principles and practices of meditation on the basis of manuscripts and inscriptions probably raises more questions rather than producing clear resolutions to complex issues, but I hope to have at least demonstrated that the available sources reflect a variety of interesting points of view.

Meditation in Gandhāra

Meditation in Gandhāra

Andrew Glass


Meditation must certainly have been a central practice of Buddhism in Gandhāra, however, direct evidence for the practices and techniques has been lacking. A recently discovered manuscript containing four sūtras concerning meditation has shed new light on this important aspect of Gandhāran Buddhism, but the picture is still incomplete. This paper provides a brief survey of the evidence from art and archaeology, as well as introducing the evidence from the new manuscript.


In ancient India, Gandhāra originally referred to a tribe, but later came to denote a place connected with that tribe, that is to say, the Peshawar Valley, located between the Suleiman Mountains along the modern border with Afghanistan in the west and the Indus River in the east. This area is now part of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. At the time of Alexander the Great’s invasion the main city of the region was Puṣkalāvatī(modern Charsaḍḍa), near the modern city of Peshāwār(Fussman 1994: 18). The important districts of Swāt and Buner as well as the cities of Bamiyan and Taxila are sometimes included with this area under the umbrella-term ‘Greater Gandhāra’ (Salomon 1999: 3). The Gāndhārī language, written in the Kharoṣṭhī script, served as a lingua-franca for this area, and is recorded in documents from the Northwest of the subcontinent from the time of the Emperor Aśoka until the 4th century of the Common Era. It is this period that I will focus on in this paper.

The study of Gandhāran Buddhism has seen enormous progress in the last 12 years, primarily due to the discovery of several important collections of Gāndhārī manuscripts. These collections are now preserved in the UK, the USA, Norway, Japan and Pakistan, and provide us with direct textual evidence of Buddhism as it was practiced in Gandhāra almost 2,000 years ago. These manuscripts constitute the oldest Buddhist manuscripts known in the world today and are likely to be among the oldest Buddhist manuscripts ever written. When we read these manuscripts, we generally find that the picture they provide of Buddhism at this early time closely matches our expectations based on our knowledge of the Pali, Chinese and Tibetan traditions. However, we also find new information that is not documented in other Buddhist traditions. One particular Gāndhārī manuscript exemplifies this situation, as it contains both familiar descriptions of meditation practices known to us in Pali, Chinese, and Tibetan versions as well as descriptions which are unique. But first, let us consider meditation.


Meditation has been a central practice of Buddhism from the very beginning. It was, after all, through meditation that the Buddha achieved enlightenment. The role of meditation has changed over time and the details of its practice have diversified over the centuries and from one Buddhist school to another. To try to understand the role and practice of meditation in Gandhāra during the Kharoṣṭhī period, we should consider the evidence available to us: evidence from art, archaeology, and the surviving written texts. However, the picture of Gandhāran meditation that emerges from this study is, inevitably, incomplete.

In order to fill in the gaps I would like to start with a framework based on the Pali commentaries and Buddhaghosa’ s Vissudhimagga. In this way, we can look at the Gandhāran evidence and see where the pieces might fit into this framework. The Pali sources are a natural place to look for such assistance as many of the texts available in Gāndhārī have close parallels in Pali. Of course, we must be aware that these sources also are removed both in time and space from Gandhāra, so the results will be at best, only an approximation of the role and practice of meditation in ancient Gandhāra. Other possible frameworks, such as Kamalaśīla’s Bhāvanākrama(8th century) are further removed in time and doctrine than Buddhaghosa.

Buddhist meditation includes practices of both sensory withdrawal(dhyāna, śamatha), and sensory observation(smti, vipaśyana). There is also some overlap between these categories. The meditation practices described in the Pali suttas may be arranged in the following schema. Double-underlined items have direct examples in Gāndhārī, single underlined items are mentioned in Gāndhārī documents.

1. Sensory Withdrawal

1.1. Ancillary techniques to counter lust, hatred, and delusion, in preparation for trance(dhyāna):

1.1.1. Meditation on the foulness of a corpse(EĀ-G ll. 61–3) and mindfulness of the body(RS 5 ll. 1–5) are used to counter lust.

1.1.2. Four immeasurable contemplations(love, compas sion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity) are used to counter hatred.

1.1.3. Mindfulness of breath is used to counter delusio n, and is part of a larger, and distinct, series of pr actices called the foundation of mindfulness (sm ṛtyupasthāna RS 5 l. 33).

1.1.4. Six remembrances (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, virt ue, generosity, and deities) are used to increase faith.

1.1.5. Mindfulness of death(RS 5 ll. 5–7) and the reme mbrance of nirvāṇa are used to motivate and reinf orce trance.

1.1.6. Perception of the repulsiveness of food(RS 5 ll. 7–9) and the four elements are used to remove di stractions.

1.2. Trance

1.2.1. Meditation on a device (kasiṇa), this progresses t hrough the stages: the beginning sign, the eidetic sign, the five hindrances, the representational sig n, and culminates in the meditation of attainment. The devices are: earth, water, fire, air, blue, yello w, red, white, light, limited space.

1.2.2. Four trances(BL 26, 29; RS 5 l. 39): in the first t rance, five factors of concentration are present (discursive thought, reasoning, enthusiasm, pleas ure, and one-pointedness). In the second trance, factors 1 and 2 are eliminated. In the third, factor 3 is eliminated; in the fourth trance only one-poi nt edness remains.

1.2.3. The four formless attainments(infinite space, inf inite perception, nothing-at-all, and neither ide a nor non-idea); in each case the meditator prog resses by eliminating the object of each successi ve formless trance.

2. Sensory Observation

The latter five of the seven purifications in Buddhaghosa’s scheme of seven steps on the path of purification(visuddhimagga) concern insight meditation.

2.1. Purification of view is concerned with removing all at tachment to self by examining the constituents of the body(RS 5 ll. 1–5), his senses, their objects and the five aggregates (RS 5 ll. 15–31).

2.2. Purification of overcoming doubt is concerned with re alizing the twelvefold chain of dependent origination (CKI 153) by examining the causes through which th e body comes into being. The result of this is insight into the three characteristics(impermanence (RS 5 ll. 30–31), suffering, and non-self).

2.3. Purification of what is and what is not the path exam ines all things in terms of the three characteristics. T his leads to eighteen great insights and the permanen t rejection of striving for permanence, happiness, and self.

2.4. Purification by knowledge and vision of the way is co ncerned with the pursuit of nine knowledges: knowle dge through contemplation on the appearance and dis appearance of conditioned things; knowledge through contemplation on the destruction of conditioned thing s; knowledge gained through fear of conditioned thing s; knowledge gained through contemplation of the da nger of conditioned things; knowledge gained through revulsion for conditioned things; knowledge gained th rough desire for liberation; knowledge gained through analysis of conditioned things; knowledge gained thro ugh equanimity for conditioned things; and knowledge gained by following the path the nirvāṇa.

2.5. Purification by knowledge and vision concerns knowl edge of the four noble paths (stream-winner, once-re turner, non-returner, and arhant), as well as two furt her attainments (attainment of fruition and cessation of thought and feeling).

In addition to these practices we might also take into account activities such as chanting, recitation, and circumambulation which, according to Luis Gómez, “hold an ambiguous status between ritual and meditation, mechanical reading and deep reflection” (Gomez 2005: 522). These activities are likely to have been a part of Gandhāran Buddhism.

As a further addition, I would like to briefly mention the visionary and ecstatic techniques which became so developed in the Mahāyāna. Techniques consisting of visualizing Buddhas and Purelands are not mentioned in the Gāndhārī texts we have found to date, but one is tempted to speculate that Gandhāran art may have played a complementary role in developing these practices by providing highly evolved portrayals of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas which could have been used as subjects for training these visualizations.


The products of the Gandhāran school of art are among the most famous of all creations of Buddhist art. Gandhāran art can tell us about meditation in Gandhāra in two ways. First, through illustrations of meditation being practised, and second, through depecitions that could be used as subjects for meditation.

Fig. 1. A wall-painting from Qizil.

Illustrations of meditation, which attest to the contemporary practice of meditation in Gandhāra are found, but for the most part consist of Buddha images. Typical of these are depictions of the Buddha in the classic meditation posture(dyāna mudra). Images of monks in meditation are rarer. One very clear example of a monk practicing a specific meditation comes from a wall painting in Qizil, Xinjiang. Admittedly Qizil is some distance from Gandhāra, but was certainly influenced by Gandhāra, as demonstrated by the fact that Kharoṣṭhī documents have been discovered there. Consequently, it is sometimes included in the area covered by the term Greater Gandhāra. This painting is datable to the 4th and 5th centuries of the Common Era. The painting shows a monk looking at, or perhaps thinking about a human skull. Clearly this suggests that the monk is reflecting on death (1.1.5), or possibly the constituents, or decomposition of, the human body(1.1.1). These possibilities are included in the outline of meditation practices given previously.

Since the evidence is rather limited, I would like to simply note here, that art objects, such as the Buddha sculptures, and especially more elaborate scenes like the Mohamed-Nari stele may have played a role in, or at least developed alongside the kind of visualization exercises that were a feature of Mahāyāna meditation(see Rhi 2003: 176–7).


One of the best preserved Buddhist sites from the Gandhāra region is the monastery of Takht-i-bāhī. As such, these ruins are a good place to look for evidence of meditation in Gandhāra.

The ruins at Takht-i-bāhī are situated 50 km northwest of Peshawar, on a hilltop 500 m above sea level. The origins of this monastery are uncertain, but it probably dates back at least to the first part of the 1st century(see Konow 1929: 57). The monastery flourished during the Kharoṣṭhī period, and was perhaps destroyed in connection with the arrival of the Hephthalites early in the 5th century.


Fig. 2. The monastery at Takht-i-bāhī

The plan of the monastery is typical of many Gandhāran sites. It consists of a main stūpa; a courtyard which once contained many small stūpas and pillars; as well as the monastery proper, consisting of a further courtyard surrounded by the monks’ cells. At Takht-i-bāhī the main stūpa court and the court of many stūpas are surrounded by high walls, in which niches are set that would have contained sculptures.

The main stūpa is now gone, but its platform remains. This platform has a flight of steps which would have provided access to the base of the stūpa. Certainly, the practice of circumambulation, walking around the stūpa, would have been performed here. As mentioned previously, this can be considered a special form of meditation practice.

Other architectural features which might be associated with mediation are the monks’ private cells, the conference hall, and some underground chambers. Fifteen private cells are arranged on three sides of the monastery courtyard. A stairway at the northeast corner probably led to another fifteen, or so, cells on a second level but these are now lost. It is estimated, therefore, that up to about thirty monks might have been in residence in this part of the monastery at any one time. These cells would likely have been used by the monks for their private meditation practice in addition to sleeping and other activities.

The conference hall at the northwest of the site would have been large enough to easily accommodate all of the monks in residence for meetings, communal recitations and ceremonies. Lantern brackets in the walls suggest that this room was also used at night.

Ten underground chambers are situated in two rows below the courtyard south of the conference hall. The five chambers on the east side are extremely dark. It has been suggested that these were used by monks as meditation chambers (Shakur 1946: 25). Of course, it is impossible to rule out other functions for these rooms, for example, it has also been suggested they were used as granaries (Shakur 1946: 26). Similar, subterranean chambers are found at other Buddhist sites in Gandhāra, such as the nearby site of Jamālgaṛhī. If these dark spaces were used for meditation, it may be that they were suitable for the ancillary techniques (1.1), or sensory observation techniques (2) in the above scheme. The trance techniques (1.2) would have required a little light in the initial stage of the practice in order to perceive the device(kasiṇa).

To summarize the evidence thus far, art and archaeology can give us only a very limited picture of Gandhāran meditation. Evidence from art suggests the posture meditation practitioners might have used, and to a very limited extent, what practices they engaged in. Archaeology on the other hand, cannot tell us anything about the content of the meditation, but only suggests places that might have been used. To know any more about meditation in ancient Gandhāra, we must refer to the available texts.


Gāndhārī words for the meditation practices described previously, and cognate with Sanskrit terms such as dhyāna, śamatha, smṛti, vipaśyana, occur in various Gāndhārī manuscripts and a very few inscriptions. Examples of these have been presented by Jason Neelis in his contribution to this volume.

At present, the best source for information about meditation in Gandhāra is a manuscript from the Senior Collection. This collection consists of twenty-four scroll fragments on birch bark; and is similar in many respects to the British Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragments which have been described in detail by Richard Salomon in his book Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhāra(1999). Like them, the provenance of the Senior Kharoṣṭhī fragments is unknown, but it might be Haḍḍa in modern Eastern Afghanistan. These fragments can be dated to about 140 c.e. Unlike the British Library manuscripts, the Senior Collection seems to have been prepared on request for a donor as a ritual deposit (Allon 2007: 4).

The twenty-four scrolls that make up the Senior Collection contain 41 texts of varying lengths and degrees of completeness. Many of these texts are parallel to āgama sūtras in Pali and Chinese, by far the best represented of which are sūtras belonging to the Saṃyuktāgama/Pali Saṃyutta-nikāya. A catalogue and overview of this collection is currently being prepared by Mark Allon (forthcoming). The Saṃyuktāgama is a rich source of sūtras describing meditation. Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment 5 contains four such sūtras. The instructions in this manuscript probably reflect contemporary views and practice of meditation in Gandhāra around the middle of the first century.

Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment 5(see appendix)

Scroll 5 from the Senior Collection is a short manuscript comprising 42 lines of text, 21 on each side, and four sūtras, with two on each side. Despite damage to the center of the manuscript, it is, in fact, one of the best preserved of all Kharoṣṭhī manuscripts.

The first sūtra on this manuscript contains a description of four perceptions(saññā), these are: perception of foulness (asubhasaññā), perception of death(maraṇasaññā), perception of the repulsiveness of food(āhārepaṭikkūlasaññā), and perception of non-delight in the entire world(sabbaloke anabhiratasaññā). The first three directly relate to the ancillary techniques described earlier, items 1.1.1, 1.1.5, and 1.1.6 respectively. We should note also that either of the first two items may be indicated in the wall painting from Qizil discussed earlier.

The description of the first perception has parallels in Pali and Tibetan. The descriptions of the remaining three do not have direct parells, however, the sentiments of the perception of death and the perception of the repulsiveness of food are echoed elsewhere. As far as I have been able to discover, the description of the fourth perception, non-delight in the entire world, appears to be unique to the Gāndhārī tradition. One might imagine the monks of Takht-i-Bāhī going to the subterranean chambers and feeling isolated and alone, and then recreating this feeling when they walked down to the town at the base of the hill.

The second sūtra on this manuscript is a Gāndhārī text directly parallel to the Pali Natumhāka-sutta. This short sūtra preserves a teaching on the five aggregates(skandhas), recommending that one not think of them as one’s own, hence the sūtra’s title ‘Not Yours’(natumhāka). The sūtra contains a simile comparing the aggregates to the grass, sticks, branches, leaves, and foliage in the Jeta-grove, which one can readily acknowledge as not belonging to the self. Therefore, we may connect the teaching of this sūtra with the Purification of view(2.1).

The third sūtra also has parallels in Pali and Chinese. It instructs the adherent to view the five aggregates with disgust. Through this practice one is said to gain understanding of the aggregates, and in turn, be released from the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death. Again, this instruction is might be classified under the Purification of view(2.1). The context of disgust suggests a connection with the first part of the first sūtra on this manuscript.

The fourth and last sūtra on this manuscript has direct parallels in Pali and Chinese. This sūtra teaches that liberation depends both on the recognition of the five aggregates as impermanent, and on the maturation of factors which contribute to enlightenment(bodhipākṣyadharma). The Gāndhārī version ends in the middle of the first of three similes found in the parallel versions, in which the practitioner is compared to a hen whose eggs won’t hatch unless they are properly incubated. This sūtra, like the previous two, concerns the five aggregates, but in this case they are to be viewed as impermanent(anitya, 2.2), that is, as subject to arising(samudaya) and passing away(astaṃgama). Not only that, but also the factors which contribute to enlightenment must be cultivated(bhāvita) too. In the Gāndhārī list of these factors forty-one items have been included as opposed to the usual thirty-seven.


RS 5.33–5


SN III 153.8–13

Chinese (SĀ)

T no. 99 67a29–b1

Chinese (DĀ)

T no. 1 16c10–1

4 spaḏoṭ́haṇa

4 satipaṭṭhāna


4 niànchù念處

4 samepas̱aṇa

4 sammappadhāna

zhèngqín 正勤

4 yìduàn 意斷

4 hirdhaüpaḏa

4 iddhipāda

rúyìzú 如意足

4 shénzú 神足

4 jaṇa

4 chán

5 hidria

5 indriya


5 gēn

5 bala

5 bala


7 bejaga

7 bojjhaṅga


7 juéyì 覺意

aria aṭhagia mag̱a

ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga


xiánshèng bā dào賢聖八道

= 41

= 37


= 41

This list itself seems to be a very early attempt to catalogue the practices conducive to the path. Some of these are directly concerned with meditation, such as the four foundations of mindfulness(smṛtyupasthāna), and of course the four dhyānas(G jaṇa). The inclusion of the four dhyānas seems to be associated with the Dharmaguptakas, or perhaps more generally with the Gandhāra region (see Glass 2007: 35).


The evidence regarding meditation in Gandhāra is admittedly quite scant. Fortunately, we are able to draw on a variety of sources, art, architecture, epigraphy, and manuscripts. Taken individually, the data from each may not amount to much, but together, I think we can draw some tentative conclusions about meditation in Gandhāra.

First, the descriptions of meditations given in Senior manuscript 5 occur in the context of sūtras, that is, teachings set at the time of the Buddha. The fact that these sūtras were chosen specifically for inclusion in a ritual deposit suggests that they were both revered and relevant at the time of their creation. Therefore, I suggest, that the descriptions of meditation practices they contain would have been current in Gandhāra in the second century of the Common Era. The fact that one of the practices described is apparently depicted in a wall painting two or three centuries later strongly supports this claim.

In terms of the scheme of meditation practices provided by Buddhaghosa, we find that the ancillary techniques of sensory withdrawal are the best represented in our sources. The sensory observation practices are also represented, particularly where they overlap with the ancillary techniques. This leaves the trance practices as the least well represented in out texts so far. I would not infer from this that the trances were less significant to Gandhāran Buddhism, rather, this is likely to be an accident of preservation. In this regard, it is interesting that the four trances have been included in the practices conducive to the path in Gandhāra.

It is also apparent that descriptions of Mahāyāna-type visualizations are, so far, absent from the Gāndhārī materials. It is perhaps likely that in this case too, our sample of Gāndhārī texts is too small. We can hope that, as Gāndhārī manuscripts continue to come to light, this situation may change, and we will come to know more about meditation in Gandhāra.

Translation of Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment 5

The Sutra on the Perceptions(S̱aña-sutra)

“What is the concentration connected with perception of foulness? Concerning this, a monk who is at the foot of a tree or in an empty house or in an open space examines this very body, as it is placed, as it is disposed, upward from the sole of the foot, surrounded by skin, downward from the tip of the hair, (*full) of impurity of (*various) kinds. (*There are in this) body: head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, dust, networks, outer skin, thin skin, bones, bone marrow, (*flesh, sinews, kidney, liver), heart, pleura, spleen, lungs, small intestine, large intestine, anus, bladder, fecal matter, tears, sweat, saliva, mucus, pus, blood, (*bile, phlegm, fat, grease), joint fluids, head, and brain. It is the undistracted one-pointedness of mind of a person so positioned which is called ‘the concentration connected with the perception of foulness.’

“(*What) is the concentration connected with the perception of death? Concerning this, a monk who is at the foot of a tree or in an empty house or in an open space, this one … [thinks,] ‘I will die, I will not live long, I will perish, I will die, I will disappear.’ (*It) is the undistracted one-pointedness of mind of a person so positioned which is called ‘the concentration connected with the perception of death.’

“What is the concentration connected with the perception of the repulsiveness of food? By ‘food’ is meant porridge, sour gruel; this, the monk … realizes, is ‘fecal matter’; he realizes [it is] ‘saliva’; he realizes [it is] ‘vomit’; he realizes [it is] ‘a lump of putrid bodily secretions’—‘black filth.’ It is the undistracted (*one-pointedness of mind) of a person so positioned which is called ‘the concentration connected with the perception of the repulsiveness of food.’

“ere, in every respect … he is dissatisfied. he reflects. he (*does not enjoy. he does not delight). It is the undistracted one-pointedness of mind of a person so positioned which is called ‘the concentration connected with the perception of nondelight in the entire world.’”

The Not yours Sutra(Ṇatuspahu-sutra)

The setting is in Śrāvastī. “What, Monks, is not yours, you should abandon that. When abandoned, that will be for [your] benefit and ease. (*Moreover, what is not yours?) Form is not yours; you should abandon that. When abandoned, that will be for [your] benefit and ease. Feeling, perception, conditioned forces, perceptual consciousness are not yours; you should abandon them. (*When abandoned), that will be for [your] benefit and ease.

“[It is] just as if a person were to cut or carry off or (*burn or) do as they please with the grass, sticks, branches, leaves, and foliage in this Jetavana. Then what do you think? Would this occur to you: ‘Now then, this person cuts us or carries us off or burns us or may do as he pleases with us’?” “Indeed, this is not the case, (*sir). Why is (*that)? [Because] this [Jetavana], sir, neither is the self nor belongs to the self.”

“In the same way, you should abandon what is not yours. When abandoned, it will be for [your] benefit and ease. (*In the same way,) form is not yours; you should abandon that. When abandoned, it will be for [your] benefit and ease. Feeling, conception, conditioned forces, perceptual consciousness are ⟨*not⟩ yours; you should abandon that. When abandoned, it will be for [your] (*benefit and ease).” This is what the Lord said.

The Faith Sutra(Ṣadha-sutra)

The setting is in Śrāvastī. “For one having faith, Monks, for a noble son who has gone forth from the home to homelessness out of faith, this accords with the dharma: That he should live full of disgust with respect to form; he should live (*full of) disgust with respect to feeling, perception, conditioned forces, and perceptual consciousness.

“Living full of disgust with respect to form, he fully understands form. (*Living full of) disgust with respect to feeling, perception, conditioned forces, and perceptual consciousness, [he] fully understands perceptual consciousness.

“Fully understanding form, fully understanding feeling, perception, conditioned

forces, and perceptual consciousness, he is released from form; [he] is released from feeling, perception, conditioned forces; [he] is released from perceptual consciousness; [he] is released from birth, aging, sickness and death, grief, lamentations, (*suffering, despair,) and frustration. [he] is released from suffering, so I say.” This is what the Lord said.

The Adze handle Sutra(*Vasijaḍa-sutra)

The Lord was staying in Śrāvastī. “Monks, I say the destruction of the taints is for one who knows [and] sees, not for one who does not (*know [and] does not) see. I say the destruction of the taints is for one who knows how and sees how? To wit: [for one who knows] ‘This is form, this is the arising of form, this is the (*passing away) of form; (*this) is feeling; this is perception; these are the conditioned forces; this is perceptual consciousness, this is the arising of perceptual consciousness, this is the passing away of perceptual consciousness.’ So I say the destruction of the taints is for one (*who knows thus), who sees thus.”

Then a certain monk said this to the Lord: “you say that the destruction of the taints is for one who knows thus, who sees thus. Then, why, in this case, is the mind of some monks not liberated from the taints without clinging?” “It must be said, ‘due to (*its) noncultivation.’ Due to the noncultivation of what? Due to the noncultivation of the wholesome states. Of which wholesome states? Due to the noncultivation of the four foundations of mindfulness, of the four right strivings, of the (*four) bases of supernatural power, of the four meditations, of the five mental faculties, of the five powers, of the seven factors of awakening, and of the Noble Eightfold Path—due to the noncultivation of these wholesome states.

“A monk who lives without engaging in the practice of meditation may well form the desire ‘Oh, let (*my) mind be liberated from the taints without clinging!’ But in fact his mind is not liberated from the taints without clinging. For what reason? It must be said, ‘due to (*its) noncultivation.’ Due to the noncultivation of what? Due to the noncultivation of the wholesome states. Of which wholesome states? Due to the noncultivation of the (*four) foundations of mindfulness, of the four right strivings, of the four bases of supernatural power, of the four meditations, of the five mental faculties, of the five powers, of the (*seven) factors of awakening, and of the Noble Eightfold Path—due to the noncultivation of these wholesome states.

“[It is] just as if a hen might have eight, ten, or twelve (*eggs). [And suppose] these eggs were not properly sat upon by this hen day in and day out, were not properly incubated day in and day out, were not properly nurtured day in and day out …”



BLBritish Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragment

CKICatalog of Kharoṣṭhī Inscriptions (


EĀ-GGāndhārī Ekottarikāgama (ed. Allon 2001)

RSRobert Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment



TTaishō Shinshū Daizōkyō

Allon, Mark. 2001. Three Gāndhārī Ekottarikāgama-Type Sūtras: British Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragments 12 and 14. Gandhāran Buddhist Texts 2. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

______. 2007. “Introduction.” in Glass 2007: 3–25.

______. forthcoming. Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhāra II: The Robert Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragments. Gandhāran Buddhist Texts. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Beyer, Stephan V. 1975. “The Doctrine of Meditation in the Hīnayāna” and “The Doctrine of Meditation in the Mahāyāna.” In Charles S. Prebish, ed. Buddhism: A Modern Perspective. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Glass, Andrew. 2007. Four Gāndhārī Saṃyuktāgama Sūtras: Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment 5. Gandhāran Buddhist Texts 4. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Gómez, Luis O. 2005. “Meditation.” In Robert E. Buswell Jr., ed., Encyclopedia of Buddhism. New York: Macmillan Reference.

Konow, Sten. 1929. Kharoshṭhī Inscriptions with the Exception of Those of Aśoka. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum 2.1. Calcutta: Government of India, Central Publication Branch.

Rhi Juhyung. 2003. “Early Mahāyāna and Gandhāran Buddhism: an Assessment of the Visual Evidence.” Eastern Buddhist 35: 152–2002.

Salomon, Richard. 1999. Ancient Buddhist scrolls from Gandhāra: the British Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragments. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Shakur, M. A. 1946. A Short Guide to Takht-i-Bahi. Peshawar: M. A. Shakur.

Vetter, Tilmann. 1988. The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

The Practical Thought of Ch‘an and the Question of Self-realization

Ven. Seong-bon / A professor /
The department of Buddhism /
Dongguk university in Keoungju

Ch‘an is a religion of self-realization. The self-realization gets an individual to follow the life of Bodhisattva path with wisdom and personality after he has directly achieved by himself the perfect wisdom of Buddha-dharma. The perfect wisdom is insight that one achieves by realizing practically the spirit and thought of the Buddha-dharma. And it goes beyond language or letter a master uses to give an instruction to his disciples.

The self-realization in Ch‘an buddhism is wisdom that truly knows and sees one‘s own existence and reality. It denotes that one gets the eyes of wisdom which can penetrate the true reality of all things. Hence, the wisdom which can truly see the right Dharma is fulfilled by self-realization through Ch‘an practice, viz. by the experience of awakening

When considering Ch‘an practice from the general standpoint of Buddhism, there are various modes according to different schools and periods respectively. However, their main purposes focus on achieving and cultivating prajñā-wisdom through self-realization

In other words, the self-realization in Ch‘an buddhism signifies that one lives as a creative person doing what to do here and now, and fulfills the path of Bodhisattva to liberate the living beings from suffering with prajñā-wisdom after penetrating Buddha-nature that is one‘s own original nature.

* Key words

Ch‘anpractice(참선수행),self-realization(깨달음), prajñā-wisdom(般若智慧), The Discourse on the Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna(大乘起信論), sudden enlightenment and seeing self-nature(頓悟見性)

A Comparative Study of the Humanistic Approaches for Zen Therapy

Lee, Nam-Gyeong / Lecturer,
Dongguk University

In the dissertation, I’ve tried to compare the western approaches to psychotherapy with the Buddha’s teachings and Zen(Seon or meditation) for practicing. But, it is not easy to get the more effectual remedy what I want. Because, I think, each of the Oriental and the Western cultures have developed on the different bases of philosophy, ideology and religion. It is nature that, though both of them want to go for the same goal equally in the psychotherapy and try to recover the hurt mind around us, but the one is separated from the other in the meaning of terminology. They are speaking out with the same mouths and the same words, but the different meanings in the same terms.

Therefore, above all, I have reviewed the development of the western psychotherapy centered on the Humanistic approaches with the founder C, Rogers, and compared with the buddhist teaching.

Next, I have to find out the different meanings of psychological terms in the western theories and the buddhist teachings. Without any idea of the different concepts of the two, if any counsellor had excerpted from the other theory only partially, it would be done a very dangerous hurt to a client. So, it is very important job what we have to review first of all, I think.

In the chapter 4 and 5, I’ve suggested Vipassana as the way of Zen practicing for the Zen Therapy and showed the right mind and the right attitude for caring clients as a good counsellor. If you want to be a good counsellor, you should learn the Buddha’s teachings, practice Zen(Seon or meditation) and then apply the Western methods for psychotherapy .

* key words

Zen Therapy, Humanistic Approaches, C, Rogers, actualizing tendency, awareness, enlightenment, buddha-nature, anātman, śunayatā, nirvana, vipassana