By Joseph Walser
Publish 12 months note: First released in 2005
Joseph Walser offers the 1st exam of Nagarjuna's existence and writings within the context of the non secular and monastic debates of the second one century CE. Walser explores how Nagarjuna secured the canonical authority of Mahayana teachings and considers his use of rhetoric to make sure the transmission of his writings via Buddhist clergymen.
Drawing on shut textual research of Nagarjuna's writings and different Buddhist and non-Buddhist assets, Walser bargains an unique contribution to the certainty of Nagarjuna and the early background of Buddhism.
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Extra resources for Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture
50 Although more Maháyána manuscripts may eventually turn up from the Bámiyán region, the absence of any Maháyána sñtras elsewhere on the Silk Route before the ﬁfth century is remarkable, and its paucity requires an explanation. The earliest Maháyána sñtras translated into Chinese refer to their own copying and preservation in books. The monks who brought the ﬁrst Maháyána sñtras to Luoyang in the second century must have acquired or memorized or at least transported Maháyána sñtras in the same regions where other Buddhist monastic collections have been unearthed.
Hence, while the Endere and Niya inscriptions suggest that Maháyána was accepted among the laity, there is no corroborating evidence for this in other inscriptions from the laity. Earlier Maháyánists? The Uákyabhikíu Debate A point should be made here concerning inscriptions mentioning a group called Uákyabhikíu/Uákyabhikíunô. Although that the earliest inscriptions mentioning Maháyána by name occur only in the sixth century, Schopen claimed that Maháyánists may have gone under another name before that time.
Furthermore, the two artifacts from Shan-shan identify two laypeople as Maháyánists. There are no inscriptions indicating monks or sramáças to be Maháyánists. The only evidence for monks with a Maháyána a‹liation remains in the Bámiyán manuscripts. As for the Bámiyán avadána fragment, Salomon quite rightly points out that the document tells us that the author wanted the audience to believe that Huvikía was a Maháyánist, not that Huvikía necessarily thought of himself in that manner. Until more evidence comes to light, we are better oª accepting the assertion that Huvikía was a Maháyánist as the wishful thinking of its author.