History of Buddhism (Chos-hbyung), Part 2

From Buddha-Nature

History of Buddhism (Chos-hbyung), Part 2

The present volume contains the translation of the 2d Part of Bu-ton's History of Buddhism, i.e. of the historical part proper. The latter begins with the Life of the Buddha and ends with an account of the work carried out by the Tibetan Lotsavas and Indian Paṇḍits of Bu-ton's own period and immediately before him (XII and XIII Cent.), viz. the translation of the Buddhist kanonical texts and exegetical treatises from the Sanskrit. We have here, just as in the 1st Part, numerous quotations from both sūtra and çāstra. Owing to this it becomes possible to get a clear aspect of the principal sources from which Bu-ton has compiled his History, and which have likewise later on served as a basis for the work of Tārānātha. —
      Bu-ton's History of Buddhism proper is divided into the following principal parts: —
      I. The Life of the Buddha Çākyamuni, the narrative of the so-called 12 Acts of the Buddha (mdzad-pa bcu-gñis), or rather of the 12 principal events in his life. The account of the first eleven, ending with the first "Swinging of the Wheel of the Doctrine" (chos-kyi ḥkhor-lo bskor-ba = dharma-cakra-pravartana) represents a summary of the Lalita-vistara-sūtra and contains numerous verses from it. Then, after a short indication of the Second and the Third Swingings (i.e. of the Scripture of the intermediate and the later period), there follows the story of the Buddha's attainment of Nirvāṇa. It is taken from the Vinayakṣudraka (tib. Ḥdul-ba-phran-tshegs, Kangyur ḤDUL, XI), being a summary of the corresponding part of the latter.
      II. The Rehearsals of the Buddhist Scripture. This part begins with the account of the first Rehearsal (Mahākāçyapa, Ānanda, Upāli), of the death of Kāçyapa and Ānanda, and of the second Rehearsal (Yaças, Kubjita, Revata, etc.). The only source here is likewise the Vinaya-kṣudraka, the corresponding text of which is rendered in an abridged form, all the verses being quoted at full length. As concerns the 3d Rehearsal and the 18 Sects, the texts referred to on this subject are: —
      1. The Nikāya-bheda-upadarçana-saṁgraha of Vinītadeva (Tg. MDO. XC.).
      2. The Bhikṣu-varṣāgra-pṛcchā. of Padmākaraghoṣa (Ibid).
      3. The Prabhāvati of Çākyaprabha. (Tg. MDO. LXXXIX.)
      4. The Tarkajvālā of Bhāvaviveka. (Tg. MDO. XIX.)
The latter work, though not directly mentioned, represents the principal source. Some passages of it are fully contained in Bu-ton's text. —
      Ill. The different theories concerning the time of duration of the Buddhist Doctrine. Here we have quotations from the Karuñā-puṇḍarīka, from Vasubandhu's Commentary on the Akṣayamati-nirdeça-sūtra (Tg. MDO. XXXV.), the Commentary on the Vajracchedikā. (Tg. MDO. XVI), the Commentary on the 3 Prajñāpāramitā-Sūtras (Tg. MDO. XIV), etc. We have likewise the chronological calculations of the Sa-skya Paṇḍita and others concerning the time that has passed since the death of the Buddha.
      IV. The "prophecies" concerning the persons that have furthered the spread of Buddhism. The most important are those contained in the Lankāvatāra, the Mahākaruṇā-puṇḍarīka (Kg. MDO. VI), and the Mañjuçrī-mūlatantra. (Kg. RGYUD. XI. Narthaṅ edition, or XII. Derge edition) A separate prophecy referring to the Tantric Ācāryas, that of the Kālacakra-uttaratantra (Kg. RGYUD. I) and the Mahākāla-tantra-rāja (Kg. RGYUD. V), is given at the end of this part. It is especially the Mañjuçrī-mūla-tantra which is to be regarded as a source of the greatest importance, not only for the History of Buddhism, but for the historiography of India in general. The most interesting is that part of it which refers to the Indian kings, — Açoka, Virasena, Nanda, Candragupta, etc. Noteworthy is the passage concerning Pāṇini who is spoken of as the friend of the king Nanda. — A detailed analysis of the historically important parts of all these texts will be published by me before long. —
      V. The biographies of the celebrated Buddhist teachers, viz. Nāgārjuna, Āryadeva, Candragomin, Candrakīrti, Āryāsanga, Vasubandhu, Sthiramati, Dignāga, Dharmakīrti, Haribhadra, Çāntideva, etc. Each of these is followed by a list of the works composed by the teacher in question. An indication of the volumes of the Tangyur (Sūtra and Tantra) in which the works are contained is always given in the notes.
      VI. A short summary of the history of the grammatical literature, or rather of the legends referring to it, viz. the stories about Bṛhaspati, Pāṇini, Sarvavarman (alias Çarvavarman, Saptavarman, or lçvaravarman), etc. After that comes an enumeration of the kanonical texts (Sūtra and Tantra) which have been lost or have not been translated into Tibetan. —
      VII. Prophecies of an apocalyptic character foretelling the disappearance of the Buddhist Doctrine. Among these, that of the Candragarbha-paripṛcchā is quoted at full length with a very few abbreviations. This prophecy is treated in the Kangyur as a separate work (Kg. MDO. XXXII). In this place the text of the Lhasa block-print of Bu-ton's History contains a great number of mistakes in the proper names, which are sometimes quite illegible (e.g. Akandradha instead of Agnidatta !). A correct rendering of these names has been made possible with the help of the Derge (Sde-dge) edition of the Kangyur.
      VIII. The History of Buddhism in Tibet. It begins with the genealogy of the early legendary Tibetan kings, commencing with Ña-ṭhi-tsen-po. Next come the legends about Tho-tho-ri-ñen-tsen and Sroṅ-tsen-gam-po. These are followed by a more detailed account concerning the spread of Buddhism in Tibet during the reign of Ṭhi-sroṅ-de-tsen, viz. the activity of Çāntirakṣita (called the "Ācārya Bodhisattva"), the selection of the first 7 Tibetan monks [Sad-mi mi bdun], the dispute between the adherents of Kamalaçīla and of the Chinese Hva-çaṅ Mahāyāna (the Tsen-min and the Tön-mün), etc. Then we have a brief account of the reign of Ral-pa-can, of the persecution by Laṅ-dar-ma, and of the restauration of the Church by the 10 monks of Ü and Tsaṅ, an indication of the monasteries and monastic sections founded by the said monks and their pupils and, finally, a narrative of the events that followed, viz. the arrival of Dīpaṁkaraçrījñāna (Atīça) in Tibet and the subsequent propagation of Buddhism. In particular we have an enumeration of the texts translated by some of the Lotsavas from the Sanskrit. It may be noted that, with very few exceptions, the texts mentioned belong to the Tantric parts of the Kangyur and Tangyur. Here ends the history proper. It is followed by a list containing the names of all the Paṇḍits and Lotsavas who have acted in Tibet, beginning with Çāntirakṣita and Padmasaṁbhava. With it ends the 3d Chapter (leḥu) of Bu-ton's text: "The History of the Doctrine in Tibet".
      The last part is a systematical Index of all the Buddhist literature which has been translated from the Sanskrit by the Lotsavas and Paṇḍits. It is divided into 1. Sūtra Scripture (including the Vinaya, Prajñāpāramitā, Avataṁsaka, Ratnakūṭa, and Sūtra sections of the Kangyur), 2. Sūtra Exegesis, 3. Tantra Scripture, and 4. Tantra Exegesis. This Index, as well as the list of the Lotsavas and Paṇḍits, arranged in the alphabetical order, will form a separate 3d part which is to contain numerous other Indices and Appendices besides.
      The part now published, similar to the first, includes a great number of smaller chapters and subdivisions. The system according to which these have been designated, is the same as in the first part, and is directly connected with the latter. A full table of the contents is given at the end. — (Obermiller, introduction, 3–6)

Citation Obermiller, Eugène, trans. History of Buddhism (Chos-hbyung): Part 2, The History of Buddhism in India and Tibet. By Bu-ston. Materialien zur Kunde des Buddhismus 19. Heidelberg, Germany: Harrassowitz, 1932. https://archive.org/details/historyofbuddhismbustonobermillere.part2historyofbuddhisminindiatibet_430_V/mode/2up.