- Yoshito Hakeda, trans., Awakening of Faith attributed to Aśvaghoṣa (New York: Columbia, 1967), pp. 50-51; passage on "suddenly a thought rose ... " in Taishō Daizōkyo (henceforth T.) 44, p. 577c of the Paramārtha text, 'interestingly edited off in the Śikṣānanda text, T. 44, p. 586a. See note 2 below.
- Whalen W. Lai, "A Clue to the Authorship of the Awakening of Faith: Siksananda's Redaction of the Word ' Nien' '."
Hu-Jan Nien-Ch'i (Suddenly a Thought Rose): Chinese Understanding of Mind and Consciousness
- Hu-jan nien-ch'i, ming wei wu-mingc
- Suddenly a thought rose; this is called ignorance
This idea has baffled many modern scholars as it has traditionally charmed many a Far Eastern Buddhist. What is meant by "suddenly"? What constitutes "thought"? The most recent translator of the AFM, Yoshito Hakeda, has appended this remark to the passage:
- There has been much discussion on the meaning of hu-jan in connection with the origin of ignorance, mainly on the basis of interpretations proposed by Fa-tsang,d (1) that ignorance alone becomes the source of defiled states of being. It is the subtlest; no other state of being can be the origin of this. It is therefore said in the text that ignorance emerges suddenly. (2) Commenting on a quotation from a sūtra, he says "suddenly" means "beginninglessly," since the passage quoted makes clear that there is no other state of being prior to the state of ignorance. (3) The word "suddenly" is not used from the stand point of time, but is used to account for the emergence of ignorance without any instance of inception.
- . . . A monk of Minge China, glosses "suddenly" as pu-chüeh,f which may mean "unconsciously" or "without being aware of the reason."
- . . . If hu-jan is a translation of a Sanskrit word, the original word asasmāt may be posited. Akasmāt means "without reason" or "accidentally."