Buddha was a Scythian

II. The «Small Vehicle»: Buddhism in India, Śrī Lan. kā, Back India and Southeast Asia 1. The early diversity of Buddhism Development of schools What no problem for the "initiate" who has already joined a teacher or a teaching and has come to terms with the fact that there are other teaching traditions besides "his" Buddhism is problematic for anyone with general interest, namely the diversity of Buddhism, which has already been mentioned several times. The most important distinctions are between the older and later Buddhism and the comparison of “small vehicle” and “large vehicle”. The designation of the "small vehicle" is initially explained by the arrogance of the representatives of the "large vehicle", but it has a real reason in the close association with the earliest Indian tradition. Because from India, where the Buddhist doctrine had its origin and where there was only one really great heyday of Buddhism, namely the time of the Maurya dynasty (321–185 BC), from India the dissemination of the doctrine began , reached neighboring countries and experienced long-lasting successes in the form known as Mahāyāna. But Indian culture remained the cradle of Buddhism, from there ultimately all religious currents of Buddhism derive and centuries later Buddhists from all over the world tried to get the origins of their teachings and illuminating textual traditions there. Pilgrims from all over Asia visited the holy places of Buddhism in India and spread the teachings in all directions. Members of the foreign peoples invading India also adopted Buddhism: Parthians, Scythians, Greeks. According to Buddhist tradition, the Greek king Menandros (Milinda, around 150 BC) was also among them. The beginnings of Buddhism in Central Asia can also be seen here, for example among the Śakas Scythians and the Yuezhi, who joined Buddhism. During the so-called Kuºān, coined by the Yuezhi. a period (approx. 50 to 320 AD) the schools of Gandhāra and Mathurā had a strong influence on Indian Buddhism and especially Buddhist art, namely sculpture, which from there began a triumphal march to East Asia. It was already at that time, from which we have only sparse written records, that Buddhism split up into different, sometimes conflicting schools and teaching traditions. Therefore, the basis of the tradition of the later and so great diversity often can no longer be checked. Despite the fierce rivalries and disputes about direction, as they already shaped the first councils, the "unity" of Buddhism is based on the recognition of the historical Buddha, however interpreted, as the founder figure. And in China the "teaching of the Buddha" (fojiao) was actually spoken of. In addition to the great distinction between Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna, there are other differentiations. In Hīnayāna, the tradition distinguishes mostly 18 different directions, of which only about six gained greater importance, of which the Theravādins, the Mahāsām. ghikas and the Sarvāstivādins are in turn the most important. The division of the Theravādins and the Mahāsām is considered to be the first great schism. ghikas («teaching of the great community / of the great council»), which, like all later distinctions, is traced back to the teaching of Buddha himself in its justification (and was probably actually based on the contradiction of the 'original teaching') in the third century BC Chr. Expressed. The background was a differently strict interpretation of the teaching and the degree of emphasis on the monk's path. The Theravāda direction, which is particularly strict according to their self-image, was established in southern India and in Śrī Lan in the two centuries before Christianity. kā (Ceylon) to the predominant teaching. This direction became the strongest force within the Hīnayāna and still determines the religious traditions in Śrī Lan today. kā (Ceylon), Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The most important teacher of this direction was Buddhaghosa, a Brahmin who, after his conversion at the beginning of the 5th century AD, went to what was then the center of Buddhist learning, the Mahāvihāra monastery in Anurādhapura on Śrī Lan. kā where he commented on a large part of the Pāli-Tripit.aka and wrote his most important work, the Visuddhimagga ("Way of Complete Purity"). Other schools derived from the Theravāda direction, the Sarvāstivādins, the Vibhajyavādins, the Mahīshāsakas and the Dharmaguptakas. Of these, the Sarvāstivādins achieved the greatest importance, which, in addition to Theravāda, established the largest textual tradition of the hīnayānistic schools. We owe Vasubandhu the great syntheses from the commentaries of this school, namely the Abhidharmakośa. The Sarvāstivādins assumed, as their name suggests ("The Doctrine of the Existence of All Things"), from the simultaneous existence of all dharmas at all three time levels, while the compound realities are of a temporary nature. The other school, the Mahāsām mentioned earlier. ghikas, gave the strongest impetus for change in the centuries around the birth of Christ. She actually first reinterpreted Buddha as an extraterrestrial being and in this way gave worship a higher priority than asceticism and thus opened Buddhism to the religious needs of larger masses. This school with its central script Mahávastu (lit .: "The big thing"), which contains parts that are among the oldest Buddhist texts, also developed the concept of emptiness (śûnyatā), which is one of the central elements of the Mahāyāna -Tradition should become as it was rationally founded and argued by the great teacher Nāgārjuna. Thus went the teaching of the Mahāsām. ghikas in essential parts in the Mahāyāna. Before we can speak of the penetration and adoption of Buddhism in individual countries, one must speak of the splitting of doctrine in India itself, which also includes the emergence of the "Great Vehicle", the Mahāyāna. In one of the special groups, which were characterized by an independent further development of the confession form, the so-called Mahāsām, already mentioned. ghikas, the later important ideas of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the Mahāyāna evidently emerged. The distinction between a "Northern" and a "Southern" Buddhism should also be mentioned at this point. This refers to the tradition relating to texts in Sanskrit, Buddhist Sanskrit and Gāndhārī on the one hand and the tradition relating to the Pāli text tradition on the other hand, but by no means a comparison of Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna, because these directions are both in the northern and in represented in the southern traditions. Multitude of Buddhas The wealth of forms of Buddhism cannot be understood without the multitude of Buddhas, which are already mentioned in early texts and which Buddha himself spoke of when he reported on his earlier existences. Thus the Mahāvadāna-Sûtra knows of six Buddhas before the "historical" Buddha Gautama, and other traditions know far more. Even if these reports bear the signature of projections of the Buddha image into the past, they were nevertheless powerful in the development of the teaching. In some cases, these reports also represent traditions of faith that existed in parallel to the teaching that was first privileged as a result of the declaration of a specific form of Buddhism by King Aśoka and can therefore refer to a long tradition of their own. The idea of ​​earlier Buddhas, each supposed to have appeared individually in a time of decline, formed the basis for the idea of ​​future Buddhas or Buddhas of future world ages, of which the figure of Buddha Maitreya was a special one Should play a role. The acceptance of many Buddhas from different times became a fundamental element of the Mahāyāna because it provided points of contact and legitimation for new teachings. In addition to the Buddhas of the past and the Buddhas of the future, there was also, especially in the esoteric traditions, for example in Tibet, the notion of Buddhas of the present, of "living Buddhas". In Japan this status has been attributed to Kûkai, also known as Kôbô-Daishi (774-835), the founder of the esoteric Shingon school, whose center of worship on Mount Kôya bears witness to this tradition to this day. The Buddhist beliefs and teachings adapted to the spread of the teachings in other countries and cultures, especially since missionary activity began to increase with the rule of Aśoka, and since the time around the birth of Christ the teaching has found acceptance in almost all countries that could be reached from India. In some countries the Mahāyāna, in others the Theravāda, were particularly successful. 2. The Philosophical and the Literary Traditions The Philosophical Tradition Again and again new thinking about the interrelationships of the world, the perception of the world, about time and space and about their conditionality has given rise to a rich philosophical tradition in Buddhism. The question of correct action in the world and its justification was always asked. There are specific Buddhist equivalents to all philosophical disciplines and schools of thought, but an intercultural philosophical dialogue is only just beginning to be recognized. Particularly noteworthy are the achievements of the epistemological-logical school (Pramān. Avāda), such as Dignāga's formal logic and its continuation through Dharmakīrti (600–660). Vasubandhu is considered to be the founder of a philosophy of Buddhist "idealism" (Vij- ñānavāda). The poetic side of teaching Just as systematic interpretative traditions and philosophical and, in particular, epistemological theories have followed the Buddha's teachings, so his teaching also has a poetic side that was inherent to it from the beginning, but which then also grew through later works. Many of the texts from the early days of Buddhism and in particular an almost unmistakable wealth of poetry and narrative traditions are traced back to Buddha himself. Countless fairy tale materials and motifs, the origins of which are in India, made their way into the world with Buddhism and in one of the Indian languages, where they were then translated into other languages. So Buddhism was not only spread and practiced in many languages, but it also made significant contributions to the literatures of the individual languages. This applies to China, Japan and other countries in East Asia and especially also to the countries and peoples of Central Asia and applies not only to fairy tales and narrative traditions, but also to poetry in the narrower sense and poetry theory. The Pāli Canon, for example, contains several collections of didactic poems. Among them are the most famous works Dhammapada and Suttanipāta, which are narrated in the KhuÓÓaka-Nikāya. Many of these texts were memorized and orally transmitted for a long time, and they often served as a basis for meditation. A few lines from the Dhammapada in the German translation by RO Franke read: Thinking does it, the spirit alone determines the nature and being: And whoever proves through word and deed that both wells up from an evil spirit, suffering follows on his path Just like the wheel of a draft animal's hoof. 56 The "Little Vehicle" Thinking does it, the spirit alone determines the nature and being of the essence: And whoever proves by word and deed that both wells up from pure spirit, The well-being is not like his own shadow Heels gives way. (Dhamma words, translated into German by R. O. Franke. Jena: Diederichs 1923, pp. 29–31.) In what is probably the most famous Theravāda Buddhist poem from the “Sûtra on Goodness”, handed down in the Suttanipāta, happiness is wished for all living beings. But also among the poems on the life of Buddha in the narrower sense there are works of high literary rank such as the poem "Life of the Buddha" (Buddhacarita) by Aśvaghoºa (2nd century AD), in which the temptation of Buddha by Māra , the personification of evil, of death and desire, is portrayed. The Jātaka literature takes up a large part of it, those stories which tell of events from the earlier life of the Buddha and which have spread the teachings of Buddhism among the people for centuries. This Jātaka literature is materially connected to the Indo-European treasure trove of fairy tales and legends. In addition to the numerous reports from Gautama Buddha's earlier existences, the Jātakas, which are essentially a narrative of verses, the aim of which is to clarify the principle of karmic retribution, an extensive literature of parables has also been translated into Chinese. These parables (avadānas) served to illustrate the most varied of teaching contents. Even older than the first Chinese translation of reports from earlier existences of Gautama Buddha, the "Canonical Scripture on the Six Perfections" (Liudu ji jing) by the Sogdian monk Kang Senghui (d. 280 AD), containing 91 such jātakas, are translations from Avadāna collections. Among all major works of literary rank, the lotus sûtra (Sanskrit: Saddharmapun. Óarīka-sûtra; Chinese: Miaofa lianhua jing) should be mentioned in the first place, the central text of the Mahāyāna Buddhism that is predominant in East Asia. Jan The philosophical and literary traditions 57 Hendrik Kern had already submitted a complete English translation of the Sanskrit version (dated 1039 AD) in 1884. This lotus sutra was first translated into Chinese by the Indoskythian Dharmarakºa in 286 and then by Kumārajīva (344–413) in 406, and in this version it has developed perhaps the greatest effect that a Buddhist text has ever had to our day. Buddhist works and literature under Indian influence In China the connections and mutual influences between the religious literature of the Buddhists and the Daoists have been diverse and very large from the beginning, so that even in the early Buddhist translations, Daoist terms were used and at the same time certain Buddhist ideas found their expression in Taoist texts. This was also of great importance for the dissemination of the teaching and played a decisive role in the development and broad acceptance of Chan / Zen. The special effect of the Buddhist teaching and preaching practice as well as its interpretation technique has been shown above all since the Tang period, in which we find a connection between Indian drama and theater techniques with the spread of Buddhist teaching, so that some have argued that the Chinese Singspiel and the theater had their roots in India. The above-mentioned translation of the Lotos Sûtra, which deals with the figure of the helper Avalokiteśvara (Chinese: Guanyin), which is presented in the 24th chapter (in Kumārajīva's translation in the 25th) chapter, also served to spread the Buddhist miracle stories. The importance of this figure in popular belief of that time is also evident from the title of one of the oldest collections of Chinese Buddhist miracle stories, the "Reports of Miracles of Avalokiteśvara" (Guangshiyin yingyan ji). The work was compiled by Xie Fu before AD 399, then was allegedly lost, and it was only the son of a friend to whom Xie Fu had given his collection, Fu Liang (374–426 ), re-recorded them from memory, but could only remember seven stories. The Japanese Buddhist researchers Tsukamoto Zenryû and Makita Tairyô have examined the various layers of this collection, which was long lost in China and was only found again in Japan in the 20th century. It is also one of numerous examples of the transmission of the oldest Chinese texts and text editions in Japan and in Korea. Evidence of Buddhist piety Hardly any area of ​​East Asian literature has remained untouched by Buddhism. While these influences are often no longer apparent, we have received a large number of tracts and stories that bear testimony to the zeal of their authors.Tracts, vows and confessions of sins by lay Buddhists are among other texts in the work “Collection for the Expansion and Enlightenment of Buddhism” (Hongming ji) by Sengyou (445-518) and the “Further Collection for the Dissemination and Illumination of Buddhism” (Guang Hongming ji) of Daoxuan (596–667). Since the writing of poems was an integral part of the culture, the believers also wrote poems, often in view of death or on other special occasions, but also in connection with the examination of individual texts or doctrines. We owe a series of poems to the young general and poet Wang Rong from the literary circle around Prince Xiao Ziliang, which prove his zeal for Buddhism. Such seals could be used to gain merit for improving karma and thus for better rebirth. Other pious texts, on the other hand, only served as an accompaniment to a meritorious act; This includes, in particular, forewords to printed editions of Buddhist scriptures as well as donor and donor inscriptions, in which the recitation or printing of texts is often guaranteed. A popular way of increasing one's merit was to copy a text in an edition that was as large as possible, or to recite it or have it recited - a preference that contributed significantly to the development of printing technology in China and led to the prayer wheel in Tibetan Buddhism. 3. Theravāda Buddhism The “five countries of Theravāda” The “five countries of Theravāda Buddhism” are called Thailand, Burma (since 1989 Myanmar), Śrī Lan. kā, Laos and Cambodia. It is the lands of the Pāli Canon of which Śrī Lan. According to tradition, kā and Burma were won over to Buddhism by the Aśokas missionaries and since then have had a checkered history. The first representatives of Theravāda in Southeast Asia in the first centuries AD were the small states of the Mon and Pyu in what is now Burma and in central and northern Thailand. In Cambodia in the kingdom of Angkor (since the 9th century) and on Java, forms of Mahāyāna ruled alongside Hinduism. Only through the influence of the Mon and the exchange with Śrī Lan. kā, Theravāda became the dominant form of Buddhism in Burma in the 11th century. The Thai, who penetrated mainland Southeast Asia in the 13th century, came into contact with Theravāda through the Mon and Burmese and replaced the kingdom of Angkor as the dominant power in the region. From the 14th century onwards, the increasing influence of Theravāda became noticeable in Cambodia and was accepted by both the court and the common people. The major turning points were the Islamic conquest and then the colonization by the European powers. But almost everywhere there were renewal movements in the course of decolonization, which were, however, reshaped or severely weakened in some countries by socialist movements, occasionally combined with military dictatorships. This also explains why Buddhism in Laos and Cambodia has officially ceased to have any significance since the middle of the 20th century, but is still the state religion in Thailand today. There the San. Gha is organized hierarchically according to the model of the state administration and recognizes the primacy of the state. As in Burma, a large proportion of the young men spend a short time in a monastery at least once in their lives. In Burma as well as in Śrī Lan. kā, the majority of the population professes Buddhism. The background is that historically in all five countries the San. Gha is closely linked to social conditions. Lord Lan. kā (Ceylon) After proselytizing Śrī Lan. kās in the middle of the 3rd century BC BC by the monk Mahinda, who is said to have been a son of Aśoka, this island became a Buddhist kingdom with great homogeneity. This shows the strong influence of India, which later, however, led to considerable problems, especially as a result of the Indian wars of conquest and the immigration of a large Tamil population group. From Śrī Lan. kā also emanated from numerous missionary movements, and it is from here that Buddhaghosa, the most important commentator on the teachings of Theravāda Buddhism, is said to have come to Burma in the early 5th century AD. Because of the leading role that the San. Gha had played since that time, he was faced with the dilemma of, on the one hand, keeping himself “clean” and following the Vinaya rules, while on the other hand taking on central tasks in the state. This led to a variety of roles and thus to essentially four groups of monks. One group was responsible for maintaining the doctrine and performing certain ceremonies. The other were landlords and still others were downright politicians; H. Adviser to the rulers. Finally, there was the fourth group, the "forest dwellers", who dedicated themselves to the original task of a monk, namely the pursuit of their own salvation, the ideal of Theravāda. These "forest dwellers", who in the last decades of the 20th century predominantly represented a monastic reform movement, make up only 2 to 3 percent of the monks registered today. The Theravāda Buddhism 61 in Śrī Lan. kā (about 20,000). Through the classical period of Sinhala Buddhism, which lasted until the beginning of the 13th century, the structure of the San. Gha, as it still exists today, became Śrī Lan. kā and from there shaped throughout Southeast Asia. At that time religious impulses came from Śrī Lan. kā but also to many other regions, not only to Southeast Asia, but also to China, for example. However, there is in Śrī Lan. kā also have significant breaks in the history of Buddhism. Particularly noteworthy are the destruction of the old Sinhalese culture by a ruthless conquest by Indian conquerors in 1214, the British conquest completed in 1815 and finally the beginning of national independence in 1947. As a result of these ruptures, mostly with the demand for renewal, monastic orders with their own teaching and ordination traditions. A particular challenge was the refusal of the British colonial administration to supervise the affairs of the San. Gha by the state, which resulted in the San. Gha being brought closer to the original idea of ​​the Buddhist monastic community. The resulting renewal movements and the repeatedly proven credibility of many so-called village monks have resulted in the fact that the majority of the population is Śrī Lan even today. kās are Sinhalese Buddhists. The Buddhist clergy, on the other hand, whose main orders have their headquarters in the old royal city of Kandy, are rather conservative and do little to resolve the ethnic conflicts between Tamils ​​and Sinhalese. The majority of the monks, who see themselves as guardians of the Buddhist nation, see their influence - the two orders of Asgirya and Malwatte alone with over 6000 monks and 250 monasteries are the largest landowners alongside the state - only guaranteed by a strong political headquarters. 62 The «Small Vehicle» Burma (Myanmar) As in Śrī Lan. kā and Thailand, and then in a very unique way, has been shaped by Theravāda Buddhism, which is based on the scriptures written in Pāli, in Burma. According to a later legend, the missionary work of this country, initially populated by a completely different population, the Mon, and not yet by the Burmese of today, also goes back to an initiative of Aśoka. But the political history of today's Burma, as well as the history of settlements and religions, has gone its own way for centuries. After the first Tibetan-Burmese states were founded in the 3rd century AD, they initially came under strong Indian and thus Hindu influence. It was not until the 9th century that the ancestors of today's Burmese, the Pyu people, founded their own empire in the Irrawaddy plain. In the year 849 they are said to have founded the capital Pagan (today: Bagan), but it was not until the 11th century AD that King Anuruddha (1044-1077) introduced Theravāda Buddhism into his empire, which he had learned from the people of ousted Mon is said to have taken over. The remains of Burma's magnificent temple buildings in Pagan, which were destroyed by the Mongols from China at the end of the 13th century, still bear witness to this heyday of Buddhism. In contrast, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon (today: Yangon) and the buildings and inscription steles in Mandalay, the capital of northern Burma, founded by the Burmese ruler Mindon (1853–1878) in 1857, are only a weak reflection of this marriage of Buddhism Binding to the canonical writings of the Vinaya-Pit.aka and strict adherence to the teachings of Theravāda, the religious development in Burma was shaped by diverse religious disputes, but also by syncretism and connections with pre-Buddhist religious elements of the Burmese, especially with the local ones Genii, often ghosts of deceased people, referring nat cults. After the suppression of the original Tantristic elements, the influence of the Ceylonese San. Gha became particularly strong in the 12th century. However, triggered by the incursion of the Mongols, the balance of power changed and a series of reforms took place. The relationship between monks and laypeople plays a special role in Burma up to the present day. This has to do with the fact that in the countries of back India it is customary for male laymen to stay in the monastery community for a time, and occasionally also repeated, but it is also based on the role of the monasteries as schools. Both groups preferably took part in reading the Abhidharma-Pit.aka together, and joint meditation exercises are also quite common. Until the 13th century, nuns also played a role in the Theravāda tradition, for example in Burma, while it was in Śrī Lan. kā has not been an order of nuns since the 11th century. It is only in more recent times that the old nun traditions have been cautiously resumed. After the final incorporation of Upper Burma as the last part of Burma into the British-Indian colonial empire in 1885, ongoing conflicts with the English and Indian colonial rulers led to an increased identification of the Burmese population with Buddhism, which went as far as equating Burma and Buddhism . The internal upheavals of the anti-colonial struggle had an impact beyond the brief occupation by Japan (1942–1945) and independence in 1948. There have been attempts to combine Marxism and Buddhism with reference to the doctrine of twofold truth. According to this, the Marxist teaching was the lower truth for regulating earthly economic conditions, while Buddhism was the highest truth. In this context, the Sixth Buddhist Council took place near Rangoon from 1954 to 1956. But the attempt of U Nus, who had already been the first Prime Minister of Free Burma, to implement new state religion legislation after taking over government again on April 4, 1960, ultimately failed and led to the intervention of the military, who to this day have not had any political or social stabilization and religious relationships succeed. 64 The “Little Vehicle” Thailand, Laos and Cambodia The early inhabitants of neighboring Thailand, like those of Burma, were the Mon, from whom the Thai immigrating from South China to Thailand, Laos and Burma adopted Theravāda Buddhism, which they overcame declared the state religion during the Khmer rule at the end of the 13th century. The oldest Thai inscriptions also come from this period. The kingdom of Ayudhyā, which existed from 1350 to 1767 when it was smashed by Burmese conquerors, and the capital of which some impressive ruins can still be seen today, adopted many cults and forms of administration from the Khmer. A successor kingdom of the Thai under King Taksin chose Thonburi am Menam as the capital. This ruler was dethroned by King Rama I (1782-1809), the first king of the Chakri dynasty, which is still ruling today, who moved their capital to the other side of the river to Bangkok. The renewal of Thai Buddhism came from King Rama IV, also known as Mongkut (1851–1868), who had lived as a monk for 27 years before his accession to the throne and who intensified relations between Buddhism and the Thai state through fundamental reform measures . This close relationship between San. Gha and the state, which in Thailand was reinforced by the fact that monks who in Theravāda alone had the path to Nirvan. a is open, only attained official status through state exams, cut off the Buddhist clergy from all innovative currents, in particular from political overthrow efforts. The Khmer people, who make up the majority of the population in Cambodia, are linguistically and ethnically related to the Mon people who settled in Burma and Thailand, and it is true of all three countries that India's cultural influence has been formative since the early days. This also applies to the Khmer culture, as it manifested itself particularly clearly in Angkor since the 9th century and which established the largest empire in the region from there at that time, but whose power had declined significantly at the end of the 14th century. It was only at that time that the various forms of Indian Buddhism practiced up to then gave way, including elements of Mahāyāna, Theravāda Buddhism, which began to gain a foothold there in the middle of the 13th century and both in cult and produced a specific Khmer Buddhism in the visual arts. In Cambodia, too, until the “Khmer Rouge” came to power in 1975, the connection between San Gha and the state was just as close as in the other Theravada countries. Buddhism also found early spread in southern Vietnam in the Kingdom of Champa, which flourished there until the 13th century and developed a variety of cults, but was then crushed by the expansion of the ancestors of today's Vietnamese who were pushing south. The trade networks had carried the doctrine far into the Southeast Asian island world, to Sûmatra, the Malay Peninsula and other areas. Most impressively, however, was the spread of the Mahāyāna in Java, of which the Buddhist sanctuary Borobudur, in its present form from the middle of the 9th century, bears witness to this day. Later on, Buddhism entered various and sometimes peculiar hybrid forms in these countries with indigenous as well as Hindu cults. 66 The "Small Vehicle"