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The Mūlasarvāstivādins of Mathura

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There are two main reas­ons why the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda school is import­ant.

The first reason is that it has left a large lit­er­ary her­it­age, which is grow­ing since many of the Sanskrit frag­ments dis­covered recently may pos­sibly be from this school.

The second reason is that the Tibetan Sangha owes its Vinaya lin­eage to this school.245

It is import­ant, then, to under­stand the place of the Mūlas­ar­vāstivād­ins in Buddhist history.


Unfor­tu­nately, this is far from clear.

The name Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda is not found in any early inscrip­tions, and can­not be def­in­itely attested until the later period of Indian Buddhism.

Their Vinaya is extens­ive, and most mod­ern schol­ars have ten­ded to see it as late.

In its cur­rent form it should be assigned to the ‘middle period’ of Indian Buddhism​—​between 500‑1000 years AN​—​and the vague­ness of this ascrip­tion tells us how little we know.

Nev­er­the­less, some schol­ars have claimed that it shows signs of early fea­tures in some respects.

This should not sur­prise us, as the whole has evid­ently been amassed over a vast period of time, and must incor­por­ate mater­ial from greatly dif­fer­ent eras.

If we are to ascribe the earli­est fea­tures, such as the pāṭimokkha, to the Buddha him­self, and the latest addi­tions to, say, 500 CE, we are talk­ing of a 1000 year period of composition!


The uncer­tainty around this school has fuelled a num­ber of hypo­theses.


Frauwallner’s the­ory is that the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya was the dis­cip­lin­ary code of an early Buddhist com­munity based in Math­ura, which was quite inde­pend­ent as a mon­astic com­munity from the Sar­vāstivād­ins of Kaśmir (although of course this does not mean that they were dif­fer­ent in terms of doc­trine).


Lamotte, against Frauwall­ner, asserts that the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya was a late Kaśmīr com­pil­a­tion made to com­plete the Sar­vāstivādin Vinaya.246

Warder sug­gests that the Mūlas­ar­vāstivād­ins were a later devel­op­ment of the Sar­vāstivāda, whose main innov­a­tions were lit­er­ary, the com­pil­a­tion of the large Vinaya and the Saddharmas­mṛty­u­pas­thāna Sūtra,247 which kept the early doc­trines but brought the style up to date with con­tem­por­ary lit­er­ary tastes.248



Enomoto pulls the rug out from all these the­or­ies by assert­ing that Sar­vāstivādin and Mūlas­ar­vāstivādin are really the same.

Mean­while, Wille­men, Des­sein, and Cox have developed the the­ory that the Saut­rantikas, a branch or tend­ency within the Sar­vāstivādin group of schools, emerged in Gand­hāra and Bact­ria around 200 CE.

Although they were the earlier group, they tem­por­ar­ily lost ground to the Kaśmīr Vaib­hāśika school due to the polit­ical influ­ence of Kaṇiṣka.

In later years the Saut­rantikas became known as the Mūlas­ar­vāstivād­ins and regained their earlier ascend­ancy.249

I have else­where given my reas­ons for dis­agree­ing with the the­or­ies of Enomoto and Wille­men et al.250 Neither Warder nor Lamotte give enough evid­ence to back up their theories.

We are left with Frauwallner’s the­ory, which in this respect has stood the test of time.

For the remainder of this chapter I am mainly con­cerned with draw­ing out the implic­a­tions of this the­ory.

How­ever, since this par­tic­u­lar scen­ario is con­tro­ver­sial, I will also exam­ine another pos­sib­il­ity.

If Frauwall­ner is wrong, and the Sar­vāstivād­ins and Mūlas­ar­vāstivād­ins are not derived from sep­ar­ate Vinaya com­munit­ies, it would then be likely that they are related to each other in some way.

Per­haps the same school main­tained dif­fer­ent tex­tual recen­sions of the Vinaya while remain­ing uni­fied in prac­tical mat­ters.

In this case we should seek for the ori­gins of the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda in rela­tion to the ori­gins of the Sar­vāstivāda. This pos­sib­il­ity is examined at the end of this chapter.

But start­ing off with Frauwall­ner, the gist of his the­ory is this.

The Mūlas­ar­vāstivādin Vinaya includes a sec­tion telling of the Buddha’s trip to Kaśmīr, prophesying the con­ver­sion by Majjhantika.

How­ever, this sec­tion has been arbit­rar­ily inser­ted in the text, show­ing that it is a later inter­pol­a­tion.251

The earlier por­tions point to a con­nec­tion with Math­ura.

This argu­ment has recently been restated by Wynne, who defends Frauwallner’s thesis, and adds the sug­ges­tion that the Math­ura com­munity later moved to Kaśmīr, where they came into con­flict with the Vaib­hāśi­kas over who could claim to be the ‘real’ Sar­vāstivād­ins.252

Thus Frauwallner’s the­ory holds that the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya is the dis­cip­lin­ary code of a Buddhist com­munity based in Math­ura. A key piece of evid­ence is the state­ment by Kumāra­jīva in his trans­la­tion of the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa:

‘(The Vinaya), in brief, con­tains eighty sec­tions. It is of two kinds. The first is the Vinaya of Math­ura, which includes the Jātaka and Avadāna, and com­prises eighty sec­tions.

The second part, the Vinaya of Kaśmīr, has excluded the Jātaka and Avadāna;253 accept­ing only the essen­tials, it forms ten sec­tions. There is, how­ever, a com­ment­ary (vibhāṣā) in eighty sec­tions which explains it.’254

The Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya is indeed extremely long, full of Avadānas and Jātaka stor­ies, and has strong links with Math­ura.

The Sar­vāstivāda Vinaya, closely asso­ci­ated with Kaśmīr, is known as the ‘Ten Part Vinaya’, and does not con­tain the legendary and nar­rat­ive mater­ial.

We are, then, jus­ti­fied in equat­ing these two Vinayas with the Vinayas men­tioned by Kumāra­jīva. Frauwall­ner notes sig­ni­fic­ant dif­fer­ences between these two Vinayas, and would regard the Sar­vāstivāda Vinaya as in many respects closer to the other mis­sion­ary schools,

and prob­ably spring­ing from that source, while the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya is an inde­pend­ent early lin­eage.

While not wish­ing to con­test this, I have noticed that on occa­sion these two Vinayas do share spe­cific fea­tures in com­mon that sug­gest some connection.

Sev­eral sources make a fur­ther con­nec­tion between the Vinaya and Upagupta, the great teacher of Math­ura.255

As the last of the five ‘Mas­ters of the Law’ who were accep­ted through­out the north­ern tra­di­tions, it is nat­ural that Upagupta’s name shuld be con­nec­ted with the Vinaya.

And we notice that one of the most per­sist­ent attrib­utes of Upagupta is as a preacher of avadānas.

Indeed, so close is this con­nec­tion that Strong has spoken of Upagupta as the pat­ron of a class of monks who developed and pre­served this lit­er­at­ure.

It can hardly be a coin­cid­ence, then, that of all the Vinayas known to us, the only one that fea­tures the avadānas so strongly hails from the home town of the great Elder so closely asso­ci­ated with this class of literature.


9.1 Math­ura in the Suttas

Math­ura did not have an aus­pi­cious start as a Buddhist cen­ter.

The Angut­tara Nikāya has the Buddha tersely remark­ing that in Math­ura the roads are uneven, it is dusty, the dogs are fierce, the yakkhas are pred­at­ory, and alms-food is hard to get.256

The back­ground for this event is given briefly in the Pali com­ment­ary, which says that when the Buddha vis­ited Math­ura, he was greeted by a naked yakkh­inī, who tried to either ter­rify or seduce him (or more likely both), out of fear he would con­vert all her devotees.257

This epis­ode is drawn out in full detail in the Mūlas­ar­vāstivādin Vinaya, both in the Gil­git manu­scripts258 and the Chinese, and appears to have become the source of a Mūlas­ar­vāstivādin apo­lo­getic for Math­ura, which I will briefly summarize.

The Buddha vis­ited Math­ura and was greeted by the Brah­man house­hold­ers, although they were ini­tially sus­pi­cious because it was said he did not prop­erly respect Brah­mans. Nev­er­the­less, he taught Nīlab­hūti a les­son on the caste sys­tem and they were all con­ver­ted.

That day was a fest­ival day, and the Buddha was then chal­lenged by the yakkh­inī. It was after this epis­ode that he spoke of the five dis­ad­vant­ages, sim­ilar to above.

Then he told the monks not to stay at Math­ura, and left to stay at the Donkey-Monster Forest.

(The Pali tra­di­tion also knows a Gard­abha yakkha: he was the door­keeper of the fam­ous yakkha Ālavaka, a childeat­ing mon­ster tamed by the Buddha.)

The brah­mans of Math­ura are anxious to feed the monks and secure their bless­ings, for they have been plagued by child eat­ing259 yakkhas called Śara,260 Vana,261 and the yakkh­inī Hārīka (訶梨迦).262

The Indic forms of the first two of these names equate with names found in the par­al­lel pas­sage in the Gil­git Mss as given by Strong.263

The final name is not equi­val­ent to any of the names in the Gil­git Mss, but would seem very likely to be none other than the fam­ous Hārītī, ori­gin­ally a god­dess of small­pox in Rajagaha, who went on to have a glor­i­ous career in Buddhist pop­u­lar cul­ture, and indeed even thrives today in far off Japan.

The ogres come and sit in while the Buddha is teach­ing Dhamma, evid­ently intend­ing to spoil the event, but the Buddha admon­ishes them and they are con­ver­ted.

The towns­folk built 2500 mon­as­ter­ies, one for each of the 2500 yakkhas who have been converted.

We have noticed above that a cer­tain god­dess called Kuntī evid­ently has a fam­ily con­nec­tion with Koti­puta, an early monk’s name recor­ded at Vedisa.

While the mis­sions legend depicts Kuntī as a sweet wood­lands nymph, else­where she takes on a more ter­ri­fy­ing mien. The Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya shows her aspect as a vicious ogress who devours chil­dren.264

Other names recor­ded at Vedisa include Hāritīputa and Ālāba­gira. It now appears that all of these names are con­nec­ted with child eat­ing yakkhas: Hārītī, Kuntī, and Ālavaka.

There are more than a few links between the stor­ies of Hārītī and Kuntī: they are in fact the same story with a few details changed to add local color.

The mon­as­ter­ies were named after the local yakkhas, imply­ing an ongo­ing fusion between local deity cults and the estab­lish­ment of Buddhist mon­as­ter­ies.

It is likely that the mon­as­ter­ies kept a shrine for the local deit­ies that the vil­la­gers used for their tra­di­tional spirit wor­ship cult.

The vil­la­gers, it seems, would offer their chil­dren to the mon­as­tery for a period of time, per­haps in sub­sti­tute for a more prim­it­ive cult of child sacrifice.

Our next source, from the Pali canon, is set at a mon­as­tery called the Gun­dāvana, the ‘Gundā Grove’.265

Soon after the Par­in­ib­bana, the dis­ciple Mahākac­cāna taught the Madhura Sutta (MN 84/SA 548) to King Avan­ti­putta while stay­ing at the Gun­dāvana.

This dis­course is a major state­ment on the invalid­ity of the caste sys­tem, and as such ties in neatly with the teach­ing to the Math­uran brah­mans as depic­ted in the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya.

Such early royal pat­ron­age would have formed a strong found­a­tion for the later growth of the Dhamma there.

A cen­tury later, sev­eral of the accounts of the Second Coun­cil also men­tion Math­ura (Mahīśā­saka, Sar­vāstivāda, Mahāsaṅghika, though not Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda).

One of the Eld­ers at that Coun­cil is Śāṇavāsin, the pre­ceptor of Upagupta, both of who are local saints of Math­ura. Math­ura, then, would have had a con­tinu­ous occu­pa­tion of Buddhist monks from the Buddha’s life­time or shortly after.


9.2 Math­ura & schism


The com­munity at Math­ura could thus rightly regard them­selves as an ori­ginal com­munity. Nev­er­the­less, they were far enough from the main early cen­ter around Pāṭali­putta to remain a little dis­tant from the con­tro­ver­sies.

While they were involved in the Second Coun­cil, this was the last time Buddhist monks from all dis­tricts gathered as one. There is no evid­ence that the Math­uran com­munity took part in later Coun­cils.

It is true that their Elder Upagupta is fre­quently said to have taught Aśoka, and might there­fore have par­ti­cip­ated in the vari­ous dis­cus­sions that occurred at that time.

But this is far from cer­tain, and in any case, he would have done this as a vis­it­ing Elder, and this would not have dir­ectly affected the Math­uran Sangha.

None of the accounts of schisms and dis­cus­sions after the Second Coun­cil men­tion Math­ura.266 The ‘Unity Edicts’ fol­low the south­ern route well away from Mathura.

So it seems that the Math­uran community​—​perhaps like many others​—​did not par­ti­cip­ate dir­ectly in the early schis­matic move­ments.

They developed their own scrip­tures, inspired by Upagupta’s style, and it seems plaus­ible that some of the early Sar­vāstivāda Abhid­harma ideas may have emerged here, though this is purely spec­u­lat­ive.

They are not referred to in the Mahāvi­hāravāsin account of the Third Coun­cil, not because they were in any sense heretical, but simply because they were an already estab­lished com­munity who did not need missionizing.

In the early years there would, of course, be no need for this com­munity to call itself by any sec­tarian name, since it was just another branch of the Buddhist Sangha. By the first cen­tury CE the name Sar­vāstivāda appears in the Math­ura region.

Much later the term Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda came into use, per­haps when the Math­ura com­munity came into com­pet­i­tion with the Vaib­hāṣika Sar­vāstivād­ins of Kaśmir and wished to assert their primacy.

There is no indic­a­tion that Mog­gali­put­tatissa used the term vibhaj­javādin to exclude the Math­uran com­munity that later became known as the Mūlasarvāstivādins.

In fact the oppos­ite is true. We have noticed that the Math­uran Elder Śāṇavāsin lived on the Ahogaṅga/Urumuṇḍa moun­tain, some way out of the town.267

Before the Third Coun­cil, Mog­gali­put­tatissa saw the troubles brew­ing in the cap­ital of Pāṭali­putta, and so went to prac­tice at the same Ahogaṅga/Urumuṇḍa moun­tain mon­as­tery foun­ded by Śāṇavāsin, which was renowned as the fore­most of all places for samatha med­it­a­tion.

Mog­gali­put­tatissa stayed on retreat there for seven years before reluct­antly des­cend­ing on the invit­a­tion of Aśoka to resolve the prob­lems at the Third Coun­cil.268

Thus the Math­uran com­munity, in the lin­eage of Śāṇavāsin, far from being schis­matic, is the place Mog­gali­put­tatissa would go on retreat to escape from the schis­matic problems.

This is per­fectly plaus­ible as his­tory, but it also cre­ates Moggaliputtatissa’s mythos: by stay­ing in the forest mon­as­tery fre­quen­ted by the great med­it­a­tion mas­ters Śāṇavāsin and Upagupta, his cha­risma as a real­ized mas­ter is assured.

He shows this spir­itual power to Aśoka when he des­cends from the Ahogaṅga mon­as­tery. Aśoka is con­vinced that he is the only monk cap­able of sta­bil­iz­ing Buddhism, and hence invites Mog­gali­put­tatissa to preside at the Third Coun­cil.

In this way the spir­itual cha­risma of the Math­uran forest lin­eage of Śāṇavāsin and Upagupta is cru­cial in enabling the puri­fic­a­tion of the Sangha and the estab­lish­ment of the vibhaj­javāda.

Obvi­ously this was not, from a vibhaj­javādin per­spect­ive, a schis­matic com­munity. At the time of the mis­sions the Sangha of Math­ura, whose Vinaya we now pos­sess under the name of the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda, were clearly within the circle of the vibhaj­javād­ins.


9.3 Soṇaka & Sāṇaka


It is even pos­sible that Mog­gali­put­tatissa shared ordin­a­tion lin­eage with Śāṇavāsin.

This pos­sib­il­ity rests on the evid­ent con­fu­sion between the sim­ilar names Soṇaka and Sāṇaka.

The sim­il­ar­ity is not merely phon­etic. He is named after the robe he was accus­tomed to wear (–vāsī), which was either made of hemp cloth (sāṇa–), or was of red color (soṇa–).269

The Sin­halese Vinaya and Abhid­hamma lin­eages men­tion a Soṇaka, one of the five early Vinaya mas­ters:

In the chron­icles and com­ment­ar­ies the same list of Vinaya mas­ters becomes par­tially fused with the account of the Coun­cils, although the two are tex­tu­ally distinct.

Soṇaka must have lived at the same time as Śāṇavāsin, for they are both con­nec­ted with the reign of Kāḷaśoka.271

The Pali tra­di­tion says the Second Coun­cil was held under Kāḷaśoka’s pat­ron­age, and Śāṇavāsin par­ti­cip­ated in that Coun­cil accord­ing to all tra­di­tions, includ­ing the Pali.

This high­lights a puzz­ling dis­crep­ancy: the Pali list of five Vinaya mas­ters appears not to con­tain any of the Eld­ers men­tioned in the Second Coun­cil pro­ceed­ings.

It is really unthink­able that the most ser­i­ous Vinaya crisis in Buddhist his­tory, where monks gathered from all the Buddhist regions, should not have included a con­tem­por­ary Vinaya master.

There are ines­cap­able sim­il­ar­it­ies between the Soṇaka found in the south­ern and the Śāṇavāsin of the north­ern sources.

Table 9.1: Par­al­lels between Soṇaka & Śāṇavāsin Soṇaka Śāṇavāsin Born in Kāsī,

45 AN Born in Rājagaha, soon after Nirvana

Merchant’s son Merchant’s son

When young, went on jour­ney trad­ing to Girib­baja (= Rājagaha). When young, went on jour­ney trad­ing overseas

Goes to Veḷuvana at 15 years of age, with 55 companions On return, goes to Veḷuvana

Sees Dāsaka, Upāli’s stu­dent, and gains faith Meets Ānanda and offers to hold 5-year festival

Goes forth with par­ents’ per­mis­sion, becomes an ara­hant versed in the Tipitaka Goes forth, becomes ara­hant versed in the Tipitaka

I sug­gest that there were two sep­ar­ate nar­rat­ives, one of the lin­eage of Eld­ers, and one of the Second Coun­cil. In these, the same Elder might be known by dif­fer­ent names.

These sep­ar­ate pas­sages were later fused, with the lin­eage of teach­ers pre­ced­ing the Coun­cil nar­rat­ive in some cases (Dīpavaṁsa, Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya).

Thus in the Pali tra­di­tion the Soṇaka of the lin­eage becomes the Samb­hūta Sāṇavāsin of the Second Council.

To cor­rob­or­ate this, the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Vinaya is the only one of the Vinayas that dir­ectly com­bines the lin­eage of Eld­ers with the Second Coun­cil. And there we find the name Śāṇaka 272 in the lin­eage, but Yang-dag skyes (= Samb­hūta) in the Second Coun­cil.273

But this Samb­hūta must be the Samb­hūta Sāṇavāsin men­tioned in the Pali.

It is thus clear that both the Chinese and Tibetan ver­sions of this Vinaya call the same Elder by dif­fer­ent names in the two contexts.

Sim­il­arly, where the Samantapāsādikā, in com­par­ing Moggaliputtatissa’s work to the Theras of old, refers to Kas­sapa at the First Coun­cil and Yasa at the Second Coun­cil, the Sudassan­av­inayavibhāsā men­tions Kas­sapa and Soṇaka.274

This is imme­di­ately before a men­tion of the five Vinaya-masters, so must mean the same per­son, i.e. Śāṇavāsin = Soṇaka.

In the account of the Second Coun­cil itself, how­ever, we find 婆那參復多 (po-na can-fu-tuo),275 for Sāṇasamb­hūta or Sonasambhūta.

There is, there­fore, good reason to think a sim­ilar con­fu­sion has happened in the Pali tra­di­tion, and that Soṇaka is really Sāṇavāsin.

Now, Soṇaka/Śāṇavāsin is of course the pre­ceptor of Upagupta; but he is also the pre­ceptor of Sig­gava,276 who in turn is Moggaliputtatissa’s pre­ceptor.277 Thus, if our idea is cor­rect, Mog­gali­put­tatissa inher­ited the same ordin­a­tion lin­eage as the Mūlas­ar­vāstivād­ins of Mathura.


9.4 The dragons of Kaśmīr

Those schol­ars who are not pre­pared to accept the Math­uran ori­gins of the Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda usu­ally look to to the North­w­est, espe­cially Kaśmīr, for the home of this school. In this case we need to return to the mis­sions accounts for information.

After the set­tling of the prob­lems in the Sangha at the Third Coun­cil, Mog­gali­put­tatissa decides that Buddhism would become well estab­lished in the bor­der regions, and sends out mis­sion­ar­ies across India.

One of these is Majjhantika, who is sent to Kaśmīr, where he sub­dues a host of dragons and estab­lishes the Dhamma. Dīpavaṁsa 7.3 sums up:


    Majjhantika the great sage, hav­ing gone to Gand­hāra,
    Inspired the fero­cious dragon and freed many from bondage.’

This Majjhantika is not regarded in any way as heretical. In fact he is the ordin­a­tion teacher of Mahinda, the revered founder of Sin­halese Buddhism.

This is men­tioned in the com­ment­arial accounts, and con­firmed in the Dīpavaṁsa.278 While the mis­sion­ary story is, in gen­eral, mainly known from the south­ern sources, in this case there is one Chinese text that says that Majjhantika and Mahinda were told by Ānanda him­self to go to, respect­ively, Kaśmīr and Sri Lanka.279

In addi­tion the Mahākarmavibhaṅga, describ­ing mis­sion­ary work by ara­hants of the Buddha’s day, men­tions Mad­hy­and­ina sub­du­ing the dragons of Kaśmīr, and Mahendra over­com­ing of the Rakṣa­sas of Siṁhalad­vīpa.280 Thus the north­ern and south­ern sources are in per­fect agreement.

Kaśmīr became the main centre for the Sar­vāstivād­ins, so the story of Majjhantika recurs through­out the Sar­vāstivādin influ­enced lit­er­at­ure, includ­ing the Aśokarā­jasūtra,281 Mūlas­ar­vāstivādin Vinaya,282 etc.

There is evid­ently a prob­lem in see­ing a pat­ri­arch of the Sar­vāstivād­ins as one of the fath­ers of the Mahāvi­hāravāsin school.

Thus Wynne 283 sug­gests Majjhantika was a fol­lower of the vibhaj­javāda who con­ver­ted to Sar­vāstivāda after arrival in Kaśmīr.

But this scen­ario depends on the under­ly­ing assump­tion that sar­vāstivāda and vibhaj­javāda are oppos­ing schools. In fact, there is no reason why Majjhantika should not have held opin­ions which we know of as sar­vāstivādin while still in Pāṭali­putta,

but these were not felt at the time to lie out­side the spec­trum of accept­able views; or per­haps he had no decided view on that point at that time; or per­haps he never held sar­vāstivādin views but was tol­er­ant of his fol­low­ers who did; and so on.

The point is that we don’t have to think in terms of mutu­ally oppos­ing schools in such a com­plex and fluid situation.

The internal evid­ence of the Sar­vāstivād­ins them­selves sug­gests that the ‘all exists’ (sar­vam asti) doc­trine emerged after the Aśokan period.

There is a fam­ous pas­sage, found through­out the Sar­vāstivādin texts,284 con­tain­ing a well known list of teach­ers giv­ing their views on the ‘all exists’ doc­trine.

Frauwall­ner notes that all the views in this pas­sage dif­fer from the mature pos­i­tion of the school, and the pas­sage seems to be included in the Vibhāṣā as a ‘dox­o­graph­ical appendix’.

Thus it would seem to pre-date the com­pil­a­tion of the Vibhāṣā.

It men­tions the fol­low­ing teach­ers:


after present­ing his three lists of schools, sug­gests, as another explan­a­tion of the schisms, that the arising of the schools was due to the diversity of opin­ions by these mas­ters.285

It seems we must regard these teach­ers as the developers of the ‘all exists’ doc­trine, and none of them appear in the names we find men­tioned in the Mauryan period.

This is con­firmed in the San Lun Xuan Yi, a treat­ise writ­ten by Jia-xiang.

In account­ing for the appear­ance of the Mahāsaṅghi­kas he fol­lows the account of the Mahāvibhāṣā.

When it comes to the Sthaviras, he says that in the first 200 years there was the suc­ces­sion of teach­ers:


From Kas­sapa to Mecaka was 200 years, dur­ing which period there was no schism.286 At the begin­ning of the third cen­tury, Kātyāy­anīputra passed away, and there was a split into two schools, Sthaviras and Sar­vāstivād­ins.

Since Pūrṇa, there had been a gradual drift­ing away from the essen­tials, espe­cially an excess­ive pro­mo­tion of Abhid­hamma over the Sut­tas. To escape the con­tro­versy, the Sthaviras went to the Him­alayan region, and hence­forth were called the Haimavatas.287

This account matches well with the pic­ture we have drawn from the Pali sources. Both Mog­gali­put­tatissa and Pūrṇa are sep­ar­ated from the Second Coun­cil by one ‘gen­er­a­tion’ in the lin­eages, which puts them as approx­im­ate con­tem­por­ar­ies around the time of Aśoka.

The con­nec­tion between Mog­gali­put­tatissa and the Abhid­hamma is cent­ral to his iden­tity: not only does he com­pose the core of the Kathāvat­thu, but his first interest in invest­ig­at­ing Buddhism is sparked by hear­ing a cryptic Abhid­hamma phrase from the Cit­taya­maka, described as the ‘Buddham­an­tra’.

So around the time of Aśoka these monks were par­ti­cip­at­ing in the formal invest­ig­a­tion, clas­si­fic­a­tion, and cla­ri­fic­a­tion of the teach­ings from the Sut­tas.

But only a couple of gen­er­a­tions later, after the time of Kātyāy­anīputra, did this res­ult in a schism.

This descrip­tion of a long period of gest­a­tion and dis­cus­sion, even­tu­ally res­ult­ing in divi­sion, is far more plaus­ible than the more rad­ical accounts of instant schism.

245 Cer­tain Japan­ese mon­ast­ics also fol­low this Vinaya. See CLARKE, ‘Mis­cel­laneous Mus­ings on Mūlas­ar­vāstivāda Monks.’

246 Lamotte, His­tory of Indian Buddhism, 178.

247 T № 721, T № 722, T № 728.

248 WARDER, 393–394.

249 Charles Willemen, xi–xiii.

250 Sujato, A His­tory of Mind­ful­ness, chapter 17, note 32.

251 Frauwallner, The Earli­est Vinaya and the Begin­nings of Buddhist Lit­er­at­ure, 28–36.

252 WYNNE, 29ff.

253 Stor­ies con­cern­ing deeds done in past lives and their fruits in the present.

254 T25, № 1509, p. 756, c2–6.

255 Lamotte, His­tory of Indian Buddhism, 175–176.

256 Aṅgut­tara Nikāya 5.220.

257 Aṅgut­tara Aṭṭhakathā 2.646.

258 Gil­git Mss. 3, pt. 1:14–15.

259 我等所生孩子。皆被侵奪 (T24, № 1448, p. 43, c2).

260 池 chi, pond.

261 lin, forest.

262 T24, № 1448, p. 42, c7–p. 43, c18.

263 STRONG, The Legend and Cult of Upagupta, 6.

264 STRONG, The Legend and Cult of Upagupta, 34–37.

265 Although yakkhas are not men­tioned, the sim­il­ar­ity between this name (v.l. Kun­davana) and Kuntī/Konta, etc., is note­worthy, given the con­nec­tions between these stories.

266 I have earlier sug­ges­ted that the Śāri­put­ra­paripṛc­chā could have ori­gin­ated in a dis­pute in Math­ura; but if this tent­at­ive hypo­thesis is true, it refers to a later period.

267 Pali Vinaya 2.298: Tena kho pana samay­ena āyasmā samb­hūto sāṇavāsī ahogaṅge pab­bate paṭivasati.

268 Samantapāsādikā 1.53.

269 Vari­ation between these forms can occur even within dif­fer­ent recen­sions of the same text. Thus Mukhopadhyaya’s edi­tion of the Aśokāvadāna (on GRETIL) refers to Śāṇakavāsī, while the Nepalese manu­script of the same text has Soṇavāsī (accord­ing to Mitra, Sanskrit Buddhist Lit­er­at­ure, pg. 10).

270 This list is found in the late canon­ical Parivāra (5.1), where it begins an exten­ded list of Vinaya mas­ters encom­passing sev­eral cen­tur­ies of trans­mis­sion in Sri Lanka.

271 Dīpavaṁsa 4.52.

272 奢搦迦 (T24, № 1451, p. 411, b18). I can­not identify the exact form used for Śāṇavāsin in the Second Coun­cil, but it is cer­tainly not the same. The nearest I can identify by com­par­ison with Rockhill’s Tibetan ren­der­ing it should be 善見 (T24, № 1451, p. 413, b19), but this is rather Sudassana.

273 Rockhill, 170, 176.

274 須那拘 (T24, № 1462, p. 684, b13). In the first men­tion of the Vinaya mas­ters it is spelt 蘇那拘 (T24, № 1462, p. 677, b19–20).

275 T24, № 1462, p. 678, a24.

276 Samantapāsādikā 1.235: Upālit­thero sam­mās­am­buddhassa santike uggaṇhi, dāsakat­thero attano upa­jjhāy­assa upālit­therassa, soṇakat­thero attano upa­jjhāy­assa dāsakat­therassa, sig­gavat­thero attano upa­jjhāy­assa soṇakat­therassa, mog­gali­put­tatis­sat­thero attano upa­jjhāy­assa sig­gavat­therassa caṇḍava­jjit­therassa cāti. Sudassan­av­inayavibhāsā: 陀寫俱從優波離受。須提那俱從陀寫俱受。悉伽婆從須那 俱受。目揵連子帝須從悉伽婆受。又栴陀跋受。如是師師相承乃至于今 (T24, № 1462, p. 716, c26–29).

277 The story of Sig­gava, in response to a proph­ecy, inten­tion­ally vist­ing Moggaliputtatissa’s par­ents’ house for alms for seven years before find­ing suc­cess closely echoes the story of Śāṇavāsin, in response to a proph­ecy, vist­ing Upagupta’s fam­ily home for many years before find­ing success.

278 Dīpavaṁsa 6.25: Tato mahido pab­bajito mog­gali­put­tassa santike/Pabbājesi mahādevo majd­hanto upasampade.

279 T № 1507, p.37, b16–27; see LAMOTTE, His­tory of Indian Buddhism, 303.

280 The Pali sources agree that old Sri Lanka was over­run by demons, e.g. Dīpavaṁsa 1.20.

281 T № 2043; see RONGXI, 122–124.

282 ROCKHILL, 167–170.

283 WYNNE, 32.

284 See FRAUWALLNER, Stud­ies in Abhid­harma Lit­er­at­ure, 185ff. for ref­er­ences and discussion.

285 ROCKHILL, 194–5.

286 從迦葉至寐者柯二百年已來無異部 (T45, № 1852, p. 9, b20–21).

287 T45, № 1852, p. 9, b15–c1.

Source

http://santifm.org/santipada/2010/the-mulasarvastivadins-of-mathura/