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Works of Vasumitra

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In Chinese translations of the Abhidharma-pitaka there are four works which are ascribed to Vasumitra, Viz:

1) Abhidharma prakarana pāda sāstra, 18 fasciculi; 8 chapters. Translated by Hsuan-chuang in A. D. 659, of the T’an dynasty.  
2) Abhidharma dhātukaya pāda sāstra, 2 fasciculi; 2 chapters. Translated by Hsuan Chuang, A. D. 663, of the T’an dynasty.
3) Ārya Vasumitra bodhisattva sangiti sāstra, translated by Sanghabhūti and others, A. D. 384, of the former Ch’in dynasty. 15 fasciculi; 14 khandas.  
4) Samayabhedoparacanacakra sāstra, translated by Hsuan-chuang, A. D. 662, of the T’an dynasty.

According to ‘Fa-jen’ the author of the first two words is not the author of the Samayabhedoparacanacakra sāstra, while in Yasomitra’s Abhidharma-kosa-vyākhyā, the author of the second work is Pūrna. Nāgārjuna in his Mahāpra-jnāpāramita-sāstra said: “Among eight chapters of the Avhidharma-prakarana-pāda-sāstra there are four chapters which were written by Vasumitra, and another four chapters were written by the Arhat of Kubhāna.”[1] Lu-chen presumed that the four chapters which were written by Vasumitra are:

a) Discussion on all spheres.  
b) discussion on seven items.  
c) Discussion on the anusāyas.  
d) Discussion on the ascription of all dharmas.[2]

But Rev. Yin-shun said that he has found that the eight chapters of the Abhidharma prakarna aāda sāstra are really separated into two groups: the first group are inherited from the old treatises and through rewriting. The second group are a rearrangemet of the old treatises, but with some new additions. In each group there are four chapters:[3]

In the first group there are four chapters:

a) Discussion on seven items.   
b) Discussion on the ascription of all dharmas.   
c) Discussion on one thousand questions.   
d) Discussion on discrimination of correctness.

In the second group there are also four chapters:

a) Discussion on five items.   
b) Discussion on all wisdom.   
c) Discussion on all spheres.   
d) Discussion of the anuśāyas.

According to Rev. Yin-shun, the four cur chapters in the second group were written by Vasumitra.[4]

In regard to the third work, the Ārya Vasumitra bodhisattva sangiti-sāstra many Buddhist scholars deemed that its author is the same Vasumitra who wrote the Abhidharmaprakarna pāda sāstra, and regard it as an Abhidharma work; but they did not perceive that it is a treatise which is ascribed to the Dārstāntika master Vasumitra. Rev. Yin-shun has pointed out[5] that the Mahāvibhāsā-sāstra mentioned this sāstra as ‘The Sastra of Questions’.[6] And Vasubandhu’s Mahāyāna karmasiddha sāstra also mentiones this sāstra as ‘The Sāstra of Questions’[7], and he quotes the discussion about the subtle mind in abstract meditation (nirodhasamāpatti).

The fourth work is the I-pu-tsung-lun-lun or ‘Treatise on the Wheel of Propositions of Different Schools’, it was translated by Hsuan-chuang in the T’an dynasy A. D. 662, and it is also called the T’an-lun. As I have already mentioned the three different versions of this text in the beginning of this introduction, it is needless to repeat them here again.

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  1. T. E. T. 25, P.70a.
  2. ‘A general discussion on Abhidharma Studies’ (‘Nei-Hsueh’ 內舉, or ‘The Interior Learning’ Vol. 2, P.167.)
  3. ‘Abhidharma Treatises and Abhidharma Masters’ P. 150.
  4. ‘Abhidharma Treatises and Abhidharma Masters’ P. 156.
  5. ‘Abhidharma Treatises and Abhidharma Masters’ P. 379.
  6. T. E. T. 27, P. 38b.
  7. T. E. T. 31, P. 784a. Cf. ‘Ārya-Vasumitra-bodhisattva-sangiti-sāstra’, (T. E. T. 28, P. 741a.)