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Aśvaghoṣa and His Canonical Sources I: Preaching Selflessness to King Bimbisāra and the Magadhans (Buddhacarita 16.73– 93)

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by Vincent Eltschinger


Asvaghosa's Buddhacarita contains two sharply argumented critiques of the non-Buddhists' self: one against Arada Kalama's (proto-)Sankhya version of the atman in Canto 12, and one of a more general import in Canto 16. Close scrutiny of the latter's narrative environment reveals Asvaghosa's indebtedness, in both con¬tents and wording, to either a Mahasanghika(/Lokottaravadin) or—much more plausibly—a (Muala)sarvaastivaada account of the events that saw the Buddha preach selflessness to King Bimbasaara and his Magadhan subjects. Besides hinting at this genetic relationship, the present essay aims at exhibiting the structure and contents of Asvaghosa's arguments against the self, some of which can pride themselves of a long posterity in the controversy over the self. Keywords AsvaghosaBuddhacarita • Bimbasara • SelfSelflessnessIndian philosophy • (Mula)sarvastivada • Sectarian affiliation


Asvaghosa (1st-2nd century CE) is widely acknowledged as one of the earliest and greatest representatives of Indian kavya literature. A native of Saketa according to colophons,1 the poet has been traditionally portrayed as a brahmin convert2 to whom we owe at least three works that, we know, were widely circulated in India, Nepal

2 See Johnston (1984, (II.) xiii-xxiv) (and xv, n. 1, for references to Sylvain Levi's main publications on the subject), Hiltebeitel (2006, pp. 233-235) and Olivelle (2008, pp. xvii-xxiii); for literature on first- to second-century inscriptions in kavya style, see Salomon (1998, pp. 232-233).

and Central Asia: the Buddhacarita (BC), the Saundarananda (SNa), and the Sariputraprakarana (SP, or Saradvatiprakarana, a drama that has come down to us in Sanskrit fragments only). The question of his doctrinal affiliation is still much debated: Johnston argued for a Bahusrutiya (or Mahasanghika) inclination, Honjo regards Asvaghosa as a Sautrantika while Yamabe pleads for a(n early, not yet idealistic) Yogaacaara leaning. As for the poet's sectarian/disciplinary affiliation— provided he ever was a Buddhist monk, which however seems extremely plausible —, it remains shrouded in mystery in spite of early and insistent Indic traditions (mostly preserved in Chinese sources) portraying him as a S arvaastivaadin (or, at least, as involved in S arvaastivaada milieux and/or events).

Recently, Tokunaga, Hiltebeitel and Olivelle have drawn attention to the poet's plausible familiarity with the Sanskrit epics and his original way of tackling issues related to the Brahmanical asramadharma? And indeed, Asvaghosa's lively and multifaceted literary interplay with non-Buddhist society and ideas is one of the most interesting topics awaiting future research.This can be seen, e.g., at the level of political theory, in the poet's representation of women and courtly life, and, most conspicuously I think, in his systematic critique of contemporary non-Buddhist salvational systems. Assvaghosa provided detailed philosophical arguments against Vedic ritualism, asceticism, early Saankhya and maybe Vaissesika philosophy, as well as against the proponents of God (isvara), Nature (svabhava) or Time (kala)as the ultimate principles behind or above phenomenal reality.These arguments, which are both cogent and original, deserve to be studied in their own right as important milestones in the history of Indian Buddhist philosophy.

However, the interest of these arguments may well reside above all in the fact that nearly all of them are put in the mouth of the (future) Buddha, consistently represented as critically examining (panksa, vicara, etc.) each of these doctrines. This critical assessment is not meant as an innocent philosophical game, but as a criterion for salvational relevance, as an attempt to prove that irrational doctrines and practices can only be soteriologically deceptive. In other words, Asvaghosa attempted to update the figure of the historical Buddha so as to depict him as the uncompromising challenger of all the salvational systems competing with first(-to-second)-century Buddhism. In so doing, the poet developed an original apology of debate and philosophy, both of which were held in low esteem by disciplinary and ethically rigorist segments of the Buddhist communities. And he did so at a time in which the Buddhist intellectual elites showed only marginal interest in the non-Buddhist systems, concentrating their polemics on competing Buddhist denominations.

Asvaghosa devotes two passages of his BC to the self (atman): first, while accounting for the future Buddha's dissatisfaction with Arada Kalama's (and Udraka Ramaputra's) theoretical and practical tenets (BC 12.1-88, preserved in the original Sanskrit), and second, while relating the Buddha's (second) encounter with the Magadhan king Bimbisaara in Raajagrha (BC 16.48-95, preserved in Tibetan and Chinese only). As I shall try to demonstrate, these two episodes are representative of the way in which Asvaghosa reframed the Buddha legend so as to adapt it to his own polemical and apologetic agenda. For one thing is striking: in both the Araada Kaalaama and the Rajagrha/Bimbisara episodes, Asvaghosa's narrative strongly deviates from the allegedly oldest and most reliable biographical sources, viz. the Theravadin, Mahisasaka and

Dharmaguptaka Vinayas as they have been so minutely studied by Bareau. While relating both episodes, these Vinayas remain silent on the reason why the bodhisattva left his first two teachers and the exact contents of the Buddha's teaching to Bimbisaara and his Magadhan subjects. Now in the case of the Raajagrha/ Bimbisara episode, one can easily show that Asvaghosa related the events in a way that comes extremely close to the one found in the Sanghabhedavastu (SBhV) of the Mulasarvastivadavinaya, in the Sarvastivada Catusparisatsutra (CPS) and Bim- basarasutra (BSu), and in the Mahasanghika/Lokottaravadin Mahavastu (MV). In several cases, the wording itself is so similar that one is compelled to conclude that Asvaghosa was familiar, if not with one of these sources, at least with either a parallel text or a (Middle Indic?)

prototype onwhichtheseversions werebased. Althoughthe arguments themselves lack any parallel in these sutra and vinaya sources (thus testifying once again to Asvaghosa's historiographic freedom), it can be safely assumed that their strong emphasis on selflessness provided Asvaghosa with a narrative, scriptural and doctrinal framework such that it enabled him to direct a second row of arguments against the self. In the present state of my research, I have to postpone any pronouncement as to whether this has any bearing on the question of Asvaghosa's sectarian/disciplinary affiliation, and whether this indebtedness can be observed on a larger scale.

The Theravadin, Mahisasaka and Dharmaguptaka Vinaya Accounts of the Events

1.1. Let us consider first the episode of Bimbisara's and the Magadhans' conversion to Buddhism as it is related in the Theravadin, Mahisasaka and Dharmaguptaka Vinayas. The Buddha leaves Gayasirsa shortly after converting the three Kasyapa brothers and their thousand disciples and makes his way to Rajagrha. Bimbisara hears of the Buddha's arrival and sets forth in order to meet him together with a dozen myriads of Magadhan brdhmanas and householders (grhapati)1 The Magadhans are in doubt as to whether it is the Buddha or Uruvilvakasyapa who is the teacher. After answering the Buddha's question concerning the reason why he abandoned the sacrificial fires, Kasyapa reveals that he is the Buddha's disciple (and not the other way round). The latter considers the Magadhans to be ripe for listening to his teaching and delivers a first sermon. Bimbisaara then tells the Buddha about five earlier vows (which he now regards as fulfilled), becomes a lay disciple and invites the teacher and his retinue to a meal, which the Buddha accepts by remaining silent. Upon their arrival, Bimbisaara donates a bamboo park (venuvana) to the Buddha and/or the sangha. The episode ends with the Buddha again preaching the doctrine to Bimbisaara.

1.2. What were the contents of the Buddha's first and second sermons to Bimbisaara? Regarding the first teaching, these vinaya sources content themselves with variations on a well-known formula: “Then the Lord, knowing by mind the reasoning intheminds of these twelve myriad brahmans and householders ofMagadha, talked a progressive talk, that is to say, talk on giving, talk on moral habit, talk on heaven, he explained the peril, the vanity, the depravity of pleasures of the senses, the advantage in renouncing them. When the Lord knew that their mind was ready, malleable, devoid of hindrances, uplifted, pleased, then he explained the distinguished teaching on dhamma: suffering, origin, cesssation, the path.” According to this stereotyped account, the Buddha seems to teach Magadhans the most general features of the good law

(albeit in a detailed manner [vistarena]), first by addressing topics adapted to the religious needs of (yet virtual) lay followers, and second by expounding the backbone of his doctrine, the four nobles' truths. At least in the memory of the Theravadin, Mahisasaka and Dharmaguptaka vinayadharas, then, this first sermon to Bimbisara did not focus on any specific doctrinal or philosophical issue. As for the Buddha's second teaching to Bimbisara, the same vinaya sources provide even fewer details: “Then the Lord, having gladdened, rejoiced, roused, delighted King Seniya Bimbisara of Magadha with talk on dhamma,

having risen from his seat, departed.” No matter how detailed and inclusive the Buddha's two sermons may have been, one thing is certain: these three vinaya accounts do not hint at the issues of self and/or selflessness. Surprisingly, Asvaghosa's narrative of the same events centres on sophisticated arguments against the reality of the self. As we are going to see, however, the BC is neither the sole nor the first hagiography to present the Buddha's Rajagrha discourse(s) to Bimbisara and the Magadhans as being entirely focused on the self, for this is also the case of four closely interrelated sources, viz. the SBhV, the CPS, the BSu and the MV.

The First Part of the Buddha's Rajagrha sermon in the BC and Related Sources

2.1. Here is the first part of the Buddha's teaching according to Asvaghosa: “O lord of the earth (*bhupati?), O thou who art possessed of great majesty (*mahatejas?) and hast control of the senses (*jitendriya?), corporeality (*rupa) appears (*ut Vpad?) and perishes (*viVnas?) accompanied by the mind (*manas) and the senses (*indriya). Their appearance (*utpada?) and disappeance (*vyaya?) should be known for the furtherance of good qualities (*gunavrddhi?), and, by knowing these two [matters] correctly, one can come to a right understanding of the body. By knowing the body with the senses to be subject to

appearance and disappearance (*utpadavyayadharma?), there is no clinging (*upaVda?) at all, no coming to the idea (*upaVi?) that it is ‘self' or ‘possesses a self.' [Something] other than body, senses [and] cognition (*mati, *buddhi?) does not exist (*nopalabhyate?); it is suffering itself (*duhkham eva?) that appears, [and] suffering itself that disappears. When all this is understood (*abhiVgam?) to be neither ‘self'(/‘I') (*atman, *aham?) nor ‘one's own'(/‘mine') (*atmiya, *mama?), then the supreme unchangeable (*acala?) nirvana is reached. Through the defilements (*klesa) of egoity and the like (*ahankaradi?') men (*loka?) are bound (* dbandh?) in the belief in a self (*atmagraha), and when they see that there is no self (*nairatmya?), they are released (*vidm.uc?) from [all] attachments (*sneha?). Seeing what is not true (*asatyadarsana?) binds, seeing the truth (*satyadarsana?) releases (*viVmuc?); this world, abiding here in the thought that there is a self (*atmastiti?'), does not grasp the truth.”

2.2. Now, consider the (Mula)sarvastivada version of the first part of the Buddha's teaching in Rajagrha: “Corporeality, O great king, appears and disappears; both its appearance and disappearance must be known. [Similarly, affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness, O great king, appear and disappear; both their appearance and disappearance must be known. When the son ofa noble family knows, O great king, that corporeality has the property of appearing and disappearing, he thoroughly knows this [very] corporeality. [Similarly,] when the son of a noble family knows, O great king, that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioningfactors [and] awareness have the property of appearing and disappearing, he thoroughly knows this awareness [as well as the other factors. And] when the son of a noble family thoroughly knows corporeality, O great king, he does not regard [it], cling [to it], take possession [of it and] adhere [to it] as [being either] self [or] mine (SBhVTibbdaggam bdaggir).

[Similarly,] when the son of a noble family thoroughly knows [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness, O great king, he does not regard [them], cling [to them], take possession [of them and] adhere [to them] as [being either] self [or] mine. [And] when,Ogreatking,thesonofa noble family does not regard corporeality [as being either self or mine], does notcling [to it as being either self or mine], does not take possession [of it as being either selfor mine], does not adhere [to it as being either self or mine], does not cherish [it as being either self or mine], I say that he is immeasurable, innumerable [and] extinguished. In the same way, when, O great king, the son of a noble family does not regard [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness [as being either self or mine],doesnotcling [tothemasbeingeitherselformine],doesnottakepossession [of them as being either self or mine], does not adhere [to them as being either self or mine], does not cherish [them as being either self or mine], I say that he is immeasurable, innumerable [and] extinguished.”

2.3. This or a very similar text is very likely to be the source of the first part of the Buddha's sermon in Asvaghosa's account. For in doctrinal intent, narrative function, structure and wording, these two text traditions are sufficiently close to allow one to hypothesize a genetic relationship between BC 16.73-79 and (a version/a prototype of) the SBhV, CPS and BSu narrative. In both accounts, corporeality (rupa = gzugs) first is claimed to appear and disappear/perish (utpadyate ’pi vyayate ’pi = skye ba dan rnam par nams); its appearance and disappearance (utpado ’pi vyayo ’pi = skye ba dan ’gag pa) ought to be known (veditavya = ses bya); knowing (Vvid = ses pa) that corporeality has the property to appear and disappear (utpadavyayadharma = skye ba dan ’gag pa chos can) amounts to knowing it thoroughly (pari^jna yan dag rig pa) and causes one to

neither cling (nopadatte, anupadadat = ne bar len min) nor regard (nopaiti, anupagacchat = ner ’gro min) it in terms of personal identity (atma ma iti bdag ldan bdag ces, bdag med bdag gi ba med); it is suffering itself that appears and disappears (duhkham utpadyate duhkham nirudhyate = sdug bsnal nid skye ba ste sdug bsnal nid ’gag pa'o); understanding all this amounts to reaching nirvana (nirvrta = mya nan ’das pa).

2.4. Let us now look at the Mahasanghika/Lokottaravadin account of the sermon: “Then the Blessed One delivered [the following] pious sermon to these Magadhan brahmins and householders: ‘Corporeality, O brahmins and household-ers, appears and ceases; [affective] sensation appears and ceases; ideation appears and ceases; the conditioning factors appear and cease; awareness appears and ceases. But (ca) a noble disciple, O brahmins and householders, seeing that corporeality is subject to appearance and disappearance, sees that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are [no less] impermanent. Seeing that corporeality is impermanent, [and] seing that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are impermanent, [and] seing that corporeality is painful, [and] seing that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are [no less] painful, he sees that corporeality is selfless [and also] sees that [affective] sensation, ideation, the

conditioning factors [and] awareness are selfless. This [[[noble disciple]]], seing that corporeality is selfless, [and] seeing that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are selfless, knows that corporeality is appearing and disappearing; knowing that corporeality is appearing and disappearing, he knows that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are appearing and disappearing; knowing [this] he knows that corporeality is impermanent; knowing [this] he knows that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are impermanent; knowing [this] he knows that corporeality is painful; knowing [this] he knows that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are painful; knowing [this] he knows that corporeality is selfless; knowing [this] he knows that [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are selfless. Knowing [this] he does not cling to anything in the world. [And] failing to cling

[to anything in the world] he obtains complete nirvana by himself. He [now] knows: For me, [re]birth is exhausted, the religious life has been lived, what was to be done has been done, I shall no longer be in this world.'” As we can see, the MV, the BC and the (Muala)sarvaastivaada sutra and vinaya materials have the same general intent and final emphasis on nirvana; all of them strongly insist on the factors' arising and persishing and share the expression utpadavyayadharma. However, the differences between the BC, the BSua, the CPS and the SBhV on one side, and the MV on the other, are conspicuous. To consider but the most relevant ones: (1) Bimbisaara (and not the Magadhan brahmins and householders) is the main addressee of the Buddha's sermon in the first set of sources; (2) in the BC, the BSua, the CPS and the SBhV, knowing the factors' arising and perishing leads to the understanding of these factors themselves (and not: to know them as impermanent, painful and selfless, as in the MV); (3) in the BC, the BSua, the CPS and

the SBhV again, to know them as arising and perishing allows one to neither regard them nor cling to them as being self and one's own (and not simply: to see them as selfless, as in the MV). To put it plainly, the wording and internal structure of Asvaghosa's version of the sermon is much closer to the (Mula) sarvastivada account than to the Mahasanghika/Lokottaravada.

The Second Part of the Sermon and Asvaghosa's Arguments Against the Self

3.1. As the first part of the sermon makes abundantly clear, knowing that the five constituents (in Asvaghosa's version, corporeality plus the mind and the sense organs) are subject to rise and fall prevents one from regarding them as either self or one's own. This is of course reminiscent of the “second sermon” delivered by the Buddha in Benares shortly after his awakening—more precisely of its second part. Now in the SBhV the CPS and the BSua (but not in the MV), this second part of the “second sermon” is repeated without any noticeable change towards the end of the Raajagrha/Bimbisaara episode: “What do you think, O great king, is corporeality permanent or impermanent?—It is impermanent, sir.—And (punar) that which is impermanent, is it painful or not painful?—It is painful, sir.—And that which is impermanent, painful [and is] also subject to change, would a learned noble disciple regard it as a self, [saying] ‘This is mine,' ‘I am this,' ‘This is my self'?—No sir.— [And,] O great king, [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness, are they permanent or impermanent?—They are impermanent, sir.— And that which is impermanent, is it painful or not painful?—Painful, sir.—And that which is impermanent, painful [and is] also subject to change, would a learned noble disciple regard it as a self, [saying] ‘This is mine,' ‘I am this,' ‘This is my self'?—No sir.—Therefore, O great king, this corporeality, whatever

[it may be]— past, future [or] present, internal or external, gross or subtle, vile or distinguished, far or near—, is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self: this must be seen in this way, as it [truly] is, by right insight. Therefore, O great king, these [affective] sensation, ideation, conditioning factors [and] awareness, whatever [they may be]— past, future [or] present, internal or external, gross or subtle, vile or distinguished, far or near—, are not mine, I am not these, these are not my self: this must be seen in this way, as it [truly] is, by right insight. When he sees thus, O great king, a learned noble disciple is disgusted with corporeality as he is disgusted with [affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness. Being disgusted, he detaches himself. Being detached, he is

liberated. [And] the [one who is] liberated possesses the [following] knowledge-and-vision: ‘I am freed,' [and] ‘For me [re]birth is exhausted, the religious life has been lived, what was to be done has been done, I know no other existence than this one.'” Needless to say, this teaching perfectly matches the didactic concern of the Rajagrha/Bimbisara episode while insisting that what is painful and subject to change cannot be taken to be the self and one's own. However, claiming that none of the skandhas (or the mind, the sense organs, the body, etc.) is the self does not necessarily involve—as the many modern advocates of, say, an Upanisadic Buddha would claim34—that there is no self at all. In the first part of the Rajagrha/Bimbisara sermon, Asvaghosa already introduced a statement lacking any equivalent in the CPS, the SBhV and the BSu: there is nothing over and above body, sense organs and cognition (BC 16.76ab). Does he feel this did not to make the point sufficiently clear? At any rate, Asvaghosa broke the narrative he drew on (say a [[[Mula]]]sarvastivadin version of the story) in order to direct sustained philosophical arguments against the reality of the self. These arguments are as follows.35

3.2.1. “If a self did exist, it would be either permanent (*nitya) or impermanent (*anitya); great defects (*dosa) follow (*pra^saj) in both these hypotheses (*paksadvaya?). To begin with (*tavat), [if it] were impermanent, [then] there would be no fruit of the act (*karmaphala); and, since there would [thus] be no rebirth (*punarbhava), salvation (*moksa?) would come without effort (*ayatnatas, *nisprayatnam?).” An ephemeral agent bears no moral responsibility for his own actions, for there is no continuum to link up actions and results by underlying the maturation process and to be affected by their karmic consequences. But insofar as it is the (maturation of) past actions that bind(s) to samsära—(virtually) endless rebirth and suffering—there would be no bondage, which simply amounts to liberation. In other words, the final

aim of religious life would be achieved without effort, i.e., without endeavouring on any soteric path. Albeit in a slightly less abrupt form, the pseudo-Nagarjuna's MPPU draws a similar conclusion: “Si l'ätman était transitoire (*anitya), il n'y aurait encore une fois ni peche (*äpatti) ni merite (*punya). Le corps (*käya) etant transitoire et l' ätman egalement, les deux choses periraient ensemble [a la mort], et on aboutirait a l'aneantissement final (*ucchedänta). Abîme dans cet aneantissement, on n'irait pas dans les existences futures (*parajanman) pour y subir [la retribution] des peches et des merites. Si cet aneantissement etait le nirväna, il ne serait pas necessaire de trancher les liens (*bandhanasamuccheda) et on n'aurait que faire des peches et des merites, causes et conditions (*hetupratyaya) des existences

futures.” Note, however, that according to the YBh, the unwanted consequence of effortless liberation also follows from the contradictory premise, i.e., from the hypothesis of a permanent self: “If [you admit that the substantial living being is] permanent, [then] it cannot be benefitted by pleasure and harmed by suffering. But if it is neither benefitted nor harmed, merit and demerit cannot come into activity. And if merit and demerit do not come into activity, a body will never arise. Now, it is not correct that the self be eternally liberated without effort (Tib. ’bad mi ’dogs par).”

3.2.2. “But if (*atha) [the self] were permanent and all-pervading (*vyapin, *vibhu?), there would be neither absence of birth' nor birth; for space (*akasa), which is all-pervading and permanent, neither passes away nor is born.” Except for the exact meaning of Tib. skye ba med, BC 16.82 makes no difficulty. Per definitionem, whatever is permanent and thus incurs no change knows neither rise nor fall. But living beings are seen being born and dying. However, note that to the self's permanence, Asvaghosa adds all-pervasiveness. In other words, there is no point in either time or space that the self would not occupy, so that this self neither changes nor moves. Once again, the MPPU offers interesting parallels to this argument. First, it also contains the comparison with space: “Si l' atman etait eternel, il serait

semblable a l'espace (*akasasama); la pluie ne le mouillerait pas et la chaleur ne le dessecherait pas. Il n'y aurait, pour lui, ni ici-bas (*ihatra), ni au-dela (*paratra). Si l'atman etait eternel, il ne pourrait pas renaître dans l'au-dela, ni mourir ici-bas.” As wecansee, the MPPU's argument also combines immutability and immobility. If it were eternal and all-pervading, neither could the self die and be reborn, nor could it move to another (transmigrational) place, for it would occupy all of them of all eternity: “Si l'atman etait eternel, il ne mourrait pas et ne naîtrait pas. Pourquoi? Parce que, selon votre systeme, l'atman, qui est eternel, remplit completement les cinq destinées (*gati); comment aurait-il une naissance et une mort? La mort (*cyuti) consiste a quitter cet endroit-ci, et la naissance (*upapatti) consiste a apparaître dans cet endroit-la. C'est pourquoi on ne peut pas dire que l'atman soit eternel.”

3.2.3. If the self is all-pervading but no longer permanent, the following absurdity follows: “If this self were all-pervading in nature (*vyapyatman?), there would be no [place] where it is not; and when it passed away, there would simultaneously (*sakrd?) be salvation for everyone together (*sarvatra?).” This argument combines several features already encountered above. Suppose the self is all-pervading: it will, then, be present in all beings engaged in all retributive destinies. And its passing away will entail the same consequences as those outlined in BC 16.81, except for their collective, universal application: for all living beings engaged in transmigration, at the time of this universal self's destruction, bondage will stop, and thus liberation be achieved, for want of karmic results, and hence rebirth. Though it does

not draw the conclusion of universal salvation, the following argument of the SNS seems to encapsulate these tacit premises and consequences: “Again, if the self is different from the skandhas [and hence permanent and all-pervading], the self should not take birth in different spheres [at different times]. And if it should take birth in different spheres, it should do so in all the places at a single moment [...] If the self simply moved from sphere to sphere it should not be doing any deed. No deeds and no results means no effort, neither bondage nor liberation, nor even the cultivation of meditation.”

3.2.4. According to the SNS, all-pervasiveness seems to involve inactivity. This is the issue at stake in BC 16.84: “As being all-pervading by nature, it would be inactive and there would be no doing of the act; and without the doing of acts, how (*kena?) could there be the union with the fruit (*phalayoga?) [of them]?” How is it that all-pervasiveness implies impossibility of action? Let me speculate a little. Action involves an agent, an instrument, something that is acted upon, and a specific location where it takes place. An all-pervading entity would be either all this at the same time, or rule out the possibility of anything other than itself. And the absence of both action and agent in turn makes retribution and experiencer impossible. A (probably Buddhist) objection in Kumarila’s SV seems to make the same point: “If, according to you, the selves are inactive due to their being permanent and all¬pervading, and [if] they cannot incur any change through pleasure and pain, how [can] they be agents and experiencers [at all]?”

3.2.5. Suppose, however, that the self, which both Buddhist and Brahmanical sources take to be per definitionem autonomous or self-dependent (svatantra), is an agent. Then: “If this [[[self]]] did perform deeds, it would cause no suffering (*duhkha) to itself (*atmanah?); for who, that is [absolutely] autonomous (*svatantra), would cause suffering to himself (*svayam?)?” The prototype of Asvaghosa's argument in this stanza is the first part of the above-mentioned “second sermon” of the Buddha in Benares. To the group of five ascetics (more exactly, to the four not yet liberated members of the group, i.e., the five minus Ajfiata- kaundinya ), the Buddha speaks as follows: “Corporeality, O monks, is not the self. [For] if corporeality were the self, O monks, corporeality would tend neither to harm nor to suffering, and with regard to corporeality [such wishes as]: ‘I wish my body (riipa) were so and so (evam),' [or] ‘may it not be so and so' would be fulfilled. But since corporeality is not the self, therefore corporeality tends

to harm [and] suffering, and with regard to corporeality [such wishes as]: ‘I wish my body were so and so,' [or] ‘may it not be so and so' are not fulfilled. [Similarly, affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are not the self. [For] if awareness [for instance] were the self, O monks, awareness would tend neither to harm nor to suffering, and with regard to awareness [such wishes as]: ‘I wish my awareness were so and so,' [or] ‘may it not be so and so' would be fulfilled. But since awareness is not the self, therefore awareness tends to harm [and] suffering, and with regard to awareness [such wishes as]: ‘I wish my awareness were so and so,' [or] ‘may it not be so and so' are not fulfilled.” The argument recurs in the MPPU: “Si l' atman etait autonome (svatantra) et actif (karaka), il devrait

tout obtenir selon ses désirs. Or il n'obtient pas [toujours] ce qu'il désire, et il subit [souvent] ce qu'il ne desire pas [...] En outre, tout etre deteste la douleur (duhkha); mais quiconque recherche le bonheur (sukha), trouve la douleur. C'est pourquoi, nous savons que l'atman n'est pas autonome, ni non plus actif.” The YBh provides yet another instance of the canonical argument: “Do you admit that [it is] an autonomous [substantial] living being [that] acts, or rather a heteronomous one? If it is an autonomous one, [then] it is not correct that it acts towards its own illness, old age, death, suffering [and] pollution. [But] if it is a heteronomous one, [then] it is not correct that [it is] the self [that] acts.” And though in a slightly modified form, the same argument is at the background of MSA 18.97ab and MSABh 157,6-7: “If [the pudgala] presided over [the rise of a cognition], neither would it bring about an impermanent [[[pleasurable]] cognition, nor would it ever bring about] an undesirable one. Indeed, if this [[[pudgala]]] presided over the production of cognitions, it would [certainly] not bring about a desirable [but] impermanent cognition, and certainly no undesirable one.”

3.2.6. “Due to its being permanent (*nityatva?), the self undergoes no change (*vikrti, *viparinama?); but, since it experiences (* Vlabh?) pleasure (*sukha) and suffering (*duhkha), we see that it does incur change.” The idea expressed in this stanza underlies the entire Buddhist critique of permanent entities such as God and the self: either such an entity is permanent and hence cannot incur any change, or it undergoes change and hence cannot be regarded as permanent. Again, Asvaghosa's argument finds a close parallel in the MPPU: “Si l' atman etait eternel, il ne pourrait eprouver ni douleur (*duhkha) ni bonheur (*sukha). Pourquoi? Quand la douleur survient, on s'attriste, et, quand le bonheur arrive, on se rejouit. Mais ce qui est modifie (*vikrta) par la tristesse et la joie n'est pas eternel.” But experiencing pleasant and unpleasant sensations is not the only factor threatening the self's permanence. For as we have seen, the very notions of agent and agency imply transformation. As the YBh puts it: “Do you admit that

the cause of action is impermanent, or rather permanent? If it is impermanent, [then, since that which acts would thus be] subject to change, it is not correct that [it is] the self [that] acts. [But] if it is permanent and [thus] not subject to change, then it is not correct that [something] not subject to change may act.” With the exception of Sankhya and Jainism, the non-Buddhist schools take a permanent self to be the agent and the experiencer of (the retribution of) past deeds. But as the YBh again puts it, either this agent and experiencer undergoes change on account of the many mental events occurring to it, and hence cannot be the permanent self, or it is not affected by them and hence does not qualify as an agent and an experiencer: “Do you admit that the experiencer, the agent and the one who attains liberation (moktr) is that which undergoes change through the pleasure and pain born of the objects [of senses], which undergoes change through volition, and which undergoes change through major and secondary defilements

(klesopaklesa), or rather that [it is that] which does not undergo [any] change [at all]? If it [is that which] undergoes change, then, since [it is] the conditioning factors alone [that are] the experiencers, the agents and those which attain liberation, the self is impermanent, which is incorrect. [But] if it [is that which] does not undergo [any] change [at all], then, since [according to you] the self is the experiencer, the agent and that which attains liberation[, which all involve change], it is not correct that it does not undergo [any] change [at all].”

3.2.7. The permanence of the self is not only challenged by the many changes this self is bound to undergo as an agent, an experiencer and the very substratum of psychophysical life. Another threat consists in the fact that salvation presupposes change in that it consists in a process of gradual improvement and purification. Asvaghosa spells this out as follows: “Salvation (*moksa?) comes from the winning of knowledge (*jñcmalabha?) and the abandonment of defilements (*klesahcmi?); but since the self is inactive (*niskriya?) and(/[since it is]) all-pervading (*vyapin, *vibhu?), there is no salvation for it.” As we have seen

above, a permanent and all-pervading self neither changes nor acts. However, transformation and action are necessary conditions for achieving liberation. Indeed, soteriology—and especially Buddhist soteriology—entails both a via illuminativa and a via purgativa: the gradual acquisition of gnosis through scriptural instruction, philosophical investi-gation and meditative practice parallels (and more often than not conditions) the progressive neutralization and elimination of gross and subtle defilements. Now according to Asvaghosa, the self's all-pervasiveness makes liberation impossible in that it precludes agency and action. Note, however, that most of the later Buddhist arguments do not argue for the impossibility of liberation from the self's omnipresence, but from its permanence. This is, e.g., the case of MSA 18.100:

“Neither a [[[pudgala]]] that [always] remains as it is nor a perishable [[[pudgala]]] can be the [causal] condition [of the exertion aimed at producing cognition or liberation, and this for three reasons:] because [this exertion] does not exist before[, hence cannot be due to a permanent cause]; because [this pudgala] would [ipso facto] be impermanent; and because there is no third hypothesis [i.e., the hypothesis of a pudgala that would be neither permanent nor impermanent].” Consider also the following argument from the MPPU: “Si l' ätman etait eternel, la vue du moi (*ätmadrsti) existerait a l'etat permanent, et on ne pourrait [jamais] obtenir le nirväna.” This argument seems to admit of two interpretations: (1) granting that an object (co-)generates a cognition of itself, one's perception of a permanent self would be as permanent as the perceived self, with no chance of getting rid of it (and the concomitant defilements); (2) the false view of a self is part of the ordinary, unawakened—but not necessarily “natural”—condition of the human mind; provided any change is precluded by the self's eternality, one could never get rid of this deluded and defiled condition. Whatever the right interpretation, both assumptions—all-pervasiveness and permanence—make liberation impossible.

3.2.8. “Since [the self] does not exist, this, i.e., ‘self,' is not stated in the ultimate sense (*tattvena?); moreover, as it does not exist as a cause (*hetubhüta?), it is incapable of any action(/does not serve any purpose) (*akincitkara?).” The first half of this verse puzzles me as it puzzled Weller and Johnston. Weller (1928, p. 169) translates: “Weil, ist ein Ich, die Wahrheit Unwahrheit geworden ist, drum sage ich dies nicht.” As for Johnston (1984: [III.]23), he translates as follows: “One should not say this, namely that there is a self, since in reality it has no existence (*asattvabhävät tattvena).” I am

tempted to read pädas a and b against the background of the Buddhist distinctions between “ultimately real” (paramärthasat) and “substantially real” (dravyasat) on the one side, and “conventionally real” (samvrtisat) and “designatively real” (prajnaptisat) on the other. What would be at stake here is that, although verbal designations such as “self,” “I,” “person” or “living being” are commonly resorted to by speakers (including the Buddha), they lack any substantial counterpart in reality and are mere conceptual, conventional constructs. As for padas c and d, they make no big difficulty: on account of its alleged permanence and all-pervasiveness, the self is deprived of any agency and thus has no causal or explanatory function.

3.2.9. “Besides, the action(/function?) (*karman?) to be performed (*karya?) [by this hypothetic self?] is not clear, and [the self is certainly] not [that] by which this [action(/function)] is performed; [we thus] say [that it is] not of such a nature. Therefore, the self does not exist.” I have to confess that my translation and interpretation of this verse are no more than a guess. In my opinion, padas a and b are best read in connection to padas c and d of the previous verse. A permanent and all-pervading self cannot function as a cause and serves no purpose. Moreover—and this would be the overall meaning of this verse's padas a and b -, the functions ascribed to the self can be explained in a less difficult and more economical way— understand: in the Buddhist way. Instead of a substantial self making agency, change,

retribution and salvation impossible, the only thing needed is a continuum of discrete and impermanent psychophysical events kept developing through the dynamism of ever repeated factors such as nescience, craving and defilements. This is but a guess, as I said, and this guess turns to an interpretive blank in the case of pada c: what does Tib. rnam pa de ltar gyur (min) refer to? To permanence and impermanence, as Johnston understood? To the self's agency, as I am more inclined to believe? Whatever the case may be, Asvaghosa's conclusion is limpid: there can be no substantial self. But what is there, then? The answer to this question is the subject matter of the last verses of canto 16, to which I now turn.

The Third Part of the Buddha's Sermon

4.1. Let us consider the third and final part of Asvaghosa's version of the Rajagrha teaching, which can also be strongly suspected to draw on materials closely similar to those of the SBhV, the CPS, the BSu or the MV. Here are this sermon's conclusive verses in the BC: “Listen, best of listeners, to this teaching how the stream (*ogha?) of samsara flows along (*pra Vvrt, *pariVvrt?), bearing away (*Vvah?) this body, in which there is neither an agent (*kartr?), nor an experiencer (*vedaka?), nor one who directs (*svamin?). A sixfold awareness (*vijnanam sadvidham?) arises (*udVi?) based (*asritya ?) on the six sense organs (*sadin- driya?) and the six sense objects (*sadindriyagocara?); a system of interaction (*sparsavidhi?) develops separately for each group of three, whence memory (*smrti?), cognitions (*buddhi, *mati?) and acts (*karmanT) come into activity. Just as, from the conjunction (*samyoga, *samsargaT) of a burning glass jewel (*mam?), fuel (*indhana?) and the sun, fire is produced by virtue of the union (*yogavasat?),

even so all actions (*kriya?) dependent on the human being (*purusaT) take place, based (*asritya?) on the cognition (*buddhi, *mati?), the sense objects (*in- driyartha) and the sense organs (*indriya). Just as the shoot (*ahkura) is produced (*ut^padl) from the seed (*bija), and yet the shoot is not to be identified with the seed, nor can it exist without (*anyatra?) the other [i.e., the seed], nor is it [previously] within the [seed] (*tatra?), on such wise is the sequence (*krama?) [consisting] of body, sense organs and cognitions. ” After arguing against the real existence of the self, the Buddha teaches Bimbisara how to account for cognitive functions, transmigration and moral responsibility in the absence of a real self regarded as a substantial agent, knower and controller. In other words, the Buddha teaches samsara and human existence through the lens of dependent origination (pratityasamutpada), the middle way: be it at the level of cognition or rebirth, whatever comes into being owes its existence to the interaction of a set of discrete factors associated in a causal complex.

4.2.1. This corresponds to the second part of the Raij agrha/Bimbisaira teaching according to the SBhV, the CPS, the BSui and the MV, whose version of the events starts with the Magadhansreaction to the Buddha’s claim that the constituents rise and fall and thus are not to be adhered to as self and one’s own: “Then the following occurred to the Magadhan brahmins and householders: ‘If indeed corporeality is not the self, [and if affective] sensation, ideation, the conditioning factors [and] awareness are not the self [either], then what will be the self, the [substantial] living being, the soul, the individual, the spirit, the person, the man, the human, the agent, the doer, the generator, the creator, the producer, the operator, the speaker, the experiencer, the enjoyer that has never been without existing, will never be without existing and does never fail to exist at present either, that experiences here and there the retribution of actions done and not [yet] done, good and bad, and that abandons these constituents [at death]

and takes up new constituents [at birth]?’” The Magadhans are presented as ordinary people beset with the false view of a self. Besides being the active principle underlying human actions and cognitive functions, this self is described as permanent, overtaking moral responsibility for its past actions and engaged in transmigration/reincarnation. This (stereotyped) list of the self’s agencies perfectly accounts for Asvaghosa’s *kartr/kdraka, *vedaka and *svamin.

4.2.2. According to the SBhV, the CPS, the BSui and the MV, the Buddha knows the thoughts of the Mai gadhaka brahmanas and householders. Instead of directly dispelling their doubts, however, he turns to the monks and delivers a sermon on dependent origination, samsara and selflessness, the very topics of the final part of the Buddha’s sermon according to Assvaghosa: “The infantile, ignorant ordinary person, O monks, is affected with(/follows) the designation ‘a self, a self,’ [but] here there is neither a self nor what belongs to a self. When it arises, O monks, this [[[Wikipedia:mass|mass]] of] suffering [simply] arises[, nothing more]; when it ceases to exist, suffering [simply] ceases to exist[, nothing more]. When they arise, conditioned things (samskdra) [simply] arise[, nothing more]; when they cease to exist, conditioned things [simply] cease to exist[, nothing more]. Depending on such causes [and] such conditions, the living beings' series ofconditioned things [simply] proceeds[, nothing more]. But the Tathaagata, O monks, knows the reconnection (pratisandhi) of the series of conditioned things and reveals (prajnapayati) the living beings' fall [from one existence] and rebirth [in another]: ‘O monks, I see by means of [my] divine eye, which

is pure and superhuman; I see the living beings both falling [fromoneexistence]andbeingreborn[inanother;thelivingbeings]ofagoodandofa bad colour (varna); low and distinguished (pranita, SBhVTib gya nompa); going to a good destiny and going to abad destiny: I thoroughly know, as they truly are, the living beings who enter [their various conditions] according to [their] deeds.' [Certain] living beings possess bodily ill-conduct, verbal and mental ill-conduct, revile the noble ones [and] have erroneous views; because they take upon themselves (samadana, SBhVTib blah ba) erroneous views, deeds and factors (but note SBhVTib logpar lta ba'i las dah chos), caused and conditioned by this, these [[[living beings]]], falling into evil states and bad destinies, are [re]born in the [various] hells(/among the inhabitants of the hells) at the dissolution of [their] body (kdyasya bheddt, SBhVTib lus zig nas), after death (param marandt, Tib. si ba 'i ’og tu). Or else, [certain] living beings possess bodily good conduct, verbal and mental good conduct, do not revile the noble ones [and] have right views; because they take upon themselves right views, deeds and factors (note SBhVTib yah dag par lta ba'i las dah chos), caused and conditioned by this, these

[[[living beings]]] are [re]born in a good destiny, among the gods in the heavenly world at thedissolutionof[their]body.Andinsuchaway,Omonks,Iknow,insuchawayIsee, butIdonotspeakinsuchaway:‘Thisveryselfor[substantial]livingbeingofmine,or the soul, the individual, the spirit, the person, the man, the human, the agent, the doer, the generator, the creator, the producer, the operator, the speaker, the experiencer, the enjoyer that has never been without existing, will never be without existing and does never fail to exist at present either, that experiences here and there the retribution of actions done and not [yet] done, good and bad, that abandons these constituents [at death] andtakes up new constituents [atbirth].' [I do not speak in such a way] except for a formula for the factors [in dependent origination. And] in this case, such is the formula for the factors [in dependent origination], i.e.: when this exists, this occurs; because this arises, this arises. That is to say: with nescience as their condition, the conditioning factors [arise]; with the conditioning factors as its condition, awareness [arises]; with awareness as its condition, name-and-corporeality [arises]; with name-

and-corporeality as their condition, the six [sensory] bases [arise]; with the six [sensory] bases as its condition, contact [arises]; with contact as its condition, [affective] sensation [arises]; with [affective] sensation as its condition, craving [arises]; with craving as its condition, clinging [arises]; with clinging as its condition, existence [arises]; with existence as its condition, birth [arises]; with birth as their condition, old age, death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and mental perturbation occur; such is the origin of this entire(/independent) (kevala) great mass (skandha) ofsuffering. That is to say: when this exists, this occurs; because this ceases to exist, this ceases to exist. That is to say: due to the cessation of nescience, the conditioning factors cease to exist; due to the cessation of the conditioning factors, awareness ceases to exist; due to the cessation of awareness, name-and-corporeality ceases to exist; due to the cessation of name-and-corporeality, the six [sensory] bases cease to

exist; due to the cessation of the six [sensory] bases, contact ceases to exist; due to the cessation of contact, [affective] sensation ceases to exist; due to the cessation of [affective] sensation, craving ceases to exist; due to the cessation of craving, clinging ceases to exist; due to the cessation of clinging, existence ceases to exist; due to the cessation of existence, birth ceases to exist; due to the cessation of birth, old age, death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and mental perturbation cease to exist; such is the cessation ofthis entire(/independent) great mass ofsuffering. Therefore, O monks, the factors are painful; nirvana is quiet; due to the arising of the cause, suffering arises; due to the cessation of the cause, suffering ceases to exist; [once it is] cut off, the track (vartman, SBhVTib rgyun, “stream”) does notproceed [any further and] ceases to exist without [any] reconnection; this is the end of suffering. In this case, O monks, who [could there be who] reaches parinirvana, except that this [[[Wikipedia:mass|mass]] of] suffering has [now] ceased to exist, [that] it is [now] calmed, [that] it has [now] cooled down, [that] it has [now] vanished. Quiet is this abode (pada, SBhVTib gnas), O monks, i.e., the abandonment of every substratum [of existence], the exhaustion of craving, detachment, cessation, nirvana.”

4.3. Be it with regard to structure, wording or audience, the correspondence between the two text traditions is certainly not as linear as it was in the first part of the sermon. Similarities are, however, sufficiently important to suggest Assvaghosa's indebtedness to the SBhV/CPS/BSu/MV account. Both narratives are centred on the stereotyped list of the synonyms and agencies of the self (kartr and vedaka occur in the two texts), and are meant as explanations of the way in which these functions as well as transmigration can be possible in the absence of a substantial self. And this they do by resorting to samsdra and pratityasamutpdda. But whereas Assvaghosa limits the scope of his presentation to the psychological and cognitive levels (including karman), the SBhV/CPS/BSua/MV split the explanation into two accounts of samsdra and pratityasamutpdda: first, through the Buddha's knowledge of the living beings' rise/birth and fall/death (cyutyupapattijndna, one of the six “supernatural knowledges” [abhijnd]), and second, through the twelve-membered formula in direct and reverse order. Both accounts end with an evocation of nirvdna (mchog tu dge [*paramasubha?] and dam pa'i don [*paramdrtha?] in BC 16.94ab).


Differences do exist between Asvaghosa's narrative and the version of the events found in the SBhV, the CPS, the BSu and, though in a more remote way, the MV: the BC has no equivalent of the Magadhans' reaction to the teaching of selflessness; the audience of the BC sermon remains the same throughout; it contains ad hoc arguments against the reality of the self; its last part exhibits a less direct parallelism with these sources than the first. Conspicuous as these discrepancies may be, however, they look only very minor when compared with those subsisting between the BC and the Theravadin, Mahisasaka and Dharmaguptaka Vinaya narratives. In my opinion, these deviations are more satisfactorily explained as reflecting Assvaghosa's poetic creativity and philosophical agenda than as suggesting his indebtedness to yet another, now

lost version of the episode (unless such a version can account as a prototype for both the BC and the SBhV/CPS/BSui[/MV] narratives). The comparative analysis of further episodes will certainly help decide whether or not these conclusions can be repeated, and if yes, whether the BC account of the events can reasonably be said to be indebted to a/the (Mui la) sarvaistivaidin rather than to a/the Mahai sai nghika/Lokottaravai din version. Whatever the case may be, one thing remains: Assvaghosa can be credited with (one of) the earliest known Buddhist attempt(s) at working out purely philosophical arguments against the self. For contrary to the strategies developed in the Kathavatthu and the *Vijñánakáya against the Buddhist personalists, Asvaghosa's arguments are not of a purely exegetical character and thus not meant for strictly intra-Buddhistic polemical purposes. This is easily understood: in the BC, the poet's targets are non-Buddhist ideas and practices. This makes Assvaghosa, even more than Ai ryadeva and Vasubandhu (AKBh 9, in fine), an interesting forerunner of sixth-century Buddhist philosophy.

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Johnston, E. H. (1984). Asvaghosa's Buddhacarita or Acts ofthe Buddha (in three parts: Sanskrit Text of Cantos I-XIV with English Translation of Cantos I-XXVIII, Cantos I to XIV translated from the Original Sanskrit supplemented by the Tibetan Version and Cantos XV to XXVIII from the Tibetan and Chinese Versions. Delhi (Lahore 19361): Motilal Banarsidass.

Jones, J. J. (1956). The Mahavastu (Vol. III). London: Luzac & Company Ltd.

Kent, S. (1982). Early SaTmkhya in the Buddhacarita. Philosophy East and West, 32(3), 259-278.

Kloppenborg, R. (1973). The Sutra on the foundation of the Buddhist order (Catusparisatsutra), relating the events from the Bodhisattva 's enlightenment up to the conversion of Upatisya (Säriputra) and Kolita (Maudgalyayana). Leiden: E.J. Brill (Religious Texts Translation Series Nisaba 1).

Kosa—de La Vallese Poussin, L. (1980). L'Abhidharmakosa de Vasubandhu (6 vols.). Bruxelles (Paris 1923-19311): Institut Belge des Hautes Estudes Chinoises (Meslanges Chinois et Bouddhiques 16). Lamotte, E. (1976). Histoire du bouddhisme indien. Des origines à l'ère Saka. Louvain-la-Neuve (19581): Université de Louvain, Institut Orientaliste (Publications de l'Institut Orientaliste de Louvain 14). Lüders 1911—See SP. MPPU—Mahaprajnaparamitopadesa (ascribed to Nagarjuna). T 1509. See also Traité II.

MSA—Mahayânasütrâlankara (Maitreyanatha?). See MSABh.

MSABh—Mahayânasütrâlankârabhasya (Vasubandhu?). Sylvain Levi: Mahäyäna-Süträlamkära. Exposé de la doctrine du Grand Véhicule. Vol. I. Paris 1907: Librairie Honore Champion (Bibliotheque de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Sciences historiques et philologiques 159).

MSAVBh—Mahäyänasüträlankäravrttibhäsya (Sthiramati). D no. 4034, mi 1-tsi 266a7/P no. 5531, mi 1-tsi 308a8.

Much 1991—See VN. MV—Emile Senart: Mahavastu Avadanam. Le Mahâvastu. Texte sanscrit publié pour la première fois et accompagné d'introductions et d'un commentaire. Parts II and III. Paris 1890 and 1897: Imprimerie nationale (Societe asiatique, Collection d'ouvrages orientaux, seconde serie).

Nakamura, H. (1987). Indian Buddhism. A survey with bibliographical notes. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. NRA—Nyayaratnakara (Parthasarathimisra). See SV.

NV—Anantalal Thakur: Nyayabhasyavarttika of Bharadvaja Uddyotakara. New Delhi 1997: Indian Council of Philosophical Research (Nyayacaturgranthika 2).

Olivelle, P. (2008). Life of the Buddha by Asvaghosa (P. Olivelle, Trans.). New York: New York University Press/JJC Foundation (The Clay Sanskrit Library).

P—D. T. Suzuki: The Tibetan Tripitaka, Peking Edition, Kept in the Library of the Otani University, Kyoto. Tokyo/Kyoto 1957: Tibetan Tripitaka Research Institute.

PV—Yusho Miyasaka: Pramanavarttika-karika (Sanskrit and Tibetan). Acta Indoogica 2 (1971-1972), pp. 1-206. See also PVSV.

PVSV—Pramänavärttikasvavrtti (Dharmakirti). Raniero Gnoli: Dharmakirti’s Pramanavarttikam. The First Chapter with the Autocommentary. Roma 1960: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (Serie Orientale Roma 23).

Ramakrishna Rao, K. B. (1964). The Buddhacarita and the Saimkhya of Araida Kailaima. Adyar Library Bulletin, 28(3-4), 231-241 . Salomon, R. (1998). Indian Epigraphy. A Guide to the Study ofInscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

Salomon, R. (1999). Asvaghosa in Central Asia: Some comments on the recensional history of his works in light of recent manuscript discoveries. In E. Zürcher, L. Sander et al. (Eds.), Collection of essays 1993. Buddhism across boundaries—Chinese Buddhism and the western regions (pp. 219-263). Sanchung, Taipei: Fo Guang Shan Foundation for Buddhist and Culture Education. SBhV—Raniero Gnoli: The Gilgit Manuscript ofthe Sanghabhedavastu. Being the 17th and Last Section ofthe Vinaya ofthe Mülasarvastivadin. Part I. Roma 1977: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (Serie Orientale Roma 49/1).

SBhVTib—Tibetan version of the Sanghabhedavastu as edited by Ernst Waldschmidt in CPS II and III. Schopen, G. (1997). Bones, stones, and Buddhist monks. Collected papers on the archaeology, epigraphy, and texts of monastic Buddhism in India. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press (Studies in the Buddhist Traditions).

Schopen, G. (2004). Buddhist monks and business matters. Still more papers on monastic Buddhism in India. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press (Studies in the Buddhist Traditions). Shukla, K. (1967). Buddhist atmavada and Asanga. Journal ofthe Ganganatha Jha Research Institute, 23, 29-49.

SNa—Saundarananda (Asvaghosa). See Johnston (1928). SNS—Sammitiyanikayasastra. T 1649.

SP—Sariputraprakarana (Asvaghosa). Heinrich Lüders: Bruchstücke buddhistischer Dramen. Berlin 1911: Druck und Verlag von Georg Reimer (Königlich Preussische Turfan-Expeditionen, Kleinere Sanskrit-Texte 1). SV—Ganga Sagar Rai: Slokavarttika of Sri Kumarila Bhatta with the Commentary Nyayaratnakara of Sri Partha-sarathimisra. Varanasi 1993: Ratna Publications (Ratnabharatigranthamala 4). T—Junjiro Takakusu and Kaikyoku Watanabe: Taisho shinshu daizokyo. Tokyo 1924-1932: Taisho Issaikyo Kankokai.

Tokunaga, M. (2006). Buddhacarita and Mahaibhairata: A new perspective. Journal ofIndological Studies, 18, 135-145. Tournier, V. (2012). La formation du Mahavastu et la mise en place des conceptions relatives à la carrière du bodhisattva. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Section des sciences des religions et systemes de pensee, Paris.

Traité II—Etienne Lamotte: Le Traité de la Grande Vertu de Sagesse de Nagarjuna (Mahaprajnapara- mitasastra). Vol. II. Louvain-la-Neuve 1981 (19491): Universite de Louvain, Institut Orientaliste (Bibliotheque du Museon, Publications de l'Institut Orientaliste de Louvain 26).

Venkataramanan, K. (1953). Krishniah Venkataramanan: Sammitîyanikîya Sastra. Visva-Bharati Annals, 5, 155-243. Vibhasa—T 1545.

Vin-Th I—Hermann Oldenberg: The Vinaya Pitakam: One of the Principal Buddhist Holy Scriptures in the Pâli Language. Vol. I: The Mahavagga. Oxford 1997 (London 18791): Pali Text Society. VK—* Vijnanakaya (Devasarman). T 1539.

VN—Michael Torsten Much: Dharmakïrtis Vadanyayah. 2 vols. Vienna 1991: Verlag der Österreichis¬chen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Sprachen und Kulturen Südasiens 25). VSu—Ramayan Prasad Dvivedî: Vajrasücï of Asvaghosa (A Small Tract of Buddhist Philosophy), Edited with Hindi Translation, Parallel Passages and a Critical Introduction with Exhaustive Appendices. Varanasî 1984: Caukhamba Amarabharatî Prakasan.

Waldschmidt, E. (1932). Bruchstücke buddhistischer Sütras aus dem zentralasiatischen Sanskritkanon. Leipzig: Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (Kleinere Sanskrit-Texte 4).

Waldschmidt, E. (1951). Vergleichende Analyse des Catusparisatsuîtra. In N.N. (Ed.), Beiträge zur indischen Philosophie und Altertumskunde. Walther Schubring zum 70. Geburtstag dargebracht von der deutschen Indologie (pp. 84-122). Hamburg: Cram, de Gruyter & Co (Alt- und Neu-Indische Studien 7). (Reprint from Von Ceylon bis Turfan. Schriften zur Geschichte, Literatur, Religion und Kunst des indischen Kulturraumes, pp. 164-202, by E. Waldschmidt, Ed., 1967, Gottingen: Van den Hoeck & Ruprecht).

Weller, F. (1926-1928). Das Leben des Buddha von Asvaghosa. Tibetisch und Deutsch. 2 vols. Leipzig: Verlag Eduard Pfeiffer (Veröffentlichungen des Forschungsinstituts für vergleichende Religion¬sgeschichte an der Universitat Leipzig, II. Reihe, 3 and 8).

Weller, F. (1953). Zwei zentralasiatische Fragmente des Buddhacarita. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag (Abhandlungen der Sachsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, Philologisch-historische Klasse, 46/4). Willemen, C., Dessein, B., & Cox, C. (1998). Sarvastivada Buddhist Scholasticism. Leiden: Brill (Handbuch der Orientalistik/Handbook of Oriental Studies II, Indien/India, 11).

Windisch, E. (1909). Die Komposition des Mahaîvastu. Ein Beitrag zur Quellenkunde des Buddhismus. Abhandlungen der Königlich-Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 27, 467-511.

Wynne, A. (2009a). Early evidence for the ‘no self' doctrine? A note on the second anatman teaching of the second Sermon. Thai International Journal for Buddhist Studies, 1, 64-84.

Wynne, A. (2009b). Miraculous transformation and personal identity: A note on the first anatman teaching of the second Sermon. Thai International Journal for Buddhist Studies, 1, 85-113. Yamabe, N. (2003). On the school affiliation of Asvaghosa: ‘Sautrantika' or ‘Yogacara'? Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 26(2), 225-254. YB hTib—Yogacarabhümi, Tibetan version. P no. 5536, Dzi 1-332a7.

YBh—Yogacarabhümi. Vidhushekhara Bhattacharya: The Yogûcûrabhümi of Äcarya Asanga. Calcutta 1957: University of Calcutta. Yoshimizu, C. (2007). Causal efficacy and spatiotemporal restriction: An analytical study of the Sautraîntika philosophy. In B. Kellner, H. Krasser, H. Lasic, M. T. Much, & H. Tauscher (Eds.), Pramanakïrtih. Papers dedicated to Ernst Steinkellner on the occasion of his 70th birthday (2 vols, pp. 1049-1078). Vienna: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universitat Wien (Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 70/1-2).

’ham asmi / esa ma atmeti / no bhadanta / kirn maharajca1 vedana sanjna samskara vijnanam nityam vci1 nityam va / anityam idam2 bhadanta / yat punar anityam duhkham va3 tan na va duhkham / duhkham idam4 bhadanta / yat punar anityam duhkham viparinamadharmy api nu tac chrutavan aryasravaka

atmata6 * upagacched etan mama / eso ’ham asmi / esa ma atmeti / no bhadanta / tasmat tarhi8 maharaja yat kincid rüpam atïtânagatapratyutpannam adhyatmikam va bûhyam9 vaudarikam110 va süksmam va hïnam va pranïtam va yad va düre yad vantike tat sarvam1 naitan mama / naiso ’ham asmi / naisa ma atmeti / evam etad yathabhütam samyakprajnaya drastavyam / tasmât tarhi maharaja12 \13vedana sanjna samskara yat kincid vijnanam13[ atïtanagatapratyutpannam adhyatmikam va bahyam9 vaudarikam10 va süksmam va hïnam va pranïtam va yad va düre yad vantike tat sarvam naitan mama / naiso ’ham asmi / naisa ma atmeti / evam etad yathabhütam samyakprajnaya drastavyam / evandarsï maharaja14 srutavan aryasravako rüpad api nirvidyate / vedanayah sanjnayah samskarebhyo vijnanad api nirvidyate / nirvinno virajyate / virakto vimucyate / vimuktasya vimukto ’smïti15 jnanadarsanam bhavati / ksïna me jatir usitam brahmacaryam krtam karanïyam naparam asmad bhavam1 prajanami /. lnityam va SBhV: nityam CPS, BSu. 2anityam idam SBhV: anityam CPS, BSu. 3duhkham va SBhV: duhkham CPS. 4duhkham idam SBhV: duhkham CPS. 5BSu om. yatpunar anityam duhkham tan na va duhkham / duhkham bhadanta /. 6atmata SBhV, CPS: atmanam BSu. 2kim maharaja SBhV(, SBhVpib *kim manyase maharaja): evam

CPS, BSu. *tasmat tarhi CPS, BSu: tasmat tarhi te SBhV, SBhVpib (de Ita bas na khyod kyis). 9bahyam SBhV: bahirdha CPS, BSu. lQvaudarikam CPS, BSu: SBhV va odarikam. 11 tat sarvam SBhV, CPS: BSu

om. tat sarvam. 12tasmat tarhi maharaja SBhV(, SBhVTib rgyal po chen po de lta bas na khyod kyis): evam CPS, BSu. 13vedana sanjna samskara yat kincid vijnanam SBhV: ya kacid vedana ya kacit sanjnaye kecit samskara yat kincid vijnanam CPS, vedana sanjna samskara vijnanam yat kincid vijnanam BSu. 14 evandarsï maharaja SBhV: evam pasyan CPS, BSu. 15vimuktasya vimukto ’smiti CPS, BSu: vimuktam

eva SBhV, SBhVpib (rnampar grol na). 16bhavam SBhV, SBhVpb (sridpa): bhavam CPS, BSu. See also Kloppenborg (1973, pp. 89-90). For other Sanskrit fragments of this passage (with the interesting variant kalpan nu for api nu), see Eltschinger and Ratie (2013, pp. 276-277, n. 351). 34 See especially Wynne (2009a).

35 My translation and interpretation of BC 16.80-89 is tentative. In spite of the quality of Weller's and Johnston's philological work, the Tibetan translation of several stanzas remains puzzling. I have used Johnston's English translation as a basis, provided it with reconstructed Sanskrit expressions and modified

it wherever my interpretation differed. I have endeavoured to shed light on Asvaghosa's arguments by adducing parallel passages from early sources such as the MPPU, the YBh and the MSA(Bh).

vidyate13 / yas tatra tatra14 krtdkrtdndm kalydnapdpakdndm karmandm vipdkam pratisamvedate15 / iti ya16 imdms ca skandhdn niksipaty anydms ca skandhdn pratisandadhdty ndnyatra17 dharmasanketdt / tatrdyam dharmasanketo yad utdsmin satidam bhavaty asyotpdddd idam utpadyate / \18yad

utdvidydpratyaydh samskdrdh samskdrapratyayam vijndnam vijndnapratyayam ndmarupam ndmarupapratyayam saddyatanam saddyatanapratyayah sparsah sparsapratyayd vedand vedandpratyayd trsnd trsndpratyayam updddnam updddnapratyayo bhavo bhavapratyayd jdtir jdtipratyayd jardmaranasokaparidevaduhkhadaurmanasyopdydsdh sambhavanty evam asya kevalasya mahato duhkhaskandhasya samudayo bhavati / yad utdsmin satidam bhavaty asya nirodhdd idam nirudhyate / yad utdvidydnirodhdt samskdranirodhah samskdranirodhdd vijndnanirodho vijndnanirodhdn ndmarupaniro- dho ndmarupanirodhdt saddyatananirodhah saddyatananirodhdt sparsanirodhah sparsanirodhdd vedandnirodho vedandnirodhdt trsndnirodhas trsndnirodhdd updddnanirodha updddnanirodhdd bha- vanirodho bhavanirodhdj jdtinirodho jdtinirodhdj jardmaranasokaparidevaduhkhadaurmanasyopdydsd nirudhyanta evam asya kevalasya mahato duhkhaskandhasya nirodho bhavati /18[ iti hi bhiksavo duh- khdh samskdrdh / sdntam nirvdnam / hetusamudaydd duhkhasamudayah / hetunirodhdd duhkhanirodhah / chinnam vartma na pravartate / apratisandhi nirudhyate / esa19 evdnto duhkhasya / tatra bhiksavah kah parinirvrtah / anyatra20 duhkham tan niruddham tad vyupasdntam tac chitibhutam tad astangatam21 / sdntam idam bhiksavah padam yad uta sarvopadhipratinihsargas trsndksayo virdgo nirodho nirvdnam /. 1samskdrd CPS, SBhVTib: SBhV om. samskdrd. 2°santatih SBhV: °santati CPS. 3gacchato SBhV: CPS, BSua om. gacchato. 4yathdbhutam CPS, BSua(, SBhVTib): yathdbhutdn SBhV. 5 6amiSBhV: itime CPS, BSua.

6taddhetutatpratyayam SBhV(, SBhVTib): taddhetos tatpratyayam CPS. 7ami SBhV: ime CPS. 8evam cdham bhiksavo jdndmy evam pasydmi SBhV, CPS, SBhVTib: tad aham prajdndmy anupasydmi BSua. 9ma SBhV: sa CPS. 10jivo vdjantur vdposo vdpudgalo vd manujo vd mdnavo vdkartd vd kdrako vdjanako vd sanjanako vd utthdpako vd samutthdpako vd vadako vd vedako vd pratisamvedako vd SBhV, SBhVTib: purvavad ydvat pratisamvedako CPS. 11na jdtu em. (SBhVTib nam yan): na jdtur CPS, na jantur SBhV. 12ndbhun CPS: ndbhun SBhV. 13ndpy etarhi vidyate SBhV, SBhVTib: CPS om. ndpy etarhi vidyate. 14tatra tatra CPS, SBhVTib: tatra SBhV. 15pratisamvedayate SBhV: pratisamvedayisyati CPS. 16iti ya

CPS (SBhVTib reads zih gan gis): SBhV om. iti ya. l1ndnyatra SBhV (see BHSD s.v. anyatra, 41ab): anyatra CPS. 18Instead of yadutd° [...] nirodho bhavati, BSu reads: yad utdvidydpratyaydh samskdrdh purvavad ydvat samudayo nirodhas ca bhavati /. 19esa SBhV: sa CPS. 20anyatra CPS: ndnyatra SBhV. 21tad astangatam CPS: SBhV om. tad astangatam. See also Kloppenborg (1973, pp. 86-89). The cor¬responding passage in the