When did the gods become literate? Was: Are the gods literate

Thu Nov 4 01:28:57 UTC 1999

> >Modeled after brahminical religion, the early hinayana concentrates
> >on oral transmission. From aural to visual/writing transition
>happens in
> >the mahayana phase of buddhism. Many mahayana sutras are >written
in the
> >Dravidian south, Andhra and Kanchi.
> Not so. Then why is HinayAna called Southern Buddhism and MahAyAna
> northern? And if MahAyana was indeed prevelant down South, then its
> influence would've been seen in Ceylon, which is on the contrary
> HinayAnistic. Also note that Tibet and China are MahAyAnistic - the
> missionary activity went through the Northern way.

No, not so.  Hinayana was called Southern Buddhism and Mahayana the
Northern as a polite euphemism by early C20th Westerners are mainly
reflects the late post-Muslim geographical regions of Buddhism.
Mahayana and indeed Tantric Buddhism flourished for a while in Sri
Lanka and was only expelled by royal decree at a late date.  Mahayana
was also very active in the present-day area of Indonesia.   There
were many Hinayana adherents in north India, Central Asia and China.
Indeed the label "Hinayana" fairly specifically refers to Kashmiri
Sarvaastivaada in Mahayana polemics.   The fact is many Mahayana
suutras were ritten in southern and eastern India.

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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