[INDOLOGY] Vajrasūcī

Eltschinger, Vincent Vincent.Eltschinger at oeaw.ac.at
Tue Jan 28 04:04:05 EST 2020


Dear colleagues,
Very briefly, and apologizing for not having followed as carefully as I should all the recent avatāras of this thread... The Vajrasūcī quotes these two verses (11-12) together and most explicitly ascribes them to Manu (mānavadharmaprāmāṇyād api. uktaṃ hi mānave dharme <stanzas 11-12> ato mānavadharmaprāmāṇyāj jātis tāvad brāhmaṇo na bhavati.). Only the first can be traced in the Manusmṛti. It is MDhŚ 10.92: sadyaḥ patati māṃsena lākṣayā lavaṇena ca / tryahāc chūdraś ca bhavati brāhmaṇaḥ kṣīravikrayī //. “By selling meat, lac, or salt, a Brahmin falls immediately from his caste; by selling milk, he becomes a Śūdra in three days.” (Translation P. Olivelle, Manu’s Law Code, OUP 2005, p. 212.) As for the second verse, it is the one we are interested in: ākāśagāmino viprāḥ patanti māṃsabhakṣaṇāt / viprāṇāṃ patanaṃ dṛṣṭvā tato māṃsāni varjayet //. I must confess that everytime I read this verse I cannot help smiling/laughing. I am in fact very much inclined to see an ironic/sarcastic touch in it. Translating a bit freely, and in accordance with my feeling: “Brahmins (vipra) who are [generally] flying in the air fall from eating meat; seing [how deep] the Brahmins have fallen, one should [certainly] refrain from [eating] meat.” The verse does not appear in the Manusmṛti and cannot be found in the Yājñavalkyasmṛti parallel either (3.40). Now of course, such irony – if the verse is ironic at all – is not really to be expected from orthodox Brahmanical treatises such as the Manusmṛti (or even a hypothetically lost Mānava Dharmasūtra). Could it be a (Buddhist? Vajrasūcī?) forgery? It is certainly true that Buddhist philosophical treatises would normally not ascribe verses forged by their authors, or predecessors, to their opponents, Brahmanical or not – how could this be taken seriously in the framework of philosophical/scientific controversy? But the Vajrasūcī is by no means a philosopical treatise, and I am personally not ready to give it more weight than its poor argumentative strength deserves. Like most Buddhist tracts against the orthodox Brahmanical interpretation of the caste-classes, and especially against what the Buddhists almost unanimously regard as the Brahmins’ ill-founded pride in caste/personal conceit, the Vajrasūcī is itself very often ironic/sarcastic. This is of course just a feeling, and I would certainly be very happy to learn more about the origin/original context of this stanza, orthodox Brahmanical or not.
With best regards,
Vincent



Vincent Eltschinger, korrespondierendes Mitglied der OeAW
Directeur d'études
École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section des sciences religieuses
Patios Saint-Jacques, 4-14 rue Ferrus - 75014 Paris
vincent.eltschinger at ephe.sorbonne.fr
0033 1 56 61 17 34 / 0033 7 85 86 84 05
________________________________
Von: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> im Auftrag von Jan E.M. Houben via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Gesendet: Dienstag, 28. Januar 2020 08:44:40
An: Hartmut Buescher
Cc: Indology Mailing List
Betreff: Re: [INDOLOGY] Vajrasūcī

Dear Hartmut,
In his message to you, Prof. Schlingloff may have modestly omitted a reference to a publication of his that is in fact quite relevant in this regard:
D. Schlingloff, The Superhuman Faculties - Visual Meditation and Miracles in Buddhist Literature and Art, Buddhismus Studien 9.
In addition, it may or may not help to date and localise siddhācārya Aśvaghoṣa, but could the "Siddha" part in his title point to a "southern" (not necessarily as south as Tamil Nadu, but up to around the Parvata mountain mentioned in the VP) and rasaśástric connection (alleged flying experiences through mercury)?
Jan Houben
N.B.
The itikartavyatā of the quotation may be clear: don't eat meat.
But what would the verse really express in its original context?
Or what type of  ākāśagamana is it referring to?
ākāśagāmino viprāḥ patanti māṃsabhakṣaṇāt |
viprāṇāṃ patanaṃ dṛṣṭvā tato māṃsāni varjayet ||12||
"Due to consuming meat, the space-walking seers do fall (or fly, which is the older meaning of pat?).
Hence, observing the seers’ fall (patana rather than pāta refers rather to the actual falling, flying?) one should abandon meats."
Did these "seers" fall from the sky like Simon Magus after St Peter's prayer?
Were they first staying up in space, enjoyed some meat there just like Mary Poppins and Uncle Albert drinking tea at the ceiling of the living room, and did they fall down next?

On Tue, 28 Jan 2020 at 02:42, Hartmut Buescher via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
Dear colleagues,

allow me to qualify my previous remark about “having not yet met with
the notion of an ākāśagāmin in the various Buddhist philosophical contexts
elaborating their notions of mārga … “ – in a beautifully suggestive manner,
Prof. Schlingloff rightly pointed out to me, being habitually forgetful, that
I may in fact be very well aware of a specific context in which various
supernatural accomplishments, including that of “moving through space”,
are regularly thematized.
Indeed, it is difficult for Buddhologists not to be aware of the bodhipakkhiyā
dhammā and, as usual, Buddhaghoṣa is most entertaining when dealing with the
iddhipādas in Visuddhimagga, ch. 12. Often, he refers back to the iddhikathā
chapter of the Paṭisambhidāmagga, whereas my favourite concise overview
(with rather exhaustive references to canonical sources) still is Gethin’s
treatment of these iddhipādas in his The Buddhist Path to Awakening.
For references to corresponding Sanskrit sources treating the ṛddhipādas,
one may still be benefitted by consulting Har Dayal’s old Bodhisattva Doctrine,
pp. 104ff. and, of course, Lamotte’s Traité III: 1124f.

Still, just as the notion of a yogin may be endowed with very different
connotations, depending on the textual and traditional context one looks at,
the accomplishments of the ākāśagāmin referred to by siddhācārya Aśvaghoṣa
may perhaps include, or overlap with, the success of those who practice
the iddhipādas/ṛddhipādas, yet essentially differ (in terms of practical details
and ultimate achievement) from the latter, just as a tantric context does crucially
differ from a non-tantric one. Thus, though the horizon of what the metaphor of
‘moving through/within space’ may entail is getting expanded, unfortunately
this does not immediately heighten the precision of determining Vajrasūcī’s
authorship.

Hartmut Buescher


On Sun, Jan 26, 2020 at 9:58 PM Hartmut Buescher <buescherhartmut at gmail.com<mailto:buescherhartmut at gmail.com>> wrote:
Dear Dean,
saw your message first now, after having written and sent off mine,
and, sure, we agree.  Hartmut

On Sun, Jan 26, 2020 at 8:55 PM Dean Michael Anderson <eastwestcultural at yahoo.com<mailto:eastwestcultural at yahoo.com>> wrote:
I'd be hesitant in using terms like ākāśagamin to date a text unless there was an indication that it was part of a larger established doctrine. Those kinds of abilities were regularly mentioned.

The idea of sages moving through space is mentioned as early as Rig Veda X.136 although it uses different terminology.

In a forthcoming publication, I discuss how those types of experiences may be part of a body of experiences that are universal psychological responses to certain psychophysiological stimuli such as meditative practices, entraining to rhythmic chanting, drugs, etc. (See Yoga Sutras 4.1) I call it the yogic-shamanic continuum. Given that, using such experiences alone to date a text would probably be misleading.

Best,

Dean



On Sunday, January 26, 2020, 4:30:43 PM GMT+5:30, Dan Lusthaus via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:


The idea of practitioners who become ākāśagamin is already in the Yogasūtra (4th-5th century? earlier?) which explains how to do it; pre-tantra. The term is probably older.

YS 3, 42 kāyākāśayoḥ saṃbandhasaṃyamāl laghutūlasamāpatteś cākāśagamanam |

Dan
_______________________________________________

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, 3:12:46 PM GMT+5:30, Johannes Bronkhorst via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:



Allow me to add a word of caution about chronology with respect to Manu. Even if Vajrasūcī 12 explicitly refers to Mānava Dharmaśāstra 5.48, the Vasiṣṭha Dharmasūtra (4.7) does the same (being much closer to Manu's text). And yet, Olivelle considers the Mānava Dharmaśāstra "clearly posterior to Vasiṣṭha".

There are other cases which show that even literal quotations from and references to Manu do not necessarily prove that the text concerned is posterior to Manu. I discuss them in detail in the following article:

“Manu and the Mahābhārata.” Indologica. T. Ya. Elizarenkova Memorial Volume Book 2. Ed. L. Kulikov & M. Rusanov. Moscow: Russian State University for the Humanities. 2012. (Orientalia et Classica, 40.) Pp. 135-156. (available on Academia and ResearchGate)

 Johannes Bronkhorst



On 26 Jan 2020, at 03:57, Hartmut Buescher via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
Dear followers of this thread,



although there may have been several Aśvaghoṣas (as in the cases of Nāgārjuna,
Āryadeva, Vasubandhu, etc.), including a Tantric siddhācārya, the one previously
referred to as our point of departure in this context, is of course the one dated to
the 1st–2nd century CE, who “is widely acknowledged as one of the earliest and
greatest representatives of Indian kāvya literature” (Eltschinger, JIP 41 [2013]: 167),
and who lived around the same time that has been estimated by Olivelle (“probably
in the middle of the second century CE”, in Hindu Law, 2018: 24) to be likewise that
of the composition of the Mānavadharmaśāstra.



For various reasons, I stumbled over Vajrasūcī, verse 12, which in the commentary
(2nd ed. Mukhopadhyaya, 1960: 3) is introduced as having actually been uttered
(uktaṃ hi mānave dharme) in this Mānavadharmaśāstra (MDh):



          ākāśagāmino viprāḥ patanti māṃsabhakṣaṇāt |
          viprāṇāṃ patanaṃ dṛṣṭvā tato māṃsāni varjayet ||12||



          Due to consuming meat, the space-walking seers do fall.
          Hence, observing the seers’ fall one should abandon meats.



Although not being a direct quotation, the reference to MDh 5.48
is clear enough, especially in consideration of VS 12d and MDh 5.48d
(quoting Olivelle’s ed & tr in the following):



          nākṛtvā prāṇināṃ hiṃsāṃ māṃsam utpadyate kvacit |
          na ca prāṇivadhaḥ svargyas tasmān māṃsaṃ vivarjayet || 48 ||



          One can never obtain meat without causing injury to living beings,
          and killing living beings is an impediment to heaven; he should,
          therefore, abstain from meat.



While this reference may be considered as providing sufficient philological
evidence for historically assuming VS to be later than MDh, the fact that the
notion of an ākāśagāmin corresponds to that of a khecara would at least not
contradict the assumption that the author of the Vajrasūcī may in fact have
been associated with the social sphere of the siddhācāryas, being also the
sphere of Vajrayāna.



Another twist of the story is provided by the respective arguments for
abstaining from consuming pieces of flesh from the corpses of brutally
slaughtered animals, given particularly in Mahāyāna, prior to the antinomian
Vajrayāna practice of ritually consuming flesh, the main Buddhist reason
for not harming any living beings has been compassion (cf., e.g., the concise
outline in Schmithausen’s “The Case of Vegetarianism – A Buddhist
Perspective” [https://tinyurl.com/qqxhvrf]<https://tinyurl.com/qqxhvrf%5D>). – Comparing the two verses quoted
above, it is in MDh 5.48, where compassion is appealed to. The Vajrasūcī,
contrary to what we might expect, is not doing so. How to historically account
for this evidence? Could it be that, while likewise casting a side-glance at his
space-walking colleagues, siddhācārya Aśvaghoṣa’s intention has been to also
include them in his critique of animal corpse consumers?



Best wishes,
Hartmut Buescher
.



On Sun, Jan 26, 2020 at 4:52 AM Hartmut Buescher <buescherhartmut at gmail.com<mailto:buescherhartmut at gmail.com>> wrote:
Dear followers of this thread,



although there may have been several Aśvaghoṣas (as in the cases of Nāgārjuna,
Āryadeva, Vasubandhu, etc.), including a Tantric siddhācārya, the one previously
referred to as our point of departure in this context, is of course the one dated to
the 1st–2nd century CE, who “is widely acknowledged as one of the earliest and
greatest representatives of Indian kāvya literature” (Eltschinger, JIP 41 [2013]: 167),
and who lived around the same time as that which has been estimated by Olivelle
(“probably in the middle of the second century CE”, in Hindu Law, 2018: 24) to be
likewise that of the composition of the Mānavadharmaśāstra.



For various reasons, I stumbled over Vajrasūcī, verse 12, which in the commentary
(2nd ed. Mukhopadhyaya, 1960: 3) is introduced as having actually been uttered
(uktaṃ hi mānave dharme) in this Mānavadharmaśāstra (MDh):



          ākāśagāmino viprāḥ patanti māṃsabhakṣaṇāt |
          viprāṇāṃ patanaṃ dṛṣṭvā tato māṃsāni varjayet ||12||



          Due to consuming meat, the space-walking seers do fall.
          Hence, observing the seers’ fall one should abandon meats.



Although not being a direct quotation, the reference to MDh 5.48
is clear enough, especially in consideration of VS 12d and MDh 5.48d
(quoting Olivelle’s ed & tr in the following):



          nākṛtvā prāṇināṃ hiṃsāṃ māṃsam utpadyate kvacit |
          na ca prāṇivadhaḥ svargyas tasmān māṃsaṃ vivarjayet || 48 ||



          One can never obtain meat without causing injury to living beings,
          and killing living beings is an impediment to heaven; he should,
          therefore, abstain from meat.



While this reference may be considered as providing sufficient philological
evidence for historically assuming VS to be later than MDh, the fact that the
notion of an ākāśagāmin corresponds to that of a khecara would at least not
contradict the assumption that the author of the Vajrasūcī may in fact have
been associated with the social sphere of the siddhācāryas, being also the
sphere of Vajrayāna.



Another twist of the story is provided by the respective arguments for
abstaining from consuming pieces of flesh from the corpses of brutally
slaughtered animals, given particularly in Mahāyāna, prior to the antinomian
Vajrayāna practice of ritually consuming flesh, the main Buddhist reason
for not harming any living beings has been compassion (cf., e.g., the concise
outline in Schmithausen’s “The Case of Vegetarianism – A Buddhist
Perspective” [https://tinyurl.com/qqxhvrf]<https://tinyurl.com/qqxhvrf%5D>). – Comparing the two verses quoted
above, it is in MDh 5.48, where compassion is appealed to. The Vajrasūcī,
contrary to what we might expect, is not doing so. How to historically account
for this evidence? Could it be that, while likewise casting a side-glance at his
space-walking colleagues, siddhācārya Aśvaghoṣa’s intention has been to also
include them in his critique of animal corpse consumers?



Best wishes,
Hartmut Buescher
.



On Sun, Jan 26, 2020 at 3:41 AM Dan Lusthaus via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
Dear Vincent,

Thank you for your further comments.

I didn’t mean to suggest that the yukta pramāṇa described in the Caraka Saṃhitā was the same as the dharmārthayuktaṃ vacanaṃ pramāṇam of the Vajrasūcī. Only that a pramāṇa explicitly based on yukta (however one parses that phrase) is something seen early on, and then it disappears. The yukta-pramāṇa of the Caraka is a fascinating thing whose loss probably was a loss for the entire Indian philosophical enterprise. Farmers and doctors shared a common concern, which is that to get from initial cause to actual fruition involves a process in time of multiple causes, with multiple stages, any of which can effect or nullify the outcome: planting a crop and being able to harvest; pregnancy making it to term; etc. Taking all relevant factors into account and calculating the probabilities of a successful final outcome was what yukta pramāṇa was designed to accomplish. In some ways, that is closer to the probabalistic reasoning that has displaced causal thinking in western philosophy (and some sciences) since the early 20th c than the more mechanistic cause and invariant effect reasoning more prevalent in Indian thought. Obviously, the Caraka’s yukta pramāṇa is not the same thing as drawing knowledge through discourse employing reasoning based on dharma and artha (or the meaning/purpose of dharma).

The idea of prototypical ideas that emerge later under the rubric of Mīmāṃsā is intriguing. The Yogācārabhūmi is an often ignored treasure trove of ideas circulating in India earlier than is often recognized (as is the Tattvasiddhi, though not adequately captured in Sastri’s translations, in which many of the stock arguments repeated in pramāṇavāda texts are already found). Squeamishness about sacrifices is quite early — Jains and even Sāṃkhyans express those ideas, and one can see some reaction against that even in the Bhagavad Gītā (whether one dates that to 200 BCE or 200 CE). Dignāga does deal with Mīmāṃsā in PS, for which there is no (available) Chinese translation. (There is a hint that a one fascicle translation was made, but no evidence of it aside from a mention of its title in a catalogue of translations).

The Chinese sources frequently cite a school by its founder’s name instead of the name of the school. Typically:
Kapila 迦毘羅, the founder of Sāṃkhya 數論; Ulūka 優樓佉 (a.k.a. Kaṇâda 食米齋), the founder of Vaiśeṣika 勝論宗, and Ṛṣabha 勒沙婆, the founder of the Nirgranthas.

As far as I can find, there is no Chinese version of Jaimini’s name. Again, I would be happy to learn otherwise.

Dan


On Jan 25, 2020, at 8:11 PM, Eltschinger, Vincent <Vincent.Eltschinger at oeaw.ac.at<mailto:Vincent.Eltschinger at oeaw.ac.at>> wrote:

Dear Dan,
My impression is that the Buddhists became aware of Mīmāṃsā as a distinct religio-philosophical school (and not just as a purely intra-Brahmanical type of “theological/exegetical” inquiry) some time during the fourth century CE (or perhaps in the early fifth), even though the term may not occur, at least not regularly, before Dignāga (480-540). It is also around the fourth century CE that certain Buddhists started arguing against ideas that are close to those known to us from later Mīmāṃsaka sources (e.g., on sacrificial violence, the caste-classes, etc.), even though several among these ideas find interesting prototypes in the Mānavadharmaśāstra. This is especially the case in the so-called paravāda section of the Yogācārabhūmi. Hundreds of pages could be written on these topics.
The stanza you quote is arguably the most important in the Vajrasūcī, for it spells out the philosophical-polemical program of the entire work. A rough translation might be: “The Vedas are authoritative (pramāṇa); the Smṛtis are authoritative; [any] speech/discourse endowed/connected (yukta) with dharma and artha is authoritative. A [person] for whom a [previously acknowledged] pramāṇa would cease (na bhavet) to be a pramāṇa [because it contradicts his/her position on the issue of the caste-classes], who [on earth] would take his/her speech/discourse to be a pramāṇa/authoritative?” One can certainly discuss the exact structure and meaning of the compound dharmārthayukta, but seriously doubt that yukta here has anything to do with the pramāṇa the medical tradition refers to as yukti (see articles by Filliozat, Steinkellner, and others). Or did I miss the point?
I entirely agree with you as regards Sāṃkhya and Vaiśeṣika: from the 1st-2nd to the 5th century, these traditions/schools are the most frequent targets of the Buddhist controversialists. The Nyāya (works by [the pseudo?]Nāgārjuna) and the Mīmāṃsā play a comparatively minor role, as do the Jains (targeted as early as Āryadeva’s Catuḥśataka, and more frequently from the Yogācārabhūmi onwards).
Very best,
Vincent

Vincent Eltschinger, korrespondierendes Mitglied der OeAW
Directeur d'études
École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section des sciences religieuses
Patios Saint-Jacques, 4-14 rue Ferrus - 75014 Paris
vincent.eltschinger at ephe.sorbonne.fr<mailto:vincent.eltschinger at ephe.sorbonne.fr>
0033 1 56 61 17 34 / 0033 7 85 86 84 05
________________________________
Von: Dan Lusthaus <yogacara at gmail.com<mailto:yogacara at gmail.com>>
Gesendet: Samstag, 25. Januar 2020 23:52:30
An: Eltschinger, Vincent
Cc: Matthew Kapstein; Olivelle, J P; indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>
Betreff: Re: [INDOLOGY] Vajrasūcī

Dear all,

Just to comment quickly, though I haven’t studied the Vajrasūcī in any depth, the same passage that Vincent highlighted, naming the Vedas, Grammarians, et al. is also the one that caught my attention, especially the mention of Mīmāṃsikas. As far as I can tell, while the others do get mentioned in Chinese translations of Buddhist texts, the only text preserved in Chinese that mentions Mīmāṃsikas is Xuanzang’s translation of Bhāviveka’s Prajñāpradīpa, which mentions them twice in close proximity:

《般若燈論釋》卷13〈22 觀如來品〉:「復有彌息伽外道言。佛家所說十二部經[1]者。非一切智人所說。有作者故。譬如鞞世師等論。」(CBETA, T30, no. 1566, p. 119, b15-17)
[1]者=有【宮】。
[1]者=有【宮】。
“Again there are the non-Buddhist (tīrthika) Mīmāmsikas who say: ‘What is said by Buddhists In the twelve divisions of the their sūtras (canon), is that no person is omniscient, because they are conditioned (saṃskṭra), just as is stated in treatises by the Vaiśeṣikas, and so on.”

《般若燈論釋》卷13〈22 觀如來品〉:「如彌息伽外道所計韋陀聲是常者」(CBETA, T30, no. 1566, p. 119, c5-6)
“This like the non-Buddhist Mīmāmsikas who imagine that the Word of the Vedas is eternal.”

I have found no other mention of Mīmāṃsā in any other Chinese sources (if anyone has information on discussions I might have missed, please let me know). Bhāviveka, of course, devoted an entire chapter in his Madhyamakahṛdaya to Mīmāṃsā, but his description of their doctrines suggests they differed in several ways from the versions we are more familiar with post Prābhākara and Kumārila. It is the latter’s Ślokavarttika, of course, that made Mīmāṃsā hard to ignore for subsequent Buddhists.

Harivarman’s Tattvasiddhi (translated by Kumārajīva at the beginning of the 5th c) identifies (among others) Vaiśeṣika, Sāṃkhya, Nyāya, and Jains as pūrvapakṣins. More generally in Buddhist literature preserved in Chinese prior to the middle of the seventh century, the most commonly cited opponents are Vaiśeṣika and Sāṃkhya. Nyāya is mentioned infrequently, as are Jains.

As for the pramāṇa issue mentioned by Matthew, the Vajrasūrī verse identifies what serve as authorities for non-Buddhists (the following verse turns to lineage):

vedāḥ pramāṇaṃ smṛtayaḥ pramāṇaṃ dharmārthayuktaṃ vacanaṃ pramāṇam |
yasya pramāṇaṃ na bhavetpramāṇaṃ kastasya kuryādvacanaṃ pramāṇam || 2 ||

Which are more or less equivalent to śruti, smṛti, and āpti-pramāṇa, and analogous to “scripture and reason” (āgama, yukti) that was the established criteria for validity for Buddhists, even into the pramāṇavāda era. And, as I wrote elsewhere:


"Pramāṇa-theory rst appears in the eleventh chapter of the first part (Sūtra-sthāna) of the CS [Caraka-saṃhitā]. Here the CS intriguingly proposes, along with the three pramāṇas one would expect (perception, inference, and authori- tative testimony), a fourth not found anywhere else: synthetic inductive reasoning (yukta-pramāṇa). Discussion of pramāṇa occurs in two other parts of the CS: part 3, Vimāna-sthāna, chap. 4 and chap. 8, but the unique yukta-pramāṇa is absent from those discussions, a sign of the strati ed nature of the text.”

So a yukta pramāṇa suggest to me a possibly early date for that category.

Has anyone considered whether it is possible that the verses may have been written by Aśvaghoṣa or someone relatively early while the prose exposition may have been added by a later hand?

Dan

On Jan 25, 2020, at 4:35 PM, Eltschinger, Vincent via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:

Dear Matthew,
I was referring to most of the elements of the list I quoted, of course, not to the entire Vajrasūcī. But you are right, Matthew: the Mahābhārata plays an important role in the Vajrasūcī, as does… Manu – which may be the reason for Patrick’s query. It is well known that the Vajrasūcī attributes several verses to Manu that cannot be traced in the extant Mānavadharmaśāstra (if I remember well, this is the reason why some scholars tentatively attributed them to a lost Mānava Dharmasūtra). Whatever the case may be, we might perhaps agree that the Vajrasūcī is unlikely to have been composed before the 3rd-4th century CE. I am inclined to believe that it is even younger.
Very best,
Vincent


Vincent Eltschinger, korrespondierendes Mitglied der OeAW
Directeur d'études
École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section des sciences religieuses
Patios Saint-Jacques, 4-14 rue Ferrus - 75014 Paris
vincent.eltschinger at ephe.sorbonne.fr<mailto:vincent.eltschinger at ephe.sorbonne.fr>
0033 1 56 61 17 34 / 0033 7 85 86 84 05
________________________________

Von: Matthew Kapstein <mkapstei at uchicago.edu<mailto:mkapstei at uchicago.edu>>
Gesendet: Samstag, 25. Januar 2020 22:13:42
An: Eltschinger, Vincent; Olivelle, J P; indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>
Betreff: Re: Vajrasūcī

Not wishing to differ with my learned colleague Vincent Eltschinger's remarks (which are surely based on a deeper engagement with this corpus than my own), I tend nevertheless to think it not quite plausible that "most of its individual elements could have been known around 100 CE."
My sense is that the several epic and puranic parallels point to a somewhat later period.

Matthew


Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études,
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago
________________________________

From: Eltschinger, Vincent <Vincent.Eltschinger at oeaw.ac.at<mailto:Vincent.Eltschinger at oeaw.ac.at>>
Sent: Saturday, January 25, 2020 10:00 AM
To: Olivelle, J P <jpo at austin.utexas.edu<mailto:jpo at austin.utexas.edu>>; Matthew Kapstein <mkapstei at uchicago.edu<mailto:mkapstei at uchicago.edu>>; indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info> <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>
Subject: AW: Vajrasūcī

Dear Patrick,
As you know, Aśvaghoṣa directed some arguments against the Brahmanical understanding of the caste-classes in one of his dramas, the Śāriputraprakaraṇa/Śaradvatīputraprakaraṇa, several fragments of which have been preserved in Central Asian manuscripts and edited by Heinrich Lüders around 1910. It is thus plausible that Aśvaghoṣa dedicated an individual treatise to this topic. The style, the method and the philosophical ressources of the Vajrasūcī, however, are very different from the ones we know from Aśvaghoṣa’s genuine works, and may presuppose Buddhist works such as the Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna if not Kumāralāta’s Kalpanāmaṇḍitikā Dṛṣṭāntapaṅktiḥ. Even if I am not aware of any convincing argument against the attribution of the Vajrasūcī to Aśvaghoṣa, I have always regarded the following statement as anachronistic: dṛśyante ca kvacic chūdrā api vedavyākaraṇamīmāṃsāsāṃkhyavaiśeṣikanagnā*jīvikādisarvaśāstrārthavidaḥ /. “And one observes in some cases that even śūdras know the meaning of all śāstras such as the Veda, Grammar, Mīmāṃsā, Sāṃkhya, Vaiśeṣika as well as [those of] the Jainas and the Ājīvikas.” (*-nagnā- em. : lagnā- Ed.) Although such a list is not per se impossible in Aśvaghoṣa’s time, i.e., although most of its individual elements could have been known around 100 CE, I do not believe that such an enumeration would have been possible, as a doxographic statement, at that time, and even less so under Aśvaghoṣa's "pen." (The absence of the Nyāya from the list is intriguing.)
Another element possibly deserving some consideration is the Sanskrit colophon in which Aśvaghoṣa is characterized as siddhācārya (kṛtir iyaṃ siddhācāryāśvaghoṣapādānām iti), an expression the exact meaning of which remains somewhat unclear to me.
I am looking forward to reading other opinions on this interesting topic.
Very best,
Vincent


Vincent Eltschinger, korrespondierendes Mitglied der OeAW
Directeur d'études
École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section des sciences religieuses
Patios Saint-Jacques, 4-14 rue Ferrus - 75014 Paris
vincent.eltschinger at ephe.sorbonne.fr<mailto:vincent.eltschinger at ephe.sorbonne.fr>
0033 1 56 61 17 34 / 0033 7 85 86 84 05
________________________________

Von: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info<mailto:indology-bounces at list.indology.info>> im Auftrag von Matthew Kapstein via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>
Gesendet: Samstag, 25. Januar 2020 15:09:59
An: Indology List; Olivelle, J P
Betreff: Re: [INDOLOGY] Vajrasūcī

Dear Patrick,

You'll find some discussion of it, inter alia, in Vincent Eltschinger, "Caste" et Philosophie Bouddhique WSTB 47 (2000). As you no doubt know, the Chinese translation is late - 10th c. if I recall correctly - and is attributed to DharmakIrti. I rather doubt that the true authorship can be established, given the available evidence. The emphasis on pramANa seems to suggest that it was written during the second half of the first millennium, not much before. But the way in which pramANa is used there does not resonate closely with the Buddhist pramANa school. The precise milieu in which it was composed remains a puzzle (at least to me!).

all best,
Matthew

Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études,
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago
________________________________

From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info<mailto:indology-bounces at list.indology.info>> on behalf of Olivelle, J P via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>
Sent: Saturday, January 25, 2020 6:59 AM
To: Indology List <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Vajrasūcī

Does anyone know of newer work on the identity and date of the author of Vajrasūcī, often ascribed to Aśvaghoṣa? Any new ideas on its possible date? With thanks and best wishes,

Patrick Olivelle

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--

Jan E.M. Houben

Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology

Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite

École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Paris Sciences et Lettres)

Sciences historiques et philologiques

johannes.houben [at] ephe.psl.eu<mailto:johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>

https://ephe-sorbonne.academia.edu/JanEMHouben
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