Vasubandhu's Commentary to the "Saddharmapundarika-Sutra": A Study of its History and Significance

Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley (1985)

The Saddharmapundarika-sutra-upadesa , composed by the eminent Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu in the fourth or fifth century A. D., has the important distinction of being the only Indian commentary on the Lotus Sutra to be preserved in any Buddhist canon. The Lotus Sutra, with a 2,000 year history spanning India, Central Asia, China and Japan, still remains one of the most important of all the Mahayana Sutras. ;This dissertation on Vasubandhu's commentary to the Lotus Sutra is comprised of three parts: Part I contains a survey of its history and significance; Part II covers various philological issues regarding it; Part III is an annotated English translation of its Chinese version. Appendixes covering certain issues involving the quotations from the Lotus Sutra found in the Chinese manuscript of the SPU and a Chinese-English glossary for its translation are also included. ;In Part I, background information regarding the Lotus Sutra as well as the development of Mahayana Buddhism and its Sutra tradition is provided. New terminology for the historical periods of Mahayana Buddhism, a new model for its development in India and a chronology for some of the major Mahayana Sutras, all of which take into consideration modern Japanese scholarship on the subject, are presented. The formation of the Lotus Sutra and its major doctrines, primarily that of Ekayana , is also introduced. ;In Part II, philological issues regarding the Chinese SPU manu- script, such as various linguistic peculiarities and authenticity, are discussed. Although Chinese tradition proposes several translations of the SPU only two are extant: No. 1519 in Vol. 26 of Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo attributed to Bodhiruci and T. 1520 by Ratnamati. Actually a study of the various versions of the SPU, that is T. 1519, 1520 and the versions quoted verbatim in Enchin's and Chi-tsang's commentaries indicates that there is just one translation. ;The manuscript of the Lotus Sutra which Vasubandhu used was closer to the present Sanskrit manuscripts than to the manuscript Kumarajiva used for his translation of the Lotus Sutra . It may well have been a more expanded version of the Lotus Sutra when compared to the present Sanskrit manuscripts
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Why the Lotus Siitra?-On the Historic Significance of Tendai.L. A. I. Whalen - 1987 - Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1412:3.

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