Mahavaipulya. In a highly instructive discussion on the peculiar characteristics and comparative age of the different kinds of Sütras, Burnouf arrivés at the conclusion that the Mahavaipulya Sütras are posterior to the simple Sütras in general 1. As there are two categories of simple Sütras, 1. those in which the events narrated are placed contemporary with theBuddha, 2. those which refer to persons living a considerable time after his reputed period, e.g. Agoka 2, it follows that the composition of the Mahavaipulya Sütras must be held to fall in a later time than the production of even the second category of simple Sütras. Now in one of the latter, the AgokaAvadana, we read of Agoka using the word dIn ara s, which leads us to the conclusion that the said Avadana was composed, not only after the introduction of dlnara from the West, in the first centuryofour eraor later, but at a still more modern time, when people had forgotten the foreign origin of the coin in question.
The results arrived at by Burnouf may be right so far as any Mahavaipulya Sütra, as a whole, is concerned; they cannot be applied to all the component parts of such a work. Not to go further than the Saddharmapundarika and the Lalita-vistara, it can hardly be questioned that these works contain parts of very different dates, and derived from various sources. The material discrepancies between the version in prose and that in verse are occasionally too great to allow us to suppose them to have been made simultaneously or even by different authors conjointly at work. 4 Further it can be shown that the Mahavaipulya Sütras are partially made up of such materials as must be referred to the oldest period of Buddhism. Let me adduce some examples to render more clear what I mean.
If we compare Lalita-vistara (Calc. ed.), p. 513, 13—p. 514, 2, with Mahavagga (ed. Dr. Oldenberg) I, 5, 2, we perceive that the passages are to a great extent literally identical, and that the variations amount to little more than a varietas lectionis.
The passage adduced is in prose; now let us take some stanzas. In Mahavagga I, 5. 3, the Lord utters the following glokas:
kicchena me adhigatam halam dani pakasitum, ragadosaparetehi nayam dhammo susambudho.
patisotagami nipunam gambhïram duddasam anum ragaratta na dakkhanti tamokhandhena avuta.
i Introduction a 1'histoire da Buddhisme indien, lc éd. (1844), pp. 102—128.
- Burnouf, Introd. p. 218 seq.
3 Burnouf, Introd. p. 423; cf. p. 431, where Pusyamitra is made to speak of Dïnaras; Max Muller, History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 245.
4 See e.g. the foot-note, p. 413.