Dating sutras

Posted by / 26-Sep-2020 13:22

Dating sutras

The earliest known Buddhist manuscripts, recovered from the ancient civilization of Gandhara in north central Pakistan (near Taxila just south west of the capital Islamabad) are dated to the 1st century and constitute the Buddhist textual tradition of Gandharan Buddhism which was an important link between Indian and East Asian Buddhism.After the rise of the Kushans in India, Sanskrit was also widely used to record Buddhist texts.

As Buddhism spread geographically, these texts were translated into the local language, such as Chinese and Tibetan.For instance, there are so-called proto-Mahayana texts, such as the Ajitasena Sutra, which are missing key features that are associated with Mahayana texts.Some Pali texts also contain ideas that later became synonymous with the Mahayana.The treatise Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (attributed by the faithful to Aśvaghoşa) strongly influenced east Asian Mahayana doctrine and inspired numerous commentaries authored by early Korean and Chinese Buddhist teachers.The late Seventh century saw the rise of another new class of Buddhist texts, the Tantras, which outlined new ritual practices and yogic techniques such as the use of Mandalas, Mudras and Fire sacrifices.

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The Mahayana sutras are traditionally considered by Mahayanists to be the word of the Buddha, but transmitted either in secret, via lineages of supernatural beings (such as the nagas), or revealed directly from other Buddhas or bodhisattvas.

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