The Concept of Śūnyatā and Practice in Pratyutpanna-Buddha-Saṃmukhāvasthita-Samādhi-Sūtra
|Authors:||釋修萬||Keywords:||不可得;無相;法性;實相念佛;大乘止觀;Non-cognition(anupalabdhi);Signless(animitta);Thatness(dharmatā);Thusness Buddha-Recollection;Mahāyāna meditation||Issue Date:||Jul-2020||Abstract:||《般舟三昧經》是學界認定現存最早的大乘經典文本之一，其「空思想」是初期大乘般若經典的重要基礎。般舟三昧的特出之處即是將初期大乘思潮最具代表性的兩大系統――「十方佛、淨土」信仰與「般若波羅蜜」理論――以禪法實踐的方式加以結合。本論要旨為論證般舟三昧是一個以見佛為媒介，將大乘般若思想的理論落實於念佛實踐，以「見佛而不可得」貫串解行，進而證得般若波羅蜜的大乘禪法。本論將指出，般舟三昧是在原始佛教佛隨念的基礎上開展而出的大乘止觀，其觀法和目的都與原始佛教的佛隨念有所不同，可謂建立了佛隨念在修行範式上的轉移。《般舟三昧經》擅以初期大乘的般若空義解說原始佛教的基本概念與止觀方法，本論將以不淨觀、四念住、佛隨念為具體實例，展示本經成功完成聲聞禪法到菩薩禪法的過渡。
As one of the earliest extant Mahāyāna sūtra-s, Pratyutpanna-Buddha-Saṃmukhāvasthita-Samādhi-Sūtra lays foundation for “the concept of śūnya” seen in the early Mahāyāna prajñāpāramitā literature. It uniquely combines “Buddhas of the Ten Directions / Pure Land” belief and “prajñāpāramitā” theory, the two most representative systems of the early Mahāyāna thought, in the meditative practice. This thesis attempts to argue that pratyutpanna samādhi is a Mahāyāna meditative method that uses “seeing the Buddha” as the medium and puts the theory of Mahāyāna prajñā concept into practice through the Recollection of the Buddha, and the consept of “seeing the Buddha but non-cognition” penetrates the theory and pactice of pratyutpanna samādhi in order to fulfill prajñāpāramitā. This thesis points out that although pratyutpanna samādhi is a Mahāyāna meditative technique that is developed from buddhānusmṛti of the original Buddhism, its method and goal are, however, different from buddhānusmṛti. We can call pratyutpanna samādhi a paradigm shift of buddhānusmṛti in relation to the meditative practice. This thesis will also explain how Pratyutpanna-Buddha-Saṃmukhāvasthita-Samādhi-Sūtra brings forth a successful transition from śrāvaka meditation to bodhisattva meditation by skillfully interpreting the basic concepts and meditative methods of the original Buddhism in terms of Mahāyāna śūnya taught in the prajñāpāramitā literature, using aśubhāsmṛti, smṛtyupasthāna and buddhānusmṛti as examples. Pratyutpanna-Buddha-Saṃmukhāvasthita-Samādhi-Sūtra teaches about the theory and practice of śūnya, with penetration into realization as the aim of the practice. “Practicing walking-meditation (caṅkramana) for ninety days without sleep” has been considered the main feature of pratyutpanna samādhi and even the requisite for achieving it ever since pratyutpanna samādhi began its circulation in China and Japan. This misconception has caused the meaning, goal and even the method of practice of pratyutpanna samādhi to become more obscure and misdirected. In order to correct this misconception and to reveal the true meaning of pratyutpanna samādhi, I will explore how the meaning of śūnya evolved from the original Buddhism to early Mahāyāna Buddhism so that we can see the lineage and the development of the concept of śūnya that Pratyutpanna-Buddha-Saṃmukhāvasthita-Samādhi-Sūtra represents. Furthermore, I will also make a philosophical study of the concept of śūnya illustrated by pratyutpanna samādhi to derive that pratyutpanna samādhi should be categorized as Thusness Buddha-Recollection and Mahāyāna śūnya samādhi and point out the link between “nimitta/nāman”and “anupalabdhi” highlighted in early Mahāyāna Buddhism. I therefore conclude that Pratyutpanna-Buddha-Saṃmukhāvasthita-Samādhi-Sūtra explicates the concepts of śūnya of the prajñāpāramitā literature such as “all is empty”, “the very nature of existence is empty”, “without inherent nature”. I will explain why “practicing walking-meditation for ninety days without sleep” has become a symbol of pratyutpanna samādhi and the impact this event brings in terms of textual free translation and history. Moreover I also make a philological survey of the possible reasons that explain why “practicing walking-meditation for ninety days without sleep” occurs in Pratyutpanna-Buddha-Saṃmukhāvasthita-Samādhi-Sūtra and of its possible sources in order that we can understand the significance and function of “practicing walking-meditation without sleep” for its occurrence in this sūtra. Characteristic of pratyutpanna samādhi is “seeing the Buddha”and having an interrogation with him in samādhi, which is seldom seen in other meditative techniques. Necessary prerequisites are required to achieve this admirable meditative experience and outcome. Therefore, in order to have an overall view of the structure and stages for practicing pratyutpanna samādhi and to confirm that strict precepts and prajñā are the foundation for the achievement of pratyutpanna samādhi, this thesis also gives its attention to explicating the basic requirements, the precepts, the capability for concentration and even the physical conditions and the mental states the practitioners need to meet and have before they begin their pratyutpanna samādhi cultivation. The appearance of pratyutpanna samādhi certainly influenced the development of Mahāyāna Buddhism. At the end of this thesis, I discuss the reasons why the doctrines of early Mahāyāna Buddhism are not accepted by mainstream Buddhism from the perspectives of the developmental history and history of thought of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
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