28 June 2017
Ein Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Shiro Matsumoto (Komazawa University, Tokyo)
It is generally assumed that the central message of the Lotus Sutra, expressed by the term ekayāna (One Vehicle), is that all sentient beings can attain Buddhahood. However, the message can be found only in the prose portion of the Upāyakauśalya chapter, while in the prose portion of the following chapter, i.e. the Aupamya chapter, this message was replaced with the more specific idea that only bodhisattvas can attain Buddhahood.
The oldest layer in the formation of the Lotus Sutra seems to be the prose portion of the Upāyakauśalya chapter, where the terms bodhisattva and mahāyāna (Great Vehicle) were never used. The terms are however found in the prose portion of the Aupamya chapter. The author[s] of the chapter composed the famous parable of the burning house in order to introduce the term mahāyāna to the Lotus Sutra, and by means of this introduction, to replace buddhayāna (Buddha Vehicle) with mahāyāna as the content or the meaning of ekayāna.
However, the term mahāyāna is meaningful only when it is contrasted with hīnayāna (Small Vehicle) in the sense of being superior. Therefore, if ekayāna is identified with mahāyāna in the prose portion of the Aupamya Chapter, the message expressed by the term ekayāna in the chapter is not “universal salvation” but the discriminatory message that only bodhisattvas can attain Buddhahood by means of the Great Vehicle, while non-bodhisattvas can never attain it.
The people left in the burning house as stated in the burning house parable, it could be assumed, represent non-bodhisattvas who can never attain Buddhahood. Such a discriminatory idea that non-bodhisattvas can never attain Buddhahood can be found in the theories concerning the so-called icchantikas as formulated in the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra, although some efforts to rescue even icchantikas appear in later developments.
Prof. Dr. Shiro Matsumoto obtained his M.A. from the University of Tokyo and his Ph.D. from Komazawa University. His Ph.D. thesis was published in 1994 as Zen Shisō no Hihanteki Kenkyū (Critical Studies of Zen Thought). Since 1982 he has been a member of the Faculty of Buddhism, Komazawa University, Tokyo, where he teaches as a professor. In 2001 he was visiting professor at the Numata Chair at the University of Chicago.
His research interests include Indian Buddhism, especially Mādhyamika and Buddha-nature thought, and Japanese Buddhism focusing on Hōnen, Shinran and Dōgen. He published eight monographs in Japanese, including Engi to Kū (Dependent-arising and Emptiness, 1989) and Hokkekyō Shisōron (Essays on the Thought of the Lotus Sutra, 2010). Some of his papers were translated into English and are included in Pruning the Bodhi Tree: the Storm over Critical Buddhism, 1997.
Zeit: Mittwoch, 28. Juni, 16:15-17:45 Uhr
Ort: Universität Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, Ostflügel (ESA O), Raum 120.
Vortragssprache ist Englisch. Der Eintritt ist frei. Alle Interessierten sind herzlich willkommen!
Die PDF-Datei des Vortrages kann hier heruntergeladen werden.