Setting Out on the Great Way - Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism - Paul Harrison

Setting Out on the Great Way - Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism - Paul Harrison

Early Mahāyāna: Laying out the Field

Setting Out on the Great Way - Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism - Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison [+-]
Stanford University
Paul Harrison is the George Edwin Burnell Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University. Educated in his native New Zealand and in Australia, he specializes in Buddhist literature and history, especially that of the Mahāyāna, and in the study of Buddhist manuscripts in Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan. He is the author of The Samādhi of Direct Encounter with the Buddhas of the Present, and of numerous journal articles on Buddhist sacred texts and their interpretation. He is also one of the editors of the series “Buddhist Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection.” Paul’s current projects include editions and translations of a number of Mahāyāna and Mainstream Buddhist sūtras and śāstras, including the Vajracchedikā (Diamond Sutra) and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa, as well as a general study of issues of authority, textual transmission and innovation in Mahayana Buddhism.

Description

This chapter begins with some general observations about the study of early Mahāyāna Buddhism and of its origins. It goes on to consider briefly a number of issues which continue to pose challenges to our understanding. These include the controversial role of araṇyavāsins or ‘forest-dwellers’; the role of the laity; the periodization of Mahāyāna sūtra-literature (and of this form of Buddhism as a whole); the relationship between Mahāyāna engagement and nikāya affiliation; and the problem of the archaeological and art-historical record. True to the ambiguity of its title, the chapter concludes by asking whether early Mahāyāna and Mahāyāna origins remain worthwhile objects of study in the 21st century, or whether they should be prepared for burial.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Harrison, Paul . Early Mahāyāna: Laying out the Field. Setting Out on the Great Way - Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 7-31 Jun 2018. ISBN 9781781798539. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24510. Date accessed: 14 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24510. Jun 2018

Dublin Core Metadata