9. An Ekottarika-āgama Discourse Without Parallels: From Perception of Impermanence to the Pure Land
Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins - Naomi Appleton
Bhikkhu Analayo [+]
Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies
With the present paper I study and translate a discourse in the Ekottarikaāgama preserved in Chinese of which no parallel in other discourse collections is known. This situation relates to the wider issue of what significance to accord to the absence of parallels from the viewpoint of the early Buddhist oral transmission. The main topic of the discourse itself is perception of impermanence, which is of central importance in the early Buddhist scheme of the path for cultivating liberating insight. A description of the results of such practice in this Ekottarika-āgama discourse has a somewhat ambivalent formulation that suggests a possible relation to the notion of rebirth in the Pure Abodes, suddhāvāsa. This notion, attested in a Pāli discourse, in turn might have provided a precedent for the aspiration, prominent in later Buddhist traditions, to be reborn in the Pure Land.