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Progress of Buddhist Studies in Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China and Japan
Prof. P.V. Bapat and Dr. J.N. Takasaki

1. Buddhism in Ceylon [1]

Owing to the domination of the Portuguese, Dutch and British since the invasion of Ceylon by the Portuguese in 1505, Buddhism fell to such a low ebb that Kittisiri Rajasingh (17461779 A.D.), the ruler of the Kandyan Province, had to send emissaries to Siam to find Buddhist Elders for the re-establishment of the higher ordination in Ceylon. Other groups went with a similar purpose to Burma, at the beginning of the 19th century and thus were established in Ceylon three fraternities-Siamee, Burmese (Upper Burma), and Ramanna (Lower Burma). The British captured the island in 1815 and the evils of foreign rule were in no way mitigated. The education of the young was left of Christian missionaries. None the less, two prominent schools of Buddhism were established by the Venerable Piyaratanatissa of Dodanduwa.

A controversy took place between the Christians and the Buddhists in which the latter were triumphant. Colonel Olcott read an account of this controversy in the newspapers and came to Ceylon in 1880. He himself became a Buddhist and encouraged local Buddhists to establish their own schools. He exercised considerable influence over the younger generation and founded the Theosophical Society of Colombo which now controls over 350 Buddhist educational institutions including some first-grade colleges. Two religious schools of the old system of education for monks were established the Vidyodaya Oriental College, Colombo (1872), and the Vidyalankara College at Kelaniya (1873) near Colombo. There are now more than 200 institutions connected with these colleges which are still engaged in educational work. The venerable elders saw the necessity of having Pali literature printed for the people and books were thus published both in Pali and Sanskrit. The Publication of the Mahavamsa and its translation into Simlialese were undertaken by the Venerable H. Sumangala, the Principal of the Vidyodaya College, and Pandit Batuwantudawe. The Abhidhanappadipika, a Pali lexicon, and the Namamala were edited by the Venerable Subhuti. At the request of Sir Robert Chalmers, then Governor of Ceylon, the commentary of the Majjhima-nikaya was edited by the Venerable Dhammarama, the second Principal of the Vidyalankara College. The Venerable Seelakkhandha of Sailabimbarama, Dodanduwa, wrote Saddharma-Makaranda, (Kolhapur, 1914), a life of the Buddha in Sanskrit and commentaries on the Bhakrisataka (Darjeeling, 1896), written by Pandita Ramachandra 13harati (middle of the 13th century A.D.) who had become a Buddhist, and on the Aniruddha-Sataka. He also edited the Trikandasesa-Kosa, the Daivajnakamadhenu and the Vrttaratnakara-Panjika which were published in India in Devanagari script.

Under the influence of Colonel H.S. Olcott, a young enthusiast, called David Hewavitarane, who later came to be known as Anagarika Dharmapala, felt the urge to strive for a revival of Buddhism. He lectured to rural audiences in Ceylon and later came to India. It was his religious fervour and missionary zeal that led to the founding of the Maha Bodhi Society in 1891.

Simon Hewavitarane, the youngest brother of Anagarika Dharmapala, left a large legacy which was to be used for the printing and publishing of Pali books. Over 49 volumes of commentaries on the canonical texts of the Pali Tripitaka have been published. Among the published texts are the Cariya-Pitaka (1950), the Parajika the first volume of the Pinaya-Pitaka (1950), the Dhammasangani (1952), and the Jataka Pali (gatha, 1954).

Stray volumes of the Tripitaka and commentaries were also published at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, but most of these books and commentaries, including those in the Simon Hewavitarane Series, are now out of print.

The Abhidhammattha-Vibhavani (1933) and the Atthasalinimula Tika (1938), published in the Vidyodaya Tika Publication Series, may also be mentioned. In the manatunga Series, too, there appeared three volumes of the Digha-Nikaya (1929). One very interesting tika on the Samanta-Pasadika, the Vimati-Vinodani by Coliya Kassapa, was published with indexes by Dr. H. GabrieI de Silva (1935). It had been preceded by the Sarattha-Dipani (1914), another tika on the Samanta-Pasadika, which, however, remained incomplete.

It is now planned to publish afresh the Texts and their Simlialese translations under the direction of Prof. G.P. Malalsekera, who is well known for his Pali Literature of Ceylon (London, 1928) and for his Dictionary of Pali Proper Names in two volumes (1937-38). A complete edition of the Cullavagga and portions of the Digha and the Samyutta-Nikayas have already been published with Simlialese translations. At the Simlialese translations of the Pali Texts are in great demand, Dr. A.P. de Soyza, a zealous Buddhist, has published translations of the Digha, the Majjhima and the Samyutta. With the foundation of the University of Ceylon, particularly since Ceylon achieved independence, new scholars have begun to enter the field. N.A. Jaya Vikrama has contributed a fine critical commentary on the Suttanipata (University of Ceylon Review, 1948-50). Prof. O.H. de Wijesekera has correlated Pali studies with studies in earlier Vedic literature and his papers on Yaksa, Gandharva and Indra, as well as some from his former pupil, Charles Godage (University of Ceylon Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, November 1943, and Vol. Ill, April 1945), deserve to be read. In 1946, Dr. Adikaran published his Early History of Buddhism in Ceylon, followed by W. Rahula's History of Buddhism in Ceylon (1956) based on original Pali sources.

Old style scholars among the monks have also given us some fine books. The Rev. Widurapola Piyatissa wrote Mahakassapahcarita (1934) and Mahanekkhamma Campu (1935), edited the Jataka-Atthakatha in ten volumes, and edited commentaries on the Netti-Pakarana and the Samyutla-Nikaya. The commentaries published in the Simon Hewavitarane Series are also edited by learned Elders.

In order to popularize the study of Pali among school-children, it was necessary to simplify the teaching of Pali grammar. In 1912 the Rev. Suriyagoda Sumangala compiled a graduated Pali course, on the model of 13handarkar's Sanskrit Readers in India. The Rev. A.P. Buddhadatta, who was given the title of Agga-Mahapandita by the Burmese Government in 1954, published New Pali Course, Parts 1(1937) and 11 (1939), Higherpali Course, Aid to Pali Conversation and Concise Pali-English Dictionary (1949). The Rev. A.P. Buddhadatta has become famous for his edition of the Visuddhimagga (1914) and of the Apadana (1930) in Simlialese characters and for his editions, for the Pali Text Society, of the Namarupa-Pariccheda (1914), the Abhidhammavatara (1915), the Sammoha-Vinodani commentary on the Vibhanga (1923), the Vinaya-Uttara-Vinicehaya (192.8), the Saddhamma-Pajjotika (3 vols.) and the commentary- on the Niddesa. He has written numerous scholarly books in the Simlialese language and brought out an English-Pali dictionary (1955). A similar work was prepared by the Rev. Widurupolapiyatissa in 1949. He also edited the Visuddhimagga-Ganthi, a small commentary in Simlialese characters explaining intricate points in that work. It was with his help that a copy of this manuscript in Burmese characters was obtained from a Burmese monastery near Ambalangoda. Dr. Vajira-nana Maha Thera wrote a book entitled Buddhism Outlined in 1951. The Rev. Narada is an enthusiastic religious missionary and has visited India, The South-East Asian countries, Europe, Australia, East Africa and Nepal. He has written several pamphlets, the most important of which are Buddhism in a Nutshell, Kamma and Rebirth, and Buddhist Conception of Consciousness. He has also written a life of the Buddha along with the text and translation of Chapter 1 of the Abhidhammattha-Sangaha. Several editions of the Dhammapada have appeared and one prepared by B. Siri Sivali (1954) is presented very attractively, the text being given in the Simlialese and Roman scripts on pages on the left and the translations in Simlialese and English on the right.

The Rev. Nyanatiloka, a German Buddhist monk of the Dodanduwa Island, gave us a very useful book in his Guide Through the Abhidhamma-Pitaka (1938). He has also prepared a German translation of the Visuddhimagga which has so far been printed only in part. The Government of Ceylon has awakened to the fact that it, too, must encourage Buddhist studies. Accordingly, the task of publishing the Pali texts and their Simlialese translations has been entrusted to the Vidyalankara authorities. It has also been decided to bring out a Buddhist encyclopaedia and arrangements are being made for its preparation under the general editorship of Prof. G.P. Malalsekera.

Incidentally, it may be observed that, under the guidance of Prof. G.P. Malalsekera of the University of Ceylon, Ceylon has taken the lead in trying to bring all Buddhist countries together and to set up the World Fellowship of the Buddhists, which successively met in Ceylon (1950), Japan (1952), Burma (1954), Nepal (1956) and Thailand (1958).


2. Buddhism in Burma [2]

As Burma was ruled by its own king right up to 1886, Buddhism continued to flourish in that country. The country has been known for a long time for its scholarly studies in the Tripitaka, especially the Abhidhamma. Its numerous monasteries contain rich collections of Pali manuscripts. Mandalay has always been its educational and religious centre and its monasteries possess many rare manuscripts. Burma can boast of two or three printing presses like the Hanthawady Press the P.G. Mundyne Pitaka Press and the Zabu Meet Swe Press where Pali books, the Atthakathas, and sub-commentaries on the Abhidhamma are printed. In Burma, there are, even among laymen, not a few studying the Abhidhamma. At the beginning of this century, the more notable among the learned monks of Burma was Ledi Sayadaw who had specialized in the Abhidhamma. He wrote on the Yamaka and selections from it, as well as his article, 'Philosophy of Relations', was published by the Pali Text Society in 1914 and in 1916. Recently, two other great scholars passed away. One of them, Abhidliaja Maha Rattha-Guru Nyaungyan Sayadaw (1874-1955), was elected Sanghanayak, or the presiding Mahathera. He has to his credit some 150 manuals on Buddhism among which are Mehasamaya-Sutta, Brahmanimantanasutta, Hemavata-Sutta, Silakkhandha-Tika and Namakkara-tika. Another notable scholar was the Venerable Mingun Sayadaw (1868-1955) of Thaton who wrote Milinda-Atthakatha (1949), Petakopadesaatthakatha, Kathinaviniccaya and Nibbanakatha. He was looked upon with great disfavour by the ecclesiastical authorities as well as the Government of Burma for having expressed in his commentary on the Milinda independent views regarding the possibility of giving women a higher ordination by the Order of the Buddhist Monks.

Charles Duroiselle made a name for himself through his writings or various archaeological finds in Burma and also wrote a small book entitled Practical Grammar. Z Aung's Compendium of Philosophy (1910), a masterly treatise, is an annotated translation of the small Abhidhamma manual, the Abhidhammattha-sangaha. Aung also wrote an account of Abhidhamma literature in Burma (1912). Later, he translated the Kathavatthu into English in Points of Controversy (1915). Mrs. C. Rhys Davids was his collaborator in the first and third of the works mentioned above. Prof. Maung Tin gave us the English translation of the Atthasalini in his Expositor (2 vols., 1920-21), and of the Visuddhimagga in his Path of Purity (3 vols., 1922-31). We may also mention the names of the late Ledi Pandit U. Maung, Gyi and the late U. Lin who wrote on subjects relating to the Abhidhamma. Nor must we forget the Rev. Pannaloka Mahathera who has written on Abhidhamma subjects in Bengali.

Since Burma became independent, the Burmese Government has taken swift measures to bring about the revival of Buddhism and Buddhist studies. A Buddha Sasana Council was established and under its auspices, or perhaps inspiration, several centres of Buddhist studies have been opened. The Council decided to edit afresh the whole of the Buddhist Tripitaka. Co-operation was sought from learned Buddhist monks in India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. With the material supplied by these countries, the basic text, as recorded in 729 stone slabs ' at the Kuthodaw temple in Mandalay, was compared and a final text established. The Sangayana (recital) of such a text was done and the text as recited was first published in 1956. It is understood that the whole Pali text in Burmese characters and the Burmese translation of the whole of the Tripitaka has been published.


3. Buddhism in Thailand

Buddhism is the State religion of Thailand and here it never fell on evil days as it did in Ceylon. The State has a separate administration for religious affairs and the Government spends large sums of money for the religious well-being of Buddhists, monks and laity alike.

There are two great institutes of higher learning for the Buddhist monks-the Maha Maktit Raja Vidyalaya Academy and the Maha Culalankarn Raja Vidyalaya Academy. Sanskrit is now taught in Bangkok both at Culalankarn University and at the Academy for Buddhist Monks. Thailand has always been in the forefront of Buddhist studies and it is a matter of gratification that as many as forty-five volumes of the Pali Tripitaka, at least thirty volumes of the Atthakathas, and ten volumes of the Pakaranas have been published in Siamese script. A special feature of Siamese books is that they contain indexes, however meagre they may be.

It may be noted that the Vajiranana Manuscript Library at Bangkok has a rich collection of manuscripts, some of which are extremely rare. There is a new commentary on the Visuddhimagga, the Sankhepattha-jotani which begins with the works Svasti Buddhaya (Hail to the Buddha!). In Thailand also is preserved a rare book, the Sangitivamsa, which mentions as many as nine councils.

Pancika-Nama-Atthayojana, a work on the Abhidhammatthavibhavani (which itself is a tika on the Abhidhammattha-Sangaha), is another rare printed book in two volumes which have an index. Another book, Mangalattha-Dipani (1951-53), gives a detailed exposition of the gathas of the famous Mangala-Sutta and is highly spoken of in Thailand. Other important new books are Jinakalamalini, and Samantapasadika-Attha-Yojana. The very existence of these books is indicative of the importance of the study of Pali texts, commentaries and sub-commentaries in Thailand.

The Sixth Council which was held in Rangoon induced some Burmese scholars to go to, Thailand to preach the Abhidhamma.

4. Buddhism in Combodia [3]

Although a very small country, Cambodia has always been a stronghold of Theravada Buddhism. Under the patronage of His Majesty Norodam Silianouk Varman (Narottama Simlia-hanu Varman) who recently abdicated in favour of his father in order to be free to bring about all-round reform in his kingdom, and under the vigorous guidance of His Eminence Samadach Brah Maha Sumedhadhipati Chtion-nath, Chief of the Mahanikaya, Cambodia country has as many as 2,800 monasteries with 82,000 monks and novices.

In 1914 the Government opened in Phnom-penh, the capital of Cambodia, a Pali High School where young monks were instructed and given diplomas after four years' training. The instruction was not confined to religious subjects but also included subjects useful in the temporal world. This school has now developed into a college. In 1933, the authorities began to establish elementary Pali schools where the monks took a three years' course. Out of these schools have now developed the schools of Dhamma-Vinaya, where all monks are trained. This year a Buddhist University named after Preah Sihanu-Raja has also been started.

To supplement this programme of religious instruction in Phnompenh a Royal Library was opened in 1925 and a Buddhist Institute in 1930. A little later, the Government appointed a Tripitaka Board consisting of eminent scholars, who were. asked to prepare for publication Pali texts and their Cambodian translations. The literary output of these institutions is highly creditable. Out of the 110 volumes contemplated in the bilingual series, 55 have already been published. A copy of all the- texts of the Pali Canon written by hand was sent to the Sixth Council (Chattha Sangayana) which was held at Rangoon. Among the other ten volumes published in Pali (1938-54), are the Abhidhammamatika (1953), the Chappakarana Abhidhamma (1950), the Abhidhammattha-sangaha (1938), the Bhikkhupatimokkha (1950), the Visuddhimagga (1946) and the Mangalattha-Dipani (1952). No fewer than 187 volumes, mostly on religious subjects, have been published in the Cambodian language by the various libraries and institutions already mentioned.

Clearly, Cambodia has made tremendous progress in the popularization of Pali studies and in the education of the monks.

5. Buddhism in Laos

Laos is mostly mountainous and comparatively backward. Although the country belongs to the Theravada school and the Pali Tripitaka forms its sacred literature, it has few Pali scholars. It appears, however, that there exist in Laos many texts which are word-to-word commentaries or Nissayas of the Pali texts. In Luangbrabang, the capital, in a small temple on the hill, there is a library of manuscripts in which we find a Laotian Nissaya of the Visuddhimagga. It begins with the words Namo tassa (Bhagavato) atthu instead of the usual formula of Namo tassa Bhagavato Arhato Samma-sambuddhassa (Bow to the Blessed, the Deserving and Fully Enlightened Buddha).

In this country, the Jatakas enjoy great popularity and separate collections of ten and of fifty Jatakas are available. The order of the ten Jatakas, however, differs from that in Fausboll's edition. There is also a collection of fifty Jatakas which is current in other countries in South-East Asia, such as Siam, Cambodia and Burma. What is peculiar to the independent Laotian version, however, is that it contains 27 stories which are not found in any other collection (see, Henri Deydier, Introduction a la Connaissance du Laos, Saigon: 1952, p. 29). Lists of the Jatakas in the collection of the ten and fifty are given below:

The Ten Jatakas

1. Temiyakumara 6. Bhuridatta

2. Janakakurnara 7. Candakumara

3. Suvanna syama 8. Naradabrahma

4. Nimiraja 9. Vidhurapandita

5. Mahosadha 10. Vessantara

Th e Fifty Jatakas

1. Samuddaghosakurnara 15. Sunandakumara

2. Suddhammakumara or 16. Baranasi

Sutarajakurnara 17. Dhammadhajapandita

3. Sudhanakumara 18. Dukkammakumara

4. Sirasakumara 19. Sabbasiddhikumara

5. Subhamittaraja 20. Pannabalakumara

6. Suvannasankha 21. Dadhivahana

7. Candaghataka 22. Mahisakumara

8. Suvannamiga 23. Chaddanta

9. Suvannakurunga 24. Campeyyangaraja

10. Setamusika 25. Bahalagavi

11. Tulakapandita 26. Kapila

12. Maghamanava 27. Narajivakurnara

13. Aritthakumara 28. Siddhisarakumara

14. Ratanapajota 29. Kusaraja

30. Jetthakumara 41. Arindumaraja

31. Duttharajakurnara 42. Viriyapandita

32. Vattakaraja 43. Adittaraja

33. Narada 44. Suruparaja

34. Mahasutasoma 45. Suvannabrahmadattaraja

35. Mahabalaraja 46. Mahapadumakumara

36. Brahmaghosaraja 47. Surasenaraja

37. Sadiraja 48. Siricundamaniraja

3 8. Siridharasetthi 49. Kapiraja

39. Matuposaka or Ajitaraja 50. Kukkura

40. Vimalaraja

In the collection of ten Jatakas, the Temiya and the Vessantara are popular. There is also a sutta called the Jambupattisutta, which is peculiar to this country and is portrayed in the wall paintings of the Library building on Val Pha Ouak, the hill in Luangprabang. King Jambupatti, wishing to dazzle the Buddha, visited him in great state, but saw the latter sitting on his throne, beautiful as a god and dressed in the shining apparel of a King of Kings (Rajadhiraja). This represents the conception of the Buddha as the equal of a Cakravarti monarch. In a scene depicted in a wall painting in this temple, the Buddha is represented as pointing to Jambupatti the torments he must suffer if does not follow the principles of the Vinaya.

6. Buddhism in Vietnam[4]

Buddhism was probably introduced in Vietnam towards the end of the 2nd century A.D. when it was under the sway of the Chinese Emperior. Buddhism in this country went through many vicissitudes with changes in the political situation. The country of Viet-Narn belongs to the Mahayana school which it inherited from China and even the religious books used by its monks and nuns in the monastic establishments are in the Chinese language. With the coming of French rule and the introduction of Roman script in the schools, the younger generation ceased to read books in Chinese script, which was in use until then as the Vietnamese language differs from Chinese only in pronunciation.

In the first third of the twentieth century, there arose a new movement for the revival of Buddhism and Associations of Buddhist Studies were started at Sa`igo`n (1931), Hue^' (1932) and Ha`no^.i (1932). The new movement favoured the use of the Vietnamese language in Roman script for their religious books instead of Chinese. An awakening took place among the monks and the laity and there was a movement to spread knowledge among the masses. However, the Second World War (1940-45) interrupted all these efforts. With the return of peace, renewed efforts at reorganization were made in 1948 at Hanoi in northern Vietnam with the inspiring initiation and guidance of Their Eminences, the Reverends To^'-Lie^n and Tri'-Ha?i. They started and orphanage, a private college (at Qua'n-Su+' Temple in Hanoi), and a printing press to enable them to carry on the movement and popularize it among the masses. A number of religious books in Vietnamese or in a bilingual series (Chinese letters with their Vietnamese pronunciation in Roman characters) were published. We find several such books of daily prayers or books held in great reverence by the people, such as the Ksitigarbhah-sutra (Nanjio, 1003) or the Surangama-sutra (Nanjio, 399). Journals like Gia'c-Ngo^. were published and became popular. Hanoi being the cultural centre of Vietnam, the movement spread from there towards Hue^' (in central Vietnam) where Buddhist Associations were also reorganized. A former empress has started a new school for young nuns where vigorous training is given and such activities as gardening are included. In Saigon, too, a new organization for Buddhist studies was established in 1950 to replace an old one.

In literature, also, we often find echoes of ideas borrowed from Buddhism-karma, rebirth, suffering in the world, the law of causation and impermanence. The intelligentsia is no longer content with the materialism of the West and is greatly influenced by the five rules of morality (Panca-sila) which are the very foundation of Buddhism. The common people find solace in the worship of Amitabha. There is also a section of people who are followers of the Pure Land sect. The ideals of purity and compassion, the dominant notes of Mahayana Buddhism, and the vegetarianism of the monks impress the people. Though Mahayana Buddhism is dominant in the country, of late a desire is noticeable among certain people for a return to the earlier form of orthodox Buddhism (Theravada). A new temple of this Theravada school, the Jetavana Vihara (chu`a Ky` Vie^n), has been established in Saigon by the Venerable Vamsarakkitita and the Venerable Nagathera. Recently some relics were taken to this temple by the Rev. Naradatthera of Ceylon for worship. The Venerable Vamsarakkhita Thera published (1953) a small manual of prayers and a manual of guidance for householders in Pali with its transcription and interpretation in Vietnamese.

7. Buddhism in China[5]

During the reign of the Manchu Kings of the Ching Dynasty (1644-1911), Buddhism experienced vicissitudes of fortune according to the favours or frowns of the ruling kings. During the reign of Emperor Chien-Lung (1735-1796), a new Dragon edition of the Chinese Tripitaka was brought out. In the same period Mongolian translations of 270 volumes of the Tibetan Tanjur and a Manchurian translation of the Chinese Tripitaka were printed, although in the second half of the Ching period Buddhism declined in China. Towards the end of Manchu rule, China was fast coming under the influence of the West and Buddhist studies experienced a revival in China. The work of Christian missionaries also had a stimulating effect on the minds of the rising generation, thus giving a fillip to research and study in general.

In 1875, Liu Chih-tien, Minister for China in Great Britain, persuaded a promising young scholar, Yang Wen-hui, to go with him to England. There Yang came in contact with the Rev. Bunyiu Nanjio of Japan, who with his help prepared the famous Catalogue of the Chinese Tripitaka. Yang obtained from Japan many valuable books which had been lost in china. In 1907, he established a Buddhist Institute called Jetavana Vihara at Nanking, where he gathered round him some thirty young men who took up Buddhist studies as their course of higher education. His contemporaries, Wang Yu-wei and Tan Szutung, young intellectuals who advocated reform in Confucianism, were also affected by Buddhism. After the National Revolution of 1911, the Buddhists of China formed the All-China Buddhist Association with headquarters at Nanking and, in the fourth year of the Chinese Republic, they secured protection for their monasteries from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which issued a proclamation to the effect. Monasteries and temples were reconstructed and efforts were made to popularize Buddhism by organizing lectures and printing and circulating Buddhist books. The Buddhist Upasaka Grove and the Buddhist Association of Pure Land in Shanghai were established. A monastic normal school and a university of the Dharmalaksana school were established at Nanking. Other institutions established were the Kuan Tsung Preaching Hall of Ningpo, the Avatamsaka College of Ch'ang Chow, the Buddhist Institute of Wuchang, the Sino-Tibet Buddhist College founded by His Holiness the Rev. T''ai-Hsu, the Ching-ling Buddhist Academy, now at Shanghai, and the Cheen Institute of Inner Learning at Nanking.

Some Journals such as Hai-chao Ying (The Ocean Tide Voice), Pure Land Vocation and Inner Learning Journal were founded. The two Boards set up at Peking and Tien-tsin for the purpose of engraving the canons published Epitome of the Chinese Tripitaka. The Kalavinka Vihara of Shanghai published several small volumes of the Buddhist Tripitaka. The Commercial Press of Shanghai, has done the photographic printing of the supplementary books of the Japanese Tripitaka and of the Dharanis in the Tripitaka of the Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian and Manchurian languages. The Rev. T''ai-Hsu (1888-1947), who was a great living force in the revival of Buddhism and Buddhist studies, gave a scientific turn to the religious training of a Buddhist monk. He sent some of his disciples to Ceylon and India to study Pali and Sanskrit. He himself founded a Bodhi Society in Shanghai, became the Chairman of the Buddhist Reformation Committee and began reforming Chinese Buddhism and organizing the Chinese Sangha. The Rev. Fa Fang, one of his prominent disciples, stayed at the Vidyalankara monastery near Colombo, Ceylon. and at Cheenabhavan in Santiniketan, India, and studied Pali. He also wrote a book on Vijnanavada in Chinese. The Rev. Pai Hui, Fa Fang's disciple, studied Sanskrit at Santiniketan. Upasaka Ou-yang Ching-wu (1871-1943), a layman, was an eminent Buddhist scholar who studied Buddhism under the guidance of Yang Wen-hui. Among his works are a commentary on the Lankavatarasutra and prefaces to the Mahaprajnaparamita, the Mahaparinirvanasutra, the Yogacarabhumi-sastra and the Abhidharma-kosa-sastra. His explanatory discourses to the disciples of the Cheen Institute of inner Learning which he had founded himself were also published. The scientific spirit in which the Rev. Tlai-l-1su conducted his Buddhist studies has been maintained in Modern China by his disciples, Lu-chen, T'ang Yong-Tung and Chen Ming-hsu. The Buddhist movement is now being led by young graduates who in one way or another are connected with institutions started by the Rev. T''ai-Hsu and Upasaka Ou-Yang Ching-wu.

The Chinese Buddhist Association of Peking, held in May, 1953, a conference of Buddhists in the Quangchi temple; where Buddhists came from different provinces, including Tibet, South-West China, and Yunan, and from Thailand.

8. Buddhism in Japan

Dr. J.N. Takasaki

As a Buddhist country, Japan has encouraged Buddhist studies throughout the ages, but it was only in the 18th century that these attained wide popularity. Tominaga Chuki's (1715-45) study on Mahayana Buddhism and the Venerable Jiun's (1718-1807) Sanskrit studies are among the important works of this period that show a critical approach.

The pioneers of modern research were B. Nanjio (1848-1927) and K. Kasahara, both of whom studied Sanskrit under Prof. Max Muller in England. B. Nanjio introduced in Japan the new method of study which he had learnt in England. Unfortunately, however, Kasahara died on his return to Japan. The examples of these two scholars were a source of great inspiration to later Buddhist scholars.

An attempt has been made here to give a brief general survey of the progress of Buddhist studies in Japan with special reference to Indian Buddhism.

With the adaptation of the European educational system after the Meiji Restoration (1868 A.D.), several universities, colleges and research institutes came into being, some of which, for example, the Otani, Ryukoku, Kornazawa, Taisho, Koyasan, and Rissho, were devoted mainly to the advancement of Buddhist studies.

Nanjio introduced Sanskrit classes at Otani University and this marked the beginning of research societies in Japan. Today, the universities at Tokyo, Kyoto, Tohoku, Kyushu, Nagoya, Hokkaido and Osaka also hold Sanskrit seminars.

A number of research institutes are attached to particular Buddhist sects. There are also several institutes which specialize in Oriental studies in general, including Buddhism. Among these the most important are Toyobunka-Kenkyujo (The Oriental Cultural Research Institute), attached to the University of Tokyo, JinbunkagakuKenkyujo (The Research Institute of Sciences and Humanities), attached to the University of Kyoto, Toyo-bunko (The Oriental Library) in Tokyo and the Okurayama Cultural Research Institute in Yokohama.

Indogaku-11ukkyogakukai (The Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies), which holds an Oriental conference every year and issues a journal twice annually, was founded in 1951.

The work of the Pali Text Society in London greatly influenced the outlook of Japanese scholars. Following its example, the gigantic task of translating the Pali Canon into Japanese was undertaken and completed in 65 volumes under the supervision of J. Takakusu, a former professor of Tokyo University, and M. Nagai, also a retired professor of Tokyo University. Japanese scholars have shown remarkable zeal and a special capacity for the comparative study of Pali texts and Tibetan and Chinese translations of Buddhist canons, which has gone a long way in correctly interpreting early Buddhism and its development. C. Akanuma, a Professor of Otani University, was one of the most outstanding scholars of Pali Buddhism. His Dictionary of Pali Proper Names (Nagoya, 1931), and Comparative Catalogue of the Pali Canon and its Chinese Versions have been hailed as works of great learning. The Samanta-Pasadika was edited by J. Takakusu and M. Nagai, while Ethics of Buddhism was published by S. Tachibana of Koinazawa University. Anesaki's The Four Buddhist Agamas in Chinese is also a famous work.

The study of Pali Buddhism has now developed into that of the Agama, the Abhidhamma and the Vinaya. Each of these branches is under the supervision of a competent scholar. Funahashi, of Otani University, is working on the Agama, R. Higata, of Kyushu University, on the Jataka, K. Mizunu, of Kornazawa University, and G. Sasaki, of Otani University, on the Abhidhamma and M, Nagai on the Vinaya.

The study of Sanskrit was introduced in Japan with research on Mahayana Buddhism. Nanjio published a Sanskrit text of the Va/racchedika in 188 1, and that of the Sukhavati-vyuha in collaboration with Prof. Max Muller in 1883. Amongst his other publications are the Saddharma-Pundarika-Sutra (Bibl. Bud, Vol. 10, 1909-1912), the Lankavatarasutra (Kyoto, 1923) and the Suvarana-prabhasa (Kyoto, 1931).

A number of Sanskrit texts were edited by U. Wogihara, a former professor of Taisho University. Among these, the most important are the Bodhisattvabhumi (Tokyo, 1930), the Abhidharma-kosa-vyakhya (Tokyo, 1932), the Abhisamayalankaraloka (Tokyo, 1932-35) and the Saddharmapundarika (Tokyo, 1934). Wogihara also published the Mahavyutpaiii, in a Sanskrit-Chinese edition, in 1915. Other Sanskrit texts edited by Japanese scholars include the Sumagadhavadana by G. Tokiwai (1897), the Bhadracari by K. Watanabe (1912), the Madhyantavibhagatika by S. Yamaguchi (Otani, 1934), the Gandavyuha by D.T Suzuki and H. Izumi (1934-36), the Dasabhumisvara by R. Kondo (1936), and the Mahavyutpatti, Sanskrit-Tibetan-Chinese edition, by R. Sakaki, a former professor at Kyoto University (1916).

Their knowledge of the Chinese Canon and their faculty of criticism in regard to the text has enabled Japanese scholars to produce a number of philological and philosophical works on Mahayana and Abhidharma Buddhism. In this connection, mention may be made of the works of T. Kimura, H. Ui, D. T. Suzuki and other well known scholars. Kimura's introductory works on early Buddhism, Abhidharma and Mahayana Buddhism are still read with interest. Studies in Indian Philosophy (6 vols.) which work includes the study of Buddhist philosophy, forms the most important work of H. Ui. This author also published the Vijnapti-Matratasiddhi, a comparative study of the commentary on the Trimsika by Sthiramati and the Vynapti-matratavimsatika, a comparative study of Sanskrit texts and four Chinese translations. D.T. Suzuki is the distinguished author or Studies in the Lankavatara-Sutra (1930), of an English translation of the Lankavatara-Sutra, and an index to it, besides other works. G. Honda, at one time a professor at Kyoto University, was an authority on the Saddharma-Pundarika-Sutra. S. Yamaguchi's philological studies and S. Miyamoto's philosophical studies on the Madhayamika school are important works on the subject.

Studies in the Tibetan Tripitaka were introduced in Japan through the efforts of several monks, namely, E. Kawaguchi, E. Teramoto, T. Tada and B. Aoki, who visited Tibet to acquire a knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism. The important works in this field include A Catalogue of the Tibetan Tripitaka (2 vols. Tohoku University, 1934), A Catalogue of Kanjur (Otani University, 193032) and A Catalogue of the T6hoku University Collection of Tibetan works on Buddhism (1954).

The comparative study of Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese versions of various texts has made great progress in the last twenty years. The texts which are based upon their Tibetan versions are the Mahayanasangraha-Sastra, edited by G. Sasaki, a former professor of Otani University, Sthiramati's Trimsikavijnapti-bhasya, edited by E. Teramoto (Otani University), the Aryasrimala-sutra, by K. Tsukinowa (Ryukoku University), and the Sandhinirmocana-Sutra by K. Nishio (Otani University).

The study of Tibetan Buddhism is being pursued by such experts as S. Yamaguchi, G. Nagao (Kyoto), H. Hatano (Tohoku), S. Yoshimura (Ryukoku) and several others.

Studies on the Chinese Tripitaka and Chinese Buddhism are also receiving serious attention. The most important work in this field is The Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo (85 vols., 1918-25). Among the catalogues of the Chinese Tripitaka, the most famous is A Catalogue of the Chinese Translation of the Buddhist Tripitaka by B. Nanjio, 1383. Table du Taisho-Issaikyo, attached to the Hobogirin (Tokyo, 1931), is also useful. The bibliographical study on the Chinese version is crystallized in Bussho Kaisetsu Daifiten (The Dictionary of the Buddhist Bibliography) by G. Ono (12 vols., 1933-35).

Based upto Taisho Issaikkyo were published two kinds of Japanese translations, Kokuyaku Issaikyo (150 vols., Tokyo, 1928-35) and Kokuyaku Daizokyo in 28 volumes.

Buddhist dictionaries of various kinds were compiled, including Bukkuo DaUiten by T. Oda (1 vol., 1917), and Bukkyo Daijiten by S. Mochizuki (6 vols., Tokyo, 1931-36). A unique work in this field is Daizokyo Sakuin (an index of the Canon) in 3 volumes by K. Kawakami, 1927-28.

S. Murakami, a former professor of Tokyo University, E. Maeda, also of Tokyo University, S. Mochizuki, at one time professor of Taisho University, B Shiio, a former professor of Taisho University, and B. Matsumoto, a former professor of Kyoto University, are among those who published studies on Buddhism based on the' Chinese versions of the texts.

The study of Chinese Buddhism proper has also been popular in Japan. D. Tokiwa, K. Sakaino, and K. Tabuki are distinguished scholars in this field. Several important works were written on Zen Buddhism by H. Ui, D.T. Suzuki, and K. Nukariya, a former professor of Koniazawa University. A study of Central Asian Buddhism was undertaken by R. Hatani, a retired professor of Kyoto University, J. Ishihama of the same University and several other scholars. A research expedition was sent to Central Asia under K. Otani, and this has brought to light important archaeological material on the subjects.

Lastly, we may refer to some important works on Japanese Buddhism itself.

Studies on Japanese Buddhism in recent times show remarkable progress in their critical approach. Of the two aspects of the study of Japanese Buddhism, one consists only in historical research while the other relates to Buddhist thought. A very well known work of historical research is Z. Tsuji's A History of Japanese Buddhism, in 10 volumes. In the field of Buddhist thought, S. Shimaji, a former professor of Tokyo University, was a pioneer, while S. Hanayama, also of Tokyo University, has published important works on the subject.

The philosophies of Shinran, Dogen and other founders of Buddhist sects are also held in great esteem by the non-Buddhist philosophers of Japan and other countries.

Notes and References

[1] The author is indebted to the Rev. A.P. Buddhadatta of Ambalangoda, Ceylon, for much of the information in this account.

[2] The author is indebted to Shri Devaprasad Guha of the pali Department of the University of Rangoon for certain details in this account.

[3] The author is grateful to the Ven. Brah Gru Sanghasattha of the Buddhist College at Phnom-penh for the material on which this account is based. Thanks are also due to His Wminence Samdach Choun-nath Chief of the Mahanikaya in Cambodia through whose courtesy the material was made available.

[4] The material for this account was kindly supplied by Mr Mai Tho. Truye^`n, president of the Association of Buddhist Studies, South Vietnam, Saigon through the courtesy of monsieur Louis Mallret, Director, Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient, Saigon.

[5] This article is based on Chou Hsiang Kuang's Indo-Chinese Relations, and History of Chinese Buddhism 1955).


[Originally published in V. P. Bapat. 2500 Years of Buddhism. (Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1st Ed. 1959), pp. 370-83].


Sincere thanks to Phramaha Somnuek Saksree for retyping this article.


Updated: 3-5-2000

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