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Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism

by Sangharakshita

Seminar on D.T. Suzuki's 'Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism', first published 1907 by Lu-
zac, London. The seminar was evidently using the Schocken edition published in 1963.
Verbatim transcription of the seminar led by the venerable Sangharakshita. Others pre-
sent: Devamitra, Devaraja, Lokamitra, Mamaki, Mangala, Nagabodhi, Ratnapani, Sona,
Sudatta, Sulocana, Vajradaka.
According to FWBO Newsletter no.24, and Shabda for August 1974, this was held at
Sulocana's house [the Old Rectory at Tittleshall, later known as Abhirati] in Norfolk in
September 1974, and lasted for ten days.
Extracts from the actual text (only) are in "double quotes". The text studied contained a
large number of misprints, and these are sometimes included, especially if Sangharak-
shita comments on them.
Original transcription by Gotami. Digitized by Kuladasa and Shantavira. Checked and
annotated by Shantavira.
CONTENTS
(text page no., topic, transcript page no.)
1 INTRODUCTION:
The Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism 1 Theravada Buddhism
4 Why the Two Doctrines? 9 Richness of religious unfoldment with time 10 Expression of spirit and form 12 Interpretations of germinal Teaching 14 Spirit and Form 15 7 The original meaning of Mahayana 17 Asvaghosha 'Awakening of Faith'
8 An older classification of Buddhists 20 Pratyekabuddha 20 Shravakas 22 Intellect and Intuition 23 Use of traditional terminology 25 10 Mahayana Buddhism defined 26 11 (II) Is the Mahayana Buddhism the genuine teaching of the Buddha? 27 No life without growth 28 Mahayanism a Living Faith 29 The Mahayana, the genuine article? 30 'The Will to live' 31 16 (III). Some misstatements about Mahayanism 33 Why injustice done to Buddhism
Examples of injustice; Monier-Williams, Beal, Waddell
Burning Books, ceremonially 36 22 (IV) The significance of religion 38 23 No revealed religion 38 The nature of transmission 39 24 The mystery 41 25 Intellect and Imagination 42 27 The contents of faith vary 48 Universalism 49 Sukhavati schools and T'ien-t'ai 54 Suzuki's style 55 31 Chapter I: A General Characterization of Buddhism 58 No God and No Soul 58 Pantheism, substantialism, sunyata 58 Koans 62 Atman, Anatta doctrine 63 33 Karma
35 Avidya
37 Non-atman
41 Non-atmanness of things
45 Dharmakaya
49 Nirvana
Hypnosis, hypnagogic states
Basis for ethical rules; 'mirroring'
Positive view of the Goal
Pseudo-spiritualism, hedonism and aggression
56 Intellectual tendency of Buddhism
Balancing extremes with the five spiritual faculties
Faith and Doctrine followers
Papal diplomats
60 Chapter II: Historical Characteristics of Mahayanism 139-177 Sthiramati's conception of Mahayanism 139-
Reification of dharmakaya 140 Bodhisattvas as manifestations of the dharmakaya 141-
Relative and Absolute Bodhicitta 147-148 62 Seven principle features of Mahayanism 149-
Other Buddhas? Qualifying spiritual attainment 149-152 Universal salvation? Altruism in Theravada and Mahayana 152-160 Arahants 162-164 65 Ten essential features of Buddhism 165-
Alayavij⁄ana 165 Subject-object distinction 167 Bodhisattvas 'violating' precepts 170-174 SPECULATIVE MAHAYANISM
76 Chapter III: Practice and Speculation 178-200 Experience and explanation 178 77 Relation of feeling and intellect in religion 178 Demise of Christianity 180-182 81 Buddhism and speculation 183-
The kinds of praj⁄a 184-186 Emotional, intellectual conflict in Western history -the hippie movement 188-195 84 Religion and metaphysics 195 Using Bhante as 'authority' on ... 197- 200 87 Chapter IV: CLASSIFICATION OF KNOWLEDGE
Three forms of knowledge 201 88 Illusion
Epistemology, axiology
89 Relative knowledge 203 Atman
91 Absolute knowledge 205 206 Relative/absolute reality
92 World views founded on the three forms of knowledge 208 94 Two forms of knowledge 212 Sunya, relative being, self 213 96 Transcendental truth and relative understanding 217-218 99 Chapter V: Bhutatathata (suchness) 220-246 Indefinability 221 The necessity of relative truth 223 105 The 'Thunderous Silence' 223 109 Suchness Conditioned 224 Accuracy and opinions 227-
Zengo 229-233 113 Questions defying solution 234 Primary Origination 235-237 115 Theory of Ignorance 237-
Reification of concepts 237-240 Unconscious, non-conscious 241 122 Dualism and moral evil 243 125 Chapter VI: The Tathagatagarbha and Alaya-vij⁄ana 247-263 126 The Tathagatagarbha and ignorance -252 128 The Alaya-Vij⁄ana 252 132 The Manas 253 Reification of concepts 255-260 136 The Samkhya philosophy and Mahayanism 261 140 Chapter VII: The Theory of Non-atman or Non-ego 264-305 Illusiveness and phenomenality 266 143 Atman 267 Illusion: relative and absolute 269 146 Buddha's first line of inquiry 270 149 The skandhas 275 Limitations of the Abhidharma 282 153 King Milinda and Nagasena 284 157 Ananda's attempt to locate the soul 287 Reification of Buddhism 288 165 Atman and the 'Old Man' 290 Comparing Christianity with Buddhism 291 167 The Vedanta conception 294 168 Nagarjuna on the soul 295 170 The Non-atman-ness of things 295 170 Svabhava 296 173 the real significance of Emptiness 298 Reading Krishnamurti et al 299 Relative and absolute Reality 302-304 181 Chapter VIII: Karma
Definition and working of Karma
Collective Karma? 307-309 Reification 309 Niyamas 310-320 Saint's malady 314-315 'Cause and effect', conditionality 317-320 186 Karma and social injustice 321-
Continuity of ego?; effects of senility -326 Why the 'poor' suffer 327-333 192 An individualistic view of Karma 336 196 Karma and determinism 340 199 Maturing of good stock and accumulation of merit 342 203 Immortality 346 Psychometry and relics 352-354 PRACTICAL BUDDHISM
217 Chapter IX: The dharmakaya 357 Scholar's emotionalism 358-363 219 God 363 220 Dharmakaya 365 222 Dharmakaya as religious object 367 Religious consciousness
Symbols 369- 376 224 More detailed characterization 379 231 Dharmakaya and individual beings 381 232 Dharmakaya of love 382 234 Late Mahayanists view of the dharmakaya 383 Manifestation and operation of the dharmakaya 384-387 236 The freedom of the dharmakaya 387 238 The will of the dharmakaya 388 Integration of emotion and intellect 391-398 Vegetarianism 398-409 242 Chapter X. The Doctrine of the Trikaya 410-439 The human and the super-human Buddha
246 An historical view 414 Trikaya doctrine 415 Points of controversy between schools
i) Enlightened humanity 417-422 ii) The purport of utterance
Sleep of a Buddha 422 [iv] The Buddha's meditation 424 Helping others 426 253 Who was the Buddha?
Is the Buddha dead? 429 256 The Trikaya as explained in the Suvarna Prabha 430 259 Revelation in all stages of culture 431 263 The Sambhogakaya 432 266 A mere subjective existence 435 268 Attitudes of modern Mahayanists 436 270 Recapitulation 437 277 Chapter XI: The Bodhisattva 440 -506 The three Yanas
282 Strict individuals 442 283 The doctrine of Parivarta 444 'Carrying the burden?' 445 Transference of merits 446 286 Bodhisattva in 'Primitive' Buddhism 448 290 We are bodhisattvas 449 291 The Buddha's life 452 292 The bodhisattva and love
294 The meaning of Bodhi and Bodhicitta 456 296 Love and Karuna 457 297 Nagarjuna and Sthiramati on the Bodhicitta 457 Ayatanas - dhatus
Will to Enlightenment 460 Samata 465 Manifestation of the Bodhicitta 466 302 Awakening of the Bodhicitta 469 'Thinking' of the Buddhas; Devotion 469 Mental Pujas and Graces 473 Feeling in ritual and devotion 476 Quakers 480 Shrines and altars 482 304 Faults of material existence 485 Seeing the limitations of the Conditioned
305 The miserable conditions of sentient beings -490 306 The virtues of a Tathagata 490-
Formulations for the preparation for the Arising of the Bodhicitta 491-
307 Bodhisattvas Pranidhana (Vow) 494-500 Vows and precepts: Path of Regular and Irregular steps Dhardo Rimpoche 501- 506 311 Chapter XII: Ten Stages of bodhisattvahood 506-516 Pramudita, Vimala, Prabhakevi, Arcismati, Sudurjaya
Abhimukhi, Durangama, Acala, Sadhumati, Dhammamegha (?)
331 Chapter XIII: Nirvana 514-570 Nihilistic nirvana not the first object
339 Nirvana is positive 519-
342 Mahayanistic conception of Nirvana 523 Different approaches to Nirvana
346 Nirvana as the dharmakaya 529 349 Nirvana in its Fourth sense 530 352 Nirvana and Samsara are one 530 358 The Middle course 551 359 How to realize Nirvana 551 362 Love awakens intelligence 552 367 Conclusion 553 General discussion 560-570 [1] Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism
Sangharakshita: First of all a few general remarks on ...

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