By Akira Hirakawa
The current quantity is a translation of the 1st of Hirakawa's two-volume background. It
covers the interval from Sakyamuni* Buddha to Early Mahayana* earlier than Nagarjuna*
and contains the classes on which Hirakawa did so much of his personal prior study. From
1960 to 1968, he released 3 very important reports on Buddhist associations: Ritsuzo* no
kenkyu* (A examine of the Vinaya-pitaka*), Genshi Bukkyo* no kenkyu (A research of Early
Buddhism), and Shoki Daijo* Bukkyo no kenkyu (Studies in Early Mahayana Buddhism).
These experiences, all popping out of his curiosity within the vinaya, established his mastery of
Indian Buddhist institutional background. This study used to be quite very important in his
formulation of a brand new concept of the increase of Mahayana *. through targeting the necessity to identify
an institutional base from which Mahayana arose, Hirakawa argued that stupa* worship
and the formula of Mahayana units of precepts supplied very important facts for the
development of Mahayana Buddhism.
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Extra info for A History of Indian Buddhism, From Śākyamuni to Early Mahāyāna
T h e ir religion* based on th e ftgveda, was a form o f po lytheism in w hich forces o f n a tu r e , such as th e skyf rain, w in d , a n d th u n d e r, were deified. t . on , (hey c o n tin u e d th eir adv an ce e astw ard , g ra d u a lly settling ihe fertile area b e tw e e n the G a n g e s a n d (he J u m n a rivers. Because ihe area w as blessed with n a tu ra l resources a n d free from exter^ nal e n e m ie s h the A ry an s d eveloped a rich cu ltu re from 1000 to 500 h . c . f . , a n d m a n y of the d ev elo p m en ts th at c h aracterize d later In d ia n l iv iJi^ a ib n can be traced back to this period, By f 0 0 0 u .
Say in g ' “ G n oui an d p r e a th , m o n k s, out ol com passio n for sentient beings, a n d out o! c o n cern for the world firing benefits* h appiness, a n d c a rin g to gods anti m e n . N o tw o of you should go to the nam e place. P reach th e D h a r m a wi th reason a n d elo q u en ce so (hat il will be got>d at (h r beg in n in g , m i d dle* a n d end '1 ( Vinaya, vol. 1, p. 20), O u t o f co m p assio n , the B u d d h a w ished to co n v ey to c o m m o n people at least so m e o f the tru th s hi’ had realized.
Tver a n d d ra n k some w ater W h e n the m e n d ic a n ts w ho h a d been a c c o m p a n y in g him saw him a b a n d o n in g liis austerities, they said, “ T h e iramaria G a u t a m a has fallen in to lux urio us ways a n d a b a n d o n e d his spiritual e ffo rts'’ an d left him . W ith the renew ed streng th from [he food, S ak y am u n i built a seat u n d e r a n asvattha tree, co m m en ced m e d ita tin g , a n d finally attain ed su p rem e en lig h ten m en t (abhi$ambodhi)t th ereb y b eco m in g a B u d d h a (en ligh ten ed b rin g ).
A History of Indian Buddhism, From Śākyamuni to Early Mahāyāna by Akira Hirakawa