Pre-Mahasanghika Sect text?

I did not find this sutta on suttacentral

Acchariya abbuta sutta

This sutta has most exactly tradition as Mahāvastu of the Lokottaravādins.

We actually need to have the tradition of the Sthavira side related alteast close to the parallel of Sarvativada. Which doesnt mention bodhisattva as much as this sutta does.

This text seems to really reveal that we are the tradition King Asoka accepted. Besides this text. We accept Jatakas. Which was also accepted by the majority that king asoka accepted.

The nature of this sutta is really pre-Mahasanghika style.

It mentions Bodhisattva constantly. And compared to the Mahavastu it has almost same traditions. They even mention that the mother died.

With the acceptance of the early 3 vehicles and Jatakas it seems we are not on the Sthaviras side but just use Theravada because there was no sect names yet. But it seems we are in the majority group. Which only later became Mahasanghika.

MN 123 Acchariya-abbhuta Sutta


Which early three vehicles do you mean?

1 Like

I really struggle to understand your angle.

And I suggest you put a bit more effort leading how to moret effectively put in words your thoughts.


Yes. I guess because English is not my first language. But what I mean is. Maybe we don’t have proof of what I mentioned exactly. But some sect record that schools accepted the common “Mahayana” 3 vehicles as available path. Meaning Arahant, hermit Buddha, Teaching Buddha . The theravada has text that declare the path of Buddhayana as possible but it says it must be for special persons. There is a Chinese text explaining that Jatakas was also something that was accepted by one school and the other not. For the acceptance that anyone can be Bodhisattva was believed by the branches of the elders to create self-conceit.

And there is a text saying that King Asoka accepted the Buddhism of the majority. Which I don’t get his reason for doing that. But the majority was later was known as Mahasanghika. And they accepted Jatakas and that the reason they use Bodhisattva as word alot because it’s mainly from Jatakas movement. The Indian Sthaviras had a branch that didn’t accept Jatakas. That’s why they use the word Bodhisattva less in suttas. Because it’s not their tradition. For example in the agama parallel which only talks about the marvelous things of Buddha but doesn’t use the word Bodhisattva.

The believe that the Chinese that visited sri lanka describing sri lanka monks as mahayana-Sthaviras has to be reevaluated. Because those monks although rejected might have been on sri lanka because the beginning is a sort of mix pre-Mahasanghika-Sthavira accepted by King Ashoka.

Or else sri lanka got converted before king asoka. King asoka only introduced the tradition he accepted and then the tradition mixed up.

Anyways what this text is doing is proclaiming that it was heard from Buddha own lips. Which is affirming you should trust the text.

1 Like

Ok… I tried… :man_shrugging:

1 Like

I gave you an example of what was done by Jataka movement. All these text they connected them after the Jatakas got accepted. Every story is Made to resemble something that Buddha went threw. But as can be seen the beginning is about god or sages. But the Jatakas movement made it into being Buddha past life.

So the first sutta is about a sage. Then they make it into a jataka story.

[quote=“Upasaka_Dhammasara, post:7, topic:16092, full:true”]
I gave you an example of what was done by Jataka movement. All these text they connected them after the Jatakas got accepted. Every story is Made to resemble something that Buddha went threw. But as can be seen the beginning is about god or sages. But the Jatakas movement made it into a Jataka story

Once upon a time, there was a teacher called Sunetta. He was a religious founder and was free of sensual desire. He had many hundreds of disciples. He taught them the path to rebirth in the company of Brahmā. Those who totally understood Sunetta’s teachings were—when their body broke up, after death—reborn in a good place, the company of Brahmā. Of those who didn’t totally understand Sunetta’s teachings, some—when their body broke up, after death—were reborn in the company of the Gods Who Control the Creations of Others. Some were reborn in the company of the Gods Who Love to Create, some with the Joyful Gods, some with the Gods of Yama, some with the Gods of the Thirty-Three, and some with the Gods of the Four Great Kings. Some were reborn in the company of well-to-do aristocrats or brahmins or householders.

Then the teacher Sunetta thought: ‘It’s not proper for me to be reborn in the next life in exactly the same place as my disciples. Why don’t I further develop love?’

Then Sunetta developed love for seven years. Having done so he did not return to this world for seven eons of cosmic expansion and contraction. As the cosmos contracted he went to the realm of streaming radiance. As it expanded he was reborn in an empty mansion of Brahmā. There he was Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the undefeated, the champion, the universal seer, the wielder of power. He was Sakka, lord of gods, thirty-six times. Many hundreds of times he was a king, a wheel-turning monarch, a just and principled king. His dominion extended to all four sides, he achieved stability in the country, and he possessed the seven treasures. He had over a thousand sons who were valiant and heroic, crushing the armies of his enemies. After conquering this land girt by sea, he reigned by principle, without rod or sword. Yet even though Sunetta lived so long, he was not exempt from rebirth, old age, and death. He was not exempt from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair, I say.

Why is that? Because of not understanding and not penetrating four things. What four? Noble ethics, immersion, wisdom, and freedom. These noble ethics, immersion, wisdom, and freedom have been understood and comprehended. Craving for continued existence has been cut off; the attachment to continued existence is ended; now there are no more future lives.

Then there is pre-Jataka

And then became part of Jataka movement

Now my point is it’s the Elders that accepted the 500 Jatakas as Buddhavacana that also made the Bodhisattva Ideal popular. So the using of Bodhisattva as word in a text just to explain some marvelous qualities of Buddha is typical of Jataka movement who accepted also after the Bodhisattva ideal

With early i mean pre-mahayana, Arahant, private Budhha, full buddha. Which only after became paths that each choose.

That’s a good question. Was there ever a sammāsambuddhayāna that the historical ascetic Gautama is likely to have taught according to text-critical narratives? Or did the Buddha only teach the way for sāvakabuddhas, since only Maitreya needs to practice sammāsambuddhayāna, if it exists? Interesting.

I will say, the three vehicles you outline are identical to Mahāyāna Buddhism, rather than being pre-Mahāyāna. There are at least two “three turnings” frameworks, that of 1) Pratyekabuddha, 2) Srāvakabuddha, 3) Samyaksambuddha, and that of 1) Srāvaka, 2) Bodhisattva, 3) Vajradhara. The first three turnings framework is Mahāyānika, the second is Vajrayānika/Tantrika.

How do you differentiate paths vs vehicles?


to stay on the topic of the text. Like the Mahavastu must got their influence from somewhere. It can be the acceptance of Jatakas and avadanas. It can be Mulasarvarstivada who is said to be actually a old branch of Sthaviras who have accepted the Jatakas and avadanas. And was from Mathura according to some vinaya source. But the sarvastivada of kasmir didnt accept most Jatakas and avadanas. A text says the vinaya of Sarvativada consisted of these two kinds. The Mulasarvarstivada probably from Mathura. There vinaya had added tales. More elaborate. So before they where two separate schools. A sarvastivada history books says. So my point is what if theravada is also something like that. They also accept Jatakas, avadanas. And seeing tibet buddhism one can see it was probably a early start for Jatakas movement Bodhisattva movements but it rapidly accepted more of Mahayana. While in sri lanka the battles between Viharas overshadow the truth of their beginning which was something similar to Jataka Bodhisattva movements. Which was accepted by king asoka. But I think still in theravada source itself it seems Buddhism did call Enlightenment Bodha. So actually the point was for you to become Enlightenment. (Bodha) so actually this text the word and rendering might have been changed.

That’s the thing the different names used in different ages. Vehicle was used mostly by Buddha. Making ourselves refuge. Making our vehicle. So the thing to lead us to Enlightment. Path is used as Noble Eightfold Path. It’s also what lead to Nirvana. So that’s what I meant with Path. Ofcourse same meaning. In The Guide a early Theravada commentary the word that use is bodhangama. It’s leading or tending to Enlightenment. There is two other words used. Failure to enlighten oneself = asambodha and enlightened by another, failure to be = (ananubodha)

And early on Buddha is called some closer to Bodha.

This is about early text. Early text do not use the word as much this sutta does.

In early Buddhism the word probably didn’t exist.

In the Nettippakarana



We find these words only related to it.


bojjha—discoverable bojjhanga—enlightenment factor

bodhangama—tending to enlightenment

full enlightenment (sammāsambodhi)

enlightenment, partaking of (bodhipakkhiya) in Netti 175, 483, 664

creature (satta) is used many places in Netti

If it was a important word used you will think they use it atleast once. But they don’t.

In this sutta bodhisatto is used more than usual. The word was not so much used in the beginning or not even used.

Looking in the Pali version

From doubting the word was used in the early text. I have to believe all suttas with the word was either manipulated later or was added to Theravada canon later.

In AN and MN

I looked up which suttas use the word.

And sometimes our favorite sutta. But how is one to trust it’s early the text if it a word that only became after in popular use.