He’s an early 20th century Polish Buddhist scholar. Here’s what wikipedia says about him (at length：
A separate stance has been taken by Polish scholar Stanislaw Schayer, who argued in the 1930s that the Nikayas preserve elements of an archaic form of Buddhism which is close to Brahmanical beliefs, and survived in the Mahayana tradition. As noted by Alexander Wynne, Schayer drew on passages “in which “consciousness” (viññana) seems to be the ultimate reality or substratum (e.g. A I.10), as well as the Saddhatu Sutra, which is not found in any canonical source but is cited in other Buddhist texts.” According to Schayer, contrary to popular opinion, the Theravada and Mahayana traditions may be “divergent, but equally reliable records of a pre-canonical Buddhism which is now lost forever.” The Mahayana tradition may have preserved a very old, “pre-Canonical” tradition, which was largely, but not completely, left out of the Theravada-canon. Schayer searched in the early texts for ideas that contradict the dominant doctrinal positions of the early canon. According to Schayer, these ideas have
… been transmitted by a tradition old enough and considered to be authoritative by the compilers of the Canon. The last conclusion follows of itself: these texts representing ideas and doctrines contradictory to the generally admitted canonical viewpoint are survivals of older, precanonical Buddhism.[note 14]
Regamy has identified four points which are central to Schayer’s reconstruction of precanonical Buddhism:
- The Buddha was considered as an extraordinary being, in whom ultimate reality was embodied, and who was an incarnation of the mythical figure of the tathagata;
- The Buddha’s disciples were attracted to his spiritual charisma and supernatural authority;
- Nirvana was conceived as the attainment of immortality, and the gaining of a deathless sphere from which there would be no falling back. This nirvana, as a transmundane reality or state, is incarnated in the person of the Buddha;
- Nirvana can be reached because it already dwells as the inmost “consciousness” of the human being. It is a consciousness which is not subject to birth and death.
According to Ray, Schayer has shown a second doctrinal position alongside that of the more dominant tradition, one likely to be of at least equivalent, if not of greater, antiquity.
According to Edward Conze, Schayer’s views are “merely a tentative hypothesis” and that it is also possible that these ideas later entered Buddhism, as a concession to “popular demand, just as the lower goal of birth in heaven ( svarga ) was admitted side by side with Nirvana.” Conze thought that both were equally possible.
Anyone know of him? have anything by him? anything on him? He seems rather interesting, and I’d like to learn more.