Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism

The following discussion topic/information posted on Dhamma Wheel Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism - Dhamma Wheel Buddhist Forum and Provocative "Tricycle" article on "The New Tradition of Early Buddhism" - #56 by thomaslaw
regarding Ven. Yinshun: Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism may be also useful as an individual discussion topic for those who are interested in ‘studies in Early Buddhism/EBTs’ on this forum:

One essential tradition regarding ‘studies in Early Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism’ is Samyutta/Samyukta Buddhism (相應教 Saṃyukta-kathā ), which is based on Ven. Yinshun’s works.

See Choong Mun-keat, The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism (2000) pp. 7-11, indicates that the Chinese scholar-monk Yinshun has demonstrated the historical important of Samyutta-Nikāya/Samyukta-āgama (SN/SA) in Early Buddhism in two books: The Formation of Early Buddhist Texts 原始佛教聖典之集成 (1971), and Combined Edition of Sūtra and Śāstra of Saṃyukta-āgama 雜阿含經論會編 (1983) (CSA) (Cf. also pp. 2-7: “1. Historical background”).

In the following recent article, the same author provides further useful information on this topic/issue:

“Ācāriya Buddhaghosa and Master Yinshun 印順 on the Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts” in Research on the Saṃyukta-āgama (Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Research Series 8; edited by Dhammadinnā), Taiwan: Dharma Drum Corporation, August 2020, pp. 883-932.

https://www.academia.edu/44055729/%C4%8 (“Ācāriya Buddhaghosa and Master Yinshun 印順 on the Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts” 2020)

(PDF) The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism: A comparative study based on the Sutra-anga portion of the Pali Samyuta-Nikaya and the Chinese Samyukta-agama | Mun-keat Choong - Academia.edu (The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism 2000)

According to Ven. Yinshun, Saṃyukta-āgama/Saṃyutta-nikāya was not at first being termed as nikāya or āgama, but generally named the ‘Connected Discourses’ 相應教 Saṃyukta-kathā . About the term Saṃyukta-kathā, see p. 899, note 21 in the above-mentioned paper (2020) by Choong Mun-keat.

Calling the Saṃyukta/Saṃyutta as āgama/nikāya ‘collection’ was until when the other three nikāyas/āgamas (MN/MA, DN/DA, AN/EA) were gradually developed and expanded from it (相應教 Saṃyukta-kathā). Cf. pp. 10-11 in Choong Mun-keat’s Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism (2000).

The extant SA and SN, and also other āgamas/nikāyas, are sectarian texts. One can seek an understanding of early Buddhist teachings by studying them comparatively (p. 11).

It is likely the term, nikāya, was first being used in Early Buddhism for the four āgamas/nikāyas.

See also Ven. Yinshun in his book (CSA vol. 1) states that Saṃyukta-āgama/Saṃyutta-nikāya is the foundation of both the four āgamas/nikāyas, and Mahayana Madhyamaka and Yogācāra’s essential teachings :

"《雜阿含經》(即《相應阿含》,《相應部》),是佛教界早期結集的聖典,代表了釋尊在世時期的佛法實態。 佛法是簡要的,平實中正的,以修行為主,依世間而覺悟世間,實現出世的理想——涅槃。在流傳世間的佛教聖典中,這是教法的根源,後來的部派分化,甚至大乘「中觀」與「瑜伽」的深義,都可以從本經而發見其淵源 。 這應該是每一位修學佛法者所應該閱讀探究的聖典。

… 依《瑜伽師地論》,知道四阿含經是依《雜阿含經》為根本的 ;《瑜伽論.攝事分》中,抉擇契經的摩呾理迦(本母),是依《雜阿含經》的次第而造。我在《原始佛教聖典之集成》,有了進一步的研究,主要是論定:依《瑜伽論.攝事分》,分全經為「能說」,「所說」,「所為說」;這三類,與「修多羅」,「祇夜」,「記說」相當
… 其實,四部阿含是先有《雜阿含》 ,九分教是先有「修多羅」,「祇夜」,「記說」(這三分也還是先後集出) ,二者互相關聯,同時發展而次第成立的。《中阿含經》([A1]一九一)《大空經》,說到「正經,歌詠,記說」(《中部》一一二《空大經》所說相同),正是佛教初期三分教時代的明證。

《瑜伽論.攝事分》中,抉擇契經宗要的摩呾理迦,是《雜阿含經》的部分論義,也就是「所說」——「修多羅」部分的論義。「修多羅」分陰、處、因緣、聖道四大類,在《雜阿含經》的集成中,「修多羅」是最早的,正是如來教法的根本所在 。 "

:wheel_of_dharma: :thaibuddha:

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I read Master Yinshun’s book on Emptiness recently. It was very good. I noticed he did make extensive use of MN/MĀ as well, particularly MN 106, MN 121 & MN 122 and their parallels to make his arguments regarding Emptiness and Early Buddhism.

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Good to know you have read the Yinshun’s book on Emptiness.

I think the essential teachings of Mādhyamika tradition, such as the middle way of emptiness in the expressions of “neither existence (arising) nor non-existence (ceasing), neither eternalism nor annihilationism, neither sameness nor difference , neither coming nor going” (不生亦不滅, 不常亦不斷, 不一亦不異, 不來亦不出; anirodham anutpādam anucchedam aśāśvatam/anekārtham anānārtham anāgamam anirgamam), are certainly found in Samyukta-agama. See pp. 32-42 in Choong Mun-keat’s The Notion of Emptiness in Early Buddhism https://www.academia.edu/38943344/The_N … y_Buddhism

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Regarding ‘studies in Samyutta/Samyukta’, Choong Mun-keat has published the following articles (ORCID):

“A comparison of the Pāli and Chinese versions of Jhāna Saṃyutta, Asaṅkhata Saṃyutta, and Abhisamaya Saṃyutta: early Buddhist discourses on concentrative meditation, the uncompounded, and realisation”, Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 2021 (21), pp. 10-43.

“A comparison of the Pāli and Chinese versions of Nāga Saṃyutta, Supaṇṇa Saṃyutta, and Valāhaka Saṃyutta, early Buddhist discourse collections on mythical dragons, birds, and cloud devas”, Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 2020 (18), pp. 42-65.

“A comparison of the Pāli and Chinese versions of Okkantika Saṃyutta, Uppāda Saṃyutta, Kilesa Saṃyutta and Rāhula Saṃyutta, early Buddhist discourses on entering, arising, affliction, and the Venerable Rāhula”, Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 2018 (14), pp. 20-36.

“A comparison of the Chinese and Pāli Saṃyukta/Saṃyuttas on the Venerable Mahā-Maudgalyāyana (Mahā-Moggallāna)”, Buddhist Studies Review (Journal of the UK Association for Buddhist Studies), v. 34.1 (2017), pp. 67-84.

“A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Kassapa Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on the Venerable Kasyapa”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Cambridge University Press), vol. 27, issue 2 (2017), pp. 295-311.

“A comparison of the Chinese and Pali versions of the Sariputra Samyukta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on the Venerable Sariputra”, in Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, vol.10, May 2016, pp. 27-52.

“A Comparison of the Pāli and Chinese Versions of the Brahma Saṃyutta, a Collection of Early Buddhist Discourses on Brahmās, the Exalted Gods”, Buddhist Studies Review (Journal of the UK Association for Buddhist Studies), vol. 31.2, pp. 179-194 (2014)

“A Comparison of the Pāli and Chinese Versions of the Gāmani Samyutta, a Collection of Early Buddhist Discourses to Headmen”, Journal of Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, vol. 7, pp. 98-115 (2014)

"A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Sakka Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on ‘Sakra, ruler of the gods’ ", in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 22, issue 3-4, October 2012 (Cambridge University Press), pp. 561–574.

“A comparison of the Chinese and Pali versions of the Bala Samyukta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on “Powers” (Bala)”, in Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, vol.2, May 2012, pp. 84-103.

"A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Devata Samyutta and Devaputta Samyutta, collections of early Buddhist discourses on devatas “gods” and devaputras “sons of gods” ", Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, vol.1, October 2011, pp. 60-88.

“A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Mara Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on Mara, the Evil One”, The Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies’, vol.10, 2009, pp. 35-53.

“A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Brahmana Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on the priestly Brahmanas”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 19, issue 03, July 2009 (Cambridge University Press), pp. 371-382.

“A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Vangisa-thera Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on the Venerable Vangisa”, Buddhist Studies Review 24 (1), 2007, pp. 35-45.

“A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Bhikkhu Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on monks”, Buddhist Studies Review 23 (1), 2006, pp. 61-70.

“A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Kosala Samyutta, an early Buddhist discourse on King Pasenadi of Kosala”, The Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies 7, 2006, pp. 21-35.


This site is a list of corrected errors (errata) for the first edition of the book:

:candle: :reading:

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Is there any English translation of these Yinshun’s books?

Chinese only:
The Formation of Early Buddhist Texts 原始佛教聖典之集成 (1971)

Combined Edition of Sūtra and Śāstra of Saṃyukta-āgama 雜阿含經論會編 (1983)

See also another relevant quotation text written by Ven. Yinshun for this discussion topic:

Choong Mun-keat in p. 911 in the article “Ācāriya Buddhaghosa and Master Yinshun 印順 on the Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts” in Research on the Saṃyukta-āgama" (2020) states thus:

“This completes my response to Bhikkhu Anālayo’s (2011 and 2016) questions and doubts. … I drew attention to a widespread failure, among Western scholars of early Buddhism , to take due account of the very substantial research findings of Master Yinshun. My hope is that the present paper will help to eliminate this blind spot by providing a brief but thought-provoking glimpse at the work of this still seriously underrated Chinese scholar.”

I think scholars in Buddhist Studies may need to study carefully the works of Ven. Yinshun in the area of both the foundations and the development of Buddhism. :candle: :reading:

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This site may be helpful for English readers: English Publications Regarding Venerable Yinshun’s Works|印順文教基金會

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Ooooh nice. Thank you!

came across this - haven’t read it yet https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/28877/1/10673046.pdf