A study of the composition, transmission, and development of the K__yapaparivarta

Kittipong Vongagsorn
2020
This thesis is a study of the Kāśyapaparivarta, an early Mahāyāna sūtra which was translated into Chinese between as early as the second and tenth centuries. It has two related goals: to investigate the textual history of the Kāśyapaparivarta by examining various versions that have been preserved in Sanskrit manuscripts, Chinese and Tibetan translations; and to study the stylistic features of the Sanskrit version of the Kāśyapaparivarta to see if they can tell us about the method of the
more » ... thod of the composition of Mahāyāna sūtras. My central argument is that Mahāyāna sūtras were composed in written form which is different from the early Buddhist texts that were composed orally. However, the oral/aural tradition was still the primary concern of Mahāyāna composers. I start with the investigation of all extant versions of the Kāśyapaparivarta to illustrate the picture of the popularity of this text. Then, I compare all versions by using the methodology of textual criticism. I propose that the Kāśyapaparivarta has three stages of development: the early stage, the middle stage, and the final stage. Each stage shows some changes to the text in terms of structure, wording, and length. I propose that this variation might be the effect of writing that was used in the composition and transmission of Mahāyāna sūtras. In the second part of this thesis, I examine the stylistic features of the Sanskrit version of the Kāśyapaparivarta. I begin with the investigation of the theory that Mahāyāna sūtras were composed in written form. I argue that although Mahāyāna sūtras may have been composed in written form, the oral/aural tradition was still the central concern of Mahāyāna authors. I then examine the stylistic features of the text to find out to what extent the oral/aural tradition influenced the composition and transmission of the Kāśyapaparivarta. By analyzing the stylistic features, I conclude that the ii significance of the oral/aural culture never decreased in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Most of the stylistic features were modeled on the early Buddhis texts. However, the inconsistency and the innovation of some stylistic features of the Kāśyapaparivarta might indeed suggest that it was composed in written form. iii BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kittipong Vongagsorn was born and raised in Thailand. He received his first Bachelor's degree from Silpakorn University, Thailand in 2014. In 2015 he won a scholarship from the Dhammachai International Research Institute (DIRI) to pursue higher degrees in Buddhist Studies. He went to the University of Washington and received his Post-Baccalaureate degree in South Asian Language and Literature (Sanskrit) in 2018. He received his M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University in 2020. iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This thesis would not have been completed without the great support from many people.
doi:10.7298/stcn-4z41 fatcat:r4y2tnny3bch7fvjw5c3zvub6u