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It is well known that the Divyavad  (Divy.), a collection of 38 Buddhist
stories in Sanskrit, shares 19 of these stories with the Mulasarvastivada
Vinaya (MSV), the massive collection of disciplinary rules and other
materials extant partially in Sanskrit, and almost completely in Tibetan
and Chinese translations. The large percentage of stories shared by the
Divy. with the MSV strongly suggests that there may be some relation
between the texts. However, with regard to the problem of which is
the source and which the borrower, scholars in the past have held two
opposite opinions – for the assumption has been that one borrowed
from the other, not that they both share a common source, and as I hope
to show below, in fact, this assumption is correct. First, Ed. Huber 1
closely examined the issue and came to the conclusion that the stories
in the Divy. were extracted from the MSV. Later, S. Levi2 concurred
with Huber’s idea.3 The same idea was held by H. Luders,4 and the
position was clearly and forcefully put forward by D. R. Shackelton
Bailey, who stated that “some of the Divyavadana tales are deliberate
abridgments of the Vinaya narratives, often very clumsily carried out
: : : it seems evident that, apart from omissions and changes of a merely
abbreviative character : : : , the compiler of the Divyavadana transcribed
the Vinaya without paraphrase”.5 J. Przyluski,6 in contrast, concluded
the opposite, namely that the compiler of the MSV borrowed the stories
from the Divy. In Japan Z. Ishigami7 also held the same opinion as
Przyluski. In recent years, however, this problem seems not to have
drawn the attention of scholars, one result of which has been that there
is still no consensus on the problem. After an extensive study of the
Divy., its sources and parallels and so on, I myself have come to the
conclusion that the Divy. borrowed at least some stories from the MSV.
The aim of the present paper, therefore, is to reconsider the problem,
presenting in English the reasons which have led me to my present
conclusion, in the hope that this may either convince the unconvinced,
or at least encourage other reconsiderations of the issue.

Journal of Indian Philosophy 26: 419–434, 1998.
c 1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.


The Vinaya Pit.akas of the various sects of Indian Buddhism in general

consist of two main parts, the Sutravibha _
nga and Skandhaka. The

former is a commentary on each rule of the Pratimoks. a, and the latter,
a categorical classification of rules of the monastic community with
regard to ecclesiastical business, such as administering the precepts to
new entrants into the community, the rainy season retreat, and so on.
Although the contents of the vinayas of different sects vary somewhat,

the Sutravibha _
nga sections of each vinaya share a basic pattern. First
comes a story, in which some event occurs which creates a problem;
this problem is taken to the Buddha for adjudication. Then the Buddha
establishes a rule bearing on the problem raised in the story. Finally,
a commentary is added to explain the details of the rule, such as the
meaning of technical terms which may appear and so on. Thus the items

in the Sutravibha _ in principle contain the following: an introductory
story, the establishment of a rule, and a commentary on that rule. In this
respect the MSV has basically the same structure as the Pali Vinaya, but
vividly contrasts with it in the following two points: (1) Introductory
stories in the MSV are far more developed than those of the Pali Vinaya,
(2) Life stories of the past of Buddhist monks and laymen are inserted
in many places in the MSV. One striking characteristic of the MSV is
this development of the introductory stories, and the abundance of life
stories of the past.
It is this formal structure of the MSV which allows us to detect the
traces of the extraction of its stories by the compiler or compilers of the
Divy. For while in the main those compilers worked skillfully enough,
extracting only a portion of an introductory story or a life story of the
past, which then in fact leaves little trace of the origin of the story,
sometimes the compilers carelessly took with the story a portion of the
following vinayic descriptions, the narration of the establishment of a
rule, or in the most extreme case of carelessness a commentary on a
rule. This fact, I will argue, clearly illustrates that the Divy. borrowed
stories from the MSV. Below I would like to present explicit evidence
of such lapses.

(1) Kot. ıkarn. avad

The first chapter of the Divy. is the Kot. ıkarn. avad
 This chapter

deals with the story of Sron a Kot ıkarn a, who was born as a son of
. . .
a rich householder in the province of Asmaka, and later became a
monk. After the death of his parents, he decided to renounce the world
under Katyayana and become an Arhat. After that he asked his master,

Katyayana, to permit him to see the Buddha. Katyayana allowed him

to see the Buddha and ordered him to ask the Buddha the following
five questions; (1) There are few monks in Asmaka, a remote region,
and it is very difficult to gather the ten monks required for a legally
proper ordination ritual. What can we do about this? (2) The geology
of the area is very rugged. What kind of footwear can we use (monks
normally being prohibited from using any footwear)? (3) In this region
are available rugs and seats made of the skins of goats, bulls, deer,
and rams, and in other regions, those made of grasses, bark, silk, and
cotton. What kind of rugs and seats can we use? (4) People in this
region attach importance to bathing. Can we thus bathe at any time
(rather than in the severely restricted fashion previously laid down for
monks)? (5) When a monk hands over his garment to a monk residing
far away, if the garment does not reach the latter monk even though it
has already passed out of the possession of the former, who will incur a
violation of forfeiture? Kot.ıkarn. a went to the Buddha to ask him these
questions. Then the Buddha replied as follows.
tasmad  anujan  ami
 / pratyantimes. u janapades. u vinayadharapan~camenopasam . pada
sadasn  . ekapalasike upanahe
dharayitavye  . na triput. am
na dviput. am  . sa cet
ks. ayadharman. ı bhavati tam
 . tyaktva punar nava grahıtavya / bhiks. ur bhiks. os cıvarakani

pres. ayati itascyutani
 . prapt
 na kasyacin naih. sargikani / 9
Then, I permit [your proposal]. (1) In remote regions you may ordain [in the Order]
with a Vinaya-holder as the fifth. (2) You may always bathe. (3) You may put on
sandals made of a single leaf of Palasa tree, but not folded double or threefold; if
they are worn, throw them away and get new ones. (4) When a monk hands over
his garment to another monk, if the garment does not reach [the latter monk] even
though it already leaves [the former], there is no violation of fortfeiture for anyone.

Here in the Divy. version the third question is not answered by the
Buddha, but when we look at the MSV we find there the expression
carma dharayitavy
 am_ (Tib. ko ba bcang par bya’o), “one should use
skins”. This seems merely to have been skipped by the compilers
of the Divy., and suggests that the original version of the story is
found more completely in the Carmavastu in the MSV.11 Moreover,
this conclusion is supported by the observation that since these five
questions and the replies to them have something to do with the rules of
a monk’s life and the technical term naih. sargika peculiar to the Vinaya
is used in the Buddha’s reply to the fifth question, it follows that this
part of the story is a description appropriate to the Vinaya. Therefore
it is natural to think that the compiler of the Divy. extracted this story
from the MSV.

(2) Nagaravalambik  ana
avad  12

The Nagaravalambik  ana
avad  is a story of a poor washerwoman who,
dying of leprosy, meets Kasyapa, and gives him her own coarse gruel
with a pure mind; she is thus reborn in the Tus. ita heaven after her

death. Watching what happened to her, Sakra decides to accumulate
merit like her and waits for Kasyapa to come to beg for food, creating
a shabby house by his magical power and disguising himself as a poor

person. When Kasyapa, coming to him, asks of him some alms, Sakra,
although playing the part of a poor man, foolishly enough gives him
some exquisite nectar. Thinking that no poor man possesses such nectar,

Kasyapa suspects him. Concentrating his mind, he realizes that Sakra
has disguised himself as a poor man, and warns him not to dissuade

the real poor from giving him alms. Sakra, however, still tries to put
nectar in Kasyapa’s bowl from the sky. Every time Sakra puts nectar
in his bowl, Kasyapa upsets his bowl dumping it out. Then the story
etat prakaran. am. bhiks. avo bhagavata13arocayanti / bhagavan
 / tasmad

 . dharayitavyam
pin. d. opadhanam  iti /
Monks informed the Blessed One of this situation. The Blessed One said, “Then I
prescribe that a bowl lid must be used.”

It is a typical pattern in the Skandhaka that, witnessing some situation,

monks inform the Blessed One of it and he says, “I prescribe such and
such” or “If you do such and such, you commit a sin”. Moreover we
can find the formula “etat prakaran. am 
. bhiks. avo bhagavata arocayati
/ bhagavan  aha”
in any number of places in the Vinaya. Therefore
we can regard this as an idiom peculiar to the Vinaya.

(3) Svagat   15
In the Svagat   the main section comprises the story of Sv
ana agata.
He is born as a son of a householder, but later becomes a beggar because
of the maturity of his bad deeds in his former lives. Taking pity on him,
the Buddha ordains him. Then he becomes an Arhat, exerting himself in
the teaching of the Buddha. Now in the place called Si  sum
aragiri lives
an evil naga called Asvatırthika, who is disturbing and harming the
people living there. So the Buddha orders Svagata to subdue the naga.
When he has successfully performed his duty, the people in Si  sum
invite him to meal. After that a brahmin named Ahitun. d. ika also invites
him to a meal and gives him some water afterwards, thinking “The
saint Svagata had an exquisite meal but it is not digested yet. I will
give him water”. But he puts just a little bit of liquor in it. Without

noticing it, Svagata drinks the water. Leaving his house and walking,
he falls down on the road drunk. Then the story continues:
asam . mos. adharman . o buddha bhagavanto / bhagavata suparn. ika kut. ir nirmita maitam .
kascid dr. s. .tva sasane
  . pravedayis. yatıti / : : : tatpradesam anupraptah
’prasadam  . / atha
bhagavam  . s tan  r. ddhyabhisam  an
. skar  pratiprasrabhya bhiks. un  amantrayate sma /
ayam . sa bhiks. avah. svagato  bhiks. ur yenasvatırthiko nagas
tavac can. d. o vinıtah. kim
 ım es. a sakto durbhuktasyapi
idan  vis. am apanetum / no bhadanta iti / bhiks. ava ime

canye  ınava madyapane
cad  tasman  na bhiks. una madyam 
. patavyam 
. datavyam . va
/ atha bhagavan  ayus
 . mantam 
. svagatam . madyavasat  suptam utthapyedam
 avocat /

svagata kim idam / asamanvah  aro
 bhagavann asamanvah  arah
 . sugata / tato bhagavan 
 . mantam
. svagatam  aya
ad  viharam . gatva purastad  bhiks. usam . ghasya prajn~apta

evasane  amantrayate
nis. an. n. ah. / nis. adya bhiks. un  sma / mam . bho bhiks. avah. sast  aram

uddhisyadbhir madyam apeyam adeyam antatah. kusagren  . api / 16
– The Buddhas, the Blessed Ones, are not such as those who lose attention. – By
his miraculous power the Blessed One created a hut made of beautiful leaves [and
hid him in it] so that nobody would experience aversion when they saw him : : : .
When the Blessed One, arriving at the place, stopped his miraculous power, [the hut
vanished], and he said to the monks:
“Monks, this is that monk Svagata, who has subdued the very fierce naga called
Asvatırthika, but could he avert the poison even of bad food?”
“No, Sir.”
“Monks, drinking liquor has these and other faults like this. Therefore, monks
must not drink liquor or give it [to others].”
Then the Blessed One, waking up Svagata, who was asleep from the wine, said,
“Svagata, what’s this all about?”
“Blessed One, I lacked concentration. Sugata, I lacked concentration.”
Then the Blessed One, taking the reverend Svagata to the monastery, sat down
on the seat prepared in front of the monks and said, “Oh, monks, those who regard
me as a Master must not drink liquor or give it [to others], even [the tiny amount
on] the tip of a blade of kusa grass.”

This story puts emphasis on the serious fault of drinking liquor,

comparing the fierce naga with a drop of liquor, and stressing that just
a drop of liquor is enough to knock down even an Arhat like Svagata,
who has conquered the evil naga. No Sanskrit text of a MSV equivalent
to this part has yet been discovered, but there is a parallel story in the
Tibetan and the Chinese translations of the MSV in the rule against

drinking liquor, the 79th patayantika. 17 After the passage quoted above,

both the Tibetan18 and Chinese19 translations give the establishment of

the rule by the Buddha (“If a monk drinks liquor, he is caused to fall
[into an evil existence]”), the commentary on it, and finally the story
of Svagata’s past life which explains why he became a beggar and why
later he became an Arhat. In addition, since the Pali Vinaya, and the
Dharmaguptaka, Mahısasaka, Mahasamghika,
_ and Sarvastivada Vinayas
also illustrate their corresponding rules with a story of Svagata,20 it
seems virtually certain that this is a case in which the compiler of the
Divy. skillfully omitted the sections of the establishment of the Vinaya

rule and the commentary on it, directly connecting the part quoted
above with the story of Svagata’s past. Thus he produced a story that
looks natural and preserves the typical style of an avad ana.21

(4) Makandhik  ana
The story of Svagata quoted above succeeded in producing a typical
avadana story, discarding portions of the account unnecessary in an
avadana. The Makandhik
avad  however, carelessly takes in portions
of the account of the establishment of a rule and even the commentary
on it. Here I would like to examine this story.
Though Sr ımatı, a wife of king Udayana, asks him to allow her to
meet with some monks, the king refuses her proposal, saying “monks
are not supposed to enter a royal house”. But she troubles him saying
“I will not take any food or drink until I am able to meet with some
monks”. Then the king asks Ghos. ila, her father, to invite some monks

to a meal in his house. Ghos. ila invites S ariputra and other monks to
a meal, together with his daughter. After the meal S 
ariputra preaches

the dharma, but Srımatı is not able to realize the Four Noble Truths.
At about sunset the other monks leave, and while S 
ariputra is exerting
all his power to make her realize the Truths, it grows dark. When he
goes back to the monastery, the Buddha speaks to him as follows:

sadhu sariputra
 saptan  am  aj n~a akopya tathagatasy  
arhatah . samyaksam . buddha-

syarhato bhiks. oh. ks. ın. asravasya raj  n~ah. ks. atriyasya murdhn   . iktasya
sam . ghasthavirasyopadhivarikasya   aryop
ac   ayasya
adhy  / : : : yah. punar bhiks. ur
anirgatay  am
 . rajanyam  anudgate ’run. e anirhr. tes. u ratnes. u ratnasam . mates. u va raj  n~ah.
ks. atriyasya murdhn   . iktasya indrakılam
abhis . v 
a indrak 
ı las 
amantam . v 
a samatikramed
anyatra tadrup  at  pratyayat  pap  antiketi
 / yah. punar bhiks. ur ity uday  ı iti so va
punar anyo ’py evam . j 
ıyah . / anirgat 
am. rajany 
am ity aprabh 
am anudgata iti
anudite aruna iti arun. ah. nılarun  . ah. pıtarun . ah. tamr  arun . ah. tatra nılarun  . o nılabh  asah .
 . ah. pıtabh asah . tamr  arun  . ah. tamr  abh  asah  . / iha tu tamr  arun . o ’bhipretah. / ratnes. u
veti ratnany  ucyante man. ayo mukta vaid. uryam  
. purvavad 
daks. in. avartah . /
ratnasam . mates . u veti ratnasam . matam ucyate sarvam . sam . gr 
s astram . sarvam .
ca gandharvavacaram . bhan . d. am / raj  n~ah. ks. atriyasya murdhn   . iktasyeti ya rajye
stry api rajy  abhis
 . eken. abhis. ikta bhavati raj  a sah. ks. atriyo murdhn   . iktah. ks. atriyo

’pi brahman . o ’pi vaisyo ’pi sudro  ’pi rajy  abhis
 . eken. abhis
 . ikto bhavati raj  a ks. atriyo

murdhn  . iktah. / indrakılam
abhis . veti traya indrakılah . / nagare indrakılo rajakule 
indrakılo ’ntah. pura indrakılas ca / indrakılasamantam  . veti tatsamıpam / samatikramed
api vigacchet / anyatra tadrup  at pratyayad  iti tadrupam  . pratyayam 
. sthapayitv a /
pap antiketi
 dahati pacati yatayati  
/ tatrapattih . katham . bhavati / bhiks. ur
aprabhate  prabhatasam  . jn~ı nagarendrakı lam . samatikram  aty apadyate
dus. kr. tam
aprabhate  vaimatikah. apadyate   / prabhate
dus. kr. tam  vaimatikah. apadyate  
dus. kr. tam
/ bhiks. ur aprabhate  aprabhatasam  . jn~ı antah. purendrakı lam . samatikramaty  
pap antik
  / prabhate
am  aprabhatasam  . jn~ı apadyate dus. kr. tam  prabhate  vaimatika

apadyate dus. kr. tam / 22
 ariputra, excellent! An Arhat, Tathagata, Samyaksambuddha, an Arhat
“Excellent, S .
monk whose negative traits have been exhausted, a Ks. atriya king whose head has

been anointed, an elder of the Order, a monastic official, a preceptor, and a master
– orders by these seven persons should be obeyed. : : : If a monk, except for these
reasons, passes the threshold or near the threshold of a Ks. atriya king whose head
has been anointed, while day does not break, the sun does not rise, and treasures or

what is regarded as treasures are not removed, he incurs a patayantika offence.
A monk: Udayin or others of the same nature. Day does not break: It is still
dark. The sun does not rise: There are three kinds of the sun, the blue sun, the
yellow sun, and the red sun. Among them the blue sun shines blue, the yellow
sun shines yellow, and the red sun shines red. In this case the red sun is meant.
Treasures: Jewels, pearls, lapis lazuli – as before up to – conch shells. What is
regarded as treasures: All weapons connected with war, or all musical instruments
connected with Gandharvas. A Ks. atriya king whose head has been anointed: Even
a woman can be a Ks. atriya king whose head has been anointed if she is enthroned
by an enthronement ceremony of sprinkling water on the head. And whether one is a
Ks. atriya, a Brahmin, a Vaisya, or a S u
dra one can be a Ks. atriya king whose head has
been anointed if he is enthroned by an enthronement ceremony of sprinkling water
on the head. The threshold: There are three kinds of threshold, of a town, of a royal
house, and of a harem. Near the threshold: Close to it. Passes: Goes beyond. Except
for these reasons: Excluding these reasons. He incurs a pa  tayantika offence: [The
term pap  antika
 is glossed as] tortures, troubles, disturbs – as before.
In this case what kind of a fault is it? If a monk strides over the threshold of a
town believing that day has broken even though day has not yet broken, he commits
a dus. kr. ta offence. When day has not yet broken, if he is not certain [about it],
he commits a dus. kr. ta offence. When day has broken, if he believes it has not yet
broken, he commits a dus. kr. ta offence. If day has broken but he is not certain [about
it], he commits a dus. kr. ta offence. If day has not yet broken and a monk strides
over the threshold of a harem believing that day has not yet broken, he incurs a

patayantika offence. If day has broken, but he believes it has not yet broken, he
commits a dus. kr. ta offence. If day has broken, but he is not certain [about it], he
commits a dus. kr. ta offence.

In this way the text comments in detail on a rule governing the life

of monks; the rule itself is equivalent to the 83rd/84th pacattiya in the
Pali Vinaya, although the introductory story is different. Therefore it

seems clear that after the introductory story explaining why this rule has
been established, the compiler of the Divy. forgot to omit unnecessary
portions, namely the Vinaya specific details of the establishment of the
rule, going so far as to include even the commentary on the rule as
well. This is the most extreme case of sloppy borrowing that I have
come across.
All of the four examples quoted above of stories in the Divy. parallel
with the MSV contain formulae and idioms unique to the style of Vinaya
texts, and I suggest that this fact proves that the MSV is the source and
the Divy. the borrower. It is the regular pattern of Vinaya texts to place
before the promulgation of a rule an introductory story which purports
to explain the circumstances in, and the motivations for, which the
rule was established by the Buddha. From the point of narrative, the

introductory stories in the MSV are much more developed than those in
any other Vinaya. When the compiler of the Divy. borrowed his stories
from the MSV, so rich in interesting stories, he took in not only the
main stories but also, and no doubt through oversight, some expressions
proper to the Vinaya. As a result, we encounter Vinayic expressions
in some stories in the Divy. It is worth remarking that, despite the fact
that neither Huber nor Levi had access to the (still then unpublished)
Sanskrit text of the MSV, they both clearly saw this. Huber put it this
En revanche, soit paresse de copiste, soit respect du texte consacre, il a recueilli
ces contes sans y rien changer; il n’a m^eme pas juge a propos de supprimer les
passages qui n’ont plus de raison d’^etre, une fois detaches du cadre de l’original;
tant d’indolence et une telle absence de souci litteraire ont du moins pour nous
l’avantage de mettre hors de doute ses pieux emprunts.

His remark does not apply to all the stories in the Divy. since the
compiler skillfully removed unnecessary portions in some chapters
like the Svagat  
ana, as we have already seen. But his remarks
describe perfectly the case we have seen for example in a story like

the Makandhik  ana.
In addition, among the four examples examined here, versions of
the stories of the Kot. ıkarn. avad
  and the Svagat
ana  avad
 ava can be
traced in the Pali Vinaya where both stories are much simpler than
the versions found in the Divy. and MSV. It seems more reasonable to
conclude that the stories in the Pali Vinaya were handed down within
the Vinaya tradition, and that it was the MSV which later amplified the
simple stories, it being from the latter that the elaborated version was
taken over by the Divy. If the Divy were the source and the MSV the
borrower, we would be forced to the following conclusion: the stories
in the Pali Vinaya were adopted (of course, not necessarily directly) in
a non-Vinaya text, the Divy., and then from there borrowed by another
Vinaya text, the MSV. While in isolation such a thing might happen,
given the other available evidence, here such a convoluted scenario is
simply not reasonable. Moreover, our evidence does not stop here.


As we have seen, and as Huber long ago suggested, whether through

sloppiness or for other reasons, the compiler of the Divy. left traces of his
extraction of some stories. We have some particularly clear examples
in chapter 31 of the Divy., the second part of the Sudhanakumara- 

The key term in this case is purvavad 
yavat “and so on as

before, up to”, the phrase regularly used to abbreviate some clich e

or stock expression already previously mentioned, to avoid repetition.

An examination of the usages of purvavd 
yavat in chapter 31 of the
Divy. and its (as I will suggest) source in the MSV will help us to
understand the relation between the two texts. In this chapter there

are eight examples of the purvavad 
yavat. The original contexts of six

examples out of eight referred to by purvavad 
yavat exist quite far

from this chapter. The locations of purvavad 
yavat in Divy. chapter 31
and their original contexts are as follows.
 rvavad ya
The locations of pu  vat in chap. 31(A) and the original contexts of the
abbreviated expressions earlier in the Divy. (B)25

(A) (B)

i) 462.11 310.26ff.
ii) 463.12 461.17ff.
iii) 463.25–6 342.1ff.
iv) 463.27 344.25ff. ! 342.6ff. ! 341.1ff. ! 282.1ff.
v) 464.4 Not found
vi) 464.12–3 311.22ff.
vii) 464.15 344.6
viii) 465.8–9 348.3 ! 314.4ff.

It is quite unusual that the original contexts are found more than 100

printed pages before the positions of purvavad 
yavat. Since the intention
of the expression is to remind the reader (or hearer) of something recently
mentioned, such a distance raises our suspicions. Since this chapter
too has a parallel in the MSV, I examined the antecedents of the same
phrase in the MSV. The result is as follows:26
 rvavad ya
The locations of pu  vat in the MSV (A) and the original contexts of
the abbreviated expressions earlier in the MSV (B)

(A) (B)

i) 70.1 54.1ff. ! 21.5ff

ii) 71.7 69.1ff.
iii) 71.19 25.9ff.
iv) 71.20 25.12ff. ! Chinese (T. 1448 [XXIV] 15b4–8); missing in Skt. and Tib.
v) 72.4 57.19ff.
vi) 72.11 61.15ff. ! 59.7 ! 55.6 ! 46.7 ! 30.1 ! 23.2 ! Tib. (P 1030 Ge6b7)
vii) 72.14 61.17 ! 59.10–11 ! 55.9–10 ! 46.10ff.
viii) 73.14 62.15ff. ! 59.17 ! 55.6 ! 48.2 ! 24.5–6 ! Tib. (P 1030 Ge7b2)

Since the original contexts are found quite near the positions of

yavat, the usages of purvavad yavat in the MSV look more
natural. This gives the impression that the story in this chapter of Divy.
was extracted from the MSV. The real key to solve the problem, however,

lies in the fifth example of purvavad 
yavat, which has no antecedent

in the Divy. anywhere. The context in which the fifth purvavad 
appears runs this way: The Buddha preaches to five hundred peasants,
and then ordains them. Just after that, bulls kept by the peasants come
to the Buddha, and the text reads:
te ’pi balıvarda yoktran
. i varatran
. i ca chittva yena bhagavam  . s tenopasam  ah
. -krant .
/ upasam . kramya bhagavantam . s 
. / tes 
. . bhagavat a

tribhih. padarthair dharmo desitah. purvavad
yavad yatha gang
_ avat
ham  an
. samatsyakurm . am 
. yavad . svabhavanam
dr. .s.tasatyah . / 27
. gatah
Having broken their ropes and tethers, those bulls also approached the Blessed
One. Approaching [him], they stood crowding around the Blessed One. To them
the Blessed One preached the dharma with three principles – and so on as before,
up to: like when [he preached] to geese, fishes, and tortoises when [he] went across
the Ganges. Realizing the truth, they went back to their own abodes.

The reason why the passage underlined is awkward is, as the editors
of the Divy. point out in a footnote,28 that “this passage has never

occurred before, although it is introduced with the purvavad”. Moreover
the phrase “with three principles” is unclear because the abbreviation

with purvavad has removed its referent. Here we need to take into
consideration the parallel story in the MSV. It runs this way:
te valıvarda yoktran. i varatran
. i cchitva yena bhagavam  . s tenopasam  ah
. krant . /
. kramya bhagavatah. [padau sirasa vanditva]
 samantakena parivary  avasthit
 . /
. bhagavata tribhih. padair dharmo desitah. / purvavad
tes. am  
yavad yatha gang
_ avat
ham  an
. samatsyakurm . am 
. yavad . svabhavanam
dr. s. .tasatyah . gatah. / 29

As is clear, both texts run literally parallel word-for-word with only

slight differences, and the MSV version also has the troublesome passages
that occur in the Divy. But in the MSV the stories just preceding this
are all about the conversion of beings by the Buddha travelling through
different regions. In one of the stories preceding this parallel passage
in the MSV it says that the Buddha, while travelling, crossed over the
Ganges. Here is our key:
atha bhagavan  nadım . gang _ am
 avatırn. as tatra pam . cabhir ham 
. samatsyakurma sataih.
parivr. tah. pradaks. in. ıkr. tas ca / tes. am
 . bhagavata tribhih. padair dharmah. desitah. / iti hi
bhadramukhah . sarvasam . skar a antiyah. / sarvadharma anatm
 . / santam
 . nirvan . am

/ mamantike cittam abhiprasadayata  / apy evam
. tiryagyonim 
. viragayis. yatheti /

Crossing over the Ganges, the Blessed One was surrounded and circled on the right
by five hundred geese, fishes, and tortoises. To them the Blessed One preached
the dharma with three principles, saying “Gentle sirs, all conditioned states are
impermanent, all things have no self, [and] Nirvana is calm. Conceive faith in regard
to me and you will escape the state of animals.”

This passage tells us two things: First, “three principles” in the Divy.
means sarvasam  a anityah
. skar . , sarvadharma anatm
 . , and santam

. am
nirvan . . Second, the reference to the geese etc. in the Divy., which is

presented after the purvavad 
yavat, presupposes the fable in the MSV.
Given the word-for-word correspondence, this pattern shows that the
compiler of the Divy. extracted his story from the MSV. However, he
carelessly or blindly took in the unnecessary passage referring to the
geese etc. as well, although it does not make any sense once detached
from its original home, and that is the reason why the sentence does not
make any sense in the Divy. This is precisely the phenomenon described
by Huber as an uncritical borrowing from one text into another.

Our examination of the usage of purvavad 
yavat in chapter 31 again
leads us to the conclusion that the compiler of the Divy. seems to have
borrowed his story from the MSV.


The examination of contexts provides us some additional clues to solve

the problem of the relation between the two texts. Here I will investigate
the example of chapter 30, the first part of the Sudhanakumar avad
This chapter starts with the following phrase:
namah. punar api mahar  aja
 yan mayanuttarasamyaksam
. bodhipraptaye  ani
dan  dattani
 kr. tani
pun. yani  vıryaparamit
 a ca paripurit
 a anuttara samyaksam .  adhit
bodhir nar  a
tac chruyat  / 31
And again, great king, in order to attain the unsurpassed supreme enlightenment,
I had performed almsgiving, accumulated merit, and completed the perfection of
energy, but failed to attain the unsurpassed supreme enlightenment. Please listen to
the story.

In this way the chapter abruptly begins with the phrase “And again,
great king”32 that is surely improper for the opening of a story. Moreover
we can not figure out who “the great king” is. As strange as the prologue
is the epilog, which reads:
yan maya Manoharanimitta
 m_ balavıryaparakramo
 darsito dvada
 savars. an
. i nirargad. o
yajn~a is. .to na tena mayanuttar
 a samyaksambodhir
_ adhigata kimtu
_ tad dana m_
tac ca vıryam anuttaray  ah
. samyaksambodher
hetumatraka m_ pratyayamatraka
_ aram
atrakam / 33
For the sake of Manohara I had shown power, energy, and prowess and completely
performed sacrificial rites for twelve years, but through that I still could not attain
unsurpassed supreme enlightenment. The almsgiving or energy was a tiny cause, tiny
condition, and tiny provision for the attainment of unsurpassed supreme enlightenment.

Both the prologue and epilog are out of place and unclear in the
context of the Divy. Here also we have to return to the story in the
MSV and examine the context.

The parallel story to this chapter is located in the Bhais. ajyavastu

of the MSV34 and the story has its roots in one far preceding it. That
story35 is about a gift by Prasenajit: A poor woman, although stricken by
poverty, obtains a bit of oil and with this makes an offering of a lamp to
the Buddha. She then makes a vow in front of the Buddha, saying “May
I become a Buddha just like you in the future”. The Buddha predicts that
her vow will be realized. Knowing that, Prasenajit, making use of his
great wealth, treats the Buddha and his disciples with gorgeous meals for
a week and then makes offerings of hundreds of thousands of lamps and
garments to then. After that he asks the Buddha to give him the same
prediction as the woman received. But the Buddha admonishes him,
saying “unsurpassed supreme enlightenment is profound and difficult
to attain by just one offering, a hundred offerings, or even a thousand
offerings. You need to give more offerings, accumulate more merit, and
so on for the attainment of unsurpassed supreme enlightenment”. Then
Prasenajit asks the Buddha, weeping. “What offerings and merit should
be given and accumulated by those who are seeking unsurpassed supreme
enlightenment?” The Buddha tells several stories of his past lives where
he had given various offerings and accumulated large amounts of merit,
seeking unsurpassed supreme enlightenment, yet failing to attain it. The
lesson of these stories is the difficulty of attaining unsurpassed supreme
enlightenment even by the offerings and merit of the future Buddha, let
alone by the tiny offerings of Prasenajit. These admonitory stories with
a Jataka-like style start from the story of King Mandhata,36 and then
proceed to king Sudarsana,37 the brahmin Velama,38 the Cakravartin
Kusa,39 King Trisanku,
_ 40 the Cakravartin Mah adeva,41 the Cakravartin
Nimi, King Adar  samukha, and the Cakravartin Sudhana,44 ending

with the story of the prince Sudhana which alone we see in the Divy.
All these stories except for two, Mandhata and Adar  samukha, begin
with the opening phrase “And again, great king” and all end basically
with the same closing phrase: “The almsgiving was just a tiny cause,
tiny condition, and tiny equipment for the attainment of unsurpassed
supreme enlightenment”. It is clear that the aim of these stories is to
admonish Prasenajit, who wished to get a prediction of unsurpassed
supreme enlightenment from the Buddha by his insignificant offerings.
Only if we know this context can the opening and the closing phrases
in the Divy. make sense and can we tell who “the great king” is. It
is thus quite natural that some phrases look awkward once the story
is detached from its original place. This example once again strongly
supports the hypothesis that the stories in the Divy. were extracted from
the MSV.


The extremely short 15th chapter of the Divy., the Anyatamabhiks. u-

avadana, presents the story of a monk who worships a stupa.  Seeing
a monk worshipping a stupa,  the Buddha tells his disciples that the
monk has acquired great merit. Then Upali asks the Buddha, “In what
case does the great merit disappear?” To this question the Buddha
answers that if one gets angry, his merit disappears. The same story is
quoted in the Siks 45 This text is famous for its quotations

of a number of texts, and preceding the quotation it usually mentions

the title of the text from which the following passage is quoted. In
this case the passage is not quoted under the name Divyavad  ana.

is introduced as “aryasarv  ad
astiv  an
 . ca pat. hyate (This is cited by
the Sarvastiv  46 This does not explicitly mention the “Vinaya”

of the Sarvastivadins, so what is meant here could conceivably be

the Divyavad  of the Sarvastivadins, or some other text. But it is
rather likely, as Edgerton for example has already assumed, 47 that one
should understand the passage to be “from some unnamed work of
the Sarvastivada school, doubtless MSV : : : ”. Although this example
is itself far from clear, it does seem to confirm in a small way the
hypothesis already established above, that the MSV precedes, and is
the source of, the Divy.


Fully half the stories in the Divy. are found in the MSV, and certainly
not all of these stories provide us with valuable clues to solve the
problem of the relation between the two texts. The examples examined
in this paper, however, seem to lead us to the possibility that the other
stories in the Divy. were extracted from the MSV as well. Now, it
might be possible, in the abstract, to suggest that things could be more
complicated and that there are other possibilities. For example, we
might have to think of a common pool from which stories in both the
Divy. and the MSV were derived, or a scenario in which borrowing
took place at the stage of the respective sources of the two texts. (Note
that even if this were so, the ultimate source must still have been a
Vinaya, as some of the shared expressions prove.) However, seven
stories among the 19 parallel to the MSV were discussed in this paper,
and I believe I have shown strong evidence that these Divy. stories were
originally extracted from the MSV. The details of the relations between
the stories make it virtually impossible that we have to do here with a

common pool or common sources of both texts. Given this, it is more

natural to think that the other 12 stories common to the two texts were
also skillfully extracted from the MSV, although now without leaving
any such obvious traces of that extraction. We are led then to the clear
conclusion that the Divy. has borrowed its stories from the MSV.


This paper is a revised edition of my Japanese paper ‘Divyavad to
Konponsetsu issaiubu binaya (The relation between the Divyavad  ana
 and the

Mulasarv  adavinaya)’,
astiv  Bukkyo Bunka Kenkyu (Studies in Buddhism and Buddhist
Culture) 40 (1995): 9–22 and English paper ‘The Relation between the Divyavad 

and the Mulasarv  adavinaya:
astiv   ana
The Case of Divyavad  Chapter 31’, Indogaku

Bukkyogaku Kenkyu (Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies) 39–2 (1991): 17–19
(1038–1036). My friends Dr. Jonathan Silk and Prof. Dr. Gregory Schopen warmly
encouraged me to publish my findings in English, Silk kindly took care of the
correction of my English, and Schopen kindly offered a number of suggestions. Here
I would like to express my gratitude to both of them.
The following abbreviations are used here:

Divy.  ana.
Divyavad  Edited by E. B. Cowell and R. A. Neil, Cambridge,
MSV Mulasarvastivada Vinaya; Gilgit Manuscripts. N. Dutt, Srinagar, 1947,
Volume 3 (4 parts).
P Peking Edition of Tibetan Tripitaka.

Siks  asamuccaya;
Siks  Bibliotheca Buddhica 1. C. Bendall, St Petersburg,
T Taisho Shinshu Daizoky
Vin. Vinaya Pit. akam. H. Oldenberg, London, 1929–1964.
Ed. Huber (1906). ‘Les Sources du Divyavadana (Etudes de Litterature Bouddhique
V)’, Bulletin de l’Ecole Française d’Extre^me-Orient 6: 1–37.
Levi, S. (1907). ‘Les El  ements de Formation du Divyavadana’, T’oung Pao 8:
This was followed by Lamotte, E., Histoire du Bouddhisme Indien, des Origines
a l’ere 
 Saka, Bibliotheque du Museon 43, 1958; Reprint Publications de l’Institut
Orientaliste de Louvain 14 (Louvain: Universite de Louvain, Institut Orientaliste,

1976): 758. See also ‘Vajrapan. i en Inde’, Melanges de Sinologie offerts a Monsieur

Paul Demieville. 
Bibliotheque de l’Institut des Hautes Etudes Chinoises 20 (Paris:
Presses Universitaires de France, 1966): 124–125.
Luders, H. (1926). Bruchstucke der Kalpanaman  . d. itika des Kumaral
Sanskrit-texte 2 (Leipzig: Deutsche Morgenlandische Gesellschaft): 77–132.
Shackelton Bailey, D. R. (1950). ‘Notes on the Divyavadana I’, Journal of the
Royal Asiatic Society 3–4: 166–184; 166–167.
Przyluski, J. (1929). ‘Fables in the Vinaya-Pitaka of the Sarvastivadin School’,
Indian Historical Quarterly 5: 1–5.
Ishigami, Z. (1956). ‘Purn. avadana ni tsuite (On the Purn  . avad

Bukkyogaku Kenkyu (Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies) 2–2: 137–138.
See Hiraoka, S. (1996). ‘Kot.ıkarn. a no Gakikai-henreki-monogatari (An annotated
Japanese translation of the Sron . . .  ana
 in the Divyavad  ana)’,

Bukkyo-gakkai kiyo (The Bulletin of the Association of Buddhist Studies) 4: 43–
93, for a complete translation and detailed notes. See further Hiraoka, S. (1994).
‘Divyavad  dai-issho no Bunkengakuteki mondaiten: Konponsetsu issaiubu binaya
to no hikaku’ [Some philological problem points in Divy chpt. 1: a comparison with
the MSV], Indogaku Bukkyogaku  Kenkyu (Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies)
42–2: 136–141.
Divy. 21.16–21. Cf. MSV iv, 189.14–18, Vin. i, 197.18–198.10.
MSV iv. 189, note 4, confirmed in the Tibetan in the Derge (266a6) and Peking
(250a3) editions.
It is of course also possible that this is only a transmissional error in the tradition
of the Divy. manuscripts. The difficulty and probable corruption of the passage has
been noted by the editors of the Divy. on page 704. – JAS.
Cf. Hiraoka, S. (1996). ‘Machi no Sentakufu ni yoru Fusemonogatari (The
offerings of a city washerwoman: an annotated Japanese translation of the

Nagaravalambik  ana)’,
Bukkyodaigaku  okenky
usho Kiyo (Bulletin of the
Research Institute of Bukkyo University) 3: 68–88.
Divy. 84.21–23. Cf. MSV i., 84.1–2.
There are many even in the beginning of the MSV; MSV i, v9–10, vi7–8, 20–21,
vii1–2, 14–15, viii9–10, 12–13, ix1–2, 15, 20–xl, x17–18, etc.
Kenneth K. S. Ch’en discusses this chapter in detail in ‘A Study of the Svagata
Story in its Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, and Chinese Versions’, Harvard Journal of Asiatic
Studies, 9.3–4 (1947): 207–314.
Divy. 190.11–191.4. There is no parallel story to this in the MSV. Note that the
last sentence here is found also in the Cıvaravastu, MSV iii.142.13–14.

In the Pali Vinaya the 51st pacittiya.
P 1032 33a.
T. 1442 (XXIII) 859b28ff.
Vin. iv.108; T. 1428 (XXII) 671b21–672b19; T. 1421 (XXII) 59c26–60b23;
T. 1425 (XXII) 386c13–387a4; T. 1421 (XXII) 120b29–121c1; T. 1442 (XXIII)

It is not so hard to define jataka. That is, with regard to its style each story
basically consists of three parts, a present story, a story of the past (which plays the
main part) and the connection of both at the end. In terms of its contents it deals
with the stories of the Buddha’s former lives. By contrast, however, we can not

define avadana. Even in the Divy. there are so many kinds of stories called avadana,

some of which are just the same as jatakas both in their style and contents. But here
for convenience I would like to provisionally define avadana  as follows: Its style is

the same as that of the jataka, but the main part is not a life story of the past but a
present story. Avadanas deal with stories of karma by which all results are explained.
Thus we find the key word to be vipaka,  
which is not so important in the jataka. If
these conditions are satisfied, I would like to regard a story as an avadana  even if
the leading role is played by the Buddha. (Mostly the leading roles are played by
his disciples or Buddhist laymen and women). As for the definitions of Avadana, see

Sharma, S. (1985). Buddhist Avadanas-Socio-political economic and cultural study.
Delhi: Eastern Book Linkers: 3–7; Sugimoto, T. (1993). Shin Kokuyaku Daizoky  o;

Senjuhyakuengy  Tokyo: Daizo
o.  shuppan: 12–22.
Divy. 543.14–544.17. Cf. Vin. iv. 160.14–161.4. Although the rule is of course
found, there is no parallel story to this in the MSV.
Vin. iv. 157–164.
Huber, ‘Les Sources du Divyavadana’, p. 3.
The mark “ ” in this chart and the next means that the part is also omitted by

yavat and the final reference is the original.

Note too that as there is much more text on one printed page of the edition of
Divy. than on a page of MSV, the distances are even more different than a straight
comparison would make them seem.
Divy. 464.1–5.
Divy. 710.
MSV i, 72.1–5.
MSV i, 57.19–58.3.
Divy. 435.2–4.
The editors point out the confusion of the manuscripts in the footnote, saying
“Begins thus in BC: A omits namah. and writes devo ’pi (a page from end of xxix)
punar api continuously. D omits the whole tale. Beginning lost?”
Divy. 461.2–6.
MSV i, 123.15–159.16.

This is equivalent to the Nagalavalambik  ana,
avad  the 7th chapter of the Divy
we have already seen.
MSV i, 92.16ff.
MSV i, 97.11ff.
MSV i, 98.12ff.
MSV i, 99.10ff.
MSV i, 109.12ff.
MSV i, 111.17ff.
MSV i, 112.17ff.
MSV i, 114.7ff.
MSV i, 122.20ff.
Siks. 148.13–149.4.
In a footnote the editor of the text suspects this reading of the manuscript and

suggests reading aryasarv  adin
astiv  am . following the reading of its Tibetan translation
’phags pa thams cad yod par smra ba rnams kyi gzhung las kyang (and from
the text of the holy Sarvastivadins). [The MS of the Siks . 73b2 reads
aryasarvvastivadanan ca pat. hyate. There is no reason this should be objectionable
– JAS].
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953:
176, s.v. kan~cana-cakra.

 Bunkyo Daigaku