The Mahaameghasuutra as an Origin of
an Interpolated Part of the Present Suvar.naprabhaasa

SUZUKI, Takayasu

1. There are several versions of the Suvar.naprabhaasa (Suv). All of them except the SuvC1 (T. No. 663), the oldest known version of this sutra, share a later-attached part, which appears in Chapter II Tathaagataayu.hpramaa.nanirde^saparivarta. As this part seems to be out of context, J. Nobel has suggested the possibility of its having been added by mistake from some other text.

2. Three main subjects of this interpolated part are "the eternity of tathaagatadharmakaaya," "showing as upaayakau^salya" and "relics (dhaatu) of buddha." It contains quotations from the Jaataka No. 425. To explicate this part may therefore shed some light on both the thought and the process of formation of the entire suutra. But no precise examination has been made of this part to date.

3. Almost parallel phrases corresponding to this interpolated part appear in the Mahaameghasuutra (MMS). Considering that the translator of the MMSC (T. No.387), Tan-wu Chen (385-433), also translated the SuvC1, there is every possibility that the phrases attached to the Suv already existed in the MMS when Tan-wu Chen was translating the Suv.

4. The main purpose of the MMS is to teach the eternity of tathaagata, while that of the Suv is to give instruction on the doctrine of confession (de^sanaa). "The eternity of tathaagatadharmakaaya", "showing as upaayakau^salya" and "relics (dhaatu) of buddha" all play a more central roll in the MMS than in the Suv. Furthermore, the Litsavi youth named Sarvalokapriyadar^sana, who appears in the Suv only in the interpolated part and has no influence upon the other parts of the Suv, is a main character in the MMS. We can thus tentatively conclude that the MMS is prior to, and indeed one of the origins of this interpolated part.

5. In this short paper, a comparison of the Suv and the MMS will provide evidence for this claim. Space allows for only two quotations, but a complete examination of the two texts is currently being prepared for publication.


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