ME6102: Mahāyāna Buddhism

ME6102. Mahāyāna Buddhism (3 credits) (3-0-6)

This course aims at students without any previous knowledge of Mahāyāna Buddhism. It provides an introduction to Mahāyāna Buddhism in the widest sense. After a brief look at the development of Buddhism in India after the death of the Buddha, this course concentrates on the historical, philosophical and religious origins of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India. These include the Bodhisattva ideal; Buddhological developments; the philosophical systematizations of the Mādhyamaka and Yogācāra schools; the reasons for the dominant position of Mahāyāna Buddhism in China and an investigation on the features of the newly emerged Mahāyāna modernism (i.e., Japanese Buddhism).


Dear friends
I am interested in the Bodhisatva bhumis.
I came accross them through the Avatamaska sutra.
I am interested in Asangas bodhisatva bhumis do you have an electronic version or reference i may use. I searched amazon and there is no book under this name for sale.
Also I have read that in the chinese tradition there are 10 extra bhumis ¿ is there an n english version of such extra bhumis?
Thank you

dhdipa's picture

Translation of one section of the Book is available


I am not sure if the complete translation of the text is available at present. However, as far i am aware the Tattva-artha chapter of Asanga's Bodhisattva-bhumi has been translated by Janice Dean Willis. The Book title is "ON KNOWING THE REALITY: THE TATTVARTHA CHAPTER OF ASANGA'S BODHISATTVABHUMI".

With Metta,

Thank you

Dear Friend Thank you for the reference I will search it and ponder getting it.
Greetings from Mexico and my best wishes in this 2012
PS great picture

Professor della Santina notes

Dear friends:
I find professor della Santina Notes most didactic and his approach heartwarming and inspiring.
He is knowledgable of his field, and has a great passion and transmits devotion and interest in the subject matter.
I understand the notes are transcriptions from a lecture.
Perhaps they would warrant a further edition, to present them in a book format closer to current writing standards.
The content is so great that I think it is worth the effort.
Warm Regards

Dr. Peter Della Santina

I was very impressed by the lecture note and MP3 audio recording for Mahayana Buddhism conducted by Dr. Peter Della Santina. He is a great teacher and very knowledgeable in the Mahayana Buddhism. Much merit to him on all the awesome work contributed by him.

May Dr. Peter Della Santina reborn in pure land.

With metta,
gaik yen

Dr. Peter Della Santina

When I read the transcription from Dr. for the first time, I found that it is not really difficult to tell or to explain the origin of the Mahayana. I have the difficulty in telling or convince my Theravada friend about the origin of Mahayana Sutras.

It is partly I’m not knowledgeable in this field and I do not know how to use the language as skilful means to lead my friend step by step, just like what has been demonstrating by Dr. in his lectures.

Dr. is the lecturer who I respect very much; even I never meet him before.

with metta, FS

Gregory Hamilton Schmidt's picture

Studying the Mahayana from the Theravada Perspective

FS - your comment on trying to convince your Theravada friend about the Mahayana has had me thinking.

I can only imagine that if one is raised in the Theravada tradition or deeply believes in the Theravada as it is conventionally understood, one could perceive risks to anything more than a polite tolerance of the Mahayana. Anything more might be seen as being unfaithful to the orthodox tradition, even the simple admission that their might be some level of at least provisional validity to the Mahayana.

I can certainly respect this position - just as I respect the fact that because of the Theravada we have a comprehensive body of work on which to depend and base or practice, but I wonder if all of our perspectives would be different if the Mahayana simply no longer existed. If we were studying it from a historical perspective, there would be no risk to committing a perceived slight to the Therevada.

This however, would be unfortunate and would limit our ability to truly know and appreciate the Mahayana, not to mention negating all of the positive effect it has had on so many followers from so many countries in recent years alone.

mutual understanding

see your points from the perspective of Theravada.
I even like your conclusion.
I think the Buddhist Studies especially the Development of Buddhist Thoughts is vital for mutual understanding of the three major traditions of Buddhism today.

Kwan Hang Sin's picture

Planting Seed of Enlightenment

I agree so much with everyone, and love the notes of Dr. Peter Della Santina. While I read the notes, I kept thinking what a great merit it was to transcript his lecture and made his word eternal (I know it's impermanent after all ^^).

He did wrote a book, as lecture notes for Singaporean students I suppose, and it was the "Tree of Enlightenment." However, it was not as detail as his note, probably targeting students at more elementary level.

Dr. Santina's passion and discourse on Mulamadhyamakakarika let me understand something about it the first time in my life, and for that I am so grateful. His brief summary on all the schisms and councils was so much more concise and clearer than Prof. Akira Hirakawa (who was probably also too busy trying to convince us that the stupa community was the later Mahayana tradition). Dr. Santina did that by picking Samaya instead of the two Vamsas as the history of schism, and collapsed the 4-7 councils into one. This approach was not accurate but definitely "didactic", as mentioned by our fellow classmate.

I am sure he is now somewhere in this samsara continue his teaching as a bodhisattva, planting the seeds of enlightenment.

Paul Sin

Mahayana - Buddhist Councils

Here is a link to London Buddhist Vihara with an excellent in depth article on what occurred at each of the Buddhist Councils.

I hope that you will find time to look at it, and that it is as beneficial for you as I have found it to be.

pspitze's picture

A great find!

Thank so much for sharing this. Excellent reading and information pertaining to the councils. -PHIL


Regarding III Council's date. Quote :
" The Council was convened in 326 B.C. at Asokarama in Pataliputta."

Thus, how Emperor Asoka which was born 22 years later ( 304 BC ) can provide patronage for this III Council ?
According to other source III Council was conducted 250 BC , in the middle of Asioka's regin ( 272 - 232 BC ).