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shastra

'Shastra' (śāstra) is a Buddhist Sanskrit term that refers to an exegetical commentary on the Dharma teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni. It also refers to an independent treatise within Buddhism on a particular aspect of the Buddha Dharma.

The Three Explanations of Shastra

First, it is traditionally taught that shastras are recordings of interactive discussions and teachings by a Buddhist master such as Nagarjuna, Shantideva, Atisha, Tsongkapa or Hui Neng. For a Buddhist, shastras explain what is right or good and what is wrong or evil. Good is good and evil is definitely evil. One mustn't consider what is good as evil, nor should one consider what is evil as good. For a serious Buddhist practitioner such as the Sangha of Bhikshu monks and Bhikshuni nuns, religious cultivation is right and failing to cultivate the religious path is wrong.

The second topic that shastras discuss is what is deviant and what is proper. What is deviant, impure or immoral is decidedly deviant and what is proper, virtuous, pure or moral is certainly proper. A Buddhist disciple who has received the Five Precepts must not accept what is immoral and consider it to be proper, nor take what is proper and consider it to be improper. This is why there are shastra discussions between a Buddhist master and Buddhist disciples.

The third topic that shastras cover is the distinguishing between cause and effect. A cause is decidedly a cause and an effect is definitely an effect. One cannot say the a cause is an effect and that an effect is cause. For a Buddhist, the shastras teach one to make morally and philosophically correct distinctionsn and discriminations.

Shastras in Tibet

In the Buddhism of Tibet, most of the key shastras written by the famous Indian Buddhist masters were compiled into the Tripitaka collection called the Tengyur, or the “translated treatises”. In the Tengyur there are more than 225 volumes of shastras.

Alternate Translations

Quotes

The famous Indian Buddhist master Vasubandhu said: :“That which subdues all the enemies, one’s own afflictions, :And guards against future existence in the lower realms, :Is called a ‘treatise’, because it subdues and protects, :These two features are not found in other traditions.”

See Also

Buddhism


'Shastra (śāstra) is a Buddhist Sanskrit term that refers to an exegetical commentary on the Dharma teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni. It also refers to an independent]] treatise within Buddhism on a particular aspect of the Buddha Dharma.

The Three Explanations of Shastra

First, it is traditionally taught that shastras are recordings of interactive discussions and teachings by a Buddhist master such as Nagarjuna, Shantideva, Atish, Tsongkapa or Hui Neng. For a Buddhist, shastras explain what is right or good and what is wrong or evil. Good is good and evil is definitely evil. One mustn't consider what is good as evil, nor should one consider what is evil as good. For a serious Buddhist practitioner such as the Sangha of Bhikshu monks and Bhikshuni nuns, religious cultivation is right and failing to cultivate the religious path is wrong.

The second topic that shastras discuss is what is deviant and what is proper. What is deviant, impure or immoral is decidedly deviant and what is proper, virtuous, pure or moral is certainly proper. A Buddhist disciple who has received the Five Precepts must not accept what is immoral and consider it to be proper, nor take what is proper and consider it to be improper. This is why there are shastra discussions between a Buddhist master and Buddhist disciples.

The third topic that shastras cover is the distinguishing between cause and effect. A cause is decidedly a cause and an effect is definitely an effect. One cannot say the a cause is an effect and that an effect is cause. For a Buddhist, the shastras teach one to make morally and philosophically correct distinctionsn and discriminations.

Shastras in Tibet

In the Buddhism of Tibet, most of the key shastras written by the famous Indian Buddhist masters were compiled into the Tripitaka collection called the Tengyur, or the “translated treatises”. In the Tengyur there are more than 225 volumes of shastras.

Alternate Translations

See Also

Buddhism


with the Six Ornaments and Two Supreme Ones]]Shastra (Skt. śāstra; Tib. བསྟན་བཅོས་, tenchö; Wyl. bstan bcos) — a treatise or commentary upon the words of the Buddha (Tib. བཀའ་, ka; Wyl. bka’). In Tibet, many of the most important shastras composed by the great Indian masters of the past were compiled into a collection known as the Tengyur, or translated treatises, comprising around 228 volumes (depending on the edition).

Commentary

The Sūtra Requested by Devaputra says:

As this says, all the excellent teachings of the Dharma can be included within two categories: the speech of the victorious Buddha and the treatises which provide commentaries on its intended meaning.

Vasubandhu said:

:That which subdues all the enemies, one’s own afflictions, :And guards against future existence in the lower realms, :Is called a ‘treatise’, because it subdues and protects, :These two features are not found in other traditions.

:–Well Explained Reasoning

Patrul Rinpoche says:

:There are four obstacles which can prevent those with understanding from taking interest in a particular treatise. They are:

:#thinking that it is devoid of any purpose, :#thinking that it has a purpose but that one would never be able to accomplish it, :#thinking that although possible it is not something an honourable person would wish to pursue, or :#thinking that even though it is honourable, there are other easier methods or that there is a lack of connection (between the methods and the goal).

:In the present case, if we take each of these in turn, then:

:#unlike a treatise on dentistry for crows, for example, generally there is some purpose to it. :#Furthermore that purpose is achievable, so it is not like a treatise on stealing the crown jewel from the naga king. :#Not only that, but the aim, which is achievable, is also a sublime aim for individuals to pursue, so it is not like a treatise on how to marry your mother. :#Then, it is not that the methods for accomplishing this supreme objective bear no relation to what is in the treatise, as in the case of [a text about] sacrificing animals in order to gain rebirth in the higher realms.

::–From An Overview of The Ornament of Clear Realization, the Treatise of Essential Instructions on Transcendental Wisdom

shastra.txt · Last modified: 2015/01/27 12:06 (external edit)