Âryasangha

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Âryasangha (Sk.) The Founder of the first Yogâchârya School. This Arhat, a direct disciple of Gautama, the Buddha, is most unaccountably mixed up and confounded with a personage of the same name, who is said to have lived in Ayôdhya (Oude) about the fifth or sixth century of our era, and taught Tântrika worship in addition to the Yogâchârya system. Those who sought to make it popular, claimed that he was the same Âryasangha, that had been a follower of Sâkyamuni, and that he was 1,000 years old. Internal evidence alone is sufficient to show that the works written by him and translated about the year 600 of our era, works full of Tantra worship, ritualism, and tenets followed now considerably by the “red-cap” sects in Sikhim, Bhutan, and Little Tibet, cannot be the same as the lofty system of the early Yogâcharya school of pure Buddhism, which is neither northern nor southern, but absolutely esoteric. Though none of the genunine Yogâchârya books (the Narjol chodpa) have ever been made public or marketable, yet one finds in the Yogâchârya Bhûmi Shâstra of the pseudo-Âryasangha a great deal from the older system, into the tenets of which he may have been initiated. It is, however, so mixed up with Sivaism and Tantrika magic and superstitions, that the work defeats its own end, notwithstanding its remarkable dialectical subtilty. How unreliable are the conclusions at which our Orientalists arrive, and how contradictory the dates assigned by them, may be seen in the case in hand. While Csoma de Körös (who, by-the-bye, never became acquainted with the Gelukpa (yellow-caps), but got all his information from “red-cap” lamas of the Borderland), places the pseudo-Âryasangha in the seventh century of our era; Wassiljew, who passed most of his life in China, proves him to have lived much earlier; and Wilson (see Roy. As. Soc., Vol. VI., p. 240), speaking of the period when Âryasangha’s works, which are still extant in Sanskrit, were written, believes it now “established, that they have been written at the latest, from a century and a half before, to as much after, the era of Christianity”. At all events since it is beyond dispute that the Mahâyana religious works were all written far before Âryasangha’s time—whether he lived in the “second century B.C.”, or the “seventh .A.D.”—and that these contain all and far more of the fundamental tenets of the Yogâchârya system, so disfigured by the Ayôdhyan imitator—the inference is that there must exist somewhere a genuine rendering free from popular Sivaism and left-hand magic.

Source: H.P.Blavatsky - The Theosophical Glossary