Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gradualism & Simultaneism

Gradualism & Simultaneism: 

“It is well known that the Chinese school of Buddhism called Ch’an (Zen in Japanese) was established at the beginning of the seventh century, a century later divided into two branches or opposing tendencies. These are generally denoted by the terms ‘gradualism’ (in the north) and ‘subitism’ (in the south). We also know that the same opposition was manifested in Tibet, at the end of the eighth century, in the form of a violent controversy, not between the Chinese proponents of the two tendencies, but between the Chinese subitists and their Indian adversaries, who were partisans of gradualism” (Stein 1987: 41). It has been, however, pointed out that the famous bSam-yas Debate between the proponents of gradualism (rim gyis pa) and simultaneism or subitism (cig char ba) should not been seen as between Chinese and Indian forms of Buddhism or between Chinese and Indian Cultures but rather between Sino-Tibetan and Indo-Tibetan forms of Buddhism. Also note: “Originally, and historically, ‘Simultaneism’ was possibly just as much complimentary with as antithetical to ‘Gradualism’ (Seyfort Ruegg 1989: 125).

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