Jowita Kramer: "Sthiramati and his Proofs of the Validity of the Mahāyāna"
This talk focusses on the scriptural corpus of Sthiramati, a pivotal scholar in the development of Indian Yogācāra thought in the 6th century. So far Sthiramati’s work has received far less attention from modern scholars than the treatises of other Yogācāra authors like Asaṅga or Vasubandhu—probably because of the perception of Sthiramati as a commentator and not as an original author and thinker in his own right. However, as I have tried to show in a recently published paper, commentators like Sthiramati have shaped the doctrinal development of the Yogācāra tradition by introducing new concepts and reorganizing previous teachings to a similar extent as “independent” authors like Vasubandhu. In the first part I will introduce the seventeen works ascribed to Sthiramati and question their authorship. The second part of the paper will be mainly devoted to the two commentaries *Sūtrālaṃkāravṛttibhāṣya and Madhyāntavibhāgaṭīkā and discuss a number of passages in which proofs of the authenticity of the Mahāyāna are mentioned. The arguments adduced in these two works will be compared with a passage of the Mahāyānasaṃgraha’s first chapter, in which ten topics not being taught in the Śrāvakayāna are explained.
Dr. Kowita Kramer is an associate professor of Indology at the Institut Fur Indologie Und Tibetologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen