A comparison of the Chinese and Pāli versions of the Bala Saṃyukta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on “Powers” (Bala).

Mun-keat Choong

Abstract


This article first briefly examines the textual structure of the Bala Saṃyukta(Li Xiangying) of the Chinese Saṃyuktāgama (Taishō vol. 2, no. 99) in conjunction with its Pāli parallel. Then it compares the main teachings contained in the two versions. These two versions of a collection on the subject of ‘powers’ (bala) represent two different early Buddhist schools within the Sthavira branch. This comparative study of them focuses on the composition of the usual set of five powers, on various other sets of powers, and on disagreements in some teachings about powers presented in the two versions. It reveals similarities but also significant differences in both structure and doctrinal content, thus advancing the historical/critical study of early Buddhist doctrine in this area.

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