Reading Mahāyāna Scriptures Conference, Sept 25-26, 2021
Dr. David Drewes
Associate Professor of Religion, Department of Religion, University of Manitoba
‘How Many Mahāyānas Were There?’
This paper examines Mahāyāna sūtra passages that advocate or attempt to legitimate the use of other Mahāyāna sūtras, exploring ways of reading and interpreting them. It attempts to show that the authors and users of these texts regarded themselves as participants in a single movement. Arguing against the old idea that Mahāyāna emerged in different forms based in multiple, separate communities, it suggests that Mahāyāna rather emerged as a single, cohesive, primarily textual movement without any specific community basis.