chapter  3
6 Pages

. Buddhist Genesis and the Tantric Tradition

The Buddhist genesis story is very ancient, being found in the Pali scriptures besides the northern Buddhist accounts. It is mentioned in all three branches of Buddhist scriptures, Siitra, Vinaya, and Abhidharma. A Sanskrit version entitled Rajava:rnsa (royal lineage) exists in the Maha­ vastu. In the Abhidharma literature the account is given in the description of vivarta (differentiation of the beings due to evolution of the inferior worlds) as contrasted with saf?'lvarta (consubstantiation of the beings due to dissolution of the inferior worlds) . At least in later Buddhist accounts, the legend does not have the importance that the Biblical Genesis has in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Our treatment suggests that in the earliest Buddhism it may well have had a much greater importance than it had later on.