Reminder from last issue:
Indian Buddhism after Buddha's Nirvana
In the beginning, Asanga's elder brother, Vasubandhu, believed in doctrines of the Small Vehicle and slandered the Great Vehicle. In order to convert him, Asanga pretended to be seriously ill. When his elder brother visited him in his illness, Asanga encouraged him to recite the Mahayana sutras. As soon as Vasubandhu read them, he realized that he had made a mistake in slandering the Mahayana, and was very regretful. Asanga urged him to reform, and to propagate the Mahayana to compensate for his past faults. From then on, Vasubandhu took on the responsibility of propagating the Great Vehicle, and actively spread the Mahayana teachings. He wrote the Kosa Shastra and Vijnaptimatra Shastra expounding the doctrine of Consciousness-Only. Because he wrote five hundred Mahayana shastras and five hundred Theravada shastras, he has been called "author of a thousand shastras."
After the propagation efforts of these great Virtuous Ones, the Mahayana became popular all over India, and the Theravada became secondary. So this can be considered the period of Mahayana dominance and Theravada subordinacy.
III. The Period of Esoteric Predominance and Exoteric Subordinacy
About one thousand two hundred years after the Buddha's Nirvana, the Mahayana was divided into two sects in India and the Theravada was in decline. At that time Dragon Wisdom Bodhisattva mingled the esoteric mantras into the Indian customs, so that mantras gradually became well-known. Both the Mahayana and Theravada were dependent upon mantras in their practices. In later years, there was even a heretical sect of the Esoteric School which practiced dharmas of impurity, thus leading the Esoteric School on the road to extinction.
Due to the internal lack of discipline, the revival of Brahmanism, and the invasion of Islam, Indian Buddhism declined little by little, vanishing altogether at the end of the thirteenth century. It was only in the nineteenth century that Buddhism came back into India through Sri Lanka and underwent a gradual revival. Therefore, in the latter period of Indian Buddhism, the esoteric mantras were predominant while the exoteric teachings became secondary.
To be continued