the Vaipulya Sutras or ‘expanded discourses’. They were translated into
Chinese, arid from Chinese into Japanese and Tibetan, and several sutra
works exist only in these versions, the originals being lost.
    The task of codifying the Mahayana doctrines, and much original
theorising on the subject, is associated with such scholars as Nagarjuna (100
AD), founder of the Madhyamika school and compiler of several Mahayana
works; Asvaghosha (100 AD), author of the Buddhacharita, a poetic
biography of Buddha, and probably also the author of the Sraddhotpada (The
Awakening of Faith), a Mahayana classic, besides other notable works; and
the brothers Asanga and Vasubandhu (500 AD), founders of the Yogachara
school, and authors of numerous Mahayana texts. Some principal sutra
works are as follows:
    1. Prajna-paramita It is a class name for a number of sutras which
        deal especially with the notion of sunya or nothingness. According to
        it, beyond this illusory and impermanent world is a new world of
        freedom, which one can attain with the aid of prajna or intuitive and
        transcendental wisdom.
    2. Saddharma-puhdarika (250 AD) ‘The Lotus of the Good Law’,
        also called the Lotus Sutra, has been described as the Bible of half-
        Asia. It is of unknown authorship and is the most important of all the
        sutras. It is a sermon delivered by a transfigured and glorified Buddha
        on the Gridharkuta mountain to an august assembly. Though the
        tathagat saves mankind by the use of different expedients, it is only
        through the one vehicle as set forth in the Lotus Sutra that salvation
        can come to all creatures.
    3. Avatamsaka Supposed to be the teaching conveyed by Buddha
        three weeks after his enlightenment, the main doctrine taught in this
        sutra is that of ‘interpenetration’; everything in the world being
        interpenetrated by everything else, and mutually conditioning and
        being conditioned. The twentyfifth chapter expounds the doctrine of
        parinamana, the ‘transference’ of merit, whereby one’s merit can be
        turned over for the salvation of others. Thus the bodhisattvas are able
        to save men through the excess merit acquired by them.
    4. Gandhavyuha It is actually a part of the above Avatamsaka Sutra,
        but is often called a sutra  in its own right. It describes how Buddha