Is the pitāpūtrasamāgama-sūtra, a Mahayana sutra or does it occur in the nikayas or somewhere else? What is the historically accepted date of this sutra? Does this sutra precede Nagarjuna or is it a post-Nagarjuna sutra?

1 Answer 1


The Pitāpūtrasamāgama-sūtra is most likely based on some earlier Abhidharmic writings from one or two centuries after the Buddha’s death. Multiple versions of this sutra have been recovered, perhaps the most famous one from the Ratnakuta collection. The dating of this collection is uncertain, but the collection is mentioned in the Nikāyasaṅgraha, a Theravadin text. It states the collection was compiled by the Caityaka, which had branched off the Mahāsāṃghika school by the 1st or 2nd century BCE.

Nagarjuna lived somewhere between 150-250 CE, so the text very likely predates him.

  • Thank you for the answer. Are you suggesting that the text was composed in the immediate period after branching off of Caityaka or earlier? Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 14:31
  • It's impossible to make that distinction based on the historical evidence. Also, consider the Ratnakuta is just one collection that contained a version of the Pitāpūtrasamāgama (albeit the one we can date most reliably AFAIK)
    – Codosaur
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 8:53
  • Is it possible that the Pitāpūtrasamāgama is post-nagarjuna or may be around the same time as him? You may wonder why I am asking this. I am trying to find out where the doctrine of two truths originally came from. Trying to find out where it was first explicitly propounded. Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 11:02
  • As I mentioned, historical evidence indicates the Pitāpūtrasamāgama is not post-Nagarjuna or from the same time. It is also not the origin of the doctrine of two thruths, early references to this concept can be found in early Indian Buddhism
    – Codosaur
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 14:34

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