A book I'm reading

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A book I'm reading

Postby chris98e » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:30 am

What's up everybody? I'm reading this book Buddha His Life and His Teaching by Walter Henry Nelson. I'm enjoying it despite that some of it seems made up to me. An example of the words that seem made up to me is in chapter 3 when the author talks about how the Buddha as a prince in his palace (sometimes I read that the Buddha wasn't even a prince but just a person of wealth) had to go through a series of contests with other men to win his wife. That part might be true. But what seems even more made up to me is that the author of the book tells the reader that one of the contests was who can stay on the horse the longest, and the Buddha won. What I'm really trying to say is that the author goes extremely into detail of the Buddha's life pre-elightenment which makes me wonder is it all true. Has anyone else on here, have that problem by reading Buddha His Life and His Teaching by Walter Henry Nelson? A lot of it is true like the Buddha before enlightment met five ascetics and the meeting of Alara Kalapa.
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Re: A book I'm reading

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:12 am

It doesn't matter how long you spend studying the texts and commentaries (from which most of these details probably derive), you will still be left wondering which parts are literally true and which are not.

To go beyond doubts about the Four Noble Truths everyone has to practice meditation and realise them within the body/mind process.

The rest can remain as history, mythology, or mystery — it doesn't really matter, and is hardly worth debating. I assume that someone who could reach the highest possible human attainment of Buddhahood could also stay on a horse just as long as he wished and excel any other human being in all manner of contests.
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Re: A book I'm reading

Postby appicchato » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:23 pm

It doesn't matter...


Says it all...
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Re: A book I'm reading

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:00 pm

The best way to learn about the Buddha's life and teachings is to just read the suttas, and to read them in abundance.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: A book I'm reading

Postby Samma » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:47 pm

I would not be all all surprised that the author just made stuff up, or included it because he saw it someplace. If it does not have references, it is not a academic work, and should not be taken too seriously. A lot of stuff is going to be myth anyway.

The primary sources for the life of Siddhārtha Gautama are a variety of different, and sometimes conflicting, traditional biographies. These include the Buddhacarita, Lalitavistara Sūtra, Mahāvastu, and the Nidānakathā. (wikipedia)

So, does anyone know what the best academic work is comparing source materials on the life of Buddha? Something that is the quality of Analayo's satipatthana? I'd read that, but admit, otherwise I don't really care much beyond a sketch.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/buddha.html
Anybody read these?
For more thorough accounts of the Buddha's life, please see these two excellent anthologies: The Splendour of Enlightenment: A Life of the Buddha (two volumes), compiled by Phra Khantipalo (Bangkok: Mahamakut Rajavidyalaya Press, 1976), and The Life of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Ñanamoli (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1992).
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Re: A book I'm reading

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:59 pm

If you are interested in knowing what is actually in the Pali Sutta/Vinaya, then this book is a very useful collection:
The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon
Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli
http://books.google.co.nz/books/about/T ... edir_esc=y

And if you have In the Buddha's Words, by Bhikkhu Bodhi:
http://www.wisdompubs.org/pages/display ... yValue=104
the second chapter strings together the relevant suttas to do with the Buddha's awakening in a coherent fashion (in much the same way as the Nanamoli book).

:anjali:
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Re: A book I'm reading

Postby chris98e » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:17 pm

appicchato wrote:
It doesn't matter...


Says it all...


It does matter a little. If something is inaccurate then that makes me wonder if any of the other material in the book is inaccurate. I'm still reading it because I've recognized many material in the book from other sources.
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