John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:06 pm

retrofuturist wrote: Are Buddhist beliefs "unjustifiable", for example?


Some, yes. And in fact no different than in some other religions.

Ex: Fish 5,000km in length. City existing for 100,000 of years... Rain being caused (always or sometimes?) by devas.

Also the idea of Kamma from past lives (some of them long time ago) , while being better than Theistic beliefs, is not much more provable/verifiable than God/Satan handing out the punishment.


Many people reject the Christian idea of hell with demons and boiling pots of water, etc, etc. And yet this is found in the suttas.

There are many truths in the suttas. But just because someone was right 9/10, it doesn't make him/her right the 10th time.
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Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:09 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Arguing that one cannot define “religion” in terms of a belief in god or in a soul because such beliefs are not found among all religions,


In suttas there is belief in Gods, hell beings, angels (devas). There is belief that death is not the end and one is reborn if one didn't follow Buddhist path and become an Arahant or a Buddha.

Ñāṇa wrote:(1) What are the fundamental characteristics of human beings and the chief problems they face?


Human being is made of 5 Khandhas... Chief problem is Dukkha caused by craving (taṇhā)...

Ñāṇa wrote:(2) What are the characteristics of nonhuman reality that are of greatest significance for human life?


If one does not get off samsara or becomes an Aryan, one can still be reborn in hell realms. So we are in very dangerous position.

Ñāṇa wrote:(3) Given the nature of man and the universe, how should men try to live?


Keep 5 (or more precepts), follow Noble Eightfold Path...

Ñāṇa wrote:(4) Given the answers to the first three questions, what practices will best develop and sustain in men an understanding of the nature of human and nonhuman reality and a dedication to the ideal of human life?
(5) In seeking true answers to the first four questions, what method or methods should be used?


Vipassana, Samatha... Sīla, dāna (especially to the Bhikkhus), samādhi...


So Buddhism fits ALL those categories. Just because it believes in many gods, and hell/heaven realms which are not eternal. it doesn't make it any less religious.
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Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:56 pm

Will the Real Buddha Please stand up? Was there even a real historical Buddha?

I am not 100% sure that there even was a historical Buddha. I tend to believe, but I have no evidence.

Few things:
1) Do we have physical proof of his, his bones? How do we know that they belong to him and not some ascetic in those times?

2)We don't even know his name. Buddha is a title = Awakened one. Gotama is a clan name. Sakyamuni = Sakyan sage. None of them are first names.

The Buddha is on the whole an allegorical fiction these days, and we don't really know if he was ever anything more. Close attention to our earliest textual authorities reveals no recorded first name. The name Siddhartha appears only in later sources. His supposed surname was from one of the oldest and most prestigious Brahmin lineages mentioned in the Ṛgveda: Gotama (=most cows) from which we get the Surname Gautama (meaning ‘related to [the ancestor] Gotama). This is not a name that Kṣatriya can have been called, let alone someone who was most likely entirely outside the Brahmanical varṇa system. where I copied this


3) His biography is contradictory. We know the popular story about a rich prince who at age of 29 sneaked with the help of Channa the charioteer from the palace at night leaving his kingdom, wife and day old child.

    Even in the prime of youth, with black hair, against the wish of mother and father, when they were crying with tearing eyes, I shaved head and beard, donned yellow robes leaving the household became homeless. mn36


Apparently in this story:
i) his mother was alive, she did not die when he was born.
ii) Buddha did not sneak out from palace at night. He became a monk in front of their eyes.
iii) No mention of wife and child
iv) He is describe to be in "prime of youth" a strange description of 29 year old in ancient world with much shorter life expectancy. Youth today, when lifespan is longer, means (16-24) if not teenager or even younger.

The text reinforces his young age with several terms: dahara, yobbana and paṭhama vaya. The word dahara means 'little, a young boy, a youth'. Buddhaghosa glosses it with taruṇa 'a tender young age, esp. a young calf'. The second word, yobbana, also means 'a youth'. The phrase paṭhama vaya means in 'the first stage of life', as opposed to middle age and old age. However the text also says he shaves off hair and beard (kesa-massuṃ ohāretvā) and this is common to all of the various narratives of the Buddha's going forth. Unless this is simply a stock phrase the youth must have passed puberty, and had a year or two to grow a beard. But not much more: if we were to describe a grown man as 'a boy' or 'a youth' it would seem awkward at best. I think we could say that this is describing a youth of 15 or 16. The tradition later made him 29, which is into middle-age by the standards of the day. link
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Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby gerard » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:48 am

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Last edited by gerard on Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby manas » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:59 am

Regarding this quote from earlier, not sure who originally said it:
In a sense, the modern Buddhist is trying to get at the more ancient and more traditional buddhism [or more correctly, Dhamma], and what we are finding is a Buddha who looks a lot more like a modern scientist.

- or could it rather be, that's what we want to find.
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Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:12 pm

manas wrote:Regarding this quote from earlier, not sure who originally said it:
In a sense, the modern Buddhist is trying to get at the more ancient and more traditional buddhism [or more correctly, Dhamma], and what we are finding is a Buddha who looks a lot more like a modern scientist.

- or could it rather be, that's what we want to find.


That is the problem. We start with preconceived notions and then search for the evidence in the suttas. What we like we accept, what we don't like we say "later additions!"

I can see how reasonably (older->newer)
a) mysticism -> technical stuff
and
b) technical stuff -> mysticism

could have developed.

Also, it does seem like suttas were modified at least slightly and gave us a "digest" of what was said. I just can't believe that real dialogue could go like it is in the suttas and how even a master debater who could make "pillars sweat" would be crushed so easily. In the online forums we see people much more tough then in the suttas. Of course "digest" begs the question: what was missing from the suttas? Would that missing stuff change our current beliefs about what the Buddha said or not?
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Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby daverupa » Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:19 pm

Alex123 wrote:That is the problem. We start with preconceived notions and then search for the evidence in the suttas.


That evidence, whatever it is, can be allowed to confirm, challenge, or rewrite those notions; coming to the table with baggage already is an obvious state of affairs, but it isn't a hopeless one. The texts are there for a reason: to take anyone, whatever their notions, and point them the right way.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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