Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

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

Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby Benjamin » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:08 pm

Hello all,

I read in a book at my library today titled The Wisdom of the Early Buddhists, by Geoffrey Parrinder. In the first few pages, he mentions the Dhammapada being the earliest collection of the sayings of the Buddha found to this day. Is there any evidence to back this up? Being more of a newcomer to the specifics of the Pali Canon, I figured I'd be better off asking the more experienced members.

Likewise, I found the same thing mentioned here : http://www.austincc.edu/adechene/Dhammapada.pdf
Right at the top it is written:
The Dhammapada is the earliest collection of the sayings of the Buddha...


Just curious if these are more vague references to the Pali Canon as a whole beings the earliest texts, or if the Dhammapada is actually the earliest known writing found.

Much thanks,

Benjamin
"Don't believe everything you read."
-The Buddha
User avatar
Benjamin
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:41 am
Location: The United States

Re: Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:54 pm

What I recollect is that the Dhammapada is among the early texts; it can be held alongside other early texts in the Khuddaka Nikaya such as the Sutta Nipata, Thera-Theri-gatha, Udana, and so forth. It is a popular candidate for being very early due to the verse structure (metre, etc.), but it's possible that roughly half of it reflects a textual stock common within the pre-Buddha Wanderer tradition; splicing Buddhist stanzas (often enough found in the sagatha-vagga of the Samyutta Nikaya) together with parts of that body of work results in the Dhammapada.
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4241
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:51 pm

Or, the Dhammapada is a Buddhist response to the Bhavagaid Gita which is a response to Buddhism (and Jainism), which puts the Dhammapada out there as being a later compilation. The earliest texts are generally regarded as being found in the Suttanipatta.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19759
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby Benjamin » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:25 pm

Thanks to both of you for mentioning the Sutta Nipatta, i'll read further into it.

Tilt, is the idea of the Dhammapada being a response to the Gita your own, or is there somewhere that I can read further into that? Very interesting.


Thank you,
Benjamin
"Don't believe everything you read."
-The Buddha
User avatar
Benjamin
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:41 am
Location: The United States

Re: Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:19 pm

The Atthakavagga may be one of, if not the, oldest remaining Buddhist texts as well.

http://www.nippapanca.org/articles/Atth ... obhasa.pdf
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby Anagarika » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:34 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:The Atthakavagga may be one of, if not the, oldest remaining Buddhist texts as well.

http://www.nippapanca.org/articles/Atth ... obhasa.pdf



Lonesome Yogurt, I read some of the attached Sutta AṬṬHAKAVAGGA, and it has an almost poetic presentation, different than the "thus have I heard" suttas. Is the Atthakavagga thought to be a contemporaneous 'poetic' recitation of Buddhavacana, or is it something written by a first or second council monk trying to capture the essence of the foundational teachings?

It's beautiful stuff, by the way.
User avatar
Anagarika
 
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:25 pm

Re: Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:20 pm

Benjamin wrote:Thanks to both of you for mentioning the Sutta Nipatta, i'll read further into it.

Tilt, is the idea of the Dhammapada being a response to the Gita your own, or is there somewhere that I can read further into that? Very interesting.
It is discussed at some length in David Kaluphana's A PATH OF RIGHEOUSNESS -- DHAMMAPADA, which is a good translation, with good notes and an extensive glossary of the Pali. It is, alas, no longer in print and not easy to find.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19759
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:29 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:Lonesome Yogurt, I read some of the attached Sutta AṬṬHAKAVAGGA, and it has an almost poetic presentation, different than the "thus have I heard" suttas. Is the Atthakavagga thought to be a contemporaneous 'poetic' recitation of Buddhavacana, or is it something written by a first or second council monk trying to capture the essence of the foundational teachings?

It's beautiful stuff, by the way.

It is definitely poetry, but it is not contemporary at all. The original Pali probably survived so long without much change because of its poetic structure; it's a lot easier to add a word here or a sentence there to prose than it is to do the same to poetry. The Udana says that the Atthakavagga was spoken by a monk to the Buddha and that the Buddha approved, but probably it's just a very early work of Buddhist literature that contains perhaps a kernel of direct quotation from the Buddha himself.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Is the Dhammapada the earliest Buddhist text found to date?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:28 pm

Benjamin wrote:Thanks to both of you for mentioning the Sutta Nipatta, i'll read further into it.

Tilt, is the idea of the Dhammapada being a response to the Gita your own, or is there somewhere that I can read further into that? Very interesting.

I have heard this before also but only heard no reference sorry.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:The Atthakavagga may be one of, if not the, oldest remaining Buddhist texts as well.

http://www.nippapanca.org/articles/Atth ... obhasa.pdf

That is the fourth part of the Sutta Nipata. chapter of eights. and is mentioned in the Suttas on occasion.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5826
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin


Return to Early Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests