chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

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

chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby frank k » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:57 pm

I've heard Japanese scholars have done work in establishing the chronology of pali suttas. Is any of this available online? Ideally, one could look up a sutta by citation or sutta title, such as MN 111, or "angulimala", etc.
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(section below dotted line may be edited frequently to include related links and definitions)
thread on mn 86 angulimala http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=16630&start=0

Since I'm pragmatic and concerned about liberation only, whenever I refer to "authentic" or "real sutta", it's with that motivation in mind. Examples of what I would consider authentic:
1) some composite suttas, even if they are stitched together, as long as they're composed of "authentic" pieces, are coherent and keeping in principle with the Buddha's teaching, I would consider authentic
Last edited by frank k on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby IanAnd » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:58 pm

frank k wrote:I've heard Japanese scholars have done work in establishing the chronology of pali suttas. Is any of this available online?

Good question, Frank. I'll be interested to see who responds to this and with what evidence.
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby Sylvester » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:26 am

frank k wrote:I've heard Japanese scholars have done work in establishing the chronology of pali suttas. Is any of this available online? Ideally, one could look up a sutta by citation or sutta title, such as MN 111, or "angulimala", etc.



I don't think you have such a tool online. If it did exist, Ven Analayo would not have conceded defeat in accessing the Japanese literature, of which he does not read.

You'd probably have to trawl through every issue of the IBK (Indogaku Bunkkyogaku Kenkyu/Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies) for all the little nuggets scattered therein. You can read them here (from Vol 34(2) onwards) -

http://ci.nii.ac.jp/vol_issue/nels/AN00018579_en.html

If you refer to Nakamura's "Indian Buddhism: A Survey With Bibliographical Notes", pp.27-28, most of the IBK materials on sutta chronology are in the earlier volumes, not available in the above site. There are other journals cited by Nakamura, but I've not checked if these are online, besides the IBK.
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:28 am

frank k wrote:I've heard Japanese scholars have done work in establishing the chronology of pali suttas. Is any of this available online? Ideally, one could look up a sutta by citation or sutta title, such as MN 111, or "angulimala", etc.
The Japanese have done tons of work on Indian Buddhism, but very little of it is available in English.
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby frank k » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:41 pm

Thanks Sylvester and T.B. Hopefully someday the online searchable database of this will happen. In the meantime, I guess we'll have to just research specific suttas individually.
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:38 am

Hi Frank,

frank k wrote:I've heard Japanese scholars have done work in establishing the chronology of pali suttas. Is any of this available online? Ideally, one could look up a sutta by citation or sutta title, such as MN 111, or "angulimala", etc.


Here's an overview by Ven. Huifeng:
http://dhamma.ru/forum/index.php?topic= ... 73#msg5373

In Chinese:

Paññāsikhara wrote:印順法師
Venerable Yin Shun
『原始佛教聖典之集成』
Compilation of the Early Buddhist Canon

and
『說一切有部為主的論書與論師之研究』
Research into the Sastras, Texts and Masters of the Sarvastivada and Related Schools

In Chinese, but both excellent books!

If you want the short summarized story, then try
『印度佛教思想史』
History of Indian Buddhist Thought


Pande's book: http://books.google.com/books?id=__1kiA ... frontcover
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby frank k » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:20 pm

Thanks Dmytro. I browsed the online book "studies in origins of buddhisn" and jotted down a few notes (which I may add to as I have time and interest)

http://books.google.com/books?id=__1kiA ... &q&f=false

MN early
-----------------------------------------------------------------
mn 7 vatthupama
mn 17
mn 24
mn 29
ambalatthikarahulovada
mn 63
mn 108
mn 144


mn late
-----------------------------------------------------------------
mn 8
mn 12 mahasihanada "lengthy as it is exaggerated"
mn 28
mn 33
mn 35
mn 41, 42
mn 43, 44 "tendencies of scholastic systemization"
mn 50
mn 64
mn 75
mn 77
mn 81
mn 90
mn 91 32 marks of great man
mn 93
mn 94
mn 102(?) (not given heading but mentioned in mn94
mm 109
mn 111
mn 112
mn 115
mn 116
mn 120
mn 123

mn 129-130
mn 131-134
mn 132
mn 134
mn 135
mn 137
mn 141
mn 142
mn 143

composites:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
mn #'s 3, 22, 19, 38, 60, 62, 66, 139, 72, 75, 107, 125,... more

sutta 86 "contains the legend of angulimala, the authenticity of which remains an open question"
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby Kamran » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:33 pm

The Japanese Numata Foundation is sponsoring the translation the Madhyama-agama to English with Analayo as the editor:

"The translation of the Madhyama-āgama, to be published as part of the Numata series, began in 2006 under the chief editorship of Marcus Bingenheimer, with Bhikkhu Anālayo and Rod Bucknell as co-editors. By now, the first volume containing translations of chapters 1 to 6 has been completed and should be coming out soon. In the meantime, due to his many other work commitments Marcus Bingenheimer has requested Bhikkhu Anālayo to take over the role of chief editor for the remaining two volumes to be translated. The present plan is to complete volume 2 (chapters 7 to 12) and volume 3 (chapters 13 to 18) by the end of 2014.

In addition to the above project, Bhikkhu Anālayo's collected papers with comparative studies of single Madhyama-āgama discourses has been published as:

- Madhyama Āgama Studies, Taipei: Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation, 2012 "
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby Sylvester » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:33 am

Hi frank

Re Pande, I would just remark that when he commented on the MN, and specifically on MN 43 and MN 44, he did not seem to have done a comparative study with its Chinese parallel(s). Ven Analayo points out that MN 43 and MN 44 are very jumbled when compared with their parallels, ie it is easier to treat both suttas as one aggregated parallel to another 2 Chinese parallels that serve as another aggregated parallel. Practically all of the doctrinal propositions in the 2 Pali texts can be found in the Chinese. This lends weight to the argument that both collections probably stemmed from an earlier Ur-stock, but simply ended up being organised differently. I don't particularly agree with Pande's method, since signs of stylisation only prove when that redaction closed. It is unable to say anything on the provenance of the concepts.

Ven Analayo's Comparative Study of the MN would be a better investment than Pande, since Ven A looks at all attested primary material in Pali, Skt, Chinese, Prakrit, Tibetan. The only bits he did not translate were the Khotanese and Tocharian texts, which he does not read.
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby frank k » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:01 pm

Thanks for the suggestions Sylvester. I will check out Anālayo's book. Just the little I skimmed from Pande's book, I thought some of the reasoning seemed odd. For example, rathanvinita(the sutta vism. uses for the 7 chariots representing 7 stages of purification model) , because it is a more unique sutta, Pande seemed to think that made it more likely to be authentic compared to suttas that seemed edited to conform to standard and familiar formulas. My reasoning was exactly the opposite - that the suttas that used many stock passages and formulas were that way because the arahants at the council decided they were in essence similar enough to not warrant recording and memorizing differences in detail that were not spiritually relevant.
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Re: chronology and authenticity of pali suttas

Postby Sylvester » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:56 am

frank k wrote:For example, rathanvinita(the sutta vism. uses for the 7 chariots representing 7 stages of purification model) , because it is a more unique sutta, Pande seemed to think that made it more likely to be authentic compared to suttas that seemed edited to conform to standard and familiar formulas.


Hi frank

I think Pande is basing this on the principle "lectio difficilior potior" - the more difficult reading is stronger. If I recall correctly, Ven Analayo also thinks MN 24 is old, given that it has at least 2 Chinese parallels, both unimaginatively titled 七車 經 - sutra on seven chariots!

The listing of 7 is probably old enough and well-known enough to have made its way into the DN 33 formalisation, but with some variation under the 9 states to be developed (with paññāvisuddhi and vimuttivisuddhi being added to the 7).
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