Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

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

Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby Tex » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:49 am

Stumbled across this regarding the DN:

Recent scholarship suggests that a distinguishing trait of the Digha Nikaya may be that it was "intended for the purpose of propaganda, to attract converts to the new religion." 1


The footnote is:

1. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Somerville, Mass.: Wisdom Publications, 2000), p.31, referring to Joy Manné's "Categories of Sutta in the Pali Nikayas and Their Implications for Our Appreciation of the Buddhist Teaching and Literature," Journal of the Pali Text Society 15 (1990): 29-87.


From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sutta.html

I tried briefly to find the Joy Manne article online, but was unsuccessful.

So, is this a common conclusion, that perhaps part of the Digha Nikaya's purpose was to attract new Buddhists?

(If this is a silly question I apologize, I just haven't heard anything like this before. Thanks in advance for any insight.)
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:50 am

Greetings Tex,

I'll move this to the General Theravada section, because it's not really relevant to Classical Theravada.

In the meantime, while you wait for some responses, check out the following thread...

Chronology of the Pali Canon
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=530

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If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby Tex » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:52 am

Would you believe I started typing it in the General Forum and then changed my mind?

:smile:

Thanks for moving.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby Individual » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:42 am

According to that citation, Bhikkhu Bodhi mentions this in pg. 31 of his translation (from Wisdom Publications) of the Samyutta Nikaya. Anyone who has this translation, please look at pg. 31 and see if he says anything more about it.

Volume 15 of the PTS journal, in 1990, when this was mentioned, can also be bought here for 22 pounds (whatever that is in dollars).
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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:55 am

Bhikkhu Bodhi mentions this in several places. Perhaps "proaganda" is too strong. The point seems to be that Suttas that would appeal to non-Buddhists tend to be in the DN. The MN and SN contains Suttas that would be mostly of interest for Monks to study and the AN has helpful lists that a monk might select from when giving Dhamma talks.

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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby Individual » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:09 am

mikenz66 wrote:Perhaps "proaganda" is too strong.

I would definitely say so. Propaganda, in English, has strong connotations of radicalism and proselytizing. It's largely associated with the "propaganda" of Marxism and Fascism, the far-left and far-right.
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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby Element » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:07 am

Tex wrote:
Recent scholarship suggests that a distinguishing trait of the Digha Nikaya may be that it was "intended for the purpose of propaganda, to attract converts to the new religion." 1

The DN has attracted its fair share of criticism. In reading it, one can discern where it diverges from the other collections. In it is also the impression of the beginnings of the Mahayana style suttas, where all of the various deities are below the Buddha. In brief, more than enough view much of the DN was not actually spoken by the Buddha.
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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby Individual » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:57 pm

Element wrote:In reading it, one can discern where it diverges from the other collections.

Could you or anyone else give specific examples?
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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 11, 2010 10:58 am

Greetings,

Does anyone know of any other scholars who make similar claims regarding the Digha Nikaya?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Digha Nikaya = Buddhist marketing??

Postby brian.ananda » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:29 pm

The Digha Nikaya is a gradual teaching, much similar to the Majjhima. Propoganda, in the sense it has been interpreted & discussed here, would probably not apply since one would have already been attracted to Buddhism before reading or listening to the Dialogues.

I have spent a great deal of time & effort doing research over the past 2 years to answer questions such as those asked in this thread. In fact, I'm creating a website to help others avoid the confusion I went through.

The Digha Nikaya, as with the other 4 Nikayas, can be considered extremely authentic...more so than any other scripture. It was recited, checked for errors, and the such during the 1st Council (and those that convened later). You should never discount something as the word of Buddha just because dieties are mentioned. Given, the Buddha never spoke of the pantheon of gods that the Mahayana would have us believe, but heavenly & hellish planes of existence is very central to the Buddha's doctrine. He spoke of it quite often.

Look at it like this: It is the difference between believing there is life on other planets & believing that they are all little green men. Alternate dimensions & dieties WERE spoken of by the Buddha, quite regularly. However, dieties appearing visible to the human eye & intervening with the human existence can be questioned.

For example, more Thervadins believe in the alternates planes as taught by the Buddha. However, when the Buddha hesitated to teach & we are told the diety Brahma Sahampati came down to earth to convince him...well, there is a division as to whether this is symbolic of his inner tormoil.

In short, the Nikayas are very authentic. In fact, the only authentic texts available. The Mahayana tradition is based of of the Lotus Sutra, which we now know (as fact) is not the word of the historical Buddha, but was rather authored by Nargarjuna and several others. No surprise there, as the sutra contradicts several teachings that are central to the Buddha's entire doctrine.

A lot of the confusion comes about because the Mahayana perpetuate the nonsense. They can't say "This isn't the word of Buddha, but it IS by one of the leading spiritual philosophers of that time...and as such is very authentic in another way". Let's face it...the Bible is almost entirely written by Apostles. Why can't we admit & accept that many Buddhist sutras are the same...and STOP THE CONFUSION!

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