Early Buddhism resources

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

Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:35 am

Hi piotr

Do you think Dr Polak actually reads the Pali personally? He does have copious Pali quotations, but I get the feel that he's actually relying on English translations. One giveaway was this comment -

On the other hand, in the Pot.t.hapāda Sutta (DN 9), the last stage of the process of meditation is simply described as cessation. But the Pot.t.hapāda Sutta gets into trouble when it attempts to describe this stage of ‘cessation’. According to this sutta, in this stage one finally lays to rest the activity of vitakka and vicāra. It appears that the compiler of the sutta must have forgotten that vitakka and vicāra are gone already in the second jhāna.


I could not trace this anywhere in DN 9. The closest that comes to it is Ven Thanissaro's faulty translation -

(on reaching the attainment of Nothingness)-

Now, when the monk is percipient of himself here, then from there to there, step by step, he touches the peak of perception. As he remains at the peak of perception, the thought occurs to him, 'Thinking is bad for me. Not thinking is better for me. If I were to think and will, this perception of mine would cease, and a grosser perception would appear. What if I were neither to think nor to will?' [3] So he neither thinks nor wills, and as he is neither thinking nor willing, that perception ceases [4] and another, grosser perception does not appear. He touches cessation. This, Potthapada, is how there is the alert [5] step-by step attainment of the ultimate cessation of perception.


The PTS and Walshe translations both correctly translate "imā ca me saññā nirujjheyyuṃ" to mean that "these perceptions of mine would cease" (both imā and nirujjheyyuṃ being in the plural). It looks like Polak was using a faulty English translation of DN 9 to criticise the poor redactor of the Pali!

I don't even know where he found the nouns vitakka and vicāra in DN 9's discussion of ultimate cessation, since that passage discusses the verbs ceteti and abhisaṅkharoti instead.
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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby piotr » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:08 am

Hi Sylvester,

I don't know the author personally, so I can't really tell. As for the quote it seems to me that in his discussion of Poṭṭhapāda-sutta Polak equals ‘cetayati’ with ‘vitakketi’. I'm in the middle of his book, and I haven't read his discussion of ‘vitakka’ and ‘vicāra’ yet, so I can't really tell why he presumably equals those terms.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby Travis » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:41 pm



Hi Piotr,
Thanks for sharing this. I found It to be a very interesting and thought provoking book. He loses me a little in the "Aftermath" section, but I'll definitely keep an eye out for his forthcoming book that he outlines in the "Perspectives" section.
:anjali:
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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:09 am

Thanks piotr.

Pretty disappointing that in his discussion of vitakka and vicāra, he picks only those passages which are easy to identify as thoughts and ruminations. No attempt, as far as I could see, was made to tackle the vitakka and vicāra in SN 12 as intentions. This, despite him spotting MN 78; he did not manage to make the connection between vitakka and vicāra and kusalasaṅkappa.

As for his beef with those suttas typically interpreted as vipassanā within jhānas-

According to the other concept of insight formulated in some suttas, the meditator can suddenly stop his practice of samatha meditation in one of the jhānas (including the higher ones) and while being in this very state start the practice of insight which makes this state of jhāna and its imperfection the object of insight. This view is of course nonsensical. When one is absorbed in jhāna, his intentions are gone. MN 78 states that the evil intentions are gone in the first jhāna and the good ones are gone in the second jhāna. It is not even possible to think about starting a different practice, while being in jhāna.


While I can agree with his reliance on MN 78 on excluding the possibility of intention in jhāna, the apparent paradox in these suttas can be very easily resolved if one simply notes that those present tense verbs of paṭisañcikkhati, pajānāti, vipassati etc used in these suttas do not connote contemporaneity with jhāna. Instead, he decides to discount all of these suttas (presumably suttas like MN 52) as spurious.

I just get the feel that his thesis is largely built on his understanding of "English-translation jhānas", instead of "Pali jhānas". :tongue:

If I want more solid and "sexy" scholarship, I'd turn to Alexander Wynne's "The Origin of Buddhist Meditation" (Routledge 2007). That has even more heretical conclusions about the jhāna suttas/pericopes (ie all inconsistent with the "original" jhānas portrayed in 3 suttas of the Sutta Nipata). I wonder if Gombrich did not wince in pain when co-publishing that book under OCBS, given Wynne's previous affiliation with Oxford and disdain for Schopen.
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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:09 pm

Sylvester wrote:he decides to discount all of these suttas (presumably suttas like MN 52) as spurious.


Well, the inclusion of the arupas in that Sutta and his subsequent rejection of certain of its aspects dovetails his premise that such arupa content is late. Given that the whole of that Sutta is Ananda teaching the jhana and arupa pericopes, it looks like a very late Sutta indeed.
    "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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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby Sylvester » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:30 am

Hi dave.

That is an tenable argument. We could however adopt another textual criticism device to explain the presence of the arupa pericopes. They were simply inserted inadvertently during the course of "redaction". Ven Analayo identifies (in his Comparative Study of the MN) quite a number of doctrinally ill-fitting pericopes, but shows how easily a reciter could have mistakenly inserted into a sutta, due to the preceding sequence of words.

I think more needs to be done to study this popular conception of "lateness" of a sutta. It's far too vague a concept right now to be of genuine utility. Eg, the insertion of the arupa pericopes only demonstrates that a text suffered an incorrect addition sometime "late", but it says nothing about the original text. Excise the arupa pericope, and we're still left with the issue - is the root-text "late"?

Another example is the oft-cited observation that texts with long compounds are "late". I would not disagree that compounding is a feature of late Pali, but it simply shows that single words were strung together at a late point in the text's history. It does not say anything about when these single words first came to be recorded, and it certainly is not proof that the concepts/connotations of a text were first set down in compounds instead of single words.

Yet another example is the fact that the Pali Canon shows heavy Sanskritisation, and this is taken as proof of lateness. Norman argues that the fact that the Commentaries can actually preserve the Prakrit roots and meanings of the Sanskritised Pali indicates that the textual tradition goes much further back in time than the Sanskrit period. Sanskritisation, is at best, evidence that the morphology of Pali closed late, but it says nothing about the age of the concepts.
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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby daverupa » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:49 am

"un"tenable, I'm sure you meant. Thank you for the depth of coverage, here.

:heart:
    "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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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby Travis » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:12 pm

Sylvester wrote:I just get the feel that his thesis is largely built on his understanding of "English-translation jhānas", instead of "Pali jhānas".

Polak pg. 8 wrote:In quotations, I have decided to use popular and widely available translations of the Suttapitaka which are now in circulation. I wanted to avoid the possible impression that by translation I am somewhat twisting the meaning of the texts to fit them to my claims. I also believe that these modern translations are very good, and they are based on the experiences of the previous generations of translators.

Seems to imply that the author can translate Pali, but chose to quote existing translations.
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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:43 am

Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby Nyana » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:19 am

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:03 pm

He Who Sees Dhamma Sees Dhammas: Dhamma in Early Buddhism, by Rupert Gethin

    PRELIMINARY REMARKS: BUDDHISM AND DHARMA

    The basic subject of the present article is the understanding of the concept of dharma in early Buddhist literature – in the Nikāyas/Āgamas and the early abhidhamma/abhidharma texts. As it is clear that early Buddhist texts were composed in some form of Middle Indic and as my main sources will be Pali texts I shall generally use the Pali Middle Indic form dhamma. [fn.1] There are three basic problems that I think need to be considered in order to present a clear account of the distinctively Buddhist understanding of dhamma: (1) we need to establish the range of meanings found in early Buddhist literature; (2) we need to consider the relationship between those different meanings and how they evolved; (3) we need also to consider the relationship of the distinctively Buddhist usage of dhamma to the usage and understanding of dharma more generally in Indian literature and thought, and especially in early Brahmanical writings. These problems are, of course, not entirely separable. Clearly how we map out the different early Buddhist uses and their relationship will affect how we understand the Buddhist usage in relation to the non-Buddhist usage. But equally how we map out the different early Buddhist uses and their relationship in the first place, depends in part on how we understand the Buddhist usage in relation to the non-Buddhist usage. Moreover, the complexities and subtleties of the broader Brahmanical and ‘Hindu’ usage mean that there is hardly a scholarly consensus on how best to pick up and follow the trail of the elusive spirit of dharma beyond the field of Buddhist literature. In the present context, then, what I should like to do is devote some space first of all to a consideration of the range of meanings dhamma has in early Buddhist texts, and then move on to a consideration of the evolution and development of the distinctively Buddhist usage and how that might relate to Vedic and early Brahmanical usage.

    fn.1. I make no attempt in what follows to distinguish what the Buddha taught from what the Nikāyas/Āgamas in general teach. This does not mean that I consider that the Buddha taught everything just as the Nikāyas/Āgamas say he did. It does mean, however, that I think there are serious methodological flaws in attempting to distinguish in the Nikāyas/Āgamas two clear categories consisting of ‘authentic’ teachings of the Buddha on the one hand and later ‘inauthentic’ interpretations on the other. It follows from this that my drawing principally on the Pali sources is not to be taken as indicating that they are necessarily a more ‘authentic’ witness of early Buddhist thought – apart from the obvious fact that they are preserved in an ancient Indian language which must be relatively close to the kind of dialect or dialects used by the Buddha and his first disciples – than the Chinese Āgamas. In any case, it would seem that any account of early Buddhist thought based on the Chinese
    Āgamas would be essentially similar to an account based on the Pali Nikāyas. As Étienne Lamotte has observed, the doctrinal basis common to the Chinese Āgamas and Pali Nikāyas is remarkably uniform; such variations as exist affect only the mode of expression or the arrangement of topics; see Lamotte (1988, p. 156).
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:44 pm

Dharma in Hinduism, by Paul Hacker
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:20 pm

Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:06 pm

The Origin and Development of Early Indian Contemplative Practices

By Edward Fitzpatrick Crangle

Studies in Oriental Religions, Vol. 29 (1994)
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:01 pm

Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:13 pm

Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:15 pm

Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:50 pm

Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:07 am

Cross Currents in Early Buddhism, by S. N. Dube.

On the doctrinal controversies reflected in the Kathavatthu.

___

On a meta- note, I wonder if this is a repeat, as it's an old book... perhaps some indexing here would help? I'll get to it later, perhaps, time permitting.
    "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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Re: Early Buddhism resources

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:07 pm

daverupa wrote:Cross Currents in Early Buddhism, by S. N. Dube.

On the doctrinal controversies reflected in the Kathavatthu.

___

On a meta- note, I wonder if this is a repeat, as it's an old book... perhaps some indexing here would help? I'll get to it later, perhaps, time permitting.


This is a good one. I should put it on my to do list.

wrt meta-note: Indexing would be helpful, I have been checking for sources and repeats at DW with reverse-search via-google.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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