Discovering Buddhavamsa

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Nyana
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Post by Nyana » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:51 am

mogg wrote:I would personally dismiss the Buddhavamsa as hagiographical. The first four nikayas are the word of the Buddha, and in DN 14 the Buddha mentions that there have been only 6 Buddhas in the past 91 aeons (and he lists them, Lord Buddhas': Vipassi, Sikhi, Vessabhu, Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa). Furthermore, in MN 81, the Buddha teaches Ananda that in a past life he was a Brahmin by the name Jotipala...Jotipala has to be dragged 'kicking and screaming' by his friend Ghatikara to see the Buddha Kassapa. Prior to the meeting, Jotipala is irreverential to the Buddha Kassapa (putting paid to all this Bodhisattva nonsense we get in the later add on suttas).

The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. The later additions do not.
A couple of questions: (1) How do you know that all of the contents of the first four Nikāya's are earlier than all of the contents of the Khuddakanikāya? (2) If you consider the first four Nikāya's to be the word of the Buddha, do you accept everything stated in these suttas?

Coyote
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Post by Coyote » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:52 am

mogg wrote: The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. The later additions do not. Proceed with caution!
With respect Mogg, I find this attitude odd. There are many sola scriptura Christian groups who use similar reasoning to chuck out texts which do not agree with their own preconceived notions about what early Christianity was like. Without proper evidence, statements such as "x text has the "smell of truth"" or "X is the word of the Buddha" rub me up the wrong way I have seen the intellectually dishonest tactics used in similar arguments.
Besides in my understanding many of these "later additions" are thought by scholars to be some of the earliest texts, such as Dhammapada and parts of the Sutta Nipata ect.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

mogg
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Post by mogg » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:02 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Nyorai wrote:“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.”
― Gautama Buddha
No such text as this exists in the Pali suttas. This sort of thing is found in the very much later tathagatgarbha sutra of the Mahayana.
+1

mogg
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Post by mogg » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:35 pm

Coyote wrote:
mogg wrote: The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. The later additions do not. Proceed with caution!
With respect Mogg, I find this attitude odd. There are many sola scriptura Christian groups who use similar reasoning to chuck out texts which do not agree with their own preconceived notions about what early Christianity was like. Without proper evidence, statements such as "x text has the "smell of truth"" or "X is the word of the Buddha" rub me up the wrong way I have seen the intellectually dishonest tactics used in similar arguments.
Besides in my understanding many of these "later additions" are thought by scholars to be some of the earliest texts, such as Dhammapada and parts of the Sutta Nipata ect.
Everyone must come to their own conclusions Coyote. I leave philology to academics, as I am more inclined to practice. There is a consistent message in the first four nikayas which I find to be in accordance with my own experiential understandings.
I own copies of the dhammapada in three different languages, and I find its prose beautiful and elegant. That being said, I cross-reference everything with the first four Nikayas. If anything heavily contradicts the first four I put it aside.
Remember that the first five Arahants were liberated after listening to the Anatta-lakkhana sutta...I'll spend my time reflecting on Anatta-lakkhana rather than a bunch of spurious Jataka tales and bodhisattva fancy that flies in the face of basic Buddhist teachings.
At the end of the day, to paraphrase Ajahn Chah, we will know who was 'right' when we die.

With metta

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Polar Bear
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Post by Polar Bear » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:32 am

While I also think that the Bodhisattva ideal is a later development, as well as the Buddhavamsa and the Apadana, I don't think taking them as authoritative does any harm so there isn't really any point in arguing about it. But anyway, here is a link to a very interesting book by Venerable Analayo called The Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal:

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... sattva.pdf

And here is a link to a number of works by Analayo that people may find interesting and informative:

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.htm

As far as the dhammapada is concerned, I doubt that the Buddha was really a poet, he actually warns that in the future people would listen/read to the work of poets instead of his discourses connected with emptiness etc. That being said, I think the dhammapada is a great work to read and that it provides a basically faithful introduction to the teachings of the Buddha.
"And which is the assembly trained in cross-questioning and not in bombast?

"There is the case where in any assembly when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, artful in sound, artful in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited, the monks don't listen, don't lend ear, don't set their hearts on knowing them; don't regard them as worth grasping or mastering. But when the discourses of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are recited, they listen, they lend ear, they set their hearts on knowing them; they regard them as worth grasping & mastering. And when they have mastered that Dhamma, they cross-question one another about it and dissect it: 'How is this? What is the meaning of this?' They make open what isn't open, make plain what isn't plain, dispel doubt on its various doubtful points. This is called an assembly trained in cross-questioning and not in bombast."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:12 am

mogg wrote:The first four nikayas are the word of the Buddha, and in DN 14 the Buddha mentions that there have been only 6 Buddhas in the past 91 aeons (and he lists them, Lord Buddhas': Vipassi, Sikhi, Vessabhu, Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa).
It mentions only 6 Buddhas, but it does not say that there have only been only 6 Buddhas in the past 91 aeons. It fails to mention Dipankara, who was one of five Buddhas in that fortunate aeon in which the bodhisatta Sumedha is said to have obtained the sure prediction.
mogg wrote:Jotipala has to be dragged 'kicking and screaming' by his friend Ghatikara to see the Buddha Kassapa.
It does not say that. It says that Jotipāla went along with his friend voluntarily after being persuaded that the Buddha Kassapa was really someone very special worth visiting.

Proceed with caution when adding your own spin on what you read in the Suttas. There no doubt that some works (e.g. the Milindapañha) are later works, and there may be works in the four main nikāyas that are later works. Whatever you read, and wherever you read it, don't just swallow it hook, line, and sinker, but reflect carefully using the Four Great References as guidelines. Then try to practice meditation to gain personal realisation of what really matters.

An Excellent Man is not Credulous.
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mogg
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Post by mogg » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:26 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: It mentions only 6 Buddhas, but it does not say that there have only been only 6 Buddhas in the past 91 aeons. It fails to mention Dipankara, who was one of five Buddhas in that fortunate aeon in which the bodhisatta Sumedha is said to have obtained the sure prediction.
Citation please Venerable? Considering the detail that the Buddha goes into in DN14 (race, clan names, life-span, enlightenment location, disciple names, assembly size, personal attendant names, family names, etc.) It seems rather a large omission to skip a Buddha wholesale wouldn't you agree? There have only been 6 in 91 aeons, hardly a banality which would warrant the oversight you are suggesting in this sutta. (I see note 260 mentioning 5 Buddhas in this fortunate aeon but cannot find supporting documentation aside from the DN 26 allusion to the coming of Meteyya.)
mogg wrote:Jotipala has to be dragged 'kicking and screaming' by his friend Ghatikara to see the Buddha Kassapa.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:It does not say that. It says that Jotipāla went along with his friend voluntarily after being persuaded that the Buddha Kassapa was really someone very special worth visiting.
Note that I did not use quotation marks Bhikkhu Pesala (which denote a direct quote), I used apostrophes which imply paraphrasing. Nonetheless, lets examine what MN 81 says: Ghatikara requests 3 times for Jotipala to go see Buddha Kassapa and is rejected three times. He then switches track and lures Jotipala to the river to bathe (knowing full well the Blessed one's monastery is nearby). Jotipala acquiesces and they proceed to the river where Ghatikara asks Jotipala a further 3 times to go to see the Buddha, and yet again Jotipala refuses with : "Enough, my dear Ghatikara, what is the use of seeing that bald-pated recluse?" Then Ghatikara decides to take extreme action: "Then the potter Ghatikara seized the brahmin student Jotipala by the belt..." and requests again and is rebuffed again. Ghatikara takes even more extreme action at this point: "Then when the brahmin student Jotipala had washed his head, the potter Ghatikara seized him by the hair..." and requests again. The sutta makes particular mention of the fact that Ghatikara was of inferior birth to the brahmin Jotipala, and it is indeed the sheer extremity of the actions perpetrated by Ghatikara that make Jotipala realise that this really must be something serious indeed to warrant such an extreme social transgression. A peasant transgressing the sanctity of a Brahmins head and hair was probably punishable by death in those times, so yes my use of the English vernacular 'kicking and screaming' was the correct phrase to use. I'm unsure if English is your first language or not Bhikkhu Pesala, but in my native country of Australia, we use the phrase "kicking and screaming" for precisely the kind of circumstance that is described in this sutta; it is never meant to be taken in the literal sense. I apologise if that's where the confusion arose, I'm making it a point to remember that I am communicating with an international audience, and will endeavour to keep my posts less culturally specific going forward.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Proceed with caution when adding your own spin on what you read in the Suttas.
Thanks for the advice, but in this particular instance I think your comment doesn't apply.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:There no doubt that some works (e.g. the Milindapañha) are later works, and there may be works in the four main nikāyas that are later works. Whatever you read, and wherever you read it, don't just swallow it hook, line, and sinker, but reflect carefully using the Four Great References as guidelines. Then try to practice meditation to gain personal realisation of what really matters.

An Excellent Man is not Credulous.
I agree, and once again thanks for the advice, I'll do my best!

With metta
Last edited by mogg on Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

Coyote
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Post by Coyote » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:10 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:
http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... sattva.pdf

And here is a link to a number of works by Analayo that people may find interesting and informative:

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.htm
:anjali:
Just want to say thanks for posting these. All of them look so interesting. I will hopefully get around to the lectures on bodhisattva ideal just as soon as I have finished the ones on the Arahant and the four noble truths :D. Since beginning his Satipatthana I have found that Ven. Analayo is someone whose work I should really keep an eye on.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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