Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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salayatananirodha
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by salayatananirodha » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:02 am

Couldn't it be though that the buddha verbatim repeated what he'd said, since it was already perfect? :thinking:
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

TRobinson465
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:04 am

I don't really see any arguments against it being authentic really. the most common argument for it not being authentic is that it "could" not be authentic because blank blank blank. But i dont think that proves anything. I also believe the Buddha simply spoke Pali all the time when he was teaching, as i do not see a reason why you would memorize it, change the language, and memorize the new version in the different language, and then write it down when people already memorize the dead language of Pali that they cant understand. It's not really practical.

I got this from another thread on this forum a while ago, don't really remember which, but I think it makes a compelling argument.
http://dhamma.ru/paali/The-Buddha-Spoke-Pali.pdf
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:06 am

salayatananirodha wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:02 am
Couldn't it be though that the buddha verbatim repeated what he'd said, since it was already perfect? :thinking:
My hunch is that he repeated things often because he wanted the points he made to be remembered easily. Or it could just have been a style of speaking back then.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:18 am

DNS wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:43 am

1. Mount Meru, also called Mahāmeru, Sineru, Neru and Kelāsa, is a mountain considered to be the center of the universe; but we know from astronomy that it is a temporary land formation on one planet (earth) of a vast universe with many other planets.
2. Stories of previous buddhas being several km in height, living to thousands of years.
3. Previous buddhas always being from India and being higher castes (as if all previous time periods had the same culture and caste systems of India).

But really, there's not really a way to disprove that these aren't real. the theory of evolution has been changing for the last 100 years. Before homo sapiens lived on earth 200,000 years ago, now they think maybe 300,000. 30 years ago Dinosaurs were giant lizards, now scientists say they were giant feathered birds (therapod dinosaurs were at least). Its not like dinosaurs went from giant lizards to giant birds, they were always giant birds. scientists just didn't know until recently because they recently found evidence of feathers in fossils. As for 1 and 3 i think the Buddha was explaining things in a way the people of his time would understand. Its easier to just explain the universe as an ocean than a void space of no matter or gravity with cosmic dust and whatnot. Itll take way too long. As for Buddhas of castes i think that is accurate. Pretty much all cultures have a caste system, albeit not a rigid one like India. In Egypt, greece, the Incas, ancient china, etc. they had a Brahmin (priest) class, warrior caste, merchant caste, worker caste, etc too. they just didnt call it that and the social rigidity was different.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by salayatananirodha » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:28 am

You can tell what is dhamma by the effect it has on you, reading or hearing it, remembering it, repeating it, explaining it and putting it into practice. You can tell what is dhamma from what isn't as you develop dispassion for the world.
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

paul
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by paul » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:55 am

The monasteries were educational institutions in the community, so were repositories of the current understanding of geography, physiology etc., which became mixed up with the religious content in some cases. There is the example in the Vism. where the movement of the limbs of the body was held to be powered by air forced through the veins.
Also in the absence of modern audio-visual aids, exaggerated verbal descriptions were employed in pedagogy. Those secular beliefs and methods have long been superseded, but the essence of the religious content remains viable, and has particular relevance to conditions in the west today as the antidote to materialism.

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Pseudobabble
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by Pseudobabble » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:19 am

As long as the practices work, does it even matter? The whole thing could be a complete fiction, but if the practices delivered the end of suffering, it wouldn't matter at all.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

zan
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by zan » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:13 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:38 am
Most of the arguments centre on the time-lapse between the Buddha's life and the earliest written version of the suttas.
Opinions vary, of course, but most scholars acknowledge that the canon as we have it was compiled over a period of several centuries, in a language that wasn't quite the same as the Buddha's, and that the earlier parts were closer to the Buddha's spoken words that the later parts.
You will find more detail in the Early Buddhism sub-forum. Wander over and :reading: for a while. :smile:

As for myself, I'm willing to go along with the consensus on the history of the texts but I don't think the details matter too much because I think the core messages are close enough to the original teaching to serve as the basis of practice.

:namaste:
Kim
I thought I replied to you yesterday but it seems to have disappeared!

Thank you for your reply, a few questions:

So were the earlier parts considered to be the verbatim word of The Buddha? And the later parts to be composed by unknown persons? If the canon was compiled over several centuries, where do we notice a clear break from the verbatim word (early) suttas and the unknown composers (later) suttas? Why do they believe this as opposed to seeing the entire thing to be a verbatim repetition of what the Buddha said from day one? Or is this where the argument that none of it goes back comes in? Is the argument that all of it was compiled over several centuries and so technically even the earlier ones, while perhaps conveying the same message, cannot be the literal word?

I agree with you that the details do not matter much. For me it is because the core messages and practice techniques are functional and quite effective and I think that that is solid evidence that the Buddha's actual words got through in some form or another. It is irrelevant whether or not they got through verbatim.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. Look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Look elsewhere. See my writings like word games, nothing more.

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cappuccino
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by cappuccino » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:14 pm

TRobinson465 wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:58 am
There's a land formation on earth called Mount Meru?

Mount Kailash is known as Mount Meru in Buddhist texts.

zan
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by zan » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:16 pm

SarathW wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:43 am
What are the arguments that suppose that the Pali Canon is not the literal word of The Buddha?
It was compiled by monks for memorization.
There are a lot of stock phrases and it is impossible that Buddha repeats himself those so many times in exactly the same way.
Some suttas are compiled in a way each sutta is a complete work in itself.
Interesting, thank you.
Last edited by zan on Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. Look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Look elsewhere. See my writings like word games, nothing more.

zan
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by zan » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:18 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:19 am
As long as the practices work, does it even matter? The whole thing could be a complete fiction, but if the practices delivered the end of suffering, it wouldn't matter at all.
We are in agreement :)

From my original post:

"I believe that the Pali Canon absolutely proves itself and no arguments could ever invalidate it in totality, anymore than one could invalidate a manual on how to fly a plane that actually works: once you are flying, the instructions that got you there have been proven beyond a doubt. Likewise for the Pali Canon: no matter what arguments pop up, it is the path to end suffering and so it can not be invalidated because it is comprised of functional texts that actually allow people to accomplish what it teaches! The Buddha seems to have gotten his message to us through the Pali Canon."
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. Look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Look elsewhere. See my writings like word games, nothing more.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:32 pm

zan wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:13 pm
Kim OHara wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:38 am
Most of the arguments centre on the time-lapse between the Buddha's life and the earliest written version of the suttas.
Opinions vary, of course, but most scholars acknowledge that the canon as we have it was compiled over a period of several centuries, in a language that wasn't quite the same as the Buddha's, and that the earlier parts were closer to the Buddha's spoken words that the later parts.
You will find more detail in the Early Buddhism sub-forum. Wander over and :reading: for a while. :smile:

As for myself, I'm willing to go along with the consensus on the history of the texts but I don't think the details matter too much because I think the core messages are close enough to the original teaching to serve as the basis of practice.

:namaste:
Kim
I thought I replied to you yesterday but it seems to have disappeared!

Thank you for your reply, a few questions:

So were the earlier parts considered to be the verbatim word of The Buddha? And the later parts to be composed by unknown persons? If the canon was compiled over several centuries, where do we notice a clear break from the verbatim word (early) suttas and the unknown composers (later) suttas? Why do they believe this as opposed to seeing the entire thing to be a verbatim repetition of what the Buddha said from day one? Or is this where the argument that none of it goes back comes in? Is the argument that all of it was compiled over several centuries and so technically even the earlier ones, while perhaps conveying the same message, cannot be the literal word?

I agree with you that the details do not matter much. For me it is because the core messages and practice techniques are functional and quite effective and I think that that is solid evidence that the Buddha's actual words got through in some form or another. It is irrelevant whether or not they got through verbatim.
So many questions ... and we are in agreement that the answers don't affect our practice very much. :thinking:
Follow your curiosity to the Early Buddhism sub-forum if you like, and you will gradually build up a picture of what we know about the history of the suttas. That's basically what I have done over the last few years - someone posts a discussion question and I follow it as far as I'm interested.

:namaste:
Kim

zan
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by zan » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:00 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:32 pm
zan wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:13 pm
Kim OHara wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:38 am
Most of the arguments centre on the time-lapse between the Buddha's life and the earliest written version of the suttas.
Opinions vary, of course, but most scholars acknowledge that the canon as we have it was compiled over a period of several centuries, in a language that wasn't quite the same as the Buddha's, and that the earlier parts were closer to the Buddha's spoken words that the later parts.
You will find more detail in the Early Buddhism sub-forum. Wander over and :reading: for a while. :smile:

As for myself, I'm willing to go along with the consensus on the history of the texts but I don't think the details matter too much because I think the core messages are close enough to the original teaching to serve as the basis of practice.

:namaste:
Kim
I thought I replied to you yesterday but it seems to have disappeared!

Thank you for your reply, a few questions:

So were the earlier parts considered to be the verbatim word of The Buddha? And the later parts to be composed by unknown persons? If the canon was compiled over several centuries, where do we notice a clear break from the verbatim word (early) suttas and the unknown composers (later) suttas? Why do they believe this as opposed to seeing the entire thing to be a verbatim repetition of what the Buddha said from day one? Or is this where the argument that none of it goes back comes in? Is the argument that all of it was compiled over several centuries and so technically even the earlier ones, while perhaps conveying the same message, cannot be the literal word?

I agree with you that the details do not matter much. For me it is because the core messages and practice techniques are functional and quite effective and I think that that is solid evidence that the Buddha's actual words got through in some form or another. It is irrelevant whether or not they got through verbatim.
So many questions ... and we are in agreement that the answers don't affect our practice very much. :thinking:
Follow your curiosity to the Early Buddhism sub-forum if you like, and you will gradually build up a picture of what we know about the history of the suttas. That's basically what I have done over the last few years - someone posts a discussion question and I follow it as far as I'm interested.

:namaste:
Kim
Thank you. I was hoping to not spend years gradually building up knowledge on this but rather to get some answers relatively quickly. Perhaps I should ask for book recommendations? Where would I post about that?
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. Look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Look elsewhere. See my writings like word games, nothing more.

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DooDoot
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by DooDoot » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:24 am

zan wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:36 am
Interesting, thank you. Please elaborate?
zan wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:00 am
I was hoping to not spend years gradually building up knowledge on this but rather to get some answers relatively quickly.
I imagine taking the following refuge is the quickest & also most honest way:
The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves...

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/tisarana.html

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pitakele
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Re: Arguments against the Pali Canon being authentic?

Post by pitakele » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:01 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:24 am

MN 1, in which the four jhana of the Noble Eightfold Path are taught as Brahmanistic godly states, namely:
Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit.
In this sutta, I don't see any basis for the poster's claim that rūpajjhānas are being taught as Brahmanistic godly states. The arūpajjhānas are referenced, but this doesn't mean what precedes in the sutta equates to rūpajjhānas as per the usual formulas.
now here = nowhere

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