Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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form
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Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by form » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:21 am

As in title.

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Geonny
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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by Geonny » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:56 am

My faith in the Buddha, dhamma and sangha makes me feel as if Buddha knew all, but said little. And since not everything he knew had benefit for us, he didn’t advise us.

This is purely speculative. But he is said to be all knowing, which is what leads me to this.
With Metta
Geonny

chownah
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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by chownah » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:09 am

form wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:21 am
As in title.
I guess the "all seeing" buddha also forsaw the dharmawheel website and all the posts that have been and will be made here.........well.....on second thought maybe not.

What would it mean if the buddha predicted mass media? There are quite a few "futurists" who make predictions....some turn out right and some turn out wrong.

I think it would be quite different if someone asked "Did the buddha foresee that his teachings would never become writings in mass distribution?"
chownah

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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by justindesilva » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:40 am

Geonny wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:56 am
My faith in the Buddha, dhamma and sangha makes me feel as if Buddha knew all, but said little. And since not everything he knew had benefit for us, he didn’t advise us.

This is purely speculative. But he is said to be all knowing, which is what leads me to this.
It is clear that lord Buddha 's intention and advice to his disciples was to go in all directions and to preach his dhamma with metta ( loving kindness) to free all beings from suffering. There is no evidence of the mode of explanation he desired.

form
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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by form » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:12 am

Or did he intent his teachings to remain utter verses? And it is for those that can understand to get the message. The more versions, the more distortion.

santa100
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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by santa100 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:16 pm

form wrote:Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?
Imagine you're a quantum physicist, would it be useful to mention all the ins and outs of quantum mechanics to your 4-year-old son, or it'd be better to teach him basic algebra? Remember the Simsapa leaves simile:
SN 56.31 wrote:What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the simsapa forest?"

"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by dharmacorps » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:57 pm

Although writing did exist at the time of the Buddha, he chose to have his followers memorize the suttas by chanting instead. Then they were recorded later. This may have been the intention, but who knows what he knew would happen. He knew eventually the dhamma would disappear from the world.

Handful of leaves and all that.

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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:39 pm

It's an interesting question, or rather two questions. The first question is the issue of the Buddha's omniscience, which has often been raised here. The second one is about whether the medium available (in the Buddha's time, merely word of mouth) actually influenced the teaching. We don't really know what the Buddha said; we merely know what those who memorised and later wrote down his teachings thought fit to record. Did the Buddha's actual teachings contain the formulaic phrases, pericopes, and repetitions that we find in the suttas?

An important point is that mass dissemination tends to improve scholarship in uncovering original meanings. Yet it simultaneously has the potential to distort the meaning by placing the texts in the hands of those who do not revere them. Christian scholars translating the Pali in line with their theological assumptions, for example; or secular psychological accounts ignoring or downplaying what they cannot accommodate. And easily rebutted but more pervasive, fake Buddha-quotes and their assimilation into popular culture.

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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by chownah » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:47 am

chownah wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:09 am
I think it would be quite different if someone asked "Did the buddha foresee that his teachings would never become writings in mass distribution?"
chownah
.....because the buddha DID foresee that his dhamma would disappear in 500 years and in hindsight we can see that this predates not only the mass media but it predates the printing press as well. Even if his dhamma had lasted 1,000 years its disappearance would have predated the printing press.

So, if one thinks that the buddha was omniscient then one must accept that what we have today in the mass media is NOT the buddha dhamma.
chownah

form
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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by form » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:50 am

"direct knowledge" is it somewhat related to consciousness is everywhere?

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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:31 am

Greetings,

Teachings like the Ani Sutta suggest to me that the Buddha was envisaging oral transmission for the foreseeable future.
SN 20.7 wrote:Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, there once was a time when the Dasarahas had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained.

"In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

"In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."
Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

form
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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by form » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:40 am

In the Bible when some messengers had visions into the future, they may not describe certain things in terms contemporary person can understand. For example, in revelation some believes the flying locusts are actually helicopters.

Surely the Buddha will also have communication gaps with someone from a different era?

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Re: Did the Buddha foresee that his teachings will become writings in mass distribution?

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:41 pm

Maybe foreseeing the cyclical nature of conditioned existence that made the Buddha found it pointless to focus on the details of communication medium. It started with oral communication, then got written down to leaves, fabrics, then papers, then converted into e-documents on the internet, then direct uplinks straight into a tiny chip in the back of our heads in one possible future (like in the Matrix), then some hothead idiot leader starts a nuclear war, or runaway greenhouse effect, or catastrophic meteor impact that'll wipe out a majority of earth citizens, then everything's back to oral communication, and the cycle starts all over again..

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