pink_trike wrote:In more than one place in the Suttas words to the effect of "don't have faith in me...try it, analyze it, study it" are attributed to the Buddha as instructions for lay followers
Care to provide more than one reference?
Source: the wikipedia god.
In the Jivaka Sutta...The Buddha, when asked how one practices being a lay follower "both for his own benefit & the benefit of others," the Buddha states that one is consummate oneself in and encourages others in the consummation of: conviction (saddhā); virtue (sīla); generosity (cāga); visiting monks; and, hearing, remembering, analyzing, understanding and practicing the Dhamma.
Sutta 44(iv, 220), Buddha questions Sariputta to which Sariputta answers, "Herein, O Lord, I do not follow the Exalted One out of faith
. Those by whom this is unknown, unseen, uncognized, unrealized and unexperienced by wisdom, they will herein follow others out of faith."
Those who religiously accept the Buddha as the final Supreme authority, and who regard a literal reading of the words attributed to him are doing so on faith, and faith alone. I never met the man so I don't know. I've studied the meta processes of oral tradition and early writing, and remain convinced that those who passed along the oral teachings, and at some still unknown date later began to write them down, followed ancient standards for the transmission of knowledge that are only now becoming clear to us. Religious Buddhists don't have much interest in the "style guides" that were used widely at that time, preferring a more literal reading. Until these style guides are better understood in the context of the written preservation of Buddhist oral tradition (some of which predate Buddhism itself), I'm sticking with "I don't know", practice, and the guidance of teachers regarding my practice. Also, in light of scholarly confirmation that there have been many additions and revisions to the suttas at various times/places, and the number of theravadan divisions that died out or were politically squeezed out of existence...I'll stick to practice.
We live in the age of "I don't know"...a time when all concrete assumptions are crumbling in all fields of human inquiry and belief - a prediction that can be traced back to words attributed to the Buddha. Uncertainty is the zeitgeist of the times - so that's what we have to work with.