seanpdx wrote: Don't drag me into trike's fantasy world, thankyouverymuch.
hm...a while back you stated clearly that there is a debate:
seanpdx wrote:Is there, and has there been, and on-going academic debate about the existence of a flesh-and-blood Buddha? Yes. If this comes as a surprise to anyone, well... there are plenty of other things scholars have to say about buddhism that are probably even more surprising. If this sort of thing is disturbing or uncomfortable, stay away from anything published by a scholar.
So...what fantasy world? The extent of my "fantasy" as I've stated so far re: the existence of the Buddha is:
I could care less if there was ever an actual living "The Buddha".
its irrelevant to me whether he lived or not
I didn't offer any opinion about whether the Buddha ever existed or not.
I said that it is irrelevant to me whether the Buddha actually lived or not
Again, I'll point out that it wasn't my claim...I didn't state an opinion either way.
Separately, I'm not interested in debating whether there was or wasn't an actual Buddha, because I really (really, really) don't care if there was or not.
seanpdx wrote:]If you want references to mysterious scholarly journals, talk to trike. I only reference the non-mysterious kind.
....but it was you who made reference to journals:
seanpdx wrote:]Read academic journals and books. The kind you buy.
seanpdx wrote:But I've read enough to know that the debate exists. Believe me, if it would take me less than five minutes to spit out some citations,
What I did say was:
Increasingly, scholars are unable to find any solid evidence of it.
increasingly less willing to accept "facts" put forth by institutional Buddhism regarding the Buddha's existence.
. There is a shortage of solid
evidence. The facts about the Buddha's life are clouded with debate. There is no solid
scholarly ground there, imo. This is the basis of the ongoing debate - there would be no debate if there was sufficient solid evidence. To suggest that there is no
skepticism regarding whether there was an actual Buddha is to have one's head firmly buried in faith-scented sands. Tilt seems to suggest that there is new research that provides this missing solidity...I'd be interested in reading it if it is neutral scholarship...if its faith-based "scholarship" I'll pass.
So...where exactly is this "fantasy world"? Does the word "increasingly" constitute a "fantasy world"? Only to the very touchy hyper-religious folks who are ever vigilant and defended against the always lurking danger of "attacks" on them, er...on the literal truth.
Its interesting that I can say:
The "Jesus" described in Christian mythology was allegorical - a re-visioning of an ancient conceptual devise that was used as a contextual container to put forth a social/moral code based on the idea of "as above, so below" - a devise far removed from the corruptions of religion and religiosity that grew out of it.
...and no one blinks, but mention that there is scholarly skepticism that there was an actual flesh and blood Buddha and the thread's temperature soars, suggesting a reactive emotionality and an insecurity that is is inconsistent with the core message of the Dharma. One person in this thread made reference to this emotionality, expressing "dismay" that I even mentioned the existence of the debate:
I am a religious Buddhist, and as such I do take the existence of Buddha for granted: on faith, if you like.
Because this is how I approach the material I must admit that I was a little dismayed at your reference
to this debate.
The very subject is taboo in order to protect an emotional contrivance of solid ground. Even the slightest mention of an existing debate causes distress.
Since some in this thread have assumed my opinion in this debate, I'll clarify. I do have an opinion of sorts in this debate about whether there was an actual person to whom the teachings are attributed - that I posted in the "Jesus" thread:
Both may have existed as local personages..."Jesus" (probably not his real name) as an itinerate mystic and social activist, and Siddhārtha Gautama as a local elder/philosopher/teacher...both insignificant in their own time - and much later merged with a mono-mythology of the time to become greatly elaborated fictional characters. Much of what is attributed to both of them can be found in significantly older traditions dating back thousands of years, often word for word in the case of "Jesus" and Christian mythology - and much of Sid's philosophy (4 noble truths, cessation, liberation, etc...) is found in various forms in mythologies around the globe - mythologies that also include a son of royalty born of unusual circumstances, grounded by the Great Tree, heroic battle as he is tested under this tree, emerging triumphant and wise with omniscient awareness, other manifestations - past, present, future - of this triumphant hero, etc...).
Imo, the confusion arises because there seems to be two Buddhas (actually, many many "Buddhas" but that's another thread). There is Sid, a local elder/philosopher/teacher who was likely referred to generically as "Buddha" - and there is the mythic conceptual devise larger-than-life "Buddha" that was carefully constructed much later on top of Sid's bones and his teachings (which were much older than him). Its not surprising that its difficult to confirm the facts of Sid's life...he was likely fairly insignificant during his own life...just as the missing Jesus was likely a down-on-his luck petty rabble rouser and mystic upon which a mythic "Jesus - Son of God" was carefully (er, not so carefully) constructed using thinly rewritten much older teachings.
What I find most interesting about the whole debate are the people who are rock solidly convinced that the mythic Buddha actually existed. The more we know about oral tradition, especially from a cross-cultural standpoint, the more evident it is that the mythic Buddha formulates within the same patterns as countless other mythic personages - as do very many of the events and meta messages associated with this mythic figure. (The sectarian debate within Buddhism emerges because the mythic Buddha was constructed in various different ways in different cultures with different formulations of the meta message attributed to each culturally constructed mythic buddha.) The winds of scholarship are blowing strongly in this direction and sacred cows are dropping dead all over the place. No amount of walls built in the mind are going to stop this trend toward historical exposure. Religionists fear annihilation or nihilism can be only result of such deconstruction, but they fail to note that when walls are torn down the light permeates everything.