Buddha not a Prince?

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PsychedelicSunSet
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Buddha not a Prince?

Post by PsychedelicSunSet »

During my Majjhima Nikaya study today, I ran into Bhikkhu Bodhi saying something interesting. When he was talking about the Canki Sutta he mentioned that Gotama Buddha wouldn't have actually been a prince, as the province he lived in was actually a republic. He said it's far more likely that his father was the head of some council of elders and that he was to inherit that position. Has anyone else heard/read anything similar to this? I thought this was really interesting, since Gotama Buddha is always referenced to having been a prince in the Sutta's. Here's a link to the talks, http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html , he says this in the first of the two talks on the Canki Sutta. I don't remember exactly at what time. I believe it was while talking about the portion of the Sutta while Canki is talking about why he should go see Gotama Buddha after a large group of Brahmin give a lengthy explanation for why the Buddha should come see him.



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tiltbillings
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by tiltbillings »

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:During my Majjhima Nikaya study today, I ran into Bhikkhu Bodhi saying something interesting. When he was talking about the Canki Sutta he mentioned that Gotama Buddha wouldn't have actually been a prince, as the province he lived in was actually a republic. He said it's far more likely that his father was the head of some council of elders and that he was to inherit that position. Has anyone else heard/read anything similar to this?
This is very much the state of art scholarship on the subject that Buddha came out of a non-Vedic tribal republic.
I thought this was really interesting, since Gotama Buddha is always referenced to having been a prince in the Sutta's.
You will not find the Buddha characterized as a prince on the suttas. The prince story is hagiograhy that developed after the death of the Buddha.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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PsychedelicSunSet
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by PsychedelicSunSet »

I had a feeling you'd be the first to respond to this thread!
tiltbillings wrote:This is very much the state of art scholarship on the subject that Buddha came out of a non-Vedic tribal republic.
What exactly do you mean by art scholarship? Simply that he is making some educated implication that can't be necessarily proven/backed with evidence?
tiltbillings wrote:You will not find the Buddha characterized as a prince on the suttas. The prince story is hagiograhy that developed after the death of the Buddha.
Ah! Now that I'm skimming through MN, I see you're right. Very interesting... Thank you for the correction.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by tiltbillings »

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:I had a feeling you'd be the first to respond to this thread!
tiltbillings wrote:This is very much the state of art scholarship on the subject that Buddha came out of a non-Vedic tribal republic.
What exactly do you mean by art scholarship? Simply that he is making some educated implication that can't be necessarily proven/backed with evidence?
State of the art scholarship. of those scholars who look at the issues of the history of the Buddha's time, many hold that at the time of the Buddha, as can be derived from the suttas and other external sources, northern India was undergoing a very dramatic changes. And one of those was the transition from from more tribal, clan structures to those of kingdoms.
  • AN INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, by Peter Harveyp 14-5: "The republic [of the Sakka people] was not Brahmanized, and rule was by council of householdheads, perhaps qualified by age or social standing. Gotama was born to one of these rulers, so that he described himself as a Ksatriya when talking to Brahmins, and later traditions saw him as the son of a king."
  • THERAVADA BUDDHISM by Richard Gombrich (49-50): "Buddha came from a community called (in Sanskrit) Sakyas . . . This fact is of great historical importance, because according to the Buddha ... he modeled the organization of his Sangha on that of such a communities as his own. Historians usually call these communities 'tribes', but I am wary of that term, which corresponds to no word in Sanskrit or Pali. 'Tribe' evokes an isolated community with no socially structured inequailty. The Sakyas seem not to have had a varna [color/caste] system but they did have servants. They were isolated to the extent that were self-governing, and their polity was a form not envisaged in brahminical theory."
tiltbillings wrote:You will not find the Buddha characterized as a prince on the suttas. The prince story is hagiograhy that developed after the death of the Buddha.
Ah! Now that I'm skimming through MN, I see you're right. Very interesting... Thank you for the correction.
Take a look at Ven Nanamoli's excellent THE LIFE OF THE BUDDHA to get a feel for how the Buddha portrayed in the suttaswithout the later the influence of the later hagiographies.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Mkoll
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by Mkoll »

tiltbillings wrote:State of the art scholarship. of those scholars who look at the issues of the history of the Buddha's time, many hold that at the time of the Buddha, as can be derived from the suttas and other external sources, northern India was undergoing a very dramatic changes
Yes. Soon after the Buddha's death, the Mauryan Empire arose with Chandragupta at its head and later his grandson, Asoka the Great. It was to become one of the largest empires in the history of civilization. These developments must have taken time to unfold and there certainly must have been stirrings of them during the Buddha's life.

:anjali:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by mikenz66 »

"State of the art" is an expression that is common in science and engineering:
The term "state of the art" refers to the highest level of general development, as of a device, technique, or scientific field achieved at a particular time. It also refers to the level of development (as of a device, procedure, process, technique, or science) reached at any particular time as a result of the common methodologies employed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_the_art
:anjali:
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PsychedelicSunSet
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by PsychedelicSunSet »

tiltbillings wrote:Take a look at Ven Nanamoli's excellent THE LIFE OF THE BUDDHA to get a feel for how the Buddha portrayed in the suttaswithout the later the influence of the later hagiographies.
I'll have to add that to the reading list. Thank you.
mikenz66 wrote:"State of the art" is an expression that is common in science and engineering:
The term "state of the art" refers to the highest level of general development, as of a device, technique, or scientific field achieved at a particular time. It also refers to the level of development (as of a device, procedure, process, technique, or science) reached at any particular time as a result of the common methodologies employed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_the_art
:anjali:
Mike
He made a typo leaving out a "the" making it "state of art scholarship", and I simply overlooked filling in the blank and got a completely different meaning. :lol: My apologies for the confusion.


Thank you everyone for clearing this up. I wasn't aware that it seems to be common knowledge he wasn't a prince.


:anjali:
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Ananda26
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by Ananda26 »

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:During my Majjhima Nikaya study today, I ran into Bhikkhu Bodhi saying something interesting. When he was talking about the Canki Sutta he mentioned that Gotama Buddha wouldn't have actually been a prince, as the province he lived in was actually a republic. He said it's far more likely that his father was the head of some council of elders and that he was to inherit that position. Has anyone else heard/read anything similar to this? I thought this was really interesting, since Gotama Buddha is always referenced to having been a prince in the Sutta's. Here's a link to the talks, http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html , he says this in the first of the two talks on the Canki Sutta. I don't remember exactly at what time. I believe it was while talking about the portion of the Sutta while Canki is talking about why he should go see Gotama Buddha after a large group of Brahmin give a lengthy explanation for why the Buddha should come see him.



:anjali:
Metta
I always heard and read the Samma Sambuddha Gotama was born a prince of the Sakyans. Buddha Gotama possessed the 32 Marks of a Great Person. For such only 2 destinies are open. If he leads the household life he will become a Dhammaraja, a King who rules in accordance with the dhamma, but if he goes forth from the household life into homelessness he will become an Arahant Samma Sambuddha, one who draws back the veil from the world.

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James the Giant
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by James the Giant »

Ananda26 wrote: I always heard and read the Samma Sambuddha Gotama was born a prince of the Sakyans. Buddha Gotama possessed the 32 Marks of a Great Person.
Hi Ananda26. You know he was not a prince, and he did not have the 32 marks? If he'd had the 32 marks he would have looked like a freakish alien monster, but as described in many suttas, he looked so similar to the other monks, people visiting him for the first time didn't know which monk was the buddha.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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Jetavan
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by Jetavan »

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:During my Majjhima Nikaya study today, I ran into Bhikkhu Bodhi saying something interesting. When he was talking about the Canki Sutta he mentioned that Gotama Buddha wouldn't have actually been a prince....
What's the Pali for "prince" here?

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happylotus1
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by happylotus1 »

James the Giant wrote:
Ananda26 wrote: I always heard and read the Samma Sambuddha Gotama was born a prince of the Sakyans. Buddha Gotama possessed the 32 Marks of a Great Person.
Hi Ananda26. You know he was not a prince, and he did not have the 32 marks? If he'd had the 32 marks he would have looked like a freakish alien monster, but as described in many suttas, he looked so similar to the other monks, people visiting him for the first time didn't know which monk was the buddha.
The scripture in many places affirm that the buddha had the thirty-two marks of a great man.
A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathāgata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?

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James the Giant
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by James the Giant »

happylotus1 wrote:
James the Giant wrote:
Ananda26 wrote: I always heard and read the Samma Sambuddha Gotama was born a prince of the Sakyans. Buddha Gotama possessed the 32 Marks of a Great Person.
Hi Ananda26. You know he was not a prince, and he did not have the 32 marks? If he'd had the 32 marks he would have looked like a freakish alien monster, but as described in many suttas, he looked so similar to the other monks, people visiting him for the first time didn't know which monk was the buddha.
The scripture in many places affirm that the buddha had the thirty-two marks of a great man.
I'll break another bit of news to you; The scriptures were changed and rewritten. Don't always trust what you read, even in supposedly sacred, unalterable holy texts.

Have a look at this short article...
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... _great_man
It is very clear from the Tipitaka that the Buddha's physical appearance was normal in every way.
When King Ajātasattu went to meet him he was unable to distinguish him from the disciples surrounding him (D.I,50).
If the Buddha had any of the 32 Signs the king would have recognized him immediately.
Pukkasāti sat talking to the Buddha for hours before realizing who he was (M.III,238). If the Buddha had any of the Signs the young man would have soon noticed it and known that he was someone unusual.
When Upaka encountered the Buddha walking along the road to Gaya the thing he noticed most about him was 'clear faculities and radiant complexion' (M.I,170). He did not mention seeing any of the 32 Signs.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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pilgrim
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by pilgrim »

How can anyone confidently tell which parts of the texts are original and which aren't? Is it coincidental that the false bits usually do not conform to one's pre-conceived ideas? The 32 marks of the Buddha's body are not all obvious deformities. Some like the markings on his sole are like the lines on one's thumbprint. Others would be barely noticeable except to trained seers like Asita. Even today in India, there are seers who can point out bumps on your head and lines on your palms that you didn't even know were there.

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James the Giant
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by James the Giant »

pilgrim wrote:How can anyone confidently tell which parts of the texts are original and which aren't?
I hear what you're saying. it's called Textual Analysis, or Content Analysis.
The Christians have been doing it for decades, and the techniques they developed are now starting to be adapted to analyse Buddhist suttas.
Have a read of this brand new book if you are interested. It's a bit long and there's no simple summary I could find.
http://www.ocbs.org/lectures-a-articles ... hist-texts
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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happylotus1
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Post by happylotus1 »

The 32 major characteristics are:[7]

Level feet
Thousand-spoked wheel sign on feet
Long, slender fingers
Pliant hands and feet
Toes and fingers finely webbed
Full-sized heels
Arched insteps
Thighs like a royal stag
Hands reaching below the knees
Well-retracted male organ
Height and stretch of arms equal
Every hair-root dark colored
Body hair graceful and curly
Golden-hued body
Ten-foot aura around him
Soft, smooth skin
Soles, palms, shoulders, and crown of head well-rounded
Area below armpits well-filled
Lion-shaped body
Body erect and upright
Full, round shoulders
Forty teeth
Teeth white, even, and close
Four canine teeth pure white
Jaw like a lion
Saliva that improves the taste of all food
Tongue long and broad
Voice deep and resonant
Eyes deep blue
Eyelashes like a royal bull
White ūrṇā curl that emits light between eyebrows
Fleshy protuberance on the crown of the head
There is nothing in these characteristics that make any person looks like alien or extraterrestrial. Certainly,any person with these physical qualities bears a majestic figure.
A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathāgata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?

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