Evaṃ me sutaṃ

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries
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Re: Evaṃ me sutaṃ

Post by DGDC » Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:35 am

This reply is based on Theravada Vinaya and Sutta Pitakas

Evam Me Sutam means 'heard by me'. It is a statement by a narrator of a talk embodying dhamma--Sutta.

The origin of the Suttas is traced back to what is called the First Council. To the participants of the first council, it had the following meaning:

The word Me stands for Ayasmant Ananda; Heard means that he heard it from the Lord's (Bhagava) own lips or in the presence of the Lord and remembered it verbatim. The word Evam refers to the text of the Sutta.

Following information is given in 2500 Years of Buddhism, published by the Government of India, page 35:
The First Council was held at Rajagraha immediately after the Parinirvana of the Buddha...The tradition preserved in the 11 khandhaka of the Cullavagga has been accepted as authoritative.

The translation 'heard by me' is based on the commentarial tradition. See commentary on the Brahmajalasutta

Evam Me Sutam is the stamp of authority. The translation 'heard by me' makes the sutta a myth.

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Re: Evaṃ me sutaṃ

Post by Dhamma_Basti » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:18 am

I do not think there are just 'rare examples' of later texts wich start with the suttanta but i personally assume that the cases of 'original' suttas dating back to Anananda (or whatever the story really was) preserved in the canon and starting with this suttanta might be the rare examples.
'later' however does not mean 'non-canonical' here. Just my personal guess that the canon certainly is quite old, but not as old as the tradition claims.
In my eyes the striking regularities, such as 'every sutta starting with evaṃ me suttaṃ', are indicators that we do not have the original words here.
But this doesn't mean that we have something entirely different as well.
I believe that the canon is still quite old, propably the bulk of it was taken down less then 200 or 300 years after the Buddha died. But the whole story of the first council in some ways is too good to be true. Unless we have an almost mahāyānistic fate in the magical radiation of the Buddha and his arhats, it is close to impossible to beliefve that stuff happened the way the story has it. I feel that something similar to the first council happened, but it was much more rough-going and the result not quite what we have today. In the following years, these texts we edited, polished, added up with the result of the must recent disputes with other schools and put together nicely until we reached the stage of the texts that we have today. This might have taken up to 300 years. As the earliest chinese translations indicate, there is not a big difference between their wording and the wording of the Pali-canon. So it is safe to assume that the main canon was finished by 100CE.

Gregory Schopen (and I have serious doubts about his approach, but at least on this point he seems to be not totally wrong) digged out a rule in the Mūlasarvāstivāda-Vinaya according to wich a monk, when he forget the original wording of the Sutta (even it's beginning), should start with the stock phrase 'evam me suttaṃ', then followed by one of the famous cities of the canon (read G. Schopen: "Buddhist Monks and Business Matters", p. 395). While this was discovered in the MSV, it is quite likely that the origin of this rule goes back to the time when the compilation of the Pali-canon took place. Oskar von Hinüber (read "Hoary Past and Hazy Memory") gave sufficient proof that those suttas mentioning small village names instead of the big seven cities must belong to the older layer of the canon. Following this observation, the large majority of the suttantas starting with evaṃ me suttaṃ are the result of later addition/edition.
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Re: Evaṃ me sutaṃ

Post by DGDC » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:12 am

Speculation about the first council is not very fruitful.

There is a raging controversy on the "Date of the Buddha". The dates range from 600 - 400 BCE. These are matters for historians, Buddhist philosophers, scholars and in general 'outsiders'.

However, for those who accept the Dhamma of Lord Buddha, there are His words in existence in the Theravada canon. Theravada canon called Tipitaka is published by the Pali Text Society of London England.

My earlier comment was based on the documents mentioned above are based on the Dhamma of the Lord.

I confirm that the meaning of 'evam me sutam' is 'heard by me'. The word 'me' is a reference to Arahant Ananda. Heard: what was heard by Ayasmant Ananda either from the lips of the Lord or in the presence of the lord and retained and retained by him.

Evam: this word can refer to foregoing words or to the following words. In the Suttas, it refers to the body of the text.

'Evam me sutam' is the proof that the words are that of the Lord.

The translation of 'I heard thus' is the conversion of the Dhamma of the Lord to Buddhism.

Comparison of the texts is impossible: (1) They are in many different languages. (2) The language of the Lord's Word is unknown. (3) Pali is a language created by Rhys Davids; (4) The sheer volume of words in the Tipitaka makes it impossible to understand it. It is however possible to read it without understanding.

Textual comparison is done by scholars, whose aim is not to practice Dhamma.

It is absolutey necessary to follow the Dhamma of the Lord strictly if one's intention is to practice it.

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