If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
User avatar
bharadwaja
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:20 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Post by bharadwaja » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:52 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:The study of dialects does not necessarily have the same convenience of organisation as established languages. The study is more complex and nuanced than one may expect to find of a language given a “name/grammar/dictionary”.
Since you make such a big deal of the dialect vs language distinction, let me rephrase my question as follows:

Can you name some of the distinct MIA languages that were present in BCE India, and referred to in the literature (either Buddhist or non-Buddhist) of that era? Has any scholar found the name/grammar/dictionary (from BCE) of a single MIA language?
Norman considers himself an expert in MIA dialects “used primarily in North India between about 500 BC and 1000 AD…” (Norman, 1994, p. 7). He is extensively published, but the lecture series I mentioned earlier would be well worth your time to read as an overview.
I have read them, and I do agree he has done a lot of homework, and is in many ways more knowledgeable than other scholars. I do not consider him infallible though, as I have observed he does make some apparently specious "belief" claims in certain areas (particularly on topics outside philology, his area of expertise).
This is just restating the opinion you have given. It remains a baseless claim.
I dont understand this. What is a baseless claim? Is it that the tipitaka has been a written text for the last 2000 years or so?

Or is your disagreement about the null hypothesis (that it was not only a written text for the last 2000 years, but for 2300-2400 years i.e. for its entire existence)?
bharadwaja wrote:The evidences for the alternative hypothesis are completely absent.
We have what the religious tradition (Dīpavaṃsa, 20.20 – 21 and commentaries) has given. Which is by far better than criticising archeology for 'digging in the wrong places' for what you lack.
The Dipavamsa and commentaries were composed about one millenium after the Buddha's lifetime, and that too in a foreign country thousands of kilometres away from where the Buddha lived. If you left it to the Chinese of 7th century AD to describe the invasions of Alexander, what is the chance they would describe it accurately?

That can be considered the Dipavamsa's conjecture, but it is not "proof" for anything. It does not even make sense, we know for certain that writing was first adopted by the Buddhists in the north-western parts of South Asia (where we find the oldest buddhist manuscripts), not the southernmost part i.e. Sri Lanka.
Now I am really confused. Earlier, you said of Norman:
bharadwaja wrote:His arguments are shaky and one sided.
Yes, his arguments for the existence of an oral tradition are shaky and one-sided.
But his findings about the canon being formerly (i.e. before it reached its current 'Pali' form) written in an imperfect script, is bang on!
I have no idea what paper you were reading, but in the one you just cited, Norman defers to the Dīpavaṃsa and commentarial Theravāda tradition wrt the historical period and manner in which the tipiṭaka was written (circa 100 BCE).
Therefore he adds no value there, and I disagree with him there, because the oldest buddhist manuscripts are found in that part of India where we know writing first originated. Writing may have reached Sri Lanka in 100 BCE with the arrival of Buddhists from the north-western part of India, but the Dipavamsa's speculation of a time when the canon was not written is just that - a speculation. It may be true that writing was not used in Sri Lanka before 100 BCE (or about the start of the common era) but that by itself does not imply the existence of an oral tradition in BCE Sri Lanka, or in India.
  • “There is, however, little doubt that we can accept that the writing down of the tipiṭaka during the reign of Vaṭṭagāmiṇi Abhaya was an historic fact.” (Norman – 1994, p.78)
So there is nothing to disprove, it is a dogmatic belief.
But it still remains a ‘working’ hypothesis to the baseless claim that simply because there is no evidence of a structured system for oral transmission of the pāḷi canon, as there is with the Vedic, that the former cannot have existed.
What is relevant is not your speculation that an oral tradition could have possibly existed for the Pali canon, but to show a model of how it could have worked.
This is just wishful thinking. To say that “This does not mean there were no manuscripts before the 1st century BCE, but that they are still not excavated.” Couples with your earlier claim that “Archaeologists have been digging in the wrong places."
I understand your predicament. Do you therefore also claim that since there are no Pali manuscripts found before the 6th or 7th century CE, that the statement of Dipavamsa you mentioned cannot be true?

Therefore without a grammar, a dictionary, or the use of writing, do you claim that the pali canon (a compendium of about 5000 pages) was transmitted orally in an otherwise unknown language and understood for 900-1000 years in foreign countries (like Sri-Lanka, Burma etc)? I find that is not just unbelievable, but also poorly researched.

User avatar
ancientbuddhism
Posts: 884
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Post by ancientbuddhism » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:12 pm

I'm not sure if the disconnect to the flow of dialog is an ESL issue with you, or that your mind simply cannot follow its own train of thought. But a meaningful dialog no longer seems possible with you.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

Jeremy
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:27 am

Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Post by Jeremy » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:41 am

4.8. 'Suppose a monk were to say: "Friends, I heard and
received this from the Lord's own lips: this is the Dhamma,
this is the discipline, this is the Master's teaching", then,
monks, you should neither approve nor disapprove his words.
Then, without approving or disapproving, his words and expressions
should be carefully noted and compared with the
Suttas and reviewed in the light of the discipline. If they, on
such comparison and review, are found not to conform to the
Suttas or the discipline, the conclusion must be: "Assuredly
this is not the word of the Buddha, it has been wrongly understood
by this monk", and the matter is to be rejected. But
where on such comparison and review they are found to conform
to the Suttas or the discipline, the conclusion must be:
"Assuredly this is the word of the Buddha, it has been rightly
understood by this monk." This is the first criterion.

If these are the Buddhas words then did want you to find someone that had them memorized or is he alluding to written copies?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests