Greetings Manapa, all,
Manapa wrote:I think a safe bet would be any Arahant speaks the words of a Buddha, but this does leave open the conundrum in Retros/mine slightly side discussion.
As a counter to that proposition, I would put forward an example from the Dhanañjani Sutta where... (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el090.html
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The Venerable Sariputta explains to the brahman Dhanañjani that the multifarious duties of a layman are no excuse for wrong moral conduct, nor do they exempt one from painful consequences of such conduct in a future existence. Later, when Dhanañjani was on his deathbed he requested the Elder to visit him, and the Venerable Sariputta spoke to him, on the way to Brahma through the Brahma-viharas. The Buddha mildly reproached the elder for not having led Dhanañjani to a higher understanding.
Link to sutta extract: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 0.html#p59
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In other words, what venerable Sariputta said to Dhanañjani was not incorrect... it certainly "fit" with the Dhamma and was in accord with his enlightened experiences as an arahant, but it is certainly not what the Buddha would have spoken or done, in his capacity of being a Sammasambuddha, thus... under such circumstances, are comments like Sariputta's to be understood as Buddhavacana?
My preference here is obviously... no.
If the Buddha had "rubber stamped" it with his "explained it as I would have done" style approval, I would permit it as Buddhavacana.
Even the great General of the Dhamma, the mighty venerable Sariputta, did not always speak Buddhavacana, let alone the arahants and commentators that were to speak and write of the Dhamma in later years. I hope this and above comments provide some clarity as to the stringent criteria I hold the texts to, and why the Abhidhamma Pitaka, given all available evidence, does not pass this test. It's not through lack of respect of those who came later, but rather, it's indicative of the respect I hold for the Buddha and the way, in both content and means, by which he expounded the Dhamma.
The Buddha did not need his teachings to be refined or systemized by arahants for him. I believe he already taught them as perfectly as anyone could do.