Authenticity of Jātaka

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Post Reply
User avatar
dylanj
Posts: 784
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:48 am
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Authenticity of Jātaka

Post by dylanj » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:12 am

What's your view? I understand that they are viewed by most scholars to have been heavily edited if not fabricated, but at the same time...
AN 7.68 wrote:“And how is a monk one with a sense of Dhamma? There is the case where a monk knows the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions"
...they are among the canonical categorizations of the Dhamma. This suggests we shouldn't simply ignore them.

So how should they be navigated to avoid any potential harm that might come from being exposed to pseudo-dhamma?
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20032
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Authenticity of Jātaka

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:18 am

Greetings,
maranadhammomhi wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:12 am
So how should they be navigated to avoid any potential harm that might come from being exposed to pseudo-dhamma?
Just understand their origins, understand their limitations, and if they help you remember authentic Dhamma teachings (as might be the case with the Dhammapada commentary stories, for example), then great.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2503
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Authenticity of Jātaka

Post by DooDoot » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:57 am

maranadhammomhi wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:12 am
...they are among the canonical categorizations of the Dhamma. This suggests we shouldn't simply ignore them.
What exactly are 'jātakaṃ'?, possibly might be the 1st question. Given there are no stories of the Buddha having a previous life as a parrot or buffalo in the suttas, what exactly is a jātakaṃ (birth story)? While there is a mere handful of literal past life stories in the suttas (such as AN 3.15, AN 9.20, MN 50, MN 81, MN 83, MN 123 & DN 17), these suttas appear to have the style & language of the Buddhāpadāna & Apadāna, which are later texts, from the same period as the Jataka Tales. In addition, the content of these suttas seems to contradict the teaching found in SN 22.79, which states any recollection of 'past abodes' should be viewed as 'not-self' & mere aggregates, here: https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.79 . Also, MN 123 (where young Buddha speaks "I am" at childbirth) contradicts MN 64 (which states a new born child cannot have any idea of self). I think MN 123 in particular shows how such suttas were probably later additions to the suttas & are not authentic. Therefore, returning to the original question, what possibly are birth stories for the Buddha? Possibly the following are examples:
The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.’

SN 56.11
Then the bhikkhus of the group of five, thus taught and instructed by me, being themselves subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeking the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, attained the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being themselves subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, seeking the unageing, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, and undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, they attained the unageing, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, and undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna. The knowledge and vision arose in them: ‘Our deliverance is unshakeable; this is our last birth; there is no renewal of being.’

MN 26
Angulimala, go to that woman and on arrival say to her, 'Sister, since I was born I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus.'

But, lord, wouldn't that be a lie for me? For I have intentionally killed many living beings.

Then in that case, Angulimala, go to that woman and on arrival say to her, 'Sister, since I was born in the noble birth, I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus.'

MN 86
maranadhammomhi wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:12 am
So how should they be navigated to avoid any potential harm that might come from being exposed to pseudo-dhamma?
The Jataka Takes appear to be morality tales for children therefore possibly view them as such (unless you wish to believe the Buddha really once was a parrot that put out a forest fire to save the other animals). At least for me, the Jataka Tales perpetuate 'self-view'. For me, I use SN 22.79 to define the meaning of 'recollecting past abodes' (which is often translated as 'recollecting past lives').


User avatar
robertk
Posts: 2821
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Authenticity of Jātaka

Post by robertk » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:43 am

Very authentic and part of the Sutta pitaka.
Fortunately the equally authentic Commentary that gives so many details is also still available.

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 3736
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Authenticity of Jātaka

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:55 pm

This forum believes in the reincarnation of past members with new identities.
AIM ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2503
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Authenticity of Jātaka

Post by DooDoot » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:27 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:57 am
While there is a mere handful of literal past life stories in the suttas (such as AN 3.15, AN 9.20, MN 50, MN 81, MN 83, MN 123 & DN 17)...
Bhikkhu Sujato comments on AN 3.15 here: The First Jataka?.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests