Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Modus.Ponens
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Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by Modus.Ponens » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:40 pm

Hi.

I would like to know if the chronological analysis of the suttas suggest that, as the Buddha grew older, his teachings got more detailed and sophisticated.

Añjali
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by salayatananirodha » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:34 am

No
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


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Kim OHara
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Re: Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:06 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:40 pm
Hi.

I would like to know if the chronological analysis of the suttas suggest that, as the Buddha grew older, his teachings got more detailed and sophisticated.

Añjali
I think that any such difference would be far outweighed by the differences in his teachings to different audiences. What he said to lay audiences was always simpler and more direct than what he said to monks.

:namaste:
Kim

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Sam Vara
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Re: Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:57 am

A big problem here is working out the chronology of the Buddha's teachings. There is this earlier thread:

viewtopic.php?t=7141

and this:

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/su ... order/5454

but any chronology looks fairly tentative. Even if it were possible to date the suttas and vinaya, they bear little relationship to the order in which what was heard was delivered; they could of course have been "retro-fitted" into a schema.

It's significant, for example, that the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta is traditionally held to be the first teaching, yet makes little sense without background knowledge which obviously could not have been available at the time.

markandeya
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Re: Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by markandeya » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:29 am

I would say yes they did improve and dhamma is always evolving and molding into present day circumstances.

If we refer to Ayacana Sutta

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Siddharta once awoken found out the Tathāgata was extremely subtle and hard to convey and his first teaching was a flat failure and he decided to not teach and just dwell in the bliss of awakening.

Although there is a inner dimension to the teaching of BrahmA as purified Chitta and the five ascetics as the five working senses, there is also the external teaching that few had dust in their eyes so he should teach, so upon further deliberation he put into the motion the basic structure of the dhamma the four noble truth including the noble eightfold path, which is not only universal to dhamma teachings but easily applicable and understood by the layperson.

Why did the Buddha meditate in period of seven days, again we can relate this to the 7 pyshcic points and the relevance is that conditions are always changing, and points to the importance of understanding with awareness our environments and making the adaptions, neither Tathāgata or the conditions are in a fix state, they will be expanding in both directions, one into further bondage and the other into the nature of Tathāgata anidassana vinnana consciosuness without signs or features, so Bodhi is not a eureka moment where one just gains knowledge of everything and that its, its not static there is always a two way continuum or expansion. So Buddha would meditate for seven days and absorb his surroundings to further learn how to perfectly communicate his teachings that remain relevant to his times and make them more and more accessible for everyone, not just a stay and remain in a abstract distant seclusion.

As Siddharta Buddha would continue his life and teachings due to associating with the world and not becoming a recluse he learned how to better share his teachings with everyone. Brahma is mentioned so many times in the suttas as brief translation of brahma, not brahmA, brahma is that its without limits always expanding without limits.

:anjali:

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DooDoot
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Re: Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by DooDoot » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:31 am

markandeya wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:29 am
I would say yes they did improve and dhamma is always evolving and molding into present day circumstances.
I think the Buddha's first three sermons contain basically everything; which is why there were reportedly many arahants after the first three sermons were taught. If we are to accept all of the suttas as the Buddha's teachings (which they probably are not but lets assume they are) then his teachings (based on the stuff in the DN and AN) appeared to become more worldly & mundane; particularly the stuff reflecting Brahaministic "cosmology". This increasing worldliness continues after the Buddha's passing, with Jataka and eventually Hinduism & Mahayana.
markandeya wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:29 am
I would say yes they did improve and dhamma is always evolving and molding into present day circumstances.

If we refer to Ayacana Sutta

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Siddharta once awoken found out the Tathāgata was extremely subtle and hard to convey and his first teaching was a flat failure and he decided to not teach and just dwell in the bliss of awakening.
His first teaching was the Four Noble Truths and it was not a failure. :roll: You might need to brush up on Buddhist history.
markandeya wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:29 am
Although there is a inner dimension to the teaching of BrahmA as purified Chitta and the five ascetics as the five working senses...
Wt.... :?
Never ordained... not an anonymous-online-bhikkhu or ex-bhikkhu...

markandeya
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Re: Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by markandeya » Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:56 pm

The whole life story is one great teaching. From his birth to how he was brought up, to the visits he made out of his kingdom, and each teaching can be directed to anyone depending on their level.

The Historical teaching of Siddharta is appealing to many because there is a very human narrative to his whole life, he struggled, he was confused about life when he was exposed to ageing, sickness and death which shook him to core, he saw the enlightened holy man that was peaceful even amidst the conditions of birth, ageing, sickness and death. He struggled and made sacrifices to search for Truth and made vows to attain awakening for the benefit of mankind. All of the teachings remain relevant today, for beginnings to advanced practitioners.

:anjali:

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_anicca_
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Re: Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by _anicca_ » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:48 pm

Once he realized nibbana, then there wasn't any other progress to be made.

Your question is like asking, "Is there anything beyond 100%?", but it is a valid question.
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia

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mikenz66
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Re: Did the Buddha's teachings improve throughout his life?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:04 pm

_anicca_ wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:48 pm
Once he realized nibbana, then there wasn't any other progress to be made.

Your question is like asking, "Is there anything beyond 100%?", but it is a valid question.
Awakening doesn't necessarily make one perfect at teaching. And it is clear that the Buddha varied his teaching depending on the audience, and also varied the vinaya to eliminate problems.

:heart:
Mike

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