If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Qianxi
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Post by Qianxi » Tue May 13, 2014 12:17 pm

arhat wrote:The very name tipitaka (three baskets) is almost as old as the emperor Ashoka (i.e. 3rd century BCE) i.e. as old as the earliest attested Pali itself.
I'd be interested to read a study of the history of the concept of tipitaka. I agree it does suggest physical storage, i'm not sure it would be a natural metaphor for collections purely oral texts.

Neither tipitaka, nikaya or agama are mentioned in the suttas, and I don't think 'sutta' is even mentioned outside the list of the nine (or twelve) 'aṅgas'. What we refer to as the suttas are just called the dhamma. The Buddha's teachings as a whole are called the dhamma-vinaya (or dhamma, vinaya, matika).

Nonetheless I think the early schools do share the concept of the tipitaka. It'd be interesting to read a learned guess at when the idea developed, because if 'tipitaka' does refer to physical storage then I suppose that suggests that the teachings were already partly written down before the dhamma went to Sri Lanka.

I know that Arhat's theory is that the suttas were written down from the start. I disagree, mainly because of the internal evidence of the suttas themselves.

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

Post by ancientbuddhism » Tue May 13, 2014 5:47 pm

arhat wrote:Bhanakas were not reciters from memory but readers from texts. In the early centuries of Buddhism not many could read aloud (i.e. recite) since most were illiterate, and those who could were held in high regard. …
In the lecture I cited above, Norman presents a well argued theory for the bhāṇakas as ‘speaking’ the texts from memory, including the possibility of a mnemonic method using ‘stock phrases’. Unless you prefer for your purposes to use Normans reference to Tambiah’s encounter with modern Theravāda monastics memorising texts from printed material, do you have evidence for your claim?
arhat wrote:The very name tipitaka (three baskets) is almost as old as the emperor Ashoka (i.e. 3rd century BCE) i.e. as old as the earliest attested Pali itself.
Are you suggesting these baskets were 'mental baskets' of suttas, rather than 'physical baskets' containing sutta manuscripts? I don't find that convincing.
Lecture VIII – Buddhism and Canonicity – of the same series cited above, discusses tipiṭaka and the idea of a pāli-canon in general. That the tipiṭaka would be considered as representing a physical collection of texts originally, was not mentioned, although the nearest equivalent to ‘canon’ he comes up with is “…Buddhavacana “the words of the Buddha””.
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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu May 15, 2014 11:22 am

arhat wrote: ...Are you suggesting these baskets were 'mental baskets' of suttas, rather than 'physical baskets' containing sutta manuscripts? I don't find that convincing.
The term (translated) as basket can mean a device for collection (of the Buddha's words), and the means or process of collection used (translation) is the basket, because people at the time when Buddha walked The Earth used baskets for this purpose.

This is fitting. Just like accountants sort business expenses into buckets, the mind sorts-out such things we have experienced into buckets or baskets as well. It is well established in psychology that human memory works exactly that way. It is the way that our mind during the mental process of recognition is able to skip all the things that exist, by jumping to obvious categories. For example with our sense of vision, when we see an object in the distance, too far away to recognize all the details, we immediately begin to sort-out what it could be: Big?, Medium, Small? : Animate?, Inanimate?; Plant?, Animal? Mineral?; Tree? Bush? Bear?; Dangerous? Safe?; Can it eat me? Can I eat it? ...and as it gets closer we refine our categories as more details can be discerned or collected, and,the possible categories become more and more refined until we get close enough to say that the object is our neighbor Fred or Hellen, who is asking to borrow a cup of sugar. The same is true with most of the other senses.

So, I see no problem with mentally basketing or bucketing Buddha's teachings and later reciting them for the benefit of those, who wish to learn "The Dhamma". The other benefit of doing things this way is captured by the old chestnut: "He, who teaches, learns twice. Just imagine how familiar with The Dhamma Bhikkhus became, who memorized Buddha's teachings and then recited, or taught them thousands of times during their life times. :anjali:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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

Post by bharadwaja » Thu May 15, 2014 2:12 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:The term (translated) as basket can mean a device for collection (of the Buddha's words), and the means or process of collection used (translation) is the basket, because people at the time when Buddha walked The Earth used baskets for this purpose.

This is fitting. Just like accountants sort business expenses into buckets, the mind sorts-out such things we have experienced into buckets or baskets as well. It is well established in psychology that human memory works exactly that way.
I entirely agree with all the above, but since I also know the following inconvenient facts that do not fit your explanation, I retain my own understanding that the pitaka was a physical container of manuscripts, that was not used in the pre-writing era i.e. the Buddha's lifetime:

1. The word pitaka is not found at all in the canon. The canon was compiled after the Buddha's time i.e. in the era when writing had come into use.
2. Nobody else in that time in India used it to mean a collection of texts that they held in their mind.
3. The word pitaka has nothing to do with textual or mental activity, it never occurs anywhere in a 'data processing' context.

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

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu May 15, 2014 4:25 pm

arhat wrote: "1. The word pitaka is not found at all in the canon. The canon was compiled after the Buddha's time i.e. in the era when writing had come into use.
2. Nobody else in that time in India used it to mean a collection of texts that they held in their mind.
3. The word pitaka has nothing to do with textual or mental activity, it never occurs anywhere in a 'data processing' context.
First point: Agreed!

Second: The term "text" implies documentation. So, memories would not be labeled as such. However, all humans then and now categorize memories: "pleasant" vs. "painful"; "interesting" vs. "boring" and etc.

It is only reasonable to expect that monks organizing the preservation of Buddha's teachings would arrange them into categories. Although I have no evidence of this, it is only logical.

Third point: I did not mean to imply (infer) that it did. What made you believe that I did? (Just curious) :coffee:

Interestingly, I found this definition in listed by The Pali Text Society:
Citaka & Citakā
Citaka & Citakā (f.) [from ci, cināti to heap up]. -- 1. a heap, a pile, esp. a funeral pile; a tumulus D ii.163; cp, ii.1014. J i.255; v.488; vi.559, 576; DA i.6; DhA i.69; ii.240; VvA 234; PvA 39. -- 2. (adj.) inlaid: suvaṇṇa˚, with gold J vi.218 (=˚khacita).
source: http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/p ... :1474.pali

So, Pitaka may have been used to refer to a pile. Three "piles" rather than three baskets. Or, Piles of thoughts! Interesting! :tongue:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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

Post by bharadwaja » Thu May 15, 2014 5:15 pm

Keeping the issue of PTS dictionary's accuracy aside, what makes you think Citaka and Pitaka are the same word?

Besides, what exactly is your point? Pitaka was never used in the Buddha's era to imply bucketing or sub-categorizing a collection. It only had a literal meaning, and that points to the non existence of an oral tradition in pre-sectarian Buddhism for the canon as a whole.

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

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu May 15, 2014 5:37 pm

arhat wrote:Keeping the issue of PTS dictionary's accuracy aside, what makes you think Citaka and Pitaka are the same word?

Besides, what exactly is your point? Pitaka was never used in the Buddha's era to imply bucketing or sub-categorizing a collection. It only had a literal meaning, and that points to the non existence of an oral tradition in pre-sectarian Buddhism for the canon as a whole.
The word "pitaka" appears nowhere in the PTS Dictionary. It asked if I meant "citaka", which means pile. Which led me to conclude that we sort things into piles, such as when we wash clothing for folding and storage.: shirts, pants, underwear, etc. Ti-pitaka. Three Baskets or Three Piles...same difference.....or, not! :thinking:
Ti-pitaka: ' The Three Baskets', is the name for the 3 main divisions of the Pāli Canon: the Basket of Discipline Vinaya Pitaka, the Basket of Discourses Sutta Pitaka and the Basket ot Philosophy Abhidhamma Pitaka.
Seems like kind of a dopey argument on my part! Right!??? :popcorn:

I was mostly curious about the similarity of the words. I am sure that even Pali has changed in 2500 years. :namaste:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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

Post by bharadwaja » Thu May 15, 2014 7:56 pm

The word "pitaka" appears nowhere in the PTS Dictionary. It asked if I meant "citaka", which means pile. Which led me to conclude that we sort things into piles, such as when we wash clothing for folding and storage.: shirts, pants, underwear, etc. Ti-pitaka. Three Baskets or Three Piles...same difference.....or, not! :thinking:
No you were shooting in the dark.

http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/p ... :2766.pali
I was mostly curious about the similarity of the words. I am sure that even Pali has changed in 2500 years. :namaste:
Just because a dictionary suggests a word with a similar spelling ("prostate" vs. "prostrate") doesn't mean the words are related, even remotely.

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

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu May 15, 2014 11:34 pm

Thanks. I wonder why your version has it and mine doesn't? :thinking:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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

Post by bharadwaja » Thu May 15, 2014 11:43 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:In the lecture I cited above, Norman presents a well argued theory
I don't think so. His arguments are shaky and one sided. Here are his principal arguments and why I think they are shaky.

He says "There is no agreement among scholars about the date when writing first came into use in India" but this is dubious.

We know for certain that the earliest texts and inscriptions in India are all from the 3rd century BCE, writing cannot have been introduced in India before the 4th century BCE at the earliest. No one claims otherwise.

He says "If writing was in use during the early period of Buddhism, we should have expected to find rules laid down in the Vinaya governing the proper use and storage of
writing implements and materials, in the way in which we find instructions about everything else which concerns a monk’s daily life.
"

This is also shaky because he presumes that monks should have been the earliest writers or copiers of the sutta manuscripts.

Even if we assume they were, it is not necessary that they used writing for everyday use as to necessitate carrying writing implements along with them wherever they went.

Maybe they didn't even carry the written texts around with them but deposited them for safekeeping at reliable places or monasteries. Monasteries cannot have been used for any other principal purpose in Ashoka's time (other than as a storehouse and copying place for manuscripts) since monks in the early monastic tradition never lived in a single place... the entire paribbajaka i.e. wandering mendicant tradition (which some people wrongly call the sramana tradition) was about living a homeless (non-settled) existence. Monks cannot have lived for extended periods in or around a single monastery. But texts had to have a place to be preserved and copied.

Norman says "The vocabulary of the early texts is centred around the words for hearing, from the root śru - to hear, and for speaking from the root vac to speak" and uses this as an argument to prove that there was no word for "reading".

But even Ashoka in his (written) rock edicts says things like "This edict is to be listened/heard every 4 months..." (not "read"). Just because he uses the words listen/hear, it doesnt mean some or all of Ashoka's edicts were once part of an oral tradition before they were finally written down as rock edicts.

Similarly Ashoka in another edict says "These Dhamma texts -- Extracts from the Discipline, the Noble Way of Life, the Fears to Come, the Poem on the Silent Sage, the Discourse on the Pure Life, Upatisa's Questions, and the Advice to Rahula which was spoken by the Buddha concerning false speech -- these Dhamma texts, reverend sirs, I desire that all the monks and nuns may constantly listen to...", and this by the same logic does not mean these suttas that Ashoka was referring to by name and suggesting they be heard, were part of a putative oral tradition.

Norman also says "The word bhāṇaka means speaker, from the root bhaṇ “to speak”, and is another of the items of vocabulary which suggest that the early Buddhists used an oral tradition."

However there are no bhāṇakas mentioned either in the canon itself or anytime within the first 10 centuries of Buddhism. Even Buddhaghosa who is the first to mention a bhāṇaka uses it only once in relevance to the sutta pitaka and does not mention that bhāṇakas followed an independent oral tradition. So to use a single occurence of this word virtually a millenium after the buddha's time (and by redefining it) to argue for a great oral tradition in the Buddha's era is kind of odd..

Norman further says "...but everyone, I think, agrees that during the early period of Buddhism, even if writing was available, all teaching was by oral methods, and the Buddhist scriptures were transmitted orally, as was also the case with the brahmanical texts." So here we come to the crux of the argument, he is relying on dogma (i.e. "everyone agrees so it must be true") to prove that there was an oral tradition, not because there is any evidence for it, but due to the existence of much evidence against it. He also brings the red herring called the 'brahmanical oral tradition' of the vedas to suggest that buddhists must have adopted the brahmanical oral tradition. However the brahmanical oral tradition was specifically designed for the vedas, applying it for the tipitaka was wholly impossible (see below).
ancientbuddhism wrote:do you have evidence for your claim?
I have evidence that bhanakas are not mentioned at all in the canon.

Nor could they have followed the vedic oral tradition for preserving the pali canon intact since the vedic oral tradition depended on significant linguistic tools and grammatical study which is all still practised in India , it is extremely rigorous and time-consuming, it depends very heavily on grammatical study, I am convinced it can never have been used by the sangha (it took decades of vedic study for a brahmin to become fully proficient in the oral tradition).
ancientbuddhism wrote:Lecture VIII – Buddhism and Canonicity – of the same series cited above, discusses tipiṭaka and the idea of a pāli-canon in general. That the tipiṭaka would be considered as representing a physical collection of texts originally, was not mentioned, although the nearest equivalent to ‘canon’ he comes up with is “…Buddhavacana “the words of the Buddha””.
So how were the suttas transmitted if there was no compilation of them i.e. a canon? How did people know which sutta was what (as Ashoka refers to some of the suttas by name)?
Last edited by bharadwaja on Thu May 15, 2014 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by bharadwaja » Thu May 15, 2014 11:45 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Thanks. I wonder why your version has it and mine doesn't? :thinking:
The t in Piṭaka has a dot under it, i.e. it is a retroflexed t (that doesn't exist in English), not the dental t which does. You were trying to query with the dental t.

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

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Fri May 16, 2014 3:52 am

arhat wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Thanks. I wonder why your version has it and mine doesn't? :thinking:
The t in Piṭaka has a dot under it, i.e. it is a retroflexed t (that doesn't exist in English), not the dental t which does. You were trying to query with the dental t.
Thanks. I couldn't even see the "retroflex" character due to being poorly sighted at the resolution & enlargement on my computer screen. If you know: "How do I readily get that and other characters on my keyboard?"

Thanks. :namaste:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Fri May 16, 2014 4:13 am

Found this in the Pali Section :reading: :
पिटक ; piṭaka ; a basket ; a container ; one of the three main division of Pāli Canon .


source: http://dictionary.tamilcube.com/pali-dictionary.aspx

....which I will reference in the future when using Pali---->English Dictionary:

source: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/

Thank you very much for your help! :bow:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Qianxi
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:16 pm

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

Post by Qianxi » Fri May 16, 2014 9:02 am

arhat wrote:Norman also says "The word bhāṇaka means speaker, from the root bhaṇ “to speak”, and is another of the items of vocabulary which suggest that the early Buddhists used an oral tradition."

However there are no bhāṇakas mentioned either in the canon itself or anytime within the first 10 centuries of Buddhism. Even Buddhaghosa who is the first to mention a bhāṇaka uses it only once in relevance to the sutta pitaka and does not mention that bhāṇakas followed an independent oral tradition. So to use a single occurence of this word virtually a millenium after the buddha's time (and by redefining it) to argue for a great oral tradition in the Buddha's era is kind of odd..
According to Speaking for Buddhas: Scriptural Commentary in Indian Buddhism by Richard Nance,( un-numbered page + notes ) 'bhāṇaka' is found on 2nd century bce - 1st century ce Prakrit donative inscriptions in Sri Lanka and on a couple of 2nd century bce inscriptions in India. Interestingly I think the Sri Lankan inscriptions imply that the bhāṇakas specialise in one Nikaya (Dighabhanaka, Majjhimabhanaka etc.), but in the Indian inscriptions they are just bhāṇakas without a specialisation.

I think there may be some sources preserved in Chinese that touch on this topic, i'll have a look.

EDIT: In MN 33 and its Chinese parallels http://suttacentral.net/mn33 there's reference to 'those who know the agamas, memorise the dhamma, memorise the vinaya and memorise the matikas' "āgatāgamā dhammadharā vinayadharā mātikādharā" (I may well be wrong with that translation, please correct me.)

There's also talk in the Theravada Vinaya of putting people together who have similar interests: http://suttacentral.net/en/pi-tv-bu-vb-ss8
Then the venerable Dabba, the Mallian, being so chosen, assigned one lodging in the same place for those monks who belonged to the same company. For those monks who knew the Suttantas he assigned a lodging in the same place, saying: “These will be able to chant over the Suttantas to one another.” For those monks versed in the Vinaya rules, he assigned a lodging in the same place, saying: “They will decide upon the Vinaya with one another.” For those monks teaching dhamma he assigned a lodging in the same place, saying: “They will discuss dhamma with one another.” For those monks who were musers he assigned a lodging in the same place, saying: “They will not disturb one another.”..who lived indulging in low talk and who were athletic...who came in late at night..
The first three kinds of monk sound a bit like the purported bhāṇaka specialisation system, perhaps an early form where instead of specialising in a Nikaya the monks memorised a whole pitaka. I admit the 'musers', the athletes and the night owls don't really fit the pattern.

The Pali for that vinaya passage: http://suttacentral.net/pi/pi-tv-bu-vb-ss8
Sammato saṃghena āyasmā dabbo mallaputto senāsa­na­paññā­pako ca bhattuddesako ca. Khamati saṃghassa, tasmā tuṇhī, evametaṃ dhārayāmī’”ti.

Sammato ca panāyasmā dabbo mallaputto sabhāgānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ ekajjhaṃ senāsanaṃ paññapeti. Ye te bhikkhū suttantikā tesaṃ ekajjhaṃ senāsanaṃ paññapeti—“te aññamaññaṃ suttantaṃ saṅgāyissantī”ti. Ye te bhikkhū vinayadharā tesaṃ ekajjhaṃ senāsanaṃ paññapeti—“te aññamaññaṃ vinayaṃ vinicchi­nis­santī”ti. Ye te bhikkhū dhammakathikā tesaṃ ekajjhaṃ senāsanaṃ paññapeti—“te aññamaññaṃ dhammaṃ sākacchissantī”ti. Ye te bhikkhū jhāyino tesaṃ ekajjhaṃ senāsanaṃ paññapeti— “te aññamaññaṃ na byābādhissantī”ti. Ye te bhikkhū tiracchā­na­ka­thikā kāya­daḷhi­bahulā viharanti tesampi ekajjhaṃ senāsanaṃ paññapeti—“imāyapime āyasmanto ratiyā acchissantī”ti. Yepi te bhikkhū vikāle āgacchanti tesampi tejodhātuṃ samāpajjitvā teneva ālokena senāsanaṃ paññapeti. Apisu bhikkhū sañcicca vikāle āgacchanti—“mayaṃ āyasmato dabbassa mallaputtassa iddhi­pā­ṭihā­ri­yaṃ passissāmā”ti.

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

Post by Qianxi » Fri May 16, 2014 10:01 am

Thinking about it, there's probably something quite significant in the transition from "dhammadharā, vinayadharā, mātikādharā" in the suttas to "suttantikā, vinayadharā, dhammakathikā" in the vinaya.

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