The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by DNS » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:56 pm

Manapa wrote: maybe it would help to clarify what Buddhavacana is?
is it words of the Buddha, or is it words of Dhamma from an enlightened being, or simply words of Dhamma from anyone (as in what is said, taught etc is Dhamma but the person may or may not be enlightened)?
number 3 - Who but the Buddha could have fathomed the Abhidhamma.
maybe a Arahant?
whether the Abhidhamma is or isn't from the historical Buddha I don't think matters, whether it is Buddhavacana (in the wide sense that not all the teachings in the suttas are spoken by the Buddha) or not I think does.
Good points!

I am not sure, to be honest. If it just means from an enlightened being, then there probably is no dispute among Theravadins. :toast:

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:05 am

it struck me that the Dhammapada verse 'whoever sees the Dhamma sees me' (or something like that) may be talking about Buddhavacana

but

:woohoo:

I made a good point

EDIT - yes I am in one of my funny moods
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:21 am

Greetings,

I've read somewhere (could have been a forum, an article, alas I have no idea now) that what consistutes Buddhavacana may have extended from beyond the literal mouth of the Buddha over time, justified by suttas where the Buddha states that one of the monks has spoken well.. and that if he were to have explained the matter, he would have done so in the same way (apologies I cannot find a sutta link, either). If you've read a few suttas though, doubtlessly you'll have come across such words and the end of a sutta, in praise of Sariputta or someone else.

For me though, this application of Buddhavacana is a slippery slope. I'm all for the Buddha declaring he would have spoken in such a way, but once people who aren't Sammasambuddhas start declaring that the now-deceased Buddha would have spoken in such a way... then I think things start to go awry. Subtleties and profundity get missed, and the process repeats ad infinitum until what remains is not Buddhavacana by anyone's definition.

For this reason, in the interests of the preservation of the Buddha's teachings, I'd rather keep the dominion of the Buddha word exclusively in the hands of the Buddhas.

Further reading:

Liberation - Relevance of Sutta-Vinaya by Dhammavuddho Thera
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha163.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:33 am

Exceptionally good point!
except for sariputta Ananda and his abilities in discernment spring to mind, as does Ehipassiko.

I think in the looser deffinitions moreso than the tighter one (in this case) the ability to see if what was or is said is Dhamma or not is an important factor to remember.
does the Abhidhamma (or anyother supposidly Buddhavacana) fit with the teachings leading to liberation or do they deviate from the path?
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I've read somewhere (could have been a forum, an article, alas I have no idea now) that what consistutes Buddhavacana may have extended from beyond the literal mouth of the Buddha over time, justified by suttas where the Buddha states that one of the monks has spoken well.. and that if he were to have explained the matter, he would have done so in the same way (apologies I cannot find a sutta link, either). If you've read a few suttas though, doubtlessly you'll have come across such words and the end of a sutta, in praise of Sariputta or someone else.

For me though, this application of Buddhavacana is a slippery slope. I'm all for the Buddha declaring he would have spoken in such a way, but once people who aren't Sammasambuddhas start declaring that the now-deceased Buddha would have spoken in such a way... then I think things start to go awry. Subtleties and profundity get missed, and the process repeats ad infinitum until what remains is not Buddhavacana by anyone's definition.

For this reason, in the interests of the preservation of the Buddha's teachings, I'd rather keep the dominion of the Buddha word exclusively in the hands of the Buddhas.

Further reading:

Liberation - Relevance of Sutta-Vinaya by Dhammavuddho Thera
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha163.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by DNS » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:35 am

retrofuturist wrote: For this reason, in the interests of the preservation of the Buddha's teachings, I'd rather keep the dominion of the Buddha word exclusively in the hands of the Buddhas.
Also, a good point!
Further reading:
Liberation - Relevance of Sutta-Vinaya by Dhammavuddho Thera
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha163.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
From Ven. Dhammavudho's essay:
The true Dhamma is embodied in the discourses of the Buddha found in the earliest 4 Nikayas: are generally accepted by all schools of Buddhism to be the original Teachings of the Buddha, unlike other books (e.g. Mahayana Sutras, Abhidhamma, etc.) which are controversial because they contain some contradictions with the 4 Nikayas. The earliest 4 Nikayas are very consistent and contains the flavour of liberation from suffering.
I haven't read the whole essay yet, but I wonder what the contradictions are with the Abhidhamma and first 4 Nikayas?

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:40 am

Greetings Manapa,
Manapa wrote:does the Abhidhamma (or anyother supposidly Buddhavacana) fit with the teachings leading to liberation or do they deviate from the path?
I think that is at the crux of this issue. Yet, who do we trust to answer such a question? A Sammasambuddha? An arahant? A non-returner? A once-returner? A stream-entrant? A Thera? Ourselves? How can we validate the "enlightenment credentials" of people who claim to be such?

"Fit with" is also an interesting term. Does it mean, on one hand, "the most profound explanation, as explained by a Buddha", or on the other hand, "not inconsistent with the teachings of the Buddha". Again, people may have different expectations. Who do we trust to determine fit?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:49 am

Just realised and think I should clarify, I am on about arahants who we think are Arahants as in Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Boowa etc as speaking words of a Buddha, not for instance anything I say or anyone as speaking Buddhas words, although I have read some of my words :coffee: and no they are not :tongue:
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:56 am

Greetings Manapa,

With the greatest respect to Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Boowa... I would never be comfortable in calling anything they say Buddhavacana. Even those who are purported to be arahants do not speak in unison on certain issues. Consider for instance Ajahn Chah's dismissiveness of much of the Abhidhammic and commentarial material. Contrast this with some of the Burmese masters, for example.

Who to believe as definitive Buddhavacana? Why open that Pandora's Box?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by DNS » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:05 am

retrofuturist wrote: For me though, this application of Buddhavacana is a slippery slope. I'm all for the Buddha declaring he would have spoken in such a way, but once people who aren't Sammasambuddhas start declaring that the now-deceased Buddha would have spoken in such a way... then I think things start to go awry. Subtleties and profundity get missed, and the process repeats ad infinitum until what remains is not Buddhavacana by anyone's definition.
Since the Theragatha and Therigatha are included as Buddhavacana, but obviously not the words of Buddha, another more middle way position of Buddhavacana could be the words of Buddha, plus those enlightened elders (monks and nuns) during the time of Buddha, up to the First Council.

That would eliminate the possibilities of the slippery slope you refer to above, and certainly not including anything anyone said today as Buddhavacana. :tongue:

That would include at least the first 4 Nikayas, some or most of the Khuddaka Nikaya, the Patimokkha and the rest depending upon your view of the historical information from scholars and the later councils.

Or if we accept Buddhavacana to include all those elders up to the Third or even Fourth Council, then we have the current Tipitaka as Buddhavacana.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:12 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Manapa,
Manapa wrote:does the Abhidhamma (or anyother supposidly Buddhavacana) fit with the teachings leading to liberation or do they deviate from the path?
I think that is at the crux of this issue. Yet, who do we trust to answer such a question? A Sammasambuddha? An arahant? A non-returner? A once-returner? A stream-entrant? A Thera? Ourselves? How can we validate the "enlightenment credentials" of people who claim to be such?

"Fit with" is also an interesting term. Does it mean, on one hand, "the most profound explanation, as explained by a Buddha", or on the other hand, "not inconsistent with the teachings of the Buddha". Again, people may have different expectations.

Metta,
Retro. :)
not read this when I had posted my last responce, but in answer to your responce to that responce (now my head goes hurty :thinking: ) is ehipasiko
but I also think that is the answer to this reply also, or at least in part, who can we trust? we are to make ourselfves like an island, but islands are not disconected from everything else, under the sea we can see that islands are connected, we need friends who can help us, but should we rely on them to provide all the answers? or should we rely on our own understanding to help us? or should we use both?

personally I think we should use what we need to, if we find ourselves going off course then see where the problem is and amend that problem.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:17 am

Greetings David,
TheDhamma wrote:Since the Theragatha and Therigatha are included as Buddhavacana
Out of interest, do you know who defined them as such, and when?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by DNS » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:27 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings David,
TheDhamma wrote:Since the Theragatha and Therigatha are included as Buddhavacana
Out of interest, do you know who defined them as such, and when?
I don't know. Where's Bhante Dhammanando when you need him? :tongue:

My guess would be because they are all written by arahants and well-up on the 'Chronology of Pali Canon' list by Thomas William Rhys Davids in his Buddhist India.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:29 am

TheDhamma wrote:That would eliminate the possibilities of the slippery slope you refer to above, and certainly not including anything anyone said today as Buddhavacana. :tongue:

Or if we accept Buddhavacana to include all those elders up to the Third or even Fourth Council, then we have the current Tipitaka as Buddhavacana.
1 - is tomorrow open for some Buddhavacana??? :thinking:

2 - then why not the 5th & 6th? then the more recent burmese additions would be included.

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.

personally I feel that it falls on faith, I have met one monk who did not inspire me in the slightest and would have a hard time saying he was at any level of the path other than being clothed in robes, and another monk whos teaching and manner had me instantly thinking should he be saying doing this but after each thought feeling inspired to practice harder and have no problem with believing he is a Arahant and saying so.
Last edited by retrofuturist on Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: corrected attribute of quote
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by DNS » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:35 am

Manapa wrote: 2 - then why not the 5th & 6th? then the more recent burmese additions would be included.
If you accept the account from the Commentaries, the era we are in now is 'not open' to arahants and non-returner is the highest state one can reach.

That would mean the 5th & 6th councils had no arahants in attendance (years 1871 & 1954).

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:39 am

TheDhamma wrote:
Manapa wrote: 2 - then why not the 5th & 6th? then the more recent burmese additions would be included.
If you accept the account from the Commentaries, the era we are in now is 'not open' to arahants and non-returner is the highest state one can reach.

That would mean the 5th & 6th councils had no arahants in attendance (years 1871 & 1954).
That is true, so I take it tomorow is closed also :group: LOL

I have occasionally wondered why such a 'timeframe' developed it doesn't seam to make sense to me, but I hav't read the relevant info on it
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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