why is authenticity under-valued

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:03 am

DCM wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:59 am
Okay, so if I asked, "what are the EBT's", would we get a general agreement or several different answers?
If you ask at SuttaCentral you will get more or less one distinct answer with a clear definition. If you ask elsewhere, who knows what people will say? There is a text out there published by a Princeton University Press called "Greek Buddha" that argues that the Dàodéjīng is the only authentic account of the earliest teachings of the Buddha (because the Buddha was Lǎozǐ, the ascetic Gautama is ahistorical and a corruption of later texts), and that the Indic texts (read: Pāli, Prākrit, Gāndhārī, & Chinese materials) are all hopelessly corrupted.

Obviously the author who got his dissertation published by Princeton University Press has a different opinion than those working in the rest of EBT studies.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

Saengnapha
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:10 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:48 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:07 am
If that is the case, why do you often quote suttas if you don't know that that was really what the Buddha said?
So I can defeat you in an argument ;). Seriously, generally I refer to the "suttas" rather than the "Buddha". Importantly, I think what I quote can be meditatively verified as leading to liberation. :geek:
Logically speaking, if you are not liberated, how would you know something leads to it? Liberation doesn't seem to be anything in our power that we control. We can only wish for it. But wishing for something is an act of craving no matter how noble that craving is. Are we to draw the line at some cravings are acceptable so some becomings are acceptable? I don't see much difference in what we desire. At a certain level, dispassion for all of this starts to kick in because we see the impossibility of our desiring and what it entails. Are you with me?

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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:14 am

binocular wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:51 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:07 am
If that is the case, why do you often quote suttas if you don't know that that was really what the Buddha said?
When one's experience in this moment is that one doesn't know the final solution, one strategy is to look up to others for whom one has some reason to consider that they might have the solution.
Why can't you leave it at 'I don't know'? What is so unacceptable about this? Do you ever suspect that your question itself is responsible for your not knowing and wanting a solution?

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:19 am

DCM wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:59 am
Okay, so if I asked, "what are the EBT's", would we get a general agreement or several different answers?
from facebook: 'We find that the closest reflection of the Saddhamma, or True Dhamma, available is preserved in the Early Buddhist Texts: the Pāli Nikāyas & Vinaya, the Chinese Āgamas & Vinaya, and parallel Suttas & Vinaya in Tibetan, Sanskrit, Gāndhārī and other languages.'
Authenticity: An authentic text is one whose provenance is what it says it is. In this case this means that texts that purport to be the words of the historical Buddha and his immediate disciples were in fact spoken by them.

Early Buddhist Texts: Texts spoken by the historical Buddha and his contemporary disciples. These are the bulk of the Suttas in the main four Pali Nikāyas and parallel Āgama literature in Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit, and other Indian dialects; the pātimokkhas and some Vinaya material from the khandhakas; a small portion of the Khuddaka Nikāya, consisting of significant parts of the Sutta Nipāta, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Dhammapada, and Thera- and Therī Gāthā. The “Suttas” in a narrow sense are those passages that are directly attributed to the Buddha himself (and to a lesser extent his direct disciples).

Non-EBTs: Abhidhamma, Mahāyāna Sūtras, Buddha biographies, historical chronicles, as well as the majority of the Khuddaka Nikāya and the Vinaya Piṭaka. The Jātakas are non EBT, but derive from stories that in some cases may even be earlier than the Buddha. Commentaries and other late texts may contain some genuine historical information alongside much later invention.

https://ocbs.org/wp-content/uploads/201 ... ticity.pdf
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

binocular
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by binocular » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:34 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:14 am
Why can't you leave it at 'I don't know'? What is so unacceptable about this?
Because some things are so important (to oneself) that "I don't know" is not a possible attitude to have toward them.
Of course, you could argue in favor for consequent relativism (and point out the problems of craving), which, theoretically, seems appealing enough, but is useless as a foundation for action (unless one is a trust-fund kid).
Do you ever suspect that your question itself is responsible for your not knowing and wanting a solution?
What question? A question like, "Who might have an answer for my troubles?"

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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by binocular » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:35 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:19 am
from facebook: 'We find that the closest reflection of the Saddhamma /.../
Who is this "we"?

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:52 am

i quoted from the facebook group, 'orthodox buddhism (discussion)'
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

binocular
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by binocular » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:58 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:52 am
i quoted from the facebook group, 'orthodox buddhism (discussion)'
And who are they? The authority on all things Buddhism?

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Coëmgenu
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:03 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:52 am
i quoted from the facebook group, 'orthodox buddhism (discussion)'
AFAIK, at least in the instance of one of the quotes, that facebook group is quoting Ven Sujato, who founded SuttaCentral. Very astute scholar, IMO.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

DCM
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by DCM » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:55 pm

Okay thanks. Is there a list of all the Suttas that are considered EBT? Or a book perhaps. I’ve seen that the 4 Nikāyas and some of the Khuddaka are considered EBT’s and their counterpart Agamas, but I’ve yet to see a comprehensive list of suttas.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:23 pm

DCM wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:55 pm
Okay thanks. Is there a list of all the Suttas that are considered EBT? Or a book perhaps. I’ve seen that the 4 Nikāyas and some of the Khuddaka are considered EBT’s and their counterpart Agamas, but I’ve yet to see a comprehensive list of suttas.
Depends. It is actually afaik on a sutta-by-sutta basis. For the most part the 4 nikākā are comprised of EBTs. For the most part the 4 āgamāḥ are comprised of EBTs. Even the 5th nikāya, the Khuddakanikāya, has some material believed to be a quite early, like the Dhammapada afaik, which is substantiated in Sanskrit, Pāli, Chinese, & Gāndhārī as an EBT, despite being in the Khuddakanikāya, which has a lot of late material.

I would consult some works by respected scholars in the fields of EBT studies. You can find a number of recommendations in this forum here, but I would personally suggest starting with Ven Sujato's The Authenticity of Early Buddhist Texts if others have not already suggested it and you have not already consulted it.

After that, you can ask Ven Sujato & Ven Brahmali yourself, or at least start a thread, on SuttaCentral. There is no guarantee that either venerable will answer your question or post on your thread, they are very very busy, but that particular forum specializes in EBT studies (well, its intended to), and has some regular posters in it who are very educated in the field, many of whom used to post regularly here at DhammaWheel. The forum is like all forums, a mix of wonderful and horrible human behaviour, and is very very different in tone and moderation style than this forum.

In my experience though, if one avoids subject matters that are in any way at all "controversial", the forum is a fine place and is a good place to cross-reference, in addition to checking past posts here, as there is a wealth of information on DhammaWheel that surpasses SuttaCentral, it being a newer forum. That being said, SuttaCentral is a specialized forum, and might be a better place to go looking for some kind of "verified list" of EBTs. To my knowledge, no such exhaustive and encyclopedic list exists as to list every single sutta/sūtra/āgama considered an EBT vs those-in-suspicion.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

DCM
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by DCM » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:15 pm

Hi Coëmgenu, I have read Ven. Sugato's book on EBT's, but thankyou for the pointer to SC. I do look there occasionally, but have looked a bit deeper and found a useful thread on the Study Guide section regarding suspected inauthentic texts.

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aflatun
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by aflatun » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:36 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:59 am
let's talk about it
It's not undervalued. It's just that some people don't accept "scientific history" or materialist textual criticism as the only criterion of authenticity. For example the buddhists writing the commentaries did not. They accepted their oral traditions, including the "supernatural" accounts of where the abhidhamma came from, etc. Similarly the early Mahayanists did not. They accepted their oral traditions, supernatural accounts, etc. And above all these folks accepted the fruits of their renunciation and practice as the "proof in the pudding."

A moderner might think they know "what the Buddha actually said" because effectively someone told them "what the Buddha actually said." And that someone was probably working with a scientific-materialist conception of history and textual criticism. And on this basis that someone and the moderner that follows them might reject everything that isn't the four nikayas. Any word that doesn't appear in the nikayas is to be rejected, regardless of what the meaning of that word is and whether that meaning was perhaps encompassed by different words in those same nikayas. And then they'll take it further and start rejecting parts of those four nikayas that don't seem to fit, all on the basis of highly questionable criteria. In the end it all becomes a massive petitio principii : The textual critic has merely found what they assumed was there to begin with, and rejected anything that didn't support that.

If one needed "scientific history" or materialist textual criticism to establish authenticity then the only Buddhists worthy of the name showed up in the 20th century. Venerables Buddhaghosa, Upatissa, Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Dogen, Garab Dorje, Gorampa, Bankei etc didn't even have the means to engage in this exercise, even if they would have been so inclined. What they did have, is a rich oral tradition that in one way or another went back to the source, full of "historical mistakes" but also full of a great many things which by definition outstrip and exceed what can be known by us now, things which possibly put them far "closer" to the source than we can ever get. But that can't be read, measured, quantified, etc, and therefore it never existed right? This is what I was obliquely getting at here

I find EBT studies fascinating. I also find them full of wild speculation, gratuitous assumptions and arguments so flimsy that at times I can't believe my eyes. I'm sorry if anyone finds this offensive. Despite being drawn to many monks who are neo-sautrantikas ("sutta only" types) I have always had a profound distaste for protestantism, fundamentalism, reductionism, etc. I prefer a more balanced approach, and my nature is to give those that sacrifice everything for the sake of the path the benefit of the doubt, even if they formulate things in ways that strike me as off.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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mikenz66
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:09 pm

aflatun wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:36 pm
It's not undervalued. It's just that some people don't accept "scientific history" or materialist textual criticism as the only criterion of authenticity. ...
Well said. It would seem somewhat ironic to over-emphasise a scientific/materialistic approach to verifying the authenticity of a religious path whose texts reject that approach...

:heart:
Mike

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retrofuturist
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Re: why is authenticity under-valued

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:48 pm

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:09 pm
Well said. It would seem somewhat ironic to over-emphasise a scientific/materialistic approach to verifying the authenticity of a religious path whose texts reject that approach
I guess the Mahayanists whose sutras were found underneath a rock by a naga would likely agree with you.

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)

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