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Re: [Pali] Re: Udaana 3.1

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  • Peter Masefield
    ... There is seemingly no end to the various theories as to what is, or was, original Buddhism, just as there is also no end to the number of beings who
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 7, 2001
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      Derek Cameron wrote:

      > Hi, Peter,
      > > > (4) Finally, the sentiment (abandoning action, not creating any
      > > > new kamma) doesn't seem to be particularly "Buddhist" -- or does
      > > > it?
      > > Of course the non-creation of further karma is Buddhist, for how
      > > else would you ever get off the wheel of sa.msaara ?
      > Pande (Studies in the Origins of Buddhism, p. 73) remarks
      > that "sabbakammajaha" seems to be closer to the Jain persepective
      > that to the Buddhist.
      > Apparently it is now known that there are some verses -- I'm not sure
      > if this is one of them -- but there are some verses that occur in
      > similar forms in both Jain and Buddhist (and, for that matter,
      > Brahmanical) texts. So it's possible that widely-known sayings were
      > at some point mis-attributed to the Buddha, and eventually found
      > their way into the Pali canon (de Jong, A Brief History of Buddhist
      > Studies in Europe and North America, pp. 93-94).
      > Another possibility is that there was what Nakamura (Indian Buddhism,
      > pp. 57-60) calls an "Original Buddhism," which was quite different in
      > character from the systematic "Early Buddhism" we know from the four
      > homogenous Nikaaya-s.

      There is seemingly no end to the various theories as to what is, or was, "original"
      Buddhism, just as there is also no end to the number of beings who choose to reject
      whatever aspect of the teaching they do not personally feel comfortable with. I
      seem to remember that Mrs Rhys Davids, wife of the founder of the Pali Text Society,
      once published an article entitled "Things he will not have taught".

      But none of this is new. Dissent began very shortly after the First Council, when
      Aananda informed the elder Puraa.na, who had been on tour in the south at the time
      of the Council, as to what had been decided to be the authorative word of the
      Buddha, and to which Puraa.na replied:

      "Well chanted by the elders is this Dhamma and Vinaya; but it is in the same way in
      which I heard it when face to face with the Lord, in the same way in which I
      received it when face to face with the Lord, that I will bear it in mind".
      (Susa.mgiitaavuso therehi dhammo ca vinayo ca. Api ca yatheva mayaa bhagavato
      sammukhaa suta.m sammukhaa pa.tiggahita.m tathevaaha.m dhaaresaamii ti). Vin II 290.

      No doubt the Buddhists took over sources also found in other traditions, the
      Jaatakas being a notable example. But they also gave such teachings new content, or
      a different interpretation or application, during the course of which they were
      rendered "Buddhist", in much the same way that Christianity retained the books of
      the Old Testament, but gave them new meaning. New wine in old bottles,as they say.

      Whilst I always keep an open mind on such matters, it nonetheless remains a fact
      that the Pali canon as we now have it is one that has been approved by successive
      generations of Buddhists at various Councils over the centuries, and one that
      demonstrates a surprising degree of internal consistency. It is therefore surely
      worthy of study in its own right, whether or not it represents what the Buddha
      actually said, which is a matter that can never be proved.

      Peter Masefield.
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