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Re: Re[2]: [Pali]Pali and Sanskrit for Dhamma terms.

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  • nina van gorkom
    Dear Dimitry, Piya and friends, The article of Geiger quoted by Dimitri makes a lot of sense to me. It also mentions Buddhaghosa s interpretation. And
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 8 9:09 PM
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      Dear Dimitry, Piya and friends,
      The article of Geiger quoted by Dimitri makes a lot of sense to me. It also
      mentions Buddhaghosa's interpretation. And Buddhaghosa edited and translated
      into Pali very ancient commentaries which he did not change. Once or twice
      he gave his own opinion and mentioned this expressively. Thus, it is not
      Buddhaghosa's own opinion but stems from the beginning time of the sasana.
      Piya, I first heard about the rule concerning Sanskrit from a Thai or in
      Thailand, I can't remember. Since karma and nirvana are more widely used by
      the general public, it is understandable that it is in dictionaries. But
      here it concerns rules for monks, and the whole issue stems from deep,
      sincere concern for the preservation of the teachings.
      There is another point about chanting and pronunciation: the Buddha tells
      the monks how not to chant, with long drawn out voices, etc. (I do not
      remember in which sutta, or in the Vinaya). There are also certain rules
      about the pronunciation of Pali at the ordination of monks. If it is not
      correct the ordination is not valid.
      The Siam Society Journal (is it on line?) under the patronage of his Majesty
      the King of Thailand, made historical studies about monks in olden times and
      it was mentioned that centuries ago, even twice, a group of Thai monks went
      to Sri Lanka to be reordained, because the pronunciation of the Pali of the
      rituals was not correct in Thailand and then the ordination was not valid. I
      would not know myself how to find out the correct pronunciation, I do not
      know much about these issues. Or is it the chanting? A monk I knew who has
      now passed away was also reordained in Sri Lanka for this reason. When
      traveling I saw how he greeted another monk whom he had known before very
      humbly as a junior monk. This story may seem strange, but I think there must
      be reasons behind it. He must have considered this very seriously, having
      known him as very conscientious, very concerned about the purity of the
      Vinaya and the teachings.
      Nina.

      op 08-09-2003 09:52 schreef Dimitry A. Ivakhnenko (Äìèòðèé Àëåêñååâè÷
      Èâàõíåíêî) op koleso@...: from Geiger's article:
      . Rhys Davids and Oldenberg
      > translate this passage by 'I allow you, oh brethren, to learn the
      > words of the Buddha each in his own dialect.' This interpretation
      > however is not in harmony with that of Buddhaghosa, according to whom
      > it has to be translated by "I ordain the words of Buddha to be learnt
      > in _his_ own language (i.e.Magadhi, the language used by Buddha
      > himself)." After repeated examination of this passage I have come to
      > the conclusion that we have to stick to the explanation given by
      > Buddhaghosa. Neither the two monks or the Buddha himself could have
      > thought of preaching in different cases in different dialects. Here
      > the question is merely whether the words of Buddha migth be translated
      > into Sanskrit or not. This is however clearly forbidden by the Master,
      > at first negatively and then positively by the injunction beginning
      > with 'anujaanaami'. The real meaning of this injunction is, as is
      > also best in consonance with Indian spirit, that there can be no other
      > form of the words of Buddha than in which the Master himself had
      > preched. Thus even in the life-time of Buddha people were concerned
      > about the way in which the teaching might be handed down as accurately
      > as possible, both in form and in content. How much more must have been
      > the anxiety of the disciples after his death! The external form was
      > however Magadhi, thought according to tradition it is Pali."
      >
    • Piya Tan
      Dear Nina & friends, If Geiger is like Newton, then we have Einstein--but then again, who would stand on Einstein s shoulders? I try not to give final
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 8 10:48 PM
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        Dear Nina & friends,

        If Geiger is like Newton, then we have Einstein--but then again, who would
        stand on Einstein's shoulders?

        I try not to give "final" answers as there is so much more learn from the
        Suttas themselves with or without the Commentaries and Buddhaghosa.

        Sukhi

        Piya

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "nina van gorkom" <nilo@...>
        To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 12:09 PM
        Subject: Re: Re[2]: [Pali]Pali and Sanskrit for Dhamma terms.


        Dear Dimitry, Piya and friends,
        The article of Geiger quoted by Dimitri makes a lot of sense to me. It also
        mentions Buddhaghosa's interpretation. And Buddhaghosa edited and translated
        into Pali very ancient commentaries which he did not change. Once or twice
        he gave his own opinion and mentioned this expressively. Thus, it is not
        Buddhaghosa's own opinion but stems from the beginning time of the sasana.
        Piya, I first heard about the rule concerning Sanskrit from a Thai or in
        Thailand, I can't remember. Since karma and nirvana are more widely used by
        the general public, it is understandable that it is in dictionaries. But
        here it concerns rules for monks, and the whole issue stems from deep,
        sincere concern for the preservation of the teachings.
        There is another point about chanting and pronunciation: the Buddha tells
        the monks how not to chant, with long drawn out voices, etc. (I do not
        remember in which sutta, or in the Vinaya). There are also certain rules
        about the pronunciation of Pali at the ordination of monks. If it is not
        correct the ordination is not valid.
        The Siam Society Journal (is it on line?) under the patronage of his Majesty
        the King of Thailand, made historical studies about monks in olden times and
        it was mentioned that centuries ago, even twice, a group of Thai monks went
        to Sri Lanka to be reordained, because the pronunciation of the Pali of the
        rituals was not correct in Thailand and then the ordination was not valid. I
        would not know myself how to find out the correct pronunciation, I do not
        know much about these issues. Or is it the chanting? A monk I knew who has
        now passed away was also reordained in Sri Lanka for this reason. When
        traveling I saw how he greeted another monk whom he had known before very
        humbly as a junior monk. This story may seem strange, but I think there must
        be reasons behind it. He must have considered this very seriously, having
        known him as very conscientious, very concerned about the purity of the
        Vinaya and the teachings.
        Nina.

        op 08-09-2003 09:52 schreef Dimitry A. Ivakhnenko (Äìèòðèé Àëåêñååâè÷
        Èâàõíåíêî) op koleso@...: from Geiger's article:
        . Rhys Davids and Oldenberg
        > translate this passage by 'I allow you, oh brethren, to learn the
        > words of the Buddha each in his own dialect.' This interpretation
        > however is not in harmony with that of Buddhaghosa, according to whom
        > it has to be translated by "I ordain the words of Buddha to be learnt
        > in _his_ own language (i.e.Magadhi, the language used by Buddha
        > himself)." After repeated examination of this passage I have come to
        > the conclusion that we have to stick to the explanation given by
        > Buddhaghosa. Neither the two monks or the Buddha himself could have
        > thought of preaching in different cases in different dialects. Here
        > the question is merely whether the words of Buddha migth be translated
        > into Sanskrit or not. This is however clearly forbidden by the Master,
        > at first negatively and then positively by the injunction beginning
        > with 'anujaanaami'. The real meaning of this injunction is, as is
        > also best in consonance with Indian spirit, that there can be no other
        > form of the words of Buddha than in which the Master himself had
        > preched. Thus even in the life-time of Buddha people were concerned
        > about the way in which the teaching might be handed down as accurately
        > as possible, both in form and in content. How much more must have been
        > the anxiety of the disciples after his death! The external form was
        > however Magadhi, thought according to tradition it is Pali."
        >



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      • Ong Yong Peng
        Dear Piya, Nina and friends, ... understanding of Buddha s teaching is better achieved by cross- studying the suttas, then understanding the suttas from the
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 9 3:17 PM
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          Dear Piya, Nina and friends,

          :-) I support Piya's proposition in a way that I believe the right
          understanding of Buddha's teaching is better achieved by cross-
          studying the suttas, then understanding the suttas from the
          commentaries. However, we have also seen that the commentaries
          provide good references too. For example, as Nina pointed out
          before, the commentary to Rahulovada Sutta reference the
          Mahahatthipadopama Sutta. However, I believe we should not stop here
          but go beyond what the commentaries provided.

          As for Newton and Einstein, Newton was among the line of scientists
          belonging to an older "era". His formulation of many physical laws
          were later challenged, modified and expanded by people like Maxwell
          and Einstein. The reason was Newton did not consider many factors
          and conditions not known during his time. In the modern "era",
          scientific thoughts having taken a great leap forward allow Einstein
          to provide a more general explanation of the physical phenomenon.
          However, Newton's formulations still holds, as a special case to the
          more general formulations, on certain pre-assumptions.

          This led me to think of the concept of karma: factors and conditions
          give rise to phenomena. I would say it is the most general law in
          understanding the observations we make in living and non-living
          things. Interestingly, there is recently an article that explain
          rebirth analogous to electric and magnetic forces:

          http://www.buddhistnews.tv/current/re-birth-080903.php

          metta,
          Yong Peng

          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Piya Tan wrote:
          If Geiger is like Newton, then we have Einstein--but then again, who
          would stand on Einstein's shoulders?
          I try not to give "final" answers as there is so much more learn
          from the Suttas themselves with or without the Commentaries and
          Buddhaghosa.
        • nina van gorkom
          Dear Yong Peng, Crossreferences to other suttas and commentaries are both excellent. The one does not exclude the other. And as you said, the Co reminds us to
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 10 10:01 AM
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            Dear Yong Peng,
            Crossreferences to other suttas and commentaries are both excellent. The one
            does not exclude the other. And as you said, the Co reminds us to go to
            other suttas.
            Ven. Bodhi has translated the Samyutta Nikaya and other parts and added many
            explanations of the Commentaries to these suttas. He must have had good
            reasons. Often we think we understand a sutta, but when reading the
            commentary we see that we did not really get the message. The Commentaries
            are most important for the understanding of the suttas. Apart from
            historical arguments about the authenticity of the commentaries, I thought
            it more convincing to pay attention to their contents. People can see for
            themselves what they are like. My purpose of trying to translate the
            commentary to Rahulovada Sutta here in this list was actually to help people
            to have more confidence in the benefit of the commentaries.
            We all have accumulated different inclinations and tendencies, and thus,
            some people may not like commentaries. They are free to ignore my
            translations.
            The late Ms Horner, a former president of the PTS (Piya met her), wrote
            about the commentaries, and this is a quote from Sarah Abbot, Dhamma Study
            Group:
            <Horner writes in her preface to the above comy [N: the Buddhava.msa]
            translation:

            “Always there were detractors, always there were and still are improvers’
            ready with their own notions. Through enemies and friends alike
            deleterious change and deterioration in the word of the Buddha might
            intervene for an indefinite length of time. The commentaries are the armour
            and
            protection against such an eventuality. As they hold a unique position as
            preservers and interpreters of true dhamma, it is essential not only to
            understand them but to follow them carefully and adopt the meaning they
            ascribe to a word or phrase each time they comment on it. They are as
            “closed" now as is the Pali canon. No additions to their corpus or
            subtractions from it are to be contemplated, and no cty written in later
            days could be included in it.>
            To conclude, another quote from Sarah about Buddhaghosa's work of
            translating the old Comys he found (in the Great Monastery) that were in
            Sinhala into Pali [N: we see that they were rehearsed together with the
            Tipitaka at the Great Councils]:
            <From Nanamoli’s introduction to the Visuddhimagga, we read his translation
            of Buddhaghosa’s prologue to the 4 Nikaya commentaries in which
            Buddhaghosa says:

            “(I shall now take) the commentary, whose object is to clarify the meaning
            of the subtle and most excellent Long Collection (Digha Nikaya)...set
            forth in detail by the Buddha and by his like (i.e the Elder Sariputta and
            other expounders of discourses in the Sutta Pitaka) - the commentary that
            in the beginning was chanted (at the First Council) and later rechanted
            (at the Second and Third), and was brought to the Sihala Island by the
            Arahant Mahinda the Great and rendered into the Sihala tongue for the
            benefit of the islanders, and from that commentary I shall remove the
            Sihala tongue, replacing it by the graceful language which conforms with
            Scripture and is purified and free from flaws. Not diverging from the
            standpoint of the elders residing in the Great Monastery (in
            Anuradhapura), who illuminate the elders’ heritage and are all well versed
            in exposition, and rejecting subject matter necessarily repeated, I shall
            make the meaning clear for the purpose of bringing contentment to good
            people and contributing to the long endurance of the Dhamma.>
            May we all, each in our own way, support the preserving of the teachings,
            Nina.
            op 10-09-2003 00:17 schreef Ong Yong Peng op ypong001@...:

            > Dear Piya, Nina and friends,
            >
            > :-) I support Piya's proposition in a way that I believe the right
            > understanding of Buddha's teaching is better achieved by cross-
            > studying the suttas, then understanding the suttas from the
            > commentaries. However, we have also seen that the commentaries
            > provide good references too. For example, as Nina pointed out
            > before, the commentary to Rahulovada Sutta reference the
            > Mahahatthipadopama Sutta. However, I believe we should not stop here
            > but go beyond what the commentaries provided.
          • Ong Yong Peng
            Dear Nina and friends, thanks for your kind reply and detailed explanation. I do not dispute the importance place the commentaries have in the Theravada
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 10 5:32 PM
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              Dear Nina and friends,

              thanks for your kind reply and detailed explanation. I do not
              dispute the importance place the commentaries have in the Theravada
              tradition. My points are:

              1. The suttas should be regarded as the authorities to the Buddha's
              word.

              2. The commentaries may be "closed" and voluminous, but they may not
              thorough in the treatment of Buddha's teachings. That is why there
              are sub-commentaries(?). Please correct me if I am wrong.

              3. As Piya said, it is not impossible to understand the suttas
              without the commentaries, even though it may refer to just a small
              handful of people.

              4. The great works of the theras, theris and lay teachers are a
              display of wisdom and their accumulated effort in preserving the
              right understanding of the Buddhadhamma. These are all important
              cultural assets. I consider the commentaries an important subset of
              these works, and I advocate to its preservation. I understand that
              without these works, we would all be struggling to understand even
              the basic principles in Buddhism. The same applies to maths and
              science, kids in schools are learning about pythagorus theorem, mass
              and volume, based on works by ancient Greeks. If these works were
              completely destroyed, we would be at least 1000 years backwards in
              technological development. Similarly, without the commentaries, we
              would certainly see more websites on the Internet giving inaccurate
              representation of the Buddhist doctrine.

              However, these efforts have culminated in Buddhagosa, who decided to
              compile and put them into writings. I would suggest standing on the
              shoulders of these giants, rather than living in their shadows. I
              base this on two points mentioned by the Buddha.

              (1) Whatever the Buddha taught is only a small fraction of His
              unlimited knowledge.

              (2) We make a clear distinctions between conventional wisdom and
              ultimate wisdom.

              metta,
              Yong Peng
            • Piya Tan
              Dear Dharma friends, If we carefully read Bhikkhu Bodhi s translations with notes on the Commentaries (esp the Samyutta), you will notice he often enough
              Message 6 of 17 , Sep 10 6:45 PM
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                Dear Dharma friends,

                If we carefully read Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations with notes on the
                Commentaries (esp the Samyutta), you will notice he often enough clearly
                states that Buddhaghosa errs and disagrees with the Commentaries.

                My concern again is that we should treat the Buddhist texts like the Bible
                and Buddhaghosa as St Paul. This is the impression I am getting thus far. If
                we can open up a bit more, I think this website will attract more beyond
                this nuclear family of back slappers.

                We are becoming so text-bound, so stuck in vya~njana, we are forgetting the
                spirit. It is almost like we cannot think for ourselves, surrounded by
                forests and jungles of Pali words. I think a lot of new people are turned
                off my this.

                Sukhi.

                Piya

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "nina van gorkom" <nilo@...>
                To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2003 1:01 AM
                Subject: Re: [Pali]commentaries


                Dear Yong Peng,
                Crossreferences to other suttas and commentaries are both excellent. The one
                does not exclude the other. And as you said, the Co reminds us to go to
                other suttas.
                Ven. Bodhi has translated the Samyutta Nikaya and other parts and added many
                explanations of the Commentaries to these suttas. He must have had good
                reasons. Often we think we understand a sutta, but when reading the
                commentary we see that we did not really get the message. The Commentaries
                are most important for the understanding of the suttas. Apart from
                historical arguments about the authenticity of the commentaries, I thought
                it more convincing to pay attention to their contents. People can see for
                themselves what they are like. My purpose of trying to translate the
                commentary to Rahulovada Sutta here in this list was actually to help people
                to have more confidence in the benefit of the commentaries.
                We all have accumulated different inclinations and tendencies, and thus,
                some people may not like commentaries. They are free to ignore my
                translations.
                The late Ms Horner, a former president of the PTS (Piya met her), wrote
                about the commentaries, and this is a quote from Sarah Abbot, Dhamma Study
                Group:
                <Horner writes in her preface to the above comy [N: the Buddhava.msa]
                translation:

                "Always there were detractors, always there were and still are improvers'
                ready with their own notions. Through enemies and friends alike
                deleterious change and deterioration in the word of the Buddha might
                intervene for an indefinite length of time. The commentaries are the armour
                and
                protection against such an eventuality. As they hold a unique position as
                preservers and interpreters of true dhamma, it is essential not only to
                understand them but to follow them carefully and adopt the meaning they
                ascribe to a word or phrase each time they comment on it. They are as
                "closed" now as is the Pali canon. No additions to their corpus or
                subtractions from it are to be contemplated, and no cty written in later
                days could be included in it.>
                To conclude, another quote from Sarah about Buddhaghosa's work of
                translating the old Comys he found (in the Great Monastery) that were in
                Sinhala into Pali [N: we see that they were rehearsed together with the
                Tipitaka at the Great Councils]:
                <From Nanamoli's introduction to the Visuddhimagga, we read his translation
                of Buddhaghosa's prologue to the 4 Nikaya commentaries in which
                Buddhaghosa says:

                "(I shall now take) the commentary, whose object is to clarify the meaning
                of the subtle and most excellent Long Collection (Digha Nikaya)...set
                forth in detail by the Buddha and by his like (i.e the Elder Sariputta and
                other expounders of discourses in the Sutta Pitaka) - the commentary that
                in the beginning was chanted (at the First Council) and later rechanted
                (at the Second and Third), and was brought to the Sihala Island by the
                Arahant Mahinda the Great and rendered into the Sihala tongue for the
                benefit of the islanders, and from that commentary I shall remove the
                Sihala tongue, replacing it by the graceful language which conforms with
                Scripture and is purified and free from flaws. Not diverging from the
                standpoint of the elders residing in the Great Monastery (in
                Anuradhapura), who illuminate the elders' heritage and are all well versed
                in exposition, and rejecting subject matter necessarily repeated, I shall
                make the meaning clear for the purpose of bringing contentment to good
                people and contributing to the long endurance of the Dhamma.>
                May we all, each in our own way, support the preserving of the teachings,
                Nina.
                op 10-09-2003 00:17 schreef Ong Yong Peng op ypong001@...:

                > Dear Piya, Nina and friends,
                >
                > :-) I support Piya's proposition in a way that I believe the right
                > understanding of Buddha's teaching is better achieved by cross-
                > studying the suttas, then understanding the suttas from the
                > commentaries. However, we have also seen that the commentaries
                > provide good references too. For example, as Nina pointed out
                > before, the commentary to Rahulovada Sutta reference the
                > Mahahatthipadopama Sutta. However, I believe we should not stop here
                > but go beyond what the commentaries provided.



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              • Ong Yong Peng
                Dear Piya and friends, personally, I will not compare the Tipitaka with the Bible. The Bible is dogmatic but the spirit of the dhamma is ehipassiko. Neither
                Message 7 of 17 , Sep 11 4:30 AM
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                  Dear Piya and friends,

                  personally, I will not compare the Tipitaka with the Bible. The Bible
                  is dogmatic but the spirit of the dhamma is ehipassiko. Neither would
                  I compare Buddhaghosa with the apostle Paul. All buddhist traditions
                  are defined by the works of one or a few great commentarians.
                  Buddhaghosa is for Theravada as Nargarjuna is for Madhyamika. Both
                  brought the understanding of the dhamma to new peaks.

                  The central teachings of the 4NT, Middle Way and Dependent
                  Origination are giving a different coat of paint in different
                  traditions. That is why I think the issue we are looking at is about
                  distinguishing ultimate wisdom from conventional wisdom, and the
                  personal choice between a more contemplative life and a more social
                  life.

                  metta,
                  Yong Peng

                  --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Piya Tan wrote:
                  My concern again is that we should treat the Buddhist texts like the
                  Bible and Buddhaghosa as St Paul. This is the impression I am getting
                  thus far. If we can open up a bit more, I think this website will
                  attract more beyond this nuclear family of back slappers.
                • Ong Yong Peng
                  Dear Piya and friends, allow me to add that I see in the dhamma the greatness of Buddha s wisdom and compassion. There is really no pretence, there is no need
                  Message 8 of 17 , Sep 11 4:51 AM
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                    Dear Piya and friends,

                    allow me to add that I see in the dhamma the greatness of Buddha's
                    wisdom and compassion. There is really no pretence, there is no need
                    to put up an act to be Buddhist, each is so at peace with nature,
                    treading the Path at the pace he is comfortable with.

                    I understand and share Nina's concern about preserving the
                    cornerstone of Theravada. However, I think the cornerstone of
                    Theravada should be the Pali Tipitaka. The commentaries serves as a
                    bridge between us and the great Theravada masters whom Buddhaghosa
                    represents. We shall allow the commentaries to guide but not dictate
                    how we understand the Buddha's teachings.

                    metta,
                    Yong Peng
                  • Frank Kuan
                    ... Personally, I believe the Pali two-pitaka to be the most reliable cornerstone of legitimate core buddhist principles, and even 10-20% of the sutta pitaka I
                    Message 9 of 17 , Sep 11 9:04 AM
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                      --- Ong Yong Peng <ypong001@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > I understand and share Nina's concern about
                      > preserving the
                      > cornerstone of Theravada. However, I think the
                      > cornerstone of
                      > Theravada should be the Pali Tipitaka.

                      Personally, I believe the Pali two-pitaka to be the
                      most reliable cornerstone of legitimate core buddhist
                      principles, and even 10-20% of the sutta pitaka I have
                      doubts about (just doesn't seem to match style and
                      pragmatic usefulness of majority of sutta pitaka).

                      the abidhamma (3rd pitaka) got added at the 3rd
                      council during the asoka period. This was like, 500
                      years or something after the buddha's death? If
                      Mahakassapa was so careful not to let any of the
                      Buddha's most trivial minor things slip thorugh the
                      cracks from the vinaya pitaka at the first council,
                      how did he let a whole body of work of abidhamma not
                      get recorded for posterity?
                      HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

                      I consider it educational and possibly fruitful to
                      spend time studying commentaries, subcommentaries,
                      abidhamma, and some Mahayana works, but as far as
                      being the reliable word of the buddha, I only trust
                      80% of the sutta pitaka and take that as my guide.

                      It really arouses my hindrance of ill will when
                      "Buddhists" smuggle fabricated suttas into the sutta
                      pitaka and then claim it's the word of the buddha.
                      Have a backbone. Get some cajones. Put your own name
                      on the work and just state it as your own
                      understanding and contribution to the Buddhist
                      religion. Just the other day a buddhist family friend
                      was incredulous that I doubted that the Pure Land
                      sutra was the authentic word of the buddha.

                      - fk (not a backslapper, and probably not even part of
                      any existing nucleus)



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                    • Clay Collier
                      ... I can certainly understand your aversion to this sort of practice; to modern ears, it seems to be easily identifiable as a scam of some sort. While I don t
                      Message 10 of 17 , Sep 11 12:34 PM
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                        > It really arouses my hindrance of ill will when
                        > "Buddhists" smuggle fabricated suttas into the sutta
                        > pitaka and then claim it's the word of the buddha.
                        > Have a backbone. Get some cajones. Put your own name
                        > on the work and just state it as your own
                        > understanding and contribution to the Buddhist
                        > religion.

                        I can certainly understand your aversion to this sort of practice; to
                        modern ears, it seems to be easily identifiable as a scam of some sort.
                        While I don't doubt that some of the 'misattribution' performed in
                        ancient times were simply an attempt to lend legitimacy to new ideas,
                        it's also important to understand that standards of attribution were
                        once different from our modern understanding.

                        In the time of the Buddha (and even for centuries later), it was not
                        uncommon for students of a particular teacher to attribute their
                        greatest works to their teacher, rather than themselves. A similar
                        notion can be found in ancient Greece among the students of the
                        mathematician Pythagoras. In the reasoning of the time, if you had just
                        created your greatest intellectual work, and believed sincerely that it
                        was true and meaningful, and furthermore believed that the only way you
                        could have attained such an understanding was through the benevolence
                        and wisdom of your teacher, then assigning to them the credit for your
                        own work was a high praise indeed. While there might be a certain
                        hubris associated with equating one's own work with that of the Buddha
                        or another great teacher, if the author of the work was anonymous there
                        was no ill-gotten gain for the unknown writer. While there remained the
                        possibility of abuse (using a 'great name' to shore up poor ideas), it
                        provided a way for a devotee to honor their teacher's memory.

                        Keep in mind also that new works don't appear in a vaccum. Just as we
                        read and criticize the 'innovations' of others now, there was an active
                        and vibrant monastic and scholastic community at the time of the
                        appearance of these works. The works that were felt to somehow
                        conttradict or demean the teachings that they were derived from are
                        doubtlessly lost now, having been rejected by the community of their day
                        as improper.

                        No doubt the judgement in days past (as today) was imperfect. But if we
                        believe that the Buddhists of past eras were at least as sincere in
                        their belief and practice as we are in ours, then we might regard their
                        words and beliefs as helpful in our own time. Most of us lack the time
                        and attention that the old writers were able to devote to the study of
                        the Tipitaka and its associated commentaries. So while some of the
                        methods (in terms of linguistic and textual analysis) available to us
                        today are much more sophisticated than those available to past learners,
                        in many cases their resources in terms of time, access to living
                        teachers, and access to other teachings is greater than ours.

                        In the end, deciphering wether or not a particular individual spoke
                        particular words in a certain language 2500 years ago is outside the
                        range of what we can hope to accomplish by any means- wether we look at
                        the Tipitaka, the commentaries, or the Mahayana texts. The best that we
                        can hope for is to take into account as much information as we have
                        available, and decide if what we are hearing leads us to live a life
                        that leads away from desire and suffering and towards contentment and
                        the end of suffering- without sacrificing our ethical obligations to
                        ourselves and others. If words were spoken by those other than the
                        Buddha, and attributed to him, then do we do harm to ourselves or others
                        by following them? While our instinctive desire is to be able to
                        categorize all statements as true or not true, based on their "real"
                        origin, and to debunk those claims that seem impossible to us, I wonder
                        if such an activity is useful in a practical (that is, in the sense of
                        putting the teachings into practice) sense. As an academic exercise, it
                        may or may not have merit, depending on how it is undertaken (assigning
                        works to the Buddha based on how you feel they gel with other teachings
                        is unlikely to get you published in the journal of the PTS!).

                        It becomes a question of why we study the Canon, or any other set of
                        teachings. If we seek to be better able to put into practice the real
                        teachings of the Buddha, than the spirit of the teaching is paramount.
                        However, what we perceive to be the 'true' spirit of the teaching is
                        influenced by what we accept as true- and in this, we need guides of
                        some sort. The opinions of learned Theras can be helpful, as can the
                        views of modern scholars on issues of language and origin. If we seek
                        primiarly to exercise our minds (or finish our degrees) by studying the
                        Pali language and texts as a purely academic subject, than the views of
                        scholars must take precedence over those of earlier monks, or we are
                        being academically dishonest in our undertaking unless we submit their
                        views to the same critique that we would a paper by a collegue. The two
                        activities are not entirely incompatible or unrelated, but they do seem
                        to me to represent two different methods of interpreting the same
                        information. One is most concerned with chronology and philology, and
                        is dominated by what is true in the sense of structured scholastic
                        investigation. The other is concerned with what is helpful in living a
                        good life, and seeks what is true in the sense of compatibility with
                        what we understand to be basic principles of Buddhist teaching, and with
                        their utility in ending suffering.


                        After that long mouthfull, I do recall a text in which the Buddha lays
                        out standards for recognizing what is or isn't consistent with his
                        teachings. He included, I believe, the opinions of more learned monks
                        and teachers in that analysis, as well as consistency with the other
                        teachings that have been learned before and are known to be true. It
                        may have already been invoked, but I don't recall seeing it. Does
                        anyone have a reference for it? I'm quite sure that it's up on Access
                        to Insight, for a start.

                        (appologies for a long an somewhat unedited ramble)

                        clay collier
                      • christine_forsyth
                        Hello Frank, Clay and all, These links may be helpful with how to recognise authentic teachings: Anguttara Nikaya III.72 Ajivaka Sutta To the Fatalists
                        Message 11 of 17 , Sep 11 1:55 PM
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                          Hello Frank, Clay and all,

                          These links may be helpful with how to recognise authentic teachings:

                          Anguttara Nikaya III.72 Ajivaka Sutta 'To the Fatalists' Student'
                          http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/an03-072.html
                          Anguttara Nikaya VII.80 Satthusasana Sutta 'To Upali (The Teacher's
                          Instruction)
                          http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/an07-080.html
                          Anguttara Nikaya VIII.53 Gotami Sutta 'To Gotami'
                          http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/an08-053.html
                          Recognising the Dhamma - study guide
                          http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/recognizing.html

                          metta and peace,
                          Christine
                          ---The trouble is that you think you have time ---

                          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Clay Collier <ccollier@w...> wrote:
                        • icaro franca
                          ... Frank Kuan the abidhamma (3rd pitaka) got added at the 3rd ... HMMMMMMMMM...bop !!! The Abhidhamma was probably composed circa 300 - 500 years after
                          Message 12 of 17 , Sep 11 1:58 PM
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                            Dear Frank Kuan:

                            ------------------------------------------------

                            Frank Kuan "the abidhamma (3rd pitaka) got added at
                            the 3rd
                            > council during the asoka period. This was like, 500
                            > years or something after the buddha's death? If
                            > Mahakassapa was so careful not to let any of the
                            > Buddha's most trivial minor things slip thorugh the
                            > cracks from the vinaya pitaka at the first council,
                            > how did he let a whole body of work of abidhamma not
                            > get recorded for posterity?
                            > HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM."

                            -----------------------------------------------------

                            HMMMMMMMMM...bop !!!
                            The Abhidhamma was probably composed circa 300 - 500
                            years after Buddha�s Parinibbana. At Sutta Pitaka we
                            find many texts that are verses and poems by other
                            monks and nuns, posed at very simple words. But, as a
                            personnal opinion, I consider The abhidhamma as a
                            r�sum� or review at the very teeth of many, many
                            duscussions and dialogues between Buddha and his
                            bikkuhs, between one each other or with laypeople. See
                            the Vibhangapali, for example - a complete catechism
                            of buddhist doctrine,coined up perhaps with the
                            purpose of "all right, boy! If you know only these
                            answers it�s O.K. for me!"
                            But if you look around other works at the same
                            "era", you will find at jainism�s works by Kundhkhund,
                            Bhadrabahu and others a clear and deep influence of
                            the Abhidhamma, mainly at the "Samaysara" and the
                            "Niyamasara". Other Hindustani Darshanas as the Nyaya
                            and the Mimansa have got many tinges of the typical
                            Abhidhamma�s reasonings!
                            Some people says that the arising of the
                            Abhidhamma cracked up the monolithic unity of the
                            Sangha in Hinayana and Mahayana. It�s an exaggerate
                            viewpoint.
                            I find the Abhidhamma�s doctrine sound and
                            not-heretical in all its extension: if one concocts
                            suttas with these knowledge... well, the reader must
                            be aware of this risk!
                            A Fountain pen that�s a forgery of a original
                            Waterman or Parker, but which is totally functional,
                            doesn�t leak ink and writes smoothly... is still a
                            good Fountain pen at any way!!!!

                            Mettaya, �caro




                            =====
                            Seize the time, there�s only minutes left to zero
                            Just got a little taste, I gotta get some more,
                            Just me and you

                            __________________________________
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                          • Clay Collier
                            Yes, I think that AN VIII.53 might have been the reference that I was thinking of. It seems, though, that I saw at one point another text that spoke
                            Message 13 of 17 , Sep 11 2:32 PM
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                              Yes, I think that AN VIII.53 might have been the reference that I was
                              thinking of. It seems, though, that I saw at one point another text
                              that spoke specifically about the role of the opinions of elder monks in
                              recognizing an otherwise unidentified teaching, but after a bit of
                              looking around I couldn't locate it. Thank you for the references,
                              though. An essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on ATI also looks at some of the
                              issues regarding authenticity and attribution that have come up in the
                              course of the discussion:
                              "When you know for yourselves...": The Authenticity of the Pali Suttas
                              http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/modern/thanissaro/authenticity.html

                              clay collier

                              On Thu, 2003-09-11 at 16:55, christine_forsyth wrote:
                              > Hello Frank, Clay and all,
                              >
                              > These links may be helpful with how to recognise authentic teachings:
                              >
                              > Anguttara Nikaya III.72 Ajivaka Sutta 'To the Fatalists' Student'
                              > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/an03-072.html
                              > Anguttara Nikaya VII.80 Satthusasana Sutta 'To Upali (The Teacher's
                              > Instruction)
                              > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/an07-080.html
                              > Anguttara Nikaya VIII.53 Gotami Sutta 'To Gotami'
                              > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/an08-053.html
                              > Recognising the Dhamma - study guide
                              > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/recognizing.html
                              >
                              > metta and peace,
                              > Christine
                              > ---The trouble is that you think you have time ---
                              >
                              > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Clay Collier <ccollier@w...> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                              > [Homepage] http://www.tipitaka.net
                              > [Send Message] pali@yahoogroups.com
                              > Paaliga.na - a community for Pali students
                              > Yahoo! Groups members can set their delivery options to daily digest or web only.
                              >
                              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                              >
                              >
                            • Dimitry A. Ivakhnenko (äÍÉÔÒÉÊ á
                              Dear mcaro and Frank Kuan, if The Abhidhamma was probably composed circa 300 - 500 if years after Buddha´s Parinibbana. The various parts of Abhidhamma
                              Message 14 of 17 , Sep 11 10:41 PM
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                                Dear mcaro and Frank Kuan,

                                if> The Abhidhamma was probably composed circa 300 - 500
                                if> years after Buddha╢s Parinibbana.

                                The various parts of Abhidhamma were composed in different times, so
                                it is more useful to consult the chronology of the Pali Canon:

                                http://sino-sv3.sino.uni-heidelberg.de/FULLTEXT/JR-ENG/bcl.htm

                                For example, Vibhanga, when examined, turns out to be very consistent
                                with the spirit and letter of Sutta-pitaka.

                                It is interesting that first Abhidhamma consisted of Patisambhidamagga
                                (as evidenced by references in Vimuttimagga), but later has grown and
                                changed.

                                Mettaya, Dimitry
                              • Dimitry A. Ivakhnenko (������� ���������
                                Dear Clay, CC It seems, though, that I saw at one point another text CC that spoke specifically about the role of the opinions of elder monks in CC
                                Message 15 of 17 , Sep 11 10:47 PM
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                                  Dear Clay,

                                  CC> It seems, though, that I saw at one point another text
                                  CC> that spoke specifically about the role of the opinions of elder monks in
                                  CC> recognizing an otherwise unidentified teaching, but after a bit of
                                  CC> looking around I couldn't locate it.

                                  Well, in the Four Great References (catumahaapadesa) elders are
                                  mentioned.

                                  I attach the text from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/digha/dn16.html
                                  Unfortunately, being abridged, this translation misses some nuances.

                                  8-11. Then the Blessed One said: "In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu
                                  might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have
                                  heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the
                                  Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives
                                  a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community,
                                  I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline,
                                  the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name
                                  live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have
                                  accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the
                                  Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have
                                  heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the
                                  Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives
                                  a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished
                                  his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the
                                  Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned
                                  thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's
                                  Dispensation.'

                                  "In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is
                                  neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval
                                  and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word,
                                  one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the
                                  Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor
                                  verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this
                                  is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by
                                  that bhikkhu -- or by that community, or by those elders, or by that
                                  elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the
                                  sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by
                                  the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the
                                  Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu
                                  -- or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in
                                  that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or
                                  fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for
                                  you to preserve."

                                  With metta,
                                  Dimitry
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