- I wanted to thank everyone who replied but perhaps especially to
Nina. It seems to me that her posts have a quality of meditation,
or perhaps of contemplation.
Please don't take this the wrong way but I was intrigued by the
various reponses to this problem and wanted to share my thoughts (
as only a novice is foolish enough to do :) )
Dmytro appeared to have the best methodology. He looked at other
closely related parts of the canon and looked to see how the word
was being used there. I think it was A.K. Warder who proposed that
the Diigha and Majjhima were the two oldest prose texts and the two
most closely related. It was also Prof. Warder who also claimed
that words have quite specific meanings in these early texts and
later writings either generalize the meaning or use it in a very
specific technical sense. Because of this Dmytro would be correct
in proposing that evidence of other word use from the Diigha and
Majjhima carried the most weight.
Nina gave us a wonderful exposition of the Commentaries on this
problem. One would think that in an oral tradition of such lenghth
that the Commentaries would also maintain the meaning as originally
intended. It could still be the case. Perhaps the original was
intended to be varied in meaning.
From what I can gather the Commentaries have come under critical
review of late because the Sinhalese Commentators did not have
knowledge of Hindu Texts that would have been known to the Buddha.
This leads in to the proposal by Bhante Sujato that the text should
be seen as a clear allusion to Sanskrit texts of Buddha's time.
This is intriguing but perhaps the connection hasn't been fully made.
I apologize in advance because I can't obviously do justice to the
arguments made. Above I said I wanted to share my thoughts but I've
only shared other people's thoughts and done that badly.
I am intrigued by the different methodologies. Perhaps if we
studied Pali at the same university we would be thinking more
- Dear Ven. Sujato, Ven. Yuttadhammo, Stephen and friends,
Bhante, how true! It had never occurred to me that Dhammakaya is
related to Chinese Buddhism. But, since you mention it, I believe it
is making reference to the Tri-kaya concept (which isn't of Chinese
origin) in Mahayana.
I think they have probably got it wrong. The Dhammakaya (or
Dharmakaya) is simply the embodiment of truth. It means that the
enlightenment of all Buddhas are undiscriminatorily equal, regardless
of time and space. If it insists a 'physical' state of nibbana, it
should be the Sambhagakaya. The third kaya is the Nirmanakaya. This
concept is important in Mahayana, and it blends in with the
Madhyamika's explanation of emptiness.
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Bhante Sujato wrote:
> > One very large group of "Buddhists" in Thailand has come out
> > and proclaimed publicly that "Nibbana is Atta."
It is worth noticing that this group emerged in Thailand as part of a
movement in Thai culture from the 80's that started to re-acknowledge
the Chinese roots of Thai culture. Bankok was in fact a Chinese
trading port. One aspect of this is the adoption of aspects of
Chinese Buddhism. For example, statues of Kwan Yin are common all
But Dhammakaya has pursued this angle more consciously, claiming
support for their Dhammakaya idea from Mahayana sutras.
Unfortunately, few people in Thailand have read the Mahayana sutras,
so apart from sectarian prejudice, they are unable to respond very
meaningfully to this aspect of Dhammakaya's arguments.