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The purpose of this group is to identify what is *most probably* the original teaching of the Buddha, so that we can practice it in our everyday lives, as lay or ordained practitioners, whichever culture. I say *most probably* because I think we will never know ABSOLUTELY, what the Buddha taught, but we can intelligently investigate the evidence and come to an educated conclusion. Such an educated conclusion would remain open to further evidence, but we should not stop there, forever waiting for the conclusive proof. That conclusion should then be tested in experience. It is very likely that the Buddha taught personal experience is the ultimate authority [see the Kalama sutta: www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.soma.html]. Once tested in experience, we know it works or not, for ourselves and if it does, then we have a firm confidence based on experience, not blind faith.

The Buddha probably said, 'If we have a belief, we should say "I believe this..." not "this is the Truth" and saying the former is safeguarding the Truth.' [MN 95 : M ii 171] Beware of those that claim to definitely have the original teaching!!

There are six qualities the Buddha probably said of his teaching [AN 11.12]:

Svaakkhaato: Well spoken/logical.
Sandi.t.thiko: Verifiable/practical.
Akaaliko: Timeless/immediate.
Ehipassiko: Invites inspection/interesting.
Opanaayiko: Leads onwards/progressive.
Paccattam veditabbo vinynyuuhi. To be known by the intelligent, each for themselves.

We will see if teachings in the early texts [from any source e.g.: Pali, Chinese, Tibetan] have these qualities and will reject those that do not. We need to be willing to accept that there probably are some corruptions in the early texts. To accept that the Buddha's teachings are [Buddhasasana is] impermanent, but not to accept corruptions after more than 2500 years, is not intelligent. [Buddha-]Dhamma on the other hand is said to be permanent.

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  • 13
  • Buddhism
  • Nov 16, 2008
  • English

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