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Thread: Debating origins of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by jan
    Interesting point though that also the Pali Canons are based on oral transmission, as is, arguably, also evident from their structure.
    Sure, before they were written down they were faithfully passed on by monks.

    Why would that be inaccurate? I can recite 3 or 4 complete pujas (sadhanas) and various other chants in Tibetan without the texts, because I learned them by heart without even consciously trying - simply through regular repetition.

    We can remember the lyrics of songs, recite poetry etc etc in the same way.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D
    Sure, before they were written down they were faithfully passed on by monks.

    Why would that be inaccurate?
    I am not saying it is inaccurate. But I think it is important to be aware of the possibility that the words have been rephrased (paraphrased), possibly not by the Buddha, for easy passing-on. I still need to read Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. Wonder whether anyone else already has, and whether this throws more light on the matter.

    Metta

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by jan
    I still need to read Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. Wonder whether anyone else already has, and whether this throws more light on the matter.

    As far as I know, Stephen Batchelor was originally a Tibetan Buddhist monk and translator....so he might not know too much about the Pali Canon.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jan
    I think it is important to be aware of the possibility that the words have been rephrased (paraphrased), possibly not by the Buddha, for easy passing-on

    From what you've said since you joined us Jan, I get the impression that you're not familiar with the suttas. Therefore might it not be more sensible, instead of making sweeping assumptions, to actually study them?

    We used to have regular sutta studies in the Theravada forum before we changed the site software but we only moved 3 months of previous threads over here. Perhaps they should be started again and you could participate.

    Stuka and/or Element might possibly be interested in re-starting them and I'm sure there would be some benefical exchanges.




  5. #15
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    Sure, before they were written down they were faithfully passed on by monks.

    The Theravadans in Burma (and l think Sri Lanka) recite the whole of the Abhidhamma from memory,this is done in relays,when the monk in front of you wants to rest you take over,(the point here is that they don't have set pieces that they have memorised) so each monk needs to know the whole Abhidhamma.
    I don't know how often this feat is carried out.

  6. #16
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jan
    So you see there are some interesting differences.
    Yes, and fortunately such differences offer a wide scope for practice. In the tradition where I practice zazen is the core aspect of our understanding. We really hold in a few fundamental suttas but what is important for us is zazen and zazen brought into daily life.




  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaarine Alejandra
    but what is important for us is zazen and zazen brought into daily life.
    I can appreciate this Kaarine, dear friend. My own practice very much involves the importance of "the here and now". However, without the teachings of the historical Buddha, the tradition from which it came would not have been in existence for me to receive those instructions.







  8. #18
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D
    the tradition from which it came would not have been in existence for me to receive those instructions.
    Yes, very ture Aloka, and this is why we hold our practice in the understanding and incessant actualization of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path so not to be lost while we practice zazen...






  9. #19
    Forums Member stuka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    It is Buddhist tradition to believe the Truth and not who said it.

    Actually, it is the Buddhist tradition to investigate phenomena. "Believing" the "Truth" is the domain of superstition.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    Supposing Nagarguna had established a religion

    Then it would be Nagarjuna-ism, rather than Buddhism.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    going further than the Buddha's preaching in the [i]Hinayana[/h]

    Please refrain from using that offensive word in this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    (though now only the Theravadins of the Southern Buddhist traditions remain as an independent school)
    This is self-serving tibetan propaganda and untrue.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    then we should believe Nagarjuna and not the Buddha, since the former taught the ultimate and complete truth

    Good luck with your "Nagarjuna-ism". Rejecting the Buddha's teachings, however, what are you doing here?

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    In the Prajnaparamita Sutra

    ....which never crossed the Buddha's lips...

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    Our faith relies on truth and not on persons.
    We believe in the truth itself but not in letter or word of scripture.
    And in the ultimate but not in the incomplete truth.
    ...which makes it easy to make up as one goes along, ignoring the Buddha's teachings and creating a different religion. Which is fine, but it is kind of silly to claim that it is still "Buddhism".

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    Finally we lay stress on wisdom of realisation(prajna) and not on mere consciousness(vijnana) of the human mind.
    Another tibetan-arrogant straw dog. The Buddha's teachings and the traditions that hold to them do not "lay stress on mere consciousness of the human mind".

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    In the Mahayana it is never said that the [edit: Theravada] is not Buddha-word,...
    Wherein the mahayana admits its own eisegeses. But doesn't realize it because no one RTFM's.




    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    It is said that the Buddha preached the Lesser as a foundation for the Greater Vehicle
    A convenient self-serving lie used to introduce outside doctrines.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirmal
    and this despite the fact that the Mahayana is already so complete

    The Buddha proclaimed that his own teachings (the Nikayas) are complete and not in need of embellishments. But he also predicted that folks would ignore his teachings and push their own ideas as Buddhism:


    Quote Originally Posted by The Buddha

    SN 20.7: Ani Sutta
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....007.than.html

    Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, there once was a time when the Dasarahas had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained.

    "In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited.

    They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

    "In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.



    "Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."


  10. #20
    Forums Member stuka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jan
    A few probably very ignorant questions........
    Do you really want to go down that road again, jan?


    Once again, the suttas have been passed on by recitation and repetition, much like a modern musician can memorize thousands of songs, melody, lyrics, and all, without error, by persons who have a vested interest in their accuracy and nothing better to do.

    AND, supposing that there was no Buddha, and these teachings were made up by some beneficial group of monks. So what we have left is a group of "Noble" teachings that are practical, internally consistent, timeless, applicable to everyone, beneficial for anyone and everyone regardless of time, place, culture, etc -- and on the other hand we have a bunch of contradictory superstitions that are based upon supposition and not a shred of evidence. Easy choice here.

    This is not the first time this has been explained to you, jan. Let us please make it the last.

    Quote Originally Posted by jan
    The suttas with all there repetition, it is often argued, were especially designed for easy memorisation, and are therefore, likely to be at least different in that respect to the Buddha's literal words during sermons.
    Except for that pesky little bit about the Buddha having uttered them, and that he was the one who devised and spoke them in a way designed for them to be easily remembered.



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