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Thread: Authenticity of Mahayana sutras

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Any links to some textual evidence, please ?

    There's some information about Ananda and the Buddha's first nuns in a section about him here. It also mentions that Ananda was the second leading elder monk of the sangha when he died.:
    It's in 'What the Buddha Taught' by Walpola Sri Rahul. Presumably he's referring to the canon that he would have studied in Sri Lanka, I'm not familiar with it.

    Thanks for the information, I already find this confusing so I can't really give any more information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    A Link to the specific part of the Lotus Sutra text would be appreciated.

    It's in the chapter Devadatta. I've just copied this out of the Gene Reeves translation of the Japanese, Chinese and Sanskrit lotus sutra.

    Shariputra argues that the dragon girl cannot be a Buddha because she is a woman:

    "Then Shariputra said to the dragon girl: "You think that in no time at all you will attain the unexcelled way. This is hard to believe. Why? Because the body of a woman is filthy and impure, not a vessel for the Dharma. How could you attain unexcelled awakening? The Buddha way is long and extensive. Only after innumerable eons of enduring hardship, accumulating good works, and thoroughly carrying out all the practices can it be reached. Moreover, a woman's bosy has five hindrances: first, she cannot become a king of a Brahma heaven; second she cannot become king Indra; third, she cannot become a devil king; fourth she cannot become a wheel-turning saintly king; and fifth she cannot have the body of a buddha. How then could you, in a woman's body, so quickly become a buddha?"

    Then she transforms into a male and becomes a bodhisattva:

    "Then the entire congregation saw the dragon girl instantly transformed into a male, take up bodhisattva practice, and immediately go to the world named spotless, in the southern region, where, sitting on a precious lotus blossom, she attained impartial, proper awakening. With the thirty-two characteristics and eighty different attractive features she proclaimed the wonderful Dharma to all living beings everywhere in the universe."

    This is the basis of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism, which is (supposed to) give men and women equal roles as lay Buddhists with equal capability for enlightenment, but the fact still remains that it says a woman has to transform into a man first. I believe they still have this in Tibetan Buddhism too.

    I personally believe that Shakyamuni Buddha, with the ability to see without views, should have been able to look past the misogyny of his time. Maybe this is the addition of later monks and scribes, maybe not, I don't know.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by venusian
    This is the basis of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism, which is (supposed to) give men and women equal roles as lay Buddhists with equal capability for enlightenment, but the fact still remains that it says a woman has to transform into a man first. I believe they still have this in Tibetan Buddhism too.
    Yes, I think in Tibet they used to believe that one couldn't achieve enlightenment in a woman's body.

    However, enlightened female arahants are mentioned in the Pali Canon. There's a section called "Verses of the Elder Nuns" and in some of those verses the nuns speak of their enlightement. Here's an example:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...5.12.than.html

    Quote Originally Posted by venusian
    . Maybe this is the addition of later monks and scribes, maybe not, I don't know.
    Did you read all of the reference #2 in relation to the Lotus Sutra ? Ajahn Sujato specialises in the study of early Buddhist texts.

    Scholars and historians say that this text was composed long after the death of the Buddha. The way its written is also very different to the earlier material in the Pali Canon.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Yes, I think in Tibet they used to believe that one couldn't achieve enlightenment in a woman's body.

    However, enlightened female arahants are mentioned in the Pali Canon. There's a section called "Verses of the Elder Nuns" and in some of those verses the nuns speak of their enlightement. Here's an example:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...5.12.than.html
    This is good, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Did you read all of the reference #2 in relation to the Lotus Sutra ? Ajahn Sujato specialises in the study of early Buddhist texts.

    Scholars and historians say that this text was composed long after the death of the Buddha. The way its written is also very different to the earlier material in the Pali Canon.
    Where can I find this?

    I've had time to read all the links you've given me now.

    This is the actual bit where Ananda persuades Shakyamuni Buddha to ordain female monks.

    http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-...mivaggo-e.html

    And the 'prophecy':

    "Ananda, if women did not obtain the going forth from the household as homeless, in the dispensation of the Thus Gone One, the dispensation would have lasted longer a thousand years ânanda, as women have obtained the going forth from the household to become homeless, it will not last long, the good Teaching will last only five hundred years."

    I was reading a couple of things that suggested the 'prophecy' may be a later addition as the use of time is different to anywhere else in the sutra; I don't have any reference, I forgot where I read this. Alternatively, in the Karen Armstrong biography of the historical Buddha, she says that the treatment of women at the time of the Buddha was terrible, with women being owned as property- the fact that the Buddha did actually finally allow women monks was incredible even though we see it as sexist from our modern perspective.

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by venusian
    Where can I find this?
    Sorry, I'm not sure what you're refering to.

    If you mean Ajahn Sujato's comments on the authenticity of the Lotus Sutra (he's a scholar as well as a monk) then that's here:

    http://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/10/...tra-authentic/

    If you mean my comment on the way its written, that comes from when I was looking in the past at portions of the Lotus Sutra myself and comparing them with Pali Canon Suttas at the Access to Insight website.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/

    One obvious difference, in my opinion, is the reference to long tongues, rays of light, magic etc, which can be found the Lotus Sutra. Another is references to "hundreds and thousands" of Bodhisattavas and other Buddha's - which was clearly a later development from the core teachings of the historical Buddha which can be found in the Pali Canon.

    Excerpt from Ch 20 of the Lotus Sutra......


    Thereupon the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., and the wholly extinct Lord Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c., both seated on the throne in the centre of the Stûpa, commenced smiling to one another, and from their opened mouths stretched out their tongues, so that with their tongues they reached the Brahma-world, and from those two tongues issued many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of rays.

    From each of those rays issued many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas, with gold-coloured bodies and possessed of the thirty-two characteristic signs of a great man, and seated on thrones consisting of the interior of lotuses. Those Bodhisattvas spread in all directions in hundred thousands of worlds, and while on every side stationed in the sky preached the law.

    Just as the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., produced a miracle of magic by his tongue, so, too, Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c., and the other Tathâgatas, &c., who, having flocked from hundred thousands of myriads of kolis of other worlds, were seated on thrones at the foot of jewel trees, by their tongues produced a miracle of magic.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lotus/lot20.htm
    .

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Two View Post
    "Inauthentic"means the historical Buddha did not speak it while He was living on earth.It does not necessarily mean it is not the Truth.The Pali Canon records only what He,as a living human of flesh and blood,preached to his earthly disciples.
    He could have given Discourses in other realms of space-time,which later became the Mahayana scriptures,while still alive on earth or had passed on.Again,Theravadins reject this too.
    I'd like to give a different perspective on this matter. I come from an occult type background, people do channeling, people do travel to higher planes and meet other beings, and so on and so forth. This is not really the point, I am aware not everyone here will accept these things as factual.

    The point is Buddha nature does not allow any form of channeling or interacting after the liberated being has passed away. You literally cannot channel the Buddha or any Arahant, they simply are not reborn on any plane of reality, not in any heaven, anybody saying otherwise is deluded. The Arahant that has passed away is said to be like a ray of light that never lands. It's like the double slit experiment without the observer. It's Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, with no cat and no box.

    This is also the reason it has always been impossible to define the state in which an Arahant is after their passing away. The usual question is whether they exist or do not exist any longer after they die. The answer generally being that neither is correct.

    The devas are unenlightened, which is why we can interact with them - they reside in knowable planes.

    The only way that makes it somewhat possible to hear a Buddha discourse, might be accessing so called Akashic records, and I'm not sure even that can be done in this case, as it is possible the Buddha would not leave even that kind of traces. Another way would be for any of the Buddha's students who have not reached enlightenment in that lifetime, to reach high levels of Jhana at a later time and recollect their past abodes, writing suttas about it.

    Sorry for going slightly off topic with the esoteric stuff, but I am replying to an esoteric argument.


  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander
    The only way that makes it somewhat possible to hear a Buddha discourse, might be accessing so called Akashic records....
    Thanks Alexander,

    However, in general, I honestly don't think that 19th century Theosophy and the late Helena Blavatsky has anything to do with investigating the historical authenticity of the Buddhist Mahayana Sutras in the 21st Century.

    In theosophy and anthroposophy, the Akashic records (a term coined in the late 1800s from akasha, the Sanskrit word for "sky", "space", "luminous", or "æther") are a compendium of of thoughts, events, and emotions believed by Theosophists to be encoded in a non-physical plane of existence known as the astral plane.

    There is no scientific evidence for existence of the Akashic records.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akashic_records
    With kind wishes,

    Aloka


    Later edit : I'd like to gently remind everyone that remarks which are directed at others with the intention to insult or degrade, are contrary to our Code of Conduct and will be removed.


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