Thread: What is Nikaya Buddhism?

  1. #1

    What is Nikaya Buddhism?

    This is a blog article from the Patheos website.

    What is Nikaya Buddhism?

    by Dr. Jay N. Forrest

    Any comments about the article?

  2. #2
    Global Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    If you are interested in the problems that Buddhism may have with its own authority, then this is a good read. In a nutshell it presents the arguments for and against what you can take as the oldest, and in the sense of the article, most authoritative sources for what should be followed as the Dharma, ie Therevadan Buddhism of a specific kind. It goes on to say why other sources are not as useful, and how such modern approaches as psychology could indeed bring down Buddhism. The place of experience is secondary to to the Dharma, only valid as a verification, but of no validity in itself.

    I think it still rankles after all these years that Theravada means the 'small vehicle', and as such the article suggests that anything after the Dharma it follows does not have the same weight in terms of being Dharma to be followed. My own view on the subject is that it would be tempting to accept such an approach as being very reasonable. After all, what else do you need than the earliest, most authoritative texts? Would that it were so simple, of course. Early texts have a habit of being claimed by a variety of schools of Buddhism, and there is doubt about any text as being one which is both directly from those times and one which accurately echoes the words of the Buddha.

    Not only that, but to dismiss anything after those texts is to miss out on the wisdom of those who came later and had their own ideas, ideas which may or may not be useful to those practicing Buddhism today, but would certainly be worth a read for all those on the path. And what of today? Should we dismiss anything 'psychological', by which they mean authority offered by such things as scientific evidence, out of hand because the authority comes from a different area of human inquiry? For me a Buddhism fixed in time like a kind of Amish sect is one lost in time, even if the core message about the path is an essential one fo all Buddhists. We all walk the path alone, but should keep an open mind about what we use to make sure that it is indeed a path to take us in the direction we want to travel.

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