Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

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Coyote
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Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby Coyote » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:16 pm

I have become interested in the fact that some (Christian) scripture has become so ingrained into British culture that many can recognise famous verses whether they have been brought up Christian or are Christian themselves or not.
Psalm 23 is one example, along with many verses from the NT.
What are the Buddhist equivalents, if there are any? These might not from the canon per se, but famous chants or something else.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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waterchan
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby waterchan » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:31 pm

Coyote wrote:I have become interested in the fact that some (Christian) scripture has become so ingrained into British culture that many can recognise famous verses whether they have been brought up Christian or are Christian themselves or not.
Psalm 23 is one example, along with many verses from the NT.
What are the Buddhist equivalents, if there are any? These might not from the canon per se, but famous chants or something else.

In Burma, just about every person, old or young, Buddhist or non-Buddhist, knows at least part of the Mangala Sutta. There are some well known classic Burmese songs extolling the virtues of the thirty-eight mangalas (blessings).

Virtually every Buddhist, regardless of age, can chant the qualities and virtues of the Buddha because it is part of a set of prayers that must be learned by a Buddhist at a very young age. This chant is very much ingrained into the culture, especially since it's so easy to remember.

Virtually every adult Buddhist can recite the 24 paccayas because the recitation is part of everyday prayer that Buddhists have to learn. Of course, since this is done entirely as a matter of ritual, virtually none of them know what a paccaya is, much less how they relate to one another.

And just about every person in the country can recognise when the patthana portion of the Abhidhamma and the paritta group of suttas is being recited, since once a month they are religiously recited over blaring loudspeakers all night at your local monastery for several nights in a row to ward off crime and evil spirits, much to the annoyance of Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike...
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

chris98e
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby chris98e » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:29 am

interestingly enough if you ever heard of the phrase "one hand washes the other" I heard it in the movie Malcom X, that phrase is in the 4th Sutta of the Long Discourses Nikaya, which I read I couple days ago, I think, for the first time. I think it's something like the Suddhanna Sutta. I probably got the spelling wrong. :bow:

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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby chownah » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:33 am

The five precepts is about as good as it gets here in Thailand from what I have seen.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:41 am

Jataka stories? Dhammapada? They are the kinds of things I would have expected.

:coffee:
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Mkoll
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby Mkoll » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:37 am

Ven. Bodhi says that in many Theravada countries they chant this in Pali at funerals. He said the Pali then gave a rough translation. This is from one of his Systematic Study of MN presentations

"All formations (all conditioned things) are impermanent. Their very nature is to arise and vanish."
Peace,
James

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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby Babadhari » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:14 pm

Mkoll wrote:Ven. Bodhi says that in many Theravada countries they chant this in Pali at funerals. He said the Pali then gave a rough translation. This is from one of his Systematic Study of MN presentations

"All formations (all conditioned things) are impermanent. Their very nature is to arise and vanish."

"Bring about completion by being heedful."the last words of the Buddha DN16
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28

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waterchan
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby waterchan » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:25 pm

Kim OHara wrote:Jataka stories? Dhammapada? They are the kinds of things I would have expected.


Ah yes, forgot to mention that in Burma, selected portions of the Jataka is part of the grade school curriculum. Just about everyone aged 15 or older knows at least four out of the ten lives of the bodhisattas: Mahosadha, Suwanasam, Vessandon, and Mahajanaka. In each of the ten lives, the bodhisatta fulfills each of the ten paramis.

My favorite is the story of Mahosadha the clever young sage in his childhood days, where he fulfills the parami of paññā (wisdom). The stories details his many battles of wits and cunning against perpetrators of his father's kingdom. It's a very exciting read compared to the others which are relatively dry.

Vessandon was the last human life of the bodhisatta, and the only one where he took robes and went to the forest in seclusion. In this life he fulfilled the dāna parami by giving up all his possessions and even his wife and child to anyone who requested them. That was his last life as a human bodhisatta, and when he died he went to Tusita heaven, to be reborn as Gotama the Buddha in his next life.

The Dhammapada isn't nearly as popular, as far as I know.

It's rare to find a Christian who hasn't read the Bible. On the contrary, in Buddhist countries it's rare to find a Buddhist who has read the suttas. For most Buddhists in Burma, the Jataka is the only part of the Pali canon they will ever have read.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

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Kim OHara
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:00 pm

waterchan wrote:It's rare to find a Christian who hasn't read the Bible.

Not in my world, it isn't!
Most Australians, including a very large majority of Aussies over 40, are nominally Christian but most go to church only a few times per year (major festivals plus weddings and funerals) and have never studied the Bible at all - they pick up bits in church and (as the OP mentioned) in general culture but that's all.
Aussies under 40 are even less likely to know the Bible. Many from habitually Christian families have given up religion altogether, and a large proportion of our recent (i.e. younger) migrants are from non-Christian cultures, Moslems and some Buddhists.

:namaste:
Kim

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waterchan
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby waterchan » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:09 pm

Kim OHara wrote:Not in my world, it isn't!


Yes, I think what I had in mind when I wrote "Christian" was a significantly religious country like the United States, and not a country like Australia whose population has traditional Christian ancestry but is less religious in practice.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

Kenshou
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby Kenshou » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:42 am

My impression as an American is that the majority of claimed Christians haven't really read the bible either, at least not in any exhaustive way. Just sayin'.

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JeffR
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby JeffR » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:12 pm

My experience of American Christians is not only have they not read the bible, they are only familiar with the interpretation that their favorite pastor or politician makes. It's amazing how many "christians" don't know what Fat Tuesday and Lent are about.

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pererin
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby pererin » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:50 am

JeffR wrote:My experience of American Christians is not only have they not read the bible, they are only familiar with the interpretation that their favorite pastor or politician makes.

:goodpost:

In my experience too, what happens is that they tend to have read brief sections of their sacred texts, very little of which they actually understand.

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Mkoll
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Re: Scripture that is well known to those raised Buddhist

Postby Mkoll » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:55 am

JeffR wrote:My experience of American Christians is not only have they not read the bible, they are only familiar with the interpretation that their favorite pastor or politician makes. It's amazing how many "christians" don't know what Fat Tuesday and Lent are about.

My esperience too although it's more of a general impression.
Peace,
James


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