The life of the Buddha (references please!)

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The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:52 am

Greetings all

Seeking authoritative references on the life of the Buddha.
Authoritative from Theravadin, academic and historical perspectives.
From suttas to later compilations.
Thanks for your kind assistance

Ben
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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:01 am

Ben wrote:Greetings all

Seeking authoritative references on the life of the Buddha.
Authoritative from Theravadin, academic and historical perspectives.
From suttas to later compilations.
Thanks for your kind assistance

Ben


The Buddha and His Teachings by Venerable Narada Mahathera

A bit of a classic, I feel.
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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:02 am

Greetings Ben,

I very strongly recommend you get your hands on a copy of "Life Of The Buddha, According To The Pali Canon" by Bhikkhu Nanamoli, available through BPS.

Not only is virtually all of it from the Pali Canon (as per the title), but what little is taken from alternative sources is accurately traced back to its scriptural origin.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby Reductor » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:05 am

I've thought of buying this.

http://www.amazon.ca/Life-Buddha-Accord ... 212&sr=8-6

Plus accesstoinsight has:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/buddha.html

I liked that one, I think. Its been a while.
Michael

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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby Wind » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:
I very strongly recommend you get your hands on a copy of "Life Of The Buddha, According To The Pali Canon" by Bhikkhu Nanamoli, available through BPS.

Metta,
Retro. :)


I did not even know there is a book like that. Added to my list. Thanks retro.
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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby bodom » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Ben,

I very strongly recommend you get your hands on a copy of "Life Of The Buddha, According To The Pali Canon" by Bhikkhu Nanamoli, available through BPS.

Not only is virtually all of it from the Pali Canon (as per the title), but what little is taken from alternative sources is accurately traced back to its scriptural origin.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Is there a better resource than this classic?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:15 am

Thank you gentlemen

The reason I started this thread was to assist a very good friend of mine who is an academic in the field of arts and literature. Over the last few years he has been developing a paper that refutes a modern romanticised vision of Gautama's life that has appeared in the works of another Australian poet. My understanding is that there are elements of the Buddha's life captured in the suttas and the ancient commentaries but it was really the later scholars who compiled and edited the life of the Buddha, such as the work by Narada Thera and Bhikkhu Nanamoli. I think also it is the Noble Search Sutta in the Majjhima which contains some excellent material concerning Gautama's life pre-enlightenment but may not be complete.
Thanks for your help.
metta

en
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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:38 am

Ben wrote:Thank you gentlemen

The reason I started this thread was to assist a very good friend of mine who is an academic in the field of arts and literature. Over the last few years he has been developing a paper that refutes a modern romanticised vision of Gautama's life that has appeared in the works of another Australian poet. My understanding is that there are elements of the Buddha's life captured in the suttas and the ancient commentaries but it was really the later scholars who compiled and edited the life of the Buddha, such as the work by Narada Thera and Bhikkhu Nanamoli. I think also it is the Noble Search Sutta in the Majjhima which contains some excellent material concerning Gautama's life pre-enlightenment but may not be complete.
Thanks for your help.
metta

en


If you are looking at sutta / vinaya only, then there is really not that much.

The "later" material is often not that late at all. (Remember: Buddhaghosa is 99% compiler, not author.) Judicious comparison amongst a range of post-canonical material, from numerous sources, not just Theravada, will find a wealth of information with much internal consistency.

The Noble Search Sutta, when compared with other versions, may have a few little bits which were added later. This is consistent with the notion that early on, there may not have been a strict line dividing "sutta" from "gloss".

Much of the earlier Romanticized stuff may come from works like Carus, and others. Largely reflecting European Romantic philosophy and arts of the time. Nowadays it all seems a little too much. But we also have our own biases and conditioning, too.

For your friend, refuting is no problem. All the best. Be careful not to "over-refute", too!

Check out:
Rockhill, Life of Buddha, 1884.
Kern, Manual of Indian Buddhism, 1896.
Thomas, LIfe of the Buddha, 1931.
Foucher, La vie du Bouddha a'apres les texts et monuments de l'Inde, 1949.
Coomaraswamy & Horner, Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha, 1948.
Lamotte, La legende du Buddha, 1947.
Lamotte, History of Indian Buddhism, pp. 13ff.
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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:27 am

Greetings venerable Paññāsikhara,

Paññāsikhara wrote:The "later" material is often not that late at all. (Remember: Buddhaghosa is 99% compiler, not author.)


Without wanting to go too far off topic, what happened to this material that was later "compiled"?

It would be interesting to know what this source material said, since by nature of the fact it was later "compiled", it is older than Buddhaghosa's works.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:33 am

Greetings,

Paññāsikhara wrote:If you are looking at sutta / vinaya only, then there is really not that much.


This is very true. It is surprising how little of what we might generally think of as biographical material on the Buddha is actually in the Pali Canon, especially in relation to his life prior to attaining Buddhahood. Even the famous visions of the sick man, dead man, old man and so on are not attributed to the Buddha himself (rather they are attributed to the previous Buddha) in the Pali Canon. I guess the Buddha was more interested in talking about the Dhamma than his life story, even though putthujanas and Australian poets tend to prefer a different ratio. Later hagiography was added to supplement the minimal facts laid out in the Pali Canon.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby plwk » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:43 am

Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: The life of the Buddha (references please!)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings venerable Paññāsikhara,

Paññāsikhara wrote:The "later" material is often not that late at all. (Remember: Buddhaghosa is 99% compiler, not author.)


Without wanting to go too far off topic, what happened to this material that was later "compiled"?

It would be interesting to know what this source material said, since by nature of the fact it was later "compiled", it is older than Buddhaghosa's works.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Good question. Nobody really seems to know for sure. Apparently it was in Sinhalese. The process of working it all out, based on Buddhaghosa's comments like "The acariya says ...", "The commentators say...", "Some say...", "Others say..." etc. is something of a nightmare. Still, some are willing to look into this question. You may wish to investigate: Early history of Buddhism in Ceylon : or, State of Buddhism in Ceylon as revealed by the Pāli commentaries of the 5th century A.D. / by E. W. Adikaram. 1946.
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