Dan74 wrote:Of course the only trouble with that is that none of the authors of your secondary sources would likely accept that their teachings conflict with those of the Buddha.
Of course. For example, there are many teachers who regard the Abhidhamma as an actual teaching of the Buddha. There are many teachers who regard the Mahavihara commentaries as definitive and infallible. Extending the scope beyond Theravada, you've got teachers who believe the Mahayana Sutras were spoken by Gotama. What they teach is predicated upon assumptions I do not share. They take as primary that which I take as secondary, tertiary and so on etc. It doesn't matter to me whether they think it's Buddhavacana or not, as it's not them that needs to walk my path, and that's rightly what is my concern.
Dan74 wrote:So it becomes more of a question of the depth and accuracy of understanding/realisation of the teachings.
Or in the example above, agreement on what "the teachings" are that are to be taken as in scope in the first place.
Dan74 wrote:But it is never really a question of matching strings, some sort of a cut-and-dry "check against Buddhavacana", is it?
That depends on where Buddhavacana sits on your hierarchy and priority of beliefs/systems, I guess. If it is the central pivotal matter, then it's like the simile I gave of the leaf, branch and tree. Inherent in being a savaka
, is that the Buddha is my teacher, and that I am attempting to actualise the teachings he
taught. My faith in Buddhavacana and its liberating power is such that it has now become virtually a "cut-and-dry check against Buddhavacana", since personal experience/application has never invalidated the sutta teachings (as per that poll I've got going at the moment, where 70-75% seem to have had similar experiences of reliability of sutta).
If I do come across an inconsistency, I'll resolve it if/when it arises. To paraphrase what Ben said in the poll, if there's ever been fault in understanding, it lies with myself or my interpretation rather than Buddhavacana itself.