Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

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Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:56 pm

Hello

I read an article which made a case against the authenticity of the 8 rules for bhikkhunis. It's not very good but it has some food for thought. Here it is:

http://www.leighb.com/aboutan851.htm

However, I don't find anywhere the original story in full lenght in the translations of AN 8.51 and of Cv X.1. They seem to supress what I remember as being the most important evidence against the authenticity of the 8 rules. Don't these texts contain 3 or 4 similes for the role of women in religious orders? There are two reasons I suspect these similes are false:

1- They are particularly violent

2- They are more than one. Does the Buddha ever give more than one simile in the suttas to ilustrate his point?

If anyone could point me to a full translation of the AN8.51 or Cv X.1 I would apreciate it, so I can make my own conclusions.

Metta
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Anicca » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:52 am

Howdy Modus.Ponens!

Cv.X.1 is contained here and reads:

Now at that time, the Awakened One, the Blessed One, was staying near Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Grove. Then Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed to him, stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to him: "It would be good, venerable sir, if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Enough, Gotamī. Don't advocate women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata (§)."

A second time... A third time she said to him: "It would be good, venerable sir, if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Enough, Gotamī. Don't advocate women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

So Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī, (thinking,) "The Blessed One does not allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata" — sad and unhappy, crying, her face in tears — bowed to the Blessed One, circumambulated him, keeping him to her right, and then went away.

The Blessed One, having stayed as long as he liked in Kapilavatthu, set out for Vesālī. After wandering in stages, he arrived at Vesālī. There he stayed near Vesālī at the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood.

Then Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī, having had her hair cut off, having donned ochre robes, set out for Vesālī together with a large number of Sakyan women. After wandering in stages, she arrived at Vesālī and went to the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood. Then she stood there outside the porch, her feet swollen, her limbs covered with dust, sad and unhappy, crying, her face in tears. Ven. Ānanda saw her standing there ... and so asked her, "Why, Gotamī, why are you standing here ... your face in tears?"

"Because, venerable sir, the Blessed One does not allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"In that case, Gotamī, stay right here for a moment (§) while I ask the Blessed One to allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

Then Ven. Ānanda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī is standing outside the porch ... her face in tears, because the Blessed One does not allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata. It would be good if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Enough, Ānanda. Don't advocate women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

A second time... A third time, Ven. Ānanda said, "... It would be good, venerable sir, if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Enough, Ānanda. Don't advocate women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

Then the thought occurred to Ven. Ānanda, "The Blessed One does not allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata. What if I were to find some other way to ask the Blessed One to allow women's Going-forth ..." So he said to the Blessed One, "Venerable sir, if a woman were to go forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata, would she be able to realize the fruit of stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, or arahantship?"

"Yes, Ānanda, she would..."

"In that case, venerable sir, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī has been of great service to the Blessed One. She was the Blessed One's aunt, foster mother, nurse, giver of milk. When the Blessed One's mother passed away, she gave him milk. It would be good if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Ānanda, if Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī accepts eight rules of respect, that will be her full Acceptance.

1) "A bhikkhunī who has been fully accepted even for more than a century must bow down, rise up from her seat, salute with hands palm-to-palm over her heart, and perform the duties of respect to a bhikkhu even if he has been fully accepted on that very day. This rule is to be honored, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed as long as she lives.

2) "A bhikkhunī must not spend the rains in a residence where there is no bhikkhu (nearby)...

3) "Every half-month a bhikkhunī should expect two things from the Bhikkhu Saṅgha: (permission to) ask for the date of the uposatha and (permission to) approach for an exhortation...

4) "At the end of the Rains-residence, a bhikkhunī should invite (accusations from) both Saṅghas (the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhunī Saṅghas) on any of three grounds: what they have seen, what they have heard, what they have suspected...

5) "A bhikkhunī who has broken any of the rules of respect must undergo penance for half a month under both Saṅghas...

6) "Only after a trainee has trained in the six precepts for two years can she request Acceptance from both Saṅghas...

7) "A bhikkhu must not in any way be insulted or reviled by a bhikkhunī...

8) "From this day forward, the admonition of a bhikkhu by a bhikkhunī is forbidden, but the admonition of a bhikkhunī by a bhikkhu is not forbidden. This rule, too, is to be honored, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed as long as she lives.

"If Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī accepts these eight rules of respect, that will be her full Acceptance."

Then Ven. Ānanda, having learned the eight rules of respect in the Blessed One's presence, went to Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī and, on arrival, said to her, "Gotamī, if you accept these eight rules of respect, that will be your full Acceptance..."

"Ven. Ānanda, just as if a young woman — or man — fond of ornamentation, having been given a garland of lotuses or jasmine or scented creepers, having accepted it in both hands, were to place it on her head, in the same way I accept the eight rules of respect, never to transgress them as long as I live."

Then Ven. Ānanda returned to the Blessed One and, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said, "Venerable sir, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī has accepted the eight rules of respect. The Blessed One's foster mother is fully accepted."

"But, Ānanda, if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata, the holy life would have lasted long, the true Dhamma would have lasted 1,000 years. But now that they have gotten to go forth... this holy life will not last long, the true Dhamma will last only 500 years. Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men is easily plundered by robbers and thieves, in the same way, in whatever doctrine and discipline women get to go forth, the holy life does not last long... Just as a man might make an embankment in advance around a great reservoir to keep the waters from overflowing, in the same way I have set forth in advance the eight rules of respect for bhikkhunīs that they are not to transgress as long as they live." — Cv.X.1


Hope this helps

Metta
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:34 am

Anicca wrote:Howdy Modus.Ponens!

Cv.X.1 is contained here and reads:

"But, Ānanda, if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata, the holy life would have lasted long, the true Dhamma would have lasted 1,000 years. But now that they have gotten to go forth... this holy life will not last long, the true Dhamma will last only 500 years. Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men is easily plundered by robbers and thieves, in the same way, in whatever doctrine and discipline women get to go forth, the holy life does not last long... Just as a man might make an embankment in advance around a great reservoir to keep the waters from overflowing, in the same way I have set forth in advance the eight rules of respect for bhikkhunīs that they are not to transgress as long as they live." — Cv.X.1


Hope this helps

Metta


Hi Anicca

I've seen that text. What I'm worried about is that underlined ellipsis. If I remember correctly, there were a few more similes in the text and that's what I'm trying to find out. If the similes are not here they're elsewere, but I remember seeing them. Maybe a comparison between women and a plague, I'm not sure. I know they were consecutive and pretty harsh on women.

Metta
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:17 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:... AN 8.51 and of Cv X.1. ... Don't these texts contain 3 or 4 similes for the role of women in religious orders? There are two reasons I suspect these similes are false:
1- They are particularly violent
2- They are more than one. Does the Buddha ever give more than one simile in the suttas to ilustrate his point?

Hi, Modus Ponens,
I can't answer your question (1) but can maybe shine some light on it: Santideva's A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life has a whole chapter which is so revoltingly misogynistic that I could hardly read it - and I'm not even female! That's an 8th century monastic text, of course, and I think '8th century' and 'monastic' are both part of the problem - too long after the Buddha to remember how he treated women, and too conflicted over women because enforced celibacy often does that to men. Reflecting on that tends to support the article you linked to.
As for Q.2: Yes, quite often, but I haven't got a good memory for references.

Hope this helps,
Kim
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:14 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, Modus Ponens,
.
.
.
As for Q.2: Yes, quite often, but I haven't got a good memory for references.

Hope this helps,
Kim


Hi Kim

But does he do it consecutively without anyone saying they didn't understand the first simile?

Thanks
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:12 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:Hi Kim
But does he do it consecutively without anyone saying they didn't understand the first simile?
Thanks

Hi, M.P,
I think so - but I think you would have to look for yourself to see how close the parallel with your dubious example is ... and even then you will only have indirect evidence for your belief about authenticity.
Myself, I like to have the support of good authority but I am always willing to disagree with authority when the case seems clear enough to me: I don't like to be wrong but I really really don't like to be intellectually dishonest. YMMV, of course.
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:21 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:Hi Kim
But does he do it consecutively without anyone saying they didn't understand the first simile?
Thanks

Hi, M.P,
I think so - but I think you would have to look for yourself to see how close the parallel with your dubious example is ... and even then you will only have indirect evidence for your belief about authenticity.
Myself, I like to have the support of good authority but I am always willing to disagree with authority when the case seems clear enough to me: I don't like to be wrong but I really really don't like to be intellectually dishonest. YMMV, of course.
:namaste:
Kim


Hi Kim

I'm trying to be intelectualy honest. That's my aproach to dhamma. You can see that that's the case, when I said that the text I linked to made weak evidence to its claim. I haven't made my mind yet. I just have a suspiction. Even if I find the full text I will not be fully convinced of its unauthenticity.

Metta
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:08 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:Hi Kim

I'm trying to be intelectualy honest. That's my aproach to dhamma. You can see that that's the case, when I said that the text I linked to made weak evidence to its claim. I haven't made my mind yet. I just have a suspiction. Even if I find the full text I will not be fully convinced of its unauthenticity.

Metta

I agree completely with your approach, and I didn't mean in any way to criticise it.
It does mean finding the evidence that satisfies you personally, however - second-hand reports are not going to be enough, however much time they might save.
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:16 am

As I often point out here, and elsewhere, a good place to begin on questions of authenticity is a comparison of parallel passages in alternate versions of the canon. Which other canons have such statements? Which other canons omit such statements? What are the differences in the sources of those canons either way? How are the schools to which they belong related to one another? (ie. a kind of doctrinal stemma needs to be drawn up).

Another question is that of external influence: The Sthavira teachings passed through the western Ganges area, strong Brahmanic heartland. And the Brahmins attitude towards women is well known, quite different to that found in the east Ganges area, around Magadha, etc. which was the original area of the Buddha's teaching. Other Buddhist literature, from a slightly later period, is well known to show increasingly misogynistic tendencies a couple of centuries after the parinibbana, reflecting generally cultural attitude changes at that time.

These prove nothing in and of themselves, but take all the information and relevant aspects into consideration before making assessments.
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Kenshou » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:19 am

Paññāsikhara wrote: a good place to begin on questions of authenticity is a comparison of parallel passages in alternate versions of the canon. Which other canons have such statements? Which other canons omit such statements? What are the differences in the sources of those canons either way? How are the schools to which they belong related to one another?


I'm quite interested in this sort of thing, but since it'll be a very long time, if ever, that I'm able to read Pali and Sanskrit and Classical Chinese... would you happen to have any suggested authors or literature or sources to begin from? I frankly barely know where I'd begin. If they happen to primarily be in non-English languages, then dangit, I guess. For now.
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby oxen » Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:51 am

It wouldn't hurt to just compare if there are parallel versions at a site like suttacentral.net. Much of the core Pali canon made it to China for translation, and many texts were translated several times too, and even from more than one source Indian language.
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:35 am

oxen wrote:It wouldn't hurt to just compare if there are parallel versions at a site like suttacentral.net. Much of the core Pali canon made it to China for translation, and many texts were translated several times too, and even from more than one source Indian language.


Thank you. I found what I needed. :smile:
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby fig tree » Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:38 am

The Journal of Buddhist Ethics had a piece on this:

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebsut067.htm

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:26 pm

Thanks Fig Tree. I only read the 8 rules part and it's very interesting.
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