Buddhism vs. the Buddha's teaching

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Buddhism vs. the Buddha's teaching

Postby Uilium » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:43 pm

What is the difference? Isn't it important for beginner's at least, to know what is the Buddha's teaching and what is not the Buddha's teaching within any given tradition? Has the counterfeit dhamma that the Buddha predicts arisen already? What do we do about counterfeit dhamma? Should we just be polite or be real? Should we judge or should we just say "that's just how things are"....or what?
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Re: Buddhism vs. the Buddha's teaching

Postby manas » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:10 pm

Uilium wrote:What is the difference? Isn't it important for beginner's at least, to know what is the Buddha's teaching and what is not the Buddha's teaching within any given tradition? Has the counterfeit dhamma that the Buddha predicts arisen already? What do we do about counterfeit dhamma? Should we just be polite or be real? Should we judge or should we just say "that's just how things are"....or what?


I don't see it as our place to make such judgements. That is best left to highly learned Dhamma practitioners. I think that we are actually lucky to not have to make any statement about the other schools, whether they are authentic or not, etc. We can just devote our precious, limited time as human beings to investigating the Dhamma and testing it in the light of experience, and choosing what works for ourselves.

In my case, I feel an emotional leaning towards Tibetan Buddhism, and towards Zen, but over the years I find more and more that the Pali Canon, upon investigation, turns out to be true. So I choose that. But others might say the same about their chosen way, too. What can we do? The Buddha is not physically with us to straighten things out. So, we can't say with *complete certainty* what is true Dhamma, and what is counterfeit, we can only say it is *most likely* that the Pali Canon is the most authentic. But the real evidence is in the degree to which our hearts become free from greed, anger, and delusion, imho.

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhism vs. the Buddha's teaching

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:22 pm

It's very important to distinguish the Buddha's teachings from things which are not; but people don't tend to agree on how to make this distinction. Each take on the Dhamma couches it in a load of culture, and each practitioner's job is to realize the Dhamma, not to practice this or that cultural Buddhism.

But most layfolk tend to want Buddhism as only one part of their life, and these various Buddhisms respond to that need with varying degrees of fidelity to the Dhamma.

With respect to "...within any given tradition", I disagree with being polite solely for the sake of social lubrication during contentious discussions. There's no need to engage in harsh speech, however: history indicates, for example, that Mahayana is not original to the Buddha, so I conclude that Mahayana studies aren't going to help me understand the Dhamma which the Buddha taught. But if I were to log on to Dharma Wheel and spout diatribes, that would be ridiculous.

The place for parsing out Buddhavacana lies not within labels, but within a good conversation between inquisitive people. Prior to that, using these terms is simply a handy convention to get the ball rolling.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Buddhism vs. the Buddha's teaching

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:43 pm

:goodpost:

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism vs. the Buddha's teaching

Postby Anagarika » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:32 pm

An interesting subject that was raised. My feeling is that, as the Buddha advised in, for example the Sutta to the Kalama people, to take the counsel of wise and tested teachers, and check one's sensibilities against those of vetted experts. In that way,I rely upon scholars like Gombrich, Ven. Bodhi, and others to advise me as to the historicity of the Dhamma, what is likely Buddhavacana and what is likely not. I appreciate reading a sutta or sutra and having some sense, after checking with experts, as to when the teaching was likely written and the context in which it was written. I feel it's important that if we are to be students of Buddhism, that we have a real sense of what derives from the teachings of the historical Buddha,and what is a much later development.

Having said that, I disagree with the idea slightly that a 3rd century CE Chinese sutra, for example, can't be a teaching of the Buddha. While the sutra might not be in the Nikayas or Agamas, the teaching might be a very useful, or beautiful, or complex teaching or poem that brings the Buddhavacana to life. So,I never reject in my own mind a later sutra, as some of these teachings can really illustratrative, or be commentarial, on an important fundamental point. Some, I have to say, can be outright silly, and contradict what the Buddha tried to teach. I won't get into that.

Even within the Pali Canon we know that the Abhidhamma was a later addition to the first two baskets. Is the Abhidhamma Buddha vacana? Likely no, but its text and teachings are very important.

My last example: The Lotus Sutra is often cited as a latter development, and is sometimes rejected as being a poetic narrative that goes far outside the boundaries of the original teachings. Yet, I've read that this sutra has in its original translations aspects of Indic language in it,making its root text and teachings likely from the BCE period. With time,the text was accented and augmented. Yet, within it lies language that scholars have seen as being far closer to Pali than Sanscrit or any non-Indic language. So for me, the Lotus Sutra is a beautiful and complex flower,which has in its origins a very ancient and traditional root system,and I appreciate it all the more for that fact.
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Re: Buddhism vs. the Buddha's teaching

Postby Aloka » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:27 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote: My last example: The Lotus Sutra is often cited as a latter development, and is sometimes rejected as being a poetic narrative that goes far outside the boundaries of the original teachings. Yet, I've read that this sutra has in its original translations aspects of Indic language in it,making its root text and teachings likely from the BCE period. With time,the text was accented and augmented. Yet, within it lies language that scholars have seen as being far closer to Pali than Sanscrit or any non-Indic language. So for me, the Lotus Sutra is a beautiful and complex flower,which has in its origins a very ancient and traditional root system,and I appreciate it all the more for that fact.


I don't share your feelings that the Lotus Sutra is beautiful and I'm amazed that people could think it was taught by the Buddha of the Pali Canon.This is an excerpt:


The Buddha addressed Bhaiṣajyarāja, saying: “If, after the parinirvāṇa
of the Tathāgata, any being hears even a single verse or line of the Lotus Sutra,
and thereupon has even one thought of rejoicing in it, I will bestow upon them
the prediction that they will attain highest, complete enlightenment.

“If there is anyone who preserves, recites, explains, or copies even a
single verse of the Lotus Sutra, or who respects this sutra as if it were a
buddha, or who reverently offers it various flowers, perfumes, necklaces,
fragrant ointments, scented powders, burning incense, canopies, flags, banners,
clothing, or music, or who simply honors it with his palms pressed
together, know, O Bhaiṣa jyarāja, that this person has already paid homage
to tens of myriads of koṭis of buddhas of the past! Such people have completed
their great vow in the presence of all the buddhas and yet they have
been born as humans out of their compassion for sentient beings.

“O Bhaiṣajyarāja! If anyone should ask you what kind of sentient being
will become a buddha in the future, you should inform them that it is those
of this kind who will definitely become buddhas in the future. Why is this?
“If there are any sons or daughters of a virtuous family who preserve,
recite, explain, and copy even a single line of the Lotus Sutra, or who pay
homage to this sutra with various offerings of flowers, perfumes, necklaces...etc

http://www.bdkamerica.org/digital/dbet_t0262_lotussutra_2007.pdf
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Re: Buddhism vs. the Buddha's teaching

Postby Anagarika » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:34 pm

Aloka, respectfully, I wasn't suggesting this
I'm amazed that people could think it was taught by the Buddha of the Pali Canon


My only comment was that even within what most would consider a classic and revered Mahayana sutra rests some Pali DNA. I'm not suggesting at all that the Lotus Sutra is Buddhavacana, and sorry if my original post lead to this confusion.

Metta and Gassho.
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