Spiny Norman wrote:By "conventional" do you mean what the suttas seem to describe?
Obviously there will always be uncertainties regarding the suttas on issues like translation and authenticity, but I feel we have to work with what we have - otherwise we end up with speculation and personal opinion.
I feel like some, NOT ALL, of what we “have” is already speculation and personal opinion; and being that there are other interpretations – which may very well be even more “speculation and personal opinion” – perhaps everything should be included until such a time as we have seen it for ourselves. While I have serious doubts about the accuracies of the modern translators, I do not dismiss their work completely; I reserve judgment on the ideas that seem to make no sense. This allows room for the so-called “alternate” interpretations to perhaps alleviate some of the confusion, but even when they do, I still reserve judgment. However I am going to support what makes the most sense to me at the time, and I try to be very clear about that when I post.
This is not the first time we’ve had this discussion, but it is the first time I heard you say we have to “work with what we have”. What we do “have” in addition to the conventional western translations is the work of countless monks that are just offering another perspective. While some work may be born out of some intellectual need for something more complex, some may very be based on their direct experience. Whatever the reason, their work is part of what we have.
I don’t frown upon anyone who prefers to stay amongst the conventional scheme, I do however get an uncomfortable feeling when an “outside” idea is dismissed just because past translators either weren’t aware of it, disagreed with it based on the knowledge they had, or perhaps felt the consensus amongst scholars was that it is NOT accurate.
Look, when it comes to the modern translations, yes, we have what have, so how can allowing supplemental information - that could very well be more accurate - be a bad thing?
Is this off topic? What’s this thread even about?