Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:19 am

Greetings Tilt,

OK then, perhaps it's just my definition of what that term entails which might ruffle a few feathers.

:D

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: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:25 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

OK then, perhaps it's just my definition of what that term entails which might ruffle a few feathers.

:D

Metta,
Retro. :)
I shrug my shoulders. We can try to derive a "life" of the Buddha from the Pali suttas, and I doubt the Chinese Agamas would add much to that, but once you start with the later stuff, it seems to be a whole different ball game.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby alan » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:29 am

Nothing pisses me off more than a bad hagiographical text.
Damn, I hate that!
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:34 am

alan wrote:Nothing pisses me off more than a bad hagiographical text.
Damn, I hate that!
Best advice: don't read 'em.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby alan » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:37 am

Just a joke.
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby cooran » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alan,

Some of these are certainly freakish (if taken literally)..

Hello Retro,

The 32 Marks of a Great Man are not supposed to be taken literally as physical qualities, but have always been seen to represent characteristics of the Great Being.
THIRTY TWO MARKS OF A GREAT MAN

No. Marks ( Lakkhana ) Significance

1 Well-supported feet. Firm undertaking
2 Wheels arise beneath the sole of the feet. Great retinues
3 The heels are projecting. Long life
4 The fingers and toes are long. Long life
5 The hands and feet are soft and tender. Well-united with people
6 The hands and feet are net-like. Well-united with people
7 The ankles are raised like conch shells. Becomes the best
8 The lower part of the leg is like an antelope's. Gets the best things quickly
9 He can touch and rub around his knees with both palms,
while standing, and without bending. Great wealth
10 The part which should be concealed by garments, is
covered by a bag. Many sons
11 The skin shines like gold. Get finest furnishings and garments
12 Subtle skin: dirt and sweat do not stick to his body. Great wisdom
13 Single hairs arise, one to each pore. Well-respected
14 The hair pointing upwards; dark, black in colour,
turning in rings to the right. Becomes the best
15 The frame is straight like Brahma. Long life
16 There are seven outflows on his hands,
on his feet, at the tips of the shoulders,
and at the top of the back. Obtains excellent foods
17 The upper part of the body is lion-like. No loss
18 The hollow between his shoulders is filled. No loss
19 The body is proportionate: the body is as long
as the span of the arms. Great wealth
20 The shoulders are evenly rounded . No loss
21 He releases the highest of tastes. Very healthy
22 The jaw is lion-like. He cannot be overthrown.
23 There are forty teeth. The assemblies cannot be divided.
24 The teeth are even. Pure retinues
25 The teeth are undivided. The assemblies cannot be divided.
26 The visible teeth are very white. Pure retinues
27 A mighty tongue. His words are heeded.
28 The voice of Brahma and also resembles
the song of a karavika bird. His words are heeded.
29 The eyes are very blue. Attractive look
30 The Eyelashes are like those of a cow. Attractive look
31 The filament between the eyebrows
is white like soft cotton. Well-respected
32 The head is turban-crowned. Many followers

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/32marks2.htm

with metta
Chris
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---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:41 am

alan wrote:Just a joke.
I know, and the fun of it is to give a serious answer to it Jokes all around.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:44 am

Greeting Chris,

Yes, personally I concur with regards to the intention of the marks, yet the suttas do sometimes speak of them in a literal way.

Consider this from DN 3 - http://www.mahindarama.com/e-tipitaka/D ... a/dn-3.htm

Then, descending from his lodging, the Lord started to walk up and down, and Ambattha did likewise. And as he walked along with the Lord, Ambattha looked out for the thirty-two marks of a Great Man on the Lord’s body. And he could see all of them except for two. He was in doubt and perplexity about two of these marks : he could not make up his mind or be certain about the sheathed genitals or the large tongue.

And the Lord, being aware of his doubts, effected by his psychic power that Ambattha could see his sheated genitals, and then, sticking out his tongue, he reached out to lick both ears and both nostrils, and then covered the whole circle of his forehead with his tongue. Then Ambattha thought : “The ascetic Gotama is equipped with all the thirty-two marks of a Great Man, complete and with none missing.” Then he said to the Lord : “Reverend Gotama, may I go now? I have much business, much to do.” “Ambattha, do what you now think fit.” So Ambattha got back into his chariot drawn by mares and departed

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: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:39 am

I think one of our (modern homo sapien buddhologist type) biggest problems is being really opaque to a lot of idiomatic expressions in any form of old text. Sometimes we think that "translating literally" will best express the meaning. But a quick look at any language will show that there are a large number of expressions and phrases that are never meant in the literal sense, and only an idiot or somebody ignorant of the language would so read them.

Thanks for the pointers on those two vols, Tilt. The couple of parts I have flipped through did indicate some degree of useful philological approach, at least a comparison between some texts, cut the non-common material and keep the common parts. Simple stuff like that (for what it's worth).

I thought that they would mainly be useful simply because they collate a lot of relevant material together, rather than having it dispersed throughout the canon. May be useful for future Uni courses on the life of the "historical" (sic) Buddha.

Still, those comments I posted by Gethin are worth thinking about, though. It's easy to fall into circular arguments in this sort of thing. Very few scholars present criteria that don't have this problem, or at least tend towards it.
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:42 am

Greetings,

Paññāsikhara wrote:Sometimes we think that "translating literally" will best express the meaning. But a quick look at any language will show that there are a large number of expressions and phrases that are never meant in the literal sense, and only an idiot or somebody ignorant of the language would so read them.

You're right on the money there, bhante. 8-)

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: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:44 am

The marks are, even according to Buddhist texts, originally a Brahmanic notion. (I think this is stated in the Lakkhana sutta itself.)
Bronkhorst, Greater Magadha, pp. 354-356 presents excellent reasons for taking the Ambattha sutta as a later text. And in fact, several of the suttas which directly deal with Brahmins. So ... (now avoid the circular arguments... :tongue: )
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:52 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Satori » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:08 am

He also uses the story of the birth of the Buddha that is full or miracles.
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Satori » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:11 am

So, tradionally , have Buddhists taken literaly the stories full or miracles, etc or have they not? Do they see it as a bit of colour , or a misrepresentation of the Buddha.

I am just wondering because some people say Buddhism is opposed to religion , but many Buddhists seem to act in a religious way. Most probably do.
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:21 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:17 am

Satori wrote:He also uses the story of the birth of the Buddha that is full or miracles.


So, is there anything a priori inappropriate about that?
(I'm not sure if you read my first post in this thread, or not.)
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