How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:54 pm

clw_uk wrote:Did I say "blinding doubt"? Bit of a straw man argument


Sorry I was referring to the comment above of encouraging us to be skeptical of the Dharma. He didn't encourage us to be skeptical, but to test his teachings.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Anicca » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:08 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:And the Sasana will disappear one day. Such is the normal condition of impermanence.
Most assurdly - but the Dhamma (used not as the Buddha's teachings per say, but as principles of behavior that human beings ought to follow) remains for the paccekabuddha to discover outside of the Sasana, allowing her/him to realize full enlightenment.

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:13 pm

I don't think the Buddha would have encouraged doubt or skepticism in his own existence. I don't think there's really anything to be gained by doubting his existence, except perhaps a skepticism which will prevent you from taking the Buddha as your teacher and deferring to his word in all matters (which is hard enough to do even when you do believe).
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby clw_uk » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:22 pm

BlackBird wrote:I don't think the Buddha would have encouraged doubt or skepticism in his own existence. I don't think there's really anything to be gained by doubting his existence, except perhaps a skepticism which will prevent you from taking the Buddha as your teacher and deferring to his word in all matters (which is hard enough to do even when you do believe).



It can be argued that Buddha is the one who knows, right now

This we know to exist, regardless of if a man from northern india did
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Viscid » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:38 pm

Annapurna wrote:
I have doubt in the historical existence of The Buddha


Why? Just wondering. I don't.


There exist many myths and legends which have been interpreted as fact throughout history. There is controvery over the existence of Jesus because his story incorporates legends which predate him. I don't see why the same skepticism can be applied to the historical existence of The Buddha.

Could this discussion possibly remove your doubt?

No, and that is not the intent. As long as there remains the possibility he did not exist, there is some doubt that he did.

No, my friend. :smile:

If you really think the end result sanctifies the means, then this is not a pure path. It is manipulative and corrupt.

But I have a feeling you are not adverse to such an action, concluding from your last sentence.

You're creepin' me out. :?
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:51 pm

clw_uk wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I don't think the Buddha would have encouraged doubt or skepticism in his own existence. I don't think there's really anything to be gained by doubting his existence, except perhaps a skepticism which will prevent you from taking the Buddha as your teacher and deferring to his word in all matters (which is hard enough to do even when you do believe).



It can be argued that Buddha is the one who knows, right now


Yes, I've heard a certain Ajahn argue this before also, but as I don't think he does know, I don't think it is a strong argument. The Buddha himself never spoke in those terms, but if you want to develop a degree of mindfulness and concentration and run about calling yourself a Buddha, well that's fine by me ;)

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"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:51 pm

Viscid wrote:There exist many myths and legends which have been interpreted as fact throughout history. There is controvery over the existence of Jesus because his story incorporates legends which predate him. I don't see why the same skepticism can be applied to the historical existence of The Buddha.


Apples and oranges. There's only one historical account of Jesus, but there's multiple accounts of the Buddha. It is also difficult to fabricate the kind of claims the Buddha made. They are know common knowledge.

No, and that is not the intent. As long as there remains the possibility he did not exist, there is some doubt that he did.


There's people who doubt we landed on the moon. :jumping: To this day they think it was fake. Does it mean we should doubt the lunar landing?

If you really think the end result sanctifies the means, then this is not a pure path. It is manipulative and corrupt.
You're creepin' me out. :?


Ultimately if there is no Buddha (of any kind), there's no end to suffering, just expediency created by a corrupt institution. That is why it is a serious allegation.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby clw_uk » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:07 pm

The Buddha himself never spoke in those terms, but if you want to develop a degree of mindfulness and concentration and run about calling yourself a Buddha, well that's fine by me



On the defensive arent we
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:18 pm

clw_uk wrote:
The Buddha himself never spoke in those terms, but if you want to develop a degree of mindfulness and concentration and run about calling yourself a Buddha, well that's fine by me



On the defensive arent we


Not really man, that's your projection :)
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Viscid » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:19 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:Apples and oranges. There's only one historical account of Jesus, but there's multiple accounts of the Buddha.

You've cited Buddha Relics as evidence of his existence, yet you disregard the Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, the Image of Edessa, the Veil of Veronica and the Crown of Thorns in evidence of Jesus. All religions have their relics, because people like to see physical evidence of the religious figures they worship. Same too with Buddhism. These relics come with no reliable provenance, could have easily come from anywhere and anyone and then attributed to The Buddha for money and power: if you have a relic of The Buddha, people will come and see it, if people come and see it, they will donate and give money, importance and influence to your temple or kingdom.

Wizard in the Forest wrote:It is also difficult to fabricate the kind of claims the Buddha made. They are know common knowledge.

It's also common knowledge that we only use 15% of our brain, that glass is liquid, that we get colds from cold air, and that certain parts of our tongue is more sensitive to sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. That doesn't mean these things are true.

There's people who doubt we landed on the moon. :jumping: To this day they think it was fake. Does it mean we should doubt the lunar landing?


If North Korea were to tomorrow say they've landed on the moon without providing sufficient evidence to support such a claim, I would doubt it. There is verifiable evidence of the American moon landing, so I have little reason to doubt it. There is no such verifiable evidence of The Buddha's existence.

Ultimately if there is no Buddha (of any kind), there's no end to suffering, just expediency created by a corrupt institution. That is why it is a serious allegation.


If there is no end to suffering without The Buddha, then why and how did The Buddha himself come to that end without a Buddha previous to him for a guide?
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:23 pm

Viscid wrote:
Wizard in the Forest wrote:Apples and oranges. There's only one historical account of Jesus, but there's multiple accounts of the Buddha.

You've cited Buddha Relics as evidence of his existence, yet you disregard the Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, the Image of Edessa, the Veil of Veronica and the Crown of Thorns in evidence of Jesus. All religions have their relics, because people like to see physical evidence of the religious figures they worship. Same too with Buddhism. These relics come with no reliable provenance, could have easily come from anywhere and anyone and then attributed to The Buddha for money and power: if you have a relic of The Buddha, people will come and see it, if people come and see it, they will donate and give money, importance and influence to your temple or kingdom.


You neglected to mention the corroborating historical documentation, and the actual description of the events including the distribution of the relics which is physical evidence.

It's also common knowledge that we only use 15% of our brain, that glass is liquid, that we get colds from cold air, and that certain parts of our tongue is more sensitive to sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. That doesn't mean these things are true.


That's one thing, but the existence of a historical figure is another thing. We have forensic science, verification of hypotheses using found information, for example Archaeological and Historical corroboration. We cannot use empirical science to confirm historical events. Empirical science requires verification of hypotheses using experimentally created information, and there's no way to apply such science to it. We can date historical artifacts and create timelines of corroboration. Otherwise, there's no way to confirm something happened yesterday or even 15 minutes ago, much less hundreds of years ago. Don't be absurd. For what we have (physical relics and consistent corroboration) there's more evidence that the Buddha existed than most historical figures we refer to all the time.

If North Korea were to tomorrow say they've landed on the moon without providing sufficient evidence to support such a claim, I would doubt it. There is verifiable evidence of the American moon landing, so I have little reason to doubt it. There is no such verifiable evidence of The Buddha's existence.


There's plenty of evidence, you just don't believe that is enough.

If there is no end to suffering without The Buddha, then why and how did The Buddha himself come to that end without a Buddha previous to him for a guide?


Another Buddha of course, ad infinitum.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:46 pm

There's also ‘Lumbini' which was uncovered by archaeologists in 1896. The most important find at the spot was 6.5 metre high stone pillar erected by the Emperor Asoka in 245 BC with the inscription:

“Twenty years after the his coronation King Devaanampiya Piyadasi (Asoka) came here and paid homage, because the Buddha , the sage of the Sakyan clan, was born here. He ordered a stone relief to be made and a stone pillar to be erected, to indicate that the Blessed One was born here, He exempted the village Lumbini from taxes and reduced its toll of produce (from the usual quarter to one eight.”)

Since the records of ancient India give only the intervals between events but do not, like later records, date events themselves, it is necessary in order to establish dates in Inidan history to call on Greek historians. Indo-Greek relations developed as a result of the Indian campaign of Alexandra the Great (327BC). About 303 BC the Indian Emperor Candragupta Maurya came to a territorial agreement and entered into diplomatic relations with Seleukos Nikator, Alexandra’s former general who ruled over Babylonia. Through the reports of Greek ambassador Megathenes, who was accredited to the imperial court of Pataliputta (Patna), Candragupta (GK Sandrokottos)became known to Greek historians, and through them we are able to date his accession to 321BC.

This date further enables us to give precise dates to the sequence of events listed in the Singhalese chronicles Dipasamsa and Mahavamsa (fourth to sixth centuries AD). According to these, Candragupta reigned for twenty-four years (until 297) his son Bindusara twenty-eight years (until 269), after which it took four years before Bindusara’s son Asoka succeeded in eliminating his brothers and anointing himself ruler. This event would therefore have occured in 265BC.

The leap back to the birth of the Buddha is made possible by he statement in both chronicles that Asoka became the ruler two hundred and eighteen years after the Parinibbana (the final passing) of the Buddha. This event is therefore dated at 483BC. Since the teacher lived to be eighty, his date of birth comes out at 563BC.’
(The Historical Buddha – By HW Schumann – Page 8-10).

Better than the relics? :rofl:
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby alan » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:47 am

Without a belief in the Buddha's awakening there would be no reason to practice or study.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Thales » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:19 am

alan wrote:Without a belief in the Buddha's awakening there would be no reason to practice or study.


If in only a short time of practice one can see significant reduction in one's suffering it is logical then to assume that if one continues to practice there will be further progress. That alone is reason enough. Belief in full awakening is not required. Not even on the radar, in fact.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby KonstantKarma » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:01 pm

I think we should just respectfully understand that many people are at a place in their path where they need the historical Buddha for their practice; same as Christians with Jesus, Muslims with Mohammad, and so on, forever. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just a point on the journey.

For me, Buddha is just more to let go of.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:09 pm

Viscid wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I don't think Buddhism makes sense without the Buddha.


Doesn't special relativity make sense without Einstein?


Good point. One could say that special relativity was "out there" waiting to be discovered. In the same way that the Dhamma was out there waiting to be discovered by the Buddha.

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:57 pm

Viscid wrote:
Annapurna wrote:But I have a feeling you are not adverse to such an action, concluding from your last sentence.

You're creepin' me out. :?


Viscid, if you say :
I think the lie would be worth making.


That is creeping me out. This would be intentional deception.

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Viscid » Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:34 pm

Annapurna wrote:
Viscid wrote:
Annapurna wrote:But I have a feeling you are not adverse to such an action, concluding from your last sentence.

You're creepin' me out. :?


Viscid, if you say :
I think the lie would be worth making.


That is creeping me out. This would be intentional deception.

Can a healthy tree grow from a rotten root?


This is getting way off topic...

Parents don't tell their kids that 'storks deliver babies to doorsteps' and 'Santa comes down the chimney' because they harbour a malicious intent to deceive their children, but out of compassion to maintain the innocence and magic of childhood. If a lie is made with wisdom, out of compassion and results in reducing suffering, it is in my opinion worth making.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:14 pm

I think we are right on topic. :smile:

The Dhamma is of course speaking to adults...

I understand it, btw, when people find it hard to believe things they haven't eye witnessed.

But I personally could not advocate a myth that I invented, such as a Buddha who did not live.

I could not recommend right speech to others and lie myself.

That is hypocritical.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:23 pm

If a lie is made with wisdom, out of compassion and results in reducing suffering, it is in my opinion worth making.


Did the Buddha teach this?

No. If yes, quote with source please.

The Buddha taught:

The danger in lying

"For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie."
The person who lies, who transgress in this one thing, transcending concern for the world beyond: there's no evil he might not do.

— Iti 25


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