Buddha not a Prince?

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Buddha not a Prince?

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:07 am

During my Majjhima Nikaya study today, I ran into Bhikkhu Bodhi saying something interesting. When he was talking about the Canki Sutta he mentioned that Gotama Buddha wouldn't have actually been a prince, as the province he lived in was actually a republic. He said it's far more likely that his father was the head of some council of elders and that he was to inherit that position. Has anyone else heard/read anything similar to this? I thought this was really interesting, since Gotama Buddha is always referenced to having been a prince in the Sutta's. Here's a link to the talks, http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html , he says this in the first of the two talks on the Canki Sutta. I don't remember exactly at what time. I believe it was while talking about the portion of the Sutta while Canki is talking about why he should go see Gotama Buddha after a large group of Brahmin give a lengthy explanation for why the Buddha should come see him.



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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:16 am

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:During my Majjhima Nikaya study today, I ran into Bhikkhu Bodhi saying something interesting. When he was talking about the Canki Sutta he mentioned that Gotama Buddha wouldn't have actually been a prince, as the province he lived in was actually a republic. He said it's far more likely that his father was the head of some council of elders and that he was to inherit that position. Has anyone else heard/read anything similar to this?
This is very much the state of art scholarship on the subject that Buddha came out of a non-Vedic tribal republic.

I thought this was really interesting, since Gotama Buddha is always referenced to having been a prince in the Sutta's.
You will not find the Buddha characterized as a prince on the suttas. The prince story is hagiograhy that developed after the death of the Buddha.
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: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:29 am

I had a feeling you'd be the first to respond to this thread!

tiltbillings wrote:This is very much the state of art scholarship on the subject that Buddha came out of a non-Vedic tribal republic.


What exactly do you mean by art scholarship? Simply that he is making some educated implication that can't be necessarily proven/backed with evidence?
tiltbillings wrote:You will not find the Buddha characterized as a prince on the suttas. The prince story is hagiograhy that developed after the death of the Buddha.


Ah! Now that I'm skimming through MN, I see you're right. Very interesting... Thank you for the correction.
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:21 am

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:I had a feeling you'd be the first to respond to this thread!

tiltbillings wrote:This is very much the state of art scholarship on the subject that Buddha came out of a non-Vedic tribal republic.


What exactly do you mean by art scholarship? Simply that he is making some educated implication that can't be necessarily proven/backed with evidence?
State of the art scholarship. of those scholars who look at the issues of the history of the Buddha's time, many hold that at the time of the Buddha, as can be derived from the suttas and other external sources, northern India was undergoing a very dramatic changes. And one of those was the transition from from more tribal, clan structures to those of kingdoms.
    AN INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, by Peter Harveyp 14-5: "The republic [of the Sakka people] was not Brahmanized, and rule was by council of householdheads, perhaps qualified by age or social standing. Gotama was born to one of these rulers, so that he described himself as a Ksatriya when talking to Brahmins, and later traditions saw him as the son of a king."
    THERAVADA BUDDHISM by Richard Gombrich (49-50): "Buddha came from a community called (in Sanskrit) Sakyas . . . This fact is of great historical importance, because according to the Buddha ... he modeled the organization of his Sangha on that of such a communities as his own. Historians usually call these communities 'tribes', but I am wary of that term, which corresponds to no word in Sanskrit or Pali. 'Tribe' evokes an isolated community with no socially structured inequailty. The Sakyas seem not to have had a varna [color/caste] system but they did have servants. They were isolated to the extent that were self-governing, and their polity was a form not envisaged in brahminical theory."

tiltbillings wrote:You will not find the Buddha characterized as a prince on the suttas. The prince story is hagiograhy that developed after the death of the Buddha.


Ah! Now that I'm skimming through MN, I see you're right. Very interesting... Thank you for the correction.
Take a look at Ven Nanamoli's excellent THE LIFE OF THE BUDDHA to get a feel for how the Buddha portrayed in the suttaswithout the later the influence of the later hagiographies.
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: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:39 am

tiltbillings wrote:State of the art scholarship. of those scholars who look at the issues of the history of the Buddha's time, many hold that at the time of the Buddha, as can be derived from the suttas and other external sources, northern India was undergoing a very dramatic changes


Yes. Soon after the Buddha's death, the Mauryan Empire arose with Chandragupta at its head and later his grandson, Asoka the Great. It was to become one of the largest empires in the history of civilization. These developments must have taken time to unfold and there certainly must have been stirrings of them during the Buddha's life.

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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:03 am

"State of the art" is an expression that is common in science and engineering:
The term "state of the art" refers to the highest level of general development, as of a device, technique, or scientific field achieved at a particular time. It also refers to the level of development (as of a device, procedure, process, technique, or science) reached at any particular time as a result of the common methodologies employed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_the_art

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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Take a look at Ven Nanamoli's excellent THE LIFE OF THE BUDDHA to get a feel for how the Buddha portrayed in the suttaswithout the later the influence of the later hagiographies.


I'll have to add that to the reading list. Thank you.

mikenz66 wrote:"State of the art" is an expression that is common in science and engineering:
The term "state of the art" refers to the highest level of general development, as of a device, technique, or scientific field achieved at a particular time. It also refers to the level of development (as of a device, procedure, process, technique, or science) reached at any particular time as a result of the common methodologies employed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_the_art

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He made a typo leaving out a "the" making it "state of art scholarship", and I simply overlooked filling in the blank and got a completely different meaning. :lol: My apologies for the confusion.


Thank you everyone for clearing this up. I wasn't aware that it seems to be common knowledge he wasn't a prince.


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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby Ananda26 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:47 pm

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:During my Majjhima Nikaya study today, I ran into Bhikkhu Bodhi saying something interesting. When he was talking about the Canki Sutta he mentioned that Gotama Buddha wouldn't have actually been a prince, as the province he lived in was actually a republic. He said it's far more likely that his father was the head of some council of elders and that he was to inherit that position. Has anyone else heard/read anything similar to this? I thought this was really interesting, since Gotama Buddha is always referenced to having been a prince in the Sutta's. Here's a link to the talks, http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html , he says this in the first of the two talks on the Canki Sutta. I don't remember exactly at what time. I believe it was while talking about the portion of the Sutta while Canki is talking about why he should go see Gotama Buddha after a large group of Brahmin give a lengthy explanation for why the Buddha should come see him.



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I always heard and read the Samma Sambuddha Gotama was born a prince of the Sakyans. Buddha Gotama possessed the 32 Marks of a Great Person. For such only 2 destinies are open. If he leads the household life he will become a Dhammaraja, a King who rules in accordance with the dhamma, but if he goes forth from the household life into homelessness he will become an Arahant Samma Sambuddha, one who draws back the veil from the world.
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby James the Giant » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:15 pm

Ananda26 wrote:I always heard and read the Samma Sambuddha Gotama was born a prince of the Sakyans. Buddha Gotama possessed the 32 Marks of a Great Person.

Hi Ananda26. You know he was not a prince, and he did not have the 32 marks? If he'd had the 32 marks he would have looked like a freakish alien monster, but as described in many suttas, he looked so similar to the other monks, people visiting him for the first time didn't know which monk was the buddha.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby Jetavan » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:33 pm

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:During my Majjhima Nikaya study today, I ran into Bhikkhu Bodhi saying something interesting. When he was talking about the Canki Sutta he mentioned that Gotama Buddha wouldn't have actually been a prince....

What's the Pali for "prince" here?
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby happylotus1 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:12 pm

James the Giant wrote:
Ananda26 wrote:I always heard and read the Samma Sambuddha Gotama was born a prince of the Sakyans. Buddha Gotama possessed the 32 Marks of a Great Person.

Hi Ananda26. You know he was not a prince, and he did not have the 32 marks? If he'd had the 32 marks he would have looked like a freakish alien monster, but as described in many suttas, he looked so similar to the other monks, people visiting him for the first time didn't know which monk was the buddha.


The scripture in many places affirm that the buddha had the thirty-two marks of a great man.
A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathāgata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby James the Giant » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:07 am

happylotus1 wrote:
James the Giant wrote:
Ananda26 wrote:I always heard and read the Samma Sambuddha Gotama was born a prince of the Sakyans. Buddha Gotama possessed the 32 Marks of a Great Person.

Hi Ananda26. You know he was not a prince, and he did not have the 32 marks? If he'd had the 32 marks he would have looked like a freakish alien monster, but as described in many suttas, he looked so similar to the other monks, people visiting him for the first time didn't know which monk was the buddha.


The scripture in many places affirm that the buddha had the thirty-two marks of a great man.

I'll break another bit of news to you; The scriptures were changed and rewritten. Don't always trust what you read, even in supposedly sacred, unalterable holy texts.

Have a look at this short article...
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... _great_man

It is very clear from the Tipitaka that the Buddha's physical appearance was normal in every way.
When King Ajātasattu went to meet him he was unable to distinguish him from the disciples surrounding him (D.I,50).
If the Buddha had any of the 32 Signs the king would have recognized him immediately.
Pukkasāti sat talking to the Buddha for hours before realizing who he was (M.III,238). If the Buddha had any of the Signs the young man would have soon noticed it and known that he was someone unusual.
When Upaka encountered the Buddha walking along the road to Gaya the thing he noticed most about him was 'clear faculities and radiant complexion' (M.I,170). He did not mention seeing any of the 32 Signs.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby pilgrim » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:27 am

How can anyone confidently tell which parts of the texts are original and which aren't? Is it coincidental that the false bits usually do not conform to one's pre-conceived ideas? The 32 marks of the Buddha's body are not all obvious deformities. Some like the markings on his sole are like the lines on one's thumbprint. Others would be barely noticeable except to trained seers like Asita. Even today in India, there are seers who can point out bumps on your head and lines on your palms that you didn't even know were there.
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby James the Giant » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:40 am

pilgrim wrote:How can anyone confidently tell which parts of the texts are original and which aren't?

I hear what you're saying. it's called Textual Analysis, or Content Analysis.
The Christians have been doing it for decades, and the techniques they developed are now starting to be adapted to analyse Buddhist suttas.
Have a read of this brand new book if you are interested. It's a bit long and there's no simple summary I could find.
http://www.ocbs.org/lectures-a-articles ... hist-texts
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saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby happylotus1 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:19 am

The 32 major characteristics are:[7]

Level feet
Thousand-spoked wheel sign on feet
Long, slender fingers
Pliant hands and feet
Toes and fingers finely webbed
Full-sized heels
Arched insteps
Thighs like a royal stag
Hands reaching below the knees
Well-retracted male organ
Height and stretch of arms equal
Every hair-root dark colored
Body hair graceful and curly
Golden-hued body
Ten-foot aura around him
Soft, smooth skin
Soles, palms, shoulders, and crown of head well-rounded
Area below armpits well-filled
Lion-shaped body
Body erect and upright
Full, round shoulders
Forty teeth
Teeth white, even, and close
Four canine teeth pure white
Jaw like a lion
Saliva that improves the taste of all food
Tongue long and broad
Voice deep and resonant
Eyes deep blue
Eyelashes like a royal bull
White ūrṇā curl that emits light between eyebrows
Fleshy protuberance on the crown of the head


There is nothing in these characteristics that make any person looks like alien or extraterrestrial. Certainly,any person with these physical qualities bears a majestic figure.
A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathāgata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:40 pm

happylotus1 wrote:There is nothing in these characteristics that make any person looks like alien or extraterrestrial. Certainly,any person with these physical qualities bears a majestic figure.


Toes and fingers finely webbed,
Hands reaching below the knees.
Golden-hued body,
Ten foot aura around him,
Forty teeth,
White ūrṇā curl that emits light between eyebrows.


All of the above are things that would make one look a bit odd, in my opinion.


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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:46 pm

Yes... I have to say if I was a Police Artist trying to draw a person form that description.... well....I'm not sure whether we'd be looking for a human at all....

Level feet
Thousand-spoked wheel sign on feet
Long, slender fingers
Pliant hands and feet
Toes and fingers finely webbed
Full-sized heels
Arched insteps
Thighs like a royal stag
Hands reaching below the knees
Well-retracted male organ
Height and stretch of arms equal
Every hair-root dark colored
Body hair graceful and curly
Golden-hued body
Ten-foot aura around him
Soft, smooth skin
Soles, palms, shoulders, and crown of head well-rounded
Area below armpits well-filled
Lion-shaped body
Body erect and upright
Full, round shoulders
Forty teeth
Teeth white, even, and close
Four canine teeth pure white
Jaw like a lion

Saliva that improves the taste of all food
Tongue long and broad
Voice deep and resonant
Eyes deep blue
Eyelashes like a royal bull
White ūrṇā curl that emits light between eyebrows
Fleshy protuberance on the crown of the head
:namaste:

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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby Phena » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:32 pm

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:All of the above are things that would make one look a bit odd, in my opinion.

Yes, the 32 marks makes the Buddha sound like a cross between a lion, a bull and some other entity. It's pretty funny actually when you try to imagine his actual form as described by the 32 marks. However, if this is not hagiography at work, maybe the Buddha was not actually of this earth :o
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby happylotus1 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:29 am

The eighty minor characteristics are:

He has beautiful fingers and toes.
He has well-proportioned fingers and toes.
He has tube-shaped fingers and toes.
His fingernails and toenails have a rosy tint.
His fingernails and toenails are slightly upturned at the tip.
His fingernails and toenails are smooth and rounded without ridges.
His ankles and wrists are rounded and undented.
His feet are of equal length.
He has a beautiful gait, like that of a king-elephant.
He has a stately gait, like that of a king-lion.
He has a beautiful gait, like that of a swan.
He has a majestic gait, like that of a royal ox.
His right foot leads when walking.
His knees have no protruding kneecaps.
He has the demeanor of a great man.
His navel is without blemish.
He has a deep-shaped abdomen.
He has clockwise marks on the abdomen.
His thighs are rounded like banana sheaves.
His two arms are shaped like an elephant's trunk.
The lines on the palms of his hands have a rosy tint.
His skin is thick or thin as it should be.
His skin is unwrinkled.
His body is spotless and without lumps.
His body is unblemished above and below.
His body is absolutely free of impurities.
He has the strength of 1,000 crore elephants or 100,000 crore men.
He has a protruding nose.
His nose is well proportioned.
His upper and lower lips are equal in size and have a rosy tint.
His teeth are unblemished and with no plaque.
His teeth are long like polished conches.
His teeth are smooth and without ridges.
His five sense-organs are unblemished.
His four canine teeth are crystal and rounded.
His face is long and beautiful.
His cheeks are radiant.
The lines on his palms are deep.
The lines on his palms are long.
The lines on his palms are straight.
The lines on his palms have a rosy tint.
His body emanates a halo of light extending around him for two meters.
His cheek cavities are fully rounded and smooth.
His eyelids are well proportioned.
The five nerves of his eyes are unblemished.
The tips of his bodily hair are neither curved nor bent.
He has a rounded tongue.
His tongue is soft and has a rosy-tint.
His ears are long like lotus petals.
His earholes are beautifully rounded.
His sinews and tendons don't stick out.
His sinews and tendons are deeply embedded in the flesh.
His topknot is like a crown.
His forehead is well-proportioned in length and breadth.
His forehead is rounded and beautiful.
His eyebrows are arched like a bow.
The hair of his eyebrows is fine.
The hair of his eyebrows lies flat.
He has large brows.
His brows reach the outward corner of his eyes.
His skin is fine throughout his body.
His whole body has abundant signs of good fortune.
His body is always radiant.
His body is always refreshed like a lotus flower.
His body is exquisitely sensitive to touch.
His body has the scent of sandalwood.
His body hair is consistent in length.
He has fine bodily hair.
His breath is always fine.
His mouth always has a beautiful smile.
His mouth has the scent of a lotus flower.
His hair has the colour of a dark shadow.
His hair is strongly scented.
His hair has the scent of a white lotus.
He has curled hair.
His hair does not turn grey.
He has fine hair.
His hair is untangled.
His hair has long curls. (Buddha may be interpreted as being bald)
He has a topknot as if crowned with a royal flower garland.


I guess what's referring here is not a direct comparison but is like a simile to show the characteristics in fullest and broadest measure.
A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathāgata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?
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Re: Buddha not a Prince?

Postby pegembara » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:15 am

I always thought this phrase is suggestive that the Buddha's father was not a king?

"I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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