If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby nibbuti » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:06 pm

Hi friends

Do you know where the Buddha said (perhaps to Ananda) that if one is not sure whether a sutta or teaching is actually from him, one should see if it agrees with or contradicts the (other) suttas?

(It is not the Kalama Sutta, but probably also in the Anguttara Nikaya.)

:reading:
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:26 pm

The passage to which you refer is included in the Dīgha Nikāya’s Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, but in the Anguttara Nikāya occurs as a complete discourse: the Mahāpadesa Sutta. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation in Numerical Discourses:

The Great References891

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Bhoganagara near the Ānanda Shrine. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: “Bhikkhus!”

“Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, I will teach you these four great references.892 [168] Listen and attend closely; I will speak.”

“Yes, Bhante,” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“What, bhikkhus, are the four great references?

(1) “Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might say: ‘In the presence of the Blessed One I heard this; in his presence I learned this: “This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the Teacher’s teaching!”’ That bhikkhu’s statement should neither be approved nor rejected. Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline.893 If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are not included among the discourses and are not to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is not the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been badly learned by this bhikkhu.’ Thus you should discard it.

“But a bhikkhu might say: ‘In the presence of the Blessed One I heard this; in his presence I learned this: “This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the Teacher’s teaching!”’ That bhikkhu’s statement should neither be approved nor rejected. Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline. If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are included among the discourses and are to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been learned well by this bhikkhu.’ You should remember this first great reference.

(2) “Then a bhikkhu might say: ‘In such and such a residence a Saṅgha is dwelling with elders and prominent monks. In the presence of that Saṅgha I heard this; in its presence I learned this: “This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the Teacher’s teaching.”’ That bhikkhu’s statement should neither be approved nor rejected. Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline. If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are not included among the discourses and are not to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is not the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. [169] It has been badly learned by that Saṅgha.’ Thus you should discard it.

“But … if, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are included among the discourses and are to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been learned well by that Saṅgha.’ You should remember this second great reference.

(3) “Then a bhikkhu might say: ‘In such and such a residence several elder bhikkhus are dwelling who are learned, heirs to the heritage, experts on the Dhamma, experts on the discipline, experts on the outlines. In the presence of those elders I heard this; in their presence I learned this: “This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the Teacher’s teaching!”’ That bhikkhu’s statement should neither be approved nor rejected. Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline. If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are not included among the discourses and are not to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is not the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been badly learned by those elders.’ Thus you should discard it.

“But … if, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are included among the discourses and are to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been learned well by those elders.’ You should remember this third great reference.

(4) “Then a bhikkhu might say: ‘In such and such a residence one elder bhikkhu is dwelling [170] who is learned, an heir to the heritage, an expert on the Dhamma, an expert on the discipline, an expert on the outlines. In the presence of that elder I heard this; in his presence I learned this: “This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the Teacher’s teaching!”’ That bhikkhu’s statement should neither be approved nor rejected. Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline. If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are not included among the discourses and are not to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is not the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been badly learned by that elder.’ Thus you should discard it.

“But a bhikkhu might say: ‘In such and such a residence one elder bhikkhu is dwelling who is learned, an heir to the heritage, an expert on the Dhamma, an expert on the discipline, an expert on the outlines. In the presence of that elder I heard this; in his presence I learned this: “This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the Teacher’s teaching!”’ That bhikkhu’s statement should neither be approved nor rejected. Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline. If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are included among the discourses and are to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been learned well by that elder.’ You should remember this fourth great reference.

“These, bhikkhus, are the four great references.”894

_______________

NOTES

891 This passage is also included in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, DN 16.4.7, at II 124–26.

892 Mahāpadese. Mp glosses as mahā-okāse (apparently as if the compound could be resolved mahā + padese) and as mahā-apadese, the latter explained as “great reasons stated with reference to such great ones as the Buddha and others” (buddhādayo mahante mahante apadisitvā vuttāni mahākāraṇāni). This second resolution is certainly to be preferred. DOP gives, among the meanings of apadesa, “designation, pointing out, reference, witness, authority.” Cattāro mahāpadesā is sometimes rendered “four great authorities” but the sutta actually specifies only two authorities, the suttas and the Vinaya. Walshe, in LDB, renders it as “four criteria.” I understand the term to mean “four great references,” the four provenances of a teaching.

893 Tāni padabyañjanāni…sutte otāretabbāni vinaye sandassetabbāni. Mp gives various meanings of sutte and vinaye here, some improbable. Clearly, this instruction presupposes that there already existed a body of discourses and a systematic Vinaya that could be used to evaluate other texts proposed for inclusion as authentic utterances of the Buddha. Otāretabbāni is gerundive plural of otārenti, “make descend, put down or put into,” and otaranti, just below, means “descend, come down, go into.” My renderings, respectively, as “check for them” and “are included among” are adapted to the context. Sandassetabbāni is gerundive plural of sandassenti, “show, make seen,” and sandissanti means “are seen.”

894 The clearer of the two Chinese parallels is in DĀ 2, at T I 17b29–18a22. Here cattāro mahāpadesā is rendered “four great teaching dhammas.” I translate the first declaration (T I 17c2–13) as follows: “If there is a bhikkhu who claims: ‘Venerable ones, in that village, city, country, I personally heard [this] from the Buddha, I personally received this teaching,’ you should not disbelieve what you hear from him, nor should you reject it, but through the suttas determine whether it is true or false; based on the Vinaya, based on the Dhamma, probe it thoroughly. If what he says is not the sutta, not the Vinaya, not the Dhamma, then you should say to him: ‘The Buddha did not say this. What you have received is mistaken! [Or: You have received it erroneously!] For what reason? Because based on the suttas, based on the Vinaya, based on the Dhamma, we [find] that what you said deviates from the Dhamma. Venerable one, you should not uphold this, you should not report it to people, but should discard it.’ But if what he says is based on the suttas, based on the Vinaya, based on the Dhamma, then you should say to him: ‘What you said was truly spoken by the Buddha. For what reason? Because based on the suttas, based on the Vinaya, based on the Dhamma, we [find] that what you said accords with the Dhamma. Venerable one, you should uphold this, you should widely report it to people; you should not discard it.’ This is the first great teaching dhamma.”
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby nibbuti » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:13 pm

Excellent, thanks.

:thanks:
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:53 pm

Venerable Dhammanando ;

With deepest respect as to your response: Please explain how a Bhikkhu would "verify and validate" the accuracy of Buddha's advisories (as reported from whatever source) by examining the commentaries if they had not yet been written? Weren't Buddha's teachings memorized by various Bhikkhus until hundreds of years later they were documented in writing?

The traditional Theravādin (Mahavihārin) interpretation of the Pali Canon is given in a series of commentaries covering nearly the whole Canon, compiled by Buddhaghosa (fl. 4th–5th century CE) and later monks, mainly on the basis of earlier materials now lost. Subcommentaries have been written afterward, commenting further on the Canon and its commentaries. The traditional Theravādin interpretation is summarized in Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga.[10]


source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C4%81li_Canon

304 -240
Ven. Mahinda establishes the Mahavihara (Great Monastery) of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. The Vibhajjavadin community living there becomes known as the Theravadins. Mahinda compiles the first of the Tipitaka commentaries, in the Sinhala language. Mahinda's sister, Ven. Sanghamitta, arrives in Sri Lanka with a cutting from the original Bo tree, and establishes the bhikkhuni-sangha in Sri Lanka.{1, 5}


source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/history.html
What Makes an Elder? :
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But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby daverupa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:13 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Please explain how a Bhikkhu would "verify and validate" the accuracy of Buddha's advisories (as reported from whatever source) by examining the commentaries if they had not yet been written?


No one here has been advised to examine the commentaries.

The standards advise comparison with the suttavinaya, and we have access to an early form extant ca. 250 BCE; it's not that bad of a situation, however, since it compares very well with what made it to China, so for all intents and purposes this overall textual bracket is a fairly solid baseline.

The various Abhidhammas arose as this material came to be discussed among the early Sangha and ossified into various scholastic shapes, and only after this process had been underway for some time do we get Commentaries. But these are just later folk working with their earlier texts, doing what they can, shaping things up in ways that make sense to them, which is exactly what we're doing here.

So if it comes to be relevant, compare e.g. the Commentaries with e.g. the Nikayas, as advised.

:anjali:
    "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: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:12 pm

Oops! My mistake! I meant "discourses" not "commentaries:

Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline.893 If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are not included among the discourses and are not to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby daverupa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:25 pm

Well, it means comparing the texts, so you'd need a reciter and the verbal text to compare to that. Memory = paper, at that time. The Sangha used bhanaka, 'reciters'.
    "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: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:32 pm

Thanks, Dave. I suspected as much.

Never heard (read) the term, "bhanaka, 'reciters'." before, but I understand the meaning. Appreciate the feedback. :tongue:

_/\_Ron
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby daverupa » Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:21 am

This .pdf is the article "The Oral Transmission of the Early Buddhist Literature" by Alexander Wynne.
    "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: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:37 am

Also:
A Philological Approach to Buddhism, The Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai Lectures 1994, by K.R. Norman – Lecture III Buddhism and Oral Tradition
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby cooran » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:40 am

Hello all,

This previous thread might be of interest re why the Suttas we're not originally written down, and how they were preserved by the Bhanakas:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7946

With metta,
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby bharadwaja » Mon May 12, 2014 5:41 pm

Bhanakas were not reciters from memory but readers from texts. In the early centuries of Buddhism not many could read aloud (i.e. recite) since most were illiterate, and those who could were held in high regard.

In the Vinaya I think, there is a story of Ananda correcting a bhanaka who reads out wrongly by mistake.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby daverupa » Mon May 12, 2014 7:12 pm

arhat wrote:Bhanakas were not reciters from memory but readers from texts.


For example, Popularizing Buddhism: Preaching as Performance in Sri Lanka by Mahinda Deegalle discusses the bhanaka system as that of oral reciters, a tradition long-established in India and which was exported to Sri Lanka.

Indeed, writing was probably what brought the bhanaka system to an end.

---

What sort of evidence can you mention, which suggests that the bhanaka system was instead actually based on writing?
    "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: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby bharadwaja » Mon May 12, 2014 10:35 pm

Does his book offer any evidences at all of the existence of an oral tradition in India; or for the belief that the bhanaka means an oral-reciter (rather than a 'reciter' who reads a written text)?

The very name tipitaka (three baskets) is almost as old as the emperor Ashoka (i.e. 3rd century BCE) i.e. as old as the earliest attested Pali itself.

Are you suggesting these baskets were 'mental baskets' of suttas, rather than 'physical baskets' containing sutta manuscripts? I don't find that convincing.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby cooran » Mon May 12, 2014 11:47 pm

Hello all,

This might be of interest regarding Bhanakas:

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7562&p=120448&hilit=bhanakas#p120448

With metta,
Chris
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby Qianxi » Tue May 13, 2014 12:17 pm

arhat wrote:The very name tipitaka (three baskets) is almost as old as the emperor Ashoka (i.e. 3rd century BCE) i.e. as old as the earliest attested Pali itself.

I'd be interested to read a study of the history of the concept of tipitaka. I agree it does suggest physical storage, i'm not sure it would be a natural metaphor for collections purely oral texts.

Neither tipitaka, nikaya or agama are mentioned in the suttas, and I don't think 'sutta' is even mentioned outside the list of the nine (or twelve) 'aṅgas'. What we refer to as the suttas are just called the dhamma. The Buddha's teachings as a whole are called the dhamma-vinaya (or dhamma, vinaya, matika).

Nonetheless I think the early schools do share the concept of the tipitaka. It'd be interesting to read a learned guess at when the idea developed, because if 'tipitaka' does refer to physical storage then I suppose that suggests that the teachings were already partly written down before the dhamma went to Sri Lanka.

I know that Arhat's theory is that the suttas were written down from the start. I disagree, mainly because of the internal evidence of the suttas themselves.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue May 13, 2014 5:47 pm

arhat wrote:Bhanakas were not reciters from memory but readers from texts. In the early centuries of Buddhism not many could read aloud (i.e. recite) since most were illiterate, and those who could were held in high regard. …


In the lecture I cited above, Norman presents a well argued theory for the bhāṇakas as ‘speaking’ the texts from memory, including the possibility of a mnemonic method using ‘stock phrases’. Unless you prefer for your purposes to use Normans reference to Tambiah’s encounter with modern Theravāda monastics memorising texts from printed material, do you have evidence for your claim?

arhat wrote:The very name tipitaka (three baskets) is almost as old as the emperor Ashoka (i.e. 3rd century BCE) i.e. as old as the earliest attested Pali itself.
Are you suggesting these baskets were 'mental baskets' of suttas, rather than 'physical baskets' containing sutta manuscripts? I don't find that convincing.


Lecture VIII – Buddhism and Canonicity – of the same series cited above, discusses tipiṭaka and the idea of a pāli-canon in general. That the tipiṭaka would be considered as representing a physical collection of texts originally, was not mentioned, although the nearest equivalent to ‘canon’ he comes up with is “…Buddhavacana “the words of the Buddha””.
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu May 15, 2014 11:22 am

arhat wrote: ...Are you suggesting these baskets were 'mental baskets' of suttas, rather than 'physical baskets' containing sutta manuscripts? I don't find that convincing.


The term (translated) as basket can mean a device for collection (of the Buddha's words), and the means or process of collection used (translation) is the basket, because people at the time when Buddha walked The Earth used baskets for this purpose.

This is fitting. Just like accountants sort business expenses into buckets, the mind sorts-out such things we have experienced into buckets or baskets as well. It is well established in psychology that human memory works exactly that way. It is the way that our mind during the mental process of recognition is able to skip all the things that exist, by jumping to obvious categories. For example with our sense of vision, when we see an object in the distance, too far away to recognize all the details, we immediately begin to sort-out what it could be: Big?, Medium, Small? : Animate?, Inanimate?; Plant?, Animal? Mineral?; Tree? Bush? Bear?; Dangerous? Safe?; Can it eat me? Can I eat it? ...and as it gets closer we refine our categories as more details can be discerned or collected, and,the possible categories become more and more refined until we get close enough to say that the object is our neighbor Fred or Hellen, who is asking to borrow a cup of sugar. The same is true with most of the other senses.

So, I see no problem with mentally basketing or bucketing Buddha's teachings and later reciting them for the benefit of those, who wish to learn "The Dhamma". The other benefit of doing things this way is captured by the old chestnut: "He, who teaches, learns twice. Just imagine how familiar with The Dhamma Bhikkhus became, who memorized Buddha's teachings and then recited, or taught them thousands of times during their life times. :anjali:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby bharadwaja » Thu May 15, 2014 2:12 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:The term (translated) as basket can mean a device for collection (of the Buddha's words), and the means or process of collection used (translation) is the basket, because people at the time when Buddha walked The Earth used baskets for this purpose.

This is fitting. Just like accountants sort business expenses into buckets, the mind sorts-out such things we have experienced into buckets or baskets as well. It is well established in psychology that human memory works exactly that way.

I entirely agree with all the above, but since I also know the following inconvenient facts that do not fit your explanation, I retain my own understanding that the pitaka was a physical container of manuscripts, that was not used in the pre-writing era i.e. the Buddha's lifetime:

1. The word pitaka is not found at all in the canon. The canon was compiled after the Buddha's time i.e. in the era when writing had come into use.
2. Nobody else in that time in India used it to mean a collection of texts that they held in their mind.
3. The word pitaka has nothing to do with textual or mental activity, it never occurs anywhere in a 'data processing' context.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu May 15, 2014 4:25 pm

arhat wrote: "1. The word pitaka is not found at all in the canon. The canon was compiled after the Buddha's time i.e. in the era when writing had come into use.
2. Nobody else in that time in India used it to mean a collection of texts that they held in their mind.
3. The word pitaka has nothing to do with textual or mental activity, it never occurs anywhere in a 'data processing' context.


First point: Agreed!

Second: The term "text" implies documentation. So, memories would not be labeled as such. However, all humans then and now categorize memories: "pleasant" vs. "painful"; "interesting" vs. "boring" and etc.

It is only reasonable to expect that monks organizing the preservation of Buddha's teachings would arrange them into categories. Although I have no evidence of this, it is only logical.

Third point: I did not mean to imply (infer) that it did. What made you believe that I did? (Just curious) :coffee:

Interestingly, I found this definition in listed by The Pali Text Society:

Citaka & Citakā
Citaka & Citakā (f.) [from ci, cināti to heap up]. -- 1. a heap, a pile, esp. a funeral pile; a tumulus D ii.163; cp, ii.1014. J i.255; v.488; vi.559, 576; DA i.6; DhA i.69; ii.240; VvA 234; PvA 39. -- 2. (adj.) inlaid: suvaṇṇa˚, with gold J vi.218 (=˚khacita).


source: http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/p ... :1474.pali

So, Pitaka may have been used to refer to a pile. Three "piles" rather than three baskets. Or, Piles of thoughts! Interesting! :tongue:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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