If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

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

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

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sun May 18, 2014 10:33 pm

bharad~ wrote:
AB wrote: If the bhāṇakas were reciting from manuscripts, what evidence can you provide other than to surmise that because a system of writing was in use during the ‘era of Ashoka’ that the early canon was preserved by the saṅgha in this way?


The first evidence is that the canon was put in a linguistic form which was previously unknown & unused (which scholars today call middle-Indic), and most if not all this difference between the earlier language and the canonical language is due to the following:
1. Irregularities in orthography (i.e. deficiencies in the script)
2. Scribal errors
3. Later linguistic standardization


Irregularities, errors and other anomalies would be expected with the homogenisation of several dialects into a single standard form, and could well “represent the remnants of recensions in other dialects, which has not been completely translated.” (Norman – 1983 §I). Even so, this proves nothing of a written translation into a Pāḷi standard.

We know that Pāḷi is a homogenisation of MIA dialects for ecclesiastical Theravāda purposes. That Pāḷi as a language of the Theravāda canon represents a homogamy of MIA languages written during the reign of Aśoka e.g. the epigraphy of that period, does not tell us that Theravāda bhikkhus (or others on their behalf) used a written form of it for the preservation of the canon.

bharad~ wrote:The second evidence is the presence of BCE era manuscripts containing both suttas as well as non-sutta texts.


Some citation is needed here. Are these with reference to non-Pāli Buddhist translations from MIA to Sanskrit during the reign of Aśoka? Please give some examples and how they are evidence of a written Pāḷi transmission.

bharad~ wrote:The third evidence is a literal oral tradition (of the vedic kind) which preserves not just the content but also the language and the exact pronunciation of the language needs significantly advanced linguistic scholarship and tools which the Buddhist sangha did not evidently possess.


Yet the saṅgha was not just preserving a language, they were constructing a language derived from several dialects. They undoubtedly possessed the ability. Earlier you dismissed the comment I made with reference to catechetical instruction used in the Nikāyas. Additionally, there is the practice of recitation found throughout the Nikāyas (Anālayo – Oral Transmission of Pāli Discourses, 2.2 Functional Aspects – The Reciters pp.17-19). This is evidence within the Nikāyas of at least the ability to an oral transmission.

bharad~ wrote:
AB wrote: Can you show that a writing system was introduced by the saṅgha (or 'Buddhists' on their behalf) for any purpose?


bharad~ wrote:Yes because nobody else used much (or any) writing apart from the sangha in the first few centuries of writing in India. All the early written manuscripts are Buddhist, I dont know of the existence of any non-Buddhist written manuscripts from the Ashokan era (+ or - one century)


In addition to the above request for references, can you cite any Buddhist manuscripts from this period, with reference to Pāḷi textual transmission?

bharad~ wrote:
AB wrote:When did the saṅgha begin using it?


bharad~ wrote:My understanding is that they began using it when the suttas were composed (at the putative first council), because there is proof against the existence of an oral tradition.


There is a pācittiya prohibiting the reciting of Dhamma from memory to the laity, which would preclude reciting to lay-scribes. So the saṅgha would have had to store and use writing materials themselves, of which we find no mention of rules for the acquisition or use of such requisites in the Vinaya. Even if this were possible, by your reasoning this endeavor of recording the suttas would have been well underway during the Tathāgata’s career of which we also find no mention of in any manuscript or written on any rock. So for you to say “proof” is QED at this point.

bharad~ wrote:
AB wrote: Did the saṅgha never use a mnemonic system with preference to a written one?


bharad~ wrote:For the prose suttas - no.
For verse suttas - perhaps but not evident.


Again, is there any evidence you can cite or reference other than your opinion?

bharad~ wrote:
AB wrote:I think you mentioned that others (not bhikkhus) were doing the work of recording and storing the materials for the bhikkhus to refer to; is there any evidence that shows this.


bharad~ wrote:No, the texts were used by bhikkus but it is not necessary that the physical activity of "writing" was necessarily done by them, specially in the first few centuries of writing. The Milindapanha contains some evidence of this. There the bhikku Nāgasena (circa 150 BCE) tells king Milinda:

"yathā, mahārāja, yo koci puriso rattiṃ lekhaṃ pesetukāmo lekhakaṃ pakkosāpetvā padīpaṃ āropetvā lekhaṃ likhāpeyya, likhite pana lekhe padīpaṃ vijjhāpeyya, vijjhāpitepi padīpe lekhaṃ na vinasseyya."

My translation of the above: 'Great King, when a man, during the night, desires to send a written letter, and after having a scribe called, has a lamp lit, and gets the letter written. Then, when the writing has been done, he extinguishes the lamp. But though the lamp had been put out the writing does not disappear.'


Reference to the Milinda-pañha and Nāgasena is rather late, but even if this exchange was current at the First Council it does not transport writing into the hands of the saṅgha simply because of Nāgasena's simile. Hypothetically, even if writing was done for them and the texts provided for their use, there is the matter of the above mentioned pācittiya on reciting to the laity. Granted, the laity could write down what they themselves heard – the Itivuttaka was remembered by a servant who memorised and taught it to the Queen – but the laity were not present at every discourse.

bharad~ wrote:
AB wrote:The canon is also silent about scribes and rubric manuscripts, but you seem convinced that this is the only way the canon was transmitted. I am not always satisfied with what tradition has given us, but this matter has adequate academic support, and you have not shown anything other than an interesting opinion thus far.


bharad~ wrote:I have just quoted a statement above from the Milindapanha (from the Khuddaka Nikaya) which shows that Buddhists in India were well aware of scribes and writing in 150BCE (and generally, but perhaps not always, used scribes to do the writing just as I had thought), and we have suttas & non-sutta manuscripts from the same period (and archaeology might yet yield us other canonical and non-canonical manuscripts in future).


These are all interesting opinions, but as you say, ‘archaeology might yet yield…’ something to back up your claim.
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You fool, it's only moonlight.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby bharadwaja » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:55 pm

We know that Pāḷi is a homogenisation of MIA dialects for ecclesiastical Theravāda purposes.

Except that there were no "MIA dialects" in Ashoka's era (or before) that Pali could have been a homogenization of. The supposed distinction between OIA and MIA was totally unknown until about half a millenium after the time of the Buddha. Pali is the ‘mother’ of the MIA dialects (i.e. MIA evolved from Pali), Pali is not a standardization of some pre-existing MIA dialects.

Pali standardized several written variations of the same OIA (not MIA) words. The Pali forms of words was an artificial standardization meant to reconcile these variations (most of which were errors caused by the use of defective scripts) and make them look consistent.

There is no independent evidence for the pre-existence of a single MIA spoken dialect that Pali could have standardized.

Besides a close reading of Pali word-forms in Ashoka's edicts (particuarly the OIA words having conjunct consonants) indicates that the places where such conjuncts occur was usually marked by a dot.

So "Dharma" was written as "dha.ma" in Brahmi (not as dham.a, please note). This was interpreted by some (particularly in the later Theravada tradition as dhamma) however I have valid reasons to believe that the dot represents a conjunct rather than a geminate. To understand the history of Pali therefore needs an understanding of its earliest script (Brahmi).
That Pāḷi as a language of the Theravāda canon represents a homogamy of MIA languages written during the reign of Aśoka e.g. the epigraphy of that period, does not tell us that Theravāda bhikkhus (or others on their behalf) used a written form of it for the preservation of the canon.

It does not matter. We are dealing with written texts all along, it is the oral tradition which we have no evidence of.

The Milindapanha mentions not just writing but hints at a written tradition, by naming certain eminent monks who were formerly skilled in that art... writing therefore was not only used by monks but was a prized skill. Why should buddhists in the BCE era have given such importance to writing if they had an independent oral tradition?

Are these with reference to non-Pāli Buddhist translations from MIA to Sanskrit during the reign of Aśoka? Please give some examples and how they are evidence of a written Pāḷi transmission.


Your question shows an ignorance of the fact that there was no (phonetic) Sanskrit writing in Ashoka's time, and therefore no possibility of a translation from or to Sanskrit -- all written Sanskrit was of the middle-Indic kind (i.e. non-phonetic). Besides I assume by Sanskrit you mean Old-Indic generally, rather than Panini's grammatical standard of Old-Indic (i.e. classical sanskrit). Do not mix them up, they are two very different things.

All the phonetic transliterations (they were not really translations) back into Old-Indic happened a century or more after Ashoka, by when the brahmi script had evolved into a fully phonetic script.

Yet the saṅgha was not just preserving a language, they were constructing a language derived from several dialects. They undoubtedly possessed the ability.


Nope, there is no evidence of them constructing a language. They were artificially standardizing the different word forms found in various written texts (the suttas were not an ordered part of the canon initially, they were independent suttas). For example, dharma was sometimes written as dhrama, sometimes as dhama, sometimes as dhamma, sometimes as dharama, etc.

This in any case does not show they possessed an ability to orally transmit a large corpus of prose texts down several generations.

Earlier you dismissed the comment I made with reference to catechetical instruction used in the Nikāyas.....This is evidence within the Nikāyas of at least the ability to an oral transmission


No, catechetical instruction is no evidence of the ability of photographically memorizing thousands and thousands of pages of prose and of their unerring literal oral transmission. I don't see the connection. We all have the ability of an oral transmission, but of what? We can and do orally transmit nursery rhymes, but we cannot orally transmit a 1000-page prose book. The ability of an oral tranmission in general therefore proves nothing.

In addition to the above request for references, can you cite any Buddhist manuscripts from this period, with reference to Pāḷi textual transmission?


That is another topic altogether, I do not want to venture into that topic here. Pali manuscripts from India are in such short supply because there is a widspread misconception about the Buddha's geographical region (the region in which he lived and travelled). Archaeologists have been digging in the wrong places.

The few manuscripts that we have of BCE era Buddhism are in pre-standardized Pali (called by some as Gandhari). http://www.gandhari.org is a good online resource to look for information about them.

Again, is there any evidence you can cite or reference other than your opinion?


What kind of mnemonic system do you know of that the Buddha may have used?

Reference to the Milinda-pañha and Nāgasena is rather late, but even if this exchange was current at the First Council it does not transport writing into the hands of the saṅgha simply because of Nāgasena's simile.


There are more direct references to theravada scribes in the Milindapanha, like the one below:

“Long ago there was a master of writing named Tissa Thera. How can people know about him?”
“By his writing.”


So if the Milindapanha belongs to the 1st century BCE, then it refers to Tissa Thera as a master of writing long before that time.

Hypothetically, even if writing was done for them and the texts provided for their use, there is the matter of the above mentioned pācittiya on reciting to the laity.

No, there is no such pācittiya. There is one where it says a monk cannot chant with a layperson, but none that says a monk should not chant in front of (or to) a layperson.
These are all interesting opinions, but as you say, ‘archaeology might yet yield…’ something to back up your claim.


Archaeology has already yielded written BC era texts (both sutta and non sutta texts), visit the website I have mentioned above. What archaeology has not yielded yet is any evidence of an oral tradition.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:14 pm

bharadwaja wrote:Except that there were no "MIA dialects" in Ashoka's era (or before) that Pali could have been a homogenization of. …


Here again you regurgitate a cogent display of what you think, but these opinions are entirely your own without some evidence that would push back at tradition or the consensus of academia we have.

bharadwaja wrote:It does not matter. We are dealing with written texts all along, it is the oral tradition which we have no evidence of.

The Milindapanha mentions not just writing but hints at a written tradition, by naming certain eminent monks who were formerly skilled in that art... writing therefore was not only used by monks but was a prized skill. Why should buddhists in the BCE era have given such importance to writing if they had an independent oral tradition? …


What “written texts”? The religious tradition (Dīpavaṃsa, 20.20 – 21) refers to a written transmission just earlier to the same period as the Gāndhārī manuscripts (difference in geography notwithstanding). You cite again the Milinda-pañha and Nāgasena’s reference to “hints” of writing, but to use this as evidence of a written transmission of the Pāḷi canon, from the time of the Tathāgata through the first century CE, is specious.

bharadwaja wrote:Your question shows an ignorance of the fact that there was no (phonetic) Sanskrit writing in Ashoka's time, and therefore no possibility of a translation from or to Sanskrit -- all written Sanskrit was of the middle-Indic kind (i.e. non-phonetic). …


Your ad hominem aside, our exchange was actually this …

bharadwaja wrote:The second evidence is the presence of BCE era manuscripts containing both suttas as well as non-sutta texts.

AB wrote:Some citation is needed here. Are these with reference to non-Pāli Buddhist translations from MIA to Sanskrit during the reign of Aśoka? Please give some examples and how they are evidence of a written Pāḷi transmission.


… and the request for citing references still remains avoided by you. Unless you are referring to the Gāndhārī manuscripts, which supports my argument rather than yours wrt a first century CE Buddhist written tradition (the argument is not whether a system of writing existed earlier or at the time of the Tathāgata’s career, but whether a system of writing was used by the saṅgha at that time).

bharadwaja wrote:Nope, there is no evidence of them constructing a language. …


Whether to ‘construct’ or form a ‘composite of dialects’, has been a useful explanation given for over a century now (T.W. Rhys Davids – K.R. Norman et al) But to prevent this discussion from circular arguments to no end, it may be easier to set aside that you prefer your own theories than accepted scholarship on topic. What could inform the discussion is if you could provide evidence for your opinion, other than simply restating your opinion?

Otherwise, that catechetical instruction was used in the Nikāyan period is evidence of ability for an oral transmission, in the lack of anything you can conjecture otherwise, simply because you cannot think it possible.

When I asked for references citing Buddhist manuscripts you alluded to as “proof” of a written transmission from the time of the Tathāgata, you give this:

bharadwaja wrote:That is another topic altogether, I do not want to venture into that topic here. Pali manuscripts from India are in such short supply because there is a widspread misconception about the Buddha's geographical region (the region in which he lived and travelled). Archaeologists have been digging in the wrong places.

The few manuscripts that we have of BCE era Buddhism are in pre-standardized Pali (called by some as Gandhari). http://www.gandhari.org is a good online resource to look for information about them.


Your priceless contributions to Indo-Aryan philology and archaeology aside, I wondered earlier in this thread if the Gāndhārī manuscripts were on your mind. I understand why you did not want to bring them up earlier considering that they do not meet your argument wrt their dating circa first century CE.
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You fool, it's only moonlight.
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Your hands will turn to butter
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby bharadwaja » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:59 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
bharadwaja wrote:Except that there were no "MIA dialects" in Ashoka's era (or before) that Pali could have been a homogenization of.

Here again you regurgitate a cogent display of what you think, but these opinions are entirely your own without some evidence that would push back at tradition or the consensus of academia we have.

Really? Can you name some of the distinct dialects that were present in BCE India, and referred to in the literature (either Buddhist or non-Buddhist) of that era? Has any scholar found the name/grammar/dictionary (from BCE) of a single MIA dialect?

bharadwaja wrote:It does not matter. We are dealing with written texts all along, it is the oral tradition which we have no evidence of…
What “written texts”?

The Pali canon itself is for the last 2000 years a compilation of written texts, and we know this for a fact. The null hypothesis is that it was a written compilation not just for the last 2000 years, but for its entire existence (because there is nothing that we know of that indicates that writing was unknown to Buddhism until the advent of the current era).

That null hypothesis can be challenged (and falsified) by an alternate hypothesis (that some/all parts of the canon may have once been oral). The evidences for the alternative hypothesis are completely absent. We have some specious speculations that the Vedic canon's oral tradition was a precedent that may have been used by the Buddhists too. Anything else?

Whether to ‘construct’ or form a ‘composite of dialects’, has been a useful explanation given for over a century now (T.W. Rhys Davids – K.R. Norman et al)

That is funny, have you read Norman's papers on 'A philological approach to Buddhism', especially the paper 5 which deals with the BCE written tradition? Much (but not all) of what Norman says about the canon being formerly (i.e. before it reached its current 'Pali' form) written in an imperfect script, is bang on!

Otherwise, that catechetical instruction was used in the Nikāyan period is evidence of ability for an oral transmission, in the lack of anything you can conjecture otherwise, simply because you cannot think it possible.


That is your own speculation, and it does not even seem to make sense. You don't seem to know what an oral transmission involves, try understanding how it works before you repeat the same thing again. For your information, I have taken the pains of observing/understanding exactly how the Vedic oral tradition worked (and works, for it is still extant).

Your priceless contributions to Indo-Aryan philology and archaeology aside, I wondered earlier in this thread if the Gāndhārī manuscripts were on your mind. I understand why you did not want to bring them up earlier considering that they do not meet your argument wrt their dating circa first century CE.


They are not just from the 1st century CE. The earliest available Buddhist manuscripts in the Gandhari script are dated to the 1st century BCE. This does not mean there were no manuscripts before the 1st century BCE, but that they are still not excavated. Pali manuscripts from this period are by comparison, conspicuous by their absence.

I don't think you would claim from the presence of 7th century Pali manuscripts that writing was not used until then?
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:57 pm

bharadwaja wrote:Can you name some of the distinct dialects that were present in BCE India, and referred to in the literature (either Buddhist or non-Buddhist) of that era? Has any scholar found the name/grammar/dictionary (from BCE) of a single MIA dialect?


The study of dialects does not necessarily have the same convenience of organisation as established languages. The study is more complex and nuanced than one may expect to find of a language given a “name/grammar/dictionary”. Norman considers himself an expert in MIA dialects “used primarily in North India between about 500 BC and 1000 AD…” (Norman, 1994, p. 7). He is extensively published, but the lecture series I mentioned earlier would be well worth your time to read as an overview.

bharadwaja wrote:The Pali canon itself is for the last 2000 years a compilation of written texts, and we know this for a fact. The null hypothesis is that it was a written compilation not just for the last 2000 years, but for its entire existence (because there is nothing that we know of that indicates that writing was unknown to Buddhism until the advent of the current era).


This is just restating the opinion you have given. It remains a baseless claim.

bharadwaja wrote:The evidences for the alternative hypothesis are completely absent.


We have what the religious tradition (Dīpavaṃsa, 20.20 – 21 and commentaries) has given. Which is by far better than criticising archeology for 'digging in the wrong places' for what you lack.

bharadwaja wrote:That is funny, have you read Norman's papers on 'A philological approach to Buddhism', especially the paper 5 which deals with the BCE written tradition? Much (but not all) of what Norman says about the canon being formerly (i.e. before it reached its current 'Pali' form) written in an imperfect script, is bang on!


Now I am really confused. Earlier, you said of Norman:

bharadwaja wrote:His arguments are shaky and one sided.


I have no idea what paper you were reading, but in the one you just cited, Norman defers to the Dīpavaṃsa and commentarial Theravāda tradition wrt the historical period and manner in which the tipiṭaka was written (circa 100 BCE).

    “There is, however, little doubt that we can accept that the writing down of the tipiṭaka during the reign of Vaṭṭagāmiṇi Abhaya was an historic fact.” (Norman – 1994, p.78)

wrt catechetical instruction and oral transmission:

bharadwaja wrote:That is your own speculation, and it does not even seem to make sense. You don't seem to know what an oral transmission involves, try understanding how it works before you repeat the same thing again. For your information, I have taken the pains of observing/understanding exactly how the Vedic oral tradition worked (and works, for it is still extant).


But it still remains a ‘working’ hypothesis to the baseless claim that simply because there is no evidence of a structured system for oral transmission of the pāḷi canon, as there is with the Vedic, that the former cannot have existed.

wrt dating of the Gāndhārī Buddhist manuscripts:

bharadwaja wrote:They are not just from the 1st century CE. The earliest available Buddhist manuscripts in the Gandhari script are dated to the 1st century BCE. This does not mean there were no manuscripts before the 1st century BCE, but that they are still not excavated. Pali manuscripts from this period are by comparison, conspicuous by their absence.

I don't think you would claim from the presence of 7th century Pali manuscripts that writing was not used until then?


This is just wishful thinking. To say that “This does not mean there were no manuscripts before the 1st century BCE, but that they are still not excavated.” Couples with your earlier claim that “Archaeologists have been digging in the wrong places.”
Fingers walk the darkness down
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Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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

Postby bharadwaja » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:52 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:The study of dialects does not necessarily have the same convenience of organisation as established languages. The study is more complex and nuanced than one may expect to find of a language given a “name/grammar/dictionary”.

Since you make such a big deal of the dialect vs language distinction, let me rephrase my question as follows:

Can you name some of the distinct MIA languages that were present in BCE India, and referred to in the literature (either Buddhist or non-Buddhist) of that era? Has any scholar found the name/grammar/dictionary (from BCE) of a single MIA language?

Norman considers himself an expert in MIA dialects “used primarily in North India between about 500 BC and 1000 AD…” (Norman, 1994, p. 7). He is extensively published, but the lecture series I mentioned earlier would be well worth your time to read as an overview.

I have read them, and I do agree he has done a lot of homework, and is in many ways more knowledgeable than other scholars. I do not consider him infallible though, as I have observed he does make some apparently specious "belief" claims in certain areas (particularly on topics outside philology, his area of expertise).

This is just restating the opinion you have given. It remains a baseless claim.

I dont understand this. What is a baseless claim? Is it that the tipitaka has been a written text for the last 2000 years or so?

Or is your disagreement about the null hypothesis (that it was not only a written text for the last 2000 years, but for 2300-2400 years i.e. for its entire existence)?

bharadwaja wrote:The evidences for the alternative hypothesis are completely absent.

We have what the religious tradition (Dīpavaṃsa, 20.20 – 21 and commentaries) has given. Which is by far better than criticising archeology for 'digging in the wrong places' for what you lack.

The Dipavamsa and commentaries were composed about one millenium after the Buddha's lifetime, and that too in a foreign country thousands of kilometres away from where the Buddha lived. If you left it to the Chinese of 7th century AD to describe the invasions of Alexander, what is the chance they would describe it accurately?

That can be considered the Dipavamsa's conjecture, but it is not "proof" for anything. It does not even make sense, we know for certain that writing was first adopted by the Buddhists in the north-western parts of South Asia (where we find the oldest buddhist manuscripts), not the southernmost part i.e. Sri Lanka.

Now I am really confused. Earlier, you said of Norman:
bharadwaja wrote:His arguments are shaky and one sided.

Yes, his arguments for the existence of an oral tradition are shaky and one-sided.
But his findings about the canon being formerly (i.e. before it reached its current 'Pali' form) written in an imperfect script, is bang on!

I have no idea what paper you were reading, but in the one you just cited, Norman defers to the Dīpavaṃsa and commentarial Theravāda tradition wrt the historical period and manner in which the tipiṭaka was written (circa 100 BCE).

Therefore he adds no value there, and I disagree with him there, because the oldest buddhist manuscripts are found in that part of India where we know writing first originated. Writing may have reached Sri Lanka in 100 BCE with the arrival of Buddhists from the north-western part of India, but the Dipavamsa's speculation of a time when the canon was not written is just that - a speculation. It may be true that writing was not used in Sri Lanka before 100 BCE (or about the start of the common era) but that by itself does not imply the existence of an oral tradition in BCE Sri Lanka, or in India.

    “There is, however, little doubt that we can accept that the writing down of the tipiṭaka during the reign of Vaṭṭagāmiṇi Abhaya was an historic fact.” (Norman – 1994, p.78)

So there is nothing to disprove, it is a dogmatic belief.

But it still remains a ‘working’ hypothesis to the baseless claim that simply because there is no evidence of a structured system for oral transmission of the pāḷi canon, as there is with the Vedic, that the former cannot have existed.

What is relevant is not your speculation that an oral tradition could have possibly existed for the Pali canon, but to show a model of how it could have worked.

This is just wishful thinking. To say that “This does not mean there were no manuscripts before the 1st century BCE, but that they are still not excavated.” Couples with your earlier claim that “Archaeologists have been digging in the wrong places."


I understand your predicament. Do you therefore also claim that since there are no Pali manuscripts found before the 6th or 7th century CE, that the statement of Dipavamsa you mentioned cannot be true?

Therefore without a grammar, a dictionary, or the use of writing, do you claim that the pali canon (a compendium of about 5000 pages) was transmitted orally in an otherwise unknown language and understood for 900-1000 years in foreign countries (like Sri-Lanka, Burma etc)? I find that is not just unbelievable, but also poorly researched.
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Re: If not sure about authenticity, compare with the suttas?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:12 pm

I'm not sure if the disconnect to the flow of dialog is an ESL issue with you, or that your mind simply cannot follow its own train of thought. But a meaningful dialog no longer seems possible with you.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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