tiltbillings wrote:But you have not shown that speculation (in its pejorative sense) is what good Western scholars do. You have not shown that I do it. You accuse me of it repeatedly, but you have offered no actual demonstration that I do it.
The methodologies of textual criticism, post-modern deconstruction, as well as archaeological and epigraphical finds, etc., are not able to demonstrate what the historical Buddha actually taught, or what the early Buddhist communities actually believed in the early centuries after his parinibbāna. Thus, the theories related to these modern academic disciplines are speculative. Moreover, these fields of study are outgrowths of the European Enlightenment and Western liberal tradition. They have no historical precedents in the history of Asian Buddhism. Thus, they are secular.
tiltbillings wrote:So, Buddhists are to reject any sort of Western scholarship that does not fall into a line with a literal reading of Buddhist mythos? We are to take Buddhist cosmology as being literally true, rejecting any Western science that suggests otherwise? Buddhist mythic histories are always literally true, and any history derived from Western scholarly methodology is always false?
Your attempt to introduce absurd consequences isn't helpful. I have nowhere said that Western tools should be ignored or rejected outright. What I have been suggesting is that these tools are limited, and they are quite unnecessary for the practice of Buddhism.
tiltbillings wrote:I prefer my Dhamma sandiṭṭhiko (self evident; immediately apparent; visible here and now by one's direct experience), akāliko (timeless, immediate), ehipassiko (can be seen for one's self) and opanayiko, (leading to liberation).
I really don't care about what you prefer. However, I do care about accurately representing the Theravāda Tipiṭaka. Tradition and lineage are important for the continuity of the dhammavinaya. In fact, there is no dhammavinaya without a living lineage to transmit it from generation to generation.
tiltbillings wrote:Does not believing in mythic histories that are not sandiṭṭhiko, akāliko, ehipassiko, and opanayiko undermine the core teachings of the Buddha?
You are assuming that (i) the histories are mythic, (ii) that they are not sandiṭṭhiko, akāliko, ehipassiko, and opanayiko, and (iii) they are not aspects of the core teachings of the Buddha. However, they have been cherished as some of the most important aspects of the teachings for well over 2000 years and they were never considered to be merely mythical constructions. Thus, your assumptions are not supported by the mainstream Asian Buddhist traditions -- past or present.
tiltbillings wrote:And why does Buddhism get to favor its mythic histories over other religions mythic histories? While mythic histories have their place and may function to be inspiring, they are not necessary --that anyone has shown --for liberation.
Again, the question relevant to this thread is not just liberation, but the aspiration for and attainment of Buddhahood. Canonical texts such as the Buddhavaṃsa, the Apadāna, the Jātaka, the Paṭisambhidāmagga, etc. are important sources for the bodhisatta aspiration and practices of the perfections, and so on. If you aren't interested in these texts and their narratives, and aren't interested in the Theravāda teachings on the bodhisatta vehicle, that's fine by me, but your opinions about bodhi are contrary to what is explicitly stated in these texts and taught in the Theravāda commentaries and sub-commentaries. These Pāli texts and commentaries are essential to this discussion. Your opinions are not.
tiltbillings wrote:No willy, nor any nilly. I have shown how the terms are used, which is what gives them meaning, in the suttas.
All that you have shown is that the terms are used.
tiltbillings wrote:So, are you telling us that the suttas do not use the words bodhi and nibbana in particular ways that we can directly look at?
You can look at them -- there's no shortage of people who are doing just that -- but if you want to avoid all kinds of novel interpretations it is most helpful to refer to the Niddesa, Paṭisambhidāmagga, Vibhaṅga, etc.