tiltbillings wrote:I can agree with that. I wonder, however, if there is a more important question of what do we need to take as being literally true and what do we take as mythic. And here I use "mythic" or mythological as referring to a way of relating truths via stories and cosmologies that need not be seen as being literally true to make a valid point.
Yes, in terms of traditional Buddhist hermeneutics this distinction is between sutta statements that are already fully drawn out, explicit, and definitive (nītattha) and those that are provisional (neyyattha). But alongside this analysis there needs to be consideration of the body of texts that are to serve as authentic scriptural authorities and the criteria that are to be used to establish what qualifies as definitive or provisional.
Personally I consider the four main Nikāyas and the sutta sections of the fifth Nikāya to be authentic scriptural authorities (as well as the surviving non-Pāli collections and fragments of collections that parallel these discourses) and I consider the teachings on anatta to be definitive and all other teachings to be provisional.