polarbuddha101 wrote:There have been quite a few threads about this. From what I've gathered the Buddha did not speak Pali, rather he spoke some number of dialects very similar to pali and those dialects were brought together and became pali during the memorization and compilation of the suttas.
If what you say is true, the claim that the Pali "Canon" preserves
the words of the Buddha can't be true and phrases like, "The words of the Buddha have been preserved to this day in the Pali Canon"; or "the Buddha said in his own Pali words"; or "the Buddha defines x
word/words in the Pali Canon as..." are meaningless or at least of low utility?
I'd be interested to see those other threads if anyone knows where to find them.
The Buddha's teachings have been preserved in the pali canon, not his word for word discussions and discourses. It's pretty obvious too when you see all those stock passages that are found word for word in hundreds of suttas. For example that stock passage that occurs often at the end of suttas where someone listening to the buddha proclaims "it is like a stone was upturned and you set it straight, you proclaimed the dhamma through many lines of reasoning, I know go to the blessed one, dhamma, sangha as a lay follower for life" (that is a rough paraphrase).
The suttas are like the condensed version of the buddha's actual discourses. I would like to think that the suttas honestly contain the message of the buddha with a good deal of integrity (although not without fallibility). As to the meaning of terms like sati, I think its pretty easy to get the gist of what is being said without having to delve into never ending debates about semantics. Clearly sati has remembrance as one of its characteristics and clearly one of its purposes is to keep the mind focused on some specific task, such as breath meditation, so as to allow one to be aware, in the present moment, of that task/object of meditation without the mind wandering off. Sati also has the task of realizing that the mind is off topic and reminding one to bring it back to the object so as to be aware of it in the present moment. At some point, if sati is really good and the mind is no longer wandering then distinguishing the difference between being constantly on the object due to constant remembrance and being constantly aware of the object is nearly pointless. They mean basically the same thing.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."
"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."