Discovering Buddhavamsa

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Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Sarnath » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:03 am

Namaste

Today I have heard of the Buddhavamsa, which is a section of the Kshudraka Nikaya of the Sutra Pitaka.

This must be a unique section, whose author is not the same as the larger scripture but who was simply documenting what was heard, and which describes 29 Buddhas of which Siddhartha was the 28th after and Who is before the future Buddha still to come.

What is the Theravada position on the authority of the Buddhavamsa?

When was it taken down to written format from being heard to script?

Where can one access or obtain a copy of the Buddhavamsa? I searched this website which retuned no results.

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby robertk » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:57 am

The Buddhavamsa is simply part of the Tipitaka like any other book.
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:03 am

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby cooran » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:06 am

Hello all,

Buddhavamsa - The Great Chronicle of the Buddha - translation by Mingun Sayadaw
http://www.thisismyanmar.com/nibbana/gotama/gcob.htm

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Sarnath » Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:20 am

Namaste Cooran (and others) and thank you for this link.

I am hoping to find the full version, I am thinking someone has the source to the full version hopefully available from the internet.

So now my question again is, if indeed it appears this revelation tells of the 28 Buddhas, then my question is what is the Theravada position on this?

We know that one can aspire and even become a Buddha. But that is not my question. It is not a question of enlightenment through self-realization or the teachings or the example of the Buddha that I am asking.

I have read that there are stages to Buddhahood. We have:
Shravak as a seeker or layman
Bodhisattva or one developing or becoming a Buddha
Pratyeka Buddha Who has developed to be a Buddha or an incarnation of Buddha or previous Buddha.
Samyak Buddha which is instant and an experience as the Light of Buddha realization that strikes for a moment like lightening

But this doctrine that may be exposed in the Buddhavamsa (once I find an edition I can read) appears to also include the doctrine of incarnations or appearances of One already known, Who has returned, Who was and now is or will be.

I have not read the Buddhavamsa, I will study it. But is this considered a Theravada scripture? Did the Buddha Whom I know as the famous Siddhartha the Buddha in fact was a previous Buddha? Or will He come again in the future? Or is this not a Theravada doctrine, but rather Mahayana or other such as Lightening Bolt Buddhism?

What is the position?

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:35 pm

Sarnath wrote:I have not read the Buddhavamsa, I will study it. But is this considered a Theravada scripture?

It's included in the Pāli Tipiṭaka, so yes.

Sarnath wrote:Did the Buddha Whom I know as the famous Siddhartha the Buddha in fact was a previous Buddha?

No, he wasn't a previous buddha.

Sarnath wrote:Or will He come again in the future?

No, he won't come again. The next buddha will be Metteyya.
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Sarnath » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:44 pm

Namaste

This is very welcome information. Some Hindus believe Siddhartha is an Avatar of Vishnu. However, the 28 Buddhas in the Buddhavamsa appear according to what is intructed in your interesing reply, that each such Buddha was a self-realization of each Individual, and that one Buddha was not the reincarnation of a previous Buddha, and that the Future Buddha is not Siddhartha nor a reincarnation of a previous Buddha.

I now also understand that this doctrine or History of the 28 Buddhas is Theravada Doctrine.

It is very, very interesting regarding the Future Buddha. I hope this will happen soon.

Thanks for thr link regarding the Future Buddha, this will be heartfully read this evening.
Pardon for not referencing your member name, The device I am using does not display special characters.

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:03 pm

Please see also Venerable Ledi Sayādaw's A Manual of the Excellent Man (Uttamapurisa Dipani)
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:54 am

I would personally dismiss the Buddhavamsa as hagiographical. The first four nikayas are the word of the Buddha, and in DN 14 the Buddha mentions that there have been only 6 Buddhas in the past 91 aeons (and he lists them, Lord Buddhas': Vipassi, Sikhi, Vessabhu, Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa). Furthermore, in MN 81, the Buddha teaches Ananda that in a past life he was a Brahmin by the name Jotipala...Jotipala has to be dragged 'kicking and screaming' by his friend Ghatikara to see the Buddha Kassapa. Prior to the meeting, Jotipala is irreverential to the Buddha Kassapa (putting paid to all this Bodhisattva nonsense we get in the later add on suttas).

The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. Some of the later additions do not. Proceed with caution!
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:43 am

mogg wrote:The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. The later additions do not. Proceed with caution!

According to you.
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:11 am

mogg wrote:Proceed with caution!

Always good advice, whether reading the suttas, posting on the Internet, or just crossing the road.

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:30 am

Ben wrote:
mogg wrote:The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. The later additions do not. Proceed with caution!

According to you.

...and all of the monastics that I have met whom I place faith in (in several different countries). Naturally people will follow their own inclination, but if you are going to accept these later suttas, you must reconcile them with the earlier suttas (where there is a general consensus of authenticity).
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:39 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
mogg wrote:Proceed with caution!

Always good advice, whether reading the suttas posting on the Internet. or just crossing the road.

The Four Great References

Good advice Venerable.

I'm more than open to further education and having my mind changed. If you believe that I am incorrect in my views of the contradictions inherent in the Khuddaka suttas, I kindly submit myself to your tutelage. Please post some arguments or links to papers that address the inconsistencies that I have mentioned.

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Nyorai » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:45 am

“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.”
― Gautama Buddha
ImageTo become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.Image
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:49 am

Nyorai wrote:“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.”
― Gautama Buddha
No such text as this exists in the Pali suttas. This sort of thing is found in the very much later tathagatgarbha sutras of the Mahayana.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:51 am

mogg wrote:I would personally dismiss the Buddhavamsa as hagiographical. The first four nikayas are the word of the Buddha, and in DN 14 the Buddha mentions that there have been only 6 Buddhas in the past 91 aeons (and he lists them, Lord Buddhas': Vipassi, Sikhi, Vessabhu, Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa). Furthermore, in MN 81, the Buddha teaches Ananda that in a past life he was a Brahmin by the name Jotipala...Jotipala has to be dragged 'kicking and screaming' by his friend Ghatikara to see the Buddha Kassapa. Prior to the meeting, Jotipala is irreverential to the Buddha Kassapa (putting paid to all this Bodhisattva nonsense we get in the later add on suttas).

The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. The later additions do not.

A couple of questions: (1) How do you know that all of the contents of the first four Nikāya's are earlier than all of the contents of the Khuddakanikāya? (2) If you consider the first four Nikāya's to be the word of the Buddha, do you accept everything stated in these suttas?
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby Coyote » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:52 am

mogg wrote:The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. The later additions do not. Proceed with caution!


With respect Mogg, I find this attitude odd. There are many sola scriptura Christian groups who use similar reasoning to chuck out texts which do not agree with their own preconceived notions about what early Christianity was like. Without proper evidence, statements such as "x text has the "smell of truth"" or "X is the word of the Buddha" rub me up the wrong way I have seen the intellectually dishonest tactics used in similar arguments.
Besides in my understanding many of these "later additions" are thought by scholars to be some of the earliest texts, such as Dhammapada and parts of the Sutta Nipata ect.
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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:02 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Nyorai wrote:“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.”
― Gautama Buddha
No such text as this exists in the Pali suttas. This sort of thing is found in the very much later tathagatgarbha sutra of the Mahayana.

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:35 pm

Coyote wrote:
mogg wrote:The early four nikayas have the 'smell of truth' to them. The later additions do not. Proceed with caution!


With respect Mogg, I find this attitude odd. There are many sola scriptura Christian groups who use similar reasoning to chuck out texts which do not agree with their own preconceived notions about what early Christianity was like. Without proper evidence, statements such as "x text has the "smell of truth"" or "X is the word of the Buddha" rub me up the wrong way I have seen the intellectually dishonest tactics used in similar arguments.
Besides in my understanding many of these "later additions" are thought by scholars to be some of the earliest texts, such as Dhammapada and parts of the Sutta Nipata ect.

Everyone must come to their own conclusions Coyote. I leave philology to academics, as I am more inclined to practice. There is a consistent message in the first four nikayas which I find to be in accordance with my own experiential understandings.
I own copies of the dhammapada in three different languages, and I find its prose beautiful and elegant. That being said, I cross-reference everything with the first four Nikayas. If anything heavily contradicts the first four I put it aside.
Remember that the first five Arahants were liberated after listening to the Anatta-lakkhana sutta...I'll spend my time reflecting on Anatta-lakkhana rather than a bunch of spurious Jataka tales and bodhisattva fancy that flies in the face of basic Buddhist teachings.
At the end of the day, to paraphrase Ajahn Chah, we will know who was 'right' when we die.

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Re: Discovering Buddhavamsa

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:32 am

While I also think that the Bodhisattva ideal is a later development, as well as the Buddhavamsa and the Apadana, I don't think taking them as authoritative does any harm so there isn't really any point in arguing about it. But anyway, here is a link to a very interesting book by Venerable Analayo called The Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal:

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... sattva.pdf

And here is a link to a number of works by Analayo that people may find interesting and informative:

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.htm

As far as the dhammapada is concerned, I doubt that the Buddha was really a poet, he actually warns that in the future people would listen/read to the work of poets instead of his discourses connected with emptiness etc. That being said, I think the dhammapada is a great work to read and that it provides a basically faithful introduction to the teachings of the Buddha.

"And which is the assembly trained in cross-questioning and not in bombast?

"There is the case where in any assembly when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, artful in sound, artful in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited, the monks don't listen, don't lend ear, don't set their hearts on knowing them; don't regard them as worth grasping or mastering. But when the discourses of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are recited, they listen, they lend ear, they set their hearts on knowing them; they regard them as worth grasping & mastering. And when they have mastered that Dhamma, they cross-question one another about it and dissect it: 'How is this? What is the meaning of this?' They make open what isn't open, make plain what isn't plain, dispel doubt on its various doubtful points. This is called an assembly trained in cross-questioning and not in bombast."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html




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