Did the Buddha teach 84,000 Dhammakkhandhas?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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gavesako
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Did the Buddha teach 84,000 Dhammakkhandhas?

Postby gavesako » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:22 pm

You may have heard the phrase "84,000 dhammakkhandha" (Dhamma teachings) which is the traditional Theravada description of the complete Buddha's Teaching. Of course in the commentaries (atthakatha) it is explained in this way, which cannot be historically true:

Sutta pitaka = 21,000 dhammakkhandhas
Vinaya pitaka = 21,000 dhammakkhandhas
Abhidhamma pitaka = 42,000 dhammakkhandhas

See also http://www.thisismyanmar.com/nibbana/tobudha4.htm (at the bottom)

When we search in the Tipitaka, we can find only 2 places where it occurs:
http://openpali.worldtipitaka.org/word_ ... habet=#top

It is the Theragatha text that belongs to the "early part" of the Tipitaka. The Buddha himself does not use this term, but Ananda mentions it in his verses:

1027. Dvāsīti buddhato gaṇhiṃ,
dve sahassāni bhikkhuto;
Caturāsītisahassāni,
ye me dhammā pavattino.

http://studies.worldtipitaka.org/tipita ... 7.1/17.1.3


82,000 (teachings) from the Buddha I have received;
2,000 more from his disciples;
Now 84,000 teachings are familiar to me.

— the Venerable Ananda,
in Theragatha 17.3 (vv. 1024-29)


Thai version:

พระอานนทเถระได้เรียนธรรมจาก พระพุทธเจ้ามา ๘๒,๐๐๐ ธรรมขันธ์ ได้เรียนมาจากสำนักภิกษุมีพระธรรม
เสนาบดีเป็นต้น ๒,๐๐๐ ธรรมขันธ์ จึงรวมเป็นที่คล่องปากขึ้นใจ๘๔,๐๐๐ ธรรมขันธ์

http://www.84000.org/tipitaka/pitaka2/v ... 134&Z=8214


If we look at the original Pali text, only the numbers 82,000 and 2,000 and 84,000 are mentioned in it, together with "dhamma" meaning "teachings" in this context (the word "dhammakkhandha" does not appear at all).


15. In the Theragatha (v. 1024) Venerable Ananda says that he knew 82,000 of the Buddha's discourses as well as 2,000 by the monks. This works out, over a vigorous forty-five year ministry, to nearly five discourses a day. This is sizable, but many of them are but a few lines, so it is not impossible. However, we should bear in mind that the numerical precision so highly valued in Western culture has been and still is of little importance in Indian culture: these figures are best understood as "a very great many". In India a different sort of precision -- Ananda's -- was valued. (See A. X,95 (v,193-5).)
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/be ... in2.htm#15


That means all the Dhamma teachings remembered by Ananda, as he recited them at the First Sangayana, or we could call it the "original Sutta texts" before more texts have been added later. We can regard these as the authentic teachings, some of them words of the Buddha (buddhavacana) and some of them the words of direct disciples of the Buddha (e.g. Theragatha, Therigatha, and the Suttas spoken by Sariputta, Moggallana, Ananda, Kaccayana, Dhammadinna, etc.).
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Kim OHara
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Re: Did the Buddha teach 84,000 Dhammakkhandhas?

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:17 pm

I'm no expert, bhante, but any time I see such improbably large numbers I think (1) metaphorical use and (2) later additions to the scriptures.
As for the 'five discourses a day for forty five years', that seems inherently improbable and is quite hard to reconcile with my understanding that the suttas, as we have them, are distillations or condensed versions of the Buddha's actual teachings so that 'only a few lines' may represent and summarise a much longer conversation or teaching.
I'm quite comfortable leaving it at that, i.e. not taking it literally and not giving it much weight. There are many many more teachings which are more important for me to think about.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Did the Buddha teach 84,000 Dhammakkhandhas?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:36 pm

gavesako wrote:You may have heard the phrase "84,000 dhammakkhandha" (Dhamma teachings) which is the traditional Theravada description of the complete Buddha's Teaching. Of course in the commentaries (atthakatha) it is explained in this way, which cannot be historically true:

Sutta pitaka = 21,000 dhammakkhandhas
Vinaya pitaka = 21,000 dhammakkhandhas
Abhidhamma pitaka = 42,000 dhammakkhandhas


Hi Bhante,

Thanks for this research / information. It appears the Commentators wanted to place a great deal of importance to the Abhidhamma.

That means all the Dhamma teachings remembered by Ananda, as he recited them at the First Sangayana, or we could call it the "original Sutta texts" before more texts have been added later. We can regard these as the authentic teachings, some of them words of the Buddha (buddhavacana) and some of them the words of direct disciples of the Buddha (e.g. Theragatha, Therigatha, and the Suttas spoken by Sariputta, Moggallana, Ananda, Kaccayana, Dhammadinna, etc.).


:thumbsup: Certainly, we can count on the Suttas, especially the first four Nikayas and the Patikmokkha as the most essential and authentic.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach 84,000 Dhammakkhandhas?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:35 am

As a side bar issue, what concerns me about the use of the concept is that it can become very sloppy. One sees it used on Buddhist websights to justify a whole range of practices and views as Buddha Dhamma...I have seen kundalini yoga, crystal healing, Osho etc all jusified in the name of the " 84.000 gates ".
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach 84,000 Dhammakkhandhas?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:39 am

Greetings Sanghamitta,
Sanghamitta wrote:As a side bar issue, what concerns me about the use of the concept is that it can become very sloppy. One sees it used on Buddhist websights to justify a whole range of practices and views as Buddha Dhamma...I have seen kundalini yoga, crystal healing, Osho etc all jusified in the name of the " 84.000 gates ".

Actually, I think that's something different again, with only the trademark 84,000 in common.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Sanghamitta
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Re: Did the Buddha teach 84,000 Dhammakkhandhas?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:45 am

Certainly. As I said, a sidebar.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach 84,000 Dhammakkhandhas?

Postby steve19800 » Mon May 06, 2013 11:10 am

May I wake this thread up again?

Buddha teaching has been surviving for more than 2600 years. Recently another Words of Buddha were found therefore translation is occurring at this moment.

The Buddha taught more than 84,000 methods to attain true peace and freedom from suffering. Of these teachings, only 5% have been translated into modern languages....

More details please visit: http://84000.co/


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