Looking for an article on the 4 Noble Truths

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mabw
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Looking for an article on the 4 Noble Truths

Post by mabw »

Greetings,
I remember coming across a thread which dates to sometime 2014-2016 that discusses the 4NT as not being taught by the Buddha, or rather, not in the form that we are familiar with now. If I remember correctly, it was posted by mikenz66 or something. Can someone link me to that thread? Thanks.
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mjaviem
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Re: Looking for an article on the 4 Noble Truths

Post by mjaviem »

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa
mabw
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Re: Looking for an article on the 4 Noble Truths

Post by mabw »

mjaviem wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 12:51 pm This one?
No. It's a scholarly article as I remember.
sphairos
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Re: Looking for an article on the 4 Noble Truths

Post by sphairos »

"... the four noble truths were probably not part of the earliest strata of what came to be recognized as Buddhism, but that they emerged as a central teaching in a slightly later period that still preceded the final redactions of the various Buddhist canons."

this often cited passage is in C. Anderson's book "Pain and its ending".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Nobl ... evelopment

This is a succinct presentation of A. Bareau's thoughts:
With regard to the development of the doctrine Bareau distinguishes
more than five stages. In the first stage Nirvana is seen as deliverance
from death as much as from suffering, as the definitive cessation ofthe
series of rebirths and existences. The original goal of Buddhism is a
state of eternal beatitude in which rebirth is extinguished. However,
nothing is said about the method necessary to arrive at that state, and
we do not know whether it is sufficient to become aware ofthe true reality or whether one must follow a series of meditations or adhere to a set
of moral rules. Nothing is said either of the law of karman. As concerns the Four Truths mention is made only of the first and third
Truths, those concerning suffering and cessation of suffering, whereas
the classical doctrine is more interested in the second and fourth
Truths. The Four Truths are only described in the second stage of development of the doctrine, and the famous doctrine of dependent
production appears only at the third stage
https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/287176685.pdf

Again, from C. Anderson's book:

"However, the four noble truths do not always appear in stories of the Buddha's enlightenment where we might expect to find them. This feature may indicate that the four noble truths emerged into the canonical tradition at a particular point and slowly became recognized as the first teaching of the Buddha. Speculations about early and late teachings must be made relative to other passages in the Pali canon because of a lack of supporting extratextual evidence. Nonetheless, it is still possible to suggest a certain historical development of the four noble truths within the Pali canon. What we will find is a doctrine that came to be identified as the central teaching of the Buddha by the time of the commentaries in the fifth century C.E."

It's a very old idea that was discussed already 150 years ago.

"According to Feer and Anderson, the four truths probably entered the Sutta Pitaka from the Vinaya, the rules for monastic order.[137][note 28] They were first added to enlightenment-stories which contain the Four Jhanas, replacing terms for "liberating insight".[140][note 29] From there they were added to the biographical stories of the Buddha.[141][note 30]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Nobl ... evelopment
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How true are your ways?
sphairos
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Re: Looking for an article on the 4 Noble Truths

Post by sphairos »

If you are interested in the philological analysis of the wording of the 4NT, then in this article K.R. Norman (one of the greatest Pāli philologists ever)
argues that the term ariya-sacca, "the truth of the noble one(s)" (commonly known as "noble truth") was added later to those four descriptions about dukkha and its ending.

http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documen ... S_2003.pdf

K.R. Norman also writes about the problems of understanding of that formula in his book "A philological approach to Buddhism" (1997).
Last edited by sphairos on Tue May 11, 2021 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
How good and wonderful are your days,
How true are your ways?
mabw
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Re: Looking for an article on the 4 Noble Truths

Post by mabw »

Thank you for the replies.
sphairos
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Re: Looking for an article on the 4 Noble Truths

Post by sphairos »

You are welcome.

My comment as a Buddhist scholar:
Again, from C. Anderson's book:

"However, the four noble truths do not always appear in stories of the Buddha's enlightenment where we might expect to find them.


Who cares "where we might expect to find them"... We know nothing or almost nothing...
How good and wonderful are your days,
How true are your ways?
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