Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and scriptures.
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l_rivers
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New Link to Keren Arbel's PDF summarizing her book

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https://www.google.com/url?q=http://ker ... ItGg3bX-xN
“Bhikkhus, just as the river Ganges slants, slopes, and inclines towards the east, similarly, a bhikkhu, who develops and cultivates the four jhanas slants, slopes, and inclines towards Nibbana.” [SN V.308] “There is no jhana for the one without liberating wisdom, no liberating wisdom for the one without jhana; the one who has jhana and liberating wisdom he indeed is in the presence of nibbana." [Dhammapada v.372] These citations from the early Buddhist texts in Pali (i.e., the suttas), and many others in these inspiring texts, captured my curiosity from the first time I heard about the jhanas from my Dhamma teachers and from books I have read on Buddhist meditation. The references to these four specific psych-somatic states, which the Buddha called “the four jhanas”, and the frequentness in which they appear in the path taught by the Buddha, awakened a deep interest in me, first as a practitioner of vipassana meditation, and later on, as a scholar. I assume that anyone who heard about the jhanas in most traditional Theravada practice environments heard that these states are not necessary for insight and awakening. However, anyone who read the suttas, quickly realize, that these four states, appear repeatedly in the Buddha’s descriptions of the path to liberation. Reading the suttas over many years I have found many passages in which the Buddha refers to the four jhanas as intrinsic and essential to the development of liberating wisdom and awakening. The four jhanas were certainly fundamental in the Buddha’s own path to awakening: The one with great wisdom,
:coffee:


Link to review of book

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thomaslaw
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

nirodh27 wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 11:32 am Instead a careful and long analysis bring us to harmonize the stepwise training with the eightfold-path discovering that the initial 8-fold path probably (but if we accept the methodology, it seems hard to refute) was starting with right action and not with right view and right thought (both of them doesn't evaporate in thin air of course, but the argoment is very long and I really don't have the required ability to explain it).
According to SN 47.16 = SA 624, the moral discipline (sila) is a foundation for practising the four stations/foundations of mindfulness (pp. 216-8). The moral discipline is about 'right action':
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nirodh27
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by nirodh27 »

thomaslaw wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 11:45 pm
nirodh27 wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 11:32 am Instead a careful and long analysis bring us to harmonize the stepwise training with the eightfold-path discovering that the initial 8-fold path probably (but if we accept the methodology, it seems hard to refute) was starting with right action and not with right view and right thought (both of them doesn't evaporate in thin air of course, but the argoment is very long and I really don't have the required ability to explain it).
According to SN 47.16 = SA 624, the moral discipline (sila) is a foundation for practising the four stations/foundations of mindfulness (pp. 216-8). The moral discipline is about 'right action':
:goodpost:

Re-reading the suttas those days, this start for the eightfold-path as right action would make better sense of many progressions. Sila > Samadhi > Panna :smile:
Pulsar
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

thomaslaw wrote
According to SN 47.16 = SA 624, the moral discipline (sila) is a foundation for practising the four stations/foundations of mindfulness (pp. 216-8).
  • The moral discipline is about 'right action'
nirodh27 wrote
Re-reading the suttas those days, this start for the eightfold-path as right action would make better sense of many progressions. Sila > Samadhi > Panna
Makes perfect sense. How did write view become the entrance to the Buddha Dhamma? Isn't this a spiritually mature realization that occurs after unrelenting practice?
I thank Dr. Bucknell for pointing out, that the tradition presented two forms of right view. Tradition covered all its tracks. Regarding the need for 10-fold path??? Did the Buddha really present two forms of right view or is it the creative imagination of Abhidhamma?
I got the book as a Xmas gift.
I finished reading it in a weekend. I can see why you guys complained about the price. $35 might have been a fair price. The author has not answered the second order question.
I had not realized that Dhamma can be divided into first order and second order.
To respond to this book, I might have to write a book which will take me another 20 years? Will I see the light of day then?

To me the most disheartening thing:
the book claims to clarify the doctrine, but not the practice? Doctrine is about Paticca Samauppada, and clarifying the aggregates, and Noble Truths, which a majority of Buddhists are mystified by, based on their publicly expressed comments, and disputes.
Somewhere in the text,
"The author admits that he is puzzled why perception is left out of the sequence of Paticca samuppada"

A good point, but he does not offer a solution. Perhaps he does not want to drill holes in the tradition??? I wish politics played no role in the transmission of the Doctrine of the Buddha.
So has the book clarified the doctrine?
I read a postscript?? by Martin Stuart-Fox which admitted, four chapters had to be left out in the final publication. Maybe the answers are in the missing chapters??
With love :candle:
PS I will add a few comments as I find the time.
BrokenBones
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by BrokenBones »

nirodh27 wrote: Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:02 pm
thomaslaw wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 11:45 pm
nirodh27 wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 11:32 am Instead a careful and long analysis bring us to harmonize the stepwise training with the eightfold-path discovering that the initial 8-fold path probably (but if we accept the methodology, it seems hard to refute) was starting with right action and not with right view and right thought (both of them doesn't evaporate in thin air of course, but the argoment is very long and I really don't have the required ability to explain it).
According to SN 47.16 = SA 624, the moral discipline (sila) is a foundation for practising the four stations/foundations of mindfulness (pp. 216-8). The moral discipline is about 'right action':
:goodpost:

Re-reading the suttas those days, this start for the eightfold-path as right action would make better sense of many progressions. Sila > Samadhi > Panna :smile:
My two cents...

Obviously the eightfold path intertwines on itself to some extent but Right View has to be first if the path is to be undertaken.

Not the ultimate Right View but the acceptance of the Buddha's proposed view that everything else is built on.

All of the seven other aspects of the path can be undertaken but without reference to Right View as the guiding principle then we're just swimming around in samsara. A good deed is just a good deed; but with Right View as a basis it has the potential to be an advancement on the Path.

Likewise a mistake or mindless 'bad deed' is just that to someone without Right View but to someone who possesses Right View then it serves as a hard lesson on the path... hopefully to be learnt from.

Initially, Right View is just the attitude/outlook we have when engaging with the world... all our actions/thoughts/wisdom is referenced back to this view.
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

Dr. Bucknell advises:
those who are interested in meditation should read
The Twilight Language
That helped me get an idea of the historical context in which various meditative techniques evolved.
Its authors are Roderick S. Bucknell and Martin Stuart-Fox.
It provides a reference to G. C. Pande's "Studies in the Origins of Buddhism" The link is freely available on the internet, and it is well worth spending a few days reflecting on Pande's work.
http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documen ... _Pande.pdf
On page 27 of Twilight Language there is this:
There is evidence, however, that much of what passed as sutta was actually abhidhamma, the commentators having frequently placed their own summaries and explanations in the mouth of the founder.
a bit startling, yet something I had begun to suspect, as I waded into the Pali canon.
It also did not surprise me that words were conveniently fed into Dhammadina's mouth, in MN 44. but why Dhammadina?
With love :candle:
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu »

In a seminal treatise from the second patriarch of the Huáyán sect, he divides it according to the eightfold path in 10 steps. "The view" is duplicated therein. Chapter 2 is on Orthodoxy ("right view"), and Chapter 10 is on Gnosis of the Truth ("wisdom/prajñā/paññā"). From beginning to end, the path is a path to Gnosis and a refinement of Gnosis. We start with the view that we may arrive at the view. This IMO inasmuch as it divides "the view" into two is not dissonant with the logic of the path of the Āryans when it is presented as in the traditional eight steps. "The View" is vital. Countless suttas argue this. Without "the View," any amount of dhyāna is pointless. Hence for the ascetics of DN 1, who are devoid of the View, dhyāna is a hindrance.
I behold you, for upon my body
you have enacted many yajñas.
The robe of your glory covers my body.
You have filled me with treasures greater than the seven gems.

Upon my body, your gifts are counted in the asaṃkhyeyas.
Upon my body, you have renounced your body.
Upon my body, you have cut your skin, spilled your blood,
broken your bones, and burned your flesh.

The ocean of your charity is stored in the rivers of my hair.
Just as the Victor prevails over death,
the torrent of the ocean prevails over Māra's hosts
when I twist my hair and release it upon them.
thomaslaw
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

"Right View" (including the middle way of "Emptiness") is a characteristically Buddhist teaching, not Jhana/dhyana.
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l_rivers
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by l_rivers »

I think the fundamental injunction to do no wrong or if so doing immediatly seek to diminish it, to do good, and if doing good, put your back into it - and to tame your mind is 'Right View' and is the fall back setting out position as it is an attitude about how to carry yourself on the Path, and this is way enough on my plate, for this life and the next.

But for clairifying View and Path -: I have to believe there is, in theory, existing Buddhists with verifiable experience [wiki: had a view of the element?] to help here.

With 400 million Buddhists in the World and 1.5 in the USA some MUST be stream winners [sotāpanna] and, by definition, have glimpsed the goal. If the Buddhist of Japan can issue certificates of Satori ...isn't there a notion of who these are? [I don't mean Famous Names on Tour or Tulkus]
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by Mumfie »

Pulsar wrote: Tue Jan 03, 2023 12:08 pm Makes perfect sense. How did write view become the entrance to the Buddha Dhamma?
Perhaps owing to the statement (somewhere early in the AN) that "Right view is the forerunner of all kusala states."

Perhaps because to be able observe sīla one must distinguish kusala actions from akusala ones. In MN9 distinguishing kusala from akusala is presented as a facet of right view.

And perhaps because several of the suttas' gradual path formulations commence with such actions as visiting a teacher, listening, memorizing, reciting, pondering, analysing, discussing, etc., in short, with the sort of actions on which the arising of right view depends, and with sīla and sense-restraint only coming later.
“Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend,
Shall daunt his spirit;”
John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress II)
Pulsar
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

Responding to my question "How did Right View become the introduction to the path?",
Mmfie wrote
Perhaps owing to the statement (somewhere early in the AN) that "Right view is the forerunner of all kusala states....etc"
In order to respond to you, it would be easier if you knew in advance where Dr. Rod Bucknell is coming from. Have you read the book? I assume we are discussing the ideas Dr. Bucknell has presented, and not the entire Pali canon. If you have the book, I can refer to certain pages instead of taking the time to copy parts of the book.
Once you reply, I will try my best to respond.
With love :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

I_rivers wrote
I think the fundamental injunction to do no wrong or if so doing immediatly seek to diminish it, to do good, and if doing good, put your back into it - and to tame your mind is 'Right View' and is the fall back setting out position as it is an attitude about how to carry yourself on the Path, and this is way enough on my plate, for this life and the next.
Do you think it is enough "Right View" for one aspiring to be released from Samsara/suffering?
Regards :candle:
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

thomaslaw wrote
According to SN 47.16 = SA 624, the moral discipline (sila) is a foundation for practising the four stations/foundations of mindfulness (pp. 216-8). The moral discipline is about 'right action':
Thanks for the emphasis on 'right action' The excerpts you bring from Dr. Choong's translations are immensely helpful.
Do you have a translation of the agama parallel of SN 12.63 by Dr. Choong? The parallel is SA 373. I find an error in the Pali version. I like to check whether Dr. Choong made any comments on that.
Regards :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by Pulsar »

Earlier I complained about the price of this book, looking back that complaint was kind of
petty.
It is worth every penny. To get the full value of the book one must read Dr. Bucknell's previous publications such as
"Conditiined Arising Evolves: Variation and Change in Textual accounts of Paticca-Samuppada Doctrine" and
"Twilight Language"
Latter, I am just finishing. The Retracing technique he referred to, I find it very helpful in practicing Sathipatthana.
My go to sutta in the practice of Mindfulness is SN 47.42,
"Origination of suffering"
This concise sutta combines Satipatthana, Dependent origination and the Four Noble Truths. One requires a firm understanding of what
feeding
means, found in SN 12.63. Its agama parallel is somewhat different and I found it more helpful.
  • Subtle differences in translation create huge differences in understanding.
In the current edition of "Reconstructing Early Buddhism" Bucknell has not brought this up, but he also claims that the text is not about meditation. So there!
Bucknell had been a Theravadin monk and had practised alongside Theravadin monks in Thailand. He was also a marine biologist. I think that is a cool combination. It leans him towards freedom of inquiry.
He refers to the flaws of Theravadin meditation techniques.
I am grateful that these authors continue to
Reconstruct Early Buddhism.
I recall Dr. Alexander Wynne's comment on the matter "it will take generations".
Undoubtedly!
In this book Bucknell makes an attempt to reveal the flaws that are found in the Pali canon. He analyzes in detail the sutta attributed to Dhammadina. MN 44, and MN 43 are often used by Theravadin scholars to prove their points. But did Buddha, Sariputta or Dhammadina have anything to do with these suttas?
Are Thervadin scholars justified in using suttas constructed by later Abhidhammikas to support the suttas that can be genuinely attributed to Buddha? a conflict of interests?
A good comparison of SN/SA will provide the answers to future scholars who embark on this Noble Effort of
Reconstructing Early Buddhism
With Love :candle:
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nirodh27
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Re: Dr Rod Bucknell's forthcoming new book: Reconstructing Early Buddhism

Post by nirodh27 »

Pulsar wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 3:17 pm Earlier I complained about the price of this book, looking back that complaint was kind of
petty.
It is worth every penny.
Glad that you found value in the Book, I felt partially responsible for the money spent on it :jumping:
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