Malcolm wrote:Well, I don't think the four seals are a sufficient criteria: for example, the Saṃkhya school regards conditioned phenomena as being nonself, suffering, and impermanent (the manner in which they do so is a bit different than the Buddha's formulation, nevertheless...), and the experience of purusha can easily be equated with the unsupported consciousness of the Pali suttas...so...
I recently read this in DJKR's Buddha Nature book:
Buddhists talk about “not truly existent”, and I think that in this present day, this is like the ace up our sleeves, our trump card. It is what distinguishes the Buddhist view. However, only the Samkhyas, the high Samkhyas, have a view that is so close to the Buddhist view as to be nearly indistinguishable.
Yes, he is referring to the early non-theistic Saṃkhya of the Rishi Kapila, rather than the later theistic Saṃkhya.
But this merely goes to show that it is difficult to define a universal core set of Buddhist doctrines that are uniquely and distinctly Buddhist.
It is much easier to define what is not Buddhist than what is "Buddhist" in fact.
Universe created by God? Ok not Buddhist. And that's about it.
Actually, if there is a teaching in Buddhism that is uniquely the Buddha's, it is dependent origination i.e. where this exists, that exists, where that arose, this arose; where that does not exist, this does not exist, with the ceasing of that, this ceased, etc.
But not all "Buddhist" schools acccept this as the sine qua non of Dharma. For example, in Dzogchen, the twelve limbs are considered merely a gateway for deluded people, but not the sine qua non of Dharma.