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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:10 pm 
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http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/is-the-lotus-sutra-authentic-by-bhikkhu-sujato/

A different slant and actually a brisk rehursal of the inevitable introductory "Is Mahayana Fake?" discussion.

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Jason on September 12, 2012 at 10:49 am said:

I really appreciate the interesting philological work you are doing here. I am not an expert on Buddhism but I am a philologist of ancient Greek texts. I just want to point out that the question of a “real” or “fake” quote is really just a matter of whether it authentically goes back to an ancient text. Whether the ancient text was an accurate representation of the original speaker is really a totally different issue. In most cases, it’s unverifiable. For example, we can prove whether someone is quoting the gospel of John or not, but there is no way to be sure that “John” was quoting Jesus accurately. I practice in a Mahayana tradition, and while I certainly accept that historically speaking the Theravada canon is more likely to go back to the historical Buddha, it is reasonable to assume that there was at least some evolution in the memory of the Buddha’s words before they were written down in the form we know them. I have watched similar debates about the historical Jesus for many years now and have observed that there is a danger when people get too worked up over who has access to the most authentic historical information. All Buddhist traditions have taken on a life of their own ever since Gautama first spun the wheel of the dharma.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:51 pm 
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Leo Rivers wrote:
http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/is-the-lotus-sutra-authentic-by-bhikkhu-sujato/

A different slant and actually a brisk rehursal of the inevitable introductory "Is Mahayana Fake?" discussion.

Sample:

Quote:
Jason on September 12, 2012 at 10:49 am said:

I really appreciate the interesting philological work you are doing here. I am not an expert on Buddhism but I am a philologist of ancient Greek texts. I just want to point out that the question of a “real” or “fake” quote is really just a matter of whether it authentically goes back to an ancient text. Whether the ancient text was an accurate representation of the original speaker is really a totally different issue. In most cases, it’s unverifiable. For example, we can prove whether someone is quoting the gospel of John or not, but there is no way to be sure that “John” was quoting Jesus accurately. I practice in a Mahayana tradition, and while I certainly accept that historically speaking the Theravada canon is more likely to go back to the historical Buddha, it is reasonable to assume that there was at least some evolution in the memory of the Buddha’s words before they were written down in the form we know them. I have watched similar debates about the historical Jesus for many years now and have observed that there is a danger when people get too worked up over who has access to the most authentic historical information. All Buddhist traditions have taken on a life of their own ever since Gautama first spun the wheel of the dharma.


I think Bhikkhu Sujato gave a very measured and reasonable response to the question of the authenticity of the Lotus Sutra - especially coming from a Theravadin Bhikkhu. But apparently some posters still took him to task :tongue:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:55 pm 
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I would expect them to.
I'll wait to hear some views on this thread.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:22 pm 
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What is often forgot in the search for the "original teachings" is that there is no such definition in Buddhism of what should be considered the Buddha's saying. It is, as the OP's quote shows, a confusion with modern Christian ideas about looking for the "real (historical) Jesus". Unlike the Judeo-Christian world view, Buddhism is not based on a historical narration but on the Saddharma that is accessible to all. So, verification of a teaching relies not on historical investigation but on personal experience.

"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to utter disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'" (AN 7.79)

Also check: Recognizing the Dhamma

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
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"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:29 am 
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I agree with Astus as I really have nothing to say to the topic, I'm not a 19th century Western Buddhist who went to Ceylon and excitedly tried to turn Buddhism into a version of 19th century Christianity. My atheist religion professor tried the same thing on me in class years ago, I just looked at him and said "who cares whose mouth it comes out of if it's the Dharma?"
gassho
Rory

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:39 am 
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Quote:
"who cares whose mouth it comes out of if it's the Dharma?"


Not being prejudiced against any source for learning is a GREAT attitude. :cheers: But this begs the question - so I'll ask it.

I have to ask you your criteria for identifying speech as Dharma.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:13 am 
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Fair enough question; I'd say the accepted canon of Mahayana Sutras = Dharma. I happen to be a follower of the Tiantai School, so the Lotus Sutra is deeply important to me. It's profoundly important to East Asian Buddhism. It isn't important to Tibetan Buddhists or Theravada Buddhism. That's their choice. As a Buddhist I have noticed that the equality of all believers and ideas like transference of merit do not exist in TB which are normative in East Asia, karma is much more fixed and there is an emphasis on tradition vs change. Interesting how influential the Lotus Sutra is. Interestingly the big next textual studies are the Gandhara documents.
gassho
Rory

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http://www.hbsitalia.it/
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:28 pm 
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Quote:
so the Lotus Sutra is deeply important to me. It's profoundly important to East Asian Buddhism. It isn't important to Tibetan Buddhists or Theravada Buddhism. That's their choice.


That is because the Yogacara of the Abhidharmasutra, Asanga and the Vasubandhu of the commentaries, can be read as a return to the Middle Way as a responce to extremes taken by some enthusiast proponants of the emptiness logic Nagarjuna initiated on one hand and the reification of a Tathagata initiated by the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra on the other.

This Classical (practice self-defined) Yogacara was within a few generations diverted by India's new love affair with logic into a new school of Yogacara which presented a Yogacara unable to compete popularly with the appeal of rhetorical emptiness arguements in the colleges and the popularity of devotional Buddhism that preferred the apparant atman-clone offered by a concretized albeit transcendant Tathagata definition of Buddha. That is why Tibet has an emptiness school sutra explination and the Kagud call their Tathagata/Empty of Other re-interpretation of the 5 Maitreya Texts a "yogacara" view. Ee gads! Some times it seems they pour this single interpretation like catsup over everything.

The only known Indian commentary on the Lotus Sutra was by the Vasubandhu of the commentaries, and it purposefully steered the Lotus Sutra away from it's Tathaga-sutra school roots by imposing a more emptiness school defination on it. I have communicated with the editor of the sanskrit Lotus and he told me that there was only 4 references to emptiness meditaion in a technical sense in the Lotus. After I researched this and got back to him he agreed to drop it to two.

Did you know the opening scened is IDENTICAL in the Lotus Sutra and the Prajna Mother in 8000 lines? I just found a new sutra that is half way between these two!




Bibliographic information
Title Vasubandhu's Commentary to the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra: A Study of Its History and Significance
Author Terry Rae Abbott
Edition reprint
Publisher University Microfilms, 1986
Original from the University of Michigan
Digitized Jun 29, 2009
Length 440 pages


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