Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

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Nosta
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Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Nosta » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:47 pm

From what i've been reading, there are many translation mistakes on the original bible texts. Such errors were without purpose but many of them were in purpose. because of that, Bible is FULL of errors and some of them are serious ones. Examples: in the original texts there were no references to a Virgin (Mary), some stories were added later (like the most important one: Ressurrection!!), Jesus had brothers, etc. I am talking about errors in Bible, not about the apocryphal books where we find things like Jesus kissing Madalena, etc.

My question is: do we find such serious kind of mistakes on buddhist scriptures? Do we have things added later, invented stories, translation erros, etc? If so, which ones are the worst ones? What about errors on Pure Land texts?

Thanks

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Wesley1982
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Wesley1982 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:42 pm

I'm familiar with biblical texts in Christianity.

If you approach your readings of the Christian scriptures in manner of a bible scholar then you'll get a critical review.

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bodhipunk
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby bodhipunk » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:40 am

I don't know if there are errors per say, but there is hardly ever a "one-word translation" as any linguist knows that there are a lot of polysemous words in Pali and Sanskrit. Look at "dukkha" and the many translations people give for it, or even the different uses of "dharma" as either a mental quality, a phenomenon in and of itself, or as the teachings of Buddha. There is also the example of the Four Noble Truths. Buddha used the term "cattari ariyasaccani" in Pali or "catvari aryasatyani" in Sanskrit. "Aryasatyani" is often translated as "noble truths", but I guess it could also be translated as "reality of the noble ones" or "truth of the noble ones" - which would mean that it isn't just the "truth" itself that is "noble", but the truths which will make one noble. They are also "truths" in the same way that they are "realities", as they are categories of experiences. There are certainly some subtleties when it comes to translating texts from one language to another.

As per the question if there was anything added to the original texts, this article questions the authenticity about certain Suttas in the Tipitaki, and whether they were later additions or not. From the article, "Now by 'authentic' I don't mean to imply that we necessarily have the Buddha's exact words - on anything. I do mean that the suttas present stratified layers of material, some of which is certainly NOT from the era of the historical Buddha. It is possible to distinguish what is 'authentic' in the sense of being from the early layers and possibly represent teaching of the historical Buddha, from what is clearly a later layer that clearly cannot make any claim of being the teachings of the historical Buddha."

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Nosta
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Nosta » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:43 pm

Thanks for the answers so far.

Any more insights on these questions?

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Wesley1982
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Wesley1982 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:28 am

Since the B.C. historical period the Buddha may have had a personal scribe. Not sure

acarefreeman
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby acarefreeman » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:18 am

Nosta wrote:From what i've been reading, there are many translation mistakes on the original bible texts. Such errors were without purpose but many of them were in purpose. because of that, Bible is FULL of errors and some of them are serious ones. Examples: in the original texts there were no references to a Virgin (Mary), some stories were added later (like the most important one: Ressurrection!!), Jesus had brothers, etc. I am talking about errors in Bible, not about the apocryphal books where we find things like Jesus kissing Madalena, etc.

My question is: do we find such serious kind of mistakes on buddhist scriptures? Do we have things added later, invented stories, translation erros, etc? If so, which ones are the worst ones? What about errors on Pure Land texts?

Thanks


Dear Nosta,

Answers to the questions that you've asked will not let your concerns simply go away, but rather they may be aggravated (i.e., made more serious) by these answers, and if my perception is correct, then there is an alternative, and in fact, more effective, approach to your problem. For example, obviously you are having trouble with the Pure Land Sutra/Practice, but unfortunately the solution is not found in the same sutra/practice, and that is why you have been struggling for quite a while.

Do you want to explore something new? Please let me know.

Regards,

~acarefreeman

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Astus
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:03 am

The Bible has an immensely larger importance in Christianity than a single sutra in Buddhism. If you look at any of the canons - and there are many - you find many teachings of different sorts. Also, besides the Theravada claim for Pali, there are no sutras in the language of the Buddha, but different translations. And when it comes to English, it's another translation. However, while translators can make mistakes, it's not really the point. Buddhism is more than just texts. Plus, if you have doubts about a certain scripture, you can investigate it, once you have the necessary knowledge for that of course.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Nosta
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Nosta » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:14 pm

The reason for my question is not about doubts (about Pure Land for example); i made the question because i am reading a Dan Brown like book where they argue that the bible is FULL of errors. So, as a curiosity, i tought to myself if such kind of issues happens with Buddhism. For example, because of translations mistakes, everybody thinks that Mary is a virgin but in fact it is not.

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Mr. G
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Mr. G » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:20 pm

You may enjoy this reading:

http://hompy.buddhapia.com/homepy/iabtc ... Sutras.pdf

And this:

Making sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra

Also check out "Buddhist Sutras: Origin, Development, Transmission" by Kogen Mizuno
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu

Blue Garuda
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:19 pm

Those who remembered the words of the Buddha, those who wrote them down, and those who translated them were not all Buddhas. There will be errors, omissions and additions.

You may encounter fundamentalists in Buddhism as in Christianity who believe that what they read is totally valid because it is what the Buddha actually taught.

Others will limit that to the teachings ascribed to Shakyamuni and reject the Mahayana and Vajrayana.

In short, errors are pretty much a certainty.

However, you will encounter much argument about terminology on the web. From my perspective I see Theravadans describe the Mahayana and Vajrayana as 'superstition', and also seen Mahayana and Vajrayana followers call Theravada a 'HInayana' practice, and claim it to be inferior.

Briefly, nobody knows. Examine the sources you have available and engage in practice based upon what seems correct and you will discover if it works for you. I'm not a fan of 'one size fits all' and feel sorry for those who struggle for decades with an approach which really does not suit them, frustrated at the progress of their companions. I also lay part of the blame at the feet of gurus who believe that what worked for them must be 'the way' for someone else - the fact is that they may not know of any alternative.

Good luck. :)
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Anders
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Anders » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:29 am

Nosta wrote:From what i've been reading, there are many translation mistakes on the original bible texts. Such errors were without purpose but many of them were in purpose. because of that, Bible is FULL of errors and some of them are serious ones. Examples: in the original texts there were no references to a Virgin (Mary), some stories were added later (like the most important one: Ressurrection!!), Jesus had brothers, etc. I am talking about errors in Bible, not about the apocryphal books where we find things like Jesus kissing Madalena, etc.

My question is: do we find such serious kind of mistakes on buddhist scriptures? Do we have things added later, invented stories, translation erros, etc? If so, which ones are the worst ones? What about errors on Pure Land texts?

Thanks


Yes, plenty. The scholarly consensus is that basically all Mahayana sutras were 'invented', ie not spoken by the historical Buddha. Furthermore, many of these sutras show signs of developing over time.

And Looking at the pre-mahayana sutras, there are many differences in various places between the canons of the various schools.

In regards to pre-mahayana sutra, which are largely considered historical, there is a major difference between Buddhism and Christianity. Jesus taught for three years and died persecuted. Only a handful of records survive today. The Buddha taught for 40 years and left behind a well-established monastic order that organised thousands of monks into oral recitation groups to preserve his teaching. That means where errors, inventions and such might have crept into Christian lore it could be quite decisive because the actual intent might not be re-stated or clarified elsewhere. Where it has crept into Buddhism, it is generally restricted to tertiary issues and odd historical points. All the major and secondary points of the teachings were repeated and clarified over and over again by the Buddha and these repetitions have been preserved in so many places it leaves very little room for uncertainty about the the majority of the historical Buddha's teachings.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Nosta
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby Nosta » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:16 pm

Thank you all of you for the answers so far :namaste:

acarefreeman
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Re: Question: Errors on Buddhist Scriptures

Postby acarefreeman » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:24 am

Nosta wrote:Thank you all of you for the answers so far :namaste:


Have you got what you are looking for, Mr. Nosta?

Now that the 'scholars' already have a concensus that the Mahayana sutras, with the Pure Land sutras included, are later "inventions", not Buddha's original teaching, how are you going to respond to this? 'Sowing' a light curiosity and 'reaping' a grave concern seems not to be what Nosta had expected, yet unfortunately there is little evidence at the moment which makes me believe otherwise.

To add to what Mr. Anders Honore has said, I want to mention that these 'scholars' might also have a concensus, even if they dare not to publicly speak it out, that the Buddhist, with Buddha's own lifetime disciples included, made many false statements about the historical Budda regarding, for example, his supernatural powers and other aspects; and there is even a famous 'scholar' who made the bold claim that the Buddha himself is a Buddhist invention. In short, if these scholars are right, then what is at stake is not just Mahayana Buddhism, it is alomost certain to be the whole Buddhist tradition.

Now the only question is: Are these 'scholars' to be trusted? Why or why not?

~acarefreeman


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