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The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery? - Page 3 - Dhamma Wheel

The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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martinfrank
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Books are only books!

Postby martinfrank » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:41 am

Hi!

I find the words "forgery" and "fake" inappropriate, because

1. the Buddhist texts are exactly this, "texts". They are not contracts, nor legal papers, nor do they come with an attached warranty.
2. The words "forgery" and "fake" imply that somebody is disappointed or feels deceived, but by whom? Did he/she pay the good monks/nuns and laymen/laywomen who were so sweet to carry those precious texts through 2500 years to us? Did these monks/nuns and laymen/laywomen promise "you" that they would make no mistake?
3. These texts have gone through wars, earthquakes, genocides, pests, fires and floods. It weren't always the wisest or the most learned monks/nuns, laymen/laywomen who survived. Please be gentle with our good friends who passed away. Maybe they made mistakes. They might have stuck together the wrong palm leaves; they might have added passages they thought somebody had forgotten; maybe they even changed some words they thought somebody else had copied wrongly. Is that faking or forgery? Did you ever try to learn by heart or copy the Abhidhamma Nikaya at > 40° Celsius in a badly lit non-A/C room? Please try!

4. The texts went through a phase of oral transmission. Oral transmission carries the danger that the person memorizing the texts will without willing it, make all similar passages equal, and will also without willing it, replace shorter versions of the same passage with longer versions.
5. The texts went through a phase of palm leaf transmission with all the problems of broken strings and loose leaves. The texts were real leaves in real baskets. Many accidents happened and the persons who tried to repair the accidents often didn't have "another basket" (or a CD) to check whether they were getting the broken sequence or the missing leaves right. Not to speak of insects eating whole words...
6. The texts went through centuries of copying, see 3. above.

I think the historical view is important and can add to our understanding. Unhappily, it will also lead to a lot of unhappiness, because it is a very Western way of thinking, and not acceptable to many traditional Buddhists in Asia. Please be gentle and soft-spoken!

Regarding meditation, I believe it is true that there are some teachers or schools who/which are teaching Vipassana as the only true Buddhist meditation. But the main Theravada Buddhist instruction manual, the "Visuddhimaggo" doesn't limit meditation instructions to this, nor do the meditation teachers at Wat Maha That and many other traditional meditation centers all over Asia.

Finally, we need Sila, Samadhi and Pañña. Sila is more than Vinayo, Samadhi more than Vipassana, and Pañña is much more than Pali. For me, it includes the cool-hearted knowledge that books are only books.

Have a wonderful day!

Martin
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Books are only books!

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:44 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

Brizzy
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Brizzy » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:08 am

Reflecting on the vast array of suttas within the pali canon, I have come to a personal conclusion about the satipatthana sutta's. Bearing in mind the extensive material found within the Samyutta Nikaya concerning satipatthana and explaining things wonderfully, I personally feel the Buddha's teachings are more cohesive and applicable if the two satipatthana suttas were either dropped altogether or reduced to Bhante Sujato's version. As a personal sentiment, it strikes me as poignant that the sutta I feel needs to be set aside was at one time believed by me to be the most important sutta and contained all the Buddha's teachings. Now it strikes me as illogical in its framework and geared to promote doctrines that were formed much later.

Metta

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:24 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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ancientbuddhism
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:01 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:15 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Brizzy » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:02 am

Ignorance is an intentional act.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:46 am

I went back and looked at Ven Sujato's analysis, and it is interesting to see how such (most?) suttas were clearly created over time.

However, my overall feeling after all that analysis is: "So what?"

For the approaches I'm most familiar with that are based to a large extent on the Satipatthana Sutta, such as the Mahasi approach and the approach of many the Ajahn Chah students (Vens Brahm and Sujato have a rather different approach to the other Ajahn Chah students I'm familiar with), a few variations here and there are of no particular significance. Anything that may have been added seems to be well-represented in dozens of other suttas and, in any case, those approaches already make use of material from other suttas (such as dependent origination suttas).

I guess if one comes to the suttas with the idea that they contain detailed specific instructions and/or that it is possible to reconstruct a "direct from the Buddha's lips" canon, one might be concerned about the variations. If one sees them as guidelines to be fleshed out by experience in a living tradition there is much less cause for concern.

:anjali:
Mike

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ancientbuddhism
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:20 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:25 am


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daverupa
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:27 pm


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mikenz66
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:27 pm

Yes, the people who constructed the various suttas, such as the Satipatthana and Anapanasati Suttas, over a period of time were inspired, weren't they?

Lucky for us...

:anjali:
Mike

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daverupa
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:32 pm

Well, other thoughts arise for me in this case:

If the Buddha taught via this simile, why did other schools drop it?
If the Buddha did not teach via this simile, why not?
Was there another simile? Was it replaced by this one?
etc.

Perhaps the most bothersome issue:

Why is this simile nowhere in the Anapanasati Samyutta?

:heart:

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:43 pm


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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:59 pm

Hi Dave,

And the importance of this is what?

As I said, it seems clear that every moderately long sutta, including the Anapanasati, Satipatthana, and so on, has been added to.

I guess one's reaction to this uncertainty depends on whether one thinks that the ancients who assembled the teachings, or the modern commentators/teachers who still teach and discuss them, knew/know what they were/are talking about. Should I think that a simile added by an ancient teacher is less useful to me than commentary by modern scholars? Does it make any difference to how I should practice?

Is it possible to figure out exactly what is original? Is any of it original?

:anjali:
Mike

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daverupa
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:22 pm


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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:37 pm

OK, that' sounds reasonable but since it's likely that every sutta is a "forgery" (in the sense of the OP), I'm not confident that it's actually possible to figure out the exact details of the Buddha taught.

:anjali:
Mike

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:38 pm


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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:43 pm


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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:08 am



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