pre-Buddhism?

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pre-Buddhism?

Postby Dragon » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:29 pm

Before Buddhism (and, thus) enlightenment were identified and coined as common terms, what became of sentient beings? Is it like Christianity where no one was saved until Christ came to earth? Was no one enlightened before Gautama Buddha became enlightened?
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:38 pm

Dragon wrote:Before Buddhism (and, thus) enlightenment were identified and coined as common terms, what became of sentient beings? Is it like Christianity where no one was saved until Christ came to earth? Was no one enlightened before Gautama Buddha became enlightened?


There were previous Buddhas to Shakyamuni...and presumably, have always been by implication. Lots in the future too.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Dragon » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:42 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:There were previous Buddhas to Shakyamuni...and presumably, have always been by implication. Lots in the future too.


If there were previous Buddhas, why was Gautama Buddha's story the first recorded? Or am I misunderstanding this and there were other writings passed down before Gautama Buddha's enlightenment?
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:00 pm

Dragon wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:There were previous Buddhas to Shakyamuni...and presumably, have always been by implication. Lots in the future too.


If there were previous Buddhas, why was Gautama Buddha's story the first recorded? Or am I misunderstanding this and there were other writings passed down before Gautama Buddha's enlightenment?
I imagine that it wasn't the first that was recorded, but like the stuff that was recorded about Shakyamuni Buddha, being impermanent phenomena, they were lost over time.

There are/were also Pratyeka or Pacceka Buddhas in the ages between supremely enlightened buddhas. Since they do not teach, and they do not have a sangha, they leave no real record of their existence.

There are references to some of them in the Jataka tales:
http://jathakakatha.org/english/index.p ... &Itemid=97
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/j5/j5022.htm
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Dragon » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:04 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Dragon wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:There were previous Buddhas to Shakyamuni...and presumably, have always been by implication. Lots in the future too.


If there were previous Buddhas, why was Gautama Buddha's story the first recorded? Or am I misunderstanding this and there were other writings passed down before Gautama Buddha's enlightenment?
I imagine that it wasn't the first that was recorded, but like the stuff that was recorded about Shakyamuni Buddha, being impermanent phenomena, they were lost over time.

There are/were also Pratyeka or Pacceka Buddhas in the ages between supremely enlightened buddhas. Since they do not teach, and they do not have a sangha, they leave no real record of their existence.

There are references to some of them in the Jataka tales:
http://jathakakatha.org/english/index.p ... &Itemid=97
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/j5/j5022.htm


Ah, thank you. So is this to suggest that Buddhism may, in fact, be an older religion than, let's say, Hinduism? I'm just trying to get an idea of whether or not Buddhism stemmed off of Hinduism like many suggest, or it was a separate entity occurring at the same time as, or even before, Hinduism.
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:37 pm

Dragon wrote:Ah, thank you. So is this to suggest that Buddhism may, in fact, be an older religion than, let's say, Hinduism?
Well, there is not really such a thing as Hinduism, but... Let's just say that the Ramayana of Valmiki, for example, was apparently written in 500 or 400BCE (around the same time the Buddha was living) and the events depicted in the Mahabharata were from the 9th to 8th century BCE (some 400-500 years before Buddhas lifetime). But even these dates are pretty recent when you compare them to Ancient Greek (starting around 1600BCE) and Ancient Egyptian (staring around 3150 BCE) religions. And then if you compare it to Aboriginal Australian religious practices (some 20,000+ years ago), well, it all starts to fade into insignificance really.
I'm just trying to get an idea of whether or not Buddhism stemmed off of Hinduism like many suggest, or it was a separate entity occurring at the same time as, or even before, Hinduism.
Given the time frames, it was probably a break off from some form of "Hinduism".
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:17 pm

Dragon wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:There were previous Buddhas to Shakyamuni...and presumably, have always been by implication. Lots in the future too.


If there were previous Buddhas, why was Gautama Buddha's story the first recorded? Or am I misunderstanding this and there were other writings passed down before Gautama Buddha's enlightenment?



Well Gautama told of other Buddhas, and some say that there is some evidence, but it can be inferred that at least some were prior to things like written records in our cycle of things..An eon in ancient Indian thought is huge, and if there is anything to it then many, many, things will have been forgotten, including the identity of previous Buddhas.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Dragon » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:24 pm

Hmm, interesting. Thanks, everyone. Food for thought.

I can't help but wonder, though, are buddhas merely just... 'aliens?' Perhaps not in the literal sense of the word, with the silver skin and large black cat eyes. No, no. I mean that they may come from a different dimension of sorts, since they have been around for so many eons, and are so unique and, well, enlightened!
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:59 pm

From a Buddhist perspective, the Buddha only discovered what was known before him by previous buddhas. And, as mentioned, there were pratyekabuddhas when the Dharma was generally extinct.

As for the idea that Buddhism is some sort of offshoot of Hinduism, not at all. For instance, today reincarnation is a core element of Hinduism, however, it was most likely originally spread by Buddhism in India. In the Buddhist canon itself you get a nice description of the local religions, and that consisted mostly of various ascetic orders, among them the Jainas being the most outstanding, the old pantheon of gods that can be connected to the Vedas and generally to Indo-European paganism, and there were the brahmanas doing their rituals. What appears today as Hinduism, that's quite a different story.

You may want to look into some studies in this area, like those of Johannes Bronkhorst:

Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India
Buddhism in the Shadow of Brahmanism
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"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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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:04 pm

See this article I wrote:
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=28_Buddhas

The previous Buddhas may have lived in prehistoric times, before written language or could have been from a previous world cycle, perhaps a different planet; i.e. prior solar system (as we know from astronomy and the Tripitaka, planets and stars are born, evolve, perish, and get reconstituted back again).
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:09 pm

Astus wrote:For instance, today reincarnation is a core element of Hinduism, however, it was most likely originally spread by Buddhism in India.
Do you have a (non-Buddhist) source for this view?

Thanks!
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:15 pm

Dragon wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:There were previous Buddhas to Shakyamuni...and presumably, have always been by implication. Lots in the future too.


If there were previous Buddhas, why was Gautama Buddha's story the first recorded? Or am I misunderstanding this and there were other writings passed down before Gautama Buddha's enlightenment?
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Huifeng » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:30 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
Astus wrote:For instance, today reincarnation is a core element of Hinduism, however, it was most likely originally spread by Buddhism in India.
Do you have a (non-Buddhist) source for this view?

Thanks!


You can check out something like Gombrich's What the Buddha Thought, or Bronkhorst's books above.

Basic argument:

Dating various Indian texts, the earliest appearances of what we now call "reincarnation" (or whatever) appear with the Buddhist texts.

The earliest non-Buddhist sources that come even close are such as the Brhadaranyaka, Chandogya, etc. upanisads; but we're not sure if they really pre-date the Buddha.

And what they say is certainly quite different from what either Buddhists or Hindu ideas now state about "reincarnation".

Jainism may be an exception. But Jainism is certainly heterodox from a Vedic / Brahmanic / Hindu point of view. And the problem of sourcing and dating Jainist texts is really problematic. (Ie. the only ones we have are much later than the Jaina himself.)

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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:24 am

Huifeng wrote:You can check out something like Gombrich's What the Buddha Thought, or Bronkhorst's books above.

Basic argument:

Dating various Indian texts, the earliest appearances of what we now call "reincarnation" (or whatever) appear with the Buddhist texts.

The earliest non-Buddhist sources that come even close are such as the Brhadaranyaka, Chandogya, etc. upanisads; but we're not sure if they really pre-date the Buddha.

And what they say is certainly quite different from what either Buddhists or Hindu ideas now state about "reincarnation".

Jainism may be an exception. But Jainism is certainly heterodox from a Vedic / Brahmanic / Hindu point of view. And the problem of sourcing and dating Jainist texts is really problematic. (Ie. the only ones we have are much later than the Jaina himself.)

~~ Huifeng
Hmmmmm... Interesting! Funny thing is that currently it is such a central teaching and add the fact that most Westerners know/understand reincarnation from a "Hindu" (atman-centred) perspective, that it seems bizarre that it was a concept that was introduced into "Hinudism".
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:31 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Hmmmmm... Interesting! Funny thing is that currently it is such a central teaching and add the fact that most Westerners know/understand reincarnation from a "Hindu" (atman-centred) perspective, that it seems bizarre that it was a concept that was introduced into "Hinudism".


I can't specify a source for this one, whether it is from India or not, but the idea of reincarnation was known to Europeans to some extent before the 19th century rise of Orientalism. In the ancient Greek context it is called metempsychosis and in Judaism it is gilgul. It is also known in Hermeticism.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"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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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby philji » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:42 am

There has been some talk here about reincarnation being introduced into Hinduism BT Buddhism. however ado not the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita pre date Buddhism? These texts specifically teach the concept of an atman reincarnating. The Buddhist view of course is very different.
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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Anders » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:48 pm

Huifeng wrote:Dating various Indian texts, the earliest appearances of what we now call "reincarnation" (or whatever) appear with the Buddhist texts.


If nothing else, the Buddhist texts also tell us that there were other views of reincarnation current in the Buddha's day, given the Buddha's commentary on these.
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I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:24 pm

philji wrote:There has been some talk here about reincarnation being introduced into Hinduism BT Buddhism. however ado not the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita pre date Buddhism? These texts specifically teach the concept of an atman reincarnating. The Buddhist view of course is very different.


The Bhagavad Gita's current form was settled around the 4th century CE, although parts of it are assumed to be as old as the 5th c. BCE. The early Upanishads don't describe reincarnation but rather a path of the soul to Brahman through different stages (Sun and Moon).
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"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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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:49 pm

Anders wrote:If nothing else, the Buddhist texts also tell us that there were other views of reincarnation current in the Buddha's day, given the Buddha's commentary on these.


Reincarnation is said to be known in the Magadha culture, but that's different from the Brahmanic-Vedic culture. Since it was Buddhism that spread out in India (empire of Ashoka) it served as the medium of the doctrine.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"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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Re: pre-Buddhism?

Postby Huifeng » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:37 pm

philji wrote:There has been some talk here about reincarnation being introduced into Hinduism BT Buddhism. however ado not the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita pre date Buddhism? These texts specifically teach the concept of an atman reincarnating. The Buddhist view of course is very different.


Most of the Upanisads (possibly a couple of exceptions) and the Gita are post-Buddhist, despite their own claims to be incredibly ancient.

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