PadmaVonSamba wrote:Yes, of course a lot of people have definitely stated that these are the words of the Buddha, and they probably are.
But it cannot be proven by any method.
Then, for all intents and purposes, it's the same as saying we have no collection of Shakyamuni Buddha's actual words. It's all hypotheses. It's really a matter of taking the Pali Canon as Shakyamuni Buddha's words on faith.
Yeah, of course. Unless you were there (and maybe we all were)!
This really bothers alot of people, because they don't consider Buddhism to be a faith-based system. So then they think, "well, then what's the difference between this and say, Catholicism?"
So, here are two things to consider. the first is a question, and the second is an observation.:
1.Why does it matter to you
if what is called dharma is what the Buddha said?
There are many good reasons why it could
matter to someone. But to me, this is like being concerned with whether a painting is a genuine Rembrandt. There are valid reasons, but a good painting still hides a crack in the wall. So, I think this is a question people should ask themselves: "Does it matter to me, and if so, why?"
2. Catholicism, as random example, relies heavily on the premise that Jesus was born miraculously and died miraculously. Likewise, Moses talked to a burning shrubbery. What validates
the teachings of a lot of religions is something which must be accepted on faith. It cannot be tested or observed by the follower of that religion.
By contrast, the Buddha-Dharma, if you can call it a religion, differs in that its very existence relies on constant testing, practice and results. So, it doesn't matter whether Prince Siddhartha was born out of his mom's side, or took seven steps when he was born, or floated on a lotus, or radiated golden light or had wagon wheels on the soles of his feet or whatever.
It doesn't actually matter that much that a lineage is unbroken all the way back to the historical Buddha, although many may make this claim, and it may be true. What matters is that the teaching delivers. And what the teaching has to deliver is the perfect cessation of mental suffering. Not conditional cessation, but a perfect cessation. An end to mental striving such that when it is realized, there is no going back.
So, to borrow from the expression, "if it quacks like a duck, it's a duck", if it ends 'samsaric' suffering, it's dharma.