Just because I am not convinced by your arguments does not mean I am ignoring them. You seem to have a thing about 'attacking' me too!
Have you heard of the theory of impermanence? Why do you think a scripture would remain word for word for over 2400 years?
In China classical texts were memorised and written down and passed on. This would have included the DDJ.
Why assume the language of Buddhism in the first century of Sri lanka was in Pali? Richard Salomon has mentioned there are, surprisingly, very few Pali inscriptions found in Sr Lanka from the early period.
I don't think Irish was used in ancient Sri Lanka, but there are a few reasons to think that the scriptures may not have been in Pali, including:
- Scarcity of Pali inscriptions from this era (see Salomon)
- evidence that at least some of the sutta were in a language other than Pali (see norman)
- Buddhagosha had to translate the commentaries into Pali
They may have been in Pali, or another closely related Prakrit.
You ask how I would know what the exact words of the Buddha were.
Well, I don't. But:
- it is likely that the Buddha did not speak Pali.
- It is also likely that, at least part of, the Pali texts were 'translated' into Pali from another dialect.
- The monk Purana, from the time of the Buddha, did not agree with the teachings as per the first council.
- There are discrepancies between the Suttas/agamas as preserved in Gandhari, sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese etc. (would your counterargument would be that these others were all modified and not the Pali?).
In 1977 Charles Prebish and Jan Nattier showed that the Theravada vinaya was probably added to, and the Mahasamghika vinaya is likely to be older. Prebish has just written a new article in Pacific World standing by his 1977 discovery too.
This is what I mean by editing.
I am not sure there was any large scale conscious editing, except maybe at the various councils where texts were standardised.