The Original Doctrine and Discipline

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The Original Doctrine and Discipline

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:58 am

Sravasti Dhammika has in his blog told us about a sutta in which Bhagavan Gautama tells bhikkhus about His travels in distant lands and about his teaching the Dharma there, Bhagavan says: "I adopted their garments, their diets, their customs, only then did I teach them Dharma. Then I went to another country and did the same,.. and yet another country,..."

From different existing facts we can conclude that in the first centuries after Parinirvana, or starting even after his enlightenment under Bodhitree, there never was a one unified Sangha, there never was a one unified Doctrine of Dharma, there never was a one unified Vinaya.
Buddha Gautama had preached the doctrine to different peoples according to their understanding, in different ways, in different localities and countries. From the beginning the Dharma existed in diverse different forms, in different languages. It existed in several languages, maybe something like a dozen languages.
100 years after Parinirvana there where some six, seven, eight, or even twenty local independent Sanghas, that each had their independent doctrines and customs and codes of behaviour, and they existed in different languages. At this period the tradition was solely oral.
Dharma existed also among the laity, from the beginning Buddha had taught all people without distinction. Those converted did not always become monks or bhikkhus.
Dharma also existed among the outsiders, ie nonbuddhists, because Bhagavan had often discussed with them.The outsiders did preserve their own versions of what really took place (in the career of Buddha Gautama).
During the first one hundred years the Dharma and Sangha had thus developed into very different and distinct traditions. Buddhists were to some extent aware of this, but they didn't mind.They didn't as yet start any projects of creating an artificial unity of doctrine and dicipline. That happened much later, first attempts toward it took place 300 and 400 years after Parinirvana.
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Re: The Original Doctrine and Discipline

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:16 pm

Aemilius wrote:Sravasti Dhammika has in his blog told us about a sutta in which Bhagavan Gautama tells bhikkhus about His travels in distant lands and about his teaching the Dharma there, Bhagavan says: "I adopted their garments, their diets, their customs, only then did I teach them Dharma. Then I went to another country and did the same,.. and yet another country,..."


I think you mean it comes from his book, no? See the following, page 24.

http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-b ... dhanew.pdf


From different existing facts we can conclude that in the first centuries after Parinirvana, or starting even after his enlightenment under Bodhitree, there never was a one unified Sangha, there never was a one unified Doctrine of Dharma, there never was a one unified Vinaya.


This is obvious if you look at the Chinese translations of the various Vinayas.

Not so long ago I was interested in the precept prohibiting liquor. I discovered that there are multiple differing accounts detailing Venerable Sugata's drunk and disorderly conduct. For example, one version says he knowingly consumed alcohol, others say he was unaware he was being offered liquor.

What this means is that the early literature we have reflects varying accounts of the same story from multiple perspectives.


Buddha Gautama had preached the doctrine to different peoples according to their understanding, in different ways, in different localities and countries. From the beginning the Dharma existed in diverse different forms, in different languages. It existed in several languages, maybe something like a dozen languages.
100 years after Parinirvana there where some six, seven, eight, or even twenty local independent Sanghas, that each had their independent doctrines and customs and codes of behaviour, and they existed in different languages. At this period the tradition was solely oral.


Also, their accounts of what the Buddha taught and all the stories concerning his career differ in both small and large ways.

The reality is that we don't really know for sure what exactly happened during the original sangha. The accounts of the Buddha's teachings might all generally be in broad agreement, but the fine details differ.
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Re: The Original Doctrine and Discipline

Postby Astus » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:00 pm

Stories can be different as they are mostly irrelevant and in many cases could be simply made up to make a point regarding a rule or a teaching. The cardinal teachings are found in the same way in both the Nikaya and Agama collections. The rest is speculation.

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"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: The Original Doctrine and Discipline

Postby Aemilius » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:11 pm

http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-b ... dhanew.pdf

No, I've never seen that. It was in one of the writings in the blog of Sravasti Dhammika couple of years ago, he gave its exact place in the Pitakas.

I mean several things:
In the beginning period of Shakyamuni's teaching people very often attained stream entry just listening to the teaching of Dharma. This means that their wisdom eye was awakened, that they where independent in the Dharma and they were autonomous, because they could directly see and perceive the Dharma.

It is also evident that in the beginning there was no vinaya or that it was very simple. Vinaya appeared gradually, it appeared because of a handful of unruly monks.
There were some popular and widely accepted rules of morality in the society, rules that sramanas were supposed to abide by. Stream entry means also that one is independent of rules and rituals (one of the ten fetters), one is independent of them because one sees reality directly.

Because Buddha's disciples and converts had most of them attained stages of arya pudgalas, and were capable staying in dhyana, this means they were not dependent on the sutras at all, not in the same way that the Dharma began to exist in later centuries, after the first 300 to 700 years.
On the whole the Agamas and Nikayas very much reflect the later period of Dharma.

According to Buddha his disciples attain peace personally, and he further says that Dharma has every where one single taste, the taste of freedom (one of the suttas in Udana). Dharma is freedom and independence, it is not slavery (to desire and fame, to worldly rulers, or to worldly nationalistic aims and purposes, etc ).

This also means that besides Agamas and Nikayas there were other streams of oral tradition. Dharma is what leads to the attainment of the transcendental path, of the peace of nirvana, of the ultimate freedom. Thus all of the teachings of Mahayana, and things like Mahamudra etc, are the original and true Dharma. That is the only real criterion, the attainment of the transcendental path.
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