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Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated? - Dhamma Wheel

Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Satori
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Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Satori » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:46 am

Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

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Kim OHara
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:03 am

I can tell an exaggerated story but not an exaggerated life.
Perhaps you could make your question clearer?
:namaste:
Kim

Satori
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Satori » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:08 am

Well, the Buddha is sometimes depicted as being super-human or a divine being. And some people say this is an exaggeration of the Buddha, and that he was just an ordinary human. Just wanted to know what other people thought.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:26 am

That's a much better question! :smile:
You will find quite a range of answers, though.
Pretty much everyone will say he was better than an ordinary human being.
A lot of people here (including me) will say things like, 'He was a real human being who went beyond what other people had achieved in understanding reality, and he was a great teacher.'
Others think of him as super-human in various ways, but no-one is likely to equate him to the omnipotent creator god, because that concept is explicitly denied in his teachings.
:namaste:
Kim

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Goofaholix
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:57 pm

I think in ancient times it was pretty much expected for the stories about great religious teachers to contain mystical and miraculous happenings that set up the teacher high above the rest of us as someone divine. The Bible is another good example of this.

So it wouldn't be surprising if the well meaning people who wrote down the events of the Buddhas life would do so with this expectation.

For myself I find the message of his humanity far more compelling because it means we all have the same potential, it's really up to you to find what's meaningful in what is recorded about his life.

Satori
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Satori » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:15 pm

Yes, but some people believe that Buddhism is not a religion. I am confused about how stories full of mystical events could not be religious. But some people say its because the life of the Buddha was exaggerated and misrepresentated,some say its because Buddhism mixed with the Bon religion in Tebit, Taoism in China , and Shinto in Japan. But these mystical events can be found in the Pali canon, which I thought was the most reliable and oldest sources of Buddhist information.

The birth of the Buddha is depicted as a supernatural event, more so than the birth of Christ.

lojong1
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby lojong1 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:43 pm

There is enough useful advice that it doesn't really matter to me if certain things were exaggerated. If I can't verify it for myself, it's not buddhist.

"sanditthiko [sandi.t.thiko]: Self-evident; immediately apparent; visible here and now. An epithet for the Dhamma. The Dhamma is testable by practice and known by direct experience."

Dhajaggasutta SN 11.3: "The Dhamma is to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves."
"sanditthiko akaliko ehipassiko opaneyyiko paccattam veditabbo vinnuhi ti"

Satori
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Satori » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:46 pm

Can you verify Enlightenment, rebirth, karma? Have you?

lojong1
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby lojong1 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:42 pm


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mikenz66
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:45 pm


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retrofuturist
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:27 am

Greetings Satori,

After the Buddha's parinibbana, and after the death of those who personally knew him, the memory of the Buddha as an actual person dissipated in the memory of Buddhists.

You will find that in the older stratas of Buddhist scripture and commentary, the life of the Buddha is far less exaggerated than it is in more recent stratas of Buddhist scripture and commentary (including Mahayana depictions, particularly remote from the reality of the Buddha).

To get an accurate picture of the Buddha's life, I would recommend reading "The Life Of The Buddha according to the Pali Canon" by venerable Nanamoli. This text relies only on the oldest strata of texts and excludes much of the folklore that traditionally gets innocently intertwined with the Buddha's story, in the collective minds of Buddhists.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:36 am

Many of the criteria employed by Winterntiz, Law and Pande only work if one is already prejudiced as to the nature of early Buddhism. If one feels at the outset that the Buddha, being as it were, a reasonable sort of chap, taught a simple ethical doctrine uncluttered by myth, legend and magic, then it is a fairly straightforward matter to stratify the Nikayas accordingly. But in fact, given what is known of Indian thought from, say, the early Upanisads, there is no apriori reason why the earliest Buddhist thought should not have contained mythical, magical or "unscientific" elements, or - if we need to go back one stage further - why the Buddha himself should not have employed such elements in his own teaching. in fact there seems every reason to suppose that he would have.

Rupert GETHIN, 1992, The Buddhist Path to Awakening: A Study of the Bodhi-Pakkhiya Dhamma, p. 11
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.: .

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:40 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.: .

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retrofuturist
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:52 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Hanzze
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:59 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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retrofuturist
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:20 am

Greetings Alan,

Some of these are certainly freakish (if taken literally)...

The 32 Signs of the Great Man
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... _great_man

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:23 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.: .

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Hanzze
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:31 am

Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

alan
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby alan » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:00 am

Did I ever say anything like that? 32 signs of the so-and so?

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tiltbillings
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Re: Was the life of the Buddha exaggerated?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:08 am



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