Yes, he's one great example...out of sea of people doing mostly criticism, seemingly. I mean, can you really point to many actual practitioners or better yet respected teachers who participate in this sort of criticism? There are a few, but overall the enterprise is about something other than Dharma practice, and in my opinion the fruits of such undertakings show this. The benefit is mainly academic. If that's your thing, go for it, I don't think it's the same as Dharma practice, and I think in places it becomes quite a distraction.Astus wrote: ↑Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:20 pmI find Bhikkhu Analayo a great example of being both a scholar and practitioner, and actually using both areas to support the other.Johnny Dangerous wrote: ↑Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:22 pmYou can just look at the world of textual criticism of this sort ("Early Buddhism" is one of the best examples) to see that it quickly becomes a treasure hunt of sorts, and rarely brings people to actually practicing. To me, that is evidence enough that this approach is one that is only peripherally valuable to Dharma practice. Peripheral value like that has it's place, but once it becomes central it ceases to be Dharma practice.
I remember in particular reading some stuff by (I think) Analayo regarding his speculation on whether or not the Mahayana texts are legitimate. He literally could only think in terms of "well maybe they made it up but thought it is from the Buddha in some metaphorical sense" and things like this. Basically saying "yeah it's all nonsense but maybe they thought it was legit somehow". I realize he is not a Mahayana practitioner, so that is fine, but really this sort of limited thinking IMO has very little use to someone trying to be a serious practitioner of the Mahayana. You don't need to be a complete literalist either, but believing that the spiritual significance of your scriptures is basically bunk can't be good for one's practice.
I mean, it may be useful to him, but if we are going to use modern academic standards of what is legitimate and discard the rest, we might as well simply not be Buddhist. It would be akin to approaching Native American traditions or something from this dry, modernist point of view, and then trying to practice them somehow, there's an absurdity there.
Either Buddhist scriptures have a spiritual significance to people that goes beyond this... historico-realist one, or they don't. If they don't, why bother with them? Just go take a philosophy class or something. It doesn't mean such a perspective is never useful, it means that it has limits on it that our larger view of our practice shouldn't. Exactly how I approach Western Psychology...there is some stuff there that's valuable, but it starts from a different, and much more limited premise than Dharma does. So, it's just an adjunct to one's practice and where it contradicts, I defer to Dharma instead of playing an endless shell game.
Buddhist Originalism is IMO kind of a disease to people's practice. Perhaps that seems extreme, but it just appears to be a diversion to me, and not a healthy one from a Dharma perpspective, as with all things YMMV.