I recommend reading it:
http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2015/02/th ... story.html
His summary which he posted on Reddit is as follows:
Perhaps we can discuss this here.
- In this essay I try to ascertain how much history we can extract from Buddhist texts. I'm quite critical of the methods of mainstream Buddhist scholars. This is because as I got deeper into my own studies, I realised that many flaws in Buddhist doctrine are plastered over with collusion between Buddhists practitioners and scholars. There's a kind of loose conspiracy to present Buddhism as smooth, when it is in fact lumpy. There is altogether too much confirmation bias in the field of Buddhist Studies.
This makes me more sympathetic with Schopen and other sceptics who criticise the methods of scholars who reinforce traditional narratives. I give examples from my own research which illustrate that narratives that point to simplicity and unity are simply false impressions that hide complexity and diversity.
The question of the authenticity of the texts seems wide open to me. And yet the question itself is mainly one of identity and has little bearing on how most of us get one with practising Buddhism
I personally agree that the traditional narrative is highly problematic, which is evident when you see anachronisms in literature which is supposed to represent the teachings of a historical Buddha and early sangha (like mention of writing in the Ekōttarikāgama).
Sujato, however, has argued against such a position in his book The Authenticity of Early Buddhist Texts:
Unfortunately, some of his remarks from page 145 sound more like emotional arguments wrapped up in analysis rather than refutations of critics:
- Critics of Early Buddhism have adopted a rhetoric of scepticism in order to dismiss the notion of authenticity. Their arguments are apparently intended to be hard-nosed and unsentimental, but when examined closely they are reminiscent of arguments by denialists of various types, such as those relating to the harmful effects of tobacco, creationism, or the reality of man-made climate change. Just as sceptics characterise the search for authenticity as “Protestant Buddhism”, it seems appropriate to describe this form of scepticism as “Denialist Buddhism”.