original buddhism

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
Post Reply
User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 2900
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

original buddhism

Post by DNS » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:57 am

As a follow-up to my recent DhammaWiki article on Pudgalavada (and topic here), I made this analysis / interpretation of original Buddhism. I'm sure it will have some detractors from both hard-core Theravadins and hard-core Mahayanists, but that's okay:

https://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title= ... l_Buddhism

As I note at the top of the article:
(This is just one historical analysis and interpretation. There are other views and interpretations which vary from this one. It is recommended for those interested to review the literature in the References and make their own conclusions.)

Perhaps it's not about Theravada vs. Mahayana, but rather some blend of the early schools . . .

Anonymous X
Posts: 813
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:43 am
Location: Bangkok

Re: original buddhism

Post by Anonymous X » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:26 am

David N. Snyder wrote:As a follow-up to my recent DhammaWiki article on Pudgalavada (and topic here), I made this analysis / interpretation of original Buddhism. I'm sure it will have some detractors from both hard-core Theravadins and hard-core Mahayanists, but that's okay:

https://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title= ... l_Buddhism

As I note at the top of the article:
(This is just one historical analysis and interpretation. There are other views and interpretations which vary from this one. It is recommended for those interested to review the literature in the References and make their own conclusions.)

Perhaps it's not about Theravada vs. Mahayana, but rather some blend of the early schools . . .
I can see you've put a lot of effort into your study. One of the elements that have always struck me was how various splits and sects developed not only amongst Buddhism, but other religions, as well. Two factors for me come into play. Cultural conditions of the time and place, and the appearance of newly minted masters. It is my assertion, that every time someone else fully awakens, it will change the way a teaching will be looked at and practiced by those that are around this new master. Presently, our world is not the same world that Sakyamuni inhabited. I don't see any reason that a fully awakened master should or would take up doctrines conceived of millenia ago or necessarily be involved in a formal Buddhist practice. This convention of lineage and unbroken whatever seems part of the conditioned cultural world that all beings are born into at any time. A real master, like Sakyamuni, transcended all of this. Why wouldn't those who came after transcend his words as well as the words of all others? They are only words. After all, isn't that what these teachings are all about? All this sectarian debate seems utter nonsense to me. There is no inherent freedom in this.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25491
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:30 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:As a follow-up to my recent DhammaWiki article on Pudgalavada (and topic here), I made this analysis / interpretation of original Buddhism. I'm sure it will have some detractors from both hard-core Theravadins and hard-core Mahayanists, but that's okay:

https://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title= ... l_Buddhism

As I note at the top of the article:
(This is just one historical analysis and interpretation. There are other views and interpretations which vary from this one. It is recommended for those interested to review the literature in the References and make their own conclusions.)

Perhaps it's not about Theravada vs. Mahayana, but rather some blend of the early schools . . .
There is no original Buddhism. Not even Gautama's direct teaching is original Buddhism. By all accounts, there were many buddhas prior to him.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 2954
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: original buddhism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:02 pm

All buddhas have taught and will teach the same fundamentals:
"Suppose, monks, a man wandering through a forest would see an ancient path, an ancient road traveled upon by people in the past. He would follow it and would see an ancient city, an ancient capital that had been inhabited by people in the past, with parks, groves, ponds, and ramparts, a delightful place. Then the man would inform the king or a royal minister: 'Sire, know that while wandering through the forest I saw an ancient path, an ancient road traveled upon by people in the past. I followed it and saw an ancient city, an ancient capital that had been inhabited by people in the past, with parks, groves, ponds, and ramparts, a delightful place. Renovate that city, sire!' Then the king or the royal minister would renovate the city, and some time later that city would become successful and prosperous, well populated, filled with people, attained to growth and expansion.

"So too, monks, I saw the ancient path, the ancient road traveled by the Perfectly Enlightened Ones of the past. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. I followed that path and by doing so I have directly known aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. I have directly known birth ... existence ... clinging ... craving ... feeling ... contact... the six sense bases ... name-and-form ... consciousness ... volitional formations, their origin, their cessation, and the way leading to their cessation. Having directly known them, I have explained them to the monks, the nuns, the male lay followers, and the female lay followers. This spiritual life, monks, has become successful and prosperous, extended, popular, widespread, well proclaimed among devas and humans."
(SN 12:65; II104-7)
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 15175
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: original buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:25 pm

Of course there would have been an original set of teachings given by the Buddha, now what exactly that original set of teachings was, 2500 years later, is anybodies guess. And it will only be a guess, given that the tradition was originally an oral tranmission, so there would be no existing texts for us to read.

On the other hand, oral traditions can be extrordinarily resilient (more so than textual transmissions) as evidenced by the Australian Aboriginal peoples, but they rely on an unbroken chain of transmission, and colonialism has tended to have dealt these a bit of a death blow...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 1056
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: original buddhism

Post by Sherab » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:10 am

Sorry, nothing academic about this post. Just my own thoughts:

(1) Buddha Sakyamuni taught according to what beings can accept in accordance with their karma.
(2) Those teachings that were not going to be in harmony with the karma of beings of his time, he planted their seeds that would ripen and grow at the appropriate time in future.
(3) Liberation from samsara is achievable through any of the Dharmic path founded on a proper understanding of anatta. This is the general goal of the Buddhadharma.
(4) The ultimate goal of the Buddhadharma is Buddhahood founded on a proper understanding of sunyata.

Other personal thoughts:
Mod note: Edit, because these thoughts lead to an off topic argument, removed due to the frame of Academic Discussion.
Last edited by Ayu on Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edit off topic.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7456
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:51 am

Many aspects of whether or not people like "ritual" (particularly in Vajrayana) seem to have less to do with overt intelligence (if that's even really quantifiable here), and more to do with predilections for material wealth, sexual appetite, attachment to rules and notions of purity etc. I am not sure I can see those things as indicative of "intelligence". It seems more accurate to say that a direct path is one that can be undertaken by one less taken in by these sorts of diversions, else one has no choice but to work with them. You can see that dichotomy all over Buddhadharma really.

So I guess if you want to call someone with more obscurations and afflictions less "intelligent", it's a standard statement Dharma wise, in terms of how all those different texts "grade" levels of student... but it does sound weird with our current definitions of intelligence.

As to original Buddhism, I agree with Malcolm, the Buddha himself said there was no original Buddhism, and I'm inclined to believe him.

While I don't think it's the only form of Buddhadharma that steps over this line...it also can turn into seeing Buddha only as name and form, something which we are not supposed to do.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 2900
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:26 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote: the Buddha himself said there was no original Buddhism, and I'm inclined to believe him.
Where does the Buddha say "there is no original Buddhism"? Do you have a reference?

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3520
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: original buddhism

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:43 am

>the Buddha himself said there was no original Buddhism

I don't think that is true at all. In the early texts (even granted that 'early texts' are several hundred years after the Buddha's lifetime) there is the clear statement that the Buddha has made a unique discovery, namely, the discovery of the principle of dependent origination.
Then the thought occurred to him: "It would be for the sake of perfecting an unperfected aggregate of virtue that I would dwell in dependence on another brahman or contemplative, honoring and respecting him. However, in this world with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, in this generation with its brahmans and contemplatives, its royalty and common-folk, I do not see another brahman or contemplative more consummate in virtue than I, on whom I could dwell in dependence, honoring and respecting him.
SN 6.2

I think the understanding that the Buddha was one of a series of Buddhas stretching back into an ancient past was one of the doctrinal innovations associated with the Mahayana, was it not?

But even if that is the case, Buddhists have always gone to great lengths to proclaim the uniqueness and originality of the Buddha's teaching, by differentiating it from other schools, sects, religions, and so on.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 2900
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:50 am

Wayfarer wrote: I think the understanding that the Buddha was one of a series of Buddhas stretching back into an ancient past was one of the doctrinal innovations associated with the Mahayana, was it not?

But even if that is the case, Buddhists have always gone to great lengths to proclaim the uniqueness and originality of the Buddha's teaching, by differentiating it from other schools, sects, religions, and so on.
This is in Theravada too, in the Buddhavamsa of the Khuddaka Nikaya. As Nicholas' post above shows, the buddhas take the same path. Their full enlightenment is the same prajñā, be they Dipankara, Kassapa, or Gautama.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3520
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: original buddhism

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:25 am

Fair enough, I didn't recall that verse. Although I don't see how it detracts from the originality of Buddhism, the passage states that all Buddhas came to their realisation through the same path, but that is a different path to that followed by other teachings.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7456
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:47 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: the Buddha himself said there was no original Buddhism, and I'm inclined to believe him.
Where does the Buddha say "there is no original Buddhism"? Do you have a reference?

From my point of view you kind of answered your own question by mentioning the Buddhavamsa...I'm sure you could argue it's a late addition or something.

Obviously he doesn't say it specifically, but since he mentions rediscovering an ancient path, since there are previous Buddhas, etc...it is pretty easy to infer.

Beyond that, the idea that the Buddha would have cared about modern notions of historicity proving "originality" is questionable in the first place. Such an idea requires modernity and it's trappings to even make much sense, and is IMO more a product of modern views and demands (unique to this particular time and place) being pushed on something which is essentially timeless, but YMMV.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25491
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:25 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: the Buddha himself said there was no original Buddhism, and I'm inclined to believe him.
Where does the Buddha say "there is no original Buddhism"? Do you have a reference?
How could there be an "original" Buddhism? I have read somewhere many years ago that existence of Kanakamuni's disciples was reported during the time of Gautama. Then there is Buddha's metaphor of discovering an ancient, forgotten city in the jungle...
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 2900
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:47 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Fair enough, I didn't recall that verse. Although I don't see how it detracts from the originality of Buddhism, the passage states that all Buddhas came to their realisation through the same path, but that is a different path to that followed by other teachings.
Yes, exactly, I agree. It is the same path, as noted in the Samyutta Nikaya (page one) and the East Asian Mahayana equivalent in the Saṃyukta Āgama. That there were previous buddhas who all rediscovered the Dharma is moot since the path is the same, the Dharma was/is the same.

There definitely was an original Buddhism. It may have been called Dharma-Vinaya, but it was the "buddhism" as practiced by the Buddha (Gautama) and his monks and nuns and lay people, prior to the sectarian period. We can argue and debate about what that entails, but there definitely was an original buddhism.

As far as all this talk about what intelligent people prefer, need or don't need, if the preference is for the less elaborate, then all the more reason for original buddhism, before it got too elaborate, if that's your cup of tea.

:coffee:

User avatar
Thomas Amundsen
Posts: 1688
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:11 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:There definitely was an original Buddhism. It may have been called Dharma-Vinaya, but it was the "buddhism" as practiced by the Buddha (Gautama) and his monks and nuns and lay people, prior to the sectarian period. We can argue and debate about what that entails, but there definitely was an original buddhism.
If that's so, then how do you respond to Malcolm's comment?
Malcolm wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: the Buddha himself said there was no original Buddhism, and I'm inclined to believe him.
Where does the Buddha say "there is no original Buddhism"? Do you have a reference?
How could there be an "original" Buddhism? I have read somewhere many years ago that existence of Kanakamuni's disciples was reported during the time of Gautama. Then there is Buddha's metaphor of discovering an ancient, forgotten city in the jungle...

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 2900
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:14 pm

tomamundsen wrote: If that's so, then how do you respond to Malcolm's comment?
I already did, see above. That there were previous buddhas who all rediscovered the Dharma is moot since the path is the same, the Dharma was/is the same.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7456
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:31 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
tomamundsen wrote: If that's so, then how do you respond to Malcolm's comment?
I already did, see above. That there were previous buddhas who all rediscovered the Dharma is moot since the path is the same, the Dharma was/is the same.

There is the Dharma of scripture, then there is the Dharma of realization. The second one by definition is always "the same" regardless of outward mode of teaching, etc..the first one -has- to reflect the needs of sentient beings, so the idea that there are "original" teachings is IMO a confusion of categories. A teaching happens in relative time and space, realization itself it outside of those.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 2900
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:40 pm

The buddhas (Gautama and all previous) taught the same Dharma, the same path. The buddhas came to the same realizations after traveling the same path, Dipankara, Sumedha, Vessabhū, Kassapa, etc (Pali spellings, Sanskrit might be slightly different).
"So too, monks, I saw the ancient path, the ancient road traveled by the Perfectly Enlightened Ones of the past. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. I followed that path and by doing so I have directly known aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. I have directly known birth ... existence ... clinging ... craving ... feeling ... contact... the six sense bases ... name-and-form ... consciousness ... volitional formations, their origin, their cessation, and the way leading to their cessation. Having directly known them, I have explained them to the monks, the nuns, the male lay followers, and the female lay followers. This spiritual life, monks, has become successful and prosperous, extended, popular, widespread, well proclaimed among devas and humans."
(SN 12:65; II104-7)
Original buddhism refers to this path; 4NT and 8FP.

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 1056
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: original buddhism

Post by Sherab » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:24 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Original buddhism refers to this path; 4NT and 8FP.
This is just my personal view:

I prefer to think of original buddhism as the "unconditioned" from which everything springs. The "unconditioned" is neither something that has the extreme of existence (i.e., something permanent, unchanging and incapable of any function) nor the extreme of non-existence (i.e., something arising and then ceasing without any sort of continuity), nor subject to causality.

To get to "original buddhism", you need at the very least the 4NT in order to turn the mind from one concerned with the goals of deluded existence to one concerned with liberation from deluded existence. The 4NT establishes one with the proper motivation to embark on the path.

The 8FP lays out the foundation that is needed for any specific path.

Yet, because "original buddhism" is unconditioned, it is not something that can be reached with effort (i.e. mere striving on an 8FP path motivated by the 4NT).

User avatar
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 2954
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: original buddhism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:28 am

As for the Dharma of scripture differing in time & space, consider the first chapter of the Lalitavistara Sutra. Early in the chapter there is one place where 55? previous buddhas are listed as having taught this sutra. At the end of the chapter Buddha speaks in response to many devas request to teach again what earlier buddhas taught, this sutra:
“They prostrated at my feet, circumambulated me,
And gathered here before me.
They joined their palms with respect
And offered me this request:

“‘To heal all the worlds,
This vast sūtra, this great discourse,
Was taught by all the victorious ones of times past.
Today as well, O Sage, since you have dispelled attachment,

“‘Consider the assembly of bodhisattvas,
Defeat opponents and tame all demons,
By teaching us this supreme Great Vehicle.
Thus, Able One, please grant us your lucid explanations.’

“The assembly of gods thus offered their request,
And with my silence, I indicated my consent.
This brought them joy and satisfaction,
And with delight they scattered flower petals.

“Thus listen here, monks, to this vast sūtra,
Taught in times past by all the thus-gone ones
For the welfare of all the worlds.
Listen, one and all, to this great discourse.”
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests