There isn't anything wrong with employing epigraphical methods to ascertain general dates of texts as well as establishing certain lines of development that occurred over time. Secular scholars with no attainments can do this and do it rather well. We should utilize their findings but also remain critically minded of them of course. These things are always subject to change.Aemilius wrote: Honestly, I don't understand how you can have people like Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna, Tsongkhapa etc... , who have attained very high realization and are intimate with the Transcendental reality, who have attained the heavenly eye, the dharma eye , and so on ... and who have attained the 5 or 6 supernormal Powers, who know directly the three times as the palm of their hand, who have relied on the Mahayana sutras, have commented on them, have taught them, praised them and venerated them highly. If You believe they were enlightened , and at the same time you believe these scholars are NOT equipped with transcendental vision and realization, then WHY do you trust their analysis of mere words, when you at the same time have people with true realization, people who know intimately the true reality ??? Perhaps you think that transcendental reality does not exist at all ???
This really amazes me !!!
There is no evidence to suggest the flesh and blood Gautama taught any of the Mahayana sutras while he walked the earth.
However, from a practitioner's point of view this isn't necessarily an issue and an honest Buddhist scholar shouldn't have any problems with it either. There are various ways of looking at.
- The Buddha taught the Mahayana to Bodhisattvas and not the Sravaka. The former were not necessarily flesh and blood people sitting on Massed Vulture's Peak. Buddhist cosmology easily allows for this. In fact this is an argument that early Mahayana thinkers, or at least Vasubandhu, employed when opponents said the Mahayana sutras were not heard and recorded by the disciples.
- The Mahayana sutras arouse over time according to the needs and capacities of people. The Bodhisattva-yana becoming available only when people were generally ready for it.
- If disciples can preach sermons on behalf of the Buddha, why can't later disciples do the same? The vehicle of those teachings for much of Buddhist history has been scripture and literature.