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The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:50 pm

If you are looking for a good introduction to the Buddha's life and teachings, this is a good place to start:
http://www.khamkoo.com/uploads/9/0/0/4/ ... buddha.pdf

Bhikkhu Nanamoli compiled this biography of the Buddha from excerpts of the Pali scriptures.
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Re: The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:24 pm

BB,

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:If you are looking for a good introduction to the Buddha's life and teachings, this is a good place to start:
Well, it couldn't hurt. Thanks.

BB wrote:Bhikkhu Nanamoli compiled this biography of the Buddha from excerpts of the Pali scriptures.

His (Osbert Moore; 1905-1960) THE PATH OF PURIFICATION (1975) is an accessible translation from Pali to English of the massive VISUDDHIMAGGA ("Path of Purification") of Buddhaghosa. I began to crack it in 2015 and have not finished.

A fine little volume on what's pretty certainly known of the Buddha's life is Karen Armstrong's BUDDHA (2001), Penguin Putnam. It has too the virtue of coming after 40-plus more years of additional scholarship following the untimely death of Nanamoli due to his heart failure in 1960. It can make a nice companion volume to the bhikkhu's tome.

BTW, I find that this book is also a good friend: about certain famous disciples of the Buddha (including "Great Women Disciples of the Buddha", as Chapter 7): GREAT DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA: THEIR LIVES, THEIR WORKS, THEIR LEGACY, by Nyanaponika Thera and Hellmuth Hecker; 2003; Wisdom Publications.

Well, after only 86 generations, it seems that "Buddhism" is only "just getting started", considering that there will be a nearly infinite number of "generations" to come, in the uncertain future. It's just early days, these days, since 500 B.C.,

and we're in on the ground-floor,

--Joe
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Re: The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:27 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:A fine little volume on what's pretty certainly known of the Buddha's life is Karen Armstrong's BUDDHA (2001), Penguin Putnam. It has too the virtue of coming after 40-plus more years of additional scholarship following the untimely death of Nanamoli due to heart failure in 1960. It can make a nice companion volume to the bhikkhu's tome.


The problem with Karen Armstrong is that, rather than seeing the uniqueness of the Buddha as a religious teacher, she'd rather reduce all religions to the lowest common denominator. Her book is good for people new to Buddhism though.
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"Reciting the name of the Buddha constantly... His own body is the limitless body of Amida, the treasure trees of seven precious gems, the pond of the eight virtues." - Hakuin Ekaku

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Re: The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:47 pm

BB,

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:The problem with Karen Armstrong is that, rather than seeing the uniqueness of the Buddha as a religious teacher, she'd rather reduce all religions to the lowest common denominator. Her book is good for people new to Buddhism though.

Fine, although I don't see it as a problem. She's writing for a popular audience. And the publisher series ("Penguin LIVES") caters to popular readership.

Consider her an erudite conversational aunt, or sister, who loves to share what she's enthusiastic about. Well, she WAS a Sister, of the Catholic Church. And Nanamoli left England to live in Ceylon as a forest monk for 11 years.

I'd say Armstrong's book is "a good place to start". And there are others. I like her little book (and her books on Islam; and Muhammad) because she writes as a person who appreciates the common thread of religious feeling and inquiry and reverence in Humanity. She is not a partisan, unlike myself.

Many people here have "started" long ago, though. Still, I think most here can appreciate the concern about origins, ...as far as the very distantly-dated posthumous literature can be trusted to reveal truth and facts. But many agree that it's irrelevant if the Buddha -- or a Buddha -- ever existed, and lived, as the historical Buddha. The key miracle is that correct practice makes Buddhas of those who undertake it. Hail!

rgds,

--Joe
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Re: The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:55 pm

desert_woodworker wrote: But many agree that it's irrelevant if the Buddha -- or a Buddha -- ever existed, and lived, as the historical Buddha. The key miracle is that correct practice makes Buddhas of those who undertake it. Hail!


If the Buddha, as a historical person, never attained Nirvana, what hope do we have to ever attain Nirvana?
I mean no disrespect to forum members on my ignore list. Gassho. __/\__

"Reciting the name of the Buddha constantly... His own body is the limitless body of Amida, the treasure trees of seven precious gems, the pond of the eight virtues." - Hakuin Ekaku

https://matthewsatori.tumblr.com/
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Re: The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:05 pm

BB,

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote: But many agree that it's irrelevant if the Buddha -- or a Buddha -- ever existed, and lived, as the historical Buddha. The key miracle is that correct practice makes Buddhas of those who undertake it. Hail!

If the Buddha, as a historical person, never attained Nirvana, what hope do we have to ever attain Nirvana?

Let that be your koan.

Zen Buddhist teachers advise to leave "hope" outside the Ch'an Hall (Zendo), with your shoes (and socks). :heya:

I'm 40 years or more a Ch'an- and Zen-Buddhist practitioner, and I can recommend your asking your Ch'an- or Zen-, or Son-, or Thien-Buddhist teacher your question, if you have such a teacher. Or, if you are Theravadin or "Vajrayadin", then, that teacher. It's not a bad question. You know my answer, and you may find others.

"Old Golden Face" takes many faces. For me, I hope he lived, because I enjoy seeing Venus in the East, too. Or, ...West.

And, now, despite perhaps your dubious and superstitious orientation, I repeat,

"The key miracle is that correct practice makes Buddhas of those who undertake it. Hail!"

I hope that's undeniable, and may eventuate for All, for oneself, and,

for all Beings,

--Joe
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Re: The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:24 pm

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote: But many agree that it's irrelevant if the Buddha -- or a Buddha -- ever existed, and lived, as the historical Buddha. The key miracle is that correct practice makes Buddhas of those who undertake it. Hail!


If the Buddha, as a historical person, never attained Nirvana, what hope do we have to ever attain Nirvana?


Joe's answer is very good. This may indeed be your koan that only you can resolve.

If it is just a mundane question out of intellectual curiosity for a mundane answer you could emulate a whole range of figures if for some reason you believed this or you could look at it a different way:

if Newton was proven to be a mythical personage should we reject Newtonian physics?
Or
If Joe Smith never got hit by a car when jaywalking, what hope do I have?

I happen to believe that many people have gotten, get, and will get hit by cars. I also believe that the historical information we have on Joe Smith is probably more true than false in the main. However, I understand that being hit by a car will depend more on a car and my body being at approximately the same place/time than my mere opinions about anything else.

Remember that Buddhism has differences with the Abrahamic religions. The historicity of Jesus, for example, is very important in old traditional Christianity because it is partially a theory of history or of God in history. There is an historical contract to be fulfilled and God actively intervenes in history. This is not so important in Buddhism because it is not very much a theory of history.
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Re: The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:38 pm

Cao., et al.,

Caodemarte wrote: if Newton was proven to be a mythical personage should we reject Newtonian physics?

BTW, folks, I enjoy the little quip: "The plays of Shakespeare were written either by Shakespeare, or by someone else of the same name."

:rbow:

--Joe
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Re: The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon

Postby fukasetsu on Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:17 pm

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:If the Buddha, as a historical person, never attained Nirvana, what hope do we have to ever attain Nirvana?


I'm not stained by Nirvana.
I consider all history to be a lie, even what I had for diner yesterday, it exists only as a memory.
Whether Buddha's life is true, fiction or a reasonable combination between the two.
What does that matter to me, how could that affect my practise?

If my religion was based on whether I believe in history or words, I might as well make it easy sit in a church listen to the "word of god" and go to heaven.

I do realize it's important for millions of Buddhists, but such attachments only enhances the virus of self-grasping.
Might as well not be a Buddhist then, forgot about the Buddha, we're alive today.

and there are plenty of Buddha's alive today inside and outside of Buddhism. They are much more useful to me then historical Buddha's.
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