Monday, 28 March 2011

Accepting Teachings Applicable to Early Buddhism as True TeachingsAccepting Teachings Applicable to Early Buddhism as True Teachings


In modern Buddhist studies Buddhist teachings were classified into two main groups. They represent the developing of Buddhist teachings in two levels. The two categories are:

1.   Early Buddhism
2.   Later Buddhism

Early Buddhism means the teachings of the Buddha before the emergence of Buddhist schools. Those represent the original core of Buddhist philosophy which is common to all Buddhist schools. There is set of teachings consisting of most important topics in Buddhist philosophy. Those topics are morality (sIla) concentration (Samadhi) wisdom (panna) emancipation (nibbana) four noble truth (cattAriyasaccanI) action and its efficacy (kamma), dependent origination (paTiccasamuppAda) and so on. All most every Buddhist schools agreed without argument that these are the fundamental teachings of Buddhism. Therefore they are called early Buddhist teachings.

      Later Buddhism means Buddhist philosophy developed by different Buddhist sects (nikaya). Regarding disciplinary behavior of monk different schools maintained various methods. They are considerable later Buddhism. In the same way there are differences among Buddhist schools regarding the practice of noble path. Different sects recommend different method. Their approchers are not the same. Sometimes they have been influences by religious and cultural background where they grew. The Buddhism with these forms of new development is called later Buddhism.

If there is any word of a sAvaka and if it is not against the original core of Buddha’s teachings that was incorporated as a part of Buddhist teachings. We have a large number of discourses given by disciples of thee Buddha.

1.   MahAhatthipadopamasutta of MN - by elder SAriputta
2.  PAyasirAjaJJasutta of DN - by elder KumArakassapa
3.   Madhurasutta  of MN – by elder MahAkaccAna
4.   Ghotamukhasutta of MN – elder Udena
5.   Cullavedallasutta of MN- by elder BhikkhunI DhammadinnA
6.   Subhasutta of DN – by elder Ānanda

There are a large number of similar discourses given by disciples all of them are studied in equal significance in the study of Buddhism. Numbers 4, 5, 6 of the above discourses were preached sometime after the Buddha demise. But they are still considered as teachings in Buddhism. In the discussion on CattAromahApadesa it was mentioned that in justifying Buddhist teachings only what is against Dhamma and Vinaya was put aside. Words even of disciples if they match with the Dhamma and Vinaya they were confidently incorporated in the collection of Buddhist teachings. Therefore Buddhist disciples had an opportunity in working to enrich Buddhist literature.

      In this situation early Buddhist disciples honestly made genuine editions, compilation collections and composition in reorganizing Buddhist literature.
Ven. Buddhaghosa has given another different set of Mahapadesa. They are:
1.   Sutta- suttaM nAma tisso sangItiyo ArUlhAni tINi piTaka (thread – thread is the three baskets which were established in three things.)
2.   SuttAnuloma- suttAnuloma nAma anuloma kappiyaM ( Addendum to the thread- is what is supplementary to three baskets)
3.   ĀcariyavAdaMAcariyavAdaM nAma aTThakathA ( Theory of teacher is commentaries)
4.   åttanomatiattanomati nAma nayaggAhena anubuddhiyA attano paTibhAnaM ( Owing view is self-perception by examining theory and logical reasoning)

From these records given by Buddhaghosa we can infer that since the time of first Buddhist council this criterion has been practiced. In the study fostering Buddhist teachings, interpretation given for these MahApadesa by the commentator Buddhaghosa again reestablished the value of these MahApadesas.
1.  Ettha suttaM appaTibAhiyaM taM paTibAhantena buddho ca paTibAhito hoti (here the thread not to be kept away by doing so Buddha too becomes kept away) suttehi tepiTake buddhavacane otAretabbAni ( in sutta means comparing it with the words of Buddhism in three baskets)

2.  ånuloma kappiyaM pana suttena samentameva gahetabbaM na itaraM. (Teachings go in accordance with canonical teaching (addendums) are to be taken in same as threat not others.)

3.   ĀcariyavAdo eva suttena samantoyeva gahetabbo na itaraM ( theory of teaching should be taken as a part of the thread not others)

4.  åttanomati nAma sabbadubbalA sApi suttena sametAyeva gahetabbA na itarA ( own view is weak in every sense it is also should take as thread not others.)

Accordingly early words of the Buddha and related works of disciples can be recognized as Buddhism. The theories of teachers and their own views are also accepted as if they go their views are also accepted if they stand for what is given in the thread. These criteria had been applied in all the three Buddhist councils to determine teachings.

Commentaries further say that any factor related to Buddhist monk’s discipline although they are later development accepted as disciplinary principle so long as they are not against early vinaya rules. ßamantapAsadika says the following.

VinayaM na jAnAtAti nAma vibhaGga kandhaka parivAre na jAnAti, vinayAnulomaM na jAnAtIti catAaro mahApadese na jAnAti- (One does not mean discipline means he does not know VibhaGgakhandhaka and ParivAra, one does not know addendum to discipline mean he does not know four great authorities)

VinayapiTaka and its commentary maintain a separate set of mahApadesas.
1.  åkppiya ( improper)
2.   kappiya ( proper)
3.  åkappiyAnuloma ( related to the improper) ]
4.  kappiyAnuloma ( related to the proper)

                                                        (Bhesajjakkhandhaka, MahAvaggapAli)

1. “YaM bhikkhave mayA idaM na kappatIti appatikkhittaM taM ve akappiyaM anulometi kappiyaM paTibAhati taM vo na kappti.
=O monks! What is not ejected by me as improper, that definitely goes according to what is improper, subdues what is proper, that is not proper for you.

2. “YaM bhikkhave mayA idaM na kappatIti appaTikkhittaM taM ve kappiyaM anulometi, akappiyaM paTibAhatIti taM vo kappati
=O monks! What is not rejected by me as improper, that definitely goes according to what is proper, subdues what is improper, that is proper fro you.

3. YaM bhikkhave mayA idaM kappatIti ananuJJAtaM taM ve kappiyaM anulomet, akappiyaM paTibAhati, taM von a kappati
=O monks! What is not allowed by me as improper, that definitely goes according to what is proper, subdues what is improper, that is proper for you.

      So far what was discussed represent different methods used by early disciples to establish proper words of the Buddha and to make decisions at time of dispute.  They also laid a sound foundation for next generation to decide on proper teachings of the Buddha.

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