Author Topic: Origins of Siddhartha goutama  (Read 1402 times)

Offline MarasAndBuddhas

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Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« on: May 20, 2019, 02:31:38 pm »
Before on this forum there was and academic paper supporting the legitamacy of the pali canon. Does the story of siddhartha leaving the nobility and searching for liberation come more from oral or written history, or equally enough from both? How much can we really know about this?

Offline stevie

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2019, 10:22:36 pm »
Dear IgnoringTheAversion,

the basis of the Buddha's teaching is oral transmission followed by written records and commentaries and interpretations.

Basically there are at least two approaches to the Buddha's teachings: 1. the academic approach of buddhologists, intellectuals and the like and 2. the pragmatic and/or faith-based approach of practitioners.

Since this is the beginner's section I think that approach 2 is the one that applies and is relevant.

You are asking about 'real knowledge'. In my sphere of experience 'real knowledge' in the context of the Buddha's teachings is about the following questions:
Why did I contact the Buddha's teachings in the first place? What has been my intention? What kind of experience did cause me to contact the Buddha's teachings?
Is there something about the Buddha's teachings that resonates with me and causes me to stay with it?
Did the Buddha's teaching yield benefits in terms of quality of life so far?
And finally since I am currently trapped in a human sphere of experience I do not want to ignore the corresponding existential questions involved in that sphere of experience considering the certainty of death, the uncertainty of the time of death and the fact that neither friends, resources nor my body will be of help when it comes to death (thanks to Lamrim for reminding me again and again of these basics!  <3): Can the Buddha's teaching be of help for me in this context? Is it worth the life-time spent considering that every spent minute will never come back and shorten the remaining life-span?

Of such kind are the questions that are relevant for me in terms of 'really knowing'.
Quote
"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html

 :dharma: :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2019, 10:22:54 pm »
Naturally, we can know nothing certain about this. However, the story appears the same from all sources, such as Sukhamala Sutta & Magandiya Sutta.

Offline MarasAndBuddhas

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 07:06:41 am »
Just to be clear, I wasn't asking this because i think the validity of The Buddha's history and his story are particularly important, i just get curious about how a legend such as that came into being. It would be even more interesting if it were fabricated in my opinion!

Offline Chaz

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2019, 04:01:23 pm »
Just to be clear, I wasn't asking this because i think the validity of The Buddha's history and his story are particularly important, i just get curious about how a legend such as that came into being. It would be even more interesting if it were fabricated in my opinion!

I think it's worth noting that the life-story of the Buddha, a presented, is full of classic archtypes -  true hero's journey.  Looking at it in that way, it's impossible to separate the man from the myth.  They have developed to be one in the same and that's ok.  The myth is far more powerful to the student than any real life could be.  What really happened isn't that important.  The teachings of the Buddha Dharma are what is important.  They're important because they work.  They're true.

How did it start/begin?  Who knows?  Maybe, just maybe, a single man walked the earth 2500 years ago.  With a singular quest to find the answer to the sufferings of sentient beings - birth, old age, sickness and death - he found true enlightenment, and the turned the Wheel of Dharma for the benefit of all beings.  His students taught their students and eventually, the story changed a bit. It took on a character that resonates in every human - timeless myth, timeless truth.

Offline paracelsus

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 04:26:21 pm »
Just to be clear, I wasn't asking this because i think the validity of The Buddha's history and his story are particularly important, i just get curious about how a legend such as that came into being. It would be even more interesting if it were fabricated in my opinion!


In my opinion the truth of Siddhartha Gautama's attainment and how he got there is very important in that it demonstrates the practical value of his teaching.

Having said that, if we are going to worry about the literal truth of his life story we might miss the practical truth of his teachings.

So to gain what benefit we can from training our selves in The Way, the best thing to do is to sincerely practice it. If we do and if we also learn from the sutras and commentaries so that we gain wisdom we will find that benefit is derived in equal measure to the effort we expend. Ultimately the benefit will extend far beyond our "personal" sphere.

If we half-heartedly have a go at it we might enjoy some short term benefit, but in the longer term it probably won’t do us much good.

 :om:

Offline stevie

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2019, 11:20:12 am »
Just to be clear, I wasn't asking this because i think the validity of The Buddha's history and his story are particularly important, i just get curious about how a legend such as that came into being. It would be even more interesting if it were fabricated in my opinion!

Dear IgnoringTheAversion,

What is non-fabrication?
Buddha taught me that being subject to obscuring consciousness necessarily means being subject to fabrication, so how could I escape the sphere of fabrication and attain the capacity to discern fabrication and non-fabrication?
Quote
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition ... comes birth ... Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html

If I would give in to my innate self-driven ignorance in the context of the Buddha's teachings then where would my ignorant rejection come to an end? What would be left undamaged since there are so many things I can't understand or that don't appear plausible to my ignorant conditioned mind? Wouldn't I just undermine what is intended to help me?

So if anything appears that puzzles me I do neither reject it nor force myself to affirm it but I simply put it aside. From my perspective it is of utmost importance to not reject anything in the context of the Buddha's teachings because once one starts rejecting one is starting to creepingly separate from Buddha Dharma, thus perpetuating worldly bondage and samsara.

 :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline MarasAndBuddhas

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2019, 05:33:04 am »
It all matters very little to me, I practice buddhism and it's helpful. In my opinion it's just important not to look at Buddha's teachings as some dogma you must obey, but as something you can use to better your life.

Offline stevie

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2019, 06:26:53 am »
It all matters very little to me, I practice buddhism and it's helpful. In my opinion it's just important not to look at Buddha's teachings as some dogma you must obey, but as something you can use to better your life.

Dear IgnoringTheAversion,

there aren't any 'musts' in the context of the Buddha's teachings but there is the karmic vision shared by all human beings and the variety of individual karmic visions on top of that.
In any case if an individual has contacted Buddha Dharma then that's an occasion to rejoice because contacting Buddha Dharma is a necessary condition for liberation and separation from unease and suffering.
I am glad to read that you experience Buddha Dharma as being helpful. <3

:anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline Sonam

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2019, 05:57:06 pm »
The Buddha's clan, the Sakyas (aka: Shakyas), was recorded in history. By the time the Buddha was born, his father actually was no longer king of what had been known as the Sakya Republic; his territory had been subsumed into a larger kingdom, in which the Buddha's father was actually a vassal, though still of the nobility, and still owner of a considerable estate.

IMO it's not necessary to believe in mythology, in order to recognize that the Buddha was a brilliant philosopher, who made a tremendous contribution to humanity through his perceptive analysis of the human condition, and through his teachings. Knowing that the Buddha's father wasn't a king, but leader of a vassal state, doesn't diminish the Buddha's achievements.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 06:10:01 pm by Sonam »

Offline stevie

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2019, 01:52:54 am »
IMO it's not necessary to believe in mythology, in order to recognize that the Buddha was a brilliant philosopher, who made a tremendous contribution to humanity through his perceptive analysis of the human condition, and through his teachings. Knowing that the Buddha's father wasn't a king, but leader of a vassal state, doesn't diminish the Buddha's achievements.

Dear Sonam,

from my perspective the decisive point isn't the wordly social status of the Buddha's father but the Buddha having left his home of luxury and wordly happiness.

Also - just to avoid misunderstandings - my saying above 'From my perspective it is of utmost importance to not reject anything in the context of the Buddha's teachings' has not been meant to be an exhortation to believe but an exhortation to not reject (and simply put aside if necessary) because from my perspective rejecting anything in the context of the Buddha's teachings is an instance of falling prey to worldly truth habits that are not appropriate in the context of the Buddha's teachings.
From my perspective 'not reject' and 'believe' are different attitudes.
One should investigate in one's mind whether labelling something as 'mythology' entails that one views it as being truly mythology and whether there is a subtle rejection of the kind 'it's only mythology' involved. If the latter is the case one deprives one's practice of support.


 :anjali:
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 02:01:23 am by stevie »
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline MarasAndBuddhas

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2019, 06:15:54 pm »
I think what you are getting at is: fiction is almost never exclusively fiction

Offline Sonam

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2019, 11:30:09 am »
IMO it's not necessary to believe in mythology, in order to recognize that the Buddha was a brilliant philosopher, who made a tremendous contribution to humanity through his perceptive analysis of the human condition, and through his teachings. Knowing that the Buddha's father wasn't a king, but leader of a vassal state, doesn't diminish the Buddha's achievements.

Dear Sonam,

from my perspective the decisive point isn't the wordly social status of the Buddha's father but the Buddha having left his home of luxury and wordly happiness.

Also - just to avoid misunderstandings - my saying above 'From my perspective it is of utmost importance to not reject anything in the context of the Buddha's teachings' has not been meant to be an exhortation to believe but an exhortation to not reject (and simply put aside if necessary) because from my perspective rejecting anything in the context of the Buddha's teachings is an instance of falling prey to worldly truth habits that are not appropriate in the context of the Buddha's teachings.
From my perspective 'not reject' and 'believe' are different attitudes.
One should investigate in one's mind whether labelling something as 'mythology' entails that one views it as being truly mythology and whether there is a subtle rejection of the kind 'it's only mythology' involved. If the latter is the case one deprives one's practice of support.


 :anjali:
But the Buddha never taught that his father was a King, so rejecting that part of the narrative isn't rejecting his teachings. Rejecting some of the "Divine Child" thematics that creep into his biography, a theme that's fairly common to Indo-European folklore, is not rejecting anything the Buddha taught. If Buddhism is about learning to see things as they are, rather than through our own (or others') projections, then it's good practice to ascertain the historical facts.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 11:36:32 am by Sonam »

Offline Chaz

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2019, 05:19:24 pm »
But the Buddha never taught that his father was a King, so rejecting that part of the narrative isn't rejecting his teachings.

However we don't know that he didn't teach it, either.  Just because it's not canon, doesn't mean he didn't pass a story of his background to his students.

Either way, it makes no difference.

The Buddha's life story tends to follow the monomyth that Joseph Campbell wrote about. The archtypes are as plain as day.  So, in that context, the story has value and importance.

Quote
Rejecting some of the "Divine Child" thematics that creep into his biography, a theme that's fairly common to Indo-European folklore, is not rejecting anything the Buddha taught.

The larger story can be found in various ways thoughout humankind.


Quote
If Buddhism is about learning to see things as they are, rather than through our own (or others') projections, then it's good practice to ascertain the historical facts.

Facts are dangerous.  Establishing fact is fraught with all sorts of error.  The thing with fact is that's it's all but impossible to ascertain with regards to a character such as the Buddha.  Wemay thing we have the facts but there's usually a huge possibility that we are wrong. In terms of the Path, facts are a fool's errand.

Offline stevie

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Re: Origins of Siddhartha goutama
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2019, 02:07:44 am »
But the Buddha never taught that his father was a King, so rejecting that part of the narrative isn't rejecting his teachings.
Dear Sonam,

Haven't I made clear my perspective when saying 'from my perspective the decisive point isn't the wordly social status of the Buddha's father but the Buddha having left his home of luxury and wordly happiness.' ?

Only you have brought up the topic of the precise wordly social status of the Buddha's father. Why do you bother about the precise status at all? How is that related to the OP?

Rejecting some of the "Divine Child" thematics that creep into his biography, ...
And now again ... a new topic ... why do you now bring that up here? How is that related to the  OP?

The context of the OP is given here:
Before on this forum there was and academic paper supporting the legitamacy of the pali canon. Does the story of siddhartha leaving the nobility and searching for liberation come more from oral or written history, or equally enough from both? How much can we really know about this?

Sonam, I think your agenda, your intended topics, do not meet the topic under discussion in this thread. you are free to start a new thread where you may present all you have identified somewhere (where??) as 'mythology'.


I've said and explained above why in the context of the Buddha's teaching it may be detrimental to introduce the term 'mythology'.

As to the context of the OP, let's see what the Buddha has taught ...
Quote
"Monks, I lived in refinement, utmost refinement, total refinement. My father even had lotus ponds made in our palace: one where red-lotuses bloomed, one where white lotuses bloomed, one where blue lotuses bloomed, all for my sake. I used no sandalwood that was not from Varanasi. My turban was from Varanasi, as were my tunic, my lower garments, & my outer cloak. A white sunshade was held over me day & night to protect me from cold, heat, dust, dirt, & dew.

"I had three palaces: one for the cold season, one for the hot season, one for the rainy season. During the four months of the rainy season I was entertained in the rainy-season palace by minstrels without a single man among them, and I did not once come down from the palace. Whereas the servants, workers, & retainers in other people's homes are fed meals of lentil soup & broken rice, in my father's home the servants, workers, & retainers were fed wheat, rice, and meat.

...

"Monks, there are these three forms of intoxication. Which three? Intoxication with youth, intoxication with health, intoxication with life.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.038.than.html

Quote
"So at a later time, when I was still young, black-haired, endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life, having shaved off my hair & beard — though my parents wished otherwise and were grieving with tears on their faces — I put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html

 :anjali:
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 02:14:40 am by stevie »
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

 


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