Author Topic: Historical Evidence for the Buddha  (Read 188 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Historical Evidence for the Buddha
« on: September 04, 2017, 02:28:24 pm »
This article lays out the historical and archaeological evidence for Buddhism:

Quote
Gautama the Buddha was not a mythical figure but an actual, historical personality who introduced the religion known today as Buddhism. Evidence to prove the existence of this great religious Teacher are to be found in the following facts:

The testimonies of those who knew Him personally. These testimonies were recorded in the rock-inscriptions, pillars and pagodas made in His honour. These testimonies and monuments to His memory were created by kings and others who were near enough to His time to be able to verify the story of His life.

The discovery of places and the remains of buildings that were mentioned in the narrative of His time.

The Sangha, the holy order which He founded, has had an unbroken existence to the present day. The Sangha possessed the facts of His life and Teachings which have been transmitted from generation to generation in various parts of the world.

The fact that in the very year of His death, and at various times subsequently, conventions and councils of the Sangha were held for the verification of the actual Teachings of the Founder. These verified Teachings have been passed on from teacher to pupil from His time to the present day.

After His passing away, His body was cremated and the bodily relics were divided among eight kingdoms in India. Each king built a pagoda to contain his portion of the relics. The portion given to King Ajatasatthu was enshrined by him in a pagoda at Rajagriha. Less than two centuries later, Emperor Asoka took the relics and distributed them throughout his empire. The inscriptions enshrined in this and other pagodas confirmed that those were the relics of Gautama the Buddha.

‘The Mahavansa’, the best and authentic ancient history known to us gives detailed particulars of life as well as details of the life of Emperor Asoka and all other sovereigns related to Buddhist history. Indian history has also given a prominent place to the Buddha’s life, activities, Buddhist traditions and customs.

The records which we can find in the Buddhist countries where people received Buddhism a few hundred years after the Buddha’s passing away such as Sri Lanka, Burma, China, Tibet, Nepal, Korea, Mongolia, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos show unbroken historical, cultural, religious, literary and traditional evidence that there was religious Teacher in India known as Gautama the Buddha.

The Tripitaka, an unbroken record of His 45 years of Teaching is more than sufficient to prove that the Buddha really lived in the world.

The accuracy and authenticity of the Buddhist texts is supported by the fact that they provide information for historians to write Indian history during the 5thand 6th century B.C. The texts, which represent the earliest reliable written records in India, provide a profound insight into the socio-economic, cultural and political environment and conditions during the Buddha’s lifetime as well as into the lives of His contemporaries, such as King Bimbisara.
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/17.htm


This is a PBS documentary on the Buddha's relics:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnevfH60A_4

The historical evidence for the Buddha is arguably superior to the evidence for Christianity:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xju_MQhI2g

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Historical Evidence for the Buddha
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 04:37:07 pm »
Such should be, how ever, not the base for faith, not to insult other believes. It's more a "my father has a bigger car" choice or that of political leaders. "Sadly" Milindapañha is not translated to english, where the Ven. Monk gives excellent answers about evidences to a doubting king.
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Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Historical Evidence for the Buddha
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 04:50:05 pm »
Such should be, how ever, not the base for faith, not to insult other believes. It's more a "my father has a bigger car" choice or that of political leaders. "Sadly" Milindapañha is not translated to english, where the Ven. Monk gives excellent answers about evidences to a doubting king.

I'm sorry. I don't mean to insult other religions. If a person finds historical evidence as a compelling reason to join or belong to a particular religion, then there's sufficient evidence for Buddhism.

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Historical Evidence for the Buddha
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2017, 04:55:07 pm »
It was said generally mr/mrs Dharmaflower.

Ones weapons turn fast out into weapons torward one self. So there a plenty of peoples and studies which actually fight any historical evidence of Buddha... The joy of victory of what one clings to, brings ebvy and aversion to the loser...  that's why those suttas are a better and more conductive level to argue with those who are capable to see and discover cause and effects impacts.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 05:21:59 pm by Samana Johann »
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Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Historical Evidence for the Buddha
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2017, 05:19:01 pm »
A quick translation of one Sutta:

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2.5.1. Buddhassa atthinatthibhāvapañho - Buddha, a historical person

The king spoke: "Did you, venerable Nāgasena, have seen the Awakened alreay?
"No, oh king."
"Or did your teachers have seen him?"
"No oh king."
"So the Awakened might not have lived actually, oh Sir?"
"What? Did you already have seen the Uhā-river in the Himalaya?"
"No, oh Sir."
"So the Uhā-river does actually not exist?"
"Of course, oh Sir! Eventhrough neither my father nor I have seen it, still it does exist."
"In same way, oh king, the Awakened had lived, even through neither I nor my teacher had seen him."
"You are discerning, venerable Nāgasena!"

http://palikanon.com/diverses/milinda/milinda03.html#mil3_2_1


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Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Historical Evidence for the Buddha
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2017, 05:29:41 pm »
This is an interesting passage regarding the oral tradition behind the Mahayana sutras:

Quote
Even the Mahāyāna Sūtras, which were composed in writing
and which frequently refer to writing [1] [2, 251, 255, 257], retain some
oral features such as repetition [2, 273]. This shows that the oral tradition was firmly established and must have flourished for a considerable period
before the texts were put in writing.
https://ocbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/authenticity.pdf

While the Mahayana sutras are believed to have been written down at a later date than the Pali suttas, they both likely came from a much older oral tradition.

Ancient India was an oral culture, and important religious texts like the Rigveda were passed down for hundreds of years before taking a written form:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedic_chant#Oral_transmission

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Historical Evidence for the Buddha
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2017, 05:49:35 pm »
For those interested and Upanissaya, another quick translation:

Quote
Mil. 3.2.10. Buddhas Nachweisbarkeit - 2.5.10. Buddhanidassanapañho

2.5.10. Buddhanidassanapañho - The Buddhas evidence
The king spoke: "Does the Buddha exist, venerable Nāgasena?"
"Sure does the Buddha exist, oh King."
"But is it possible to show here or there that the Buddha is present?"
"No, oh king, total extinguished is the Blessed one in that of any precence-trace free element of liberation (Nibbāna). And it is impossible to show the Blessed One anywhere."
"Give my a simily!"
"What do you think, oh King: Might it be possible - after the flame of a great fire mass has been extinguished - show this flame anywhere?"
"No, oh Sir, extinguished is the flame, has become unvisible."
"Even so, oh King, is the Blessed One extinguished and disappeared in that of any presence-trace free element of liberation. And it is impossible to show him anywhere. But, in the body of his teachings (Dhamma-kāya), oh King, there one can show the evidence of the Blessed one, because by the Blessed One, oh King, this teaching was declared."
"Discerning are you, venerable Nāgasena!"

http://palikanon.com/diverses/milinda/milinda03.html#mil3_2_10
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