Author Topic: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?  (Read 731 times)

Offline KiwiNFLFan

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Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« on: November 24, 2017, 09:13:48 pm »
I have heard some people claim that the Mahayana Buddhist sutras were not actually written by the Buddha but were written later by other peoples? How do you respond to these claims?

Does it matter if these sutras were written by the Buddha or not as long as they help people find the path to enlightenment? I'm from a Christian background where scripture is treated by revelation from God. I know that Buddhism doesn't believe in a creator god so it seems that this claim would not have the same effect on Mahayana Buddhism than claims that the books of the Bible weren't written by who they said they were written by.

Offline ground

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Re: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2017, 11:03:40 pm »
Not even buddhism claims that sutras have been written by the Buddha.

you should inform yourself about buddhism to avoid asking such kinds of silly questions.

It is really strange that in the age of Google people ask questions in forums that are far below the level of common knowledge.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 11:14:06 pm by ground »

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2017, 05:15:09 am »
I have heard some people claim that the Mahayana Buddhist sutras were not actually written by the Buddha but were written later by other peoples? How do you respond to these claims?

Does it matter if these sutras were written by the Buddha or not as long as they help people find the path to enlightenment? I'm from a Christian background where scripture is treated by revelation from God. I know that Buddhism doesn't believe in a creator god so it seems that this claim would not have the same effect on Mahayana Buddhism than claims that the books of the Bible weren't written by who they said they were written by.
The authority of such texts is a continuing topic wherby you can trample many toes. You are absolutely right in your main comment, that Buddhism does not rely on 'revealed' knowledge but on simple stuff you can try for yourself at home. The key is to experience for yourself and then decide, rather than accept to word of others.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2017, 06:02:00 am »
I have heard some people claim that the Mahayana Buddhist sutras were not actually written by the Buddha but were written later by other peoples? How do you respond to these claims?

Does it matter if these sutras were written by the Buddha or not as long as they help people find the path to enlightenment? I'm from a Christian background where scripture is treated by revelation from God. I know that Buddhism doesn't believe in a creator god so it seems that this claim would not have the same effect on Mahayana Buddhism than claims that the books of the Bible weren't written by who they said they were written by.


First, It's probably best to not put a great deal of stock in ground's pronouncements.  He means well.  Or not.

To your question:

First there are no sutras that were "written" by the Buddha.  They were all transmitted orally for several centuries before they were actually codified.

There are those who claim that the Mahayana scriptures/teachings attributed to the Buddha are not authentic.  Those who make these claims are oftentimes Theravadins or self-styled Theravadins of the sort you find on-line.  More often than not, these claims seem to be a method of promoting their tradition at the expense of another.

That said, the real proof is to be found in the pudding, as they say.  To debate "authenticity" is a fools errand.  What's really important is whether or not the teaching leads to enlightenment.  In the Tibetan schools you will find testament to this in what is "lineage tree".  This is a depiction tracing the lineage back to it's beginnings and including the enlightened beings in the lineage.

Here is an example - this of the Karma Kagyu practice lineage.
called a 

Offline Pixie

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Re: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2017, 06:28:30 am »
I have heard some people claim that the Mahayana Buddhist sutras were not actually written by the Buddha but were written later by other peoples? How do you respond to these claims?


The Buddha didn't actually write anything at all 2,500 years ago. His teachings were memorised by monks and handed down in an oral tradition until they were eventually written on palm leaves.

"The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts" might be of some interest to you.

https://ocbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/authenticity.pdf


 Mahayana was a later development when other people expanded and developed those teachings in different ways.

These days some people prefer Theravada, some Mahayana, and others Vajrayana. There are also those who prefer Secular Buddhism.

Choose whatever works best for you and which results in a peaceful, open mind,  free from greed, hatred and delusion.




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« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 06:35:35 am by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2017, 11:27:28 pm »
Many people have already given good answers to your question. Please feel free to ask any kind of questions, even the most basic kind of questions about Buddhism. That's what forums like this are for. And there are many people in this forum that would give you the answers as per their knowledge.

Offline KiwiNFLFan

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Re: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 05:25:00 pm »
Thanks for the replies.

Quote
There are those who claim that the Mahayana scriptures/teachings attributed to the Buddha are not authentic.  Those who make these claims are oftentimes Theravadins or self-styled Theravadins of the sort you find on-line.  More often than not, these claims seem to be a method of promoting their tradition at the expense of another.

What do secular scholars think about the Mahayana sutras? Do they believe that the Buddha taught them?

Offline Rahul

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Re: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 12:33:46 am »
Does it really matter who wrote it? Buddhism encourages introspection, questioning, trying, and accepting them only if one finds them to be valid/effective. This practice is all about taking responsibility on one's own, and not relying on anyone else for one's success/failure. Instead of making sure that the suttas were written by an authority, instead of going into the endless futile debate on authenticity of the suttas, dive into it, practice and find out for yourself what works and what doesn't.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Mahayana sutras not written by the Buddha?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2018, 12:19:00 pm »
Like other Buddhist scriptures, Mahayana sutras typically begin with the phrase “Thus have I heard,” suggesting an oral tradition going back to the Buddha himself.

Since the Buddha taught different things to different audiences, it wouldn’t be surprising if both the Mahayana and Theravada scriptures were taught by the Buddha.

Ancient India was an oral culture, and important religious texts like the Rigveda were faithfully passed down for hundreds of years before taking a written form.

I am not saying, however, that the Mahayana sutras are meant to be historical word-for-word. Both the Theravada and Mahayana sutras have literary embellishments.

As far as I know, the oldest Buddhist manuscripts, such as the Gilgit and the Gandharan manuscripts, are of Mahayana sutras.

I recently read the modern Zen master Hsuan Hua’s commentary on the Amitabha Sutra, and he takes seriously the words “Thus have I heard” in the sutra.

Why be Mahayana rather than Theravada if one doesn’t actually believe that the Buddha taught the Bodhisattva vehicle? It sort of defeats the point, in my opinion.

 


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