“I have recently taken a heavy interest in understanding what suttas of the Pali Canon can be reliably, and generally understood to be attributed to the buddha and what are later additions.”
– It is good to do that.
– I have found that the Tipitaka (Pali Canon) is 100% self-consistent and can be reliably attributed to the Buddha.
– Finding that self-consistency is the key. What hinders that, is the incorrect translation of the Tipitaka by many.
Yes. What you say about Abhidhamma is correct. Buddha only explained the Abhidhamma material to Ven. Sariputta in summary form. It took several generations of bhikkhus to expand it to the form that we have today. Again, self-consistency is the way to judge.
1. “…According to the Ghatikara Sutta, he had ordained and learned all of the buddha Kassapa’s teachings and had practiced insight meditation right up to stream-entry.”
– The error here is indicated in bold. A Bodhisatta, by definition, would not attain stream-entry (Sotapanna stage). He would attain ALL magga phala with the Buddhahood.
2. Correct. One could cultivate mundane jhana and get to “see” previous lives. In fact, we all have done that in our previous lives, many times over.
3. Yes. That is consistent with #2.
The bottom line is that attaining jhana has NOTHING to do with attaining magga phala and making progress towards Nibbana. Of course, attaining even anariya jhana CAN HELP. But that can happen ONLY IF one is taught the correct Dhamma, including correct explanations of Tilakkhana, Paticca Samuppada, etc.
That should explain everything else. If there are further questions, please feel free to ask.
As for who believes in rebirth and not, is up to that person.
– But one thing is very clear. Buddha Dhamma is all about stopping the suffering-filled rebirth process.
– Thus, if one does not believe in the rebirth process, that means he/she has a long way to go, even to get started. See, “Buddhism without Rebirth and Nibbāna?”
Regarding self-consistency: “Buddha Dhamma: Non-Perceivability and Self-Consistency”
P.S. If there are any questions about the above two posts, or on any post at the website, please refer to the post and the relevant bullet #. That would make it easier to discuss.