Reply To: Early Buddhism vs Theravada


I take back what I wrote above. It is not worthwhile to read this document. I read it, so let me explain why it is a waste of time.

1. The phrase, “Early Buddhist Texts” does not make any sense. Are there “Late Buddhist Texts”? If so, how can they be attributed to the Buddha?

2. All we need is those “Early Buddhist Texts” that can be attributed to the Buddha. We have a set of such texts and it is the Tipitaka.
– There may be other texts like the “Chinese Agama” texts, but those are mostly translations of the Pāli Tipitaka.

3. Rather than writing books about the authenticity of the “Early Buddhist Texts” there is an easy way to figure out the true teachings of the Buddha. That is to look for any inconsistencies WITHIN the Tipitaka. I have seen no such inconsistency so far.
– If anyone can point out an inconsistency within the Tipitaka, I would be happy to discuss it.
– If not, why waste time discussing the authenticity of “Early Buddhist Texts”?

4. Furthermore, the author is in no position to evaluate any texts on Buddha Dhamma, because he is totally ignorant of the key concepts of Buddha Dhamma.
– That is a bold statement to make. But I can prove it.

5. I was triggered on this point when I came to read the subsection entitled, “saṅkhāra: choices” on p. 34 of the book.
– In that section, he writes: “Theravada gives saṅkhāra a rather odd scope. There, it is said to mean“ all conditioned phenomena apart from the things covered in the other aggregates”.
– On the contrary, many suttas in the Tipitaka clearly describe what sankhara are.
– He should at least read the post, “Saṅkhāra – What It Really Means
– If he does not know what saṅkhāra are, how can he have an understanding of Paṭicca Samuppāda?
– If he does not understand Paṭicca Samuppāda, he does not understand Buddha Dhamma. Period.

6. There is more. He does not understand what is meant by viññāṇa either.
– Read his translation of “Dutiyabodhi Sutta (Ud 1.2)“. That links has both the Pāli version and his translation.
– That sutta explains the “Paṭiloma Paṭicca Samuppāda” which is the “reverse of Paṭicca Samuppāda“.
– Whereas Paṭicca Samuppāda indicated how rebirths (and thus future suffering) arise via the generation of saṅkhāra with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra“, the “reverse of Paṭicca Samuppāda” states that future suffering will cease with the ceasing of the generation of saṅkhāra with avijjā, i.e., starting with “avijjā nirodhā saṅkhāra nirodho.”
– The relevant verse in the sutta is :”..avijjā nirodhā saṅkhāra nirodho, saṅkhāra nirodhā viññāṇa nirodho, viññāṇa nirodhā nāmarūpa nirodho, nāmarūpa nirodhā saḷāyatana nirodho, saḷāyatana nirodhā phassa nirodho, phassa nirodhā vedanā nirodho, vedanā nirodhā taṇhā nirodho, taṇhā nirodhā upādāna nirodho, upādāna nirodhā bhava nirodho, bhava nirodhā jāti nirodho, jāti nirodhā jarāmaraṇaṁ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā nirujjhanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hotī”ti.
– He translates that as: ” When ignorance ceases, choices cease. When choices cease, consciousness ceases. When consciousness ceases, name and form cease. When name and form cease, the six sense fields cease. When the six sense fields cease, contact ceases. When contact ceases, feeling ceases. When feeling ceases, craving ceases. When craving ceases, grasping ceases. When grasping ceases, continued existence ceases. When continued existence ceases, rebirth ceases. When rebirth ceases, old age and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress cease. That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.”
– The Buddha removed ALL avijjā from his mind upon his attainment of the Buddhahood (Enlightenment). Did the Buddha stop making saṅkhāra in the next 45 years of his life as the Buddha?
– Furthermore, did the Buddha lose consciousness upon Enlightenment?
– He does not even understand that “viññāṇa nirodho” only refers to “kamma viññāṇa” and NOT “vipaka viññāṇa.”
– See, “Viññāṇa – Two Critical Meanings

7. If someone does not understand saṅkhāra or viññāṇa, that person obviously is not qualified to write books about Buddha Dhamma!
– But I do refer to his translations in some of my posts because the side-by-side Pāli and English translations are convenient for many readers. Furthermore, some of his translations are fine, because those suttas do not discuss deep concepts. In the case of “deep suttas/verses” I always emphasize that they are not correct.