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Nathaniel

THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE PALI CANON

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Greetings.

My American name is Nathaniel and my Buddhist title and name is Venerable Lantian Xinshen, which means Blue Sky Mind in Mandarin. I am a retired priest of Hongaku Jodo (ordained by one of the founders of the group, Venerable Koshu Dari) which is a Pure Land Buddhist sect, neither Shin nor Sukkhavati but American. I was also ordained, in jest, by the ULC in March of 1999. Since retiring from the priesthood I have taken more interest in my ULC ordination. The ULC is a marvelous interfaith group providing a much needed service.

As a Buddhist I often read, and heard statements, that the Pali Canon is unhistorical and untrustworthy. I believed these fantasies wholly on the strength of hearsay, without investigation, and unfortunately repeated them many times. Then, I investigated these claims and found them utterly false. Now, if you are one who believes this about the Pali Canon, but have never investigated these claims, here is an easy way to investigate and see for yourself they are groundless untruths. Unless, of course, like many people you "already know" all about it without investigating. Or you aren't interested in anything that might upset the apple cart of your cherished ideas. The link below is to a very short book by two bhikkhus (Buddhist monks) of the Theravada school of thought. It is thoroughly researched, concise (a little over seventy pages), and to the point. No wasted words. It will dispel your untrue notions about the Pali Canon if you have such notions. Of course, you will have to read the booklet. Knowledge does not come to use via osmosis, unfortunately. (Give it time and one day we will learn by having knowledge downloaded to our brain.)

file:///C:/Users/aioni/Downloads/authenticity.pdf

As you can see. the print and the margins are both fairly large, further shortening the book and making it an easy read for those of any generation. Anyone here who is a Buddhist and cares about facts as did Gautama will want to know these matters. Education does not get any easier than this. Unless of course someone here (other than myself) has a You Tube channel and would like to record this booklet and present it on your channel. That would be a good work.

Namaste,
Venerable Lantian Xinshen aka Brother Nathaniel

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We can't see because your link points to a file on your local machine. You would need to link to a public version.

 

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While I hold the Pāli Canon as authentic it is not without some corruption.  It is important to bear in mind that the material was transmitted orally for hundreds of years before beings set to text.  Even in the Buddha's time there was a "counterfeit dhamma" circulating (see SN 13:16) and being taught. It would be unreasonable to believe that there are no flaws in the Pāli literature.  It is my personal opinion that the majority of these flaws are found within the Digha Nikāya.  There is a theory circulating among academics that this text was designed to bring new prospects into the Sangha (see Joy Manné's "Categories of Sutta in the Pali Nikayas and Their Implications for Our Appreciation of the Buddhist Teaching and Literature," Journal of the Pali Text Society 15 (1990): 29-87.) If this were true it would make sense that this volume would make reference to some of the prevailing Vedic beliefs of the time, particularly those that outline cosmology.  The "32 marks of a great man" would possibly be another example. If these were meant to be a physical description of the Buddha one would have to ask why King Ajattasatu was unable to pick the Buddha out of the crowd as he looked like any other monk (DN 2).  

 

Despite whatever flaws the Pāli literature may contain these texts are the closest thing we have to the Buddha's actual words.  

 

 

 

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