Guide A Buddhist Bible

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Given that the Buddha taught fifteen times as long as Jesus , this seems like a fairly reasonable difference. I think it is mistaken to think that Christianity just has the Bible as it's authority and everything else is dispensable. That idea only showed up at the time of the protestant reformation, and before that, the writings of the Church fathers which are quite voluminous and books on theology were regarded as an absolutely essential part of Christian doctrine.

Even for Catholic and Orthodox Christians of today the suggestion that the Bible is the only supreme source of doctrine is rejected. They believe that the Sacred Tradition passed down through the ages is equally authoritative as the Bible itself. Buddhism has such a large variety of texts largely because in the early days after the Buddha's passing into Parinibbana, converting the oral teaching into memorized texts was the only way that the teaching could be adequately preserved.

These texts were transmitted to different places and so were commented on and interpreted differently by different people, leading to commentarial literature and many other works being written. Much of this also happened with Christianity as well, although the Bible isn't as big as the Tipitika. It was only within the past years or so that some Christians began to focus on the Bible to the exclusion of these many writings, and even they rely very much on their own writings. If you separate a bible, you have actually many books therein.

Also, there are, as you pointed, many "bibles", that is, not only different translations, but bibles formed by different sets of books -- some books are accepted here, some are rejected there. If you take the tipitaka, it is also formed by many books. Correspondingly, there are different versions and editions of it. So, christianity, just like buddhism, produced many "books" Matthew, Mark, Acts, Romans, Revelation etc, on one hand and, say, Majjhima Nikaya, Dhammapada, Khandhavagga, etc on the other.

Christianity, just like buddhism, had groups selecting and discarding texts through time, establishing a certain canon for them. On the christian side, this reminds me of some books I've read from a catholic father about the First Council of Nicea and how overly simplifying , part of it, was about determining a christian canon -- that is, selecting the books that were being used by churchs, that show some consistency among themselves, etc, and apparently burning ones that were not something to do with new sects popping up with corrupted texts to take advantage of the trends.

But wikipedia presents material that disagrees so, this may not correspond to fact.

Understanding the Perplexing Variety of Buddhist Scriptures

However different, processes of determining what books form a certain canon still took place through time. This just illustrates the point that there is a historical process, whatever it is, in both traditions, involving people who compiled what is part of the canon call it a bible, or a tipitaka -- and, in face of apocryphal material, what is not.

Also, some groups may decide to preserve early material, rise the criteria for acceptance, and see late material with different eyes, while other groups may decide that some late material stands in equal footing, or is a legitimate continuation of and fundamental contribution to the early ones. For example, Paul of Tarsus came in after, but his writings were welcomed in the canon I wonder if any early group rejected his work?

Similarly, Nagasena came many years after the Buddha's parinirvana. So did Huineng. So, it seems to me the difference is the physical limits that a physical book imposes on the number of pages. While the bible can be formatted as a single physical book, I think it would be a challenge to have a unitary physical Tripitaka. Why is it that Buddhism never compiled a reasonably concise set of canonical texts like the Bible. For example there was one titled "The life and sayings of the Buddha" or something like that in my hotel room in Singapore, next to i. Yes, actually I don't think they do manage with just one Bible.

In the Catholic Church, for example, the equivalent of "the dharma" is IMO " the magisterium " which includes teachings by the Pope and Bishops.

However Buddhism seems to have an enormous array of texts over a number of different canons Pali, Chinese, Tibetan and commentaries and para cononical texts. Perhaps you are ignoring different Christian sects : for example, don't you think that the Lutheran "canon" would include the writings of Luther? And that Luther's writings are not "canonical" for other sects?

To pick another example, because the Quakers believe in continuing revelation IMO their canon is still being developed. Moving on to Buddhism, I'd like to quote the following which might describe why the Buddhist canon isn't edited unnecessarily. Reform of Vinaya. Finally, there is a consideration based upon the nature of the training and the end which it has in view.

From the Buddha-time down to the present it has been found that a careful application of the Vinaya's principles by a bhikkhu in his life promotes his practice and understanding of Dhamma: "Vinaya leads to restraint; restraint to the absence of remorse; absence of remorse leads to joy; joy to delight; delight to tranquility; tranquility leads to happiness; happiness to collectedness; collectedness to knowledge and vision of the truly existent; knowledge and vision of the truly existent to revulsion;[9] revulsion to dispassion; dispassion to freedom; freedom to knowledge-and-vision of freedom; and knowledge-of-vision to freedom leads to Nibbana free from clinging to substrata for rebirth " Vinaya, Parivara, When Vinaya has been so formulated as to guide a bhikkhu to the goal of Nibbana, who shall entertain thoughts altering it?

It is we who have to change by our practice of Dhamma-Vinaya, to come up to its level and not to expect it to change for us. In this connection, there is a little fable:. At one time there was a great and flourishing tree standing as it had stood for many, many hundreds of years.

It was so beautiful that men and women bringing their children would come from scores of miles about to gaze in wonder at its perfect and majestic shape. Under its mighty spread of branches multitudes could sit down enjoying its cool shade. Even animals would come and delight themselves according to their several habits, some upon the grass beneath and some sporting amid the profusion of leaves, flowers, and fruits.

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And such flowers of such fragrance — no one knew where else their like might be found. And such fruits as this tree bore and in such abundance! No wonder that they are called best, highest, foremost and supreme among all fruits produced by other trees. So the seasons and the years rolled by and still the mighty tree stood hardly changed, for where one branch died off, another grew to replace it. The delight of many beings, visible and invisible, was in the health and long life of this ancient tree.

Then, in accordance with the change inherent in things, fashions changed and trees in their natural vigor were no longer praised but trimmed and artificially-shaped trees were thought more beautiful. Agitation began among some men for the tree to be shaped up according to modern taste. Eventually, due to debased ideas of people by that time, loppers and clippers tried their hands upon the millennial giant. Branch after branch fell loaded with flowers and bearing fruits.

Only a few ignorant people regretted the sawn-off limbs and bare branches with a few clusters of leaves left here and there. These ill-educated persons were heard regretting the lack of any shade. How stupid of them!

A Buddhist Bible

It is needless to say that the venerable tree flowered and bore fruit no more and due to shock, died shortly afterwards, leaving only its great, but dead framework which then became an object for the speculative theses of numerous men of books. Consider how the Bible arose. Four historical persons played key roles in bringing the Christian Bible to you. They were Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, who thundered against any who did not accept exclusively the four gospels as divinely inspired; the 1st century ascetic Saint Jerome who translated Hebrew and Greek texts into the Latin Vulgate Bible; Johannes Gutenberg who in the s printed the first Bibles in Latin; and Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury and chief overseer of the production of the King James Bible in English.

In each man's case there was a power struggle in progress: Irenaeus was in doctrinal conflict expressed in " Against Heresies " with gnostic christians such as Valentinians whose scriptures were largely suppressed; Jerome was involved in the violent struggle in between rival pope-elects Damasus and Ursinus as secretary to Damasus; Gutenberg printed his Bibles while the erudite Pope Nicholas V, smarting from the invasion of Constantinople urged the Portuguese to retaliate against "Saracens, pagans and other enemies of Christ"; and Bancroft was commanded by King James I of England to purge the Bible text of catholic and puritan influences.

Each of these christians mentioned believed they were handling the actual words revealed supernaturally to men by a supreme God who promises salvation conditionally through a particular congregational organization, whose doctrines its clergy must find justified in its Bible. Buddhism however, like other religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent, is a dharmic teaching that owes nothing to any organization-hungry supreme being.

The source of Buddhist doctrine is an earthly man Gautama Sidhartha, not a god but one who by purely human effort reached an Enlightenment that buddhists have gratefully received and shared ever since. The question about collecting a concise set of texts about the universal beliefs in Buddhism is a good and reasonable idea.

I think it has been done already! For example the Dhammapada offers a collection of Buddha's sayings in a popular form, and among the suttas I find the great Mahaparinibbana Sutta it means the Buddha's departure at death to Nirvana and the Maha-sihanada Sutta The Great Discourse on the Lion's Roar both readable and rich in doctrine. Others can point to writings ancient and modern that they recommend; my references are within the conservative Therevada school. However there is little impetus to produce a literal "Buddhist Bible" although it has been done.

The word "Bible" would contribute no more than the idea that the work is like the Christian Bible a collection of texts, and it would be seen as confronting the existing Bible. That is the approach of the Islamic Qur'an which Mohammad claimed is divinely revealed as an update and corrective to the Bible, and not the intention of Buddhism.

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One possible reason why christianism has been more reluctant to add new texts into their canon is that it is a profetic religion, that is, a religion based on revelation assumed to come directly from a superior or ultimate entity their God. Buddhism would be a "mystical religion" based on humans accessing the ultimate truth directly. Christians or Jews or Muslims would need to be sure that a text was inspired directly by God in order to add it to their canon. With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability.

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Understanding Buddhist Scriptures

A Buddhist Bible by Dwight Goddard ebook. Indian Types of ethical and philosophical Buddhism did not easily find acceptance in China; it took centuries of contact before a distinctively Chinese adaptation of Buddhism was effected that proved to be congenial to Chinese soil. Other sects have risen and decreased but they proved to be more or less exotic, they never became indigenous as did Zen. An exception may be suspected in the case of the Pure Land Sects, but it should be remembered that the Pure Land Sects developed from Zen and not independently.