Thus have I heard

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by CobblersApprentice, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. "Thus have I heard" is a standard formula for the beginning of Buddhist Suttas (Pali).........or Sutras (Sanskrit)

    Thus have I heard. Pali = Evam me sutta, Sanskrit = Evam maya srutam

    Theravada Texts, the Southern School, would be in Pali.
    Mayayana Texts, the Northern School, would be in Sanskrit.

    Theravada does have an Authorised Canon. Mahayana, not so*, yet many Mahayana Sutras have become established "favorites" and gathered many commentaries.

    The phrase, "Thus have I heard" is often understood, particularly in the Theravada, as a "seal of authenticity", that what is being then recited are the recorded words of the Buddha himself.

    The phrase gathers much over time. Given that it is seen as establishing authentic words of the Buddha, the fact that his honorific title is Tathagata is significant in this context. Tathagata, or "he who has thus come" and more, one actually beyond all coming and going.

    Thus, the words of the text actually take on a deep significance for many Buddhists. This should be considered and reflected upon.

    Again, the Dharma itself is described as ehipassiko, or "a come and see (for oneself)" sort of thing. Again significant. It is authenticated in practice, in living the Path. Its authentication, ultimately, does not derive from "faith" in its truth as such, nor in any scholarly analysis that seeks authentication by tracing back the genesis of the text via historical documents, word of mouth, or other such means.

    So, "Thus have I heard"


    * I believe that there are in fact Chinese and Tibetan Canons.
     
  2. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls Staff Member

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    Maybe that's where the term "Chinese whispers" comes from ;)
     
  3. Well, as said, scholarly analysis suggests distortion of all texts. I think @Thomas has already debated this with you. Thus picking out one (or a small series) is more a choice based upon one's own powers of analysis or trust in a scholar/scholarship, and in no way guarantees that one is hearing the "Word of God".

    And again, you bypass/ignore the point being made by my reference to ehipassiko.
     
  4. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    I have recognized the Dhamma in utterly worldly newspaper articles. I have read the words of the prophets off passing subway cars. A beggar, possibly in a manic state of mind, once gave me a poem that rang true. The last person to guide me is old, and almost blind, but she sees deep.

    Truth and guidance come in many forms and shapes. To me, all the claims to textual authenticity are teaching devices, to sharpen our sense for recognizing that which motivated their composition.

    And of course it can and does go horribly wrong, when claims to authenticity of a text are instrumentalized, turning what is a key to freedom into the bars of a prison cell, or worse.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    CobblersApprentice likes this.
  5. Mentors, mentors, everywhere!

    O Saichi, what is your delight?
    This world of delusion is my delight!
    It contains the seeds of relishing the Dharma.
    Namu-amida-butsu is blooming everywhere!

    (From Saichi's Journals)

    How joyous I am, my heart and mind being rooted in the Buddhaground of the universal Vow, and my thoughts and feelings flowing within the dharma-ocean, which is beyond comprehension!

    (Shinran)

    The Dharma wheel turns from the beginning. There is neither surplus nor lack. The whole universe is moistened with nectar, and the truth is ready to harvest. The harvesting of truth, the practice of forgetting the self, the practice of realizing forms and sounds intimately, the practice of polishing our mind of compassion—this is our joyous task.

    (Dogen)
     

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