Sep. 5, 2007

How Old is the Suttapitaka?

A very interesting article making a scholarly case for the antiquity of the canon; How Old is the Suttapitaka by Alexander Wynn. He makes the argument that the Pali Canon was closed to new material at a very early date. One of his key arguments is that stories and doctrines that are found in other recensions are relegated to the Pali commentaries. This would indicate that the Theravadin sangha in Sri Lanka were unwilling to revise the canon, even though they were keeping abreast of developments in India.

Thanks Eisel for pointing this out to me.


glenn fitzgerald said...

"The arahant is one who is perfectly free, and the "master of the pathways of the mind, thinking only what he wants to think and not thinking what he doesn't want to think."

Then, is the arahant (if such a being exists) free to wrap himself or herself---or not to wrap himself or herself---in the binding chains of anxious thoughts?

Sometimes the experience of pain, in whatever form it manifests itself, might be considered a worthwhile and deliciously refreshing experience to explore.

And to give such exploration the vivid and compelling force it deserves, it might even be a good idea to sometimes deliberately engender the amnesia that liberation and freedom from desire even exists.

In the idea of true freedom, anything truly goes. Human experience in the context of complete freedom, is as a playground of almost mischievously conceived delight which is free of any taboos or restrictions.

Glenn Fitzgerald.

P.S: Just thought I'd speak up for the masochists of this world, lest their orientation be neglected from discussion.

Zack said...

I've thought along these lines before too. In fact, I often wonder exactly what real purpose there is in attaining nibbana. Let's say, for instance, that all existence were to suddenly attain nibbana. What, then, of existence? Does it cease to exist? Does it 'start over'? I guess the simplest answer is that existence doesn't exist in the first place, but that's a bit much for the mind to bear. In that case, what exactly separates an arahant from any other being?