Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rich Oral Tradition of Dhamma and Current Digital Outage

Rich Oral Tradition of Dhamma and Current Digital Outage

The erudite reader P. S. Mahawatte of Colombo 5 has done honours to Dhamma by summarizing the events in Buddhist Calender of Councils.

It is reproduced below.

I want to make few comments.

I differ commenting on Tibetian Traditions.

I think we need a Seventh Council to weed off the distortions!

I have many books on Buddhism and I am intrigued by the books on Abhidhamma.

Who was the author of Abhidhamma?

It looks like there were only Two instead of Three (Tipitaka) Baskets, Vinya and Sutta and ? Abhidhamma was added later (? when).

I have not found an answer who was the author of Abhidhamma and I do not wish to speculate or postulate.

Even Reverend Maha Thera Narada has an edition on Abhidhamma.

But I like his booklet “Buddhism in a Nutshell” the most.

His English translation of Dhammapada is a Gem!

Of course Buddhist writing was revived by Two German (Jewish) Monks Rev. Nanathiloka and Nanapoinika in the 1950s. 

They founded the BPS in Kandy with the help of a lawyer and a retired teacher from Kandy.

Rev. Bhikku Bodhi (he too was Jewish American) now in USA continued the rich tradition of the BPS (till he retired) as the Editor for 18 years.

His contribution (translating Pali to English) even without a laptop to begin with was enormous.

I quote a staement of him below;

What can be said unequivocally is that the scholarly knowledge without practical application is barren; Vigorous meditation practice without the guiding light of clear conceptual understanding is futile.

I recommend one to read the collected essays (written by him) compiled as "Dhamma Reflections".
Now there is an outage (mostly digital) by few writers who have not read in depth and few who actually with a will to distort (there is a hidden conspiracy to distort Dhamma).

There was a book published by the education department in Ceylon (Chandrika’s Regime) a decade ago that stated;
“Subbe Dhamma Anittiya”.

I went through the entire Dictionary of Pali and could not find a reference to “that phrase” and alerted the regime and the book was withdrawn.
I am currently scrutinizing a book on Meditation (Dummies series) which has many inaccuracies and I have no intention of writing to the editors.

The bottom line is not to become an erudite but to become a practising Buddhist starting with “Metta”.

With President Trump am Mari La Pen in the forefront of aggression (and hate) it is time for us to send the Buddhist message to USA, France (French translators should work on this) and more importantly Africa and Philippines.

First Council was held three months after the Great Demise of Buddha by Maha Kasappa with other Maha Theras called the 1st Council to recite the Dhamma, to review and to rectify any irregularities so that nothing was lost or inadvertently included.

The Vinaya Pitaka was entrusted to Upali Thera and his pupils.
The Samyutta and Anguttara Nikaya to Ananda Maha Thera."

1. The First Great Council was held at Rajagaha under the patronage of King of Magadha"

2. The Second Great Council was held at Vesaki, 100 years after the Great Demise of the Buddha.

3. The Third Great Council was held at Pataliputra during the reign of Emperor Asoka.

The entire cannon was handed down in the oral tradition for the next 500 years until it was finally committed to writing at the fourth great council in 83 BCE in Ceylon.
Writing down of the Buddhist Cannon in 1st century BCE was the greatest contribution that the Sinhalese people had made to the intellectual heritage of Mankind"(Dr. Paranavitane in 1959).

4. The Fourth Great Council was held at Matale (Aluvihare) during the reign King Vattagamini Abhaya in 83 BCE.

5. The Fifth Great Council was held at Mandalay, Burma under the patronage of King Mindon.

6. The Sixth Great Council, the last council, was held in Rangoon to mark the 2500 years after the demise" of the Buddha.