How is everybody doing.
I was wondering if Buddhism and Buddhist teachings are currently explored scientifically at University level anywhere in the world?
Also, I would be very interested to know if textual criticism has ever been used to layer the Suttas in the Pali canon, and how to tell which teachings are most likely to go back to the historical Buddha and which could have been added later.
This topic comes up pretty regularly. The following is from
“Buddhist India” by T.W. Rhys Davids and represents his best guess as to the order of Buddhists documents were composed.
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER X
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF BUDDHIST LITERATURE FROMTHE BUDDHA’S TIME TO THE TIME OF ASOKA
The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.
Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing books.
The Silas, the
Parayana, the Octades, the Patimokkha. The Digha, Majjhima, Anguttara, and Samyutta
Nikayas. The Sutta Nipata, the Thera- and Therl-Gathas,
the Udanas, and the Khuddaka Patha. The Sutta Vibhanga and the Khandakas.
The Jatakas and the Dhammapadas.
The Niddesa, the Itivuttakas, and the Patisambhida.
The Peta- and Vim2na-Vatthus, the Apadanas,the Cariya Pitaka, and the Buddha Vamsa.
The Abhidhamma books; the last of which is the Katha Vatthu, and the earliest probably the Puggala Paftftatti.
The above table represents the probable order in which the extant Buddhist documents of this period were composed. They were not yet written, and a great deal has no doubt been lost;’
Aṭṭhakavagga and Pārāyanavagga - Wikipedia has some names of scholars that have weighed in as well. @sujato and @Brahmali wrote The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts - Bhikkhu Sujato & Bhikkhu Brahmali (wiswo.org)
No doubt others on this site can chime in with more names of scholars.
Hmm, not really sure TBH.
It’s not an exact science, but scholars use a variety of methods to investigate authenticity. Check out the book by myself and Ven Brahmali,
The Authenticity of early Buddhist Texts.
There is a good post by “assaji” over on dhamma wheel:
Dr. Bimala Churn Law wrote a good article (in the 30s) that updated the one linked to earlier by Rhys Davids that can be read here:
Around the middle of the century G C Pande wrote a good book on the subject called Studies in the Origins of Buddhism which can be downloaded here:
The Oxford Centre for Buddhist studies offers a 2 year masters course that may be of interest:
They also have a journal the older articles from which are freely available:
@Khemarato.bhikkhu has the excellent Open Buddhist University at:
@sujato of course runs the amazing:
There is also the equally amazing digital pali reader:
As for your question on chronology and stratification you may be interested in the thread:
In recent discussions the opinion came up that the khandhas, because they hardly appear in the DN, would be a late dhamma category. I haven’t heard this understanding before and I just assumed that the khandhas are one of the most basic EBT categories.
In more detail the khandhas appear
4x in the DN: DN 14, DN 22, and not surprisingly in DN 33, DN 34
17x in the AN, which is a very low number
20x in the MN, a decent amount
many times in the SN obviously, mostly in SN 22-24: —5x in SN 1-11, —7x…
Oh! And of course
@cdpatton has the fantastic:
One thing i would caution you about is that this topic can be a contentious one, and despite its focus on the early Buddhist texts this forum tends to accept that they are all from a relatively homogeneous period and more or less all go back to the buddha, so if this is of particular interest to you you may want to engage with other forums to balance perspectives.
It would be wonderful if we can get more people to contribute to this thread, there has been rather a lot of threads recently that don’t really directly relate to the EBT’s except in the loosest way of being discussion about Buddhism from a “non-Mahayanan” perspective.
Your question is about the formation of early Buddhist texts. The following discussions on angas may be useful:
I wanted to make an outline of just the Saṁyutta Nikāya and what the original groupings were according to the aṅga theory of Yin Shun. As a source, I used some comparative diagrams from The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism, by Mun-keat Choong.
I included just the contents of the Saṁyutta Nikāya, and left out correspondences to the Saṃyukta Āgama. I have also fixed a few mistakes in the saṁyutta names and numbers as printed in the book.
The highest organization principle is the aṅga. The…
Regarding the reconstructed SA, see also:
Choong Mun-keat, “Ācāriya Buddhaghosa and Master Yinshun 印順 on the Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts” in Research on the Saṃyukta-āgama (Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Research Series 8; edited by Dhammadinnā), Taiwan: Dharma Drum Corporation, August 2020, pp. 883-932.
https://www.academia.edu/44055729/%C4%8 (“Ācāriya Buddhaghosa and Master Yinshun 印順 on the Three-aṅga Structure of Early Buddhist Texts” 2020)
EBTs, such as the four principal Nikayas/Agamas, were not collected and compiled in the Buddha’s chronology of practice, or with events & teachings happening in more chronological order.
The four basic texts were collected and then compiled at the first and second councils according to the 9 angas (classifications).
E.g. in various suttas there is a mention of: "the discourses, mixed prose and verse, expositions, verses, inspired utterances, quotations, birth stories, marvelous accounts, and…
Would be really keen to hear from others about resources and research in this area - lets keep this going!!