Are any of the mentions of anything unusual about his genitals, from surely confirmed texts of the earliest layer? I can’t help thinking that this is all just made up. So this seems an important question to me.
It may be fictional, or not, who knows? Even if, it was recorded in an earlier text it would still be a curious idea.
Do you believe things just because they appear in early Buddhist texts?
‘Surely confirmed’ that it’s there in the EBT’s is no guarantee that its true. More importantly, it doesn’t matter, as our genitals are irrelevant when it comes to the degree of insight and kindness etc.
Likewise, our sexual orientation! I hold these truths to be self evident.
The earliest layer of text have the 32 marks. The earliest layer of texts also have things in them like “if you hope hard enough, you can become a member of X or Y rank of god, or snake, or brahmin.”
Could you please seperate Senryu’s comment from mine in your last comment?
You have not associated Senryu’s comment with Senryu
I can’t find the mistake, but I will gladly correct it. What went wrong?
The second paragraph was a comment made by Senryu. The first paragraph was a comment made by me.
However, one name is associated with both paragraphs. You can remedy this by citing two seperate quotations.
You quoted senryu quoting laurence, and making a comment.
It is clear what it is and doesn’t create confusion. When quoting only the quoted bit, from inside another authors post, the post comes up as being by the quoting author. That’s not the case here - so attributions are all accurate.
I see what happened now. I can get rid of your comment if you’d prefer it that way.
Some of the higher devas are not desire-realm beings - is that correct. They also don’t eat and drink food like us? So, why would they need anything like our private parts?
Are you educating people with regard to the nonexistence of Deva’s? What is the source of this information i.e. the existence of Deva’s has been disproved? Is it a press-release from ‘the church of scientism’? Are you expressing an educated opinion or what, exactly?
Hoping hard enough is not how rebirth as a deva - or anything else - is explained, is it? I thought it had something to do with meritorious or demeritorious intentions and actions.
If you want to go to heaven just be good
If Senryu is being quoted, quoting Laurence, shouldn’t the quote be attributed to Senryu and, not me? In addition, it wasn’t just a quote from me but, a further comment not made by me, with my name attached to the comment - as a whole.
So did senryu misquote you and I misquoted you both?
Where did the above come from?
Sorry, it seems I’m entirely too confused tonight.
I think you may have got a wrong impression of what I said. I was suggesting - rightly or wrongly - that everything we find in the EBT’s may ‘not’ be factual.
I didn’t specify anything in particular, as I thought that would be presumptuous.
Nevertheless, I have read an article/essay where @brahmali has suggested something like this. The EBT’s do seem to contain material that may be later additions.
Regarding teachings on the Deva’s, at least some of them, are not likely to be later additions.*
Senryu quoted me and, then asked:
Senryu didn’t misquote me nor, is there anything in what Senryu wrote, that would indicate confusion.
No, as I explained the attributions are all clear and accurate in this instance.
“When quoting only the quoted bit, from inside another authors post” - Viveka
There wasn’t a single quote quoted. There were two quotes, 1) a statement by me and, 2) a question from another respondent.
They were both cited in one quotation with one name attached to that quotation.
Anyway, the situation was remedied. All’s well that ends well!
Well it may have been ‘remedied’, but there was nothing wrong with it in the first place…
Each part of the quote had the correct names attached…
No. But if they aren’t, I don’t!
I’d say that if there are indications of him having unusual genitalia in the ealiest layer, then it’s perhaps worth remaining at least agnostic on the idea. and if it only appears in later material, I’m happy to totally dismiss it as fiction.
If this is the case, then I would remain skeptical of talk of his genitals on the basis that:
- The 32 marks are in my opinion definitely fictional. I don’t believe that he had a ‘Thousand-spoked wheel sign on feet’, I highly doubt he had ‘Toes and fingers finely webbed’. I don’t believe that ‘Hands reaching below the knees’, that he had a ‘Ten-foot aura around him’, that he had ‘40 teeth’, that he had ‘White ūrṇā curl that emits light between eyebrows’, nor that he had a ‘Fleshy protuberance on the crown of the head’.
Why? Because those are (apart from the weird teeth thing that is unlikely) things that would make him stand out a lot. And thus contradict the reports we have of people not recognising him, as I referenced above.
- If by that early period the community had already accepted these ‘marks’ and if we take them to be fictional, then if stories about his genitals are from that same layer already contaminated with this mythologicalization, then, the genital stories may have been made up in response to this set of marks.
For example, later biographies of the Buddha explain many details of his life in the palace, even of him practicing 4 jhānas I think, before learning the 4 immaterial states. Also about his past lives etc. These seem clearly to be people making up details to fill in the gaps of information we had on him. Similarly, stories about his genitals could be made up to fill in the gaps thatt hey had, regarding beliefs about the 32 marks.
Even ‘Early’ just means within 100 years of the Buddha’s death, doesn’t it? That’s enough time for plenty of additions and changes to accumulate. That’s what, 5 generations?
We could probably benefit from the input of @sujato or @brahmali on this. Text requires writing and the impression I have is there is no alphabet, examples of writing, in the archaeological evidence until the edicts of Asoka or, from the same period? I believe the earliest indic-alphabet is related to ancient Assyrian - but I’m not sure? This is before the evolution of Sanskrit-texts as well. If so, anything earlier would have been an oral tradition.
Regarding your comment on the four form jhanas provide proceeding the four formless jhanas, this is also an EBT teaching, not something in invented by the Mahayana tradition.
I tend also to think of ‘oral texts’, though I don’t know if that’s a proper use of language. Anyway the point is the content of the text, and I have the impression that ‘Early Buddhism’ is basically the Buddhism that was being taught as early as 100 years after the Buddha’s death, before the schools separated (and long before anything was written down). But that we can’t be certain about how far anything goes back before then.
And on such an assumption, stories were made up about the Buddha practicing the 4 jhānas even before he attained the immaterial states. But such stories are absent from the early texts. And that’s my point - people made up stories that fit the narrative, and then they were accepted as real. Just as stories about his genitals could have been made up to fit the 32 myth narrative, and then accepted because they fit, just the same as the 4 jhāna stories.
I’m not talking about stories of attaining the four form-jhanas and then, attaining the four formless-jhanas at a later date. I am talking about the Buddha’s own account - found in a sutta - of proceeding in an ascending and descending order, through the 8 and, also beyond the 8. Before this happened, he didn’t claim to be the knower of the worlds???
I will try to find the quotation!
The sequence of the eight jhanas is a common theme in the suttas.