Continuing over from the latter part of this threadin our conversation with @josephzizys on the authenticity of the suttas concerning the suicides of Ven. Channa, Vakkali, Godhika, the congregation of mendicants for asubha practice, etc.
I would generally agree, but the suttas don’t actually use the word in the same grammatical structure or declension; it varies even in the well known ones. For this reason, with my limited Pali knowledge, this particular part doesn’t stand out.
I agree going off of mere concept is slippery, but if a concept is discussed with the same root word in differing grammatical configurations between suttas and is familiar, there’s more ground to stand on generally. Something to consider and watch out for though!
I assume the Milindapañha got it originally from this sutta. It comes up in the Salistamba Sutra I believe? An early Mahāsamghika one on dependent origination. I don’t think it appears elsewhere in the early canon, but as you say, the line from MN 28 is similar. They’re often connected to: paticcasamuppāda = Dhamma, Dhamma = Buddha, therefore seeing paticcasamuppāda = seeing the Buddha.
This story is in the suttas as well and realizing now, did we check / consider that one? Anyway, in the story, the Buddha is responsible for teaching the asubha practice specifically to that congregation, not just the solution. This goes against the idea of him being a perfect teacher, let alone omniscient or free of mistakes. He also does not notice because he is on retreat; that he wouldn’t notice the slaughter would only be expected of someone not in the place with no phone or internet. He returns and sees most people are gone. The immediate assumption when people are missing isn’t usually that they all killed themselves, but even so, he asked Ānanda what happened immediately; it’s possible his tone was much more concerned or urgent, and if not, he noticed immediately upon returning.
I can’t speak to the authenticity of the event without double checking the research, still. Maybe tomorrow.
Nice catch! I think there’s good reason to assume the Godhika sutta is a later composition for several reasons. To what extent there is a kernel of truth in it I’m not sure.