Extreme scepticism about the study of early Buddhism is common in Buddhist Studies. Sometimes it is even claimed that the Buddha never existed; myth is all we have. Going against this view, this paper shows that early Buddhist discourses are largely authentic, and can be regarded as a reasonably accurate historical witness. Special attention is paid to the personality of the Buddha, and the way in which his idiosyncrasies flow into the teachings. The resulting ‘Dharma’ has a very particular character, and should be regarded as a singular creation which could not have been invented by a committee.
Thanks for this, @Javier. I enjoyed the essay and just purchased on the terrible Amazon The Origin of Buddhist Meditation.
I’m going back and forth with the Ven. Jundo Cohen this week on Facebook ( Soto Zen Buddhism Public Group | Facebook), and as spiritual friends, we disagree but the discussion has been friendly (it seems) and civil. He denies the historicity of the Buddha, and because I am a jerk, I pushed back, a bit. Now we have a dialogue, and I included your helpful citation from Alexander Wynn.
Now, I am winning! No, just kidding, I don’t want to win anything, but to maybe push back a bit on those that deny things like Early Buddhism and climate change. I like to think there are readers on Facebook that haven’t been exposed to the EBTs, to Sujato/Brahmali, and to Sutta Central, and will miss a chance to have their lives and minds bettered by this experience.