New paper by Wynne defending the historicity of the Buddha against recent scholarly skepticism

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"Did the Buddha exist?" A. Wynne, Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 2019

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.