Paul Fuller: On how a corpse can confirm the wisdom of the Buddha

A couple of essays by Buddhist academic Dr Paul Fuller on a unique event in DN 24.

i get a sense of tongue-in-cheekness from these essays, of which the second is just a slight expansion of the first

i’m not familiar with his other works, maybe it’s only an impression or alternatively a trend

was this to exemplify how some scholars treat Early Buddhism?

Paul has a light touch to his writings. He deals a lot with contemporary issues, but he enjoys an imaginative and sometimes humorous approach.

Hi Bhante

I don’t think Fuller interprets the 2nd super-knowledge correctly when he suggests -

Second, there is the idea, common in the Pali Canon, that the Buddha knows the events of the future, particularly the place and type of rebirth according to the actions performed by the individual.

I think a proper interpretation of the standard Pali presentation of the divine eye is that it is retrospective, not predictive. The text uses the past participle " upapanna" in relation to the rebirth of the various beings witnessed as part of the vision. That does suggest that the vision was retrospective or of historical data, rather than being predictive.

I could not make out from the DA parallels to DN 2 if they thought that past participles are worth mentioning. Somehow, the locative absolute from past participles in the pericope “samāhite citte parisuddhe pariyodāte.…” is translated differently in the DA, compared to other translations in the MA, where the past participle is indicated quite clearly with 已.

Having a look at the Pali passage, I’d have to agree. It seems to be talking about the “immediate past”, or is it the “perfect present”. I forget. Anyway, there’s the active present (passati) combined with past participles, and it’s described as if it’s someone who sees events as they unfold, describing them shortly afterwards. Traditionally, as Fuller says, this knowledge is said to apply to a limited form of precognition, but it is not really supported by the text.