In this answer to my question about why we keep referring to antiquated old parables and similes, Inzenity wrote,
"The scriptures are part of the teachings, the source of the teachings. It makes sense that to learn the teachings, what you call true Buddhism, they must go to the source material."
The source material is not really straight from Buddha's pen, is it; nor is it even from the pens of his contemporaries or his disciples. What anybody may call source material was first committed to writing many centuries after the death of Gautam Buddha.
Isn't that's a bit like a whole bunch of us on this forum sitting down to commit to writing what was said by some guru who lived 10 generations ago, after about 500 years of oral transmission at least?
And then all that was translated from Pali into English -- possibly not in a single step either. And in between, there were commentaries in many languages, and many diverse traditions of speech and thought...
So, is it really "source material", just because it has bits and pieces of Pali tradition and ancient similes attached to it, imparting a certain quaint orientalism to the whole conglomerate? And if this body of work somehow acquired bits and pieces of Nordic or Mayan similes, parables etc, then would it stop suddenly being "Buddhist source material"?
Inzenity also wrote (about use of original explanations and logical arguments, as against the old well-worn ones from various Buddhist texts),
When they go to another person's teachings, are they still Buddhists or followers of the new guru? New religions are created this way.
True that! Being original about it may mean that we may drift away from Buddhist teachings, and end up starting new religions or, alternatively, following new religions.
Are we hanging on to quaint old parables and similes and Pali aphorisms translated painfully into English, for the luxury of calling ourselves Buddhists, instead of, say, "Robertists" or "Umeshists" or "followers of Osho Rajneesh"? How sure are we that we haven't unknowingly gone to "another person's teaching" already -- those persons being numerous disciples and commentarists who willy-nilly added their own substantial philosophical DNA to Buddha's teachings, or alternatively, excised crucial teachings from Buddha's body of thought? What is Buddhism about, anyway? Is Buddhism about learning precepts about the nature of existence "at the feet of a master" as it were? Or is it about a fearless enquiry into the nature of existence, guided by numerous masters who broadly follow Buddha's school of thought, but not enchained to the philosophies of these masters?