Questions tagged [texts]

A broad term referring to canonical, commentary or scriptural compositions of any tradition.

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69
votes
20answers
9k views

Is rebirth a delusional belief?

I find it difficult to assign a meaning to the word 'rebirth'. Here are some hints that rebirth might not be real: Views regarding one's past and future existence are included in the "62 false ...
16
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7answers
12k views

Why isn't there a Buddhist Bible?

Why is it that Buddhism never compiled a reasonably concise set of canonical texts like the Bible? Buddhism itself has universal beliefs such as the 4 Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the notion ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Does Zen Buddhism have canonical texts?

I'm aware that Theravada, Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism have a canon of texts. However I have never heard of a canon for Zen Buddhism. Does it have a canon or does it just not bother with such a thing? ...
13
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2answers
195 views

What are the texts that contain words which can be attributed directly to the Buddha?

If I understand correctly, the Buddha never wrote anything but some Buddhist texts quote him by describing meetings or situations where he was present. Is there a comprehensive list of all scripts ...
12
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10answers
33k views

What is the meaning of the Zen quote: “Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water”?

In the question "A question regarding the level of worldly participation for a buddhist monk", Bhante gave an answer containing a Zen quote. The quote is; "Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry ...
12
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5answers
856 views

Did the Buddha speak Pali? Are the suttas his word verbatim?

Was Pali the language spoken during the time of the Buddha, and would he have spoken this language? Are the suttas contained in the Pali Canon verbatim what the Buddha said, or would things have been ...
12
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4answers
2k views

What is the oldest text/sutra of the Mahayana tradition?

I'm often interested in the history of Buddhist texts and, being a Theravadan, I'm not very familiar with the Mahayana texts. Please help to educate me in this manner.
11
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7answers
13k views

Which is the Buddhist holy book? Where can it be read?

Is there a holy book for buddhists as the Bible is for Jews and Christians and Quran for Muslims? Is that the Tipitaka? A book where you can find all the teachings of Buddhism, and how to behave, ...
11
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2answers
2k views

When were the earliest Buddhist writings created

Buddha was born (according to Wikipedia) somewhere around 563 BCE to 480 BCE, and lived 80 years. From what I have understood, no teachings that made it to this day, have been written down when he ...
10
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7answers
965 views

I would like to become Buddhist

I'm a mathematics student and I want to become a buddhist because I've heard that they don't believe in any god. How can I get in to buddhism? What kind of books do you recomend to read for starters?...
10
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7answers
1k views

Which book by Nagarjuna provides an introduction to his teachings?

I've noticed there are a lot of YouTube video lectures on Nagarjuna. It seems he was a very prolific writer on Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy. Which of his works would be appropriate to get an ...
10
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6answers
396 views

Textual reference vs. Direct insight [closed]

Somewhat loaded question... According to Buddha, what is more reliable -- textual reference or one's own direct insight that came from experience? If one's own insight is in conflict with a text, ...
9
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4answers
585 views

Returning to the marketplace - examples

In the Ten Ox Herding Pictures of Zen the final picture is commonly depicted as returning to the marketplace. Enlightenment is said to be doing the most ordinary things in a most extraordinary way. ...
9
votes
2answers
370 views

Where's the story in which the Buddha praised a non-returner for keeping the knowledge of his attainment private?

I'm trying to find a specific story in where the Buddha spoke about the attainment of one Anagami lay person with a group of monks while praising his good qualities. Later, when those monks went for ...
9
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3answers
2k views

Why does the Buddha always answer a question if asked three times?

I've read in many places in the Pali canon that the Buddha will answer a question if asked three times even if the Buddha is extremely reluctant to give the answer. For instance in the Talaputa Sutta ...
9
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4answers
1k views

What is the buddhist way of responding to compliments?

"Hey David you're a genius!" "Hey David you look so fine!" I think blushing and feeling a little nervous isn't really buddhist... But sometimes if you don't react this way you might look as if youre ...
8
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6answers
2k views

What does Buddhism say about how to manage other people's anger?

What does Buddhism say about how to manage other people's anger? Does Buddhism suggest any specific attitude when we are facing angry people, especially when they are unable to control their anger and/...
8
votes
3answers
596 views

Why is the first lines of the Dhammapada twin verses sometimes translated using the word 'heart'?

In most of the translations of the Dhammapada I have read the first lines of the Twin Verses (first chapter) are rendered using the words mind or thoughts. For instance this translation by ...
8
votes
2answers
631 views

What is the difference between Suttas and Sutras?

Reading this question and its accepted answer prompted me to ask the following question: Is there a difference between Suttas and Sutras? and, if so, what is the difference? Thank you
8
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6answers
1k views

Doing evil knowingly and unknowingly

In the Milindapanha, Nagasena points out to king Milinda that doing evil knowingly accrues lesser demerit than doing evil unknowingly. Does the Buddha make the same statement anywhere in the Suttas? ...
8
votes
1answer
140 views

Which early canonical references help one find a skillful teacher?

There is a similar question from the Vajrayāna stand-point in which I gave an answer that was partially off-topic since it wasn't from that tradition's texts. So I thought it could be useful for ...
8
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1answer
3k views

Where can I find the Chinese Canon Agama in English translation?

Where can I find the Chinese Canon Agamas in English translation?
8
votes
3answers
637 views

What are the salient differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas?

What are the salient differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas? I'm looking specifically for a comprehensive list of discourses that are unique in the Āgama collection and differences ...
7
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4answers
2k views

What are the suttas in which the Buddha provides instruction on how to meditate?

What are the actual suttas in which the Buddha described how to meditate? A list of all such suttas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
7
votes
8answers
720 views

What is right gifting?

I came across this explanation by Buddha, from the Dana Mahapphala Sutta. THE BEST WAY TO GIVE. Or, instead of thinking, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it calms my mind. Satisfaction and joy ...
7
votes
5answers
283 views

Were different parts of the Pali Canon intended for different audiences?

I read somewhere that the Middle Length and Long Discourses in the Pali Canon were intended for different audiences. I think it was that the Long Discourses were intended to convert people to Buddhism ...
7
votes
3answers
717 views

What was the 1st Buddhist Council about?

I'm interested in the 1st Buddhist Council, i.e. why was it held, where was it held, who attended it and what were the outcome? I'm not looking for an in-depth and detailed answer. More like an ...
7
votes
3answers
929 views

Which canon and traditions does the Flower Sermon text belong to?

I've heard of a Buddhist story in which the Buddha just holds up a flower and one monk in the audience understands then becomes instantly enlightened. I believe it is a foundational text for Zen ...
6
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7answers
1k views

How does Buddhist Logic work?

In the Wikipedia article Buddhist Logic, it is mentioned that Buddhist Logic is different from classical western logic. ‘Indian Logic’ should be understood as being a different system of logic than ...
6
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6answers
1k views

How are Buddhist Sacred Texts used in practice and historically, given the questioned authenticity of some of them

I'm curious on how Buddhist Sacred Texts are used in teachings and in practice. The Buddha often says not to solely follow transmitted tradition, instead Buddhists are "exhorted to know for ...
6
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3answers
4k views

What is the difference between an arhat, bodhisattva and a buddha?

What is the difference between an arhat, a bodhisattva and a buddha? References to the scriptures would be most helpful. I'm open to both Theravada and Mahayana perspectives.
6
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3answers
705 views

Buddhavamsa Translations?

Do any english translations exist online for the Buddhavamsa ? I cannot find one.
6
votes
2answers
214 views

Why are the Perfection of Wisdom sutras seen as a coherent collection?

The Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra in 8000 lines and others are grouped together as Prajnaparamita (perfection of wisdom). Why is this? Why are they seen as a coherent ...
6
votes
2answers
191 views

Is the Pali Canon the only canon in modern Buddhism?

This is inspired by a comment on this meta post. Is the Pali Canon the only canon in Buddhism as it currently stands today? So would the term canon be completely synonymous with Pali Canon in the ...
6
votes
1answer
653 views

What are the “Five Daily Recollections” and their benefits?

Question is in the title. What are these daily recollections and how can they be used in ones practice?
6
votes
1answer
356 views

Does the Buddhist text Alankarabuddhi still exist?

As I discuss in this question, by far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy today is the Vedanta school, which is based on the philosophical portions of the Vedas. But in the time when Buddhism ...
6
votes
1answer
340 views

“Marks of Existence” and “Gates To Enlightenment”, are they Same?

Three gates and Four marks are shown using these tearms -Impermanence, Suffering, Non-self, Voidness, Nirvana,Shunyata (Emptiness). Some questions discuss them separatly. But some conflicts can ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Accurate translation of “Satipatthana Sutta”

I'm looking for an accurate translation of "Satipatthana Sutta". Could someone let me know what is the best available accurate translation? I don't want to be confused by just reading all available ...
5
votes
3answers
960 views

Does Buddhism have a concept of blasphemy?

Considering this definition of blasphemy the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for a God, to religious or holy persons or things, or toward something considered sacred ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Transfering merits

This is a tradition I have heard in Thailand: Many men become monk for a few months in order to transfer merits to his parents and so they can go to heaven. If I'm not mistaken the Buddha said you ...
5
votes
3answers
315 views

Where is the mind referred to as being luminous?

I recall the natural state of mind being referred to as luminous somewhere in Buddhist canonical texts. I've always been very taken with that imaginary. I'm sure it's quite a common image in the texts ...
5
votes
1answer
475 views

Law of Karma in the Buddha's own words

Where can I find the law of karma and rebirth in Buddha's own words? Which scripture mentions it explicitly, as told by Buddha, and accepted by all sects of Buddhism?
5
votes
4answers
860 views

Why do beings, even in lower/hell realms, like their lives?

As to Lord Buddha beings suffer because they were born: Jaathi pachchaya jara marana soka paridewa dukka domanassa upayasa sambhawanthi From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, ...
5
votes
1answer
259 views

Did the Buddha have more advice for the lay follower than is typically supposed?

In the book The Buddha's Teachings to Laypeople: Practical Advice for Prosperity and Lasting Happiness the author Bhikkhu Rahula Basnagoda claims that the Buddha actually had a lot of advice for the ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Do Buddhists have sacred scripture to read?

Christians have The Holy Bible, Muslims have The Noble Quran, Hindus have Bhagavad Gita and many more. Do Buddhists have sacred scripture(s) to read?
5
votes
1answer
53 views

What are the various Buddhist scriptural designations and to what do they refer?

In my readings so far (mostly Theravada based), I come across many scriptural references - for example, "AN," "MN 118," etc. To what do these designations refer? Is there some sort of concordance that ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

What was the first Buddhist text to be translated into English?

What was the first Buddhist text to be translated into English? When was it translated and by whom? Was it reasonably available to those interested and did it have much of an impact within academic ...
4
votes
4answers
313 views

What Buddhist materials explain how to understand one's irrational feelings?

There is some person in my life and whenever I see his or her photo, or something related to him or her (e. g. reminder of the place he or she lives), I experience strong feelings. They are totally ...
4
votes
4answers
264 views

Are any of the three poisons considered stronger or more difficult to break than the others?

Are any of the three poisons (unwholesome roots) of greed, hatred and delusion considered stronger or more difficult to break than the others. Or are they all seen as equally difficult to break, ...
4
votes
3answers
128 views

Jhāna, seeing the welfare of self and other

I am looking for a sutta in which something is said--roughly: that unless one has suppressed the hindrances, one cannot see the welfare of self or other. Or that without jhāna one cannot see one's own ...