Talk:Pāli Canon

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Pāli Canon[edit]

Some bullshit about Aleph a.k.a Aum Shinrikyou is the only gropu to have performed translation into modern language. Firstly, Pali Text Society has done entire translation though they have not published all of it in books format due to financial reason. Secondly, Japanese translation was done waaaaaaaay before. The title is "南伝大蔵経". FWBOarticle 06:21, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)

If a text has been translated but hasn't been published then it is essentially not available and regardless of the reasons, that transaction hasn't happened since no one's been a beneficiary of it. Stevenmitchell 17:24, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

In any case it's not true. PTS has published, and keeps in print, translations of about 3/4 of the Canon. It has no translations unpublished for financial reasons. Peter jackson 11:06, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

What is this "myth" about manuscripts kept in baskets? Is it a purely western myth or does it actually occur in the tradition? The term pitaka in an obviously scriptural sense is found in inscriptions of the second century BC, i.e. before the writing down of the texts. Peter jackson 17:24, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

AFAIK, "baskets" should be understood as "container" and in this context "volume".--Esteban Barahona (talk) 20:45, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Pali Canon[edit]

Is it a Buddhist scripture??

Yes. Ashibaka (tock) 08:36, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes (I'll second that). There are two books put out now by Penguin Publishers called "Buddhist Scriptures" - one edited by Edward Conze and the latest by Donald Lopez. Both contain significant chunks from the Pali Canon.--Justinwhitaker (talk) 03:23, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually, that's not a very good argument. Neither of those anthologies makes any attempt to clasify Buddhist literature into 2 categories: scripture & non-scripture. They simply include anything they feel like. It's as if you had a book called Christian Scriptures including extracts from the Bible, Aquinas, Luther, St Teresa, CSLewis &c. One would think this rather odd, but it's normal practice for Buddhism. In fact I haven't been able to trace any general anthology of Buddhist scriptures in any reasonable sense of the term. There are plenty of anthologies of Buddhist literature. There are also plenty of anthologies of early Buddhist scriptures, but I suspect they're selectyed because they're early, not because they're scriptures.
Nevertheless, the Pali Canon is scripture in any reasonable sense of the term. Peter jackson (talk) 08:23, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Post-canonical Pali texts[edit]

The article "Pali literature" is redirected here so, instead of overwriting that redirection, I thought it best for now to include in this article on the "Pali canon" a paragraph on non-canonical Pali texts. If however someone wants to move this information to a different article, etc., feel free! And I apologize ahead of time if my inclusion of this material here offends anyone. LarryR 03:56, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Forms of names[edit]

If I understand right, Wikipedia policy is that entries should be under the commonest form used in English. Here are the results of Google search for divisions of the Canon.

Vinaya-Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka.

Digha-Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya, Khuddaka Nikaya/Khuddaka-Nikaya (equal).

These are standard names for Buddhism scriptures and it can't be changed no matter how people try to change it. and it's pretty much universal just like Dinosaurs names in Latin and Greek. //A Theravada Buddhist Avaloan —Preceding undated comment added 08:16, 3 February 2012 (UTC).

What are we supposed to do about this? Peter jackson 09:41, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

Abhidhamma[edit]

an anonymous use added: No early scool of Buddhism is known not to have had an Abhidhamma Pitaka As far as I understand, the Mahasanghikas did not have a Abhidhamma, or at least that is what user:Stephen Hodge told me if I remember correctly. Any opinions on this? Greetings, Sacca 02:22, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm obviously still not sufficiently familiar with how this system works. I thought my changes got automatically signed in the history, but that doesn't seem to have happened in this case for some reason. It has certainly been said, e.g. by Lance Cousins, that the Mahasanghikas had no abhidhamma, but I don't know of any proof of this. On the contrary, the translation of Fa-hsien says he acquired a copy of it. Personally, I don't want all this stuff cluttering up this article, but we haven't been able to agree on a simpler formulation. If we could manage that, I'd prefer to move most of it to subarticles. What I'm concerned to avoid is any wording that seems to suggest that there's some sort of inner Canon of the original teaching, to which later material has been added. No such sharp distinction can be established. Peter jackson 09:27, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

You are right, a sharp distinction cannot be established, but: a distinction can be established. I read the 2004 Macmillan encyclopedia of Buddhism on its abhidharma entry, and it mentions this information also:

In the centuries after the death of the Buddha, with the advent of settled monastic communities, there emerged new forms of religious praxis and modes of transmitting and interpreting the teaching... ...Although begun as a pragmatic method of elaborating the received teachings, this scholastic enterprise soon led to new doctrinal and textual developments and became the focus of a new form of scholarly monastic life... ...The products of this scholarship became revered tradition in their own right, eventually eclipsing the dialogues of the Buddha and of his disciples as the arbiter of the true teaching In the next paragraph the writer says this enterprise was called abhidharma.

These sentences are not to be included in the article, I copied two small parts of the introduction to the article (by COLLETT COX), just to show that this information is an accepted viewpoint according to the Macmillan 2004 enyclopedia of Buddhism. I would like some mention of this information to remain, as I believe it's quite fundamental knowledge, relevant to people who want to know about the Pali Canon or the Tipitaka.

By the way, the entry on Abhidharma in this Macmillan encyclopedia takes 7 (A4) pages. The encyclopedia itself is well done I believe, and it gives some very detailed maps also. It's a pdf-file. Greetings, Sacca 15:26, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

This point of view is mentioned in the article as it stands. So is the alternative (Cousins/Gethin) one. What I want the article to make clear is that all books of the Canon evolved over a long period of time and that the details of this evolution are often obscure but that some books can be said to have earlier or later average dates than others (and it would say which ones). If you're happy with that way of putting it then I can start transferring most of the details to separate articles on books of the Canon. I assume it will be easy to find out from the system how to do this. Is that what they call transclusion? Peter jackson 17:45, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
Hello, I would be happy with that. I think some info can go, and some info can stay. Just the very basic notions can be mentioned here, with more details on the individual pages. I don't know what transclusion is, I am not familiar with it. I liked the previous desciption of the Abhidhamma that you deleted, I think it was very NPOV, didn't make any claim about Adhidhamma just says that it aims at something. And the idea that it's based on some earlier methodology can be incorporated into it.
from old version, description of abhidhamma pitaka
The third category, the Abhidhamma Pitaka (literally "beyond the dhamma", "higher dhamma" or "special dhamma", Sanskrit: Abhidharma Pitaka), is a collection of texts which attempt to identify the underlying doctrinal principles presented in the Sutta Pitaka, and rework and reorganize these into a systematic philosophical description of the nature of mind, matter and time. There are seven books in the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

Greetings, Sacca 00:46, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

You still don't seem to have got the point. The Cousins/Gethin view of abhidhamma is that it's not an attempt to systematize the ideas of the suttas, but a different approach. Anyway, I'll rewrite the origins section now and sort out the rest when I have time. Peter jackson 09:24, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
OK, so that's their view. But what if it is both? One doesn't have to exclude the other. For me they can go together, they can both be true as far as can see: an attempt to systematize, using a different approach. These do not exclude eachother; they can very well go together.
Maybe Cousins and Gethin think the same group of persons (Buddha or later monks) wrote both the Suttapitaka and Abhidhamma, and they believe the SP and AP have the same amount of authenticity? Do they think the Buddha had anything to do with the Suttas? And what about the Buddha's involvement with the Abhidhamma? How do they explain the quite fundamental differences between the Abhidhammas? Their views seems a bit unlikely to me.
Don't tell me I don't seem to have gotten the point, please... You can use that one only once a week and you're past your quota already. ;-) Greetings, Sacca 09:44, 6 October 2006 (UTC)


Yes, it might be both, but it might not, as well. You can't simply say it is (an attempt at) a systematization unless you can show a consensus of scholars on the point, which I don't think you can. I think it's very important to keep clearly in mind the idea of the evolution of the teachings. Lance Cousins' view, as I understand it, is that the suttas and vinaya are indeed, on average, older than the abhidhamma, but that the (or some) basic ideas of the abhidhamma go back to early times and evolved differently in different lineages. Lance also thinks that attempts to stratify the earlier material are not establishable with our present state of knowledge. He also thinks that the dates of things are not of fundamental importance because of the principle of accepting teachings that harmonize with what's already there.
Now, the more general matter. You asked for a citation for the stratification. I doubt that's possible, as scholars tend not to go in for such simplistic formulations. If we stick to the principle of citation literally, as perhaps we're meant to, then the whole business looks likely to be either very complicated ro excessively simple. Either we can clutter up the article with all sorts of detailed discussion of historical evidence and scholarly opinions, leaving very little space to tell people about the Canon itself, or we can leave out the historical material altogether. Perhaps we should have a separate article for it. I think they do things like that for the Bible. Peter jackson 09:58, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Confusion results from the overly creative and vague use of terms. Almost nothing in this discussion reflects direct reading of the source texts: the A.P. is an extremely heterogenous collection, thus, assigning a single intention to their authorship (such as "systematization") is absurd (and the opposite argument seems equally absurd). The Kathaavatthu (e.g.) was not written with the same intention as the Yamaka, as they are neither of common nor simultaneous authorship; there is, indeed, no resemblance between them. There is no reason to offer generalizations of this kind; an encyclopedia entry should simply state what the texts are. 92.24.21.78 (talk) 17:24, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

flowing sentences[edit]

hello, some parts of the article are now almost only composed of short quotes from scholars. Generally short sentences with a reference. It doesn't give a natural impression, it's just fact after fact after fact, there's no flow to the text... I think we need to look at this, and try to make the sentences a bit longer, combine sentences, make it nice to read.Greetings, Sacca 12:03, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree. However, there's only so much time. I'm doing one thing at a time. I've just been adding these scholars' opinions as I find them. The next stage is to try to see how to combine all these statements into a fair summary of scholarly opinion that reads better and preferably shorter. I can get on with that next,when I have time, unless you think there are some important scholarly opinions I haven't come across. Peter jackson 15:44, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Wiki style[edit]

Guidelines say avoid links in summary section. Peter jackson 16:05, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Is what I say above wrong? The last edits ignore it. Peter jackson 09:53, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

i just reinserted some basic links, mainly because the pali canon article is on the theravada template, having thus an important place in the template, it should make access to other articles relatively easy. So many articles have links in the introduction, it's part of culture almost. I think a few link are actually necessary. Greetings, Sacca 12:53, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Relation with Mahayana[edit]

This material should probably be a separate article, with just a brief reference here. Any suggestions for a suitable title? Peter jackson 10:23, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I didn't express properly what I was meaning to say here. what I mean is that we should probably have a separate article for suggestions, whether by Mahayanists, Theravadins or independent scholars, that things widely supposed to be specifically Mahayana are rooted in the Pali Canon (or early Buddhism). Peter jackson 16:05, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes this would be a very interesting article. Greetings, Sacca 12:46, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

references are insuffcient[edit]

For example the reference after Rupert Gethins' name, just has a page number. This is not enough: it should be a proper listing of exactly which book teh page number refers to, no matter if it was mentioned somewhere above already, or not. I see these kinds of notes a lot, could teh one making these notes prlease insert the missing information?

also, one note actually has op. cit.. I mean, what are we to do with this? It's not very helpful.Greetings, Sacca 12:50, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Is this a WP style guideline? It seems to me that this is not a very long list of notes so the reader can easily look back to find the appropriate ref. An exception might be note 3, but I'm planning on reexpanding that when I have time. Do we really need all that repetition? Peter jackson 15:24, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Translation[edit]

It's (probably) true that the Canon hasn't been completely translated, but it's very difficult to prove a negative. The Yamaka translation is very obscure & there might be others. The statement would have difficulty satisfying verifiability criteria, which is why I prefer simply mentioning the PTS. Peter jackson 15:22, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

mahayana pali canon[edit]

I think the info of Pali Canon in Mahayanais is superfluous information for this article, although we could mention some similar suttas found in the agamas, but these suttas are of course not mahayana suttas.

The Mahayana opinion on teachings found in the Pali Canon is a bit out of place, there are many opinions, even within theravada. For example also a christian opinion on the pali canon could be given, hindu, modern, this teacher, that teacher, etcetera. This is not about the pali canon any more, but about differing religious views. They could be put in a seperate article -differing religious views on the teachings in pali canon. Greetings, Sacca 04:54, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Technical[edit]

Can someone explain why the words "now lost," appear in the edit text but not the article, & preferably what to do about it? Peter jackson 10:23, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

(In the tradition section) Peter jackson 10:24, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

FWIW, this is what I see in (cut and pasted from) the displayed article using Internet Explorer 7.0 on a Dell laptop running Windows XP:
The traditional interpretation is given in a series of commentaries covering nearly the whole Canon, compiled by Buddhaghosa (fourth or fifth century) and his followers, mainly on the basis of earlier materials now lost, subcommentaries on most of these and sometimes even further layers. It is summarized in Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga.[7]
If this is what you're expecting to be shown, then I'm wondering if your software, operating system or hardware might somehow be obscuring the words. Perhaps try, just as a test, a different browser (e.g., Netscape or Foxfire) or an upgrade of your existing browser software?
Hope this might help,
Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 16:33, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't really matter why these particular systems do it, I suppose. Thanks for informing me that some systems work OK, but it remains the case that some don't (I've just looked again to make sure). Therefore WP ought to be aware (if it isn't already) that these things can happen & that the reader may be given no indication that anything is missing. Peter jackson 17:04, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Citation[edit]

There's probably a template for this as there's one for requesting a page number, but I can't find it so I'll mention it here. The second source cited in note 3 is a journal ref but no vol no is given. While I'm on the subject, I'm not sure what this citation is for. The first one states that the Canon was written on palm leaves so is the 2nd to say they were specifically ola leaves? If so we still need a citation for the statement about Sinhalese script. Peter jackson 10:09, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Script[edit]

I've deleted the remark about Sinhalese script for the time being. It wasn't clear whether there was acitation for it, & JPTS IX 45 n4 says Buddhaghosa used MSS in Brahmi. Peter jackson 09:30, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Origins[edit]

Sacca & I have ben discussing this on our talk pages, but I now think the position is more complicated than I thought, so I'm bringing it here hoping for other contributions. There seem to me on reflection to be quite a few different scholarly opinions.

1st, Schopen is in a category of his own, questioning what everyone else seems to accept, namely that a large proportion of the vinaya & sutta goes back to before the schisms. Even he doesn't positively deny it, maintaining an agnostic position. For the rest, who do accept that, here are some positions i can think of:

  • Gombrich, Harvey & a few others (this is the only information I have on the popularity of different views): the content/substance of much of this early material goes back to the Buddha.
  • Hirakawa: some doctrinal formulae & verses go back to the 1st council, but we can't tell what is the Buddha's & what his immediate disciples'
  • Cousins: the pattern of teaching in the suttas, probably the main rules of the Patimokkha, & possibly the methodology of the abhidhamma go back to the Buddha; it's not yet established how & when particular ideas developed
  • Nakamura, Ui & other Japanese: little if any goes back to the Buddha's lifetime (perhaps Atthaka & Parayana)
  • Lopez: it's difficult or impossible to determine the Buddha's original teaching

There are probably others. Peter jackson 17:19, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

P.S. the following book supports gimbrich and Harvey too.[1] It's for undergraduates in USA, very solid.Greetings, Sacca 07:43, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

loc cit and pagenumbers[edit]

Peter, please make all the unacceptable references acceptable, or else remove them. I think they're all made by you. so please correct them, too. Greetings, Sacca 07:41, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

reinstated[edit]

Peter Jackson had been deleting much properly referenced material from the section of 'Origins'. The total effect of all his additions has been to delete most authors who have views which say that it is very well possible that the canon originated with the Buddha, and he has at the same time been adding authors with opposing views. I find the result of it just much too POV, and many times Peters' writing style isn't clear. So I have moved that section back to the version of februay 23, this year. Peter has been deleting and adding to this section during the last month, when I was away a lot from Wikipedia. Greetings, Sacca 09:24, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Also, a brief message for Peter: the Macmillan encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004) is a collection of articles by Buddhist scholars. Their opinions have not been standardized across the work. Any one article professes ONE scholarly view, not THE scholarly view. Greetings, Sacca 09:27, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Perfectly true. The Encyclopedia contradicts itself. If you can find a contradictory passage on these points, you could have added it. That doesn't affect the procedure to be folowed.
Yes, I've been adding scholars with opposing views, because that's what we're supposed to do. It's called neutral point of view. Piling up scholars who all agree with you isn't neutral. Neither you nor I know how many scholars hold each view, if only because most of them are Japanese. Until we find a reliable source that says how many, we have to follow the procedures I've outlined. Peter jackson (talk) 09:51, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Peter, you've just been deleting every opinion of every scholar that you don't agree with. Start over. I'll be watching. Greetings, Sacca 11:38, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

No I haven't. I've been deleting piles of extra scholars you've selected all pointing in the same direction.

I've now tagged your version. Anyone can look at my version in the history & see it's far more neutral than yours.

For ease of refernce, here's some material from WP:NPOV:

"Neutral point of view is a fundamental Wikipedia principle. NPOV is absolute and non-negotiable.

All Wikipedia articles ... must be written from a neutral point of view ... representing fairly and, as much as possible, without bias all significant views ... This is non-negotiable and expected on all articles ..."

"Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves."

  • "If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts;
  • If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents;
  • If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it is true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not."

This last quote is paraphrased from Mr Wales himself.

So I think the procedure we should be following in cases of difference of opinion is something like this.

  • First give the view(s) given in the "commonly accepted reference texts". In principle give them the preponderance of space. Do not, however, assert that they are the majority without an explicit statement in a reliable source. (This is stated in WP:Reliable_sources.) Instead, ascribe them to the reference text(s).
  • Then give any other views espoused by "prominent" scholars.

This is what I've been trying to do.

To clarify my response to your remarks about the Encyclopedia, I should perhaps make clear that all reference works are unreliable & contradictory.

There are a variety of degrees of detail this article might go into on this question:

  1. Don't mention it at all. I think this would fail to fulfil the purposes of this encyclopaedia.
  2. Just say a wide variety of views have been expressed. Not very helpful.
  3. Mention the most extreme views only, giving the reader the basic idea of the range of views. This is what I originally did with this article long ago before you started piling in the views of your favourite scholars & I tried to balance them out with other views. Now, this would seem to be Gombrich & the Routlege Encyclopedia.
  4. Give the main views. This is what I've tried to do in my 3rd section.
  5. Give the main views & arguments. This is what I've tried to do in the other 2 sections. I haven't found any arguments for either side in the 3rd section.
  6. Give all the views & arguments we can find. This would make an enormously long section, incorporating most of the material at User:Peter jackson/Sources for early Buddhism plus any more we can find. It would still have to indicate that most scholars are not included. I can't see the point in this. Peter jackson (talk) 16:09, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I should add that my version is work in progress. I want to improve it, but it's not on the face of the article at present. Peter jackson (talk) 09:44, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

I think I'll update my version here:

Draft[edit]

Attribution to the Buddha[edit]

Most of the Vinaya and Sutta Pitakas purports to give actual words of the Buddha, and the Parivara[1] says that he taught the Abhidhamma Pitaka as well.

According to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004),[2] while tradition holds that the Buddha's teachings were collected together in the First Council shortly after his death, scholars see them as expanding and changing from an unknown nucleus. Arguments given for an agnostic attitude include

  • the evidence for the Buddha's teachings dates from long after his death
  • application of text-critical methods derived from Biblical criticism is invalidated by the fact that the Bible was a written text while the Pali Canon was oral

Some scholars say that the main teachings go back to the Buddha[3] They argue that the teachings are coherent and cogent, and must be the work of a single genius, i.e. the Buddha himself, not a committee of followers after his death.

Some say that little goes back to the Buddha[4] They argue that

  • some passages contradict the main teachings
  • the Buddha must have been consistent
  • therefore only one of the teachings can have been his
  • if he had taught the main teachings, contradictory teachings would never have got in
  • therefore he taught the divergent teachings, and the main teachings were elaborated by his followers after his death

Some of these scholars think the Suttanipata is the earliest book of the Canon, followed by the Itivuttaka and Udana.[5].

The previous group of scholars reply that apparent contradiction is common in religious teachings, and that the Buddha's teachings may have developed during his teaching career. They also point out that the other scholars have produced a great variety of different theories of what the original teachings of the Buddha were.

The second group reply that the differences between teachings found in the scriptures are too great for development during his career.

Some scholars adopt intermediate positions, saying that some of the main teachings go back to the Buddha but some are later additions.

A few scholars, including a former President of the Pali Text Society, say that much of the Pali Canon can (probably) be attributed to the Buddha.[6].

The "genealogical" argument[edit]

Many scholars have argued that much of the Pali Canon, being found also in the scriptures of other early schools of Buddhism, parts of whose versions are preserved, mainly in Chinese, can be attributed to the period before the separation between Theravada and the other schools: in the case of the Vinaya, and probably the Anguttara, this is the Mahasanghika, whose split with Theravada is recognized by most scholars as the first split in Buddhism, variously dated to the 4th or 3rd century BCE; for the Digha, Majjhima and Samyutta Nikayas, later splits are involved. Many of these scholars think these are the earliest books of the Canon,[7], perhaps along with some short verse works [8] such as the Suttanipata.[9]

However, Professor Gregory Schopen[10] has questioned these arguments. He argues that shared material could indicate borrowing between schools rather than a common origin, and that no evidence confirms the existence of these schools prior to the second century CE. Further, Schopen says that the assumption that Buddhism started off unified and later split contradicts nearly all research in the history and sociology of religion, which he says indicates that religious traditions are marked by early diversity and may later develop some uniformity.

In response, Tillmann Vetter has said that this method is better than nothing, and Gethin has said that the conclusions of it fit in with the natural development of Buddhist ideas.

The writing down of the Canon[edit]

The Canon was written down in the last century BCE. According to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2007), it is impossible to know the extent to which the Canon then written down resembles the present Canon. However, the Handbook of Pali Literature by Professor von Hinüber[11] says that the texts in the Canon, though much later than the Buddha, are the earliest Buddhist texts surviving, and some scholars, including the now President of the Pali Text Society, say little or nothing was added to the Canon after it was written down.[12]

Option 3 version[edit]

Now here's the option 3 version:

Most of the Vinaya and Sutta Pitakas purports to give actual words of the Buddha, and the Parivara[13] says that he taught the Abhidhamma Pitaka as well.

Scholars have expressed a wide variety of views, for example:

  • that the content (as opposed to the form) of the main body of discourses in the first four nikayas and of the main body of rules in the Vinaya probably go back to the Buddha himself
  • that we have no way of knowing how closely the Canon written down in the last century BCE resembles that of the present day

Note that we can't actually say these are the most extreme views because we haven't got a reliable source that says so.

As this is only a talk page I'll leave some of the refs out for now. Peter jackson (talk) 11:00, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

While neither version is perfect, the version by Peter jackson is the better of the two. The prior version both inaccurately used sources and used sources that contradict the assertion that it is a majority view that the canon is directly connected to Siddhartha Gautama. (As one example, one of the quotes given in the prior refs states (emphasis added): "I am saying that there was a person called the Buddha, that the preachings probably go back to him individually - very few scholars actually say that - that we can learn more about what he meant, and that he was saying some very precise things.") While Peter's version is an improvement, better and additional sourcing is still needed. For example, it may be extremely helpful if a few textbooks and/or articles from review literature were cited to establish the mainline within the topic. Vassyana (talk) 04:48, 18 April 2008 (UTC) You can help too by providing a third opinion. RfC and editor review could also always use a few extra voices!

(Added out of sequence owing to edit conflict.) I'm not sure what you mean by the last sentence. Neither of us has managed to find a reliable source that says "most scholars believe ...", except possibly the Macmillan Encyclopedia quote I gave, which might be open to different interpretations. This is why I was trying to follow what appear to me to be the implications of the material quoted from WP:NPOV, while Sacca seems to be going by personal belief. If you're trying to suggest some places to look for such material, could you be more precise/explicit? Peter jackson (talk) 10:17, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Generally speaking, views that are presented in reputable textbooks and the summaries of review literature provide a solid view of the established state of scholarship in the field. While they may not account for minority views, they clearly indicate the mainline view within academia. Also, for the sake of readability and coherence, it may be best to place your proposed versions in separate sections or in a subpage. Vassyana (talk) 13:17, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm still not clear what you mean by "summaries of review literature". It appeared to me from Mr Wales' remarks cited at WP:NPOV that reference works were the primary source for determining the mainline views. Now you mention textbooks & something else. Peter jackson (talk) 11:05, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Hello, that text was originally added by Peter Jackson, by the way (check it: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pali_Canon&diff=157573619&oldid=157115225). Please read that reference again: Dr Richard Gombrich[16] thinks that the teachings (of the Vinaya and Sutta Pitakas) probably go back to the Buddha individually[17]..
If you read it more carefully, you might notice that the reference is indeed very true. It is a reference to Dr Richard Gombrich's personal views, not a reference for Dr Richard Gombrich's opinion of the views of other scholars. Please check it again for yourself.
Peter Jackson has a personal bias on the subject. Indeed, his addition of above quote made me investigate the issue more deeply, and I found a lot of scholars who agree with Dr Richard Gombrich's personal view. That just means that Dr Richard Gombrich's opinion of the views of other scholars is obviously not based on fact. It is a shame that Peter deleted all mention of these other scholars, published in textbooks.
For example take a look at this textbook: An introduction to Buddhism, Peter Harvey, 1990, p.3 (says that: While parts of the Pali Canon clearly originated after the time of the Buddha, much must derive from his teaching. and: here is an overall harmony to the Canon, suggesting 'authorship' of its system of thought by one mind)
And this article from review literature: J.W. De Jong, 1993: The Beginnings of Buddhism, in The Eastern Buddhist, vol. 26, no. 2, p. 25 (it says that: It would be hypocritical to assert that nothing can be said about the doctrine of earliest Buddhism ... the basic ideas of Buddhism found in the canonical writings could very well have been proclaimed by him [the Buddha], transmitted and developed by his disciples and, finally, codified in fixed formulas.)
There is more material, off course, as the piece by A. Wynne published on www.ocbs.org/ (university website) and the introduction to AK Warder's textbook on Indian Buddhism, 1999, 3rd edition.
So, I think you maybe didn't paty attention to these, and based your opinion of the earlier version only on Peter Jackson's link to Gombrich's interview - And how scientific is an interview when compared to a textbook and review literature? These good notes (mentioned above) are the ones you didn't comment on. 09:53, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
To be blunt, that is a false presentation of Peter's involvement and my comments. Please note that in the version you provide, it is made clear that the source asserts few other scholars support Gombrich's view. In the version you endorsed, this was clearly not the case and the source of that particular criticism of that version.[2] Since you mention Harvey's textbook, it is another good example of the inaccurate use of sources in your preferred version. For example, that version stated: "Peter Harvey thinks much of the Pali Canon must derive from the Buddha himself." This presents the reader with the impression that Harvey stated that much of the Pali Canon came directly from the Buddha. The text says that much must derive from the Buddha's teachings, which could mean that it survived in oral tradition, was written by disciples, etc. This would be like an article about the Gospels stating that much must derive from Jesus himself, when the text states that much must derive from his authentic teachings. The two are not at all the same. It is this sort of half-truth treatment of sources that lead me to criticize your preferred version's use of sources. Vassyana (talk) 13:17, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
To be blunt, where does the teaching of the Buddha originate? The teaching of the Buddha of course originates with the Buddha himself, not with other persons, so it is directly connected to the Buddha as a person. The teaching of Buddhism (as it currently is or how it was 1500 years ago) originated from other persons, too. However, the wording can be changed, even if it is of little consequence. Again you don not read carefully, since you did not notice the difference between the teaching of Buddhism and the teaching of the Buddha. Please read more slowly. Maybe you can find other - real - defects? Also you did not reply to my comment about all the deleted 'prime' references. Best wishes. Greetings, Sacca 07:49, 19 April 2008 (UTC)


Funny, that quote of the magazine is the only one that can be found in Peter Jacksons' version after he deleted all the good references from review articles and textbooks (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pali_Canon&oldid=205754565#cite_note-20). On what basis? I say let's delete the reference to that interview because it's obviously not true when we compare it to the textbooks and review articles. Which carry more weight? a textbook or an article? Maybe it was even wrongly remembered by the interviewer. Did Gombrich even check that interview which was not published by himself?
Also, Vassyana, please do not confuse Peter's note to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004) as a reference to a textbook. This encyclopedia is a collection of articles which do not agree with eachother, as each is written by a different scholar. The way Peter uses that quote is misleading, as it is simply a view, and there is no consensus on that. Yet he presents it as if it is the consensus. Even Peter agrees with this view of the MAcmillan encyclopedia as internally contradictory (he said above: Perfectly true. The Encyclopedia contradicts itself. Greetings, Sacca 10:06, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Let me try to summarize.
  • my version tries to give both/all sides on each question (if you know of any sides I've omitted, please let me know)
  • your version piles up quotations supporting 1 point of view, presumably your own, giving brief mentions of some other views & omitting others altogether
Your way would be roughly correct if you could prove from reliable sources that
  • most scholars agree with that view
  • the views omitted altogether are held by so tiny a minority as to be regarded as fringe & thus omitted from WP in accordance with policy
You've not provided any such proof. Therefore I insist that all views must be represented fairly in accordance with policy until such time as such material is found. Let me say yet again that it's no good quoting a number of scholars who hold a view & claimimg that proves most do. It doesn't.
On the question of Gombrich's remarks, it's a long established common sense principle of evidence that admissions people make against themselves are good evidence. Gombrich's claim in the same interview that scholars generally reject the theory of the lay origin of Mahayana cannot be cited, because it's a claim in his favour, not an admission against himself. Yes, Harvey & Warder agree with Gombrich. No, Wynne doesn't. In his article he cites with approval Frauwallner's theory that there was an initial period in which the teaching had no fixed form. His difference with Cousins is that he regards this period as much shorter. The fact that 2 others agree doesn't contradict his statement that few do.
On the Encyclopedia, I'm not trying to present it as consensus. I'm simply trying to follow what is stated on WP:NPOV & give precedence to standard reference works. I'm happy to change the wording to "According to an article in ..." Peter jackson (talk) 10:17, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Now here's my latest revision:

Revised draft[edit]

Attribution to the Buddha[edit]

Most of the Vinaya Pitaka and much of the Sutta Pitaka purports to give actual words of the Buddha, and the Parivara[14] says that he taught the Abhidhamma Pitaka as well.

According to an article in the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004),[15] while tradition holds that the Buddha's teachings were collected together in the First Council shortly after his death, scholars see them as expanding and changing from an unknown nucleus. Arguments given for an agnostic attitude include

  • the evidence for the Buddha's teachings dates from long after his death
  • application of text-critical methods derived from Biblical criticism is invalidated by the fact that the Bible was a written text while the Pali Canon was oral[16]

Some scholars say that the main teachings go back to the Buddha[17] (A few of them, including a former President of the Pali Text Society, say that much of the detailed teachings probably do so, not just the main points.[18]They argue that the teachings are coherent and cogent, and must be the work of a single genius, i.e. the Buddha himself, not a committee of followers after his death.[19]

Some scholars say that little or nothing goes back to the Buddha[20] Some of these argue that[21]

  • some passages contradict the main teachings
  • the Buddha must have been consistent
  • therefore only one of the teachings can have been his
  • if he had taught the main teachings, contradictory teachings would never have got in
  • therefore he taught the divergent teachings, and the main teachings were elaborated by his followers after his death

Some of these scholars think the Suttanipata is the earliest book of the Canon, followed by the Itivuttaka and Udana.[22].

The previous group of scholars reply that apparent contradiction is common in religious teachings,[23] and/or that the Buddha's teachings may have developed during his teaching career.[24] They also point out that the other scholars have produced a great variety of different theories of what the original teachings of the Buddha were.[25]


The second group reply that the differences between teachings found in the scriptures are too great for development during his career.[26]

Some scholars adopt intermediate positions, saying that some of the main teachings go back to the Buddha but some are later additions.

The "genealogical" argument[edit]

Much of the Pali Canon is found also in the scriptures of other early schools of Buddhism, parts of whose versions are preserved, mainly in Chinese. Many scholars have argued that this shared material can be attributed to the period before the separation between Theravada and the other schools: in the case of the Vinaya, and probably the Anguttara, this is the Mahasanghika, whose split with Theravada is recognized by most scholars as the first split in Buddhism, variously dated to the 4th or 3rd century BCE; for the Digha, Majjhima and Samyutta Nikayas, later splits are involved. Many of these scholars think these are the earliest books of the Canon,[27], perhaps along with some short verse works [28] such as the Suttanipata.[29]

However, Professor Gregory Schopen[30] has questioned these arguments. He argues that shared material could indicate borrowing between schools rather than a common origin,[31] and that no evidence confirms the existence of these schools prior to the second century CE.[32] Further, Schopen says that the assumption that Buddhism started off unified and later split contradicts nearly all research in the history and sociology of religion, which he says indicates that religious traditions are marked by early diversity and may later develop some uniformity.[33]

In response, Tillmann Vetter has said that this method is better than nothing,[34] and Gethin has said that the conclusions of it fit in with the natural development of Buddhist ideas.[35]


The writing down of the Canon[edit]

The Canon was written down in the last century BCE. According to the article on the Pali Canon in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2007), it is impossible to know the extent to which the Canon then written down resembles the present Canon. However, the Handbook of Pali Literature by Professor von Hinüber[36] says that the texts in the Canon, though much later than the Buddha, are the earliest Buddhist texts surviving, and some scholars, including the now President of the Pali Text Society, say little or nothing was added to the Canon after it was written down.[37]

The option 3 version remains unchanged. Peter jackson (talk) 11:05, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Just added another ref. They're visible in the edit text. Put a section at bottom of page if you like. Peter jackson (talk) 11:10, 18 April 2008 (UTC)


Integrated the two versions[edit]

Hello, I have now integrated the two versions. I have taken the references and text from Peters' above version (which was an improvement to his old version), and supplied these to the article. Since I believe the structure of the previous version was much better than the later version, I have started from that earlier version. The result is a much more balanced and clear section than both previous versions. Greetings, Sacca 08:14, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

You've certainly greatly improved your version. However:
  • you're still piling up duplicate scholars saying more or less the same things, creating bias, tho' less than before; there are lots more who could be included (see my subpage), which would make the section far too long
  • you've still omitted the view given in the Routledge Encyclopedia, which is, on the face of it, even more extreme than Schopen

Peter jackson (talk) 10:13, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

The PSB section is misleading. The "genealogical" argument, as I've called it for want of a beter idea, goes back to PSB only for the Vinaya & probably the Anguttara (& a few bits & pieces). Vetter says (implicitly talking of the nikayas as a whole) that it only takes you back to c 270 BC, which must be his date for the split within the Sthaviras. Cousins says (I can find the ref for this, but I don't know whether it represents scholarly consensus) that the splits within the Sthaviras started off as merely schools of thought within a unified sangha, & that only after the Mauryan period (ie after 183 BC, if I remember right) did they split into separate sanghas. If they were still in a united sangha it's not obvious that the genealogical argument would work, or whether Schopen's idea of mutual borrowing could apply. The question for us, tho', is what do the scholars actually say about this? Do they actually say that much of the Canon goes back to (whatever their teminology is for) PSB? Or do they say that things go back to before particular schisms? Or do some say one thing & some another? Or are they vague?
One of Wikipedia's problems is that scholars often use language rather loosely. Sometimes it's more or less unclear what they mean. Sometimes one suspects they don't really mean what they appear to be saying. However, WP:V makes clear that we mustn't interpret what sources say; we must report it in a way that any reader can see is indeed what the sources say, regardless of what they might really mean. The Schopen & Routlege extreme views mentioned above are both rather vague, so it's not entirely clear what they mean more precisely, tho' they obviously involve quite radical scepticism. We have to phrase exactly. Peter jackson (talk) 10:31, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
The section is also biased because you don't mention Schopen's counter-arguments. You also state without source that Schopen's other sttement attracted little support. This is probably true, but the criterion for WP is verifiability, not truth. Peter jackson (talk) 10:35, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
"The tradition holds that only a few later additions were made." (In the intro) What does this mean? Later than what? I suspect you mean later than the 1st Council, but the statement appears immediately after a(n implicit) reference to the 4th Council.
If we're to follow your arrangement I think the unknown nucleus "theory" (or non-theory) should be no. 2, as it's agnostic between the current nos. 1 & 2.
As regards the arrangement, tho', I think you're failing to separate different things. Let's try to classify different positions people might hold:
  • accept the present Canon as approximately what was written down at the 4th Council
    • accept the genealogical argument
      • accept much as going back to the Buddha
      • agnostic about this
      • deny
    • agnostic
    • deny
  • agnostic
  • deny
Not all these possibilities actually exist, of course. The particular point I want to make at present is that the view (generalization of 3) that much goes back to early times is not a different view from 1 & 2 in your current numbering. It's actually presupposed by both of them, & by 4 as well. It's no doubt roughly what most scholars believe, tho' again we can't prove that. Peter jackson (talk) 10:51, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Your headings for 1 & 2 are also not exclusive. Clearly someone who says very little goes back to the Buddha also says that some does. I don't know of any scholar who says that nothing goes back to the Buddha, tho' Gombrich says there are some. There are certainly agnostics on this point, eg Lopez. What we're dealing with here is questions of quantity, & both versions are rather vague on this, tho' yours is more so. Perhaps again this is the scholars' fault. It might even turn out that there aren't discrete schools of thought here, there are only a spectrum of slightly different views. For the moment, tho', I think we have to go by the RSs we've found so far, some of which do talk in such terms. Peter jackson (talk) 10:59, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Way forward?[edit]

One criticism Vassyana makes of you in particular, tho' it probably applies to me to some extent too, given the call to improve citations, is that of mismatch between article & source. We need to be more careful to ensure that the article says only what is said in the sources, with no interpretation on our part.

This has all sorts of implications. In particular, we mustn't say "some scholars" unless we have 1 of the following:

  • a reliable source that says "some scholars"
  • a scholar who says some other scholar(s) agree(s) with their view
  • a joint work by more than 1 author
  • 2 sources saying the same thing

Now consider the last possibilty. Since we must say exactly what the sources say, this can only apply where the 2 sources say exactly the same thing. More precisely, it must be clear to anyone who looks them up that they're both saying that, in different words. Now you might like to have a good look thro' my subpage to see how many examples you can find of this. Very few I think. (If scholars say the same thing they're liable to be considered redundant.) This makes it very difficult to put scholars together into schools of thought. This in turn makes it very difficult to do this sort of summary. In addition we have the fact that we don't know what most scholars say. Even if I've found most of the English-speaking ones, that still leaves French, German, Russian &c before we even get to the Japanese majority.

So I'm wondering whether we should approach the matter from the other end. Instead of trying to jump straight to the answer to a very complicated question, we might start an article called Origins of the Pali Canon, Sources for early Buddhism or whatever, in which we collect together everything we can find, with no question of having to delete anything for lack of space. If we can get that article into some sort of order, which is likely to take a lot of time, we might eventually be able to work out how to summarize it here. Meanwhile, I suggest this article return to option 3. Peter jackson (talk) 11:07, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

It'd look something like this:

Main article: whatever

According to the Canon itself[38] the Sakyan seer, i.e. the Buddha, taught the three pitakas. Scholars have expressed a wide variety of views, for example:

  • that the content (as opposed to the form) of the main body of discourses in the first four nikayas and of the main body of rules in the Vinaya probably go back to the Buddha himself[39]
  • that we have no way of knowing how closely the Canon written down in the last century BCE resembles that of the present day[40]

There'd also be an invisible comment asking people not to upset the apple cart. Peter jackson (talk) 11:13, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Mr Wales' remarks[edit]

I've followed the link from WP:NPOV, & copy the full source text here for convenience.

'Roy Royce wrote: > I really wanted the chance to prove to Mr. Wales that there were > indeed critical scientific facts omitted from "his" WIKI SR > article. And I firmly believe that I can still do this, so I will > post my new for-the-layman proof for Mr. Wales.

The specific factual content of the article is, in a sense, none of my business. My sole interest here is that the wiki process be followed and respected. Talking to me about physics is pointless, because it misses the point.

> You could be fooled by various sources, one of which could be the > WIKI SR article which falsely states that SR is supported by E=mc^2.

What do mainstream physics texts say on the matter? What do the majority of prominent physicists say on the matter? Is there significant debate one way or the other within the mainstream scientific community on this point?

If your viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts.

If your viewpoint is held by a significant scientific minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents, and the article should certainly address the controversy without taking sides.

If your viewpoint is held by an extremely small minority, then _whether it's true or not, whether you can prove it or not_, it doesn't belong in Wikipedia, except perhaps in some ancilliary article. Wikipedia is not the place for original research.

Remember, I'm not much interested in "is it true or not" in this context. We could talk about that forever and get nowhere. I'm only interested in the much more tractable question "is it encyclopedic and NPOV or not"? And this question can be answered in the fashion I outlined above.'

The switch from "mainstream ... texts" to "commonly accepted reference texts" suggests he is using terms rather loosely & broadly. That is, the mention of "reference texts" in the policy page is to be interpreted as covering other things as well as actual reference texts. This would be consistent with Vassyana's reference to textbooks & review literature, if likewise interpreted loosely & broadly. It seems reasonable to assume an administrator is familiar with how things are meant to be done, & is not saying something inconsistent with Mr Wales & the policy page.

Therefore, the question of majority view is to be determined by looking at a variety of reputable sources. To interpret "reference texts" in such a way as to exclude reference texts would be perverse, the sort of things some religious groups do with their scriptures.

Now if we apply this to our present case, we find that (nearly) all the views we've been discussing can be found in just such reputable sources. That is, there's no clear evidence that there is a majority view at all. We have to assume there are only various minority views, & present them fairly.

Conclusion: my approach of giving priority (tho' only by putting them 1st; I never gave them extra space) to views found in reference texts in the literal sense is wrong; your approach of giving extra space to some views is also wrong. Peter jackson (talk) 10:34, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Interesting quote from Gombrich (Skorupski, Buddhist Forum, vol 1, p5):

"It is obvious that the positions taken by some of us are incompatible; one can either politely ignore the fact ... or try to address the issues and hope to progress by argument. ... the latter course is unusual in such intellectual backwaters as Indology and Buddhist Studies ..."

Might this suggest that standard procedures may not apply? Peter jackson (talk) 11:06, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

On consideration, I think the model being intended here must be something like this:

  • scholars put forward their points of view in research papers, with evidence & arguments
  • the same or different scholars are supposed to consolidate all this into textbooks & reference books (& maybe some other category/ies)

So what we should be doing 1st is collect together what is said in books, as opposed to research papers. Not all books should be included. The following categories should be omitted:

  • those that aren't reliable sources
  • those that are just overgrown research papers
  • those that are just collections of research papers
  • very old
  • very non-specialist

So what I want to try now is to put together what's said in the following & see where it gets us:

  • Hirakawa, History of Indian Buddhism, vol 1, 1977
  • Nakamura, Indian Buddhism, 1980 (these 2 are our main sources for Japanese scholarship)
  • Norman, Pali Literature, 1983
  • Bechert & Gombrich, World of Buddhism, 1984
  • Harvey, Introduction to Buddhism, 1990
  • Hinüber, Handbook of Pali Literature, 1996
  • Gethin, Foundations of Buddhism, 1998
  • Lopez, (Story of) Buddhism, 2001
  • Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004
  • Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism, 2nd edn, 2006
  • Routlege Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2007

Other possibilities:

  • Warder, Indian Buddhism, 3rd edn, 2000; does WP consider Motilal Banarsidass a reputable publisher?
  • Prebish & Keown, Introducing Buddhism, 2005; I haven't read it, only looked at it in the bookshop; doesn't seem to say anything on this subject, tho' vaguely assumes the main teachings go back to the Buddha
  • Robinson et al, Buddhist Religions, 5th edn, 2004?; haven't even seen this; perhaps you can tell us
  • New Penguin Handbook of Living Religions, 1997; I don't think this says anything not said elsewhere
  • Macmillan Encyclopedia of Religion, 1987
  • Smith & Novak, Buddhism; another bookshop book; doesn't seem all that good, but probably counts as RS

Peter jackson (talk) 10:31, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

It looks like the easiest way to sandbox this is at User:Peter jackson/Sources for early Buddhism. Peter jackson (talk) 10:40, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

On further consideration, I think the classification of scholarly literature must be as follows:

  • primary or research literature, which gives evidence &/or arguments for its conclusions;
  • secondary literature (perhaps this is what Vassyana means by "review literature"), which mainly just makes statements &/or reports opinions, without evidence/arguments.

I assume it must be the latter category we're supposed to use to determine the main views. As to which such authorities are to be included, there are probably 3 criteria:

  • publishers,
  • authors,
  • reputation in the scholarly community (inclusion in Suggested reading, citation in footnotes, actual reviews).

I think therefore that Warder should be included, & the Penguin Handbook if it has anything to add. Peter jackson (talk) 10:04, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Discussion continued[edit]

Hello Peter,
Thanks for your comments. I agree that we might create a new article and distill some conclusions from it into the present article. I would prefer the article in it current form to be used as the starting basis. Texts from your version can be included into it if you find something is lacking.
We can work on it more, and I suggest we can expand the other views more so they are more equal in length if that concerns you. I am interested to know some specific names of scholars in 2. Very little can be attributed to the Buddha and 4. unknown nucleus.
Also I want to state that because the method of referencing I use is very complete, it is also very easy to spot these minor 'mistakes'. Which is a good thing. You generally do not mention the lines of text which you use as a reference, so your quotes are not criticeed. People generally do not know what your quotes really say. Maybe I should change my method to be more like yours... ;-)
Anyway, those criticisms I have not found to be really valid... very minor points. And who knows: somebody might have changed the text that I originally added, but not the quote. That's part of why I added that information. So the text which references to it can be held accountable.
By the way, some scholars have expressed view that maybe even his words (of the Buddha) are found in the Canon, which is the most extreme opposite of 'not knowing anything', so that should be included in the brief description. Also I find warder's opinion of there is no evidence to suggest that the shared teaching of the early schools was formulated by anyone else than the Buddha and his immediate followers relevant in this context. That is different in scope from the others.
Thinking about this more, I doubt the wisdom of only mentioning the most extreme views. Are moderate views not worthwhile? Even the texan cowboy-scholar (Schopen) would not agree with this Routeledge Encyclopedia of Buddhism. That's saying something... Anybody can say anything, I think we should keep it to the general idea of 'we-don't-know-ism', not the most extreme form of it. The same is done for Gombrichs' point of 'content-but-not-form', isn't it?

alternative, needs some better references which I can add at a later time:

According to the Canon itself the Buddha taught two pitakas [41]. Later commentators (notably Buddhaghosa) have stated that the Abhidhamma was also taught by the Buddha. Scholars have expressed a wide variety of views, for example:

  • That the content (as opposed to the form) of the main body of discourses in the first four nikayas and of the main body of rules in the Vinaya probably go back to the Buddha himself[42]. Some scholars hold that even the actual words of the Buddha may be found in the Pali Canon [43].
  • That the Pali Canon was expanding and changing from an unknown nucleus[44]. Some say that we cannot even know how closely the Canon written down in the last century BCE resembles that of the present day[45]

On the question of attribution to persons or groups other than the Buddha and his direct disciples, A.K. Warder has stated that there is no evidence to suggest that the shared teaching of the early schools was formulated by anyone else than the Buddha and his immediate followers[46].

Greetings, Sacca 15:15, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

It's not just a question of "something lacking". It's also, as I've said repeatedly, a matter of your piling up quotations pointing in similar directions. See also below.
The very little school includes, according to Bronkhorst, Vetter & Enomoto. I have to say I'm beginning to wonder whether even scholars themselves understand what each other is saying. It also includes Nakamura, tho' his book is so badly written that there's no explicit statement to that effect, so he couldn't be cited as an example of such a school. The unknown school includes Jens-Uwe Hartmann, the author of that article, & also Lopez & Gomez. The question might be asked whether Hartmann is actually making a 1st-order statement that the teaching is unknown, or just a 2nd-order statement that scholars disagree.
There's a lot to be said for your method of referencing. I'd point out
  • it's not in the WP guidelines
  • it looks a bit silly if the text is virtually word for word the same as the note
  • it takes up a lot of space
I'm not rejecting it outright.
Your point about a view more extreme than Gombrich is partially valid, that is, it's valid as a criticism of my most recent version. I should therefore add another Gombrich quote that does indeed say just the same as that. I'm not sure whether it's on my subpage yet.
Yes, Warder does say something diferent from the others. But so does everybody. Putting them all in would make the section too long, & in any case we have only a minority of scholars.
The point about quoting only the extremes is to give the reader a rough idea without complications.
Running out of time. More later. Peter jackson (talk) 17:06, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I've added a heading as this has nothing to do with the previous section. I've also added a remark to that.
Now, to resume where I left off. When I said without complications, I meant particularly the complications of endless arguments about which views to include. Readers might well guess that many of the wide variety of views referred to might be intermediate positions. I'm not sure actually saying so would be verifiable. It's not a question of views not being worthwhile. There are simply too many, at least at 1st sight; possibly detailed analysis would simplify things, but, as I said above, there's a lot of work involved, & it's very possible that no solution would be found.
Actually, if you think about it, Schopen does agree with that statement. He says nothing definite is known before the commentaries. Therefore, logically, nothing is known of the 4th Council text, as that's before the commentaries (this is actually the context). Therefore, in particular, it is not known how closely that resembles the present Canon. The reverse implication doesn't hold, tho' it's not clear in context whether the Routledge article is actually intending to say anything stronger. We can't interpret.
The intro of your alternative is factually incorrect:
  • the Parivara explicitly states that Sakyamuni taught the 3 pitakas, not 2, & goes on to name them
  • the Canon's account of the 1st Council says it recited the vinaya & dhamma, not sutta
I try to give almost exactly what they say. Peter jackson (talk) 11:06, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Latest update:

Main article: whatever

According to the Canon itself[47] the Sakyan seer, i.e. the Buddha, taught the three pitakas. Scholars have expressed a wide variety of views, for example:

  • that the content (as opposed to the precise form) of the main body of discourses in the first four nikayas and of the main body of rules in the Vinaya probably go back to the Buddha himself[48] and that it is perfectly possible that the Buddha composed some texts himself[49]
  • that we have no way of knowing how closely the Canon written down in the last century BCE resembles that of the present day[50]


Peter jackson (talk) 11:10, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

See comments at end of previous section. Peter jackson (talk) 10:41, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Alternative[edit]

Here's a very rough draft based on the approach explained in the section above on Mr Wales' remarks. It is an alternative to my previous proposal, or a step towards one, & does not replace it.

According to the Canon itself,[51] the Sakyan Sage, i.e. the Buddha, taught the three pitakas. Scholars have presented a variety of views. The majority of scholarship in the field of Buddhist studies is Japanese, most of it unknown to western scholars except through two major sources: the late Professor Hirakawa Akira's History of Indian Buddhism (volume 1, 1974; English translation, University of Hawai'i Press, 1990) and the late Professor Nakamura Hajime's Indian Buddhism (Kansai University of Foreign Studies, Hirakata, Japan, 1980); these take much more account of sources in Chinese and Tibetan than most English-language scholarship, which tends to be based mainly on Pali and Sanskrit sources.[52]

Hirakawa's account of the evolution of the Canon is as follows. At the First Council shortly after the Buddha's death, some short expositions of doctrine and verses were collected together.[53] Scholars have been unable to distinguish between the Buddha's teachings and those of his immediate disciples.[54] Progressively over the generations, explanations and stories were added, and material connected into longer discourses.[55] The development over the next century cannot be described in much detail,[56] but by a century after the Buddha's death a Vinaya Pitaka and Sutra (Sutta) Pitaka existed.[57] After this, Buddhism started to split up into schools, and each continued to add material to their versions.[58] The similarities between the Vinaya and Sutra Pitakas of different schools indicate that their basic contents were determined before these schisms.[59] The (first) four Agamas (nikayas) contain much more than the historical Buddha's teachings, but much of their content is closely related to those teachings, and any attempt to determine the Buddha's original teachings must be based on them.[60] The Pratimoksha (Patimokkha) and Skandhaka (Khandhaka) were probably composed a century after the Buddha's death.[61] The Khuddaka Nikaya represents a transitional phase, though it includes some very old texts such as the Dhammapada, Suttanipata, Theragatha and Therigatha; the Niddesa and Patisambhidamagga date from about 250 BCE.[62] The Abhidhamma is later than these, though some examples of its methods can be found in sutras and the Niddesa and Patisambhidamagga are forerunners.[63] The Kathavatthu probably dates from the last half of the second century BCE.[64]

Nakamura's account is as follows. The Canon must include some sayings or phrases going back to the Buddha, but which ones they are is open to question.[65] The oldest book of the Canon is the Suttanipata,[66] whose earliest parts are likely to date back to the Buddha's lifetime.[67] The Itivuttaka and Udana are early,[68] at least in part.[69] The (first) four nikayas are likely to have been compiled simultaneously after the reign of Asoka[70] (he also mentions a view that the oldest teachings are found in the Digha Nikaya). These represent early Buddhist teachings, but consist of different layers.[71] The Dhammapada is fairly old.[72] The Mahaniddesa must not have been composed before the second century CE (though a view is mentioned dating it to about the time of Asoka), so the Pali Canon must have been composed after this.[73] Some passages from Buddhist Sanskrit literature have been inserted into the Apadana and Netti.[74] The Abhidhamma Pitaka is much later than the others.[75]

K. R. Norman (Pali Literature, Otto Harrassowitz, 1983) says that the first four nikayas had begun to develop before the separation of Buddhism into schools.[76] The Vimanavatthu,[77] Petavatthu,[78] Patisambhidamagga,[79], Apadana, Buddhavamsa, Cariyapitaka, Khuddakapatha[80] and Abhidhamma Pitaka[81] are late.

According to Dr Peter Harvey of Sunderland University (Introduction to Buddhism, Cambridge University Press, 1990), although parts of the Canon are later than the Buddha, much must derive from his teachings.[82] He also says the Abhidhamma was added to the Canon in the third century BCE, developed from matikas that may go back to the Buddha,[83] and that probably little if anything was added to the Canon after it was written down.[84]

Professor Oskar von Hinüber of the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg (Handbook of Pali Literature, Walter de Gruyter, 1996) says that the texts of the Canon, though the earliest Buddhist texts surviving, are much later than the Buddha, the result of a long and complicated development,[85] which needs much more research.[86] The Canon is anonymous literature.[87] The Parivara is most probably 1st century CE or later.[88] The Patisambhidamagga perhaps dates from around 200 CE.[89] The Apadana is one of the last books to be added to the Canon.[90]

Dr Rupert Gethin (Foundations of Buddhism, Oxford University Press, 1998) says that significant portions of the Canon must go back to the third century BCE; specifically, the Vinaya and (first) four nikayas are relatively early, being shared by different schools. He also says something of the Abhidhamma method must go back to the Buddha's lifetime,[91] and that there was a tacit understanding from very early times that calling something the word of the Buddha was not exactly the same as saying that he actually said it; rather, what counted was whether it conformed to the structure and pattern of the teaching.[92]

A. K. Warder (Indian Buddhism, 3rd edn, Motilal Banarsidass, 2000) says there is a central body of sutras (suttas) so similar in all known versions that they must be different recensions of the same original texts.[93] The order of the five nikayas is their order of authenticity.[94] The average date of the Jataka is 4th century BCE.[95] The Vimanavatthu, Petavatthu and Apadana are later than 200 BCE, perhaps a century later, the Cariyapitaka later still, the Buddhavamsa 2nd century BCE.[96] The Patisambhidamagga can be dated between 237 and c. 100 BCE.[97] An Abhidhamma Pitaka probably existed within two centuries of the Buddha's death, but not consisting of the seven books we have now.[98]

In the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004), the article on Vinaya, by Dr Gregory Schopen of the University of California, Los Angeles, says the contents cannot be established before the commentary in the fifth century, and even then we have only eighteenth and nineteenth century manuscripts to go on.[99] It also mentions two alternative theories to explain common material in different schools' versions of the Vinaya: that the common material is inherited from the period before the separation of the schools; and that it was borrowed between schools at later periods.[100] The article on Agamas/Nikayas, by Jens-Uwe Hartmann of the University of Munich, says that, while tradition says the teachings were collected at the First Council shortly after the Buddha's death, scholars see it as expanding and changing from an unknown nucleus.[101] The article on Abhidharma (Abhidhamma), by Collett Cox of the University of Washington, says it developed in the centuries after the Buddha's death.[102]

Dr Richard Gombrich (Theravada Buddhism, 2nd edn, Routledge, 2006) says that the content, as opposed to the precise form, of the main body of discourses in the first four nikayas, and of the main body of monastic rules in the Vinaya, must be the work of a single genius, i.e. the Buddha himself.[103] He also says the Canon was written down in the last century BCE, and its language slightly changed after that.

According to the article on the Pali Canon, by Karen C. Lang of the University of Virginia, in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2007), there is no way of knowing how closely the Canon written down in the last century BCE resmbles that of the present day.[104]

Response[edit]

Excellent work, Peter.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 02:31, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Response of Sacca[edit]

hello Peter, It's a good effort but I think it's too cluttered and therefore difficult to read and unconfused. It's a list of various people and what they think. But it should not be about the people but about the positions. That's what the article is about, it's about opinions of the origins, not about the people who wrote about the origins and what they wrote. But obviously your work is quite detailed and you could add some of the content to supply the existing section on the origins wherever it's needed.

I propose we delete the NPOV label now, because your objections to it have been repaired a long time ago, and this is just about how to move on from the current position which is balanced.

Greetings, Sacca 04:50, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

My objections have not been dealt with. They remain in force.
WP:NPOV, I think, says sources should be named in text. Peter jackson (talk) 08:47, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
yes, but the point are the positions, not the persons.
What objections?
Greetings, Sacca 12:28, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
If you're just talking about the arrangement, that's something that can be discussed.
I've restored the tag to its previous position, because your deletion of the fact that the Cann itself says it was taught by the Buddha violates neutrality. Peter jackson (talk) 08:16, 9 September 2008 (UTC)


Yes the arrangement is important, it should be arranged according to the positions/opinions, not according to persons. If you've got sources, why not add them to the article?

The Canon never says that it was completely taught by the Buddha. For examples many suttas say they are taught by f.e. sariputta or mogallana, and some parts are reports of f.e. the first buddhist council. Parivara doesn't say it was taught by the Buddha. The Abhidhamma doesn't say that. So there are large parts of the canon which do not say they are taught by Buddha. I have now moved the tag back to the 'disputed' area. Greetings, Sacca 14:59, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Merge?[edit]

I just found an article about the tripitaka --- this is exactly the same thing as the tipitaka. Shouldn't the two pages be murged? 86.143.22.237 (talk) 10:46, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Tripitaka is a largely meaningless title for Buddhist scriptures in general. Tipitaka is the native name for the Pali Canon, the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. Peter jackson (talk) 10:59, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think this is made clear on the Tripitaka article, maybe it should be cleared up? 86.143.22.237 (talk) 11:01, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Are you serious Peter Jackson?! Pali Tipitaka is the OFFICIAL name of Budhist scriptures, used throughout many websites and referenced with that name on others. Pali Canon is used by scholars to "divide by language" Budhist scriptures.--Esteban Barahona (talk) 20:51, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Thripitaka meen three(3) pitaka(books) in general . so these articals shoud merge. becase tipitaka and thripitaka meens the same thing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 192.248.92.4 (talk) 15:12, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

They have the same literal meaning, but Tipitaka refers specifically to the Pali Canon, while Tripitaka refers to Buddhist scriptures generally. Peter jackson (talk) 15:19, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I vote for merge but keep essential stuff from both articles.Groawata (talk) 03:48, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Please note that there's a parallel (and seemingly more extensive) "murge" discussion going on at Talk:Tripiṭaka#Murge? — perhaps we should re-route these entries there (if not already done so)? Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 05:00, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Merging doesn't make sense. The Pali Canon is a particular & important example of the general category Tripitaka, & must have an article of its own. If people think there's superfluity, it would make more sense to make this article a disambig, going to Pali Canon, Kangyur & Chinese Buddhist Canon. Peter jackson (talk) 09:15, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm convinced. Mitsube (talk) 03:46, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I see that the existence of 2 discussions here has confused me to the extent that I forgot which talk page this was. I meant making Tripitaka a dab. Peter jackson (talk) 17:08, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
I forgot such a dab should also link to Xuanzang. Peter jackson (talk) 10:26, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I vote for merge too, with the name "Pāli Tipitaka".--Esteban Barahona (talk) 20:40, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Note that this is not actually a vote, but more of a discussion. Also, as Larry pointed out above, the main place where discussion took place was at Talk:Tripiṭaka#Murge?.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 23:40, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Esteban, please have a look at the Tripitaka article. You'll see that it's not about the Pali Tipitaka, so merging it in that title wouldn't make sense. Peter jackson (talk) 11:00, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Tipitaka is the Pali word, Tripitaka is the sansrkit word, both for "three baskets". They're indeed the same. Well, then I suggest that "Pali Canon" be renamed "Pāli Tipitaka" and "Tripitaka" merged with "Budhist texts". If not, it should be more something like "sutric sacred texts" (but that's a simplistic "evangelisation"-like preconditioned western mind incorrect understanding). lol, etymologicaly it's so incorrect to call all Budhist texts (not just 3) the "three baskets"; also because it can be confused with the oficial "Pali Tipitaka" name for the "Pali Canon". pali tipitaka at least means "written three baskets". And what? If someone translates all Budhist texts to english or spanish, how will it be called? Español Tripitaka (note: including texts that appeared later than the Pali Tripitaka)? lol--Esteban Barahona (talk) 21:41, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
They're quite different things. The Kanjur is 2 or 3 times as long as the Pali Canon & has relatively small overlap with it. The Chinese Canon is several times as long as the Kanjur & contains most of it, along with about 1/2 the Pali Canon. To call these 3 the same thing is absurd.
Pali Canon is the normal English name for this so in accordance with WP policy. Peter jackson (talk) 10:57, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm refering to the name "tipitaka" being the same as "tripitaka". Who decided to call "tripitaka" all the buddhist texts? reference please, it's the first time I read about this use. What is the common name that Buddhist use for this? Isn't that Pali Tipitaka?--Esteban Barahona (talk) 19:20, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
Here is what the Digital Dictionary of Buddhism has to say about it (link; log in with "guest" as username and password): "三藏 sānzàng. The Buddhist canon, traditionally categorized into three divisions; in Sanskrit, tripiṭaka and Pali tipiṭaka. These are the sūtra-piṭaka (sermons collection) 經, vinaya-piṭaka (rules collection) 律, and the abhidharma-piṭaka (philosophical treatises collection) 論. Over the long history of Buddhism, a variety of tripiṭakas have developed within various cultural and linguistic regions, including the Tibetan Canon, the Pali Canon, the Chinese, Japanese 大藏經 and Korean Canons 高麗大藏經. The latter three have much overlap with each other." That's the first definition given. The third definition specifies the canon of the Nikāya schools, of which the Pali Canon is one version.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 00:28, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
Of course it is common knowledge that the Agamas are not identical. They were passed on by different schools. The Abhidharma pitaka was vastly different from school to school. The Vinaya was also different. Non-Theravadins are able to eat after noon for example. Mitsube (talk) 01:02, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

For convenience I copy here some citations I've already posted to Esteban's talk page:

Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Volume One), page 111: "There is no such thing as the Buddhist canon."

page 112: "The tripiṭaka of one school, as far as scholars know, was never the same as that of the next."

page 113: "... the Chinese Buddhist canon ... was a far more comprehensive collection" [than the Pali Canon}

page 114: "... "the Chinese Buddhist canon" is itself an abstraction of many highly variable collections."

(Volume Two), page 755: "... the scriptural portions of the Chinese and Tibetan canons are over twice that size." [ie twice as long as the Pali Canon]

page 756: "... the Pāli, the Tibetan, and the Chinese canons ... are quite different, even if there is some overlap between the three. ... both the Chinese and the Tibetan canons include Mahāyāna sūtras that are absent from the Pāli canon, and the Tibetan canon in addition includes many tantras that are not found in any other collection. ... This is important to point out, lest it be thought that there is consensus among different Buddhists concerning what constitutes scripture. ... there is in reality no such thing as a single "Buddhist Bible"."

Routledge Encyclopedia of Buddhism, page 765: "Although almost all schools of Buddhism agree on the use of the term Tripiṭaka ... to refer to their scriptures, the schools do not agree on the contents of the Tripiṭaka."

To respond more directly to Esteban's question, I would start with the obvious point that Buddhists speak different languages. Therefore they call their scriptures different things. It so happens that all/most use, among other names, translations of Tripitaka. As it's standard convention among Western scholars to use Sanskrit for Buddhism in general, that's the usual term. Peter jackson (talk) 08:15, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Definately no merge. Pali Canon is very specific for Theravada Buddhism. Would you also merge bible with koran perhaps? Both monotheistic religions about God/Allah. This merging proposal is very unsensitive and illogical too.
In this article: "Tipiṭaka." Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008. Tripitaka deals only with southern Buddhism. No Mahayana at all, strange to say. Greetings, Sacca 04:16, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
The uses are different among different people. Pali Canon should have its own article as should Pali Tipitaka. IMO, using languages as the sole categorization of Tripitakas, altough easiest, is a disservice to those studying Buddhism... better to use the categorization in schools. This is too confusing; I can start talking of "mahayana tripitaka" and "theravada tripitaka", or "theravada canon" and "mahayana canon"... language is too simplistic a categorization (some are mere translations).--Esteban Barahona (talk) 19:27, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
this is a mess; the first image says "thai pali canon" (canon written in pali, written in thai).--Esteban Barahona (talk) 19:28, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I think it is true that "agamas" and "nikayas/sutta pitaka" should be treated in the same article. These are the common core. Mitsube (talk) 03:41, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
There are only 3 canons in major use. Whether you call them Pali, Chinese & Tibetan or SEAsian, EAsian & Central Asian doesn't really matter much. We stick to the common names.
Pali Canon, Tipitaka & Pali Tipitaka are the same thing, so need only 1 article, under the usual English name, with the others as redirects.
Agamas/nikayas? Possibly. That's rather more complicated. Peter jackson (talk) 08:20, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Vinaya pitaka[edit]

Isn't this later than the Nikayas? What are the references people have on this, if they are easy to get to? Besides what's in the Vinaya article. Mitsube (talk) 03:43, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Certainly some scholars think so. Have a look @ User:Peter jackson/Sources for early Buddhism#Vinaya Pitaka. Peter jackson (talk) 08:57, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Reading that page is quite an education. Thanks! Mitsube (talk) 18:00, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Title[edit]

I object to the new title. It's not the normal English usage. I don't know enough about WP technicalities to revert it. Peter jackson (talk) 08:35, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Also, it's not even the correct native spelling. It can aslo be spelt pāḷi. Peter jackson (talk) 11:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

I used to fight this sort of battle on Wikipedia, but I was partially converted to the other side and partially just decided not to bother. The unavoidable fact seems to be that Wikipedians like diacritics. Therefore, article titles will always tend to have diacritics, and, if you remove diacritics, it will tend to make the article title out of keeping with other artitcles. Granted this is more frequently the case with articles where Roman script with diacritics is the main script of the original language, unlike cases like these where it is a transliteration. You can sometimes make some headway removing diacritics from articles on Indian topics.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 14:09, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Areas of speciality[edit]

Greetings to Peter, Sacca, and other creators of the Pali Canon origins section,

I've been reviewing this page as part of my own research into origins, and I notice a few problems (despite the work that you've put into this, as I can see from the talk page). I would like to make some changes, but I thought I'd mention it here first before going ahead.

The first thing is the selection of scholastic opinions for and against the authenticity of the Pali canon. I notice that you have a range of experts who cautiously side for the authenticity of the canon, and then three names as skeptics. But none of the skeptics are experts in early Buddhism. "Prof. Ronald Davidson", who unaccountably gets a title while most others do without, is an expert on tantra. Likewise, "Dr Gregory Schopen", also dignified with a title and a job description, is an expert on the middle period of Buddhism and the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya. Similarly, Skorupski, cited in note 26, is a scholar of tantra, not Early Buddhism. (In addition, I have looked for his statement in the Buddhist Forum, but cannot find it. Also note 28 is not a proper reference. It should be completed or deleted.)

May I suggest:

1. Remove titles and job descriptions, or give them for all. (Better: link to their wikipedia pages.)

2. Find experts on the skeptical side who are actual scholars of Early Buddhism. I think this will be difficult, as i believe that the skeptical voices are, in fact, by people who do not understand the field on which they are commenting. So,

3. If the existing skeptical voices are to be retained (and I do think Schopen deserves to be mentioned, if only because of the influence his ideas have had), then it should be stated that they are not experts in the field.

4. I also question the point of Nakamura's quote. It is a straw man argument, saying nothing can be accepted as "unquestionable", which is simply not what anyone is saying. Better to find something more meaningful.

Bhikkhu Sujato (talk) 05:12, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Since there has been no objection I will make a start with some changes, namely:

1. remove titles for scholars and add links to wiki pages, or to biodata where there is no wiki page.

2. I do not know of any skeptical statements by scholars in the field, so I cannot add these. I have added a reference to Geoffery samuel, taken from Peter Jackson's Wiki info page.

3. Remove the reference to Skorupski. This seems to be a confused reference to Gombrich's article in the Buddhist Forum vol. 1, where he actually launches a defence of authenticity, and says that: "On reading the papers of my colleagues, I realized that, like me, they all (except Professor Aramaki?) assumed that the main body of soteriological teaching found in the Pāli Canon does go back to the Buddha himself." And this is a citation for skeptical voices! Incidentally, there is no paper by Aramaki in that or other published volumes of the Buddhist Forum, perhaps the conference schedule changed.

4. deleted the sentence "Some of these scholars argue that some passages contradict the main teachings, and that the Buddha must have been consistent." and its note, an unclear reference without mentioning content or authorship.

5. Rearranged content so that views are represented in the proper section.

6. Edited sentence about Nakamura.

7. In section on agnostic views, removed reference to scholars disagreeing with application of biblical text-critical methods. This is not relevant here, or at least needs more context to make it meaningful. Also the reference does not make authorship clear.

8. Clarified reference to Peter Harvey: previously his statement was only in a note, next to Gombrich; but the quote did not really relate to the relevant sentence. So i have separated it.

9. Adjusted paragraphing.

10. Removed "did not attract much support" from comment re Schopen, as it is vague and unsupported. It is also, I think, not really true: it has indeed attracted support in fields outside of early Buddhist studies, just not among experts.

11. Smoothed various details, including sentence on Gombrich.

I hope these changes are acceptable. I think the result is a more concise, clearer representation of the situation. There is still much to be done!

Bhikkhu Sujato (talk) 08:07, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia, and thanks for your work in cleaning up this article. It looks like these changes are fair and were well-informed (don't be afraid to be bold). Often Wikipedia Buddhism pages are largely neglected because there are so few contributors to the project. Best regards. p.s. Enjoyed your book Sects & Sectarianism. Tengu800 12:47, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Tengu, I hope I can find some time to do some more. Bhikkhu Sujato (talk) 07:07, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
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