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Featured Are Buddhist and Hindu Scriptures Inaccurate?

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by SalixIncendium, Dec 12, 2020.

  1. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Advaita Vedantin
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    It was suggested in another thread that Hindu and Buddhist scriptures may not accurately reflect the lives of Buddha and Krishna.

    I am interested in hearing specifically what scriptures and what parts of these scriptures the denizens of RF feel are flawed or inaccurate with regard to the lives of these two avatara.
     
  2. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I wouldn't say inaccurate, but nor would I say accurate. Both lived so long ago that I think it's impossible to determine much accuracy at all. Heck, it's hard to determine accuracy even a couple of hundred years ago. So I'd say there is a whole lot of conjecture going on.
     
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  3. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    They are neither correct or incorrect as for historical accuracy, because that is unknown in effect. They are good sources for the mental/spiritual in some sense as far as I can tell, based on second hand experience of them.
     
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  4. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    As @Vinayaka says, it's speculation from a long time ago. Personally, I'm none too interested in the matter of the individual; what matters is what he supposedly said and whether that has any meaning for the reader today.
     
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  5. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    As well as the Bhagavad Gita, the 10th Canto of the Puranas contains much biographical information about Lord Krishna, much of which is considered mythological by many Hindus. Some Hindus view it literally too no doubt.

    It's hard to reliably determine the historicity of anyone who lived five thousand years ago let alone an accurate biographical depiction of their life and teachings IMHO. I explored this topic earlier in the year.

    Krishna - Historical or mythological?

    The Teachings of His Holiness the Buddha were not written down until over four hundred years after He passed away. So the reliability of oral transmission 'may' be an issue. He live two and a half thousand years ago so these factors could affect accuracy.
     
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  6. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    And you know this how?
     
  7. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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  8. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    It is true his words were not written down until centuries later so yes that will be a factor. My only comment would be that at the time of the Buddha's life, the culture was one with a tradition of oral transmission. This is why his words were not written down at the time. His many followers recited and memorised passages and "cross-checked" them with each other in order to maintain accuracy.
     
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  9. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    My guess is they are probably not 100% inline with history since there is a lot of mystics involved in the suttas. But I noticed from what Buddhist told me years ago when I practiced and a few Hindu here accuracy in that respects doesn't matter. It's all about Practice.

    I don't know about Krishna, but I guess I can say the suttas represent the Buddha well insofar to the point of his teachings and practice of it. But I couldn't confirm it. I don't believe it matters much.
     
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  10. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    By the evidence. There may be earlier records, but like the text of the Bible the evidence is a later compilation that is subject to editing and redaction.
     
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  11. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    But @Jayhawker Soule is still alive. Surely we can ask him about the historicity of his early years.
     
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  12. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I think the reliability of oral transmission might depend on the culture it's transmitted within. Some predominantly oral cultures took extraordinary care to preserve unaltered their oral heritage.

    Of all the oral traditions I've heard of, the one that most impresses me is a group of people who now live in India, but who apparently migrated to India at some distant point in the past from what is now southeastern Iraq. There's litany they recite in their temples that seems to date back to the Sumerians.

    Here's the interesting part: The people in question do not know the meaning of the words they recite. They just recite them. But they have so well preserved the words that a few decades ago, scholars were able to match them to a clay tablet written in Sumerian thousands of years earlier. The people are reciting a homage to the goddess Inanna, who they no longer worship today.
     
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  13. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    While I think it is possible that some more or less accurate information can be preserved by an oral culture for thousands of years, I also think the burden of proving the information is accurate lies on those who assert it is. After all, we have ample evidence of even fairly recent oral traditions becoming significantly altered or even dying out within relatively short periods.

    Perhaps an example would be all the variations of this or that urban myth that pop up within mere years of the first appearance of the myth. Better yet, think of the Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Olmec, whose oral traditions are entirely lost to us today, and were apparently lost within a relatively short span of a few centuries at most. The descendants of the Olmecs still live in the same area, but they orally preserve almost nothing of their ancestors.
     
  14. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Sure ... according to Wikipedia ... which is edited and revised all the time, by people who have opinions, and often agendas attached to said opinions. Either this stuff is conjecture, or it isn't. I don't see how anyone can pick something out as fact, but then see the rest as conjecture. Not that it matters.

    I'll stick with 'I don't know.'
     
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  15. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Evidence? For something that happened 2000 or more years ago, I personally believe there is little evidence, only what people claim to be evidence. Certain things, via archeology, sure.
     
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  16. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    Of course its flawed and inaccurate, as its old/ancient, and age degrades information eventually. Its no better or worse than any ancient writings out there.
     
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  17. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    Of course there is a lot of embellishment in the life of Krishna, depending on what Indians consider desirable. Sons are considered desirable, for example. So, Krishna had 16,108 wives and 10 sons with each of them (daughters are not mentioned) which would add up to a family of 161,080 male children as far as sons only are concerned.

    What nobody seems to consider as relevant but me is for which purpose questions like this are asked. Many newcomer religions claim their founder fulfills messianic or avatar prophecies of older religions. However, at the same time they devalue said older religions, saying their members got it wrong. Jesus did that for example, claiming to be the messiah expected by the Jews, while at the same time stating the Jews had distorted the meaning of their own scriptures which they were / are familiar with. I don't want to point fingers in this forums, but it is very often done by members of a religion starting with B and I don't mean Buddhism.

    If I put myself in the place of a member of the religion with B, I'd probably argue that, "see, your own religion got it wrong about the wives and sons of Krishna, so therefore his teachings in the Bhagavad Gita and in the Bhagavatam may/must be compellingly wrong too.". But it doesn't follow that just because the description of the avatara's life is mythological, his teachings in divine, philosophical or ethical matters must compellingly be wrong or "inaccurate", too. If you follow this argumentation, which also muslims use, you can argue anything. You can argue that Krishna clearly taught faith in UFOs, because UFO's are a big deal nowadays, and that his "true" teachings were just lost or corrupted by his own malicious followers, and now have been luckily re-discovered by an UFO guru of your choice.

    I acknowledge that in discussing religious or theological matters, there is no "objective" truth but just a range of opinions, but I think it's worth considering whether such questions are asked with a genuine spirit of promoting understanding between religions or with a possibly hidden motive of undermining or eroding other people's trust in their own faith.
     
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  18. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    From a historical perspective, the reliability of the biographies is not established at all. Though it should not make much of a difference as the teachings are what matters, not the life events.
     
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  19. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    History is history. Water under the bridge. I think this infatuation with it, by some, is caused by the search for 'evidence'. But evidence itself is some vague term. So, in this paradigm of Sanatana Dharma, because we don't have a strong need for evidence, nor do we need history. I believe that debate and argument, just as with aggressive army invasions, the folks from the dharmic paradigm only respond when attacked. So when some guy from another paradigm says 'Show me your evidence' it's a surprise. It's best to just say, 'i don't need that sort of evidence. My religion is alive and well, and I practice it daily."
     
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  20. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I'm curious now. Which thread?
     
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