The Scripture Koan

This is a chat on the article ‘Whose Buddhism is the Truest’ at :

J: Who cares? These scholars are forever digging and probing, and end up confusing themselves. Like scientists who upon one discovery claims A, and upon discovery of something else later, claims A is not right, that it should be B, and upon yet another discovery of something else, changes his mind again. In the end, what is really the case is still a prediction based on available evidence. Some of these scholars are actually maras in disguise, claiming this sutra as false, that relic as not belonging to Buddha, or come up with things like these to try and shaken people’s faith – all kinds of nonsense. If people buy into this kind of thing, they can lose faith – whatever that causes people to lose faith in the Triple Gem is a product of Mara. Who cares whether the scriptures converge, diverge, or remain the same? It doesn’t lead to enlightenment. They should study and practise it instead, and see if it works.

A: What’s amazing in this article – in that it shows that many teachings are already present in the earliest scriptures found – not just some suttas. No one can really claim that any canon is the original any more. Since the teachings are intertwined, no single set can be said to be the only real thing. Actually, good scholars do the dirty job of authenticating scriptures – complex as it can be. This is probably one of the very reasons why the Buddha taught us not to abide by scriptures blindly, but to use reflection. Yes – the way to arrive at the definitive teachings has to be by practice and realisation anyway, not by study alone.The gise of the article is that all Buddhist scriptures are equally important in an interlinked manner, just that further research is needed for the actual words. For Purelanders (Pure Land practitioners), we know there are hundreds of sutras that mention Amituofo – this creates a vast cross-referencing system. And most of all, we know from history that its practice bears results.

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