Sutta Archeology: Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha

The orthodoxy of Theravada Buddhism believes that the sutta collection of the Pali Canon was finalized and fixed at the First Council, three months after the death of the Buddha. But current scholarship is contesting this claim and looking at various phrase constructions to suggest that these suttas were composed over an extended period of time with a significant number probably being written after the Buddha's death.

This contesting has serious implications for what the Buddha actually taught; which means it has serious implications for how we today understand what the Buddha actually taught.

This course will take an in-depth look at "Sutta Archeology" - discussing what in general we can use to determine the stratification of suttas and then looking in depth at suttas on three topics to see what we can discover about suttas that are “early, or are late," or those we just don't have enough information to determine.

This course is divided into three sections: suttas that provide biographical information about the Buddha; suttas that deal with Dependent Origination; and suttas that deal with the nature of the Buddhist community. The hope of the program is to come out with a more nuanced (and more sympathetic) understanding of the historical person, the teachings, and the community. These discussions will be interspersed by formal meditation practice.

Teacher: Leigh Brasington
Topic: Sutta Archeology: Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha
Dates: 4 - 7 April 2015
Place: Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Barre, Mass.   Photos

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