Irregular Inquires — Investigating The Term “Early Buddhist Texts”

Disclaimer: investigate these questions at the potential risk of wasting time and serenity. BTW, some of these are really more statements phrased as questions.

  1. How helpful and/or how detrimental is the term “Early Buddhist Texts”?
  2. Where/how did it originate?
  3. On one hand maybe it sets up a certain distinguishing category in a distilled type of way, but when does “early” begin and end?
  4. Since Buddhism is said to originally be an oral tradition, do any kind of “texts” really apply to “Early Buddhism” since the spoken transmissions were not written down for awhile?
  5. And what all qualifies as a “Buddhist Text” in this case — commentaries; sub-commentaries; anything in the Pali, Prakrit and similar-type languages? Who all determines this?
  6. What if hitherto unknown texts are discovered (that are unclear whether or not they ought to be called “Early Buddhist Texts”?
  7. Are there any other motivations for formulating and propagating this term, and what was primarily used in its place prior?
  8. Could some newcomers imply that “Early” means not yet developed or mature?
  9. Again, for newcomers, could using “Buddhist” imply these texts are a religious dogma or doctrine when actually “Buddhism” is a Western label for what’s not really a religion in the sense of what usually categorizes religions?
  10. Could “Texts” imply an academic sterilization not implicitly conveying most of the contents consist of transcriptions of spoken discourses by a fully awakened Buddha?

Published by josh dippold

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