By K. R. Norman
This quantity includes just a little revised types of the lectures given by way of Professor Norman as Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai traveling Professor on the college of Oriental and African stories from January to March 1994. The lectures are designed for readers with little
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Additional resources for A philological approach to Buddhism : the Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai lectures 1994
21 See Potter, 1981, 6. 22 M I 136, 6. Buddhism and its origins 23 distinction between knower and known. e. his view that everything was “not self” (anattā), was based upon the brahmanical belief that the ātman was nitya “permanent” and sukha “happiness”. Hence the Buddha could refute this by pointing out that the world, which was supposed to be part of ātman, was in fact anicca “impermanent” and dukkha “misery”23—his belief that the world was dukkha was, of course, the first noble truth. The Buddha’s teaching about this is, however, not always understood.
The Buddha vigorously denied the brahmanical idea of the existence of the ātman, the idea that there is no difference between us and a world spirit, the standard advaitavāda with the words tat tvam asi “non-dual” doctrine,21 which is expressed in the “You are that”. You are that. You are identical with that world spirit—the view that we all have a portion of that spirit in us and when everything which hides that identity is removed then we can be absorbed into ātman/brahman. The Buddha, on the other hand, specifically condemned the view that the world and the self were the same thing, and that after death one might become permanent, lasting, eternal and not liable to change, and he rejected the idea that one could look at the various aspects of the world and say “that is mine, I am that, that is my self”, which is a clear echo of tat tvam asi, expressed from a different point of view.
E. the Buddha or the Buddhas. Another place where the early translators were probably wrong is in the translation which is given of the title of the text called the Mahāparinibbānasutta. Rhys Davids translated this as “The book of the great decease”. This is possible, although we might wonder what would constitute a small decease. We can, in fact, be fairly certain that the translation is not correct. We find quite commonly in the Pāli canon pairs of suttas, one “small”, so that we might have a large sutta on a called mahā “great” and the other particular subject and a small sutta on the same subject.