Sunday, 22 March 2009

Gethin poking some fun at modern revisionist scholars

...the "ethical" portion of the discourse is to be preferred to the "mythic" precisely because it is ethical, and, as we all know, the earliest Buddhist teachings were simple, ethical teachings, unadulterated by myth and superstition; we know that early Buddhist teaching was like this because of the evidence of the rest of the canon. Here the argument becomes one of classic circularity: we arrive at a particular view about the nature of early Buddhism by ignoring portions of the canon and then use that view to argue for the lateness of the portions of the canon we have ignored. (p.215)
From "Cosmology and Meditation: From the Aggañña-Sutta to the Mahāyāna," Rupert Gethin, History of Religions, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Feb., 1997), pp. 183-217


  1. An interesting quotation, from one of my favourite scholars of Buddhism.

    You have a good blog, Justin. Perhaps we can exchange ideas, as I have an interest in Buddhist ethics.

    Please let me know how I can get in touch with you, as I can't find any e-mail address for you on your blog.

    Best wishes,
    Toronto, Canada

  2. Hi Peter,

    Thanks - I'm a big fan of Rupert's as well :) You can email me at buddhistethics AT - I'd love to exchange ideas.

    Best - justin