For example if you compare the Mesopotamian creation myth, the Enuma Elish to the book of genesis you will find many correspondences at the formal level.
What I mean by that is that the overall structure of the Enuma Elish is preserved in Genesis, but with some changes. In the Mesopotamian myth, there were seven generations of gods, but in Genesis this was transmuted into seven days for one god.
You could say that Genesis is a parody of the Enuma Elish. I don't believe for an instant that the people who wrote genesis believed in the seven days and what was created on each day, it's probably allegorical.
The most important point being made in genesis is to be found not in the sequence of events, but in the differences against the backdrop of the Mesopotamian myth, the main one being that there is only one god.
Likewise, the embellished life story of the Buddha, the bit with the white elephant, and the birth in a palace, and the journey on the cart through the town with the charioteer 'Channa' all borrow elements from well known Indian motifs. The most important parts of the story are probably to be found in the 'diffs' and are not to be taken literally.
They probably weren't even taken literally at the time.
In summary, I think we are reading too much into ancient texts that were probably written in the allegorical mode.
"Charvaka holds direct perception, empiricism, and conditional inference as proper sources of knowledge, embraces philosophical skepticism and rejects ritualism, and supernaturalism."
even today with "four to five million followers worldwide."
"Mahavira and Gautama Buddha are generally accepted as contemporaries (circa 5th century BCE)."
"Beyond the times of the Mahāvīra and the Buddha, the two ascetic sramana (seeker) religions competed for followers as well as the merchant trade networks that sustained them. Their mutual interaction, along with those of Hindu traditions, have been significant."
"Jainism and Buddhism share many features, terminology and ethical principles, but emphasize them differently. Both are śramaṇa ascetic traditions that believe it is possible to attain liberation from the cycle of rebirths and deaths (samsara) through spiritual and ethical disciplines. They differ in some core doctrines such as those on asceticism, Middle Way versus Anekantavada, and self versus no-self (jiva, atta, anatta)."
"The androgynous, asexual Buddha of contemporary popular imagination stands in stark contrast to the muscular, virile, and sensual figure presented in Indian Buddhist texts. In early Buddhist literature and art, the Buddha's perfect physique and sexual prowess are important components of his legend as the world s ultimate man. He is both the scholarly, religiously inclined brahman and the warrior ruler who excels in martial arts, athletic pursuits, and sexual exploits. The Buddha effortlessly performs these dual roles, combining his society's norms for ideal manhood and creating a powerful image taken up by later followers in promoting their tradition in a hotly contested religious marketplace.
In this groundbreaking study of previously unexplored aspects of the early Buddhist tradition, John Powers skillfully adapts methodological approaches from European and North American historiography to the study of early Buddhist literature, art, and iconography, highlighting aspects of the tradition that have been surprisingly invisible in earlier scholarship. The book focuses on the figure of the Buddha and his monastic followers to show how they were constructed as paragons of masculinity, whose powerful bodies and compelling sexuality attracted women, elicited admiration from men, and convinced skeptics of their spiritual attainments."
I find it surprising the author mentions "pre-imperial India" to mark the era when Buddha was alive. There is a couple thousand years of rich history between the life of Buddha and "pre-imperial India". I would really like the Western authors to stop using Imperialism as a bookmark, as if India had nothing else significant before.
I realize that "imperial India" conclusively means "British India" to me (and many others since this is undoubtedly the reference online as well). But I agree that "imperial" itself could mean the Mauryan empire or others (the meaning being "of an empire"). I guess my own negativity to the phrase "imperial India" stopped me from seeing this.
But this also makes me think, how words, phrases or history has different interpretations or meanings. It fits in this context because Buddha being mystic or not can also be debated in similar ways. We see what we want to see. The article trying to "un-mystify" Buddha made me biased against the author without me realizing it.
Edit: Imperialism means to extend over "foreign nations". Mauryan empire is not foreign, it is as Indian as it can get.
The Mauryans built their empire by extending over the politically and linguistically disparate nations comprising South Asia.
There's no other adjective for empire, and there's really no reason to assume that use refers to modern meanings of imperialism (which is itself the noun derived from imperial...), meanings which are themselves derived from specific behaviours of recent empires.
Any reader searching this phrase online or looking up any common reference will find the British relation. Unfortunate, but that is how it is. As an Indian, I have always known that. That is why the phrase jumped at me.
Is it too much to expect an author writing such a detailed article from this region to know that?
Even a paragraph later the emperor Asoka is mentioned explicitly
I would be happy if you could. If not you proved my exact point again.
This is definitely not a reference to the British Raj, it's a reference to Indian 'Imperial India'.
The death of a mother in childbirth is an existence fraught with meaning and loss from the start of life for the child. How can this be so summarily dismissed as not contributing to the myth?
The separation was a during his spiritual search. After he attained what he was looking for he reunited with his son.
Sometimes we have to go away to figure things out. After he reached his goal, the Buddha spent the next fifty years surrounded by people whom he taught and counseled.
Let me flip it for you. What about Alexander the great, or other historical figures? Shouldn't he have stayed home with his family instead of starting a senseless war and then dying in India?
How come this double standard is always trotted out against the Buddha, when all these other conquering, massacring guys get away with it?
"Kill the Buddah if you encounter him" might be something to do with it but might be unrelated?
I also remember something about how Buddah can be found in the butchers shop, as if to say "stop looking for him as if he was something outside you, you are doing it wrong." Or about how if you get buddhahood you can be quite comfortable cutting up dead animals (i.e. Buddah is comfortable in nature)
I heard there are lot of stories out there of so called Zen Masters who claim to have achieved enlightenment (those according to your example, who can drink alcohol, kill animals for eating them) who get drunk and otherwise act weirdly and it is excused with "well, we cannot understand them, they are enlightened and we not, so we cannot see the wisdom in their actions".
I have not much personal experience with Zen, but heard that this is not so uncommon.
But of course, this doesn't say, that there are personal benefits in meditating, leaving a life without drugs, have a focused mind etc. - but maybe this things are mainly a new, western construct, attached to the base religion of Buddhism.
I had not heard that. I had understood it to have something to do with interest in Zen, which had a revival in the West starting in the mid 1900's. But I admit I don't really know anything about it. Does someone have a reference?
Vipassana was originally popularized amongst westerners by S. N. Goenka who was a Hindi expat in Burma, where he learned the practice. Many of his western students went on to be prominent teachers.
He was born in Mandalay, Burma and grew up there. I wouldn't call him an Indian expat in Burma, more like Burmese-Indian.
Hindi is a language. I think you meant Hindu.
Bear in mind that Zen is a form of Buddhism, and as such, has religious and philosophical depth. That being said, as with many such traditions, the point is for a practitioner to directly experience the religious revelations if the practitioner is drawn to the religion. Most sanghas are perfectly happy to teach a secular lay practitioner how to meditate if he/she is open, honest, and respectful regarding intentions. In that case, you won't be given koans (assuming the school of Zen you are visiting uses them) or dharma talks. You'll be taught how to meditate. Just like with mindfulness training, that starts with the counting and experience of the breaths.
Zen employs mindfulness as well as other tools for spiritual cultivation.
First group meditation for laypeople took place in 1911.
So this is fairly new idea.
His attitude might also depend on how seriously he took rebirth, which was widely believed in his time and place and takes a central place in some of his teachings. It's a point of great controversy among contemporary Buddhists: was rebirth a part of the teachings because it was coincidentally an accepted view in the time and place where Gautama taught? Is it an inseparable part of Buddhism? Both, neither? Can you reject rebirth and still preserve the essence of Buddhism? If Gautama showed up in the present day and said, "Oh, practically nobody believes in rebirth anymore? No matter, I can teach everything I know to people who don't believe it," that would rock the world of Buddhism. But vice-versa probably wouldn't make much of a difference, and neither is going to happen anyway so we'll have to live with the controversy regardless.
among contemporary western Buddhists, maybe, who have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept, (which is understandable, since Christianity - at least the mainstream versions - which was the dominant European religion for centuries has no corresponding concept).
In Buddhism as practised in Asia (Thailand, Burma,Srilanka, India, Nepal, China, Japan etc) it is not controversial at all, and is quite mainstream, with next to no "controversy" around it.
"Whereas some religious men, while living of food provided by the faithful make their living by such low arts, such wrong means of livelihood as palmistry, divining by signs, interpreting dreams... bringing good or bad luck... invoking the goodness of luck... picking the lucky site for a building, the monk Gotama refrains from such low arts, such wrong means of livelihood."
Interesting. I grew up in a Theravada Buddhist family in SE Asia. What I read from the texts available to me was that the father of Buddha was at a ceremony that celebrates the start of the season of growing rice, so as a king, he joined in.
That seems dubious. One potential purpose is convenience--one less person in the picture. Another is a deliberate excise of a female character, reflecting either a fear or simple apathy toward the feminine. The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Christianity is an example of what can happen if you leave the door open for a potentially powerful feminine character.
However, I am not well learned in the ways of Buddhism, so I shall attempt to answer your question with words. What do you mean by your question?
Do you mean: Was there a person exactly as these stories describe that did exactly what the stories describe and said exactly what the stories describe? There is no doubt at all to this answer: no, there was not. Despite my lack of education in Buddhism, I feel pretty confident that the subset of Buddhist practitioners who believe in such a thing approaches zero (I'm sure there are some, but not significant). Buddhism is a religion without dogma after all. Why else would a respected scholar on Buddhism write an article pretty much saying that the stories about Buddha are likely to be incorrect in part or in whole?
Or is your question: Was there a person who was the originator of the Buddhist religion? I think it is highly likely that the answer is "yes". I mean, it's possible that there was a group who started the religion, but it seems improbable to me. Look at any modern religion/cult. How many are started by a single person (all of them that I know about) and how many are started by a group of people (I assume that there are some, but I don't know of them)?
Or is your question: Are any of the stories about the person who started the Buddhist religion true? Again, I think this is a pretty easy answer: almost certainly yes. I mean, what the heck are they saying about him? He was born. He struggled until he found enlightenment. Then he started a religion. I mean the religion exists today. That's pretty good evidence that the original leader did some stuff.
Or are you asking: Is it true that the Buddha really was enlightened in the way he claimed? I can answer that one easily too: I don't know. ;-) And the really cool thing that I like about Buddhism is that I don't think it really matters all that much. You can learn about Buddhism, use the bits that are helpful to you and chuck away all the rest. Other Buddhists will pretty much think you are doing a good job -- or at least that's been my experience.
HN posting rules advise me to view your question charitably and to assume good faith. In that spirit, I hope that even if you never intended to ask any of the above questions, you can pick one or more of them and get answers that will help you. If the question was rhetorical and simply meant to belittle others who think differently than you do, then I apologise for wasting your time.
The main message that I got from it was that every road or path that people take in life is valid, everyone is different and have their own preferences and tastes and consecutively, not because you find the other paths "worse" or less worthy than yours it indeed means that they are, neither that those people are inferior to you.
Book should be read by way more people, specially by high arrogant ones who put down on others.
It states he was born in bhavana (Sn. 685) which has in the past been translated as palace but it simply means a place. When Buddha talks about his fathers abode he just refers to a house or mansion or family complex, using the word nivasana (A.I 145) which did not refer specifically to a palace or royal residence (vimana or mandira). nivasana was not used to refer to royal palaces until centuries after it was presumably written in the Tripitaka. Buddha also does not refer to his father as a king, but when asked he just said his dad was from Sakya clan (Sn 322,323,324).
I am appalled by this comment. These Sanskrit / Pali words you quoted, these are not obscure words. Infact they are used today in most of North India.
Your translations and assertions are completely wrong. I would expect a higher level of scholarship before one makes such a matter of fact comment.
As an aside, if the language is living rather than dead a phonemic orthography doesn't prevent change to spelling and pronunciation either, you just get extra alternative spellings and pronunciations, rather than divergent spelling and pronunciation.
I am not a Sanskrit scholar by any means, but IMO, being phonetic is not necessarily the reason for that. It is more so because Sanskrit words are often derived from a small set of root words. In other words, the words are actually descriptions of things using smaller components. In this case, the root is Bha which means "to be" or "to exist", from which there are words derived such as Bhavatu - "so be it", Bhavita - "existed", Bhavana - "place of existence/dwelling".
Unless you can find Sanskrit dictionaries from 2500 years ago giving exact measures of houses and palaces...
That is amazing. I've only used english and a touch of spanish, and those words are so slippery. Even latin has a drift over time. i've poked at Aramaic, but never more than a week or two of half hearted effort.
I'm really interested in Sanskrit now. Perhaps 5 years of concentrated effort to access thousands of years of writing sounds amazing. I have a hard time with Twain, much less Chaucer. English slips so much, so quickly.
I suppose there really aren't puns or double entendres though. I can't imagine how semantics would survive the abuse of irony for thousands of years.
> That is amazing.
GP is simply incorrect here. Sanskrit dictionaries list multiple meanings per word sometimes with the period during which a meaning was prevalent.
Puns and double entendres are particularly common in classical Sanskrit literature.
Yes it changed significantly. That’s why philology exists. And also why languages with long existence are classified in different strata.
Furniture, frames for houses, and so on, are typically considered carpentry. Etymologically it comes from a Latin word meaning a wagon maker.
In contemporary English, at least in North America, it's mostly used to describe those involved in the construction of things like wooden buildings, particularly the structural components like frames and roofs. But it hasn't completely supplanted the broader sense.
In building terms we distinguish a first and second fix carpenter. First fix is mostly structural and second fix is the rest. If your hair is wet its probably first fix - roof trusses and the like. Second fix will include things like skirting boards. It's not a hard and fast rule and will probably involve the same people. These trades are known as "chippies" (sing. chippy).
We also have cabinetry (your furniture smith - nice one) and other wood working trades. They are all called carpenters. A chippy is a carpenter and I think this a rare case where the nickname is more common than the real name. Civilians will often call a chippy a "builder". A cabinet maker is never known as a builder or a chippy.
The chippy thing is because a very small piece of wood is a "chip".
I think I know why you are a bit confused about the word carpenter. In the US and elsewhere, houses are mostly wooden. When a house is nearly all wood, then the word carpenter should mean builder. In the UK and elsewhere houses are built of sticks and bricks, mostly bricks.
That said, I've never seen it called the "fish and chippery", but it wouldn't surprise me to see that used.
They just happened to be made out of wood and the people who made them were apparently willing to apply those skills to more than wagons.
In Latin-America we use a very similar word: "carpintero" with the same origin. But the houses in the region are commonly made of concrete brick, so we don't associate "carpenter" with "house builder".
The use of the word myth in connection with religion always fascinates me. The entire concept of religion generally depends on myths. recursive use of myth in myth.
Generally I have to read these sentences as in my opinion because the 'factual' quality of statements regarding the ur-myths of religion is usually not quantifiable, its all contextually defined by interpretation, semantics, ontology, eschatology, history, culture...
It is most definitely quantifiable whether something is or is not written in the Tripitaka. That is why it remains important and historically significant.
So I think attempts to find “fundamental” Buddhism are ultimately futile.
There is no question that there are some later additions. There are even some contradictions. But by comparing different passages and comparing with the Chinese Agamas, we can get a pretty good idea of what the Buddha actually thought.
Interestingly this method of textual comparison has also proven useful in tracing the history of the “Hindu” Samkhya school; one of whose early works, lost in Sanskrit, is preserved in the Chinese (Mahayana) Buddhist canon.
> Sacred religious texts have the properties required for an inheritance system. They are replicated across generations with high fidelity and are transcribed into action every generation by the invocation and interpretation of selected passages. In this article we borrow concepts and methods from genetics and epigenetics to study the “expressed phenotypes” of six Christian churches that differ along a conservative–progressive axis. Their phenotypic differences, despite drawing upon the same sacred text, can be explained in part by differential expression of the sacred text. Since the invocation and interpretation of sacred texts are often well preserved, our methods allow the expressed phenotypes of religious groups to be studied at any time and place in history.
An article by one of the authors on the paper: https://evolution-institute.org/religious-epigenetics/
Religious documents are just as valuable to historians and archaeologists, etc. as they are to people who practice a religion.
It makes about as much sense to call Buddhism a religion as it is to call Ruby on Rails a website (if we're being precise).
Note: I can see how this could look like a rebuttal but it's not, I'm actually joining in with the discussion, riding along with it, not trying to be an arse. I liked the comment I'm replying to! :)
If the teachings of Jesus are a framework that religions have taken on and not a doctrine, then you should specify:
1. what the problem domain is
2. what the conclusions drawn about that domain are
3. what the principles are and how they are arrived at
4. what the methods are
5. how it can be applied to different religions, or non-religions (for example, what use does prayer to God or eternal damnation have to atheists?)
You should also deal with the problem of a supernatural being that you must believe in and follow (may be covered in (5)). I don't know many frameworks like that.
It’s not hard to do this, so I’ll leave that as an exercise for you.
Who said the framework has to be useful for atheists?
I'd be more than happy to go through all of those questions for Buddhism (or Prince2 or Rails or any framework), it would be easy. I can't see how it would be done for Christianity, nor for any formulation of Jesus' teachings, but if you know how, you should!
(I’m not asking you to answer your questions, since they don’t establish this.)
The problem domain for Ruby on Rails is how to build websites. That's why websites built using Rails are referred to as a Rails site.
The problem domain of Prince2 is how to manage a project. It's why projects which apply it are called Prince2 projects, or Prince2 organisations if they apply it more widely.
What's the problem domain for Jesus' teachings? Where has it been applied?
Edit: Because of the misnomer (people calling things Buddhism that aren't) it makes my initial phrasing seem circular. The Buddhisms are each their own religion which then applied Buddhism, which is why they're now know as Buddhism. So, Bon, the Tibetan shamanic religion is now known as Tibetan Buddhism.
It has been applied to each of the forms of Christianity as well as in many secular societies that eschew the religious components.
You could apply it to a school or business if you wished, or a family or yourself.
The various Christianitys just like the Buddhisms incorporate many of the beliefs and customs that existed before Christ and the Buddha’s teachings respectively were incorporated.
> The problem domain for Jesus teachings is ethical action and how to encourage it.
If it did have a problem domain it would be how to get into Heaven and not into Hell. Ethical action would be the way in which that is achieved. It does not, however, have a problem domain because without Christianity there is no problem to be solved. It is not a framework and is not expounded as a framework (this is an incredibly important point).
> It has been applied to each of the forms of Christianity
The different forms of Christianity are called sects because they share a doctrine. A doctrine that is supplied as dogma, I might add. Again, an important point.
Christianity has not been "applied" to the various forms of Christianity because they did not exist prior to being applied to. For example, you could not apply Google to Yahoo because Google is not a framework.
> as well as in many secular societies
Secular societies cannot, by definition, implement Christianity.
> You could apply it to a school or business if you wished, or a family or yourself.
You could not apply Weight Watchers to a school or business or a family or individual. You could apply its principles or methods. Weight Watchers is not a framework, neither is Christianity. Weight Watchers could produce a framework for losing weight but that would not make one thing the other, nor in the same category.
> The various Christianitys
Sect is the correct word.
> just like the Buddhisms
An implementation of Buddhism is not a sect. There are sects within religions that have applied Buddhism. Hence, your comparison is yet another category error and false equivalence.
> incorporate many of the beliefs and customs that existed before Christ and the Buddha’s teachings respectively were incorporated.
Rails incorporates many of the beliefs and customs of web developers and frameworks that existed before it was born, as does Twitter. That does not make Rails a company or a website or a micro-blogging service, and neither does it make Twitter a web framework nor a piece of software.
Distinguishing differences like these can be difficult, especially if you're not acquainted with the basic history of Asian religion, like Bon, or the many schools of Indian thought, Daoism etc (the History of Philosophy podcast is an excellent resource for learning about them), or are not familiar with the many frameworks used by programmers and project managers and the like. Hacker News is a great place to get these kind of insights though so you're in the right place.
Getting into heaven or hell are why the problem domain is salient, but not the problem domain.
I didn’t say Christianity is applied to previous christianities. I said it was applied to the belief systems that existed before - I.e. the various paganisms.
This is well researched historical fact. You are the one making an error here because you are getting confused about the naming.
I’m not talking about sects. I’m talking about Christianity being applied to the belief systems that existed before in the various places where it spread.
You then go on to simply state that Christianity is not a framework.
Affirming the consequent isn’t an argument. We already know that you think this.
The rest of your statements just rely on made up stuff.
There is no such thing as ‘an implementation of Buddhism’. There is no such concept in comparative studies of religion.
You are just using that terminology to make it sound like it can be compared to the programming concept of a framework.
It’s pretty absurd to suggest Buddhism works like Ruby on Rails. Rails doesn’t incorporate beliefs and customs. Nobody believes in rails.
It’s a completely different class of entity, so at best it is a vague analog.
As such Christianity is just as much a framework as Buddhism is.
Same can be said about the Torah, the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad. Each has a plethora of religions built on top of them, that we group into big families (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) despite some members of these families having tried to kill each other for centuries.
I think that what makes Buddhism a bit apart is that it is also a framework several people use to build atheistic, humanist philosophies. It is less common (but used to be two centuries ago) to do the same with Christianity. There are also Jews who reject the belief in God and many religious parts of the Talmud but still follow many tenets of judaism for a variety of philosophical reasons.
Living in Asia, seeing the more cultish aspect traditional Buddhism can have, made it harder for me to see it as a kind of special religion, rather than one that is exotic enough to westerners so that they can transform it into a modern philosophy.
To labour the point I made earlier (somewhat), I can build you a terrible database using 4th normal form, that is called upon by a web framework using any number of patterns like the Active Record or Data Mapper patterns, pushed into an MVC pattern that is full of tacked on bits that make no sense (if you know what you're doing) and spewed out into an utter mess of a web page, but that wouldn't make 4th normal form bad, or MVC etc or the framework encompasing them a bad thing.
Zen Buddhism (Daoism + vestiges of Indian Buddhism) is not Theravada Buddism (Indian Buddhism) is not Tibetan Buddhism (Bon shamanism + Indian Buddhism). It's always spliced into something. Non-Asian Buddhism does the same thing but often bringing in the extraneous parts tacked on.
Where, for example, is there any doctrine in the 4 Noble Truths? Any part that says you need a guru? Any part that says to follow a book or a god (or gods) or the need to chant…? It simply doesn't have any of those things.
And if you chose to dismiss the religious and cultish parts, you can also find a lot of value in Jesus teaching about unconditional love and about inner spiritual discipline.
I have no qualms in people using a cleaned up religion as a source for spiritual growth, and will agree that Buddhism has many features that makes it particularly friendly, like its focus on non-violence, but don't be mistaken in what you are doing in the process. It is still a typical religion that has little inherent reason to be more sensible than any other source. All its advices have to stand on their own merit.
A doctrine is a belief of set of beliefs, not a set of premises or propositions for investigation nor a set of practices. For example, a hypothesis is not a doctrine, nor is the scientific method. Prince2, PMP, Scrum, Lean, Six Sigma et al are also not doctrines.
The 8-fold path is an alternative breakdown of one of the truths (the last one, presented - as all are - as "truth" because under examination/usage they should be shown to be correct), not separate.
Nowhere within the 4 or the 8 is there any requirement for belief or adherence to any authority in the form of a being or creed.
The Torah, the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad on the other hand all recognise Genesis and "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..."
Thinking Buddhism focuses on the philosophical parts is like cherry-picking Proverbs from the bible.
Buddhism also has its own nonsensical cosmology . We just don't care too much about it in the West.
>when asked abstract metaphysical questions, such as whether the world is eternal, whether the soul is different from the body, or what happens to a liberated person (tathāgata) after death and so on, Gotama stays silent, or points out that he has set these subjects aside
he seems to stick to the observable basics. Though as mentioned, of course people may have tacked stuff on subsequently.
After reading the memoirs of Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (the author of Mindfulness in Plain English) I get the impression that Sri Lankan Buddhism was degraded into pointless rote learning and empty rituals. When Bhante G. became a monk in 1940's monks didn't even practice meditation.
When religion becomes so ingrained into culture like it has in Asia, it seems that it becomes just empty conservative power structure, not different form Catholic Church in the west.
Sri Lanka and Burma have supremacist monks who advocate hate. Western Buddhists go to Burma and Asia to train with those few meditation teachers who know their stuff and learn from them while most Asians just see Buddhism as cultural tradition.
But most Buddhism taught in the West descends from the Mahayana school, which teaches that enlightenment is possible in a single lifetime, and thus has a much heavier focus on individual practice and understanding. Again, as a crude analogy, thinks Protestants and printing the Bible in the vernacular so everybody, not just priests, can understand it.
And particularly popular in the West is the most austere branch of them all, Zen (Chan) Buddhism, which aims to strip away as much frippery as possible; again, roughly analogous to Lutheranism.
Becoming an orthodox Buddhist even feels like it would be counterproductive if one's purpose is to investigate what is mythical about Buddhism.
In any case, what is being discussed here is the historical person known as the Buddha, not the experience of being raised as an orthodox Buddhist.
As I mentioned, to understand Buddha's story, it should be done in the context of the most important teachings of Buddhism which I'm not going to go into here. Its almost like axioms in Mathematics. You don't pick the results you understand, and she'd the axioms that don't make sense to you. You can do it, but you are going to run into contradictions.
Buddhism is highly internally consistent despite the story being so old and informal in the sense of western philosophies. The danger of what she is trying to do here is that after you shed all the "myths", what you are going to end up with is mindful exercises for corporate events.
The article does not discuss any kind of mindfulness exercises at all, or any other kind of meditation practice.
"First of all drop your arrogance."
"Of course when you attach a loaded word like "myth" to anything that you can't experience from when and where you are now, none of that matters anymore."
It was time to start listening instead of speaking before this paragraph was typed.
The article is about the historical Buddha i.e. the person whom people believe existed, as a human.
It's not about 'understanding Buddhism'.
There is nothing 'Western' about objective historical investigation, and neither is the term 'myth' highly overloaded; if people believe strongly in a narrative that is not based in reality, we call that 'myth' and it's a fair term.
For the first time in his life he contrived a new perspective on `what is life` on his own & went on his own way. He was stubborn, righteous & what not.
This thread is as irrelevant as my post. Humans always have/will blow things out of proportions when they praise/critic someone they like/dislike.
I mean you basically wrote the whole article in your comment above by saying: "whether the historical Buddha existed at all"
I'm betting he probably did exist, because when you take all the personal anecdotes in the scriptures, many of which are mentioned in the article, they make coherent sense as the life story of a single human being.
The little details and the personal quirks all add up.
But as I understand it the Buddha is mentioned in a lot of completely independent contemporaneous texts whereas Jesus is basically only mentioned only in the Bible. In itself that doesn't prove anything... the Buddha was active as a spiritual leader for many decades, and Jesus only for 3 years, and maybe the wider society around Jesus was just much more interested in political events whereas Indian society as a whole at the time of Buddha was exploring more spiritual and philosophical dimensions. But I've always had the impression that there are proportionally more history scholars who question the existence of Jesus as a single real person than that of the Buddha.