Archive for January, 2017

Agni and the Brahman

Masefield’s final chapter, The New Brahmin, reinforces the truth that the Buddha did not condemn Brahmanism per-se, but that rather it was brought to fulfillment in the new Atman—the arahant: The Buddhists' criticism of the brahmin was a spiritual rather than a social criticism and in claiming that the arahant* was the true brahmin*, on a par with the ṛṣis of olden times, they were advocating a reform, a return to the conservatism of the past, rather than an innovation. (Masefield, pg. Read more [...]

Transmission of the Dhamma

  Masefield contends that the early Transmission of the Dhamma instantly instituted arahantship without one having to laboriously “till the soil” of the path through rigorous training of mastering the senses and gradually overcoming the debilitating effects of the āsavas (mental defilements). What mattered, above all, was simply being in the presence of the Blessed One, being perfumed with his Holy Essence, and taking to heart the salvific Dhamma talk that issued from the hallowed Read more [...]

The Dustless Dhammacakkhu

One of the best descriptions of the Great Deathless Vision (Noble-Ariyan Path) is recalled in the Vimānavatthu: And the Buddha, the rishi-bull, the guide, taught me of the impermanence of uprising and dukkha; of the unconditioned*, of the cessation of dukkha, that are eternal; and of this path*, not crooked, straight, auspicious. When I heard (of) the Deathless* place, the unconditioned *, the Teaching of the Tathagata, the Unrivalled One, I was well and highly restrained in the precepts, firm Read more [...]

Ariyasāvaka and Puthujjana

Perhaps the most vivid illustration that transcends traditional categories is how Masefield distinguishes the ariyasāvaka* and puthujjana: it does not involve “religious monks” and “secular layman”, but a higher manifestation of the Noble Spirit that is present or absent in each. Firstly, he defines the ariyasāvaka as one who is empowered to discern right view* and in so doing has become emboldened to traverse the ariyan ten-fold (Masefield includes “right knowledge” and “Right Read more [...]

Divine Revelation in Pali Buddhism

Dr. Peter Masefield’s groundbreaking study, Divine Revelation in Pali Buddhism, has become a standard-bearer for those who approach the early narratives of Buddhism, not exclusively through the torch of Historical-Critical-Analysis, but through a direct and synthesized correlation of what transpires in those sacred chronicles via a series of recurring themes and general non-sectarian mystical vantage points. Masefield contends that his study is a revaluation and a re-mythologization of what Read more [...]
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