[Buddha-l] Did the Buddha settle down?

Jo ugg-5 at spro.net
Mon Jul 22 17:12:01 MDT 2013

Thanks for this summary, Jamie. Gokhale must have devoted a lot of time sifting through the canon. I'd be surprised if anyone thought the Buddha spent a lot of time in the wilderness, since urban areas were utterly necessary for collecting alms and acquiring rich patrons for the sangha's convenience and to facilitate their mission.  In those days, forests doubtless surrounded many urban areas, so anyone wanting to spend time within a forest under a tree would not have suffered the conditions that have prevailed in India since the end of the Raj, extreme deforestation being among them.

On Behalf Of Jamie Hubbard
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 10:04 AM

I haven't thought about this in a while, and this doesn't specifically address the Buddha's traveling around, but most of the texts depict a fairly urban Buddha, fairly restricted in the locations of his teaching-- fully 83% of the places mentioned in the Pali texts refer to a total of just five cities, and less than one-half of 1% refer to the countryside (Gokhale, Balkrishna Govind. “Early Buddhism and the Urban Revolution.”
Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 5/2, 1982).
Romila Thapar has  long made similar claims about the urban origins of the Buddhist communities. To paraphrase the caption under a depiction of the Buddha's accepting the Jeta Grove in a popular intro Buddhist textbook, "with the acceptance of Jetavana, the community of wanders became corporate landowners." Reggie Ray might disagree.

Jamie Hubbard

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