Studies on Commenting Texts in Antiquity and Middle Ages
Edited By Mieczyslaw Mejor, Katarzyna Jazdzewska and Anna Zajchowska
Marek Mejor: Buddhist Tradition in Quest of the Authenticity and the True Meaning of the ‘Word of the Buddha’ (buddha-vacana)
Buddhist Tradition in Quest of the Authenticity and the True Meaning of the ‘Word of the Buddha’ (buddha-vacana)
Research Centre of Buddhist Studies, University of Warsaw
§1. Buddhism is the most ancient of the great universal religions of the world, and it is both religion of the (spoken) Word and the (written) Scripture. For the believers, the Buddha, or the ‘Awakened One’, the Dharma, or his Doctrine, and the Saṅgha, or his monastic Order, constitute the so-called Three Jewels (tri- ratna), the triple foundation of their faith. The recitation of the triple formula of ‘taking refuge’ in the Three Jewels (‘I take refuge in the Buddha, etc.’, buddhaṃ śaraṇaṃ gacchāmi, dharmaṃ śaraṇaṃ gacchāmi, saṅghaṃ śaraṇaṃ gacchāmi) has been always regarded as a confession of faith.
§1.1. The Buddha, the founder of the religion, whose secular name was Siddhārtha Gautama (ca. 566–486 B.C.), became a buddha or ‘the awakened one’ (‘enlightened one’) after long and strenuous ascetic and spiritual efforts, when in a series of deepest meditations he attained the absolute ‘awakening’ (anuttara samyak-saṃbodhi), the highest and perfect knowledge. He discovered the ultimate truth (paramārtha-satya) and cognized the real nature of things (dharmatā).
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