I apologise for not blogging for the last two days. But I finally threatened my computer with an axe and it started working again.
Last year someone bought me Bart Ehrman’s enthralling Misquoting Jesus – The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. Someone (I can’t remember who) asked me for a lend of it which I agreed to, they have never returned and I have lost a very good book. I am not a happy monk. In his book Ehrman not only gives an early history of what is probably the world’s most important book, he also tells of his own journey from Bible-belt certainty, to wavering, through doubt and finally to the abandoning of faith. Anyway, as something of a compensation, someone just sent me a link to a lecture Ehrman gave at Stanford University. Please look at it, you’ll find it absolutely fascinating. Very little he says is new but he says it in a way we laymen (and women) can understand. Some of what he says would apply to the Tipitaka, although to a much less extent. Few Buddhist doctrines are based on a single phrase or word and as the Buddhist scriptures are so large and contain so many repetitions, a mistake in one part can be corrected from another part. Ehrman’s lecture is also interesting from the Buddhist perspective because it pretty much neutralizes the old argument that the Tipitaka must be unreliable because it was not committed to writing for some centuries. Ehrman shows that, at least until the invention of printing, writing things down did not guarantee that they were accurately recorded.