What is the evidence that the Buddha actually taught the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths?

I’ve seen claims that the four noble truths and eightfold path were not originally in the Buddha’s teachings, and were added later. What is the evidence that counters this position?

Example:

“…it is widely accepted that the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path are later inventions”
-Epilogue Pyrrho’s Teacher: The Buddha and his Awakening,
Christopher I. Beckwith

Sometimes people just say ridiculous things to get views. It looks like you fell for it.

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It’s like some (keci) think the Abhidhamma is a later invention. And so they give a blow to the Sasana.
Is it worth refuting them - maybe if they have interest to understand.

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Thank you Venerable. We have plenty of cogent defenses against claims the abhidhamma is a late invention, and threads devoted to this directly or indirectly. Why not treat this the same way?

Thank you Robert. We have made a great case for the authenticity of the Abhidhamma, why not for these topics, too? I think they are helpful as a resource and to keep people on track.

We can go for this… but he is refuting the dhammacakka sutta.
When you refute something like this… then you basically say that everything is new wine in old bottles.
Then you move into ebt and it is a trap… and they have you at their fingertips.
It could actually be a trap set up by EBT’ers to justify it as important and “needed”.
It is not needed. I think that it is just a trick and a scam to suck you into this trap.

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That’s certainly true, and demonstrated in that all of their arguments are purely opinion and wild speculation. By that I mean that they do not show some radiocarbon dated archeological find that shows such and such, rather they read several documents, and merely state that, in their opinion, such and such is true. For example, many point out that some ideas aren’t found in whatever suttas, but are in others, and then stand on this as if it is ostensibly absolute proof that the ideas are inventions that were added to the Pali Canon after the death of the Buddha. But, the Buddha taught for 45 years, so it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that some things developed over the course of his teaching, and so not every presentation of the dhamma is 100% identical.

One thing I’m having trouble figuring out though: why is the first sermon story different in MN 26 than it is in SN 56.11? Have the commentaries anything to say on this matter?

What is the difference Zan?

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From Wikipedia:

in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta which was influenced by the Vinaya texts, the four truths are included, and Kondañña is enlightened[25][26] when the “vision of Dhamma”[27] arises in him: “whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”[note 7] Yet, in the Ariyapariyesanā Sutta (“The Noble Search”, Majjhima Nikaya 26) the four truths are not included,[note 8] and the Buddha gives the five ascetics personal instructions in turn, two or three of them, while the others go out begging for food. The versions of the “first sermon” which include the four truths, such as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, omit this instruction

Dear Zan,
The Pāsarāsisutta is giving a brief account of his jorney from Bodhisatta in his last life until the attainment of arahatship by the five ascetics. They didn’t attain arahatship immediately.

Pāsarāsisutta—Bhikkhu Bodhi MN 26

“Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth; being myself subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I sought what was also subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement. Then I considered thus: ‘Why, being myself subject to birth, do I seek what is also subject to birth? Why, being myself subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, do I seek what is also subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement?
[…]

“When this was said I asked them: ‘Bhikkhus, have you ever known me to speak like this before?’—‘No, venerable sir’—‘Bhikkhus, the Tathāgata is an Accomplished One, a Fully Enlightened One. Listen, bhikkhus, the Deathless has been attained. I shall instruct you, I shall teach you the Dhamma. Practising as you are instructed, by realising for yourselves here and now through direct knowledge you will soon enter upon and abide in that supreme goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the home life into homelessness. ’
“I was able to convince the bhikkhus of the group of five. Then I sometimes instructed two bhikkhus while the other three went for alms, and the six of us lived on what those three bhikkhus brought back from their almsround. Sometimes I instructed three bhikkhus while the other two went for alms, and the six of us lived on what those two bhikkhus brought back from their almsround.

“Then the bhikkhus of the group of five, thus taught and instructed by me, being themselves subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeking the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, attained the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being themselves subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, seeking the unageing, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, and undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, they attained the unageing, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, and undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna. The knowledge and vision arose in them: ‘Our deliverance is unshakeable; this is our last birth; there is no renewal of being.’

The Dhammacakkappavattanasutt is giving the first sutta he spoke, where Kondanna, one of those ascetics, became a sotapanna. The others did not yet attain.

The 4 noble truths are implicit in the Dhamma, as is Dependent origination. They are different ways of explaining that "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”.
For some just hearing that:

Then Ven. Assaji gave this Dhamma exposition to Sariputta the Wanderer:

Whatever phenomena arise from cause:
their cause
& their cessation.
Such is the teaching of the Tathagata,
the Great Contemplative.
Then to Sariputta the wanderer, as he heard this Dhamma exposition, there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

is enough to attain. Others need to hear details as elucidated in the Paticcasamuppada. For others the way this is explained by the 4 ariya sacca suits.

For the slow ones, and we are all slow at this time, the Abhidhamma especially the Patthana, helps to breadown the idea of self and shows that only elements arise, only elements cease.

Thus there is no discrepancy between the two suttas, quite the contrary.

There are many enemies of the Dhamma. Of course we should have compassion for them and help if it is possible. But it is endless, explain one point and they will find another they hope supports whatever base belief they have. Nevertheless it was worth refuting in detail the rejectors of the Abhidhamma as this is a whole Pitaka - and one who understands Abhidhamma will also have confidence in the entire Tipitaka and study it with right view.

What is most helpful is to see that the truth of dukkha is so real right now. That is digging out doubt at its root.

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Much appreciated. So, in a nutshell, the dhammacakkappavattana sutta of SN 56.11 is a specific moment in time: The Buddha’s First Sermon. This, while the Noble Search sutta of MN 26 is more like a summary of events spanning years, and then the days surrounding the first sermon. So, just like if you told me a detailed account of the first hour of a trip you took, and then later told me a summary of the whole trip, there would be no rational reason to expect the two stories to be identical, because they are two very different things, not only in content but also in format.

Further, if we zoomed in on the summary, we’d find the details of the more focused story, it’s just that they were glossed over since it was a summary, and because it spanned more time than the more focused story.

Do I have that right?

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Yes that is how I see it. :slight_smile:

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I always appreciate your voice of reason @RobertK ! Thanks.

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I like the way you explained it @Zans

like if you told me a detailed account of the first hour of a trip you took, and then later told me a summary of the whole trip, there would be no rational reason to expect the two stories to be identical,

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In the mula mahāvagga, just after the dhammacakka sutta is told there. Then you will see this quote.

atha kho bhagavā tadavasese bhikkhū nīhārabhatto dhammiyā kathāya ovadi anusāsi.
living on the food brought to him, the buddha then instructed and taught the remaining monks.

yaṁ tayo bhikkhū piṇḍāya caritvā āharanti, tena chabbaggo yāpeti.
the six of them lived on the almsfood brought by three.

atha kho āyasmato ca mahānāmassa āyasmato ca assajissa bhagavatā dhammiyā kathāya ovadiyamānānaṁ anusāsiyamānānaṁ virajaṁ vītamalaṁ dhammacakkhuṁ udapādi—
while they were being instructed and taught, venerable mahānāma and venerable assaji experienced the stainless vision of the truth:

“yaṁ kiñci samudayadhammaṁ sabbaṁ taṁ nirodhadhamman”ti.
“anything that has a beginning has an end.”

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Thank you Venerable! Which sutta number is it? I can’t find the sutta after the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta which has this text.

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I said it is in the mahavagga Pali. (Vinaya book)

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Okay, thank you Venerable. I found it.

For anyone else who may try to look for it:

I found it on suttacentral by following these headings from the home page:
“Basket of Monastic Law/Vinayapitaka”
“Monastic Law of the Theravada School/Vinayapitaka”
“Chapters on Legal Topics/Khandhaka”
“Going Forth/Mahākhandhaka” “Kd 1” " PTS 1.1-1.100"

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This quote is quite famous for proving CT and commentaries. “What was being taught and where is it in the Mula texts?” The answer is it is in the commentaries.

Ex ven aggadhammagavesaka (Angola) brought this point up in his video.

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Thank you ven. Subhuti and Zans
here is the link
https://suttacentral.net/pli-tv-kd1/en/brahmali

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