Venerable Analayo’s comments on commentaries and traditions

Academics sometimes go off at tangents because without experience of practice they can get caught up in ideas that are a long way from the original meanings. On the other hand meditation teachers tend either to express their ideas and experience without going back to the sources, or else to be steeped in the Theravada tradition. For traditional Theravadins the suttas, which recount the Buddhas discourses, and the commentaries, which were written later, are one block. They see everything through the eyes of Buddhaghosha, the author of the Visuddhimagga [the most important commentary] unaware that there was an historical gap of 800 years between the Buddha and Buddhaghosha. So I wanted to separate these out. The ideas and techniques in the commentaries may well be good, but it’s important to know that some weren’t taught by the Buddha.

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