1. Places of the rainy-season retreat thought to be based on information in the early Buddhist scriptural sources
2. Places of the rainy-season retreat thought to be at variance with information in the early Buddhist scriptural sources
biographies of Sakyamuni, Buddha biographies, the rainy-season retreat, traditions about places where the rainy-season retreat was held, Foshuo shieryou jing, Jetavana vihāra
This article is supplementary to Article 17 by IWAI Shōgo, "A review of traditions concerning the places of Sakyamuni's rainy-season retreat". This "review" takes up the individual places where the rainy-season retreat was held, according to the early Buddhist scriptural sources and traditions about the sites of the retreats. Based on the premise that the traditions must all be based on information in the scriptural sources, it reviewed the inconsistencies and contradictions in great detail. Because it did not use the methodology of looking at the traditions as a whole, it remains a little difficult to understand the overall evaluation of the materials. Thus as the convenor of the research I would like to attempt a general evaluation of the traditions from a broad perspective, drawing on the results of our integrated research down to the present.
Here I will summarize the subject, introducing Section 3, Recapitulation
We have above summed up in a general way traditions about the places where Sakyamuni spent the rainy-season retreat as passed down in the Pali Atthakathas, Sengqie luochaji jing, Foshuo shieryou jing and other materials. There is no reason for my conclusion to be different from that in Article 17, and is, to put it plainly, "for us, seeking to reconstruct the biography of Sakyamuni using early Buddhist Pali and Chinese-translated scriptural sources as primary material, the traditions about places where the rainy-season retreat was held are not reliable as source material."
Among the three lines of tradition mentioned above, we can evaluate the interpretation of the Foshuo shieryou jing to be the most logical. However, this sutra only lists the Buddha's deeds in the first twelve years after his enlightenment and so it cannot be a major source for our research. But we can nevertheless say that we have demonstrated that part of our interpretation is correct.
By contrast, the traditions in the Pali Atthakathas and the Sengqie luochaji jing are based on the first few years and the last year as they are described in the section on the precepts in the Vinaya Pitaka and in the Parinibbana Suttanta. It is very easy to see that they are of the same type as the "Buddha biography" scriptures and we must judge them not to be at all reliable.
Concerning the sites of the rainy season retreats during the forty or so years between the Buddha's enlightenment and his death, there are parts which are based on reports in the early Buddhist scriptural sources. There is no evidence that these have been scrutinized carefully, and it is safe to say that most of the traditional sources are sheer fantasy and have ignored the information in the early Buddhist scriptural sources.
However, we should investigate further the meaning of the enigma why it was necessary to delay the rainy-season retreat held at the Jetavana vihāra in Sāvatthī until the 14th year.