If I found a mistake in a text that you valued very highly and had learned at the feet of a Buddhist master, how would you respond if I said it needed correcting? A real life example is the Vajrasattva Mantra. In my article I showed that the commonly taught mantra is garbled and can easily be rectified, mainly by realigning word-breaks. I've also discovered a grammatical mistake in Conze's Sanskrit version of the Heart Sutra. I have a third example of a grammatical mistake in a popular text in development that I don't want to announce just yet. But I am interested in how other people respond to these kinds of dilemmas.

Would you:

a. adopt the revised version on the basis that the text was corrupt and has now been corrected?

b. follow what you were taught, even if it is apparently wrong, because tradition is important?

c. some other course of action?

If you chose to adopt a corrected version, how would you raise this with the person who had taught you the text?


I'm posting this as an answer because it's too long for a comment, unfortunately it won't answer your question.

The "Buddhism.SE" site is one site among many within 'the stack exchange network'.

  • Many things are specific to this site and not shared with other SE sites

    • The subject (i.e. Buddhism)
    • The site-specific policies (which we discuss on this meta-site)
    • The users (many users here are only users on this site and not familiar with other SE sites)
  • Some of the things on this site are shared with other SE sites

    • Software (site layout)
    • High-level policies (e.g. "prefer Q&A to comments" and "foster a community of regular users" and "make the internet a better place")
    • Governance (e.g. each site has its own community of users, and a meta-site for formulating site-specific policies)

The main site is for asking questions about Buddhism:

  • Theory
  • Doctrine
  • Practice
  • History
  • Culture
  • ...

This meta-site is for discussing the main site:

And now to your question:

  • Your question doesn't quite belong here on meta; because it's not asking a question about the main site. If you wanted to make it a question about the main site you could do that:

    Can I criticize texts which other people reference in their answers? If so what guidelines can I follow to avoid causing unwanted social friction here?

  • Your question doesn't quite belong on the main site either. If you read the second half of the current Moderation policies for Questions, one of the very few types of question which we think we're unable or unwilling to answer are questions which are polls of all the users.

    So, for example a question like to following would be off-topic:

    Why are you reading this site?

    If it's a question which every user can answer, and where every answer is equally valid and there can be no "best answer", then it's probably not a good question for this site (because the SE sites' implementation of voting, for example, is to try to identify a "best answer" to each question).

    In general any question with the word "you" or "your" in it is suspect. For example this question was closed as off-topic because it was asking "you" to answer questions about "you".

If you want to ask this question on the main site, can I ask or suggest that you try to reframe it?

For example (and I have to guess because I don't know why you were asking the above question) maybe you could reframe this question as,

I have a problem 'X' related to (the study or culture or practice of) Buddhism. Can you recommend one or more solutions?

  • 1
    There's also the "what's meta" page, which might be a useful read – Thiago Aug 18 '15 at 3:58
  • OK Sorry. I wasn't aware I was on the meta site. But now it has an "answer" and I cannot delete it. – Jayarava Aug 18 '15 at 6:59

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