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talasiga: Can you show me any Tamil Hindu writings from the BC period. Even before Siddhartha's appearance in Northern India. No !

Accordingly, your logic would have it that, therefore, Hinduism wasn't widespread. Inane !

karthik: From the BC period? Sure. If you can read ancient Tamil, read up ......................

talasiga: If your "rebuff" relies on me being able to read Tamil, then you have failed because I cannot. My Diksha Guruji was a native speaker of Tamil but he died some years ago Posted Image so he cannot help me with my petty discussions.


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Originally posted by karthik_v:

May be Buddhism was a mass religion all over India, in the hallucinated mind of 'erudite' Talasiga and in the minds of hate-filled European missionaries whose writings he has absorbed without demanding a shred of evidence!


Perhaps it is you who are hallucinating


on this thread I have not yet argued that Buddhism

was a mass predominating religion in India.


My salient argument has been:-


1. The criterion of popular vernacular writings about a faith is not a reasonable one to establish the extent of its permeation.

(especially when you are looking at ancient times where the majority of the masses were illiterate and the very small literate class/es had a Sanskritic or Pali focus)

2. Tamil Nadu is not an appropriate sample

for the examination whether Buddhism dominated Hinduism in any period of Indian History.



[This message has been edited by talasiga (edited 12-12-2001).]

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I think you have made a number of interesting points. If Buddhism were a mass religion then there should be ample evidence in the artwork and writings of the masses. An argument that the masses were illiterate doesn't cut it, because for all civilizations for the last several thousand years, most people have been illiterate. Yet we can still see that for any TRULY mass religion, it gets interpreted through the popular voice. For instance, all the writings on Christianity were not in Latin or Greek. You can find plenty of writings on Christianity in German, English, French, Italian etc.... You can find Christian artwork by common folks (from simple hand carvings) and by the elite (with grand churches). Certainly if Buddhism were a religion of the masses (the common folk), it too would have been interpreted in the popular voice. You've presented some interesting angles on this issue for me to ponder over. Thanks.




[This message has been edited by Gauracandra (edited 12-12-2001).]

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Dear Karthik,


Please note:-



Gauracandra: If Buddhism were a mass religion then there should be ample evidence in the artwork and writings of the masses.

talasiga: If you study art history of the Indian sub-continent you will notice "Buddhist" art predominates in period under discussion. The Ajanta-Ellora cave paintings, the Buddhist sites at Sanchi, NE India, Mathura (yes: MATHURA) and present day Afghanistan - Bamiyan etc.

There is nothing from the evidence of sculptures, paintings or architecture of Hinduism that approaches the level of Buddhist evidence.

Using your own reasoning this would prove that Buddhism predominated !

However, I don't agree with this reasoning and therefore I won't be inclined to say that Buddhism predominated as a mass religion

on account of this.

For example with regard to Hinduism, at that time

1. it may not have been a monument focussed faith.

2. its architecture and sculpture may still have been predominantly wooden rather than in stone which is the primary material of the Buddhist evidence



Gauracandra: An argument that the masses were illiterate doesn't cut it, because for all civilizations for the last several thousand years, most people have been illiterate.

talasiga: This isn't the argument at all. The argument is that in a society where the literate (and therefore, "teaching") class/es are focussed on Sanskrit or Pali, most of the significant writings will be in these languages.

This was exactly the situation in classical eras of most ancient societies INCLUDING the classical era immediately preceding (and reflected in) early Christanity. Christian writings in Northern and Western European vernaculars only become significant from the Middle Ages

when there was a growing shift <u>amongstthe literate </u> away from Latin and Greek with a greater appreciation of the beauty, relevance and capacity for vernaculars to serve as vessels for spiritual expression.

Ditto for India - the shift to vernaculars as a focus for the literati occurs much later than the period under discussion.



Talasiga Alone




[This message has been edited by talasiga (edited 12-12-2001).]

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Again, Talasiga, I think your 'illiteracy' argument just doesn't hold any water. No one denies that an elite group of Buddhists would write their scriptures in Pali, just as an elite group of brahmins wrote in Sanskrit. But in the case of Hinduism there were writings in more popular forms. You had claimed that there were NO Hindu writings in Tamil for instance, to which Karthik provided a listing of a number. So if in Pre-SG there were writings in a more populist vernacular, then why if Buddhism was the religion of the mass of India wouldn't this exist as well? I don't think your argument holds particularly well.



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No one denies that an elite group of Buddhists would write their scriptures in Pali, just as an elite group of brahmins wrote in Sanskrit. But in the case of Hinduism there were writings in more popular forms.


Such as, for instance?


To clarify once more, no one has said Buddhism was a religion of the masses in India. But it certainly was a religion taken seriously by the Hindus, evidently because it had an impressive following. Shankara, Ramanuja et al., have taken the time to refute Buddhism. In fact they refute more than one branch of Buddhism.


Buddhism was more widespread in the North than in the South. They had thousands of monasteries which were eventually destroyed by the Islam Invaders and since then, it died out in India.




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Originally posted by Gauracandra:

This was in reference to Talasiga saying there were no Hindu writings in Tamil, to which Karthik provided a listing.


Talasiga never said this.

What Talasiga said was there are no Hindu writings

in Tamil in the period under contention

(say, from Siddhartha Gautama to the beginning of the Christian Era).


He was making this point under the aegis of one of

his salient arguments on this thread that,

in examination of the classical or ancient Indian period,

"[t]he criterion of popular vernacular writings about a faith

is not a reasonable one to establish the extent of its permeation."


The listing that Karthik provided was not well sourced,

nor contextualised, and <u>appeared</u> to be a few names

associated with the Sangam era of Tamil writings -

an era about whose dates <u>there is much historical contention</u>.

Shvu has already touched on the issue of the dating

of various writings in relation to the Classical or Ancient period.

Also Karthik's listing did not specify even briefly the content

of the work of the authors mentioned.

The historical references Talasiga has to significant works

from this era (whose dates are a subject of contention)

are a work on Tamil grammar and an epic poem and, it is not clear,

from the information, whether the epic poem turns on religious/spiritual/theological/philosophical concepts.


But however the discussion pans out, in the detail of whether there existed any religious Hindu writings in Tamil during the period <u>under discussion</u>, Talasiga's primary argument that

"[t]he criterion of popular vernacular writings about

a faith is not a reasonable one to establish the extent of its permeation"

subsists because, in principle, some critical problems inhere in Kathik's approach. Here are some:


1. if you only find or prove that there was religious Hindu writings

in Tamil at 500 BC, does that mean that there was no Hinduism

permeating the masses in 700 BC because one cannot find

Tamil literature from that time?


2. you would have to find Hindu scriptures in the pertinent vernaculars

from every part of India for every period of Indian history

in which you purport that Hinduism permeated the masses

in those different areas of India.

Therefore, regarding Maharashtra, you would need to find

a Hindu text written in Marathi (or the equivalent vernacular

for that period of history pertaining to Maharashtra area)

around 500BC if you contended that Hinduism was there then.

Ditto Bengal

Ditto Orissa

Ditto Kerala

Ditto Vraja

Ditto Ayodhya

Ditto Sindh

Ditto Madhya

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto...


3. Different faiths and different societies and cultures offer

different markers of permeation and it is a perilous exercise

to measure phenomenon from one culture or religion

using a marker from another religion.

For instance, Talasiga has already given the example that

Buddhist architecture in stone predominated in the last half millenium BC.

Karthik's type of reasoning would conclude that Buddhism

must have predominated other faiths because of the preponderance

of the stone evidence.

However, it may be that the focus of Hinduism in this period,

if there was any focus on building temples and monuments,

may have been centred on wood as the construction material.

So it is not really appropriate to extrapolate

the material evidence which predominates in one religion

as a measure for another religion.





[This message has been edited by talasiga (edited 12-13-2001).]

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Dharma, Avinash

please visit this website. talking of the 9th avatar of lord vishnu, we are thinking of the dashavatar. but is said that there are actually 24 incarnations. they are as follows:-



























pls refer to this website: http://www.urday.com/24.htm

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readers may find this and related links


for the purposes of making their own conclusions about these "discussions".....


Readers will note that there is no reference

to any <u>explicit</u> religious work from the early Tamil "Sangam" era.

The only early reference to an explicitly religious one

is to a work as late as 200AD which is

a reference to a Buddhist one in Tamil.




[This message has been edited by talasiga (edited 12-13-2001).]

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I think you have made a number of interesting points. If Buddhism were a mass religion then there should be ample evidence in the artwork and writings of the masses.

There is plenty of evidence in the form of Buddhist art and inscriptions around India. I mean...plenty. In the words of Basham, "The religious remains of Buddhism during the period of 200 BC - 200 AD, is more than that of Brahmanism, Hinduism and Jainism put together". Later tonight, I will try to list some of the main Buddhist artwork in India.


btw, there exists no tamil literature which can be dated before the christian era, unlike Sanskrit and Pali literature. All this does not mean Buddhism was a mass religion, but it certainly had a large following; large enough to be considered one of the important religions of India during it's heyday.





[This message has been edited by shvu (edited 12-13-2001).]

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Posted by Shvu:

btw, there exists no tamil literature which can be dated before the christian era

Wrong. The first Sangam age itself existed way before Christian era. For example, Puranaanuru (verse 2) talks of Choru Udiyan Cheralaadhan as the contemporary King. This same king is being referred by Megasthenes as Cerobothra (Chera), who had during the time of Alexander's father Philip established a few treaties with the Greeks allowing them to use Musiri (Kerala) port for trading. Megasthenes visited India around 320 B.C. Likewise Kanaikkal Irumporai left many inscriptions that were recently deciphered and they make unmistakeable references to Sangam and Tholkappiyam. Hence, going by the archeological and numismatic evidences and the references contained therein, it is very clear that very major Tamil literary collection existed way before Christ.


Posted by Shvu:

In the words of Basham, "The religious remains of Buddhism during the period of 200 BC - 200 AD, is more than that of Brahmanism, Hinduism and Jainism put together"

A L Basham never resists the temptation to divide Hinduism and Brahmanism as 2 different entities. Not to blame him; he was, after all, a product of British education and was among the lone Indians who made it to the levels of a Professor in Australia. Naturally, he had to tow the European line, whther or not, it has a basis. Let us not forget that he also 'firmly beliefs' that Aryans invaded India en masse around 1800 BC!


But, in this he is right. The period between 200 BC to 200 AD, was when, Buddhism was embraced and patronised by the kings. Not before, not later. And this was the period when a lot of Buddhist art and architecture came up. An example would be Ajanta caves, but even there we can see, in the murals, depictions of Kinnaras, Gandharvas and Yakshas and also also Buddha multiplying himself a thousandfold etc.. A clear sign that even by that time (200 BC to around 400 AD, when Ajanta came up; murals belong to 200 BC to 50 AD), Buddhism had incorporated in itself the Hindu customs. And that can happen, if only, Hinduism had been the religion of masses.


Posted by Shvu:

Shankara, Ramanuja et al., have taken the time to refute Buddhism. In fact they refute more than one branch of Buddhism.

I am not denying that Buddhism had its patrons among the elite. So, naturally, Sankara et al., refuted it. My point is that it was not the religion of the masses. You may also note that even in the times right after Ajathashatru, many Jains challenged and debated Buddhism. By no means was Buddhism a religion of the masses then. It had, at best, marginal royal patronage. So, such a debate itself is not an indication that the religion had a mass base. It only confirms that it had a folowing among the elite.


Reply to Talasiga:

I think it would be a good idea if you could resist the temptation of posting a link, after just a 30 second search on Google. For example, your site just reflects the ignorance of 18th and 19th century Europeans who were full of prejudices and lacked any knowledge of Sanskrit or Tamil. It claims that Thirukkural was written around 500 AD. But, even the inscriptions of Irumporai refer to them. You want to know about some ancient Tamil Hindu devotional literature? Have you heard of Thirumanthiram? It was written by Thirumular, who studied with Patanjali and was a disciple of Naganatha. Now, your site states that Patanjali's yogasutra was written in 500 BC! So, by any logic, Thirumandiram should have belonged to the same era! And Thirumandiram refers to Tholkappiyam. That should tell you something about the chronology of Tamil literature.


The very first Thirukkural is:


"Agara mudhala ezhuthellaam adi bhagavan mudhatre ulagu".


"Everything has its origins in the primeval Lord". There is no 'Lord' either in Buddhism or Jainism and Christ and Mohammad were yet to be born when this was written.


Avvaiyar (the first), speaks of the wars between 2 shaivite kings. She speaks of caste problems and urges the society to rise above them. She has written many 'agavals' in praise of Shiva. There are many folklore and dance forms in Tamil that depict Hindu mythology. And barring the time of Kalahabaras, Tamil history and literature are full of Shaivite traditions and later on Vaishnavite also, showing that Hinduism was the religion of the masses. On the other hand, there are only 2 Buddhist literature in Tamil. And of the two, only one is truly Buddhist (Manimegalai). The other is written by prince Ilango who became a Buddhist. This other one, Silappathikaram, clearly tells you that Tamilnadu, then, was Shaivite. One example will be when the protaganist, Kannagi, while giving alms to a Jain monk, tells him that she gives alms to Siddhas and Shaivite monks daily but it is a rare privelege to her to serve a Jain monk. That should tell you which religion was dominant. Another case in point would be the mention of Sanda worship by early Romans and their coins depicting the same, during their trade with Poompuhar (Tamilnadu).


Next, Tamil was the language spoken then in Tamilnadu, Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala. But, you don't find any significant number of Buddhist literature anywhere. Neither in Tamil nor in Pali, which was the court language after the era of Kalahabaras.


Even in other parts of India, except during the period 200 BC to 200 AD not many Buddhist literature were written, either in Pali or Sanskrit. Even during the period 200 BC to 200 AD, most of the Buddhist literature was written only due to the impetus given by Kashmir council. And Mahayana incorporated many of the Hindu characteristics (as in the Ajanta example) showing that even by then, Buddhism was on the wane. If Buddhism had indeed been a religion of the masses, it should left its legacy in some tradition or the other. It cannot vanish altogether. What we see is a spurt in activity during the aforesaid period and a lull after that, indicating that it enjoyed Royal patronage during that time and was a religion of the elite. When the progeny didn't patronise Budddhism, it declined.


This is evident from the Muslim invasions of 10th century AD onwards. They destroyed temples as well as monastries. But, Hinduism still survived, only because, the masses patronised it. In case of Buddhism, except for a few ascetics, there were not many in the public who patronised it. That is why it couldn't survive.


Now compare this with Sri Lanka, where Theravada Buddhism has been around for over 2200 years. It has a rich collection of literature and folklore such as Jataka tales. Or take Indonesia or Cambodia, which were previously Hindu. Apart from archeological evidence, we find that Hindu mythology dominates their folklore. No invader can take away folklore, though he can plunder the temples. So, if Buddhism was ever a dominant religion, it should have influenced folklore. It didn't. So, this logic is pretty relevant.

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Originally posted by karthik_v:

I think it would be a good idea if you could resist the temptation of posting a link, after just a 30 second search on Google. For example, your site just reflects the ignorance of 18th and 19th century Europeans who were full of prejudices and lacked any knowledge of Sanskrit or Tamil..............................


Readers may note may note that this is Karthik's

commentary on the following link:




which I posted earlier as I thought it and related links

contained independent information that readers may have found useful

for the purposes of these "discussions".....


As a matter of record, readers should note that the link is not my site as Karthik contends when he says "your site" .


Thank You very much


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More interesting points Karthik. Many years ago I was with one sannyasi and we were going through China town. I can't remember what we were looking for, but we were perusing various shops. At one point we came to a shop with a very beautiful deity with 4 heads. I turned to my sannyasi friend, who is fluent in Chinese, and he said "that is Lord Brahma". He explained that in this line of Chinese Buddhism, this deity was known as "the four headed Buddha" and he gave the Mandarin (I'm guessing) name for Brahma. The deity had in its hands many of the same articles that Brahma carries (with a few exceptions). I also remember watching on Larry King live an interview with Robert Thurman (famous college professor, the first American ordained Tibetan Buddhist priest, and father of Uma Thurman). One caller asked him a similar question about don't Buddhist not believe in God? Robert Thurman explained that actually this wasn't exactly the case. He told a story (I don't recall the details), in which the Buddha searched and searched throughout the universe for an answer (something like this). Finally, he arrived to the creator of the universe named Brahma who was sitting on a lotus flower and asked his question. So it seems that in some Buddhist traditions Brahma is seen as God (though certainly a different kind of God than most people think of God).




PS I have also heard that in Las Vegas there is a small shrine to "the four headed Buddha" in between two casinos. Probably as a way to attract the many asian gamblers.

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The prediction of the Buddhist religion

as given in the Bhavishya Purana



[From the 29th chapter of the Pratisarga Parva.]


Long ago in the country known as Citrartha, the inhabitants of the heavenly planets used to come to play during the time of autumn. One day a heavenly apsara know as Manjughosha came to that place where the sage Shuka was residing. Seeing this beautiful boy, she tried to attract him while singing and dancing, being overwhelmed by lusty desires. She praised him with a beautiful prayer holding her hands and bowing down. Somehow, she pleased the muni. Then the glorious Shuka, hearing this auspicious prayer asked her to request a benediction. Manjughosha humbly said: ”O lord, you are the protector of those who came to your shelter, therefore I’m at your shelter, please become my husband”. The sage accepted her and after some time they produced a son named ‘Muni’ who performed austerity very strictly upto 12 years. He married the daughter of Svarnadeva, the god of gold. They gave birth to a daughter named Kinnari. She was very young and beautiful. She performed austerity to please Lord Shiva, and as a benediction lord Shiva intrusted her to a sober sage Makaranda.


Then her father, Muni, asked lord Shiva to bless her, so that they will successfully make progress in this world.


Lord Shiva said: Upto 30 years you will enjoy your country in the middle of the earth, then it will be destroyed. After hearing this Muni went to his place with Makaranda and resided there. As soon as the 29th year started the battle took place among those kings who took birth as the incarnations of the associates of Krishna. Bauddha, the lord of nyuhas (the lessened people) attacked the beautiful city of Netrapala, thinking that this city is wonderfully decorated with various kinds of jewels. The powerful king Bauddha-simha who had seven-million soldiers, fought with those kings who had only three million soldiers. The fight went on terribly between the armies for seven days and nights. The great powerful kings, who killed all the inimical armies protected by Baudha-simha, were Yoga-simha, Bhoga-simha and Vijaya.


After that more Buddhists came from the countries known as Shyama and Japaka, and all of them were magicians. Again they had a large battle which lasted for one month. Then Netrasimha arrived with seven million soldiers protected by eight generals, for the destruction of the Buddhists. Being afraid, all the Buddhists left India completely and went to China to continue the war from there. The opposite army also continued following them. When they arrived on the bank of the Huha river, it was the month of Magh, the second half part of the month of January, the fight took place again. There were one million soldiers each from the countries of Syama and Japaka, and ten million soldiers from China assembled for a fight. On the other side, Krishnamsa, Deva, Netrapala, Mandalika, Dhanyapada, Lallasimha, Talana and Jana nayaka were the generals, each of them having one million soldiers. There was a terrible battle between the Buddhists and the Aryans. In that war seven million Buddhists, and two million Aryans were killed. Being afraid the Buddhists ran away from the battle and went to their home to produce a wooden army with the help of a machinery arrangement. They made ten-thousand elephants (made out of wood) along with warriors, one million horses, one thousand buffaloes, one thousand hogs, one thousand tigers, one thousand swans, and seven thousand camels. All these creatures had wooden warriors on their back. Thus with the wooden army which was 125,000 in number, they killed two million soldiers protected by Krishnamsas. Seeing this wonder Jayanta, the expert fighter shot fire arrows toward the wooden armies, so that they were immediately destroyed, being burnt to ashes. Only three million kshatriyas (warriors) were left, and they glorified the proficient warrior Jayanta again and again. Then the Buddhists from China, made a twenty thousand strong iron horse calvary and sent them to fight. The powerful warrior Yogasimha, riding on an elephant held the bow and arrows in his hands and shot to the neck of the iron warriors. Being afflicted by the arrows of Yogasimha five thousand soldiers were killed. Seeing this, Bauddhasimha made an iron tiger and sent it to Yogasimha. By the attack of that iron tiger the brave Yogasimha was finally killed, and then Bhogasimha riding on a horse, went to fight with the tiger. He killed the tiger by throwing a missile, and roared loudly. Then a lion was sent to him by Bauddhasimha and thus he (Bhogasimha) was killed by a lion. When the son of Swarna-vati (Jayanta) saw that his maternal uncles were already dead, he rode on a powerful horse and went to Bauddhasimha. He took illusory arrows and put the opposite army into delusion along with Bauddhasimha. He captured ten-thousand kings including Bauddhasimha, and returned to Krishnamsas having destroyed the mechanical armies.


Then all of them happily went to the city and forcibly “looted” the wealth from the palace, which was very opulent, and came back the fort of the king. Jayanta came and released Bauddhasimha. After being released he offered his daughter Padmaja to Jayanta and also offered 100,000,000 golden coins for the pleasure of his in law. After that all the Buddhists made their vows there itself saying “We will never go to Arya-desa to invade the country.” Then they offered their homage and left. They went to Netrapala with their three million remaining soldiers.





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The ever verbose Talasiga isn't saying much (per usual). My friend who is fluent in Chinese is very familiar with Buddhism. He simply used that moment (it happened to be in China Town) to point out that Chinese Buddhism accepts a "a four headed Buddha". This does show a link between the symbolisms of Hinduism and Buddhism. This was further corroborated by Robert Thurman, who narrated the story of Buddha approaching Brahma. And one of the original questions opening this thread was whether Buddhism accepts God. Robert Thurman said that in some manner they do. So while I believe I have added to the discussion, you have only talked around in circles (per usual).




[This message has been edited by Gauracandra (edited 12-14-2001).]

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Gauracandra Prabhu,


I think your post on Buddha and Brahma is very relevant. Even before the Kashmir council during the reign of Kanishka, the Bodhisattva tradition did recognise Brahma. There are writings from this era that state that when Siddhartha Gautama had self-realisation, he asked Brahma whether he should become a Buddha right away, but Brahma told him to remain a Bodhisattva for a few more years. That is how the very tradition of Bodhisattva came into being. This could have been rejected as a later day "Brahminical or Vaishnavite" ploy to infuse Hinduism into Buddhism, except for the fact that the writings of the Milinda school (Greek) also reflect the same idea. So, while we can't say for certain, whether the concept of Brahma was advocated by SG, because his actual life is still not fully known, we can say for sure that the idea of Brahma existed in the ancient Bodhisattva traditions and were atleast as old as 200 BC. There are references to it in Nagasena too, making it even more antiquated. And given the fact that prior to this time, Buddhism was as much an oral tradition as Hinduism, there is a possibility that the concept of Brahma existed among the first disciples of SG or even SG gave it, but I wouldn't speculate.


So, in all certainty, we can say, that this tradition was NOT introduced in the Gauracandra restaurant in some Chinatown. If anything, that restauranteer was just depicting what came down from a traditon atleast 2200 years old!

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The fundamental principles of Hinduism and Buddhism are identical. Four noble truths of Buddhism are suffering, cause of suffering, way to do away with this suffering and the way to feel the state devoid of suffering. They are not different from Indian Vedic traditions. Both deserve and follow the principle of penance, restraint of passions, nonviolence and truth. Sterling they show. Both sitting on the grass in Padmasna, keeping feet on the thighs with hands are on the other in the lap undergo the process of restraining breath. Both meditate under the peepal tree and their ways of meditation are the same. With half opened and half closed eyes they concentrate their attention on the front part of the nose. Their eyes fixed on the nose tip helps them a lot in their spiritual elevation. Both sit straight, all taut. Both wear red brown coloured ropes and keep their right shoulder uncovered. Both react to happiness and sadness in an identical way. Righteousness gives them pleasure and the sinner gives them apathy from the sin. Both endeavor relentlessly to control their senses.


Ten traits of Hinduism are very prominent. They are-


1. Steadiness of mind 2. forgiveness 3. endurance 4. purity 5. subjugation of senses 6. discerning intellect 7. learning 8. truth 9. eveness, wrathlessness 10. apathy from stealing. Budhism too has all these traits though trait number 8 and 10 are included in its Five virtues. Both attach prominance to the purifications of mind. Both preach to win over anger by evenness, unrighteousness by righteousness, miser by donation, lie by truth. So we realise that identical principles in theory and practice are prevalent in both the religious.


Buddha was not anti- Vedas


Buddha does not accept Vedas as God's utterances. They are the achievements of sages through meditation. He has been anti Vedas he would not have arranged recitation of Vedic incantations after the death of his father. He considers 'Gayatri Mantra' the premier mantra. Had he been anti-Vedas he would not have uttered those words- Not to read Vedas is to collect scum one one's mind. Study of Vedas is very dear to him. He believes in 32 embellishments of a lofty soul as propounded in Vedas. Similarly he is not anti- Brahaman. He praises the old brahmans but wants his contemporary brahmans to shun and cast off their short comings. He wants them to purify themselves through reforms. They should be as they were.


Buddhism also believes in the existence of heaven and hell, rebirth, cow protection, entity of Narda, oblation devoid of killing, castes based on work culture and not on birth and purity of mind. There is absolutely no difference between a sanyasi of Hinduism and a Bhikshu of Buddhism.


Buddha believes that soul and God are one and the same thing. They are not two separate entities. He does accept the existence of God but thinks that God is not required in meditation. To be immortal depends on learning and knowledge. If there is a some supreme being then why does not Buddha name Him and give Him a specific identity. He is of the view that the supreme being is beyond description and all his names and identities are imginary and are superimposed. So like Hinduism. Buddhism also accepts the entity of God but his presence can be felt only. Truth can never take the shape of words. Soul is immortal. Only by knowledge developed and attained through meditation one can have sensual perception of the supreme being.


One of the glaring similarities in the two religions is that both consider the visible world shadow and mere illusion. Buddha believes in birth and rebirth. He is of the firm view that creatures through various births can climb the higher rungs of human life. He does accept Varna system not on the basis of birth but on the basis of work culture. Strangely enough he has said nothing about other castes except brahmans. He considers Kashtriya superior to Brahamans. Had it been not so incarnations would not have descended in the Kashtriya dynasty almost all the time. He accepts Ashram system but with some reservations. He is also praise for Brahmcharya Ashram. He thinks medicant is better than householder. Like Hindusim he does not consider Grahsth Ashram the root of all ashramas. A householder is not entitled to solution until and unless he endeavors not to be at par with a mendicant and only then he can yearn for Moksha. He asks the householder not to kill, not to steal, not to tell lies, not to drink wine, not to eat food at night, not to put garland, not to use perfume and so on. He also wants him to observe celibacy if he aspires to be mendicant like and give up cushy bed and sleep on the earth or wooden platform. Hinduism also advises so but unlike Buddhism it asks the householder to perform oblation and undergo penance. Buddhism does not adhere strictly to the order of the four ashramas. A householder can take a leap and directly adopt sanyas ashram. In Hinduism strict adherence to the order is desirable like Hinduism Buddhism believes that desire is the root cause of rebirth. Hinduism has 16 samskaras whereas Buddhism has only 10. Six samastaras are not counted but they are observed in one way or the other.


Glaring disparities


1. No worship of 5 gods- sun, shiva, durga, gnesha and vishnu


2. No worship of stars and planets


3. No 'Tilak' and dowry in Vivah Sanskara


4. No Surname suggestive of Caste.


5. Offerings are given only to Bhiksu and not to Brahman


6. No look of hair on the crown of the head left after tonsure


7. No God and Goddesses but only Buddha is worshipped.


8. No fasting to protect the husband


9. No oblation


Both the religions believe that rectitude can and birth and rebirth cycle and procure Moksha. Both agree that sacred river bathing cannot procure salvation. Body purification has its importance but for salvation scum and dirt accumulated on the mind is to be removed. Rivers and places of worship help in concentration of mind only. Places of worship being near to mountains and sacred rivers bring about peace of mind. They are centres of religious discourses. Statues in the temples are miniatures of the supreme being for Hinduism. In Buddhism places of pilgrimage are memorials only. They remind of Buddha and his messages. Unlike Buddhism Hinduism thinks that places of worship and pilgrimage are means to fulfill wishes. Why so? Pilgrimages are only baits to be righteous. They are allurements only. They are must to inculcate religious favour in the hearts of people in general.


Oblation means sacrifice. Real oblation is sacrifice of self interests for the sake of social well being. It purifies environment. Planting of trees and feeding the animals and insects help in maintaining ecological balance. Another name of oblation is donation. It makes man less attached to luxuries and materials. Donation should be given with compassion. It imparts great blessing. Above all it helps religious preachers, beggars, helpless, blind and handicapped persons. During oblation loftysouls are worshipped and remembered and worshippers aspire to be like their idols. According to Buddha attainment of knowledge is better than formal oblation. Worship of pure souls is for superior to oblation. Buddha is anti oblation probably because of a lot of sacrifices and killing of animals involved in it. Even upnishadas call oblation a broken boat which can not lead to salvation. If we see deeply we will realise that Buddha is not anti yojna. He is against killing, exploitation, harm to objects of nature and useless show off. Huge paraphernalia he shuns like Lord Krsihna he advocates penance but it should not be for the fulfilment of certain ulterior motives and desires. He favours it if done for salvation otherwise it leads to unhappiness only. Like Hinduism Buddhism also belives in Tantra-Mantra. Due importance is given to incontations also. Muttering of prayer is common in Buddhism.


Similarities do not end over here. Both the religious have similar rules concerning family, society and state. At the time of death, corpse is laid on the earth with its head towards worth. Before eating obeisance to food is done. Charity, fidelity to husband is a sacred thing. Repayment of three debts is a sacred duty. Both undertake planting of trees and social work for the appeasement of the forefathers. Bait system is there to urge and good people to do righteous deeds.


Hinduism is an ancient religion. With the passage of time many flaws did creep into it. Silt gets accumulated at the bottom of an everflowing river even. Self interests and ulterior motives do eclipse good things but it is a temporary phase only. Hinduism is very comprehensive and it embraces almost all departments of human life. Many unwanted things became part and parcel of Hinduism but its soul remained pure. Unwanted things were simply superimposed. All subsequent religions played reformatory roles so to say. Retaining good things they suggested ways and means to get rid of the unwanted things. They advocated changes according to changed circumstances. But spirit and essence of Hinduism remained intact. For example Buddhism advocated burning of incense. It is oblation in miniature form only. New things do creep into with the dawn of new religious but time tested eternal values remain impregnable. This is the case with Hinduism also. New religious have helped it in its purification. It will not be high talk and hyperbolic to say that the fundamental principles of Hinduism and Buddhism are identical.


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Buddhism in China and elsewhere would have succeeded if the "The Last Emperor" Puyi didn`t leave his kingdom in Peking considering not everyone is allowed to enter it. It was declared by Lord Buddha himself that the Emperor of China, if the latter wished to rule his people in accordance to His design should live and stay inside His kingdom until another successor could be found in case the Emperor finally dies, a tradition that has to be maintained if one wants to join Lord Buddha in His eternal abode in the sky known as Nirvana.

This philosophy is simple: That one should not leave his place of birth if he discovers that his Maker resides there since it is expected of him to serve His God who created him. Take for example Tsana, who was Sanatana Goswami`s servant till the end but was later dismissed by Sanatana himself after the latter decided to serve Lord Chaitanya instead of Hussein Shah, a muslim king.

Similarly, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad whose name is Abhay Charan De whose father, Gour Mohan, have descended from the Mullik family whose roots can be traced to Gautama.

Budhha`s real name was Siddharta Gautama. Thus this premise is valid if this can connect with Lord Abhay to Lord Buddha. Although for many, this sounds so far fetched.

In other words, His Divine Grace practiced Buddhism by not leaving India until he was discharged by His Guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Saravasti Maharaja after the latter ordered His Divine Grace to go the West and fulfill Lord Chaitanya`s Mission: Inundate the whole world with Krishna consciousness.

In the case of the Last Emperor of China- Puyi, his reign did not succeed for long because he left the city without Lord Buddha`s blessing. That`s why mainland China became a communist nation because Lord Buddha was not pleased with His disciples, especially the Emperor even if they have managed to establish all over the land Buddhist temples.

Swami Prabhupad however succeeded in his mission because he was able to fulfill the desire of Lord Krsna Himself through his Guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Saravasti.

Thus to those who have been initiated by Swami Prabhupad himself, have we carried out what His Divine Grace in his "Last Instruction" have wanted us, in the first place, to do?

If the answer is NO, then we are no better than the Last Emperor of China.




[This message has been edited by mateo (edited 12-27-2001).]

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Thank you for the insightful explanations of Tamil history. This is a very interesting topic and deserves more discussion.


I find it sad that some here try to change the threads into meaningless babble rather than stick to the topic and discussion that this thread was about.


Anyway, please provide more such posts on this topic. I know everyone will appreciate them greatly.


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It was interesting to read the varoius theories of why Buddhism did not survive so well in India.


Here is another:


I is said that:

The women would follow Buddha and the monks around begging for the blessings of the homeless life and Buddha would refuse. Ananda was touched by their tears and would periodically plead with Buddha in their behalf. The response was the same.


Finally so touched by their tears, Ananda went to Buddha and reminded him that it was a woman who nursed him and cared for him so tenderly and they should be admitted to the order.


Buddha allowed with the condition that the women accept eight additional weighty rules. They happily accepted.


Later in mediation Buddha told Ananada that if the woman had not accepted religion would have lasted hundreds of years. As it stands it will barely last in that land.



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