The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:11 pm

deepbluehum wrote: ...Vedic cosmological views leading to an eon of genetic subjugation and enslavement.


This is pretty outlandish.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:54 pm

History is full of empty forms. Or should it be emptiness is full of history forms? The point would be that there are no pitfalls except the pitfall of arriving at a conclusion.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:22 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote: ...Vedic cosmological views leading to an eon of genetic subjugation and enslavement.


This is pretty outlandish.


That's exactly how it played out dude. Try justifying your position to someone subjugated to the the role of an outcaste cremation pyre worker going back hundreds of generations, someone who brahmins will not even touch do to their genetic impurity. This didn't come up since the Muslims. Make no mistake, the castes go back 5000 years. It's a great evil in this world.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:28 pm

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html

Here's the reference I've been mentioning.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:30 pm

Malcolm wrote:The Pali suttas however also, in keeping with the Upanishads, also support the idea that kṣatriyas were a better caliber of people than brahmins in general, which is why the Buddha was born in a Kṣatriya family -- since at that time they were more respected than brahmins.


Don't you know there was a Brahmin-Kshatriya rivalry? The Kshatriyas actually gave them their positions, and the Brahmins did what they could to usurp authority. The Kshatriyas made India what it is, including imposing the caste system. Of course, they felt they were superior, they owned everything.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:54 pm

Malcolm wrote:The Pali suttas prove that varna was fluid and that people change their varna -- please examine the Ambhaṭṭha sutta in the Digha Nikāya.


You need to examine this sutta, not me. It has a lesson in Vedic culture you apparently haven't digested. The Kshatriyas, particularly the Puru clan, made the system and gave the court priests their role. If this brahmin had tried to act like this to any royal personage, he would have been put in his place just like this, except for probably had his shit kicked in.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:30 am

I suppose all of this discussion is part of 'Dharmic traditions', in a broad sense.

deepbluehum wrote:Don't you know there was a Brahmin-Kshatriya rivalry? The Kshatriyas actually gave them their positions, and the Brahmins did what they could to usurp authority.


My understanding is that that any such 'rivalry' came later than the Vedas. According to the Ṛgveda, using an analogy of a body, the Brahmins came from the head, the Kṣhatriya came from the hands, the Vaiśya came from the stomach, and the Śūdra came from the feet of Puruṣa (the 'primordial man', or from Brahmā, depending on tradition). Brahmā, the 'creator' force of the universe, 'created' these divisions -- the four varṇa, or social functions. Thus, the differing 'occupational' categories were, approximately:

Brahmin: priests, scholars, sages, educators
Kṣhatriya: kings, rulers and warriors
Vaiśya: cattle ranchers, business people and merchants.
Śūdra: laborers, artisans and service providers.

And, below those, what became known as the 'untouchables', who were the funerary workers.

There is a good bit of scholarly opinion that jāti, or birth position, is a separate concept that, combined with varṇa, resulted in what became known as the 'caste system'. See any of the work by Dipankar Gupta or Ravindra S. Khare.

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:27 am

Actually, many Hindu movements decry the colonial area implementation of varna as the caste-system as contrary to scripture.

Consider, for example, ISKCON, considered maybe fringe at one time in the West, but in India seen as a traditionalist, valid Hindu movement on the conservative end of the spectrum:
http://www.hafsite.org/media/pr/caste-s ... unications

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), a worldwide movement representing the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya# within the broad Hindu family of faiths, unequivocally opposes a birth-based caste system, and strongly condemns the use of such a system to discriminate against any person or group, or to preclude their participation in any aspect of religious or secular life.

ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, was an outspoken critic of the erroneous belief that one’s birth in a particular “caste” determined one’s occupation or station in life. Prabhupada boldly offered a more forward-thinking reading of references to varna# in Vedic#, or Hindu scriptures, arguing that such passages describe a system of natural social stratification intended to help people find the opportunities best suited to them, not to prevent them from making religious or secular progress. Prabhupada stressed that a person’s qualities and activities, not a person’s birth, determined one’s varna#. He strongly condemned discrimination based on a birth-based caste system as a harmful and unauthorized misinterpretation of Vedic scriptures and tradition.

In speaking out against caste, Prabhupada followed a venerable tradition, within the Vaishnava fold, of opposing caste-based discrimination. Prabhupada’s own guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, challenged prominent Hindus of that day who claimed that the scriptures supported such caste-based discrimination. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati argued against this spurious view in public debates (for which his life was later threatened). He also demonstrated his practical opposition to such discrimination by offering the ceremonial sacred thread and the opportunity to become a Brahmin priest to anyone, regardless of caste. Prior to Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and Prabhupada, other Vaishnava teachers and saints had similarly opposed a birth-based caste system. These include, for instance, the poets Kabir and Mirbai, and such renowned scholars as Sripada Ramunuja and Sripada Madhvacharya.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Tiger » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:00 am

Nice discussion. But some of you are wrong in not taking the following into account:

1. The Indo-Aryans were not influential all over India during Buddha's time as they are now. Read Johannes Bronkhorst's "Greater Magadha". Buddha did not encounter them in the East. South India is unknown in early Buddhist scriptures.


Not long after the year 150 BCE, the grammarian Patañjali gave
the following description of the “land of the $ryas” (§ry§varta):1
Which is the land of the $ryas? It is the region to the east of where
the SarasvatÊ disappears (§daráa), west of the K§laka forest, south of
the Himalayas, and north of the P§riy§tra mountains.
Not all the terms of this description are clear,2 but whatever the
precise meaning of “K§laka forest”, this passage states clearly that
the land of the $ryas had an eastern limit. Three to four centu-
ries later, the situation has changed. The M§nava Dharma “§stra
(2.22) characterizes $ry§varta as extending from the eastern to the
western sea:3
The land between the same mountain ranges [i.e., Himalaya and Vind-
hya] extending from the eastern to the western sea is what the wise
call “$ry§varta”—the land of the $ryas.
The immediately preceding verse (Manu 2.21) shows that the
M§nava Dharma “§stra was familiar with the description of Pata-
ñjali’s Mah§bh§ßya, or with one similar to it, but that it reserves
the designation “Middle Region” (madhyadeáa) for what Patañjali
calls $ry§varta:4
______
Pg 1, Greater Magadha, Johannes Bronkhorst.


Also, Indo-Aryans were not the only Caucasians who settled in India. There were the Indo-Scythians, White Hunas etc who settled later and became castes like Jats, Gurjars, Rajputs etc.


2. Unlike what Malhotra suggests, Indians were not a group of peaceful people living in harmony with each other. All major Indian religions have seen phases of persecution and dominate. Will write about this more later.


3. Zoroastrianism, with its Zenda Avesta, is a sister religion of Vedicism. Modern Hinduism is a later development after Puranas were written and Bhakti cults emerged.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Tiger » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:53 am

I will elaborate further on the disharmony and even hostility of Indian religions, especially Buddhists and Brahmanists, which gives another picture from the unified "Dharmic religions" diatribe of Malhotra. First of all, Buddha spoke a dialect which was ancestor of Ardha-magadhi and most likely did not understand Sanskrit, especially the early Vedic Sanskrit. Then there were Buddhists, apart from Buddha, who outrightly rejected the Vedas. Nagasena was born as a Brahmin and was well versed in the three Vedas. After converting into Buddhism, he wrote that "there is no absolutely no truth in the Vedas" (in Milindapana, which was addressed to Greek King Menander).

वेद प्रामाण्यं कस्य चित् कर्तृवादः स्नाने धर्मेच्छा जातिवादाव लेपः|
संतापारंभः पापहानाय चेति ध्वस्तप्रज्ञानां पञ्च लिङगानि जाड्ये||
Believing that the Veda are standard (holy or divine), believing in a Creator for the world,
Bathing in holy waters for gaining punya, having pride (vanity) about one's caste,
Performing penance to absolve sins,
Are the five symptoms of having lost one's sanity.
- Dharmakirti, a 7th century Buddhist philosopher


Mihirakula is said to have razed 1600 viharas, stupas and monasteries,
and “put to death 900 Kotis, or lay adherents of Buddhism” [Joshi, 404].

The
celebrated Tibetan historian Lama Taranatha mentions the march of
Pushyamitra from Madhyadesha to Jalandhara. In the course of his
campaigns, the book states, Pushyamitra burned down numerous Buddhist
monasteries and killed a number of learned monks The archaeological
evidence for the ravages wrought by Pushyamitra and other Hindu fanatic
rulers on famous Buddhist shrines is abundant.

The
Brhannaradiya-purana lays it down as a principal sin for a Brahmana to
enter the house of a Buddhist even in times of great peril.

The drama Mrchchhakatika shows that in Ujjain the Buddhist monks were despised and their sight was considered inauspicious.

The Vishnupurana (XVIII 13-18) also regards the Buddha as Mayamoha who
appeared in the world to delude the demons. Kumarila is said to have
instigated King Sudhanvan of Ujjain to exterminate the Buddhists.

Yuan Chwang’s account reads, “In recent times Shashanka, the enemy and
oppressor of Buddhism, cut down the Bodhi tree, destroyed its roots down
to the water and burned what remained.” [Watters II p.115] He also says
that Shashanka tried “to have the image (of Lord Buddha at Bodhgaya)
removed and replaced by one of Shiva”.

Madhava Acharya, in his “Sankara-digvijayam” of the fourteenth century A.D., records that Suddhanvan “issued orders to put to death all the Buddhists from Ramesvaram to the Himalaya".

According
to The Rajatarangani (IV/112), Chandradip, a Buddhist ruler of Kashmir,
was killed by Brahmins in 722 AD. His successor Tarapida was killed two
years later. The newly anointed Brahma-Kshastra (Rajput) rulers usurped
power in the kingdoms of Sind and Kota. Graha Varman Maukhari, married
to Harsha’s sister, was treacherously killed by Sasanka, king of Gauda
(Bengal). He proudly destroyed many stupas and cut down the sacred Bodhi
tree at Gaya.

According to Gopinath Rao (East & West Vol 35)
the old tribal shrine at Jaganath Puri was usurped by Vaisnavas and the
walls of the temple even today displays gory murals recording the
beheading and massacre of Buddhists.


Epigraphica India Vol XXIX P 141-144 records that Vira Goggi Deva, a South Indian king, described himself as… “a
fire to the Jain scriptures, a hunter of wild beasts in the form of the
followers of Jina (Jains) and an adept at the demolition of Buddhist
canon”. It also records “the deliberate destruction of non
Brahminical literature like books of Lokayat/ Carvaca philosophy by
Brihaspati mentioned by Albaruni in the 11th century.” The huge Buddhist
complex at Nagarjunakonda was destroyed. According to Shankara Dig
Vijaya, the newly anointed Brahma-Kshastra kings ordered every Kshatriya
to kill every Buddhist young and old and to also kill those who did not
kill the Buddhists. A Jain temple at Huli in Karnataka had a statue of
five Jinas (Jain heroes) that was re carved into a Shaivite temple with
five lingas.


"During the reign of Nara "thousands of monastries were burnt, and
thousands of villages that supported those monastries were given over to
the Brahmans." Brahmans having succeeded in establishing their supremacy
set themselves in right earnest in strengthening themselves and their
position. Many superstitious observances and practices were invented.
Thought and culture were denied to everybody excepting themselves and
the modern Hinduism in Kashmir began its growth. But this degraded the
Brahmans themselves. During Mihirkula's reign many shameless practices
are ascribed to them..." (Kilam, 'A History of Kashmiri Pandits, Chapter
1- 'A Survey of Ancient Hindu Rule', Page 5)

"Though there was no great persecution of Buddhists by the ruling families of Andhradesa, at least two pallava rulers,
Simhavarma and Trilochana were zealous in destroying the monasteries at
Sriparvata and Dhanyakataka. Radical Saivaite sects like Kalamukhis
initially and later, Veerashaivas conducted an aggressive campaign
condemning Buddhists as atheists. Occupying Buddhists places, Shiva and Vishnu temples were built over Buddhists shrines.
The aggressive and often violent campaign is exemplified by the conduct
of the Veera Saiva proponent, Mallikarjuna Panditaradhya, who after
losing a debate to Buddhist monk in the court of chandole conspired and
got them, killed and destroyed their places of worship. Panditaradhya's
aggressive campaign almost wiped out Buddhism, in the Andhra country.
Earlier shankara who was known as Pracchana Buddha borrowed Madhyamaka
metaphysics and logic and modeled his mathas on Buddhist monasteries.
Kumarila and Shankara carried on virulent crusade against Buddhism."
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Tiger » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:00 pm

"The puranas, the Mrchhakatikas, the Yajnavalkya-smriti, the
Rajtarangini, the works of Kumarila and Sankara, the accounts of Chinese
travelers, and the histories of Bu-Ston and Taranatha, do seem to point
to deeper hatred for Buddhism.""The mounting tide of
anti-Buddhist propaganda in Brahmanical literature seems to have reached
its apex in the hands of Sankaracharya........Sankara's biography tells
us that the great guru led a religious expedition against Bauddhas and
caused their destruction from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean".
.
"Sankara is known to have founded his Srngeri-Matha on the site of a Buddhist
Monastery. His anti-Buddhist activities may have been very terrible, and
according to the Tibetan tradition, at his approach " the Buddhist
monasteries began to tremble and the monks began to pell-mell.""
.
"Attention may be invited to a passage in the Bhasya of the Brahmasutra, in which
Sankara says: Buddha was an enemy of the people and taugh contradictory
and confusing things".
.
"Thus Sankara and Kumarila are the two
most important representatives of the Brahmanical hostility towards
Buddhism in India during this period"."

From "Looking for a Hindu Identity" by Jha

While there are many more examples of mutual hostility between
Saivas and VaiKIavas, sources testify also to the conflict between
BrahmaIism and heterodox sects. Early evidence of BrahmaIical
hostility towards Jainism, for example, comes from its canonical
text, the Ayarangasuttam, according to which monks hid themselves
in the day and travelled by night lest they be suspected of being
spies.156 Similarly, the Arthasastra of Kau_ilya contemptuously describes
the followers of non-Vedic sects as V<2ala or pa2a>?a (e.g.,
Sakyas, Ajivikas), assigns them residence at the end of or near the
cremation ground
(pa2a>?acandalanam smasanante vasa=) and
prescribes a heavy fine for inviting them to dinners in honour of the
gods and the manes,157 though the occurrence of the word pa2a>?a
in the edict of Asoka “is not necessarily pejorative” because he appointed
dharmamahamatras to look after the affairs not only of the
Buddhist Sangha, the brahmaIs and the Ajivikas but also those of
“some other religious sects” (pa2a>?e2u).158


"The toleration of dissenting faiths which was the hallmark of
Asoka’s policy is not seen, however, in later times; for the celebrated
grammarian Patañjali (second century B.C.) observed that “the
sramaIas and BrahmaIas are ‘eternal enemies’ (virodha= sasvatika
=) like the snake and mongoose.”159"

The attitude of the orthodox philosophers found an echo in the
PuraIic texts as well. The Saurapura>a, for example, says that the
Carvakas, Buddhists and Jains should not be allowed to settle in a
kingdom
.166 Similarly, the early medieval literary texts provide
highly pejorative portrayals of the Buddhists and the Jains. The
Mattavilasa Prahsana, a farce written by the Pallava ruler Mahendravarman
(seventh century), depicts Buddhists as morally
depraved, dishonest and the scum of the earth
; a corrupt Buddhist
monk is made to ask “…why did [the Buddha] not think of
sanctioning the possession of women and the drinking of sura

(kinnukhalu striparigraha= surapanavidhanam ca na d<23am)?”167
The Prabodhacandrodaya, a drama written by KcKIa Misra (eleventh
century), describes both Buddhism and Jainism as tamasika (arising
out of darkness), depicts a Buddhist monk as indulging in worldly
pleasures168 and a Jain monk as naked, devoid of manliness
(nivirya), the hair of his head plucked out and carrying a peacock
feather in his hand.169

*****

The idea of "Hinduism" as "a" religion and India as a nation is very knew, and most of the Hindu scholars write such ultra nationalistic articles out of their own hidden pursuit of filling the gap created due to lack of any established historicity of their faith as opposed to the major world religions, especially the Abrahmic religions.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:42 pm

Tiger wrote:I will elaborate further on the disharmony and even hostility of Indian religions, especially Buddhists and Brahmanists, which gives another picture from the unified "Dharmic religions" diatribe of Malhotra.


He does not claim that there never periods of friction between religious groups in India. He does not even claim they were unified. He merely claims that Dharmic religions have a common cultural source and common expectations.

In any event, the majority of instances you cite come from the very unstable post-Gupta period when North India was thrown into dissarray after the invasion of the white Huns.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:41 pm

viniketa wrote:My understanding is that that any such 'rivalry' came later than the Vedas.


The Vedas came from the Kshatriyas. The rulers basically had these things produced. There are geneological records of Kshatriya families in Hardwar that go back thousands of years. Especially the Kshatriya clans were by varna and jati from the beginning. That is how the ruling class always operated. It is true the Brahmins were put there, and they were often the product an illicit coupling. If you really understand the Buddha's talk in the sutta Malcolm cited, you understand the Buddha is poking fun at the Brahmins and basically calling them bastards. That's the sort of thing Kshatriyas say about Brahmins to this day. By the time Buddhism was on the decline, the Brahmins had the lion share of public sympathy as all the deities became very popularized, especially with the Mahabharata and Ramayana plays. It was the Buddhists who tried to make the Brahmin deal be based on merit. That didn't last. The Vedas, Rishis, Mantras, all of it, is a complete fabrication to govern. It was the state religion for thousands of years. Still is is many ways.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:10 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
viniketa wrote:My understanding is that that any such 'rivalry' came later than the Vedas.


The Vedas came from the Kshatriyas. The rulers basically had these things produced. There are geneological records of Kshatriya families in Hardwar that go back thousands of years. Especially the Kshatriya clans were by varna and jati from the beginning.


Seems your trenchant antipathy should be directed at the Ksatriyas then.

However, we can, from a the point of view of the sutras, understand that when brahmins were respected, buddhas are born to brahmin families; when kṣatriyas are respected, they are born to kṣatriya families. This is a universal point of view in all Buddhist presentations.

As far as the Vedas coming from kṣatriyas -- we actually do not know the real origin of the Vedas. We have some guesses, some literay theories. The Hindutva people want to make the Vedas super ancient. Western scholars like Witzel suppose they are merely 3500 years old or so. Regardless of their origin, I personally think they are very interesting texts, especially the Atharva Veda, which is arguably quite late, but very important for Ayurveda and the Tantric movement in general.

We know that the early Upanishads were not brahmanical compositions, since texts like the Brihadaranyaka and the Candogya clearly state they contain the meaning of the Vedas that was not understood by brahmins, but only by kṣatriyas. The Buddha was clearly aware of, and rejected, Upanishadic ideas like the atman idealized as a luminous essence in the center of the heart -- ideas that were later recapitulated in Buddhist tantrism in a modified form -- thus, for example necessitating refutations of this idea in the Rig pa rang shar tantra, to give one example, in order to differentiate Dzogchen from Vedanta. Concepts like nadis, the five vāyus, etc., find their earliest literary expression in Candogya Upanishad, etc. Other concepts, like the five experiences of union with brahman which come from these early Upanishads are found regularly in Buddhist tantric texts i.e. smoke, fireflies, butter lamps, etc., as signs that the vāyu is entering into the avadhuti nadi. In short, while the metaphysics of Buddhist tantra may ultimately be grounded in emptiness, many, many concepts found in the Buddhist tantras, from a text critical point of view, find their earliest expression in the ten Mukhya Upanishads, also accepted as śruti by Hindus, but not by Buddhists, of course.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Tiger » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:31 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
viniketa wrote:My understanding is that that any such 'rivalry' came later than the Vedas.


The Vedas came from the Kshatriyas. The rulers basically had these things produced. There are geneological records of Kshatriya families in Hardwar that go back thousands of years. Especially the Kshatriya clans were by varna and jati from the beginning. That is how the ruling class always operated. It is true the Brahmins were put there, and they were often the product an illicit coupling. If you really understand the Buddha's talk in the sutta Malcolm cited, you understand the Buddha is poking fun at the Brahmins and basically calling them bastards. That's the sort of thing Kshatriyas say about Brahmins to this day. By the time Buddhism was on the decline, the Brahmins had the lion share of public sympathy as all the deities became very popularized, especially with the Mahabharata and Ramayana plays. It was the Buddhists who tried to make the Brahmin deal be based on merit. That didn't last. The Vedas, Rishis, Mantras, all of it, is a complete fabrication to govern. It was the state religion for thousands of years. Still is is many ways.


What do you mean by "Kshatriya"? Do you know that during the Buddha's time most of the dynasties of North (rulers) were considered Sudras (the lowest caste)? Of course, it goes without saying that the rulers were just rulers and were probably not aware of the Brahmanic Indo-Aryan caste system (refer to my previous posts regarding the influence of Indo-Aryans in India during the Buddha's time); it was merely the Brahmins who accounted them as "Sudras" in their records because they were native to India and not Indo-Aryans. I am talking about the Nandas, Mauryas etc. When Hinduism was emerging aggressively while subjugating Buddhism and slowly making it extinct, most of the rulers in India were in fact Brahmins. The Senas, Peshwas, Pallavas etc were all Brahmanic dynasties encompassing all India at that age.

Do you know that the most greatest Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka, was considered a Shudra by Brahmins? That is why I ask what exactly you mean by "Kshatriyas". Being Indian, I myself have yet to hear of any Kshatriya rulers in Indian history. Rajputs were Brahma-Kshastra kings who were not necessarily Indo-Aryans, but were mostly Indo-Scythians or ruling classes of the native Dravidian or Austro-Asiatic tribes like Gonds, who were raised and 'converted' to "Kshatriya" status because of the promise the represented in completely exterminating Buddhism from India - which was the greatest thorn for Brahmanism during that time.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:Seems your trenchant antipathy should be directed at the Ksatriyas then.

However, we can, from a the point of view of the sutras, understand that when brahmins were respected, buddhas are born to brahmin families; when kṣatriyas are respected, they are born to kṣatriya families. This is a universal point of view in all Buddhist presentations.

As far as the Vedas coming from kṣatriyas -- we actually do not know the real origin of the Vedas. We have some guesses, some literay theories. The Hindutva people want to make the Vedas super ancient. Western scholars like Witzel suppose they are merely 3500 years old or so. Regardless of their origin, I personally think they are very interesting texts, especially the Atharva Veda, which is arguably quite late, but very important for Ayurveda and the Tantric movement in general.

We know that the early Upanishads were not brahmanical compositions, since texts like the Brihadaranyaka and the Candogya clearly state they contain the meaning of the Vedas that was not understood by brahmins, but only by kṣatriyas. The Buddha was clearly aware of, and rejected, Upanishadic ideas like the atman idealized as a luminous essence in the center of the heart -- ideas that were later recapitulated in Buddhist tantrism in a modified form -- thus, for example necessitating refutations of this idea in the Rig pa rang shar tantra, to give one example, in order to differentiate Dzogchen from Vedanta. Concepts like nadis, the five vāyus, etc., find their earliest literary expression in Candogya Upanishad, etc. Other concepts, like the five experiences of union with brahman which come from these early Upanishads are found regularly in Buddhist tantric texts i.e. smoke, fireflies, butter lamps, etc., as signs that the vāyu is entering into the avadhuti nadi. In short, while the metaphysics of Buddhist tantra may ultimately be grounded in emptiness, many, many concepts found in the Buddhist tantras, from a text critical point of view, find their earliest expression in the ten Mukhya Upanishads, also accepted as śruti by Hindus, but not by Buddhists, of course.


My antipathy is to vedism. It's an especially pernicious mind virus lasting this long. I'm aware of the Vedic influence in Tantra and Dzogchen, and it occurs to me that tantra and dzogchen aren't buddhist so much, except in the lip service paid in shastras and explanatory tantras. As a matter of practice, no difference. A long conversation I had with Garchen Rinpoche really hit that home for me. It is not inconsequential. What Buddha was driving at with nirvana is different. Whereas in the Vedic mix you have vibrations, in Nirvana none. This is one among many, but the most important point of difference is the method of Buddha doesn't involve concentrating, whereas Vedics all do somehow focus on some fluctuation. I would argue focusing on stuff is the hallmark of the Vedic, Zoarostrian, etc., that's older mix. Whereas, having the mind open to all inputs reveals the timeless nirvana consciousness. What it boils down to is samsara vs. nirvana.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:24 pm

deepbluehum wrote:What it boils down to is samsara vs. nirvana.



What is boils down to is going beyond both, since both are extremes.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:27 pm

Tiger wrote:What do you mean by "Kshatriya"? Do you know that during the Buddha's time most of the dynasties of North (rulers) were considered Sudras (the lowest caste)? Of course, it goes without saying that the rulers were just rulers and were probably not aware of the Brahmanic Indo-Aryan caste system (refer to my previous posts regarding the influence of Indo-Aryans in India during the Buddha's time); it was merely the Brahmins who accounted them as "Sudras" in their records because they were native to India and not Indo-Aryans. I am talking about the Nandas, Mauryas etc. When Hinduism was emerging aggressively while subjugating Buddhism and slowly making it extinct, most of the rulers in India were in fact Brahmins. The Senas, Peshwas, Pallavas etc were all Brahmanic dynasties encompassing all India at that age.

Do you know that the most greatest Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka, was considered a Shudra by Brahmins? That is why I ask what exactly you mean by "Kshatriyas". Being Indian, I myself have yet to hear of any Kshatriya rulers in Indian history. Rajputs were Brahma-Kshastra kings who were not necessarily Indo-Aryans, but were mostly Indo-Scythians or ruling classes of the native Dravidian or Austro-Asiatic tribes like Gonds, who were raised and 'converted' to "Kshatriya" status because of the promise the represented in completely exterminating Buddhism from India - which was the greatest thorn for Brahmanism during that time.


Well the Kshatryia is the landowning ruling class. The Vedic system took time to absorb all the different principalities and legions of the region. Before any landowning class got absorbed into the Kshatriya there were always regarded as low-born, as in the case of the Jat. Once they helped with a war, then they were in. It's just political. All the names mentioned in the Rig Veda were real family dynasties all Kshatriya and the Puru clan is still around in the form of the Puri Surname, these groups of families mentioned in the Rig Veda actually did rule India up to the time of Alexander's invasion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puru_%28Vedic_tribe%29

What you are dealing with in terms of the differing caste rulers is all about the rivalry in the castes that I talked about. Just because Ashoka was considered a Shudra doesn't mean he was one. Saying someone was a low caste was a typical way of defaming someone. That happens today all the time. Especially when two families of high caste get married, they are always checking and arguing if the subcaste is really what they claim it is. And if it doesn't work out, they launch these kinds of aspersions, oh their Bania, their Shudra, etc. In Punjab, this is what the Jat deal with all the time. To some they are great warriors and the best of the Katri, to others they are low class, even below Shudra. Whereas in the case of Rajputs they were Katri and promoted themselves. That's just the politics that's gone on from the beginning. This Vedic thing has no meaning at all. Chuck it.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:28 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:What it boils down to is samsara vs. nirvana.



What is boils down to is going to both, since both are extremes.


That's that double talk. Nirvana is not an extreme. It is the middle between extremes. Samsara fluctuates between extremes.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:47 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:What it boils down to is samsara vs. nirvana.



What is boils down to is going to both, since both are extremes.


That's that double talk. Nirvana is not an extreme. It is the middle between extremes. Samsara fluctuates between extremes.



Dear fellow, from a Mahāyāna POV, nirvana is an extreme.
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