Dharma Wheel

A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism
It is currently Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:28 pm

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Forum rules


Please click here to view the forum rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:01 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Posts: 1119
Location: Canada
His substantial findings appear to be quite correct.

His theory as to why they're not popular is not. He presupposes that Europeans had an amount of knowledge about ancient India which they did not actually accumulate until the 1980s. Prior to then, there were plenty of speculations as to the links and commonalities between east and west - they just didn't have the hard data to prove it, and we still need more.

But then he tries to explain that this is actually because of conspiratorial cover ups. Yes, there was a more simplistic view of Indian philosophy and culture, but this is due to a dearth of knowledge - which usually led to more positive generalised views, rather than more negative ones - not due to the analysis of all the facts that McEvilley is privy to in his comfy modern study with internet access and three centuries of Indology on his bookshelf. Some people believe that every mistake in the world needs a scapegoat, and it's more polite to blame ourselves or our own culture.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:56 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
I think the lack of consensus on the links between India and the Hellenic/Roman world is a result of there not being sufficiently qualified people to really agree to it.

Unlike in previous generations, we don't have many Indologists who are also capable readers of Greek and Latin, and also know the philosophy of both areas very well.

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:02 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Posts: 1119
Location: Canada
I'd agree with that assessment. One of the problems is just a collapse in the value given to the humanities in our society.

I noticed most of the things McEvilly wrote about independently, I hadn't heard of the book until recently. I read both Latin and Sanskrit, and although I do not read Ancient Greek, in translation I was quite familiar with the pre-Socratics and Neoplatonists. It seemed to be impossible to me that the Hellenistic world could have impacted South Asian art so immensely, if it did not also impact it's ideas. I have a few theories as to how neoplatonism influenced the development of early Buddhism. However, what I found more interesting and innovative about McEvilly's work is that he looked at how South Asia influenced the Hellenistic world prior to Alexander, though they still feel like broad strokes to me.

With all that said, I found it disappointing that McEvilly has to insert into this all sorts of "postmodern" political garbage about how it's all the west's fault and how there's a big conspiracy against these ideas.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:23 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
Ben Yuan wrote:
I'd agree with that assessment. One of the problems is just a collapse in the value given to the humanities in our society.


A few months ago I had tea with Dr. Lokesh Chandra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lokesh_Chandra) and he lamented the same thing has happened in India, too. He said hardly any attention is paid to scholars anymore. "It is all about billionaires and industrialists these days." The education system reflects the money culture as well. You're probably going to be seen as a loser if you study ancient history and languages.

So, even in India there are probably next to no scholars capable of really comparing Hellenic and Indian philosophies. To some extent he has investigated these links, especially in the art history of Central Asia. However, while his generation had plenty of eminent scholars, the academic culture in India nowadays doesn't produce many figures like him.

Quote:
It seemed to be impossible to me that the Hellenistic world could have impacted South Asian art so immensely, if it did not also impact it's ideas.


One other example of strong Hellenic influences in India is all the Hellenic astrology/astronomy, much of which is found in Buddhism as well. I wrote about this:

https://sites.google.com/site/dharmadep ... n-buddhism

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:28 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Posts: 1119
Location: Canada
Indrajala, your entry is quite informative. While aware of links between Indian and western astrology, but as for Chinese, I am afraid I am quite ignorant. Nice analysis. :thumbsup:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:46 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
I wrote a relevant blog article discussing how the collapse of Rome affected Buddhism in India as a result of declining international trade networks which the sangha was inherently dependent upon.

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2013/07/ ... dhism.html

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:48 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm
Posts: 1727
Indrajala wrote:
I wrote a relevant blog article discussing how the collapse of Rome affected Buddhism in India as a result of declining international trade networks which the sangha was inherently dependent upon.

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2013/07/ ... dhism.html

Awesome article, Ven. Indrajala! It is like some pages from a real history textbook! You might want to consider publishing a book on this subject.

I have always found historical interconnections between eastern and western cultures fascinating. Unfortunately, they are barely mentioned in most standard history courses and standard history books.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:45 am 
Online
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:53 pm
Posts: 860
and don't forget the theories of prof. Christian "sieg heil" Lindtner:

http://www.jesusisbuddha.com/

_________________
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:10 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
Luke wrote:
Awesome article, Ven. Indrajala! It is like some pages from a real history textbook! You might want to consider publishing a book on this subject.

I have always found historical interconnections between eastern and western cultures fascinating. Unfortunately, they are barely mentioned in most standard history courses and standard history books.


In my undergrad I studied a bit of Greek and Latin plus classical history before switching to Asian Studies.

In the future I might get back to western classics. The more I study Buddhist history, the more I see the pan-Eurasian connections. The trade links are the most obvious and probably the most influential. The decline of trade with Rome and China inevitably had a profound impact on India whose merchants and Buddhists depended so heavily on it. Persia is also a civilization I'm admittedly not so familiar with but should be.

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:57 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
Speaking of Roman-Buddhist relations, the Museum of Asian Civilizations in Singapore has this interesting cup:

Image

    Silver cup with centaurs abducting Lapith women
    Roman Empire (eastern Mediterranean), around AD1;
    made for Gandhara
    Silver
    Inscribed in Gandhari: "Of the brother of the heir apparent, Maues, the todira, drakhma 34 1/2, takhma 1"

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:28 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am
Posts: 137
Dear Indrajala
If you are interested in pan-Eurasian connections, you might be interested in Christopher Beckwith's "Empires of the Silk Road".

I think the thread's comments on the decline of Humanities scholarship are quite true. Another of the causes maybe academic overspecialization.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:13 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
tingdzin wrote:
Dear Indrajala
If you are interested in pan-Eurasian connections, you might be interested in Christopher Beckwith's "Empires of the Silk Road".

I think the thread's comments on the decline of Humanities scholarship are quite true. Another of the causes maybe academic overspecialization.


I think I have that work. I'll look into it. :smile:

Humanities scholarship is in decline for a number of reasons. The first is that there is no more prestige in it in many countries. Decreased funding in favour of more practical and commercialized fields is also an issue.

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group