The Shape of Ancient Thought

A place for videos, pictures, and any other sort of Buddhist or non-Buddhist media.

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Zhen Li » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:01 am

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.
Image
User avatar
Zhen Li
 
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:56 am

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)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5863
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:02 am

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.
Image
User avatar
Zhen Li
 
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:23 am

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.

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)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5863
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Zhen Li » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:28 am

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:
Image
User avatar
Zhen Li
 
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:46 am

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)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5863
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Luke » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:48 pm

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.
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby gad rgyangs » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:45 am

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.
User avatar
gad rgyangs
 
Posts: 776
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:10 am

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)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5863
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:57 am

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)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5863
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby tingdzin » Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:28 am

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.
tingdzin
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am

Re: The Shape of Ancient Thought

Postby Indrajala » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:13 am

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)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5863
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Previous

Return to Media

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

>