Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

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Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:32 pm

Giovanni Verardi in his work Hardships and Downfall of Buddhism in India has the following:

    Violence was no longer a taboo for the Buddhists: it was part of their strategy, together with sexual unruliness and a conscious resorting to social revolt. It is a mistake to consider the incitements to revolt contained in the texts and the manifestations of violence in both texts and iconographies as purely symbolic. They are literal and metaphorical, not symbolic. As metaphors, through the analogical process, texts and iconographies transfer the violence committed by the Buddhists on the tīrthika-s to those carried out on the Brahmanical gods by the new Buddhist deities. That a symbolic interpretation started developing at an early stage is not particularly significant, because it was largely the work of trans-Himalayan Buddhists who had to adapt the received tradition to a context where there were no tīrthika-s. The Vajrayāna was considered part of the true teaching of the Buddha, and neither texts nor images could be changed: they could only be interpreted. These interpretations have their own legitimacy, and so deep and influential as to have generated an entire symbolic universe, extending from Tibet to Japan, but we must first distinguish between Indian Buddhism and the violent world where it developed and the forms it took when it was received outside India.


Giovanni Veraridi, Hardships and Downfall of Buddhism in India (New Delhi, India: Manohar, 2011), 349-350.

Verardi's ideas are somewhat contentious as a lot of Indian scholars are reluctant to acknowledge the violence that occurred between Brahmans and Buddhists. I had tea with a certain eminent scholar not so long ago and he rejected Verardi's ideas outright.

Nevertheless, I think Verardi makes a compelling case.

There's also the point that Nālandā and other such monasteries became fortresses in the post-Gupta period (c.550 onward). Granted, fortresses are used for self-defence, but then at the same time it reveals it was a hostile world that existed, otherwise there would have been no need for such defences.

So did the violent iconography and literature of Vajrayāna have literal reality behind it? It would seem so, but then people might be reluctant to concede this. For ideological reasons Buddhists would not want to admit their predecessors ideologically sanctioned violence. However, this point is still up in the air.
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:25 pm

Rechungpa, Padmasambhava, Virupa, and several of the Mahasiddha are described as killing tirthikas. It's unnecessary to sift though metaphors to find such examples.
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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:47 am

Konchog1 wrote:Rechungpa, Padmasambhava, Virupa, and several of the Mahasiddha are described as killing tirthikas. It's unnecessary to sift though metaphors to find such examples.


sources?
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:54 am

The point though is that there is a reluctance to concede that some (or many?) Buddhists in the late period became violent and justified it through religious practices and ideas.
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:25 am

Malcolm wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Rechungpa, Padmasambhava, Virupa, and several of the Mahasiddha are described as killing tirthikas. It's unnecessary to sift though metaphors to find such examples.


sources?
The Biographies of Rechungpa pg. 168 for Rechungpa.

I recall hearing that Padmasambhava killed a few Bon ministers, but that aside I doubt that everyone he preached to in Tibet agreed to follow Buddhism. If he fought gods of the Bonpo, it stands to reason that he fought the gods' priests too. Also, pg. 23 of Cristiana De Falco's Biography of the Great Master Padmasambhava.

I can't find the Virupa source. (Although he tortures some tirthikas here: http://virupa.wz.cz/)
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Astus » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:51 pm

I recall stories of Indian masters where they debated with tirthikas and it got violent. Alas, I can't find sources now to give names. But it'd show that it's not necessarily connected to Vajrayana.
(not what I wanted, but for instance in Taranatha's History of Buddhism in India (p 30) Sankaracarya kills himself after losing in debate to Dharmakirti)

From the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (Adamantine Body chapter):

"One who upholds Wonderful Dharma does not receive the five precepts and practise deportment, but protects with the sword, bow, arrow, and halberd those bhiksus who uphold the precepts and who are pure."

"The eternal body of the Tathagata is one carved in stone, as it were." The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "O good man! For that reason, bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas, upasikas should all the more make effort and protect Wonderful Dharma. The reward for protecting Wonderful Dharma is extremely great and innumerable. O good man! Because of this, those upasakas who protect Dharma should take the sword and staff and protect such a bhiksu who guards Dharma. Even though a person upholds the precepts, we cannot call that person one who upholds Mahayana. Even though a person has not received [in formal ceremony] the five precepts, if he protects Wonderful Dharma, such a one can well be called one of Mahayana. A person who upholds the Wonderful Dharma should take the sword and staff and guard bhiksus." Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! If all bhiksus are to be accompanied by such upasakas with the sword and staff, can we say that they are worthy of the name, or are they unworthy of such? Or is this upholding the precepts or not?" The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "Do not say that such persons are those who transgress the precepts. O good man! After I have entered Nirvana, the world will be evil-ridden and the land devastated, each pillaging the other, and the people will be driven by hunger. At such a time, because of hunger, men may make up their minds, abandon home and enter the Sangha. Such persons are bogus priests. Such, on seeing those persons who are strict in their observance of the precepts, right in their deportment, and pure in their deeds, upholding Wonderful Dharma, will drive such away or kill them or cause harm to them." Bodhisattva Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! How can all such persons upholding the precepts and guarding Wonderful Dharma get into villages and castle towns and teach?" "O good man! That is why I allow those who uphold the precepts to be accompanied by the white-clad people [lay people, non-monks] with the sword and staff. Although all kings, ministers, rich lay men [grhapati] and upasakas may possess the sword and staff for protecting Dharma, I call this upholding the precepts. You may possess the sword and staff, "but do not take life". If things are thus, we call this first-hand upholding of the precepts."
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:00 pm

Konchog1 wrote:I recall hearing that Padmasambhava killed a few Bon ministers, but that aside I doubt that everyone he preached to in Tibet agreed to follow Buddhism.


It is true that the example for Padmasambhava early on as a prince in Oddiyana killing the son of his adpoted father, the King's, minister is shocking and difficult to accept esp. when first reading of liberation of this sort.

If he fought gods of the Bonpo, it stands to reason that he fought the gods' priests too.



This does not follow.

Also, pg. 23 of Cristiana De Falco's Biography of the Great Master Padmasambhava.


Is this a version of Taranatha's or someone elses' bio of Padmasambhava?


I can't find the Virupa source. (Although he tortures some tirthikas here: http://virupa.wz.cz/)


Where does he torture the tirthikas? His actions caused the witches to vomit blood, etc. but he tortures no one. No cruel starvation or waterboarding or even anything close to what people undergoing solitary confinement in the US experience (to say nothing of the more inventive tortures of totalitarian regimes) is to be found in that reading.

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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:45 pm

kirtu wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:I recall hearing that Padmasambhava killed a few Bon ministers, but that aside I doubt that everyone he preached to in Tibet agreed to follow Buddhism.


It is true that the example for Padmasambhava early on as a prince in Oddiyana killing the son of his adpoted father, the King's, minister is shocking and difficult to accept esp. when first reading of liberation of this sort.

If he fought gods of the Bonpo, it stands to reason that he fought the gods' priests too.



This does not follow.

Also, pg. 23 of Cristiana De Falco's Biography of the Great Master Padmasambhava.


Is this a version of Taranatha's or someone elses' bio of Padmasambhava?


I can't find the Virupa source. (Although he tortures some tirthikas here: http://virupa.wz.cz/)


Where does he torture the tirthikas? His actions caused the witches to vomit blood, etc. but he tortures no one. No cruel starvation or waterboarding or even anything close to what people undergoing solitary confinement in the US experience (to say nothing of the more inventive tortures of totalitarian regimes) is to be found in that reading.

Kirt
Yes, Taranatha's.

I can't find the original scribd page. But here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129975174/Fal ... masambhava
http://www.ssi-austria.at/shop/shopd38.php

As for the rest, we'll agree to disagree.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:48 pm

Here we are: http://www.scribd.com/doc/149443303/The ... co-Critina

In the middle of pg. 20 we find: "At that time the Buddhist communities had spread and were flourishing in Oddiyana and in thenearby country of Katstsha, where even the king was an Upasaka pundit.The king of Pagada,a city in the country of Molatana, who was a Muslim, had subdued Katstsha with his army,destroying some Buddhist schools and conquering the remaining ones. His army had arrived as far as Kekyi kab by boat and by swimming in the river Nila. From the bank of the river the Master, by using the ‘fierce gaze’ and by pointing his index finger strongly towards them sank their seven big boats and five hundred small boats made from only one piece of wood, together with all the men who were swimming. All those fearless Muslims died and afterwards no more disturbances came from that quarter for many generations."

On the bottom of the pg. 24 we find: "The minister We Dongzig also strongly hated Buddhism, so the Master said: "In a while he will be powerful and won't let the Dharma spread, therefore the time has come to eliminate him." Padmasambhava mediated for an instant; right then all the minister's blood drained out of his body, so that he died. "
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Nighthawk » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:20 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Here we are: http://www.scribd.com/doc/149443303/The ... co-Critina

In the middle of pg. 20 we find: "At that time the Buddhist communities had spread and were flourishing in Oddiyana and in thenearby country of Katstsha, where even the king was an Upasaka pundit.The king of Pagada,a city in the country of Molatana, who was a Muslim, had subdued Katstsha with his army,destroying some Buddhist schools and conquering the remaining ones. His army had arrived as far as Kekyi kab by boat and by swimming in the river Nila. From the bank of the river the Master, by using the ‘fierce gaze’ and by pointing his index finger strongly towards them sank their seven big boats and five hundred small boats made from only one piece of wood, together with all the men who were swimming. All those fearless Muslims died and afterwards no more disturbances came from that quarter for many generations."

On the bottom of the pg. 24 we find: "The minister We Dongzig also strongly hated Buddhism, so the Master said: "In a while he will be powerful and won't let the Dharma spread, therefore the time has come to eliminate him." Padmasambhava mediated for an instant; right then all the minister's blood drained out of his body, so that he died. "


It's quite shocking to read all that. I can never imagine Shakyamuni doing anything even close to this.
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby plwk » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:41 am

Ven Indrajala, it's even in 'early' Buddhism...

Ambattha, the Buddha & Vajirapani...
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... tha-e.html
Then the Blessed One said to Ambaññha the Brahman: `Then this further question arises, Ambaññha, a very reasonable one which, even though unwillingly, you should answer. If you do not give a clear reply, or go off upon another issue, [35] or remain silent, or go away, then your head will split in pieces on the spot. [36] What have you heard, when Brahman old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kaõhàyanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?'

And when he had thus spoken Ambaññha remained silent. And the Blessed One asked the same question again. And still Ambaññha remained silent.
Then the Blessed One said to him: `You had better answer, now, Ambaññha. This is no time for you to hold your peace. For whosoever, Ambaññha, does not, even up to the third time of asking, answer a reasonable question put by a Tathàgata (by one who has won the truth), his head splits into pieces `on the spot.'

Now at that time the spirit who bears the thunderbolt [37] stood over above Ambaññha in the sky with a mighty mass of iron, all fiery, dazzling, and aglow, with the intention, if he did not answer, there and then to split his head in pieces. And the Blessed One perceived the spirit bearing the thunderbolt, and so did Ambaññha the Brahman. And Ambaññha on becoming aware of it, terrified, startled, and agitated, seeking safety and protection and help from the Blessed One, crouched down beside him in awe, and said: `What was it the Blessed One said? Say it once again!'

[36] This curious threat-which never comes to anything, among the Buddhists, and is apparently never meant to Þ is a frequent form of expression in Indian books, and is pre-Buddhistic. Comp. Brihad âr. Up. III, 6. 2 and 9. 26. Buddhist passages are M. I, 231; Dhp. 72 Dhp. A. 87, 140; Jàt. I, 54; V, 21, 33, 87, 92, 493, &c.
[37] Vajira-pàõã: to wit, Indra, says Buddhaghosa.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html
Thereupon Rahu, Lord of Asuras, released Suriya, and immediately came to the presence of Vepacitta, Lord of Asuras, and stood beside him trembling with fear and with hair standing on end.

Then Vepacitta addressed Rahu in this stanza:
"Rahu, why did you suddenly release Suriya? Why have you come trembling, and why are you standing here terrified?"

"I have been spoken to by the Buddha in a stanza (requesting me to release Suriya). If I had not released Suriya my head would have split into seven pieces. While yet I live, I should have had no happiness. (Therefore I released Suriya)."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html
Thereupon Rahu, Lord of Asuras, released Candima, the deity, and immediately came to the presence of Vepacitta, Lord of Asuras, and stood beside him trembling with fear and with hair standing on end.

Then Vepacitta addressed Rahu in this stanza.
"Rahu. Why did you suddenly release Candima? Why have you come trembling, and why are you standing here terrified?"

"I have been spoken to by the Buddha in a stanza (requesting me to release Candima). If I had not released Candima my head would have split into seven pieces. While yet I live, I should have had no happiness. (Therefore I released Candima)."
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby yan kong » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:46 am

While I do not condone violence by any party I still think there is a difference between monks taking up arms and the lay community taking up arms to defend the sangha if need be.
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:15 pm

“The unborn vajra wisdom
Has a nature of sharpness and piercing,
Through slaying and through wrathful activity,
All of the malevolent are pacified.
The yogin who is loving and skilled
Engages as much as he can in the activity of slaying.”

-Tilopa, The Biographies of Rechungpa pg. 67
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Violence in late period Indian Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:38 pm

What does the author mean by "social revolt" in the context of the passage cited in the first post?
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