Until recently, the received opinions on these issues, in the west at least, have mainly been based on or at least strongly affected by their explication by Georg Bühler fully one century ago in his highly influential, if somewhat controversial monograph On the Origin of the Indian Brahma Alphabet (Indian Studies No.III) .  Bühler argued for an early origin of writing in India and posited an extensive pre-history, going as far back as the 8th century BC, for the Brâhmî script, which he derived from the Phoenician script. Although more recent writers such as David Diringer  have tended to doubt such an early date for Brâhmî and have looked to the Aramaic rather than the Phoenician script as its probable source, Bühler's materials and arguments have continued to guide the discussion long after many of them have become outdated (Falk, p.11). The arguments of specialists have largely focussed on evaluations, criticisms, and modifications of Bühler, while presentations by non-Indologists such as Diringer and Hans Jensen  in their general works on the history of writing have relied heavily and often uncritically and inaccurately on him (see e.g. Falk pp.96, 123). In general, some form or other of Bühler's essential thesis that Brâhmî was developed out of a Semitic prototype in pre-Mauryan India has been accepted by most scholars in the west, but rejected by the majority of South Asian experts, who generally argue for a separate and indigenous origin for the Indic scripts, often by way of derivation, direct or indirect, from the Indus script.
A further problem in deriving Brâhmî as a composite of Greek and Kharo.s.thî are the several Brâhmî characters which are more readily explained by reference to the presumptive Aramaic prototype of Kharo.s.thî than to the Kharo.s.thî (or Greek) characters themselves. Among these are Brâhmî ¤ ha , which can reasonably be derived (by inversion) from an Aramaic ¤ he , but hardly from Kharo.s.thî ¤ ha , and ¤ ta from Aramaic ¤ taw , but not Kharo.s.thî ¤ ta ; several other such examples could be cited. What this boils down to is the old problem that each of the proposed prototypes for Brâhmî, viz., Kharo.s.thî, Aramaic, Phoenician, and Greek, can provide models for some of its characters, but no one of them can explain all of them; to do so, one must revert to rather far-fetched combined derivations of the sort proposed by Halévy (see n.). Falk does not address these problems head on, and perhaps would be inclined to dismiss them, as have some others, on the grounds that the characters of Brâhmî were essentially arbitrary creations, with a general input from Greek and Kharo.s.thî but not systematically patterned on either of them. This too is not impossible, but still the resemblance of many of the Brâhmî characters to phonetically cognate ones in one or the other scripts is troubling. It may not ever be possible to fully establish the derivations of each Brâhmî character, and this was clearly not Falk's intention, but I cannot help feeling that in this regard he has over-estimated the role of Greek at the expense of Aramaic.
No, I didn't ordain independently. I went through the motions of an ordination ceremony here in India with senior monks and was given the robes, precepts and so on. I don't really identify with the ceremony and all the details (vehicle, tradition, country, monastery). It was just a formality that orthodox Buddhist traditions demand. I'm not one for following the crowd.
I am however very independent (and find it inherently difficult to conform to any institution) and as time goes on less interested in what the Vinaya has to say about how I should live my life after reading and researching all about how it developed historically, to say nothing of the utter nonsense you find in some of it (for example, like how to properly draw up loan contracts with laypeople which is actually attributed to the Buddha who lived in a time with no writing!).
I prefer to be a Baba-ji rather than Bhante to be honest. To a certain extent perhaps the influence of India has made me feel uncomfortable with the kind of monasticism you find in Tibetan Buddhism or Theravada where the chiefs get to tell the underlings whether they're allowed to wear underwear or not. I want no part of that. If someone ever told me I can't wear underwear I would tell them to #### off.
I'm fortunately in a position though where I can be independent. I just do whatever I want really. Now that isn't to say I'm having sex, drinking alcohol and doing all kinds of questionable things (I'm not). I just prefer to be a śramaṇa (mendicant, not novice) on my own terms, which in my mind is more in line with the original spirit of the Buddha's time. There are common features found in ancient śramaṇa traditions: celibacy, non-violence, simplicity, mendicancy, etc. A lot of what you find beyond that is clearly aimed at self-preservation and propagation of institutions (like the strong obsession in the Vinaya with keeping a sparkling clean image for the the paying laypeople).
If all this makes me a heretic, then I'll happily walk away from Buddhism and simply follow Buddhadharma.
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