Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

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johneeG
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby johneeG » 09 Feb 2016 23:23

Virginal Birth is actually taken from Ancient India. Virginal Birth is a common meme in many ancient Indian stories:

- Karna born to virgin Kunthi.
- Buddha born to virgin Maya.
- Vyasa born of virgin Sathyavathi.

Infact, abnormal births is a common meme in ancient Indian stories.

About the schism between Nestorian and Catholic: this seems to have happened around 430 CE. The same period was the time of Augustine of Hippo who came up with the theory of Original Sin. So, its probable that the schism happened because of the theory of original sin. We know that the catholic church is principally based on the concept of original sin. So, nestorian may have rejected this concept which led to the schism.

Its interesting to note that there are only 2 points which differentiate Buddhism from Christianity:
- Original sin
- Karma & re-birth.

So, in that sense, Nestorian is much more closer to Buddhism.
wiki wrote:In the East, the syncretism between Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism was deep and widespread along the Silk Road, and was especially pronounced in the medieval Church of the East in China.[8] There are also historical documents showing the syncretic nature of Christianity and Buddhism in Asia such as the Jesus Sutras and Nestorian Stele.

Wiki Link

RoyG
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby RoyG » 10 Feb 2016 00:22

Similar to what the Dharmic traditions are doing now to rediscover their history, preserve the interpretations of the texts and languages, and become great philosophical producers again must be mimicked by the Christians of India.

Colonialism destroyed the original faith and reconstructed it into traditional Europe Church doctrine. Such a rich history of syncretism was largely destroyed and replaced with evangelism. This will destroy the community if it isn't stopped.

What isn't recognized is that the Christians of India may very well save Christianity itself. Being the oldest living tradition rooted in Nestorian mysticism, there is a tremendous responsibility on all of us to ensure that Indian Syriac Christians are properly studied and their views popularized within the Indian Christian community. It will be a potent antidote to inflamed tensions not only within India, but within the larger Christian ecosystem and their relations with the other Abrahamic faiths.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 10 Feb 2016 04:23

johneeG wrote:
Its interesting to note that there are only 2 points which differentiate Buddhism from Christianity:
- Original sin
- Karma & re-birth.

So, in that sense, Nestorian is much more closer to Buddhism.

Sorry: Please do not make these self goals and allow our Buddha to be once again be alienated from the Indian people by these absurd and unfounded assertions based on wiki posts.

Buddha's central teachings remain around the concept of Samadhi (meditation) and Prajñâ (transcendental knowledge). The rational and moral teachings of the buddha are founded upon the above two base views. I do not have the time to keep on refuting your illogical assertions founded on absolutely no deeper readings but it gets tiresome. Next you will claim the concept of Brahman of the upanishads is like Nestorian notions of duality as understood by Madhavacharya! Please JohneeG for your own good, step beyond the wiki.

The study of reality and experience WITHOUT resting its claims on supernatural experiences is Buddha's key accomplishments and as far as I am concerned worship him as the 9th Avatar of Vishnu and part of the Sanatan Dharma fold. It is not christianity that Buddha is similar to, it is to the Vedanta! In fact some claim, that Buddha cannot be understood but from the prism of Vedanta.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Vayutuvan » 10 Feb 2016 04:56

johneeG wrote:Virginal Birth is actually taken from Ancient India. Virginal Birth is a common meme in many ancient Indian stories:

- Karna born to virgin Kunthi.
- Buddha born to virgin Maya.
- Vyasa born of virgin Sathyavathi.


I am not knowledgeable enough about Buddha, but other two being virgin births or not is not explicit in MB, AFAIK. Please correct if I am wrong.

johneeG
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby johneeG » 10 Feb 2016 07:37

ShauryaT wrote:
johneeG wrote:
Its interesting to note that there are only 2 points which differentiate Buddhism from Christianity:
- Original sin
- Karma & re-birth.

So, in that sense, Nestorian is much more closer to Buddhism.

Sorry: Please do not make these self goals and allow our Buddha to be once again be alienated from the Indian people by these absurd and unfounded assertions based on wiki posts.

Buddha's central teachings remain around the concept of Samadhi (meditation) and Prajñâ (transcendental knowledge). The rational and moral teachings of the buddha are founded upon the above two base views. I do not have the time to keep on refuting your illogical assertions founded on absolutely no deeper readings but it gets tiresome. Next you will claim the concept of Brahman of the upanishads is like Nestorian notions of duality as understood by Madhavacharya! Please JohneeG for your own good, step beyond the wiki.

The study of reality and experience WITHOUT resting its claims on supernatural experiences is Buddha's key accomplishments and as far as I am concerned worship him as the 9th Avatar of Vishnu and part of the Sanatan Dharma fold. It is not christianity that Buddha is similar to, it is to the Vedanta! In fact some claim, that Buddha cannot be understood but from the prism of Vedanta.


Arrey bhai, I give wiki not because thats my source of knowledge or even because I like it. But rather as a proof that the points I am making are well accepted by even mainstream western scholars. Wiki only has mainstream western view. And because its the most widely used internet encyclopedia.

Samadhi and Pragnya are basically concepts of Yoga, not Buddhism. Buddhism has many schools with differing teachings about the world. I think you are not aware of it. For example, please study the Adhi Shankaracharya's refutation of Buddhism in his work Brahma-Suthra Baashya. His principal criticism is that Buddhism has many schools with contradictory teachings among them.

I do agree with you that Buddhism and Vedhantha are pretty close to each other and seem branched out at some point.

About Buddha's super-natural experiences: there are contradictory claims made in Buddhism. Some say that Buddha did perform miracles. Others say that he didn't perform miracles and that his great miracle was teaching good philosophy.

And why should Buddha be alienated from anyone if Buddhism is the source of Christianity? Thats your strange opinion. Anyway, fact is fact. Christianity is straight-forward derivative of Buddhism. We are talking about the period of 500 BCE - 500 CE here.

BTW, I don't know why you got riled. My point was simply that virgin birth itself is a common meme in ancient Indian culture and it seems to be found in Christianity as well as it was derived from Buddhism. Nestorian Christianity being one of the earliest ones, seems to be closer to Buddhism. And the schism seems to be because of incorporating the concept of 'original sin'.

The Nestorian school does not want Jesus's humanity to be denied. That means the Catholics were either denying or ignoring the Jesus' humanity. But, why the need for ignoring or denying Jesus' humanity? Because of 'Original Sin'. Original Sin says that all human beings are sinners. If Jesus was a human being, then he would be a sinner too. When Nestorian School says that Jesus is a Human being, they are basically not completely accepting the concept of 'original sin'. On the other hand, 'original sin' is the central theme of Catholic school. So, the main schism itself seems to be due to original sin. One school accepted it and the other rejected it. Now, the concept of Original sin itself was propounded around that very time. So, it was a new concept which was accepted by some and rejected by others.

ShauryaT
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 10 Feb 2016 08:17

I got riled with this constant speculation of origins one way or the other, without adequate proofs, based on nothing but speculation. India says, I am the mother of all, the west says, they are the greatest of all and the east is only copying from them, China says theirs is the greatest and oldest of all and Islam says I conquered and decimated all. It gets to be a little boring.

Now you come and speculate virgin birth as a concept copied from India, without adequate proof to show how? You again take a pot shot at Buddhism by saying Samadhi and Prajñâ are Yoga concepts. Brother, I did not say Buddha invented them, but those were his foundational teachings. Take the best that each has to offer and let this constant refrain of my D... is bigger because it is older. I got riled because of your ill informed comment that only two points differentiate Christianity and Buddhism....nothing can be farther from the truth. Further more I want to ensure that Buddha remains and is seen as an expounder of an Indian tradition and not gets equated with Christianity. Buddhism being demarcated as a "religion" separate and distinct from the Indic stream has been a travesty and we should do what we can to ensure Buddha remains one of its finest propoents. There is no need for inter-sampradayic cross fire, when there is a larger opponent out there called western universalism imposing its powerful constructs on the Indian elite.

PS: I am well aware of Adi Shankaracharyas works and also Kumarila Bhatta's works on Mimamsa refuting Buddhist constructs - predating Adi shankaracharya's works, but it does not mean Buddha lost and Advaita won or something, while you are positioning as such. I personally find Buddha's teachings to be extremely helpful even if I may not accept all its methods. I consider the distancing of Buddhist constructs from Indian mainstream thought as a self goal.

Added: As a disclaimer, I am more of a Karma Kaand follower more than anything else but take all that Indic thought processes have to offer, old and new.

johneeG
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby johneeG » 10 Feb 2016 08:34

ShauryaT wrote:I got riled with this constant speculation of origins one way or the other, without adequate proofs, based on nothing but speculation. India says, I am the mother of all, the west says, they are the greatest of all and the east is only copying from them, China says theirs is the greatest and oldest of all and Islam says I conquered and decimated all. It gets to be a little boring.

Now you come and speculate virgin birth as a concept copied from India, without adequate proof to show how? You again take a pot shot at Buddhism by saying Samadhi and Prajñâ are Yoga concepts. Brother, I did not say Buddha invented them, but those were his foundational teachings. Take the best that each has to offer and let this constant refrain of my D... is bigger because it is older. I got riled because of your ill informed comment that only two points differentiate Christianity and Buddhism....nothing can be farther from the truth. Further more I want to ensure that Buddha remains and is seen as an expounder of an Indian tradition and not gets equated with Christianity. Buddhism being demarcated as a "religion" separate and distinct from the Indic stream has been a travesty and we should do what we can to ensure Buddha remains one of its finest propoents. There is no need for inter-sampradayic cross fire, when there is a larger opponent out there called western universalism imposing its powerful constructs on the Indian elite.

PS: I am well aware of Adi Shankaracharyas works and also Kumarila Bhatta's works on Mimamsa refuting Buddhist constructs - predating Adi shankaracharya's works, but it does not mean Buddha lost and Advaita won or something, while you are positioning as such. I personally find Buddha's teachings to be extremely helpful even if I may not accept all its methods. I consider the distancing of Buddhist constructs from Indian mainstream thought as a self goal.

Added: As a disclaimer, I am more of a Karma Kaand follower more than anything else but take all that Indic thought processes have to offer, old and new.


ShauryaT,
Virgin births are found in ancient Indian stories is a fact. Not speculation. Now, the speculative part according to you is that Christianity came from Buddhism. Again, similarities between Buddhism and Christianity are well known and noted by many. So, even that is not really speculative. The only part that remains is if Christianity really did originate from Buddhism?

For this, please refer to Christian Lindtner's work on Buddhism and Christianity.

The Buddhist Influence in Christian Origins
Kenneth Humphreys
11.08.15

Speculation of a link between Christianity and Buddhism first arose as a result of the translation of Buddhist texts into European languages during the British colonisation of India. Similarity in the stories of the births and lives of Jesus and Buddha were immediately apparent to scholars. It was also noted that many of their teachings had close parallels. Buddhism was unquestionably centuries older than Christianity.

Was it possible the authors of Christianity copied their ideas from Buddhism after early travel to India?



East meets West – trade and religious influence

Trade between East and West is of great antiquity. Cuneiform tablets as early as 2400 BC describe shipments of cotton cloth, spices, oil, grains, and such exotic items as peacocks from the Indus Valley region to the Middle East. We can be certain that the silk and spice routes carried more than trade goods. An Oxyrhynchus papyrus fragment from Egypt even contains a passage in a South Indian language.

Long before the word 'missionary' came to be synonymous with Christianity, Buddhist monks ('dharma-bhanakas') were traipsing across Asia. From the Buddhist heartland on the Ganges, notions of the sacred accompanied the spice and incense. Travelling the trade routes they spread their doctrines all the way from Khotan in central Asia to Antioch and Alexandria in the west.

One such visit is documented in 20 BC in Athens. A Buddhist philosopher, Zarmarus, part of an embassy from India, made a doctrinal point by setting himself alight. His tomb became a tourist attraction and is mentioned by several historians.

Clearly, the evangelists of Buddha were committed to their cause. Is it simply coincidence that the hero of the Buddhist tale is just a tad similar to the Christian superman? In both the story of the Buddha and the story of Jesus we read of a mystic or holy man, travelling from village to village. Each lives off the hospitality of the people and gets into trouble with the ruling elite by ignoring social status and taking food and refuge from prostitutes.

Is it just possible that the miracles ascribed to Jesus merely mimic the tricks practised by the 'holy men' in India?


Image
silk & spice routes


Alexander and Asoka

Alexander (336-323 BC) carried Greek civilization to the east. Cities along the trade route – Merv, Bactra, Taxila etc. – became Greek military colonies. The Indian province in the north west – Gandhara – had been a Persian satrap before the arrival of the Greeks and here, in the 2nd century BC, Greek kingdoms with a distinctive Graeco-Bactrian culture emerged.

But the flow of culture was two way – for example, the Greeks adopted the Indian war elephant and a great deal of speculative Indian thinking. Greek philosophers, like Anaxarchus and Pyrrho, had been in the train of Alexander and had mixed with the Indian gymnosophists or 'naked philosophers.' Even the more ancient Pythagoreans may have been influenced by Indian ideas – vegetarianism, communal property and the 'transmigration of souls.'

After their conquest of the Indus valley the Greeks never again returned to the simple pantheon of their Olympian gods – and founded their first school of Skepticism (see Flintoff, E. (1980), 'Pyrrho and India', Phronesis 25: 88-108.).

At the time of Alexander, the Magadha empire had dominated the middle and upper Ganges but Alexander never got that far. Yet into the vacuum created by Alexander's departure, and bringing east and west closer together, moved Chandragupta (Sandracottus to the Greeks), founder of the Mauryan empire. He conquered Magadha, and also the Greek kingdoms of the north west and much of northern India. His empire included the northern province of Kosala, where a Hindu reformer Gautama Siddhartha (aka "Shakyammuni Buddha") began advocating his 'Middle Path' between greed and asceticism.

Siddhartha's philosophising had little consequence during his own lifetime but in 270 BC, the grandson of Chandragupta, Asoka, ascended the Mauryan throne. Initially a ruthless imperialist he seems – like Marcus Aurelius – to have spent his later life in soul-searching and pondering the afterlife.

In an action that anticipated Constantine's religious revolution five hundred years later, Asoka adopted Buddhism as a unifying and pacifying ideology for his vast empire and propagated it's doctrines with all the usual zeal of a new convert.

Judging by his still extant edicts, inscribed on rocks and stone pillars to be found everywhere from Afghanistan to south India, Asoka sought further 'conquest' beyond his frontiers by dispatching Buddhist missionaries in all directions – "Conquest by Dhamma". Carved in stone is Asoka's urging of Forgiveness:

"The killing, death or deportation of a hundredth, or even a thousandth part of those who died during the conquest of Kalinga now pains Beloved-of-the-Gods. Now Beloved-of-the-Gods thinks that even those who do wrong should be forgiven where forgiveness is possible."


By this stage the Buddha's words of wisdom had been codified into a number of "sutras", propagated by a growing number of rival sects.


greek & mauryan empires

Worlds Collide

The 3rd century BC empire of Asoka included a vast area of the Greeks' eastern empire established a century earlier.



After Alexander, the Seleucides ruled the Greek empire east of the Euphrates. A century later they had taken over the kingdom of Antigonus in Syria and Asia Minor but had lost control of Parthia, Bactria and the Indus Valley.


Gandhara-Trojanhorse
Wooden horse of Troy shows up in Indian art (Gandhara)

"Conquest by Dhamma"

"Now it is conquest by Dhamma that Beloved-of-the-Gods considers to be the best conquest ...

And conquest by Dhamma has been won here, on the borders, even six hundred yojanas away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule ...

Here in the king’s domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas ... everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods’ instructions in Dhamma.

Even where Beloved-of-the-Gods’ envoys have not been, these people too, having heard of the practice of Dhamma and the ordinances and instructions in Dhamma given by Beloved-of-the-Gods, are following it and will continue to do so ...

This conquest has been won everywhere, and it gives great joy – the joy which only conquest by Dhamma can give. But even this joy is of little consequence. Beloved-of-the-Gods considers the great fruit to be experienced in the next world to be more important.

I have had this Dhamma edict written so that my sons and great-grandsons ... consider making conquest by Dhamma only, for that bears fruit in this world and the next."

– Asoka’s rock edict at Girnuri in Guzerat.

Buddhist monks in Egypt?

There are records from Alexandria that indicate the arrival of a steady stream of Buddhist monks and philosophers. They would surely have contributed to the philosophical speculations and syncretism for which the city was noted.

In particular, it seems the original Therapeutae were sent by Asoka on an embassy to Pharaoh Ptolemy II in 250 BC.

The word 'Therapeutae' is itself of Buddhist origin, being a Hellenization of the Pali 'Thera-putta' (literally 'son of the elder.')

Philo Judaeus, a 1st century AD contemporary of Josephus, described the Therapeutae in his tract 'De Vita Contemplativa'. It appears they were a religious brotherhood without precedent in the Jewish world. Reclusive ascetics, devoted to poverty, celibacy, good deeds and compassion, they were just like Buddhist monks in fact.

From the Therapeutae it is quite possible a Buddhist influence spread to both the Essenes (a similar monkish order in Palestine) and to the Gnostics – adepts of philosophical speculations.



Influence of Buddhism on Gnosticism
buddha-and-apostles

Buddha gives benediction to his 12 apostles


Buddhism was a religion of quite a different order to earlier 'pagan' cults. It was a scriptural religion, making a strong appeal to the emotions. It offered a moral code – and hope.



Cyril of Jerusalem

"But Terebinthus, his disciple in this wicked error, inherited his money and books and heresy, and came to Palestine, and becoming known and condemned in Judæa he resolved to pass into Persia: but lest he should be recognised there also by his name he changed it and called himself Buddas."

—Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical lecture 6.23.



Queen Maya With Infant Buddha.
Gandhara, 2nd Century (British Museum)




The doctrine of Incarnation

The Gnostic idea of liberating the soul from entrapment in matter is not dissimilar to the teachings embodied in the "4 Noble Truths" of the Buddha.

In Buddhism, Mankind is seen as trapped in suffering (dukkha) by desire (tanha). Its cessation (nirodha) is to be realised by an eight-fold path of 'right thought, right deed, right attitude' etc. (magga). Rather than Salvation an equally whimsical Nirvana is postulated.


Nirvana Lite

The path of self-liberation (by meditation, asceticism etc.) is demanding and fails to deliver the immediate consolation ordinary people hope for. An easier option ('outer mystery') soon developed, within both Gnosticism and Buddhism by which 'devotion to the god' (prayer, chanting, ringing of bells, waving incense sticks about, etc.) bestowed liberation (salvation/nirvana) to the god's devotees.

From Gnosticism emerged the Literalists of Christianity, for whom the Saviour was given a real historic presence.

From Buddhism, Mahayana ("greater vehicle") Buddhism emerged, in which the real historical Buddha was gradually raised to the status of a divine incarnation (one in a series of enlightened beings). The Lotus Sûtra (Saddharmapundarîka-sûtram) emphasizes mere faith in the Buddha as sufficient for salvation, and advises Buddhist missionaries to convert humanity, where necessary, through symbolic language, codes, parables, etc.

And interestingly, both developments occurred towards the end of the 1st century AD.



Where Did They Get Their Ideas From?

More than two dozen story elements borrowed from the Buddha

1. Pre-existence. 2. Royal origin and genealogy. 3. Virginal Conception by mother/Virgin Birth. 4. Dream Vision. 5. White Elephant / White Dove parallel. 6. Annunciation to the Husband. 7. Annunciation of Birth by a Woman 8. Righteous foster father. 9. Marvellous Light/Star. 10. Angels and others at birth. 11. The Magi's´ visit 12. Giving of Gifts. 13. Presentation in the Temple. 14. Infant prodigy / precocious youth. 15. Nature Miracle. 16. The Naming Ceremony. 17. The Taming of Wild Animals. 18. The Miracles of the Bending Tree and Gushing Water. 19. The Fall of Idols. 20. Healing Miracles. 21. Sage recognition - Asita / Simeon parallel 22. Anna and Shabari/Old Women parallel. 23. The Appellation of King. 24. Mary / Mahâprajâpati parallel 25. Fast in wilderness / temptation by the devil. 26. Preparing the Way. 27. Reference to Signs 28. Offer of universal Salvation.
BIRTH of the Saviour

The conception and birth of Christ in the Gospel of Luke has an uncanny resemblance to the birth stories of Buddha.

In both cases the mother was a paragon of virtue, had a vision and, without sex, became pregnant with an extraordinary child. Each was delivered while the mother was on a journey and their births were both announced by angels.

After the birth of Buddha a hermit sage, who had heard the celebrations of angels, was told by them that the infant would sit on the throne of enlightenment.

In the Christian story, the angels appeared and told shepherds that a child was born who is Christ the Lord.

Both narratives stress that holy people came to pay homage to the world's saviour.
LOST and FOUND
The homespun 'wisdom' of Buddha & Christ

Sinner returns to the Father!!

Younger son leaves home and squanders his inheritance on wild living; bankrupt and reduced to feeding pigs he returns home; delighted father kills the fattened calf for him. Sensible elder brother indignant and angry but father explains celebration is justified because his brother had been 'lost and is found'. (Luke 15:11-32)

Sufferer attains Nirvana!!

Young son leaves home for distant lands. Father distraught. Years later, looking for work, son doesn't recognize his now rich father (who does recognize him). He flees. Father secretly hires him as a scavenger. Years later, dying, he tells son of his inheritance. (Lotus Sutra)


TRIAL

After a meal, an innocent man Charudatta is accused of murdering the courtesan Vasantasena, and is brought to trial. The judge, admitting his incompetence to condemn a Brahmin, sends the case over to the king who condemns the man to be executed and impaled with an inscription on him.

Charudatta is then ordered to carry his cross (Sanskrit sulam) to the place of execution. Meantime, the king’s brother-in-law, who actually murdered the courtesan, buries her body under a pile of leaves. But she is found by a Buddhist monk who raises her from her 'deadly swoon.' Vasantasena then saves Charudatta from death.

Charudatta forgives his accuser, Samsthanaka, and appoints the Buddhist monk as the head of all the Buddhist monasteries in the realm. There is a marriage in the end as well: Charudatta accepts Vasantasena as his second wife.
2nd BC Sanskrit play Mrchchakatika (Little Clay Cart)


PASSION

In this story of 'Gautama, a holy man' our hero is wrongfully condemned to die on the cross for murdering the courtesan Bhadra. Gautama is impaled on a cross, and his mentor Krishna Dvapayana visits him and enters into a long dialogue, at the end of which Gautama dies at the place of skulls after engendering two offspring – the progenitors of the Ikshavaku Dynasty.

1. The death episode begins for Buddha crossing the Ganges at Magadha, from whence he goes on to Kusinagari for a last meal.


The fable of Matthew (15:39) similarly has JC aboard ship, to the (unknown) "coasts of Magdala", from whence he goes on to Jerusalem for a last meal.


2. Both Buddha and JC forecast their own death 3 times.


3. Buddha arrives at Ku-kut-tha, JC at 'Gol ga tha'.


4. Both Buddha and JC twice refuse a drink.


5. Buddha dies between 2 trees, JC between 2 criminals.


6. Both promise their last convert that "today you will be in paradise."


7. Death occurs during 'darkness'.


8. A disciple of Buddha – Kas ya pas – travelling with 500 monks – encounters an unknown personage from whom he learns of the death of Buddha. Another unnamed disciple disparages the dead Buddha.


The fable of Luke has the disciple Kle o pas encounter an unknown personage on the road to Emmaus. This 'unrecognised' Jesus disparages the evident lack of faith.


In a variation of the story, the 500 Buddhist monks become Paul's 500 brethren (1 Cor. 15.6) – though Paul renders Kas ya pas as 'Cephas' (Simon Peter has his own origin in Sâri Putra, also in the Buddhist 'gospel').


9. The dead Buddha is burned and it is the smoke of his corpse which rises– the true "resurrection."
– From a 2nd/1st century BC play 'Samghabhedavastu' (Mahâparinirvâna sûtra)



Essenes – esoteric Buddhists?

The Essenes were a monastic order having much in common with contemporary Buddhists.

Most lived an austere existence in the desert where they eschewed the animal sacrifice of the Jerusalem temple priesthood (they were vegetarians).

Renouncing all normal enjoyments, they lived without personal property, money or women (they recruited from newcomers.) The Essenes extolled the merits of asceticism, penance, and self-torture.

They were, however, interested in the magical arts and the occult sciences.They believed in the pre-existence of the soul and in angels as divine intermediaries or messengers from God.



Influence of Buddhism on the Christians – Q?

Close, striking parallels exist between early Buddhist texts and what Bible scholars postulate as the 'Q' material – ('Q' is shorthand for Quelle, the German for 'source'). The earliest translations of Buddhist texts into Greek date back to the time of king Asoka (3rd century BC).

It seems highly probable that the core of the body of Q material was made up of aphorisms, sayings originally ascribed to the Buddha but later attributed to Jesus. To these sayings were added mini-stories and micro-scenes to produce what became the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.



Aphorisms

From the Dhammapada, Buddha's observation:

"The faults of others are more easily seen than one's own, but seeing one's own failings is difficult."

Compare to Gospel of Thomas 26

"You see the mote which is in your brother's eye; but you do not see the beam which is in your own eye."

This subsequently was given a more theatrical flourish when it became Matthew 7:3

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? "


From the Dhammapada:

"When a mendicant, though still young, yokes himself to the Buddha's teachings, the world is illuminated like the moon freed of clouds."

Jesus's statement:

"He who wishes to follow me must know himself and bear my yoke."



The Mûlasarvâstivâdavinaya begins with a long list of kings. This is combined with a list of the last seven Buddhas, to give three periods of “fourteen generations” and a total of 42 – an identical format to the Gospel of Matthew!

Love?

The whole idea that man should care about his brother, that he should accept responsibility for society as a whole or for needy human beings in particular, clearly precedes Christianity – in Greek thought and in Buddhism.

The Buddha's philosophy of compassion, his vision of Dhamma, the eternal law that sustains the cosmos, manifests itself among humanity as the moral law.

The Buddha's most celebrated dictum is:

"Hostility is never conquered by hostility in this world; hostility is conquered by love. That is the eternal law."



500 Witnesses

"After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep."
1 Corinthians 15:6


Buddhist tradition states that shortly after the passing away of the Buddha five hundred of his Arhats and disciples met in council at Rajagaha for the purpose of recalling to mind the truths they had heard directly from their hero during the forty-five years of his teachings.

The Coptic biblical text actually identifies the 500 as 'Indian Brahmans'!
In short, we find opportunity, motive, method, location and scriptural evidence, for a profound and detailed Buddhist influence in Christianity's origins. That it was so cannot be doubted.



Sources:
Symposium on “ The Sanskrit and Buddhist Sources of the New Testament" Klavreström, Sweden 9/11 2003
Z. P. Thundy, Buddha and Christ: Nativity Stories and Indian Traditions (Leiden, 1993)
L. Adelskogh, Jesus in Comparative Light
E. R. Gruber, H. Kersten,The Original Jesus (Element Books, 1995)
Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (Vintage, 1979)
J. Duncan M. Derrett, The Bible and the Buddhists (Sardini 2000)
N. S. Chandramoul, Did Buddhism influence early Christianity? (The Times of India May 1, 1997)
Christian Lindtner, Wer war Kleophas Radikalkritik

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Indian figure – excavated from Pompeii (79 AD, Naples Museum)

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Buddhist Teacher?

There is mention of a teacher called Ammonius Sakka teaching in Alexandria in the 1st century AD. This philosopher-teacher who believed in reincarnation, has been called a Neo-Platonist.

He was the teacher of Plotinus – and Church Father Origen!

buddhist-trinity
The Sanskrit TRi-RaTNaS becomes the Latin TRi-NiTaS ... even the name is copied!


Diamond Geezer

Another Buddhist variant Vajrayana ("Diamond Vehicle") introduced Tantric or Esoteric Buddhism. It may have influenced the notorious Carpocratians ... Tantra with a Christian varnish!

"Sermon on the Mount ... Buddhist verses from the Dhammapada"?
So said Barnett Hillman Streeter in the 1930s

Omm

"The contemplative ideal – since it led to pure mathematics – was the source of a useful activity. This increased it's prestige and gave it a success in theology, in ethics, and in philosophy."

–Bertrand Russell on Pythagoras

"Saint Buddha" !

The most amusing Buddhist story that made its way into Christian lore is the tale of 'Barlaam and Josephat' – nothing less than the story of the Buddha himself, disguised as a Christian Saint!

In the story, Josephat, an Indian prince (!) has a father who persecutes Christians. At Josephat's birth his future greatness is predicted, not as a king, but as a convert to Christianity. Eventually allowed to leave the palace, the young prince for the first time saw a crippled man, a blind man and a senile man, and so learned of life's darker side (that life is suffering?).

Josephat soon met a monk named Barlaam, who converted him to Christianity and the two lived as hermits.

They were canonized by the Catholic Church in the 16th century.

Check for yourself –
Comparative Sayings of the Buddha and Jesus

Link

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby csaurabh » 10 Feb 2016 08:56

http://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-l ... -designed/

What WU promotes as lifestyle: Make yourself miserable in a 9-5 job, then make yourself happy by buying heaps of consumer goods and getting drunk. And this is called an 'economy'.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 10 Feb 2016 08:56

If someone claims Islam has intrinsic links with Judaism, one can read on the matter and indeed understand why it is being said so. I will read up on the link and do look forward to finding the key teachings of the Buddha in this version of Christianity you claim came from Buddhism and WHY would it be so with reasonable proofs.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby johneeG » 10 Feb 2016 08:57

ShauryaT wrote: I got riled because of your ill informed comment that only two points differentiate Christianity and Buddhism....nothing can be farther from the truth. Further more I want to ensure that Buddha remains and is seen as an expounder of an Indian tradition and not gets equated with Christianity. Buddhism being demarcated as a "religion" separate and distinct from the Indic stream has been a travesty and we should do what we can to ensure Buddha remains one of its finest propoents. There is no need for inter-sampradayic cross fire, when there is a larger opponent out there called western universalism imposing its powerful constructs on the Indian elite.

PS: I am well aware of Adi Shankaracharyas works and also Kumarila Bhatta's works on Mimamsa refuting Buddhist constructs - predating Adi shankaracharya's works, but it does not mean Buddha lost and Advaita won or something, while you are positioning as such. I personally find Buddha's teachings to be extremely helpful even if I may not accept all its methods. I consider the distancing of Buddhist constructs from Indian mainstream thought as a self goal.

Added: As a disclaimer, I am more of a Karma Kaand follower more than anything else but take all that Indic thought processes have to offer, old and new.


- You seem to have assumed that when I say Buddhism is a source of Christianity, I am somehow attributing something negative to Buddhism. Thats a wrong assumption on your part.

- The reason I particularly mentioned Adhi Shankara's criticism of Buddhism is that there is no such thing as 'teaching of Buddha'. There were different schools of Buddhism with widely differing teachings even by the time of Shankara. Some Buddhist schools taught Yogic teachings, some taught saankhya teachings, some taught Vedhanthic teachings, ...etc. So, in that sense, Buddhism was more or less part of large Hindhu frame-work. But, exactly what are the original teachings of Buddha is unknown. I think Buddha's teachings are sort of closer to Vedhantha.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby johneeG » 10 Feb 2016 09:01

ShauryaT wrote:If someone claims Islam has intrinsic links with Judaism, one can read on the matter and indeed understand why it is being said so. I will read up on the link and do look forward to finding the key teachings of the Buddha in this version of Christianity you claim came from Buddhism and WHY would it be so with reasonable proofs.


Please go through the work of Christian Lindtner if you are really interested about the similarities in the texts of New Testament and Mula-Sarva-Asthi-Vada Vinaya.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby johneeG » 10 Feb 2016 09:38

Reincarnation, Jesus, the Bible, New Testament & Christian Doctrine


Article by: Walter Semkiw, MD, from Born Again and Return of the Revolutionaries


In the New Testament, Jews are depicted as expecting the reincarnation of their great prophets. Indeed, these prophets were already thought to have reincarnated in times past. For example, the Jewish sect called the Samarians believed Adam reincarnated as Noah, then as Abraham, then Moses. (1)

Reincarnation of the old prophets was also on the minds of Jews at the time of Jesus. In fact, followers of Jesus thought that he was a reincarnated prophet. Let us reflect on the following passage from the Gospel of Matthew:

“When Jesus came into coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say I, the Son of man, am?’ And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist, some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’” (Matthew 16:13–4)

Herod, who was in command of Jerusalem under the Romans, also speculated who Jesus may have previously been. Herod also thought Jesus might have been one of the old prophets.

When Jesus announced that he was the Jewish Messiah, his followers became confused, as the scriptures stated the prophet Elias (or Elijah in Greek) would return and precede the coming of the Messiah. The disciples put this apparent discrepancy to Jesus. The disciples pointed out:

“Why then say the scribes that Elias must come first. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not. . . . Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.” (Matthew 17:9–13)

In another section of the New Testament, Jesus unequivocally states that John the Baptist is the reincarnation of the prophet Elias: “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. . . . And if ye will receive it, this is Elias. . . . He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:11–15)

Reincarnation is alluded to in a section of the New Testament in which the disciples ask Jesus why a man was born blind. The disciples asked,

“Which did sin, this man or his parents?” (John 9:34)

This passage implies that the blind man had a previous incarnation where he had the opportunity to commit a sin that would result in the karmic consequence of blindness. Without the premise of reincarnation, how could the blind man commit a sin responsible for his handicap, as the man was blind from birth? Jesus didn’t dispute the reasoning of the disciples, though he stated that the blindness was due to other factors.

Reincarnation and the Early Christian Church Fathers

In addition to these citations from the New Testament, evidence shows that reincarnation was part of the Church’s early doctrine and was promoted by Church Fathers, writers who established Christian doctrine prior to the eighth century and whose works were used to disseminate Christian ideas to populations of the Roman Empire. To be considered a Church Father one had to meet the following criteria. One had to lead a holy life;, one’s writings had do be free of doctrinal error; one’s interpretation of Christian doctrine was deemed to be exemplary; and one’s writings had to have approval of the Church.

A number of Christian Church Fathers believed in and wrote about reincarnation:

St. Justin Martyr (100–165 A.D.) expressly stated that the soul inhabits more than one human body. (2)

Origen (185–254 A.D.), who was considered by St. Jerome as “the greatest teacher of the Church after the Apostles,” defended the idea that the soul exists before the body, fundamental to the concept of reincarnation. (3)

Another Church Father, St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa (257–332 A.D.), wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that the soul should be healed and purified, and if this does not take place during its life on earth it must be accomplished in future lives. . . . The soul . . . is immaterial and invisible in nature, it at one time puts off one body . . . and exchanges it for a second.” (4)

St. Gregory also wrote: “Every soul comes into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of its previous life.” (5)

St. Augustine (354–430 A.D.), one of the greatest theologians of the Christian church, speculated that philosopher Plotinus was the reincarnation of Plato. St. Augustine wrote: “The message of Plato . . . now shines forth mainly in Plotinus, a Platonist so like his master that one would think . . . that Plato is born again in Plotinus.” (6)

Other Church Fathers who demonstrated a belief in reincarnation included Synesius (the Bishop of Ptolemais), St. Ambrose, Pope Gregory I, Jerome, St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, and Clement of Alexandria. (7)

How Reincarnation was Removed from Christian Doctrine

If the belief in the pre-existence of souls and reincarnation was prominent in the early Christian Church, why is it not present in contemporary doctrine?
The reason is that a Roman Emperor named Justinian made arrangements for reincarnation to be removed from official Church doctrine in 553 A.D.

In the early centuries of the Christian Church, disputes over doctrine were settled by bishops of the Church, through meetings called Ecumenical Councils. These Councils were major gatherings, which occurred infrequently, sometimes once in a hundred years. To understand the story of reincarnation and the Christian Church, we must go back in time to the year 330 A.D.

In that year, Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople, a city which today is called Istanbul. As a result, two centers of the Christian Church developed; the Western Church in Rome and the Eastern Church in Constantinople. The emperors of Constantinople controlled the Eastern Church and dictated policy as they pleased.

As an example, the Constantinople Emperor Leo III prohibited images and portraits from being kept in churches, so icons, paintings of saints, which today are so admired for their beauty, had to be removed from places of worship. On the other hand, the Western Church headquartered in Rome refused to give up icons. Similarly, the Constantinople Emperor Justinian determined Church policy regarding reincarnation.

In the sixth century, the Church was divided over the issue of reincarnation. Western bishops in Rome believed in pre-existence of the soul while Eastern bishops were opposed to it. Emperor Justinian, who controlled the Eastern Church, was against the doctrine of reincarnation. As an example of his interference in Church matters, Justinian excommunicated the Church Father Origen, who openly supported the idea of reincarnation.

To further his agenda, Justinian convened the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553 A.D., with only six bishops of the Western Church in attendance. On the other hand, 159 bishops of the Eastern Church, which Justinian controlled, were present.


It was at this meeting that pre-existence of the soul was voted out of Church doctrine. Emperor Justinian manipulated Church doctrine by stacking the voting deck in his favor.

Pope Vigilius protested this turn of events and demanded equal representation between Eastern and Western bishops. Though the Pope was present in Constantinople at the time of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, he boycotted the Council in protest. Justinian not only ignored Pope Vigilius, but persecuted him.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the conflict between the Emperor Justinian and the Pope was so extreme that the Pope suffered many indignities at the hands of the emperor and was almost killed.

Can you conceive today that a politician or head of state could dictate church policy to the Pope or that the Pope would boycott the biggest meeting at the Vatican in a hundred years? Yet this is what happened.

As a result, the Catholic Encyclopedia states, the Council called by Justinian was not a true Ecumenical Council, so the removal of pre-existence of the soul as a Church doctrine should not be considered an actual decree of the Ecumenical Council. (8, 9)

.....

Footnotes
1. Sylvia Cranston: Reincarnation, The Phoenix Fire Mystery, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1998, p. 128.
2. Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston, Reincarnation, and East–West Anthology, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1961, p. 35–39.
3. Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston, Reincarnation, and East–West Anthology, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1961, p. 35–39.
4. Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston, Reincarnation, and East–West Anthology, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1961, p. 35–39.
5. Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston, Reincarnation, and East–West Anthology, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1961, p. 35–39.
6. Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston, Reincarnation, and East–West Anthology, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1961, p. 35–39.
7. Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston, Reincarnation, and East–West Anthology, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1961, p. 35–39.
8. Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston, Reincarnation, and East–West Anthology, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1961, p. 35–39
9. Sylvia Cranston, Reincarnation, The Phoenix Fire Mystery, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1998, p. 156–160.

Link

Pope Arrested for Believing in Reincarnation
If anyone asserts the fabulous preexistence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema. History records that the early Christian church believed in Reincarnation and of the souls journey back to oneness with God. This all changed by Imperial decree some 500 plus years after the death of Christ.

Emperor Justinian in 545 A.D. was able to apply the full power of Rome and his authority to stop the belief in reincarnation. He forced the ruling cardinals to draft a papal decree stating that anyone who believes that souls come from God and return to God will be punished by death. The actual decree stated:

“If anyone asserts the fabulous preexistence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema. (The Anathemas against Origen), attached to the decrees of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, A.D. 545, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d ser., 14: 318).”

What does it mean when it says monstrous restoration? This passage is aimed straight at the teachings handed down from Yeshua (Jesus) the Christ to his disciples that mankind came from God and was destined to become one with God as he was one with God. When the Jews tried to stone him for calling himself the son of God, Jesus responded by reminding them that were all gods.

John 10:33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." 34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? 35 If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came--and the Scripture cannot be broken-- 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? NIV

Later, just before Christ was crucified, he revealed in a prayer that he wanted his disciple to become one with God just as he was.

Jesus Prays for All Believers
John 17:20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. NIV

A prominent theologian named Origen wrote around 250 AD about the pre-existence of the soul. He taught that the soul’s very source was God and that the soul was traveling back to oneness with God via the lessons learned in multiple lives. He taught that Christ came to show us what we can become. For centuries this was the mainstream view of Christianity but 300 years later it became a huge issue and the belief was made illegal because Emperor Constantine believed it was dangerous to the Empire to believe in reincarnation.

In the sixth century A.D., Emperor Justinian and Pope Vigilius disagreed on whether or not the teachings of Origen should be condemned as heresy. The Pope supported the teaching as being consistent with the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. The Emperor was determined to eradicate the belief even though the Pope and the church believed in reincarnation. The fact that the doctrine of reincarnation had been a part of Christian theology for over 500 years did not sway the Emperor.

Origen's writings were considered heresy by important cardinals in the sixth century. Origen's teachings had been considered as profound spiritual wisdom for three centuries. Origen lived around 250 AD and wrote about the pre-existence of the soul and in reincarnation. He taught that the soul’s very source was God and that the soul’s was traveling back to oneness with God via Reincarnation.

Emperor Justinian wanted Origen’s writings and teachings to be condemned and destroyed but Pope Vigilius refused to sign a papal decree condemning Origen's teachings on reincarnation. As a result of his disobedience, the Emperor had the Pope arrested and put into jail. In 543, Justinian convoked the Fifth General Council of the Church and told the Pope he would sign whatever into doctrine whatever the council decided. On the way there, under guard, the Pope escaped to avoid being forced to condemn Origen’s writings. The Emperor commanded the council to continue despite the Pope’s refusal to attend.

There was a logical reason why the Emperor was opposed to the concept that all of mankind originally came from God and was returing to God via the cycle of birth and death. Justinian had been convinced by high ranking cardinals that it was not in the interest of the empire to allow Origen's writings to continue to be copied and distributed. A powerful group of Cardinal’s and Bishop’s explained that if every soul had once pre-existed with God, then Christ wasn’t anything special to have come from God. These Cardinals convinced the Emperor that if people realized they were the children of God they might begin to believe they no longer needed an Emperor, or to pay taxes, or to obey the Holy Church. But since they reasoned that only Christ had come from God but God made brand new souls at the time of conception and only the Holy Church could bring these souls to God. Without the protection of the Empire or the guidance of the church, all people would be doomed to be forever cut off from God in Hell. This doctrine was very acceptable to the Emperor. Once Justinian understood the political danger inherent in Origen’s teachings, the rest was simply an Emperor doing what was in his best interest.

The council, as instructed by the Emperor, produced fourteen new anathemas and the very first one condemned reincarnation and the concept that souls pre-existed with God.

"If anyone asserts the fabulous preexistence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema."

Even though these events are in the history books, modern Christianity treats the doctrine of reincarnation today as if Jesus never taught it or that the early church ever believed it. The fact that a soul comes from God and is destined to become God, as Christ is God, is the very reason why Satan rebelled.


Link

So, it was Justinian who banned the idea of reincarnation in 553 CE. Pope was not in agreement with this ban. So, western christianity was not in favor of the ban. Origen himself seems to be from the East(born in Alexandria and died in Tyre). And he seems to have supported the idea of reincarnation. So, I think eastern christianity was also in support of reincarnation originally just as western christianity. Its just that Justinian had great control on east compared to west. So, he used his political control over eastern church to ban reincarnation.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 12 Feb 2016 04:35

Dunkin Jalki, one of Balu's students found this, Gandhi on Itihaasa versus history:

Found this bit in Gandhi (Hind Swaraj, chapter XVII) quite interesting, in the context of Balu's paper on itihasa. So I'm sharing it here.


All best,


Dunkin

,________


Reader: Is there any historical evidence as to the success of what you have called soul-force or truth-force? No instance seems to have happened of any nation having risen through soul-force. I still think that the evil-doers will not cease doing evil without physical punishment.


Editor: The poet Tulsidas has said: "Of religion, pity, or love, is the root, as egotism of the body. Therefore, we should not abandon pity so long as we are alive." This appears to me to be a scientific truth. I believe in it as much as I believe in two and two being four. The force of love is the same as the force of the soul or truth. We have evidence of its working at every step. The universe would disappear without the existence of that force. But you ask for historical evidence. It is, therefore, necessary to know what history means. The Gujarati equivalent means: "It so happened". If that is the meaning of history, it is possible to give copious evidence. But, if it means the doings of the kings and emperors, there can be no evidence of soul-force or passive resistance in such history. You cannot expect silver ore in a tin mine. History, as we know it, is a record of the wars of the world, and so there is a proverb among Englishmen that a nation which has no history, that is, no wars, is a happy nation. How kings played, how they became enemies of one another, how they murdered one another, is found accurately recorded in history, and if this were all that had happened in the world, it would have been ended long ago. If the story of the universe had commenced with wars, not a man would have been found alive today. ... The fact that there are so many men still alive in the world shows that it is based on the force of arms but on the force of truth or love. Therefore, the greatest and most unimpeachable evidence of the success of this force is to be found in the fact that, in spite of the wars in the world, it still lives on.


Thousands, indeed tens of thousands, depend for their existence on a very active working of this force. Little quarrels of millions of families in their lives disappear before the exercise of this force. Hundreds of nations live in peace. History does not and cannot take note of this fact. History is really a record of every interruption of the even working of this force of love or of the soul. Two brothers quarrel; one of them repents and re-awakens the love that was lying dormant in him; and the two again began to live in peace; nobody takes note of this. But if the two brothers, through the intervention of solicitors or some other reason take up arms or go to law which is another form of brute force, their doings would be immediately noticed in the press, they would be the talk of their neighbors and would probably go down to history. And what is true of families and communities is true of nations. There is no reason to believe that there is one law for families and another for nations. History, then, is a record of an interruption of the course of nature. Soul-force, being natural is not noted in history.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 12 Feb 2016 04:39

Ananth Sethuraman, drawing on a Balu essay, notes:

Itihasa vs history

First, history has no relationship with adhyatma. The purpose of history is not human happiness. In contrast, itihasa is connected with adhyatma; therefore itihahasa’s purpose is human happiness.

Second, history permits us to talk about Prince Rama only if we are sure that a prince named Rama existed. But itihasa allows us to talk about Prince Rama even if Rama did not exist; a non-existent Rama can help to teach human happiness. We can see this from the dialog between a Balinese and a Swiss-German. {reference removed}

Third, history thinks that humans who lived in the past were no more than 8 feet tall, just like modern humans; and lived no more than 120 years, just like modern humans. History does not permit us to talk about “kings thirty feet high and reigns thirty thousand years long” But itihasa allows “kings thirty feet high and reigns thirty thousand years long”; for a thirty-foot king who reigns for thirty thousand years can help to teach us human happiness.

Fourth, history cannot handle the discrepancies between Valmiki Ramayana and Kamba Ramayana. But itihasa can handle the discrepancies easily. Itihasa’s attitude to the discrepancies is this : Valmiki and Kamban are trying to teach us the same sort of human happiness. They are like two lecturers teaching the same topic. Why complain if the two lecturers use different color chalks, draw different figures on the blackboard, use different examples?

Expressivity of Human Language

A fifth difference is that history is satisfied that human languages are expressive enough to communicate history. In contrast, adhyatma finds that human languages are not expressive enough for teaching human happiness. Here are excerpts from Message 6830 & 7488:


Our natural languages are languages about existence and its opposite non-existence. We need to develop a way of talking that allows us to speak, even when you are not at all speaking about the world. We need to communicate in the world, using languages which can only talk about the world, to say things ‘about’ something else, when there can be no ‘aboutness’ (i.e., when there is no reference or content) to this language.

We also notice that the Upanishad is also struggling to say what it wants to say. The only way we can talk about the real is by using the language of existence. Our natural languages and our scientific languages try to describe what exists in this Cosmos, using appropriate languages that are meant to describe existence. To use such a language to talk about the real creates huge difficulties, which every Indian tradition has faced. This Upanishad is no exception to this rule.

Itihasa is an attempt to teach adhyatma using human languages, knowing fully well that human languages are not expressive enough. In contrast, history is satisfied that human languages are expressive enough to communicate history.



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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Prem » 17 Feb 2016 06:33

No, humans aren’t ‘wired’ to believe in God – there were lots of ancient atheists, scientist claims

http://metro.co.uk/2016/02/16/no-humans ... z40O31RgDY

Many people believe that human beings are somehow ‘wired’ to believe in God – or that religious belief is a ‘default setting’ for humans.Not so, a new book by a University of Cambridge academic argues – and this distortion is largely a product of the modern age.Dr Tim Whitmarsh claims that atheism flourished in societies like ancient Greece and pre-Christian Rome – societies with many Gods.Not only that, it wasn’t seen as immoral, he says, basing his book, Battling the Gods, on 1,000 years of anti-religious statements.Whitmarsh says, ‘We tend to see atheism as an idea that has only recently emerged in secular Western societies,” Whitmarsh said.‘In fact, early societies were far more capable than many since of containing atheism within the spectrum of what they considered normal.’.‘The fact that this was happening thousands of years ago suggests that forms of disbelief can exist in all cultures, and probably always have.’
‘Believers talk about atheism as if it’s a pathology of a particularly odd phase of modern Western culture that will pass, but if you ask someone to think hard, clearly people also thought this way in antiquity.’

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 04 Mar 2016 06:05

Admins please remove or move if inappropriate:

Removal of Sheldon Pollock as mentor and Chief Editor of Murty Classical Library

Please pass on and spread the message! Not all of us who oppose Shri. Pollock are Right Wing Hindus!

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 04 Mar 2016 18:30

Pulikeshi wrote:Admins please remove or move if inappropriate:

Removal of Sheldon Pollock as mentor and Chief Editor of Murty Classical Library

Please pass on and spread the message! Not all of us who oppose Shri. Pollock are Right Wing Hindus!
Pulikeshi: Will appreciate if you can expand on the non-political/non-ideological opposition to what Pollock has written.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 19 Mar 2016 12:46

I wrote this on my blog:
http://arunsmusings.blogspot.in/2016/03 ... arism.html
Former candidate for the Republican nomination for the US presidency, Ben Carson, is a believing Christian. Carson stirred up a bit of a controversy when an old speech of his surfaced, where he said the Old Testament figure Joseph built the Egyptian pyramids in order to store grain. The Bible merely says that Joseph stored surplus grain against a future famine deduced from the Pharaoh's dream, but not how he stored it.

This controversy merits careful unpacking.

Carson most certainly believes in the resurrection, the water-into-wine miracle, the parting of the Red Sea, and such; he shares these beliefs with a huge number of voters, and his statement of belief about these things would cause not the least bit of controversy, quite unlike his statement about the pyramids. The average western liberal or Indian secularist would say that all the former miraculous things that violate the laws of physics are all about Carson's religious belief, which per the tenets of secularism, are outside the realm of politics; but when he talks about the purpose of the pyramids, he is talking about something that we have archaeological and other evidence, and is therefore within the realm of political criticism.

That is, to be secular, one has to be familiar with the contents of the Bible. Since the Bible is silent about the pyramids, a candidate's belief about the purpose of the pyramids is within the political arena; but the laws-of-physics busting stuff that the Bible does speak about is beyond political criticism. In fact, without paying at least lip service to belief in what the Bible says, it is not possible to be a viable Republican candidate for the presidency. One cannot say that the candidate is a credulous idiot for believing in miracle stories.

Suppose we accept that as a necessary compromise for secularism to work. The very same culture from which this secularism arose encountered India and constructed religions called Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. One would expect that secularism then requires extending the same respect to beliefs from these religions as it does for Christianity or Judaism. One would be bitterly disappointed, however. Also, unlike with the Bible, one does not have to be familiar with the contents of the Hindu "scriptures" to know the boundary between religious belief and politically attackable ideas. Anything Hindu is fair game for political criticism. Which also shows that those who claim "Hinduism is a religion" in practice do not treat it like one.

Further, notice, Carson says that his belief about the pyramids is a religious belief, based on the Bible; but the political class and media reject that. The limits of religious belief are what are in the Bible, and that is about it. Islam is struggling to get a foothold in this shielded area, aided by leftists and regressive liberals; and cries of Islamophobia. Hinduism will forever be outside this area separated from political criticism.

I'm not saying that it is not as it should be - Hinduism is a living tradition - in religious terms it has new "prophets" and "scriptures" constantly being created. Wendy Doniger (see "Purana Perennius") for one is upset that the Hindu "canon" is not closed, and her pungent remarks about the Skanda Purana stem from that. I'm just pointing out that "secularism" and the separation of religious belief and politics has a very Christian basis. The Hindu basis for what is legitimate in politics and what should be left out will be rather different.


I would appreciate comments on my blog :)

PS: example of Wendy Doniger:
http://arunsmusings.blogspot.in/2016/03 ... urana.html

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ricky_v » 21 Mar 2016 09:53

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government ... f-america/

Interesting theories propounded here though interspersed with useless chatter and conspiracy theories thrown together with some good insights.
The sub-piece on Establishmentism is eye opening in some cases. Libertinism i think explains off as the younger generation of the western world.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ricky_v » 21 Mar 2016 17:12

Quoting selectively from the above posted link
1.Cosmopolitanism Cosmopolitanism is the view that we are all, everywhere, a part of a single world community, and that such things as nation-states, including the United States, only slow down the fulfillment of our true destiny— coming together in a global harmonic convergence.We might further note a division within this category: There’s a Left Cosmopolitanism and a Right Cosmopolitanism.
Left Cosmopolitanism means support for open borders, of course, and also for multiculturalism.
In addition, Left Cosmos love international organizations, such as the United Nations; to them, that’s the future—one big New World Order.Right Cosmopolitans also support open borders. In addition, being good capitalists, they support free trade and anything else that multinational corporations might wish for. And since they are private-sector-loving corporatists, they avidly embrace pro-business international combines, such as the World Trade Organization.
What is stated here in this sub-piece as well as for the other sub-pieces in the same article, the views may hold solid with the foot soldiers and not necessarily with the "generals" themselves.
2. Establishmentism
It could be argued that Establishmentism is more of an approach, more of an attitude than an ideology, and that might be the caseIn the medieval past, such deference was described as the Great Chain of Being; that is, there was supposedly a divinely ordained hierarchy of things. In this vision, God had put the master in the castle, and the servant at the gate. The English Tory Party, before it went Cosmopolitan under Cameron, was mostly dedicated to the idea of “God Save the King” (or Queen); everything else flowed from that vision of dignified obedience.Yet Establishmentism is by no means limited to the political right: The Soviet Communists of the ’70s and ’80s, under the doddering leadership of Brezhnev and others, were as blindly devoted to Keeping Things The Same as any Colonel Blimp.
Returning to the U.S., we can see that leading Establishmentists have been fully bipartisan, including Mike Mansfield, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Michel, Jay Rockefeller, and John Boehner.
we can also note a more brutal aspect: the process of bludgeoning the lower orders into submission.
Yes, this is an old story: the Establishment hiring courtiers and henchmen, tasking them with keeping the peasants quiescent.
We might dub these henchmen—and, to be fair, henchwomen—as Compradores. That’s a Portuguese word for middleman, which historians have used to lump together all the in-country agents of old colonialism. That is, the Compradoreswere the overseers, foremen, policemen, etc., assigned to manage the colonial enterprise and, of course, crush any unrest.We can further note that one of the perverse consolations of this system was that the Compradores had the satisfaction of knowing that those they were tyrannizing had it even rougher.Here in America today, we can observe a variant on the Compradore system. As we have seen, smug journalists are happy to tell the “yokels” that they should be more grateful for all the good things they have.Outright suppressive violence in America has been, happily, extremely rare, and so American Compradores, instead, have relied on propaganda. They hope that through adroit use of language, they can connive the consent of the governed. And if conniving doesn’t work, well, they’ll try clobbering.Thus we come to a remarkable group of American Compradores, avowedly conservatives, who happily pull out their verbal truncheons to beat down the people. They might well have come from the working- or middle-classes themselves, but by now, having moved to the bright lights of the big city, they have totally absorbed the value-system of their paymasters, and this inward propagandizing, in turn, leads them to hate their “inferiors”—that is, to hate their former selves.
3.Green Malthusianism Only the examples cited are worthy of mentioning from this sub-piece:George Soros Tom Steyer. The rest is conspiracy stuff that cannot be constrained only to the proponents of this type of thinking.
4.Leftism By contrast, today’s Democrats, filled with Cosmopolitan dreams, want to extend government benefits to the world—and that’s not just a budget-buster, it’s also a political loser.

In truth, today’s Democrats aren’t much interested in the well-being of working stiffs. Instead, they are enraptured with new plans to advance identity politics, co-ed bathrooms, and #BlackLivesMatter. All the while, of course, keeping the border open and suppressing energy production and economic activity.
Part 1 is typical American kool aid, 2nd IMO expresses the new gen dems MO.
5. Libertarianism Indeed, Libertarianism has such intellectual abundance that one must divide it into a flowchart of sub-categories, from anarchists on the left to anarcho-capitalists on the right. Also, there are the “orthodox” Libertarians of the Koch Brothers’ Cato Institute, and the “rebels” associated with the late Murray Rothbard or LewRockwell.com. And then, in their own little world, are the followers of the famed author Ayn Rand, who have subdivided themselves into various feuding Objectivist factions.Yet for all this neural proliferation, what can not be said about Libertarians is that they are numerous in the country at large. We can prove this statement by examining the performance of Libertarian Party (LP) presidential candidates, who have run in every national election since 1972. In those 11 elections, their average percentage of the vote has been a mere .37 percent; they have never won more than 1.06 percent—and that was back in 1980.And that reality is full of implications for Republican office-holders, present and future. Wise old Washington hands have a saying: “Personnel is policy.” That is, a Republican might win office—maybe even win the White House—and discover that “his” people are the same free-market ideologues who ran the Bush 43 administration over a cliff.
6. Libertinism
As such, Libertinism poses a challenge to the American social fabric. In our history, the Founding Fathers strongly believed in personal freedom, but they also strongly believed in personal morality. “Liberty,” John Adams wrote, “can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.”Thus was born the American Experiment: The government would be small, but institutionalized personal probity would be large. That is, the churches and other civic institutions would gladly provide the personal and patriotic instruction for the benefit of the populace, at no expense to the taxpayer. As we can see, the old system was sort of a free lunch—and on the menu was virtue.
Yet in the minds of most Americans, the idea of an ordained structure that determined personal behavior started dying in the19th century; as Herman Melville explained to his fellow novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1851, “The Godhead is broken up like the bread at the Supper, and we are the pieces.”For the intellectuals, this breaking up of the old faith-based codes was mostly the result of Darwinism; for the masses, later, it was mostly the result of consumerism.Either way, these days, the values of “Do your own thing” and “Live and let live” are now pre-eminent.For some, Libertinism is a gateway to rugged individualism, which is to say, it’s a recapitulation of ancient Stoicism. And while most ordinary folks, over the ages, have never heard of the philosophers Zeno, Epictetus, or Seneca, they have known innately that the values of restraint and delayed gratification are not only keys to happiness, but also the keys to health and even survival. Yet for most, Libertinism seems to offer no political lessons; it’s just an appetite: Do whatever you want, and someone—maybe parents, maybe the welfare system, maybe the Federal Reserve—will pay for it.
Some bible belt fears along with what Trump said about "New York values"
7.Nationalism
Regular stuff really, not worth quoting.
8.Neoconservatism In many ways, Neoconservatism resembles Libertarianism: It is an ivory-tower theory, and thus it connects better to theoreticians than to actual voters.Indeed, if anything, Neoconservatism is even less broadly popular than Libertarianism: Not many Republicans, for example, look forward to a return to the days of the Iraq War—the signature project of the Neocons.We can add that it’s perfectly possible to seek to annihilate terrorists and not be a Neocon: The politically winning answer is to annihilate the bad guys, preferably with bombs or cruise missiles—and not to invade, liberate, and nation-build, all in an attempt to turn terrorists into small “d” democrats.{Nice views f*ker for you get to decide the scope of the word terrorist}Most of today’s Neocons would trace their intellectual lineage back to Woodrow Wilson. It was our 28th president who gave us such seductive abstractions as, “teach [other countries] to elect good men,” fight a “war to end war,” and achieve “peace without victory.In addition, Wilson also gave us such ivory-tower gems as this, from his “Fourteen Points” speech to Congress in 1918: “Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”
Yet even though Wilsonianism was crushed at the polls in 1918 and then really crushed in 1920, the idea of idealism lingers on; in the last few decades, it has re-emerged as Neoconservatism—on the left, as well as the right.Of course, the all-time champion Neocon is George W. Bush. In his 2005 inaugural address, he declared, in a stunning paean to non-conservative Neoconservatism, “We have lit a fire… a fire in the minds of men… one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.”
Yes, that’s the way Neoconservatives actually talk—about “untamed fires.” In the same ill-fated address, Bush sailed on: “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”
9.Paleoconservatism we can note that Paleoconservatism survives to this day, mostly in the form of the Right to Life movement.
Is this applicable only in the US or are there pro-xtian groups in europe as well, i know that germany has a christian named party, but does it stand for the overtly "xtian ethos?"
10.Populism he Populist worldview can be expressed simply: The big boys are out to get you! So get there first and burn it down, or blow it up—whatever it is! Across history, almost without exception, Populists have come into power and found themselves to be totally ineffective—or, sometimes, totally co-opted. Being “mad as hell” is often a good way to win an election, but it’s a terrible way actually to govern.
The question that i seek to ask here is whether this is laying down of another set of dogmas? Maybe what we have with our many gods, the westerners will form with their theocratic dogmas.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby csaurabh » 26 Mar 2016 21:34

So in an effort to get more non-Western style of thinking, I've been watching a Chinese TV series called 'Three Kingdoms', available on youtube (English subtitles).

Background: The novel 'Romance of Three Kingdoms' is one of the four great classics of Chinese literature. It is based on a historical account of the Three kingdoms era ( about 200 AD ), but also makes a lot of stuff up. 'Three Kingdoms' is a 2010 TV adaptation of this novel ( big hit ), which follows the storyline quite faithfully ( although still some stuff is changed or left out ).

This series can be compared to the Mahabharata- It has about the same length ( 95 episodes, compared to 94 episodes in BR Chopra's Mahabharata, each episode ~45 min in both series ). It has lots and lots of characters , about politics and warfare and so on. However unlike the Mahabharata, it doesn't have a concept like Dharma yuddha, and mythology/fantasy elements are largely absent.

I watched all the episodes to get a good grasp of what the show is all about. Here are some points I noted.

-The series is quite dark and violent, sometimes savage and graphic. Certainly not meant for kids.
-There are massive amount of characters and place names, and they change all the time, with characters dying and new ones coming. Keeping track of all that requires good memory.
-Almost no character here really has any honor, except Liu Bei and his associates ( and even they are flawed a great deal ). Mostly it is about smart villains and dumb villains, all plotting this and that.
-A great deal of attention is given to intelligence, scholarship and talent - all the lords go to great extent to hire the best military advisors and councillors. People like Zhuge Liang, Sima Yi,Lu Su, etc. are highly prized and praised.
-While scholarly talent is praised, great attention is given to practical experience rather than book learning. As one character aptly remarks at one point: The Art of War is not always right.
-The series also features 'supermen' like Guan Yi, Zhao Yun, Lu Bu, etc. who can fight hundreds of enemies ( although still nothing like Arjuna ). However while martial ability is praised, it is repeatedly emphasized that this takes you only so far.
-Generals and strategists constantly use innovative and unconventional strategies, like fire, flooding camp by breaching dam, cutting off food supply, cutting off water supply, relying on rains, disease etc. These things can kill just as easily as weapons.
-The Chinese do not really have a 'religion' - they have some temples, do ancestor worship and believe in 'Heaven' - ie. Heaven's mandate, Heaven's will, etc.
-While the 'lower class' people have a really rough time in this series (they get slaughtered, and no one pays any attention to them), I think its interesting to note that all the founders of the three kingdoms and some of their advisors come from humble backgrounds, while the born aristocrats like Yuan Shao, Liu Zhang, etc. get owned real fast.
-This series is not nice to women. There are very few female characters, and apart from two or three, they have largely background roles. ( Human rights activists will have a fun time )
-Its interesting to see changes in geography compared to present day China- The three kingdoms cover only about half of China's area today ( Tibet, Xianjiang, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria are absent ). Beijing, Shanghai, Hongkong don't exist at this point, Imperial capitals like Luoyang and Xuchang are irrelevant now, however Shu Han capital of Chengdu is an important city of modern China.
-This story is all about human desire and ambition. It can be a bit nihilistic sometimes, but overall its a good story and certainly worth watching.

Watch


P.S. I have also read ( long time back ) an English translation of 'Journey to the West' - another of the four great classics. That has all the mythology/fantasy elements, like demons, magic powers, etc. One cool thing about that is that they are basically journeying to India, and India is described as a really wonderful place.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ricky_v » 26 Mar 2016 22:16

with regards to the treatment of the common chinese people, here is a paragraph that details their origins,
When the firstborn, P'an Ku, was approaching death, his body was transformed. His breath became the wind and clouds; his voice became peals of thunder. His left eye became the sun; his right eye became the moon. His four limbs and five extremities became the four cardinal points and the five peaks. His blood and semen became water and rivers. His muscles and veins became the earth's arteries; his flesh became fields and land. His hair and beard became the stars; his bodily hair became plants and trees. His teeth and bones became metal and rock; his vital marrow became pearls and jade. His sweat and bodily fluids became streaming rain. All the mites on his body were touched by the wind and were turned into the black-haired people
it seems the han have always loved degrading the peasant folk

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Gyan » 27 Mar 2016 12:31

Christianity may have taken material from Buddhism but can it be said that some Buddhist monks set up Christianity? I think that latter portion is far fetched as Buddhist monks were themselves trying to propagate Buddhism not set up new religions. I think Christianity was carefully set up Religion as part of Roman Empire Power Struggle. As perhaps was Islam set up by/under Christian influence (Byzantine) in Arabia in its struggle against Persia.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby svenkat » 30 Mar 2016 22:14

Three articles on the 'battle for sanskrit debate' giving three different perspectives.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-story-of-my-sanskrit/article6321759.ece

http://www.sandeepweb.com/the-bhagavad-gita-before-the-battle/

http://swarajyamag.com/culture/the-peculiarity-of-the-pollock-challenge

They relate to the place of samskrita vaak in the intellectual and spiritual traditions of India and the claims of western universalists about the 'inherent limitations' of the 'oppressive traditions' of Hindu social order.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby RoyG » 30 Mar 2016 23:02

Guptaji,

Reading your debates makes me want to pull my hair out. The West has bought into its own notion of religion to the degree that it has lost the ability to carry out any meaningful self-reflection on its own experience. Even the so called non believers can't see how deeply influenced they are by Church doctrine. Simply deconstruct the word "(a)-theism" and you will see that the most 'secular' strain of Western consciousness cannot escape the grasp of the religious. Laughable that they cant see that 'theism' as it developed starting w/ Semitic anthropology is THE reference point by which to define the secular domain.

For those that argue that the reference point for the secular is what you can prove w/ the senses I propose the following thought experiment:

Lets suppose we came into contact with intelligence life on another planet. The structure of whatever consciousness organ they may have will process stimuli from the 'external' environment differently than we do. Who is to say then what the reference point should be?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby RajeshA » 20 Apr 2016 20:02

Published on Apr 19, 2016
Pat Buchanan: Even If Trump Wins, The West Is Doomed: Daily Caller

Buchanan told TheDC. “The West is disintegrating. Its faith is dead. When the cult dies, the culture dies and when the culture dies the civilization dies, and when the civilization dies the people die, and that’s what’s happening to western civilization.”

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby panduranghari » 02 May 2016 11:46

While we have a current Pollock spreading his Sheldonism, there used to be another one roaming the halls of ivy league US universities spreading his own peculiar brand of Sheldon Eugenics. All in days work for the Western Universalist.

The Great Ivy League Nude Photo Scandal


While the popular conception of Sheldonism has it that he divided human beings into three types -- skinny, nervous "ectomorphs"; fat and jolly "endomorphs"; confident, buffed "mesomorphs" -- what he actually did was somewhat more complex. He believed that every individual harbored within him different degrees of each of the three character components. By using body measurements and ratios derived from nude photographs, Sheldon believed he could assign every individual a three-digit number representing the three components, components that Sheldon believed were inborn -- genetic -- and remained unwavering determinants of character regardless of transitory weight change. In other words, physique equals destiny.

It was the pop-psych flavor of the month for a while; Cosmopolitan magazine published quizzes about how to understand your husband on the basis of somatotype. Ecto-, meso- and endomorphic have entered the language, although few scientists these days give credence to Sheldon's claims. "Half the textbooks in [ his ] area fail to take [ him ] seriously," remarked one academician in a 1992 paper on Sheldon's legacy. Others, like Hans Eysenck, the British psychologist, have suggested that Sheldon wasn't really doing science at all, that he was just winging it, that there was "little theoretical foundation for the observed findings."

Nonetheless, in the late 40's and early 50's, Sheldonism seemed mainstream, and Sheldon took advantage of that to approach Ivy League schools. Many, like Harvard, already had a posture-photo tradition. But it was at Wellesley College in the late 1920's that concern about postural correctness metamorphosed into a cottage industry with pretensions to science. The department of hygiene circulated training films about posture measurement to other women's colleges, which took up the practice, as did some "progressive" high schools and elementary schools. (By the time Hillary Rodham arrived on the Wellesley campus, women were allowed to have their pictures taken only partly nude. Although Lanier assumes that Sheldon took the Rodham photo, Wellesley archivists believe that Sheldon didn't take posture photos at their school.)

What Sheldon did was appropriate the ritual. Lanier confirmed that the Ivy League "posture photos" Sheldon used were "part of a facade or cover-up for what we were really doing" -- which would make the schools less complicit. But Lanier stoutly defended "what we were really doing" as valid science. As part of his Ph.D. project, he has been examining Sheldonian ecto-, meso- and endomorphic categories and the "time horizon" of the individual.

"Conflicting temporal horizon can account for all the divorce we have today," Lanier said.

......
Something had apparently gone wrong with the technical side of the earlier shoot. But the official refused to allow Sheldon to reshoot the women, declaring that "to require them to pose for another [ nude posture photo ] would create insurmountable psychological problems."

Insurmountable psychological problems. Suddenly the subjects of Sheldon's photography leaped into the foreground: the shy girl, the fat girl, the religiously conservative, the victim of inappropriate parental attention. Here, perhaps, Naomi Wolf has a point. In a culture that already encourages women to scrutinize their bodies critically, the first thing that happens to these women when they arrive at college is an intrusive, uncomfortable, public examination of their nude bodies.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby panduranghari » 02 May 2016 12:23

ricky_v wrote:6. Libertinism
As such, Libertinism poses a challenge to the American social fabric. .......
Yet in the minds of most Americans, the idea of an ordained structure that determined personal behavior started dying in the19th century; as Herman Melville explained to his fellow novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1851, “The Godhead is broken up like the bread at the Supper, and we are the pieces.”For the intellectuals, this breaking up of the old faith-based codes was mostly the result of Darwinism; for the masses, later, it was mostly the result of consumerism.Either way, these days, the values of “Do your own thing” and “Live and let live” are now pre-eminent.For some, Libertinism is a gateway to rugged individualism, which is to say, it’s a recapitulation of ancient Stoicism. And while most ordinary folks, over the ages, have never heard of the philosophers Zeno, Epictetus, or Seneca, they have known innately that the values of restraint and delayed gratification are not only keys to happiness, but also the keys to health and even survival. Yet for most, Libertinism seems to offer no political lessons; it’s just an appetite: Do whatever you want, and someone—maybe parents, maybe the welfare system, maybe the Federal Reserve—will pay for it.


Lord Acton (as he was called then) believed libertarianism was the only way state and church power can be constrained. As people had no choice but to choose between the 2, there can be no liberty as both still believe in exploitation of the society. Acton in his essays considered Babington Macaulay as one of the greatest libertarian writers of his era. So his ideas perhaps were not at odds with macaulay Stoicism according to wikipedia was a pagan thought banned by Justinian as it was at odds with church. To recapture this thought they invented Libertarianism which means -Libertariansim is incompletely understood 'dharmik thought' in the straight jacket of Christianity.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby RoyG » 05 May 2016 07:48

RajeshA wrote:Published on Apr 19, 2016
Pat Buchanan: Even If Trump Wins, The West Is Doomed: Daily Caller

Buchanan told TheDC. “The West is disintegrating. Its faith is dead. When the cult dies, the culture dies and when the culture dies the civilization dies, and when the civilization dies the people die, and that’s what’s happening to western civilization.”


No. The West is not dead. The deep culture is setting fire to the world as it digests Indian thought and slowly heals itself. They've perfected strategic retreat from the British.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ramana » 12 May 2016 23:53

An old history guide which I had posted earlier.

Modern European Intellectual History:

http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/intellect.html

Read the first lecture at least:

http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/lecture1a.html

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 15 May 2016 18:58

Found these comments of Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel winner on BK's blog. I will x-post to the China threads but here is the important point. The challenge to western mores comes from sanatan dharma. What is missing is the political and economic heft to embark this challenge. Man Durga needs to take birth and Kalki promises to be a warrior avatar!
In a remarkably honest assessment of his own political stance and the evolution of his thinking, Liu has asserted that “My tendency to idealize Western civilization arises from my nationalistic desire to use the West in order to reform China. But this has led me to overlook the flaws of Western culture…. I have been obsequious toward Western civilization, exaggerating its merits, and at the same time exaggerating my own merits. I have viewed the West as if it were not only the salvation of China but also the natural and ultimate destination of all humanity. Moreover I have used this delusional idealism to assign myself the role of savior…. I now realize that Western civilization, while it can be useful in reforming China in its present stage, cannot save humanity in an overall sense. If we stand back from Western civilization for a moment, we can see that it possesses all the flaws of humanity in general….If I, as a person who has lived under China’s autocratic system for more than thirty years, want to reflect on the fate of humanity or how to be an authentic person, I have no choice but to carry out two critiques simultaneously. I must: 1. Use Western civilization as a tool to critique China. 2. Use my own creativity to critique the West.”

An Imploding China? How soon?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Lilo » 24 May 2016 11:17

Image

Note the indian origin presstitute Itika Sharma Punit.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 28 May 2016 07:21

Image

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 28 May 2016 09:24

^Prescient as always. I know many here do not like Sam Huntington but I do think he was extraordinary, even if his understanding of the Asian and especially the Indian view points was lacking. He really did get it - even though he was partial to the Calvinist ethical basis of American society. Many do not like that prognosis, truth does not have to be liked but recognized.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby RoyG » 02 Jun 2016 18:49

I've been hearing more about hasidic jews and their supposed non dual beliefs.

How does this compare w/ non dualism from indian traditions?

From what I've read they believe everything is "God" but they don't really mention anything about perception (self/illusion).

Moreover, they seem like they did have some sort of conception about individuality being a falsehood (non-dual amateurs?)

Another major deficiency is they lacked the meditative tool kit that we developed to self introspect and work through their attachments.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby JwalaMukhi » 05 Jun 2016 19:59

Now, a paki reject, who went native, cannot hide her bigotry for SDREs and hurls abuses.
Once in a while writes criticall of pakis to dazzle some SDREs.
https://twitter.com/cchristinefair/status/739150032092442624
Ram was a pig. I'm with Ravana.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby csaurabh » 05 Jun 2016 20:20

Huntington's Clash of Civilizations is amazing to read. It is incredibly accurate today even though it was written in 1996 ( it predicts a war in Ukarine ). Central to his thesis is the idea that Western civilization is unique, as opposed to being 'universal'.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby csaurabh » 05 Jun 2016 20:29

Iben Thranholm and Stefan Molyneux - How Feminism destroyed Europe



Video is really worth watching. It really debunks the core argument of - immigrants just want money and jobs and they'll be happy, we're all same and religion doesn't matter, etc. Additionally that 'secular humanism'/democracy/postmodernism/etc. are not enough to deal with a strong faith based ideology such as Islam- only faith can fight faith.

Additionally, Iben Thranholm posits that the current crises in Europe are due to insane amounts of feminism and leftism in the previous decades. Men in Europe were raised to be 'feminine' and thus seem to be lacking in the traditional masculine values that are needed to defend society - chivalry, honor, courage, etc.

schinnas
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby schinnas » 05 Jun 2016 21:34

[quote="csaurabh"]Huntington's Clash of Civilizations is amazing to read. It is incredibly accurate today even though it was written in 1996 ( it predicts a war in Ukarine ). Central to his thesis is the idea that Western civilization is unique, as opposed to being 'universal'.[/quote

Every civilization is unique and not just western civilization. Fellows like Huntington despite their intellect are narrow minded and cannot see the possibility of a larger harmony. May be if he was exposed to Indian civilizational values, he might have arrived at more enlightened conclusions.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby chandrabhan » 06 Jun 2016 16:43

shiv wrote:
Satya_anveshi wrote: However, when that is extended to monotheists, that door is shut. So, basically, it is the usage of freedom and denying the very same at the core of it. That is a contradiction in extending that freedom to 'propagate.'


LOL Correct!

Religion itself is a restriction of freedom. The rigid rules, single book, single god etc are al restrcitions of freedom. So what the fug does "Freedom to restrict freedom mean? :lol:

.....Obama said it right in his speech. he said "Non violence is good". Now go and read the history of Christian and Islamic violence and then talk about violence.


Shivji, If all right , I wish to use this quote in one of my blogs ..


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