Hindu-Buddhist Relations

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chetak
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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby chetak » 22 Dec 2018 13:54

Muns wrote:I hope the below video is relevant. For a long time I have stuggled with the genocide of Tamil Hindus by the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. I simply could not reconcile the fact, about the teachings of Dhamma, Ahimsa and of Right action by the Buddha and then the violent videos that we had to watch on frontline regarding the Tamil Hindu Genocide as well as other news media of the time.

Watching and reading about the story of the Buddha, is nothing I feel but Vedanta teachings that the Buddha must have surely come across in his travels, around India. Knowledge of the Veda and Upanishads was readily taught at in the time. In any case what we study now under teachings of Shankaracharya have a great similarity to Buddhism I feel. In any case they all stem from the Upanishads is my thinking.

We recently released this video asking the same question to a Tibetan monk regarding the genocide by Buddhists in Sri Lanka to Tamil Hindus. I also had to call a spade a spade with regard to the genocide as well occurring in Myanmar, by Buddhist Monks leading political parties there.

The Tibetan monk, answer was quite diplomatic. Simply not Buddhism but human nature. I also tried to bring out other topics regarding the spread of Buddhism under Ashoka the great, for I feel it was really he who really spread Buddhism to far-flung areas of Bharat at that time.

In any case I would appreciate any feedback regarding the video below...

Tibetan Buddhist Monk Calls Sri Lanka, Myanmar Genocide 'pathetic'



sirji,

your above analysis may well benefit by the use of the correct nomenclature for said Tamil Hindus as srilankan Tamil Hindus.

"Tamil Hindus" implies that the GoI has the responsibility for the welfare of sri lankan Tamil Hindus, somehow blithely glossing over the crossing of national boundaries and actively interfering in the internal affairs of another sovereign state.

For far too long has India's relations with sri lanka been held hostage to the murky and often diabolical politics of the dravidian construct, a construct whose agenda is dictated by inimical off shore entities and other offshore BIF players all of whom are singed with more than just a cursory touch of the virulent separatist agenda and mindset.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 24 Dec 2018 00:15

Muns wrote:Sudarshan, not to divert from the thread, but I had earlier written a article on this regarding Dara Shikoh and what he wrote called the Majma Ul Bahrain ; ie mingling of two oceans. Copies I believe are available online, for which you can readily delve into his mind of what he was thinking and what he really try to equate between Islam and Sanathan Dharm.

Unfortunately what I got out of it was he was really trying to hold the gold standard of the Quran and trying to do an equal equal of a patchwork of Indian sources to reach this gold standard in morality.


Yep, that's what one would expect, much like that "parliament of religions" which was really meant to showcase the supremacy of Christianity, only to have Swami Vivekananda steal the show (and how).

Not sure how much he would've really thought in his final movements,

Aurangzeb quickly convened a mock trial by some Ulema who deemed him Takfir (apostate) thereby sealing his fate.
Imprisoned, Dara was cooking his evening Dal with his young son, when four assassins sent by Aurangzeb fell upon them. Apparently he tried to fight with all he had, a small kitchen knife, before he was held down and quickly decapitated in front of his young son. His head was taken to Aurangzeb who exclaimed; ‘Ah wretched one! let this shocking sight no more offend my eyes, but take away the head, and let it be buried in Humayun’s tomb.’


Majma Ul Bahrain ; Mingling of two Oceans

https://www.india-aware.com/opinion/maj ... wo-oceans/


The thread which I really wanted to start was one named "Accounts of India by Foreign Travelers" being a discussion on memoirs by travelers in India before the European conquest (and preferably before the Muslim conquest, but that would be really restrictive). I haven't done enough reading for that yet, so in the meantime I started this Hindu-Buddhist relations thread to specifically talk about Hsuan Tsang and Fa Hian, and also to point the discussion along the lines of what JEM saar suggested.

The quote you have - is that from Bernier? Because I remember Bernier also describes this scene (Dara Shikoh's murder and Aurangazeb's reaction to it) in great detail. Bernier had a soft corner for Dara Shikoh (obviously, since he seemed to be coming round to accepting Christianity). Bernier also provided medical service to Dara Shikoh and his wife, when they were both on the run in the wilds of North India. But Dara Shikoh was a lost cause, and Bernier comes around to reluctantly accepting that Aurangazeb was the one who inherited the mantle from Shah Jahan. Towards the end of his narrative, Bernier even tries to convince his European audience to accept Aurangazeb, saying "although the methods he used to gain power were unjust (i.e., murdering his brothers, etc.), we must remember that, unlike in Europe, this is the norm in India, and Aurangazeb is otherwise a wise and just ruler, who truly has the best interests of his subjects at heart." (Paraphrasing, of course).

Now here's something interesting from Hsuan Tsang - he mentions that the country was anciently called "Shin-tu" (Sindhu?). But it seems that the more modern term "India" could come from "Indu," meaning "moon?"

ON examination, we find that the names of India (T'ienchu) are various and perplexing as to their authority. It was anciently called Shin-tu, also Hien-tau; but now, according to the right pronunciation, it is called In-tu. The people of In-tu call their country by different names according to their district. Each country has diverse customs. Aiming at a general name which is the best sounding, we will call the country In-tu.1 In Chinese
this name signifies the Moon. The moon has many names, of which this is one. For as it is said that all living things ceaselessly revolve in the wheel (of transmigration) through the long night of ignorance, without a guiding star, their case is like (the world), the sun gone down; as then the torch affords its connecting light, though there be the shining of the stars, how different from the bright (cool) moon; just so the bright connected light of holy men and sages, guiding the world as the shining of the moon, have made this country eminent, so it is called In-tu.
Last edited by sudarshan on 24 Dec 2018 00:26, edited 1 time in total.

sudarshan
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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 24 Dec 2018 00:19

I got several comments along the lines of "why should we examine relations between Hindus and Buddhists based on the words of foreigners, rather than looking at Indian accounts themselves?" Well, go for it, guys. This foreigner's account is all I know right now, and I've been waiting for others to present Indian accounts of Hindu-Buddhist relations from those times, but none seem to be forthcoming. If there is much contrast, then the Indian accounts would be preferable, so let's have them.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby Varoon Shekhar » 24 Dec 2018 07:21

Here's one- in Bhavabhuti's play "Malati and Madhava" a Buddhist nun Kamandaki, living in a Buddhist convent, acts as a go between to bring the two main characters( both Hindu) together. A Hindu dramatist saw nothing unusual in portraying a Buddhist in a positive way. It speaks of peaceful co-existence.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby Muns » 24 Dec 2018 12:36

sirji,

your above analysis may well benefit by the use of the correct nomenclature for said Tamil Hindus as srilankan Tamil Hindus.

"Tamil Hindus" implies that the GoI has the responsibility for the welfare of sri lankan Tamil Hindus, somehow blithely glossing over the crossing of national boundaries and actively interfering in the internal affairs of another sovereign state.

For far too long has India's relations with sri lanka been held hostage to the murky and often diabolical politics of the dravidian construct, a construct whose agenda is dictated by inimical off shore entities and other offshore BIF players all of whom are singed with more than just a cursory touch of the virulent separatist agenda and mindset.


I do agree to an extent, regarding the nomenclature. However we all had quite a few debates on BR regarding India's civilization reach and how responsible we are as a nation to some extent forming some protection for Hindus worldwide.
Do we not take in Hindu refugees from Pakistan?

At least this was the hope at the time, although under the UPA and Sonia it almost led to their extermination. Perhaps if it was Modi leading the reigns during that time genocide, might well have been restricted. I remember growing up watching the horrendous video clips and pictures and of course the documentarie via Channel 4

To some extent I feel that the whole Dravida construct is the result of a somewhat traumatised Periyar during his youth and his absolute hell-bent mission, to create and propagate the Dravida construct as a somewhat separate Indian identity.
I'm looking to take this topic up as a video topic regarding Periyar confused analysis and whether it has really any basis in Tamil Nadu today.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby Muns » 24 Dec 2018 12:48

The quote you have - is that from Bernier? Because I remember Bernier also describes this scene (Dara Shikoh's murder and Aurangazeb's reaction to it) in great detail. Bernier had a soft corner for Dara Shikoh (obviously, since he seemed to be coming round to accepting Christianity). Bernier also provided medical service to Dara Shikoh and his wife, when they were both on the run in the wilds of North India. But Dara Shikoh was a lost cause, and Bernier comes around to reluctantly accepting that Aurangazeb was the one who inherited the mantle from Shah Jahan. Towards the end of his narrative, Bernier even tries to convince his European audience to accept Aurangazeb, saying "although the methods he used to gain power were unjust (i.e., murdering his brothers, etc.), we must remember that, unlike in Europe, this is the norm in India, and Aurangazeb is otherwise a wise and just ruler, who truly has the best interests of his subjects at heart." (Paraphrasing, of course).

'
http://sanchitakarma.blogspot.com/2013/ ... ht-to.html

Sorry I didn't realize that references were not in the article that I posted above. I have posted the article again with the references to be honest I actually had to check them myself. Wrote that many moons ago. From the references it does look like it was taken from Bernier.
Not sure what you actually mean by Dara being a lost cause. He was definitely one who was more intellectual and perhaps would've been a lot better than Aurangzeb.
If I remember rightly as this is completely off my head, it was another story of betrayal where on the day of battle, one of Dara Shikohs guide, sold a hidden path to Aurangzebs generals who laid in wait and flanked him during an opportune time in the battle.
Reading the Majma, one can get an idea into what Dara was actually thinking and in my mind he was really trying to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Akbar.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby chetak » 24 Dec 2018 12:53

Muns wrote:
sirji,

your above analysis may well benefit by the use of the correct nomenclature for said Tamil Hindus as srilankan Tamil Hindus.

"Tamil Hindus" implies that the GoI has the responsibility for the welfare of sri lankan Tamil Hindus, somehow blithely glossing over the crossing of national boundaries and actively interfering in the internal affairs of another sovereign state.

For far too long has India's relations with sri lanka been held hostage to the murky and often diabolical politics of the dravidian construct, a construct whose agenda is dictated by inimical off shore entities and other offshore BIF players all of whom are singed with more than just a cursory touch of the virulent separatist agenda and mindset.


I do agree to an extent, regarding the nomenclature. However we all had quite a few debates on BR regarding India's civilization reach and how responsible we are as a nation to some extent forming some protection for Hindus worldwide.
Do we not take in Hindu refugees from Pakistan?

At least this was the hope at the time, although under the UPA and Sonia it almost led to their extermination. Perhaps if it was Modi leading the reigns during that time genocide, might well have been restricted. I remember growing up watching the horrendous video clips and pictures and of course the documentarie via Channel 4

To some extent I feel that the whole Dravida construct is the result of a somewhat traumatised Periyar during his youth and his absolute hell-bent mission, to create and propagate the Dravida construct as a somewhat separate Indian identity.
I'm looking to take this topic up as a video topic regarding Periyar confused analysis and whether it has really any basis in Tamil Nadu today.


Back up a lot further until you reach a guy called bishop caldwell, a sly, lying missionary who was the originator of this cultural genocide.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby JE Menon » 24 Dec 2018 19:10

sudarshan wrote:I got several comments along the lines of "why should we examine relations between Hindus and Buddhists based on the words of foreigners, rather than looking at Indian accounts themselves?" Well, go for it, guys. This foreigner's account is all I know right now, and I've been waiting for others to present Indian accounts of Hindu-Buddhist relations from those times, but none seem to be forthcoming. If there is much contrast, then the Indian accounts would be preferable, so let's have them.


There's a problem with this approach, particularly in English, because the words "Hindu" and "Buddhist" are both primarily used in the English language (as well as other European languages over the last 3-4 centuries). In the time that we are referring to, presumably from 600 BCE to about 1200 CE, it is not likely you will find any references to "Hindu" or "Buddhist" in Indian literature. There were basically followers of the Dharma, some of whom chose the way of the Buddha as their primary focus in the search for meaning, retaining what they wanted of the Sanatana Dharma, and others who did not choose the way of the Buddha as their primary focus, but rather chose to stick to their Jaina path or to the numerous other paths offered under the rubric of the Sanatana Dharma.

It is not even clear what "religion" is in that context. So I would personally suggest the introduction of such differentiated and (presumably) entirely discrete structures described as "Hinduism" and "Buddhism" - is derived directly from an Abrahamic framework of viewing other faith systems, in particular the Asian ones.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 24 Dec 2018 19:50

Varoon Shekhar wrote:Here's one- in Bhavabhuti's play "Malati and Madhava" a Buddhist nun Kamandaki, living in a Buddhist convent, acts as a go between to bring the two main characters( both Hindu) together. A Hindu dramatist saw nothing unusual in portraying a Buddhist in a positive way. It speaks of peaceful co-existence.


Thank you saar. This is from the 8th century? Does the play explicitly mention "Buddhist" or "Hindu" or are these inferred?

After the death of Harshavardhana (before CE 700) Buddhism was in general decline in India. Even in earlier times, even per the Chinese travelers, the two groups lived peacefully, and it was the priests on the Buddhist side and the Brahmins on the Hindu side who were in conflict (this conflict was pretty acrimonious though, barely refraining from violence, per the Chinese accounts). So amicable relations between the communities after 700 CE would not be surprising, even if we go by the descriptions in Hsuan Tsang or Fa Hian about "heretics/ unbelievers on the one hand and the true path on the other."

Would you happen to know of any Indian sources before, say, 600 AD? Those would be really valuable.

To put things in chronological context:

Harshavardhana was a contemporary of Pulakeshin, in fact, he lost to Pulakeshin in a critical battle, and Pulakeshin's court poet (Ravikeerti?) wrote in praise about how "our king made Harsha lose his Harsha, and ground Pishtapura into Pishta." In fact, Hsuan Tsang mentions that Harshavardhana was unable to enforce his writ on the Chalukyas under Pulakeshin.

Pulakeshin also defeated Mahendravarman (the Pallava king, ruling roughly from north TN of today). Mahendravarma Pallava, on his death-bed, exhorted his son, Narasimhavarman, to take revenge on Pulakeshin. Pulakeshin, I believe, lost his life in the battle against Narasimhavarman. Narasimhavarman cemented Pallava power, and this was the lead up to the Chola empire in TN.

The Tamil writer Kalki wrote several novels set in this period. Sivakamiyin Sabadam specifically deals with the times of Mahendravarma, and his son Narasimhavarman. This is also the time in which the Mahabalipuram temples were constructed. Kalki's novels also feature a scheming Buddhist monk (Naganandi).

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 24 Dec 2018 20:02

Muns wrote:'
http://sanchitakarma.blogspot.com/2013/ ... ht-to.html

Sorry I didn't realize that references were not in the article that I posted above. I have posted the article again with the references to be honest I actually had to check them myself. Wrote that many moons ago. From the references it does look like it was taken from Bernier.
Not sure what you actually mean by Dara being a lost cause. He was definitely one who was more intellectual and perhaps would've been a lot better than Aurangzeb.
If I remember rightly as this is completely off my head, it was another story of betrayal where on the day of battle, one of Dara Shikohs guide, sold a hidden path to Aurangzebs generals who laid in wait and flanked him during an opportune time in the battle.
Reading the Majma, one can get an idea into what Dara was actually thinking and in my mind he was really trying to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Akbar.


By "lost cause," I meant politically, not in terms of capability or intellectual acumen. Bernier describes this prince (Dara Shikoh) as being misguided and naive, and too trusting of his associates and subordinates, many of whom betrayed him at critical points of time. For example, one of his attendant rajahs advised him, in the heat of battle, to abandon his elephant and set himself up on a horse, ostensibly because Dara Shikoh was endangering his life by being highly visible high above the battlefield on an elephant. This "advice" was deliberate, and in response to an insult to which Dara Shikoh had subjected this rajah. Dara foolishly accepted the advice, with the result that he was no longer visible on the battlefield, and his soldiers took him for dead and abandoned the field. Similar naive and foolish decisions like this cost him the empire and ultimately his life. Bernier just accepts with a sigh that Dara Shikoh was simply too trusting to be emperor, and the wily Aurangazeb won out instead. He might have been a lot better than Aurangazeb, or (given his propensity for Xtianity - a seemingly "reasonable" and "mild-mannered" pliant ruler is what the Xtians regard as a godsend anyway) he might have been much worse! At least the Mughal Islamic empire under Aurangazeb was openly anti-Hindu.

The betrayal you mention seems to be very much in character for this luckless and naive prince. Yes, Aruangazeb also accused Dara of being overly influenced by the Kafir ideals, and this accusation is what sealed his fate.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 24 Dec 2018 20:33

JE Menon wrote:There's a problem with this approach, particularly in English, because the words "Hindu" and "Buddhist" are both primarily used in the English language (as well as other European languages over the last 3-4 centuries). In the time that we are referring to, presumably from 600 BCE to about 1200 CE, it is not likely you will find any references to "Hindu" or "Buddhist" in Indian literature. There were basically followers of the Dharma, some of whom chose the way of the Buddha as their primary focus in the search for meaning, retaining what they wanted of the Sanatana Dharma, and others who did not choose the way of the Buddha as their primary focus, but rather chose to stick to their Jaina path or to the numerous other paths offered under the rubric of the Sanatana Dharma.

It is not even clear what "religion" is in that context. So I would personally suggest the introduction of such differentiated and (presumably) entirely discrete structures described as "Hinduism" and "Buddhism" - is derived directly from an Abrahamic framework of viewing other faith systems, in particular the Asian ones.


This is the way I see it. From Fa Hian or Hsuan Tsang, I get the sense of distinct difference between the "True Path" (Buddhism) and the "Heretic" or "False" doctrine (Hinduism). Hsuan Tsang refers extensively to the Brahmins, the custodians of the heretic path, who were the leaders of the unbelievers. The terms "Greater Vehicle" (Mahayana) and "Lesser Vehicle" (Hinayana) are also used a lot. Then he also refers to Buddhist works by name, transliterating directly from Sanskrit to Chinese (with all the attendant oddities of Chinese, such as "r" sounds turning into "l" sounds, etc.). Sample this quote about the dress patterns of "unbelievers:"

The dress and ornaments worn by non-believers are varied and mixed. Some wear peacocks' feathers ; some wear as ornaments necklaces made. of skull bones (the Kapdladhdrinas) ; some have no clothing, but go naked (Nirgranthas); some wear leaf or bark garments ; some pull out their hair and cut off their moustaches ; others have bushy whiskers and their hair braided on the top of their heads. The costume is not uniform, and the colour, whether red or white, not constant.


He also refers to Buddhist temples as "viharas" and Hindu ones as "devalayas." Many other distinct differences are seen, in clothing, worship, doctrine, holy books, etc., and conflict is a constant factor. He refers to the Buddha as "Tathagatha" and "Avalokiteshwara." He refers to many different Buddhas, such as the Kashyapa Buddha, the Dipankara Buddha, the Krakachanda Buddha. He mentions that there will be 1000 Buddhas, four of whom have already made their appearance (the latest being the current Avalokiteshwara) and another 996 to come. And in doing all this, he refers to tales and legends which were *current in the India of the time.* Tales from the Ramayana or MB are presented, only built around the Buddha instead (such as the legend of emperor Sibi).

He even talks of the Vedas of the unbelievers:

The Brahmans study the four Veda Sdstras. The first is called Shau (longevity) -, it relates to the preservation of life and the regulation of the natural condition. The second is called Sse (sacrifice) ; it relates to the (rules of) sacrifice and prayer. The third is called Ping (peace or
regulation) ; it relates to decorum, casting of lots, military affairs, and army regulations. The fourth is called Shu (secret mysteries) ; it relates to various branches of science, incantations, medicine.26


Then Buddhist works:

These five hundred sages and saints first composed in ten myriads of verses the ''so. Sdst.ra to explain the Sdtra Pitaka.112- "N"ext they
made in ten myriads of verses the Vinaya Vibhdshd Sdstra to explain the Vinaya Pitaka; and afterwards they made in ten myriad of verses the Abhidliarma Vibhdshd dstra 113 to explain the AWiidharma Pitaka. Altogether they composed thirty myriad of verses in six hundred and sixty myriad of words, which thoroughly explained the three Pitakas.


Now if the Indian records don't mention any such conflict between Hindus and Buddhists, or if the Indian records don't even distinguish between the two, that is telling by itself - it means the foreign perspective was distinctly biased and colored. If the Indian records refer to "Hinayana" or "Mahayana," you know right there that the reference is to Buddhists. If the Indian records refer to Buddhist works such as the Vinaya Pitaka or the Abhidharma Pitaka (which are mentioned by Hsuan Tsang), then those refer to Buddhism. And so on. While Indian records might not contain the names "Hindu" or "Buddhist," it should be possible to infer these distinctions based on clues about doctrine, scripture, dress, etc. (assuming that the Chinese records weren't totally biased). If the Indian records don't present a picture of conflict - fine! We learn something from that also.

My point is, "Hindu" vs. "Buddhist" isn't just an Abrahamic construct, these Chinese foreigners also saw things in India in these terms. Maybe they were biased (just as the Abrahamics were biased), but still the origin of the distinction (however perceived and/or artificial this distinction was) goes back to times way before the Abrahamics.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby JE Menon » 25 Dec 2018 01:19

>>This is the way I see it. From Fa Hian or Hsuan Tsang, I get the sense of distinct difference between the "True Path" (Buddhism) and the "Heretic" or "False" doctrine (Hinduism).

These quotes on the wods "True Path", "Heretic" & "False" - are they yours or Fa Hien's? The words in backets (Buddhism & Hinduism) are they yours or Fa Hien's? You might get a sense of a distinct difference, because there is a difference between what the Buddha advocated and what the Upanishads advocate, for instance - and Fa Hien is trying to describe that (from his perspective as a Chinese observer). It is also odd that Fa Hien considers the Sanatana Dharma to be the "heretic" path when in fact, if one wants to use that terminology then it applies more appropriately to Buddhism which is essentially a specific outgrowth from the Dharmic philosophies that existed until it's foundation by the Gautama. If that is what Fa Hien actually said, then it is testimony to his poor reading of the situation on the ground at the very least.

>>Hsuan Tsang refers extensively to the Brahmins, the custodians of the heretic path, who were the leaders of the unbelievers.

Does the Chinese traveller refer to the Brahmins as the "unbelievers"? The passages you have quoted are merely descriptive, and not very good ones at that. Where are you seeing "conflict"? Does the traveller describe the Jains, and is there any "conflict" suggested there. Let us not forget that Chandragupta Maurya started following Jaina concepts and eventually took his own life by starvation, so the path followed by Mahavira was not an irrelevant one in ancient India.

A description which suggests different practices does not necessarily indicate conflict based on those differences, at least not any more than the conflict one might see today between the devotees of Shiva and those of Vishnu, for instance.

>>My point is, "Hindu" vs. "Buddhist" isn't just an Abrahamic construct, these Chinese foreigners also saw things in India in these terms.

The parts you have quoted does not show conflict, just descriptions of differences. Anyone travelling to India today, even a person of Indian origin who has never lived there, can describe the differences of philosophy, clothing and ritual between people who follow the Dharma and those who follow the Dhamma, but where does this suggest conflict?

To me, it seems a transplantation into the Indian context of the Abrahamic situation where the Jews had a rather vitriolic outgrowth exit its body and subsequently turn against it very violently. This is not relatable in India, where there is nothing like a crucifixion, nobody interested in harming the Gautama really, and certainly no one interested in suppressing his system of thought by any means other than intellectual exertion. That is, eventually, why the philosophy of the Gautama lost its central appeal - because it was argued out of the mainstream by the Vedanta thinkers, but not only them. Still, that it did not die out entirely in India is a testament to both the robustness of the Gautama's ideas as well as the Dharmic civilizational ethos of letting all ideas contend.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 25 Dec 2018 01:40

JE Menon wrote:These quotes on the wods "True Path", "Heretic" & "False" - are they yours or Fa Hien's? The words in backets (Buddhism & Hinduism) are they yours or Fa Hien's? You might get a sense of a distinct difference, because there is a difference between what the Buddha advocated and what the Upanishads advocate, for instance - and Fa Hien is trying to describe that (from his perspective as a Chinese observer). It is also odd that Fa Hien considers the Sanatana Dharma to be the "heretic" path when in fact, if one wants to use that terminology then it applies more appropriately to Buddhism which is essentially a specific outgrowth from the Dharmic philosophies that existed until it's foundation by the Gautama. If that is what Fa Hien actually said, then it is testimony to his poor reading of the situation on the ground at the very least.

>>Hsuan Tsang refers extensively to the Brahmins, the custodians of the heretic path, who were the leaders of the unbelievers.

Does the Chinese traveller refer to the Brahmins as the "unbelievers"? The passages you have quoted are merely descriptive, and not very good ones at that. Where are you seeing "conflict"? Does the traveller describe the Jains, and is there any "conflict" suggested there. Let us not forget that Chandragupta Maurya started following Jaina concepts and eventually took his own life by starvation, so the path followed by Mahavira was not an irrelevant one in ancient India.


The words are Hsuan Tsang's, or rather, they are in the English translation of Hsuan Tsang's work, and this translation happened in the 1850's, so the words could conceivably be those of the European translator. Like I said, I have this Chinese colleague who is into old Chinese historical texts, and I can present him with a couple of passages from the translated work and ask him for his opinion of how accurate the translation is.

But these words such as "heretic=Hindu," "unbeliever=Hindu," "true path=Buddhism," "false doctrine=Hinduism/ Brahminism," they are all in the (translated) work, and these words are not mine. Not just the words, but the overall sentiment of the book on the whole is along these lines, so it is very unlikely that only the words were inserted by the European translator. The sentiment expressed by the Chinese traveler is one of pity and contempt for the heretics (Hindus). What you say about Buddhism being the deviant path (not to use the word "heresy" here) is true, but that is not the way Hsuan Tsang saw it. And Hsuan Tsang was actually more tolerant of the Brahminical heresy than Fa Hian - Fa Hian was more virulent in his condemnation of this heresy.

Not just that, the sentiments do not seem to be exclusive to the Chinese travelers alone. The stories which they narrate about India, being local stories which they heard during their travels, also seem to show contempt on the part of the Buddhists for the heretics, pity and a desire to save the heretics from the hell which their deeds will earn for them. This is the bulleted list which I put in the first page of this thread:

    * Hsuan Tsang's book: he repeatedly refers to Hindus as "heretics" and "unbelievers" and pities their way of life
    * He talks about how the Buddha converted the Devas themselves, and how the Devas became subservient to him and accepted his superiority
    * He has many, many stories of how the "evil," "cunning," "jealous" Brahmins kept trying to wean people away from the "true path," only to be foiled every time
    * Many stories like this:
      * Brahmins tried to chop down a tree planted by the Buddha, but that tree kept coming back to life
      * Brahmins tried to murder a harlot woman and blame the Buddha, but were exposed
      * Brahmins tried to get a woman to declare that the Buddha got her pregnant, but Indra himself came down to show her lie
      * Jealous Brahmins tried to move a stone which had been set down by spirits who came to visit the Buddha, but no matter how many of them tried, they couldn't move that stone
      * There was a temple next to a Buddha vihara - when the sun was in the west, the vihara's shadow fell on the temple (devalaya), but when the sun was in the east, the temple's shadow bent to the north to avoid covering the vihara
      * This same temple - the priests lit lamps for their gods, but in the morning, those lamps were found in the vihara, so the priests set a night watch, and found that their own idols came to life in the night, took the lamps, circumambulated the vihara, and placed the lamps within, before disappearing - so the priests realized that the Buddha was the ultimate truth and all converted
      * Brahmins kept trying to debate the Buddhists, and miserably failed each time, losing more and more converts each time
      * Hinduism is repeatedly referred to as "Brahminism," as in - "there are two religions in India, Buddhism (the true path) and the heretic Brahminical path"
      * Many, many more stories like this
    * Buddha's personality came to be associated with supernatural powers, like flying in the air, reaching out through solid rock, etc.
    * Brahmins are reviled throughout the book - Fa Hian was worse than Hsuan Tsang, at least Hsuan Tsang had some respect for Hindus
    * Hsuan Tsang himself debated and converted Hindus during his stay in India
    * The Buddha was repeatedly portrayed as being served by Indra and Brahma, there are statues like this, and king Harshavardana and the Assam raja both reenacted this scene just before Hsuan Tsang returned to China
    * King Harshavardana was almost assassinated by a wild man, and it turned out that the "jealous Brahmins" had hired this assassin, being enraged by how Harshavardana and the Assam raja were both performing so much service to the Buddha, but none for Hindus
    * Harshavardana's court demanded the extermination of the "heretics" for this assassination attempt, but Harshavardana pardoned the Brahmins, except for the ring-leaders
    * Many many more anti-Hindu, anti-Brahmin tirades like this throughout the book


JE Menon wrote:A description which suggests different practices does not necessarily indicate conflict based on those differences, at least not any more than the conflict one might see today between the devotees of Shiva and those of Vishnu, for instance.

>>My point is, "Hindu" vs. "Buddhist" isn't just an Abrahamic construct, these Chinese foreigners also saw things in India in these terms.

The parts you have quoted does not show conflict, just descriptions of differences. Anyone travelling to India today, even a person of Indian origin who has never lived there, can describe the differences of philosophy, clothing and ritual between people who follow the Dharma and those who follow the Dhamma, but where does this suggest conflict?

To me, it seems a transplantation into the Indian context of the Abrahamic situation where the Jews had a rather vitriolic outgrowth exit its body and subsequently turn against it very violently. This is not relatable in India, where there is nothing like a crucifixion, nobody interested in harming the Gautama really, and certainly no one interested in suppressing his system of thought by any means other than intellectual exertion. That is, eventually, why the philosophy of the Gautama lost its central appeal - because it was argued out of the mainstream by the Vedanta thinkers, but not only them. Still, that it did not die out entirely in India is a testament to both the robustness of the Gautama's ideas as well as the Dharmic civilizational ethos of letting all ideas contend.


You can see the conflict in the bulleted list above. I'm just reporting what this translation of the work of the visiting Chinese (foreigner) shows. If Indian accounts differ from this, I'm okay with going with the Indian version.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby JE Menon » 25 Dec 2018 02:03

>>The words are Hsuan Tsang's, or rather, they are in the English translation of Hsuan Tsang's work, and this translation happened in the 1850's, so the words could conceivably be those of the European translator.

We are talking about a Chinese interpretation of social milieu in India, written in Chinese, and then re-interpreted by a colonial interpreter carrying his own theological/civilizational baggage - and with no other frame of reference on which to draw upon. I'm not sure why we are taking these people's words so seriously in the first place.

>>But these words such as "heretic=Hindu," "unbeliever=Hindu," "true path=Buddhism," "false doctrine=Hinduism/ Brahminism," they are all in the (translated) work, and these words are not mine.

So these are words used by an Englishman steeped in the Christian religious tradition. It is not surprising that words like "unbeliever" and "false doctrine" creep up in there - as these were (and continue to be) central to Christian thinking.

Where in Indian literature is there any indication of violent conflict between Dharma & Dhamma in the pre-Islamic era? This is not a rhetorical question. I would genuinely like to know. If there isn't such literature (and if the conflict was widespread) there should be copious literature on it, why are we arguing on the basis of what one or two Chinese guys said and what an Englishman translated?

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 25 Dec 2018 05:29

JE Menon wrote:We are talking about a Chinese interpretation of social milieu in India, written in Chinese, and then re-interpreted by a colonial interpreter carrying his own theological/civilizational baggage - and with no other frame of reference on which to draw upon. I'm not sure why we are taking these people's words so seriously in the first place.


My reasons for taking this (semi)seriously are two fold:

1. These Chinese gentlemen have been meticulous in recording the details of their visits to India, with place names, social memes, details of rituals, details of Indian hygiene standards (which were impressive, according to them), details of the caste system, Vedas, circuits of kingdoms, number of viharas vs. devalayas, details of stupas, who built them, why they built them, what were the local legends associated with building these stupas, details of the significance of places WRT the Buddha (i.e., birth, enlightenment, first sermon, samadhi, and other events), language, Sanskrit terms re-interpreted into Chinese, with the original names faithfully transliterated, details of battles between kings (such as Harsha vs. Pulakeshin), food and crops etc. The other words regarding heretics, unbelievers, etc. fit in seamlessly into this overall matrix, there does not seem to be any place where the translator "photo-shopped" his own thoughts to make it blend into the matrix. If you read these translations, yourself, you will know what I'm talking about. The Chinese guys seem to have faithfully captured the flavor of India of those times. But of course, this is only my impression.

2. Again, I keep getting this "why take the Chinese guy's word so seriously, why not go with our own records?" Like I keep saying - go for it, if anybody knows of Indian records (I haven't yet done enough reading or research into this). Go ahead, anybody here, present the Indian side of the story, and if it is in conflict with the above, then I accept that it is better to trust our own sources, rather than third-hand translations of a foreigner's impressions of India. But if the Chinese records are all we have, then what do you want me to do, reject all of them in favor of some mythical Indian records which *might* have shown things in a different light?

One thing I would like to say, is that Hsuan Tsang notes that Indians were meticulous about record-keeping, so this myth of "Indians didn't record their own history" might be just a myth after all.

So these are words used by an Englishman steeped in the Christian religious tradition. It is not surprising that words like "unbeliever" and "false doctrine" creep up in there - as these were (and continue to be) central to Christian thinking.


Fair enough, if you can show Indian records which don't show any conflict between Hinduism/ Buddhism. But why do you think that only Christians think like this, and that the Chinese of that era were unbiased? Maybe the Chinese were equally bigoted, and this is what shows up in Fa Hian's or Hsuan Tsang's work. These, after all, are the people who believed that they were the "middle kingdom," and that every other part of the world was "barbary." Like I also said, my impression was that the translator has fairly translated the work, and kept any of his biases or bigotry for the footnotes (I do see European bias in the footnotes). Again, the Chinese display this attitude of "more Buddhist than the original Buddhists (Indians) themselves," much like converted folk anywhere, and the pity they feel for the "heretics" fits in nicely with the bigotry of being "more Buddhist than the Indians." This could be just as likely an explanation for their pity and contempt for the "heretics" and "unbelievers" and their defense of the "true path."

I will also ask my Chinese colleague for his opinion on the faithfulness of these English translations. He has (I believe) already read Fa Hian/ Hsuan Tsang in the original classical Chinese.

Where in Indian literature is there any indication of violent conflict between Dharma & Dhamma in the pre-Islamic era? This is not a rhetorical question. I would genuinely like to know. If there isn't such literature (and if the conflict was widespread) there should be copious literature on it, why are we arguing on the basis of what one or two Chinese guys said and what an Englishman translated?


I also would like to know this, and would much prefer not to argue on the basis of Chinese impressions translated by Englishmen. So once again guys, go for it, please present any Indian sources you might be aware of from those times.

Again, for the record, my interest was piqued by the thought that there might have been a time in India when a proselytizing religion made massive headway among the general populace, and was then rolled back almost a 100% by persuasion and argument, rather than by violence.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby Sridhar K » 25 Dec 2018 11:15

Sudharsanl
ignorance alert: Will Silapadhigaram, Manimegalai, civaka cintamani provide any Indian viewpoint?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manimekalai

Beyond the parts of them that appeared in தமிழ் poetry in text books in School, haven't pursued them

Also Tamizh Shaiva and Sri Vaishnava texts may give some clue on the relationships perhaps more about Jaina matas than Buddhist.

However as JEM mentions isn't such negative description of other matas not uncommon among the various denominations of Sanatan Dharma like the activities of the Saivite Chozha king on Ramanujas disciples?

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby JE Menon » 25 Dec 2018 14:21

>>1. These Chinese gentlemen have been meticulous in recording the details of their visits to India, with place names, social memes, details of rituals, details of Indian hygiene standards (which were impressive, according to them), details of the caste system… The other words regarding heretics, unbelievers, etc. fit in seamlessly into this overall matrix…

This is exactly my point. The recording of details is nothing exceptional. The Brits have been doing it for a few centuries now, and others including Evangelists are doing it in the present day very meticulously indeed. And we know how “accurate” that has been. Let’s not forget that both Huien Tsang and Fa Hien were Buddhists in what might by then be called the Chinese tradition… They have their compulsions for their visits, ostensibly to learn more about Buddhism than they themselves knew (from the source of the tradition) and for recording things in the specific language they did.

>>there does not seem to be any place where the translator "photo-shopped" his own thoughts to make it blend into the matrix.

This is your own perception. However, I would commend this exercise: take any original language text and translate that into your own, what is lost is both imperceptible to any third party reader of your translation, and sometimes to the translator himself (as he is constrained by his own knowledge of the original language). There are few “perfect” translations possible, and even fewer who are perfect translators.

>>If you read these translations, yourself, you will know what I'm talking about. The Chinese guys seem to have faithfully captured the flavor of India of those times. But of course, this is only my impression.

To say this, you need to know what the flavour of India of those times was - i.e. to know whether they "faithfully captured" it. I am not sure that we have this. Where are you getting this from precisely? At best we have several local flavours, which are wonderful but does not reflect the India of then, or now (a bit like saying “secularism” defines India today). That is why a lot is dependent on such third party perspectives. That is not because we actually don’t have the texts, but because since independence we have neither gone to work on them or given them much importance – thanks in no small measure to the semi-white sahebs of the Feroze Gandhi dynasty, and their browner acolytes. (I believe there are some 10-35 million untranslated manuscripts in existence in the country – as per a National Manuscript mission that is collating them).

>>2. Again, I keep getting this "why take the Chinese guy's word so seriously, why not go with our own records?" Like I keep saying - go for it, if anybody knows of Indian records (I haven't yet done enough reading or research into this). Go ahead, anybody here, present the Indian side of the story, and if it is in conflict with the above, then I accept that it is better to trust our own sources, rather than third-hand translations of a foreigner's impressions of India. But if the Chinese records are all we have, then what do you want me to do, reject all of them in favor of some mythical Indian records which *might* have shown things in a different light?

This is an interesting approach, which if I summarise it correctly (and correct me if I’m wrong) is as follows: I don’t have any Indian perspectives, so I will go with the Chinese one (at least for now – and this is my addition, as you don’t take that position explicitly).

What I am saying is I don’t have any Indian perspectives which suggest any large scale Hindu-Buddhist “violence” other than in the sphere of debate and social discourse, and the Chinese stories of Fa Hien and Huien Tsang (both Buddhists themselves) are fundamentally problematic. In other words: there is no mention of major conflict on the Indian side, which I would expect to see if there was, and so the Chinese writings must be considered for what they are: biased perspectives, translated into a language English (that is structured for absolutist bias) by a colonial writer, and now being read as a legitimate text.

This is not because of a shortage of writing on the Indian side, but because there is very limited writing on violent Dharma-Dhamma conflict – as far as I know and I will be glad to be proved wrong here. Maybe this is in fact because there was very limited violent conflict. I do not regard verbal disputation and debate as violence, for the record.

Considering the politics of the last century, if such writings existed on a large scale, I am damned sure we would have heard of it. On the contrary, it appears that Buddhism when prosecuted with actual violence, in fact prefers to find its way back to India for solace and asylum.

>>One thing I would like to say, is that Hsuan Tsang notes that Indians were meticulous about record-keeping, so this myth of "Indians didn't record their own history" might be just a myth after all.

Huien Tsang can say what he wants of course. I personally do not care for third party perspectives on whether we recorded our history or not, apart from a purely academic interest where it suits my purpose. Given that all history is a record of a certain bias, I would give preference to our own biases. Our problem is that we choose to read other people’s record of our history and say what we have ourselves recorded is “myth”. It is a problem we are only beginning to tackle, and there are many, even some who have frequented this forum at one time or another, who are doing stellar work (no pun intended).

>>Fair enough, if you can show Indian records which don't show any conflict between Hinduism/ Buddhism. But why do you think that only Christians think like this, and that the Chinese of that era were unbiased?

"If you can show Indian records that don't show any conflict between Hinduism/Buddhism" - actually, as far as I know, not a single Indian record (in Indian language) shows this conflict at least between 6BCE-1200CE. Take any Indian record. Not one will refer to "Hinduism" or "Buddhism".

I did not say that “only” Christians think like this. As I said earlier: “why are we arguing on the basis of what one or two Chinese guys said and what an Englishman translated?” Having said that, what I suggested was that the Englishman’s translation would probably have been infected by the absolutist worldview of Christendom at the time, which is more favourable to words such as “unbeliever” than I suspect the Chinese language of Huien Tsang or Fa Hien was. It would be instructive to see the precise words used by them and whether a more appropriate English word can be found than “unbeliever” or a phrase like “false doctrine”. Further, it is not only Christians who think like this, Muslims do too. The division of the world on the basis of “unbeliever” and “believer” is peculiar – at least in its stridency – to the Abrahamic faiths. Hence my emphasis on the language issue, especially that of the translator.

>>Maybe the Chinese were equally bigoted, and this is what shows up in Fa Hian's or Hsuan Tsang's work. These, after all, are the people who believed that they were the "middle kingdom," and that every other part of the world was "barbary."

I am not so sure that the Chinese then were bigoted any more (or less) than Indians of the time were – or for that matter anybody else. They thought of themselves as special, indeed, as we all did. They called themselves the “Middle Kingdom”, but they also referred to India as the “Noble Kingdom” (perhaps a direct translation of Arya Varta), which is what at least some Indians of the day thought they resided in.

My problem is with this creation of seemingly mutually exclusive “Hindu” and “Buddhist” silos, where none as far as I can see existed except in the sphere of debate and discourse between the Dharmis and Dhammis (to use terms loosely for identification purposes), who were neither mutually exclusive nor physically antagonistic except in isolated or localised cases here and there through history. In other words they were contending philosophical streams that merged in parts and branched in others, though they came from the same glaciers and ended up in the same sea of faith systems that is the world today, with mighty contribution in terms of the fresh waters of thought and ideas.

I’m certainly not the first one to say it, but “Buddhism” can be seen in many ways as “export quality” Sanatana Dharma suitable for the first and second millennia. I am convinced that more export quality work, not just “Buddhism”, but “Jainism” and certain other streams of Dharmic thought will dominate in the third.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby chetak » 25 Dec 2018 14:46

@JE Menon

Saar,

Let’s not forget that both Huien Tsang and Fa Hien were Buddhists in what might by then be called the Chinese tradition…


This seems to be the operative part and some (understandable??) acrimony seems to have crept into and seeped through just as the present day EJs see Hinduism as an impediment and also the base of all opposition to their POV.


The EJs instinctive response is to bad mouth India, Hindus and Hinduism as a way of venting, accessing and gaining the sympathy of their foreign "contributors".

How exactly did these cheeni guys survive in India??, did they use Amex or transfer money via western union?? They depended on the goodwill of fellow buddhists for handouts, hospitality, and sustenance.

So, they simply sang for their supper.

A very practical and pragmatic thing to do, given the circumstances they were in.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 25 Dec 2018 19:38

JEM saar, this is what I wrote in the previous page of this thread:

sudarshan wrote:Now here's what I say - let's consider some possibilities:

1. Fa Hian and Hsuan Tsang were unbiased, but the translator was not. GOOD! This means that even this biased translator was unable to find anything in Fa Hian's or Hsuan Tsang's writings, which could be interpreted in terms of "caste persecution" or "caste discrimination."

2. Fa Hian and Hsuan Tsang themselves were biased. GOOD! Even these biased visitors have reported ZILCH on "caste persecution" or "caste discrimination."

3. Fa Hian's and Hsuan Tsang's writings have reached us today without bias. GOOD! This means that there was a time in India's past, before 400 AD, when a massive fraction of the population (80% to 90%) were heavily into a personality-based cult (that the personality on which that cult was based, would not have approved of the cult, is immaterial). This massive fraction also ridiculed the original dharmic faith and referred to it as heresy. And this massive fraction was brought back to the dharmic fold, without violence, and without the benefit of any "saint" or "sage" figure, by about 600 AD to 700 AD (Adi Sankara came later). Fast forward to today, when a significant fraction (though not yet as high as 80%) of India's population are in the thrall of personality-based cults - studying the past will yield fascinating insight on how to counter this.

This is not so much about the PAST, as it is about the FUTURE, and there are many advantages to studying this part of India's past. Do posters here not see this?


My interest in these travelers' accounts (not just Chinese, but also Arab and European travelers) originally came from an intent to see what they had to say about the "discriminating and oppressive caste system of India." Like I expected, I did not see any negative coverage of "caste oppression" in India in any of these travel accounts.

When I started reading Fa Hian and Hsuan Tsang, I was initially shocked by the level of bigotry on display there (whether this bigotry stems from the original source or from the European translator, I still don't know), but then I thought GOOD! Because even with all this bigotry, even with all the anti-Brahmin tirades (again, regardless of whether this stems from the Chinese guys or from the translator, is immaterial), there is still nothing in there about caste discrimination, and the material which does talk of caste actually does so in a positive way (although the same cannot be said of the footnotes inserted by the translator).

The fact is that these Chinese accounts do show a lot of sectarianism, a lot of anti-Brahminism, a lot of material along the lines of "heretics vs. believers." That the translated works show all of this, is simply not in dispute, you just have to read the translated work, and it will jump out at you almost instantly. It might come from the European translator, or from the Chinese themselves. I was curious about this, but I don't feel that this is the major take-away from these works. My idea was more along the lines of taking advantage of the positives of the work, which is, to demolish this myth of "casteism" and "caste oppression" in old India.

Having said that, I thought there might be a further positive, if this bigotry was in fact faithfully portrayed, in that it might point to clues as to how to deal with similar bigotry and "holier than thou" attitudes prevalent in India today, and to accelerate the return to reason (not have it stretch over 8 or 9 centuries again, but to get it over with in a decade or two).

There definitely is a lot of bigotry on display in these traveler's accounts, whether this bigotry was really seen in India, or perceived by the Chinese, or later interpolated by Europeans, is of academic interest (at least from the point of view of studying the psychology of why travelers might perceive reality to be so different from what it actually is), but my interest was not so much in study of this past, as in exploiting the positives for the future. Hope that clarifies my stance.

P.S.: If the bigotry was really inserted by the European translator, I'm surprised that the text doesn't have more in there about this "horrible caste discrimination," in fact there's nothing in the text along these lines. Which is one reason why I felt that maybe, in this case, it wasn't just the European translator doing his expected thing.

P.P.S.: There is this notion, propagated by Europeans of course, that the Buddha rebelled against the oppressive Hindu caste system and set up a more egalitarian religion. There is nothing along these lines in Hsuan Tsang (still haven't fully read Fa Hian).

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 25 Dec 2018 21:34

If he "sang for his supper," that means he was saying the things that the Indian Buddhists wanted him to say. Which means the bigotry was from India. But that point could be moot because it seems Hsuan Tsang wrote (or dictated) his memoirs at the request of the Chinese emperor, once he was safely back in China.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby chetak » 25 Dec 2018 21:47

sudarshan wrote:If he "sang for his supper," that means he was saying the things that the Indian Buddhists wanted him to say. Which means the bigotry was from India. But that point could be moot because it seems Hsuan Tsang wrote (or dictated) his memoirs at the request of the Chinese emperor, once he was safely back in China.


The relations between the Hindus and the Indian Buddhists were not always cordial.

Its quite possible what you say may be true.

But, in the end, the guy was just an uncultured cheeni who did not know enough to be thankful or even merely diplomatic instead of using such uncouth language to berate his hosts.

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 26 Dec 2018 00:27

chetak wrote:The relations between the Hindus and the Indian Buddhists were not always cordial.

Its quite possible what you say may be true.

But, in the end, the guy was just an uncultured cheeni who did not know enough to be thankful or even merely diplomatic instead of using such uncouth language to berate his hosts.


Yes, he does seem pretty uncouth in his language towards Hindus (Fa Hian was worse). He even converted "heretic" Indians during his visit. It seemed he got death threats during his debates at Harshavardhana's assembly at Kanauj, but Harshavardhana declared that anybody who brought harm to the visitor would pay for it with his life.

OTOH, Hsuan Tsang might have had reasons to be critical of Hindus, since it seems he was captured and very nearly sacrificed to Durga (he seems to have got out of that one through smooth-talking his captors).

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Re: Hindu-Buddhist Relations

Postby sudarshan » 26 Dec 2018 20:05

Sridhar K wrote:Sudharsanl
ignorance alert: Will Silapadhigaram, Manimegalai, civaka cintamani provide any Indian viewpoint?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manimekalai

Beyond the parts of them that appeared in தமிழ் poetry in text books in School, haven't pursued them

Also Tamizh Shaiva and Sri Vaishnava texts may give some clue on the relationships perhaps more about Jaina matas than Buddhist.

However as JEM mentions isn't such negative description of other matas not uncommon among the various denominations of Sanatan Dharma like the activities of the Saivite Chozha king on Ramanujas disciples?


Yes they should. I too haven't looked at them since school days. There's lots of Buddhist-flavored literature in Tamil and other S. Indian languages, and the time frame is also right. It seems there were lots of Buddhist scholars from Andhra, such as Nagarjuna, and Hsuan Tsang also mentions their names in tones of awed reverence.

You're right, Saivite/ Vaishnavite disagreements (not to use stronger words like "conflict" or "fight") were common, especially in S. India. The Buddhist/ Hindu disagreements as seen from Hsuan Tsang also seem to be in similar vein. Kalki portrays some of these acrimonious disagreements in his novels (Saivite/ Vaishnavite/ Buddhist). The "conflict" between Hindus and Buddhists, as portrayed in Hsuan Tsang, seems to be along the lines of extreme contempt for the other side, sarcastic rejoinders and heated debates, challenging the other side to debate, offering to forfeit one's head (or other extreme promises) if the other side is triumphant in debate, dire predictions of hell or karmic consequence in the next life for followers of the other side, great "penitence" when a person comes around to accepting the "correctness" of the other side (in true Indian fashion - prostrate themselves in front of the victor (in debate) and make a show of extreme humility), etc. Violence was often threatened, but did not seem to be carried out very often. What surprised me was the frequent use of words like "heretic," "true path," "conversion," etc., which could very well be from the European translator also.

But it would still be instructive, I feel, to see what kind of debates and logical arguments "worked" back then on the Indian psyche, so we have some notion of what will work today against the proselytizers.


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