ಜಾತೀಯತೆಗೆ ಬುದ್ಧ ಪರಿಹಾರ: ದೇವದಾಸ್:ರಾಜ್ಯ ಮಟ್ಟದ ಬೌದ್ಧ ಸಮಾವೇಶ

13/06/2011

ಹಾಸನ, ಜೂ.12: ಗೌತಮ ಬುದ್ಧನ ತ್ಯಾಗ ಮತ್ತು ಅವನ ಪಂಚಶೀಲ ತತ್ತ್ವಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರು ಮೈಗೂಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಅಗತ್ಯ ಇದೆ ಎಂದು ದಲಿತ ಸಂಘರ್ಷ ಸಮತಿಯ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಸಂಘಟನಾ ಸಂಚಾಲಕ ಎಂ.ದೇವದಾಸ್ ಹೇಳಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಹಾಸನದ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಭವನದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಪ್ರಬುದ್ಧ ಭಾರತ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣಕ್ಕಾಗಿ 2550ನೆ ಬುದ್ಧ ಜಯಂತಿಯ ಅಂಗವಾಗಿ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಮಟ್ಟದ ಬೌದ್ಧ ಸಮಾವೇಶ ಉದ್ಘಾಟಿಸಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಿದ ಅವರು, ಬುದ್ಧನ ತತ್ತ್ವಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರು ಪರಿಪಾಲನೆ ಮಾಡುವುದರಿಂದ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಶಾಂತಿ ನೆಲಸಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯ ಎಂದು ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯಿಸಿದರು.

ಹಾಸನದ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಭವನದಲ್ಲಿ ರವಿವಾರ ನಡೆದ ಪ್ರಬುದ್ಧ ಭಾರತ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣಕ್ಕಾಗಿ 2550ನೆ ಬುದ್ಧ ಜಯಂತಿಯ ಅಂಗವಾಗಿ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಮಟ್ಟದ ಬೌದ್ಧ ಸಮಾವೇಶ ಉದ್ಘಾಟಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಗಣ್ಯರು.

ಹಾಸನದ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಭವನದಲ್ಲಿ ರವಿವಾರ ನಡೆದ ಪ್ರಬುದ್ಧ ಭಾರತ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣಕ್ಕಾಗಿ 2550ನೆ ಬುದ್ಧ ಜಯಂತಿಯ ಅಂಗವಾಗಿ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಮಟ್ಟದ ಬೌದ್ಧ ಸಮಾವೇಶ ಉದ್ಘಾಟಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಗಣ್ಯರು. ಇಂದಿನ ಜಾತೀಯತೆ, ಅಸ್ಪಶತೆ ಸೇರಿದಂತೆ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಪಿಡುಗುಗಳಿಗೆ ಬುದ್ಧ ಪರಿಹಾರ ಎಂದು ದೇವದಾಸ್ ನುಡಿದರು.ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ತಾಂಡವಾಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ಭ್ರಷ್ಟಾಚಾರದ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಬೀಗಿಳಿದು ಹೋರಾಟ ನಡೆಸಬೇಕಾದ ಅನಿವಾರ್ಯ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಯಾಗಿದೆ. ಬುದ್ಧನ ಆದರ್ಶಗಳನ್ನು ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಪಾಲಿಸಿದ್ದರೆ ಇಂದು ಅಣ್ಣಾ ಹಝಾರೆ ಮತ್ತು ಬಾಬಾ ರಾಮ್‌ದೇವ್ ಹೋರಾಟ ಆರಂಭಿಸುವ ಅಗತ್ಯ ಉದ್ಬವಿಸುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದವರು ಹೇಳಿದರು. ಮನುಷ್ಯನಿಗೆ ಎಷ್ಟೇ ಆಸ್ತಿ-ಪಾಸ್ತಿ ಇದ್ದರೂ ನೆಮ್ಮದಿ ಅತಿಮುಖ್ಯ. ಬುದ್ಧನ ತತ್ತ್ವಾದರ್ಶ ಪಾಲಿಸುವುದರಿಂದ ಶಾಂತಿ ಮತ್ತು ನೆಮ್ಮದಿ ಕಂಡುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯ ಎಂದು ದೇವದಾಸ್ ತಿಳಿಸಿದರು. ಬೌದ್ಧ ಗುರು ಬೋದಿದತ್ತ ಬಂತೇಜಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಿ, ಗೌತಮ ಬುದ್ಧನ ತತ್ತ್ವಾದರ್ಶಗಳು ಸರಳ ಮತ್ತು ಸುಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವಾಗಿವೆ. ಹಾಗಾಗಿಯೇ ಸಂವಿಧಾನಶಿಲ್ಪಿ ಡಾ.ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್‌ರು ದಲಿತ ತತ್ತ್ವದಿಂದ ಬುದ್ಧತ್ವದೆಡೆಗೆ ನಡೆಯಬೇಕೆಂಬ ಆಶಯ ಹೊಂದಿದ್ದರು ಎಂದರು. ಸಮಾವೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾವಿರಾರು ಮಂದಿ ಬೌದ್ಧ ಅನುಯಾಯಿಗಳು, ದಲಿತ ಕಾರ್ಯಕರ್ತರು ಭಾಗವಹಿಸಿದ್ದರು.

http://vbnewsonline.com/MainNews/57321/

BLISS movement at Kanheri Buddha Cave Univercity, Mumbai against Mahashivratri

06/03/2011

BLISS movement at Kanheri Buddha Cave Univercity, Mumbai against Mahashivratri

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Jaibhim, Peaceful Revolt in Mumbai against Mahashivratri celebration on 02-02-2011, in Buddhist cave of Kanheri ……………….. Kanheri was a world famous Univercity where students of Greece and Syria had given donations (there names and details are inscribed in the caves). There are 118 caves……….., 30ft high 2 identitical Buddha statues …… It is situated very pleasant, scenic and serene greenary. Around 200 male and female volunteers from political as well as non-political organisations participated. Ignorant Telgu people who are attatched to Shivsena or BJP from AP installed their stall. BLISS prompted to put Buddha banners at the entrance of the Gate ……………. BLISS declared Maha-Dhamma Yatra on this day of Mahashivratri at Kanheri Cave Univercity. “Chalo Buddha ki Or” ……………… (Let’s go to Buddha) such banners were displayed. This year ASI put a information placard in front of Stupa ……………….. Stupa is covered with cloth by ASI because the Hindu visitors used to throw coconuts at the stupa on the instigation of Brahmins. Entry restricted inside the caves ……….. around 300 police personal were deployed RSS had instigated Ganesh Naik to construct a Shiv Temple in year 1992, in the area of Kanheri cave ………….. This temple was demolished by Forest Dept due to efforts of Mr Pradeep Gaikwad and his associates of Nagpur and Mumbai ……….. Now there is no Linga, statue or any thing like deity …………… But still the Hindu fools go to pray there on every Mahashivratri. Now this year BLISS young team intruded into temple, asked the pujaris to leave the place ………….. and Buddha Vandana was held there for 1 and Half Hrs Forest officials protect and promote the puja Dhamma Dhawaj installed at the place of Havan (fire burning place) Buddha Vandana going on inside demolished or so called Shiva Tempe where the Hindu fools come for Mahashivratri Hindus were also chanting Buddha Vandana. A Banner was showing Kanheri Cave and Shiv pic inside the Telgu Stall was removed. pomplets mentioning ………… “Buddham Sharnam ……….. … Gachchami …………. Is mantra ka jap kare” were distributed to Hindu visitors …………. This Jap (chanting) was advocated by Dr Ambedkar to Hindus in Janta in Yr 16 March 1944. Bags were invariably checked for any coconut, milk etc…………… it was not allowed No Hindu was allowed with any milk, coconut etc coconuts were collected ……….. same as last year In the evening the Hindus were greeted with ” Tri-sharan’ chanting …………. Even the Hindus greeted with folded hands, some of them were chanting trishanran Evening farewell to Hindus with Trishanran chanting for at least 1 hour was carried out. Officers like Rtd Judge, Rtd DCP and Rtd Assistant IG also participated …… Buddha Vandan at last , when all the visitors left Smile on the face of Dhamma Sevaks…………. this is real Dhamma Dana …………. Giving of money is not Dhamma Dana……… As per ASI record (because ASI didnt allow any person without ticket) ………….. 22913 Hindus visited in the year 2010 on Mahashivratri ……….. and this year only 10130 Hindus visited.

It was a Dhamma’s achievement. Let’s do it at all the Buddhist sites and monuments.

Namo Buddhay,

Dr.Anand


How Buddhists Invented Democracy

05/12/2010

 

Buddhists may not have invented democracy. History professors argue that the Athenians invented democracy ca. 500 BCE. However, as democratic government was getting underway in Athens, the First Buddhist Council convened in India. The Council, which met about 480 BCE, give or take, was an exercise in democracy.
According to tradition, the Council consisted of 500 of the historical Buddha’s disciples, who met after the Buddha’s death to discuss how to preserve his teachings. The assembly listened to the monk Upali recite the rules of the monastic orders and the monk Ananda recite the Buddha’s sermons. The assembly came to agreement that the recitations accurately reflected the teachings of the Buddha, and so they were preserved as the Vinaya-pitaka and Sutta-pitaka of the Pali Canon.
Historians, who often are no fun at all, argue that there is little corroboration that the Council took place, and if it did it was probably a smaller gathering than what is described in tradition. Even so, the Pali Canon, which reached final form before the Common Era, contains other descriptions of people making public decisions through assemblies, moots and parliaments.
Historian Steve Muhlberger argues that early Buddhist literature contains rich evidence that democratic governments flourished in India during the time of the Greek democracies and the Roman republic. So, while Buddhists may not have invented democracy, there is a tradition of democracy strongly rooted in the earliest days of Buddhism.
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http://globalbuddhist.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-buddhists-invented-democracy.html

 

 


Buddhism Won “The Best Religion in the World” Award

23/10/2010

 

The Geneva-based International Coalition for the Advancement of Religious and Spirituality (ICARUS) has bestowed The Best Religion In the World award this year on the Buddhist Community.

This special award was voted on by an international round table of more than 200 religious leaders from every part of the spiritual spectrum. It was fascinating to note that many religious leaders voted for Buddhism rather than their own religion although Buddhists actually make up a tiny minority of ICARUS membership. Here are the comments by four voting members:

Jonna Hult, Director of Research for ICARUS said It wasn’t a surprise to me that Buddhism won Best Religion in the World, because we could find literally not one single instance of a war fought in the name of Buddhism, in contrast to every other religion that seems to keep a gun in the closet just in case God makes a mistake. We were hard pressed to even find a Buddhist that had ever been in an army. These people practice what they preach to an extent we simply could not document with any other spiritual tradition.

A Catholic Priest, Father Ted O’Shaughnessy said fromBelfast , As much as I love the Catholic Church, it has always bothered me to no end that we preach love in our scripture yet then claim to know God’s will when it comes to killing other humans. For that reason, I did have to cast my vote for the Buddhists.

A Muslim Cleric Tal Bin Wassad agreed from Pakistanvia his translator. While I am a devout Muslim, I can see how much anger and bloodshed is channeled into religious expression rather than dealt with on a personal level. The Buddhists have that figured out. Bin Wassad, the ICARUS voting  member for Pakistan ‘s Muslim community continued, In fact, some of my best friends are Buddhist.

And Rabbi Shmuel Wasserstein said from Jerusalem, Of course, I love Judaism, and I think it’s the greatest religion in the world. But to be honest, I’ve been practicing Vipassana meditation every day before minyan (daily Jewish prayer) since 1993. So I get it.

However, there was one snag – ICARUS couldn’t find anyone to give the award to. All the Buddhists they called kept saying they didn’t want the award.

When asked why the Burmese Buddhist community refused the award, Buddhist monk Bhante Ghurata Hanta said from Burma , We are grateful for the acknowledgement, but we give this award to all humanity, for Buddha nature lies within each of us. Groehlichen went on to say We’re going to keep calling around until we find a Buddhist who will accept it.  We’ll let you know when we do.

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Source: http://mingkok.buddhistdoor.com/en/news/d/943

 


Choosing Their Religion: Dalits Conversion to Buddhism

18/09/2010

Dalits Conversion to Buddhism

Rebelling against their baggage of birth, Dalits across India are converting from Hinduism to better their lives. Do they achieve their dreams? The answer is not simple.

About 30 kilometres from Jhajjar and exactly 20 days after five Dalits there were killed for “supposedly skinning a live cow”, a dark Diwali noon this week saw seething Dalit anger burn its bonds with Hinduism. Under a leafless tree in Haryana’s Meham district, 90-odd men, women and children took angry vows never to worship Hindu gods, perform Hindu rituals, celebrate Hindu festivals.

“I never formally converted to Buddhism. Conversion anyway is a misnomer as Hindus never saw us as Hindus, but outcasts.”—Namdeo Dhasal, founder, Dalit Panthers

They were converting to Buddhism, they said, in the hope that they will better their lives. “You value cows more than us, make us rake your latrines, never forget we are lower-caste even if we become president,” fulminated Ajit Dhaiya, a fortysomething irrigation department worker who had come from Bhiwani to attend the conversion ceremony. “You can keep your religion and your cows, we are off.”

The vigorous shaving of heads, lighting of incense sticks, and parroted chants—”We shall never worship Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar; we shall never think of the Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu”—before a dull brass idol of a new god seemed less a pledge to be Buddhist and more a rejection of Hinduism. Till, Meham labourer-painter Satbir Budh, 38, spoke of his seven years of being a Buddhist convert: “From being known as a Chamaar, I am now called a Buddh. From being barred entry in the village temple, I am an annual pilgrim at Buddh Vihar at Nagpur’s Dikshabhumi; I was an outcast all my life, I belong now.”

To belong, to connect, not to be persecuted (or even killed) for being born “untouchable”, all of it is possible in this lifetime. But possible, a growing number amongst Dalits are saying, only by discarding Hinduism, the faith that weighs them weak with the baggage of birth. This rejection of their inherited faith occurs sometimes in quiet private ceremonies, at other times as loud political protests. Like the mass Dalit conversions that happened in Gurgaon in Haryana 14 days after the Jhajjar lynchings on October 15.

“Conversion is an ongoing process, that’s why in the beginning it will seem incomplete. Tangible benefits accrue over time.”—Gopal Guru, Delhi University professor

Or like the spurt of conversions Dalit outfits foresee occurring in protest against the new bill in Tamil Nadu that proposes to prohibit “conversion from one (religion) to another by use of force or allurement or fraudulent means”. But beyond the drama of such conversion politics, of religious propaganda and protest, are stories of people who have changed their faith to change their fate. To salvage self-respect and grab upward mobility outside the Hindu hierarchy. How have they fared on their chosen new paths?

“Becoming Buddhist made me realise that like others with good health and intellect, I too could achieve my potential,” says Keshav Tanaji Meshram, 65, one among the six lakh Dalits who turned Buddhist in the historic 1956 conversion rally held by Babasaheb Ambedkar. “Dalits were in intellectual bondage, believing we should be happy with whatever we received. But conversions have made no difference in the way upper-caste Hindus look at us.” A retired professor and acting head of the Marathi department in Mumbai University for two years, Meshram claims a Brahmin vice-chancellor held back his promotion despite the fact that he had authored 32 books: “I was told I didn’t have a doctorate but so

didn’t many other department heads. My caste was the main reason.” Adds Om Prakash Singhmar, 49, a junior engineer with the Delhi Development Authority who converted to Buddhism two years ago, “Most continue to look down on me as a Dalit, even though I have converted.” But the changes are internal, he insists: “I feel less frustration now, more equal.

“Even if you convert, caste remains a reality.”—P. Ambedkar, Babasaheb’s grandson

I am convinced that my children, who have started identifying themselves as Buddhists in all school forms, will reap the benefits of my conversion.”

Academic insight corroborates Singhmar’s belief. Says Gopal Guru, professor of political science at Delhi University, “Conversion is an ongoing process, that’s why in the beginning it will seem incomplete.Tangible benefits and changes accrue over time.” Activist fervour takes the point further. Says Udit Raj, India’s new “conversion messiah” and chairperson of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, “Dalits convert because they know its benefits. And even if there weren’t any benefits, they should anyway reject a religion that has people killing Dalits to protect a cow.”

All conversions, though, are not knee-jerk reactions to the latest caste atrocity nor the result of cynical manipulation by politicians. The Dalits of Meenakshipuram in Tamil Nadu discussed conversion for seven years before quitting Hinduism to free themselves from the practices of untouchability and police harassment. In 1981, 150 Dalit families in this sleepy hamlet in Tirunelveli district embraced Islam. Meenakshipuram was now Rahmat Nagar. Murugesan, now 45, was rechristened Amir Ali, little knowing that his name connoted wealth. He says he counts his blessings and monetary gains: “Caste Hindus stopped calling us dirty caste names. They had to call me Amir bhai. The wealth too came. I’ve been to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia three times, worked in the harbour there. All Muslims there ate from the same plate. I was no longer untouchable. Had I remained a Pallan (a Dalit sub-community), I’d have continued to drink tea from separate glasses kept for untouchables.” Ahmed Khan, two years old when the mass conversion happened, is a role model for the village youth today. At 23, he has already done a three-year stint in Dubai: “In the last 15 years, every Muslim family here has had two-three members working in the Gulf.”

Thousands of miles away, Delhi-based Trilok Singh, 30, loves to hear of Meenakshipuram’s affluence. It reaffirms his belief in the decision he took to convert to Christianity five years ago. A Jatav, Trilok lived in a Delhi slum cluster till a leap of faith taught him lessons in upward mobility. “I have learned manners after my conversion,” says he. “We always had a TV, vcr and fridge. But being treated as an equal in society has taught me how to put them in the right place in my house, so they look beautiful.” The first thing Trilok did after he converted was to move out of the slum and invest in a small flat in Vasundhara in Ghaziabad. He then married Anita Silas, a parishioner in the church he went to every Sunday. The couple now have two daughters, the eldest going to a neighbouring playschool. “My decision not to remain a Dalit has changed my life,” says Trilok.

But this tale has more twists than many others. Caste wheedles its way into most religions in India. Categories like Dalit Christians, Reddy Christians, Nadar Christians continue to matter. Syrian Christians are known to call themselves “originally Brahmin”. Moreover, there is discrimination even within the church: in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli and Palayamkottai districts, there are separate pews and burial grounds for Dalit Christians. The nine-judge Supreme Court ruling in the Mandal case in 1993 recognised caste in Christianity. And Islam too has its hierarchies, like the Ashrafi Muslims and the Ajlafi (literally servile) Muslims.

“There are inequalities in other religions but not even near as stark as in Hinduism,” says Delhi-based advocate Rashid Saleem Adil, 57, who was Ram Singh Vidyarthi two decades ago. How else could a high-brow Syed family agree to give its daughter to him in marriage despite the fact that he never hid being a Dalit convert? They were certainly more tolerant than his first wife’s Hindu relatives, who, he claims, “schemed, plotted and poisoned” him when he converted. “I can only say this to Hindutva devotees,” he says, “if you think it’s hard being a Muslim convert, try living life as a born Dalit.”

However, dilemmas do plague decisions to convert.Dalits who turn to Islam or Christianity today risk losing the many privileges of reservations. Hence the appeal of Buddhism, since V.P. Singh ensured in 1990 that neo-Buddhists would not lose out on reservations. So why should a Dalit who has converted to another religion that doesn’t believe in caste still enjoy caste-based reservations? Says Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Babasaheb and an MP since 1990 from Akola, “Because they hail from backward castes and are economically poor. Also, no matter what religion you adopt, your caste remains a reality.” Spokespersons of the Hindu establishment would call this a case of having your cake and eating it too, while the converts would call this their inalienable economic right.

There was a time, though, when there were no reservations, and when such quantifiable risk factors didn’t hold back those who wanted to renounce Hinduism to escape caste. From being an almost entirely marginalised community of toddy-tappers and coir-weavers who were not allowed into caste-Hindu temples and whose women were not supposed to cover their breasts, the Nadars of Tamil Nadu gained immense social and economic mobility by embracing Christianity in hordes. It began in the 1780s, when the Nadars had everything to gain and nothing to lose, certainly not reservations. There was repression though; houses of neo-converts were often set afire by the upper castes. “But missionary education and self-respect was something we gained,” says David Packiamuthu, a retired English professor and a Nadar Christian, And two centuries later, the community has thrown up achievers like former Tamil Nadu chief minister K. Kamaraj, super-cop Walter Thevaram, tennis icon Vijay Amritraj and Shiv Nadar, founder of the hcl group of companies. Significantly, all successful Nadars (like Kamaraj and Shiv) are not Christians. The mass conversions helped the upward mobility of even the non-converts. In other words, the threat of conversion itself is a powerful social accelerator.

But that’s in the long run. In the present, observe many critically, neo-converts seem to be grasping for meaning in their new belief systems. The late-fortyish Durgawati of Kaji-Newada village on the Jaunpur-Lucknow highway in Uttar Pradesh converted to Christianity three years ago. “They said it would change my life, but I was still treated as an outcast for being a Christian,” she says. Then came a monk, and she converted to Buddhism. But other than the belief that her chronic ailments have been cured by the Buddha, Durgawati isn’t sure what else has changed in her life.

Namdeo Dhasal, 53, founder of the Dalit Panthers, ironically pens a weekly column in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna now. His house brims with festive decorations and traditional food on Diwali. But these, he says, are only manifestations of the “cultural influences” of his Hindu neighbourhood. Because he is actually a Buddhist, “though I never formally converted to Buddhism, and in any case conversion is a misnomer as Hindus never saw us as Hindus but outcasts”. Though many Dalits are converting, adding to the contradictions is the fact that Article 25 of the Constitution lists Buddhists as Hindus. Neo-Buddhists also have few religious or cultural occasions to celebrate and feel a sense of community. Shanta Devi Wagh, a shopkeeper in Delhi’s Bhim Nagar slum, isn’t quite sure what she is supposed to do as a Buddhist convert: “We have to celebrate three days: April 14, December 6 and October 14 (Ambedkar’s birth, death and conversion days).” But she is certain of what not being a Dalit any more means to her: “My soul feels peace.”

Not all neo-converts, though, are too bothered by the burden of a new identity. In Rahmat Nagar, most neo-Muslims do not wear a fez cap, not one woman is burqa-clad, and for the men it certainly does not mean multiple marriages.”Even namaz is something they read only on Fridays,” says Dameem-ul-Ansari, hazrat at the mosque. But the Dalit-Muslims here have had no difficulty marrying among and socialising with ‘traditional’ Muslims from other villages.

And for those who still feel that Dalits like Durgawati convert to just about any religion that lures them with sham spiritualism, affected adoration and material motives, Professor Meshram recites a Hindi film golden oldie: “Pal bhar ke liye koi humein pyar kar le, jhoota hi sahi.” Roughly translated: “Let someone love me for just a moment, even if it’s a pretence…” There is surely a message here for all belonging to a faith which insists that God resides in every object, whether living or inanimate.


By Soma Wadhwa And S. Anand With Charubala Annuncio and Sutapa Mukerjee @ outlook magazine

NOV 18, 2002


Depicting Buddha as Hindu

26/07/2010

BY Dr. K. Jamanadas

For last two three years, Sangha-parivar is trying to depict to the international community, that they respect the Buddha. While doing that they use terminology depicting him as a Hindu. About Ambedkar also, similar thing is seen, books are written to show the work of Hegdewar and Ambedkar was same. We find Shankaracharyas garlanding the photo of Dr. Ambedkar. We find Brahmanic dignitaries like Sankaracharya paying a visit to Nagpur Diksha-bhoomi to pay tributes.

Declaring Buddha as an avatara of god was the beginning

They declared the Buddha as an avatara of Vishnu, some times around eighth century, as a verse to this effect from Matsya Purana is engraved in a monument at Mahabalipuram. The process seems to be completed by the time of Jaydeo writing “Gita Govind” in 12th century, including Buddha’s name in it. We are also aware that an average Brahmin takes a great pride that Buddhism was driven away from this land by Adi-Sankara.

How a non-existent religion can die?

About declaring the Buddha as ninth avatara of Vishnu, L. M. Joshi observes that it was a “remarkable cultural feat”, achieved by the Brahmanic Puranas, which later caused confusion in the minds of people with the result that Buddhism came to be treated as a “heretical” and “aesthetic” branch of Brahmanism.

The present scholars like P. V. Kane, Radhakrishnan and even Swami Vivekanand, have pushed this confusion further back to the time of origin of Buddhism, by saying that Upanishadas are the origin of Buddhist thought. To this list must be added the name of B. G. Tilak, who devoted a full chapter in “Gita Rahashya” to prove that Buddhism was an off-shoot of Hinduism, (and one more chapter for proving that Christianity arose from Buddhism and hence eventually from Hinduism). Commenting Swami Vivekanada’s statement that the Swami and other Hindus did not understand Buddha’s teachings to be an honest confession, Joshi observes:

“… Not only the ancient and medieval brahmin teachers did not understand Buddhism; modern scholars born into the Brahmanical tradition have not shown any better understanding. Shankara, Kumarila, Udayana, and Sayana- Madhava did not understand Buddhism. This is true also of Tagore, Gandhi, Coomaraswamy and Radhakrishnan. …” [L. M. Joshi, “Aspects of Buddhism in Indian History”, Buddhist Publication Society, Candy, 1973, (Wheel publ. 195/196), p.12]

Showing a great surprise of Brahmanic scholars claiming both that Buddhism was just a refined “Hinduism”, and also claiming with pride that Buddhism was driven away by the Brahmanas and it has died down, he sarcastically observes:

“… The causes of the decline of Buddhism in India are attributed either to Tantrika practices or to Muslim invasion, or to both. Nobody even imagines that if Buddhism were only a “reformed” or “refined” version of “Hinduism” how it could be said to have declined and died away while “Hinduism” is still flourishing and is the faith of majority of Indians. Buddhism can be said to have declined only when there was evidence for its existence at a certain period in Indian history apart from the existence of “Hinduism”. If Buddhism did not exist apart from Brahmanism or “Hinduism” it did not die at all. A non-existent tradition or way of life does not die. The theory of decline of Buddhism, from the standpoint of “traditional” history is a false theory. On the other hand, if the decline of Buddhism in India was a historical fact, the theory of its origin as a “reformed” Brahmanism is a false one and must be discarded.” [L. M. Joshi, Ibid., p.14]

I feel that our friends of Buddhism from abroad, who visit Indian Buddhist centres, as a mark of great respect and reverence to the Buddha, should be warned of the practices of present day Sangha- parivar. The institutions like those of shri Jaysuriyaji could play a great role in this.

http://www.ambedkar.org/buddhism/Depicting_Buddha_as_Hindu.htm



Disappearance of Buddhism from “Non Violent India”: An Untold Story

23/07/2010

THE complete disappearance of the religion of the Buddha from the land of its birth is one of the greatest puzzles of history. Once holding sway throughout the length and breadth of the subcontinent, Buddhism today survives only in the Himalayan fringes along the Tibetan frontier and in small pockets in northern and western India among recent Ambedkarite Dalit converts.

Various theories have been put forward which seek to explain the tragic eclipse of Buddhism from India. According to one view, corruption in the Buddhist sangha or priesthood precipitated Buddhism’s ultimate decline. While it is true that with time the Buddhist priests became increasingly lax in the observance of religious rules, corruption alone cannot explain the death of Buddhism. After all, Buddhism was replaced by an even more corrupt Brahminism. Another theory is that Buddhism disappeared from India in the wake of the Arab and Turkish invasions in which many Buddhists were said to have been killed. However, this theory, too, seems not to be convincing as a complete explanation of the extinction of Buddhism in India . After all, in places such as Bengal and Sind, which were ruled by Brahminical dynasties but had Buddhist majorities, Buddhists are said to have welcomed the Muslims as saviours who had freed them from the tyranny of ‘upper’ caste rule. This explains why most of the ‘lower-caste’ people in Eastern Bengal and Sind
embraced Islam. Few, if any, among the ‘upper’ castes of these regions did the same.

Since Buddhism was replaced by triumphant Brahminism, the eclipse of Buddhism in India was obviously primarily a result of the Brahminical revival. The Buddha was a true revolutionary—and his crusade against Brahminical supremacy won him his most ardent followers from among the oppressed castes. The Buddha challenged the divinity of the Vedas, the bedrock of Brahminism. He held that all men are equal and that the caste system or varnashramadharma, to which the Vedas and Other Brah’minical’ books had given religious sanction, was completely false. Thus, in the Anguttara Nikaya, the Buddha is said to have exhorted the Bhikkus, saying, “Just, O brethren, as the great rivers, when they have emptied themselves into the Great Ocean, lose their different names and are known as the Great Ocean Just so, O brethren, do the four varnas—Kshatriya, Brahmin, Vaishya and
Sudra—when they begin to follow the doctrine and discipline propounded by the Tathagata [i.e. the Buddha], renounce the different names of caste and
rank and become the members of one and the same society.â€

The Buddha’s fight against Brahminism won him many enemies from among the Brahmins. They were not as greatly opposed to his philosophical teachings as they were to his message of universal brotherhood and equality for it directly challenged their hegemony and the scriptures that they had invented to legitimize this. To combat Buddhism and revive the tottering Brahminical hegemony, Brahminical revivalists resorted to a three-pronged strategy. Firstly, they launched a campaign of hatred and persecution against the Buddhists. Then, they appropriated many of the finer aspects of Buddhism into their own system so as to win over the “lower” caste Buddhist masses, but made sure that this selective appropriation did not in any way undermine Brahminical hegemony. The final stage in this project to wipeout Buddhism was to propound and propagate the myth that the Buddha was merely another
‘incarnation’ (avatar) of the Hindu god Vishnu. Buddha was turned into just another of the countless deities of the Brahminical pantheon.

The Buddhists were finally absorbed into the caste system, mainly as Shudras and ‘Untouchables’, and with that the Buddhist presence was completely obliterated from the land of its birth. Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar writes in his book, The Untouchables, that the ancestors of today’s Dalits were Buddhists who were reduced to the lowly status of ‘untouchables’
for not having accepted the supremacy of the Brahmins. They were kept apart from other people and were forced to live in ghettos of their own. Being treated worse that beasts of burden and forbidden to receive any education, these people gradually lost touch with Buddhism, but yet never fully reconciled themselves to the Brahminical order. Many of them later converted to Islam, Sikhism and Christianity in a quest for liberation from the Brahminical religion.

To lend legitimacy to their campaign against Buddhism, Brahminical texts included fierce strictures against Buddhists. Manu, in his Manusmriti, laid down that, “If a person touches a Buddhist […] he shall purify himself by having a bath.†Aparaka ordained the same in his Smriti. Vradha Harit declared entry into a Buddhist temple a sin, which could only be expiated for by taking a ritual bath. Even dramas and other books for lay people written by Brahmins contained venomous propaganda against the Buddhists. In the classic work, Mricchakatika, (Act VII), the hero Charudatta, on seeing a Buddhist monk pass by, exclaims to his friend Maitriya— “Ah! Here is an
inauspicious sight, a Buddhist monk coming towards us.” The Brahmin Chanakya, author of Arthashastra, declared that, “When a person entertains in a dinner dedicated to gods and ancestors those who are Sakyas (Buddhists), Ajivikas, Shudras and exiled persons, a fine of one hundred panas shall be imposed on him.” Shankaracharaya, the leader of the Brahminical
revival, struck terror into the hearts of the Buddhists with his diatribes against their religion.

The simplicity of the Buddha’s message, its stress on equality and its crusade against the bloody and costly sacrifices and ritualism of Brahminism had attracted the oppressed casts in large numbers. The Brahminical revivalists understood the need to appropriate some of these finer aspects of Buddhism and discarded some of the worst of their own practices so as to be able to win over the masses back to the Brahminical fold. Hence began the process of the assimilation of Buddhism by Brahminism. The Brahimns,
who were once voracious beef-eaters, turned vegetarian, imitating the Buddhists in this regard. Popular devotion to the Buddha was sought to be
replaced by devotion to Hindu gods such as Rama and Krishna. The existing version of the Mahabharata was written in the period in which the decline of Buddhism had already begun, and it was specially meant for the Shudras, most of whom were Buddhists, to attract them away from Buddhism. Brahminism, however, still prevented the Shudras from having access to the Vedas, and the Mahabharata was possibly written to placate the Buddhist Shudras and to compensate them for this discrimination. The Mahabharata incorporated some of the humanistic elements of Buddhism to win over the
Shudras, but, overall, played its role of bolstering the Brahminical hegemony rather well. Thus, Krishna, in the Gita, is made to say that a person ought not to violate the “divinely ordained†law of caste. Eklavya is made to slice off his thumb by Drona, who is finds it a gross violation of dharma that a mere
tribal boy should excel the Kshatriya Arjun in archery.

The various writer of the puranas, too, carried on this systematic campaign of hatred, slander and calumny against the Buddhists. The Brahannardiya
Purana made it a principal sin for Brahmins to enter the house of a Buddhist even in times of great peril. The Vishnu Purana dubs the Buddha as Maha Moha or ‘the great seducer’. It further cautions against the “sin of conversing with Buddhists†and lays down that “those who merely talk to Buddhist ascetics shall be sent to hell.†In the Gaya Mahatmaya, the concluding section of the Vayu Purana, the town of Gaya is identified as Gaya Asura, a demon who had attained such holiness that all those who saw him or touched him went straight to heaven. Clearly, this ‘demon’ was none other the Buddha who preached a simple way for all, including the oppressed castes, to attain salvation. The Vayu Purana story goes on to add that Yama, the king of hell, grew jealous at this, possibly because less people were now entering his domains. He appealed to the gods to limit the powers of Asura Gaya. This the gods, led by Vishnu, were able to do by placing a massive stone on the “demon’s†head. This monstrous legend signified the ultimate capture of Budhdhism’s most holy centre by its most inveterate
foes.

Kushinagar, also known as Harramba, was one of the most important Buddhist centres as the Buddha breathed his last there. The Brahmins, envious of the
prosperity of this pilgrim town and in order to discourage people from going there, invented the absurd theory that one who dies in Harramba goes to
hell, or is reborn as an ass, while he who dies in Kashi, the citadel of Brahminism, goes straight to heaven. So pervasive was the belief in this bizarre theory that when the Sufi saint Kabir died in 1518 AD at Maghar, not far from Kushinagar, some of his Hindu followers refused to erect any memorial in his honour there and instead set up one at Kashi. Kabir’s Muslim followers were less superstitious. They set up a tomb for him at Maghar itself.

In addition to vilifying the fair name of the Buddha, the Brahminical revivalists goaded Hindu kings to persecute and even slaughter innocent Buddhists.

Sasanka, the Shaivite Brahmin king of Bengal, murdered the last Buddhist emperor Rajyavardhana, elder brother of Harshavardhana, in 605 AD and then marched on to Bodh Gaya where he destroyed the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha had attained enlightenment. He forcibly removed the Buddha’s image from the Bodh Vihara near the tree and installed one of Shiva in its place. Finally, Sasanka is said to have slaughtered all the Buddhist monks in the area around Kushinagar. Another such Hindu king was, Mihirakula, a Shaivite, who is said to have completely destroyed over 1500 Buddhist shrines. The Shaivite Toramana is said to have destroyed the Ghositarama Buddhist monastery at Kausambi.

The extermination of Buddhism in India was hastened by the large-scale destruction and appropriation of Buddhist shrines by the Brahmins. The Mahabodhi Vihara at Bodh Gaya was forcibly converted into a Shaivite temple, and the controversy lingers on till this day. The cremation stupa of the Buddha at Kushinagar was changed into a Hindu temple dedicated to the obscure deity with the name of Ramhar Bhavani. Adi Shankara is said to have established his Sringeri Mutth on the site of a Buddhist monastery which he
took over. Many Hindu shrines in Ayodhya are said to have once been Buddhist temples, as is the case with other famous Brahminical temples such as those at Sabarimala, Tirupati, Badrinath and Puri.