Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Schools Before Buddhism

Schools Before Buddhism Image
LESSON 1: "Pre-Buddhist Indian Background," Mar. 30, 2010, Ven. Chandananda, LABV)

With Aryan invasions or indigenous development (see video below) came the rise of brahmins in India. The Rig Veda and other religious texts outlined a social order framed by castes. The educated elite or "brahmanas" manipulated the nobles (administrators), farmers (merchants), and servants (outcastes). This Brahminical social order was upset by a new movement of which Buddhism was a part.

Shramanas (those who work with vigor towards spiritual success) brought the rise of mystical, non-Vedic, wandering ascetic orders. Buddhist records summarize six general "shramana" schools, views, or doctrines with Buddhism as the seventh. (See Wikipedia chart under teacher Makkhali Gosala). While most of these schools went extinct, the views behind them are alive and well in America:

* AMORALISM taught by Puraa Kassapa, which denies the result of intentions and actions (karma)
* FATALISM taught by Makkhali Gosala (Mahavira's former student), which asserts that everything is pre-destined, due to fate, and unchangeable -- that is, that deeds (karma) have no effect
* MATERIALISM taught by Ajita Kesakambali, which states that only the material is real and that therefore at death, everything is annihilated
* ETERNALISM taught by Pakudha Kaccayana, which maintains that an eternal and unchanging soul or self survives death
* RESTRAINT taught by Jainism's Mahavira (whom Buddhist texts call Nigaha Nataputta), which teaches karma, self-purifcation through extreme asceticism, and the avoidance of all harming
* AGNOSTICISM taught by Sa~njaya Belahaputta, which is an evasive position of either not knowing or refusing to commit to (and declare) any fixed view

These "shramanic" philosophies had many things in common:

* They rejected the notion of omnipotent gods and a creator.
* They rejected the Vedas as revealed texts.
* They taught karma (deeds) and rebirth (the consequence of deeds) as the "wandering on" in Samsara of a self or soul ("atman"), views that were later accepted in Brahminic Hinduism.
* They denied the efficacy of animal sacrifices and rituals for cleanliness and purification.
* They reject the caste system.

The British fed India's post-Moghul invasion inferiority complex with Aryan invasion theories to convert Indians to Western culture and religion. Their statements and data can be debunked with modern findings that reveal a highly developed Indus (and Saraswati) River Valley civilization and indigenous literature. Marine archaeology (at sites such as Dvaraka) as well as carbon and thermoluminiscent dating of archaeological artifacts, linguistic analysis of scripts, and studies of the cultural continuity and evolution establish that India's culture did not come from invaders.

You also may enjoy this free books:

Various Authors - Childhoods Favorites And Fairy Stories
Aleister Crowley - Songs For Italy

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