G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Do We Realise the Enormity of the Loss of Buddha?

For a long time, I didn't know what Swami Vivekananda said beyond "Sisters and Brothers of America" at the World's Parliament of Religions, Chicago 11th September, 1893!

During the speech he said:

"...At the present day there is not one who calls oneself a Buddhist in India, the land of its birth.

But at the same time, Brahminism lost something — that reforming zeal, that wonderful sympathy and charity for everybody, that wonderful heaven which Buddhism had brought to the masses and which had rendered Indian society so great that a Greek historian who wrote about India of that time was led to say that no Hindu was known to tell an untruth and no Hindu woman was known to be unchaste..."


(According to Wiki, India now has 7,955,207 Buddhists.)

Arvind Subramanian: "The only real export from India that is said to have wider impact, according to (Ian) Morris (author of 'Why the West Rules — for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future'), is Buddhism." (Business Standard, December 22 2010)

Anand Teltumbde writes in EPW November 13 2010:

"...Far from being Ramjanmabhoomi, or even an important Hindu place before the 18th century, Ayodhya figures in history as a holy place for Buddhists and Jains.

For Buddhists it was a capital of Kosal or Saket, where Buddha had actually resided. In the seventh century, Hsien Tsang records it as mainly a Buddhist place, having 100 Buddhist monasteries and 3,000 Buddhist monks, with a very small population belonging to other faiths.

From the eighth to the ninth century, the revivalist wave of Brahmanism overwhelmed Buddhism, and began forcibly converting Buddhist vihars and temples into Hindu temples. This has happened all over the country and Buddhism, the dominant religion for nearly a millennium, was literally wiped out from the land of its birth.

Historically speaking, it may be truer to say that Hindu temples were built either by destroying or converting Buddhist temples than Muslim mosques built by destroying Hindu temples. As against the Hindutva claim of 30,000 temples being destroyed to build mosques, American researcher Richard Eaton found no more than 80 temples that were so destroyed. In fact, Muslim hordes had destroyed many Buddhist temples, taking them to be anti-Islamic places of idol worship, to the extent that but, the word for idol in Arabic, is said to have come from Buddha..."

द. ग. गोडसे 'अष्टविनायक' "समन्दे तलाश" (१९८१):

"...गिरिजात्मकाची मूर्ती स्वयंभू नाही हे उघड आहे. नवव्या-दहाव्या शतकानंतर महाराष्ट्रातील बौद्ध धर्मीयांची संघटना सर्वस्वी नाहीशी होवून त्यांची शेकडो लेणी व विहार ओस पडले. त्या नंतरच्या काळात महाराष्ट्रातील आक्रमक शैव पंथाने अनेक ओसाड बुद्ध स्थळांवर व प्राचीन जागृत स्थळीय दैवतांवर आक्रमण करुन त्यांचे शैव श्रद्धास्थानांत रूपांतर केल्याची उदाहरणे अनेक दाखवता येतील. लेण्याद्रीचा गिरिजात्मक त्यातलाच!..."

(btw- Will Buddhists in future claim their right to Lenyadri temple? Evidence favours them so overwhelmingly that no court probably can deny them.)


A fresco of Buddha defaced by a bullet at a temple in central Tibet

11 comments:

marathepa said...

Well I don't think anyone loses anything with or wothout religion. The traders and kings have used religion to fool people, make them work for nothing and dominate. Buddha Baghwan on it.

Internet got to be the new religion. http://iforeye.blogspot.com/2009/10/internet-new-religion.html

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

I wish it were that simple.

I will return to this little later.

abhinav said...

i have immense respect for Buddhism as a religion. having lived in a south-east asian country for a couple of years has given me some perspective on various schools in buddhism. at a coarse level, i find buddhism to be very similar to hinduism. in that there are no rules and religious people end up worshiping elements of nature. which is not a bad thing.

buddhism has tremendous appeal these days especially in the west where the reasonable amongst the populace seem to have realised that believing in sky god is stupid. having said all that, i think the one place where buddhism has failed is the ability to resist strongly the invasion by people of other faiths. afghanistan, pakistan, india, china... till indonesia. buddhists couldnt resist the invaders. (cultural and political). The only notable exception to this would be Japan where the same form of buddhism which now people associate with clam, peace and "karma-yog" ... zen, was also used to motivate the imperial japanese army in their wars.

Surely you will agree that people with high ideals should also be capable of defending those ideals. looking back at it now, who wouldnt have wanted a buddhist afghanistan? (america would still have tried to occupy it for all the minerals is a different thing). or a zen india which is as efficient and as hard working as japan?
.. contd (in my second comment)

abhinav said...

... contd from my previous comment


lastly, i think that through-out the history people have been trying to impose themselves or their believes onto others. and people have been trying to resist that. who succeeds, and who fails is dependent upon the times, technology, society, etc. if you think people in india banished buddhism, surely it was preceded by buddhists trying to change the social landscape for the natives :) (i will not use the word hindus here simply because i dont think anyone identified themselves as hindus till say 18-19th century) maybe they did so peacefully, or maybe not. books and historical records tell the story.

and then buddha lived long time ago. how are we to judge, how people in his times and later perceived him? if he attained englightenment in bihar, how can we expect societies in say tamil nadu to have the same impact of him as say societies in modern day bihar, up?

with that in mind, my question to you is: if we agree that history is a story of people. people who are constantly evolving, changing, acquiring stuff, proselytizing societies, and showing resistance to change. how far should we look back? and for whom?

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks Abhinav.

I don't agree with your "people with high ideals should also be capable of defending those ideals."

But your point "if we agree that history is a story of people. people who are constantly evolving, changing, acquiring stuff, proselytizing societies, and showing resistance to change. how far should we look back? and for whom?" is after my heart.

Peter Carlson: "Obviously, the Golden Age of Paranoia shows no sign of ending. That's why we need Francis Wheen to keep reminding us that humans are a loony species and that much of history is a record of the various forms of lunacy arising in different eras."

Thanks again.

abhinav said...

looking back at my comment "people with high ideals should also be capable of defending those ideals."
seems more like yearning for a perfect design :)

and we all know such yearnings are horrible for societies :)

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Touche.

My way or highway! Totalitarianism- cultural and/or political.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

And just to bore you little more...What is defence?

As Vinoba expounds in his inimitable manner Saint Eknath's 'defence' was keep returning to the river until the miscreant kept spitting at him...(by the way there are stories that he mounted a horse and held a weapon to defend his town)...this is what Gandhiji carried forward in Satyagraha...

anoniem said...

Great discussion. I'm meditating since two years and find myself drawn more and more to these kind of wisdom-seeking talks between people on the internet. I enjoy it hugely. I will look up the words Vinoba and Saint Eknath... never heard of them/it.

anoniem said...

Great discussion. I'm meditating since two years and find myself drawn more and more to these kind of wisdom-seeking talks between people on the internet. I enjoy it hugely. I will look up the words Vinoba and Saint Eknath... never heard of them/it.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks anoniem.

If you read Marathi, great treasure awaits you as discover Eknath and Vinoba.

I say Marathi only because I am not sure how much they are available in Hindi or English.

best for your journey,