Hinduism and Buddhism/Jainism

Pratap Kumar kumar at pixie.udw.ac.za
Fri Oct 6 07:25:38 UTC 1995

Dear Colleagues:

There seems to be a widely held perception that Buddhism and Jainism are 
"off-shoots" of Hinduism and developed their own metaphyisics in reaction 
to the Vedic tradition.  A colleague of mine holds this view very 
strongly.  I tend to think that it is an erroneous way of reading the 
history of Indian thought.  Both the Buddhist and the Jain traditions, 
like other systems of Indian Philosophy seem to have their independent 
sources of origin and have reacted to the Braahmana tradition.  They have 
perhaps more in common with the Sramana and Vraatya traditions.  I hope 
others would comment on this and clear some of the misreadings of the 
history of Indian thought.

Pratap Kumar
Department of Hindu Studies and Indian Philosophy
Univ. of Durban-Westville
South Africa 

> From P.Friedlander at wellcome.ac.uk 06 95 Oct EDT 10:09:00
Date: 06 Oct 95 10:09:00 EDT
From: P.Friedlander at wellcome.ac.uk
Subject: re: Hinduism and Buddhism/Jainism
Reply-To: P.Friedlander at wellcome.ac.uk
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

Pratap Kumar raised the issue of Hinduism and Buddhism/Jainism
I think that one of the problems with the view he opposes is the term 
'Hinduism'. It seems safer to me to use Hinduism to refer to later 
developments in India, perhaps not before the period of epic literature say 
ca. 2nd century BC.
Hence there is no way that Buddhism and Jainism can be offshoots of 
Moreover, while some aspects of the sramanic traditions, including Buddhist 
and Jain traditions, do reflect attacks on for instance Brahminical ritual 
observances, I do not believe that most aspects of sramanic traditions can 
be explained in this way.
Also I have never seen a Buddhist or Jain text that is a criticism of 
Upanisadic thought, this to me suggests that the popularity of the Upanisads 
most post date early Buddhism and Mahavira. So it does not seem that 
Jacobi's view that Jainism is a popularised form of Upanisadic thought can 
be correct.

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