Hinduism and Buddhism/Jainism

vidya at cco.caltech.edu vidya at cco.caltech.edu
Fri Oct 6 18:08:52 UTC 1995

Pratap Kumar wrote - 

> 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

Firstly, it is difficult to say what exactly is "Hindu", especially in the
5th century BC. One can talk of Vedic ritualism and the upanishadic 
thought, but not of Hinduism in the modern sense. 

That said, it should be fairly clear that more than Buddhism, it is Jainism
that is more firmly rooted in the SramaNa tradition. It must be remembered
that Mahavira Jina is counted as the 24th tIrthAnkara from very early times.
In contrast, Buddhism is not found before Gautama Buddha. The idea of there
being many bodhisattvas before him is a late concept, coming from mahAyAna

In contrast, more than Jainism, it is Buddhism that has developed its 
metaphysics in reaction to the "orthodox" Vedic tradition. The denial of
the Atman is the strongest feature of Buddhism that sets it on a head-on
collision course with the Brahmanic tradition. Jainism, on the other hand
admits many Atmans. 

I am not at all sure if any connection with vrAtyas can be postulated for
either Jainism or Buddhism. Both these traditions call themselves "Arya"
and contrast fairly strongly with contemporary groups like the AjIvikas. 

S. Vidyasankar


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