Swaminathan Madhuresan smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM
Sun Feb 14 14:51:26 UTC 1999

    Dear Prof. Schalk,

    I went thru' the Indology archives carefully.

    The Postings equating Mt. Potalaka, the abode of Avalokitezvara,
    to Potiyil/Potikai/Potiyam in Malaya mountains never talk of
    the date of arrival of Buddhism in Tamil country.

    Or, am I missing something?

    Swaminathan Madhuresan

> The discussion about Potalaka belongs to a wider context of dating the
> establishment of Buddhism in Tamilakam. The Japanese Buddhist Shu
> has through the Institute of Asian Studies in Cennai in 1989
launched a
> kind of official doctrine according to which Buddhism is even
pre-Asokan in
> Tamilakam. The invasion by Bindusara into the South is made into an
> invasion by Asoka himself who made a "Buddhist" invasion, that did not
> introduce, but revived a pre-Buddhist tradition. Part of Hikosaka's
> argumentation is that Potiyil was a Buddhist mountain. His main
> argumentation has not yet been given by Kanecan, namely that potiyil
> allegedly derived from *bodhi-y-il, where "y" is a gliding sound,
"il" is a
> Tamil locative indicator and Tamil poti is allgedly derived from
> Potiyil is allegedly a place recalling the enlightenment. potalaka is
> regarded as a "secondary derivation" of potiyil. On this base have
> piled speculations about the presence of Avalokitesvara on the
mountain. A
> climbing expedition on the top has been made guided by the
Gandhavyuha and
> Xuantsang to find traces of the cult of Avalokitesvara. I have tried
> show-evidently in vain -that all this is associative wishful
thinking of
> amateur historians. Vide P Schalk, "The Controversy about the
Arrival of
> Buddhism in Tamilakam", TEMENOS 30 (1994), pp. 197-232, where this
> popular and now dominating doctrine among academics in Tamilakam,
and the
> discussion about it, is documented from both sides.This doctrine's
> and seducing force is not intellectual. It is emotional because it
> Buddhism very, very, very old in Tamilakam.
> -Peter Schalk, Uppsala University

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