Hinduism: once was: RAJARAM EPISODE

Wed Oct 4 16:29:18 UTC 2000

Ven Tantra wrote:

> As an ordained "Buddhist" priest/monk of many years
> standing, I am perfectly willing to call myself
> "Hindu," at least in so far as my religion is [I am
> speaking rhetorically] "Hindu."

As a former Buddhist monk myself, I am not at all willing to call
myself "Hindu" as the term is both confusing and misleading -- not
that I have any personal antagonism towards Hindus or anybody else.

> And as for the founder of
> this tremendously long-lived religious movement, I
> would uncompromisingly identify him as a
> K.satriya-caste Hindu named Gautama. And in boldly
> underscoring his Indian-ness....

Do you mean he was a "Hindu" culturally or ethnically ?   I suppose he
was to a degree a "Hindu" (= central/north-eastern Indian) culturally
although this may have been exaggerated by later hagiographers for
obvious reasons.  However, one could question whether he was a "Hindu"
ethnically whatever that might mean -- as I said above, I think the
term as you suggest using it is too vague and imprecise.  Of course,
one might use the word "Hindu" as an ethnic blanket term for anybody
living in the Indian sub-continent but I believe it is not at all
clear whether the inhabitants of the Shakyan polity including Gautama
himself (and of the nearby V.rjian confederacy) were of Indo-Aryan
origin -- given the proximity of those states to regions still
inhabited by many people of Tibeto-Burman or Austro-Asiatic ethnicity.
Also, how do we know that he was a k.satriya ?   Did he actually say
so himself or was this a label applied to his lineage by later
"Hindus" in order to pigeonhole him into their views of societal
organization ?
Having made these points, I agree with the other sentiments expressed
in your posting.

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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