nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 12 10:29:21 UTC 2000

Lance Cousins writes :

Lance, first of all, thanks for sharing your perceptions.

>most but not all Buddhists who have thought about the matter seem to object
>to the idea that Buddhism would be subordinated to Hinduism as a part,
>particularly if that is used as a way of saying that Buddhism really
>teaches, say, Advaita Vedaanta.

As pointed out by you the conception of "Hindus" props up as an identity
only when Christians and Muslims are brought into the picture.
Individually we're smartha or Vaishnava or Saiva or Jaina or Bauddha or
Sikh - basically followers of any faith born on the soil of India - well
aware of our individual identities as well as our shared values - the

We do not try to subordinate Buddhism to Hinduism. Buddhism is a distinct
branch of the dharmic tree - which was developed, sustained and abandoned by
our ancestors. We recognize its distinctness but also know that the best of
what it had to offer has been assimilated by our faiths, which were
themselves heavily influenced by Buddhism. Our only problem is when somebody
tries to say that Buddhism is alien or opposed to our faiths or we destroyed
Buddhism etc

If anything apart from the Islamic invasions destroyed Buddhism in India, it
was its stand asserting its validity on the base of reason - "as the wise
test gold by cutting and rubbing ...". As Shankara observes : reason can be
overcome by sharper reasoning. In the constant debating environment of India
where philosophers of rival schools learnt from each other and improved on
their school's doctrines, Buddhism was fated to die out one day when other
faiths too developed doctrines as sharp or sharper than its own. Over a
period of time it was destined to become irrelevant (not in its ethical
sense where it shared many values with rival schools and where it didn't,
its tenets were adopted by its rivals). In contrast most other schools have
survived, because they avoided this mistake and sought refuge in dogma
instead. With dogma there's unmistakable individuality and hence survival.

And regarding its relation to Advaita VedAnta, the truth is one - whether
YAgnavalkya or the Buddha or VardhamAna or NAgArjuna or Shankara - all of
them are unanimous that truth is beyond the intellect. So leaving theory
aside, considering the nature of the truth that they taught, unless you want
to label some of them as liars, we've to assume that they taught various
ways to the same goal. Ramana Maharishi, acknowledged the world over as a
realized being, too affirms this.

>For that matter, many (or most?) Jains, Sikhs, etc. have a similar

Jains in India today are almost indistinguishable from mainstream "Hindus".

But in the current perverted political scenario of India, the Sikh
religion developed and sustained by Hindus - later became the swordarm of
Hinduism against Islamic oppression - Hindus used to give their first born
to the sect - its various Gurus have martyred for the cause of Hindus - now
its adherents do not want to identify themselves as "Hindu".

First it was Pakistan which actively sowed the seeds of distrust in
the minds of the Sikhs against the "Hindus" which resulted in the loss of
thousands of lives. Now it is the Indian leftists who are against the
integration of the Sikhs into the "Hindu" mainstream, because anything
which rallies around in the name of "Hindu" is anaethma to them.

>But I don't believe that becoming a Buddhist, etc. meant that you rejected
>some general religious tradition we could call Hinduism or Brahmanism.
>Rather you adopted certain practices and rejected others.

One has to only read the JainA stories or the JAtaka tales to understand

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