Buddhism as Iranian heresy?

Bob Thurman tbt7 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Sat Jan 4 13:40:08 UTC 2003

Dear Dean,
Yes to your question in the last para. There have been previous
Eurocentric speculations about
influence on sculptures of Buddha from Gandhara, Zoroastrian influence
on the Amitabha cult of Mahayana, and so on, all with some basis, all
controversial. Earlier Iranian-Indic Vedic period interactions,
migrations, etc., as alluded to by Prof. Witzel, are surely probable,
but the idea that "Buddhism," i.e. the social/religious/intellectual
movement founded by Shakyamuni, would have inspiration from Iranian
sources is what is out of left field. After all, Buddhism's problem in
India was always that it was against the divinity of the Vedas, seeing
them rather as human artifacts, and therefore being a "heresy" against
the culture(s) that elevated them as apaurus.eya.

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