LAST POST on Sakas etc

Sumit Guha Sumit_Guha at BROWN.EDU
Wed Nov 20 18:56:30 EST 2002

Dear colleagues,

It is amusing to find the same position being labeled Hindu primordialist a
la P.N. Oak by Professor Witzel and blind political correctness by
Professor Thompson.

Professor Thompson writes:

<<This "Iranian heresy" business is NOT an attack on the indigenous origins
of Buddhism by racialist theorists.  To persist in saying so is sheer
blindness,induced by uninformed poltical correctness.>>

Actually, ideas (or "discourses") have logical implications QUITE
INDEPENDENT of the good or bad intentions of those who propound them. I
attribute no motives whatever to anybody who writes on this subject and
would never dream of falling into the ad hominem fallacy of regarding such
an attribution as equivalent to a refutation.

The Iranian connection of Buddhism could be proven by AND ONLY BY one or
more of the following arguments:

1. It arose out of religious debates current from Iran up to the eastern
Gangetic plain

connected by an ethnic identity that was recognized by Saka and Sakya alike

by having its origins in psychic traits somehow inherited by both separate
populations (the Jungian route)

4. OR, FINALLY, because the populations were genetically close to each
other than to intervening populations (William Z. Ripley for example).

No one has seriously defended (1) or (2).
(Soma and its ritual was of no significance in Buddhism, nor was Surya
whose iconic representations easily show his Central Asian links, apart
from other evidence).

AND IF we give up (1) and (2) AND STILL insist on the connection, it can
only founded (3) and/or (4).

This conclusion says nothing about the personal beliefs, motives and
outlook of the scholars concerned.

Anyway, I think this topic grows tedious to many list members. I shall be
happy to continue the discussion off the list.

Sumit Guha

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