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Bodh Gaya

  • "It is an anachronism to ascribe a Hindu religious tradition of this early period; the characteristic set of beliefs and practices known as 'hindu', the word being a product of the Muslim period, was yet to be developed. But it is very strange how the Buddha became an heir to the Brahman religious tradition as he did not believe in God, nor in theories of creation, nor the authority of the Vedas; he was about as much an heir to the Hindu tradition as Karl Marx was a Zionist.

    If gotama was indebted to any earlier figure in the cultural history of India, the most likely candidate is Kapila to whom is attributed the atheistic Sankhya doctrine... The origin of Sankhya is to be found in a pre-Vedic, non-Aryan thought complex. So the possibility is that Gotama's atheism also had its origins in the pre-Vedic, non-Arayan, non-Brahamanical culture of north-eastern India in general, and of the Sankhya people in particular." (13)
  • "Gotama, the founder of Buddhism, was around 29 when he gave up family life to become an ascetic. He emerged as the leader of a band of followers who pursued the "middle way" between extreme asceticism and worldly life. The legend we are told about him in later times are mostly unreliable though they may contain a grain of truth here and there. Moreover, many of the sermons and pronouncements attributed to the Buddha are not his but the work of teachers in later times, and there is considerable doubt to as to the exact nature of his original message. However, the historicity of the Buddha is certain, and we may trust at a minimum that he was originally a memeber of the Sakya tribe, that he gained enlightenment under a sacred Pipal tree [Bo-Tree, cousin of Banyan, Fig, Poplar] as named in the modern Bihar, that he spent many years teaching and organising his band of followers, and that he died at about the age of eighty in Kusinara, a small town in the hills. The Singhalese [sri lankan] Buddhists have preserved a tradition that he died in 544 BC, but most modern authorities believe this date is early by at least sixty years." (15)
  • fewer in number, less influential than Jain and Ajivikas for 200 yrs.
  • "The process by which Buddha got enlightenment has been depicted in another Buddhist text which implies first his entry into four successively deeper stages of meditation and the stress was mainly on the purification of the mind. In this way he achieved concentration, equinimity and dispassion followed by three stages in each of the three successive watch of the night." (sic)
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