[Advaita-l] Sankara's praise of Buddha
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Sep 21 23:59:55 CDT 2011
On Wed, 21 Sep 2011, D.V.N.Sarma డి.వి.ఎన్.శర్మ wrote:
> Is there any correspondence between the Buddha of Lalita vistara or
> Buddha Charita and the puranic Buddha?
> Why are we so non-critical
> about these spiteful puranic interpolations.
One may as well ask why we are so non-critical about pro-buddhist
propoganda like Lalitavistara or Buddhacharita? (Which are kavyas not
factual biographies and are dated by historians approx. 700-800 years
after Shakyamuni lived.)
We have an unfortunate tendency to cry "interpolation" whenever we come
across uncomfortable ideas but that is not how indologists use the term.
If we find 99 manuscripts which say the young Krishna Bhagavan stole
butter and one that says Shiva Bhagavan stole it we can conclude that the
latter contains an interpolation. Or if we read some work that is written
in shlokas and suddenly in the middle we see a sequence of shikarini
verses, they could very well be an interpolation. Or if we read some text
on nyaya and come across terms and ideas which belong to samkhya or from
navya nyaya which we know is a later development we can suspect interpolation.
It is a conjecture sometimes well-supported and sometimes controversial.
So if we suspect the puranic story of the buddhavatara is an
interpolation, the way to prove it would be to compare other puranic texts
and manuscripts. In fact we see a lot of correlation between different
puranas in this regard. So there probably is no interpolation.
"Spitefulness" proves nothing; it is a fact that most Hindu thinkers had a
negative attitude towards Buddhism. Philobuddhists are not entirely
unknown, Jayadeva and Harshavardhana for example but they are the
minority. Then you also have people like the Nayayika Jayanta Bhatta who
was friendly with Buddhists in his personal life but still sought to
refute their ideas in his philosophical work.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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