Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sufism is Buddhism with Islam

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Mac Graham (, Nevit O. Ergin (Inner Traditions); Ranajit Pal; Wikipedia edits
The tomb of the great Sufi poet Rumi in Turkey, the land that bridges East and West
Sufism is the mystical school of Islam heavily influenced by Buddhism and Brahmanism. Here the famous spiritual poet Rumi is seen depicted, not accidentally, in a Buddha-like posture ( In Buddhism a shaman in "trance" (shramana in blissful absorption called jhana, dhyana) is an ecstatic "dervish" in Sufism.

Further proof that the Buddha's influence was so far ranging as to be imponderable comes in the form of the new book, The Sufi Path of Annihilation by Nevit O. Ergin.

Just as the key to Buddhist enlightenment (bodhi) is comprehending and penetrating with insight the truth of egolessness (anatta) so, too, in Sufism.

It is the illusion of "self," the "ego," "pride" that must be realized. In Buddhism the "self" (atta, atman) is the "soul," and this leads to a great deal of confusion about what no-self or no-soul means.
Conventionally, there is a self and soul in Buddhism, no matter what anyone says, but this "self" is not ultimately real, not eternal, not even existing for two consecutive moments. So in an ultimate sense, there is no self, no ego, no soul. How? See below. 

Early Sufi "saints" were Buddhists
Ranajit Pal, Ph.D. (
The most famous Sufi writer of all, Rumi
The legacy of the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) is clearly seen in Persian literature: The resounding humanism of Jalaluddin Rumi, Hafeez (Hafiz), Attar, Omar Khayyam, and Amir Khosrow cannot be grasped without the call of [monastic] brotherhood called for by the Buddha and echoed by Alexander [the Great] and Emperor Asoka/Diodotus [a "warrior caste" noble ksahtriya/satrap west of India]
Sufism is known to be a universal form of wisdom that has very ancient roots. That fanā' (annihilation) of the Sufis is almost identical to the nirvāņa (complete freedom from suffering and rebirth) of the Buddhists, moksha (a general name for "liberation") of the Hindus [and the Jains and generally all the Dharmic traditions of greater India], kephalia of the Manichaeans, and Kaivaya of the Jains is due to their common origin in Indo-Iran [proto-Persia].
A very large number of Sufi saints were from Khorasan and Karman-Baluchistan where Buddhism once flourished. As W. Ball realized, the caves at Chehelkhaneh and Heydari are linked to Buddhism. In fact, these may also be linked to Mitraism/Mithraism [the religion of Mithras that underpins so much of modern Christianity]. 
The poignant story of Ibrahim ibn Adham of Balkh (see Farooqui, the Travel of Adham to Balkh), one of the earliest Sufis, closely parallels the life history of Gautama Buddha and has been immortalized in the legend of Baarlam and Josaphat (story of the Bodhisat). This was a great religious document that highlights piety, and in many cultures it marked the beginning of literature. More
Dawn of Religions in Afghanistan-Gandhara-Punjab
Lands of the Indus Valley Civilization
Sir Aurel Stein found a Buddhist site at Kuh-e Khwaja in Seistan in 1916. There were many Buddhas before Siddhartha Gautama.

[How many is open to question, for while the Theravada school regularly interprets kalpa to mean an "aeon," an incomprehensible period of geological time, it also has another meaning in Pali: a normal lifespan (kappa) for the age, which at the time of the Buddha was a period of 120 years. This means that the historical Buddha was the only teacher to awaken to the utmost in millions of years, whereas Jain and other teachers spoke of being one in a series of ford finders or conquerors (tirthankaras or jinas) helping others cross over to the liberated state as defined in each dharma, the goal of Buddhism being unique but all glossed as the same, i.e., rebirth in some permanent heavenly state.]

This implies that Buddhism was as old as Zoroastrianism [and the Vedas, etc.]. Early Buddhism was closely linked to Brahmanism (there being no such thing as "Hinduism" yet), Zoroastrianism [Zoroaster/Zarathustra possibly having been a titan, who opposed the devas esteemed in Buddhist texts and the Vedas], and Judaism that originated in Afghanistan-Baluchistan-Gandhara. More
Who was Ibrahim ibn Adham?
Forest ascetic Ibrahim bin Adham with devas (IMP)
Ibrahim ibn Adham (إبراهيم بن أدهم), circa 718-782, AH circa 100-165 [Note 1], see at left) is one of the most prominent of the early ascetic Sufi saints.
The story of his conversion is one of the most celebrated in Sufi legend -- a prince renouncing his throne and choosing asceticism closely echoing the legend of Gautama Buddha [2].
  • 1. Richard Nelson Frye, The Cambridge History of Iran: The period from the Arab invasion to the Saljuqs (CUP, 1975, p. 450)
  • 2. Muslim Saints and Mystics, Attar (trans.) A.J. Arberry intro. on Ebrahim ibn Adham; Encyclopedia of Islam, Ibrahim ibn Adham
Sufi tradition ascribes to Ibrahim countless acts of righteousness, and his humble lifestyle, which contrasted sharply with his early life as the King of Balkh (itself an earlier center of Buddhism).

As recounted by Abu Nu'aym, Ibrahim emphasized the importance of stillness [calm derived from "serenity" meditation or Buddhist samatha?] and meditation [wisdom derived from "insight" meditation or Buddhist vipassana?] for asceticism.

Rumi extensively described the legend of Ibrahim in his Masnavi. The most famous of Ibrahim's students is Shaqiq al-Balkhi (died 810). More
The concept of anatta as a doctrine is unique to Buddhism. No other teacher but a buddha teaches it. If Sufism understands it, it is because they received it from Buddhism. If it has been misunderstood or misconstrued as Annihilationism, the destruction of an existing self, then it is no Egolessness Doctrine.
In the Tradition of RUMI and Master Hasan...
Mac Graham (reviewer), Whole Life Times (, June 2014)

The Sufi Path of Annihilation (Inner Traditions)
Author Nevit O. Ergin mingles his cryptic contemporary short stories with sayings of Master Hasan Lutfï Shushud and the immortal verses of Rumi to reveal the barest essence of the Itlak Sufi path.
Our perceptions [saññā], we learn, are based on a lifetime’s accumulation of conditioned habit [sankhāra, mental formations such as our intentions or root motivations], primarily in eating and breathing.

Manipulation of these two functions through fasting and zikr (breath-control [yogic pranayama which was displaced by mindfulness of in and out breathing in Buddhist insight practices]), along with a steady, slow acknowledgement of life’s suffering [dukkha] and illusion [maya], brings release [moksha] from dualistic perception [Brahminical/Hindu non-dualism], annihilation [nirodha, extinction in stages] of the self [atta, atman], and revelation of essence beyond God -- that, “We are the beloved; God [Brahma/Brahman] is the lover.”
This dualistic perception can be an obstacle to Itlak’s deep and slippery slope truth. Such mysteries require an oblique and indirect approach to replace the panaceas or placebos of religion and philosophy.

We can only approach our truest nature [Three Marks or Characteristics of Existence: anicca, dukkha, anatta, the truth that all things that exist are impermanent, incapable of fulfilling us, and impersonal] and meaning through annihilation of even those institutions that intend to guide us. [Compare with the Buddha's message in the Kalama Sutra].
Prepare to grapple with our most basic assumptions in this sweet, simple, and completely annihilating [liberating since there is no "thing" that could be annihilated other than ignorance and distress] adventure.
Shams al-Ma'arif (Danieliness/wiki)
Like much mid-eastern religion and mysticism, Itlak Sufism seems couched in suffering and denial [just as the Buddha approached ultimate Truth by negating our common assumptions using negating conventional language that is misleading to modern readers who may mistake it as pessimistic or nihilistic].

However, the goal -- [the realization of] nothingness [framed in later Mahayana Buddhism as "emptiness" (shunyata), the ultimate "perfection of wisdom," which is the liberating realization of ANATTA], absence -- transcends any such negation.

With annihilation of the [illusion of a] self, essence [the luminous quality of the heart/mind, primordial consciousness, which the Buddha analyzed (dissected, divided, broke down) in many ways: viññāna, citta, cetasikas, mental states (sankharas), mental factors, mana, nāma, manas, conceit, attention] expresses its hidden [timeless] being, allowing one to “die before one’s chronological death” or die to the illusory world.

Otherwise, as Rumi notes, we are just “a morsel for the ground.”

No self?
Wisdom Quarterly (ANALYSIS)
Hinduism: We are drops merging
The Buddha was not a materialist, nor was he an annihationist nor was he an eternalist. Even if these three categories seem to exhaust all possibilities, all three are nevertheless "wrong views" (miccha ditthi) based on very deep seated assumptions and errors.

To untangle this impossible situation is easy: There are two kinds of language, conventional and ultimate. Conventionally, there if of course a self; it is self evident! We can identify with and designate anything as "self," but if we examine it, we are almost always talking about one or more of these five things: our bodies, sensations, perceptions, mental formations (like our volitions), and consciousnesses (associated with these five senses with the mind as sixth).

However, ultimately, no such self is there; it falls away when analyzed (broken down and penetrated with insight). A materialist is one who believes only in matter, which includes most modern, "reasonable," scientific types. We know there's more, but we will admit no such knowledge because we think Science says that there's nothing more. (To believe this we have to ignore all of the science that says it does. See what David Wilcock, formerly Edgar Cayce, has uncovered in this regard at

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