Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Where was the Buddha born? (letter)

Maya, Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon, and CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Ranajit Pal (ranajitpal.com, lumkap.org.uk); Ajahn Brahm (video); E.P. Vining
The first human representations of the Buddha in Gandhara (Buddhaskulptur.de)

Birth of the Buddha-to-be (the Bodhisattva) Prince Siddhartha, Peshawar, Gandhara.
Devas, Buddha, Maya Devi, maid, Lumbini
In response to our exploration of who the Buddha's family was and where they came from on the post Shakyans were Scythians (Greco-Buddhist art), Ritesh Kumar Gupt writes in to explain the common view propagated by India with the help of its Muslim neighbors:

"Don't confuse Shakyans with Shakas. Shakyans were a very ancient kshatriya [warrior-caste] community of India (around 6th century BC) who lived in Tarai region of Nepal while Scythians came in a very later phase and got settled in Western India."

Gandhara-style (gatesofvienna)
Thank you, Gupt, but this is exactly our point. We refer you to the work of Dr. Ranajit Pal (ranajitpal.com) to explain that the Shakyas (Shakas, Sakkas, Sakyas, Sakkas, Sakas) were NOT from Nepal and that the Terai has very little Buddhist history (see below).

On the other hand, to the west -- as far as modern Iran down to Seistan Baluchistan province, where the modern Muslim countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran converge -- there is a concealed history of Buddhism.

Afghan and Chinese Buddhist in America?
That history extends far to the north having traveled their from Afghanistan -- as far to the northwest as Ukraine and Kalmykia (Europe), north to Siberia (Russia), northeast to Mongolia, east to China.

Afghan Buddhist missionaries even made it to America, an astounding fact people cannot get their heads around. (See Edward P. Vining's An Inglorious Columbus from 1885). But this is how it was.

(PPH) Part I: Ven. Brahm on little known history of Buddhism west of India

Gandhara texts (gardendigest.com)
The Buddha's disciples and message made it to the Middle East and Europe and influenced the development of Coptic Christianity and the Vatican form (e.g., see Ajahn Brahm on early Buddhism in India, ancient Greece, and ancient Egypt, the Therapeutae and Part II on the tie in to Buddhism's direct influence on Jesus in Egypt and India). But all of this is unknown history outside of the world of scholars, except that it can be seen as implicit in the texts and be pieced together. This is what we are doing at Wisdom Quarterly. We are not presenting standard history twisted to India's advantage, ignoring the contributions of what is now the Muslim world. We are revealing it.

Part III: Ajhan Brahm (Pagoda Phat Hue/Buddhasweg.eu) on the Christian Father Origen,
whose teacher was Munias Sakka (the Muni, Sage, of the Sakka, the Shayas = Shakyamuni)

Buddha from Central Asia
Muslim countries do not want it known, and India by default gets credit it does not deserve. It did not create the Buddha. The Buddha was not from "India," as there was no "India" at the time, and more than that, he came from far to the west of anything that could really be called "India." This is what the mounting evidence shows us.

He was a foreigner, a prince, likely a Scythian (a word Greeks and others used to describe the nomadic tribes of Central Asia).

Afghan Indo-Pakistan (thaimangoes)
But ancient archeology is surfacing to show the truth. Indeed, Indo-Scythia may have eventually come to include Nepal's Terai and the Indian state of Bihar, where the ascetic Siddhartha traveled and found enlightenment in an area now known as Bodh[i] Gaya, "Enlightenment Grove."

Gupt, here is a small excerpt from Dr. Pal's maverick research and attempt to reveal real Buddhist history distorted by fraud and political considerations. Our goal, like his, is to get to the truth, to a story that makes sense, to reveal the unknown.
New Vistas in Early History of Buddhism
RanajitPal.com lightly edited by Wisdom Quarterly

Non-Jonesian Indology (amazon)
Buddhism literally throbs with the history and geography of India. The relics from Sanchi, Ajanta, Bharhut, Amaravati, Gandhara, Thotlakonda, and Mathura link India with early Buddhism. The Indian tradition of tolerance and moderation goes beyond 6th century B.C., and primitive Buddhism can be traced in the Harappan era, but Buddhist history is a queer mix of facts and fiction that baffles the discerning reader.

The poet Goethe wrote: "Wer den Dichter will verstehen. Muss in Dichters Lande gehen." "If you want to understand a poet, you must go to the poet's land." Indeed, in order to understand Gautama Buddha one has to go to his true land which was Afghanistan not Nepal.

The startling recent discovery of a 6th century B.C. Buddhist site at Mes Aynak in Logar province of Afghanistan, 35 km south-east of Kabul has dramatic repercussions on Buddhist history. Mes Aynak is one of the greatest Buddhist sites in the world.
[Great unearthed stupa (Buddhist reliquary mound) at Mes Aynak, Afghanistan.]
The Dreadful Nepalese Forgeries
Nepal is a beautiful country [under direct Indian influence], but Gautama Buddha of Nepal is a nauseating fraud.

Nothing in the art, archaeology, history, or literature of early Nepal has the faintest hint of Buddhism. 
Jonesian scholars such as R. Thapar and A.K. Narain affirm that Gotama [the Pali spelling of the Sanskrit Gautama] was from the Nepal area, but this is denied by archaeology. C. Humphreys points to the stark ground reality:

"The Lumbini gardens, where Gotama was born, lie in the difficult Nepal Terai, and Kusinara, where the Buddha passed away, has little to show."

In contrast to gullible historians such as A.K. Narain, the renowned Belgian scholar E. Conze also flatly dismisses the fanciful text-based accounts:

"To the modern historian, Buddhism is a phenomenon which must exasperate [one] at every point and we can only say in extenuation that this religion was not founded for the benefit of the historians. Not only is there an almost complete absence of hard facts about its history in India; not only is the date, authorship and geographical provenance of the overwhelming majority of the documents almost entirely unknown...."

The way out of the chaos is shown by the British scholar T.A. Phelps, whose painstaking study has exposed the dreadful forgeries of A. Führer, who moved pillars and faked inscriptions and relics to falsely locate Lumbini [the garden park where Prince Siddhartha, the Buddha-to-be, was born].

Nepal has no ancient Buddhist relics. Vincent Smith vehemently protested against the fabrications of Dr. Führer. Gotama was a prince, but after he was abandoned in the wilderness of the Terai [Nepal] by the rogue Führer, his history went to pieces.
Indo-Scythian Buddha in the art of ancient Afghanistan and Pakistan (Gandhara).

Look, you can tell he's Indian!
Of course, Gupt, you may not care about these details like Dr. Pal, but we do because we're Westerners with Western historical roots. Nonetheless, we hope you care as much about the truth as we and Dr. Pal do wherever the chips may fall or whoever gets upset.

There is no topic we cover that so disturbs Nepalis and Indians as this one. Yet, no one sends us complaint letters with an opposing Muslim or Sufi (mystical Islam) position. On the contrary, people from Afghanistan (site of Kapilavastu, one of the three Shakyan capitals where the Buddha-to-be grew up) and Pakistan (site of the once glorious Indus Valley Civilization) want to know the history of their land even if the politicians do not want it known.

Finally, Gupt we ask you to read Non-Jonesian Indology and Alexander on the real origins of the Buddha by Dr. Ranajit Pal, which concerns the history of India. It offers a new perspective on the subject of how Buddhism arose. It is a must read for those interested in Buddhism, the history of Nepal, India, German and British Colonial historians, and Alexander the Great. Or there's something to read right now that will clear this matter up instantly: 

The present location of Lumbini (the site of the Buddha’s birth) in Nepal is a colossal fraud that began in 1896 and has been carefully fostered ever since. The details of its discovery disclose a sorry tale of deception and intrigue told here for the first time.
1. Introduction
2. Fuhrer’s Early Years
3. The Nigliva Discovery 
4. The Lumbini Discovery 
5. The Lumbini Pillar Inscription 
6. The Location of The Lumbini Pillar 
7. The Mayadevi Temple 
8. The Piprahwa Discoveries 
9. Tilaurakot 
10. The Kapilavastu of the Chinese Pilgrims 
11. Will the Real Kapilavastu Please Stand Up?
12. Lumbini 
13. The Rama Stupa 
14. From Rama to Kusinara 
15. Kusinara
16. Postcript17. References
18. Illustrations
(Wiki) Bonshō are large bells found in Buddhist temples throughout Japan, used to summon the monks to prayer and to demarcate periods of time. Rather than containing a clapper, bonshō (example at Ryōan-ji pictured) are struck from the outside, using either a hand-held mallet or a beam suspended on ropes. The bells are usually made from bronze, typically augmented and ornamented with bosses, raised bands, and inscriptions. The earliest appearance of these bells in Japan dates to around 600 CE, although the general design is of much earlier Chinese origin. Their penetrating and pervasive tone carries over considerable distances, which led to their use as signals, timekeepers, and alarms. The sound is thought to have supernatural properties; it is believed, for example, that it can be heard in the underworld. Their spiritual significance means that they play an important role in Buddhist ceremonies, particularly the New Year and Bon festivals. Throughout Japanese history a number of these bells have become associated with stories and legends, both fictional, such as the Benkei Bell of Mii-dera, and historical, such as the bell of Hōkō-ji. In modern times, bonshō have become symbols of world peace. (Full article...)

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