Saturday, November 23, 2013


I agree that we need not confine ourselves to a single approach or method in the seminar. The 'real' 'historical' Buddha is hard to reconstruct, except from the hagiographical accounts and mediated dialogues  and unauthenticated texts including Dhammapada. Ultimately the Buddhas who work in history and society are   constructs with their own socio-political implications, like the Brahmin Buddha and the Dalit Buddha , the meditating Buddha and the acting Buddha, the egalitarian Buddha and the transcendental Buddha, the philosopher's Buddha and the poet's Buddha ,not to speak of all those Zen constructs where Buddha intervenes in every human act, all of which , as Devika points out, need not necessarily be pitted against one another as there are several strands running parallely  among them. Perhaps we need to look at: 1. the links between the available texts and  practices (impositions too)2. the social role that the imagined ways of Buddhism have played in different historical(ideological- epistemological-ontological) contexts.3. The relevance of some of these constructs to our own time and our struggle for another world, call it Walter Benjamin's Messianic world if you will. 

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