Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Buddhist traditions are unique for their heterogeneity and adaptability. The absence of a transcendental principle upon which believers could rely on at the moment of testing-time in their everyday life is attributed to be one of the reasons for the so-called abandoning of Buddhism/s by the majority of people from the subcontinent. That way, the decline of religious Buddhism in India is said to be caused by its internal weakness. Sometimes the exit of Buddhism from India has been trivialized as being only a matter of it getting integrated within the region’s dominant stream of spiritual and cultural heritage represented by Vedas and Upanisads. The outward posture of Buddhism as one of the major heterodox traditions is taken to be a negligible factor. That is done on the basis of seeing its apparent differences with the Vedic practices get vanished when matters are taken in relation to the essential spiritual core. In its core Buddhism has been viewed as having any quarrel with the Vedanta spirituality.   A strategy of decontextualising seems to be at operative behind such an integrationist argumentation. This way the argument for the internal weakness of Buddhism seems to get set aside. Because when the decline of Buddhism in India is seen only as a matter of self purging of its historical aberrations from the philosophical or spiritual core, the presumed decline turns out to be a process of actualization and accomplishment of what Buddhism is in its core. Such an integrationist argumentation seems to have become frozen so as to provide an institutionalized framework for an ahistorical and apolitical discourse of Buddhism by which Buddhism gets itself neutralized in confronting the cultural challenges that Buddha had thrown open before humanity. This may be the context in which we need to look for alternative ways of signifying Buddhism/s. Further it seems to be the context in which the question ‘how does Buddhism matter today’ becomes more a political imperative rather than theoretical or religious.

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