Thursday, January 29, 2015




37. Giorgio De Martino:

Quiet an amazing answer by Prof. A. Kanthamani!  Thank you! (here is a free translation of a well known Umberto Eco quotation)..

"As reality is unknowable, the only way to know it is to transform it... The knowledge task is to manoeuvre his falsifications in order to contemplate, the closest possible, the mysterious origin of this contradictory reality that escapes us".

Years ago I noticed the birth of Neurotheology, as far as I remember, it happened after the official rising of the cognitive sciences, half of the 80s. A lot of material on cognitive sciences was already on the market (the default mode of the brain was discovered beginning of the 50s, but only 50 years later someone thought to search better and invented "mindfulness"), but it was the big change caused by the so-called "computer revolution" (see McIntosh about 1984), so connected with this bizarre idea of "calculating" the cosmos, the mathematization of the universe who push forward. The social. visual relapse influenced the media: "Matrix" (the movie, 2000), where Keanu Reevs, "Neo" in some way were compared with Buddha, arrived almost thirty years after "Blade Runner" (1982) by Philip K. Dick, an extraordinary movie where enlightenment was, in some way, forbidden
"Neuro-Buddhism" is a metaphor I used to speak about body, brain, time and time-changes, I don't think it is possible to reduce Buddhism to some kind of "neurosomething", but I know that so many high-level scientific experiences are going on to understand, in a modern way, the path of practitioners toward a deep knowledge of the unusual object we call "body". Reading the Buddhist literature (we are lucky: comparing to the past we can access so much documents we'll not be able to read if not in many reincarnations!) we can notice that the the historical Buddha, more or less 2500 years ago, after a disruptive shock that "tsunamized" his perception of reality (and we all know reality is a a strong [bodily] construction we try to defend, as a break in this structure can eventually kill us) shifted Gautama "out" (1). Apart the fact that I (it is a personal opinion...) I have great difficulties to think about Gautama Buddha as a prince (but this belief gives authority to the myth). As looking at the method he proposed I would like more to think of a strong, sensitive nomadic male - always involved in change, survival and travel - I always noticed his research of "deeper" states of trance (ok: where deeper in the "body"?), this last word - trance - means almost nothing, a kind of box where you put ideas and experiences (2). OK, Gautama went on searching, risking his life using dangerous techniques, to overcome a barrier: "Hic sunt leones" (Here are dragons), and he used his body and the interactions he could hope to manage to go beyond. Beyond what? Good question, as it seems that human consciousness can exists only inside a human body, not outside. And it seems that is that consciousness (not another one) who can awake and get enlightenment (that seems to be a stop-motion of reality), Gutama insisted on the great chance to have a "human" body, the perfect device to..."Gate, gate, paragate, parasamssgate, bodhi svaha!". That doesn’t mean freak-out, probably the opposite. I have stolen (see upstairs...) a notorious phrase by Umberto Eco (from "The Absent Structure, 1983) to introduce the problem...We'll never be able to deal with the body as witness of time that pass, but we can have a quick look at this process, if we train in the good way we'll be able to ride the tiger (reality). Now we are sure that light is matter (it has stopped, even for microseconds), and it is clear that also time is matter we are floating inside, like the red fishs in the bottle. Gautama insisted on the fact that having a human body was a great chance (an a responsibility), as it was the device through we could decide to awake and see reality (that means being able to ride Time). Using neurobuddhism could be a way to "open" to so may people new method to upgrade their perception and enjoyment of "reality", may be overcoming the new globalized caste system presented as the big idiot market where everyone could become rich and beautiful (not enlightened). There are so many forms of Buddhism (as different vehicles) spreading everywhere, I think they will meet all around new and unexpected ways to see-and-be the body-mind system (NB: the last trend in neuroscience is now to explore what the hell do the micro-organisms who live with us in our body). That kind of third millennium [neuro]buddhist body-mind system - who can deal with everchanging reality, that reality so exploited and bad used by political and propaganda power, could disturb deeply the NCS (new caste system) created by Capitalism (we are seeing deadly effect in Europe after banksters put their hands on the whole union). Why? Because it makes slower if not stops the flux of the social constructed reality we are obliged to eat each time we see TV ot movies or whatever (yes: neuro-economy, recently an amazing article appeared on a weekly journal in Italya to remember that science is NOT supermarket and mad belief). I think neurosciences (and I have had VERY bad experiences in a renowned famous, rich laboratory), even if so well-controlled by political and industrial power, can contribute as a scientific (if honest) mirror for researchers and meditation practioners. Buddha, Dharma Sangha: only shared knowledge on this subject will be accepted, I think, only enlightened teams will be able to overcome difficulties and achieve personal and community useful goals. New technology (and new concepts and categories) are amazing, but it depends on the way you use them. Like a knife, you can skin an apple, or kill your neighbour...). Now it is possible to verify what happen to your blood (remember that blood is NOT a liquid, but a liquid organ - and in Chinese Medicine is said "where blood goes, goes the qi-energy") when it goes around inside your body-brain system when you are practicing Buddhist (not only Buddhist...) forms of meditation. And this is only one option, there are so many others. If you read the book by James L. Oschman (2000) on "Energy medicine" (a very disturbing book for the official industrial propaganda, often considered as a quackery publication), you'll discover that there are so many possibilities about researching on these subjects. It has never been translated in Italian or in French...

(1)it is not a hazard if Timothy Leary [strongly criticized by Albert Hofmann who discovered LSD, for his misuse of enthogen drugs] wrote a commentary on the Bardo Thodol, the "Tibetan Book of the dead"...right translation is "The book that will deliver you only hearing at...")
(2) but we know trance is another way to describe "altered" or "modified" states of consciousness and there is a large literature on trance and social changes...


38. Marc  Lambert:

there is not such a thing like a Buddhist culture in France, meanwhile I'd like to congratulate your efforts to clear an interesting religious aporia in the context of castes, varnas and jatis in India.... 

39. Sasi

What we call  'Cultural Buddhisms' and 'Buddhist cultures' are to be taken as different entities altogether. The present exercise of learning from Buddhist cultures need not be a call for a revival or institutionalization of any one of the so-called religious sects or philosophical doctrines that go in the name of Buddhism.  Cultural Buddhism seems to inform a recurring tendency to invoke certain Buddhist ideas in relation to troubling questions of individual and social life. What makes sensitive minds to be so?  If we make any reference to Buddhist thought or imagery as part of our contemporary engagements, I think it can very well go by cultural Buddhism. Consumerism seems to be setting an everyday context for cultural Buddhism everywhere. In the context of engagement with the castiesm in India, one may not be able to bypass Buddhism.

40. P. Madhu:
What is culture? It is a cacophonic totality of disconnected contingent practices. The cacophony and practice since has been constrained by habits have some tune-like order, which exposes it chaotic disorder & discontinuity if looked closer, unless the one who looks at the phenomenon is in the habit of construing music out of noise.
I think, since modernity habits & their resonances of the past is given the semblance of order. Since modernity, it is the tendency control & manipulate the resonances has dominated assuming cultures. Modernity has the orientation from culture to practice because it is corollary to colonial project of domination control and ‘reformation’ too.  Before that ‘social’ or culture were not such an object.
It seems to me that the motive to control gave the object to be controlled at the time of historical contingency for the object (culture in this case)  to come into existence. Before that time, if we are serious, we can’t trace much of the ‘social’ or ‘culture’ or a religion conspiring for control.
 Hence, i think- Imagining such control- since ancient- is anachronistic.  
Culture, to me appears,  is like the total smoke that fumes out from individual vehicles of practices.  It is the affect of practices.  With prefixes of Hindu or Buddhist to practices we are into too much of inventions.
However, since from modernity intellectuals are of the habit of interpreting the social from cultural totality. Like ambitious physicists tending to calculate today’s tsunami from Brownian movement of a dust particle presumed to have existed millenniums ago- cultural historians often tend to capture today’s cultural history and link it to the practices and their resonances in the varied world of the distant past. It appears to me intellectuals inventing palaeontology of an ancient smote to study the current industrial pollution.

 41. K. R. Remesan:

 “Although it is said to be a non-existing religion in India, remnants of Buddhist culture continue to prevail widely; if not in the name of Buddhism as such.”(3rd para, theme-note)
Buddha’s Pancha-sheela and Pancha-sudhi are part of Sree Narayana Dharma today. Pancha-sheela are
It’s included as Dharma Panchaka in samanya Dharma of Sree Narayana Dharma.
Narayana Guru has asked his followers to observe 10 days Pacha-Sudhi of Buddha for Sivagiri pilgrimage. It is included in Samanya Dharma of Sree Narayana Dharma,
They are
1.Deha Sudhi
2.Mana Sudhi
3.Vak Sudhi
4.Indriya Sudhi
5.Graha Sudhi
Though it is not popular in Ezhava community the people who study Guru’s works are well aware of it
The message behind Narayana Guru’s Jeeva-karunya-panchaka is mytri and karuna of Buddha.

Kutta’s nadu(Land) is Kuttanadu. Kuttan is Karumadikuttan. He is Buddha. Here the name Kuttanad itself proves the influence of Buddhism had in that area.

It is supposed that Buddhism came to prevail in southern India and Kerala during the period of Asoka itself, and spread further to Sri Lanka and other South East Asia.”(Para 6)
Buddhism reached Kerala from Sri Lanka (Ezhathu nadu) and not in the reverse order. The Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka introduced Buddhism to Keralites. That’s why the followers of Buddhist were later called Ezhavas.  
Boddhi Tree (Peepal Tree, Arayal)
This Tree is commonly seen in Hindu temples today. The worship of this tree in India started after the nirvana of Buddha. It was under this tree in Bodh gaya that Buddha attained enlightment.

Buddha is the father of Dharma who we worship as Dharmasasta today. Chathan (Pali name) became Sastha in Hinduism (Tantric Brahmanism). Hinduism accepted Buddha as Dharma-sasta and rejected Buddhism. Buddhism was a religion of Dharma and not of philosophy. The philosophy of Vedanta was later originated in Buddist Viharas. Even during the time of Nagarjuna it had established.
Kannaki Route
There had a route linking Madhurai and Kodungalloor during that time. Through the banks of Vaiga they reached Mangaladevi and then through the banks of river periyar that path reaches Kodungalloor (Muzaris). Chela-mala is the place where Chera Kings had their guest house. It is said that Ilango-adikal the author of Chlappatikaram has stayed in this guest house.
Palli is the Pali name of worship place. The Buddhists who converted to Chritianity built Christian Palli and those who converted to Islan built Muslim Palli. Hindus also use the same word as Pallikettu Sabarimalakku, Palliyurakkam, Palliunarthal etc.
Traditional Ayurveda Vaidyas
There are a lot of traditional Ayurvedic doctors in Ezhava and Velan communities in Kerala. They received it from their Buddhist tradition. In India Ayurveda is a contribution of Buddhism. (And Siddha is a contribution of Jainism).
Mohini is the daughter of Mara who tried to divert Buddha from his Tapas. Mohini is dancing to attract the attention of Buddha.
Buddha and   snake
Also have a search on this topic on internet and compare the poses of Buddha and that of Poornatrayeesa of Tripunithura temple. The Sarpa-kavu of traditional Kerala families has its origin in Buddhist and Jainist traditions. The snake is guarding the deities (Dharma). In Hinduism also snake is guarding Vishnu and Siva.   
Bhootathankettu Dam
It was originally built by Buddhists/Jainists. To hide this truth Brahmins propagated the story that the dam was built by Bhootathans.

Kallil Temple of Methala
It is a well known Bhgavati temple (Hindu) for its Jainist tradition. It was Parswanatha and Padmavathy who were worshipped there during that period.

Till 10th century Buddhism was the main religion in Kerala. It was Chola wars that forced Chatur-varna on them. Those who accepted Chatur-varna became Savarnas and others (Buddhists and Jainists) became Avarnas. When the Savarnas started persecuting Avarnas large number of them converted to Christianity and Islam. During this period Brahmins destroyed the original  history and came forward with Parasurama and his Axe.
Buddhism was a religion of Dharma where there is no discrimination. So there is no discrimination among its followers. Discrimination was a contribution of tantric Brahmins for whom Sanathana Dharma and Vedanta philosophy was a mask for their Tantric practices.

42. Ajay Sekher:
Even after 10th century AD Buddhism in Kerala struggled to sustain through disguised forms like Mayana and Vajrayana though they had hybrid and culturally ambiguous origins.  The Boddhisatva idols recovered from Karapuram/Chertala, Avittatur, Ponjasery etc reveal the hidden history of Buddhism in modified disguise.  Avalokiteswara Boddhisatva of Vajrayana was modified into Ayyappa through a violent cultural scramble of the Saiva and Vaishnava Bhakti mobilization  and his consort Tara was re-rendered into Hindu Bhagavati.  The Boddhisatva idol recovered and installed at Vayalvaram, Chempazhanti by Swami John Dharma Teerthar and the Vajrayana Siddha idol or Tozhuvan at Kayikara Asan Memorial are also vital linking clues into this modification of Mayana and Vajrayana into Hindu Brahmanism.  Chennas Nambutiripadu's composition of Tantra Samuchayam in Vannerinadu in the 16th century completed this hegemonic appropriation of Buddhism in Kerala by caste Brahmanism.  Following Brahmanical texts in 17th century like Keralolpaty and Kerala Mahatmyam along with Sankara Smriti and Bhargava Smriti boast about the annihilation of the Mlecha Boudhars in a genocidal sarcasm and violent triumph.

43. Athena:

It is distressing that someone said china will oppose buddhism. I thought china was in part buddhist, but also know it has taken a stand against buddhism in tibet. I can understand opposing religion that makes people superstitious, and i have seen indication that Buddhism can include superstition, but that is not how i think of Buddhism. Interesting that someone said muslims would grow up. They do seem to behave as Christians once behaved, and Christians got past killing each other and others.


44. Ajay Sekher:
For a detailed analysis of the anti caste and counter hegemonic legacies and genealogies of Buddhism in Kerala and its cultural sustenance in disguise see the following links:

45. Girishkumar T. S:
What is enigmatic in some views from Kerala is a persistent insistence on a 'Hindu Brahmanism'. Why so glorifying Brahmans in the disguise of Vedopanishadic sanskriti? Was Narayana guru doing so? This is similar to accusing philosophers of thinking by discriminating them into a cluster and accusing them of establishing a knowledge tradition with plus and minus points of course.

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