Wednesday, February 25, 2015

RESPONSES set - 10

83. P. D. Anithamol:

The Tamil epic Manimekhala is taken to be a work of art which exemplifies

Buddhadharma. If so, how do we understand its protagonist's transformed

attitude towardshers hereditary profession of ganika (devadasi danseuse)? Both

Maninmekhala andher mother Madhavi, before their conversion to Buddhism,

had upheld the ganikatradition as something prestegious. Whereas, when they

became Buddhist nuns,they were advised by Aravanaadikal to keep off the

practice of dancing. Because,such a life style was considered to be unethical

from the standpoint of Buddhism.Can such an instance of distancing from the

ganika practice be taken as being partof critique of Vedic/Brahmanic/

patriarchal ritualism? Or, can it be an anotherinstance ofwomen being denied of

their (sexual/artistic/professional) freedom?


84. V. Vasanthakumari:

               Buddhist Sources of Feminst Critique of Brahmanism

Buddhism, a philosophy, besides a religion is connected with the most distinct phenomena of our social life. Buddhism escalated alongside an ominous parallel development of caste system. This caste ideology sharpened by a system of Brahmins is reflected in the purāņas. All purāņas firmly stick to the varāśramadharma. The authors of purāņas maintained and accepted the authority of the Vedas as they realized that the priestly class could survive only if the varņa system was made adequate to the society. This move culminated in the loss of equality among the people and made the society least egalitarian. Specific references of the wretched state of the society resulting from caste discrimination can be seen in Skandapurāņa. In Kāśikānda of Skandapurāņa, a Buddhist monk called Punyakirti preaches Buddha dharma among people, highlighting the concept of equality. He establishes that all beings from the Brahma to the grassroots have their own existence and are equal. There is no dharma as great as compassion and non violence. All these indicate that violence and inequality existed at the era of purāņas.
The Buddhist notion of donation (dāna) is too relevant even in this era of globalisation. Punyakirti states that the highest donation one can provide is shelter to someone - shelter to the fearful, medicine to the sick, food to the starving, and knowledge to the seeker.
There is also reference of a Buddhist nun Vijnanakaumudi, who vehemently criticized the caste system. She even criticized puruşasūktam in Ŗgveda which mentions creation. She states that the conviction that Brahmin was born from the face of God is incorrect. If it is so, how do the four sons born from one person become different in their caste? Here she also questions the validity of Vedas. After hearing Vijnanakaumudi’s words, women refused to serve their husbands, which was considered as the noblest job in their life. Thus Buddhist ideology could intervene in the social life existed in the era of Puranas.

85. C. P. Vijayan:
If every possible means were tried to drive away Bhikshus and Bhishukis from their places of congregation during the process of eviction, capture and conversion initiated by Vaishnava/Shaiva sects for which the kings had to be mute spectators (Kodungallur/Ochira) for fear of losing their conferred Kshatriyahood during the dark period, it would have been an easy job for the Brahminic clergy to instill tantra in its fold and tarnish Buddhism's age old moral supremacy against a caste ridden Hinduism donned by Brahmins. The Lingayat line is an example to explore
86. P. J. Sunny:

Zen Buddhism is the quintessence of East Asian philosophy since it is not the philosophy of a particular country such as India, China, Japan, Vietnam, or Korea, but rather the essence of the major religious traditions of all these countries. The study of Zen therefore requires an understanding of the cultural mapping of all these countries. World religions like Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism have had their own cultural precursors such as Judaism and Vedic thought and have absorbed indigenous cultures for the sake of expansion. But Zen Buddhism is the only religious/philosophical phenomenon that adopted, adapted, and absorbed
the teachings of other cultures, not for geographical expansion but for inner development. This paper tries to discuss how different cultural elements – tathagata-garbha, wu-wei, kami - are amalgamated in Zen Buddhist understanding of ecosophical ontology, as depicted in the corpus of Zen literature. The paper argues that these intercultural ingredients provided a trans-cultural status to Zen Buddhism.
87. C. P. Vijayan:

Following are some of the questions, which  may be explored in the forthcoming workshop:

Q : What prompted Max Mueller to invoke a batch of ICS recruits of Britain in 1906, destined to serve British India, to take a closer look at rural India for lessons for solution of most socio cultural problems in Britain?

Q : What prompted Kejriwal to cite the example of the township of Vyshali ,during Buddhist period in his booklet “Swaraj”?

Q : Is there truth in what some Mr.Paul , an expatriate in Japan, revealed to B.R.P. Bhaskar on a striking similarity of paddy cultivation process in Japan and Tiruvilwamala?

Q : Is it true that traditional medicinal systems got developed based on instinctive identification of body needs and the resultant consumption of minerals , mud baths , sun bath , application of urine , saliva etc as prevalent in birds and animals even today?

Q : To what extent can we find similarities in Tibetan, Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of medicine?

Q : Is Ochirakkali an annual ritual to celebrate the desecration and mauling of a prominent Buddhist centre of yore and its conversion as a Shiva temple?

Q : Is the ‘open arm fight’ staged at Mavilayi kavu in Kannur a comparable event as Ochirakkali?

Q : Was Nagananda a drama staged at Koothuparamb to impart lessons on the importance of ahimsa?

Q : Was there any study undertaken ever to ascertain and mark the caves supposedly used by monks on hill tops? If at all , what were the findings?
Q : Were all the places which have got ‘munda’, ‘palli’,’ooru’,’dharma’ tags, places of importance during Buddhist period? If so, are there chances to find more material of substance from any of these places?

Q : What can “Cherppu” give us ?

Q : “Koodalmanikyam”, “Sripadmanabha”, “Thiruvalla” and a lot other temples are supposed to have got hundreds of important documents alongside some of the palaces such as Panthalam ,Thrippunithura , Padmanabhapuram, Kowdiar and several family archives of say, Thazhaman, Arackal etc . Can any of the bodies
such as ICHR get access to these?

Q : What was the real importance of Thirunnavaya and how true is it that the ‘mamankam’ indeed was a ritual invented by vested interests for the periodical annihilation of Buddhist faith?

Q : Is ‘Ayyappa’ the only one, clad with no weapons but a chinmudra ?

Q : Is ‘putha’ or ‘pootham’ a substitute for Buddha? If then, who indeed was the substitute for ‘poothana’?

Q : Did anyone conduct any study on Kuttanad (Karumadi and Mavelikara in particular)?

Q : What more inferences can one get from Kodungallur?


88. Ajay Sekher:

 Recovery of Buddhist idols recently from Pattanam, Avittatur n Ponjasery must be discussed as Archeological evidence of the sustined presence of Buddhism in Kerala.

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