Greater Magadha

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Greater Magadha

Postby daverupa » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:46 pm

Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India, by Johannes Bronkhorst

"Greater Magadha, roughly the eastern part of the Gangetic plain of northern India, has so far been looked upon as deeply indebted to Brahmanical culture. Religions such as Buddhism and Jainism are thought of as derived, in one way or another, from Vedic religion. This belief is defective in various respects. This book argues for the importance and independence of Greater Magadha as a cultural area until a date close to the beginning of the Common Era. In order to correct the incorrect notions, two types of questions are dealt with: questions pertaining to cultural and religious dependencies, and questions relating to chronology. As a result a modified picture arises that also has a bearing on the further development of Indian culture."

This book has been reviewed by Alexander Wynne.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:39 am

On a speculative note, I wonder if this idea has any implications with respect (although admittedly vaguely remembered) to the occasions in the Upanishads of Kshatriyas instructing Brahmins.

Additionally, I wonder if formless meditation first arose in this Greater Magadha, finally to meld with the Vedic culture. The context around jhana & the formless attainments, as well as the development of perception-feeling-cessation, can perhaps be refined.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Dmytro » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:24 am

Thank you, Daverupa!

This can be complemented by articles:

Michael Witzel
The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu

Both the Malla and Vr ji apparently immigrated into the east only after the end of the Vedic period, but well before the time of the Buddha (c. 400 B.C.). This must have been one of the last great infiltrations in Vedic times of western peoples into the lower Gan gå area. More or less about this time the so-called second urbanization began as well.

Nevertheless, the settlement pattern in the east was not as homogenous as it was in the more western areas where the indigenous population had become Indo-Aryan in language and culture since the Mantra period. Instead, the Kosala-Videha area was one of great mixture of peoples. There were some earlier eastern Indo-Aryan settlers, the local Munda people and some Tibeto-Burmese elements. Then, various types and groups new immigrants entered from the areas further west. These were some brahmanically oriented tribes but also other non-orthoprax Indo-Aryan tribes such as the Malla and V rji. They immigrated from northwestern India into Bihar which had been already settled by the old, para-Vedic Indo-Aryan tribes such as the Iksvåku, Kosala, Kåśi, and Videha.

Many of these tribes, including the Śakya to whom the Buddha belonged, are called asurya in ŚB. For it is the Sakya and their neighbors, the Malla, Vajji, etc. who are reported in the Påli texts as builders of high grave mounds, such as the one built for the Buddha. According to ŚB 12.8.1.5 the “easterners and others(!)” are reported to have round “demonic” graves, some of which may have been excavated at Lauriya in E. Nepal. These graves are similar to the kurgan type grave mounds of S. Russia and Central Asia. However, the origin of the Śakya is not as clear as that of the Malla and Vr ji. They may very well have been (northern) Iranian, and would then constitute an earlier, apparently the first wave of the later Śaka invasions from Central Asia.

...

The eastern region thus supplied the ideal ferment for the meeting of ideas and the development of new concepts. Just as the break-up of the old tribal society of the Rgveda saw strikingly new developments in ritual and the emergence of the brahmanical pre-scientific science of homologies (bandhu), the new stratified and partly aristocratic, partly oligarchic society of the east witnessed the emergence of many of the typically Upanisadic ideas.

By the time of the Buddha (c. 400 B.C.), wandering teachers of all sorts were normal appearances in the towns and villages of the east (Dīghanikåya 2). We get a glimpse of the earlier state of this phenomenon when Yåjñavalkya leaves home (BĀU 4.5.15). If we may trust the BĀU and ŚB accounts of Uddålaka's travels in the Panjab, he reached both the western and the eastern ends of Vedic India in his travels. In fact, the geographical horizon of the early Upanisads stretches from Gandhåra to An ga.

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/canon.pdf

Possible Iranian Origins for Sākyas and Aspects of Buddhism
Jayarava Attwood

http://independent.academia.edu/Jayarav ... f_Buddhism
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Kusala » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:57 am

Dmytro wrote:Thank you, Daverupa!

This can be complemented by articles:

Michael Witzel
The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu

Both the Malla and Vr ji apparently immigrated into the east only after the end of the Vedic period, but well before the time of the Buddha (c. 400 B.C.). This must have been one of the last great infiltrations in Vedic times of western peoples into the lower Gan gå area. More or less about this time the so-called second urbanization began as well.

Nevertheless, the settlement pattern in the east was not as homogenous as it was in the more western areas where the indigenous population had become Indo-Aryan in language and culture since the Mantra period. Instead, the Kosala-Videha area was one of great mixture of peoples. There were some earlier eastern Indo-Aryan settlers, the local Munda people and some Tibeto-Burmese elements. Then, various types and groups new immigrants entered from the areas further west. These were some brahmanically oriented tribes but also other non-orthoprax Indo-Aryan tribes such as the Malla and V rji. They immigrated from northwestern India into Bihar which had been already settled by the old, para-Vedic Indo-Aryan tribes such as the Iksvåku, Kosala, Kåśi, and Videha.

Many of these tribes, including the Śakya to whom the Buddha belonged, are called asurya in ŚB. For it is the Sakya and their neighbors, the Malla, Vajji, etc. who are reported in the Påli texts as builders of high grave mounds, such as the one built for the Buddha. According to ŚB 12.8.1.5 the “easterners and others(!)” are reported to have round “demonic” graves, some of which may have been excavated at Lauriya in E. Nepal. These graves are similar to the kurgan type grave mounds of S. Russia and Central Asia. However, the origin of the Śakya is not as clear as that of the Malla and Vr ji. They may very well have been (northern) Iranian, and would then constitute an earlier, apparently the first wave of the later Śaka invasions from Central Asia.

...

The eastern region thus supplied the ideal ferment for the meeting of ideas and the development of new concepts. Just as the break-up of the old tribal society of the Rgveda saw strikingly new developments in ritual and the emergence of the brahmanical pre-scientific science of homologies (bandhu), the new stratified and partly aristocratic, partly oligarchic society of the east witnessed the emergence of many of the typically Upanisadic ideas.

By the time of the Buddha (c. 400 B.C.), wandering teachers of all sorts were normal appearances in the towns and villages of the east (Dīghanikåya 2). We get a glimpse of the earlier state of this phenomenon when Yåjñavalkya leaves home (BĀU 4.5.15). If we may trust the BĀU and ŚB accounts of Uddålaka's travels in the Panjab, he reached both the western and the eastern ends of Vedic India in his travels. In fact, the geographical horizon of the early Upanisads stretches from Gandhåra to Anga.

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/canon.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Possible Iranian Origins for Sākyas and Aspects of Buddhism
Jayarava Attwood

http://independent.academia.edu/Jayarav ... f_Buddhism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Thanks, Dmytro. :namaste:
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Indrajala » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:03 am

Bronkhorst incidentally also discusses why Sanskrit came to be adopted as the lingua franca of Buddhists in the north despite it really being a language of Brahmans.

I wrote a summary here:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2012/12/ ... dhism.html
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby daverupa » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:40 pm

Indrajala wrote:Bronkhorst incidentally also discusses why Sanskrit came to be adopted as the lingua franca of Buddhists in the north despite it really being a language of Brahmans.

I wrote a summary here:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2012/12/ ... dhism.html


I thought it was a useful read; "cultural colonization" is an apt phrase for quite a number of reasons.

Thankee-sai!
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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