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Greater Magadha - Dhamma Wheel

Greater Magadha

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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daverupa
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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 by Alexander Wynne.

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daverupa
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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.

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Dmytro
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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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Kusala
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Re: Greater Magadha

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

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"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

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Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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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


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daverupa
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby daverupa » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:00 pm


sphairos
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby sphairos » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:46 pm

Ah, Greater Magadha is so great...
How good and wonderful are your days,
How true are your ways?

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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Dhamma_Basti » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:11 am

Needless to say while Bronkhorst's discoveries are certainly astonishing and interesting, they are also subject to criticism by a large part of the more conservative and traditionally orientated scholars of classical indology (such as Richard Gombrich).
I am currently writing a paper on exactly this issue (the topic being "what are the potencial flaws of Bronkhorst concept of Greater Magadha?") and if somebody here is interested I could upload it once it is finished. :)
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Kamran » Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:39 am

"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Dhamma_Basti » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:36 pm

I am progressing with my paper but I am writing it in german and have no big motivation to translate it to english, so I feel sorry for you. But the quality of my research is also on a very low, pre-bachelor level , so there is not much you are missing. ^^

Just a couple of general remarks in contrast to the classical position of indologists such as Frauwallner or Gombrich:
- Bronkhorst claims that the concept of Karma and rebirth was first found in Magadha's religious movements and later appeared in the upanisads 'dressed up in a vedic garb'. This totally ignores the inscriptions of Aśoka, who does not mention any kind of a 'buddhist doctrine of karma' and at the same time the fact that the doctrinal development inside the upanisads in respect to the introduction of karma is in total quite harmonious and does not give us any real implication to state that it was suddenly introduced from an outside source. Much more likely that it was gradually introduced by constant exposure to non-aryian religions in the indian subcontinent, but this fact leaves Bronkhorsts whole concept quite in the dust. (Samuel Geoffrey is by the way following this idea.)

- The very main fault in my eyes (and I see appearently nobody here really mentioned it despite of this being a theravada-forum) is Bronkhorsts implicated claim that the buddhist concept of anattā is not a reaction to the upanisadic idea of ātman. This is the logical result if he claims that the Bṛhad-Aranyaka-Upaniṣad and the Chandogya-Upaniṣad have been composed after the time of the Buddha. This would mean that the second sermon (Anattālakkhaṇa-Sutta) is not authentical, but was added at a later stage. Or that it does not refer to the Upaniṣads at all (what Bronkhorst tries to prove, but ultimately fails, if you compare his argumentation to that of Norman, Gombrich, Wynne and Samuel).

Given these facts Michael Witzel gave a nice summary of his own observations concerning the date-relationship of these texts, called 'moving targets'.
http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handl ... sequence=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Given the conclusion of Witzel, the observations about the language of the early canon as presented by Von Hinüber ( https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/i ... /8977/2870" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ) and Gombrichs very deep and well-presented analysis on the textual references (including satire and humor) made by the Buddha to the upaniṣadic worldview, there remains little of real substance that can be extracted from Bronkhorsts extraordinarily claims to rewrite the history of early India. ^^
Nevertheless this does not mean that what he claims is totally not reasonable, there are many points where I do agree, especially considering the underrated influence of eastern and non aryan religions into the vedic model.

I think his claims are mainly appealing to western 'new age buddhists' of the 20/21th century, who hold the Buddha and his main teaching in high esteem but at the same time are not much aware of the traditional points on such central points as the anattā-doctrine. At the same time he cannot expect much support from the buddhist traditions because his claims are contradicting their interpretation of the core teachings of the Buddha (we are not talking about some minor side-aspects here) and from the philological tradition as well because there is not much substance to his argumentation.

:)
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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:06 am


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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Dhamma_Basti » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:40 am

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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:54 am


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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby cobwith » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:35 pm

Last edited by cobwith on Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sā me dhammamadesesi,
khandhāyatanadhātuyo
Thig 5.8

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Re: Greater Magadha

Postby Dhamma_Basti » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:58 pm

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