Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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DooDoot
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Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by DooDoot » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:13 am

Dear forum

Today, I read some posts on DW opposing a phenomena often called 'Antisemitism'. I gained the impression from these posts that it a sin according to Buddhism to criticise harmful or unwholesome activities performed by certain Jewish individuals. As spoken in this video by an Israeli woman, it is often claimed that allegations of 'Antisemitism' are often used as an attack of 'racism' or 'hatred' against anyone who may criticize a harmful or unwholesome activity performed by a Jewish person.



Now, the general impression of the Hebrew Old Testament is the Tribes of Israel (of which only the tribe of Judah largely remains) regarded themselves as 'The Chosen People of God'; that there was something specifically special about being born an Israelite. Similarly, in the Pali suttas, we can read how the Brahmin priests during the time of the Buddha considered themselves to be a superior caste: "Born from Brahma's Mouth".

Yet, the Buddha came along & advised the Brahmins that an individual is a superior person only due to kamma or the performance of wholesome actions. Similarly, Jesus showed up in Judea and advised exactly the same (in his Parable of the Good Samaritan).

I suppose the point I am discussing on this sub-forum is these unilateral posts against Antisemitism appear to similar to the ancient Hebrew & Brahman ideology that placed their groups beyond moral reproach & criticism; as the Israeli lady in the video says.

While Antisemitism if genuine racism & stereotyping is obviously against Buddhist principles, it seems some are presenting Antisemitism in a manner that accords with the ancient tribal self-cherishing doctrines of ancient Judaism & Brahmanism.

What do we think?

:candle:

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by No_Mind » Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:16 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:13 am
Now, the general impression of the Hebrew Old Testament is the Tribes of Israel (of which only the tribe of Judah largely remains) regarded themselves as 'The Chosen People of God'; that there was something specifically special about being born an Israelite. Similarly, in the Pali suttas, we can read how the Brahmin priests during the time of the Buddha considered themselves to be a superior caste: "Born from Brahma's Mouth".
Small point Doot. Brahmins were considered superior in only one way - study of scriptures.

Brahmins were priests. They were not allowed to earn living in any other way (e.g. a Brahmin could not start a business or join army if he wanted). So being Brahmin was not all hunky dory. After all how many priests are needed?

The omnipotent status accorded to them was possibly largely fictional.

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:48 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by DooDoot » Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:21 am

No_Mind wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:16 am
Small point Doot.
Thanks. But your post is not related to the suttas. The suttas report as I posted.

:focus:
12.5For a long time this misconception Dīgharattānusayitaṃ,
12.6has prejudiced those who don’t understand. diṭṭhigatamajānataṃ;
12.7Ignorant, they declare Ajānantā no pabrunti,
12.8that one is a brahmin by birth. jātiyā hoti brāhmaṇo.

12.9You’re not a brahmin by birth, Na jaccā brāhmaṇo hoti,
12.10nor by birth a non-brahmin. na jaccā hoti abrāhmaṇo;
12.11You’re a brahmin by your deeds, Kammunā brāhmaṇo hoti,
12.12and by deeds a non-brahmin. kammunā hoti abrāhmaṇo.

https://suttacentral.net/mn98/en/sujato

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by binocular » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:34 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:13 am
While Antisemitism if genuine racism & stereotyping is obviously against Buddhist principles, it seems some are presenting Antisemitism in a manner that accords with the ancient tribal self-cherishing doctrines of ancient Judaism & Brahmanism.

What do we think?
People, esp. in terms of their ethnic and/or religious identity, sometimes think very highly of themselves. This can get very annoying. To the point that one could start throwing things at them ...

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by DNS » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:35 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:13 am
Yet, the Buddha came along & advised the Brahmins that an individual is a superior person only due to kamma or the performance of wholesome actions. Similarly, Jesus showed up in Judea and advised exactly the same (in his Parable of the Good Samaritan).
Jesus also said:
You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
http://biblehub.com/john/4-22.htm
There does appear to be a caste system in ancient Judaism; levite tribe as the priests (brahmins); the rest of the tribes as the next level; and then gentiles.

Whereas, Buddhism is more universal and more egalitarian-appealing (compared to Judaism, Christianity, and Brahmanism).

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by Saengnapha » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:38 am

DNS wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:35 pm

There does appear to be a caste system in ancient Judaism; levite tribe as the priests (brahmins); the rest of the tribes as the next level; and then gentiles.

Whereas, Buddhism is more universal and more egalitarian-appealing (compared to Judaism, Christianity, and Brahmanism).
No doubt, Judaism contains hierarchy, but all religions do. Politics rule religions. This is how they survive so long, not because what they teach is true.
I would be leary of quoting what Jesus said as none of it can be proved and most of it altered to suit the times and the ruling class. Buddhism is also subject to this. I don't know why you think Buddhism is more egalitarian than Christianity. If we are to believe the words of Jesus, Love is paramount. What can be more egalitarian than that? Buddhism seems less of a world force than most others. Of course, Judaism is almost non-existent. The powerful Jews of the world are not practitioners of their religion. They practice cultural adaptations that earn them money, learning, arts, and how to influence people. Not bad qualities for survival. They seem to understand the evolutionary laws much like the Chinese.

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by DNS » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:56 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:38 am
I don't know why you think Buddhism is more egalitarian than Christianity. If we are to believe the words of Jesus, Love is paramount. What can be more egalitarian than that? Buddhism seems less of a world force than most others. Of course, Judaism is almost non-existent. The powerful Jews of the world are not practitioners of their religion. They practice cultural adaptations that earn them money, learning, arts, and how to influence people. Not bad qualities for survival. They seem to understand the evolutionary laws much like the Chinese.
Christianity comes in a myriad of forms, but most do accept the Old Testament on a pretty level par along with the New Testament and all the caste and hierarchy of the Old Testament. In addition, it is said that the Messiah (Jesus, according to Christians) must come from the House of David, i.e., must be a Jew. It is said Jesus meets this criteria through Mary (Jewish on his mother's side). And then the quote from my previous post and also in Revelations it states that 144,000 are saved, 12,000 from each tribe (Jewish tribes, that is).

Whereas in Buddhism:

"Birth makes no Brahmin, nor non-Brahmin, makes; it is life's doing that mold the Brahmin true. Their lives mold farmers, tradesmen, merchants, and serfs. Their lives mold robbers, soldiers, chaplains, and kings. By birth is not one an out-caste. By birth is not one a Brahmin. By deeds is one an out-caste. By deeds is one a Brahmin."

(Majjhima Nikaya 98, Vasettha Sutta 57-59)

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by DooDoot » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:27 am

DNS wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:35 pm
Jesus also said:
You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
http://biblehub.com/john/4-22.htm
Maybe. But my recollection is this statement was said to a Samaritan lady. Thus, for the lady, she probably regarded Jesus to be a Jew thus Jesus affirmed to her that He was the Salvation. It seems that Jesus was emphasising Himself rather than Judah.
DNS wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:56 am
In addition, it is said that the Messiah (Jesus, according to Christians) must come from the House of David, i.e., must be a Jew.
Maybe. But since Jesus had no father, how can he be from the house of David? Also, are you sure Mary was from the tribe of Judah? Also, the other tribes of Israel were basically extinct, apart from some Levites, Benjamites (eg, Saul of Tarsus) & token others that were absorbed into Judah. Since Judah was basically the only complete tribe left & since the Kingdom of Judah divorced the Kingdom of Israel, it seems obvious Judah would claim to bring the Messiah or create the idea of the Messiah. Is the idea of the Messiah found in the pre-Excilic part of Isaiah or elsewhere? Also, its interesting in Genesis how Joseph was the favoured son or heir to create many nations (similar to Abraham) but Judah sold Joseph into slavery.
Last edited by DooDoot on Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:39 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by Saengnapha » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:28 am

DNS wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:56 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:38 am
I don't know why you think Buddhism is more egalitarian than Christianity. If we are to believe the words of Jesus, Love is paramount. What can be more egalitarian than that? Buddhism seems less of a world force than most others. Of course, Judaism is almost non-existent. The powerful Jews of the world are not practitioners of their religion. They practice cultural adaptations that earn them money, learning, arts, and how to influence people. Not bad qualities for survival. They seem to understand the evolutionary laws much like the Chinese.
Christianity comes in a myriad of forms, but most do accept the Old Testament on a pretty level par along with the New Testament and all the caste and hierarchy of the Old Testament. In addition, it is said that the Messiah (Jesus, according to Christians) must come from the House of David, i.e., must be a Jew. It is said Jesus meets this criteria through Mary (Jewish on his mother's side). And then the quote from my previous post and also in Revelations it states that 144,000 are saved, 12,000 from each tribe (Jewish tribes, that is).

Whereas in Buddhism:

"Birth makes no Brahmin, nor non-Brahmin, makes; it is life's doing that mold the Brahmin true. Their lives mold farmers, tradesmen, merchants, and serfs. Their lives mold robbers, soldiers, chaplains, and kings. By birth is not one an out-caste. By birth is not one a Brahmin. By deeds is one an out-caste. By deeds is one a Brahmin."

(Majjhima Nikaya 98, Vasettha Sutta 57-59)
Certainly in that sense, the Buddhist view is more egalitarian. It always amazes me how much the archaic views still sway so many.

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by Kusala » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:03 am

No_Mind wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:16 am
DooDoot wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:13 am
Now, the general impression of the Hebrew Old Testament is the Tribes of Israel (of which only the tribe of Judah largely remains) regarded themselves as 'The Chosen People of God'; that there was something specifically special about being born an Israelite. Similarly, in the Pali suttas, we can read how the Brahmin priests during the time of the Buddha considered themselves to be a superior caste: "Born from Brahma's Mouth".
Small point Doot. Brahmins were considered superior in only one way - study of scriptures.

Brahmins were priests. They were not allowed to earn living in any other way (e.g. a Brahmin could not start a business or join army if he wanted). So being Brahmin was not all hunky dory. After all how many priests are needed?

The omnipotent status accorded to them was possibly largely fictional.

:namaste:
Actually, it wasn't just Brahmins that were considered superior, but also Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. There seems to be a parallel between the Vedic concept of twice born and the Jewish concept of chosenness...

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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: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by DooDoot » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:18 am

Kusala wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:03 am
Actually, it wasn't just Brahmins that were considered superior, but also Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. There seems to be a parallel between the Vedic concept of twice born and the Jewish concept of chosenness...
My impression is during those distant ancient times, probably most cultures & societies had their own religions with gods that affirmed the existence of that culture or society; who created gods in the image of the society. For example, Egyptians probably had gods that affirmed the Pharaohs; just as Romans probably had gods that affirmed the Emperors & Empires. These are 'tribal religions', which were mostly superseded by 'universal religions' (such as Buddhism, Christianity & Islam). However, Judaism & Hinduism have survived, despite their ancient roots (although Judaism often has 'reformation' sects in attempts to stay modern or contemporary). Hinduism defeated Buddhism in India while Judaism had Christianity to (reluctantly) protect it (and also Islam to protect it).

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by No_Mind » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:40 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:18 am
Kusala wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:03 am
Actually, it wasn't just Brahmins that were considered superior, but also Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. There seems to be a parallel between the Vedic concept of twice born and the Jewish concept of chosenness...
My impression is during those distant ancient times, probably most cultures & societies had their own religions with gods that affirmed the existence of that culture or society; who created gods in the image of the society. For example, Egyptians probably had gods that affirmed the Pharaohs; just as Romans probably had gods that affirmed the Emperors & Empires. These are 'tribal religions', which were mostly superseded by 'universal religions' (such as Buddhism, Christianity & Islam). However, Judaism & Hinduism have survived, despite their ancient roots (although Judaism often has 'reformation' sects in attempts to stay modern or contemporary). Hinduism defeated Buddhism in India while Judaism had Christianity to (reluctantly) protect it (and also Islam to protect it).
Hinduism never attacked Buddhism in any way (other than at debates) so "Hinduism defeated Buddhism" is wrong statement. Please do not invent history (rather dangerous since most who visit this forum have no idea of ancient Indian history).

Buddhism declined because it lost popularity and due to Islamic invaders who attacked the subcontinent.

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by No_Mind » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:16 pm

Kusala wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:03 am
No_Mind wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:16 am
DooDoot wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:13 am
Now, the general impression of the Hebrew Old Testament is the Tribes of Israel (of which only the tribe of Judah largely remains) regarded themselves as 'The Chosen People of God'; that there was something specifically special about being born an Israelite. Similarly, in the Pali suttas, we can read how the Brahmin priests during the time of the Buddha considered themselves to be a superior caste: "Born from Brahma's Mouth".
Small point Doot. Brahmins were considered superior in only one way - study of scriptures.

Brahmins were priests. They were not allowed to earn living in any other way (e.g. a Brahmin could not start a business or join army if he wanted). So being Brahmin was not all hunky dory. After all how many priests are needed?

The omnipotent status accorded to them was possibly largely fictional.

:namaste:
Actually, it wasn't just Brahmins that were considered superior, but also Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. There seems to be a parallel between the Vedic concept of twice born and the Jewish concept of chosenness...

Image
Wrong understanding of caste system

Social mobility is defined as - Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to one's current social location within a given society. (Wikipedia)

A Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra was free to marry, free to own property, free to become wealthy .. free to do anything .. except read the Vedas

Lack of social mobility is not correct description.

Being lower in caste than a Brahmin had nothing to do with lack social mobility. At most it was annoying that a set of people had appointed themselves as upper caste and guardians of Vedas.

It was not like white vs black divide in USA. Brahmins were often poorest members of the society.

Understand one thing - a Brahmin could be blackmailed by an "untouchable" who refuses to burn the dead body!



:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:29 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:16 pm

Wrong understanding of caste system

Social mobility is defined as - Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to one's current social location within a given society. (Wikipedia)

A Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra was free to marry, free to own property, free to become wealthy .. free to do anything .. except read the Vedas

Lack of social mobility is not correct description.

Being lower in caste than a Brahmin had nothing to do with lack social mobility. At most it was annoying that a set of people had appointed themselves as upper caste and guardians of Vedas.

It was not like white vs black divide in USA. Brahmins were often poorest members of the society.

:namaste:
Many thanks for this, No_Mind. If a Shudra (defined as a servant, commoner, or peasant) wanted to acquire land or a trading business (i.e. become a Vaisha, presumably) or become a warrior, could he do so?

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Re: Judaism & Brahmanism vs Buddhism & Christianity

Post by No_Mind » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:37 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:29 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:16 pm

Wrong understanding of caste system

Social mobility is defined as - Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to one's current social location within a given society. (Wikipedia)

A Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra was free to marry, free to own property, free to become wealthy .. free to do anything .. except read the Vedas

Lack of social mobility is not correct description.

Being lower in caste than a Brahmin had nothing to do with lack social mobility. At most it was annoying that a set of people had appointed themselves as upper caste and guardians of Vedas.

It was not like white vs black divide in USA. Brahmins were often poorest members of the society.

:namaste:
Many thanks for this, No_Mind. If a Shudra (defined as a servant, commoner, or peasant) wanted to acquire land or a trading business (i.e. become a Vaisha, presumably) or become a warrior, could he do so?
Sam, anyone had freedom to do anything except study Vedas.

Obviously no one would choose to be a Kshatriya since one would have to work ones way up from being a soldier to a general and then make the power play to be the King. No reason why a Shudra could not own business.

But a Brahmin could do nearly nothing except be a priest (and buy land if he had money .. but to till it he would have to employ peasants .. sharecroppers). At end Brahmins turned to being cooks from middle ages.

And, there was no way to tell between a Kshatriya and Shudra. What if a young Shudra teenager went to another part of the country and said he was a Kshatriya .. there was no way to test .. he would have to change his surname accordingly .. nothing more (and most surnames are shared with the next in line like "Sharma" is both Brahmin and Kshatriya .. some would say "Patel" is Shudra and some say they are Vaishya)

To be truthful, with time Brahmins took to mental torture .. this is a Brahmin lake you cannot draw water from it .. and so on. Most of the argument was over water.

Even now some bullheaded Brahmins from Uttar Pradesh would refuse to drink water in house of non-Brahmins .. well who cares .. let them not drink .. why get offended and hot under the collar.

The only time one would need a Brahmin was/is if someone died .. to perform the memorial ceremony .. not at any other time. It is not that lives were interlocked .. everyone had independent existence (an advantage of pre-industrialisation society; it is industrialisation which has caused most of the social conflicts over past 200 years by packing a million people into few square miles .. before that who cared)

The people who had it real bad were the untouchables who were outside the caste system and outside Hinduism. Everyone was equally mean to them and they lacked social mobility.

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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