Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Postby Kusala » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:39 pm

Hello Dhamma friends. Some scholars suggest the Buddha's clan may have been Scythian. Is there any truth to it?

"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. "

"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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Kim OHara
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Re: Shakya=Scythian?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:44 pm

Hi, Kusala,
Three answers - accept any or all of them as you like :smile: because I think they are all correct.
(1) It doesn't matter. What matters is what he taught.
(2) Probably not, going by - but 'Scythian' is so poorly defined anyway that the answer is not going to be very meaningful.
(3) If you said which scholars and where, we might be able to give you a more reasoned response to their claims.


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Re: Shakya=Scythian?

Postby jayarava » Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:38 pm

Actually no less a scholar that Professor Michael Witzel has recently proposed, in an online forum ( ... sage/13470), that the Śākya tribe may well have been related to the Śakas of Iran. Anyone wishing to follow this up can consult his published essay: The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools: The Social and Political Milieu.

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Re: Shakya=Scythian?

Postby serenadesea » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:28 am


I have been studying the Scythians, and I think what you might be referring to is the fact that the Scythians were pre-cursors to the Tocharians, who migrated out of Scythia into China's Tarim Basin, along the Silk Road. They referred to themselves as "the Buddhi" :buddha2: and learned of Buddhism from the Scythian Kushites in northern India, due to their proselytizing efforts along the Silk Road, in approximately 100 CE.

A large cache of Tocharian texts was found, starting in the late 1800's and into the early 1900's, which demonstrates a philosophy which was not only Buddhist, but also Taoist nature.

Siddhartha Buddha and Lao Tzu were born in the same century (6th BCE). The Tocharians were situated along the Silk Road in such a position as to gain the best of both worlds, as they were in-between India and China.

The Tocharians migrated far and wide, even into Viet Nam and Malaysia, where Tocharian artifacts, such as statues of people seated in the lotus position, have been found, which have been attributed to them.

Tocharian mummies were found, in the Tarim Basin, dating back approximately 4,000 years. They had light colored hair and blue eyes.

I think this might answer your question.

As far as I can see, the Scythians of the Caspian Sea area did not meditate.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Shakya=Scythian?

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:58 am

Could be, Serenadesea. :smile:
I checked out and it seems that times and places match up pretty well but details are extremely sketchy ... no great surprise, really.


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