Hindu elements in Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
KiwiNFLFan
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Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:23 am

When I visited Thailand recently, I noticed that there were elements of Hinduism incorporated into the Thai culture. I saw a shrine to Shiva near Chinatown in Bangkok. Statues of Ganesh were on sale along with Buddha statues. When I visited the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple (a Tamil-style Hindu temple) in Bangkok, there were just as many Thais making offerings as there were Indians. I visited the Erawan Shrine where Brahma is worshipped, and there are several other shrines to Hindu gods in the area too. But the thing that interested me the most was the Devasathan - a Hindu temple built by Thais in the Thai style to worship Hindu gods including Vishnu and Shiva.

How is it in Thailand, a country where over 90% of the population is Buddhist, there are shrines to Hindu gods where people pray to Hindu gods? Are they praying for wealth, good luck etc or for help on the Buddhist path? Does this happen in other Theravada Buddhist countries (I'm especially thinking of Sri Lanka, due to its proximity to India, the home of Hinduism).

Do you think it is acceptable for a Theravada Buddhist to pray to Vishnu or Ganesh for help with worldly affairs like a new job, as long as one recognises that they are lower than the Buddha?

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DooDoot
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by DooDoot » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:34 am

All of SE Asia was Hindu once. Many famous temples, such as Angkor Wat, have Hindu components. Thailand is only 'Buddhist' on the surface. Many people engage in other religious practises, such as ancestor and spirit worship. What is genuinely Buddhist is how the monks remain leaders but accommodate the other religions. Their attitude is not fundamentalism. The majority of Thai would probably struggle to explain what the 5 precepts are, let alone the Four Noble Truths.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Grigoris
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:17 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:23 am
When I visited Thailand recently, I noticed that there were elements of Hinduism incorporated into the Thai culture. I saw a shrine to Shiva near Chinatown in Bangkok. Statues of Ganesh were on sale along with Buddha statues. When I visited the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple (a Tamil-style Hindu temple) in Bangkok, there were just as many Thais making offerings as there were Indians. I visited the Erawan Shrine where Brahma is worshipped, and there are several other shrines to Hindu gods in the area too. But the thing that interested me the most was the Devasathan - a Hindu temple built by Thais in the Thai style to worship Hindu gods including Vishnu and Shiva.
Welcome to reality! :smile:

This is my favorite Hindu Temple in Bangkok: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariamman_Temple,_Bangkok

There is also a Sikh complex worth visiting for the 24/7 musical entourage: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gurdwara ... 4487428371
How is it in Thailand, a country where over 90% of the population is Buddhist, there are shrines to Hindu gods where people pray to Hindu gods? Are they praying for wealth, good luck etc or for help on the Buddhist path? Does this happen in other Theravada Buddhist countries (I'm especially thinking of Sri Lanka, due to its proximity to India, the home of Hinduism).
You think most of the Thai kings are named Rama by accident?

Anyway... Don't know if you noticed but the majority of active Hindu temples in Bangkok are in the business district. ;)

The historical one's situated near the Giant Swing are not functional, they are more like museums.
Do you think it is acceptable for a Theravada Buddhist to pray to Vishnu or Ganesh for help with worldly affairs like a new job, as long as one recognises that they are lower than the Buddha?
Check out this discussion: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=34969
Last edited by Grigoris on Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Grigoris
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:24 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:34 am
The majority of Thai would probably struggle to explain what the 5 precepts are, let alone the Four Noble Truths.
Just as well us white folk are there to tell them how to do things properly. :roll:
All of SE Asia was Hindu once.
Source?
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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DooDoot
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by DooDoot » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:42 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:24 pm
All of SE Asia was Hindu once.
I meant all of SE Asia once had Hinduism as a major religion (rather than 100% of SE Asians were once Hindu). I apologise if my post was challenging for you. Kind regards :heart:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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robertk
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by robertk » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:22 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:42 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:24 pm
All of SE Asia was Hindu once.
I meant all of SE Asia once had Hinduism as a major religion (rather than 100% of SE Asians were once Hindu). I apologise if my post was challenging for you. Kind regards :heart:
The first iteration was challenging for me too, thanks for clarifying.

justindesilva
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by justindesilva » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:50 am

Sri Lanka too is a country with Hindu elements in Buddhism. In many Buddhist temples there are cubicles set aside for Hindu deities. One of them is Vishnu who is believed to be the protector of Buddhism. There are 3 other deities as Saman Kataragama and a ........., who have been later added as benefactors who provide welfare of health and wealth. The common folk forget that these deities have no place in tripitaka.
The fact that the Sri lankan kings who migrated to Sri Lanka from India got there wives from India made them to build a hindu worshipping cubicle near the shrine of buddha worship. Later the Buddhists here got sccustomed to set aside to pay respect to the hindu cubicle. Yet the prominence given to the Hindu cubicle is not that significant.
However a hindu cultured deity called Kataragama is well respected and has a large area set aside with annual rituals performed.
All these deities supposedly from Hindu origins are believed to be protectors of society and environment only. When it comes to escaping from samsara they are only part of a set of others who travel along the journey of samsara along with the rest of beings.

KiwiNFLFan
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:39 am

Thanks for the replies, particularly about Sri Lanka.

Since many Buddhists in these countries do so, do you think it is acceptable for Theravada Buddhists to pray to Vishnu, Ganesh or Shiva for, say, a new job, good health etc? Mahayana Buddhists pray to Bodhisattvas like Avalokiteshvara for these things, but the Theravada tradition doesn't have this.

binocular
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by binocular » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:07 am

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:39 am
Since many Buddhists in these countries do so, do you think it is acceptable for Theravada Buddhists to pray to Vishnu, Ganesh or Shiva for, say, a new job, good health etc?
That probably depends on where one believes that one's refuge is, and what refuge one takes.
Some people take refuge in Asian culture ...

chownah
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by chownah » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:32 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:39 am
Thanks for the replies, particularly about Sri Lanka.

Since many Buddhists in these countries do so, ...........
This is not a justification for anything nor does it make anything more acceptable.......
Consider: Since many buddhists in thailand get drunk weekly is it acceptable to do so?
chownah

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Grigoris
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:04 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:39 am
Thanks for the replies, particularly about Sri Lanka.

Since many Buddhists in these countries do so, do you think it is acceptable for Theravada Buddhists to pray to Vishnu, Ganesh or Shiva for, say, a new job, good health etc? Mahayana Buddhists pray to Bodhisattvas like Avalokiteshvara for these things, but the Theravada tradition doesn't have this.
As long as you are not going for ultimate Refuge, why would there be a problem? We rely on all sorts of people in our daily life for worldly ends. That does not break our Refuge.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

justindesilva
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by justindesilva » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:44 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:04 pm
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:39 am
Thanks for the replies, particularly about Sri Lanka.

Since many Buddhists in these countries do so, do you think it is acceptable for Theravada Buddhists to pray to Vishnu, Ganesh or Shiva for, say, a new job, good health etc? Mahayana Buddhists pray to Bodhisattvas like Avalokiteshvara for these things, but the Theravada tradition doesn't have this.
As long as you are not going for ultimate Refuge, why would there be a problem? We rely on all sorts of people in our daily life for worldly ends. That does not break our Refuge.
Though a little late , may I introduce the fact that Hindu elements in Theravada in eastern countries do not create a very bad effect to buddhism. Here let me note the following facts.
1. The said followers have rejected the animal sacrifices in hinduism but prey for only wellbeing and health. They also believe that these deities are arupa form of beings who one day will attain nirvana. They are also being transferred psycholigical merits for their upkeep in spiritual life.
These Hindu deities are offered with flowers lamp lighting foods flags with names of deities and milk rice and these offerings do not contradict the five precepts in Buddhism. I am here mentioning only the acts of Theravada Buddhist in mix with Hindu beliefs.

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DooDoot
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by DooDoot » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:32 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:23 am
When I visited Thailand recently, I noticed that there were elements of Hinduism incorporated into the Thai culture. I saw a shrine to Shiva near Chinatown in Bangkok. Statues of Ganesh were on sale along with Buddha statues.
My sister is currently visiting Sri Lanka for the 1st time and just sent me five photographs, of which four are Hindu and one is Buddhist.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:44 pm

robertk wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:22 am
DooDoot wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:42 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:24 pm
All of SE Asia was Hindu once.
I meant all of SE Asia once had Hinduism as a major religion (rather than 100% of SE Asians were once Hindu). I apologise if my post was challenging for you. Kind regards :heart:
The first iteration was challenging for me too, thanks for clarifying.
You two are not alone.

It is challenging for me, as well.

:)
.


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sentinel
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Re: Hindu elements in Buddhism

Post by sentinel » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:47 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:34 am
Many people engage in other religious practises, such as ancestor and spirit worship.

religion definition: the belief in and worship of a god or gods .

Engaging in ancestors reverential is not necessarily about religion . It appears to be
about ethics , filial piety is a virtue of respect for one's ancestors .
:coffee:

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