Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

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soulive1112420
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Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby soulive1112420 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:46 pm

I was hoping someone could help me out. In Bob Thurman's "Jewel Tree of Tibet" he talks about Nagarjuna's great contributions to Buddhism. Most notably his rediscovering the Mahayana teachings with help from the dragon kings. Truly one of my favorite figures in Buddhism. Thurman goes on to say in Jewel tree (page 100) he then "voyaged to America on a dragons back and teaching for several centuries before returning to India" I found this to be extraordinarily interesting but in the dozens of books iv read many of them mention Nagarjuna frequently but iv never heard anything about his trip to the Americas. Maybe im reading the wrong books but i was wondering if anyone could help me out. Id like to learn more about this. Recently iv been reading a lot about native American spirituality and i couldn't believe how many commonality's the two philosophy's share. Concepts like the reincarnation, respecting sentient beings (ahisma), and the interconnectedness of all life to name a few. After learning about Nagarjuna trip i find this hardly to be a coincidence. If any one could elaborate on and maybe shed some light on the specifics of his journey it would be most appreciated

Peace
Nick
Last edited by soulive1112420 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:53 pm

Don't think I've ever read anything about this.

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby Justsit » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:13 pm

Not sure about the Nagarjuna connection, but there are a number of other sources which appear to tie the Tibetan culture with the Native Americans.

“When the iron bird flies, and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the world, and the Dharma will come to the land of the red faced people”
--(Padma Sambhava, eighth-century Indian guru and founder of the first Tibetan monastery)


"When the iron bird flies, the red-robed people of the East who have lost their land will appear, and the two brothers from across the great ocean will be reunited." --Hopi Prophecy

These may be apocryphal, or not. The 16th Karmapa made a point of visiting the Hopi Nation during his visit in 1974, as did the 17th Karmapa, in 2008. You might get a more scholarly response if you ask your question on the sister site, dharmawheel.com

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby plwk » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:26 pm

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby soulive1112420 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:28 pm

thank you

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby tamdrin » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:35 pm

Prof Thurman did say that in that book but it is highly unlikely/impossible that Nagarjuna came to America. First of all how would he have gotten there in the 2nd Century C.E, flewn? First major group of explorers that came to America were said to be Colombus in 1492... He had to make a treacherous journey on boat from Europe.. Just think about it. Secondly who would Nagarjuna have taught in America the Native Americans? I highly doubt it..

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby soulive1112420 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:31 pm

tamdrin wrote:Prof Thurman did say that in that book but it is highly unlikely/impossible that Nagarjuna came to America. First of all how would he have gotten there in the 2nd Century C.E, flewn? First major group of explorers that came to America were said to be Colombus in 1492... He had to make a treacherous journey on boat from Europe.. Just think about it. Secondly who would Nagarjuna have taught in America the Native Americans? I highly doubt it..


well i mean according to Tibetan text he lived over 600 years. The story goes that he traveled on a dragon to the Americas so logically both of those seem impossible. I was just asking about it because besides that one book i had never heard anyone else mention it. I thought it was an interesting story considering the multitude of similarities between Buddhism and native American spirituality who were geographically were separated by thousands of miles, but still shared many commonalities.

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:44 pm

soulive1112420 wrote:
well i mean according to Tibetan text he lived over 600 years. The story goes that he traveled on a dragon to the Americas so logically both of those seem impossible. I was just asking about it because besides that one book i had never heard anyone else mention it. I thought it was an interesting story considering the multitude of similarities between Buddhism and native American spirituality who were geographically were separated by thousands of miles, but still shared many commonalities.


Hello Nick,

What similarities do you see between Native American spiritual practice and Buddhist practice? I lived in a home where Native American spirituality was practiced and I do not see similarity beyond what we generally find in most spiritual practices that aim to bring meaning and efficacy to this human existence.

Metta

Gabe
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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:22 am

Some folks wondering the same question, on a different forum:

http://www.freesangha.com/forums/index.php?topic=836.0
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as others are, so am I."
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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:26 am

Spirituality and culture are separate things even though they are closely related. What makes Tibetans similar to Hopi doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Buddhism.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby soulive1112420 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:20 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:
soulive1112420 wrote:
well i mean according to Tibetan text he lived over 600 years. The story goes that he traveled on a dragon to the Americas so logically both of those seem impossible. I was just asking about it because besides that one book i had never heard anyone else mention it. I thought it was an interesting story considering the multitude of similarities between Buddhism and native American spirituality who were geographically were separated by thousands of miles, but still shared many commonalities.


Hello Nick,

What similarities do you see between Native American spiritual practice and Buddhist practice? I lived in a home where Native American spirituality was practiced and I do not see similarity beyond what we generally find in most spiritual practices that aim to bring meaning and efficacy to this human existence.

Metta

Gabe


Concepts like the interconnectedness of all beings what native Americans refer to the "web of life", respect for all living beings (ahisma) some tribes believed in reincarnation, Tibetan smoke offerings (sang) in which offerings like grains, honey and milk are given and the smoke from that fire turning into offerings for all beings. The Native Americans also use smoke from cedar and age for purification (i know a lot of cultures do this) . Although i definitely see your point that many cultures especially indigenous ones share common beliefs, and im sure being raised in a home that practiced native American spirituality you know a lot more than i do. Myself coming from a strict Cathloic background. I was taught none of those things i mentioned earlier. In the book i was reading "princples of native american spirtuality the author says "Native american of spirtuality is not a set of dogmas demanding blind faith. or a strict moral code. They are a way of coming into natural harmony with life and living from this centre of balance" Which is sort of the complete opposite of how i was raised and i guess it remindmed me of buddhism. The reason why i started the thread was because i was looking for someone to give me information on the story nagarjuana's "journey to america" and i guess thats what led me to connect the two.

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:40 am

soulive1112420 wrote: The reason why i started the thread was because i was looking for someone to give me information on the story nagarjuana's "journey to america" and i guess thats what led me to connect the two.


In that case you should check out the sister chat board Dharma wheel

http://dharmawheel.net/

Nagarguna is generally seen as a Mahayana figure.

Other than that I recommend looking a little deeper into central Buddhist teachings. I think you might enjoy getting a better sense of what the Buddha was communicating. It seems that you have over relied on the superficial appearances of the tradition.


Take care

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby silentone » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:16 am

Strange coincidence... I was commenting on the Vegan Breast milk thread and came across this.

http://traumwerk.stanford.edu/archaeolo ... ion_t.html

IT discusses a retrovirus, HTLV that is transmitted in breast milk. Since the virus is preserved in DNA< they were able to study mutations across many different groups of people. They found an interesting link that connects certain groups of native americans to a group of people in Japan. This would have been prior to the voyage of columbus. So there is a possibility of movement between the two cultures. There is genetic evidence.

Two paragraphs of interest:


"New technology however, allows identification of strains with greater precision. The strains found in South America and the Caribbean are more similar to the strains prevalent in ancient Japan. The Peruvian mummy (Sonoda et al 2000) further confirms that HTLV-1 was present in the Americas thousands of years prior to the slave trade. Similarly, a cluster of Japanese type HTLV-1 has been detected in a Coastal population of Amerindian natives in British Columbia (Picard et al 1995), although the significance of this may not have been appreciated in 1995 when first reported. "

"A rapidly accreting body of evidence suggests that human migration into the Americas occurred much earlier than previously thought. Two distinct waves of migration have been documented with the characteristics of each dictated by the timing of the last ice age. Coastal migration was favored at the peak of the ice age when sea levels were lower and abundant seafood was available. The ancient people of Japan were known to be excellent coastal seafarers but reluctant visitors to the open sea. Sea craft during that phase of human migration were more primitive and did not support open sea migration. Siberian migration became dominant after the receding of the ice sheet and these later migrants may have replaced or assimilated the earlier migrants. "

I'm not sure which one of those migration periods favored dragons though ;p

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:38 am

silentone wrote:Strange coincidence... I was commenting on the Vegan Breast milk thread and came across this.

http://traumwerk.stanford.edu/archaeolo ... ion_t.html

It discusses a retrovirus, HTLV ...

This is not necessarily wrong, Silentone, but could mislead some folk.
It has been known for quite a while that humans entered the Americas via Siberia and spread from North to South, so genetic commonalities between Asians and Native Americans are greater than between (e.g.) Europeans and Native Americans.
But this all happened long before the Buddha's time. I've forgotten the dates, but 30 000 years ago is a good ballpark figure.
:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby silentone » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:23 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
silentone wrote:Strange coincidence... I was commenting on the Vegan Breast milk thread and came across this.

http://traumwerk.stanford.edu/archaeolo ... ion_t.html

It discusses a retrovirus, HTLV ...

This is not necessarily wrong, Silentone, but could mislead some folk.
It has been known for quite a while that humans entered the Americas via Siberia and spread from North to South, so genetic commonalities between Asians and Native Americans are greater than between (e.g.) Europeans and Native Americans.
But this all happened long before the Buddha's time. I've forgotten the dates, but 30 000 years ago is a good ballpark figure.
:namaste:
Kim


Thank you for pointing that out Kim, I don't want to be misleading. IT was before the Buddhas time... but not so much as 30,000... You are right the first migration was actually right at 30,000 but a second massive wave of migrations occurred just 5,000 years ago. Although I think those are considered, from the genetic evidence the times of "maximum" influx...these represented MASS migrations of genetics and large changes to the populations. I could be wrong, but I think there is still some evidence of a "trickle" of individuals in between these dates. If you look at a lot of the graphs it would appear that way.

For some neat graphs on the timing of the two migrations

http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/chapter54/C ... 4intro.htm

I remember about 2 or 3 years ago there was a really cool discovery channel episode on some new possible DNA found in south america, and a group of people whose culture and architecture perfectly mimicked some japanese groups.... I can't find it though.

The title was something along the lines of "Were the spanish the first to reach the Americas" ...

I really find this kind of research fascinating. First of all it does confirm suspicions about comparisons between some ancient Japanese cultures and some American cultures, and second of all it really wasn't that far back in the past. There are such interesting patterns of genetic influx so many proposed routes. It really makes you realise, no group of people on the planet has ever been "an island unto themselves" ... were all connected.

I do doubt seriously the Buddha (or Nagarjuna) himself came to the new world, but is it certainly possible one of his followers did prior to columbus ... its certainly something people had a history of doing ... its probably not something anybody will ever have definitive proof of :).

**this page has kind of different take on it,
http://www.manataka.org/page410.html

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby PeterB » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:44 pm

Papanca thy name is legion.

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Re: Buddhism and Native American commonality (Nagarjuna)

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:14 am

silentone wrote:I really find this kind of research fascinating. First of all it does confirm suspicions about comparisons between some ancient Japanese cultures and some American cultures, and second of all it really wasn't that far back in the past. There are such interesting patterns of genetic influx so many proposed routes. It really makes you realise, no group of people on the planet has ever been "an island unto themselves" ... were all connected.

I do doubt seriously the Buddha (or Nagarjuna) himself came to the new world, but is it certainly possible one of his followers did prior to columbus ... its certainly something people had a history of doing ... its probably not something anybody will ever have definitive proof of :).

Hello, Silentone,
This is the kind of thinking that prompted PeterB's little comment, which I do sympathise with: we come across an idea which we find attractive but can be neither proven nor disproven, and we talk ourselves into half-believing (or at least, not disbelieving) it even though, rationally, we know it is probably nonsense.
There is a strategy for assessing the overall likelihood of a given event (call it D) which depends on a series of other events (call them A, B and C). The likelihood of D is the likelihood of A multiplied by the likelihood of B multiplied by the likelihood of C. For instance, I will go out for pizza tonight if the coin I toss now comes up 'heads' (probability 1/2 )and my friend wants to (probability 3/4 because he does like pizza) and it doesn't rain (probability 1/10 because it has been raining a lot lately). Total probability = 1/2 x 3/4 x 1/10 = 3/80.
Hmmm ... I better get used to the idea of no pizza.
Apply that kind of thinking to the OP and you get a very low number - certainly one you wouldn't base your life on.
:namaste:
Kim


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