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Buddha: Aryan SuperMan? - Dhamma Wheel

Buddha: Aryan SuperMan?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Kusala
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Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:02 am

Buddha: Aryan SuperMan?

Postby Kusala » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:59 am

Hello Dhamma friends. Does the Lord Buddha sound like an Aryan Superman? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anv5u3QgyzQ Maybe not in the Nazi sense, but an Indo-European sense?

We know from reading the early Suttas that the Lord Buddha had deep blue eyes and dark-haired. So is the early Suttas describing an Aryan Superman?

Image
Image

"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. "

meindzai
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Re: Buddha: Aryan SuperMan?

Postby meindzai » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:30 pm


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Kusala
Posts: 667
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:02 am

Re: Buddha: Aryan SuperMan?

Postby Kusala » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:25 pm

Hello Dhamma friends. Could this gentleman from Afghanistan be the vestige of the ancient Aryas(Aryans)?

Image
Image

"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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zavk
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Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Buddha: Aryan SuperMan?

Postby zavk » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:09 am

Hi all

This question about the Aryan identity of the Buddha was something that had piqued my interest too. I do not have knowledge of scholarship about the shared heritage of the Indo-Europeans as such. However, I have looked into the ways in which the notion of 'Aryanism' became associated with general perceptions of Buddhism. There are some interesting accounts of how the notion of 'Aryanism' was deployed in discussions of Buddhism. I don't have the material with me at the moment so I will post again with those examples.

The emergence of knowledge about the 'Indo-European' and the related notion of Aryanism has to be situated within its ideological context. This knowledge emerged in a time of colonialism, the same period when 'Buddhism' developed as an object of knowledge in the West. This was also a time of significant advances in the science of philology. Connections were made between the classical Indian language of Sanskrit and the classical languages of Europe, and hence consolidating the category of 'Indo-European'. Due to various cultural, social, political, and ideological factors, theories of language groups developed into theories of racial groups. The study of root verbs became a study of bloodlines.

Let me clarify that my aim here is NOT to denigrate philology. I do not have the expertise to even attempt anything like that. Nor am I challenging scholarship about the 'Indo-Europeans'. Without firsthand understanding of this body of scholarship, I fully accept the possibility that the ancient people of India coud share certain bloodlines with the ancient people of Europe. I am NOT contesting this knowledge as such. What I wish to do, rather, is to reflect on how this knowledge was adopted. That is, I wish to reflect on the EFFECTS of this knowledge. Because regardless of whether this category of 'Indo-Europeans' is historically accurate or not, it had turned around a particular understanding of Aryanism and was also implicated in a certain science of race and colonial politics.

In other words, I'm NOT questioning the truthfulness/falseness of this set of knowledge but whether this set of knowledge had been put to use in skilful or unskilful ways: I am reflecting on whether the EFFECTS of this set of knowledge are kusala or akusala, and whether the reverberations of these effects can still be felt today or not.

To give a quick summary of the ideological impetus behind the development of the discourse of Aryanism:

By charting the 'noble' history of ancient India, European colonial powers saw Indian civilisation of the time to be in a state of degeneration and decay. It was the idea that Indian civilisation had lost its 'noble' past. The Aryan nobility which the Indians had abandoned was now better embodied by European civilisation. (It is worth noting that early Western knowledge of Buddhism--which still casts a long shadow over us today whether we like it or not--was filtered through such assumptions) So the notion of a shared Aryan 'noble' bloodline played a part in justifying colonialism. Regardless of whether one is today a postcolonial subject or not, I think it is clear that there is much about colonialism that is akusala, and that the unskilful effects of colonialism are still reverberating through both the societies of the former colonisers and the formerly colonised (or 'colonize' in American spelling).

(Note: this is not to say that scholars of the time were inherently 'bad' or 'misguided' or anything like that. It is simply the case the production of knowledge is always influenced by the prevailing ideological assumptions and political imperatives of the time. It is even the case today with, say, knowledge about climate change for instance. And because of these ideological assumptions and political imperatives, any set of knowledge could lead to skilful or unskilful effects, regardless of the intentions of those producing the knowledge.)

I will post again with examples of how the notion of 'Aryanism' was taken up in discourses about Buddhism.
With metta,
zavk

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zavk
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Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Buddha: Aryan SuperMan?

Postby zavk » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:28 am

With metta,
zavk

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Kusala
Posts: 667
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:02 am

Re: Buddha: Aryan SuperMan?

Postby Kusala » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:34 am

Image

"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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Dan74
Posts: 3012
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Buddha: Aryan SuperMan?

Postby Dan74 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:59 am

We could have the beginning of a new religious movement here - a cross between Buddhism and Racial Supremacy - The Arian Sangha...

kusala or akusala, I wonder?
_/|\_


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