The Pali term Ariyan

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Re: The Pali term Ariyan

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:48 pm

Kusala wrote:Hello Dhamma friends. Just thought I'd bring this thread back up... http://newsgram.com/blog/2011/03/24/eth ... g-of-arya/

Ethnic meaning of ‘Arya’

"In debates on the politically controversial term Arya, we keep hearing from Hindus and Buddhists that it only means “noble,” as in the Buddha’s “four noble truths.” This speaks of a deficient sense of the realization that terminology is susceptible to change.

While the term had no racial (“Nordic”) or linguistic (“Indo-European”) meaning, it did originally have an ethnic meaning. On this, invasionist linguist JP Mallory and anti-invasionist historian Shrikant Talageri agree..."


Later in that article:

"It is in the sense of “noble” that the Buddha spoke of the Arya four truths and eight-fold path. However, we must take into account the possibility that he used it in the implied sense of “Vedic,” broadly conceived. After Vedic tradition got carried away into what he deemed non-essentials, he intended to restore what he conceived as the original Vedic spirit."

:jumping:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The Pali term Ariyan

Postby Kusala » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:49 am

daverupa wrote:
Kusala wrote:Hello Dhamma friends. Just thought I'd bring this thread back up... http://newsgram.com/blog/2011/03/24/eth ... g-of-arya/

Ethnic meaning of ‘Arya’

"In debates on the politically controversial term Arya, we keep hearing from Hindus and Buddhists that it only means “noble,” as in the Buddha’s “four noble truths.” This speaks of a deficient sense of the realization that terminology is susceptible to change.

While the term had no racial (“Nordic”) or linguistic (“Indo-European”) meaning, it did originally have an ethnic meaning. On this, invasionist linguist JP Mallory and anti-invasionist historian Shrikant Talageri agree..."


Later in that article:

"It is in the sense of “noble” that the Buddha spoke of the Arya four truths and eight-fold path. However, we must take into account the possibility that he used it in the implied sense of “Vedic,” broadly conceived. After Vedic tradition got carried away into what he deemed non-essentials, he intended to restore what he conceived as the original Vedic spirit."

:jumping:


Hi davarupa. I googled Koenraad Elst... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koenraad_Elst

"Elst is one of the few western writers (along with François Gautier) to actively defend the Hindutva movement[26]..."
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: The Pali term Ariyan

Postby Kusala » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:39 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:Personally, I prefer to translate it as "holy", rather than "noble" (or anything similar, like "aristocrat", etc.) because these latter senses are social, which is quite irrelevant to how the Dhamma uses the term.

I suspect that this very early decision amongst western buddhology to use the term "noble" is related to the general overview that they had of the time, ie. the "aryan invader" theory. Despite early linguists who stated explicitly that "aryan" referred to language type, and not ethnic group (let alone social group), still, some continued to portray the Vedic brahmans as "invaders" from the NW, into India, subjugating the other indigenous peoples there (such as the Dravidians). Such a theory was then used to explain the history of India to the Indians themselves, in a manner which then justified the invasion of India by the Europeans. "After all, you brahmins were invaders, now we have invaded you!" The Nazi position is merely the step which made a small twist in theories of groups such as the Theosophists: Whereas at the early times, it was the Vedic brahmins who were the superior people on the planet, overcoming the indigenous black people of India, now the European Aryans have come to claim their place as the superior ethnic group of the present day and age. Theosophy theory of species, race, etc. is complex. The Nazi's did their spin. It was common amongst many philosophical thought movements of that day and age.

This "aryan invader" theory has now largely been debunked amongst scholars. However, because the flow down effect takes a generation or two, and many still read very old and dated material, it is still common. I shuddered when I encountered a Uni Buddhist prof who trotted this stuff out in "history of Indian Buddhism" as if it were "simple fact", rather than a dated and highly debatable theory. (Made me seriously doubt his scholarship, which was later proven as the course progressed.) It is most strange when it comes from Indians, Sri Lankans, etc. themselves, particularly the older generation who basically have what I call a "Pali text society" mentality, and still live in the latter days of the 19th century colonial Brittania. A bit of serious modern research will soon erase these problems.

Hence, to me, any relation with ethnic group or social group is totally missing the point. The only time I ever use "noble" is for the most entry level classes on Buddhism, where I suspect that people may already be familiar with the term "four noble truths", etc. At the first opportunity though, I introduce the principle of "four holy truths", that which is "true" to those who are holy. Then I wean them out of "noble", and never use the term again. (Fortunately, most of the teaching I do nowadays is either in Chinese, and / or for Chinese, so I can easily point to the Chinese translations, which use mainly 聖 which is much closer to "holy / saintly" than "noble", or 正 "correct", also used for "samyak". Another case of how the choice of terms by classic Chinese translators can give us insight into how the terms were understood by the Indic scholars themselves at that time.)

Some may argue against the term "holy" on the grounds of borrowing from Christianity, but I'd take that any day when compared to the fascist racial theories of some forms of early European Buddhology, and the twisted ideologies which followed in their wake.

Or, better still, I just leave the term as "aryan". It is quite curious, that this term "aryan" and also the good old srivatsa (= svastika) itself, is primarly connected with Nazism / Fascism only amongst the West. In Asia, these are so obviously Buddhist / Brahmanic / Jain / etc. that they have almost no negative connotation at all. I have a few young Buddhist friends who wear svastika necklaces in a similar manner as Christians may wear a crucifix on a necklace. It hangs on there in public for all to see. They would be horrified to hear that they are connected to Nazism, so I simply don't mention it, I do not wish to disturb their pure faith in the Triple gem. I think it is time to reclaim these symbols of Buddhism - but in an intelligent and gradual manner, of course!! (My experience in Zuid Afrika (South Africa) indicates that in some places, this may take a while, though. Seems that more than a few neo-Nazis have taken root in that "rainbow nation"! Still, they were always puzzled why the Chinese would use this symbol, as they would be the first object of it's fascist hatred.)

:soap:


I beg to differ.

History of Ancient Indian Conquest
Told in Modern Genes, Experts Say


By Robert Cooke, Newsday
San Francisco Chronicle, 26 May, 1999

Like an indelible signature enduring through a hundred generations, genes that entered India when conquering hordes swooped down from the north thousands of years ago are still there, and remain entrenched at the top of the caste system, scientists report. Analyses of the male Y chromosome, plus genes hidden in small cellular bodies called mitochondria, show that today's genetic patterns agree with accounts of ancient Indo-European warriors' conquering the Indian subcontinent.

The invaders apparently shoved the local men aside, took their women and set up the rigid caste system that exists today. Their descendants are still the elite within Hindu society.

INVADING CAUCASOIDS

Thus today's genetic patterns, the researchers explained, vividly reflect a historic event, or events, that occurred 3,000 or 4,000 years ago. The gene patterns "are consistent with a historical scenario in which invading Caucasoids -- primarily males -- established the caste system and occupied the highest positions, placing the indigenous population, who were more similar to Asians, in lower caste positions.''

The researchers, from the University of Utah and Andhra Pradesh University in India, used two sets of genes in their analyses.

One set, from the mitochondria, are only passed maternally and can be used to track female inheritance. The other, on the male-determining Y chromosome, can only be passed along paternally and thus track male inheritance.

The data imply, then, "that there was a group of males with European affinities who were largely responsible for this invasion 3,000 or 4,000 years ago,'' said geneticist Lynn Jorde of the University of Utah.

If women had accompanied the invaders, he said, the evidence should be seen in the mitochondrial genes, but it is not evident.

According to geneticist Douglas Wallace of Emory University in Atlanta, the work reported by Jorde and his colleagues "is very interesting, and is certainly worth further study.''

Along with Jorde, the research team included Michael Bamshad, W.S. Watkins and M.E. Dixon from Utah and B.B. Rao, B.V.R. Prasad and J.M. Naidu, from Andhra Pradesh University.

UPWARDLY MOBILE WOMEN

By studying both sets of genetic markers, the research team found clear evidence echoing what is still seen socially, that women can be upwardly mobile, in terms of caste, if they marry higher-caste men. In contrast, men generally do not move higher, because women rarely marry men from lower castes, the researchers said.

"Our expectations in this natural experiment are borne out when we look at the genes," said Jorde. "It's one of the few cases where we know the mating situation in a population for 150 generations. So it's kind of a test for how well the genes reflect a population's history."

The ancient story holds that invaders known as Indo-Europeans, or true Aryans, came from Eastern Europe or western Asia and conquered the Indian subcontinent. The people they subdued descended from the original inhabitants who had arrived far earlier from Africa and from other parts of Asia.

During the genetic studies, in 1996 and 1997, researchers took blood samples from hundreds of people in southern India. The analyses compared the genes from 316 caste members and 330 members of tribal populations, looking for signs of Asian, European and African ancestry.

In the mitochondrial genes passed along by females, Jorde said, they could see the clear background of Asian genes. "All of the caste groups were similar to Asians, the underlying population" that had originally been subdued.

But, he added, "when we look at the Y chromosome DNA, we see a very different pattern. The lower castes are most similar to Asians, and the upper castes are more European than Asian."

Further, "when we look at the different components within the upper caste, the group with the greatest European similarity of all is the warrior class, the Kshatriya, who are still at the top of the Hindu castes, with the Brahmins," Jorde said.

"But the Brahmins, in terms of their Y chromosomes, are a little bit more Asian."

So the genetic results are "consistent with historical accounts that women sometimes marry into higher caste, resulting in female gene flow between adjacent castes. In contrast, males seldom change castes, so Y chromosome" variation occurs only as a result of natural mutations, Jorde said.

CASTE SYSTEM STILL ALIVE

He added that even though India's ancient caste system was abolished legally in the 1960s, it is still entrenched socially.

"People are very well aware of their caste membership," he said, noting that in some cities the housing is still arranged along caste lines. So "one might argue, unfortunately so, that it (the caste system) does exist in people's minds."

In terms of who marries whom, the researchers described the Hindu caste system as "governing the mating practices of nearly one-sixth of the world's population."

The blood samples taken from tribal people in southern India are still being analyzed, Jorde added.

But so far, "the tribal populations are more similar to the lower castes than to anyone else, similar to the original residents of India," he said.
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: The Pali term Ariyan

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:05 am

While it's true that "Indo-European" refers to a language type, we still have to explain how the language type not only made it to India, but came to dominate there -- at the expense of indigenous languages. If the conquest model has been debunked, how do the replacement models account for the linguistic diffusion? Sanskrit after all is said to be weirdly close to Lithuanian in some respects.

I studied this stuff back in the 90s (with reference to Mallory and Gimbutas) so I'd be curious to hear what the current state of the scholarship is.
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