Buddha and the Vedas

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Buddha and the Vedas

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:54 pm

In the Canon we hear of the Jains criticising the Vedas but im curious, did the Buddha ever criticise them?
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Re: Buddha and the Vedas

Postby Individual » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:03 pm

clw_uk wrote:In the Canon we hear of the Jains criticising the Vedas but im curious, did the Buddha ever criticise them?

I don't know if he ever presented a detailed critique in written form, but there's a passage in the Tipitaka (forget where -- somebody can find it or I can find it later) where the Buddha explicitly rejects "the Vedas of the Brahmins". The Buddha instead teaches his own "Three Vedas" (Three Knowledges, vedas means knowledge): wisdom, ethics, and concentration, the threefold division of the noble eightfold path.

However, many of the ideas underlying the Buddha's teaching clearly also cut through Vedic ideas... The caste system isn't considered important, devotion to gods is unimportant, Brahmins have only superficial authority (real authority stems from mental purity and truth), etc.. The Buddha gave particularly scathing criticisms of the Brahmins which is an indirect attack on the authority of the Vedas, since the authority of the ritual book and the Brahmins carrying out the ritual go hand-in-hand (the Vedas at that time was merely a bunch of rituals and hymns, no philosophy yet like the Bhagavad Gita).
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Re: Buddha and the Vedas

Postby vitellius » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:42 am

Hello clw_uk,

Have you read TeVijja sutta? It sheds some light on Buddha's attitude to his contemporary practitioners of Vedic religion.
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... jja-e.html
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Re: Buddha and the Vedas

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:52 pm

Thanks for the info, checking out that link now :)
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