Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

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Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby OcTavO » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:18 am

I just read an excerpt of the Hindu Mānava-Dharmaśāstra:

Satyam bruyatpriyam bruyanna bruyatsatyamapriyam. Priyam cha nanrtam bruyadesa dharmah sanatanah.

Which translates to:

Speak the truth, speak the truth that is pleasant. Do not speak the truth to manipulate. Do not speak falsely to please or flatter someone. This is the quality of the Sanatan Dharma.

I found it fascinating that this is very close to the Vaca Sutta on Right Speech, here translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on Access to Insight:

It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will. A statement endowed with these five factors is well-spoken.

The Mānava-Dharmaśāstra dates from a very similar era to the early oral transmission of Buddhist thought. It's generally accepted that the Buddha's teachings expanded upon (and altered) the prevailing Dharma beliefs at the time, but the proximity of these two statements made me wonder... are there other examples where the two traditions converge as closely as this?
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:24 am

i dont know about Hinduism but i've read some Jain texts long ago that were almost verbatim prajnaparamita texts
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:26 am

also just to throw this out there, don't assume just because text are similar that they borrowed from one another or that if it's Hindu then it had to come first.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby Kenshou » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:40 am

It really isn't that hard to find similar looking stuff in two different schools of thought when they developed in similar places at similar times.

Not that it isn't interesting, though.
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby OcTavO » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:53 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:also just to throw this out there, don't assume just because text are similar that they borrowed from one another or that if it's Hindu then it had to come first.


Agreed, I'm not really assuming that or intending this thread to turn into any sort of "which came first" discussion. My interest lies in the whole belief system of the Gangetic plain at that era.

I also think beginners might find it intersting to discover which portions of the Buddha Dhamma are unique to his awakening, and which are likely to have been simply prevalent modes of thought at the time.
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby Freawaru » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:09 pm

OcTavO wrote:are there other examples where the two traditions converge as closely as this?


Except for the term "self" the whole Bhaghavad Gita is very "Buddhist" if you ask me.
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby OcTavO » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:21 pm

Freawaru wrote:Except for the term "self" the whole Bhaghavad Gita is very "Buddhist" if you ask me.


Really? I haven't read the Bhaghavad Gita, could you recommend a reliable translation?
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:29 pm

In the Bhagavad Gita, a text which post dates the Buddha, chapter XVI, 8:

'The universe," they say, "is without truth [asat that which open to destruction and change, without an atman/brahman, the Absolute within each of us],"
Without basis/unstable [having no solid ground apratis.t.ham], without a God;
Brought about by a mutual union,
How else? It is caused by lust alone.'


This is a good caricature of the Buddhist position, and certainly the Buddhist position is that the world is unstable, constantly in change, without a basis or essence - an atman/brahman -, and is without a god, "Brought about by a mutual union," and "caused by desire," all of which could be used to describe the Buddhist position, but no one else of the time.

And the Gita goes on, XVI, 9:

Holding this view,
These men of lost souls, of small intelligence,
And of cruel actions, come forth as enemies
Of the world for it destruction.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby Freawaru » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:38 pm

OcTavO wrote:
Freawaru wrote:Except for the term "self" the whole Bhaghavad Gita is very "Buddhist" if you ask me.


Really? I haven't read the Bhaghavad Gita, could you recommend a reliable translation?


Yeah, that is a bit of a problem. There are several translations "out there" and one has to read a bit sideways and allow for different words for the same meaning.

Compare tilts translation of 16.9 to

Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world.
http://www.asitis.com/16/9.html


Accepting this vision the demoniac being deficient in spiritual intelligence having lost contact with their soul ; degradedly engage in abominable activities to influence the destruction of the universe.
http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-16-07.html


BTW I don't agree with tilts conclusion that it is Buddhism that is meant here by "demoniac". The next strota shows it, IMO:

The demoniac, taking shelter of insatiable lust, pride and false prestige, and being thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.
http://www.asitis.com/16/10.html


Does not sound like Buddhism to me.

On the other hand the previous strotas describing the "divine nature" sound to me like the very same qualities the Buddha recommended:

The Blessed Lord said: Fearlessness, purification of one's existence, cultivation of spiritual knowledge, charity, self-control, performance of sacrifice, study of the Vedas, austerity and simplicity; nonviolence, truthfulness, freedom from anger; renunciation, tranquility, aversion to faultfinding, compassion and freedom from covetousness; gentleness, modesty and steady determination; vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from envy and the passion for honor--these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine natur
Arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness and ignorance--these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Prtha.
The transcendental qualities are conducive to liberation, whereas the demoniac qualities make for bondage. Do not worry, O son of Pandu, for you are born with the divine qualities.


If you are interested just read it yourself and compare to the Buddhist scripture itself.
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby Sobeh » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:02 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And the Gita goes on,


I started humming "And The Beat Goes On" by The Whispers.

:twothumbsup:

---
I do want to mention one thing, which is that the early Upanisads and the Dhamma were both being formulated around the same time, and the dearth of textual evidence from the era offers the possibility that the textual borrowing went both ways. As an example, it is possible that the Upanisads are where the Suttas get the ## Marks of a Man bits, as well as the kasina disc meditations.

Cite: Wynne, Alexander. The Origins of Buddhist Meditation. (London & New York: Routledge, 2007).
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:39 pm

Sobeh wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And the Gita goes on,


I started humming "And The Beat Goes On" by The Whispers.
Eeew, disco. Gita is the Sanskrit word for song.

I do want to mention one thing, which is that the early Upanisads and the Dhamma were both being formulated around the same time, and the dearth of textual evidence from the era offers the possibility that the textual borrowing went both ways. As an example, it is possible that the Upanisads are where the Suttas get the ## Marks of a Man bits, as well as the kasina disc meditations.

Cite: Wynne, Alexander. The Origins of Buddhist Meditation. (London & New York: Routledge, 2007).
Maybe two or three of the major Upanishads were exrtant at the time of the Buddha. The Upanishads do not present a singular view, but rather they presenta variety of views on things of life and death and liberation. Much of what the Upanishads are doing is a taking from the non-Vedic forest tradtion of which Buddhism and Jainism were a part.

The Bhagavad Gita is clearly an attempt of taking and puting a Brahmanicalk spin on the forest traditions ideas. Arjuna's argument against going to war in the opening pages of the Gita is very much a Buddhist argument, but the idea of caste duty - killing the enemy for the warrior - is done without attachment is the Brahmanical response. The Gita is not a Buddhist text.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby vitellius » Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:43 pm

First, we need to admit that "Laws of Manu" are post-Buddhist and post-Asokan. Suttas were already there by that time.

Speak the truth, speak the truth that is pleasant. Do not speak the truth to manipulate. Do not speak falsely to please or flatter someone. This is the quality of the Sanatan Dharma.
It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will. A statement endowed with these five factors is well-spoken.

I would say that these two are rather different. I guess that some similar sayings about truthful, non-manipulative, pleasant speech may be found in Christianity, New Age or wherever.

Satyam bruyatpriyam bruyanna bruyatsatyamapriyam. Priyam cha nanrtam bruyadesa dharmah sanatanah.
kālena ca bhāsitā hoti, saccā ca bhāsitā hoti, saṇhā ca bhāsitā hoti, atthasaṃhitā ca bhāsitā hoti, mettacittena ca bhāsitā hoti.

And wording is different: only one quality is the same: satya and sacca; all other are different.

There are some similarities between "Hindu" (e.g. Yoga Sutras) and Early Buddhist texts, but most probably there is no connection between these two fragments.
Last edited by vitellius on Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mānava-Dharmaśāstra vs. Vaca Sutta

Postby vitellius » Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:53 pm

OcTavO wrote:are there other examples where the two traditions converge as closely as this?


Hello, OcTavO,

There are some examples in
Lance Cousins, "Vitakka/vitarka and vicara: the stages of samadhi in Buddhism and Yoga" (article in Indo-Iranian Journal),
Alexander Wynne "The Origin of Buddhist Meditation".
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