The European Pagan Connection

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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dylanj
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The European Pagan Connection

Post by dylanj »

Here I'll propose that the ancient Greek religion was genuinely aware of the basic structure of the universe & actual devas, with parallels between theirs & those acknowledged by the Buddha.

In Buddhism Sakka is King of the Gods, ruler of a pantheon of 33.
In the Hellenist religion Zeus is King of the Gods, ruler of a pantheon of other Gods.

In Buddhism there is the divine/cosmic mountain Sineru.
In the Hellenist religion there is Olympus.

In Buddhism the Devas battle with & defeat the Asuras.
In the Hellenist religion the Gods battle with & defeat the Titans.

In Buddhism Yama is King of the Dead & lower realms.
In the Hellenist religion Hades is the king of the Underworld.

In Buddhism (I only just recently found out about this, it is only mentioned in SN 1.33 & Snp 3.10 as far as I can tell) the river Vetaraṇi is mentioned as belonging to Yama, & either passed over in order to enter Heaven or fallen into taking one to Hell.

In the Hellenist religion the River Styx belongs to Hades & is again the means by which beings go the Underworld.

These parallels are obviously more than coincidental to me, of course it is widely recognized that ancient European Paganisms are related to the ancient Indian polytheist religions, & of course the Buddha acknowledged that many of the Gods & the cosmic structure recognized by other religions before him were indeed valid, but the connection here seems stronger than any outside of India.

I'm curious if anyone knows of other examples either within Hellenism or other European Paganisms of connections like this.
Born, become, arisen – made, prepared, short-lived
Bonded by decay and death – a nest for sickness, perishable
Produced by seeking nutriment – not fit to take delight in


Departure from this is peaceful – beyond reasoning and enduring
Unborn, unarisen – free from sorrow and stain
Ceasing of all factors of suffering – stilling of all preparations is bliss
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Ceisiwr
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by Ceisiwr »

Well they both share the same Indus Valley ancestry, if I remember correctly?
Saññāvirattassa na santi ganthā,
Paññāvimuttassa na santi mohā;
Saññañca diṭṭhiñca ye aggahesuṃ,
Te ghaṭṭayantā vicaranti loke”ti.


“For one detached from perception, there exist no ties,
for one by wisdom freed, no delusions are there,
but those who have grasped perceptions and views,
they wander the world stirring up strife."


Māgaṇḍiya Sutta
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DooDoot
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by DooDoot »

33 gods, Prajapati, Brahma, Yama are mentioned in RigVeda... regarding other.. 'Devata' comes from 'Div' dhatu which means 'To shine'.. and thus it is used in Vedas to describe psychologically shining things like joyous nature loving nature etc.. as well as physically shining things like sun, stars, photons, etc... –

Hinduism Stack Exchange: Is the purported “Buddhist Cosmology” found in the Vedas?
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dylanj
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by dylanj »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:41 am Well they both share the same Indus Valley ancestry, if I remember correctly?
I agree with this but it's not the mainstream theory
Born, become, arisen – made, prepared, short-lived
Bonded by decay and death – a nest for sickness, perishable
Produced by seeking nutriment – not fit to take delight in


Departure from this is peaceful – beyond reasoning and enduring
Unborn, unarisen – free from sorrow and stain
Ceasing of all factors of suffering – stilling of all preparations is bliss
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cappuccino
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by cappuccino »

Devas of the Four Great Kings

Home of the yakkhas, tree spirits of varying degrees of ethical purity …

analogous to the goblins, trolls, and fairies of Western fairy tales.
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Aloka
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by Aloka »

cappuccino wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:25 am Devas of the Four Great Kings

Home of the yakkhas, tree spirits of varying degrees of ethical purity …

analogous to the goblins, trolls, and fairies of Western fairy tales.

Source please?


.
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Polar Bear
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by Polar Bear »

Thor and Indra are both thunder gods who fight a mighty serpent

Indra fights Vritra

While Thor fights Jörmungandr

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by Coëmgenu »

Has no one pointed out the Aesir–Asura correspondence? This correspondence has many more parallels. The Titans versus Olympian gods has already been mentioned here. What meagre bits can be salvaged of Irish paganism had two similar factions of gods as well. Godly invasion stories. This ancient name randomly shows up in "Assyria" as well (aššūrāyu) and Ahura Mazda is some kind of asura (s in Vedic Sanskrit becomes h in Avestan) remembered by a different ethnic group. In the religion that formed the backdrop to Zoroastrianism (Zoroaster himself being a reformer of Iranian polytheism, much like King Josiah et al. reformed Israelite polytheism), the asuras were the goodies and the devas were the baddies: opposite mainstream Indian religion.
The thus come thus gone,
who has neither came nor went,
enthroned on men’s breath,

like the still turtle,
withdraws six appendages
and is clothed in light --

illuminating
the unilluminated
with three shining cures.
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cappuccino
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by cappuccino »

Aloka wrote:
cappuccino wrote: Devas of the Four Great Kings

Home of the yakkhas, tree spirits of varying degrees of ethical purity …

analogous to the goblins, trolls, and fairies of Western fairy tales.

Source please?
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beanyan
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by beanyan »

I think many would say this connection is more to Brahmanism than Buddhism. After all, just as it ultimately spawned Vedanta in India, it spawned NeoPlatonism in the West, and the goal of both is union with what we could call in generic terms "the Ultimate Divine Essence": In NeoPlatonism, Ho En or The One; and in Vedanta, Brahman of course.
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by Dhammanando »

dylanj wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:56 amI'm curious if anyone knows of other examples either within Hellenism or other European Paganisms of connections like this.
With the Old Norse...

Sāma and Sabala - Garmr and the Fenris-wolf
Yama - underworld goddess Hel
Pāricchattaka tree - Yggdrasil
Varuṇa - Óðinn
Pajāpati - Týr

And many others I've forgotten. For Norse Gabriel Turville-Petre and Georges Dumézil are the guys to read.
Svākkhātaṃ brahmacariyaṃ, sandiṭṭhikam’akālikaṃ,
Yattha amoghā pabbajjā, appamattassa sikkhato.


“The holy life is well proclaimed,
directly visible, immediate,
Where not in vain is the going forth
of one who trains heedfully.”
— Sela Sutta
binocular
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by binocular »

Dhammanando wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:03 pmWith the Old Norse...
And the Old Norse pair to Mara is ... Loki?
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by Coëmgenu »

binocular wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:35 pm
Dhammanando wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:03 pmWith the Old Norse...
And the Old Norse pair to Mara is ... Loki?
IMO Bakabrahmā and Māra often take the place of the "trickster god." Māra descents from his station as a prince of the highest heaven of the kāmadhātu to trouble the ascentic Gautama, like the Satan descending from the highest heaven of the council of the Elohim to trouble Job, like Mercury flittering to and fro, the messenger, the in-between man, the traveler, the gypsy, the other-who-causes-trouble. Consider the folkloric games and challenges between the Buddha and Bakabrahmā, the Firstborn Fool. Games like, "Where can you hide that I can't see you? I can't see you! What? You were above my head the whole time?" Maybe sometimes the Buddha himself takes on the humanly-assigned mythological role of the trickster god: the god who outsmarts and outwits (sometimes).
The thus come thus gone,
who has neither came nor went,
enthroned on men’s breath,

like the still turtle,
withdraws six appendages
and is clothed in light --

illuminating
the unilluminated
with three shining cures.
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Dhammanando
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by Dhammanando »

binocular wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:35 pm
Dhammanando wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:03 pmWith the Old Norse...
And the Old Norse pair to Mara is ... Loki?
I think so. Though not so much Māra in heaven (Lord of the Paranimittavasavattī realm) but more Māra down on earth forever making a nuisance of himself.
Svākkhātaṃ brahmacariyaṃ, sandiṭṭhikam’akālikaṃ,
Yattha amoghā pabbajjā, appamattassa sikkhato.


“The holy life is well proclaimed,
directly visible, immediate,
Where not in vain is the going forth
of one who trains heedfully.”
— Sela Sutta
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cappuccino
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Re: The European Pagan Connection

Post by cappuccino »

Loki … isn't against Buddhists
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