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O que apagou os vestígios do budismo da história de Kerala?

O que apagou os vestígios do budismo da história de Kerala?


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Disseram-me e ensinaram-me que Keralam, como todos os estados do sul da Índia, era um destino do budismo. Mas não vejo literalmente nenhum vestígio do budismo aqui agora. Gostaria de saber o que realmente aconteceu que apagou os vestígios do budismo de Kerala.


Origens: Existem visões ligeiramente diferentes sobre quando o budismo entrou, floresceu e declinou na região de Kerala. A própria região foi designada de várias maneiras ao longo da história como parte do Reino chola (a partir de 150 C.E.) e posteriormente como o estado de Travancore sob os Tirunais antes da independência da Índia.

Uma visão é que o budismo floresceu apenas por um curto período de 200 anos ou mais em Kerala.

Outros pontos de vista podem sustentar que o budismo entrou em Kerala em seu caminho para o Sri Lanka, ou pode até mesmo ter feito o contrário como budismo Theravada do Sri Lanka.

A placa de cobre Paliyam prova que, durante o reinado de Ashoka, o budismo foi introduzido em Kerala.

Durante este período, o filho do imperador, Mahindra, chefiou uma missão budista ao Sri Lanka. Por mais de 700 anos, o budismo floresceu em Kerala. A placa de cobre Paliyam do Ay King, Varaguna (885-925AD) mostra que pelo menos em Kerala do Sul, os budistas continuaram a desfrutar do patrocínio real até 1000 DC.

Declínio:

A partir de 800 d.C., houve um avivamento Bhrahmanical na região.

Durante a época de Maurya Sharman, um rei Kadamba, grandes colônias de brâmanes do norte da Índia foram convidadas a se estabelecer em Tulu e Kerala. Em 792 DC, o rei Udaya Varman da dinastia Mooshika estabeleceu 237 famílias Brahmin em Kerala. Uma tradição diz que seis brâmanes proeminentes vieram com esses imigrantes, derrotaram líderes budistas em debates públicos e estabeleceram a supremacia intelectual do hinduísmo.

S Ramanath Aiyer, em seu A Brief Sketch of Travancore (esta versão impressa em 1903) escreveu:

Bhattacharya, Bhattabana, Bhattavijaya, Bhattamayukha, Bhattagopala e Bhattanarayana foram os apóstolos e eles trouxeram todas as forças de sua dialética para lidar com o assunto e converteram todos à causa da Tríade Hindu. Sasthrakali, ou uma espécie de culto peculiar a este país, é o único produto de seu triunfante compromisso. A divindade adorada é Sastha, a descendência divina de Vishnu e Siva.

Argumenta-se que Buda foi assimilado novamente ao hinduísmo como "Shasta", uma divindade hindu - a divindade cobra mencionada anteriormente.

Mais tarde, estudiosos como Guru Prabhakara e Shankaracharya (788-820 DC) reforçaram a supremacia do hinduísmo. Isso levou ao patrocínio real e promoção do Vaishnavismo pelos Reis Kulashekara do Segundo Império Chera. Os templos Budhhist e Jaina foram tomados e apropriados pelos hindus, e convertidos em templos hindus. Ainda existem exemplos de tais templos.

O templo em Chitral em South Travancore é um dos vários exemplos. Anteriormente, era um templo budista. Os ídolos que vemos dentro e ao redor do templo sugerem com destaque a Escultura Budista.

No entanto, uma das principais razões do declínio do budismo pode ser as complexidades inerentes à sua filosofia.

Em seu ensaio de 1980 "O desaparecimento do budismo e a sobrevivência do jainismo na Índia: um estudo em contraste", Padmanabh S. Jaini menciona as razões de R. C. Mitra para o declínio do budismo:

  1. "Exaustão"
  2. Retirada do mecenato real
  3. Perseguição bramânica
  4. Invasão muçulmana
  5. Corrupção interna e decadência
  6. Efeito divisionista do sectarismo
  7. Cultivo insuficiente de leigos.

Ele, entretanto, contesta isso em vários aspectos, incluindo exaustão. Seu ponto principal é que a própria filosofia budista levou a contradições internas que eram difíceis de resolver:

… A doutrina dos bodhisattvas celestiais tornou o budismo particularmente vulnerável às tendências de assimilação dos cultos hindus circundantes. O desenvolvimento da teoria dos bodhisattvas celestiais e, na verdade, de todo o Mahayana no budismo, pode talvez ser remontado ao célebre "silêncio (avyiikrta) do Buda", sua relutância em se comprometer com relação a certas questões filosóficas fundamentais. A incapacidade dos budistas de concordar sobre o significado desse silêncio levou a uma situação em que várias doutrinas absolutistas contraditórias puderam emergir, cada uma alegando ser a interpretação correta dos ensinamentos do mestre.

Para outra resposta que lida com o declínio do budismo na Índia a partir do século 12, veja também este tópico


Não há consenso absoluto sobre este assunto,

Alguns estudiosos chegaram a afirmar que o budismo nunca desapareceu como tal da Índia. Segundo essa visão, o budismo simplesmente mudou de forma ou foi absorvido pelas práticas hindus.

Buda é até visto como um avatar do deus Vishnu no hinduísmo Vaishnava, embora o próprio Buda negue ...

Mas o que não é contestado é o declínio gradual do budismo na Índia, como o testemunho do viajante chinês Hsuan Tsang demonstra amplamente. Embora o budismo já tivesse entrado em declínio na época da visita de Hsuan Tsang à Índia durante o reinado de Harsha de Kanauj no início do século VII, também foi argumentado que seu posterior desaparecimento, particularmente no início do segundo milênio DC, foi acelerado pela chegada do Islã.

Mesmo Ambedkar, cuja animosidade em relação ao hinduísmo é palpável, era, no entanto, firmemente convicto de que o Islã desferiu um golpe mortal no budismo. Como ele estava dizendo, “o bramanismo derrotado e espancado pelos invasores muçulmanos poderia buscar apoio e sustento nos governantes e obtê-lo. O budismo espancado e espancado pelos invasores muçulmanos não tinha essa esperança. Não foi cuidado para o órfão e secou na rajada fria dos governantes nativos e foi consumido no fogo aceso pelos conquistadores. ” Ambedkar tinha certeza de que este foi "o maior desastre que se abateu sobre a religião de Buda na Índia".

Portanto, a declinação do budismo foi devido ao hinduísmo e à invasão islâmica.

Um estudo detalhado pode ser feito em:

O declínio do budismo na Índia por volta do século 12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Buddhism_in_India http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2012/06/09/why-buddhism-prospered-asia-died -Índia

EDITAR

Declinação do BUDISMO em Kerela.

A perseguição e eventual êxodo de budistas de Tamil Nadu para Kerala no século sétimo foi ocasionado pela queda dos Kalabhras budistas nas mãos dos Pandyas.

Os budistas vieram para Kerala e estabeleceram seus templos e mosteiros em diferentes partes do país. Os seguintes templos hindus já foram santuários budistas: o Templo Vadakkunnathan de Trichur, o Templo Kurumba Bhagavathi de Cranganore etc.

A Placa de Cobre Paliyam do Rei Ay, Varaguna (885-925 d.C.) mostra que os budistas gozavam de algum patrocínio real ainda no século X.

O declínio do budismo começou no século VIII com a chegada dos missionários arianos e da religião bramânica. Como mencionado anteriormente, os estudiosos brâmanes derrotaram os monges budistas em debates e estabeleceram a superioridade da religião hindu. Adi Sankaracharya, o avivalista hindu, também foi responsável pela queda do budismo; ele fundou mosteiros hindus e treinou sacerdotes-estudiosos hindus para combater seus adversários budistas. O budismo desapareceu gradualmente e desapareceu completamente durante o reinado dos Vaishnavite Kulasekharas no século XI. O que realmente aconteceu foi que o budismo foi reabsorvido no hinduísmo, do qual se separou. Muitos Keralites, como os Ezhavas, que provavelmente já foram budistas, gradualmente se tornaram hindus.

Leitura adicional

Embora eu não tenha lido este livro, parece que vale a pena lê-lo.

Buddhamathavum Jaathi vyavasthayum "por K.Suganthan.

O budismo era predominante em Kerala até ser engolido pelo brahminismo. Muitos ídolos budistas foram escavados em várias partes de Kerala pela Archaeological Survey. Aqui está um bom artigo sobre os vestígios budistas em Kerala


Tudo sobre Kerala






A História Budista de Kerala

Obras do Tamil Sangam como Manimekhalai indicam que havia budistas em Tamil Nadu e que os missionários budistas eram ativos na divulgação de sua religião. De acordo com a tradição Sangam, havia um famoso chatty a (templo) budista em Vanchi (Karur) e Palli Bana Perumal tornou-se budista.

Os Cheras eram originalmente Mundas, muitos dos quais eram Budistas mesmo antes de sua chegada a Tamil Nadu. Foram eles, assim como os missionários budistas do Império Maurya, que trouxeram a religião de Buda para o sul. Eles eram claramente uma minoria poderosa em Tamil Nadu e foram submetidos à perseguição pelos conselheiros brâmanes dos reis hindus dravidianos durante a ascensão do hinduísmo brâmane no sul. O Aalavaipathikam registra que por volta de 640 d.C., Sambanda Murti, um brâmane, conquistou a família real Pandya e causou o massacre de 8.000 monges budistas em Madurai. Segundo relatos, freiras budistas foram transformadas em devadasis e realocadas nos recintos dos templos hindus. A perseguição e eventual êxodo de budistas de Tamil Nadu para Kerala no século sétimo foi ocasionado pela queda dos Kalabhras budistas nas mãos dos Pandyas.

Os budistas vieram para Kerala e estabeleceram seus templos e mosteiros em diferentes partes do país. Os seguintes templos hindus já foram santuários budistas: o Templo Vadakkunnathan de Trichur, o Templo Kurumba Bhagavathi de Cranganore e o Templo Durga em Paruvasseri perto de Trichur. Um grande número de imagens de Buda foi descoberto nos distritos costeiros de Alleppey e Quilon, a imagem de Buda mais importante é o famoso Karumati Kuttan perto de Ambalappuzha. O budismo provavelmente floresceu por 200 anos (650-850) em Kerala. A Placa de Cobre Paliyam do Rei Ay, Varaguna (885-925 d.C.) mostra que os budistas gozavam de algum patrocínio real ainda no século X.

O declínio do budismo começou no século VIII com a chegada dos missionários arianos e da religião bramânica. Como mencionado anteriormente, os estudiosos brâmanes derrotaram os monges budistas em debates e estabeleceram a superioridade da religião hindu. Adi Sankaracharya, o revivalista hindu, também foi responsável pela queda do budismo, fundou mosteiros hindus e treinou sacerdotes-estudiosos hindus para combater seus adversários budistas. O budismo desapareceu gradualmente e desapareceu completamente durante o reinado dos Vaishnavite Kulasekharas no século XI. O que realmente aconteceu foi que o budismo foi reabsorvido no hinduísmo, do qual se separou. Muitos Keralites, como os Ezhavas, que provavelmente já foram budistas, gradualmente se tornaram hindus.

O budismo deixou seu impacto em Kerala. As imagens e altos rathas (carros) usados ​​nas procissões do templo e utsavams (feiras) são considerados legados budistas. O sistema ayurvédico de tratamento médico também é um presente do budismo. Os budistas abriram escolas [em pallikudam e ezhuthupally. Pally é o termo budista para escola) perto de seus mosteiros. Os templos de Kerala mostram vestígios da arte e da arquitetura budista. Amarasimha, o autor do popular livro-texto em sânscrito usado nas escolas de Kerala até recentemente, era budista. Kumaran Asan, o grande poeta de Kerala, foi influenciado pela grande religião budista e escreveu os famosos poemas budistas: Karuna. Chandala Bhikshuki e Sri Buddha Charitam.


Cristianismo em Kerala

Santo Tomás, o apóstolo de Jesus Cristo, é considerado o pai do cristianismo na Índia. Ele desembarcou em Maliankara, perto de Cranganore (agora Kodungallur) em 52 d.C. Ele pregou o cristianismo primeiro entre os judeus e depois converteu doze famílias brâmanes das quais os cristãos sírios traçam sua genealogia. Ele também fundou sete igrejas em vários lugares de Kerala. Hoje, os cristãos constituem 19% da população total do estado.
Com a chegada do colonialismo no século 17, muitos missionários europeus chegaram a Kerala. A Church Mission Society of London (CMS) fez muitos convertidos entre os intocáveis ​​e os cristãos sírios. Kerala tem uma grande dívida para com esses missionários por seu papel em melhorar o padrão de vida de seu povo e livrá-los de muitos males sociais.

Os cristãos de Kerala hoje estão divididos em vários ramos:

  • A Igreja Católica Latina
  • A Igreja Católica Siro-Malabar
  • A Igreja Jacobita Síria
  • A Igreja Nestoriana (confinada principalmente a Thrissur e Ernakulam)
  • A Igreja Anglicana que agora faz parte da Igreja do Sul da Índia
  • Igreja Síria Marthoma
  • A Igreja Católica Siro-Malankara

Destas, as igrejas de Marthoma são comparativamente de origem mais jovem. Eles são considerados como Igreja dos Reformadores pois eles são os expoentes da introdução da língua vernácula na liturgia. Além dessas igrejas principais, há também várias igrejas e missões menores, como as igrejas pentecostais, o Exército de Salvação, os adventistas do sétimo dia, etc.

Várias escolas, faculdades, hospitais e outras instituições de caridade, como lares para idosos, orfanatos, etc., são administrados por essas igrejas e outras organizações cristãs em todo o estado. A Igreja Malayattoor é um importante centro de peregrinação.

Desde o último censo, a população cristã apresentou um declínio marginal de 0,32 pontos percentuais. A população cristã é maior no distrito de Ernakulam e a menor em Malappuram. Os cristãos têm uma taxa de alfabetização mais alta (94,15%) do que outras comunidades religiosas.


Budismo no sul da Índia

Este estudo é o primeiro desse tipo que apresenta uma pesquisa abrangente do budismo em todos os estados do sul da Índia-Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry e Tamil Nadu. Depois de um breve relato da vida e dos ensinamentos do Buda, a discussão passa para a questão de se o Abençoado santificou o solo do sul da Índia. Isso é seguido pelo papel de Asoka em tornar o budismo uma religião viva no sul da Índia. Os cinco capítulos subsequentes traçam a marcha do budismo em Estados individuais. Para uma melhor avaliação dos eventos, cada capítulo foi dividido em cinco partes: patrocínio real, santos e estudiosos, locais e santuários, o legado budista e o movimento de avivamento.

D.C. Ahir (nascido em Punjab em 1928) é um renomado estudioso dos estudos budistas e fez uma contribuição notável para a história do budismo. Ele tem dezoito trabalhos publicados sobre o budismo, e o Dr. Ambedkar tem seu crédito. Alguns de seus trabalhos mais recentes são: Budismo na Índia moderna. Os Pioneiros do Reavivamento Budista na Índia, Budismo no Norte da Índia, Herança do Budismo, Santuários Budistas na Índia, Budismo e Ambedkar, o Legado do Dr. Ambedkar.

No passado distante, o sul da Índia significava principalmente os três reinos de Chera, Chola e Pandya ou a região conhecida como a terra Tamil propriamente dita, que abrangia amplamente os atuais Tamil Nadu e Kerala. No uso moderno, entretanto, o sul da Índia cobre os estados de Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry e Tamil Nadu - os estados onde o grupo gravídico de línguas é falado.

Ao contrário de outros estudos sobre o assunto que cobrem principalmente apenas uma parte do sul da Índia, este estudo apresenta uma pesquisa abrangente do budismo em todo o sul da Índia. Começando com um breve relato da vida e dos ensinamentos do Buda, a discussão passa para a questão de se o Abençoado santificou o solo do sul da Índia. Isso é seguido pelo papel desempenhado por Asoka em tornar o budismo uma religião viva no sul da Índia. Os cinco capítulos subsequentes traçam a marcha do budismo em Estados individuais. Para uma melhor avaliação dos eventos, cada capítulo foi dividido em cinco partes: Patrocínio Real, Santos e Eruditos, Locais e Santuários, o Legado Budista e o Movimento de Reavivamento.

A gloriosa época do budismo no sul da Índia marcou a eflorescência da cultura em todos os aspectos da vida. Os abnegados Bhikkhus não só trabalharam para sua própria elevação espiritual, realização do Nirvana, mas também ajudaram e guiaram a vasta multidão a compreender e praticar o Dhamma sublime baseado no amor, compaixão e igualdade. Como resultado, a educação se espalhou, as barreiras sociais foram afrouxadas e os Buddha Viharas tornaram-se os templos de aprendizagem, bem como os locais de consolo espiritual para pessoas de todas as classes sociais. E a arte budista tornou-se o veículo da luz culta, dissipando a escuridão circundante.

Os santuários budistas mais importantes no antigo sul da Índia eram: Amaravati, Nagarjunakonda, Bhattiprolu, Ghantasala e Jaggyyapetta em Andhra Vanavasi em Karnataka Vanji ou Vanchi em Kerala e Kanchi e Nagapattinam em Tamil Nadu. As formas imortais de arte e escultura criadas pelos artistas do sul podem ser vistas e admiradas no Museu do Governo, Madras, e em Amaravati e Nagarjunakonda em Andhra Pradesh. O apoio real e público oferecido à religião do Buda é evidente pelo grande número de inscrições deixadas pelos piedosos budistas em Amaravati, Nagarjunakonda e outros lugares. É significativo que todas as epígrafes Brahmi no sul da Índia estejam associadas aos budistas.

Os eminentes santos e estudiosos budistas produzidos pelo sul da Índia incluem grandes personalidades como Nagarajuna, o fundador da filosofia Madhyamika Dinnaga, o grande lógico Dharmakirti, o grande filósofo Bodhidharma, o fundador da escola Dhyana de Budismo, que se tornou Ch'an em China e Zen no Japão e os grandes estudiosos Pali, a saber, Buddhaghosha, Buddhadatta e Dhammapala, que produziram comentários notáveis ​​sobre o Tipitaka.

Ao mesmo tempo, o budismo se tornou tão popular e exerceu uma influência tão poderosa nas mentes das pessoas que os brâmanes ficaram alarmados e, para conter sua maré, foram forçados a reajustar sua religião, costumes e práticas de modo a trazê-los em conformidade com os sentimentos e requisitos populares. Suas tentativas organizadas de expulsar o budismo tiveram sucesso devido ao patrocínio dos reis e, no devido tempo, o budismo cedeu terreno à religião bramânica. Quando isso aconteceu, a maioria dos santuários budistas foi apropriada e re-adotada pelos hindus. Quer seja a morada do Senhor Venkatesvara (Balaji) em Tirupati em Andhra Pradesh ou o famoso templo Sabarimala em Kerala ou o sagrado templo Kamakshi Amman em Kanchipuram em Tamil Nadu, a história é a mesma em todos os lugares. Eles já foram santuários budistas, e ainda hoje certas práticas e tradições budistas sobrevivem nesses lugares. Em muitos lugares em Andhra, pilares budistas, Ayakka Stambhas, foram adotados pelos hindus para servir ao propósito do Linga. Em alguns casos, os templos hindus foram construídos com o material retirado dos monumentos budistas, desmontando o mesmo, o exemplo notável neste contexto sendo o templo de Amareshvara em Amaravati. Além dos santuários, grande parte da cultura, costumes e maneiras budistas também foram absorvidos pelo hinduísmo. Assim, o budismo deixou uma marca profunda na vida e na cultura do sul da Índia, e isso é claramente perceptível.


RECURSOS | TEMAS | História

Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi com uma estátua de Buda do século IX em Mavelikkara, Kerala. Imagem cortesia de Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi

Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi são um casal budista indiano que vive em Bangalore e foi treinado sob a orientação de eminentes mestres da tradição Nyingma do Budismo Vajrayana. Prabodha Jnana é um iogue budista, professor de meditação, filósofo e escritor que faz discursos baseados nos ensinamentos de sabedoria de Buda em um formato adequado para o contexto moderno. Abhaya Devi é uma yogini budista, professora de meditação, escritora e artista. O casal divide seu tempo entre retiros, orientando outras pessoas na prática do Dharma e explorando a história do budismo na Índia. Em 2008, sob a orientação de Kyabje Penor Rinpoche, * eles estabeleceram um centro de Dharma para a tradição Palyul Nyingma em Bangalore. Em 2016, eles lançaram o site Way of Bodhi para tornar os ensinamentos de Buda acessíveis a um público mais amplo.

Nesta segunda parte de nossa entrevista, Prabodha e Abhaya discutem a gênese, o desenvolvimento e o declínio do Budismo Mahayana no sul da Índia e algumas das descobertas de suas pesquisas únicas.

Buddhistdoor Global: Qual é o papel do Sul da Índia na gênese e desenvolvimento do Budismo Mahayana?

Abhaya Devi: Não é um fato tão conhecido que o sul da Índia desempenhou um papel central na gênese e no desenvolvimento do Mahayana. Na verdade, o Prajnaparamita Sutras proclame que esses sutras se originaram no sul da Índia. ** Além disso, Mahayana, como um movimento distinto, começou com Acharya Nagarjuna do sul. Na trilha aberta por Nagarjuna, muitos grandes eruditos vieram do sul e se tornaram os cocheiros e ornamentos da tradição Nalanda. Estes incluem Buddhapalita, Bhavaviveka, Dharmapala, Chandrakirti, Dignaga e Dharmakirti.

A propagação do budismo para a China e o resto da Ásia Oriental veio principalmente do sul da Índia, enriquecido por seus laços e ligações marítimas. Como você deve estar ciente, a tradição Chan (Zen) do Budismo tem sua origem em Bodhidharma de Kanchi no atual Tamil Nadu. O Budismo Shingon Japonês tem suas raízes nos ensinamentos do Yoga Tantra de Vajrabodhi do atual Kerala.

o Sutra Gandavyuha (parte de Avatamsaka Sutra) tem uma narrativa fascinante sobre a viagem de Sudhanakumara de Dhanyakataka (em Andhra Pradesh) em busca da iluminação. Ele encontra o bodhisattva Manjushri e, seguindo suas instruções, viaja para o Monte Potalaka, no extremo sul, para receber os ensinamentos de Avalokiteshvara. Com base nos registros de Xuanzang e rsquos, o estudioso japonês Shu Hikosaka mapeou Potalaka até as atuais colinas de Pothigai (Agasthyakoodam) na floresta densa entre Kerala e Tamil Nadu.

O sul da Índia também foi o lar de muitos Mahasiddhas de Vajrayana, incluindo Shavaripa (Sabareesha) e Padampa Sangye (Paramabuddha). Sriparvata (Nagarjunakonda para Srisailam) e Malayagiri (a parte sul dos Ghats Ocidentais) eram centros proeminentes da congregação Siddha & rsquos.

Prabodha Jnana meditando em uma caverna natural em um penhasco das Colinas Badami, Karnataka. Os restos das esculturas do Buda e do bodhisattva Padmapani (Avalokiteshvara) podem ser vistos na parede. Imagem cortesia de Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi

BDG: Quais são as semelhanças e diferenças no desenvolvimento do Budismo Mahayana em Tamil Nadu, Karnataka e Kerala?

Prabodha Jnana: No planalto de Deccan de Karnataka, o budismo teve um início precoce e uma morte precoce. Sendo parte do império Ashokan, o budismo floresceu lá desde seus primeiros estágios. Apesar do declínio inicial, esta região está repleta de gloriosos vestígios budistas, mesmo agora. Estes incluem estupas e éditos da era Ashokan, templos em cavernas com entalhes de budas e bodhisattvas, restos de viharas (mosteiros), estátuas de bodhisattvas e assim por diante.

Em contraste com o planalto, nas áreas costeiras e na região montanhosa de Malenadu de Karnataka, Mahayana e Vajrayana floresceram até o século XII. Os reis impuseram Chatusamaya, o que significava que as quatro observâncias & mdashBuddhismo, Jainismo, Saivismo e Vaishnavismo & mdashhad coexistiam com respeito mútuo e sem criticar uns aos outros. De uma perspectiva, isso permitiu a coexistência pacífica de todas as escolas, mas de outra perspectiva, tornou-se uma existência silenciosa. Exame racional e crítico sofrido sob este modelo. Alguns acordos sobre a rejeição budista do sistema de castas teriam ocorrido para se encaixar em tal coexistência.

Em Kerala e Tamil Nadu, todas as formas de budismo duraram até os séculos 12 e 14, respectivamente. Em alguns bolsões, como o Nagapattinam, o budismo esteve ativo até o século XVII. Uma cultura aberta floresceu em Kerala e Tamil Nadu, dando origem a muitos estudiosos de renome mundial e muitas tradições budistas únicas. Vajrayana foi secretamente praticado aqui até o século 17. Buddhaguptanatha, o guru do mestre budista tibetano do século XVII Taranatha, era de Rameshwaram em Tamil Nadu. De acordo com Taranatha, Guru Padmasambhava também ensinou em Tamil Nadu. Curiosamente, encontramos uma antiga estátua de Buda em Tamil Nadu que se assemelha a Guru Rinpoche.

Apesar da sobrevivência do budismo a longo prazo, há muito poucos vestígios estruturais do budismo em Kerala e Tamil Nadu. No entanto, podemos ver muitas estátuas antigas de budas e bodhisattvas abandonadas nessas regiões.

Abhaya Devi na antiga estátua de Buda em Mangalam que se assemelha a Guru Padmasambhava. Imagem cortesia de Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi

BDG: Qual é a descoberta mais importante em suas pesquisas na região?

DE ANÚNCIOS: Existem alguns mitos populares sobre o declínio do budismo em Kerala e Tamil Nadu que mantêm as pessoas longe do budismo. O mito em Kerala é que o filósofo Vedanta Adi Shankara *** derrotou os budistas em debate e com isso o budismo desapareceu de Kerala. Um mito semelhante existe em Tamil Nadu em nome de Thirugnana Sambandar. **** Devido a esses mitos, muitas pessoas aqui têm uma noção mal informada de que o budismo é uma tradição inferior que foi invalidada há muito tempo.

Em nítido contraste com esses mitos, nossos estudos indicam que o budismo floresceu nessa região pelo menos até os séculos 12 e 14. As estátuas de Buda encontradas em Kerala e Tamil Nadu datam de períodos muito anteriores e posteriores a Shankara e Sambandar. O mais tarde viharas de Kerala e Tamil Nadu são mencionados até mesmo em lugares distantes como o Nepal e a Coréia. Portanto, é claro que o budismo não sofreu um declínio devido a Shankara ou Sambandar. Em vez disso, mas continuou a florescer por muitos mais séculos. Além disso, quando pesquisamos os textos de Shankara e Sambandar, ficou claro para nós que seus debates com o budismo eram com oponentes fictícios. Se houvesse debates reais, qualquer pessoa com um conhecimento básico do budismo poderia tê-los refutado.

Estátuas de Buda antigas em Vikkiramangalam, distrito de Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu. Imagem cortesia de Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi

BDG: Como, então, o budismo entrou em declínio em Kerala e Tamil Nadu?

PJ: O declínio parece ter acontecido mais tarde. Em Kerala, a classe sacerdotal não budista, que se tornou influente sobre a realeza, impôs uma rígida hierarquia de casta e intocabilidade. Eles não podiam tolerar a abordagem igualitária dos budistas, que se recusavam a seguir a linha. Assim, a classe sacerdotal declarou que os budistas eram párias sociais. Então, tornou-se um desafio para alguém ser abertamente budista. Embora externamente o budismo tenha sido suprimido, ele permaneceu no coração das massas por muito mais tempo. Devido a isso, podemos ver fortes influências budistas na língua, cultura, arte e festivais de Kerala, embora quase não haja vestígios estruturais budistas.

No caso de Tamil Nadu, a popularidade crescente dos cultos devocionais levou ao declínio gradual do budismo. Os cultos devocionais ridicularizaram a razão e ofereceram soluções simplistas para as massas. À medida que o apoio dos reis e das massas mudou para a mera devoção, os sistemas baseados no auto-esforço, como o budismo, perderam o apoio popular.

BDG: Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi, muito obrigado pelo seu tempo!

Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi com uma antiga estátua de Buda em Peruncheri, distrito de Nagapattinam, em Tamil Nadu. Imagem cortesia de Prabodha Jnana e Abhaya Devi

* Kyabje Penor Rinpoche (1932 e ndash2009) foi o 11º detentor do trono da linhagem Palyul da escola Nyingma do Budismo Tibetano. Ele foi o chefe supremo da linhagem Nyingmapa de 1993 a 2001.

** Isso é mencionado no Prajnaparamita Sutras nas linhas 8.000, 18.000 e 25.000.

*** Adi Shankaracharya de Advaita Vedanta, que nasceu em Kerala no século VIII.

**** Thirugnanasambandar foi um santo saivita influente de Tamil Nadu no século VII.


O que apagou os vestígios do budismo da história de Kerala? - História

BUDISMO EM ANDHRA PRADESH

O Buda ensinou o dhamma para acabar com o sofrimento causado pela ganância, ódio e ilusão. Este dhamma Ele explicou em termos de Moralidade, Concentração e Sabedoria com seu sabor secular, ingredientes não sectários e apelo Universal. Portanto, ao longo da história, muitas estátuas de Buda foram feitas para expressar gratidão ao mestre-Buda do mundo. Mantendo essa tradição, uma enorme estátua de Buda foi instalada na capital, Andhra Pradesh. Esta é a maior estátua monolítica de Buda do mundo, pesando 350 toneladas, 17 metros de altura, sobre um pedestal de lótus, instalada na rocha de Gibraltar, no meio do lago Hussain Sagar, Hyderabad, na Índia.

Referindo-se às imagens, o grande filósofo Conde Kaiserling escreve: “Não conheço nada mais grandioso neste mundo do que a figura do Buda. É a personificação perfeita da espiritualidade no domínio visível & quot. Verdadeiramente verdadeiro também é este caso.

Na história do budismo, Andhra, então uma potência marítima, assumiu o papel de liderança na disseminação do budismo para o Extremo Oriente. Sri Lanka e Andhradesa tinham laços estreitos entre si desde os tempos antigos, como Dantavamsa e Attakathas testemunham. No século 14, Dharmakeerti, um importante thera cingalês, fez reparos no vihara em Nagarjunakonda. Mais ou menos na mesma época, o general cingalês Senalankadhikara estava reformando um vihara em kanchipura. Estes são os últimos registros do budismo ativo não apenas em Andhra, mas também em todo o sul da Índia. A cultura Andhra teve sua influência no Budismo do Ceilão. Principalmente nas artes, escultura e arquitetura.

O terceiro conselho que foi realizado durante o reinado de Ashoka sob a orientação de Mogalliputa Tissa, delegados de até seis seitas de Andhra, ou seja, chaityaka, purvasaila, aparasila, uttarsila, rajagirika, siddarthika, todos descritos como Andhakas participaram. De agora em diante, Andhra desempenhou um papel central na história dessa religião. Após o declínio do Império Magdha, dois impérios poderosos surgiram, Andhra satavahanas no Deccan e Kushanas no noroeste. Andhra era o lar de Mahayana. A partir daqui, ele se espalhou para outras partes da Ásia. Um raro gênio na história da filosofia e mais profundo da filosofia Madhyamika ou Sunyavada, Nagarjuna é creditado por lançar bases sólidas para Mahayana. Uma galáxia de intelectos brilhantes, Aryadeva, elucidador da filosofia Madyamika, Buddhapalita, expoente da escola Prasangika de Madhyamikavada, Bhavaviveka, chefe da escola Svatantrika, Dinnaga, pai da lógica budista, Dharmakeerti, lógico e epistemologista de distinção, apareceu no três séculos em Andhra enriquecendo a religião budista, filosofia, lógica e assuntos relacionados. Budddhagosha, um nome venerado na tradição Theravada, nasceu no século 4 d.C. na área plana do distrito de Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. Ele escreveu um tratado sobre tripitaka chamado & quotVISSUDHIMAGGA & quot, que é sua obra-prima sobre a tradição Theravada.

Andhra Pradesh tem 140 locais budistas listados, que fornecem uma visão panorâmica da história do budismo do século 3 a.C. to 14 th century A.D. The list of inscriptions engraved on various media, lithic, copper plates, crystals, pots, conches are 501(360 lithic records, 7 sets of copper plates, 134 inscribed pots and conches etc.) in number. Some of the famous Buddhist sites in Andhra are Nagarjunakonda, Amaravati and Bavikonda. It is Buddhism that encouraged people to transform the prevailing ideas and ideals into a definite and concretized shape, especially the form of art and architecture, philosophy and literature. Historical role of Buddhism in Andhra was to incline local people given to animistic beliefs into an organized religion and launch them on the road of civilization. The cosmopolitan spirit of Buddhism helped to remove the tribal barriers, integrated the people and gave them a cultural identity paving way for the rise of Andhras as an imperial power under the satavahana rule. It also gave a stimulus to the creative genius of the people resulting in the sculptural exuberance of the stupas at Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda and scores of other Buddhist sites in the state. Fourteen Buddha relic caskets have been so far recovered from the sites of Andhra, the largest number for any state in India.

According to sutta nipata identified as one of the older parts of Tripitakas, Buddhism came to Assaka country (modern Nizamabad district of Andhra) during the lifetime of the Tathagata himself. An ascetic by name Bavari set up ashram on the banks of river Godavari and pursued religious life. Having come to know that a Buddha had arisen in the north, he sent his disciples to meet him and engage him in a spiritual dialogue. The dialogue of the disciples of Bavari with Buddha at Vaishali is recorded in sutta nipata, which also says that the Bavari's disciples having heard the dhamma from Tathagata himself converted to Buddhism, and took dhamma to the Telugu country, Andhradesa. Buddhism in Andhra flourished for over 2000 years as one of the important religions, right from 5 th century B.C. to 14 th century A.D. as confirmed by literary, epigraphical and archaeological accounts. Buddhism through Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana phases flourished for longer duration.

Though various reasons are given for the decline of Buddhism in the state, it is obvious that vajrayana form of Buddhism, which borrowed heavily from the Indian tantric tradition, substituted meaningless rituals to the religious activity that can confer mystical power on the practitioners. A body of literature called Dharanis was devised to propitiate the vajrayana goddesses. The Buddhists, by this point of time, having lost all intellectual vitality resorted to tantric worship in the hope of acquiring mystical powers. Thus narrowing down the essential difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, especially the difference between tantrism, vishnuism and Buddhism.

Note worthy is the belief in the theory of incarnation describing the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu, originally created in the Vishnu Purana which was written later after Buddha around seventh century and was repeated in the other Puranas. According to this story in the Vishnu Purana, the Buddha was not the incarnation of the good qualities of Vishnu but of his unwholesome qualities such as ignorance and delusion. The only aim of this incarnation was to turn the followers of the Vedas against the Vedas and prevent them from going to heaven so that the reign of Indra and the other gods in heaven could be secure. This narrative censures not only the Buddha but also his teachings. Another belief that Kalki, the tenth incarnation of Vishnu will completely destroy all Buddhists is even more offensive and misleading. Thus these false stories created confusion and made a negative impact on the believers of Buddha.

Apart from this the secondary mythological gods that were introduced in the temple under the pretext of protecting deities later became the primary gods of the temple and the Buddha's image finally disappeared never to be found again.

There was one more false propaganda that the Buddha had nothing of his own to give to the world and that the source of his teachings is from the Vedic tradition. The truth is that Buddha was the leader of Samanatradition. Instead of giving importance to prayers he gave importance to one's own strenuous efforts and exertions. He clearly said I am giver of the path of liberation. This difference between the Vedic tradition and Samana tradition gave people a easy alternative of depending on favors from some mythological gods to satisfy their greed and hatred rather than working themselves strenuously against greed, hatred and delusion which is unique to Buddha's teachings. Therefore the story in puranas proclaiming the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu and other false stories made because of mutual hostility and enmity, proved to be fatal for Buddhism in general.

Though there was no great persecution of Buddhists by the ruling families of Andhradesa, at least two pallava rulers, Simhavarma and Trilochana were zealous in destroying the monasteries at Sriparvata and Dhanyakataka. Radical Saivaite sects like Kalamukhis initially and later, Veerashaivas conducted an aggressive campaign condemning Buddhists as atheists. Occupying Buddhists places, Shiva and Vishnu temples were built over Buddhists shrines. The aggressive and often violent campaign is exemplified by the conduct of the Veera Saiva proponent, Mallikarjuna Panditaradhya, who after losing a debate to Buddhist monk in the court of chandole conspired and got them, killed and destroyed their places of worship. Panditaradhya's aggressive campaign almost wiped out Buddhism, in the Andhra country. Earlier shankara who was known as Pracchana Buddha borrowed Madhyamaka metaphysics and logic and modeled his mathas on Buddhist monasteries. Kumarila and Shankara carried on virulent crusade against Buddhism.

Of the 140 Buddhist sites identified in the state only a few have been excavated, the best known being Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. There are several equally important sites like chandavaram and Dantavaktruni kota (Dantapur of yore), which are yet to be excavated, and which may still hold treasures of information for us.

Now in the land that once belonged to Buddha Dhamma, an effort is being made by Venerable K. Sangharakshita Mahathero and few dedicated people to revive Buddhist tradition and culture. A Buddhist Cultural Complex in the ethnic architectural style is already under construction at Secunderabad city to create the necessary facilities and ambience. Presently some of the monks from Ananda Buddha Vihara are being trained at the Bhikkhu Training Centre, Maharagama, under the able guidance of most Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Mahanayaka Thero and Venerable Rahula Thero. The Ananda Buddha Vihara whole heartily expresses its gratitude and thanks to the Venerables and staff of Bhikkhu Training Centre for assisting in this noble deed. A public charitable trust by name Ananda Buddha Vihara Trust, had been founded with the object of reviving, preserving and propagating Buddhist tradition and culture and making available Buddhist literature in local language Telugu.

ANANDA BUDDHA VIHARA

The beautiful Ananda Buddha Vihara

Standing on the hill Mahendra

is being built in the state of Andhra.

This is due to the effort of Bhante K. Sangharakshita

& the practitioners of the technique of Vipassana

as taught by kalyanamitra G. Satyanarayana.

Here all are to practice Sila, Samadhi & Panya

to cut the difficult snare of Mara

& finally attain the bliss of Nirvana.

The Hyderabad Vipassana International Meditation Centre, which was the first centre to organize a vipassana course in India in 1975, along with the state government of Andhra Pradesh celebrated its silver jubilee in the year 2000. Shri S.N.Goenka visited as the state guest of Andhra Pradesh on the request of the chief minister Mr. Chandrababu Naidu and a five public talk series was arranged explaining the importance of Vipassana in everyone's life. After the talk Mr. Chandrababu Naidu acknowledged the importance of moral principles in government administration and hence announced the issuing of order (G.O.Ms No 351, General Administration(AR&T.III) Department, dated 18 th october, 2000) sanctioning special paid leave of 10 days to all government officials wishing to take part in Vipassana courses.

Thus the 17meter tall, 350ton monolithic statue of Buddha rising above the placid waters of Hussain Sagar is but a humble tribute of the Andhra Country to the Tathagata to whose Dhamma they owe their spiritual and cultural advancement in the formative years of their history.


The Destruction of the Middle East

The heritage of centuries has been wiped out in little more than a year.

Eventually the need to wipe out all traces of unbelief becomes obsessive. At one time, for instance, Egyptian law demanded that any house found to contain a copy of The Apology of al-Kindi (a book containing a polemical dialogue between a Muslim and a Christian) would be demolished along with 40 houses around it.

Ethics were defined by what Allah said was good or evil in Sharia law. The Islamic State's behaviour is solidly rooted in Islamic ideology, law and practice. It is only when this fundamental fact is grasped that we will be able to address what confronts us.

There are many wise and sensible Muslims who favour a shift to a more updated way of thinking. It is their mosques and shrines that are being crushed it is their heritage. Today, such Muslims use the freedoms bestowed on them in the West to write, network and debate their opposition to fundamentalist interpretation of Islam by the Islamic State and other supporters of murder and destruction.

We are living through ferocious times. Stories about the self-proclaimed Islamic State [ISIS/ISIL/Da'esh] abound in the media, in what has now become a daily round of beheadings, suicide bombings, and general mayhem from Nigeria to Malaysia. It seems that wherever there is a Muslim country, there is extreme violence. But one part of the Islamic State narrative has received less attention than the gruesome rounds of killings: the continuing onslaughts on cities such as Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa and Kobani. The Islamic State and related movements have rampaged across parts of Iraq and Syria, destroying the entire heritage of ancient regions, demolishing historic churches, synagogues, mosques, Sufi and Shi'i shrines, and major archaeological sites. All this vandalism is driven by a relentless passion to enforce religious purity on the regions they now control.

Around the world, art historians, antiquities experts, and archaeologists scarcely dare open their e-mails every day, fearing loss of another irreplaceable site. Physical destruction in the Islamic realms has now reached proportions of the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century.

In Mosul, the Islamic State set out on an operation of "cultural and historical cleansing" across the city. The group deploys a unit called the Kata'ib Taswiyya, or settlement battalions, who are ordered to identify sites for culling. The unit razes to the ground any mosques, churches or, invariably, shrines that have been built over tombs such places may attract devotees to pray in them, thereby creating polytheism -- in Islam one of the crimes most censured. In addition, the painting or sculpting of the human form is anathema if man was created in God's image, to represent man is to presume to know God and therefore to diminish Him.

Graveyards are flattened, headstones are bulldozed, and statues of cultural significance to the people of Mosul are destroyed.

As we face the Islamic State and all the rapidly expanding jihadist movements in the Middle East and beyond, we are starting to recognize that airstrikes have only limited results. If we are to contain or defeat the adversaries in our midst, we have to understand their motivation, their psychology, and their sense of rootedness.

Politicians who proclaim that Islam is a religion of peace do us a disservice Islam has never been at peace with the world around it. The Islamic State's behavior is solidly rooted in Islamic ideology, law and practice. Only when this fundamental fact is grasped will we be able to address what confronts us. It is time that not only active jihadists, but their ideological sponsors in Salafi, Wahhabi, Mawdudist, and other classical and modern interpretations of Islam, be discussed openly before they do more harm. They and we do not have the leisure to wait until the oil money runs out and leaves the Saudis or Qataris weak.

We must learn to speak the truth, especially in high places. In the tenth century, Islam abandoned reason and rational pursuits in favor of revelation and revealed law that could not be challenged. Ethics were defined by what Allah said was good or evil in Sharia law. Islam has remained frozen ever since. We cannot go on patronizing this, and nodding acceptance that Muslims know best. Very few grasp the quandary in which non-extremist Muslims, like their ancestors, are captured. Western rationalism, Western ethics, and Western standards of peace and justice need to remain, or the world we know could be trampled underfoot by men and women who prefer death to co-existence, and fundamentalism to tolerance.

There are many wise and sensible Muslims who favour a shift to a more updated way of thinking. Many cannot openly declare their thoughts for fear of reprisals and even execution others are faithful Muslims who see a desperate need for a valid reinterpretation of their religion.

Today, such Muslims use the freedoms bestowed on them in the West to write, network, and debate their thoughts about the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam by the Islamic State, other Salafis, Wahhabis, Mawdudists, and all other clerics and extremist supporters of murder and destruction. It is their mosques and shrines and ancient monuments that are being crushed it is their heritage -- as much as that of Jews, Christians, Yazidis and Baha'is -- that is being wiped from the pages of history.

The statues of Mulla 'Uthman al-Mawsili (1845-1923), a famous musician and poet, of a woman carrying an urn, and of Abu Tammam (788-845), author of the celebrated Hamasa, one of the greatest literary compilations ever made in Arabic.

The destruction of the greatly venerated tomb of 'Ali ibn al-Athir al-Jazari (1160-1233), a major landmark that had stood in the centre of Mosul for centuries. Ibn al-Athir is celebrated as the author of The Complete History, one of the most important histories of Islam ever written.

The Islamic State's destruction of the Tomb of Yunus (Jonah) Mosque, which was blown to pieces along with all its contents. Even before the explosion, fighters took sledgehammers to ancient tombstones in the building. The mosque was of importance not just to the Muslims of the city, but as a place of pilgrimage for Jews and Christians. St. George's Monastery church, one of the oldest in the region, has also gone forever.

In Kirkuk, the Islamic State has destroyed the tomb of the Prophet Daniel, and in Nineveh, the ancient ruins of which lie across the River Tigris from Mosul, sprawl damaged archaeological ruins.

In Mosul, the 13th-century shrine of Imam Awn al-Din -- with a stunning vaulted ceiling, designed to resemble a honeycomb, inside a pyramid-shaped tower on the banks of the Tigris, and among the city's most precious sites -- was one of the very few structures to have survived the devastation of the 13th-century Mongol invasion On July 25, 2014, members of the Islamic State reduced it to rubble.

In Tikrit, the city's most famous and most beautiful church of St. Ahoadamah, known as the Green Church, dating from the 7th century, has been erased from history.

In Syria, the Jabhat al-Nusra's destruction of the Deir el-Zour Armenian Church, that stood as a memorial to the 1.5 million slaughtered in the Armenian genocide in Turkey, was blown up.

In Mali, much of UNESCO's World Heritage Site of Timbuktu (Mali) was destroyed during the battles of Gao and Timbuktu, fought between the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad and the Islamist Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa between June 26 and 27, 2012. Afterwards, the Islamist group Ansar Dine went on a rampage identical to that of the Islamic State. An official for the group, Abou Dardar, boasted that "not a single mausoleum will remain in Timbuktu."

Sufi shrines have been pulverized in Egypt, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, India, and the Balkans.

In Bahrain, 43 Shi'i mosques and tens of other religious structures have been destroyed and damaged by the ruling Sunni government there.

Across Syria and Iraq, ancient archaeological sites have been wrecked. They were not just the heritage of those countries, they were central to our understanding of the ancient world, where human civilization first developed in city-states. Apamea, with its famous colonnade and beautiful mosaic, capital of the Seleucid empire, was a major center of Roman rule in the Levant, a leading city in Byzantine Syria, and at one time among the best-preserved archaeological sites in the region. Today, it looks like the face of the moon. Its devastation, the work of demolition done by looters using heavy earth-moving machines, took a mere four or five months.

In eastern Syria, one of the world's richest archaeological remains, Dura-Europos, the "Pompeii of the Syrian Desert," was obliterated. Remarkable finds had been brought to light: temples, wall decorations, inscriptions, military equipment, and tombs. It had been home to a third-century painted synagogue as well as to the oldest example in the world of a Christian house-church, which contained the earliest depictions of Jesus Christ ever found, dating back to 235 AD. The Islamic State looted the site and, as elsewhere, has apparently sold its treasure on the black market of the antiquities trade, presumably using the proceeds to inflate their already swollen coffers for the promotion of jihad.

Both Shi'i and Sufi shrines and mosques have fallen afoul of the Islamic State's fanaticism. Jewish sites have been targeted so extensively that UNESCO has held a special session on threats posed to them. UNESCO's Director-General Irina Bokova has described the Islamic State's activities in this respect as "a form of cultural cleansing." Many other Jewish sites were also destroyed or under threat from Islamist entities in Libya, where an ancient Jewish heritage was all but wiped out under the regime of Mu'ammar Qadhafi, and where what is left is succumbing to fresh attacks.

The Islamic State, however, does not restrict its demolition to Christian, Jewish or pagan sites. Its members have also evidently culled what may be thought of as their own heritage. In Tikrit, they demolished the country's oldest Islamic site, the Arba'in (Forty) Shrine and mosque, where forty of the companions (Salaf) of the Prophet were buried.

In this, there is desperate irony, for the form of Islam followed by the Islamic State is Salafism, based on imitating the ways of Muhammad and his companions.

The heritage of centuries has been wiped out in little more than a year. There will be many who argue that this devastation is, at root, the fault of the West that its colonization, imperial ambitions, and general interference have forced the people of the Middle East to rise up against Europe and America, and find their only solution in the creation of an Islamic state where Shari'a law will dominate and justice prevail. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Syria was never a French colony, but a mandate territory between 1922 and 1936 -- fourteen years. Lebanon was a mandate territory from 1922 to 1943 -- twenty-one years. Iraq was a British mandate from 1922 to 1932 -- ten years. All were colonies of the Muslim Ottoman empire for centuries: Iraq between 1543 and 1918, Syria from 1516 to 1918, and were, before that, colonies of earlier Islamic empires from the Umayyads to the Abbasids to the Mamluks -- and so on.

This alone exposes the reality, that the actions of groups such as the Islamic State have their true roots in Islam itself. The Prophet and his companions fought jihad wars and destroyed pagan idols as well as places they may have been concerned would become centers for cults. During the Arab conquests, many religious centers were destroyed, notably in India, where temples were looted and razed, and whole towns ruined by the Ghaznavids and Timurids.

Eventually the need to wipe out all traces of unbelief became more or less obsessive. At one time, for instance, Egyptian law demanded that any house found to contain a copy of The Apology of al-Kindi (a book containing a polemical dialogue between a Muslim and a Christian) would be demolished, along with forty houses around it.[1]

In more recent times, in 1802, during the first of the three Saudi states, Wahhabi armies attacked the major Shi'i religious town of Karbala in Ottoman Iraq, where they killed 5,000 inhabitants and destroyed the shrines of Muhammad's son-in-law 'Ali (the first Shi'i imam and the fourth Sunni caliph) and his son Husayn, the prophet's grandson. The following year, Wahhabi forces under the leadership of the first Saudi ruler, 'Abd al-'Aziz, entered Mecca, where they destroyed tombs and shrines, and in the process, removed much of the city's history -- as is being repeated today in Mecca and Medina.

Between 1913 and 1927, extremist Wahhabi forces, known as the Ikhwan, rampaged through the Arabian peninsula, much as members of the Islamic State do now, killing and destroying anyone and anything they deem contrary to the Puritanism of their creed, which extremists interpret as preaching the annihilation of all that is not Islam.

Today, the Mecca and Medina of the first and second centuries of the Islamic faith have been all but wrecked, not by the Islamic State or any other radical entity, but by the Wahhabi Saudi government. Over the past two decades, major historical sites in Mecca and Medina, all related to the lifetime of the Prophet and shortly after, have been destroyed or disfigured to the point where neither city is recognizable save for the Ka'ba and the Grand Mosque in Mecca, and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina.

Although much has been done to accommodate the increasing millions of pilgrims who go there for the hajj pilgrimage, most of the demolition appears to relate to a Wahhabi and Salafi fear that pilgrims may pray at the graves of Muhammad's companions, at the house where he was born, or at other buildings associated with the first era of Islam. There seems to be an insistence that anything that might compromise God's oneness must be eradicated, and this concern may have prompted the country's rulers to destroy them.

The vast Jannat al-Baqi cemetery, which holds so many remains of Muhammad's family, close companions and the earliest Muslim saints, has been levelled, and all domes and mausoleums turned to dust. That act followed earlier levelings by Wahhabis in 1206 and the Ikhwan in 1925. Those included the graves of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud and that of Hamza, the prophet's uncle and most beloved supporter. So too the Mosque of Fatima (Muhammad's daughter), the Mosque of the Manaratayn (the twin minarets), and the cupola that marked the burial place of the prophet's incisor tooth.

In Medina as well, the home of Muhammad's Ethiopian wife, Maryam, where his son Ibrahim was born, has been paved over.

In Mecca, the house of his first wife, Khadija, the first person to whom he divulged his mission, has been turned into public toilets. In 1998, the grave of the prophet's mother, Amina bint Wahb, was bulldozed in Abwa, after which gasoline was poured on it. There is much more.[2]

Destruction of the sacred places of rival faiths or denominations is nothing new it has happened throughout history. Henry VIII wrecked Catholic abbeys and monasteries their ruins still pepper the English countryside. The destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya by Hindus in 1992 led to two thousand deaths. The Roman demolition of Judaism's Second Temple marks a watershed in world history and is central to the current conflict in the Holy Land. But the most consistent use of elimination through the centuries has been the Muslim war on non-Muslims. Despite much controversy, it has been claimed that over 2000 Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples and holy places were destroyed by Muslim conquerors in India. Churches and synagogues have been demolished or converted into mosques in many places.

When Jordan controlled East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, all but one of the Old City's synagogues was reduced to rubble or converted into stables and chicken coops the main Jewish cemetery was desecrated, and Jewish homes destroyed.

Today, in Iran, the Islamic regime has demolished all the holy sites and graveyards of an indigenous faith, the Baha'i religion.

If the depredations of the Islamic State are to have any meaning in the end, perhaps it will be because they will have shown how right the non-extremist Muslims are in calling for a deep change within Islam.

Dr. Denis MacEoin, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is a lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

[1] Robert Reilly, The Closing of the Muslim Mind, Wilmington, 2010, p. 36

[2] Websites where readers can read of these destructions at length include: Irfan Ahmed, "The Destruction of the Holy Sites in Mecca and Medina," Islamica Magazine Laith Abou-Ragheb, "Dr. Sami Angawi on Wahhabi Desecration of Mecca: Developers and Purists Erase Mecca's History," Center for Islamic Pluralism/Reuters, 12 July 2005 Ziauddin Sardar, " The Destruction of Mecca," O jornal New York Times, 30 September 2014 Carla Power, "Saudi Arabia Bulldozes Over Its Heritage," Tempo, 14 November, 2014 Jerome Taylor, "Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history," O Independente, 26 October 2012 Jerome Taylor, "The photos Saudi Arabia doesn't want seen – and proof Islam's most holy relics are being demolished in Mecca," O Independente, 11 December 2014.

© 2021 Gatestone Institute. Todos os direitos reservados. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.


Remnants of the past

Some of those tea manufacturers are believed to have stayed back after their three-year contracts. Joe’s voice-over echoes to a montage of maps, tea plantations and pages from historical documents.

Joe Thomas Karackattu | Photo Credit: special arrangement

The documentary, which is interspersed with interviews and montages of yellowing, old documents, starts with the Ajoo family recounting tales about their forefathers, who had been involved in tea plantations in the South. However, that is not the only thread the researcher follows. A story that runs in parallel is that of the Chinese convicts who were brought to the Nilgiris from the Strait Settlements, as labourers.

“There were many other accounts relating to South India that were yet to be explored. While a lot of people have done work on the history of tea in general.. how it came to parts of northern Assam, and then to South India, and how coffee got wiped out… There was very little work tracing the Chinese connections we had,” says Joe. While the arrival of tea and the British movement of penal labour to different sites in India are points of interest, exploring the specifics of it, Joe thought, would be a valuable contribution. And for this, he had to “burrow deep into the archives”.

“People do have anecdotal references [to share],” says Joe. For instance, at one point in the movie, while debating whether the Chinese had a hand in the production of Lawrence School, Udhagamandalam, a faculty member mentions that when he was a student there, he was often given Chinese coins as pocket money to use in tuck shops. “But, I wanted to go threadbare into where these stories fit in the archives. That’s when I started this journey,” says Joe.

Conceptualising a research product into visual representation is what constituted the three years the reading that went to it, took longer, adds Joe. “I think, as a researcher, especially as one based in South India, it is very important to tell the stories that have not been told.”

Negotiating tough terrains and unprecedented logistical difficulties — even stopping for food at a local tea shop and getting bits of unanticipated information — gives one life lessons to remain “levelled”. The contrast between the difficult mountain ways of the Nilgiris and the fanciful, opulent Hong Kong skyline, served this purpose.

The second half of the movie in which Joe sets off on a journey to dig out documentary evidence to show the inflow of Chinese convicts from the Strait Settlements, further solidifies all anecdotal references. “For any researcher, that is the thrill!” Whether or not he manages to locate it forms the rest of the latter half.

However, locating these convicts’ descendants and jogging their memory was a challenge. “It is unfair of us to expect them to give us any material information about their fourth or fifth generation ancestors,” says Joe. It is then a researcher’s task to make sense of their powerful oral history through concrete evidence.

The film will be screened at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2021. Visit the page Those4Years on Facebook to get updates on the official release of the film.


Antigod’s Own Country: Counter culture in Kerala

Senior journalist A V Sakthidharan’s recent work “Antigod’s Own Country: A Short History of Brahminical Colonisation of Kerala” takes us to the roots of the many non-Aryan deities and myths that dot the coast of Kerala: from Malabar’s Muthappan and Pottan Theyyam to Travancore’s Ayyappan and Malayali’s own Maveli – their very existence being a resistance against invasive Brahminism and Aryanism. Traced through a telling exploration of the peculiar socio-political contexts that birthed these local gods or ‘anti-gods’, the book is also a deeply political meditation on issues faced in contemporary Kerala too. The work engages with Sabarimala – a religious space from where Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised sections are increasingly being pushed out, it remarks. The Sangh’s appropriation of Ayyappan – a non-Hindu, hill-top deity – is seen by Sakthidharan as an extremely political move, which seeks to purge this space of its pro-Dalit, pro-Adivasi, pro-Muslim character. The recent controversy on the entry of women of the menstruating age into Sabarimala is also placed against this context here.

These local histories or ‘little traditions’ are to be carefully observed, for counter culture and its myths contain radical elements of subaltern protest against societal injustice as well as their aspirations. The excerpt below from the chapter ‘Challenging Adi Sankara’ of the book is on one such powerful subaltern myth popular in northern Kerala.

Challenging Adi Sankara

From Ayyappa of southern Kerala let us move to teyyam and Muttappa in the North. The word ‘teyyam’ is said to be a corrupted form of daivam (god). He is not the representation of god, he is god himself. It has come to represent the particular form of worshipping folk deities that is prevalent in Kerala. The songs sung to invoke the spirits of the deities are known as tottam songs. ‘Tottam’ is believed to be a corruption of ‘stotram’. The teyyams are a political phenomenon and Pottan is the most political of them—he challenges Adi Sankara, the brahmin acharya of advaita who also belonged to Kerala. Sankara runs into Pottan, who carried a child at his waist and a pot of toddy on his head, and asks him to get out of the way to avoid distance pollution, but the organic intellectual of the dalits retorts with a simple question: ‘Why do you ask me to move off?’ He goes on to disabuse Sankara’s mind of all notions of the latter’s cultural superiority and the sanctity of the caste system:

You smear the sandal paste
We are bathed in dirt
You wear the chains of gold
We wear the chain of fish…
Haven’t you crossed the river in the canoe which I rowed?
The banana grown in your dump yard is the offering to your god
The basil flower grown in our dump yard is the garland of your god
Still why do you argue over caste?
When you are wounded, is not it blood that gushes out?
When I, too, am wounded, is not it blood?

(Chandran 2006)

Pottan Teyyam employs the very weapon of advaita—non-duality, the oneness of being—against the proponent of that philosophical system. The philosopher realises his mistake and prostrates before the chandala who in turn blesses him. In Malayalam, the word ‘pottan’ is used for a fool but it may also refer to a deaf and mute person. For brahminical liturgy logic, reason and morality may appear foolish, but Pottan was no fool.

Like Ayyappa who admits all devotees without any distinction of caste, creed or class, teyyams do not respect the received brahminical wisdom on caste hierarchies. There are traces of Buddhism in the teyyam cult. The revolutionary tradition of teyyam is too obvious to be ignored. Ayyankali, Chattambi Swamy, Sree Narayana Guru and a host of others collectively took up the fight where Pottan Teyyam left it. The traditional mask dance of the dalits became a means to rebuke, ridicule and question the atrocities and injustices done to them. Teyyam dances and the group songs sung during the agricultural operations were a sort of inversions and defiance to the dominance of the high castes. During World War II, the Communist Party employed folk arts like teyyam, poorakkali and ottamtullal against black-marketeers and hoarders.

For the dalits, teyyam is a weapon in the struggle against the unjust social system that has marginalised them. Many teyyam stories contain criticism of untouchability and brahminism. The bulk of the two-hundred-odd teyyam artists in North Kerala are members or sympathisers of the Communist parties. The brahmins advise people to be pure and eat vegetarian food, while a teyyam god like Muthappa is all for eating meat, drinking and being jolly.

Of late there has been an intrusion of brahminical verses into the Dravidian tottam pattu—the ritual song sung during the teyyam—which is presumed to give it brahminic respectability. Palantayi Kannan, originally a tiyya martyr-deity, was Hinduised and turned into Vishnumurthy, the Vishnu avatar who devoured Hiranyakashipu. In the Hinduised version of the Sankara–Pottan face-off, the dalit disappears and in his place appears Lord Siva who blesses Sankara. The parayan victim of the caste system who advances solid arguments against caste is erased. T.V. Chandran writes: ‘[T]he subversive value of the Pottan’s voice was put under the stronghold of the ideology of high-strata Hinduism through the interpolation of a story that appears in Sankara Digvijayam, a fourteenth century work which seeks to establish the supremacy of the great Indian philosopher Sri Sankaracharya’ (Chandran 2006). According to this version, Sankara concludes that the person confronting him is no chandala but Lord Siva himself.

Donning the teyyam dress is the preserve of a host of oppressed caste devotees. The poor dalit who is teyyam today will be found slaving the next day in the landlord’s paddy field for a pittance. During the teyyam season—from December to February—colourful teyyams teem northern Kerala to the accompaniment of loud drumbeat. As with the oracle of the Bhagavati temples in other parts of Kerala, the teyyams originated in what was once Kolathunadu—Kannur and Kasargod districts of present-day Malabar.

Teyyam may have originated in the fertility cult associated with agriculture (Chandran 2006). Some scholars attribute its origin to the hero cults of the Sangam period. This ritual pageantry of North Kerala is a rare survivor of a pre-Aryan, non-brahminical religious system. It is said teyyams were tolerated as an acceptable safety valve to allow complaints against the misdeeds of the upper castes to be expressed in a ritualised and non-violent manner. During the colonial days Christian missionaries used to conduct house-to-house campaigns against teyyam and snake worship, calling them primitive and inhuman. This had a mixed response. The better-off tiyyas formed the Sree Jnanodaya Yogam to fight superstition and ended up conceding a brahminic halo to the local gods. Many oppressed communities in rural Kerala, however, had a visceral reverence for their gods and did not fall for the propaganda.

A V Sakthidharan has worked as a journalist for close to four decades and retired from The Hindustan Times in Delhi as Assistant Editor in 2006. This is his first book.


Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor by Charles Allen – review

I t is difficult to imagine a life as full of grandeur and drama as that of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, but it is more difficult still to imagine how such a life could ever have been lost or forgotten. From 270BC to 233BC, Ashoka ruled every part of the subcontinent except for India's southernmost tip, an empire larger than that of any Indian ruler before or since his influence spilled even further abroad, into Sri Lanka and past the furthest border of present-day Afghanistan. He shepherded the rise of one of the world's major religions, and in a remarkable U-turn, he transformed himself from a callous conqueror into an intelligent and pacific ruler. Yet, as Charles Allen's Ashoka shows, the details of his life had to be prised out from the crevices of the past, in a process that revealed as much about the emperor as about the caprices of Indian history.

The rediscovery of Ashoka began with the rediscovery of India's Buddhist past. In the late 18th century, scholars were working at synchronising India's calendar of history with Europe's the philologist William Jones called the resolution of this chronological gulf "the grand desideratum of oriental literature". Around the same time, Buddhist figurines and inscriptions began to be unearthed across India's northern plains. These archaeological finds presented something of a puzzle: they pointed to the vigorous heyday of a religion that was, in the India of the 18th and 19th centuries, in near-terminal decline. Buddhism had left behind no majestic temples, and "there were certainly no Buddhists in India and no Buddhist literature", Allen points out. Under whose patronage, then, did the faith once flourish as mightily as its artifacts seemed to indicate?

Allen is adept, if on occasion ploddingly so, at putting back together this vast academic jigsaw for our benefit. He recounts what Jones would have learned from Greek narratives of Alexander's attempted conquest of India and from subsequent ambassadorial communiqués from the Maurya dynasty's court. He traces the painstaking decryption of the Brahmi script, dating to the third century BC, by James Prinsep, an energetic assay master in the Calcutta Mint. He describes the assiduous legwork of members of the Asiatic Society, which yielded metal-plate inscriptions, sculptures of heartbreaking beauty, remnants of the humped Buddhist reliquaries known as stupas, and elaborate edicts inscribed, on Ashoka's orders, on slabs of rock across the subcontinent. And as Prinsep and his colleagues did, Allen reconciles these threads of evidence with strands from other texts – in particular from the Mahavamsa, Sri Lanka's great Buddhist chronicle – and thus arrives at the story of Ashoka as we know it.

None of this is new material, especially for Allen, who along with John Keay has worn something of a groove in scholarship about the Raj-era resuscitation of Indian history. Anton Führer, the deceitful archaeologist in Allen's The Buddha and Dr Führer (2008), flickers in and out of Ashoka's pages, trafficking in forged Buddhist relics and lying about his discovery of Kapilavastu, the city where the Buddha grew up. More significantly, Ashoka reprises the choicest parts of The Buddha and the Sahibs, Allen's 2002 book about men such as Jones and Prinsep – orientalists in the original, sweet vein of being intellectually curious about Asia, rather than in the pejorative Saidian sense. Allen emphasises that the study of ancient India would have suffered without scholars of the sort derided by Edward Said as "dead white men in periwigs" – a point that is both valuable and arguable, but also a point that he has made before.

An abundance of clues about Ashoka began to emerge from the work of these Indologists. o Mahavamsa spoke in glowing terms of an Indian king who had ordained his own son and daughter and sent them to Sri Lanka to spread the Buddha's message. Stone reliefs dug up from the sites of Buddhist stupas depicted an unusually unidealised king, "short, paunchy and with a grossly pumpkin-like face," as Allen writes. (O Ashokavadana, an ancient text in Sanskrit, called Ashoka's skin "rough and unpleasant to the touch".) Most intriguing were the rock edicts, scattered across an enormous area, all proclaiming a ruler's commitment to non-violence, to righteousness, and to a sophisticated notion of secularism.

By the final years of the 19th century, the contours of Ashoka's life had been established: his adroit power-grab that denied his elder brother the throne his rampaging invasion of the eastern province of Kalinga, in which his army slew more than 100,000 men his abrupt but long-lasting conversion to Buddhism and his support of his new faith, so munificent that he is said to have built 84,000 stupas and donated millions of pieces of gold to the monastic order. But the physical legacy of this zenith of Buddhism was destroyed twice over: first by Hindu Brahmins, who were furious at Ashoka's sponsorship of Buddhism, and who would in subsequent centuries cannily co-opt the Buddha as one of the 10 avatars of Vishnu and then by Islamist invaders, who razed stupas as well as the illustrious Buddhist university of Nalanda, in present-day Bihar.

Allen might usefully have devoted more space to this calculated domination of Buddhism by Hinduism, which so effectively wiped out traces of Ashoka's reign, and which contradicts descriptions of Hinduism as tolerant and ever-benign. (In 1905, during a lecture in Johannesburg, Mahatma Gandhi stoutly denied any decline of Buddhism in India, claiming: "No Hindu bore the Buddhist any ill will.") Allen is perhaps also too cursory in examining the effect of the rediscovery of Ashoka on the India of the late 19th century, although he briefly mentions the emperor's influence on a particular group of Indians: the new freedom-fighters.

To a burgeoning independence movement, Ashoka proved to be a touchstone on several levels. Gandhi praised Ashoka's non-violence and his latter-day lack of imperial ambition. Jawaharlal Nehru admired Ashoka's secularism and his efficient administration. For nationalists of all stripes, Ashoka was, along with the Mughal emperor Akbar, the soundest rebuttal to the colonial assertion that India's diverse territories had never been united as thoroughly as they were under the British. Ashoka inspired hope that, if India had once been whole and serene under the wisdom of a native ruler, it might well be similarly whole and serene again.

Samanth Subramanian's Following Fish: Travels Around the Indian Coast, will be published by Atlantic later this year.


Assista o vídeo: #35 - Os Vestígios do Dia - Kazuo Ishiguro (Julho 2022).


Comentários:

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