How India Is Squandering Its Top Export: The Buddha

#1 Apr 7th, 2015, 00:14
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An op-ed piece. Don't know if I would agree that "Buddhism has transformed whole societies", but talk amongst yourselves.

How India Is Squandering Its Top Export: The Buddha


"India and Nepal gave the world one of its most precious resources -- the Buddha. Yet neither country truly values this extraordinary legacy, let alone takes pride in it. In the Buddha's own birthplace and homeland, his teachings are marginalised, his wisdom is unappreciated, and his legacy is invisible in society.

The pervasive neglect of this treasured inheritance is an inestimable loss. After all, few products from this region have ever been so widely valued and respected, or travelled as far and as successfully, as the teachings of the Buddha.

Yes--yoga, curry, basmati rice and Bollywood have their global influence......

And yet, amazingly, this intense global interest is barely evident in the lands where the Buddha himself was born, became enlightened, and taught."
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#2 Apr 7th, 2015, 06:52
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Buddhism was lost as an export when invading Muslim armies slaughtered them..
#3 Apr 7th, 2015, 07:13
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Link blocked at my work.

Simple answer : Buddhism was never considered a separate religion where it was born, rather as one of the many branches of the 'mother religion' - Hinduism. Same was the case with Jainism. Plus invasions opposing 'idol worship' ensured its near extinction. While the mother religion had the strength to resist invasions and retain its identity, Buddhism didn't. At one point of time, even the mother religion also flexed its muscle to contain one of its branches - Buddhism. Same happened in parts of south east asia, but Buddhism had prevailed there at the end while mother religion remained strong in India and Nepal.

And I don't agree that its been marginalized or not appreciated. Its just that its not the most practiced sect for the reasons mentioned above. A similar correlation might be made between Judaism and christianity - mother religion remained strong in Jewish land while chiristianity is more practiced around the world.

I believe the intense global interest in Buddhism was/is more of a fad. And I chuckle when many people I met during my travels think of japan, china, thailand, tibet, korea etc, when the word 'Buddhism' is mentioned. Most didn't know its origins in India though that perception is changing now....slowly.
#4 Apr 7th, 2015, 11:30
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The Dalits that have converted don't agree with this interpretation..
#5 Apr 7th, 2015, 11:55
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Yes, dalits won't agree, for obvious reasons. Their identity will be in jeopardy If they do...
#6 Apr 7th, 2015, 12:00
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Sigh! Another huge opportunity to earn millions of dollars lost to the usual Indian apathy. This isn't just low hanging fruit, it's plucked, cleaned, peeled, cut and served fruit. All we needed to do was show up and eat it. Global Buddhist tourism is like a huge party in which we (India and Nepal) are the chief guests, only we don't show up.

Lucky for us, we'll always be the chief guests, so it's an opportunity to drown in dollars any time we feel like upping our game. Sooner the better.
#7 Apr 7th, 2015, 12:58
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#7
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Originally Posted by prince09 View Post many people I met during my travels think of japan, china, thailand, tibet, korea etc, when the word 'Buddhism' is mentioned.
Ever seen a round-eye Buddha in India ?

For lacerated amygdala, one needs objectified sage - While first statue was created in greek image approximately four centuries after his attaining moksha ! An oriental Buddha was created about five centuries when it expanded East !

Five centuries is a long long time in imagining a guy from this side of Indus ! To put it in perspective, (2015-500=1515) beginning of the 16th century, was when turmoil plagued religious West !
#8 Apr 7th, 2015, 13:12
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Their identity will be in jeopardy If they do.
As they would put it, a little casteist, no.?
#9 Apr 7th, 2015, 13:21
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No...their Buddhist identity will be in crisis If Buddhism isn't accorded a separate status, totally detached from Hinduism.

But there are far too many clues to show it wasn't a separate 'religion', and among many, one small clue is Buddha's contemplation stints at Varanasi and his first sermon at Sarnath, just 10km from Varanasi....
#10 Apr 7th, 2015, 14:03
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What product are we exporting ? Exporting as in "exporting ipads" "exporting irish whiskey" Or is it like "exporting terrorism" "exporting democracy" "exporting mailorder natashas"

Anyone with a highschool understanding of buddhism in India, knows that there is a vast difference between what is practiced in India, and what is exported in the package of Tibetan buddhism ! You have to have more than pea brain to know that Dzongsar Jamyang is a self promoter of his own brand of masala omlette Or, as my friend, Vidur Kapur (<--- Very Funny Guy from NYC ) says in his gig - Of his grandmother - "Its all about selling scented oil to foreigners"
#11 Apr 7th, 2015, 14:55
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The issue of Buddha is just incidental, the main problem is different.

We as a nation have no such concept as 'respect for heritage, legacy or inheritance'. Majority do not even understand this concept, for them it is just a old dilapidated building, or a textbook person who did something etc. The proof is all over to see, from how we treat out heritage buildings, to hierarching the great people in history in order of present day political likings.

From my window I can see a 10th century temple, it was beautiful until the priest decided to paint it all blue, put nails in the walls to hold all sort of stuff and basically did everything to ruin the lovely stone complex. Another great temple complex nearby is spewed with trash all over, thrown by same people who come there to worship.
If you find my posts confrontationist, please bear, I am an old frustrated guy who has nothing better to do than sit on rocking chair and curse the world whole day
#12 Apr 7th, 2015, 15:36
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#12
So... what? By majority, people in India are not interested in Buddhism. The majority probably don't have much time for entomology either. One can't tell people to be interested in something.
#13 Apr 7th, 2015, 16:06
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Well said Nick, although I do think that India did lose a bit on 'Buddhist' tourism by not doing any savvy packaging of the product.
#14 Apr 7th, 2015, 17:04
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Originally Posted by jituyadav View Post I do think that India did lose a bit on 'Buddhist' tourism by not doing any savvy packaging of the product.
there is a Buddhist "tourist trail" tho, isn't there? Bodhgaya, Dharamsala, etc. And there are the "unknown" (from a tourist $$$ standpoint) temples in Ladakh, Sikkim, etc. that Buddhist travelers visit. venues like the Root Institute and Tushita bring lots of Westerners to their neck of the woods, i.e., Bodhgaya, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala.
#15 Apr 7th, 2015, 18:08
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#15
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there is a Buddhist "tourist trail" tho, isn't there?
See PompomperJa's photos --- although sometimes I get a little lost about which are in India, which are in Thailand, and which are elsewhere.

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