Skip to main content

As of today, not many are aware of history of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu: some details

By  Shiva Shankar 

Reference Counterview post "Madras HC verdict on Thalaivetti Muniyappan opens up space for Buddhist history", here is some information about Buddhism in Tamil Nadu:
1. Buddhism in Tamil Nadu
In our travels in search of the ancient Buddha statues of Tamil Nadu, we came across many Buddha and Bodhisattva statues from the 1st – 16th Century CE timeframe. As of today, though Tamilians are not so much aware of the history of Buddhism in the Tamil land, and though many of them consider Buddhism to be a foreign system belonging to Sri Lanka, the fact is the other way around. From almost every district of Tamil Nadu, ancient Buddha statues have been discovered. Tamil Nadu had wide-spread presence of all forms of Buddhism including Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Many great Buddhist scholars and Yogis were also from there including Bodhidharma, Dignaga, Buddhaghosha, Dhammapala, Dharmakirthi, Chandrakirthi and Dharmapala. According to Tibetan master Taranatha, Guru Padmasambhava stayed in Tamil Nadu for many years and taught Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism there. There are also historical accounts of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka being revived in the 13th Century by inviting monks from Tamil Nadu.
2. Imagining a Place for Buddhism: Literary Culture and Religious Community in Tamil-Speaking South India, Anne E. Monius
Non-Hindu communities such as Buddhists, Jains and Ājiīvakas played such an important role in South Indian literary and religious culture, and in the administration of the state between the fourth and seventh centuries that the later Śaiva traditions labeled this period the Kalabhra interregnum—the interruption of the wicked ones. Despite their presence in Tamil inscriptional, archaeological and literary record, their significance has been undermined in historical narratives that have valorised the triumph of Tamil Śaivism, casting Buddhists and Jains as ‘foreigners’ to be spurned, ridiculed and dismissed as anti-Tamil. In this pioneering study, focusing on two extant Buddhist Tamil texts—Maṇimēkalai (a sixth-century poetic narrative) and Vīracōliyam (an eleventh-century treatise on grammar and poetics)–Anne Monius, Professor of South Asian Religions at Harvard Divinity School, sheds light on the role of literature and literary culture in the formation, articulation and evolution of Tamil Buddhist religious identity and community.
The cover features S. Anvar’s photograph of a 12th century statue of the Buddha at the Paravai bus stop, Perambalur, Tamil Nadu.

Comments

TRENDING

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why's Govt of India reluctant to consider battery storage system for renewal energy?

By Shankar Sharma*  If having so many small size battery energy storage system (BESS) at different locations of the grid, as in the report from Australia (a portfolio of 27 small battery storage projects across three Australian states that will total arounds 270 MWh), is considered to be techno-economically attractive in a commercially driven market such as Australia, the question that becomes a lot more relevance to Indian scenario is: why are our planners not in favour of installing such small size BESS at most of the distribution sub-stations not only to accelerate the addition of RE power capacities, but also to minimise the need for large size solar/ wind power parks, dedicated transmission lines and pumped storage plants; which will also minimise the associated technical losses.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

New MVA-INDIA MPs asked to raise Maharashtra milk farmers' demand

By Our Representative  All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Maharashtra general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale have asked three newly-elected MPs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA) from the milk belt of Maharashtra Dr Amol Kolhe (NCP),  Bhausaheb Wakchaure (SS), and Nilesh Lanke (NCP), to take up the cause of milk farmers of Maharashtra in Parliament.  After congratulating them on their resounding victory over their BJP-NDA rivals, the AIKS leaders apprised them of the milk farmers struggle which is intensifying in the state under the leadership of the AIKS and the Milk Farmers Joint Struggle Committee, and requested them to support it. All three MPs agreed not only to support, but also to take the initiative in this struggle, an official AIKS communique claimed. Farmers in Maharashtra are currently getting as low as Rs 24-27 per litre for cow milk, which is being sold in the market for Rs 56-60 per litre, the AIKS leaders noted. The low price to farmer