Skip to comments.Buddha's New Birthplace Discovered
Posted on 05/24/2004 2:26:44 PM PDT by blam
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I generally reach supreme enlightenment after a couple of shots of single malt Bowmore and a Montecristo #2 on my back porch...
I knew I could count on you, blam...
My longterm memory IS getting a little fuzzy - I only remember this lifetime, and even that's getting hazy!
I recall that article quite well. The last great glacial melt flood was some 8500 years ago and I have been looking for more on the submerged city.
I agree with the British Indologists on that, not because of any Muslim assessment, but because I follow the empirical method and empirically we do not have any extant documents on Buddha's life which are that old. The extant copies of the Puranas date from between c. 400 BC and 1400 AD, and documents written after 400 BC are not and cannot be eyewitness sources on events from 3000 BC. Empirically we would need some sort of pre-Puranic evidence to support any traditions about Buddha being from 3000 BC. I am not aware of any such evidence. I am aware of the pre-Mohenjo-Daro find mentioned elsewhere in the thread, from previous discussions of this, but I would consider that evidence of early civilization in India rather than evidence of Buddha living c. 3000 BC.
Tasting the smokey peat of Lagvulin will enhance enlightenment, bring peace of spirit, and help you reach the green in regulation. Bowmore is popskull from the wrong side of the island:-)
I won't be too concerned with the dating of Sanskrit documents, just that classical Sanskrit was frozen in form at a particular date and that it is something that can be learned and read. English speakers already know Sanskrit, of course, it's just a matter of sorting which pieces of the language are Sanskrit and which are not since it is all jumbled together.
I follow you on that.
Somewhat unusual, but in any case I wouldn't follow too closely since the trail isn't well marked and there are cliffs, quagmires, and wild beasts every step of the way.
LOL! I'll try to watch out for those :) But I understand the point that classical Sanskrit has dateable stages of development which scholars have been studying for a while.
According the Puranas, Buddha's birth was predicted - to happen later. So there is no contradiction, rather there is agreement in the timing of his birth to be around 2600 years ago (IIRC).
The Puranas were an oral tradition before they were set in writing, and since the system in India was to write on palm leaves, which had a rather short life span, the four Vedas and their corollaries such as the Upanishads, Puranas and so on were copied and recopied continually, sometimes with new commentaries or additional material added. That is probably why some historians consider them of more recent origan; that and the fact that historians generally have a set idea of history and like things to fit into their theories rather than be open to different time scales.
That's where I'm seeing the issue. You can't document an oral tradition prior to its earliest verifiable transmission, and prior to that there's no verifiable way of knowing what happened to the tradition before it was committed to writing. That doesn't mean the tradition thereby isn't true--it may or may not be true in a given case--but it means a historian following the empirical method can't affirm an oral tradition as documented history until it's substantiated by some corroborating evidence. I agree with you on some historians having a set idea of history, but that isn't the issue here for me. The issue for me is that the documents we have don't date back as far as the events they're referring to, so they're not primary sources in the historical sense.
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