Buddhism: an atheistic and anti-caste religion? : Modern ideology and historical reality of the ancient Indian Bauddha Dharma

  • The historian has to safeguard the strangeness of the past. Therefore, religio-historical research has to scrutinise the reconstruction of the real history of religions by religious ideologies of the present. Very often religious ideologies fall back to the past in order to get an alleged legitimacy for their actual am-bitions; however, for that purpose they have to model or falsify the past according to their present ideo-logical needs. One of the outstanding examples of such an ideologisation of history of religion is the modern view of Buddhism. Developed by the Western colonialist Indology this ideology portrayed and still is portray-ing Buddhism as an rationalist-atheistic, anti-brahmanical, anti-caste and egalitarian religion - in con-trast to Hinduism which is caricatured as idolatrous, casteistic and brahmanised. The aim of such an ideological interpretation is to demonstrate the alleged Western modernity of Buddhism and the alleged obscurantism of Hinduism. The target of that ideological aggression was the Hinduism. In order to exploit the wealth of India the Western colonialists needed the weakening of the Hindu self-consciousness; therefore they favoured an Indology which produced an not existing Indian Buddhism as an alleged modern alternative to the alleged primitive religion of the 'Hindoos'. Playing the Buddhism against the 'Hindoos' the colonialist attempt to defame the vast majority of the Indian people was very successful. Even Indian religious intellectuals and leaders (i.e. the secularists or the Neo-Buddhists1) are sharing and supporting that colonialist view still today. We want to dispute these asserted positions by empirico-historical reasons. First we will discuss the early Buddhism, than Ashoka's reform program of the dharma and at last the historio-graphical dilemmata of scholars sharing the colonialist ideology of Buddhism. ....

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Author:Edmund WeberGND
Parent Title (German):Journal of religious culture = Journal für Religionskultur
Series (Serial Number):Journal of religious culture = Journal für Religionskultur (50)
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Document Type:Part of Periodical
Year of Completion:2001
Year of first Publication:2001
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2007/10/25
Institutes:Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Institut für Wissenschaftliche Irenik
Dewey Decimal Classification:2 Religion / 29 Andere Religionen / 290 Andere Religionen
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht