Buddhism And Vedic Philosophy Essay Samples
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Buddhism, Buddha, Enlightenment, Voltaire, Food, Exercise, Philosophy, People
The existing Vedic philosophy when the Buddha appeared followed the letter of the teachings but not the spirit. While the Indian people were skilled at the finer details of all of the ceremonies and rituals, they were not performing them for spiritual significance. Instead, they were using the sacred rites for a more secular sort of amusement. Instead of honoring the animals that they sacrificed, the Indians would turn the whole thing into a gluttonous frolic. They had forgotten that food was something to be honored as “health-bringinga dear and guileless friend” (Vedic Hymn CLXXXVII).
In Vedic tradition, the purpose of the animal sacrifice was for the animal to emerge from the fire bearing a new body after the chanting of the mantras. This was to show how powerful the mantras were. The corruption within the practice of the religion, though, robbed the priesthood of the ability to perform the chants as they were intended. This is why, when Buddha appeared, his view of Vedic rituals was somewhat confrontational. In the Ashvaghosha, the narrator relates that Buddha said, “For enlightenment I was born, for the good of all that lives” (p. 384). The fact that the Buddha had come to bring enlightenment and to benefit everyone was both a validation and a challenge to existing Vedic philosophy. The fact that the Buddha came to bring enlightenment suggests that the people were in need of some improvement in their religious practices. Restoring the right place of food within the system of Indian priorities was just one way that Buddha would challenge existing practice. While what he had to say was not contradictory to the Vedic teachings, the fact that he was saying them at all produced a challenge to the way that things were.