May 10, 2014

From Buddha to Sri Aurobindo: the debate is on

Ramakrishnan Suryanarayanan on 28 April 2014 at 11:37 pm said: The dates of the Buddha’s life are as much a matter of conjencture and controversy today as they have been during the last 200 years. We only know that he may have lived sometime during the 5th or 4th century BCE, that too is not certain, he may have lived in the 6th century.

Jayarava on 29 April 2014 at 10:12 am said: Buddhist studies has long struggled with emic/etic issues. Scholars have been blinded by their sympathies for Buddhism. An increase of emic scholars writing in the style of academics but with fundamentalist agendas is a problem for us. Those of us who are Buddhists have preconceptions it is almost impossible to overcome. Our underlying narratives all too often involve absolute truths, unreasoning faith, and an uncritical eye.
How many Buddhist scholars have asked themselves why our founder has high status Brahmanical given and family names? Why do his mother and aunt also have high status Brahmin names? Why is his father never referred to as Gautama – as the head of the family it ought to have virtually been like a title (and his son ought to have been Gautamya). My literature review showed that the last person to address this issue was D D Kosambi in 1944, and he sought to smooth over the cracks rather than dig deeper. How does this relate to the process of Brahmanisation that occurred only after the collapse of the Mauryan Empire? And so on.

Aidan Rankin Dec 26, 2003
This creative balancing of complementary principles is at the heart of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy of Integral Yoga.  The word ‘integral’ implies a wholeness made up of component parts, which together constitute a unity.  Such unity is achieved by a balance that is based not on compromise, or the abandonment of principles, but on a synthesis of complementary parts, through which they become aspects of something larger.
Writing in 1910, and anticipating late twentieth century studies of the brain and its functions, Sri Aurobindo spoke of the left and right spheres of awareness in terms of the characteristics of the two hands: [...]
Right brained politics implies a shift of consciousness, a form of mental evolution.  In that sense, it is the political wing of Integral Yoga. Aidan Rankin

donsalmon • 22 days ago Dr. Rankin has posted a very interesting set of ideas, but unfortunately his neuroscience still draws a bit too much on the old, outdated notion of hemispheric differences. I would strongly recommend looking at Iain McGilchrist's "The Master and His Emissary", which was the result of 20 years of study of more than 2500 different research studies. The difference between left and right is not so much narrow intellect and intuition (which is not what Sri Aurobindo really meant in his education article either - note here that McGilchrist's formulation fits far more precisely than the one we find here).