Hinduism and Epic Poetry, Volume 30 of Gen Nakamura's Selected Works - A masterpiece that also provides insight into the connections with Buddhism and Japan! Experience the depth of Indian thought

Hinduism and the Epic Indian thought, culture and history

Hinduism and Epic Poetry, Volume 30 of Gen Nakamura's Selected Works - A masterpiece that also provides insight into the connections with Buddhism and Japan! Experience the depth of Indian thought

The book introduced here is "Nakamura Gen's Selected Works [Definitive Edition], Volume 30: Hinduism and Epic Poetry," published by Shunju-sha in 1996.

Let's take a quick look at the book.

The two great epics "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana" and Hinduism are colored by various gods, myths and legends. A rich spiritual world created by a robust imagination.

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This book is a commentary on ancient Indian thought by Buddhist scholar Gen Nakamura.

Buddhism was born on the soil of ancient India. Studying the climate, history, ideology, and religion of India is of great significance when considering the origins and development of Buddhism.

In this work, you will learn about India and its religious and ideological currents as you follow the course of its history.

It is very interesting to listen to the commentary of Buddhist scholar Dr. Gen Nakamura, who has been to the area and has a deep understanding of the area and its relation to Buddhism.

I was very impressed by the passage that introduced the characteristics of Indian religions in a nutshell, and I would like to introduce it here.

One of the major characteristics of Hinduism is that it is diverse and does not get bogged down in petty differences. Hinduism has many different lineages and tendencies. Hinduism has a variety of strains and tendencies, ranging from widely held world religions to primitive, uncivilized religions. There is no definitive doctrinal differentiation of Hinduism. It is, so to speak, the national religion of India.

Buddhism and Jainism existed as the great religions of the Indian people and contributed greatly to the development of Indian culture. However, they were followed by the enlightened people, merchants and handicraftsmen, and were rather remote from the common peasantry, which was exposed to the fury of nature and its bounty. The rationalism of Buddhism and Jainism was inaccessible to the ignorant masses. They did not recognize a God who ruled the world, and they aimed for the perfection of the personality solely through one's own cultivation. Therefore, to satisfy their own needs, the general public turned to the gods, who had forms and shapes, and prayed to them for worldly benefits. The people did not think in terms of a single God, uniting the many gods. Many gods were kept alive as they were. It was on this basis that the diversity and tolerance that are so prominent in Hinduism were established.

Shunju-sha, Nakamura Gen, Nakamura Gen Selected Works [Definitive Edition] Vol. 30: Hinduism and Epic Poetry, p. 25.

It is very important to point out that Buddhism and Jainism "were followed by rather enlightened people, merchants and handicraftsmen, and were rather remote from ordinary farmers who were exposed to the violence and benefits of nature. It is easy to imagine that Buddhism was born and developed in India as if the whole of India became like a Buddhist country, but in fact this was not the case. The majority of the people in India continued to believe in Brahmanism (later Hinduism) as they had before.

And while the above quoted passages alone may make Hinduism seem like the superstitious stuff of ignorant folk, if you read this book you will see that it has a depth quite different from such mere superstitious stuff.

And at the end of the book, we are also told the following

In fact, myths in India have continuously developed from the same source for more than 3,000 years since the Rig Vedic period to the present day. Despite the constant invasions of other peoples and the introduction of other faiths, the myths themselves have not been interrupted in the slightest, and the indigenous myths have survived permanently, giving birth to new myths. This fact is in marked contrast to the European countries, where the myths of the ancient indigenous peoples died out due to the spread of Christianity.

Why, then, has this unique mythology been able to continue and develop permanently? The most important reason, in my opinion, is the particularities of the Indian climate and society.

Almost all of India's inhabitants have been farmers, who have formed small villages throughout the country, leading an isolated and enclosed economic life. India's fertile lands and hot, rainy climate made it possible to produce large quantities of agricultural products quickly, while at the same time making agricultural labor extremely easy for the peasants and eliminating much of the effort required for food, clothing, and shelter. Compared to other ethnic groups in the land, they made less effort to make a living. In other words, they did not have to work as hard as other peoples to make a living, and they were able to live without any hardships. Therefore, they did not have much trade with other regions in terms of daily necessities.

This way of life inevitably weakened the power of social cohesion by the samurai or merchants. It was rather the Brahmins, a priestly class, who unified the Indians socially and made them aware of their identity as one people. Although the Indian peasantry did not hold the warriors and merchants in such high esteem, they worshipped and respected the Brahmins as "gods of the earth. This close bond between the peasantry and the Brahmins has been unbreakable throughout India's more than 3,000-year history, and neither the Buddhist nationalism of King Ashoka, the invasion of western tribes, the sword of Islam, nor British imperialism has been able to shake this historical and social tradition. The mainstream of Indian culture has been Brahmin culture to all intents and purposes.

Although Indian mythology was created by people belonging to different ethnic groups, once established, it was mainly the Brahmins who handed down the myths to future generations. Brahmins were the bearers of Indian mythology. Because of the historical stability of the Brahmin social fabric, Indian mythology has always developed continuously and without interruption, even though India has been plagued by political and military upheavals since the beginning of time. The only exception is Buddhist mythology, which, except for its influence on Hindu mythology, has all but disappeared from the currents of Indian culture. This is because the social ground of Buddhism in India was different from that of Brahmanism.

Shunju-sha, Nakamura Gen, Nakamura Gen Selected Works [Definitive Edition] Vol. 30: Hinduism and Epic Poetry, p. 518-520

The most important reason for the permanent development of the indigenous mythology is, I think, the particularities of India's climate and society. The most important cause, I think, is the endemic and social peculiarities of India."

Dr. Gen Nakamura does not look at religion merely as an idea or theory, but considers it in conjunction with the social conditions of the time. To understand religion in India, one must also consider India itself in perspective.

Why did Hinduism flourish and Buddhism decline in India? This is what this book looks at. It is not only the ideological aspect, but also a larger social factor that is involved.

Also in this book, as the book title says, the two great Indian epicsThe Mahabharata.andRamayana."You can also take a closer look at the It was very interesting to listen to a lecture on Indian mythology, which was explained from the unique perspective of Buddhist scholar Dr. Gen Nakamura.

I think this book is a very important book for the study of Buddhism. I highly recommend this work.

The above is "Hinduism and Epic Poetry," Volume 30 of Gen Nakamura's Selected Works: A masterpiece that also shows the connection with Buddhism and Japan! Experience the depth of Indian thought".

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