⒄Buddha's powerful rival, the Rokushigedo" - Indian freethinkers who rejected Brahmanism and advocated a new ideology.

India Buddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

[The life of Buddha (Sakyamuni) as seen through local photographs] ⒄
 Buddha's powerful rival, the "Rokushigedo" - Indian freethinkers who rejected Brahmanism and advocated a new ideology.

Previous Article⒃Shamon: Buddha's Companions, Rival Freethinkers, and the Unique Religious Situation in India at the Time."In the following section, I discussed the unique religious circumstances of the time in which the Buddha lived and the emerging thinker "Shamon".

In this article, I would like to talk about six thinkers who became powerful rivals of the Buddha, the "Six Teachers and the Way of the Outside. The word "Gedo" may not have a good image in Japan, but here it simply means "teachings outside of Buddhism.

RokushiGedo refers to a particularly influential thinker among the "Sahmon" group of emerging thinkers who rejected the Brahminical worldview of the time. I have already discussed the "Shamon" and the historical background of the time in my previous article, so I will skip this topic, but it is very important to know the thought of the Rokushigedo in order to understand the Buddha's thought. By comparing with them, we can see Buddha's uniqueness.

The purpose of this series of articles is to provide an introduction to Buddhism by taking a brief look at the life of the Buddha. Therefore, there is no need to memorize the names of the thinkers listed here and their philosophical content. It is sufficient if you can get a sense that these people were around at the same time as the Buddha. Please feel free to follow along with us.

So let's get started.

The six RokushiGedo members we are about to introduce are written by Hazime NakamuraA History of Indian Thought.We will refer to the following.

(1) Poulana's theory of moral negation

The first one will be a person named Poulana.

His philosophy is called moral negation. This is a theory that literally has the negation of good and evil as its framework.

As I said in my last article, the idea of the Rokushigedo presupposes a rejection of traditional Brahmanism. And there is a reason why Pūrana denied morality here.

Traditional Brahminism held a worldview in which ordinary people were to pray to Brahmins and get help from the gods to go to a good hereafter. They also believed that observing the rituals and rules of right and wrong prescribed by Brahmanism was the way to live a good life and lead to a good hereafter.

But Poulana denies it.

In the first place, there is no good or evil in this world. There is no reward for stealing or killing. There is no reward for doing good, even if you perform a ritual or give alms. There is only the act. There is no law of good and evil in the world that affects what happens to human beings. So there is no good, no evil, and no reward for it."

It is a very simple idea, but if you take it to its extreme, you can certainly see what he is saying. He makes the frighteningly modern claim that the Brahmanic law of reincarnation is a superstition, and that there is no evidence that any action one performs will lead to the next life.

This is the Rokushi Gaido. What do you think? This was already spoken about 2,500 years ago. The Indians are amazing. It is an amazingly radical and radical idea, but it has a persuasive power that makes you nod your head in agreement. In a sense, it is a dangerous idea, but it is still surprising that such an idea was spoken so openly under the patronage of kings.

(2) Pakda's theory of the seven elements

The first Purna gave us the radical theory of moral negativism, but the next Paguda is also very strong.

Paguda states that each individual human being is composed of seven elements: earth, water, fire, wind, suffering, pleasure, and life (spirit), which are unchanging and stable like a stone pillar. I have no idea what to make of this, but the metaphor of this thought is tremendous.

The sword is not a sword, but a sword that has passed through the gap between the seven elements. It is only that the sword has passed through the gap between the seven elements.

?" But, to put it rather broadly, even if you kill a person, you have not killed a single person, but rather the blade has merely passed through the gaps between the various elements. In other words, what this theory comes down to is, "Since a human being does not have a unique existence, but is merely an aggregate of various elements, killing a person does not constitute a crime." This is what it comes down to.

It is a rather complicated thought, but I would say that the end result is a denial of morality.

(iii) Gosala's fatalism (determinism)

Two in a row have followed with radical ideas of outright rejection of morality, but Gauthara here preached a theory of predestination. This one is simple. In other words, everything has already been determined.

No act can be based on individual will. Everything is accumulated in the infinite time of reincarnation, which determines one's actions. The theory then becomes that we repeat reincarnation for a set period of time.

This also rebels against Brahmanism in a different way than the two above. It is clearly different from the Brahmin teaching of good rewards through rituals and morality.

(iv) agita materialism

Azita is known as a materialist. According to his theory, this world is composed of the four elements of earth, water, fire, and wind, and human beings are also composed of a combination of these four elements. So far, this is similar to the aforementioned Pakda.

However, this is where he really starts.

Azita explains that once a human being dies, the matter that made up his or her body dissipates, leaving only nothingness.

Yes, it is true. Azita was a thinker who preached a materialism that is still relevant today.

When you die, you are nothing. There is no afterlife. Therefore, reincarnation, rituals, and morality as taught by Brahmanism are meaningless. This world is everything.

It is still amazing that he could say this much 2,500 years ago. The Six Masters and Six Noble Truths are all extraordinary charismatic individuals. Buddha had to engage in friendly competition with these thinkers.

Incidentally, the Roman Empire also had a philosopher with such a thoroughly rational mindset. One such philosopher was Lucretius (ca. 94-55 BC), a contemporary of Caesar. He was a contemporary of Caesar, and the golden age of the Roman Empire was about to begin here. He, too, rejected the old world of gods and advocated a surprisingly rational theory. I was also astonished by his thought, "How could someone say this more than 2,000 years ago? I was also astonished by his thought, but the Rokushi Gaido introduced here is nearly 400 years earlier than that. Fear not, this is India...!

(5) Sanjaya's skepticism

The theory of the fifth person, RokushiGedo Sanjaya, is also unique.

He was known to give elusive answers to all kinds of questions that he could neither answer nor not answer. For example

Will there be an afterlife?"

If I thought that there would be an afterlife, I would tell you so, but I don't think so. I don't think so. I don't think so. I don't think it's different. I don't think it's not so. I don't think it's not so, and I don't think it's not so.

Sanjaya's style was to avoid making judgments and to avoid giving definitive answers. This way of thinking was called "argument as slimy and elusive as an eel," and was a kind of agnosticism. He advocated the cessation of judgment on metaphysical questions such as "Is there a reward for good and evil?

Sanjaya's approach to the metaphysical problems of reincarnation and the moral law as taught by Brahmanism can be considered groundbreaking in that he took a new approach to the problem of cessation of judgment.

Incidentally, Sanjaya's disciples became Sāriputta and Moggallāna, who later became the core of the Buddhist Order. These two were originally disciples of Sanjaya, but converted to Buddhism after encountering Buddha's teachings. The excellence of these two men was outstanding, and even though they later parted company, Sanjaya had such great disciples that it can be said that he also possessed overwhelming charisma.

6) Niganta Nathaputta (Mahavira), founder of Jainism

Statue of Founder MahaviraWikipedia.

Niganta Nathaputta, the last of the Rokushigedo, is, to my surprise, the founder of Jainism. After becoming the founder, he became known as Mahavira, which is a more famous name.

Jainism is not well known in Japan, but it is still a very powerful religion in India. It is remarkable that it continues to survive today, whereas Buddhism later declined and was destroyed by the Islamic invasion.

And the key idea of Niganta Nataputta, in brief, is the teaching that one can be liberated from reincarnation by eliminating one's own defilements through non-killing, asceticism, and severe ascetic practices.

Jainism has so much in common with Buddhism that it is said to be a sister religion, but the presence of this severe suffering is a major difference.

Jainism is also unique in that many of its followers are large Indian merchants. That said, Jainism's strict adherence to non-killing is far beyond our imagination. Farmers are not allowed to plow the farmland with a hoe because it kills insects. This naturally leads many people to choose the path of business. Also, because of their asceticism and emphasis on moral behavior, they were honest and sincere in their business activities, and thus gained social credibility. It is also an interesting fact that they gained support from big businessmen for different reasons than Buddhism.

To learn more about Jainism, please see the book by Kenji WatanabeJainism: Non-Possession, Non-Violence, Non-Killing: Its Doctrines and Real Life.I recommend a book


We have looked at the philosophy of each of the Rokushigedo

The word "gedo" tends to conjure up an image of an enemy of Buddhism, but when you look at it this way, you can see a completely different picture. India during the reign of the Buddha was a time when the country was crawling with thinkers with such strong personalities.

Then Buddha realized the thought that overcomes these thoughts of Rokushigedo. In other words, Buddha advocated an ideology that is not the amoralism of Pulana, the seven-element theory of Pakuda, the determinism of Gosara, the materialism of Ajita, the skepticism of Sanjaya, or the Jainism of Nigamta Nathaputta.

And, of course, it would have taught a different doctrine than traditional Brahmanism.

The Buddha did not derive his Buddhist teachings alone. He refined and systematized his own thought through battles with various thinkers.

Friendly rivalries among these numerous rivals have existed in every genre of music, both in the past and in the present. In fact, it is a type of history.

Jesus Christ also comes from within the context of Judaism.

And although today when we think of British theater, Shakespeare immediately comes to mind, at the time he too was in stiff competition with his rivals.

My favorite Dutch painter, Vermeer, was also greatly influenced by global trade relations, and moreover, there were many excellent painters in Delft, where he lived.

Dostoevsky, the great Russian writer, also admired Balzac and Pushkin, and had tremendous rivals in Tolstoy and Turgenev in his own time.

Mendelssohn, a German Jewish musical prodigy, also interacted with top figures from various fields, such as Goethe and the Brothers Grimm, from an early age and pursued his musical career while engaging in friendly competition with talented people.

The same is true of that Marx. HisThe Communist Manifesto.andCapitalism.is also the result of a madcap literary research and a battle with the revolutionaries and thinkers of his time. (Tristram HuntEngels, The Man Marx Called General.(See also.)

A genius is not born alone. The background of the times in which the genius is born and the presence of friends and rivals are indispensable. Ideas are decided on the battlefield, refined by each other, and the final survivor will be handed down to posterity as the "idea of genius. That is why we must study the historical background and learn about our rivals.

This is true not only in Buddhism, which I am studying with you now, but also in everything else. There are many things to learn from "geniuses," but if we see them only as the problem of the individual, we tend to end up saying, "That person is a genius, so he is different from ordinary people. However, if we learn about the background of the times and the existence of rivals, we will surely find something useful in our own lives as well. I believe this is the most interesting and useful aspect of learning about the lives of great people.

Well, I am a little off topic again, but I hope you have been able to see Buddha's rivals through this article. They are quite a strong and powerful group of people, but I hope that you have been able to catch a glimpse of the climate of the times.

In the following article, I would like to briefly consider what was innovative about the Buddha in light of the historical background and rivals we have seen so far.

Next Article.

Click here to read the previous article.

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