Fw: Item# 4

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sat Nov 23 00:12:57 CST 2002

On Fri, 22 Nov 2002, Dr. P.K. Nair wrote:



> November 29, 2001: This interesting article is by
> Rationalist International, an Indian-based society of nonreligious secular
> humanists who believe in a scientific approach to life devoid of theology.

Why are we relying on self-avowed atheists for information on this?  How
do we know they are representing the facts correctly?

> In this article they accuse India's Christian missionaries of orchestrating
> the recent conversion of Dalits, or "untouchables," not to Christianity, but
> to Buddhism.

Buddhism died out in India many centuries ago.  Today it only survives
amongst Tibetan exiles or in places like Ladakh or Sikkim which are in the
sphere of Tibetan cultural influence.

The followers of Ambedkar are a political movement not a religion.
They are about as much Buddhist as Farrakhans' supporters in the US are
Muslim or the various extreme Protestants who think they are the "original
Israelites" are Jewish.

> The hidden agenda, believes Rationalist International, is to
> make mass conversion acceptable to the Government and the media. Conversion
> to Buddhism provides the necessary method, because under Indian law Buddhism
> is regarded as a part of Hinduism,

Even a cursory glance at shastras shows that on a philosophical level,
Astikas of whatever darshan were vehemently opposed to Buddhism.  How did
such a stupid ideas as Buddhism is part of Hinduism ever become part of
law?  What are Indian citizens doing to repeal that law?

> and conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism
> does not set off any legal sanctions or even much concern.

Why should any kind of conversions lead to legal sanctions?  I guess they
are refering to scheduled caste status only holds for "Hindus"  Why isn't
anyone loudly poining out the hypocrisy of such a system?

> The Christians
> reason that once a number of these conversions to Buddhism take place, then
> mass conversion will be acceptable to Christianity also. In reports seen by
> HPI, Christian organizations have reported these conversions ceremonies to
> supporters in the West as including both conversions to Buddhism and
> Christianity, but in fact, only conversion to Buddhism occurred -- so far.
> Even so, the existence of these other reports shows the Christian hand in
> the event. Christian evangelists hope that they can convert all of India's
> Dalit -- some 200 million people.

Actually they hope to convert all of Indias' people.  But they only
realistically think they have a chance amongst the desperately poor.

where did the 200 million people come from?  Are they a monolithic mass?

>  Part of their plan, enacted in the latest
> edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia,

Again is the "World christian Encyclopedia" a reliable source of
information?  According to its' website, it was "Compiled by over 500
experts representing the Ecumenical, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox,
Evangelical, Charismatic, academic, other world-religionist,
non-Christian, and secular worlds."  It hardly seems like a master plan
for world domination to me.

Interestingly this page: http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm
which also claims to use data from the World Christian Encyclopedia claims
that the number of Christians in the world is dropping.  the number of
Evangelicals is increasing but more it seems at the expense of more
liberal Christians.

> is to separate out the Dalits
> as of "tribal" faith and not as part of Hinduism.

What is tribal faith?  what is Hinduism?  who makes the definitions?

> In the New Delhi
> conversion ceremony, the Rationalist's report states, thousands denounced
> all Hindu Gods and rituals,

The chief draw of Buddhism for the Ambedkarites is that supposedly it was
"against the caste system" and Devas and rituals etc.  But ask one of them
to show some evidence of that and they will be on shaky ground indeed.
Take for example Ashoka the Buddhist king par excellance.  In his
Shilalekhas the king (who refers to himself as Devanamapriya -- Beloved of
the Gods) commands his subjects to respect "Brahmanas and Shramanas."  You
can make a case that Buddhists gave less importance to caste than the
Shrauta ideology but you can say the same about Vaishnavism or Shaivism or
even Advaita Vedanta for that matter.

Buddhism in the Indian period was strictly a matter for monks and the
sangha coexisted with whatever was the popular religion of the place.  So
there is no basis for saying Buddhism is against this God or that.
Particularly ours.  In fact if you look anywhere in Southeast-Asia, there
is evidence of "Hindu"  culture.

As I mentioned before Astikas (a more accurate term than Hindu which is
essentially meaningless) are opposed to Buddhists on a philosophical
level.  As far as day to day life is concerned, they pretty much behaved
the same.  Sometimes there were sectarian battles between the two but then
sometimes there were sectarian battles between rival Vaishnavas and
Shaivas too.

And if you want to talk about ritual again look at actual Buddhist
cultures and you'll see they are just as ritualistic (or not) as we are
and for exactly the same reasons.

> the belief in reincarnation,

Again from a Buddhist point of view this is ridiculous.  Reincarnation is
just as much a part of Buddhist philosophy as ours.

> and raised their hands in agreement to become Buddhist.

Has there been any research about how many remained "Buddhist"?  What
proselytizers often don't want to admit is the level of back-sliding that
occurs after the initial enthusiasm has worn off.

> Official organizers of the Delhi
> meeting was the "All India Conference of Scheduled Castes and Tribes," an
> umbrella organization of government employees with a membership of more than
> three million.

and where did that number come from?

I wrote this just to illustrate the way we ought to be looking at such
situations and the kind of knowledge we should have in order to implement
effective solutions.  But this is way of topic for advaita-l and I hope
readers will spend less time looking over other peoples shoulders and more
time trying to learn and do what our religion asks of us.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list