Nalanda dialogue: dates rescheduled

Readers will remember the “Walking down the footsteps of the Buddha”, for which we published an invitation by Debajyoti Gangopadhyay here. Now Debajyoti informed me that due to circumstances beyond his control the dates have been shifted to 16th to 18th of February 2018.

About elisa freschi

My long-term program is to make "Indian Philosophy" part of "Philosophy". You can follow me also on my personal blog: elisafreschi.com, on Academia, on Amazon, etc.

5 thoughts on “Nalanda dialogue: dates rescheduled

  1. Thanks Elisa ! Unfortunately I could not respond to your question following the first announcement , though my revered colleague Mr. Bulu Imam responded to it . I will soon get back here with my present standpoint behind conducting this Paadayatra .

  2. Well Elisa! You asked me to tell about what my theory of the ethnic influences is based on and do I consider this consistent with Brokhorst’s greater Magadha hypothesis. Frankly speaking, I have no Theory yet apart from some sporadic information from different sources and I have not gone through Brokhorst’s hypothesis.
    Story of Buddha is familiar to all of us in India as a part of our primary level school curriculum – how a Kshatriya elite left his royal comfort at the age of 29 after seeing human sufferings. A place near Nepal Bihar border is still held as the location where the sensitive Prince is said to have left his royal identity in search of something beyond.
    These are the well known parts of the popular story. But why did he come to South Bihar all the way from the North! May be because Gaya (Magadha) had been already popular as a place of ascetic activities different from North! But the issue is not with Gaya. I had been staying in Hazaribag for the last 15 years or so – a small town in Jharkhand surrounded by forests and hills. This is a significant part of South Bihar, geographically very different from the North – not having the big rivers or fertile agricultural lands like North. A vast portion of this region is still densely forested with majority of tribal population like the Santhal , Munda , Orao , Ho , Birhore , Asura .. They had migrated here possibly before 3000 years or so from different part of the-then West India as well as from outside .. But I am neither a cultural anthropologist, nor a linguist! This information is important for understanding the early Knowledge dynamics as well as recipe in connection with Buddha’s original teaching. Though there are hardly any written account (one of the obvious reasons may be due to absence of script of any tribal language), my tribal friends and colleagues still talk about the story of their early migration! There is no script yet of any of the tribal languages. Everything is in their active memory which is being transferred through generation as folklore and anecdotes… They even don’t believe in preserving memory in any tangible form! They seem to believe in anitya and continuity without strict affiliation to Identity! It is curious to note that the glimpses of the episodes of the wandering Prince before as well as after being Buddha are still in different tribal myths. The Buddha had been captured there in disguises of different names.
    In effect different forms of tribal connection of Buddha are sporadically evident here which are not yet a part of the received history of Buddha’s life! Mainstream history never talks about this geographical region in relation with the preparatory stages of a wandering Prince to become Buddha.
    This is one of the prime motivations behind the Paadayatra – a token walk to communicate message about the need to retelling the early history of Indian Philosophy as a whole which seems to be markedly different from its mainstream versions.
    Another is, at least more specifically for me, is about the audience of Catuskoti . Buddha himself is well known to have preached about Catuskoti in Dialogical form. But his standpoint was basically about the metaphysical questions (remember the Buddha’s stance in response to the 10 questions of queen Mallika of Koshal regarding jagat and Atma!)… What always fascinates me is his devout skepticism about the metaphysical issues.
    But what seems to be more important to note is the appearance of the non-standard ‘both’ option among the questions (one of the questions was, whether someone can be both in Living and non-living state after death! ) An acceptance of possibility of departure from the common sense ontology seems to be widespread among his audience during this time..
    Wherefrom this tendency of departure did stem? The greater contemporary audience of South Bihar and adjacent Uttar Pradesh outside the Vedic fold was perhaps used to with this kind of options beyond flat binary. Of course later Buddhist developments in further large scale, while combating with their non-Buddhists neighbors, could not preserve the original flavor of Buddha’s skepticism. However, we are more inclined to think that the geographical extension of Hazaribag and around was more supportive (compared to North) to incubate this type of non-standard logic. Of course, present India after 2500 years of Buddha is f-a-r from entertaining this kind of option other than strict binaries.
    But nothing prevent me to believe that the serenity of the river Mohani and around following which Siddhartha possibly walked to Urubela ( Gaya) still preserve the vibrations of the virgin thought and possibility to get beyond the standard binaries to Sunyata !

  3. congratulations for conceiving one more interesting thought as you are used to,this time on the historical Buddha,
    I am very much interested in the possible knowledge available from the local sources, myth,folklore and hearsay, in whatever form they are still in force,
    I agree with you the main stream philosophical traditions try to epitomize everything in a holistic fashion,ignoring the contributions of the background from where the philosophy of the Buddha had emerged!
    I am curious about the available traditional stories about the Buddha, from the tribal groups and other communities,
    thanks for planning this paadayaatra!
    I am looking forward to it,
    M.V.Krishnayya
    rtd,prof,philosophy,andhra university,visakhapatnam,AP

  4. Thanks Professor Krishnayya ! Thanks for your interest in Paadayatra ..The unknown parts outside the mainstream story of Buddha is really compelling to revise many of our popular understandings about the early knowledge dynamics , particularly in Bihar .I think people having knowledge about the Tribal languages and migration detail ( at least reasonably ) can have make more sense of it . Alas ! I don’t know Tribal languages . But one of the most alarming aspects of the whole situation is gradual death of the Tribal languages . The new generation of the tribes I know speaks Hindi ! And I am afraid , if this is not taken care of , within next 30/40 years or so hardly anyone will be left to understand tribal languages let alone the possibility to unearth the story of Buddha in this Languages ..Though quite unfortunate , but the end of Tribal languages seems to be already in the sight . So one of the collateral messages of this Paadayatra is also to propagate this awareness of End . All the best !

  5. Congratulations to the organisers of the Padyatra.
    I will try my best to be participate in the Walk.
    my best wishes!!!

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