View Full Version : Hellenic Buddhism?

January 28th, 2008, 09:17 PM
I wasn't sure where to put this, here or the Recons forum, so if you want to move it, please feel free, but recently, I was browsing another Pagan forum, and found this thread, http://www.mind-n-magick.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1200479120 and the poster seems to be forming some kind of Hellenic Buddhism or reconstructing it, but do you think they can be mixed or were they mixed in the past.

Here's a list of their associations they've made between a Greek God and a Buddhist Boddsvata(sp?, I know my spelling sucks)/protector and Hindu Gods:

The list are:-
1. Zeus Indra/Sakra ( canonical association )
2. Hera Indrani ( made up associaton )
3. Apollo Surya/Mitra ( canonical association )
4. Athena the Defender of Buddhism ( Athena does not appeared to have been syncretised with any local or Buddhist deity) ( this is real association ) or can be seen as Athena Visvavat ( made up )
5. Artemis Olailat ( canonical association )
6. Herakles Vajrapani ( canonical association )
7. Tyche Hariti ( canonical association )
8. Demeter Pusan ( made up associaton )/Prithivi ( canonical association )
9. Hephaestus Tvastri ( ?? possible canonical association )
10. Aphrodite Satyojata ( made up association )
11. Poseidon Antariksa ( canonical association )/Varuna ( canonical associaton )
12. Hermes Savitra ( canonical association ) /Amsa ( made up )

How do you feel about these associations?, personally, I'm not sure how compatiable they are. This is my own opinion and limited understanding, but in Buddhism, the focus isn't on deities (although they are a part of some traditions like Vajrayna/Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism and others), and also, Gods aren't seen as immortal/eternal, are they?, in the Hellenic religion, the Gods are immortal, what seperates them from us is they are the deathless ones, so it just seems that's a really big obstacle to overcome, IMO, anyway.

BTW, if Hellenic Buddhism was established in the past (or if it's just a modern creation), are there any good sites or books on it, as I'd like to learn a bit more about it.

Anyway, thanks for any help :).

January 29th, 2008, 01:58 AM
Theres a really cool Greco-Indo Kingdom called Bactria in what was once part of Macedonia's empire. A couple of Alexandria's as well as many converts to the local religions.

ow, although I can't say I agree with the associations theyve come up with... there is a historical precedent of Buddhism and Hellenism existing together.

There's a much more detailed link between Vedic Gods and Greek Gods... such as Zeus/Indra, Hephaestus/Agni, Poseidon/Varuna, Helios/Surya ... etc.

January 29th, 2008, 02:06 AM
Wikipedia entry on Bactria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bactria)

Greco-Buddhist Art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhist_art)

Emperor Ashoka's Edicts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edicts_of_Ashoka#Proselytism_beyond_India) shows how Buddhism was sent through out the middle east.

Hinduism and Buddhism in Greek Philosophy (http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/marlow.htm) - an interesting article on the affects of Hinduism and Buddhism in greek philosophy.

I find it interesting when one talks about hellenism, they automaticly think of the mythology... but when looking at classical philosophy from Greece, we see a lot of commonality to Buddhist thought on ideas such as platonic love and compassion. Where I dont necessarily think that the Gods are compatible with Bodhisattvas... becausee... Bodhisattvas are 'immortal' in the sense that they have one foot out the door. Gods are immortal in both traditions yes, but are seen as merely 'trapped' in place.

January 29th, 2008, 02:32 AM
Baktria was one of the Hellenistic Kingdoms that were heir to Alexander's empire, and as such syncretism is almost a birthright.
however it should be noted that religion in the Hellenistic age was quite different from that of the Greek classical age, and so the marriage is tenuous at best, in my opinion.

personally, i think a stronger connection can be made between classical Greek mythology and Hinduism, and this can be followed further by reading Richard Caldwell's book 'The Origin of the Gods', a rather peculiar psychoanalytic view of the Greek creation myths.
in it Caldwell makes some enticing comparisons between the Greek theogony and the Hindu myth of fire and water, even conflating the Greek term ambrosia with the Sanskrit word amrta (immortality).

January 29th, 2008, 09:10 PM
Thanks for all the info and also that book recommendation, Theres, I'll try and check it out :).