Scroll down for the post on ‘stream and sequence’: the case of buddhism is a classic example. The stream of Shaivism stretches back millennia while buddhism suddenly appears in the Axial period. Grasping this point can help to explain the confusion many suffer in the parallel placement of ‘hinduism’ and ‘buddhism’. The term ‘hinduism’ should be dropped and replaced with specific cases of the descendants of ‘primordial shaivism’, among them Jainism and buddhism and the many religions descending from the ‘religion of Shiva’. This portrait may be oversimplified!
What we call ‘secular’ modernity started in antiquity, in Axial Age Greece, and in buddhism we see a first remarkable case of the the ‘rationalization of religion’.
The new atheists should take note: the danger of ‘rationalization’ is the contraction of the original ‘reserve dna’ of the source phenomenon. Some have always thought this rationalization in buddhism was a case of ‘lost in translation’. But the world of buddhism was almost as rich as the original. As this video hints the original source of the world of the buddhas was the ancient and richly resonant world of the earliest yogis, visible in the snapshot called the ‘shiva seal’. Indian religion is always resonant with this mysterious earlier age of religion.
The rationaliztion of the new atheists is so extreme that one must fear it will founder in confusion. It is important to see the way that advance can risk decline, and the fact that such ‘primitive’ (ha!) stages of civilization produced the most depth in terms of states of consciousness.