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Old 09-15-2007, 09:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

I can't really give a proper title to the question that I'm about to ask, for it is a rather lengthy question.

I've noticed something akin to a sort of discrepency while combing through information regarding Hinduism and Buddhism (well, not exactly a discrepency per se, depending on your view).

I study all sorts of religion in my free time, and I just so happen to come across the story of Arjuna and the Bhagavad Gita recently. What particularly caught my attention was Krishna's counsel to Arjuna about his wavering determination to face the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He tells Arjuna to uphold his duties in this world above all else. So, what does Krishna's advice have anything to do with Buddhism?

Well, Krishna is seen as an avatar of Vishnu, no? And according to some, Siddhartha was also seen as an avatar of Vishnu. Yet what Krishna told Arjuna through the Bhagavad Gita is contradicted through the teachings and life of Siddhartha, yet both are avatars of the same being. Yes, it can be said that Buddhism is separate from Hinduism, but it's true that the basis of Buddhism is derived from Hinduism. Not only that, but Siddhartha himself was already described in a number of Puranic texts as being an avatar of Vishnu.

Can anyone tell me this seemingly mismatch of information that I've found? Am I basing my question on faulty information? I hope I've phrased my question in an understandable manner. . .I'm not good at voicing my thoughts very well
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha


Hi and welcome to CR

Was the Buddha made an avatar of Vishnu in an attempt to bring “Buddhism” under the wing of “Hinduism” perhaps? Only a thought. If Siddhartha’s teaching was seen as a heretical path then maybe it was political shenanigans by the authorities of the time that tried to draw the sting of this new path by incorporating it as just another avatar?


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Old 09-15-2007, 09:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

True, I've thought of that. But assuming that Krishna and Siddhartha were avatars, how would one account for the Buddhist version of Krishna's story? And the Puranic descriptions of Buddha being another avatar of Vishnu, are these Puranic texts already in existence before the birth of Buddha? Or were they added on to "bring 'Buddhism' under the wing of 'Hinduism'"?
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

I don't see much resemblance between Krishna and Siddhartha at all. The behavior of Krishna in the stories deviate greatly from Siddhartha's teachings, imo.
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

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Originally Posted by raphiq View Post
True, I've thought of that. But assuming that Krishna and Siddhartha were avatars, how would one account for the Buddhist version of Krishna's story? And the Puranic descriptions of Buddha being another avatar of Vishnu, are these Puranic texts already in existence before the birth of Buddha? Or were they added on to "bring 'Buddhism' under the wing of 'Hinduism'"?
Hi again,

I’m only responding so you don’t think I’m ignoring your questions!

I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer to your last question was yes, as I’d suggested. However, beyond that there are more knowledgable folk on CR that can shed far more light on this than me (Agnideva for one).

s.
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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raphiq,

I prefer the theory that Gautama was an avatara of Amitabha Buddha. To me, the idea that Gautama was an avatara of Vishnu is only the musings of wishful-thinking Hindus. I see the positions of Amitabha Buddha and Vishnu in the Scheme of Things to be very different.
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

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Originally Posted by raphiq View Post
I study all sorts of religion in my free time, and I just so happen to come across the story of Arjuna and the Bhagavad Gita recently. What particularly caught my attention was Krishna's counsel to Arjuna about his wavering determination to face the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He tells Arjuna to uphold his duties in this world above all else. So, what does Krishna's advice have anything to do with Buddhism?

Well, Krishna is seen as an avatar of Vishnu, no? And according to some, Siddhartha was also seen as an avatar of Vishnu. Yet what Krishna told Arjuna through the Bhagavad Gita is contradicted through the teachings and life of Siddhartha, yet both are avatars of the same being. Yes, it can be said that Buddhism is separate from Hinduism, but it's true that the basis of Buddhism is derived from Hinduism. Not only that, but Siddhartha himself was already described in a number of Puranic texts as being an avatar of Vishnu.

Can anyone tell me this seemingly mismatch of information that I've found?
Hello Raphiq,

What you say about a mismatch above sounds quite correct to me - Krishna's advice in the Bhagavad-Gita has very little to do with Buddhist teachings. Especially as the majority of Buddhist paths do not believe in an Supreme God or saviour, whereas Krishna's teachings in the Gita conclude in Him advising Arjuna that surrender to God is the ultimate goal of all spiritual paths.

Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend. (BG 18.65)

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. (BG 18.66)


According the the Puranic texts of Hinduism, the Buddha is counted as one of the many avatars of Vishnu, and Krishna is also counted amongst the list of avatars. However, (from the perspective of Hinduism) Buddha's teachings are seen as heretical because he denied the authority of the Vedas. The Vaishnava traditions believe he deliberately preached this way as the Brahmin priests of India at the time were using certain parts of the Vedas as an excuse to slaughter animals - better for the populace to move away from the Vedas entirely and focus on nonviolence. That being seen as the main focus of Buddha's mission (amongst others).

The poet Jayadeva writes:

O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Buddha! All glories to You! O Buddha of compassionate heart, you decry the slaughtering of poor animals performed according to the rules of Vedic sacrifice.

To my understanding, this perspective is flattly denied by followers of Buddha. So you have two (among many) conflicting opinions depending on which sources you go to...

Personally I see Buddha's teachings as totally valid, but only up to a point. But then I'm not a Buddhist!

Hoping this is (kind of) what you were looking for?

Best Wishes,


... Neemai

P.S - This link may also be of interest: Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1 Chapter 3 Verse 24
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

yes, have to agree with neemai... Krsna's advice on the battlefield relates to the concept of varna-ashrama-dharma: man's place in the world, and the duties and responsibilities he has...

each man has a place, and when he is in that place, he needs to act in a manner which befits his station... there is no point in arming the pascifist, and there is no point moaning about going into battle if you're a warrior... this is your place... and, according to the place you are in, there are rules... it is the warrior's duty to protect the king, the shepherds duty to look after the sheep... if the warrior minds the sheep..? waste of time... for the shepherd to defend the king? pointless...

as for Buddha being an avatar of Visnu... if Vishnu is your supreme personality of God, then all are incarnations of Vishnu... so yes, Buddha would be too...

I have heard that Buddha was the ninth incarnation of Vishnu, and came in human form to teach man how wrong animal sacrifice was... yet... the only place I have heard this is in Prahbupada's books...lol...

regardless, traditionally Buddha does not teach about God- IMHO you can't really be a Hindu without a God... And so, if Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu, then he's a heretical version... as Neemai says, the goal of Hinduism, is to become aware of God, then praise and offer devotions, then hopefully you can one day unite with God, become one with them, (kind of)...

but then it starts to get complicated...

In some versions of buddhism, Buddha also has avatars! No longer is he just this man who sat under a tree, but no! He's a whole lineage onto himself!

There's Buddha Amitabha, (Vishnu, actually) Buddha Avalokitesvara (Lord Brahma, actually,) Buddha Manjushri (Lord Siva)... White Tara (Sarasvati)... the list goes on and yet... they are incarnations of Buddha, now, not Hindu Gods! Result!

again, it's all part of the same process... Religions come, religions go, yet the Gods remain... they just get some new clothes, The sun God becomes the creator god, the creator god becomes the father and goes on to become his own son...

or at least, that's my take on it..
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Old 09-17-2007, 03:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

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Originally Posted by Francis king View Post
I have heard that Buddha was the ninth incarnation of Vishnu, and came in human form to teach man how wrong animal sacrifice was... yet... the only place I have heard this is in Prahbupada's books...lol...
Lol - The first recording I have seen of this version is in Jayadeva's Dasavatara stotra, which is only really popular amongst the Vaishnava traditions.

The Vishnu Purana also gives an account of Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu, and shares some elements of this theory :

Vishnu Purana: Book III: Chapter XVII
Vishnu Purana: Book III: Chapter XVIII


Hari Om,

... Neemai
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

cheers neemai
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

Actually there are many similarities between Buddhism and Gita:

Initially, I didn't believe it but those who study Pali scriptures thoroughly see the similarities.

We do know that in Buddhism, Sariputta - the Dhamma Senapati - was in fact, Krishna himself:
Ghata Jataka - The Buddhist Story of Krishna

We also know that Sariputta was in particular sent to convert brahmins by using brahmanical thought to explain Buddhist ones:
Bhagwad Gita - Was it Written for Buddhists?
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

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.. traditionally Buddha does not teach about God- ..

First I would like to note that Buddhist were probably not traditionally bad at teaching about God.

Only after the missions settled down and blended into communities as traditions, did they start to suck at teaching about God over the generations, most likely. Thus current Buddhists suck at teaching about God if that is what you are noting, and they do suck at that IMO. Most of them should take lessons from Christianity.

We have Christians who go around asking people if they believe in God (maybe not in your area), whether or not that seems absurd. In the past I think the Buddhist missions were like that going east and west at one time. That difference in the abilities to deliver missions is most likely the 600-800 years difference in the time these religions were founded.

Secondly, if I have my facts straight, at one time weren`t all Vedic people Buddhists?, as the empire at the time converted to Buddhism. I don`t see how Hinduism (which is relatively a recent term and classification to begin with) could continue as we see today as Vedic movements in an absolute Buddhist imperial environment like that. I think it is more appropriate to state that the Vedic movements we see today are from variants of the India Buddhism of the past.

And finally I think Goutama revealed to us that there is a "Buddha nature" in all of us, and that in itself I believe was the way he emphasized about God. So I don`t know much about the BG, so I`m not exactly sure what you mean by Krishna and Goutama contradicting.. if I didn`t answer anything can someone clarify exactly what one means by Krishna and Goutama contradicting? IMO, the God in the Old Testament with the sacrifices and Jesus contradict as well, so maybe its something similar to that.

TK
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

Well well boudhayana is the avatar of lord vishnu not buddha buddha was an messanger of lord vishnu and one more avatar mean not the reincarniation but a subject from him lord narayan can never come on earth because of his super existence and let me tell how it goes what westren people call universe (galaxysnebulas stars planets etc ) that is mid and smallest world (dimention) of this universe there are 14 other worlds bigger then our and they have intercovered or envoloped each other like egg and this is one universe for hindus or brahmanda there are millions of brahmanda like this and lord vishnu is omnipotent in this millions of brahmanda so he is called akilanda koti brahmanda nayaka meaning tells one and only super strength and his appeareance having 4 arms indicates 4 yugas that is kritha youga, thretha yuga ,dwapara yuga,kali yuga and he holds sudarshana chakra indicates that every thing runs as per his order it may be an atom electorn to till stars to till koti brahmandas which rotates around him lotus indicates that he is the essence for all the souls and life for all lifes conch or panchajanya indicates that he the vibration of om where om is a vibration of all activity it is said by rishishs like kashayapa and others each and every partical inside a neutron in subject to electron vibrates om to keep its strength and energy to control electron and comming to mace this indicates he is the strength for truth and righteous without him truth and righteous loses its existence one can see a image of lord narayan as lord vishnu yoga nidhra. In any search sites
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: krishna, bhagavad gita, and buddha

Well this thread interested me even though I'm not a Hindu or a Buddhist but a similar kind of issue arises in the Baha'i Faith where we recognize both Krishna and the Buddha as what we call Manifestations of God and so the question arises from some people how can Buddha be a Manifestation of God since there appears to be an absence of the mention of God in the Buddha's teachings and so on..

From reading some of the Puranas years ago I recall the Buddha is presented as an Avatar but in a negative sense as Someone Who may try to draw Hindus away from their religion as a Tempter or a Trickster or something of the sort..

Many Baha'is see this issue as one of what was required during the dispensation of the Buddha.. that Hinduism may have degenerated in a sense to a religion that had class or caste stratifications..
The Buddha taught against caste.

Animal sacrifices in Vedic rituals were also opposed by the Buddha.

The Brahmin priesthood had something of a spiritual "strangle hold" on people as sacrifices were encouraged for the progress of the Atman after death...

The Buddha taught against an immutable Atman and focused on selflessness..

Sanskrit was the sacerdotal language of Hinduism and the Buddha encouraged the use of Prakrit..

The Buddha not teaching about God has been seen as more of an "agnostic" approach and some see it as not atheism but rather as a negative theology.. teaching what God is not.."Neti ..Neti".

The Buddha was reluctant to be identified with either the materialists of ancient India or the theocentric schools of His day. So He had a distinct mission to accomplish that seems to have targeted the Brahmin caste of His time and if you read the Dhammapada it focuses on what a true Brahmana is.

So that the approach of the Buddha is different from that of the Bhagavad Gita.. and this may be due to the different needs and issues of different times and developements.

Inversely what Sankaracharya taught was a response to Buddhist philosophy that had developed and in some ways were they not opposite sides of the same coin? but I've written enough..
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