Buddha and Tamil Saint on Good thoughts!


Buddha Daibutsu, Kamakura
–London Swaminathan—

Post No 717 dated 21 November 2013

Buddha was great but he said nothing new. Whatever he said was already known to the Hindus. But his emphasis was on certain aspects of existing Hindu principles. Some people were more into rituals in his days. Others were more into yoga and meditation. Buddha insisted only eight important things. He never contradicted the existing things but complemented to them. If one reads Dhammapada, one will feel reading a Hindu scripture. I compare below some of the Buddha’s teachings with that of Tirukkural in Tamil whose author Tiruvalluvar lived at least 1000 years after the Buddha. Gautama Buddha lived in the sixth century before Christ and Valluvar lived in the fifth century after Christ.

Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural was called Tamil Veda by his contemporaries. One of the poets who praised him for his contribution said, “Sanskrit is famous because of the Vedas and Tamil is famous because of Tirukkural”.
Buddhist Holy book is called Dhamma (Dharma)pada. That is the first word of Bhagavad Gita (Dharma kshetre) and first section of Tirukkural (Araththupaal)!

Dharma cannot be translated into English with one simple word!

Here are the words of Buddha:

“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.

If a man speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering follows him as the wheel of the cart follows the beast that draws the cart.

If a man speaks or acts with a pure mind, joy follows him as his own shadow”.
-Dhammapada 1-1/2

It is interesting to compare it with Lord Krishna’s words in Gita (6-5)
“Let a man lift himself by himself; let him not degrade himself; for the Self alone is the friend of the self and the Self alone is the enemy of the self.

In the chapter on Hatred, Valluvar said,

“The evil of hatred is the grief of griefs. If it is rooted out, you can enjoy the joy of joys (854)
Nip in the bud the feeling of hostility and you prosper well. For one is fast ruined by fomenting hatred (858)

Out of hatred arise all evils; the smile of good will usher in peace and prosperity (860)

Buddha said,
For hate is not conquered by hate; hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal (1-5)

Valluvar said,
The best punishment for those who do evil to you, is to shame them by returning good for evil (Kural 314).

Jesus said,
Whoever strikes thee on the right cheek,
Turn to him the other also. (Matt 5,39)
Great men think alike!

Read other articles in Great men think alike series; also One Minute Interview with the Buddha, Lord Krishna (in English), Tiruvalluvar (in Tamil).

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