‘Buddhist philosophies are a way of life’

Express News Service, 4th April 2013

CHENNAI , India -- A day-long national seminar titled ‘Philosophical Revisit to Buddhism in Tamil Nadu’ was organised by the Department of Philosophy, University of Madras, here on Wednesday. The seminar focused on how Buddhism forayed into Tamil Nadu.

Inaugurating the seminar D Raja, MP and National Secretary of the Communist Party of India, said, “Earlier all the Dalit colonies in northern Tamil Nadu had the photos of Buddha and Ambedkar. During my early years as a school student, I came to know about Buddha and Ambedkar through their birth anniversaries celebrated by the people of those colonies. Their birthdays were celebrated like a festival. Later I was introduced to the principles of Karl Marx through one of my school teachers. Then in my college days I came to know about Iyothee Thass, who organised the first conference on Buddha’s teaching in Tamil Nadu. Thus I am shaped by the thoughts of both communism and Buddhism.”

He added, “India made the first and foremost contribution to the world of philosophy in the form of Buddha. Buddha doesn’t care about the existence of god or soul. His only problem was human beings. He believed that through his teaching, humans can walk in a good path. The principles of both Buddha and Karl Marx are more or less equal. Ambedkar was the first person who tried to build a link between Buddha and Marx.”

“Buddha renounced everything. He went to people and spoke to them in their own language. He lived as a common man. He lived for the common man and so he too is a fighter. His philosophies are not religious principles, but a new way of life. We are influenced by western studies and hence we are not aware about Buddhist principles. The great irony in today’s scenario with regard to Buddhism is, in Myanmar Buddhist monks fought against the junta. But in Sri Lanka the scenario is different. There Buddha is bleeding,” he concluded.

Around 150 students from various colleges of the State participated in the seminar and nearly 20 papers were presented.