1st Edition

Classical Buddhism, Neo-Buddhism and the Question of Caste

Edited By

Pradeep P. Gokhale




ISBN 9780815381679
Published October 22, 2020 by Routledge India
326 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book examines the interface between Buddhism and the caste system in India. It discusses how Buddhism in different stages, from its early period to contemporary forms—Theravāda, Mahāyāna, Tantrayāna and Navayāna—dealt with the question of caste. It also traces the intersections between the problem of caste with those of class and gender. The volume reflects on the interaction between Hinduism and Buddhism: it looks at critiques of caste in the classical Buddhist tradition while simultaneously drawing attention to the radical challenge posed by Dr B. R. Ambedkar’s Navayāna Buddhism or neo-Buddhism. The essays in the book further compare approaches to varṇa and caste developed by modern thinkers such as M. K. Gandhi and S. Radhakrishnan with Ambedkar’s criticisms and his departures from mainstream appraisals.

With its interdisciplinary methodology, combining insights from literature, philosophy, political science and sociology, the volume explores contemporary critiques of caste from the perspective of Buddhism and its historical context. By analyzing religion through the lens of caste and gender, it also forays into the complex relationship between religion and politics, while offering a rigorous study of the textual tradition of Buddhism in India. This book will be useful to scholars and researchers of Indian philosophy, Buddhist studies, Indology, literature (especially Sanskrit and Pāli), exclusion and discrimination studies, history, political studies, women studies, sociology, and South Asian studies.

Table of Contents

Foreword: caste in classical and contemporary Buddhism

GAIL OMVEDT

Introduction

PRADEEP P. GOKHALE

PART I Classical Buddhism and caste

1 Buddha’s attitude towards the caste system as available in Pāli texts

BIMALENDRA KUMAR

2 Caste in classical Indian philosophy: some ontological problems

PRABAL KUMAR SEN

3 Epistemological foundations of caste identities: a review of Buddhist critique of classical orthodox Indian realism

AJAY VERMA

4 Casting away the caste: a Buddhist standpoint in the Vimalaprabhā commentary on the Kālacakra tantra

SHRIKANT BAHULKAR

PART II Neo-Buddhism: Ambedkar on caste, class and gender

5 Buddha and Ambedkar on caste: a comparative overview

MAHESH A. DEOKAR

6 Neo-Buddhism, Marxism and the caste question in India

GOPAL GURU

7 Ambedkar’s critique of patriarchy: interrogating at intersection of caste and gender

PRATIMA PARDESHI

PART III Hinduism and Buddhism: interaction, conflict and beyond

8 Buddhism and Hindu society: some observations from medieval Marathi literature

SHRIKANT BAHULKAR

9 The Buddhist past as a cultural conflict: Ambedkar’s exhumation of Indian history

UMESH BAGADE

10 Gandhi and Ambedkar on caste

VALERIAN RODRIGUES

PART IV Religion, modernity and Navayāna Buddhism

11 Social solidarity or individual perfection: conceptions of religion in Ambedkar and Radhakrishnan

KANCHANA MAHADEVAN

12 Religion, caste and modernity: Ambedkar’s reconstruction of Buddhism

P. KESAVA KUMAR

13 Ambedkar and modern Buddhism: continuity and discontinuity

PRADEEP P. GOKHALE

Appendix I: Vajrasūci

SANGHASEN SINGH

Appendix II: Vajrasūci and its reverberations

R. C. DHERE

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Editor(s)

Biography

Pradeep P. Gokhale is Honorary Adjunct Professor at the Department of Pali, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India. He has 31 years of postgraduate teaching and research experience in Philosophy at Savitribai Phule Pune University, and was Dr B. R. Ambedkar Research Professor at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath (Varanasi) for six years. He has written in diverse areas such as Indian epistemology and logic; the schools of classical Indian philosophy such as Buddhism, Lokāyata, Yoga and Jainism; Indian moral and social philosophy; Indian philosophy of religion; contemporary Buddhism and Ambedkar studies. His research interests have focused on the interface between orthodox and heterodox Indian thought, including between Nyāya and Buddhist logical thought. His published works include Inference and Fallacies Discussed in Ancient Indian Logic with Special Reference to Nyāya and Buddhism (1992) and Lokāyata/Cārvāka: A Philosophical Inquiry (2015), apart from six books in Marathi and the edited volume The Philosophy of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (2008).