Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Druids and the Buddha

Around 7000 years ago, maybe a little more, a busy group of tribes located North West of India began to move South and West. Their members were speaking a language called Indo-European, which later gave birth to most antic European languages – Latin, Greek, Celtic, Germanic;  to their modern followers, Italian, Spanish, French, Gaelic, German and English and also to the Sanskrit and Pali used in India when Siddharta Gautama was teaching what was to become Buddhism, around 500 BC.

This week we celebrated St Patrick's Day.

Patrick is credited for having converted Pagan Ireland to Christianity. In order to do that, Patrick had to fight the powerful Druids.
The Druids were the priests of the Ancient Irish. Their name derives from the Indo-european root *Vid, "to know", and the intensive prefix dru. According to this the druids - Dru-Vid - were the "very wise and learned ones".

The word Buddha itself means “awakened”. It is the past participle of the verb buddh : “To awake, to know, to perceive”. This verb derives from the same Indo-European root *Vid which gave Video and Wisdom in Latin and Germanic based languages.

So on an etymological standpoint, the Druids are related to Buddha, very closely...

We try to follow the path of Gautama Buddha based on translations from Pali to Chinese to Japanese to Modern English (or French...). In the process of these multiple translations, some meaning might indeed have been lost.

Buddhism may in fact not be so alien to our Western civilization than other religions. Because it came to us all the way from the East, it is considered exotic, but it does not have to be this way.
The historical Buddha taught in a language closer to ours than to Japanese. And if we could access and directly translate some of the original Pali texts, we might in some cases have a slightly different and possibly more accurate interpretation of what he was trying to tell us.

Were there any Leprechauns in India ?

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