Abstract: This is a critical comparison of two important figures, one ancient and one contemporary, in the Indian religious landscape: Gotama Buddha and Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. Such comparison of their key ideas and practices is warranted for two reasons. First, Sarkar, a neo-Hindu thinker and reformer, has both praised the Buddha's humanism and criticized the Buddhist doctrine of the Four Noble Truths, and it is of interest to examine exactly where Sarkar stands in relation to the Buddha and to Buddhism as a whole. It is particularly interesting to examine in what ways Sarkar's teachings are an attempt to find an alternative to Buddhism. Second, it is of academic interest to explore the accuracy of Sarkar's interpretations of the Buddha's teachings and the problem of their acceptability to Buddhists. This essay argues for the commensurability of the Sarkarian and Buddhist emancipatory ethic despite real doctrinal and practical differences, and suggests that Sarkarian and Buddhist approaches can each contribute to the alleviation of human suffering both individual and collective.
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Apr 27, 2011