Sunday, June 21, 2009

Democritus and Buddha?

It seems to me likely that Democritus and Buddha met eachother in India in the 5th century B.C.

Hippolytus says Democritus met with the gymnosophists, naked gurus, in India, which in the 5th century B.C. was none other than Gautama Buddha.

Having gone all the way to India, it is unlikely that Democritus wouldn't have sought out the Buddha himself.

"I have roamed over the most ground of any man of my time, investigating the most remote parts. I have seen the most skies and lands, and I have heard of learned men in very great numbers. And in composition no one has surpassed me; in demonstration, not even those among the Egyptians who are called Arpenodaptae, with all of whom I lived in exile up to eighty years." -- Democritus, polymath, 4th century B.C.

"One need hardly mention Pythagoras, Plato, or Democritus. We are told that their desire for knowledge propelled them to the four corners of the earth. Those who cannot understand this have never loved any great and worthy object of knowledge." -- Marcus T. Cicero, philosopher, 1st century B.C.

"This was Democritus of Abdera, son of Damasippus, who met with many gymnosophists [naked gurus] among the Indians and with priests and astrologers in Egypt and with the Magi in Babylon." -- Hippolytus, priest, Refutation of All Heresies, 2nd century

"He [Democritus] said that the ordered worlds are boundless and differ in size, and that in some there is neither sun nor moon, but that in others, both are greater than with us, and yet with others more in number. And that the intervals between the ordered worlds are unequal, here more and there less, and that some increase, others flourish and others decay, and here they come into being and there they are eclipsed. But that they are destroyed by colliding with one another. And that some ordered worlds are bare of animals and plants and all water." -- Hippolytus, priest, Refutation of All Heresies, 2nd century

"Some also say that he [Democritus] made acquaintance with the gymnosophists [naked gurus] in India, and that he went to Aethiopia." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century

"And Aristoxenus, in his Historic Commentaries, says that Plato wished to burn all the writings of Democritus that he was able to collect; but that Amyclas and Cleinias, the Pythagoreans, prevented him, as it would do no good; for that copies of his books were already in many hands. And it is plain that that was the case; for Plato, who mentions nearly all the ancient philosophers, nowhere speaks of Democritus; not even in those passages where he has occasion to contradict his theories, evidently, because he said that if he did, he would be showing his disagreement with the best of all philosophers...." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century

"... a treatise on the Magnet. These are his [Democritus's] miscellaneous works." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century

"Some authors also give a list of some separate treatises which they collect from his [Democritus's] Commentaries. A treatise on the Sacred Letters seen at Babylon; another on the Sacred Letters seen at Meroe; the Voyage round the Ocean; a treatise on History...." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century

"Expressing this in other terms, the Buddha's period of teaching activity was in the second half of the fifth century B.C. perhaps extending into the first quarter of the fourth century." -- L.S. Cousins, historian, 1996

"As for Democritus, Plato notoriously fails altogether to mention either him or his writings, though (especially in the Timaeus) he arguably betrays knowledge of them, if only indirectly." -- Paul Cartledge, philosopher, 1999

Cousins, L.S., The Dating of the Historical Buddha: A Review Article, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Series 3, 6.1, Pages 57-63, 1996

I took that photograph by the way :P


Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Christos = Krishna. There would also be traders etc who would peddle stories for similar and finance travel.
Interestin' that some of the Geeks sic would stoop to bookburning! Arcadians, Danaides and Jew ca Lion.
Pity he did not pick up on the fact that Egypt was an Indian colony. Or maybe that was one of his writings that they did destroy?

What is it that some people want to keep others ignorant? There are too few who read as it is.

I just read some stuff on EU forum from Total Science, who seems cool.

Jeffery Keown said...

When I first read "Pity he did not pick up on the fact that Egypt was an Indian colony,"
I snorted a little, but then I started poking around. The similarities are there. Unfortunately, all I could find were pages and pages of cherry-picked quotes.

I think there are many cases of destroyed archives of old wisdom; Alexandria, for example. But we have to be careful not to just take any "Ancient Wisdom" and
ascribe it as "Science." As Oils has been pointing out lately, modern man likes to prove what the ancients knew.

Like any dog owner knows his animal has emotion, but it takes a research grant and some experimentation to make it into a theory. Some stuff, like the Native American assertion that certain creator gods live on a given mountain in Arizona, don't deserve study. This is in my admittedly limited, anti-religeous POV, you should note, and may not reflect the views of other researchers.

In all, I do not think there is a bias toward "hiding" knowledge. It's a huge thing to overturn theory and we all want to do it. But in order to overturn it, you must work within it until evidence mounts and the old theory gives way to the new thinking. How much goofy biology preceeded Darwin? How much better off was biology after him?

Similarly, Newton was replaced by Einstein and he, in turn enhanced by Hawking. Even now, Hawking is slowly being eclipsed by better data.

What you truly want to find can't hide; but only if it exists.

OilIsMastery said...


Total Science is yours truly ... :P

OilIsMastery said...


May I tease you for just one second without scaring you away because I do appreciate your comments?

Can you guess what Newton, Einstein, and Hawking all have in common?


Jeffery Keown said...

I do not leave because you scare me in the "frightened of" sense. I leave because if I don't cool off for a few days, my actions will be... um... actionable.

As long as you don't answer something along the lines of "Creationist Nutbags" you're okay. I realize some of them had religous delusions.


Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Cool! I read Very interesting, put a few things into a much better "fit" mentally. I have to say I liked your style on the mainstream astronomy site. Those guys just could not take the idea that "another", more coherent theory could exist. But you were aping the rather maddening circular logic displayed by the non-thinking. Nice job!

Constantinople had many mysteries and libraries had to be hand copied. Laborious.

Religion like most human institutions, as Gautama knew and preached, decays and becomes corrupted.

You say there have been no organized attempts to suppress knowledge? Really? There are loads of examples.

Einstein is not a hero of mine. His work has been hyped too much.
Hawking is just a mathematician. He plays with numbers and is willing to divide by zero..... but then MND will drive anyone mad. He is an icon, but his mastery f mathematics and cockeyed theory does not mean I must believe as he does. Belief.
After the theory comes the test and then it becomes an engineering challenge. We then call it technology.
Fusion is an electrical reality. Peeling sellotape as Euros call it, releases x-radiation. We are surrounded by EM. All our cells rejoice in EM.
The proof of the pudding is not in theory or mental masturbation. It is in the adoption of the technology! EM has been held back, by BigPharm among others. Desiring to follow other peoples rules to please them and earn stamps is a petty form of enslavement. Not that you are guilty of that. Freedom is intoxicating and you should try it!

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Oil is mastery. The clue may be in the name? the Great game requires that people compromise their principles for a better place. The end justifies the means. The power behind the USA is consistent, given what "runningcosicantfly" has set out as meted out to the Cherokee. This power doesn't care how many are hurt. This Depression is timed. Oil is how they maintain power.

Jeffery Keown said...

Off Topic somewhat... but here's an example of modern scientists honoring the ancients... Astronomy picture of the day for June 19th features the Dunhuang Star Atlas
created around 649 AD or so.

The site describes the atlas as one of the most impressive documents in the history of astronomy.

The positions of the stars depicted in the hand-drawn atlas are accurate to within a few degrees.

Racism, indeed.

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