I have encountered statements such as these literally hundreds of times, such as this reply I came across just yesterday: “Of course I'm an atheist! Buddhism does not depend on idiotic Hindu superstitions.” Confirming yet again among so many other reasons why it has been said “were you to leave dung upon your doorstep would you expect aught but flies to appear before you?” Buddhism today is in name only, it attracts extremely miserable and depressed Atheists, and, in the West and Europe, Christian & Jewish malcontents/rejects. As one Indian philosopher and metaphysician had said: “Buddhism (modern) is an extremely sick religion inhabited by atheists, agnostics, and at best pantheists. They congregate together at ‘dharma-centers’, which are little more than outpatient mental wards for depressed materialists, and engage in idle chatter about attainment of oblivion and the denial of all things spiritual.”
It would be intelligent for some to read works such as: “The Rise and Decline of Buddhism in India” (Hazra), and other titles as to the manner in which Buddhism became a magnet for materialists and moralists/Humanists in medieval India. In Gotama’s time, the principle Upanishads were already nearly as old as present-day is to the New Testament. An extreme proliferation of Sramanic schools of thought upon the core meaning of the Vedas and Upanishads (of which were Vedanta, or the (anta) core/end/ultimate meaning of the Vedas themselves, i.e. the Upanishads) were sprouting all around as centered upon those who thought they held the truest grasp of the core principles behind and within Vedic metaphysics, of which Buddhism was but one ‘successful’ branch of Sramanism thereof.
It is rather ironic that Sramanic schools sprang up to establish a more condensed teaching upon the Upanishads, which themselves were wholly meant to be a core derivation of the ‘ultimate’ meaning of the Vedas! It is unfortunate that while the Indian Metaphysicians were keenly enabled in teaching the methodology of liberation, but were extremely verbose and symbolically obtuse in condensing the metaphysics of their system, unlike the Neoplatonists for example who were, at times, too pithy (namely that Plotinus, for example is far too hard for most to read without winning a headache). Even India’s great founder of Advaita Vedanta, Sri Sancaracharya (Samkara) often had wrote to complain and whine that the Vedas were an impenetrably dense vault that only one Wiseman in million might penetrate the meaning thereof.
What is never written about is that in modern so-called ‘Buddhism’, there exists a solid and pungent fear of Buddhism being merely a school of thought upon the essential principles of Vedantic Monistic metaphysics. This fear is subliminal and latent in a palpable cowardice that Buddhism would lose its worth if it were partially or wholly linked to the “HINDU” Upanishads or the Vedas worse still. Such as, the ‘renowned’ Theravada materialist Nyanatiloka has said: "Thus with this doctrine of Selflessness, or anatta, stands or falls the ENTIRE structure of Buddhism".
This fear of loss of the “uniqueness” of Buddhism lead its followers to slaughter and condemn its founders teachings long ago, not to mention that any and all with any common sense migrated from this perverse pseudo form of Buddhism into that of either Advaita Vedanta which is commonly said was the “destroyer of (early centuries C.E. and onwards) Buddhism”, or towards any one of another forms of Sramanic Vedantic asceticism and/or beliefs.
It takes a very “special” (speshul ? lol) person to espouses a religion sans a soul. For there is no such ‘religion’, only a Moralism or an Atheistic Humanism. The denial of the soul, or the immaterial and uncompounded metaphysical Subject cannot be enjoined to most all mankind, for it goes against his subliminal knowledge and nature. It was thought centuries ago that the “new age of reason and (false) enlightenment” via scientific thought would crush religion and spiritual philosophy; however just the opposite is the case, for modern physicists are speculating and waxing metaphysical now more than ever. Ironically the most intelligent minds of history that served as the foundation for modern science, Plato, Aristotle, Newton, etc. were self-admittedly studiers of science only as a means to a better and reasonable grasp of the werks of all things spiritual and Divine. Or, “those who know more about the designed (phenomena, i.e. physical sciences) have better insight into that (not God, as in the case of Creationism) which designs”. The more I encounter ‘buddhists’ (and I have talked with, debated and lectured amongst thousands of them), the more I am certainly convinced that, as was intelligently said by an Indian fellow: “people in the West who call themselves Buddhists are religious rejects who are just intelligent enough not to call themselves outright nihilistic Atheists.” For a true Atheist is not one who merely denies the Creationist God (which is true and accurate), but is, as is technically called a “metaphysical Atheist”, being one who denies ontological and immaterial Subjects such as the Soul, the Absolute and all that which lies behind and underneath the “curtain of phenomena”.
Most experts in the study of earliest Buddhism (such as Dr. A.K. Coomarswamy, the founder of the Pali Text Society Mrs. Davids, Dr. Radhakrishnan, G. Grimm, G. Pande and many others) have complained harshly about the Nominalist reading of Buddhist doctrine. Such as, is commonly found in Theravada: amata, which is immortality becomes nominalized by the Theravadins and mistranslated as “deathless”. Or attan, which is Pali for Atman, becomes nominalized as “yourself”, Brahman, or the Absolute, becomes merely “best”. The castration of metaphysics from earliest Buddhist suttas has been the case since the 5th century C.E. when Theravada rose to power and was the surviving remnant of the materialistic and Atomistic sect of Sarvastivada, which literally translates as “This is all there is-ISM: Sarva, or sabba (all, as meaning only all phenomena [SN 4.15 sabba sutta)) asti (there is) vada (ISM)”; i.e. Atomism! Let me not digress too far into the illogical standard in which Theravada loves to translate anatta as “no-SOUL(atta)”, but positive appellations of atta in the Nikayas become merely “yourself”, such as “attadipa” (Atman as light), atta hi paramo piya (Atman is most beloved), or attasarana (Atman as refuge). Such an illogical and inconsistent double standard for the term attan is nothing if not laughable. For, anatta is no denial of the Atman, but a denial of Atman in or related to any of 22 nouns which are deemed as Selfless (Atman-less). For all those things which are anatta are also “na me so atta” (not my Atman), as = anicca, dukkha, anatta”. I no more deny the Atman by saying ABCDEF are not-X (an-ATTA), than I would or have denied Elephants by saying “Alaska, Russia, Sweden, etc. lack, or are devoid of roaming Elephants”; “whenever we deny something unreal, it is in reference to (finding) the Real”.
The “HINDU” fallacy must die in the mind of any who cherish what is both intelligent, wise, and logical, and importantly so, doctrinally provable. The concept of this “HINDU” error is rooted in a fear that Buddhism did not spring up in a vacuum, and was an entirely new methodology which was adversarial or against the principles of Vedantic liberation ontology and its metaphysics. Nothing is known except in the modality of the knower, that a more precise and accepted means of relating the ‘hidden’ meaning of the poetic and HIGHLY symbolic Vedas, does not imply a new religion or an “anti-Vedic” strain of thought in the teachings as found in earliest Buddhist texts. The Nikayas do not belong to any sect of modern-day Buddhism, nor any long dead sect as well; the importance of this shouldn’t be forgotten.
Lets gather how “original” Buddhism is or wasn’t from a small section of the pervasively consistent Nikayas: [DN 1.249] “ I teach the way to the union with Brahman, I know the way to the supreme union with Brahman, and the path and means leading to Brahman, whereby the world of Brahman may be gained.” [DN 1.248] ”all the peoples say that Gotama is the supreme teacher of the way leading to the Union with Brahman!” [It 57] “Become-Brahman is the meaning of Tathagata.” [SN 3.83] “Without taints, it meant ‘Become-Brahman’.” [SN 5.5] “The Aryan Path is the designation for Brahmayana (path to Brahman).” [MN 1.341] “The Soul is having become Brahman.” [SN 4.117] "Found the ancient path leading to Brahman." "I have seen" says Buddha, "the ancient path, the old road that was taken by the former all-awake Brahmins, that is the path i follow, lost long ago. Just like an overcovered path lost long ago is that which i have discovered" [SN 2.106] "I have not made a new path monks, i have only rediscovered what was lost long ago" Itivuttaka "Gotama is a TEVIJJAN (Knower/expert in the VEDAS)"-MN, Udana “Gotama is a VEDASOTTHIM (Sage/expert in the Vedas)”- Digha1. Gotama was oft called himself a VEDAGU..........or "(someone) that has gone to the Vedas" "Gotama is a teacher of MONISM (advayavada)" The answer is, not original at all, in any respect.
The word "Hinduism" comes from the word sindhu, the Indo-Aryan word for "the sea," and came to apply to the peoples in the region east of the Indus River. The word “Hinduism” has no connection to any specific religion at all but a peoples and area. "From the point of view of religion, the Vedic literature divides itself into two parts, viz. the Rigveda on the one hand and the rest of the Vedic literature on the other; the two distinct phases of essentially the same religion may be called Vedic religion and Brahmanism. This division and the above two names hardly need any justification. It is now recognized beyond doubt that, although Brahmanism is nothing but an isolated development of the religion contained in the Rigveda, yet the two religions are entirely different in spirit. While one represents a comparatively exalted form of a purer faith based on nature-worship, the other tends to become artificial, mechanical and hieratic, and makes rites and ceremonies its chief concern." ---[P.S. Deshmukh,Religion in Vedic Literature, 198] "Hinduism has never prepared a body of canonical scriptures or a common prayer book; it has never held a general council or convocation; never defined the relation between laity and clergy; never regulated the canonization of saints or their worship; never established a single center of religious life; never prescribed a of training for its priests"--- [[[Wikipedia:Encyclopedia|Encyclopedia]] of Religion and Ethics 6:712].
The “HINDU” profanity as used, as I myself have heard countless hundreds of times over the years, needs to die. These so-called ‘buddhists’ use the term HINDU in the same manner the Nazi SS officers used the term JEW; not in referring to a peoples or (incorrectly in the case of the term HINDU) a religion, but something foul, unsavory, lowly, profane, miserable, disgusting.
These same ‘buddhists’ fear their precious faith would sink into the grounds of ancient Vedanta like water into the dirt, if they were to come close to even partially admitting Buddhism is absolutely no more anti-Vedic than Jesus was a Jew hater. One might equally and heretically proclaim that Martin Luther was against the Bible, or Christianity in that he but only spoke coarsely against the Catholic Church’s position, which he demonstrated via the Bible, was a commentarial religion too often adversarial to the principles in the Bible itself, such as confessions, relic-worshiping, fetishisms, and, in Luther's time, literally buying Heaven-insurance by donating coin to the Church.
It is a well established fact by experts in the religious history of India, that of Gotama's time, circa 500 B.C.E., the meaning of the already old-and-dusty principle Upanishads (much less the Vedas) was long lost and overcovered, as is the case in his admission: ." "I have seen" says Buddha, "the ancient path, the old road that was taken by the former all-awake Brahmins, that is the path i follow, lost long ago. Just like an overcovered path lost long ago is that which i have discovered" (SN 2.106). The only denial Gotama ever made in the suttas, was that one was never BRAHMABANDHU (born a Brahmin), but rather was one by wisdom, as Brahmin was not a birthright, but a spiritual marker of ones status for sake of wisdom.