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debate between buddhism and jainism

absoluteabsolute Explorer
edited February 2014 in Faith & Religion
There is a Story in a Jain Epic, wherein the Jain Nun Nilakeshi, defeats Theri Kundalakeshi, Shariputra, Maudgalyayana, all in a row and at the end has a debate with the Bhagavan, and finally defeats him too
(The Arguments are very Interesting, may be I wil start a seperate thread for that)
At the end of the the debates, all agree to amend their ways and follow the Jain Dharma
This is the Jain side of the Story
I am posting here the Debates of the Jain Nilakeshi with the Buddha and his Disciples.
The details are from the Tamil Language, Epic Poem called Nilakeshi, which was the Jain response to the Buddhist Tamil Epic, Kundalakeshi.
The Tamil Buddhist Epic Kundalakeshi, was an Epic Poem written around 700 CE based on the life of Theri Kundalakeshi. In the Epic, Kundalakeshi converts to Buddhism, and goes around debating people of various sects and converting them to Buddhism.

The Story of Theri Kundalakesi
So, The Tamil Jains wrote another Epic called Nilakeshi as a response, countering the points raised by Kundalakeshi against the Jains.
Unfortunately, Kundalakeshi is not extant now, but Nilakeshi is.

People try to sacrifice an Animal to satisfy Goddess Kali near a Temple. The Jain Monk who lives near that temple, advices the people not to sacrifice the Animals and instead pray to the Goddess Kali by Non-Violent methods. The People heed to the Monks advice, and sacrifice a Animal made up of clay instead of a Live Animal and go away.
Later, Goddess Kali comes with her companions to feast on the Sacrifice and find clay animals instead of a live Sacrifice. The Angered Goddess Kali, complains to the Queen of Kalis, Nilakeshi, about the Incident.
Nilakeshi with her minions, appear there and try to scare the Jain Monk. But ultimately fail in their Attempts. Then, the Jain Monk, preaches Jain Dharma to Nilakeshi. After, hearing the Jain Monks words, The Queen of Kalis, Nilakeshi, accepts the Jain Dharma and vows to preach the Jain Dharma around the world.
Summary of Debate with Theri Kundalakeshi
Meanwhile, Kundalakeshi appears near the City. As her usual sign of invitation for debates, she makes e a mound of sand and stucks a branch in it. Nilakeshi coming there, accept her offer for a Debate.

Nilakeshi: Expound your Religion.
Kundalakeshi: The Fundamentals of my religion can be categorized as Apta, Agama, Padartha and Pravritti.
The Lord of my religion is Bhagavan Buddha. He is the Supreme Lord. He has been present from the Beginning of the world. For Kalpas and Kalpas, he has been into this Samsaric world, and has expounded the Buddhist path for the welfare of the beings, without any Selfishness.
The Tripitakas spoken by him out of compassion, are our foremost Literature.

Nilakeshi:: If your Bhagavan Buddha is the Supreme Lord, who has been Enlightened from the Beginning. Why should he indulge himself in Samsara for hundreds of thousands of Kalpas ?
If he is Enlightened since Time Immemorial what are the results of his Indulgence in Samsara ?
Samsaric Indulgence, is due to Karma of our Previous Lives. His Samsaric Indulgence, is due to which of his Past Lives Karma ? If he has Past Live Karmas, how could he have been Enlightened from the Beginning ?
If he has been Indulging in Samsara for the welfare of other beings, without considering his own, why did he not continue that ? Why did he stop it ? Why should he only attain Nirvana, leaving all other Beings in Samsara ?
(Anachronistic Comment. As per the Epic Time frame, Buddha is still living )

You said, your Bhagavan Buddha spoke the Tripitaka out of his compassion, to guide the Beings of the World. If that is so, why did he not condemn meat eating ? He not only did not condemn meat eating, but has also actually induced and supported Meat Eating.
Since you deny Atman, the fundamental for all ethics, what is the use of you speaking about high ethical morals ?
These are your stances regarding your Lord.
What do you think about this World ?

Kundalakeshi: This World is made up of Five Skandhas. These Five Skandhas arise and fall momentarily. The World is also like that, is in a state for Momenatiriness, it is in a false state. It changes every moment.

Nilakeshi: Yes. This is your Kshanabhangavada. By this, you say that Materials die out before, they are formed again. By this, each event does not have any relation with the earlier events. You call this as Asat Karyavada. If this is so, then there is no Causality between events. If that is so, then this is no obstruction for an Impossible event like "Apperance of a Flower in the Sky" (Akasha Pushpa). Is it not so ?
If Vasana can be considered as an link for Casuality, we must accept some kind of relation between events. Kshanabhangavada cannot be true.
Philosphical Debates apart, In order to describe the Qualities of the Buddha, in the stories about the Bodhisattva, it is said that the Bodhisattva donated his Eyes, Flesh, Blood, even his children to those asking alms. The Nature of Almsgiving is dependant upon how well the alms is being used by the person who recives it. Did the person who asked for the head, went without his head to the Bodhisattva ? This has no meaning.
Do you mean to say that these events, are due to tests done by Indra on the Bodhisattva ? Why do tests for an Enlightened Bodhisattva ? Can't a Deva like Indra know his Merits ?

Kundalakeshi could not reply to any of the questions raised by the Nilakeshi. She was belittled by the King, and Nilakeshi was praised by all.
Then Nilakeshi went to the Teacher of Kundalakeshi, Arka Chandra

* Debate with Arka Chandra
* Debate with Shariputra
* Debate with Maudgalyayana
* Debate with the Buddha
(Will be Continued...)
Summary of Debate with Arka Chandra
Arka Chandra was living at the city of Ujjain. Nilakeshi went to his place and had a debate about the Buddhist Vinaya.
She with examples showed the huge differences between the Buddhist Discipline and actual 'Discipline' in as followed by the Buddhists in Practice. She even pointed out that some Buddhist Principles are not even worthwhile to be followed in everyday life.

In many of the Jataka Stories, there are instances were the Bodhisattva donated his Wife and his Children to others. By this, one is to understand, donating whatever a person demands, is considered as a high conduct. But no Buddha with a clear mind, would not expect someone to follow this, and donate his wife to someone, just because the wife was asked as alms.

Next, Nilakeshi showed many new practices that came into existence in the Buddhist Sangha. For Example, it is said that a Bhikshu called Sangha Datta Sthavira called another Bhikshuni for Intercourse. When the Bhikshuni replied that, the Vihara is a pure place not to be contaminated, the Bhikshu replied that for a Bhikshu, whether it be a Vihara or a House, it is equal in his eyes.

In another Instance, a Bhikshu had intercourse with the corpse of a woman. When someone Condemned this Incident, the Bhukshu replied saying that there was no difference between a Dead Corpse and a Living Being ; one is a a Body which has become a Corpse and the other is a Living Corpse.

Further, in another such kind of Incident, it is said that while coaxing a Bhikshuni for Intercourse, a Bhikshu claimed that Intercourse is not against the religion. And added that If it can be done without the knowledge of the people, there is no harm in it.

By this way, Nilakeshi said that the people are motivated to Ignore the Basic Principles of Buddhism and Basic Principles of Human Conduct by means of religious texts themselves. Nilakeshi further showed such 18 exceptions where Misconduct was motivated by softening the basic rules of Conduct.
Even more, for a Buddhist Monk who says that he is renouncing material things, making many kinds of Clothings are made his own, is an absurdity.

Buddhism speaks about showing Love and Compassion to other beings, but at the same time it supports Meat Eating. One one side it says that for attaining Nirvana the Path and Ethics are important, but on the other hand, by speaking Sunyavada, it denies thd existance Atman the fundamental for all Ethics.

Buddhism says that all things are impure, but then you offer flowers and do Pujas to the Statue of the Buddha.
You claim that all things are momentary arise and fall, and hence they are impermanent, but then you again build Large Buddhist Temples and Monastries.
You deny the continuity in the Reincarnation of the Atman.
You worship the various forms Animals and Birds, in whose forms the Buddha reincarnated in his previous lives (?). But at the end, even these divine animals end up as food.

Arka Chandra hearing these confusions in Buddhist scheme of things, accepted its shortcomings. He also accepted that, non-violence as spoken by the Buddha were just mere wordplay. He finally accepted the Jain Dharma as expounded by Nilakeshi and went for refuge in the Jain Triple Gem.

(Next Debate with Maudgalyayana...)
copied from dhammawheel
what is your point on this debate guys. is this true or just jainist propaganda?


  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    In the pali suttas there are slights against and debates with jainists. Its like two brothers with similar upbringings having minor squabbles.
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The liminal space Veteran
    I guess this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. It reminds me of current arguments by one religion denigrating another by misunderstanding and taking out of context the religion.

    In Buddhism too you hear many stories about how ye saints of olde defeated the proponents of other religions and converted them to Buddhism.

    In regards to the actual arguments, the first offers no actual arguments.

    The second doesn't accurately portray the majority of Buddhist views on the nature of the Buddha and instead sets up a strawBuddha to take down.

    The third (vegetarianism) gets debated in Buddhism even today, no need to go over the points here.

    The fourth (causality) is complex but Nagarjuna and his successors in particular address this.

    To my mind any argument that takes on the Jataka Tales doesn't really merit much consideration as I don't think they are really canon.

    Then it finishes up with various alleged wrongdoings. Anyone can claim anything and then say it is really bad and said perpetrator reflects negatively on the whole religion.
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