Saturday, August 05, 2006

Nanak Lama

While there is a lot of similarity in the beliefs of Buddhism and Sikhism, specially in the advocacy of the middle path and stress on this wordliness and non- ritualism, it is difficult to understand why there has been little or no direct influence of the Buddha in the writings of Guru Nanak

While Nanak borrowed much from other religions specially Upanisaidic Hinduism and Islam, he doesn't seem to have indicated any direct influence of the Buddha.

The land of Guru Nanak- the Punjab- was also the land where Buddhism had once flourished- Gandharva, and as the historian Romilla Thapar has pointed out- Islam and other non- Hindu religions have an unusual overlap with the geographical areas where Buddhism had once reigned.

Some of the janam sakhis- the stories of uncertain origin related to Guru Nanak bear a strong similarity to some of the stories that one heard about the Buddha as well.

The two, however, seem to have encountered each other in Tibet when Guru Nanak, also called Nanak Shah, visited the place in the 16th century.

Harjinder Singh explores and explains why Guru Nanak is referred to as the Guru Rinpoche or Nanak Lama in Tibet, some of the tales he recounts are mythological but fascinating since this is an area that has not been sufficiently explored in both thelogical and historical studies.
If you go to the Golden Temple one of the most interesting things you will observe are some Tibetan pilgrims who come to pray there, bowing down at each of their steps. These people are Buddhists who may belong to one of the numerous sects of Tibetan Buddhism, who regard Guru Nanak as Guru Rinpoche. Guru Padmasambhava brought Buddhism to Tibet and they regard the Guru as a reincarnation of the precious one, 'Rinpoche'....

(The picture above is) of gurdwara in Sikkim India where locals hang scriptures along with Nishan sahib and hang sikh scriptures in prayer in bodhic style.

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1 comment:

Swadeep Singh said...

thats very nice of you sir to provide us with such valuable knowledge can you please provide me with some more articles on the links between Sikhism and Buddhism.