Is yoga Hindu or Buddhist or a blend


#1

If yoga originated through hindu philosophy how come so many yoga studios have Buddha statues? The studio I attend has a Buddha statue and Tibetan prayer flags but teaches Ashtanga yoga and the eight limbs from the Yoga Sutras which I thought came from Hinduism. I’m confused. Can anyone offer some clarification or reason why yoga in the west is so blended? Does it really matter? Is it different in the east?


#2

Fortunately we have “Surya Deva” in this Forum to correct or add to this, he has endless energy when it comes to writing/researching, I don’t. It doesn’t seem Siddhartha Gautama Buddha had intentions of creating a religion; that was done mostly by his followers. The first written mention of yoga that I know of is the Bhagavad Gita from the epic Mahabharata which is Hinduism, the other major mention probably thousands of years later is The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Bhagavad Gita’s structure and subject matter is often described different than that of other post Vedic text of the Upanishads a summary, conclusion or end of the Vedas (Vedanta), which is also Hinduism .Some regard some of these as standalone documents but it’s all tied together, this is how the expansion of human consciousness works. Siddhartha gained knowledge from the Hindu/Yogic gurus of his time and after a self-proclaimed enlightenment distilled Hinduism/Yoga by talking about his happening. So yes there are similarities with Hinduism, Yoga and Buddhism. Note that one could spend their entire lifetime of energy trying to sort the vastness of spirituality that came out of the Hindic culture without conclusion; this is my abbreviated snapshot attempt to give you ideas to come to your own misconception.


#3

Yoga is basically the common heritage of Dharmic religions, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. All developments within Yoga have come from these traditions. Historically speaking, Hinduism is the religion where Yoga first originates. The earliest Yogic practices go back to the Vedic people, who called their practice “tapasya” this involved penance and worshiping practices where they imagined the gods, summoned them and yoked with them. In that time the most common practice was the ritual fire-sacrifice known as yagya/agnihotra. At the end of the Vedic age, known as Vedanta as captured in the Upanishads text, the ritual was internalized, and the sacrifice was seen more like the sacrifice of ones senses, purification of ones mind in the fire of consciousness using practices like meditation, breathing exercises, charity and work in order to realize ones true and deeper self, and the term “Yoga” to describe these set of practices came into vogue. In the Upanishads we see the first clearest descriptions of Yoga philosophy and Yoga practice. Patanjali is the first to organize and systematize this to create the Yoga philosophical system.

From the bedrock of the Upanishads also emerges the religions of Buddhism and Jainism, which take a different approach from their mother Vedic religion(Hinduism) though share many of the philosophies and practices, namely Yoga. From that point Yoga develops concurrently in all three traditions, intermixing with one another, containing contributions from all three traditions. Modern Hatha Yoga, is not a uniquely Hindu phenomenon, but actually comes from the Tantra tradition, which is a shared tradition between Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. This is why you will see Yoga studios have an eclectic mix of Hindu, Buddhist and sometimes even Jain(Jainism is lesser known outside of India) icons. Some may only have Buddhist icons, some may have only Hindu icons, and some may have both.


#4

Thank you for answering my question. I’ve heard bits and pieces of this before, by summing it up the way you did, it makes more sense to me know.


#5

adding to the above, which I agree with, I was struck when I read W.Y Evans Weitz say that . . .

“buddhism is yoga practically applied.”


#6

You see a Buddha in a lotus pose.

Buddha also practiced yoga for some time, when he was alive.
Here is nothing that can confuse you.

Buddha also came to samadhi.


#7

It seems that yoga originated in Stone Age Shamanism:

http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/yogahistory.asp


#8

Hi all, this is my first post. A quick look at the forum shows you all guys are pretty knowledgeable :wink: But my views on this matter is different. It may be from my ignorance or mis-understandings. And it is always debatable on the historical(in a western view of history) factors are questionable.

I agree, that Buddha don’t have any intentions to create a religion(again organized religion a recent phenomena. In my view none of the indian schools are religions.) Nor Buddhism in the original sense a religion if you follow, Mugaliputta, Nagarguna, Dignaga. And Buddhism is not a religion in my view.(if no religion is a religion, my claim is wrong)

Yoga and Bagavad Gita: There may be people disagree with me, but I believe Gita is a later inclusion to the epic Mahabharata. The reason for this claim is the Advaitic interpretations of the the Gunas(Satva, Rajas and Tamas) is later interpretations than the Yogic one. In general the scholars take the meaning of Satva, Rajas, tamas of Samkhya school as the Patanjali’s view. But As Patanjali never mentioned the name Samkhya it may be Samkhya inspired from the Yoga in my skeptic view. There is no proof I have found on both the claims.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Yoga
Dharmma is a different concept in all of them. Dharmma in Buddhism(or Dhamma in pali) is completely different than the Vedic(Memasa and 3 Vedanta schools). In Buddhism Dhamma is the momentary existance. Jainism Dharma is the energy(movements). There is a Sadhana in Advaita, but it had very little importance or no-one care for that these days.
According to my understanding, Jainism don’t have any value in physical exercises. Jains consider the body as evil thing. The association is a wrong association. Jiva and Ajiva should be separated. This is the view of both the schools of Jains(Swetambara and Digambaras). That is why they torture their body. Even the Sastaraka Agama describes the process of dying by one’s own desire(Santhara) and its glory (don’t call it suicide which is negative). But jains do meditation.

I do believe that Patajali is inspired by the Upanishads. But in my understanding, Upanishads don’t talk about physical exercises. Upanishads are Philosophical texts. Patanjali is not the inverter of yoga, he is a compiler. And his time is before the Sanskrit Grammatical works of Panini( Patanjali wrote one more book on Grammar. And which is mentioned by Panini. The original book is lost).

This is my historical view on yoga, which may be biased and wrong :slight_smile:

On yoga and Buddhism:
Buddha practiced Yoga under two teachers(namely Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta) for 12 years. But his views is Yogic experience is not complete. It may be needed but it is not sufficient. Buddha himself was talking of Omnisense, Clairaudience and Clairvoyance. But in my understanding of Buddhism, there is no place of super natural things. These mysterious experiences are Intellectual obstacle.
But the later development of tantric Buddism(the tibetan one) and the thinkers like PadmaSambhava incorporated the Yogic Mystical experiences into Buddhism. But the original teachings of Buddha don’t have any place for Yoga in my view.

The confusion comes when we see the literal similarity of the Yama, Niyama of Yoga with the Ashta-marga of Buddhism. But the meaning of them is completely different. For example
Sacha(Truthfulness/honesty) in Yama(Yoga) is a moral rule. While Right Speach(Samma vaca) in Buddhism is not a rule to follow. It is a pragmatic reality at the given moment. According to Buddha, “Be moral without being made of moral”(Silava no ca silamayo). According to Buddha which is genuine and the former is artificial.

Hope my first post is not long :wink:


#9

yes i have seen another thread about yoga and Hinduism with 1400+ replies… i will go through that too.


#10

[QUOTE=chadayan;80818]yes i have seen another thread about yoga and Hinduism with 1400+ replies… i will go through that too.[/QUOTE]

That 1400+ replies thread is about whether Yoga is Hinduism or not and now this thread has “included” Budhism to the mix…:stuck_out_tongue:

Enjoy yourself and have nice time on this forum.


#11

It seems that the oldest written system of asanas are from the Buddhist tradition. The book by the venerable Namkhai Norbu, ‘Yantra Yoga’, is a modern translation of these. This particular system is very complex, with a certain breathing pattern for each asana. I have researched it extensively, but have yet to meet a teacher, so I have not practiced ‘Yantra Yoga’ perse. Im a bit stubborn by only practicing what I have been given transmission of.

But, I believe that yoga is yoga. A practitioner can understand ‘yoga’ through the medium of Buddhism or Hinduism or any number of perspectives. It all depends on how one sets up one’s parameters. Personally, yoga being a yoking practice then one yokes oneself back to that which one has come. If one believes that one is yoking one’s Atman to Brahaman, then that is obviously Hindu. If one believes one is yoking oneself to one’s Buddha nature then one is Buddhist. The difference, which is rather subtle in my opinion, is that a Buddhist would believe that the ‘entity’ (using that word makes me nervous) to which one yokes back to is nondual, whereas Hinduism is more dualistic. In a rigorous sense I do not believe they can be coherently ‘blended’. If one believes that they can be blended then I am inclined to say that that particular yogi’s philosophy leans much more toward Buddhism and the nondual philosophy behind Buddhism. That’s my 2 cents based on my research and education. But, Im often and usually full of incoherent babble. :wink:

Yours in the Dharma and in Life,

Karma Senge


#12

Yoga and Bagavad Gita: There may be people disagree with me, but I believe Gita is a later inclusion to the epic Mahabharata. The reason for this claim is the Advaitic interpretations of the the Gunas(Satva, Rajas and Tamas) is later interpretations than the Yogic one. In general the scholars take the meaning of Satva, Rajas, tamas of Samkhya school as the Patanjali’s view. But As Patanjali never mentioned the name Samkhya it may be Samkhya inspired from the Yoga in my skeptic view. There is no proof I have found on both the claims.

Dating in Indian history is very problematic and frustrating, because different sources will give you different dates. I have seen variance in dates of more than a millennium. I am faithful to the Indian calender though and I reject the Western calender(which is based on racist suppositions) which places the Mahabharata in 3100BCE and the Vedas much earlier, astronmical dating of events it describes go back as far as 7000BCE. Buddha is placed in 1800BCE, just a few centuries before the start of the Mauraya empire. So there is no way that Buddhism predates Yoga, because the oldest texts which describe Yoga are the Upanishads which predate Buddha by millenias. It is also clear Yoga existed during the time of the Buddha, because he learned Yoga under two masters for 12 years of his life.

But the later development of tantric Buddism(the tibetan one) and the thinkers like PadmaSambhava incorporated the Yogic Mystical experiences into Buddhism. But the original teachings of Buddha don’t have any place for Yoga in my view.

You seem to be ignorant of the fact that even Patanjali says the supernatural powers or attainments are obstacles, and one should not be allured by them - the final goal of Yoga is liberation/self-realization. This is not very different to the Buddhist realization of the Buddha nature.

he confusion comes when we see the literal similarity of the Yama, Niyama of Yoga with the Ashta-marga of Buddhism. But the meaning of them is completely different. For example
Sacha(Truthfulness/honesty) in Yama(Yoga) is a moral rule. While Right Speach(Samma vaca) in Buddhism is not a rule to follow. It is a pragmatic reality at the given moment. According to Buddha, “Be moral without being made of moral”(Silava no ca silamayo). According to Buddha which is genuine and the former is artificial.

Yamas are not morals either, they are behavioural observances or good habits which are known to lead to a calmer and healthier mind and also improve your reputation with others. For example speaking lies will lead to a guilty conscience, further lies to cover old lies and a bad reputation when you are caught.

There really is no significant differences practically speaking between Buddhism and Yoga - there are philosophical differences between Buddhism and Yoga. Yoga admits an unchanging, permanent and absolute reality. Buddhism does not.


#13

The difference, which is rather subtle in my opinion, is that a Buddhist would believe that the ‘entity’ (using that word makes me nervous) to which one yokes back to is nondual, whereas Hinduism is more dualistic.

Buddhism is not non-dual, because non-dualism admits of a single substance and Buddhism rejects the notion of substance, all is constant and incessant change that dependently arises. There is no “yoking” Rather there is extinguishing of ones ego so that one realizes that there is no substance such as ego, no separator between ones subjective and objective world, rather all is just the constant flow of nature.

Yoga is dualist and non-dualist depending on the interpretation. Classical Yoga is based on Samkhya philosophy which is dualist. Yoga in Advaita Vedanta is non-dualist.


#14

[QUOTE=Surya Deva;80829]Buddhism is not non-dual, because non-dualism admits of a single substance and Buddhism rejects the notion of substance, all is constant and incessant change that dependently arises. There is no “yoking” Rather there is extinguishing of ones ego so that one realizes that there is no substance such as ego, no separator between ones subjective and objective world, rather all is just the constant flow of nature.

Yoga is dualist and non-dualist depending on the interpretation. Classical Yoga is based on Samkhya philosophy which is dualist. Yoga in Advaita Vedanta is non-dualist.[/QUOTE]

Buddhism is nondual. Nonduality does not admit a single substance, because that would be dualistic. If there is one then there must necessarily be two… and more if someone wanted to push.

And yes, there is yoking. That is what the Indo/Tibetan Buddhist yogas of body, speech and mind are doing, hence the name. Ego is extinguished through the yoking.


#15

Non-dualism means not-two, it is another name for monism. That is that you accept there is one something. Materlism and idealism are non-dualist philosophies, because they admit only one substance to really exist; matter and mind respectively. Buddhism does not admit that something exists - Buddhism says there is only the void or nothingness out of which all phenomena arises and returns back it.

You need be more and specific on your definitions.-


#16

You seem to be ignorant of the fact that even Patanjali says the supernatural powers or attainments are obstacles

I don’t agree with you. Then why did Patanjali talks about AstamaSiddhis?

Yamas are not morals either

Is the 10 commandments of the Bible are moral law? I think so. If you do something you will be rewarded with something else(heaven in the case of Bible, Material benefits in the case of Yama-Niyama. For example, Sutra 36 of the second chapter SadhanaPada tells, if you practice Satya-truthfulness you will be rewarded with 'whatever is willed”)

So my view is Metaphysically and Ethically both yoga and Buddhism is different.


#17

Understanding knowledge in a timed fashion is history in my understanding. And it is a western way of understanding knowledge. But the indian knowledge is not time bounded. It is not working in that fashion. If something is proved to be wrong, just change the facts.

While time keeping is separate science, astrology/astronomy in India. And there is no connection between the time keeping and the truth value of knowledge.

This is my understanding.


#18

According to Nagarjuna, there is nothing called liberation(nirvana-nibbana). That is why he brings the idea of Sunya-sunya(nothingness of nothing or nothing-nothing). And I believe which is the original understanding of Buddha himself.

There is no Atman. Anatmavada(or anatta in pali). Atman is a myth and it create more problems than it helps. The idea of self don’t have any use.

So in my view there is no place for yoga in the original yoga(both the Samkya-yoga and Advaita-yoga). There is nothing to re-unite. There is nothing to realize. There is nothing to separate(prakrti and purusa according to Patanjali).

Buddha heavily critiques the upanishads and Samkhyans. (later Gaudapada make an attempt to bring both the upanishads and Buddhism together. According to Gaudapada Buddhism is in upanisats. The cometary to 12sutras of Mandukya explains this.)

I know, I am wrong when I say, Buddhism don’t have any Yoga, because for 100s of years the Buddhist monks are practicing yoga. But what I am telling here is, I don’t find any logic according to Buddha.


#19

[QUOTE=chadayan;80852]If you do something you will be rewarded with something else(heaven in the case of Bible, Material benefits in the case of Yama-Niyama.[/QUOTE]

It seems no one is being rewarded or punished for anything, things are simply happening for no apparent reason.


#20

[QUOTE=Surya Deva;80845]Non-dualism means not-two, it is another name for monism. That is that you accept there is one something. Materlism and idealism are non-dualist philosophies, because they admit only one substance to really exist; matter and mind respectively. Buddhism does not admit that something exists - Buddhism says there is only the void or nothingness out of which all phenomena arises and returns back it.

You need be more and specific on your definitions.-[/QUOTE]

In that case I wish you the best on your path. We simply do not agree (and I will say that Buddhist philosophy does not agree either).

Thank you for a thoughtful engagement. :grin: