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Samkhya and the Wisdom-Religion by David Reigle

The existence of the once universal Wisdom-Religion was made known to the modern world by H. P. Blavatsky, who called its modern form Theosophy. She early on described its original form as “pre-Vedic Buddhism.”1 Today, no one knows of any pre-Vedic Buddhism. Buddhism is thought to have originated with Gautama Buddha around 500 B.C.E., while the Vedas are much older than that. However, some intriguing indications have been found for a “pre-canonical Buddhism.” This refers to Buddhist teachings before their formulation into the known Buddhist canons. Those who have postulated the existence of pre-canonical Buddhism do not consider it to be pre-Vedic, since they still trace it to Gautama Buddha. But Buddhist texts speak of previous Buddhas, who when not taken as merely mythological could well have been pre-Vedic. This promising area of research is being pursued by my colleague RobertHütwohl, and we may expect an article on it from him in due course. There remains, however, a great question


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The foregoing article was written by David Reigle, and published in Fohat, A Quarterly Publication of Edmonton Theosophical Society,vol. 4, no. 4, Winter 2000, pp. 84-86, 92-94. This online edition is published by Eastern Tradition Research Institute, copyright 2004.

  • David Reigle