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Prologue An American Philosopher on the Influence of the Buddha Instead of riding in his chariot with military pomp and splendor along the Royal Highway; deferred to by those of the higher castes, while those of lower caste, the aged, the hungry, the crippled, the diseased, the beggars and the untouchables, were pushed to the rear or out of sight beyond concern-instead, he put on the humble person's simple garb-a single cotton sheet draped around his body-to seek out, face objectively; and share with fellow-feeling the bodily ills and pains of his fellow men. The Buddha not merely biologically observed, but also demonstrated behavioristically; initially with a bodily sensitive swan, that facing fellow,feelingfully shared pain and suffering, while also accepting pleasure when it is there and fellow, feelingfully shared as good, is not merely more biologically and psychologically realistic, but also a more naturally wise, aesthet, ically and religiously sensitive and philo of sophie way to face ... the full temporal range of any living creature's existence, leaving one with a less soured and cynical disillusionment later on and a greater richer equanimity during the fall and winter of anyone's life, than does either (a) the focusing on merely introspectively psychic pleasure, even when added up statistically, or (b) the trusting in one's own, or anyone else's kinship anthropological genealogy of birth and culturally conditioned "law of status" 2 • Understanding Buddhism familial, tribal and racist breeding. This is what makes the naturalistic realism of the compassionate Buddha unique even among Asians. Thereby, the young Gautama embodied, first in himself and his local followers, and then in millions upon millions of freely assenting and devoted followers throughout Asia, the first, the largest, and the longest still persisting egalitarian democratic social, political, religious, and familial communities this earth's surface has ever contained, which are rooted in (1) compassionate fellow-feeling for the speechless world's animals as well as human beings and (2) the unequivocal rejection of tribal, racial, color or caste, sexual (patriarchal or matriarchal) or economic class differences as the basis for ordering human relations and institutions , be they political, religious, social or familiaL The Buddha's influence, persisting vitally for some 25 centuries to the present moment, demonstrated that given a people traditionally conditioned otherwise, it is both biologically and behavioristically realistic and socially achievable for any people anywhere by freely consensual, spontaneously accepted and peaceful means to self-recondition their bodily sensitive selves to world-embracing fellow-feelingfully compassionate and habitual social relations with both their fellow men and the speechless world's living creatures. F. S. C. Northrop "Naturalistic Realism and Animate Compassion" ...


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