Several people have asked me the question, “why Buddhism?” There are several reasons that I feel drawn to this path, and I wanted to take a few moments to expand on them
First, and foremost, I agree with the philosophy and the psychology. I have travelled parts of the path, and felt how it can promote internal peace and harmony. It is really a simple and easy path – it just takes doing. What I have gotten out of the baby steps that I have made have been well worth the effort.
Secondly, there is an ancestral tie there. For those of you that do not know, I have felt a connection with my Celtic roots most of my life. What does this have to do with Buddhism you ask? Well, that is a long story.
The Celts came from the steppes of Russia a long time ago. There were two branches of this migration – one into Europe and one into India. They were called the Indo-Europeans. They did develop differently, simply because of the great distances – however many people that study the Celts have commented that the oldest Indian writings, the Rig Vedda, is very similar to the Celtic tales that have been handed down. Some have gone even so far as to say that the stories are the same, except the names are different. In fact, Sanskrit and Gaelic even have a common linguistic ancestor.
As Buddhism is a growth out of the Hindu religious beliefs of 2500 years ago, and the Hindu beliefs are a melding of the Indo-European and the original Indian inhabitants, one could (and some do) draw parallels between the Ancient Celtic beliefs and the Hindu/Buddhist beliefs. There certainly are similarities. Both believe in reincarnation. Both follow the same practices and similar beliefs.
However, the European Celts clearly practiced, and a few still do, more orthodox Vedic type religions, with similar traditions of chanting, rituals, deity worship, mantra and meditation, with direct parallels to most of the ancient and modern orthodox Hindu sects found in India. As such, it is theorized by some scholars that the two branches split because the Celts maintained the older dharma, whereas the people who stayed in the regions north of the Himalayas accepted Buddhism, perhaps from Kashyapa Buddha.
But in the March issue of Scientific American, British expert Timothy Taylor convincingly resurrects the cauldron’s Indian connection. “I saw that the Gundestrup scene showing a pair of elephants flanking a central female figure clearly depicted the ritual bathing of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of good fortune.”
Countless studies on European pre-history, ancient languages and religions have brought to light a surprising number of similarities between cultures of the various peoples that lived in the vast area from Ireland to India and from Scandinavia to North Africa. It also appears that the Druids had much in common with the Shamans of Eastern Europe and the Brahmins of India.
The Druids of the ancient Celtic world have a startling kinship with the brahmins of the Hindu religion and were, indeed, a parallel development from their common Indo-European cultural root which began to branch out probably five thousand years ago.
from Our Druid Cousins
The evidence that the Celts and Druids were related to the very Brahmins that the Buddha preached to is compelling. In fact, I feel that if there had not been the turbulent political climate in Europe that there was, we might have seen a similar development in the Celtic belief system.
So, there is a connection for me between what the Buddha taught, and what I feel drawn towards. Buddhism is more relevant then the Celtic Religion today, and I feel that I have more of a chance of learning about it, since it’s teachings have not yet been eradicated.
Buddha was a Celt, and so am I.