The inaugural lecture under the ‘India and the World’s Great Religions’ series was delivered by Prof. Mahesh Deokar, Professor and Head (Departments of Pali and Buddhist Studies and Dr. Ambedkar Thoughts), Savitribai Phule Pune University on the subject, “Origins and Fundamental Doctrines of Buddhism.” The lecture was delivered on 4th June. Prof. Pradeep Apte, Professor Emeritus, Savitribai Phule Pune University, chaired the session and introduced the topic.
Prof. Deokar presented a brief introduction on the ‘triratna’ of Buddhism, which is the seeking of refuge in the Buddha, dhamma and sangha. He provided the socio-political context of the time of Buddha’s birth and the transformation of India from a ‘janapada’ or ‘ganarajya’ to a land of empire(s), throughout the Buddha’s lifetime. He explained the transformation of Gautama, the prince into Siddhartha and subsequently Buddha (the enlightened one). He explained that his material focused on the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism, considered one of the oldest continuous traditions of Buddhism in the world. Prof. Deokar explained that Buddha highlighted both the cognitive (embedded in knowledge) aspects and the emotive aspects of suffering in the Buddhist path. Based on this he explained the centrality of morality to the Buddhist way and elaborated on the various elements of the Eightfold Path.
The lecture was followed by a round of questions and answers.