ADVAITA-L Digest - question?
rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Thu Jun 13 12:46:52 CDT 1996
>> This is a sharp contrast between advaita and madhyamaka buddhism. For
>> nAgArjuna, who is also a non-dualist in some sense, no view is right,
>> because every view entails an absolutist position, which is an extreme
>> to be avoided by the Buddhist middle path.
>That's not completely correct. Nagarjuna rejects ALL views, even an absolutist
>view. It's not as if that's an "extremist" viewpoint. Nagarjuna does not
>reject any view simply saying,"That's an extremist view and Buddha said
>extremism is to be avoided". Rather, he rejects views because they are
>"not evident" (na vidyate). Nagarjuna would never entertain the advaitic notion
Here's where gauDapaada disagrees with Nagarjuna. gauDapaada says that no one
can deny that he exists. This is certainly pratyaksha (self evident). So the
view that one exists is certainly evident.
>In the book,"Empty Logic", Cheng makes it clear that, "Madhyamika philosophy
>is not absolutism. For Nagarjuna, all concepts, including the term shunyata,
>are incomplete symbols or provisionary names. They do not stand for entities
>...he (Nagarjuna) warned,"...He who holds that there is an emptiness will be
>called incurable by all Buddhas"."
Then what is it that shunyata is a provisionary name for? Even to perceive any
thing, including the emptiness, there must be an observer. Further, the last
statement "he who holds ..." can be interpreted in the sense that, asserting so
is itself an absolutist position.
>I believe S.Radhakrishnan and others have understood the complete negation
>of Nagarjuna to be a parallel to the advaitic "neti, neti". But Cheng says,
Radhakrishnan got many things wrong, including the gauDapaada kaarikaa, which
he dismisses as an impractical and inconsistent philosophy.
>Nagarjuna is the "negator par excellence" :-). He's not merely an agnostic.
>He rejects theism, atheism and agnosticism!
That is all fine, but there must be some one to negate, else there can be no
negation. There is no escape from this. That cannot be negated. This is exactly
where gauDapaada and nagarjuna seem to diverge. I haven't read nagarjuna's
works to make a postive statement about this. Do you know what nagarjuna says
shunyata is a provisionary term for?
Actually, I find that Zen Buddhism escaped this shunuyata arguments, atleast
some of the masters like Bassui. Their arguments seem more directed towards
Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said, "The flag is moving." The other
said, "The wind is moving." The sixth patriarch happened to be passing by. He
told them, "Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving." - The Gateless Gate
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