Not Gaudapada, but Buddha!
Chandran, Nanda (NBC)
Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Mon Feb 9 09:27:58 CST 1998
>And by accepting an Absolute, there can be no middle-path of the Buddha,
I'm confused here! I thought the middle path referred to a path neither
materialistic nor ascetic. I wasn't aware of it having any significance with
respect to the definition of the divine.
>When he says that the salutation is to Narayana, it must be given
>some weight, instead of dismissing it as arising due to a wish to suppress
>any Buddhist influence.
But can the environs in the Bharath during Shankara's time and the purpose
of his mission be ignored, when referring to his statements? And is there
any argument that Shankara was actively propogating Advaitam at the cost of
other schools of thought? Vivekachoodamani, for example, positively refutes
the other five schools of Hindu philosophy. And one can't but be aware that
in all his texts there's hardly a mention of Buddhism, which was the
predominant school of thought at that time.
>We can acknowledge the Buddha as a great Buddhist philosopher, why
>appropriate him as an advaita philosopher?
Quite right. But if there's even some doubt that Gaudapada was referring to
the Buddha, this question begs an answer!
>Unless, our notion of Bharat is a quasi-imperial one, to include all our
>neighbours in the subcontinent.
By Bharath, I refer to the whole stretch of the original Hindu civilization.
>Even in contemporary times, neither the theravAdins nor the mahAyAnikas
>acknowledge any similarity to or influence of/on upanishadic thought. For
>example, the structure of the kAlacakra maNDala in Tibetan Buddhism shows
>remarkable congruence with the five koSa doctrine, first seen in the
taittirIya >upanishad, but the Tibetans don't even seem to be aware of the
By Buddhism, I refer only to Indian variety. The religion seems to have
undergone remarkable transformation in other lands where it was spread -
some developments which seem to be in direct contradiction to the original
teachings of the compassionate one. And it seems unreasonable that one can
get a correct grasp of Buddhist history and philosophy without understanding
the Vedic way. When the Upanishads say that the Brahman defies description,
can the Buddha's silence about God be interpreted in any other way? The fact
that it was, by his later followers, again considering the environs during
that time, seems to be a deliberate anti-Vedic and anti-Brahmin stance. And
I remember you, Vidya, saying sometime back that if the Buddhists hadn't
been so anti-Vedic, the Buddha's teachings would've been amalgamated with
the Vedic scriptures. This also seems to be the reason, Shankara and other
Vedic philosophers were anti Buddhist.
>Those of us who do so, end up being neither here nor there, and may
>eventually end up creating a third tradition, which tries to combine both.
As long as it's the truth, does it matter whether it's Advaitam or Buddhism?
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