Miguel Angel Carrasco
nisargadata at MX3.REDESTB.ES
Sat Feb 14 06:12:12 CST 1998
Chandran, Nanda writes:
>Miguel Angel writes :
> >I consider the Buddha a jnani. [...]
For me Advaita is not a school of Vedanta, but the universal line of
thought that turns around the basic principle [...] .> >
>I'm not sure I agree. You may call all of them non-dual philosophers, but
not Advaitins. [...]
You may not agree with me, but I agree with you. You (and Vidyasankar
Sundaresan) replied to my comments with facts, which I can^Òt deny. You were
speaking from a factual, historical point of view, and yes, historically
Advaita was born from Vedanta and evolved separately and differently from
other non-dual schools. No doubt about it. And it^Òs not my intention to
usurp its copyright to the name. But I wasn^Òt speaking from a strictly
historical perspective. My intention was (and is) to find the common,
essential core in non-dual jnanis from any religion or philosophy. If I use
the term Advaita to enclose them all, it is to honour it, as I think that
it is the non-dual school par excellence. In the same way as you might
qualify as ^Óplatonic^Ô some ideas which, though not having been held by
Plato, more or less follow his general spirit. This naming usage is not so
rare, at least in the West. But if you feel that calling advaitists other
non-dual non-Vedanta jnanis is a misappropriation, I^Òll refrain from doing
Not so long ago, the Catholic church held that outside it there was no
salvation. I hope you (my dear friends from the Hindu tradition) will not
hold the same position. Then, you^Òll admit that there have been jnanis (or
muktas) in other traditions. And any jnani, having seen the Truth, will
either remain silent or communicate it to others. In the latter case, what
(s)he tries to communicate will inevitably be coloured by cultural
elements, whether for the listeners^Ò sake, or/and because it is not that
easy to express oneself without resort to traditional beliefs.
The question is then: Do you consider the best sages of other traditions,
like Buddha (and others like Meister Eckhardt, Ibn El'Arabi, Jalal ad-Din
ar-Rumi, etc) as jnanis, muktas, or only Vedic enlightened ones have a
right to be recognized as jnanis?
If the answer is Yes to the former (i.e. Buddha and others were also
jnanis), then the question is: What attitude do you have towards their
evident discrepancies? Are they just due to different cultural backgrounds,
and/or to different audiences? Or do they really disagree with each other?
Imagine that the sages I mentioned were to meet all together before a mixed
audience of seekers - would they say the same? Would they feel that any of
them could speak as their common spokesperson?
This is a point over which I^Òve puzzled for decades. Even as a child I
wondered - Why do the saints say such different things? Haven^Òt they seen
the truth? How is it then that they don^Òt agree with each other?
I often read books from different non-dual traditions. I particularly like
Huang Po and Ibn El'Arabi. These two hardly differ: there is only the Only
Mind/Ala. But others diverge in other points. Why?
A possible answer is: Even jnanis, who have seen the truth, haven^Òt seen
the whole truth, but only part of it, because they still have minds, and,
however pure and clean their minds have become, they are still limited, and
they can^Òt see or explain things but though these limited minds.
Another possible answer is: Each jnani has seen the one single truth, but
pays more attention to one aspect of it than to others. That would be why
Buddha insists more on the emptiness of all things, while Huang Po (also a
Buddhist) insists on the reality of the One Mind.
Still another possible answer: There have never been any jnanis. While
there is no enlightenment, there is no truth, and so no jnani; and when
there is realization of the Truth, there is nothing else, not even jnanis.
A little like the Stoic saying: Death doesn^Òt touch me: while I^Òm here,
there is no death; and when there is death, I am not here.
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