[Advaita-l] New member introduction: Nagarjuna Siddhartha

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Jun 11 23:25:18 CDT 2003

On Wed, 11 Jun 2003, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> 1. Are there any specific works of Shankara or his disciples which try to
>    refute the buddhistic (especially madhyamika) viewpoints? If there are,
>    can someone give me a list of such works?

Such viewpoints are brought up and criticized throughout the bhashyas but
as far as I know there is no work that specifically addresses Buddhist
viewpoints only.

> 2.Do Shankara and his disciples consider Chandrakirti alone as an ultimate
> authority while refuting madhyamika position? Or do they directly evaluate
> the teachings of Nagarjuna?

The problem is the style in Indian philosophy of generally not mentioning
opponents by name but only by "some say" or "it is said"  This often makes
it difficult to accurately determine the target of an objection.

Gaudapadacharya, Shankaracharyas' paramaguru definitely knew of Nagarjuna.
An example of this is in the Mandukyakarikas where the chatuskoti is
mentioned.  This passage is notorious as many scholars have considered it
"proof" that he borrowed his philosophy from madhyamika.  However it
should be noted that he says Bhagavan is the cause of the chatuskoti it is
not a process in itself, a decidedly Vedantic and non-Buddhistic notion.
So at best you could say he was influenced by Nagarjuna however there are
other places where he criticizes views which could be ascribed to

So is Shankarcharyas' exposition of Madhyamika teachings based on
Chandrakirti or Nagarjuna?  Unfortunately I have not studied the latter
enough to say.

> 3.Do the other schools of vedanta try to refute the madhyamika school or
> do they confine themselves to refutation of advaita?

According to Swami Chandrashekharendra Saraswati of Kanchi, Buddhism was
already in decline by Shankaracharyas' time (and many scholars agree
though they are not unanimous.)  Definitely by the time of the later
sampradayas, it had ceased to exist altogether especially in South India o
their criticisms tend to be rather pro forma and only based on
book-knowledge.  Their main energies are directed at Advaita Vedanta which
they accuse of being "prachhana Bauddha."

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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