[Advaita-l] Re: Buddhism Related Discussions
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Aug 11 01:03:19 CDT 2006
On Tue, 8 Aug 2006, Ramesh Krishnamurthy wrote:
> Maybe I should use "bauddham" or "arya dhamma" or some such term to
> bypass the moderator :))
That's a sure fire way of getting yourself banned. We moderators try not
to use a heavy hand but we aim to keep this list focused on Advaita
Vedanta and Smarta sampradaya and not random "discussions." Sometimes
we even disagree amongst ourselves where exactly to draw the line and if
you would like to persuade us to draw it differently do so, but please no
No culture exists in a vacuum so it is important to study even opponents
when they have been formative influences but even there, the focus should
only be on how they have interacted with us not their internal doctrines.
> But bauddham is an
> important element of our philosophic tradition and a part of the same
> culture as vedAnta and the other darSana-s.
Of the Nastika darshans, Jainism has had a longer-lasting and more
profound influence on our tradition IMO and even that is not very much.
By Shankaracharyas time, Buddhism had already begun to decline in India.
The purported closeness between Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta is as
superficial as that of a fish and a whale. Take for example the supposed
Buddhist leanings of Gaudapadacharya. One of the main pieces of evidence
offered as support for that view is MK 4.83.
asti nAstyasti nAstIti nAsti nAstitIti vA punaH |
chalasthirobhayAbhAvairAvrNotyeva bAlishaH || 83 ||
repeatedly saying "It exists", "it does not exist", "it exists and does
not exist", and "it never existed" the fool and his notions of
changeablility and unchangeability, both, and neither, do cover it up.
It refers to the atman. This is the classic Chatushkoti as expressed by
Nagarjuna in Mula Madhyamaka Karikas. His point is to emphasize that
the idea of atma is semantically null (shunya) It is impossible to say
anything about it.
But look at the next shloka:
koTyashchatasra etAstu grahairyAsAM sadA'vrtaH |
bhagavAnAbhirasprShTo yena drShTaH sa sarvadrk || 84 ||
By holding these four theories, Bhagavan always remains covered. But he
who sees Him as untouched by these, sees in all directions [i.e. is
Btw, the holders of the four theories are:
1. Samkhya/Yoga which holds that the atmas are seperate, eternal entities.
2. Charvaka and other materialists who don't believe in a soul only the body.
3. Jains, who provisionally accept the idea of a soul but not eternally.
4. Shunyavadi Buddhists who think the concept of a soul is an illusion.
In other words there is something beyond the conceptions of the individual
atma called Bhagavan (significantly, not Brahman. Bhagavan is a much more
loaded term.) Nagarjuna is the consummate agnostic. Gaudapada explicitly
asserts a positive, knowable, ultimate reality. See the difference?
For all the arguments between the Advaitins and theistic Vedantins, they
are much closer together in their beliefs than any of them are to Buddhists.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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