[Advaita-l] Permanence of the self

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Fri Feb 20 07:00:06 CST 2015

Sri Venkatesh,

I cannot lay claim to any significant knowledge of either Advaita, or
Buddhism either, so if you or anyone else on this list believe that any of
my replies are obviously incorrect, please excuse me.

1) As Kawada's paper says, both Sri GaudapAda and the Buddhists do speak of
non-origination, but they refer to different concepts when they do so.
Therefore according to Kawada, mere non-origination is not "naitad buddhena
bhAshitam", but because the underlying concepts that the same term refers
to are fundamentally different to the two groups.

Sri GaudapAda speaks of the ajAtivAdA whereas the Buddhists speak of
AnutpAda or PratItyasmutpAda. Both are non-origination concepts, but with
Sri GaudapAda, his ajAtivAda is that there is an Unborn entity, whereas the
antupAda is that "there is no birth", or pratItyasamutpAda is that "things
are not originating in themselves, but do so in dependence to other
things". So when Sri GaudapAda says "naitad buddhena bhashitam" he means
the non-origination of Brahman was not spoken of by Buddha.

2) It is difficult to get a read on what Kawada means by the
everlastingness of the Law. However, a conversation with my Buddhist friend
leads me to believe that Kawada may be referring to the following - the
permanence of co-origination, i.e. that phenomena don't exist independent
of the mind, and that the mind doesn't exist independent of phenomena, is
permanent. That is unlike the LankAvatAra school of Buddhism that believes
that nothing permanent exists, except the mind. The Asanga school of
Buddhism is closer to what Buddha advocated - that the mind (or
consciousness) itself doesn't permanently exist (for it would be then
argued by advaitins that what was being referred to as consciousness, is
nothing but Brahman), but what exists permanently is the *nature* of the
mind to have co-dependence with phenomena.

3) I suspect your issue with Kawada's comment is with the the phrase "and
vice-versa" in the comment "It is doubtless that the Upanishads had much
influence upon Buddhism and vice-versa". From a traditional sanAtana dharma
standpoint, the apaurushatyeva of Shruti is axiomatic, and therefore when
viewed from that standpoint, any external influence on Shruti is
impossible. However, to a Buddhist who doesn't believe in the authority of
the veda, it is reasonable (for him, not us) to assume that the Upanishads
had some influence from Buddhist thought (and vice-versa), perhaps because
of the similarity of several features in the two systems.

If people feel that the contents of the paper / this email are straying too
far from a discussion on advaita, which is what this list is meant for,
please excuse me.


On Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 6:48 am, Venkatesh Murthy via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:


>>Namaste Sri Venkatraghavan

>>I have gone through the article. It is balanced article like you said. But>>unfortunately I have no good knowledge of Buddhist source books or Buddhist>>arguments. From my understanding I can make some comments. Kindly correct>>me if wrong -


>>1 Gaudapada has explained the Ajaativaada in the Karikas. Buddha has not
>>spoken of Ajaativaada. Naitad Buddhena Bhashitam.

>>2. Gaudapada has accepted authority of Vedanta and Brahman-Atman in his>>Karikas. Buddha has not accepted authority of Vedas and Vedanta. He has not>>spoken of Brahman-Atman. Naitad Buddhena Bhashitam.

>>3 In the article on Page 6 - 'Gautama Buddha advocates the the everlasting>>real nature of the Law. Gaudapada advocates the Pure Intelligence only>>which is beyond the sphere of the law of causality. The one contends the>>metethical Law of phenomena, the other the transcendental reality of the>>pure consciouness.'  What is 'everlasting real nature of the Law' accepted>>by Gautama Buddha? I did not understand.
>>4. Same page -  'Here one might raise objections against my view and say>>among others: isn't the highest truth of Gautama Buddha the Consciousness>>Only, because the Trirnsika declares it so? My answer is no. Read carefully>>the following verses! And you will find out that the Non-mind (acittam) or>>Non-consciousness is the highest truth. The Consciousness Only is a half>>-way house,where one should not dwell forever. It should be left behind in>>order to arrive at the highest truth. And this is the real nature of the>>Law (dharma-dhatu) which is identical with the knowledge of no false>>imagination (nirvikalpajnanam), and which may be expressed by the knowledge>>won after' it (tatprsthalabdha jnanam).'>>What Gautama Buddha said Gaudapada did not say. Naitad Gaudapaadaihi>>Bhashitam.


>>This important point is cutting to pieces the bad Bengali and other >>scholars
argument saying - the Sunyata of Buddhists is same as Brahman >>Consciousness
of Vedanta and we Advaitis do not have anything new and >>Advaita and
Buddhism are the same. These people have not understood Advaita >>and they
have not understood Buddhism also.


>>5 I do not agree with this on Page 7 - 'It is doubtless that the >>Upanishadas
had much influence upon Buddhism and vice versa. This is the >>reason why
Vidhushekhara's interpretation of Gaudapada has appeared and >>Samkara is
sometimes reproached for his being a pracchanna bauddha.'


>>How is it possible the Apaurusheya Eternal Upanishads got influence of >>Buddhism?
There may be some new and recent Upanishads but the Old >>Dashopanishads
were there in Gautama Buddha's time also. The author cannot >>accuse
'Upanishads got Buddhist influence' for these Ten Upanishads. Adi >>Sankara
wrote his Bhashyas on these Ten Upanishads. But Buddists got >>Upanishad
ideas. Advaita is Upanishad based philosophy. On the surface both >>share
some common ideas. By observing this ignorant people said Advaitis >>are
Pracchanna Bauddhas. But who said this they themselves are Pracchanna
This is the joke.


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