Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Fri Oct 3 14:56:07 CDT 1997

> From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU>
> Subject: Re: The Riddle of Fate and Freewill
> Date: Wednesday, October 01, 1997 11:53 AM

> [...]

> ps. Eliot Deutsch says that karma is a convenient fiction in advaita, but
> he misstates the issue. The entire universe is a "convenient fiction,"
> which disappears when the unitary brahman is known. In one understanding
> of advaita, the universe is perceived only so that its basis may be
> However, given the universe, with all its variety, karma stands.

Even before Brahman is known there are, for the Advaitin, "means of valid
knowledge."  Deutsch has done an able job of showing that Karma does not
fit any of them.  "Given the universe, with all its variety," only variety
stands.  You can't get from there to Karma.

>If karma is all as convenient a
> fiction as Deutsch holds, the entire motivation for moksha is lost, and
> the import of advaitic teaching is lost.

I don't see how  the import of any of the great sayings, such as tat tvam
asi, get lost by seeing karma as a convenient fiction.  The description of
ultimate reality remains intact.  If you stay focused on the description
you don't need the prescription.  In fact, it could be argued that the
import of the description is compromised _by_ the prescription.  I have the
same problem in understanding the 8 fold path.  It gets in the way of the
Buddha's deepest insight into the nature of reality.

Jonathan Bricklin

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