Allan Curry acurry at UVIC.CA
Thu Oct 9 22:31:03 CDT 1997


Do you remember the little tussle we had over seeming similarities between
Buddhism and Advaita?  You'd probably like to forget it!  Before we do, you
might be as amused as I was to read the following quote on page 27 of
Alston's "Sankara on the Absolute"...

"It seems clear that Gaudapada thought that the Buddhist works which he so
freely quoted were only restating the old Upanishadic wisdom enunciated by
Yajnavalkya, but in a clearer, more systematic form, better suited to the
philosophic climate of his own day. Both the Madhyamikas and Gaudapada
appeal to a special form of yoga that takes those who practicse it
successfully to an experience that lies beyond the distinction of subject
and object. Thus Nagarhuna's commentator Candrakirti says: 'Objects are
only perceived through the distorted double-vision (timira) of nescience.
Their true nature (atman) is perceived by the masters through the
yoga-of-non-vision (adarsana-yoga).' This answers to the (originally
Buddhist) yoga-of-no-contact (asparsa-yoga) taught by Gaudapada and to his
'experts in the Upanishadic wisdom who look upon the world as if it were a
cloud-city seen in a dream'."

To give credit to the other side of the debate, Alston does point out a few
pages later that Sankara *was* vehemently opposed to Buddhism although he
recognizes Gaudapada as a true knower. Alston's reason for this discrepancy
is that Buddhism had abandoned the search for transcendent vision (common
in Guadapada's time) in favor of intellectual hair splitting (two hundred
years later in Sankara's time).

Never the less, any of you who may have read the earlier Advaita-L debates
on this issue might understand the smile on my face tonight (even though
the rest of this body has the flu at the moment!)   ...   :-)

good night,

Allan Curry

       "Attingitur inattingibile inattingibiliter" - Nicholas of Cusa
          "The unattainable is attained through its unattainment"

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