Advaita and advaita vedanta?

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Wed Jul 21 18:16:46 CDT 1999

Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

> A closely related word, advaya, is frequently used in Mahayana
> works. To a large extent, advaya refers to the experiential aspect
of non-
> dualism, while advaita refers to an ontological claim that this
> reality is the highest reality. Specifically in advaita vedAnta, the
> argument is also made that this highest reality is pure being, and
is the
> substratum of the universe and all sensory experience. However, even
> without this ontological aspect, there are schools of Mahayana
> e.g. the vijnAptimAtra school, which equate the non-dual state with
> consciousness.

But this consciousness still has to be fleeting, i.e., it cannot
persist, in which case it would become a substratum. I fail to see how
they can equate a non-dual state with pure-consciousness dismissing at
the same time the ontological implications. Is this school the same as
the viGYAnavAda school?

IMO, the distinction between ontology and epistemology in advaita is
very blurred, unlike other schools. A careful reading of the
upadeshasAhasrI or any other work of sha.nkara will reveal this. It is
later works like the bhAmatI and vivaraNa which try to distinguish
these two clearly. I think this makes understanding advaita much more
confusing, the essential simplicity of sha.nkara is lost.  More later.


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