advaita and buddhism (was RE: [Advaita-l] discussion aboutpanchayatan puja)

Krunal Makwana krunalmakwana at
Thu Mar 2 14:13:58 CST 2006

namo nArAyaNAya

Dear Amuthanji

Amuthanji said:

>it is quite difficult to compare advaitAnubhava with
>buddhist nirvAna. the traditional view is that both
>are different. but svAmi vivekAnanda's view is that
>they are essentially the same. the description of
>nirvAna given by certain buddhist monks (and nuns) are
>so similar to advaitAnubhava that it is compelling to
>conclude that they are the same. of course, the
>traditionalists would brush aside the buddhist
>experience of nirvAna as a puruSha tantra j~nAna, but
>this may not be true in all cases. cutting the matter
>short, it is irrelevant for our purposes to worry
>whether nirvAna is the same as advaitAnubhava. that is
>'their' headache :-)

I expose my ignorance here for buddhism as i have not studied it properly, 
but whenever i hear the phrase 'nirvAna' i associate it with the 'nirvAna' 
of the gItA rather than the buddhist version. But i agree that maybe 
'shunyatA' and 'advaitAnubhava' may be described differently, but (imo) in 
essence they would be the same in the pAramArthika sense. But saying this i 
agree that we should leave 'that' headache aside, lol!

>imo, as far as siddhAnta ('philosophy') is concerned,
>it is best to stick to one and only one. whether or
>not we integrate other siddhAnta-s within our own is a
>personal choice, but care should be taken so that our
>siddhAnta itself doesn't get distorted in the process!
>however, it is certainly true that certain *practices*
>may be borrowed from other darshana-s, if necessary,
>provided they do not conflict with our siddhAnta. for
>instance, aShTA~Nga yoga has been traditionally
>integrated within advaita though the siddhAnta of yoga
>(sA~Nkhya) is certainly not acceptable to advaita.

I totally agree with you here! advaita vedanta should be the philosophy that 
should be followed in philosophical terms but to reach advaitAnubhuti any 
methods can be used, as long as they don't conflict with advaita vedanta. 
e.g. ISKCON's pay much attention to hari nAm jApa, this in philosophical 
terms does not conflictwith AV, so to perform nAm jApa is agreeable if the 
sAdhak chooses it as a method.

IMO advaita vedanta should be the philosophical, spiritual and religious 
backbone that the sAdhak uses to perform any of his duties, whether they are 
nAm jApa etc.

bhagavatpAda on a spiritual and philosophical basis was a stauch advaitin 
and never backed down on his position, this is apparent in his bhAshya's and 
his spiritual doctrines that brahman is the sole reality and everything else 
is false (relatively real) e.g asango'ham : brahma satyam jagat mithyA etc, 
but when reading his stotra's and his organisation of panchAyatan deva pUjA 
it comes across that the means can be many but end is 'kaivalya advaita'. 
Saying this a verse of the gItA comes into mind where by different methods 
(even though they may be wrong) they reach 'advaitAnubhAva':

Even those who, being devoted to other deities and endowed with faith 
worship (them), they also, O son of Kunti, worship Me alone (though) 
following the wrong method. Verse 23 ch 8

Here krsnAcarya shows that all methods only lead to krsnahood 
(advaitAnUbhUtI) even though they may be wrong. I assume by this and taking 
into account a verse which krsna said before:

Others verily worship my by adoring exclusively through the sacrifice of the 
knowledge of oneness; (others worship me) multifariously, and (others) as 
the multiformed existing variously. verse 15 ch 8

That krsna accept different forms of worship even though they are not 
advaitin but accepts that all lead to advaita. Here i assume that nAma jApa 
and etc are forms of worship that 'maybe' (please correct me if i am wrong) 
wrong because advaita only accepts certain procedures but does not deny that 
other procedures may help in realisation (this is the greatness of advaita).

If careful study is done in AcArya's stotra they may seem to be very 
dvaitic, this is because of the sheer love AcArya had for brahman in it's 
various forms (hence the reason why he organised panchAyatana deva pUjA) but 
always propounded that the final goal is keval advaita.

I apologise from rambling on abit.

If i am wrong in any areas, please correct me, as this is a learning process 
for me.

namo nArAyana


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