[Advaita-l] discussion about panchayatan puja

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Mar 15 11:30:22 CST 2006

On Thu, 2 Mar 2006, Krunal Makwana wrote:

> Forgive me for saying this but bUddha bhagwAns 'shUnyatA' was Sankara's 
> 'Kevalya Advaita' BUT due to time and circumstances the buddha avatar came 
> to refute the veda because of corruption and etc. BhagavatpAda then came to 
> give the supreme authority of the Vedas and refuted the 'shunyatA VAda' of 
> buddha so that people would then believe in brahman. So for BhagavatpAda to 
> show people the true Sanatan Dharma, he had to refute all other philosophies 
> this the reason Shankara critised 'shunyatA'.

Please note, while not accepting the authority of the Vedas was apalling 
to Astika philosophers, it wasn't the only problem they had with Buddhism.

In Buddhism consciousness is momentary (kshanika)  There is literally no 
relationship between the state of the consciousness from one moment to the 
next.  Advaita Vedanta says that consciousness is pure and continuous 
without beginning or end.

In Buddhism there is no soul, atma refers to what we call ahamkara. 
(But then how is reincarnation supposed to work?)  In Advaita Vedanta, atma is 
eternal and the only truly real thing.

Atleast some schools of Buddhism (don't know if it is all) are 
philosophical idealists.  They say the material world is an illusion. 
Advaita Vedanta says the nature of the world is misunderstood so its 
_appearence_ is an illusion but there is an underlying reality which can 
be spoken of in a positive manner.

Thus Nirvana (literally "snuffing out") in Buddhism is an end to 
existence.  Shunyata is void.  Mukti in Advaita Vedanta is the realization 
of ultimate and eternal identification with all of reality. Brahman is 
purna (complete.)

Still, there are some similarites in both directions.  The biggest problem 
is are the ideas of later Buddhist philosophers those of Shakyamuni?  He 
was a thorough agnostic.  He may well have not been against Vedic thought 
or maybe he was.  He doggedly refused to say anything about the ultimate 
nature of reality.  I think this is what Kartik was getting at when he 
said Buddhists have no sampradaya.  They have to infer what they think the 
Buddha meant whereas as we can atleast make the claim that we are getting 
the teaching in disciplic sucession direct from the Rshis.

In Vedic thought also there are some agnostic tendencies.  Some shastras 
do speak of the power of language to beguile rather than illuminate or how 
experience is not enough to fully know Brahman etc.  The famous "neti 
neti" is often cited as an example of this.  But note the very next 
sentence after it says "It is called the truth of truth" -- a positive 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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