[Advaita-l] Sankara's praise of Buddha

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Sep 22 23:52:06 CDT 2011

On Thu, 22 Sep 2011, D.V.N.Sarma డి.వి.ఎన్.శర్మ wrote:

> What I was trying to point out is that Buddha is a historical figure
> with incontrovertible evidence for his existence and ministry.

Really?  As I mentioned previously, Buddhacharita and Lalitavistara were 
composed many centuries after Shakyamuni.  Even the Tripitaka was composed 
200 to 450 years later.  Perhaps they do nevertheless record the original 
sayings of the Buddha but you brought up the idea of objective thought. 
Well, we have no objective reasons to believe someone called Siddhartha 
Gautama existed only intuitions and surmise.

> Trying to transport him into mythological story of Tripurasura
> samhara to discredit his teaching is immature and naive.
> Buddhism is the major religion of Asia and that itself is
> sufficient vouch for its credentials.

There are more Christians and Muslims in Asia than Buddhists.  Does this 
mean anything?  Should it?  I don't think popularity is much of a standard 
for truth.

This story like all puranic kathas is to teach a point.  That being that 
buddhist teachings are dangerous and likely to lead the sadhaka astray. 
It doesn't mean that they should not be studied and refuted in a more 
logical away anymore than the skull and crossbones warning on a bottle of 
poison means that chemists should not study poison.

> We have to get out of the habit of thinking that only Hindus are
> best in the world in every respect. Objectivity in thought is
> really will help us.

I don't know about every respect but the Vedic tradition culminating in 
Advaita Vedanta is the best in the world at explaining dharma and 
moksha and it is the standard by which I judge Buddhism and find it 
wanting.  This doesn't mean Buddhists aren't nice people or sincere or 
interesting.  They are simply wrong on the subjects of dharma and moksha 
as so many others including many "Hindus" are.  Employing strict and 
measurable standard like this firmly and fairly is the essence of 
objective thought.

On Thu, 22 Sep 2011, D.V.N.Sarma డ.వ.ఎన.శరమ wrote:

> If they are not the same the same the question arises who is this puranic
> Buddha.

In case I wasn't clear what I meant is both the puranic and hagiographical 
accounts are literary renditions of the life of a possibly historical 
figure.  Neither are factual biographies and neither can be privileged 
over the other on objective grounds.  Therefore we can say there are two 
Buddha-images to select from and we as a tradition are defined in part by 
our strong preference for the one where Buddha is a confuser of demons.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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