[Advaita-l] Multiple levels of reality

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Feb 12 04:15:12 CST 2012

On Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 2:31 PM, Kalyan K <kalyankc.81 at gmail.com> wrote:

>  >There is a rather large difference between "originally was a Buddhistic
> concept" and "was >used by Buddhists."  I agree with Shri Subrahmanian that
> the former has no basis. I don't >mind conceding the latter.
>  Yes, there is a difference and I will say this -
>   1. mAyA was "also" used by the buddhists
>   2. multiple realities was “originally” used by the buddhists (though it
> is "implicit" in Sruti)

Dear Kalyan,

I presume by saying ''also'' in quotes you mean that Vedantins use Maya and
Buddhists 'also' use.  Do you mean by that the Buddhists took the concept
of 'mAyA' from the Vedantins and used it?

If yes, then there is no reason to assert your second statement.  As I had
already pointed out the Taittiriya Upanishad has an explicit mention of the
three levels of realities: satyam cha anRtam cha satyam abhavat.  The
Shankara bhashya uses the very terms pAramArthika and vyAvahArika and
explains prAtibhAsika by not using this term.

The Aitareya Upanishad 1.3.12 त्रय आवसथाः *त्रयः स्वप्नाः  teaches
that all the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep are three dreams
alone.  Here too Shankara uses the words:
परमार्थस्वात्मप्रबोधाभावात्स्वप्नवदसद्वस्तुदर्शनाच्च ।

If you think the usage of the words 'pAranArthika and vyAvahArika' was
first done by the Buddhists, then you will have to see the Mandukya

मायामात्रमिदं द्वैतं अद्वैतं परमार्थतः  which is a shruti statement for the
Madhvas and some Advaita Acharyas like Appayya Dikshita, Madhusudana
Saraswati and Vidyaranya.

This very upanishad uses the word 'avyavahAryam' in the seventh mantra to
denote the Turiya, the pAramArthika Satyam Brahma.

It can be argued that the Buddhists took these inputs from the Upanishadic
lore and used the terms with different grammatical forms to  formulate
their system.

Here is a verse as I heard rendered by a several eminent scholars of
Advaita Vedanta:

’मत्तविलासप्रहसनम्’ '
वेदान्तेभ्यो गृहीत्वार्थान् यो महाभारतादपि ।
विप्राणां मिषतामेव कृतवान् कोशसञ्चयम् ॥

Mahendravarman in his work 'mattavilAsaprahasanam' says this about the
coming into being of the Buddhistic system:

//Taking material from the UpaniShads and also from the MahAbhArata (which
includes the BhagavadgItA), Buddha, even as the brAhmaNa-s (vaidika-s) were
wide awake, accomplished a great fortune - literally filled up his coffers
- (of establishing a vibrant system).//

Buddhism (and Jainism) were born as offshoots of the Vedantic sanatana
Dharma.  They have their roots in the Upanishadic scriptures.  In fact
mantras like 'कथमसतः सज्जायेत’ of the Chandogya upanishad are talking about
the Bauddha pUrvapakSha.  There is a maxim (which I am not able to express
in Sanskrit but heard it being articulated) which says: 'All schools have
been present at all times'.  Only that now and then different Teachers will
come to resurrect them.

The claim of 'originality' with respect to the different levels of reality
by the Buddhists is without any basis.

Those who study Advaita in the sampradaya method will not be influenced by
the a-sampradaya views of modern academicians who, not knowing the
Upanishadic method, think that Buddhism has influenced Advaita.  Even
Indian scholars are not free of this misconception.  Prof.Vidhushekhara
Bhattacharya is a prominent proponent of this misguided thinking who has
been refuted by T.M.P.Mahadevan.


>   Now, I know that you will not concede on point 2. But an individual's
>   concession is his or her personal opinion. From my side, I say that one
> is
>   free to verify point 2 by reading buddhist works like mUla mAdhyamaka
>   kArIkA of nAgArjuna.
>   Regards
>   Kalyan

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