[Advaita-l] Are Buddhists Dvaitins?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Feb 14 00:59:54 CST 2012

It is well known that those who are opposed to Advaita Darshana engage in
caricaturing Advaita as 'pracchanna bauddham'.  While their ignorance of
the details of Advaita Darshana in depth is at the base of such criticism,
many might not be aware that Shankara holds the Buddhists as 'dvaitins'.

In  the Mandukya karika 3.17 Bhashya Shankaracharya lists kapila, kaNAda,
buddha, Arhata (jaina),’aadi’, etc. as 'dvaitinaH'. [To this list we can
add the pAtanjala-s, the pAncharAtra-s and the pAshupata-s too. perhaps the
word 'Adi' in the above sentence is to include these..]

स्वसिद्धान्तव्यवस्थासु द्वैतिनो निश्चिता दृढम् |
 परस्परं *विरुध्यन्ते* तैरयं न विरुध्यते ||१७||

 इतश्च मिथ्यादर्शनं द्वैतिनां रागद्वेषादिदोषास्पदत्वात् । कथम् ?
 स्वसिद्धान्तव्यवस्थासु स्वसिद्धान्तरचनानियमेषु
कपिलकणादबुद्धार्हतादिदृष्ट्यनुसारिणो द्वैतिनो निश्चिताः ...

But how are bauddhas dvaitins?

In the KaarikA bhashyam for 4.99 Shankaracharya comments for the words: 'na
etad buddhena bhAshitam' of the Kaarikaa:

//  That the nature of the Supreme Reality is free from the differences of
knowledge, known, and knower, and is without a second -  this fact was not
expressed by Buddha, though a near approach to non-dualism was implied in
his negation of outer objects and his imagination of everything as mere
consciousness.   But this non-duality, the essence of the ultimate Reality,
is to be known from the Upanishads only.  This is the purport.//

I think that the Bauddha, though negated the entire objective world
(dRshya), did not say that the dRk is 'of such and such nature'.  The
Upanishads alone specifically talk about the eternal nature of the dRk: न
हि द्रष्टुः दृष्टेः विपरिलोपो विद्यते, अविनाशित्वात् । (Br.Upanishad).
 This  nityatva of the sat/chid vastu has not been spoken of by the Bauddha
(as per the Bauddha darshana that was available at the time of Shankara.
 Scholars have said that Shankara's criticism of Bauddha was in line with
Kumarila Bhatta's criticism of Bauddhas.)

And even though the Bauddha holds the vijnana as advaya, yet this vijnana
itself is a series of infinite cognitions, a santati.  And each sentient
entity, the jiva, is a series of such cognitions.  Thereby is established
the dualism of the Bauddha.  For Shankara whoever does not subscribe to the
Upanishadic teaching of the Adviteeya ChidAtma/Brahma Tattva is
automatically in the category of Dvaitins.

Also, in several places across the prasthAnatraya bhashyam of Shankara we
can see a pattern: He would take up the naiyAyika and the bauddha together
for criticism.  The former is given the name 'ardha-vainAshikAH' and the
latter 'pUrNa vainAshikAH'.  Both hold the effect, the universe, is from
non-existence, a 'no-cause'; asatkArya.


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