[Advaita-l] Advaita and Madhyamika Buddhism

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Sep 18 11:43:31 CDT 2016

On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 6:17 PM, Praveen R. Bhat via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Namaste Venkatraghavanji,
> I think the crucial difference may be in the fact that "no denial of the
> self"  is a lot different from "affirmation of the self". Two Shruti
> statements come to mind, one being असन्नेव स भवति and अस्तीत्येव
> उपलब्धव्यः। Even for परोक्षज्ञान, affirmation/conviction that there is an
> existent entity beyond time and space is necessary. I remember reading the
> refutation of Buddhism (Vijnanavada I suppose) long back in
> Gambhiranandaji's translation of Brahma Sutras that Bhashyakara says
> against shUnyatA so: with shUnya, how does karma (which Buddhists too
> believe in) continue from one thing to another? To that the Buddhist says,
> there may be something that holds it or something to that effect.
> Bhashyakara says that if you agree there *is* something, it amounts to
> saying the same existence that we talk of and then, we don't have any
> arguments with you! I can't recall the reference now, maybe people with the
> know-how can add and/or correct the same please.

What comes to mind immediately is the reference in the Panchadashi:

 भूतविवेको नाम द्वितीयः परिच्छेदः |
भगवत्पूज्यपादाश्च शुष्कतर्कपटूनमून् |
आहुर्माध्यमिकान्भ्रान्तानचिन्त्येऽस्मिन्सदात्मनि ||२५||
अनादृत्य श्रुतिं मौर्ख्यादिमे बौद्धस्तपस्विनः |
आपेदिरे निरामत्वमनुमानैकचक्षुषः ||२६||
शून्यमासीदिति ब्रूषे सद्योगं वा सदात्मताम् |
शून्यस्य न तु तद्युक्तमुभयं व्याहतत्वतः ||२७||
न युक्तस्तमसा सूर्यो नापि चासौ तमोमयः
|*सच्छून्ययोर्विरोधित्वाच्छून्यमासीत्कथं वद *||२८||
वियदादेर्नामरूपे मायया सति कल्पिते |
शून्यस्य नामरूपे च तथा चेज्जीव्यतां चिरम् ||२९|

(The verse numbers may pl. be corrected)

30. The highly respected Bhagavatpada Sankara also refers to the
Madhyamikas, experts in dry ratiocination (contradicting the vedic view),
as confused regarding the self-existent Brahman who is beyond thought.

31. These Buddhists, merged in darkness, and seeing through the one eye of
inference and neglecting the authority of the Vedas, reached only the

32. (We ask the Buddhists): When you said, 'nothing existed' did you mean
it (nothing) was connected with existence (Sat) or it (nothing) was of the
nature of existence ? In either case its nothingness is contradicted.

33. The sun does not have the attribute of darkness; nor is it itself of
the nature of darkness. As existence and non-existence are similarly
contradictory, (you cannot predicate something about nothing, so) how do
you say 'nothing existed' ?

34. (The Buddhists retort): (According to you Vedantins) The names and
forms of Akasa and other elements are conjured up by Maya in (or on) Sat,
the existence or Reality. Similarly (according to us) they (names and
forms) are illusively produced by Maya in (or on) non-existence, Asat.
(Reply): Our answer is, 'May you live long', i.e. you have fallen into a
logical trap.



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