Individual: Furthermore, the common usage of language doesn't necessarily follow logic, so it's entirely plausible that Advaya in Pali could mean both non-dualism or monism, in addition to being a description of the Buddhist rejection of both dualism and non-dualism.
This has nothing to do with translations from Pali. It has to do with two Sanskrit terms -- Advaya from the Mahayana and Advaita from Advaita Vedanta Hinduism -- that have specific doctrinal definitions, let repeat here what I said in 4 msgs on ZFI
Advaya means "not-two"; advaita means "one without a second”
Wrong... A (not) Dvaita (Dual)
Not at all wrong. "One without a second” is not at all a bad gloss on Advaita. It is found in the Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.1-3, ‘in the beginning sat
[being] alone existed, the One without a Second [EkamevAdvitIyaM]. . . . It (sat) reflected, “May I become many! May I be born!”’.
"One without a second” is a common Advaita expression that nicely characterizes the Advaita.SeeSeeSeeSeeSeeWikiSee
kannada: The word 'advaita' means 'non-dual' - end of story.
Maybe for you; however, as neatly shown, "One without a second” is classically characteristic and defining of Advaita, so Guenther's use of "One without a second” was not at all inappropriate.
christopher::: : I'd vote for non-dual as a good English translation for advaita, BUT, from a non-dual perspective isn't "one without a second" also acceptable?
From the two Sanskrit dictionaries I have:
A.A. MacDonnell’s A PRACTICAL SANSKRIT DICTIONARY, Oxford University Press, 1954, in toto and referenced by kannada: advaita, n. non-duality, unity; a. without duality, secondless, single. p 9.
From the great M. Monier-Williams’ A SANSKRIT ENGLISH DICTIONARY, Oxford
University Press, Motilal Banarsidass, 2002: advaita, mfn. destitute of duality,
having no duplicate, S3Br. xiv , &c.; peerless, sole, unique p. 19.
“Secondless,” “single,” “destitute of duality”; in other words: "One without a second.”
Non-dual is, of course, a good, close to literal English translation. "One without a second," however, is and has been shown to be a very appropriate gloss of Advaita, both in terms of what the word denotes and in terms of what it connotes
. If one wants to discredit a scholar of Guenther’s stature, attacking his "One without a second" gloss of Advaita carries no weight.
Seems a bit weird to be in a dualistic debate about non-dualism.
(Could it be that non-duality is a highly dualistic concept?) But the immediate “debate” here that I am involved in is if "One without a second” is appropriate gloss of Advaita. It is.
Kannada: No matter how 'classically characteristic' the definition is it is still wholly inaccurate.
So you assert, but have yet to actually show.
Yours and Guenthers' assertion is based on popular interpretation/misconception of advaita, not it's specific meaning. A 'dog' has four legs and a tail, whiskers and a wet nose, so does a cat - but a dog is not a cat. Characteristics, whether classical or not, are meaningless unless they pertain to specifics.
But a dog does not have retractable claws, does not purr, and does not have a barbed tongue or penis. You are making a dictionary argument, which does not quite cut it. You have yet to actually make a reasoned, exampled argument for your case or to counter what has been neatly shown to support my position. You will need to do better than your hitherto gainsaying.
The direct translation of advaita is 'not-dual', not 'one-without-a-second'. If Guenther had used the direct translation of advaita and not its folk-lore interpretation he would have no case, nothing to distinguish from 'advaya'.
The problem with your dictionary argument is that is does not take into account context. One can look at a huge pile of terms shared by Buddhism and Hinduism, but in context, they do not necessarily mean the same thing, given these words can carry very different doctrinal definitions given them by the context of their traditions.
While dictionaries are vital, they are not the final arbiter of what a doctrinally defined word means for a particular tradition. Guenther, coming from an Indo-Tibetan Buddhist standpoint, provides for advaya
a definition from his context: ’By saying "not-two" you remain on solid ground, because "not-two" does not mean "one."’
And you have yet to show that Guenther’s gloss of Advaita is actually inconsistent with the Advaita tradition.