Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:37 pm

‘O bhikkhus, when neither self nor anything pertaining to self can truly and really be found, this speculative view: “The universe is that Atman (Soul); I shall be that after death, permanent, abiding, ever-lasting, unchanging, and I shall exist as such for eternity” - is it not wholly and completely foolish?”
Here the Buddha explicitly states that an Atman, or Soul, or Self, is nowhere to be found in reality, and it is foolish to believe that there is such a thing.”



I quoted this to a hindu, he said "the universe is anicca so its false, brahman is behind that since brahman is eternal"


Basically hindus will just keep moving brahman/Atman back behind everything and if you say anything about nibbana they say thats brahman/Atman

They take the view that Buddha taught Vedanta and restored original Vedanta. They see him as arguing against hindus who took up dualism instead of non-dualism. I also heard someone say that Buddha didnt teach anything original since D.O. is in Vedanta (i dont know how true this is) and Buddhism is just "repackaged" hinduism

From my understanding all these elements that are similar to Buddhism seem to have come after Buddha so it would seem, to me anyway, that Advaita Vedanta and some other schools of buddhism were influenced by Buddha since i havent come accross much that is similar to buddhadhamma in pre-buddhist Vedas and Upanishads

metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:42 pm

Found a good article in relation to this

Vedanta and Buddhism
A Comparative Study
selected essays edited by
Helmuth von Glasenapp


Preface
The present treatise by Prof. Dr. H.V. Glasenapp has been selected for reprint particularly in view of the excellent elucidation of the Anatta Doctrine which it contains. The treatise, in its German original, appeared in 1950 in the Proceeding of the "Akademie der Wissenschaften and Literatur" (Academy of Sciences and Literature). The present selection from that original is based on the abridged translations published in "The Buddhist," Vol.XXI, No. 12 (Colombo 1951). Partial use has also been made of a different selection and translation which appeared in "The Middle Way," Vol. XXXI, No. 4 (London 1957).

The author of this treatise is an eminent Indologist of Western Germany, formerly of the University of Koenigsberg, now occupying the indological chair of the University of Tuebingen. Among his many scholarly publications are books on Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and on comparative religion.

— Buddhist Publication Society

Vedanta and Buddhism
Vedanta and Buddhism are the highlights of Indian philosophical thought. Since both have grown in the same spiritual soil, they share many basic ideas: both of them assert that the universe shows a periodical succession of arising, existing and vanishing, and that this process is without beginning and end. They believe in the causality which binds the result of an action to its cause (karma), and in rebirth conditioned by that nexus. Both are convinced of the transitory, and therefore sorrowful character, of individual existence in the world; they hope to attain gradually to a redeeming knowledge through renunciation and meditation and they assume the possibility of a blissful and serene state, in which all worldly imperfections have vanished for ever. The original form of these two doctrines shows however strong contrast. The early Vedanta, formulated in most of the older and middle Upanishads, in some passages of the Mahabharata and the Puranas, and still alive today (though greatly changed) as the basis of several Hinduistic systems, teaches an ens realissimum (an entity of highest reality) as the primordial cause of all existence, from which everything has arisen and with which it again merges, either temporarily or for ever.

With the monistic metaphysics of the Vedanta contrasts the pluralistic Philosophy of Flux of the early Buddhism of the Pali texts which up to the present time flourishes in Ceylon, Burma and Siam. It teaches that in the whole empirical reality there is nowhere anything that persists; neither material nor mental substances exist independently by themselves; there is no original entity or primordial Being in whatsoever form it may be imagined, from which these substances might have developed. On the contrary, the manifold world of mental and material elements arises solely through the causal co-operation of the transitory factors of existence (dharma) which depend functionally upon each other, that is, the material and mental universe arises through the concurrence of forces that, according to the Buddhists, are not reducible to something else. It is therefore obvious that deliverance from the Samsara, i.e., the sorrow-laden round of existence, cannot consist in the re-absorption into an eternal Absolute which is at the root of all manifoldness, but can only be achieved by a complete extinguishing of all factors which condition the processes constituting life and world. The Buddhist Nirvana is, therefore, not the primordial ground, the eternal essence, which is at the basis of everything and form which the whole world has arisen (the Brahman of the Upanishads) but the reverse of all that we know, something altogether different which must be characterized as a nothing in relation to the world, but which is experienced as highest bliss by those who have attained to it (Anguttara Nikaya, Navaka-nipata 34). Vedantists and Buddhists have been fully aware of the gulf between their doctrines, a gulf that cannot be bridged over. According to Majjhima Nikaya, Sutta 22, a doctrine that proclaims "The same is the world and the self. This I shall be after death; imperishable, permanent, eternal!" (see Brh. UP. 4, 4, 13), was styled by the Buddha a perfectly foolish doctrine. On the other side, the Katha-Upanishad (2, 1, 14) does not see a way to deliverance in the Buddhist theory of dharmas (impersonal processes): He who supposes a profusion of particulars gets lost like rain water on a mountain slope; the truly wise man, however, must realize that his Atman is at one with the Universal Atman, and that the former, if purified from dross, is being absorbed by the latter, "just as clear water poured into clear water becomes one with it, indistinguishably."

Vedanta and Buddhism have lived side by side for such a long time that obviously they must have influenced each other. The strong predilection of the Indian mind for a doctrine of universal unity (monism) has led the representatives of Mahayana to conceive Samsara and Nirvana as two aspects of the same and single true reality; for Nagarjuna the empirical world is a mere appearance, as all dharmas, manifest in it, are perishable and conditioned by other dharmas, without having any independent existence of their own. Only the indefinable "Voidness" (sunyata) to be grasped in meditation, and realized in Nirvana, has true reality.

This so-called Middle Doctrine of Nagarjuna remains true to the Buddhist principle that there can be nowhere a substance, in so far as Nagarjuna sees the last unity as a kind of abyss, characterized only negatively, which has no genetic relation to the world. Asanga and Vasubandhu, however, in their doctrine of Consciousness Only, have abandoned the Buddhist principle of denying a positive reality which is at the root all phenomena, and in doing so, they have made a further approach to Vedanta. To that mahayanistic school of Yogacaras, the highest reality is a pure and undifferentiated spiritual element that represents the non- relative substratum of all phenomena. To be sure, they thereby do not assert, as the (older) Vedanta does, that the ens realissimum (the highest essence) is identical with the universe, the relation between the two is rather being defined as "being neither different nor not different." It is only in the later Buddhist systems of the Far East that the undivided, absolute consciousness is taken to be the basis of the manifold world of phenomena. But in contrast to the older Vedanta, it is never maintained that the world is an unfoldment from the unchangeable, eternal, blissful Absolute; suffering and passions, manifest in the world of plurality, are rather traced back to worldly delusion.

On the other hand, the doctrines of later Buddhist philosophy had a far-reaching influence on Vedanta. It is well known that Gaudapada, and other representatives of later Vedanta, taught an illusionistic acosmism, for which true Reality is only "the eternally pure, eternally awakened, eternally redeemed" universal spirit whilst all manifoldness is only delusion; the Brahma has therefore not developed into the world, as asserted by the older Vedanta, but it forms only the world's unchangeable background, comparable to the white screen on which appear the changing images of an unreal shadow play.

In my opinion, there was in later times, especially since the Christian era, much mutual influence of Vedanta and Buddhism, but originally the systems are diametrically opposed to each other. The Atman doctrine of the Vedanta and the Dharma theory of Buddhism exclude each other. The Vedanta tries to establish an Atman as the basis of everything, whilst Buddhism maintains that everything in the empirical world is only a stream of passing Dharmas (impersonal and evanescent processes) which therefore has to be characterized as Anatta, i.e., being without a persisting self, without independent existence.

Again and again scholars have tried to prove a closer connection between the early Buddhism of the Pali texts, and the Vedanta of the Upanishads; they have even tried to interpret Buddhism as a further development of the Atman doctrine. There are, e.g., two books which show that tendency: The Vedantic Buddhism of the Buddha, by J.G. Jennings (Oxford University Press, 1947), and in German language, The Soul Problem of Early Buddhism, by Herbert Guenther (Konstanz 1949).

The essential difference between the conception of deliverance in Vedanta and in Pali Buddhism lies in the following ideas: Vedanta sees deliverance as the manifestation of a state which, though obscured, has been existing from time immemorial; for the Buddhist, however, Nirvana is a reality which differs entirely from all dharmas as manifested in Samsara, and which only becomes effective, if they are abolished. To sum up: the Vedantin wishes to penetrate to the last reality which dwells within him as an immortal essence, or seed, out of which everything has arisen. The follower of Pali Buddhism, however, hopes by complete abandoning of all corporeality, all sensations, all perceptions, all volitions, and acts of consciousness, to realize a state of bliss which is entirely different from all that exists in the Samsara.

After these introductory remarks we shall now discuss systematically the relation of original Buddhism and Vedanta.

(1) First of all we have to clarify to what extent a knowledge of Upanishadic texts may be assumed for the canonical Pali scriptures. The five old prose Upanishads are, on reasons of contents and language, generally held to be pre-Buddhistic. The younger Upanishads, in any case those beginning from Maitrayana, were certainly written at a time when Buddhism already existed.

The number of passages in the Pali canon dealing with Upanishadic doctrines, is very small. It is true that early Buddhism shares many doctrines with the Upanishads (Karma, rebirth, liberation through insight), but these tenets were so widely held in philosophical circles of those times that we can no longer regard the Upanishads are the direct source from which the Buddha has drawn. The special metaphysical concern of the Upanishads, the identity of the individual and the universal Atman, has been mentioned and rejected only in a few passages in the early Buddhist texts, for instance in the saying of the Buddha quoted earlier. Nothing shows better the great distance that separates the Vedanta and the teachings of the Buddha, than the fact that the two principal concepts of Upanishadic wisdom, Atman and Brahman, do not appear anywhere in the Buddhist texts, with the clear and distinct meaning of a "primordial ground of the world, core of existence, ens realissimum (true substance)," or similarly. As this holds likewise true for the early Jaina literature, one must assume that early Vedanta was of no great importance in Magadha, at the time of the Buddha and the Mahavira; otherwise the opposition against if would have left more distinct traces in the texts of these two doctrines.

(2) It is of decisive importance for examining the relation between Vedanta and Buddhism, clearly to establish the meaning of the words atta and anatta in Buddhist literature.

The meaning of the word attan (nominative: atta, Sanskrit: atman, nominative: atma) divides into two groups: (1) in daily usage, attan ("self") serves for denoting one's own person, and has the function of a reflexive pronoun. This usage is, for instance, illustrated in the 12th Chapter of the Dhammapada. As a philosophical term attan denotes the individual soul as assumed by the Jainas and other schools, but rejected by the Buddhists. This individual soul was held to be an eternal unchangeable spiritual monad, perfect and blissful by nature, although its qualities may be temporarily obscured through its connection with matter. Starting from this view held by the heretics, the Buddhists further understand by the term "self" (atman) any eternal, unchangeable individual entity, in other words, that which Western metaphysics calls a "substance": "something existing through and in itself, and not through something else; nor existing attached to, or inherent in, something else." In the philosophical usage of the Buddhists, attan is, therefore, any entity of which the heretics wrongly assume that it exists independently of everything else, and that it has existence on its own strength.

The word anattan (nominative: anatta) is a noun (Sanskrit: anatma) and means "not-self" in the sense of an entity that is not independent. The word anatman is found in its meaning of "what is not the Soul (or Spirit)," also in brahmanical Sanskrit sources (Bhagavadgita, 6,6; Shankara to Brahma Sutra I, 1, 1, Bibl, Indica, p 16; Vedantasara Section 158). Its frequent use in Buddhism is accounted for by the Buddhist' characteristic preference for negative nouns. Phrases like rupam anatta are therefore to be translated "corporeality is a not-self," or "corporeality is not an independent entity."

As an adjective, the word anattan (as occasionally attan too; see Dhammapada 379; Geiger, Pali Lit., Section 92) changes from the consonantal to the a-declension; anatta (see Sanskrit anatmaka, anatmya), e.g., Samyutta 22, 55, 7 PTS III p. 56), anattam rupam... anatte sankare... na pajanati ("he does not know that corporeality is without self,... that the mental formations are without self"). The word anatta is therefore, to be translated here by "not having the nature of a self, non-independent, without a (persisting) self, without an (eternal) substance," etc. The passage anattam rupam anatta rupan ti yathabhutam na pajanati has to be rendered: "With regard to corporeality having not the nature of a self, he does not know according to truth, 'Corporeality is a not-self (not an independent entity).'" The noun attan and the adjective anatta can both be rendered by "without a self, without an independent essence, without a persisting core," since the Buddhists themselves do not make any difference in the use of these two grammatical forms. This becomes particularly evident in the case of the word anatta, which may be either a singular or a plural noun. In the well-known phrase sabbe sankhara anicca... sabbe dhamma anatta (Dhp. 279), "all conditioned factors of existence are transitory... all factors existent whatever (Nirvana included) are without a self," it is undoubtedly a plural noun, for the Sanskrit version has sarve dharma anatmanah.

The fact that the Anatta doctrine only purports to state that a dharma is "void of a self," is evident from the passage in the Samyutta Nikaya (35, 85; PTS IV, p.54) where it is said rupa sunna attena va attaniyenava, "forms are void of a self (an independent essence) and of anything pertaining to a self (or 'self-like')."

Where Guenther has translated anattan or anatta as "not the self," one should use "a self" instead of "the self," because in the Pali canon the word atman does not occur in the sense of "universal soul."

(3) It is not necessary to assume that the existence of indestructible monads is a necessary condition for a belief in life after death. The view that an eternal, immortal, persisting soul substance is the conditio sine qua non of rebirth can be refuted by the mere fact that not only in the older Upanishads, but also in Pythagoras and Empedocles, rebirth is taught without the assumption of an imperishable soul substance.

(4) Guenther can substantiate his view only through arbitrary translations which contradict the whole of Buddhist tradition. This is particularly evident in those passages where Guenther asserts that "the Buddha meant the same by Nirvana and atman" and that "Nirvana is the true nature of man." For in Udana 8,2, Nirvana is expressly described as anattam, which is rightly rendered by Dhammapala's commentary (p. 21) as atta-virahita (without a self), and in Vinaya V, p. 86, Nirvana is said to be, just as the conditioned factors of existence (sankhata), "without a self" (p. 151). Neither can the equation atman=nirvana be proved by the well-known phrase attadipa viharatha, dhammadipa, for, whether dipa here means "lamp" or "island of deliverance," this passage can, after all, only refer to the monks taking refuge in themselves and in the doctrine (dhamma),and attan and dhamma cannot possibly be interpreted as Nirvana. In the same way, too, it is quite preposterous to translate Dhammapada 160, atta hi attano natho as "Nirvana is for a man the leader" (p. 155); for the chapter is concerned only with the idea that we should strive hard and purify ourselves. Otherwise Guenther would have to translate in the following verse 161, attana va katam papam attajam attasambhavam: "By Nirvana evil is done, it arises out of Nirvana, it has its origin in Nirvana." It is obvious that this kind of interpretation must lead to manifestly absurd consequences.

(5) As far as I can see there is not a single passage in the Pali canon where the word atta is used in the sense of the Upanishadic Atman.1 This is not surprising, since the word atman, current in all Indian philosophical systems, has the meaning of "universal soul, ens realissimum, the Absolute," exclusively in the pan-en-theistic and theopantistic Vedanta, but, in that sense, it is alien to all other brahmanical and non-Buddhist doctrines. Why, then, should it have a Vedantic meaning in Buddhism? As far as I know, no one has ever conceived the idea of giving to the term atman a Vedantic interpretation, in the case of Nyaya, Vaisesika, classical Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, or Jainism.

(6) The fact that in the Pali canon all worldly phenomena are said to be anatta has induced some scholars of the West to look for an Atman in Buddhism. For instance, the following "great syllogism" was formulated by George Grimm: "What I perceive to arise and to cease, and to cause suffering to me, on account of that impermanence, cannot be my ego. Now I perceive that everything cognizable in me and around me, arises and ceases, and causes me suffering on account of its impermanence. Therefore nothing cognizable is my ego." From that Grimm concludes that there must be an eternal ego-substance that is free from all suffering, and above all cognizability. This is a rash conclusion. By teaching that there is nowhere in the world a persisting Atman, the Buddha has not asserted that there must be a transcendental Atman (i.e., a self beyond the world). This kind of logic resembles that of a certain Christian sect which worships its masters as "Christs on earth," and tries to prove the simultaneous existence of several Christs from Mark 13,22, where it is said: "False Christs and false prophets shall arise"; for, if there are false Christs, there must also be genuine Christs!

The denial of an imperishable Atman is common ground for all systems of Hinayana as well as Mahayana, and there is, therefore, no reason for the assumption that Buddhist tradition, unanimous on that point, has deviated from the original doctrine of the Buddha. If the Buddha, contrary to the Buddhist tradition, had actually proclaimed a transcendental Atman, a reminiscence of it would have been preserved somehow by one of the older sects. It is remarkable that even the Pudgalavadins, who assume a kind of individual soul, never appeal to texts in which an Atman in this sense is proclaimed. He who advocates such a revolutionary conception of the Buddha's teachings, has also the duty to show evidence how such a complete transformation started and grew, suddenly or gradually. But non of those who advocate the Atta-theory has taken to comply with that demand which is indispensable to a historian.

(7) In addition to the aforementioned reasons, there are other grounds too, which speak against the supposition that the Buddha has identified Atman and Nirvana. It remains quite incomprehensible why the Buddha should have used this expression which is quite unsuitable for Nirvana and would have aroused only wrong associations in his listeners. Though it is true that Nirvana shares with the Vedantic conception of Atman the qualification of eternal peace into which the liberated ones enter forever, on the other hand, the Atman is in brahmanical opinion, something mental and conscious, a description which does not hold true for Nirvana. Furthermore, Nirvana is not, like the Atman, the primordial ground or the divine principle of the world (Aitareya Up. 1,1), nor is it that which preserves order in the world (Brhadar. Up. 3,8,9); it is also not the substance from which everything evolves, nor the core of all material elements.

(8) Since the scholarly researches made by Otto Rosenberg (published in Russian 1918, in German trs. 1924), Th. Stcherbatsky (1932), and the great work of translation done by Louis de la Vallee Poussin Abhidharmakosa (1923-31) there cannot be any doubt about the basic principle of Buddhist philosophy. In the light of these researches, all attempts to give to the Atman a place in the Buddhist doctrine, appear to be quite antiquated. We know now that all Hinayana and Mahayana schools are based on the anatma-dharma theory. This theory explains the world through the causal co-operation of a multitude of transitory factors (dharma), arising in mutual functional dependence. This theory maintains that the entire process of liberation consists in the tranquilization of these incessantly arising and disappearing factors. For that process of liberation however, is required, apart from moral restraint (sila) and meditative concentration (samadhi), the insight (prajna) that all conditioned factors of existence (samskara) are transitory, without a permanent independent existence, and therefore subject to grief and suffering. The Nirvana which the saint experiences already in this life, and which he enters for ever after death, is certainly a reality (dharma), but as it neither arises nor vanishes, it is not subject to suffering, and is thereby distinguished from all conditioned realities. Nirvana being a dharma, is likewise anatta, just as the transitory, conditioned dharmas of the Samsara which, as caused by volitions (that is, karma-producing energies (samskara)), are themselves also called samskara. Like them, Nirvana is no individual entity which could act independently. For it is the basic idea of the entire system that all dharmas are devoid of Atman, and without cogent reasons we cannot assume that the Buddha himself has thought something different from that which since more than two thousand years, his followers have considered to be the quintessence of their doctrine.


Note
1. Except in a few passages rejecting it, as the one quoted by the author: "The same is the world and the self"; see also Sutta-nipata, v 477; and one of the six Ego- beliefs rejected in Majjh. 2: "'Even by the self I perceive the self': this view occurs to him as being true and correct" (attana va attanam sanjanamit'titi). Of Bhagavadgita VI 19 Yatra caiv' atmana atmanam pasyann-atmani tusyati. — The BPS Editor Publisher's note
The Buddhist Publication Society is an approved charity dedicated to making known the Teaching of the Buddha, which has a vital message for people of all creeds.

Founded in 1958, the BPS has published a wide variety of books and booklets covering a great range of topics. Its publications include accurate annotated translations of the Buddha's discourses, standard reference works, as well as original contemporary expositions of Buddhist thought and practice. These works present Buddhism as it truly is — a dynamic force which has influenced receptive minds for the past 2500 years and is still as relevant today as it was when it first arose.

Buddhist Publication Society
P.O. Box 61
54, Sangharaja Mawatha
Kandy, Sri Lanka

Provenance: ©1978 Buddhist Publication Society.The Wheel Publication No. 2 (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1978). Transcribed from from the print edition in 1995 by Gaston Losier under the auspices of the DharmaNet Dharma Book Transcription Project, with the kind permission of the Buddhist Publication Society.This Access to Insight edition is ©1995–2009 John T. Bullitt.
Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work. Otherwise, all rights reserved. For additional information about this license, see the FAQ.
How to cite this document (one suggested style): "Vedanta and Buddhism: A Comparative Study", selected essays edited by Helmuth von Glasenapp. Access to Insight, June 7, 2009, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el002.html.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el002.html
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:28 am

If you look past differences in terminology and focus instead on methods, the nondual teachings of highly realized beings sound quite similar, imo, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, Kabbalah, Taoist, Gnostic, Sufi, etc..

Most encourage meditation and the cultivation of inner silence, the practice of kindness, generosity, equanimity and compassion. They encourage us to observe the mind and the world carefully, so as to see how we are connected to all that surrounds us, an expression of a deeper shared truth that is everywhere... Separation is the ultimate delusion they say.

How they describe the Universe or "Ultimate Reality" (the words and conceptions) will differ, but most caution that the perceptions we hold in our heads are nothing like that mysterious reality itself, and better to cultivate a still non-egocentric mind and grateful heart then to think too much or become overly analytical.

Let go of all ideas of "you" and return to a "truer" realization of this deeper identity (or non-identity) which is the same for all beings.. Its hard to step into a nondual awareness if one focuses only on differences without keeping in mind connections and shared commonalities.

Each of us is drawn to the spiritual path and to teachers that resonate with our sensibilities. Buddhism, Taoism and Vendanta are not the same, just as Mint Chip differs from Vanilla which is not the same as Strawberry, and yet at a deeper level (beneath differences of flavor) they are all the same in that they are all manifestations of Ice Cream..

:namaste:

Image

"The natural state is a non-state of not-knowing, non-concluding. When there is knowing, there is a state. But your real nature is not-knowing. It is a total absence of all that you think you are, which is all that you are not. In this total absence of what you are not, there is presence. But this presence is not yours. It is the presence of all living beings."

~Jean Klein (Advaita teacher)

"We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all."

~Kalu Rinpoche (Tibetan Buddhist)

“When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. Between these two my life moves.”

Sri Nisargadatta (Advaita Vedanta)

"A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower has to "inter-be" with everything else that is called non-flower. That is what we call inter-being. You cannot be, you can only inter-be... So the true nature of the flower is the nature of inter-being, the nature of no self. The flower is there, beautiful, fragrant, yes, but the flower is empty of a separate self. To be empty is not a negative note. Nagarjuna, of the second century, said that because of emptiness, everything becomes possible. So a flower is described as empty. But I like to say it differently. A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos. It’s the same thing. So you are of the same nature as a flower: you are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cosmos."

~Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese Zen Buddhist)

"All things are linked with one another, and this oneness is sacred; there is nothing that is not interconnected with everything else. For things are interdependent, and they combine to form this universal order."

~Marcus Aurelius

"If we have awareness and understanding, if we study with wisdom and mindfulness, we will see Dhamma as reality. Thus, we sill see people as constantly being born, changing and finally passing away. Everyone is subject to the cycle of birth and death, and because of this, everyone in the universe is as One being. Thus, seeing one person clearly and distinctly is the same as seeing every person in the world.

In the same way, everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our physical eye, but also the things we see in our minds. A thought arises, then changes and passes away. It is ''nāma dhamma'', simply a mental impression that arises and passes away. This is the real nature of the mind. Altogether, this is the noble truth of Dhamma. If one doesn't look and observe in this way, one doesn't really see! If one does see, one will have the wisdom to listen to the Dhamma as proclaimed by the Buddha.

Where is the Buddha? The Buddha is in the Dhamma. Where is the Dhamma? The Dhamma is in the Buddha. Right here, now! Where is the Sangha? The Sangha is in the Dhamma. The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in our minds, but we have to see it clearly. Some people just pick this up casually saying, ''Oh! The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in my mind''. Yet their own practice is not suitable or appropriate. It is thus not befitting that the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha should be found in their minds, namely, because the ''mind'' must first be that mind which knows the Dhamma. Bringing everything back to this point of Dhamma, we will come to know that, in the world, truth does exist, and thus it is possible for us to practice to realize it.

Whether a tree, a mountain or an animal, it's all Dhamma, everything is Dhamma. Where is this Dhamma? Speaking simply, that which is not Dhamma doesn't exist. Dhamma is nature. This is called the ''Sacca Dhamma'', the True Dhamma. If one sees nature, one sees Dhamma; if one sees Dhamma, one sees nature. Seeing nature, one knows the Dhamma.

And so, what is the use of a lot of study when the ultimate reality of life, in its every moment, in its every act, is just an endless cycle of births and deaths? If we are mindful and clearly aware when in all postures (sitting, standing, walking, lying), then self-knowledge is ready to be born; that is, knowing the truth of Dhamma already in existence right here and now."


~Ajahn Chah, Dhamma Nature

"To say ‘I am not this’ or ‘I am that’ there must be the ‘I’. This ‘I’ is only the ego or the ‘I’-thought. After the rising up of this ‘I’-thought, all other thoughts arise. The ‘I’-thought is therefore the root-thought. If the root is pulled out, all others are at the same time uprooted. Therefore seek the root-’I’, question yourself ‘Who am I ?‘, find out its source. Then all these will vanish and the pure Self will remain over... There is no investigation into the Atman. The investigation can only be into the non-Self. Elimination of the non-Self is alone possible. The Self being always self-evident will shine forth of itself. Self-surrender leads to realisation just as inquiry does.."

~Ramana Maharshi (Advaita Vedanta)

"When we practice zazen, all that exists is the movement of the breathing, but we are aware of this movement. You should not be absent-minded. But to be aware of the movement does not mean to be aware of your small self, but rather your universal nature, or Buddha nature. This kind of awareness is very important, because we are usually so one-sided. Our usual understanding of life is dualistic: you and I, this and that, good and bad. But actually these discriminations are themselves the awareness of the universal existance. "You" means to be aware of the universe in the form of you, and "I" means to be aware of it in the form of I. You and I are just swinging doors. This kind of understanding is necessary. This should not even be called understanding; it is actually the true experience of life through Zen practice."

- Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Buddhist)

"If you are seeking liberation, my son, avoid the objects of the senses like poison and cultivate tolerance, sincerity, compassion, contentment, and truthfulness as the antidote. You do not consist of any of the elements -- earth, water, fire, air, or even ether. To be liberated, know yourself as consisting of consciousness, the witness of these. If only you will remain resting in consciousness, seeing yourself as distinct from the body, then even now you will become happy, peaceful and free from bonds. You do not belong to the brahmin or any other caste, you are not at any stage, nor are you anything that the eye can see. You are unattached and formless, the witness of everything -- so be happy."

~The Ashtavakra Gita (Advaita Vedanta)

"Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall
while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature."


~Lao Tsu, Tao te Ching

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
User avatar
christopher:::
 
Posts: 1319
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:51 am

SN 12.48 PTS: S ii 77 CDB i 584
Lokayatika Sutta: The Cosmologist
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 1999–2009

Staying at Savatthi. Then a brahman cosmologist [1] went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, "Now, then, Master Gotama, does everything [2] exist?"

"'Everything exists' is the senior form of cosmology, brahman."

"Then, Master Gotama, does everything not exist?"

"'Everything does not exist' is the second form of cosmology, brahman."

"Then is everything a Oneness?"

"'Everything is a Oneness' is the third form of cosmology, brahman."

"Then is everything a Manyness?"

"'Everything is a Manyness' is the fourth form of cosmology, brahman. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

"Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has Master Gotama — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."


Notes
1.The cosmologist (lokayata) schools of thought reasoned from what they saw as the basic principles of the physical cosmos in formulating their teachings on how life should be lived. In modern times, they would correspond to those who base their philosophies on principles drawn from the physical sciences, such as evolutionary biology or quantum physics. Although the cosmologists of India in the Buddha's time differed on first principles, they tended to be more unanimous in using their first principles — whatever they were — to argue for hedonism as the best approach to life.

2."Everything" may also be translated as "the All." Concerning this term, SN 35.23 says, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This is termed the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his assertion, would be unable to explain, and furthermore would be put to grief. Why is that? Because it lies beyond range." For more on this topic, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, Chapter 1.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19409
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:54 am

Thus the trap of holding too tightly to thoughts of cosmology.

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
User avatar
christopher:::
 
Posts: 1319
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:58 am

Hey Christopher

Each of us is drawn to the spiritual path and to teachers that resonate with our sensibilities. Buddhism, Taoism and Vendanta are not the same, just as Mint Chip differs from Vanilla which is not the same as Strawberry, and yet at a deeper level (beneath differences of flavor) they are all the same in that they are all manifestations of Ice Cream..



So they all have different outside features but they are all striving for the same goal, that which springs them forth

All the flavours are manifestations of Ice Cream

All are manifestations of Brahman


To me i seems you have fallen into Vedantic thought

Even though buddhism and Vedanta do appear similar, they are different


"There is Atman"

"There is Dukkha"

Different from outset and i would say the 2nd one is the buddhist view of the the 1st

"nibbana - blowing out of the fires of greed hatred and delusion"

"Merging with Brahman in eternal state"

different "goals"

There is also a difference in practice, there is a non-dual element in Buddhadhamma but it is of a different nature of Vedanta. Vedanta takes there to be some set point ->.<- and non-duality is a way to burrow through to reach this set point, Buddhadhamma takes there to be dukkha and non-dual approach is to remove ignorance of something being permanent, enjoyable and fit to be clung to which leads to an awakening of the way things happen and to seeing anicca, dukkha and anatta

Vedanta seeks to merge with reality or Brahman, Buddhadhamma is about awakening to the interdependent nature of reality, not having some set point to then merge into it

Vedanta is about "this isnt me, what is me". Its about shifting through dhammas to find a permanent self. Buddhadhamma is about "this isnt me". The fact that Buddhadhamma leaves out the last three words is where the fundemental difference lies


Also i have never heard of the Buddha claim there is some divine spark or ground of being, i havent even heard him say that the physical world and illusion


Metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:06 am

Greetings,

The difference between anatta and atman is not a mere philosophical or theoretical distinction... it underpins everything.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14657
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

The difference between anatta and atman is not a mere philosophical or theoretical distinction... it underpins everything.

Metta,
Retro. :)



Indeed, the only problem with Advaita Vedanta is that they have their own concept of Anatta

"that which is anicca is not real, that which is permanent is real"

So when they hear anatta in regards to the 5 heaps and then hear nibbana, to them it rings of Atman/Brahman

From there on Buddha gets absorbed into Hinduism

metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:15 am

Everything is Dhamma. That's how Ajahn Chah put it. We are the Universe, is how Suzuki Roshi explained it. There is a reality, we are that reality, you are nothing yet being nothing you are everything is how Kalu Rinpoche presents it. This is the view from Buddhism.

Vendanta uses different terms, but the view (of realization) is nondual. Don't get attached to the words and concepts, the ideas. Go past that to a deeper truth, is what all these teachers are saying. That we are not the individual flavors, that everyone is ice cream.

The ideas do not underpin everything. They only point in the direction of nondual wisdom, which is beyond conceptualizations-- a deeper awareness of what lies within us, and surrounds us.

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
User avatar
christopher:::
 
Posts: 1319
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:21 am

christopher::: wrote:Thus the trap of holding too tightly to thoughts of cosmology.

:namaste:


Thus the trap of advaita.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19409
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:24 am

christopher::: wrote:Everything is Dhamma.


Sure, dhamma empty of any self thingie, not some sort of oneness thingie, but - rather - paticcasamuppada.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19409
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:28 am

tiltbillings wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Thus the trap of holding too tightly to thoughts of cosmology.

:namaste:


Thus the trap of advaita.


Sure. There is always the trap of holding tightly to conceptions without being anchored in realisation. Call it a trap, or a raft. For most of us, do we really have a choice? I'm not enlightened yet, so i use ideas and conceptions to help me along the way. Still, a deeper truth informs us, surrounds us, permeating the cosmos. This nondual truth, is us.


tiltbillings wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Everything is Dhamma.


Sure, dhamma empty of any self thingie, not some sort of oneness thingie, but - rather - paticcasamuppada.


Right. Oneness is just an idea though, as is emptiness, as are all conceptions of things.

:group:

"Whether a tree, a mountain or an animal, it's all Dhamma, everything is Dhamma. Where is this Dhamma? Speaking simply, that which is not Dhamma doesn't exist. Dhamma is nature. This is called the ''Sacca Dhamma'', the True Dhamma. If one sees nature, one sees Dhamma; if one sees Dhamma, one sees nature. Seeing nature, one knows the Dhamma.

And so, what is the use of a lot of study when the ultimate reality of life, in its every moment, in its every act, is just an endless cycle of births and deaths? If we are mindful and clearly aware when in all postures (sitting, standing, walking, lying), then self-knowledge is ready to be born; that is, knowing the truth of Dhamma already in existence right here and now."


~Ajahn Chah
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
User avatar
christopher:::
 
Posts: 1319
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:29 am

Hey


Everything is Dhamma. That's how Ajahn Chah put it. We are the Universe, is how Suzuki Roshi explained it.


Dhamma isnt a thing or source of being or divine spark so there is a difference again.

There is a reality, we are that reality, you are nothing yet being nothing you are everything is how Kalu Rinpoche presents it. This is the view from Buddhism


"we are that reality" is the same as saying "you are that". The same as Advaita Vedanta. You seem to suggest some essence or "me" that is one with everything. Remember "me" or "I" is just clinging to khandas


Vendanta uses different terms, but the view (of realization) is nondual. Don't get attached to the words and concepts, the ideas. Go past that to a deeper truth, is what all these teachers are saying. That we are not the individual flavors, that everyone is ice cream.


Everyone is Ice Cream, Everyone is Brahman. This is Vedanta thinking again friend, a search for who "we" are, the search for self

The ideas do not underpin everything. They only point in the direction of nondual wisdom, which is beyond conceptualizations-- a deeper awareness of what lies within us, and surrounds us.


what lies within us, and surrounds us.

The way of the Buddha is not-self, the above is about a Self thats hidden behind not-self. Not something the Buddha would have approved of from what i understand of the Suttas and Theravada

metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:34 am

Hey

This nondual truth, is us.


To me it seems you have started with "there is Atman" or there is some kind of "I" and gone from there

the buddha said to start from "there is dukkha". This is a very wise teaching since it stops the natural tendency to ask "what am I" and prevents the search for "I" which is in fact an ignorant delusion chasing and ignorant deslusion like a dog tied to a post

Remember Buddha didnt set out in search of nibbana with the thought "what am I" he started with "there is dukkha" and set out to understand and overcome it

"What am I" comes from an assumption of self which comes from clinging to khandas which is a cause of dukkha. If buddha set out with "What am I" then he would have just kept swirling in samsara, caught in a vast net of craving


metta
Last edited by clw_uk on Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:40 am

christopher::: wrote:

Right. Oneness is just an idea though, as is emptiness, as are all conceptions of things.


It is better to work with conceptions of reality that better reflect reality, which is what the Buddha has given us. One thing he did not teach was advaita.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19409
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby PaulC » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:49 am

Some Advaita sages, such as Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, would seem to come very close to Buddha Dhamma.

To the point that to distinguish between, say, parabrahman (as presented in those texts) and the thirty-three synonyms for Nibbana (for example) might seem, in some ways, to be mere nit-picking/pedantry ...

(As has been pointed out, one thinks, also, of the use of the term "Self" in some Zen texts, such as Shibayama's Mumonkan, and of the clear ways in which Patanjali and Shankara were influenced by Buddhism ...)

However ...

As pointed out by Ven. Analayo in his masterful study of Satipatthana (p. 209) the "Self" oftentimes connotes (or implies?) "notions of mastery, permanence and inherent satisfactoriness" that easily lead to narcissistic inflation.

A survey of contemporary Advaita teachers would seem, to me, to bear this out. (Whereas the Dhamma might be seen to foster the precise opposite ... i.e. an admirable self-effacement).

So it's closer to Buddhism than is usually credited, but in this vital respect, it's not close enough. IMHO
PaulC
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:57 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:28 am

Good points, Paul.

I think one of the limitations of the Advaita path is that since practitioners identify with awareness they may come to believe they have "arrived" (awakened) when in fact they still have a lot of work left to do. There is this danger with Buddhism as well, imo. Not sure if such traps are avoidable, the Buddha warned about this, right? Any time a conception of one's Self as Enlightened arises, its a trap.

That's the meaning of the phrase "If you meet the Buddha in the road kill him" in Zen. In other words if you think "I am an awakened Buddha" then you are most definitely not. Such ideas, if they arise, should be thrown out the door.

:toilet:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
User avatar
christopher:::
 
Posts: 1319
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby Individual » Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:44 am

clw_uk wrote:Greetings


Ive been studying advaita vedanta lately and it strikes me how close it is to Buddhadhamma, i was in discussion with a follower of it and even found it hard to debate with him on the differences between the two, one thing i was surprised at was to hear him say that Atman isnt "I" and "I" is illusionary


Did Buddhadhamma influence advaita vedanta? Some Hindus claim its the other way around


Metta

Theravada Buddhism predates Advaita historically by quite a bit of time, although Mahayana Buddhism may have been influenced by it.

Buddhism and Advaita share similarities, but Advaita likely has many of its own superstitions. Buddhists also technically reject "Atman," but the Atman of Advaita isn't really the same thing as the atman of Theravada. Advaita's notion of Brahman and Atman can certainly be compared to ideas like suchness, Buddha-Nature, True Self, in Mahayana Buddhism... And I'd say these ideas, while possibly complicating things more, aren't necessarily contradictory to early Buddhist texts.

One big difference is that I think both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists would hold dualism and non-dualism to both be contrived views.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:30 am

One big difference is that I think both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists would hold dualism and non-dualism to both be contrived views.


You need to hang around Mahayana forums a bit more.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19409
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:36 am

The Dawn of Tantra; Herbert V. Guenther, Chogyam Trungpa; ed. Michael Kohn, illustrated Glen Eddy and Terris Temple; The Clear Light Series; Shambala; Berkley & London; 1975

Guenther: The term advaita, as we use it, stems from Shankara's Vedanta. The Buddhists never used this term, but used rather the term advaya. Advaya means "not-two"; advaita means "one without a second." The conception of "one without a second" puts us at once into the realm of dualistic fictions. Rather than remaining in immediate experience, with the idea of "one" we posit a definite object. This would then necessarily be over against a definite subject, which is the implication Shankara wanted to deny with the "without a second." By saying "not-two" you remain on solid ground, because "not-two" does not mean "one." That conclusion does not follow.

In the works of Saraha and other Buddhist teachers, it is said that it is impossible to say "one" without prejudgment of experience. But Shankara and his followers were forced by the scriptural authority of the Vedas to posit this One and so were then forced to add the idea "without a second." What they wanted to say was that only Atman is real. Now the logic of their position should force them to then say that everything else is unreal. But Shankara himself is not clear on this point. He re-introduced the idea of illusion which had previously been rejected by him. Now if only Atman is real, then even illusion apart from it is impossible. But he was forced into accepting the idea of illusion. So he was forced into a philosophical position which, if it were to be expressed in a mathematical formula, would make absolute nonsense. So intellectually, in this way, it could be said that the Vedanta is nonsense. But it had tremendous impact; and, as we know, the intellect is not everything. But as the Madhyamika analysis showed, the Vedanta formula simply does not hold water. And Shankara himself, as I said, was not completely clear on this point.

In translating Buddhist texts, it is necessary to take great care with the word "illusion." Sometimes it appears in what is almost an apodictic or judgmental sense. This happens especially in poetry, where one cannot destroy the pattern of the flow of words to make specific philosophical qualifications. But the basic Buddhist position concerning illusion, as prose works are careful to point out, is not the apodictic statement made by the followers of Shankara that the world is illusion. The Buddhist position is that the world may be like an illusion. There is a huge logical difference between saying the world is an illusion and saying the world may be like an illusion. The Buddhist position suspends judgment.

So while it has been suggested that Shankara was a cryptoBuddhist, because, in fact, he took over almost the entire epistemological and metaphysical conception of the Buddhists, there remains this very crucial difference.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19409
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alex123, ck_c, Lazy_eye, martinfrank and 8 guests