Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:15 pm

In Advaita Vedanta, pure awareness (brahman) is considered to be the ultimate, unchanging, eternal substrate of reality.

In Buddhism, consciousness (vijnana) is considered to be one of the five skandhas, thus empty of independent existence.

My questions:

Are Advaita and Buddhism talking about the same thing here -- i.e. does pure awareness = vijnana -- but interpreting this thing radically differently?

Is there a Buddhist equivalent to Advaita's pure awareness / brahman? Is there any ultimate substrate/reality in Buddhism? Or does Buddhism see "what is" as just a buncha ever-changing impermanent stuff in a grand web of inter-dependence?

Thanks,

rachMiel
rachmiel
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:08 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:38 pm

Because Advaita Vedānta is later development than contemporary to the Buddha, there is no reason to compare it to the Nikāyan period.

However, there is no equivalent to the Brahman-Absolute of the Upaniṣads in the Nikāyas. In fact, the Buddha was very clearly pushing back at the Upaniṣadic Ātman theory throughout his teaching career. The Buddha’s answer to a Brahman-ātman life-force dynamic was to deconstruct the assumptions of continuum with personhood, with the framework dependent origination (paṭiccasamuppāda) of the five bases [subject to] identification (pañcupādānakkhandhā), and reconstruct the aspirant toward liberating knowledge through direct knowledge of conditional sensate and cognitive processes.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:00 pm

Thanks, ancientbuddhism.

A followup:

Does Buddhism say "There is no ultimate reality, no brahman" or "It's of no use to speculate about ultimate reality, because it's unknowable." The first shuts out the possibility of brahman, the second doesn't.
rachmiel
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:08 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:10 pm

rachmiel wrote:Does Buddhism say "There is no ultimate reality, no brahman" or "It's of no use to speculate about ultimate reality, because it's unknowable." The first shuts out the possibility of brahman, the second doesn't.


An ontological ‘ultimate’ is flat-out rejected throughout the Nikāyas, especially in the Alagaddūpama Sutta where the Buddha outright mocked the brāhmaṇa doctrine of ātman as a ‘doctrine of fools’ (bāladhammo), translated by Nyanaponika Thera as a 'foolish idea'.

Norman discusses this nicely in A Note on Attā in the Alagaddūpama Sutta.

Also see Anattā: A Different Approach, By Sue Hamilton
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby huanvuong » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:31 pm

Actually no matter whether it is Buddhism or Advaita Vedanta, both systems talk about the same. In Buddhism we talk about consciousness, but we also talk about awareness. Pure awareness in Buddhism is called Buddha nature. It is said that every living being has Buddha nature. This nature is Pure Awareness, and nothing else is beyond it. It has never been born, will never die and no one can ever hurt or harm it. It is everlasting, it is empty of all conceptual existence and witnessing everything that goes by without becoming an object or subject to the world of phenomena or change.

Consciousness contrary is not awareness, it is only an outwardly just a manifestation of awareness. This manifestation has its cause in ignorance and false view. It exists wherever duality exists. Actually it is the creator of dualistic world, the world of concept, of black and white, of you and me...etc. It is the filter of separation.

So in Buddhism the concept of consciousness is somewhat defined differently than what normal people used to understand what consciousness is.

Actually if we read closely at the sutra with some meditative insight, we'll discover that Buddha had never reject the understanding of Brahman as pure consciousness or Atman as the individual mindfulness. The only rejection Buddha wanted to point out was the conceptual understanding and grasping at the experience Truth. Most people miss that point when they read the Words of Buddha. Buddha's only purpose and goal was to cut through all conceptual understanding and labeling at things. This was the point of the Buddha's Essential Teaching.

This post was answer by
Huan Minh Vuong
www.meditationscenter.dk
huanvuong
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:04 pm

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:22 pm

huanvuong wrote:Actually no matter whether it is Buddhism or Advaita Vedanta, both systems talk about the same. In Buddhism we talk about consciousness, but we also talk about awareness. Pure awareness in Buddhism is called Buddha nature. It is said that every living being has Buddha nature. This nature is Pure Awareness, and nothing else is beyond it. It has never been born, will never die and no one can ever hurt or harm it. It is everlasting, it is empty of all conceptual existence and witnessing everything that goes by without becoming an object or subject to the world of phenomena or change.



This is interesting, but can you provide evidence of the Buddha saying this?
User avatar
Sam Vara
 
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Judai » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:48 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
rachmiel wrote:Does Buddhism say "There is no ultimate reality, no brahman" or "It's of no use to speculate about ultimate reality, because it's unknowable." The first shuts out the possibility of brahman, the second doesn't.


An ontological ‘ultimate’ is flat-out rejected throughout the Nikāyas, especially in the Alagaddūpama Sutta where the Buddha outright mocked the brāhmaṇa doctrine of ātman as a ‘doctrine of fools’ (bāladhammo), translated by Nyanaponika Thera as a 'foolish idea'.

Norman discusses this nicely in A Note on Attā in the Alagaddūpama Sutta.

Also see Anattā: A Different Approach, By Sue Hamilton


I wouldn't be to quick to say the Buddha mocked the doctrine of Atman
It would seem he mocked the Idea that the self was in the 5 aggregates,for if the self was in the 5 aggregates it would not lead to suffering.

to be brutally honest It seemed to me the Buddha was mocking the the doctrine of no self.

SN 22.46 Impermanent (2) pg 885
At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, form is impermanent.... Feeling is impermanent.... Preception is impermanent.... Volitional formations are impermanent.... Consciousness is impermanent. What is Impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
SN 22.68 "Bhikkhu you should abandon desire for whatever is non self"
SN:22.69 "Bhikkhu,you should abandon desire for whatever does not belong to self."

SN 22.59
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
Thus it was heard by me. At one time the Blessed One was living in the deer park of Isipatana near Benares. There, indeed, the Blessed One addressed the group of five monks.
"Form, O monks, is not-self; if form were self, then form would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since form is not-self, therefore form leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus.'
"Feeling, O monks, is not-self; if feeling were self, then feeling would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding feeling: 'May my feeling be thus, may my feeling not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since feeling is not-self, therefore feeling leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding feeling: 'May my feeling be thus, may my feeling not be thus.'
"Perception, O monks, is not-self; if perception were self, then perception would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding perception: 'May my perception be thus, may my perception not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since perception is not-self, therefore, perception leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding perception: 'May my perception be thus, may my perception not be thus.'
"Mental formations, O monks, are not-self; if mental formations were self, then mental formations would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my perception be thus, may my mental formations not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since mental formations are not-self, therefore, mental formations lead to suffering and it does not obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my mental formations be thus, may my mental formations not be thus.'
"Consciousness, O monks, is not-self; if consciousness were self, then consciousness would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding consciousness: 'May my consciousness be thus, may my consciousness not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since consciousness is not-self, therefore, consciousness leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding consciousness: 'May my consciousness be thus, may my consciousness not be thus.'
Judai
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:58 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Judai » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:54 pm

huanvuong wrote:Actually no matter whether it is Buddhism or Advaita Vedanta, both systems talk about the same. In Buddhism we talk about consciousness, but we also talk about awareness. Pure awareness in Buddhism is called Buddha nature. It is said that every living being has Buddha nature. This nature is Pure Awareness, and nothing else is beyond it. It has never been born, will never die and no one can ever hurt or harm it. It is everlasting, it is empty of all conceptual existence and witnessing everything that goes by without becoming an object or subject to the world of phenomena or change.


The Buddha Nature is not spoke of in the Nikayas

the terms you are using however can be found in the Nikayas
unborn,everlasting,unconditioned. as descriptions of Nibbana
Judai
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:58 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Aloka » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:29 pm

huanvuong wrote: Pure awareness in Buddhism is called Buddha nature. It is said that every living being has Buddha nature.


Hi

This is a Mahayana/Vajrayana concept and the Buddha himself didn't speak about "Buddha nature".

You might like to read "Freedom from Buddha Nature" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature.html

With kind wishes,

Aloka
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3661
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Judai » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:43 pm

Aloka wrote:
huanvuong wrote: Pure awareness in Buddhism is called Buddha nature. It is said that every living being has Buddha nature.


Hi

This is a Mahayana/Vajrayana concept and the Buddha himself didn't speak about "Buddha nature".

You might like to read "Freedom from Buddha Nature" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature.html

With kind wishes,

Aloka


I wouldn't go that far either to say the Buddha himself didn't speak about the "Buddha nature"

nobody knows exactly what the Buddha said we were not there.
all we can go on is carbon dating and as far as carbon dating goes Buddha nature sutras were found with Nikaya suttas in the Gandhara scrolls(oldest dated Buddhist texts in existence)
as far as actual evidence goes both texts are of equal dating
also Both the Nikaya and Mahayana texts were written down at the same time period. and both claim to have an oral tradition directly passed down till they were put into writing.

the who is "more authentic" thing is mostly sectritarian talk. than actual facts.
Judai
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:58 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Aloka » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:49 pm

Judai wrote:
Aloka wrote:
huanvuong wrote: Pure awareness in Buddhism is called Buddha nature. It is said that every living being has Buddha nature.


Hi

This is a Mahayana/Vajrayana concept and the Buddha himself didn't speak about "Buddha nature".

You might like to read "Freedom from Buddha Nature" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature.html

With kind wishes,

Aloka


I wouldn't go that far either to say the Buddha himself didn't speak about the "Buddha nature"

nobody knows exactly what the Buddha said we were not there.
all we can go on is carbon dating and as far as carbon dating goes Buddha nature sutras were found with Nikaya suttas in the Gandhara scrolls(oldest dated Buddhist texts in existence)
as far as actual evidence goes both texts are of equal dating
also Both the Nikaya and Mahayana texts were written down at the same time period. and both claim to have an oral tradition directly passed down till they were put into writing.

the who is "more authentic" thing is mostly sectritarian talk. than actual facts.


Did you read the Thanissaro Bhikkhu article ? He is one of the translators of the Pali Canon suttas.

I also seem to remember reading somewhere that the Nikayas were written down about 200 years before the Gandhara scrolls.

There's also nothing sectarian about getting the facts right about Mahayana being a later development !

:)



.
Last edited by Aloka on Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3661
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Judai » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:56 pm

Aloka wrote:Did you read the Thanissaro Bhikkhu article ? He is one of the translators of the Pali Canon suttas.


translating pali suttas doesn't change the fact
the oldest carbon dated Buddhist texts are Buddha nature sutras and the Anguttara Nikaya
(along with some other pali suttas and Mahayana sutra mixtures)
Judai
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:58 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Aloka » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:12 pm

Judai wrote:
Aloka wrote:Did you read the Thanissaro Bhikkhu article ? He is one of the translators of the Pali Canon suttas.


translating pali suttas doesn't change the fact...etc


So you didn't bother to read the article then.

I'm really not interested in continuing this conversation any further, its past my bedtime.

Goodnight. :zzz:
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3661
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby SarathW » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:09 am

Aloka wrote:
huanvuong wrote: Pure awareness in Buddhism is called Buddha nature. It is said that every living being has Buddha nature.


Hi

This is a Mahayana/Vajrayana concept and the Buddha himself didn't speak about "Buddha nature".

You might like to read "Freedom from Buddha Nature" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature.html

With kind wishes,

Aloka

Hi Aloka
Thanks for the link :)
SarathW
 
Posts: 2211
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Judai » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:37 am

Aloka wrote:
Judai wrote:
Aloka wrote:Did you read the Thanissaro Bhikkhu article ? He is one of the translators of the Pali Canon suttas.


translating pali suttas doesn't change the fact...etc


So you didn't bother to read the article then.

I'm really not interested in continuing this conversation any further, its past my bedtime.

Goodnight. :zzz:


Yes I read the article and again it doesnt change the fact the oldest known carbon dated Buddhist texts in existence is the AN and some Buddha nature sutras from the Gandhara scrolls.

As far as the Nikayas being written down 200 years before the Gandhara scrolls,this is simply incorrect,there is no proof for this.(is there a carbon dated text that is 200 yrs older than the Gandhara scrolls? Or is this anouther baseless claim?)
That is simply a claim and it is no different than the baseless claims many Mahayanists make.
(just because someone makes the claim it was written then doesnt make it true)

What I am talking about is actual hands on proof,not claims,hearsay,guesses...ect
Judai
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:58 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:13 am

Judai wrote:
Aloka wrote:Did you read the Thanissaro Bhikkhu article ? He is one of the translators of the Pali Canon suttas.


translating pali suttas doesn't change the fact
the oldest carbon dated Buddhist texts are Buddha nature sutras and the Anguttara Nikaya
(along with some other pali suttas and Mahayana sutra mixtures)
The "buddha-nature" -- tathagatagarbha -- sutras are quite late as compositions.
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: 19562
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Judai » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:18 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Judai wrote:
Aloka wrote:Did you read the Thanissaro Bhikkhu article ? He is one of the translators of the Pali Canon suttas.


translating pali suttas doesn't change the fact
the oldest carbon dated Buddhist texts are Buddha nature sutras and the Anguttara Nikaya
(along with some other pali suttas and Mahayana sutra mixtures)
The "buddha-nature" -- tathagatagarbha -- sutras are quite late as compositions.


All Buddhist scripture are later compositions there isn't a single text that has been dated back to the time of the Buddha.
the best you will get out of a scholar is I "think" it could be,maybe...no

every single Buddhist sutta/sutra are reworked
again BOTH sects "claim" their texts were passed down orally from the time of the Buddha until they were wrote down.
again BOTH sects texts were written down in the same exact time period.
and again BOTH sects have scriptures included in the oldest carbon dated texts to be found.

you do understand there is a difference between actual evidence and hearsay correct?
now when someone produces a carbon dated sutta or sutra from the time of the Buddha then we can start talking about "ligitemacy"
until then people have to settle with the facts BOTH sects make the same claims, and BOTH sects oldest carbon dated texts are dated around the same time.
Judai
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:58 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:10 pm

Legitimacy is not decided by carbon dating but rather by implementation.
User avatar
Mr Man
 
Posts: 1294
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:30 pm

Judai wrote: . . .
You did not address my point. I don't care what the "sects' say, but I do care about what carefully done scholarship points to. Tatahagatgarbha sutras are quite late in terms of Buddhism in India, certainly postdating them by a very long time in comparison to the Nikayas/Agamas. I'll be happy to trot the scholarship on this, but you first, given you are the one making a claim that has a rather poor handle on the issues around the issues of the dates of the texts.
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: 19562
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Gaoxing » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:53 pm

In practice there is no Buddha-nature to be found, neither a self (atman). Superman is a story. :oops:
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Next

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: rolling_boulder and 6 guests