gaudapaada and buddha (was Re: brahman by ...)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Sat Dec 7 19:58:21 CST 1996

On Thu, 5 Dec 1996, Kim Poulsen wrote:

> You seem to base your opinion solely on the muulamadhyamakakaarikaa.

Mainly because textual comparisons have been made only between the GK and
the MMK. At the very least, this shows that Gaudapada was very conversant
with the mUlamadhyamaka-kArikAs of Nagarjuna. So far as the MMK can stand
on its own merit as a work expounding Nagarjuna's thought, I wish to base
my opinion only on that work. I am no buddhist scholar, so I would not
know how to decide whether other compositions are really Nagarjuna's or

Finally, I believe there can be a difference between what a text actually
says, and what it can be made to say. I prefer the former, without going
to either the one extreme preferred by Nikhilananda or the other extreme
preferred by Vidhusekhara Bhattacharya, and possibly you.


>   Now if Nagarjunas 4 states are related to the 4 states of the
> ManNDuukya it follows that they are states of consciousness, including
> the void. (Maybe Gaudapda decided to reconcile not only Advaita and
> Buddhism, but Yogacharya and Madhyamika?)

If so, why do it in a text allied to an upanishad, which is alien to both
yogAcAra and madhyamaka?

Also, I think we have to distinguish between historical reconstructions of
similarity/contrast based on textual evidence, and a religious assertion
of oneness/reconciliation. The latter is independent of texts, but is
liable to be read into the texts, something that might be far from the
intentions of the authors of the texts themselves.


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