If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall

M Suresh msuresh at INDIA.TI.COM
Wed Jan 8 01:53:42 CST 1997

On Wed, 8 Jan 1997, Jaldhar H. Vyas (jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM) wrote:

> On Tue, 7 Jan 1997, M Suresh wrote:
> >
> >   Somehow I have always found the criticism of dvaitins that advaita is
> >  identical
> >   with buddhism to be very valid.
> >
> They aren't paying either Advaita or Buddhism much of a compliment when
> they say that.

  It is very obvious that dvaitins are not out to praise advaita or buddhism.

  But I feel that advaita distancing itself from buddhism has got to do with
  the atheistic nature of buddhism rather than the philosophy itself.

  In advaita unlike buddhism different schools of advaita give various levels of
  realities to gods, ranging from viewing them as concepts describing aspects
  of Brahman to viewing them as vyavaharika sathyas.

  However this does not change the definition of Brahman which is beyond all
  such things pertaining to the mind and hence it would be the same as

> >   Buddhists say that the reality behind everything is emptiness and
> >  say
> >   that the reality behind everything is non-dual brahman. Both are two
>  different
> >   words to denote something which is beyond all dualities and can be treated
>  as
> >   equivalents.
> >
> No. Buddhists say there _isn't_ a reality behind everything.  Vedantins
> say there is.  You cannot treat these two as equivalents.  They are in
> fact polar opposites.

  You have mentioned Vedanta in general. In advaita vedanta the unchanging
  reality is non-dual i.e it cannot be known or experienced. One can only
  be that.

  Such a reality may well be called non-existence since when a reality is
  spoken of it is spoken of in the sense that it can be known or experienced.

  But the Brahman (=atman) of advaita is beyond all knowledge and experience
  and may well be considered to be non-existent.

> >   Of course in buddhism it is negation and in advaita it is affirmation, but
> >  both
> >   are concepts which point to the same eternal non-dual state beyond all
> >  concepts.
> >
> A salient feature of Buddhist thought is the doctrine of momentariness.
> Nothing is eternal.  Buddhists therefore refer to realization as Nirvana or
> 'existance' wherease Vedantins refer to it as Moksha or 'release'.
> Buddhists believe atma = ahamkara and is unreal.  Vedantins believe the
> atma is real.  (The different schools disagree on whether this atma is
> identical to Brahman)

  When speaking of advaita vedanta in particular atma=brahman which is beyond
  all dualities. So it may be considered unreal or void as I have already

> Finally, Buddhists reject the validity of the Vedas and ancillary shastras
> as a valid means of knowledge whereas _all_ Vedantins (not just Dvaitins
> as you erroneously stated in your previous post) believe Shruti, Smrti,
> and Shistachara are the _only_ valid means to knowledge of Brahman.

  I agree that buddhists differ in their approach towards acquiring nirvana.

  However I am not sure if Shankaracharya considered shastras to be the only
  valid means of knowledge. I remember someone ( Ramakrishnan most likely I
  think ) said that Shankaracharya considered that though advaita is what
  that is taught in the shruti it could be arrived at independently by logic

> >   Therefore IMO the core of both buddhism and advaita teachings are the same
> >  though
> >   they differ in details and practice.
> >
> That's like saying humans and fish are the same though they differ in arms
> and legs.

  Yes it depends on what level you compare them. Both belong to the Animal
  kingdom for example, hence both are identical.

  What I am trying to say that the highest knowledge conveyed by advaita and
  buddhism is the same which is that of Brahman or voidness.

> >   This is the reason why many advaitins are somewhat familiar with buddhist
> >   philosophy.
> >
> Advaitins are familiar with Buddhist philosophy because the great Acharyas
> of our parampara have vehemently criticized it.  It is obvious from
> Shankaracharyas writings that he regards Buddhism as the worst kind of
> heresy and nothing to do with Vedanta.

  As I have said earlier this may be because buddhism is atheistic.

> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at braincells.com]


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