If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall
ahudli at APPN.CI.IN.AMERITECH.COM
Wed Jan 8 09:12:00 CST 1997
M Suresh wrote:
> Somehow I have always found the criticism of dvaitins that advaita is
> with buddhism to be very valid.
> Buddhists say that the reality behind everything is emptiness and advaitins
> that the reality behind everything is non-dual brahman. Both are two
> words to denote something which is beyond all dualities and can be treated
Not so. We have to look at what the Shruti says about Brahman. It
is not emptiness because shruti describes it as "satyaM jnaanaM
anantaM", "ananda", etc.
Further, there is a crucial difference between how advaita describes
the world and how the nihilists desribe it. According to the latter,
the world is totally nonexistent. It is like the horns of a hare --
a purely fictitious entity. But according to advaita, the world is
an illusion superimposed on Brahman. The argument is that an illusion
must have a real substratum. The illusory snake has the real rope as
its substratum. No illusion can occur without a basis in reality or
in other words, no illusion can be based on an unreal entity.
The shruti says "neha naanaa .asti kinchana." There is no variety
whatsoever. It only negates duality. But there is an implied
nondual reality. If the ultimate reality were void or nothingness
it would have said, "neha kinchidasti" (there is nothing here).
I would also like to clarify that not all Buddhist schools are
nihilistic. Some for example accept reality but assert that it is
an instantaneous entity. Nevertheless, they contradict the shruti
in some way or the other.
> Of course in buddhism it is negation and in advaita it is affirmation, but
> are concepts which point to the same eternal non-dual state beyond all
> Therefore IMO the core of both buddhism and advaita teachings are the same
> they differ in details and practice.
As far as the teachings and practice are concerned, Buddha probably
took some concepts from the upanishhads, which explains why there
may be some similarities. But don't be deceived by these similarities.
The orthodox advaita position is that Buddha accepted some parts of
the Vedas and rejected others. So he did not accept Vedas in their
entirety. That is precisely why Buddhism is considered a heterodox
or anti-Vedic philosophy. But there is more to this charge than just
some orthodox brahmins' censure of a heretical doctrine.
You cannot selectively accept parts of the Vedas and reject others.
The whole of Vedas is usually divided into karma and jnaana kaaNDas.
Each kaaNDa has a role to play and the relation between the two
kaaNDas is extensively dealt with in Sureshvara's sambandha-vaartika,
an introduction to his monumental vaartikaa on the brihadaarNyaka.
The advaitins don't reject the karma kaaNda outright as the Buddhists
do. What I am trying to say is that karma kaaNDa has a role to play
in Brahman realization, in that it purfies the mind and makes it fit
for inquiry into Brahman. We see two extreme positions on the karma
kaaaNDa by the miimaamsakas and the Buddhists. The mimaamsakas treat
the karma kaaNDa as the true import of the Vedas, thereby relegating
the jnaana kaaNDa to mere arthavaada. The Buddhists take the other
extreme position, completely abolishing the karma kaaNDa. It is only
advaita that recognizes the importance of both the karma and jnaana
> This is the reason why many advaitins are somewhat familiar with buddhist
I hope this familiarity is not from reading the dvaitins' criticism
of advaita and Budhhism.
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