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

M Suresh msuresh at INDIA.TI.COM
Thu Jan 9 01:06:59 CST 1997

> From owner-advaita-l at TAMU.EDU Wed Jan  8 21:05:06 1997
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> Date:         Wed, 8 Jan 1997 10:12:00 -0500
> Reply-To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
> Sender: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
> From: Anand Hudli <ahudli at APPN.CI.IN.AMERITECH.COM>
> Subject:      Re: If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall
> Comments: To: advaita-l at tamu.edu
> To: Multiple recipients of list ADVAITA-L <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>

On Wed, 8 Jan 1997, Anand Hudli wrote:

>             M Suresh wrote:
> >
> >   Somehow I have always found the criticism of dvaitins that advaita is
> >  identical
> >   with buddhism to be very valid.
> >
> >   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.
> >
>       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.

  But the non-dual Brahman is beyond knowledge, experience and description.
  Because knowledge implies a knower and the known which is dual,
  experience implies experiencer and experience which is dual and
  description implies description about an object which is again duality.

  Thus the non-dual Brahman would be the same as emptiness.

  Sri Ramana Maharishi modified the Upanishadic definition of Brahman "Soaham"
  meaning "That I am" to just "I am" where the subject and object dissappear
  and just the "I" is there. IMO "I am" would be the same as "I am NOT" as
  conveyed by emptiness.

>     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.

  If all duality is illusory as stated by advaita then everything can be
  considered to be illusory or non-existent because knowledge or experience
  of anything implies duality.

>     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 think both are essentially same and it is only a choice of words.

>     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
> >  both
> >   are concepts which point to the same eternal non-dual state beyond all
> >  concepts.
> >
> >   Therefore IMO the core of both buddhism and advaita teachings are the same
> >  though
> >   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.

  Quite Possible.

>     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
>     kaaNDas.

  If you agree that Buddhism has borrowed Jnaana Kaanda then the truth of
  the Brahman expounded in it is the same as the emptiness which is the
  highest doctrine in Buddhism.

  I do not disagree that Buddhism and advaita vary in their approach to

> >
> >   This is the reason why many advaitins are somewhat familiar with buddhist
> >   philosophy.
>     I hope this familiarity is not from reading the dvaitins' criticism
>     of advaita and Budhhism.

  This is true to a certain extent about myself. But from the net and from this
  mailing list I have observed that many advaitins have read books on buddhism,
  zen etc.

> >
> >
> > -Suresh.
> >
> >
>    Anand


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