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

M Suresh msuresh at INDIA.TI.COM
Fri Jan 10 03:51:18 CST 1997

On Thu, 9 Jan 1997, Anand Hudli wrote:

>              M Suresh wrote:
> >
> >   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.
> >
>    No, the nondual Brahman is not experienced as something other oneself.
>    It is realized as the Self. So there is no duality. And the Self is not
>    a nonexistent thing or void. Jiivanmuktas who have experienced Brahman
>    do not say that it is a state where they experience emptiness. Rather they
>    say that it is full of bliss. There is obviously a difference between
>    emptiness and bliss.

I guess Buddha also would have  experienced the same bliss but still
he taught  emptiness.  Both say the bliss  is due to  realization of
ones  true nature.  One  calls it  Brahman and  the  other calls  it

> > >     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.
>    All duality is of course illusory, but that does not imply the
>    non-existence of everything. It is made abundantly clear in advaita
>    that the world *as*we*commonly*perceive*it* is an illusion and is
>    false. But *the*world*as*Brahman* is true and true eternally. The
>    duality in the world can be negated but not the world as its substratum,
>    Brahman. So not everything is false.

>From the pAramArtha view point  nothing can exist as Brahman because
Brahman  alone IS,  so the  world does  not exist.  Now how  can one
describe the  pAramArthika state.  One may call  it either  Sunya or
pUrna.  Will it make any  difference? Saying everything  is complete
is the same as saying everything is empty.

> >
> > >     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.
> >
>     Both may be the same from a commonsense point of view. Shankara in
>     his commentary on the MuNDaka upanishad says that Brahman when
>     explained to lay people appears as "asat", meaning nonexistence.
>     It is to remove this wrong notion that the Vedas lead to Brahman in
>     stages. When a person follows these stages, he will understand that
>     Brahman is not a nonexistent or fictitious entity.

I have not understood that Brahman is not asat so far.

> >   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.
>      Buddhism has borrowed from the jnaana kaaNDa but has probably missed
>      the essence of what the jnaana kaaNDa says. Besides, for the very reason
>    that Buddhism selectively borrowed some ideas from the Vedas and rejected
>       others, it cannot be the same as advaita.

I  was only  equating  sUnyata with  Brahman and  not  the whole  of
Buddhism and advaita.

> >
> >   I do not disagree that Buddhism and advaita vary in their approach to
> >   Nirvana.
> >
>     I am not sure what the concept of nirvaaNa or moksha is in
>    Buddhism. In advaita, moksha is not just absence of misery. Sureshvara
>    differentiates between absence of misery and happiness in his sambandha
>    vaartika. Every person wants to avoid all misery, but also wants
>    happiness. Absence of misery and happiness are not the same. If moksha
>    were to be just absence of misery, then you could say that mokshha is
>    a state of void. But mokshha is a state where the superexcellent bliss
>    of the Atman is tasted. It is a positive not a void.

In both  moksha is  a cessation  of birth and  death cycle.  I guess
Buddhists   also   will   acknowledge  in   bliss   resulting   from

>    Anand


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