If advaita stands, all other systems(including dvaita) fall
ahudli at APPN.CI.IN.AMERITECH.COM
Mon Jan 13 11:58:58 CST 1997
M Suresh wrote:
> > 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
> > 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
Not so. According to advaita, even in cognitions in the
vyaavahaarika world, there is a permanent something that is common among
all cognitions. In the cognition, "this is a pot", the permanent factor
is "this is" which indicates the underlying existence. What is an illusion
is "a pot". What is cognized is just this permanent factor
but it is falsely understood to be a pot. In another cognition, "this is a
cloth", again the common, permanent factor is "this is." What is an
illusion has to do with "a cloth." In other words,
between the cognitions "this is a pot", and "this is a cloth", what is
common, constant, and permanent is the factor, "this is."
What we see above is a cognition where the cognizer gives a name to a
cognized object, such as a pot, cloth etc. Another type of cognition
tries to assert an adjective or attribute of an object. In the cognition,
"this is a blue pot", again what is common, constant, and permanent
is the factor "this is." What is illusion is "a blue pot." So what
is being denied ultimate reality is the "blueness" and "potness" of the
this to all cognitions, all objects are real as far as they are treated as
pure existence, but the moment you start associating them with names and
forms, the illusion begins.
This existence is the common, unchanging, and
permanent factor among all cognitions. This is according to advaita.
Now, according to the philosophy of Buddha, there is no constant,
and permanent factor among all objects. Everything is impermanent
and momentary. This is in sharp contrast to the above theory of advaita.
Let us change the scene a little. Suppose there is a philosophy (and
there are Vaishnava schools that say so), which says
that mokshha or liberation is to dwell in Vaikuntha as an eternal
companion of Vishnu. When you get to Vaikuntha, you get four hands, and
a form similar to Vishnu. You will enjoy uninterrupted bliss in the
company of Vishnu and His associates. This world is to be renounced. Strive
to go to Vaikuntha. Reaching Vaikuntha is moksha.
Now would you equate the description of the ultimate reality described
above with the emptiness of Buddhism? Certainly not. Because the
description is that of duality. The Brahman of advaita is a higher
reality than the world of SaguNa brahman mentioned above. It is when
the distinction between God and devotee, the meditated and the meditator
vanishes and there is just the blissful aspect that remains.
Just as you could not equate the shuunyataa (void) with the experience
of saguNa brahman, you cannot equate it with Brahman.
In the Anandavalli section of the taittiriiya upanishhad, measurements
of different kinds of bliss are stated. If you consider a young man, in
good health, strong, learned and noble, and if he has the wealth of
the entire world at his disposal, that is one measure of human bliss.
Similary, bliss of manushhya gandharvas, deva gandharvas, devas, etc.
are all mentioned, upto the bliss of HiraNyagrabha. The bliss of Brahman
is far, far superior to all these kinds of bliss. And it cannot be the
same as emptiness.
> > 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.
Again, you could probably equate puurNa with shuunya, speaking from
a common sense viewpoint. But that does not mean the two are actually
the same. For one thing, the shuunya is an impossibility. For a state
of void to be possible, someone has to be there to certify that it is
void. But the moment an observer enters that state, the state is no
> I was only equating sUnyata with Brahman and not the whole of
> Buddhism and advaita.
> In both moksha is a cessation of birth and death cycle. I guess
> Buddhists also will acknowledge in bliss resulting from
There is a fundamental difference in what the ultimate reality is in
both systems. They may both speak of mokshha, and bliss, but that does
not make the Brahman the same as shuunya.
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