Buddha - a nAstika?

Sankaran Jayanarayanan sjayana at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 4 15:17:41 CST 1998

Ravi Mayavaram <msr at REDDY20.TAMU.EDU> wrote:

>I dont know about you. But most vedantins will agree that
>buddhism is nAstika school. It does not accept the authority of vedas.

Perhaps so.

>This forum was not set up for debates. Except for few scholars like
>Vidyasankar how many know enough to go in for such debates between
>different schools.
>This forum was started to discuss advaita vedanta as taught by
>shankara. When it was started, they were very few like minded
>individuals, all had a reverential attitude towards shankara. The
>purpose was to discuss and learn more about it. Given the setup now,
>I would have named it shankara-L.

Undoubtedly, Shankara's influence on the tradition of advaita is great,
but you should remember that advaitins also consider Veda Vyasa,
Parashara, Shuka, Jada Bharata to be advaitins who propounded the
philosophy of advaita (as taught by Shankara). Even Ramana Maharshi once
said that everyone ought to read the story of JaDa Bharata.

>If you are keen on debates with advaitins, you are free to do it
>elsewhere, and definitely not here.

According to tradition, one must learn from a Guru and completely
respect his opinions on any issue. By the very fact that we choose to
learn from a computer and the internet implies a very serious defect in
our learning process. Which among the members of the advaita-L mailing
list can claim to be an authority on the scriptures, let alone being
capable of teaching others? I trust not a single person on this list can
make that claim. I would say that most, if not all, the members in this
list are themselves in need of guidance from a Guru.

This being the case, would you not accept that for a clear understanding
of the scriptures, one must logically scritinize it? In fact, if one
felt that it is not required, one might as well stop discussing the
scriptures and unsubscribe from this list. Naturally, a reverential
attitude towards the scriptures and the members of the list ought to be

>I have not read brahmasutra or the bhashhya or shankara on it. So I
>can not comment where in it and why (if at all), badarayaNa calls
>saMkhya as a nAstika school. I do not want refute or agree on it after
>reading one page of a translation and jumping on it.
>About buddha as one of the avatars of vishhNu, I think it is very
>debatable. I have a book on thiruviLaiyaDal purAnam, which refers
> only
>to balarama, in the place of buddha. But I agree that many sources
>claim that buddha as an avatar of vishhNu.  Even if buddha is one of
>the avatars, it does not matter, this forum is not for discussion
>about buddhism.

That Buddha was one of the avatars is far from debatable. Both the
Vishnu Purana and the Srimad Bhagavatam accept him as one of the avatars
of Vishnu, though both of them say that the avatar was in disguise and
misled the masses. Moreover, the statement in the thiruviLaiyaDal
purAnam does not contradict this. And I doubt that advaitins would
consider the thiruviLaiyaDal purAnam as a more authoritative text than
the Vishnu Purana. In fact, even Shankara quotes from the Vishnu Purana.

>I would like to stop the discussion on what this forum is for. It is
>for discussing advaita as taught by shankara and his disciples. If you
>feel it should not be so. Please feel free to unsubscribe. I am not
>open on this issue. Even if only one remains back under this
>restriction that is enough.
>The purpose with which I started the list was out of love and
>reverence towards shankara and advaitam. I dont mind even pulling down
>the list, if it goes against the original cause.  I think I should be
>more clear. I thought people will understand that the very word
>advaita-vedanta refers to what shankara taught. Today I receive a
>stating that advaita is about anything and everything.  I am simple
>mortal with poor management skills. I cannot take this kind of stuff
>anymore. There is a limit to politeness.

I think you should think a little more regarding this point. You say
that the definition of advaita-vedanta is what Shankara taught. Perhaps
you have forgotten about GauDapaada, Shankara's paramaguru, who uses the
word "advaita" to denote his philosophy for the first time, in his
commentary on the MANDUkya upanishad, which means that his philosophy is
advaita vedaanta.

>The list is for discussing advaita-vedanta as taught by shankara and
>his disciples. This is not a forum for debate. This is a forum for
>like minded people to learn about advaita-vedanta and shankara's
>works. If you think these goals are wrong, please send a mail
>to listserv at listserv.tamu.edu, with subject line blank and body of the
>message stating,

I think it is height of narrow-mindedness to say that this forum ought
not to allow for debate in any form. I would agree that this forum
shouldn't allow for debates on topics like how to buy a used car, etc.,
but you must allow for topics on which people are striving for a better
understanding of the scriptures.

>bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam


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