Bouddha Encounter

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Mar 10 14:04:56 CST 1998

On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, Chandran, Nanda (NBC) wrote:

> After a few minutes discussing some history and dharma I asked him about
> Nirvana. He said it's something which cannot be put in words and can
> only be experienced - this I understood. Then I asked him what was the
> school's stand with respect to the Soul? He pointed to a small plastic
> chair and asked me what it was? I told him it's a plastic chair and then
> using Vedanta logic said it's actually plastic with a name and form. But
> he said it's just something which is made up of four elements and if
> it's left the same way it's right now, over a period of time it would
> disintegrate and vanish! The same concept applies to us, he said -
> finally it's all nothing! When I asked him about rebirth, he said it's
> only in our mind and nothing is reborn!
> Where've I heard this before? I asked him if he's expounding the
> Madhyamika's concept of Shunyata? He nodded (I was surprised at this
> since I wasn't aware that Theravadins followed Nagarjuna's logic!). I
> asked him if it's true that there's nothing at the end, then who's doing
> this negating? Who would say there's nothing at the end? Because even
> this concept requires a negator - can he himself be negated? But even as
> I said this, I remembered the Shruti, 'That which the mind cannot
> comprehend and nor the eye see' - was is it an alternative way of
> putting it? He didn't seem all that keen to answer my question and I had
> my own doubts and didn't want to appear argumentative. So I said that
> I'd probably have to read more, thanked him and left.

Those people who say the idea that Buddhism teaches nihilism is just Hindu
propaganda are dead wrong.  That's exactly what the bhikshu is telling
you.  And those who say it is a later development and not the Buddhas
"real" teaching are also wrong as apparently this Hinayanist doesn't seem
to have a problem with a "Mahayana" teaching.

> But it struck me, isn't defining Brahman to be ExistHence, Intelligence
> and Infinite, itself limited to the power of our intellect only? Is our
> statement that you cannot negate the negator, the result of our ego
> asserting itself? Can it be positively said that there cannot be nothing
> at the end? What if everything just evaporates at the end? I'm not sure
> if I'm conveying what I want to convey, but I hope the netters get the
> drift.

it's like saying there are many stars in the sky.  This is still a
meaningful sentence even though we cannot enumerate _exactly_ how many.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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