Fwd: Advaita and Buddhism

Anand V. Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 22 13:17:58 CDT 1999

On Mon, 21 Jun 1999 16:43:56 -0700, Ravi <miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

>Here is a message from Nanda.

  An excellent article from Nanda. You have what could be written
  up as a research paper!

  I have a comment regarding the "prachchhanaM baudham.h" criticism
  against advaita. The schools that make this charge are implicitly
  saying 1) that Buddhism is nonVedic and should be shunned, and
  2) advaita shares tenets from Buddhism. Therefore, advaita should
  be shunned as well.

  I say these schools are wrong on _both_ counts. We should not show
  any animosity towards Buddhism. It is clear that early Buddhism
  borrowed from the Vedas, although the development of Buddhism
  outside India may have taken place without Vedic influence.
  If Buddhism is criticized because it is nonVedic, the same charge
  may be made against some of the very schools that make the "crypto-
  buddhism" charge. For example, some of the Vaishnava schools only
  pay lip-service to the Vedas. They say they accept the Vedas, but
  then their practices are all based on the pancharAtra's and other
  nonVedic sources. They say their loyalty is to the Vedas but then
  their real loyalty to is to deities some of which are nonVedic in
  origin,  with nonVedic methods of worship, and with nonVedic
  "scriptures." If such schools accuse Buddhism of being nonVedic,
  it is simply not fair.

  The second point that advaita shares tenets from Buddhism is also
  flawed. The _only_ point that advaita and Buddhism seem to share in
  common is the illusory nature of the world, the jagan-mithyAtva
  aspect. But even here, if one cares to look deeper, the illusion
  theory of Buddhism is different from that of advaita. In advaita,
  the worldly illusion is explained as "anirvachanIya", an indeterminable
  entity which can neither be classified as real nor unreal. Further,
  the illusion is based on a real "something." There can be no illusion
  without a real substratum. Illusion is not like a purely fictitious
  entity such as the horns of a hare,  which seems to be the accepted
  version of illusion in Buddhism. So if advaita is being equated with
  Buddhism based on a flimsy interpretation of only one point - the
  jagan-mithyAtva aspect, it is like equating materialism with the
  realist schools. After all, the materialists (chArvAka's) too take
  the world to be real; they deny the reality of everything other than
  what they see. This equivalence is based on one point - the reality of
  the world.


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