Antiquity of Advaita Vedanta

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 26 17:17:48 CDT 2000

On Mon, 26 Jun 2000 11:17:35 PDT, nanda chandran <vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>Anand, please understand the difference between the HinayAna and the
>MahAyAna. You're quoting from two distinct, different sources in
>the same breath, without realizing the difference between them.
>PAli or TheravAda Buddhism as in Sri Lanka and the SarvAstivAda
>schools are basically HinayAna Buddism. They deny the self and
>while for the first, nirvAna is simply what comes after the
>cessation of consciousness, the latter advocates an atomic,
>material nirvAna.
>MahAyAna as taught in the MAdhyamaka and the VijnAnavAda schools
>represents a totally different line of thought. And all the chariot
>logic used by Vijira, NAgasena and Buddhaghosa - HinayAnist
>philosophers, is simply logically inconsistent for them. They
>interpret NairAtmaya and pratItya samutpAda from a totally different
>angle. Their philosophy is much more advanced and subtler.

 You are missing the point entirely. The question was what exactly
 was it that the Buddha taught. To answer this we must necessarily
 go back in time as far as we can to his day. It is as simple as
 that! If it means that we will find this from Hinayana, that is
 fine. Remember the question we are trying to answer here is what is
 it that Buddha taught during his day.

>>As the Buddhist nun Vajira states, the conventional
>>self, what we mean when we say "I" is only due to the functioning of
>>parts of the body, aggregates. An independent entity called "self",
>>independent of this functioning does not exist.
>"To think of self or the not-self is not the truth. They're
>discriminated by the confused" - NAgArjuna in MahAyAna Vimshaka.
>Here itself your argument stands invalidated. Please learn to
>distinguish between the HinayAna and the MahAyAna.

 On the contrary, the statement from nAgArjuna proves the non-self
 theory. He is saying that we should not even think of self or non-self
 (Atman or anAtman) because it is irrelevant. This is precisely the
 point of Buddha, not because the self exists but because it doesn't,
 according to him.

>I'm trying to show something, but nobody seems to be listening.
>What's the point in merely saying this person - Vivekananda or
>Chinmayananda - said so and so it is true. If you're not willing to argue
>within the confines of reason and textual evidence, please say so and we
>terminate this discussion here and now.
>I can present evidence from all concerned texts - the shruti, the Advaita
>texts, the MahAyAna texts, the texts of the MAdhyamaka and VijnAnavAda
>schools - to prove my argument that MahAyAna Buddhism is only the negative
>aspect of Advaita. And I can supplement my arguments on the basis of pure
>reason, without falling back on any "acknowledged guru" for support.

 This is precisely what you are NOT doing, sir! Let us hear the shruti,
 the advaita texts, the mahAyAna texts, etc. We have not heard a single
 consistent argument that ties your "reasoning" to these texts.

 Also, we have to be very clear about two things. 1) Are you giving
 your own interpretation of mAdhyamika, the way you understand
 nAgArjuna and his teachings? 2) Or are you giving an interpretation
 of nAgArjuna that was accepted by his followers and followed in the
 mAdhyamika tradition? Please make this clear.

>But the opposition only seems to be inclined to show some opinion of this
>that modern author to prove their points. Else they simply try to bat down
>my arguments under the weight of tradition or the word of somebody famous.
>I get the distinct feeling that I'm just wasting my breath out here.
>There doesn't seem to be any real interest in learning and understanding.

For every argument/discussion there has to be certain "rules of the
game." In advaita and elsewhere, the technique of presenting one's thesis
has always been one of a combination of A) quoting shruti or authorities
on certain points and B) using further reasoning to arrive at conclusions
and establishing the thesis. We are yet to see this in a systematic
manner in the present case.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list