Antiquity of Advaita Vedanta (was Re: An Open Letter to All)

Rajiv Malhotra rajiv.malhotra at WORLDNET.ATT.NET
Wed May 17 18:32:54 CDT 2000

Response to Mr Ashish Chandra's question:

Madhyamika does deny an absolute AS CONCEPTUSALIZED. An unconceptualizable
non-'thing' cannot be imagined, spoken about, explained etc. Hence the
famous silence of the Buddha.

However, this does not mean that after emptying all conceptualizable
'things', that Buddha was asleep or dead. He was indeed awake. That state is
what using the positive language of Vedanta, is referred to as absolute.

Both are emptying the false 'constructed' maya.

Upon doing that, one calls it empty of this false conception. The other
calls it full of what remains, which is unconceptualizable.

The Buddhist risk is to misunderstand it is as nihilism. Certainly, Buddha
himself was happy upon reaching that state, behaved with great compassion,
and certainly he lived another 45 years teaching. That is hardly nihilism.

The Vedanta risk is to reify (conceptualize) the absolute, which by
definition means giving it form. The moment you conceptualize it, it is a
representation in mind and hence not absolute. The tao you can think of is
not the tao. Hence the trap some fall into. Both methods have this risk.

I don't find the contradiction which many do.

I just got an email with the following pertinent quote that both systems
would accept:
Reality is simply the loss of ego.

                                 - Sri Ramana Maharshi

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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