Weekly page from Hindu Dharma: Buddhism and Indian Society

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 26 11:52:44 CDT 2002

>When his doctrines came under attack from Udayanacarya and Kumarilabhatta
>even the few who had first accepted them returned to the Vedic religion.

I wanted to comment on the previous post which claimed that the
Miimaamsakaas and the Naiyaayikas were the cause for the downfall of

In my mind this is not really true. Yes, sure, the two schools fought, often
bitterly, with Buddhism. But the fact is that both the schools stood for
things that Buddhism was fundamentally opposed to - Vedic rituals and the
value of logic. Just because Kumaarilla or the Naiyaayikas criticized them,
we cannot assume that they were the people who were instrumental for the
demise of Buddhism in India - yes, they would have criticized Buddhism, but
would have been criticized in return. This would have gone on for a long
time without any end in site. And in terms of sheer subtlety of thought
neither of the Aastika schools are a match for the Buddhists - Naagaarjuna
infact scorns the Naiyaayikas of being unable to comprehend the subtlety of
his shunyataa in his Vigrahavyaavartani Kaarikaa.

In my mind in terms of subtlety of thought it is only Advaita which is a
true match for Buddhist philosophy and as Gaudapaada reveals openly and
Shankara covertly - the Advaitins didn't directly clash with Buddhist
teachings for they themselves were in agreement with the Buddhists to a
great extent - only that they said that Buddhist philosophy had stopped
short of its true potential and something more needed to be said. The
positive affirmation of the absolute - Brahman.

Also I dispute the claim that Saamkhya was the "principal opponent" of
Advaita - it might have been so for Baadaraayana, but not for Gaudapaada or
Shankara. Not only is there any serious philosophical development of
Saamkhya lacking at the time of Shankara, but Indian philosophy itself had
come a long way from metaphysical quibblings about "one soul or many souls".
Without doubt it is the epistemological/psychological observations of the
Buddhist philosophers which are discussed with great seriousness in the
works of Gaudapaada and Shankara and it is in contrast or advancement to
these observations that Advaita philosophy itself is built.

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