[Advaita-l] Budha & Advaita

Sankaran Aniruddhan ani at ee.washington.edu
Wed Jan 4 11:43:57 CST 2006

namaste Sri murali mohan,

I don't think it is necessary to assume that both Sankara and Buddha 
were enlightened in the same way. It is perfectly possible for both to 
be 'enlightened', Buddha in the buddhist way, and Sankara in the vedic 
way. It all depends, I suppose, on which tradition we follow. According 
to those who follow the vedantic tradition, the vedic way of 
enlightenment is the only true, ultimate one (and of course, according 
to the buddhists, their nirvana is the ultimate realisation). The only 
way to compare the 'enlightenment' of anyone inside or outside the 
tradition is to compare their teachings/experiences with those described 
in the vedas (and of course, interpreted according to Sankara). As far 
as I can see, they seem to be quite different.

The Buddha was called SAkya muni, not Sankya muni. He belonged to the 
SAkya clan of rulers of nepAl, hence the name. The sAdhana described in 
the gIta is called sAnkhya, which is different.

As far as I know, the bare minimum traditional AchAryas expect for 
laypeople is regular performance of daily sandhyAvandanam. Regular 
practice of brahmayajnam and the fire ritual is also considered to be 


Sruti smRti purANAnAm Alayam karuNAlayam
namAmi bhagavatpAda Sam.karam lokaSam.karam

murali mohan wrote:

> Here are my doubts:
> When we assume that Shankara (or any other Hindu sage) and Buddha are 
> enlightened beings, how can they talk about different realities when 
> there is only one ultimate truth? Can we not equate Shoonya to Nirguna 
> Brahman? After all Emptiness and Fullness are two sides of the same 
> coin - depends on how one looks at it. Also both Shoonya and Nirguna 
> Brahman are quality-less and beyond name and form. Two enlightened 
> persons experiencing the same truth will explain it differently due to 
> verbal and other differences - need not mean they are talking about 
> different realities.
> Regarding rituals, although Buddha was against all ritualistic 
> worship, we see the
> most elaborate rituals in Buddhist monastries more than anywhere else.
> Buddha is also called Sankya Muni. Krishna explains Sankya as a 
> sadhana path in Gita. Are they the same paths? How different is this 
> Sankya marg from the Jnana or Vichara marga propogated mainly by Shankara?
> Ramana Maharshi did not ask his followers to follow Karma Kanda - not 
> even for laymen. His emphasis was purely on Vichara or self-enquiry 
> for which rituals are not necessary (by rituals I mean ceremonial 
> worship as prescribed in Vedas, not day-to-day activities).

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