[Advaita-l] Budha & Advaita

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 4 21:06:40 CST 2006

I didn't want to enter this discussion for several reasons, not the least of
which is because this list is, for good reason, particularly allergic to any
discussions on Buddhism. Besides, I'm not in any way attracted to Buddhism
either, and don't give two hoots as to whether or not Buddha was enlightened. I
also do not intend this posting to open a can of worms, or as a provocation.

That said, I feel one should look at all that has been said regarding the
Buddha by those respected by the advaita tradition. For that reason - and that
alone - I have provided below Ramana Maharshi's opinion on the Buddha. I had
actually posted this extract to this list on 01/28/2002, but my posting is
missing the extract, not sure why!

The following is from "Spiritual Stories as told by Ramana Maharshi", pages



During a conversation on non-attachment, Bhagavan said, "In this part of the
country, one of our ancients wrote, 'O Lord, thou hast given me a hand to use
as pillow under my head, a cloth to cover my loins, hands wherewith to eat
food, what more do I want? This is my great fortune'! That is the purpose of
the verse. Is it really possible to say how great a good fortune that is? Even
the greatest kings wish for such happiness. There is nothing to equal it.
Having experienced both these conditions, I know the difference between this
and that. These beds, sofa and articles around me - all this is bondage."

"Is not the Buddha an example of this?" asked a devotee. Thereupon Sri Bhagavan
began speaking about Buddha.

"Yes," said Bhagavan, "when the Buddha was in the palace with all possible
luxuries in the world, he was still sad. To remove his sadness, his father
created more luxuries than ever. But none of them satisfied the Buddha. At
midnight he left his wife and child and disappeared. He remained in great
austerity for six years, realised the Self; and for the welfare of the world
became a mendicant (bhikshu). It was only after he became a mendicant that he
enjoyed great bliss. Really, what more did he require?"

"In the garb of a mendicant he came to his own city, did he not?" asked a

"Yes, yes," said Bhagavan. "Having heard that he was coming, his father
Suddhodana, decorated the royal elephant and went out with his whole army to
receive him on the main road. But without touching the main road, the Buddha
came by side roads and by-lanes; he sent his close associates to the various
streets for alms while he himself in the guise of a mendicant went by another
way to his father. How could the father know that his son was coming in that
guise! Yasodhara (the Buddha's wife), however, recognised him, made her son
prostrate before his father and herself prostrated. After that, the father
recognised the Buddha. Suddhodana however, had never expected to see his son in
such a state and was very angry and shouted, 'Shame on you! What is this garb?
Does one who should have the greatest of riches come like this? I've had enough
of it!' And with that, he looked furiously at the Buddha. Regretting that his
father had not yet got rid of his ignorance, the Buddha too, began to look at
his father with even greater intensity. In this war of looks, the father was
defeated. He fell at the feet of his son and himself became a mendicant. Only a
man with non-attachment can know the power of non-attachment", said Bhagavan,
his voice quivering with emotion.


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