[Advaita-l] Maya/avidya

Ananta Bhagwat ananta14 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 25 08:16:05 CDT 2008

1/ In this context it is interesting to compare the causation laws of various schools i.e. (1) pratItyasamutpAda (dependent origination) of mAdhyamaka (2) satkArya vAda (origination in Being) of sAMkhya (3) asatkArya vAda (origination in non-Being) of nyAya and (4) satkAryavAda + vivartavAda (apparent origination in Being) of advaita.

2/ pratItyasamutpAda was formulated prior to the nAgArjuna's time (c. 2nd century AD?) in some related form and interestingly the early Buddhist literature assigns the 'first cause' to avidyA. On the criterion of 'constancy', Being is identified with non-Being and there is not much difference between these four  laws; advaita's position can envelop the other three. From pAramArthika view of advaita however, there are no real effects - brahman is acausal and there is no mAyA, no creation, no cosmos (ajAtivAda).

3/ Both brahman and SUnya are described via negative; the only difference is - after negating the cosmos there remains substratum called brahman while mAdhyamaka says there is no substratum to the cosmos which is the process of Becoming - an incessant change. In mAdhyamaka there is no Atman (Self-absolute substratum) to anything. The things are "sarve nissvabhavah" in that sense. It does not mean that entities (sanghAta) have no properties of their own; it only means that properties and conditions are immanent or emergent. mAdhyamaka tries to explain the world phenomenon "from within" while advaita seeks to explain it by taking recourse to acosmic substratum.

4/ There is today a renewed interest in pratItyasamutpAda because it is the obvious forerunner to modern process philosophy and finite automata. It has no friction with advaita because it is the product of mAyA and operates at the vyAvahArika level. One can find origin of this law in upanishads-vedAs (although 'am not sure if Buddhists like to see it that way).


----- Original Message ----
From: "srikanta at nie.ac.in"  <srikanta at nie.ac.in>
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008 2:18:10 PM
Subject: [Advaita-l] Maya/avidya

This is with reference to the above topic of discussion.In his discussion
on Maya/avidya Sri.Ananta has said that Maya has to act only as a bridge
between the absolute and Relative and not as a guiding principle of
Vyavahara.For that purpose "Pratitya-samutpada is eminently suited.

In Adwaita,the term Maya or avidya is taken for explanatory purpose only
for those who are yet uninitiated into Adwaita.Infact that Maya also
doesnot exist."Sa cha Maya na vidyate"says Acharya Gaudapada in
Gaudapadakarikas on Mandukyopanishad.

But,the "pratitya-samutpada"Theory of conditional co-origination" by
Nagarjuna,the founder of "Sunyavada" of  Buddhism doesnot consider the
world to be existent or non-existent in the same way as Adwaita.While
world is Mithya(not sunya) the Sunyavada considers the world as absolute
non-existence(sunya)."Sarve nissvabhavah" says Buddha.For this the
Sunyavadins describe "Pratitya-samutpada"as  follows:For example the seed
to sprout,it requires certain conditions.It requires
mud,fertilisers,water,air,sunlight etc.the seed becomes the sprout,but at
the same time because of the aggregates of mud,fertisers,water etc.At the
same time it is not the same as any of the aggregates,but yet at the same
time,it is not different from the above.For a thing to exist it requires
cerain conditions,hence it is called conditional co-origination.For
Sunyavadins,the silver in nacre is a nullity without a subsratum.So also a
mirage without the conservative principle of its illusion called the
sand."Kadaligarbhavath"(the sprout of a Banana  plant)where one cannot find
either the source (root)or the end of it,because it is a series regressus
ad infinitum.The Buddhist consider the body as "durnimittam"(cause for
sorrow)unlike Adwaitins who say Brahman is the ultimate reality and the
body is the instrument(sadhana)for its  realisation."Sareeram khalu Dharma
sadhanam".The Buddhists consider the body to be an aggregate of
"Pancha-skhanda"(an aggregate made of five limbs)Trishana,Vedana etc.and
the annihilation of the pancha-skhanda is consiered as "Nirvana(or
non-becoming)much like the "blowing of a candle".The ending of the body is
considered as"Nirvana".But,for the Adwaitin realisation of the Brahman or
Atman is considered as the Summum-bonum of life.The modern scientific
theory comes closer to Adwaita than Buddhism.The
inexplicable(anirvacaniya)theory of Maya is closer to Adwaita than
Buddhism.The theory of error(Khyati-badha vada)of the different  schools
like Sankhya,Vaisheshika,Mimamsa,Jaina,Bauddha,and Vedanta are the
different views of the philosophers and is a great contribution of Indian
Philosophy to the world of Epistemology.
Regards,  Bhava Shankara Desika me Sharanam.

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