[Advaita-l] Permanence of the self

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Tue Feb 17 04:29:27 CST 2015

Dear all,
I work in an office where my boss is a Buddhist, of the Madhyamaka
tradition of Nagarjuna. We tend to have several lively debates on the
nature of reality, and one of the questions that we have recently engaged
on is the concept of a permanent Brahman (self) onto which this universe,
including the BMI, is superimposed due to avidya.

Unsurprisingly, he opposes the very notion of a self, and more
fundamentally, the idea of permanence itself (even on a parAmArthika
basis). His view, coming from the Nagarjuna school is of shunyata, or
emptiness (mutual interdependence of everything). And that emptyness itself
is empty.

What are the arguments that I can make to prove the existence of the
Universal self to him?

I am aware of Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada's argument in the Brahma Sutra
Bhashya that to deny the self is illogical - the denier would have to have
a self in existence with which to deny the self. And if he didn't have a
self, then the denial wouldn't exist. However, and my understanding is
limited here - How does this in itself establish the permanence of the
self? At best, it seems to me that this argument proves that the denier's
ego at a fixed point in time, not the universal, permanent self. I suspect
he could also reject the idea of an individual self, instead saying that it
is the momentary mind that denies, in that example.

I can point him to shruti vAkya pramAna, but to someone that denies the
prAmanyam of shruti, that wouldn't be effective. Any suggestions?


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list