[Advaita-l] Permanence of the self

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Fri Feb 20 11:51:56 CST 2015

Dear Sri Ramesh,

Thanks a lot for that mail. He is certainly my boss, but I know him for
over 7-8 years now and from my interactions over this time period, I have
found him to be a very reasonable person and clear thinker, and not easy to
take offence.

The reason why our discussions started was because we were pretty
like-minded individuals, and he was very interested in understanding
advaita and would often ask me more about it. Of late, he is writing a book
from a Buddhist perspective, and he says that our discussions are helping
him to articulate his concepts better.

>From my viewpoint, these discussions help me to understand the clear lines
of difference between Advaita and Buddhism - its very difficult to
understand the subtle nuances of someone else's philosophy (even if one
doesn't agree with it), because typically one finds people either not
willing to talk about their beliefs, or if they do, be pretty jingoistic
about it.

I think where we our debate ended is that I told him that ultimately as
advaitins, we take shruti as pramAna in such matters where perception and
logic are not qualified to opine, and that therefore our philosophy stems
directly from that. He obviously does not believe that, and so we agreed to


On Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 3:31 PM, RAMESH RAMANAN <rameshramanan at yahoo.co.uk>

> Dear Sir,
> Pranams,
> I do not know the position which you hold in your organization. Whatever
> the position you hold, I hope you are aware of the maxim, the boss is
> always right (especially when he is fully in the wrong)? It is all very
> well for a Guru to rid the disciple of his ego and be his guide on the
> spiritual path. But you are an employee of an organization and no boss
> would like to accept that his concepts are wrong and his subordinate or
> employee is right at the same time. He will have a mental prejudice against
> you for showing off his knowledge as faulty and would try to put you down
> in one way or the other. So, it is better not to assume the role of a guru
> of your boss, but just give him a list of good books that he may read to
> enhance his knowledge of the right concepts and philosophy, without landing
> yourself into heated arguments with him. If my subordinate or employee
> tells me that my knowledge of philosophy is wrong, i will either demote him
> or dismiss him or withhold his payments/bonus/ increments and try to cause
> his departure from the organization in a very bad light, by the most
> serious efforts at tarnishing his reputation. There are many who would do
> this and I do not know how enlightened your boss is. It is better to avoid
> such controversies. You are not his guru and he is not your sishya. Though
> I know that you mean well for your boss, I hope you understand your
> position in the organization. Regards, Ramesh Ramanan.
>   On Friday, 20 February 2015, 18:30, Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Sri Venkatesh,
> I cannot lay claim to any significant knowledge of either Advaita, or
> Buddhism either, so if you or anyone else on this list believe that any of
> my replies are obviously incorrect, please excuse me.
> 1) As Kawada's paper says, both Sri GaudapAda and the Buddhists do speak of
> non-origination, but they refer to different concepts when they do so.
> Therefore according to Kawada, mere non-origination is not "naitad buddhena
> bhAshitam", but because the underlying concepts that the same term refers
> to are fundamentally different to the two groups.
> Sri GaudapAda speaks of the ajAtivAdA whereas the Buddhists speak of
> AnutpAda or PratItyasmutpAda. Both are non-origination concepts, but with
> Sri GaudapAda, his ajAtivAda is that there is an Unborn entity, whereas the
> antupAda is that "there is no birth", or pratItyasamutpAda is that "things
> are not originating in themselves, but do so in dependence to other
> things". So when Sri GaudapAda says "naitad buddhena bhashitam" he means
> the non-origination of Brahman was not spoken of by Buddha.
> 2) It is difficult to get a read on what Kawada means by the
> everlastingness of the Law. However, a conversation with my Buddhist friend
> leads me to believe that Kawada may be referring to the following - the
> permanence of co-origination, i.e. that phenomena don't exist independent
> of the mind, and that the mind doesn't exist independent of phenomena, is
> permanent. That is unlike the LankAvatAra school of Buddhism that believes
> that nothing permanent exists, except the mind. The Asanga school of
> Buddhism is closer to what Buddha advocated - that the mind (or
> consciousness) itself doesn't permanently exist (for it would be then
> argued by advaitins that what was being referred to as consciousness, is
> nothing but Brahman), but what exists permanently is the *nature* of the
> mind to have co-dependence with phenomena.
> 3) I suspect your issue with Kawada's comment is with the the phrase "and
> vice-versa" in the comment "It is doubtless that the Upanishads had much
> influence upon Buddhism and vice-versa". From a traditional sanAtana dharma
> standpoint, the apaurushatyeva of Shruti is axiomatic, and therefore when
> viewed from that standpoint, any external influence on Shruti is
> impossible. However, to a Buddhist who doesn't believe in the authority of
> the veda, it is reasonable (for him, not us) to assume that the Upanishads
> had some influence from Buddhist thought (and vice-versa), perhaps because
> of the similarity of several features in the two systems.
> If people feel that the contents of the paper / this email are straying too
> far from a discussion on advaita, which is what this list is meant for,
> please excuse me.
> Regards,
> Venkat
> On Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 6:48 am, Venkatesh Murthy via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> >>
> >>Namaste Sri Venkatraghavan
> >>
> >>I have gone through the article. It is balanced article like you said.
> But>>unfortunately I have no good knowledge of Buddhist source books or
> Buddhist>>arguments. From my understanding I can make some comments. Kindly
> correct>>me if wrong -
> >>
> >>1 Gaudapada has explained the Ajaativaada in the Karikas. Buddha has not
> >>spoken of Ajaativaada. Naitad Buddhena Bhashitam.
> >>
> >>2. Gaudapada has accepted authority of Vedanta and Brahman-Atman in
> his>>Karikas. Buddha has not accepted authority of Vedas and Vedanta. He
> has not>>spoken of Brahman-Atman. Naitad Buddhena Bhashitam.
> >>
> >>3 In the article on Page 6 - 'Gautama Buddha advocates the the
> everlasting>>real nature of the Law. Gaudapada advocates the Pure
> Intelligence only>>which is beyond the sphere of the law of causality. The
> one contends the>>metethical Law of phenomena, the other the transcendental
> reality of the>>pure consciouness.'  What is 'everlasting real nature of
> the Law' accepted>>by Gautama Buddha? I did not understand.
> >>4. Same page -  'Here one might raise objections against my view and
> say>>among others: isn't the highest truth of Gautama Buddha the
> Consciousness>>Only, because the Trirnsika declares it so? My answer is no.
> Read carefully>>the following verses! And you will find out that the
> Non-mind (acittam) or>>Non-consciousness is the highest truth. The
> Consciousness Only is a half>>-way house,where one should not dwell
> forever. It should be left behind in>>order to arrive at the highest truth.
> And this is the real nature of the>>Law (dharma-dhatu) which is identical
> with the knowledge of no false>>imagination (nirvikalpajnanam), and which
> may be expressed by the knowledge>>won after' it (tatprsthalabdha
> jnanam).'>>What Gautama Buddha said Gaudapada did not say. Naitad
> Gaudapaadaihi>>Bhashitam.
> >>
> >>This important point is cutting to pieces the bad Bengali and other
> >>scholars
> argument saying - the Sunyata of Buddhists is same as Brahman
> >>Consciousness
> of Vedanta and we Advaitis do not have anything new and >>Advaita and
> Buddhism are the same. These people have not understood Advaita >>and they
> have not understood Buddhism also.
> >>
> >>5 I do not agree with this on Page 7 - 'It is doubtless that the
> >>Upanishadas
> had much influence upon Buddhism and vice versa. This is the >>reason why
> Vidhushekhara's interpretation of Gaudapada has appeared and >>Samkara is
> sometimes reproached for his being a pracchanna bauddha.'
> >>
> >>How is it possible the Apaurusheya Eternal Upanishads got influence of
> >>Buddhism?
> There may be some new and recent Upanishads but the Old >>Dashopanishads
> were there in Gautama Buddha's time also. The author cannot >>accuse
> 'Upanishads got Buddhist influence' for these Ten Upanishads. Adi >>Sankara
> wrote his Bhashyas on these Ten Upanishads. But Buddists got >>Upanishad
> ideas. Advaita is Upanishad based philosophy. On the surface both >>share
> some common ideas. By observing this ignorant people said Advaitis >>are
> Pracchanna Bauddhas. But who said this they themselves are Pracchanna
> >>Charvakas.
> This is the joke.
> >>
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