[Advaita-l] Advaita and Madhyamika Buddhism

H S Chandramouli hschandramouli at gmail.com
Tue Mar 28 06:54:43 EDT 2017

Namaste Sri Venkatraghavan Ji and Sri Praveen Ji,

I am reviving an earlier thread in which V had observed as follows.

<< Nagarjuna's description of emptiness is the negation of each of the four

logical possibilities - it is not:

1) existent (this is the Buddhist view of existence as characterised by

impermanence, suffering, non-self)

2) non-existent (ie characterised by the absence of an existent thing)

3) existent and non-existent (which is a logical impossibility in the same

locus at the same time) and

4) neither existent nor non-existent. This is the problematic denial from

the standpoint of classical logic. The negation of neither (p) nor not (p)

is either (p) or not(p).>>

and  << I am not sure whether this has been characterised correctly in
advaita. It is possible that it is I who have misunderstood mAdhyamaka
Buddhism. >>,

and P had observed  << Doesn't this sound more like our definition of
सदसद्भ्याम् अनिर्वचनीया माया

than ब्रह्म?!>>,

Sri Anantakrishna Shastrigal in the introduction to his book
“Shatabhushani” observes as follows.

<< Unlike other critics Sri Vedanta Desika has understood the nature of
sunya correctly as neither bhava nor abhava nor both nor neither, bhava
abhava vilakshanam. Sri Desika contends that avidya is tantamount to the
Madhyamika theory of sunya. It is to be noted that no advaitic work from
the time of Anandabodhacharya has replied to this charge. But the earlier
work, Ishta Sidhi and its commentary, have raised this question and
provided the answer. In claiming this criticism as original to himself, Sri
Vedanta Desika has either not seen the reference to it in Ishta Sidhi or
has ignored the answer provided in it. There is a fundamental difference
between the concept of sunyam and the concept of avidya nivrtti. Sunya has
no counter-entity. It is apratiyogikam. It is not Janyam. It cannot be
produced. But avidya nivrtti is Janyam. It is produced and it has a
counter-entity. It is sapratiyogikam. Avidya is bhava rupa. It is not bhava
rupa as such. It is neither bhava nor abhava. It is anirvachaniya rupam. It
is of a tertiary kind (tritya prakaram) i,e. bhavabhava vilakshanam. >>

This is from the introduction to the book only. Sri Shastrigal may have
covered the issue in greater detail in the body of the book. I have not yet
gone through it. You may perhaps like to refer to Ishta Sidhi for more
details or to Sri Shastrigal’s book “Shatabhushani”, link reference to
which was furnished by Sri Sriram Ji very recently.

Just thought of bringing it to your notice.


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