Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:33 pm

Chris wrote:You know, Tilt, ~ sometimes I'm really glad you're around.

metta
Chris
Thanks. It is those other times, however, that are the problem, no doubt. (insert apporpriate smiley thingie here)
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by cooran » Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:42 pm

Well .... only in this thread when I can't figure out what the hey you mean about the RS:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... start=1040" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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tiltbillings
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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:49 pm

Of course. It was the Kinks, not the Stones. Silly me.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

.e.
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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by .e. » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:07 pm

tiltbillings wrote: Basically, you are positing an ontology of a monistic being.
Let me strip it all down so scripture no longer gets in the way of our mutual understanding. Does this help?

Illusion
Reality
Reality is Illusion

What happens to all and any ontology when there is no distinction between reality/illusion?


(Hint)

Form is like a glob of foam;
feeling, a bubble;
perception, a mirage;
fabrications, a banana tree;
consciousness, a magic trick

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by Prasadachitta » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:26 pm

It seems some people find it quite comforting to rest in the idea that all if not the lions share of spiritual practices point their practitioners to the same truth. I have a relative who I love very much who says this to me when I convey bits of how I understand and work with the Dhamma. I can see that my relative is coming from a positive state of mind when she says this. I see her as intending to uphold what she sees as valuable and beneficial in the varying attempts of beings and societies to pursue well being and peace. This intent in itself seems to be very positive in that it lends to sympathetic joy and kindness towards those who are making spiritual effort. I am trying to cultivate the spirit of what my relative has tapped into while being wary of a vague generalization which might lend to an noncommittal attitude. One thing I am sure of is that it is very easy to overlook the impact of our ideas on the practical everyday workings of cultivating well being and other spiritual benefits. I think it is appropriate to maintain the clear communication of the Buddhist tradition especially on a forum such as this (thank you tilt). I want to help people in dealing with and purifying their intention of Greed and Hatred. I think this can at times mean overlooking what I see as unhelpful speculation in order to direct attention to what I see as practical to the proximate moment of communication. What a sticky business it is.

Kindly

Gabriel
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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tiltbillings
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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:34 pm

.e. wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: Basically, you are positing an ontology of a monistic being.
Let me strip it all down so scripture no longer gets in the way of our mutual understanding. Does this help?

Illusion
Reality
Reality is Illusion

What happens to all and any ontology when there is no distinction between reality/illusion?
This, of course, makes no sense; certainly from a Buddhist - Pali sutta point of view, nor even from a standpoint of Nagarjuna. You are still ignoring my objection above and you are not answering my questions to you. Try as you might, you cannot reasonably ignore the ontological claims of Advaita, which are rejected by the Buddha.
(Hint)

Form is like a glob of foam;
feeling, a bubble;
perception, a mirage;
fabrications, a banana tree;
consciousness, a magic trick
Notice the word "like" in this Buddhist quote. Advaita does not say "like." I have addressed your points in the above msgs as part of a dialogue (so I thought), but you ignore the questions and objections I have raised. If you want a dialogue that is not the way to do it.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:41 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:It seems some people find it quite comforting to rest in the idea that all if not the lions share of spiritual practices point their practitioners to the same truth.
The same truth. It is all warm and fuzzy. The problem is this: A says to B: "All religions are one." B says back to A: "Oh, how nice, but which one?" And that is the problem with what we see above, an intent redefining of one in terms of the other, though it might be attempted, with well meaning sincerity, very subtly and not even necessarily consciously.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by Prasadachitta » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:27 am

tiltbillings wrote:
gabrielbranbury wrote:It seems some people find it quite comforting to rest in the idea that all if not the lions share of spiritual practices point their practitioners to the same truth.
The same truth. It is all warm and fuzzy. The problem is this: A says to B: "All religions are one." B says back to A: "Oh, how nice, but which one?" And that is the problem with what we see above, an intent redefining of one in terms of the other, though it might be attempted, with well meaning sincerity, very subtly and not even necessarily consciously.
Hi Tilt,

I think I understand your point. However, "All religions are one" and "All religions are meant to lead to the same realization" are two very different statements. I am not so sure of the validity of either statement but the second one seems rather more reasonable. If one dwells in the idea of the efficacy of religious striving without cultivation and discernment at best they will have a vicarious warm fuzzy feeling over the practice of others. This is what seems to occur with some who use the above statements. On the other hand I think some people go at spiritual practice energetically with an intuitive approach which does not settle on any particular tradition. Even if you take it as a given that such people must eventually settle on some form of traditional Dhamma practice to achieve awakening I think you have to admit that they can be very well prepared by such an approach.

Im just writing stuff cuz I find it pleasurable....

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:24 am

gabrielbranbury wrote: I think I understand your point. However, "All religions are one" and "All religions are meant to lead to the same realization" are two very different statements.
Not so different that one statement cannot make a point about the other. And that is that some thing ends up getting redefined - that is one religion gets redefined in terms of another, or the goal of one religion gets redefined in terms of another to achieve the goal of warm fuzzyness.
I am not so sure of the validity of either statement but the second one seems rather more reasonable.
Not so much as “more reasonable”; rather, it is easier to do the latter by appealing to a level of vagueness, brushing aside annoying distinctions, that allows one to conflate seeming similarities. Much of what gets called the “perennial philosophy is just that.
If one dwells in the idea of the efficacy of religious striving without cultivation and discernment at best they will have a vicarious warm fuzzy feeling over the practice of others. This is what seems to occur with some who use the above statements. On the other hand I think some people go at spiritual practice energetically with an intuitive approach which does not settle on any particular tradition. Even if you take it as a given that such people must eventually settle on some form of traditional Dhamma practice to achieve awakening I think you have to admit that they can be very well prepared by such an approach.
I have no problem with this statement, except that they are not very prepared to talk about various traditions outside of the warm fuzzyness of a supposed non-duality, and in the process something important is lost.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by Prasadachitta » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:55 am

tiltbillings wrote:
gabrielbranbury wrote:at.
If one dwells in the idea of the efficacy of religious striving without cultivation and discernment at best they will have a vicarious warm fuzzy feeling over the practice of others. This is what seems to occur with some who use the above statements. On the other hand I think some people go at spiritual practice energetically with an intuitive approach which does not settle on any particular tradition. Even if you take it as a given that such people must eventually settle on some form of traditional Dhamma practice to achieve awakening I think you have to admit that they can be very well prepared by such an approach.
I have no problem with this statement, except that they are not very prepared to talk about various traditions outside of the warm fuzzyness of a supposed non-duality, and in the process something important is lost.
I prefer to think of it as... In the process something important is put off till later.

Thats my own recipe for warm fuzzyness.

and so it goes....


Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by christopher::: » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:44 am

What is called the perennial philosophy, as i understand it, relates to a number of common features of various spiritual paths. At a certain point in practice people come to the realization that this and that are interconnected, that there is a transcendent Truth.

We cannot always put this Truth into words but there is a "way" of getting more in sync with that Truth. This way involves methods of practice, ethical ways of behaving, and common mind states such as peace, love, compassion, nonjudgmentalness, open-mindedness, happiness and generosity.

People call the Supreme Univeral Truth various things, and think about it in varied ways, but it is beyond conceptions, and it is what it Is. More important then what you believe is how we behave, that we try our best to love our enemies, do no harm, cultivate equanamity, release fear. You are not who you think you are, or as society defines you. We are a part of this Universal Truth, whatever it is. Be happy, be grateful. Don't attach to desires, etc...

All religions do lead to some of these realizations, there may be further to go beyond the perennial philosophy. I think Buddhism takes that attitude and approach....

But in a world where Arabs and Jews are still blowing each other up and the planet's ice sheets are melting, i for one don't see the harm in recognizing (and even celebrating) some of the world religion's commonalities...

We don't have to believe the same things. We never will believe the same things. There is no need to believe the same things to live, learn, laugh, love and work together...

Or to recognize that in truth we stand together on common ground.

Image

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:03 am

christopher::: wrote:What is called the perennial philosophy, as i understand it, relates to a number of common features of various spiritual paths.
Partly, but it mostly has to do with the idea that most all religions teach, in some way, the very same truth.
At a certain point in practice people come to the realization that this and that are interconnected, that there is a transcendent Truth.
The Buddha certainly had no problem with acknowledging the good things in common among various religious practices, but the idea that the various religions shared the same “transcendent Truth” was not an idea he held.
We cannot always put this Truth into words but there is a "way" of getting more in sync with that Truth.
Whose truth? Who defines what this is? Not poking others with pointy sticks is good because it causes no harm to others and they are less likely to want to poke you with pointy sticks is a “Truth.” But if we are talking about some sort other “transcendent Truth,” we are on very shaky ground if we try to say that it all the same amongst the various religions. How does one determine that? Again, it not something the Buddha taught,
This way involves methods of practice, ethical ways of behaving, and common mind states such as peace, love, compassion, nonjudgmentalness, open-mindedness, happiness and generosity.
Sure, but all these things are couched in frameworks that are often incompatible with each other. We can celebrate the positive aspects of these things, but we need to be careful about what conclusions we draw and what assumptions we make from this.
People call the Supreme Univeral Truth various things, and think about it in varied ways, but it is beyond conceptions, and it is what it Is.
And there are no unstated assumptions in this statement? And how do you support those assumptions?
More important then what you believe is how we behave,
And belief does not determine and shape behavior?
that we try our best to love our enemies, do no harm, cultivate equanamity, release fear.
Only if we believe that these things are important and that they apply universally. It could be, with good cause based upon what we hold is the Supreme Universal Truth, that flying airplanes into buildings is the right thing to do.
You are not who you think you are, or as society defines you. We are a part of this Universal Truth, whatever it is. Be happy, be grateful. Don't attach to desires, etc...
What Universal Truth? Whose Universal Truth?
All religions do lead to some of these realizations, there may be further to go beyond the perennial philosophy. I think Buddhism takes that attitude and approach....
You really do not quite understand the notion of “perennial philosophy,” but taking this sentence as written, yes, the Buddha taught something beyond that.
But in a world where Arabs and Jews are still blowing each other up and the planet's ice sheets are melting, i for one don't see the harm in recognizing (and even celebrating) some of the world religion's commonalities...
No one is arguing with that.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by christopher::: » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:53 am

I dunno tilt. We seem to keep spinning round and round with the same differences in perspective. If it doesn't make sense to you, i don't see how i can explain it any better. I can keep repeating myself if needed, but its just the same point i keep making, which you don't seem to understand or agree with. There may also be a point or several that you are making that i don't understand.

Truth is.

As soon as you tell me what Truth is, or I tell you what it is, that is our belief, our "truth," but that is no longer Truth with a capital T.

It's like an apple, an apple is.

I call it apple, in Japan they call it ringo. But these are just words. We may take a photo of an apple, call it apple, call it ringo.

Image

This gives us a better understanding then just the word. But still, its not the same as the truth of apple (or Ringo) which doesn't need you or i to exist. Apples just are, and if all the people on the earth suddenly fell silent, apples would still be there.

That which actually is i am calling TRUTH with a capital T. Its not "my" truth or your truth, it belongs to no one, it just is.

In Buddhism we call the Supreme Truth by the name of Dhamma. A person in Fiji may call it Mango, a Christian will call it God, a Taoist will call it Tao. Their understanding of Truth, their beliefs, will be different.

But there are similarities.

Why? Because (from a Buddhist's point of view) they are trying to explain Dhamma in their own words, constructing myths and ideas in their heads, which they then project on to the Universe in the way that makes sense to them. From their point of view we are trying to explain God or Tao, using our terminology and conceptions...

So, i'm not talking about beliefs or ideas. Something is True, and that's what i'm calling Supreme Truth.

I bow to that which is, which we call by the name of Dhamma, which i believe is probably far beyond our present ability to speak about and conceptualize with absolute clarity, but which is still a great light in our lives...

That's how i think anyway, but again, thoughts are not the same as Truth.

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:22 am

Truth is.
Truth is what?
It's like an apple, an apple is.
An apple can be located, described, eaten, tasted, smelled. And how about “Truth?”
In Buddhism we call the Supreme Truth by the name of Dhamma. A person in Fiji may call it Mango, a Christian will call it God, a Taoist will call it Tao. Their understanding of Truth, their beliefs, will be different.
However, you are assuming - offering no justification - that these things refer to the same thing. Assuming.
Their understanding of Truth, their beliefs, will be different.
In other words, these are different things.
But there are similarities.
Are there really?
Why? Because (from a Buddhist's point of view) they are trying to explain Dhamma in their own words, in the way that makes sense to them. From their point of view we are trying to explain God, using our terminology and conceptions...
"The assumption that a God is the cause (of the world, etc.) is based on the false belief in the eternal self (atman, i.e. permanent spiritual substance, essence or personality); but that belief has to be abandoned, if one has clearly understood that everything is impermanent and subject to suffering." Abhidharmakosha 5, 8 vol IV, p 19:

Your assessment is not quite correct.
Does God exist? I have absolutely no idea.
It is an unnecessary concept.
But something is True, and that's what i'm talking about.
Maybe, but that does not mean, as your position implies, everything that anyone claims is some sort of absolute thingie is true.
I bow to that which is, which i believe is probably far beyond our present ability to speak about and conceptualize with complete clarity...
The Buddha was very clear about “that which is”:

"Monks, I will teach you the all. And what is the all? The eye and forms, the ear and sounds the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and touch, the mind and mental phenomena. This is called the all. If anyone, monks, should speak thus: ' Having rejected this all, I shall make known another all' - that would be a mere empty boast." SN IV 15.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by christopher::: » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:57 am

I'm not going to argue with you today, Tilt. You are taking a fixed position on this, i am trying to explain how i see things, how i think about this issue and how its often framed by advaita teachers. They make a very clear distinction between beliefs and that which is.

I cannot say this way of seeing things is superior, or more "true" then yours. Its not in conflict with the dhamma, at all, from my perspective. But some of us see the issue of beliefs vs. truth very differently. I'm just trying to describe the role thoughts play in putting up walls between people, and how thoughts and beliefs are not the same as reality. Advaita (and Zen) teachers often take this approach, which may explain why i have no problem with it. If something in my explanation is helpful to you or someone else, i'm glad. If not, please don't waste your time with it.

The best (and most important) stuff in this thread was said a few pages back by nathan, imo. Maybe something there will help make sense out of what i'm saying, for you.

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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