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 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:50 pm

.e. wrote:
Sorry buddy, you just don’t recognize it.
I have asked you any number of questions to elicit further understanding and further exploration of the topic, and this is your response. Your preaching here, not offering dialogue, not willing to have an actual exchange of ideas. Contrary to your unfounded dismissiveness, I can see what you are saying clearly enough. I have asked you questions and raised points in response to what you have said, and from you all I get in return is: “you just don’t recognize it.” That is not dialogue. That is just preaching.
Nagarjuna felt that Nirvana (Reality) is Samsara (Illusion).
Let us see what you have here. Show us where in his major work, the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, where he said samasara is an illusion. Show us where he states nirvana is a reality like atman/brahman. Show us, chapter and verse. And give us the argument Nagarjuna uses to make the equation of nirvana and samsara. And show us how Nagarjuna defines “reality.”
Parenthetically he also felt the essence of the Buddha (Reality) was identical to the essence of the world (Illusion).
Please quote chapter and verse.
He did not say like, kinda or sort of.
You are making claims here that you know what it is that Nagarjuna said, so please back it up. Let us look at what Nagarjuna said that supports your claims.
If you have experienced this, even a glimpse, you will re-cognize it in the literature of the religions of the world.
Now you are entering in the realm of the ad hominem. You have no idea of what I have experienced.
It may not be postulated exactly in the way you have intellectually come to it but then Reality is Illusion is not an argued understanding.
In ignoring an appeal to what the Buddha said, you have appealed very directly to what Nagarjuna said to support your position. So, we will look at Nagarjuna. I have no problem 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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tiltbillings
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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:01 pm

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:"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:
This goes to the relatively narrow issue of paticca-samuppada and the not-self conditions that give rise to each phenomenon. It does not go to the broader issue of whether the notion of "god" in all its myriad permutations must in all circumstances and without exception be immediately abandoned.
It goes to the idea of a god, in whatever way, that is the cause of the world, a god with whom, in some way, for whatever reason we concoct, we must identify.
Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Does God exist? I have absolutely no idea.
It is an unnecessary concept.
Right, it is unnecessary except for the person who has a deep-rooted kamma of understanding the term "god" in a certain way, usually in a different way than the caricature "god" that's so easy to dismiss. For such a person, the "god" concept is the kammic framework within which he or she must work. It's what she's stuck with. Eventually, one hopes, we all will arrive at the experience of truth beyond concepts. But meanwhile, we each are the owners of our kamma. We work with what we got. I think a lot of this is an issue of semantics.
Yes and no, but your point here makes the Kosha’s point above.
>> 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::: » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:01 am

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:"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:
This goes to the relatively narrow issue of paticca-samuppada and the not-self conditions that give rise to each phenomenon. It does not go to the broader issue of whether the notion of "god" in all its myriad permutations must in all circumstances and without exception be immediately abandoned.
tiltbillings wrote:
Does God exist? I have absolutely no idea.
It is an unnecessary concept.
Right, it is unnecessary except for the person who has a deep-rooted kamma of understanding the term "god" in a certain way, usually in a different way than the caricature "god" that's so easy to dismiss. For such a person, the "god" concept is the kammic framework within which he or she must work. It's what she's stuck with. Eventually, one hopes, we all will arrive at the experience of truth beyond concepts. But meanwhile, we each are the owners of our kamma. We work with what we got.

I think a lot of this is an issue of semantics.
Good points, Jechbi.

: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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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by Prasadachitta » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:55 pm

I dont think Tilt is trying to say that a god or ultimate source idea is not provisionally helpful for some people. Correct me if Im wrong Tilt. Its just that no such idea is congruous with traditional Buddhist teaching. In my opinion it is an acute misunderstanding of Nagarjuna to think he promotes any such idea or leaves any logical room for it in his reasoning.

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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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:57 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:I dont think Tilt is trying to say that a god or ultimate source idea is not provisionally helpful for some people. Correct me if Im wrong Tilt.
You are not wrong. Thank you for the clarification.

Its just that no such idea is congruous with traditional Buddhist teaching. In my opinion it is an acute misunderstanding of Nagarjuna to think he promotes any such idea or leaves any logical room for it in his reasoning.
Indeed.
>> 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. » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:18 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
.e. wrote:
Nagarjuna felt that Nirvana (Reality) is Samsara (Illusion).
And give us the argument Nagarjuna uses to make the equation of nirvana and samsara.
http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/verses2.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Investigation of Nirvana 25.19
Parenthetically he also felt the essence of the Buddha (Reality) was identical to the essence of the world (Illusion).
Please quote chapter and verse.
Investigation of the Tathagata 22.16

If you have experienced this, even a glimpse, you will re-cognize it in the literature of the religions of the world.
Now you are entering in the realm of the ad hominem. You have no idea of what I have experienced.
Forgive me Tilt but you have offered no sense in your writing that you have penetrated the dhamma beyond the scripture you go round and round. You seem to have made the raft into a turtle shell to preserve your personal ontology as a very good diehard Buddhist. You come out of your shell to snap at others and debate like there is actually something to defend. You are a fierce Mahakala defender of the Dharma yet to realize the mythological nature of the fabricated character that is Tilt.

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:50 pm

you wrote:
I wrote:
you wrote:Nagarjuna felt that Nirvana (Reality) is Samsara (Illusion).
And give us the argument Nagarjuna uses to make the equation of nirvana and samsara.

http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/verses2.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Investigation of Nirvana 25.19


Quote the text and give the arument.
you wrote:
i wrote:
you wrote:Parenthetically he also felt the essence of the Buddha (Reality) was identical to the essence of the world (Illusion).
Please quote chapter and verse.
Investigation of the Tathagata 22.16
Let us see the actual text and the argument. Put it out there. Let us see if your claim about Nagarjuna holds up. I'd much rather look at the Buddha's teachings, but you seem rather reluctant to do so. I'll ask again, what is the Advaita all and and what is the Buddha's teaching on the all? You do not want to answer that, so let us deal with Nagarjuna.
Forgive me Tilt but you have offered no sense in your writing that you have penetrated the dhamma beyond the scripture you go round and round.
It is meaningless for you to say what you have just said and in the way you have said it. The problem with this as an “argument” as you are making it is that I could say with no less validity that in your above claim that you show no functional, actual, insight into the truth of the texts.
You are a fierce Mahakala defender of the Dharma yet to realize the mythological nature of the fabricated character that is Tilt.
I am well aware of the nature of the Teachings, which is why I see no reason to conflate them with stuff that runs counter to them.
>> 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 Dan74 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:55 am

Why make a debate personal .e.?

Why not just return to the topic. Tilt like everyone else here is a human being and presumably not infallible. So hopefully the debate can continue constructively and with respect for each other and for the benefit of all.

_/|\_
_/|\_

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:17 am

Dan74 wrote: Tilt like everyone else here is a human being and presumably not infallible.
Dang. When that happen? I'll do my best to live up to it. Thanks, Dan.
>> 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 Macavity » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:35 am

.e.

When you say to Tilt:
.e. wrote:Sorry buddy, you just don’t recognize it

...

If you have experienced this, even a glimpse, you will re-cognize it in the literature of the religions of the world. It may not be postulated exactly in the way you have intellectually come to it but then Reality is Illusion is not an argued understanding. ]

...

Forgive me Tilt but you have offered no sense in your writing that you have penetrated the dhamma beyond the scripture you go round and round.

do you mean to imply that you yourself have experienced some kind of gnosis that entitles you to declare the Madhyamaka Buddhist and Advaita Vedantist darshanas and realizations to be ultimately identical?

If so, then have you any explanation as to why this gnosis is not only not shared by Tilt, but is also lacking in all the Indian masters of these two traditions? I mean, if the darshanas and realizations of these two traditions are really the same, isn't it odd that so many of the most acclaimed Buddhist and Vedantist masters devoted such a large part of their literary effort to composing polemics against each other's views? Isn't it odd that your own view of the unity of the two traditions seems to have been championed by nobody among the masters of these traditions?

After all, with the likes of Shankara and Gaudapada on the Vedantist side, and the likes of Kamalashila and Chandrakirti on the Buddhist side, we are not talking about a bunch of village idiots, nor about guys who were chiefly into yoga and little concerned with intellectual work. We're talking about some of the sharpest and subtlest reasoners India ever produced —men thoroughly adept in logic, epistemology, grammatical philosophy, metaphysics etc. If the supposed identity of the Buddhist and Vedantist darshanas were that obvious, do you really suppose that men like these would have been too stupid to see it and draw attention to it?

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by kannada » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:32 am

Hi Tilt, good to re-make your acquaintance, other commitments have dragged me away from your topic, hopefully we can continue...
Guenther: The term advaita, as we use it, stems from Shankara's Vedanta.
Misleading statement – Shankara commented on Vedanta, they are not 'Shankara's Vedanta'.
The Buddhists never used this term, but used rather the term advaya. Advaya means "not-two";
अद्वय advaya adj. only - advaya adj. unique - advaya n. identity - advaya n. unity.

As stated earlier A=Not - Dvaita=Dual. There is no escaping this. Your argument of definition versus meaning holds no ground. Meaning is derived from definition, not vice versa. Creative nuances of not-two or non-dual may be entertained providing the meaning does not stray from it source. It is a human trait to seek some form of reductionism within definition, erroneously 'not two' may be assumed to mean 'one' but in this case is highly inaccurate and is bound to lead to confusion. I do agree with Guenther that this terminology is used among some Hindus without appreciation of the finer philosophical ramifications of such misapplications – my only comment is that they are either confused of simply wrong. Just as some Buddhists (or perhaps many) assume 'nirvana' to be a state of consciousness to be entered into. From my experience of Buddhist bulletin boards, Buddhists seem to have as much knowledge and ignorance of their own philosophy as does your average Hindu of theirs.

From what I can gather Shankara's view does indeed stray from the original 'non-duality' into oneness. This could be interpreted as an error of definition but it appears Shankara had his reasons for doing so. It appears that he argues a sole reality upon which delusion (of self and other) is superimposed (whilst pure non-duality posits neither a 'this' nor 'that'). Traits of Shankara's monism does seem to permeate Hinduism. The rope mistaken for a snake, the post seen from a distance mistaken for a person, nacre mistaken for mother-of-pearl etc. Shankara posits on all of these examples a 'reality' (snake, post, nacre) on which a delusion is superimposed. One must remember when commenting on the accuracy of Hindu Teachings that Hinduism is a representational philosophy that utilizes concepts and images to express certain points. The 'gods' of Hinduism may be seen to represent forces of nature, Brahman represents the un-nameable un-knowable 'un-conditioned' etc. There is no requirement in a representational or 'metaphoric' philosophy to display an overarching logic as long as the idea or feeling of the message is successfully transmitted (as in faith based religions). Just as if there were a TV repairman explaining to a child how a TV works. He may talk in terms of Mr. Capacitor lending electricity to Mr resistor who does such and such. Of course the message is nonsense to the 'initiated' but meaningful to a child. The further into practice one becomes the more meaningful the teachings become irrespective on whether the teaching was metaphoric or direct.
What they wanted to say was that only Atman is real. Now the logic of their position should force them to then say that everything else is unreal. But Shankara himself is not clear on this point. What they wanted to say was that only Atman is real. Now the logic of their position should force them to then say that everything else is unreal. But Shankara himself is not clear on this point.
Shankara's view is that:

Brahman is real
The universe is unreal
Brahman is the universe

As per the 'superimposition' examples of the rope/snake, post/person, nacre/mother-of-pearl. Shakara postulate Brahman/universe. The universe is said to be an appearance in Brahman, just as the snake is an appearance in the rope. The appearance of the universe depends solely on the reality of Brahman which is its substratum. The universe could not appear otherwise. Modern day quantum theorists are now developing ideas of the 'implicate' and 'explicate' order.

Regards

k
Last edited by kannada on Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just a view - nothing more...

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by christopher::: » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:55 am

thanks for posting, kannada.

: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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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:41 am

'The universe," they say, "is without truth,"
Without basis, without a God;
Brought about by a mutual union,
How else? It is caused by lust alone.'

Holding this view,
These men of lost souls, of small intelligence,
And of cruel actions, come forth as enemies
Of the world for it destruction.

I wrote:Guenther: The term advaita, as we use it, stems from Shankara's Vedanta.
kannada wrote:Misleading statement – Shankara commented on Vedanta, they are not 'Shankara's Vedanta'.
And Shankara was a major influence on Advaita, significantly coloring it from his time on. Given his towering significance and influence, “Shankara's Vedanta” is not out of line.
kannada wrote:
Guenther (quoted by me) wrote:The Buddhists never used this term, but used rather the term advaya. Advaya means "not-two";
अद्वय advaya adj. only - advaya adj. unique - advaya n. identity - advaya n. unity.

As stated earlier A=Not - Dvaita=Dual. There is no escaping this. Your argument of definition versus meaning holds no ground. Meaning is derived from definition, not vice versa.
http://www.aa.tufs.ac.jp/~tjun/sktdic/

search `dvaya' in `Apte Dic'
meanings of "dvaya" [1] a.{a-stem} 1.two-fold; 2.relating to dvaita (q. v.)
#25868
meanings of "dvaya" [2] n.{a-stem} 1.pair (usually at the end of comp.); 2.two-fold nature; 3.untruthfulness;
4.(in gram.) the masculine and feminine gender

search `advaya' in `Apte Dic'
meanings of "advaya" [1] a.{a-stem} 1.not two; 2.without a second

search `dvaita' in `Apte Dic'
meanings of "dvaita" n.{a-stem} 1.duality; 2.dualism in philosophy

search `advaita' in `Apte Dic'
meanings of "advaita" [1] a.{a-stem} 1.not dual; 2.matchless #01453 meanings of "advaita" [2]
n.{a-stem} 1.non-duality; 2.the supreme or highest truth or brahman itself
This is also supported by the MacDonell and Monier-Williams dictionaries.

“Your argument of definition versus meaning holds no ground. Meaning is derived from definition, not vice versa.”

The word “nice” started out its life meaning lewd and wanton, as in, “She was a nice girl.” Definitions change by the way words are used, and when we get into the realm of technical terminology common words can get definitions quite different from the a simple dictionary definition. There is nothing in what you have shown us that contravenes Guenther or my points about the usages of the words advaya and advaita.

As for “one without a second:

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:XOf ... clnk&gl=us" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
kannada wrote:Shankara's view is that:

Brahman is real
The universe is unreal
Brahman is the universe
The Sanskrit for this is:

Brahma satyaṃ
jagat mithyā,
jīvo brahmaiva nāparah


Better translated:

Brahman is the only truth,
the spatio-temporal world is an illusion,
and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self.

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... ta_Vedanta" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And there is nothing in underlying assumptions of this verse that is at all congruent with the Buddha’s teachings.
>> 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 Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:32 am

.e. wrote:Forgive me Tilt but you have offered no sense in your writing that you have penetrated the dhamma beyond the scripture you go round and round. You seem to have made the raft into a turtle shell to preserve your personal ontology as a very good diehard Buddhist. You come out of your shell to snap at others and debate like there is actually something to defend. You are a fierce Mahakala defender of the Dharma yet to realize the mythological nature of the fabricated character that is Tilt.
Because it's impossible to know the attainments of another person online, we must go by scholarly qualifications.

:anjali:

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Re: Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Post by kannada » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:21 am

And Shankara was a major influence on Advaita, significantly coloring it from his time on. Given his towering significance and influence, “Shankara's Vedanta” is not out of line.
I disagree. He was not the author of Vedanta, it is not his Vedanta, he wrote commentaries on it with his own particular monistic interpretation.
search `advaita' in `Apte Dic' .
meanings of "advaita" [1] a.{a-stem} 1.not dual; 2.matchless #01453 meanings of "advaita" [2]
n.{a-stem} 1.non-duality; 2.the supreme or highest truth or brahman itself.
You’re arguing my point. Advaita is ‘non-dual’ not ‘one without a second’ – other than Shankara’s interpretation.

My source for 'advaya'.
http://spokensanskrit.de/index.php?scri ... rection=AU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Definitions change by the way words are used, and when we get into the realm of technical terminology common words can get definitions quite different from the a simple dictionary definition.
Nothing has changed via definition. An additional meaning (interpretation) from Shankara has been supplied. Your own quote above (non-dual) verifies this. No matter how towering Shankara’s stature is even he couldn’t supply a redefinition or re-interpretation of advaita - just an additional meaning.
The Sanskrit for this is:

Brahma satyaṃ
jagat mithyā,
jīvo brahmaiva nāparah

Better translated:

Brahman is the only truth,
the spatio-temporal world is an illusion,
and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self.
My quote was from my copy of Christopher Isherwood/Eknath Easwaran's translation of the Vivekachudamani. Regardless, either interpretation still holds Shankara's characteristic posit of superimposition whether it is truth/illusion or real/unreal. The terminology differs but the mechanics is the same.
And there is nothing in underlying assumptions of this verse that is at all congruent with the Buddha’s teachings.
I didn't say there was.
Just a view - nothing more...

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