Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Javi
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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by Javi » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:35 pm

I honestly think the term 'non-dual' should be done away with altogether when referring to the Buddha's teachings. It is too broad, too easy to confuse with other ideas and more importantly, the Buddha does not use this term. We can speak of samadhi, a unification of mind where there is no subject-object distinction, and we can speak of a state of non-conceptualization (Nippapañca). But 'non-dual' ? I honestly don't see how this serves any purpose but confuse people and make them think the Buddha was teaching some kind of Idealism or Transcendentalism. Sadly the whole thing seems to have a really big attraction for people, but I guess the appeal of an all embracing ontological worldview has always been strong, as we can see in the Upanishads.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:05 pm

Javi wrote: I guess the appeal of an all embracing ontological worldview has always been strong, as we can see in the Upanishads.
It is a warm fuzzy point of view: It is all One, we are all One, and all sorts of warm fuzzy platitude that can follow from that. Also: "You are a dualist, always in opposition, never seeing the truly true all Oneness of reality.
>> 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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Javi
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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by Javi » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:19 pm

The funny part is, if there was really just one consciousness shared by all beings (Advaita), then it would actually be horrifying. I mean, think about how many animals are being eaten alive just this moment, how many people just now are in their final moments of death. Imagine sensing all of the suffering of the world and never being able to turn it off.
It's only warm fuzzy because of selective thinking. A true non-dual consciousness would be the most horrific thing imaginable.

Of course, the answer is that due to Maya, we are contracted consciousnesses, but if Maya is something which causes the non-dual to appear to be dualistic, then non-dualism isn't really that non-dual after all.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

SEC201482
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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by SEC201482 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:37 pm

Javi wrote:The funny part is, if there was really just one consciousness shared by all beings (Advaita), then it would actually be horrifying. I mean, think about how many animals are being eaten alive just this moment, how many people just now are in their final moments of death. Imagine sensing all of the suffering of the world and never being able to turn it off.
It's only warm fuzzy because of selective thinking. A true non-dual consciousness would be the most horrific thing imaginable.

Of course, the answer is that due to Maya, we are contracted consciousnesses, but if Maya is something which causes the non-dual to appear to be dualistic, then non-dualism isn't really that non-dual after all.
Exactly. Advaita is also philosophically incoherent. What could it possibly mean to say "all is Self?" "Self" is inherently a relational concept; a Self/subject can only be defined in relation to an object and vice versa. The idea that the Self is all that exists is pure nonsense. If something is truly "unconditioned," then it has to completely transcend the self/not-self dichotomy altogether.

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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:10 am

Javi wrote:The funny part is, if there was really just one consciousness shared by all beings (Advaita), then it would actually be horrifying. I mean, think about how many animals are being eaten alive just this moment, how many people just now are in their final moments of death. Imagine sensing all of the suffering of the world and never being able to turn it off.
It's only warm fuzzy because of selective thinking. A true non-dual consciousness would be the most horrific thing imaginable.
I'm confused, probably because I don't know much about Advaita Vedanta, but don't the Hindus also believe they teach a path that leads to liberation from rebirth? Rebirth isn't supposed to be a pleasant thing in either Buddhism or Hinduism. I think its a bit more horrifying a concept in Buddhism than in Hinduism, but maybe thats just because I am more familiar with Buddhism. Rebirth is never a good thing.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.

吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

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Javi
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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by Javi » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:18 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Javi wrote:The funny part is, if there was really just one consciousness shared by all beings (Advaita), then it would actually be horrifying. I mean, think about how many animals are being eaten alive just this moment, how many people just now are in their final moments of death. Imagine sensing all of the suffering of the world and never being able to turn it off.
It's only warm fuzzy because of selective thinking. A true non-dual consciousness would be the most horrific thing imaginable.
I'm confused, probably because I don't know much about Advaita Vedanta, but don't the Hindus also believe they teach a path that leads to liberation from rebirth? Rebirth isn't supposed to be a pleasant thing in either Buddhism or Hinduism. I think its a bit more horrifying a concept in Buddhism than in Hinduism, but maybe thats just because I am more familiar with Buddhism. Rebirth is never a good thing.
Of course, they just interpret rebirth as arising from Maya, illusion. When Maya is replaced with knowledge of Brahman, all rebirth an suffering ceases, since it is all illusion according to Shankara. Interestingly enough, Brahman is all blissful, so somehow, a non-dual blissful existence is able to give rise to multiplicity and suffering. Why bliss and unity is posited as the metaphysical ground of things is arbitrary of course, one could easily posit suffering and plurality as the metaphysical ground of things.

Edit: Actually, its not arbitrary, its appeal to authority, since Advaita ultimately must bow to the authority of the Vedas.

As for positing suffering at the ground of things, we have at least one thinker in the West who did this: Schopenhauer
Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim. It is absurd to look upon the enormous amount of pain that abounds everywhere in the world, and originates in needs and necessities inseparable from life itself, as serving no purpose at all and the result of mere chance. Each separate misfortune, as it comes, seems, no doubt, to be something exceptional; but misfortune in general is the rule.
I know of no greater absurdity than that propounded by most systems of philosophy in declaring evil to be negative in its character. Evil is just what is positive; it makes its own existence felt...
The pleasure in this world, it has been said, outweighs the pain; or, at any rate, there is an even balance between the two. If the reader wishes to see shortly whether this statement is true, let him compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is engaged in eating the other. - Studies in Pessimism
Its amusing that Schopenhauer saw his philosophy reflected in the Indian vedic texts, actually, he is their opposite. For his Wille is not the blissful, unified Self of the Upanishads which we should all seek to become one with, but a most horrifying eternal metaphysical ocean of suffering and craving.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by SEC201482 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:58 pm

Javi wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
Javi wrote:The funny part is, if there was really just one consciousness shared by all beings (Advaita), then it would actually be horrifying. I mean, think about how many animals are being eaten alive just this moment, how many people just now are in their final moments of death. Imagine sensing all of the suffering of the world and never being able to turn it off.
It's only warm fuzzy because of selective thinking. A true non-dual consciousness would be the most horrific thing imaginable.
I'm confused, probably because I don't know much about Advaita Vedanta, but don't the Hindus also believe they teach a path that leads to liberation from rebirth? Rebirth isn't supposed to be a pleasant thing in either Buddhism or Hinduism. I think its a bit more horrifying a concept in Buddhism than in Hinduism, but maybe thats just because I am more familiar with Buddhism. Rebirth is never a good thing.
Of course, they just interpret rebirth as arising from Maya, illusion. When Maya is replaced with knowledge of Brahman, all rebirth an suffering ceases, since it is all illusion according to Shankara. Interestingly enough, Brahman is all blissful, so somehow, a non-dual blissful existence is able to give rise to multiplicity and suffering. Why bliss and unity is posited as the metaphysical ground of things is arbitrary of course, one could easily posit suffering and plurality as the metaphysical ground of things.

Edit: Actually, its not arbitrary, its appeal to authority, since Advaita ultimately must bow to the authority of the Vedas.

As for positing suffering at the ground of things, we have at least one thinker in the West who did this: Schopenhauer
Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim. It is absurd to look upon the enormous amount of pain that abounds everywhere in the world, and originates in needs and necessities inseparable from life itself, as serving no purpose at all and the result of mere chance. Each separate misfortune, as it comes, seems, no doubt, to be something exceptional; but misfortune in general is the rule.
I know of no greater absurdity than that propounded by most systems of philosophy in declaring evil to be negative in its character. Evil is just what is positive; it makes its own existence felt...
The pleasure in this world, it has been said, outweighs the pain; or, at any rate, there is an even balance between the two. If the reader wishes to see shortly whether this statement is true, let him compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is engaged in eating the other. - Studies in Pessimism
Its amusing that Schopenhauer saw his philosophy reflected in the Indian vedic texts, actually, he is their opposite. For his Wille is not the blissful, unified Self of the Upanishads which we should all seek to become one with, but a most horrifying eternal metaphysical ocean of suffering and craving.

It is interesting to note that Schopenhauer fell into the same trap as the Upanishads. He criticized Kant for using the phrase "things in themselves" to refer to the noumenal when he thought Kant's thinking inevitably led to the conclusion that it should be "thing in itself" (i.e. that beyond "representation" everything is "One"). He believed Kant proved that time, space, and other forms of differentiation are ideal and don't apply to the noumenal. However, it is obvious from Kant's own system that he proved no such thing. Kant's categories may not apply to the noumenal, but it doesn't follow that the noumenal isn't differentiated in any sense whatsoever; we're not justified in saying what lies beyond the phenomenal/representational realm (i.e. whether it is a unity, multiplicity, both, neither, etc.).

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Javi
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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by Javi » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:39 pm

This is why I think that the Buddha would agree with Kant here that we simply cannot know the 'things in themselves', why? because they lie 'beyond range' - avisaya - here meaning, epistemic range or 'beyond the sphere of experience' (Kalupahana)
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:42 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Javi wrote:The funny part is, if there was really just one consciousness shared by all beings (Advaita), then it would actually be horrifying. I mean, think about how many animals are being eaten alive just this moment, how many people just now are in their final moments of death. Imagine sensing all of the suffering of the world and never being able to turn it off.
It's only warm fuzzy because of selective thinking. A true non-dual consciousness would be the most horrific thing imaginable.
I'm confused, probably because I don't know much about Advaita Vedanta, but don't the Hindus also believe they teach a path that leads to liberation from rebirth? Rebirth isn't supposed to be a pleasant thing in either Buddhism or Hinduism. I think its a bit more horrifying a concept in Buddhism than in Hinduism, but maybe thats just because I am more familiar with Buddhism. Rebirth is never a good thing.
If your self is not its own eternal entity like in classical Samkhya with liberation being separation of the self from everything extraneous which causes suffering; if rather it is merely a piece or breakoff of one giant uber-self and liberation is to be subsumed back into the uber-self then 'you' have no control on whether the uber-self shoots 'you' back out again to do it all over. So what Advaita calls 'liberation' is actually eternal slavery to the will of the thing that sent 'you' to suffer the first time and probably will again.

SEC201482
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Re: Are there any other schools of Buddhism, besides Theravada, that are not non-dual?

Post by SEC201482 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:51 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
Javi wrote:The funny part is, if there was really just one consciousness shared by all beings (Advaita), then it would actually be horrifying. I mean, think about how many animals are being eaten alive just this moment, how many people just now are in their final moments of death. Imagine sensing all of the suffering of the world and never being able to turn it off.
It's only warm fuzzy because of selective thinking. A true non-dual consciousness would be the most horrific thing imaginable.
I'm confused, probably because I don't know much about Advaita Vedanta, but don't the Hindus also believe they teach a path that leads to liberation from rebirth? Rebirth isn't supposed to be a pleasant thing in either Buddhism or Hinduism. I think its a bit more horrifying a concept in Buddhism than in Hinduism, but maybe thats just because I am more familiar with Buddhism. Rebirth is never a good thing.
If your self is not its own eternal entity like in classical Samkhya, if it is merely a piece or breakoff of one giant uber-self and liberation is to be subsumed back into the uber-self then 'you' have no control on whether the uber-self shoots 'you' back out again to do it all over. So what Advaita calls 'liberation' is actually eternal slavery to the will of the thing that sent 'you' to suffer the first time and probably will again.
Indeed, that is what Plotinus believed as reported in The Enneads.

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