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