Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Jainarayan » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:45 pm

songhill wrote:I admit, I was a little blown back by how much Shankara's thought chimes with Mahayana.


Shankara was accused of being a "hidden Buddhist", and that much of his interpretation of Advaita (he didn't invent it, as you may know) is influenced by Mahayāna.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby rachmiel » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:46 pm

In advaita, there is nothing but Brahman. Perception of multiplicity independent of Brahman is unreal; Brahman is the underlying unity. Perception of [provisional] multiplicity within Brahman, however, is 'real.' Brahman is the inner, the outer, and even the construct which pretends at separation between the two.

That's sneaky! I guess one could argue that if brahman is everything, then it is also illusion. But it sounds like an unconvincing loophole to me.

It should also be emphasized that Brahman, as a philosophical concept, is a corpse of the truth. Brahman can never actually be described, or in any way circumscribed by words. We can only approximate. If we speak of Brahman, it should be as a means leading up to actual experience of Brahman - otherwise we have only dead philosophical toys to play with.

Corpse of the truth, that's good! If something can't be described or even circumscribed by words/thought, perhaps one should refrain talking/thinking about it? Per our Uncle Ludwig: „Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.“
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby futerko » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:47 pm

songhill wrote:If anyone is halfway serious about the distinction between Shankara's Advaita and Buddhism they need, first of all, to be very acquainted with Buddhism (this means reading the discourses - not listening to someone's interpretation), then study the Brahma Sutras of Shankara. I have spent time underlining various points in Shankara's Sutras that seem very much to tally with Buddhism. There is quite a lot to underline. An aside, I don't think it reflects good academic manners just to dismiss the Brahma Sutras, out of hand, or pretend to be as smart as scholars who study the subject. I admit, I was a little blown back by how much Shankara's thought chimes with Mahayana.
But you do seem to have done so at the expense of viewing the Sautrāntika view, and consequently Vasubandhu, as nihilistic.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Jainarayan » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:53 pm

rachmiel wrote:
In advaita, there is nothing but Brahman. Perception of multiplicity independent of Brahman is unreal; Brahman is the underlying unity. Perception of [provisional] multiplicity within Brahman, however, is 'real.' Brahman is the inner, the outer, and even the construct which pretends at separation between the two.

That's sneaky! I guess one could argue that if brahman is everything, then it is also illusion. But it sounds like an unconvincing loophole to me.


The key is Perception of multiplicity independent of Brahman is unreal.

If we speak of Brahman, it should be as a means leading up to actual experience of Brahman


Corpse of the truth, that's good! If something can't be described or even circumscribed by words/thought, perhaps one should refrain talking/thinking about it? Per our Uncle Ludwig: „Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.“


That's where meditation and the quest for jnana, knowledge, comes in. Properly this is not d.i.y., but under the guidance of a self-realized (jivanmukta) guru. Btw, I don't understand German. :shrug:
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Son of Buddha » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:55 pm

Matt J wrote:Overall, this thread seems like an argument between Shentong and Rangtong.



Well the thread is a comparison between Advaitin vs Buddhist(take on awareness and reality)

This is where the problem comes into view,you see Buddhism doesnt have one view on this subject it has two views.

So its more like Advaitin vs Buddhist Rangtong view
And Advaitin vs Buddhist Zhentong view.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Son of Buddha » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:02 pm

Astus wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:Yes, I know that's the prevailing belief. If I'm not mistaken however, and I could be, there are schools of Buddhism that are either silent on it or do not reject the idea of a "ground of all existence" as Brahman is called


There is no such ultimate root of existence in the Buddha's teachings. See this sutta: AN 10.58. Do you know of any Buddhist tradition that teaches an ultimate "ground of existence"?


Yes ultimate/true/real/ existance is taught in the third turning Buddha Nature sutras,so this view is upheld by the Sutras.this view is upheld by Zhentong practitioners
And Buddhists all across Taiwan and China.look on the Yogacara vs Dzoghen thread on this forum,you will see a Yogacara practioner from Taiwan upholding this view.

Any tradition that upholds the Third Turning as definite upholds this teaching in their traditions.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby lowlydog » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:08 pm

rachmiel wrote:If there were an eternal, infinite, unchanging oneness (i.e. brahman), everything would be this oneness, therefore everything would be: eternal, infinite, and unchanging. But we experience time, space, and change. Isn't this a grand contradiction?



Look up in the sky at night, you see tops of houses, treetops, moon, stars, planets, solar systems, light, and all these things exist in space(emptiness) if it was not for this space nothing could exist. Space cannot be discussed in detail because there is nothing to discuss it is another dimension and all things come from this dimension of emptiness.
The little voice in the head that you percieve to be you experiences time and change and things pleasant and things unpleasant, when we are present we allow the stillness(emptiness) spacious oneness into our lives. This is Brahman, buddha nature or God, it really is very simple and natural.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby songhill » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:21 pm

futerko wrote:
songhill wrote:If anyone is halfway serious about the distinction between Shankara's Advaita and Buddhism they need, first of all, to be very acquainted with Buddhism (this means reading the discourses - not listening to someone's interpretation), then study the Brahma Sutras of Shankara. I have spent time underlining various points in Shankara's Sutras that seem very much to tally with Buddhism. There is quite a lot to underline. An aside, I don't think it reflects good academic manners just to dismiss the Brahma Sutras, out of hand, or pretend to be as smart as scholars who study the subject. I admit, I was a little blown back by how much Shankara's thought chimes with Mahayana.
But you do seem to have done so at the expense of viewing the Sautrāntika view, and consequently Vasubandhu, as nihilistic.


What are you fishing for?
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby futerko » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:00 pm

songhill wrote:
futerko wrote:
songhill wrote:If anyone is halfway serious about the distinction between Shankara's Advaita and Buddhism they need, first of all, to be very acquainted with Buddhism (this means reading the discourses - not listening to someone's interpretation), then study the Brahma Sutras of Shankara. I have spent time underlining various points in Shankara's Sutras that seem very much to tally with Buddhism. There is quite a lot to underline. An aside, I don't think it reflects good academic manners just to dismiss the Brahma Sutras, out of hand, or pretend to be as smart as scholars who study the subject. I admit, I was a little blown back by how much Shankara's thought chimes with Mahayana.
But you do seem to have done so at the expense of viewing the Sautrāntika view, and consequently Vasubandhu, as nihilistic.


What are you fishing for?
A closet Hindu? :tongue:
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Matt J » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:35 pm

It is even trickier because Advaita teachers posit that only the unchanging can know change, only the timeless can know time, and only the spaceless can know space. The act of knowing immediately places whatever knows in a different category than what is known.

Brahman isn't really eternal, infinite, unchanging oneness. Advaita is actually quite subtle. One cannot describe nirguna Brahman -- Brahman without qualities. Brahman is said to be eternal because it is beyond time, infinite because it is beyond space, and unchanging because it is beyond change. Typically, we think of infinite as being "more space", eternal as "more time", etc. Any Brahman that can be conceived or described would be saguna Brahman, and not really Brahman. It is almost like the third spatial dimension: you can't get to the third dimension by adding more two dimensional points. The third dimension transcends the second dimension.

Where Advaita and certain forms of Buddhism agree is that concepts ultimately fall short of the truth, and at some point, concepts need to be gone beyond.

rachmiel wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:
If there were an eternal, infinite, unchanging oneness (i.e. brahman), everything would be this oneness, therefore everything would be: eternal, infinite, and unchanging. But we experience time, space, and change. Isn't this a grand contradiction?
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Jainarayan » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:54 pm

Matt J wrote:Any Brahman that can be conceived or described would be saguna Brahman, and not really Brahman.


Exactly, what we try to describe is Saguna Brahman, Brahman with attributes, which because of maya becomes Ishvara, God with anthropomorphic attributes, be it Vishnu, Shiva, Devi. Nirguna Brahman, Brahman without attributes can't be described. It's like the Tao...

The Tao that can be told of is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

And then we have (only 'cause I like it :tongue: )...

We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.


Where Advaita and certain forms of Buddhism agree is that concepts ultimately fall short of the truth, and at some point, concepts need to be gone beyond.


Words fail us miserably.
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:58 pm

Jeff wrote:
Astus wrote:
3. Buddhism teaches interdependence.


Advaita teaches "oneness" which can be described as interdependence.

Well, actually Adi Shankaracharya denies the possibility of individual alayavijnana's (which is a central teaching in Mahayana Buddhism,) in his "Brahmasutra-bashya."

Basically, Advaita Vedanta teaches a shared "Universal Consciousness," where the Atman is not separated from nor different from Brahman. Brahman in this context: Is a universal ground of existence, where phenomena originate from.

Songhill summed it up correctly, by calling Advaita a monistic non-duality.
Many meditators know how to meditate,
But only a few know how to dismantle [mental clinging].
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:09 pm

lowlydog wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:Buddhism definitely refutes the idea that consciousness is permanent and eternal.


Prove it. :smile:


From the "anatta-lakkhana sutta," which was delivered right after teaching the 5 ascetics the 4-noble truths:


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Varanasi in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. There he addressed the group of five monks:

"Form, monks, is not self. If form were the self, this form would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible [to say] with regard to form, 'Let this form be thus. Let this form not be thus.' But precisely because form is not self, form lends itself to dis-ease. And it is not possible [to say] with regard to form, 'Let this form be thus. Let this form not be thus.'

"Feeling is not self...

"Perception is not self...

"[Mental] fabrications are not self...

"Consciousness is not self. If consciousness were the self, this consciousness would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible [to say] with regard to consciousness, 'Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.' But precisely because consciousness is not self, consciousness lends itself to dis-ease. And it is not possible [to say] with regard to consciousness, 'Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.'

"What do you think, monks — Is form constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"...Is feeling constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"...Is perception constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"...Are fabrications constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"What do you think, monks — Is consciousness constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Any feeling whatsoever...

"Any perception whatsoever...

"Any fabrications whatsoever...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the group of five monks, through not clinging (not being sustained), were fully released from fermentation/effluents.


EDIT: Forgot the link.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:36 pm

lowlydog wrote:Prove it. :smile:


From the Alagaddupama Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.022.nypo.html:

Grounds for Views

15. "There are, monks, these six grounds for false views.[15] What are the six? There is here, monks, an uninstructed worldling who has no regard for Noble Ones, who is ignorant of their teaching and untrained in it; who has no regard for men of worth, who is ignorant of their teaching and untrained in it: he considers corporeality thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self';[16] he considers feeling... perception... mental formations thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'; and what is seen, heard, sensed, and thought;[17] what is encountered, sought, pursued in mind,[18] this also he considers thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'; and also this ground for views (holding): 'The universe is the Self.[19] That I shall be after death;[20] permanent, stable, eternal, immutable; eternally the same,[21] shall I abide in that very condition' — that (view), too, he considers thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self.'[22]

16. "But, monks, there is here a well-instructed noble disciple who has regard for Noble Ones, who knows their teaching and is well trained in it; who has regard for men of worth, who knows their teaching and is well trained in it: he does not consider corporeality in this way: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'; he does not consider feeling... perception... mental formations in this way: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'; and what is seen, heard, sensed, and thought; what is encountered, sought, pursued in mind, this also he does not consider in this way: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'; and also this ground for views (holding): 'The universe is the Self. That I shall be after death; permanent, stable, eternal, immutable, eternally the same shall I abide in that very condition' — that (view), too, he does not consider thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self.'

17. "Considering thus, he is not anxious about unrealities."[23]

Anxiety about Unrealities

18. When this was said, a certain monk asked the Blessed One:

"Lord, can there be anxiety about unrealities, in the external?"[24]

"There can be, O monk," said the Blessed One. "In that case, monk, someone thinks: 'Oh, I had it! That, alas, I have no longer! Oh, may I have it again! But alas, I do not get it!' Hence he grieves, is depressed and laments; beating his breast, he weeps and dejection befalls him. Thus, monk, is there anxiety about unrealities, in the external."

19. "But, Lord, can there be absence of anxiety about unrealities, in the external?"

"There can be, O monk," said the Blessed One. "In that case, monk, someone does not think thus: 'Oh, I had it! That, alas, I have no longer! Oh, may I have it again! But, alas, I do not get it!' Hence he does not grieve, is not depressed, does not lament; he does not beat his breast nor does he weep, and no dejection befalls him. Thus, monk, is there absence of anxiety about unrealities, in the external."

20. "Lord, can there be anxiety about unrealities, in the internal?"

"There can be, monk," said the Blessed One. "In that case, monk, someone has this view: 'The universe is the Self. That I shall be after death; permanent, stable, eternal, immutable; eternally the same shall I abide in that very condition.' He then hears a Perfect One expounding the Teaching for the removal of all grounds for views, of all prejudices, obsessions, dogmas and biases; for the stilling of all (kamma-) processes, for the relinquishment of all substrata (of existence), for the extirpation of craving, for dispassion, cessation, Nibbaana. He then thinks: 'I shall be annihilated, I shall be destroyed! No longer shall I exist!' Hence he grieves, is depressed and laments; beating his breast, he weeps, and dejection befalls him. Thus, monk, is there anxiety about unrealities, in the internal."

21. "But, Lord, can there be absence of anxiety about unrealities, in the internal?"

"There can be, monk," said the Blessed One. "In that case, monk, someone does not have this view: 'The universe is the Self... eternally the same shall I abide in that very condition.' He then hears a Perfect One expounding the Teaching for the removal of all grounds for views, of all prejudices, obsessions, dogmas and biases; for the stilling of all (kamma-) processes, for the relinquishing of all substrata (of existence), for the extirpation of craving, for dispassion, cessation, Nibbaana. He then does not think: 'I shall be annihilated, I shall be destroyed! No longer shall I exist!' Hence he does not grieve, is not depressed, does not lament; he does not beat his breast nor does he weep, and no dejection befalls him. Thus, monk, is there absence of anxiety about unrealities, in the internal.[25]

Impermanence and Not-self

22. "You may well take hold of a possession,[26] O monks, that is permanent, stable, eternal, immutable, that abides eternally the same in its very condition. (But) do you see, monks, any such possession?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such possession that is permanent, stable, eternal, immutable, that abides eternally the same in its very condition."

23. "You may well accept, monks, the assumption of a self-theory[27] from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such assumption of a self-theory?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such assumption of a self-theory from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair."

24. "You may well rely, monks, on any supporting (argument) for views[28] from the reliance on which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such supporting (argument) for views?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such supporting (argument) for views from the reliance on which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair."[29]

25. "If there were a self, monks, would there be my self's property?" — "So it is, Lord." — "Or if there is a self's property, would there by my self?" — "So it is, Lord." — "Since in truth and in fact, self and self's property do not obtain, O monks, then this ground for views, 'The universe is the Self. That I shall be after death; permanent, stable, eternal, immutable; eternally the same shall I abide, in that very condition' — is it not, monks, an entirely and perfectly foolish idea?" — "What else should it be, Lord? It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea."[30]

Notes: (19)

"The universe is the Self," lit.: "This (is) the world, this (is) the self" (so loko so attaa). That, in fact, an identification of the two terms is intended here, will be shown in the following comments. The best explanation of the passage is furnished in the Brahmajaala Sutta (DN 1) where a similar phraseology is used: "There are, monks, some ascetics and brahmans who are eternalists and who proclaim self and world to be eternal" (sassatavaadaa sassata.m attañca lokañca paññapenti); subsequently the theorist is introduced as stating his view in similar terms: "Eternal are self and world... they exist as eternally the same" (sassato attaa ca loko ca... atthi iveva sassatisama.m). The last term appears likewise in our text; see Note 21. From this we may safely conclude that it is the identity, or unity, of the Self (or soul; mahaatman, paramaatman) with the universe (or the Universal Spirit, Brahman) which is conveyed by our text.

In the Commentary specific to our text, this eternalistic view is rendered and classified in the terminology of the Dhamma. The Commentary says:

"This statement ('The universe is the Self') refers to the (wrong) view 'He considers corporeality, etc., as the self (ruupa.m attato samanupassatii' ti aadinaa nayena).'"

The canonical quotation (e.g., in MN 44), included here in the Commentary, has two implications which are of importance for understanding the reason why it was cited in this context:

(1) As very often in the commentaries (e.g., to Satipatthaana Sutta), the term "world" (loko) is explained as truly referring to the five aggregates (khanda, i.e., corporeality, feeling, etc.), singly or in toto.

(2) This quotation is the formula for the first of the twenty types of personality-belief (sakkaaya-ditthi; e.g., in MN 44). In the first five of these twenty, the self is said to be identical with each of the five aggregates (as in the earlier part of §15 of our text). Hence the application of this quote to our textual passage signifies that the theorist conceives the "world" (i.e., corporeality, feeling, etc.) as identical with the self.

The double "So (loko) so (attaa)" in our text, should therefore, be taken as standing for "yo (loko) so (attaa)," lit.: what is the world that is the self. In the Comy to MN 44 we find a similar phrase: "Someone considers corporeality as self: what is corporeality that is 'I'; what is 'I' that is corporeality. Thus he considers corporeality and self as non-dual' (... ya.m ruupa.m so aha.m, yo aha.m ta.m ruupan' ti ruupañca advaya.m samanupassati)." According to this interpretation the phrase has been translated here by "This universe is the Self."

Mostly, the first five types of personality-belief are explained as referring to the wrong view of annihilationism (uccheda-ditthi). [See, e.g., Patisambhidaa-Magga, Ditthikathaa, Ucchedaditthi-niddesa; further Comy to MN 44.]

But their being quoted in our context, shows that they may also apply to eternalism (sassata-ditthi). We have come to this conclusion since it is improbable that, in our textual passage two mutually exclusive views should have been combined in a single statement formulating the sixth "ground for false views"; that is, in the first part of that statement, annihilationism, and in the second, eternalism.



Vedanta and Buddhism: A Comparative study

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/vonglasenapp/wheel002.html

Vedanta and Buddhism

Vedanta and Buddhism are the highlights of Indian philosophical thought. Since both have grown in the same spiritual soil, they share many basic ideas: both of them assert that the universe shows a periodical succession of arising, existing and vanishing, and that this process is without beginning and end. They believe in the causality which binds the result of an action to its cause (karma), and in rebirth conditioned by that nexus. Both are convinced of the transitory, and therefore sorrowful character, of individual existence in the world; they hope to attain gradually to a redeeming knowledge through renunciation and meditation and they assume the possibility of a blissful and serene state, in which all worldly imperfections have vanished for ever. The original form of these two doctrines shows however strong contrast. The early Vedanta, formulated in most of the older and middle Upanishads, in some passages of the Mahabharata and the Puranas, and still alive today (though greatly changed) as the basis of several Hinduistic systems, teaches an ens realissimum (an entity of highest reality) as the primordial cause of all existence, from which everything has arisen and with which it again merges, either temporarily or for ever.

With the monistic metaphysics of the Vedanta contrasts the pluralistic Philosophy of Flux of the early Buddhism of the Pali texts which up to the present time flourishes in Ceylon, Burma and Siam. It teaches that in the whole empirical reality there is nowhere anything that persists; neither material nor mental substances exist independently by themselves; there is no original entity or primordial Being in whatsoever form it may be imagined, from which these substances might have developed. On the contrary, the manifold world of mental and material elements arises solely through the causal co-operation of the transitory factors of existence (dharma) which depend functionally upon each other, that is, the material and mental universe arises through the concurrence of forces that, according to the Buddhists, are not reducible to something else. It is therefore obvious that deliverance from the Samsara, i.e., the sorrow-laden round of existence, cannot consist in the re-absorption into an eternal Absolute which is at the root of all manifoldness, but can only be achieved by a complete extinguishing of all factors which condition the processes constituting life and world. The Buddhist Nirvana is, therefore, not the primordial ground, the eternal essence, which is at the basis of everything and form which the whole world has arisen (the Brahman of the Upanishads) but the reverse of all that we know, something altogether different which must be characterized as a nothing in relation to the world, but which is experienced as highest bliss by those who have attained to it (Anguttara Nikaya, Navaka-nipata 34). Vedantists and Buddhists have been fully aware of the gulf between their doctrines, a gulf that cannot be bridged over. According to Majjhima Nikaya, Sutta 22, a doctrine that proclaims "The same is the world and the self. This I shall be after death; imperishable, permanent, eternal!" (see Brh. UP. 4, 4, 13), was styled by the Buddha a perfectly foolish doctrine. On the other side, the Katha-Upanishad (2, 1, 14) does not see a way to deliverance in the Buddhist theory of dharmas (impersonal processes): He who supposes a profusion of particulars gets lost like rain water on a mountain slope; the truly wise man, however, must realize that his Atman is at one with the Universal Atman, and that the former, if purified from dross, is being absorbed by the latter, "just as clear water poured into clear water becomes one with it, indistinguishably."

The article above contains a flawed summary of the Mahayana schools of Nagarjuna and Vasubhandu. Other than that, it's still a good article for understanding the basic differences between Vedanta and Buddhism.

EDIT: Forgot to include the link again, lol.
Many meditators know how to meditate,
But only a few know how to dismantle [mental clinging].
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby lowlydog » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:42 pm

Hi Lotus_Bitch,

consciousness is the present moment, I am consciousness, consciousness is space, it is always the present moment, present moment can not die and is eternal. sense consciousness is impermanent as described in the sutta you provided, conscious consciousness (formless consciousness)is eternal and cannot be understood through thought it must be realized. The watcher is the watched.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:46 pm

rachmiel wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:Question: Is the consciousness in the part I bolded reflected consciousness, i.e. consciousness *of* something? Or is it pure/unreflected/pristine consciousness/awareness? If it's NOT the latter, then isn't there "room" in this teaching for pure awareness to be: permanent, unconditioned, non dependently arisen, not subject to destruction, vanishing, etc.? In which case pure awareness would be very much like brahman.


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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby xabir » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:46 pm

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2 ... sutta.html

Zen Priest Alex Weith:

(excerpts)

...This also means that the first step is to disembed from impermanent phenomena until the only thing that feels real is this all pervading uncreated all pervading awareness that feels like the source and substance of phenomena. Holding on to it after this realization can hower become a subtle form of grasping diguised as letting go.

The second step is therefore to realize that this brightness, awakeness or luminosity is there very nature of phenomena and then only does the duality between the True Self and the appearences arising and passing within the Self dissolve, revealing the suchness of what is.

The next step that I found very practical is to push the process of deconstruction a step further, realizing that all that is experienced is one of the six consciousness. In other words, there is neither a super Awareness beyond phenomena, not solid material objects, but only six streams of sensory experiences. The seen, the heard, the sensed, the tasted, the smelled and the cognized (including thoughts, emotions, and subtle thougths like absorbtion states, jhanas).

At this point it is not difficult to see how relevent the Bahiya Sutta can become ...

.............

What I realized also is that authoritative self-realized students of direct students of both Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta Maharaj called me a 'Jnani', inviting me to give satsangs and write books, while I had not yet understood the simplest core principles of Buddhism. I realized also that the vast majority of Buddhist teachers, East and West, never went beyond the same initial insights (that Adhyashanti calls "an abiding awakening"), confusing the Atma with the ego, assuming that transcending the ego or self-center (ahamkara in Sanskrit) was identical to what the Buddha had called Anatta (Non-Atma).

It would seem therefore that the Buddha had realized the Self at a certain stage of his acetic years (it is not that difficult after all) and was not yet satisfied. As paradoxical as it may seem, his "divide and conquer strategy" aimed at a systematic deconstruction of the Self (Atma, Atta), reduced to -and divided into- what he then called the five aggregates of clinging and the six sense-spheres, does lead to further and deeper insights into the nature of reality. As far as I can tell, this makes me a Buddhist, not because I find Buddhism cool and trendy, but because I am unable to find other teachings and traditions that provide a complete set of tools and strategies aimed at unlocking these ultimate mysteries, even if mystics from various traditions did stumble on the same stages and insights often unknowingly.

.............


Just for the sake of clarification, I would like to make it clear that I never said that "these luminous self-perceiving phenomena which are craving-free and nondual are the Ultimate", if there could still be any ambiguity about that.

On the contrary, I said that what I used to take for an eternal, empty, uncreated, nondual, primordial awareness, source and substance of all things, turned out to be nothing more than the luminous nature of phenomena, themselves empty and ungraspable, somehow crystallized in a very subtle witnessing position. The whole topic of this thread is the deconstruction of this Primordial Awareness, One Mind, Cognizing Emptiness, Self, Atman, Luminous Mind, Tathagatgabha, or whatever we may call it,

As shocking as it may seem, the Buddha was very clear to say that this pure impersonal objectless nondual awareness (that Vedantists called Atma in Sanskrit, Atta in Pali) is still the aggregate of consciousness and that consciousness, as pure and luminous as it can be, does not stand beyond the aggregates.

"Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'" (Anatta-lakkhana Sutta).
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:32 pm

lowlydog wrote:Hi Lotus_Bitch,

consciousness is the present moment, I am consciousness, consciousness is space, it is always the present moment, present moment can not die and is eternal. sense consciousness is impermanent as described in the sutta you provided, conscious consciousness (formless consciousness)is eternal and cannot be understood through thought it must be realized. The watcher is the watched.


Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.15.0.than.html

...The following section, on Non-delineations of a Self, shows that it is possible for the mind to function without reading a "self" into experience. The remaining sections focus on ways in which this can be done by treating the sense of self as it relates to different aspects of name-and-form. The first of these sections — Assumptions of a Self — focuses on the sense of self as it relates to feeling, one of the "name" factors in name-and-form. The next section — Seven Stations of Consciousness — focuses on form, formlessness, and perception, which is another one of the "name" factors that allows a place for consciousness to land and grow on the "macro" level in the cycle of death and rebirth. The last section — Eight Emancipations — focuses on form, formlessness, and perception on the "micro" level in the practice of meditative absorption (jhana).

In each of these cases, once the sense of attachment and identification with name-and-form can be broken, the mutual dependency between consciousness and name-and-form is broken as well. This brings about total freedom from the limits of "the extent to which there are means of designation, expression, and delineation... the extent to which the sphere of discernment extends, the extent to which the cycle revolves for the manifesting (discernibility) of this world — i.e., name-and-form together with consciousness." This is the release at which the Buddha's teachings are aimed.

Dependent Co-arising

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Kurus. Now, the Kurus have a town named Kammasadhamma. There Ven. Ananda approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "It's amazing, lord, it's astounding, how deep this dependent co-arising is, and how deep its appearance, and yet to me it seems as clear as clear can be."

[The Buddha:] "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for aging and death?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition do aging and death come?' one should say, 'Aging and death come from birth as their requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for birth?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does birth come?' one should say, 'Birth comes from becoming as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for becoming?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does becoming come?' one should say, 'Becoming comes from clinging as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for clinging?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does clinging come?' one should say, 'Clinging comes from craving as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for craving?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does craving come?' one should say, 'Craving comes from feeling as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for feeling?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does feeling come?' one should say, 'Feeling comes from contact as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for contact?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does contact come?' one should say, 'Contact comes from name-and-form as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for name-and-form?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does name-and-form come?' one should say, 'Name-and-form comes from consciousness as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for consciousness?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does consciousness come?' one should say, 'Consciousness comes from name-and-form as its requisite condition.'

"Thus, Ananda, from name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form. From name-and-form as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress.....

Feeling

"'From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. If there were no contact at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., contact at the eye, contact at the ear, contact at the nose, contact at the tongue, contact at the body, or contact at the intellect — in the utter absence of contact, from the cessation of contact, would feeling be discerned?"

"No, lord."

"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for feeling, i.e., contact.

Contact

"'From name-&-form as a requisite condition comes contact. Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes contact. If the qualities, traits, themes, & indicators by which there is a description of name-group (mental activity) were all absent, would designation-contact with regard to the form-group (the physical properties) be discerned?"

"No, lord."

"If the permutations, signs, themes, and indicators by which there is a description of form-group were all absent, would resistance-contact with regard to the name-group be discerned?"

"No, lord."

"If the permutations, signs, themes, and indicators by which there is a description of name-group and form-group were all absent, would designation-contact or resistance-contact be discerned?"

"No, lord."

"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for contact, i.e., name-and-form.....

Delineations of a Self

..."The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as formless and finite, either delineates it as formless and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and finite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and finite obsesses him....

"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as formless and infinite, either delineates it as formless and infinite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and infinite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and infinite obsesses him.

Non-Delineations of a Self

..."The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as formless and finite, does not delineate it as formless and finite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and finite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and finite does not obsess him....

"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as formless and infinite, does not delineate it as formless and infinite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and infinite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and infinite does not obsess him.

Assumptions of a Self

"To what extent, Ananda, does one assume when assuming a self? Assuming feeling to be the self, one assumes that 'Feeling is my self' [or] 'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling]' [or] 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious to feeling, but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'....

..."As for the person who says, 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' he should be addressed as follows: 'My friend, should feelings altogether and every way stop without remainder, then with feeling completely not existing, owing to the cessation of feeling, would there be the thought, "I am"?'"

"No, lord."

"Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'

"Now, Ananda, in as far as a monk does not assume feeling to be the self, nor the self as oblivious, nor that 'My self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' then, not assuming in this way, he is not sustained by anything (does not cling to anything) in the world. Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'


Loka Sutta: The World http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.044.than.html

Dwelling at Savatthi. There the Blessed One addressed the monks: "I will teach you the origination of the world & the ending of the world. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world.

"Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises ear-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises nose-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises tongue-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises body-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the intellect & mental qualities there arises intellect-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world.

"And what is the ending of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. Now, from the remainderless cessation & fading away of that very craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering. This is the ending of the world.

"Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises ear-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises nose-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises tongue-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises body-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the intellect & mental qualities there arises intellect-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. Now, from the remainderless cessation & fading away of that very craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering. This is the ending of the world."


It's safe to say that the Buddha did not teach a fundamental and formless consciousness or "watcher," behind or apart from the 5 aggregates.
Many meditators know how to meditate,
But only a few know how to dismantle [mental clinging].
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:12 pm

Here check this out.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tself.html

Having taken a seat to one side, Vacchagotta the wanderer said to the Master, 'Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?' When this was said, the Master was silent.
'Then is there no self?' For a second time the Master was silent.
Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.
Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, the Venerable Ananda said to the Master, 'Why, sir, did the Master not answer when asked a question asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer?'
'Ananda, if I, being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self, were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism (i.e., the view that there is an eternal soul). And if I... were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism (i.e., that death is the annihilation of experience). If I... were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?
'No, Lord.'
'And if I... were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: "Does the self which I used to have, now not exist?"'
— S XLIV.10
This has already been explained here and we will not have a repeat of it in this thread too. Let's stay on topic.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:36 pm

Off topic conversation on created/unborn nature of Nirvana split to here.
Off topic conversation on self/not-self split here

Please keep the conversation on topic.
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