Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby monktastic » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:06 am

greentara wrote:You have to remember first there is the great awakening and then you have to find the confining/limiting words to tell others of your extraordinary breakthrough.


Great to see others with this view on this board! All too often I hear the "but only we have the nth bhumi / Rainbow Body / etc." I chalk that (the insistence of each tradition that it is unique and optimal) up to skillful means, but I know that's not always a popular opinion.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby monktastic » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:34 pm

Sorry, didn't mean for that post to sound like I was accusing anyone of being sectarian, or even saying that that's necessarily bad. I find this discussion fascinating.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Matt J » Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:05 pm

If Brahman is all there is, how can it be said it has an independent existence? Independent of what?

rachmiel wrote:Self = brahman = all there is, thus has independent existence: Advaita.
Self = a mental construct that has no independent existence: Buddhism.

I don't see how these point to the same absolute truth. Am I getting it wrong?
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 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:28 pm

Matt J wrote:If Brahman is all there is, how can it be said it has an independent existence? Independent of what?


Independent of dependence on anything; Brahman has no origin or dependency. Why should it? It's been studied and commentaried on for milennia (maybe too much and overthought?) :reading: and called ineffable. Remember, we are deluded and trying to shake off delusion and illusion, so of course it makes no sense. From 'The King & I'... "Is a puzzlement". :quoteunquote:

But again, I'm not trying to sell it, just pass on what I know in response to the subject.
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 rachmiel » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:46 pm

Jainarayan wrote:
Matt J wrote:If Brahman is all there is, how can it be said it has an independent existence? Independent of what?

Independent of dependence on anything; Brahman has no origin or dependency.

Whenever one assigns attributes to brahman -- even anti-attributes like attributeless, timeless, changeless, dependent-less -- one gets in trouble. Brahman is like the Tao, which when named -- no matter how subtly! -- is not the Tao.

Self = everything = ultimate reality: Advaita.
Self = a mental construct born of the five skandhas = not ultimate reality: Buddhism.
gone gone gone
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Jainarayan » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:08 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:
Matt J wrote:If Brahman is all there is, how can it be said it has an independent existence? Independent of what?

Independent of dependence on anything; Brahman has no origin or dependency.

Whenever one assigns attributes to brahman -- even anti-attributes like attributeless, timeless, changeless, dependent-less -- one gets in trouble. Brahman is like the Tao, which when named -- no matter how subtly! -- is not the Tao.
Self = everything = ultimate reality: Advaita.
Self = a mental construct born of the five skandhas = not ultimate reality: Buddhism.


I was going to mention the Tao; the highlighted line above is beautiful.

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao
The Name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

The Unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
Tao Te Ching, ch. 1
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 monktastic » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:37 pm

Jainarayan wrote:
I was going to mention the Tao; the highlighted line above is beautiful.

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao
The Name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

Tao Te Ching, ch. 1


Indeed! This is also why, when asked to describe Mahamudra, "even the Buddha's tongue is numb." How much better to just hold up a flower. :)

Now for another game of Which Religion's Line Is It Anyway?, hosted by yours truly!

In its very origin (It) is of itself endowed with sublime attributes. It manifests the highest wisdom which shines throughout the world, it has true knowledge and a mind resting simply in its own being. It is eternal, blissful, its own self-being and the purest simplicity; it is invigorating, immutable, free... Because it possesses all these attributes and is deprived of nothing, it is designated both as(...)


Eternal? Blissful? Immutable? Who or what can It be?

Check in next time for the answer!
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:53 am

Worth checking out the Zhentong v.s Rangtong thread in Tibetan Buddhism section.

For my money, the subtle difference has been explained pretty well there, maybe in a way that answers the OP of this thread a bit. One can argue "oh it's a small difference", but if wisdom and method are the same, this supposed small difference could have real implications from a Buddhist perspective.

As to how sunyata is different from Ain Soph...my understanding is that Ain Soph is affirmation of an unchanging, permanent substance that eventually turns into God and "causes" creation, so i'm not sure how/why they'd be viewed as the same. I know there is some concept of negation there, but I don't see how it could be anything like Sunyata being that it presents a viewpoint of a reality which is fundamentally "created" and springs from an inherently existing first cause.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:56 am

"Johnny Dangerous"]
As to how sunyata is different from Ain Soph...my understanding is that Ain Soph is affirmation of an unchanging, permanent substance that eventually turns into God


if it is unchanging how does it eventually turn/change into anything?

as far as the topic of negation
Enlightenment is Empty(negation) of other but not Empty(negation) of itself.
I can show some qoutes from the Zhentong teachers texts that also show Emptiness as a negation.if you like
(ill probley start a thread on qoutes from Dolpopa on Zhentong)
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:13 am

if it is unchanging how does it eventually turn/change into anything?


By my understanding that's exactly the part of the criticism of monism that's implicit in the concept of sunyata. It would also be the critcism of an unqualified claim of ANY kind of "true self" or substance, if it exists inherently it cannot by definition be causally part of something else.

I don't care about the quotes at all, no offense but others have answered in a few sentences what the "true self" advocates couldn't answer for me in 30-something pages, so far as my view is concerned strictly from a Buddhist perspective the "true self" case is closed for the moment. I thought it might be relevant in regards to the original post here though, since basically Advaita(or Kabalism for that matter) is monism, and I think in the other thread brought some clarity to the ways in which Buddhism isn't monism.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:34 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
if it is unchanging how does it eventually turn/change into anything?


By my understanding that's exactly the part of the criticism of monism that's implicit in the concept of sunyata. It would also be the critcism of an unqualified claim of ANY kind of "true self" or substance, if it exists inherently it cannot by definition be causally part of something else.


Nobody ever said it was apart of something else(thats where many start to go wrong)

That which is inherently existant does not change,it is not defiled one moment then clean the next.
If it was like this then it wouldnt be inherently existing it would be apart of dependent origination/that which changes based upon conditions)

Enlightenment is Enlightenment and it will always be Enlightenment
,if Enlightenment were to change then we would say it could be gained and lost it arises and ceases.but since Enlightenment never changes it never arises nor ceases.

The Tathagatagarbha sutras make clear Enlightenment is always pure and has never been defiled,it is only OBSCURED by defilement.

okay so if Enlightenment is Enlightenment/inherently existant and it is always PURE and UNCHANGING,how can we attain enlightenment?

The answer is you cant attain that which is inherently pure/existant.
This is the pupose of the No-Self teaching,in truth their is No-self that attains enlightenment.
The worldly self is in itself the Defilment that obscures Enlightenment.
Once you realise there is No-worldly Self it ceases,and all that is left is Enlightenment.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby greentara » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:50 am

son of buddha, Well said, you are a breathe of fresh air!
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:29 am

Then the All-Creating Sovereign gave this sacred instruction:
"Oh Great Bodhisattva! The evident Reality is your own mind. Those who adhere to the vehicle of causation will not recognise their own mind as evidencing Reality. Therefore for eons they will remain in a state of mental obstruction because of their abandoning such insight. By thinking of progressing on the path through purifications they will stay in samsara for three eons. With purifications like bathing and other purification rites they will spend seven lifespans, and another three lifespans with exercising blessing and acquiring and rejecting. By wishing to gather retinues for themselves they spend 1,106 years to generate the visualisation of joy manifestations, therby cognising it as their own mind. But when they gain infallible insigh (rtogs pa) they will obtain without effort the great bliss.
The Sovereign All-Creating Mind The Motherly Buddha (Kun byed rgyal po'i mdo)
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby monktastic » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:22 pm

In its very origin (It) is of itself endowed with sublime attributes. It manifests the highest wisdom which shines throughout the world, it has true knowledge and a mind resting simply in its own being. It is eternal, blissful, its own self-being and the purest simplicity; it is invigorating, immutable, free... Because it possesses all these attributes and is deprived of nothing, it is designated both as(...)


So, what is:

* Eternal
* Blissful
* Immutable

? If you answered "Brahman," you're close. The actual answer is Tathata, or Dharmata. This is from a 5th century Mahayana scripture. If there are any claims leveled against the Advaitins for claiming an immutable, eternal ground of being, well... now's the time to chalk it up to the constrictions of language. We have such language too, folks.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Simon E. » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:18 pm

So, it seems to me that by and large most Advaitins accept a commonality between the ends of Buddhadharma and the Vedanta, and most Buddhist authorities do not.
If my impression is correct..why is this the case ?
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:40 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:As to how sunyata is different from Ain Soph...my understanding is that Ain Soph is affirmation of an unchanging, permanent substance that eventually turns into God and "causes" creation, so i'm not sure how/why they'd be viewed as the same. I know there is some concept of negation there, but I don't see how it could be anything like Sunyata being that it presents a viewpoint of a reality which is fundamentally "created" and springs from an inherently existing first cause.


According to the Zohar, Ain is "non-existent" in the sense that there is no purchase to be made by mind. There is effectively no difference for those that view this phenomenologically than shunyata. Similarly, the entire "creation" is simply a mandala of our own mind at any moment, rather than some sort of cosmological fantasy. It arises from emptiness without ever parting from it.
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:43 pm

Simon E. wrote:So, it seems to me that by and large most Advaitins accept a commonality between the ends of Buddhadharma and the Vedanta, and most Buddhist authorities do not.
If my impression is correct..why is this the case ?


Unfortunately not. Most Hindu chauvinists are just as parochial as Buddhist chauvinists. Both present thousand year old arguments as to why their view is distinct and superior rather than comparing the fruits of practice. However, as both of these great traditions come to the West we don't have to perpetuate distinctions without difference.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Jainarayan » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:13 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:Most Hindu chauvinists are just as parochial as Buddhist chauvinists. Both present thousand year old arguments as to why their view is distinct and superior rather than comparing the fruits of practice. However, as both of these great traditions come to the West we don't have to perpetuate distinctions without difference.


Here are some sample comments written to me from an ultra-conservative (and quite an insecure) Hindu:

1. It is normal for Buddhists to be anti-advaitin, if they were pro-advaita they would be Advaitins and not Buddhists. (perhaps not entirely untrue, but no judgments from here ;) )

2. All Hindu acharyas criticized Buddhism of being false, asuric or only very partly true. All Buddhist acharyas have criticized Sanatana Dharma as a wrong view stuck in samsaric grasping with no hope of nirvana. All Hndu gods are either maras or at best worldly protectors after having been 'converted' to Buddhism by Buddha. Only a small group of Tibetans believing in the dolpo shengtong view adheres to an advaitic type of view. This view is not accepted officially by any of the 4 sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Outside Vajrayana there is no scope at all for advaitic views by any stretch of imagination. No Indian Buddhist acharya ever accepted such a view and vehemently rejected advaita type views. Neither any Tibetan teacher accepts it except for the aforementioned minority. And same holds for all Hindu acharyas who rejected Buddhism as incoherent and self contradictory.

Again, no judgments and no pot-stirring, just pointing out that some Hindus can be as dig-in-their-heels, and make sweeping statements as any Jew, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, atheist or any "next guy".
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 Johnny Dangerous » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:15 pm

Discussing differences in philosophy (from my detached western standpoint admittedly) doesn't seem like chauvinism. This is a Buddhist board after all, it would be weirder to simply see everyone saying "naw they're really the same".

I don't really understand how what he said is particularly offensive - though of course I don't know the whole context. From what i've learned it's mostly true, people adhering exclusively to Zhentong in Buddhism seem fairly rare unless i'm missing something..Everything i've read up to this point qualifies it with the other schools views.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Jainarayan » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:25 pm

The point was that he made sweeping statements in a conversational adversarial tone, speaking with authority I don't believe he has. Of course this is a Buddhist board, and the philosophies are different, but for a born-Hindu to say what all Buddhists believe isn't much different, imo, than HHDL saying what all Hindus believe. It was the tone and element of disdain that I found, perhaps not offensive, but unwarranted. Again, I'm not trying to sell any form of Advaita (there are several); I'm simply responding to and participating in the thread with what I know.
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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