Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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greentara
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by greentara » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:56 pm

monktastic, I agree with you. You've given this alot of thought. You've set out your views with care.
As I see it it's best not to get bogged down in strict doctrine. I say first taste liberation, then speak.

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by greentara » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:16 pm

muni, I somehow missed your reply to my post. Nisargadatta answers:" It is the clinging to sensate life that binds you. If you could experience the inner void fully, the explosion into the totality would be near.

Question: My own spiritual experience has its seasons. Sometimes I feel glorious, then again I am down. I am like a little boy – going up, going down, going up, going down.

Nisargadatta: All changes in consciousness are due to the "I am the body" idea. Divested of this idea the mind becomes steady. There is pure being, free of experiencing anything in particular. But to realise it you must do what your teacher tells you. Mere listening, even memorising, is not enough. If you do not struggle hard to apply every word of it in your daily life, don't complain that you made no progress. All real progress is irreversible. Ups and downs merely show that the teaching has not been taken to heart and translated into action fully"

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Grigoris
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Grigoris » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:25 pm

greentara wrote:Nisargadatta: All changes in consciousness are due to the "I am the body" idea. Divested of this idea the mind becomes steady.
Really? And what of identification with thoughts, feelings, emotions, theories... Is not the mind thrown of balance by these? I know my mind is.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

greentara
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by greentara » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:12 pm

greg, "Really? And what of identification with thoughts, feelings, emotions, theories..." All problems stem from this individual 'I' which is the body/mind. If things go well you want to enhance it, crow over it. If things go badly you brood over it. It never really gives you any peace.
Trace all feelings, emotions, concepts to there source, the answer lies there.

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Grigoris » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:13 am

greentara wrote:greg, "Really? And what of identification with thoughts, feelings, emotions, theories..." All problems stem from this individual 'I' which is the body/mind. If things go well you want to enhance it, crow over it. If things go badly you brood over it. It never really gives you any peace.
Trace all feelings, emotions, concepts to there source, the answer lies there.
The "quote" I was responding to was:
All changes in consciousness are due to the "I am the body" idea...
In your response you have expanded this to include mind. So which is his position: that all changes in consciousness are due to "I am the body" or that all changes in consciousness are due to "I am the body/mind complex"?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

greentara
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by greentara » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:01 pm

greg, I'm just trying to point out there's no real difference between advaita and the teachings of for eg the Zen Buddhist master Dogen.



"Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. If you want to realize such, get to work on such right now."
Dogen

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Grigoris » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:15 pm

I can understand that, but if Nisargadatta claims that all changes in consciousness are based in the belief that "I am the body" then there is a real difference because the Buddha teaches name and form, not just form (ie five skhanda, not one) as being the objects onto/by which the self is imputed.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Simon E. » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:47 pm

greentara wrote:greg, I'm just trying to point out there's no real difference between advaita and the teachings of for eg the Zen Buddhist master Dogen.



"Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. If you want to realize such, get to work on such right now."
Dogen
And I have met personally, well -regarded Buddhist teachers who would disagree.
And that remains the case no matter how many times you repeat the view that there is no difference. On a Buddhist forum.
Gone fishin' :smile:

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monktastic
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by monktastic » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:26 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I can understand that, but if Nisargadatta claims that all changes in consciousness are based in the belief that "I am the body" then there is a real difference because the Buddha teaches name and form, not just form (ie five skhanda, not one) as being the objects onto/by which the self is imputed.
I'm not sure it's so much "Nisargadatta claims," as "Nisargadatta responded to a particular question with..." Sort of like Buddha claimed some things in the First Turning, others (that contradicted the first) in the Second Turning, and as Sogyal Rinpoche says, even Buddha's tongue was tied when trying to describe Mahamudra.

Actually the very next answer Nisargadatta gives is an example of the "provisional teaching" style:
Q: The other day you told us that there is no such thing as karma. Yet we see that everything has a cause and the sum total of all the causes may be called karma.

M: As long as you believe yourself to be a body, you will ascribe causes to everything. I do not say things have no causes. Each thing has innumerable causes. It is as it is, because the world is as it is. Every cause in its ramifications covers the universe.

When you realise that you are absolutely free to be what you consent to be, that you are what you appear to be because of ignorance or indifference, you are free to revolt and change. You allow yourself to be what you are not. You are looking for the causes of being what you are not! It is a futile search. There are no causes, but your ignorance of your real being, which is perfect and beyond all causation.
Actually, he did say things have no causes -- in response to another questioner, in another context. And as for the words "your real being" above, lest anyone take it to mean him advocating a "real self," the rest of his words make clear that this too is a provisional teaching. "Your real being" ends up sounding a whole lot like Buddha-nature.

Anyway, I've said my piece about the relationship between the teachings. This post is primarily to help clear up a "but the Advaitins claim that..." idea.
Last edited by monktastic on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:46 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I can understand that, but if Nisargadatta claims that all changes in consciousness are based in the belief that "I am the body" then there is a real difference because the Buddha teaches name and form, not just form (ie five skhanda, not one) as being the objects onto/by which the self is imputed.
Of course that's not what he teaches.
Being without love would be the most appalling torment - the Inferno itself! [...] [A]ll those who have chosen the way of depersonalisation are unable to cry and [...] they have dry eyes for ever. For it is the personality which cries and which alone is capable of the "gift of tears".

Anonymous, Powell, Robert, and Hans Urs Von Balthasar. Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. New York: Jermy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2002.

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Grigoris » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:08 pm

Well, I wouldn't know really as I have not studued his teachings, so the "of course" might be "of course" for you but based on what was stated it is not "of course" for me.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Rick
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Rick » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:31 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:02 pm
rachmiel wrote:I understand that brahman is beyond human conceiving, and that any attempt to do so is doomed to frustration/failure.
Advaita agrees with this. But it maintains that brahman is *real* -- the only real, in fact -- and that it is all there is.
How is maintaining Brahman to be *ultimately real*, and saying he is inconceivable not a contradiction in terms?
I'm rereading old threads I participated in to get a sense of my wacky dharma trajectory ... and ran into this. I now know I was wrong in saying that Advaita maintains brahman is real. To quote Shankara:

“Only an entity which is an object of sense-knowledge can become an object of affirmative predication of the form ‘it is’ or an object of negative predication of the form ‘it is not’. Reason also proves that Brahman cannot be expressed by words denoting existence (sat) or non-existence (asat).”

That said, a lot of Advaitins and neo-Advaitins talk about brahman as if it were real, perhaps even believe it is real. This reifies brahman and makes it sound/feel like a magical fairy-tale universal inherently existing field. Which is not what "brahman" actually points to.
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:19 pm
Buddha said:
That "real" and "unreal" and "both" and "neither" are mistaken categories of human conceptualizing.
I suggest:
Stop bothering about Brahman for a bit and begin to wrestle with this view of "real" and "unreal" for a while.
Then:
Come back to your question about Brahman and see if your view has changed.
Brahman will still be there waiting for you.
Hah! Turns out I (unintentionally) followed Karma Dondrup Tashi's advice ... even if it took me 5 years to get there!
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:52 pm

Rick wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:31 pm

That said, a lot of Advaitins and neo-Advaitins talk about brahman as if it were real, perhaps even believe it is real. This reifies brahman and makes it sound/feel like a magical fairy-tale universal inherently existing field. Which is not what "brahman" actually points to.
The above is a description of nirgunabrahman. It does not address sagunabrahman.

Shankara borrowed Buddhist arguments to try and one up his fellow Vedantins.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Rick » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:45 pm

Not sure I get you, Malcolm.

Saguna brahman = Ishvara does not exist ultimately, it only "exists" on the level of vyavahara. It is mithya, a provisional belief/teaching.

Nirguna brahman can neither be said to exist or not-exist.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Malcolm
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:21 pm

Rick wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:45 pm
Not sure I get you, Malcolm.

Saguna brahman = Ishvara does not exist ultimately, it only "exists" on the level of vyavahara. It is mithya, a provisional belief/teaching.

Nirguna brahman can neither be said to exist or not-exist.
Yes, and thus it falls into the third extreme.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Rick
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Rick » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:37 pm

Neither existing nor not-existing is an extreme?

But doesn't the Madhyamaka view hold that things cannot be said to exist, not-exist, both, or neither? And surely the view is not an extreme ... ?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Norwegian » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:41 pm

Rick wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:37 pm
Neither existing nor not-existing is an extreme?

But doesn't the Madhyamaka view hold that things cannot be said to exist, not-exist, both, or neither? And surely the view is not an extreme ... ?
These are the four ontological extremes:

1. Existence
2. Non-existence
3. Both existence and non-existence
4. Neither existence nor non-existence

"Not existence and not non-existence,
Not these two conjoined nor the opposite of this:
Freed from four extremes, the truly wise
Are those who keep within the middle way."

-- Aryadeva

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Rick
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Rick » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:55 pm

Aha, thanks, I hadn't realized 4 was considered an extreme.

Going back to this:
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:21 pm
Rick wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:45 pm
Nirguna brahman can neither be said to exist or not-exist.
Yes, and thus it falls into the third extreme.
But my point is that Advaitins often consider nirguna brahman to exist, indeed to be the only real existent ... but that this view is false.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Malcolm
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:10 pm

Rick wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:55 pm
Aha, thanks, I hadn't realized 4 was considered an extreme.

Going back to this:
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:21 pm
Rick wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:45 pm
Nirguna brahman can neither be said to exist or not-exist.
Yes, and thus it falls into the third extreme.
But my point is that Advaitins often consider nirguna brahman to exist, indeed to be the only real existent ... but that this view is false.
From the point of view of convention, It alone is real. From the point of view of analysis it is held to be devoid of existence and no existence as a perceptible object, it that does not mean advaitans hold bhraman to be nonexistent, they consider it to ineffable, and beyond convention.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Rick
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Post by Rick » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:10 pm
Rick wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:55 pm
But my point is that Advaitins often consider nirguna brahman to exist, indeed to be the only real existent ... but that this view is false.
From the point of view of convention, It alone is real.
Yes.
From the point of view of analysis it is held to be devoid of existence and no existence as a perceptible object, it that does not mean advaitans hold bhraman to be nonexistent, they consider it to ineffable, and beyond convention.
Yes: ineffable. Notions of existence and non-existence do not apply. So to hold brahman as existent is conventional truth, yet students and (alas) teachers often mistake it for absolute truth.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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