Mahayana Buddhism and Early Advaita Vedanta (Study)

by Asokan N. | 2018 | 48,955 words

This thesis is called: Mahayana Buddhism And Early Advaita Vedanta A Critical Study. It shows how Buddhism (especially Mahayana) was assimilated into Vedantic theorisation in due course of time. Philosophical distance between Mahayana Buddhism and Advaita-Vedanta became minimal with the advent of Gaudapada and Shankaracharya, who were both harbinge...

Chapter 1.8 - Summary of this Chapter

In the philosophy of Shankara with the help of Upanishadic wisdom there is a good deal of analysis of the reality which is being carried out from different angles. But there is no doubt that Gaudapada and Shankarahas been influenced by Buddhism and its various schools. Shankara was very much acquainted by Buddhist psychology and its literature from Gaudapada and earlier teachers. Shankara was a great critique of of Buddhist nihilism. Madhyamika philosophers were his immediate predecessors. Shankara criticized the Kshanikavada or momentariness of Buddhist dialecticians. At the same time, Madhyamikas and the followers of AdvaitaVedanta, in many ways, accept the consciousnessor cittamatra. Gaudapada is more for the existential unity and unity of self. The self—realization which is beyond the actuality in the phenomenal experience is only the actualization for the existence of Brahman. The characteristics of agency etc. (kartrtva) etc. which are the states of mind are falsely superimposed on Brahman. This false identification is due to Avidya, the ignorance. If the phenomenal world is false and unreal then what is the status of this world. Nagarjuna says that this empirical world is on the wheel of dependent origination because of avidya concealing the real that is sunya. This phenomenal existence is governed by causality which is relative, empirical and conditioned world of samsara. Nirvana, on the other hand is beyond four-fold conceptualization and thus is free from all empirical determinations and relations. Sunyata itself is the ultimately real which can remove all concepts and thoughts.

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