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 3.6 - Amritatva or Moksha

Perfection or nirvana is transcendence of all finitude; hence it is designated as Turiya.[1] Here the jnana and upasana (way and goal) is specified or described as this which is meditation ‘OM’ and ends in ‘Asparshayoga’. It is the yoga of transcendence, whereby one realizes the supra-relational reality, non-dual experience- Advaitanubhava.

In the Alatashanti prakarana, Gaudapada re-affirms the Ajativada, non-origination theory of Advaita. By its own nature the cause is not originated from the beginning less, and the effect too. For which there is no beginning there is no cause indeed for it.

Then Gaudapada eulogising the Alatacakra in the sutra 46 which explains

“thus is not originated the mind, thus knows traditionally as knowing fully thus he does not fall into error”.[2]

“As if the vibrated fire band (Alatacakra) thus appearing crooked, straight etc. So the vibration of vijnana is with appearance of perception and perceiver”.[3]

“As the fire band not shaking, presenting no appearance (i.e.) non originated so is the vijnana not shaking, presenting no appearance, unoriginated”.[4]

Then the appearance of the duality compares to waking and maya in sutra 61 of Alatashanti prakarana.[5] As in a dream the mind through maya moves, having (or presenting) the appearance of the dual (grahya and grahaka). So in the waking state, the mind through maya moves, having (or presenting) the appearance of the mind. The shloka 72 speaks about mind’s eternality. The mind vibration itself, the mind is unrelated to the object, therefore (it is) glorified as eternal and without attachment. And the highest state of mind is unoriginated.

In the shloka 93, Gaudapada says,

“all entities indeed are calm from the very beginning, unoriginated, quite happy (in nirvana) by nature itself (always the) same and non-different. The highest is unoriginated, sameness and self-confident”.[6]

In shloka 99, Gaudapada expresses the Buddhist rendering of the non-origination theory (ajativada) as:

“the knowledge of the eternal enlightened one, does not cross over into the entities; all entities likewise (do not cross over into) the knowledge-thus has not been declared by Buddha”.[7]

Thus realizing the state of unoriginated sameness of the supreme reality which Buddha has shown to us, we salute to him, Buddha the knowledge, wisdom, jnanajnanam. Vidhusekhara Bhattacarya states that the remarks on dvipadam varah implies same reference to Buddha. He got similar several words as Shradha, Virya, Smriti, Samadhi and Prajna are the same for the highest state. From Advaitic and Madhyamika points of view we must reach a consummate that the nirvana of the Madhyamika and the moksha of the Advaita Vedanta seem to be not different.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Ibid. p. 187

[2]:

Evam na jayate cittamevam dharma ajah smuthah evameva vijanantho na pathanti viparyaye’ Gaudapadiya-karika IV. 46

[3]:

Krajuvakriadhikabhasamalathaspanditham yatha griahamgriahakabhasam vijnanaspanditham thatha’ Gaudapadiya-karika IV. 47

[4]:

Aspandamanamaladamanabhasamajam yatha aspandamanam

vijnanamanabhasamajam thatha’ Gaudapadiya-karika IV. 48

[5]:

Yatha svapye dvayabhasam cittam calati mayaya thatha jagriatdvayabhasam cittam calati mayaya’ Gaudapadiya-karika IV. 61

[6]:

Adhishanta hrinuthpannah prakrityaiva sunivrtah sarve dharmah samabhinnah ajam samyam visaradam’ Gaudapadiya-karika IV. 93

[7]:

Kramate na hi bhuddasya jnanam dharmeshu thayinamah sarve dharmasthatha jnanam naidhadh bhuddhana bhashitham’ Gaudapadiya-karika IV. 99

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