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 4.9 - Reality in Madhyamika (h): Reality and Bodhisattva

The meaning of prajna should not be conceived as either divided or undivided. It is the only dharma that is neither bhuthakoti nor not-bhuthakoti. In the extremity of the individuals, they are different in nature, ultimately, the Bodhisattva is to help the people. In the essential nature, individuals are not different, ultimately one and the same. The real nature of the ‘I’ and the real nature of the knowledge of all forms, are same and not divided. When the Bodhisattva realizes this reality, he is called Tathagata (gone one). The ultimate nature of things, the svabhavashunyata, is also called samata. It is the essential sameness of things as seen as true in its svabhava. The Shunyata of the internal, the Shunyata of the external, the Shunyata of the self-nature, this is called the Samata of things, which a Bodhisattva should cultivate. Then he achieves the bodhi or Samyak Samadhi. The Bodhisattva dwells in this samatha of things. He who comprehends the sameness of all beings, and their constituent elements are held in balance in his mind, he experiences equality. There the true nature of things remains eternally Shunya. This is Samata, Shunyata that itself is Nirvana.

The central principal, the dharma of the complete Shunyata, is Nirvana. This is like an island. People get sunk in the waters of the four streams and all the kleshas, but the Buddha, with his boat of the eight fold way picks them up and puts them on the island of Nirvana.[1] This prajna is the most profound truth which is difficult to grasp, difficult to explain with words, it is Sambodhi -the nondual (devoid of duality). It is incomprehensible to ordinary minds. It is dharma of the Bodhicitta.

In the scheme of dharma, the Buddha-dharma defines as the eternal dharma. The wheel of dharma is nothing but the Prajnaparamita. The nondual dharma is like akasha, unubstructive. It depends on all things for their origin, growth and fulfillment. It is complete harmony with all things, harmony with Prajnaparamita.

Footnotes and references:


Venkata Raman, Nagarjuna’s Philosophy as Presented in the Mahaprajnaparamitasutras.

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