Advaita Philosophy, Yoga Philosophy

Advaita compared to other philosophies: Chapter 7 — excerpts

Nyaya philosophy is essentially based on epistemology, the philosophy of knowledge. Nyaya began by an impartial inquiry into the contents of our knowledge, rather than the objects; that is, it studied the internal part of our knowledge rather than the external world that inspires it. In doing so, the Nyayikas critically examined the statements regarding our knowledge and subjected them to logical analysis. The Nyayikas were able to create a systemic classification of knowledge and expose intricate details of fallacies and so forth.. The strength of this logical system strengthened the whole of Hindu logic, which always relied on its positions and terms, and all Hindu philosophy was argued on the basis of this logic.

The intricacies of latter Nyaya study are well known, and even among hardened Sanskrit scholars, used as they are to the finest hair–splitting, the Nyaya texts are an object of wonder and fear. However it is a moot question whether the Nyayikas have any role to play beyond the study of logic and epistemology.

The theory of the Vaisesikas is the atomic theory. The Vaisesikas proposed that the universe comprises an infinite number of eternal and indivisible particles called atoms. These atoms combine with each other and produce the material world. The Vaisesikas developed their own system of classification of the substances of the world. The constituents of the world are divided into five categories: Akasa (space), earth, water, fire, and air. Each has their own distinguishing quality by which it appears as reality to the senses of ear, nose, tongue, eye, and skin. Akasa is distinguished by sound, air by tangibility, fire by color, water by taste, and earth by smell.

Again, Akasa contains sound, air contains sound and tangibility, fire contains color along with sound and tangibility, water contains taste along with the preceding sensory inputs, and earth contains within it all the elements of smell, taste, color, tangibility, and sound. Thus the constituents of the world are related in a series to our sense organs. The elements are arranged in a sequence &ndash Akasa, air, fire, water, and earth &ndash and the evolution of these elements moves from the simple to the complex. That is, from Akasa arises air; from air, fire; from fire, water; and from water, earth.

It is important to note that the five elements noted here are not accidental. Although humanity and everything in this world appears highly varied, all in reality comprise these same five elements. Every particle in a human body and everything else in this world is made up of a mixture of elements derived from earth, water, and air; fire signifies the energy present in the body and Akasa the space that it occupies. Thus these five elements are both essential and also sufficient to constitute the human body.

In Christianity and Islam also, we can see these three main forms of metaphysics, the dualistic, qualified monistic, and monistic. Jesus taught these three forms to his followers. Swami Vivekananda perceived them as being meant for different levels of followers according to their capacity. The first teaching of Jesus was, "I am the Son of God." This is the dualistic teaching, where there is a clear distinction between God and humans and God is a father figure who is controlling us all. The next teaching was, "the Father is in me and I am in the Father"; this is the qualified monistic teaching, where the spark of divinity is in each of God and us is immanent in us.

The farthest teaching was, "I and the Father are one." This is the monistic teaching, where there is no longer any difference between God and humanity and a complete identity is preached. In the early historical development of Christianity, all these three forms appear to have enjoyed equal importance and they developed side by side. This is still seen in the Asiatic form of Christianity. But in the Western world, gradually the dualistic form came to predominate and the orthodoxy tried to suppress other forms. But qualified and absolute monism continues to thrive in the teachings of the mystics of Christianity.

Buddhist position

Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.

(Dhammapada 60)

Buddhism was the religion propounded by Lord Gautama Buddha in the 6th century BC. The story of Buddha is a noble one and shows his great love for people. All his sutras have one purpose, to help people in their lives in this world. The story is told of how Gautama Buddha was raised into awareness of human misery by the sight of four scenes, a corpse, an old man, etc. Following this, he gave up his princely life and retired into the forests, where he attained realization and then began to preach his path of salvation for humanity.

Buddhism is based on the four great truths realized by the Buddha during intense meditation. Of these, the most important, the defining truth of Buddhism, is that the world is dukha or suffering. The world, that is, human lives, is filled with suffering and misery. Buddha then sets out to find how this can be remedied. The other truths proclaim that the cause of this misery is desire, that misery can be got rid of and that the way to get rid of this misery is by following the eightfold path.

The eightfold path in turn contains eight rules for our lives, such as right living, right thinking, avoiding lust, etc, including right meditation. By following these laws, one can get rid of misery and thus have a healthy life. The laws are similar to the commandments of Christianity and are a sort of rulebook of ethics aimed at giving Buddhists a clean tranquil life. The simplicity of Buddha’s teachings, his compassion and greatness captivated India and for many centuries after his birth, Buddhism became the state religion and the religion of the majority, supplanting Hinduism.

The path shown by Buddha was aimed at the salvation of humanity. Its end was a practical end, to enable people to attain peace and tranquillity and resolve the whole problem of how to live. The religion of Buddha was not concerned with intricate metaphysical speculation. Buddha called his way, the middle path. It was a path that avoided both ascetism and also the complex ritualism that was being practiced at that time. Instead, Buddha showed how spiritual goals could be achieved through simplicity without taking recourse to either of these ways. Buddhism was also the ‘middle way’ in that it was equidistant from the positions of absolutism or eternalism of Advaita and the nihilism of some Hindu schools.

That things die is proof that there is no eternalism. That things are born is proof that there is no nihilism. Buddha described the world as anatta, or non–self. If there is an absolute beyond this world, then there would be a ground of existence beyond everything in this world and hence beyond dukha also. This would mean that dukha would continue to exist in that ground and that it could not be got rid of completely. Hence absolute leads to eternalism, an eternity of existence and is hence rejected by Buddhism. At the same time, he also did not accept nihilism. The world could not be said to be non–existent either. Hence Buddha postulated a position that lay between absolutism and nihilism.

But Buddha refused to clearly define a metaphysical stand. He wanted to preach a religion that would be help to humans in living their lives, and hence preached a system of values that would lead to a clean simple life. He wanted to create a system of ethics that was not based on perilous metaphysical beliefs but that was based on this world itself. It was a system of beliefs that depended on humanity, not on supra–human powers or principles. Such a system did not need metaphysical speculation, in fact Buddha declared that metaphysical speculation is an impediment to our spiritual path. Buddha gave the metaphor of the man who has an arrow in his chest. His requirement now is not to know who shot the arrow, what it was made of, etc. his sole aim now would be to get the arrow out. Similarly, we all have the arrow of dukha in our hearts, and the aim is to get out of this dukha by following the eight–fold path and not to indulge in metaphysical speculation.

Hence, because it was unnecessary, Buddha prescribed a rigid agnostic position by prohibiting metaphysical speculation. These are the 62 banned questions of Buddhism which relate to metaphysics, such as whether the soul exists or not, whether the universe exists or not and so on, and the Buddha simply refused to give an answer and in fact forbade these questions being raised. An interesting story is told of how when the Buddha was asked whether there really was a God, he picked up a few dry leaves from the forest floor and said, ‘there are as many truths as the leaves of these forests, out of these I have held up only a few to you’.

But such a doctrinal agnostic position could be accepted only by the most faithful of devotees. An agnostic position cannot satisfy the thirst for spirituality for most followers, and enquiring minds are bound to raise questions. Especially in a country like India, philosophical speculation is the lifeblood of any religion and those with a more critical attitude demanded clear and specific answers to the important questions. The Buddha consciously refrained from metaphysical speculation, but he had set the Buddhist position between the absolutism of Advaita and nihilism by rejecting both.

The first truth discovered by Buddha stated that dukkha, or this world existed, while the third stated that dukkha was not permanent. Buddhist philosophers now began to clearly define and defend this metaphysical stand. Thus almost from Buddha’s death, various Buddhist scholars began giving arguments to buttress the Buddhist position. But soon major schisms developed among Buddhist scholars and ultimately Buddhist metaphysics was divided into two schools, the Theravada or Hinayana, which is considered the original Buddhist position and the Buddhism of the Sanskrit schools, Mahayana Buddhism.

Theravada Buddhism, like Advaitism, follows realistic metaphysics. Prior to beginning any metaphysical speculation, it accepts as existing on the same level of reality the trio of thinker, thought and the thing thought of. Also like Advaitism, it believes that the existence of both the subject, the individual consciousness, and the object, the world outside, are ‘fuzzy’, blurred and they have only relative reality and not absolute reality. But unlike Advaitism, Theraveda Buddhism does not accept the presence of an absolute behind this relative existence and says it exists in itself. Beyond this there is nothing, and the world has only anatta or non–self as the basis.

Mahayana Buddhism follows idealistic metaphysics. It starts its speculation by taking the existence of the subject alone as the base. It then analyses the existence of the world from the viewpoint of this subject, which is the first order of existence. There are three schools of Mahayana Buddhism, which represents three stages of idealistic logic.

Sautantrika: they analyse the world from the subject alone and accept it first, but then they also go on to accept the existence of the world on the ground of inference, by inferring it from our common sense. Both, however, as in Hinayana Buddhism, exist in themselves and there is no absolute beyond them. Sautantrika Buddhism is usually classified under Hinayana, but being the first of the idealistic positions it would be better to class it under Mahayana Buddhism..

Yogachara: they are more logical and do not accept the outside world at all, and say the subject is the sole reality, and all else is a dream of the mind. The mind is the only reality.

Madhyamika (to be differentiated from Mahayana): they follow the strictest logic, and deny the existence of both the object and the subject, and declare Shunya as the only truth.

A variant of Mahayana Buddhism developed in China and Japan is Zen Buddhism, which follows Yogachara logic and says that only the mind or consciousness exists, and the pure undifferentiated state of consciousness is the only truth, but they differ in that they lay stress mainly on meditation in which they try to experience this state

Looking for the Maker of this tabernacle, I shall have to run through a course of many births, so long as I do not find (Him); and painful is birth again and again. But now, Maker of the tabernacle, thou hast been seen; thou shalt not make up.

(Dhammapada 153, 154.)

Hinayana or Theraveda Buddhism is considered the original Buddhism, and is truer to Buddha’s teachings. In Theraveda Buddhism, world is called samsara and it is the main focus of all Buddhist speculation. Buddha taught that the samsara is dukha or full of suffering, and that this suffering can be got rid of. But if the suffering can be got rid of, there must be nothing permanent in it. Hence the world was said to be relative or a ‘dependant reality’ or Pratitya–samutpada, that is, the world does not have any other support but subsists on itself. One thing supports another, and that in turn supports some other thing and so on without any base in absolute reality.

For example, death and suffering comes from birth, birth comes from craving, and so on with none of them having any individual reality. In the famous metaphor of Nagarjuna, the world was described as a circle of light formed by a firebrand which is whirled about, the circle does not really exist and is formed by multiple positions of the firebrand, but when we see it we do not see the individual positions of the firebrand but the circle as a whole. In the same way, the samsara also consists of fragments but we see it as a whole and as a reality.

Since there is no reality beyond it, the world is an illusion, something which exists but has no true reality, like the circle of fire. It has what we might call a ‘fuzzy’ or blurred reality only. This illusion is called ‘maya’ in Buddhism. The duty of humans is to pierce through this veil of maya and recognize that the world is only this pratitya–samutpada. The world will not then cease to exist, but once the truth is known, maya will lose its power and we will achieve inner peace and tranquillity, or Nirvana.

Thus Hinayana or Theraveda Buddhism defines a metaphysical position in which Advaitism is rejected as there is no absolute beyond the world, and at the same time nihilism is rejected because the world does exist as a self supporting entity. This concurs well with Buddha’s teachings that there is no intrinsic reality to dukha, and also rejecting nihilism at the same time. The world, or samsara, existing as a dependant reality, is the only truth.

If there is nothing beyond this world and this world is only a dependant reality, then how does the world sustain itself? Buddhist philosophers explained the existence of the world as a momentary existence. For example, if we take a young man who has changed into an old one, what exactly has happened? At the end of the process, there is an old man and not the young one, and this old man is certainly a different entity from the young one. He is different in his looks, thoughts, voice, etc. The Buddhists cannot accept a gradual continuous change from a young man into an old, because if the change is continuous, then it means something, that is, the man, was continuously existing. This would mean eternalism, because we can then say something continues to exist for eternity, for instance, even after the man dies, his body will continue to exist and then the atoms and molecules, etc.

Hence the Buddhists explained it by saying that there is continuous replacement of changes, that is, the young man disappears and the old one appears in his stead. But this change is continuous, hence there must be a series of continuous changes. Hence the Buddhists say, at every moment, the previous man disappears and a slightly older one appears in his stead. Since this change appears continuous, the change must be taking place at a very fast rate, several times in a moment. This is rather like the changes in a movie reel, we think we see the picture moving but the pictures actually do not move, instead it is a series of still pictures which are each slightly different from the previous and when run together appear to move.

So also in the world, there is no continuous change but rather a series of interrupted small changes which to us appear as a continuous change. It is not just matter, but our consciousness also, which instead of a continuous state of awareness, consists of a series of ‘still’ impressions which when run together give the impression of a continuously existing consciousness. Thus in Buddhism, the world is being continuously created and destroyed several times in each moment, and there is nothing that exists in the gaps. Hence there is nothing that connects one moment to the next and therefore no absolute. This is the Buddhist theory of Ksanabhangavada or ‘momentary existence’, as it is called. Through this startling explanation, the Buddhists explain the presence of the world without any absolute beyond it.

What is required is to achieve the state of Nirvana. Nirvana again is not a state of consciousness as Samadhi in Advaita is defined as a state of existence in Brahman. Nirvana instead is a state of knowledge, it is a state in which the meditator acquires the firm and unshakeable true knowledge of the world, that it is only dukha and dependant reality and so on. This stage is achieved by following the precepts of the eight–fold path which lead to a moral and peaceful life, along with intense meditation. Once a person has this reality, he will no more be led by desires. He will then live in a state of complete calmness and tranquillity from which nothing can shake him.

Buddhism believes in the theory of reincarnation, and hence it is said that those souls which have not achieved this Nirvana or knowledge of Shunya are reborn again. They must continue to suffer this state of rebirth until they obtain the state of Nirvana. Once this knowledge is acquired, a person will not be reborn ever again and will be freed from the cycle of dukha or suffering. This is the end, this is the supreme goal of Buddhism. This is the ideal state and Buddha was born in order to help all to achieve this state.

Buddhism, which at one time was the dominant religion of India, virtually disappeared from India from around the ninth century. Many reasons are given for this mystery, including subsuming by the parent religion, rise of bhaktism, etc. But one of the most important reasons undoubtedly is inherent deficiencies in Buddhist logic which were attacked by Advaitists, most notably Shankara, which eventually led to the conversion of majority of Buddhist scholars to Advaitism.

It is in fact difficult to accept the very first dictum of Buddhism, that the world is dukha or suffering. The Buddhist view that everything in the world is dukha, that we all have the arrow of sadness in our hearts and need to get rid of this arrow, seems a very depressing view of life. Granted that we are not happy all the time in the world, but it does seem too much for anyone to tell us that our life is one long tale of constant suffering. There are so many things in life, love, poetry, music, the beauty of flowers and mountains, the joy of loving someone, of bringing up children and so on. It seems annoying, to say the least, for anyone to say these are all worthless.

The Buddhist view of existence as Ksanabhangavada is that it is all something which comes from nothing, exists for an infinitesimally small point of time and relapses into nothing. Nothing has independent existence and all things are related to the existence of something else, which in turn would be dependant on something else and so on. The Buddhists are forced to say that there is no connection between the moments since that would mean that the world has continuous existence, and hence it would lead to eternalism.

But Advaitists pointed out that such a theory has several deep flaws, besides being contrary to all our intuition. In the first place, if there is indeed no connection between two moments of existence, then how is it that the same order in the world is reproduced each time? There might as easily have been chaos with different worlds and events being produced at each moment. What is there that holds it together? In the same way, since each moment of our consciousness is also momentary, how is it that we have memory? Since each impression is being destroyed at each moment, we should have lost all our previous impressions.

Again, Buddhists are forced to accept that each moment of existence is infinitesimally small, for if the world can be said to exist for even a microsecond of time, then there is no bar to saying that it can exist for a second, and hence eventually to existence. If they accept any length of existence, then that too would lead to eternalism. This then raises many problems, such as how such infinitely small moments could add up to any length of time, whether time exists in the gaps and so on. These and several other flaws based on similar arguments were pointed out by their opponents.

The Buddhist view that birth or new origination of things in the world denied nihilism and that of death denied absolutism ignored one key fact, that there was neither true origination nor true destruction. When a thing is born or is originated, it does not come out of nothing, it is merely a change of state of elements which had already existed before and comes together in a new state. Similarly, death or destruction of a thing does not mean that it has disappeared into nowhere but simply that its elements are resolved into something else. When a candle burns itself out for example, it does not disappear but is simply changed into different forms of ash, smoke and energy. Hence there is neither any new creation out of nothing nor any disappearance into nothing but merely different forms of existence. Birth and death do not mean a new existence or end of an old one but only a continuity of subsistence. Therefore in this world, there is always a continuity of existence.

The Buddhists chose to answer all such arguments by a stoic silence, merely saying that that is how it is, and it is useless to ask the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of something that is. But others continued to ask them, and Buddhists found it difficult to defend their metaphysical theories.

However, it would seem that such pursuit of knowledge inherently has its defects, because the subjects of knowledge are vast. Such a continuous acquiring of knowledge would be never ending it seems, and as one goes further, more and more objects of knowledge would keep appearing. The Buddhists judge this as going further and further ahead, because the aspirant becomes wiser in his knowledge that the world is unreal. But it means essentially that there is no end to the Buddhist enquiry, and the Buddhist monk would only get saddled with increasing and interminable knowledge of something which is essentially not worth knowing.

In Advaita once the experience of oneness with Brahman is acquired, it is the end and there is no need to acquire further knowledge of the relative world. In the Advaitic Samadhi, it is not knowledge which is achieved in the final stage but the experience of a totally new state of existence, a new state of consciousness. The world becomes clear as an illusion and the Advaitist does not wish to have any more knowledge of it. In Buddhism the world does not disappear in Nirvana and instead we only come to have a true knowledge of it.

Hence Buddhist mysticism is not a different ‘state of existence’ but a ‘knowledge’. Of course, this knowledge is not the simple intellectual knowledge but a sort of merger in the knowledge, becoming one with the knowledge which is possible through meditation. Hindu yoga also recognizes such a state of merger with knowledge which can be brought about in meditation and it is called samyama. However, samyama or knowledge state is not considered the end stage of religion, as the objects of knowledge are those of the world itself, and not of that which is higher than this world. Instead the yogi goes further and achieves a stage of merger with that which is higher than any phenomena of this world. This is the end point of Hinduism; the Buddhist goal in this view is considered only a halfway goal.

The other great branch of Buddhism which developed in answer to the need to define a metaphysical position following Buddha’s teachings is Mahayana or Sanskrit Buddhism. It developed later than the Theraveda, and its scriptures were in Sanskrit, whereas in Hinayana they had been in Pali.

Mahayana Buddhism gradually spread into China due to the efforts of Buddhist monks, and there Buddhism virtually took on a life of its own. Mahayana Buddhism is now found mainly in China, Japan, Korea, etc. and the original school, the Theraveda, also called the Hinayana, is found mainly in the South Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. In its original land, India, Buddhism soon disappeared, subsumed by Hinduism. The most well known of the Mahayana schools is Zen Buddhism.

Just think of the trees: they let the birds perch and fly, with no intention to call them when they come and no longing for their return when they fly away. If people's hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the Way.

(Zen Quotes by Langya)

Mahayana Buddhism starts from the position of metaphysical idealism. It accepts, before beginning all speculation, the ‘I’, or the individual mind as the only true entity and analyses the world from this standpoint. There are three schools of Mahayana– Sautantrika, Yogachara and Madhyamika. Although Sautantrika is usually classified as a Theraveda school, if Mahayana includes all the idealistic schools of Buddhism, then Sautantrika should also fall under it.

The Sautantrikas start from the position of idealism and regard the subject, the ‘I’ alone as real. But when we consider the subject alone, the thinker alone, to be the first point of existence, then we cannot prove the existence of the world independently of the subject. It may be nothing more than a dream. Nevertheless, the Sautantrikas make a doctrinal jump of logic and accept that the world exists, by inferring it from common sense. Thus whereas Theraveda starts from the realistic position that both the subject and the world are equally real, the Sautantrikas start from the idealistic position that only the subject is real and accept the world as only ‘inferentially’ real. Beyond both these existences, like the Theraveda, they say there is no absolute and that the world and the subject exist as dependent realities only. The rest of its philosophy is similar to Theravada, and it differs only in its idealistic starting point metaphysically, due to which it considers the world as ‘inferentially’ real. It thus comes the closest to the Theraveda philosophy but from the idealistic standpoint.

The Yogachara school follows the logic of the idealistic metaphysical position more strictly. Here, after starting from the point of the subject alone, it is seen that what we know of the world is only what our minds tell us about it, and we cannot know the world apart from the mind. Hence logically the world is nothing more than a creation of the mind. So the Yogachara, by following logic strictly, declare that the world is nothing but a dream of the mind. The only truth is the mind alone, pure consciousness. Even other people are after all part of the world outside, and we only think they exist because our mind tells us so, so other people are also creations of ‘my’ mind. So the only truth is my mind,

I alone exist and this whole world is a dream of my mind.

My mind is constantly creating up these images of the world and is hence in a disturbed state. But if I can break through this dream, my mind will retain its original state of tranquillity in which it is totally undisturbed and calm, and this is the state of Nirvana. This is done by following the Buddhist eight fold path, and this is the goal of Yogachara.

Yogachara philosophy formed the basis of the Zen Buddhism in China and Japan. Yogachara did not specify whether Nirvana was a positive state of realization, but Zen philosophers categorically accepted the One–Mind as a positive entity which was realised in meditation.

The main reason for this Zen trend towards positivism was their experiences in meditation. Zen texts spoke of the realization of the blissfulness of the pure state or ‘Suchness’ of the mind in the state of Samadhi. The most common metaphor given for Zen meditation was the metaphor of the sky and clouds, in which the Zen aspirant thinks of himself as the clear sky, bereft of all existence, while the clouds of phenomena drift past. So Zen teachings eventually became more and more concerned with the state of existence experienced in meditation and not so much with the nature of the world. Thus the focus of spiritual life is quite different from Theraveda.

Zen differs fundamentally from Theraveda Buddhism not just in philosophy but in its practise and meditation. While Theraveda seeks only for knowledge of the world, in Zen the aspirant tries to find the stillness within himself or herself. Thus Zen, as in Hinduism, aims for an experience of a ‘state of existence’ rather than a ‘knowledge’.

For one thing, it is almost impossible to accept the astounding idea suggested by such extreme solipsism. That the world does not exist and is only a dream of my mind is something which flies in the face of all our convictions. The whole outside world in all its physical and social aspects, including science, arts, social relationships with other people, etc. along with the sun, moon, etc. are apparently all only a bad dream that I am having, and I am only dreaming even as I laugh, talk, learn new things, walk about, etc. Theories like the evolutionary theory, which would contradict such idealism because it says that the mind is evolved from pre–existing matter, would be rejected as another bad dream, along with all other physical sciences, history, logic, etc.

In fact, Zen takes its disregard for logic to extreme lengths. Since things like logic are part of the dream and keep us tied into the dream by making us believe that the world is real, Zen tries to break the cycle of logic. One such way is the Zen riddle called koans, which are deliberately irrational. For example, one famous koan goes this way; a monk asked Chao–Chow, "All things return to oneness. Whither does oneness return?" Chao–Chou replied: "When I was staying at Chin chou, I made a robe of cloth weighing seven pounds." A completely irrational answer is given to the question in the hope that the questioner will realise instantly the uselessness of logic and achieve the pure state. Another similar technique is that as the monks are meditating quietly, a teacher goes around the room and gives them a big whack with a stick, so that in the moment of startlement, the student might ‘break out’ of his dream, so to say. A disinterested observer cannot be blamed for asking whether there is really something going on or it is just an instance of the ‘emperor’s new clothes’, with people getting themselves fooled into taking seriously something which would set a child laughing.

In their metaphysics, Zen and Yogachara contradict Buddha’s original teachings in that he expressly forbade all forms of absolute existence which would survive for eternity, but these two schools described an eternal and absolute Consciousness.

Zen also suffers from other defects of Buddhist philosophy in those areas which are common with Theraveda Buddhism, such as the transitory nature of life, the pessimism regarding life which lies at the heart of its teaching, that all life is dukha, the lack of bhakti in Buddhism, etc. Regarding the various questions, like, is there a meaning to life, does love, poetry, music etc. have any value, is science valid, etc, all these questions would elicit a ‘yes’ from Advaita while Zen along with Theraveda and nihilistic Buddhism would say a firm ‘no’. Because Zen defines the world as dream–like, all things connected with the world are said to take one away from the truth. But this attempt to deprive life of all meaning is not, perhaps, the great teaching that most of us are looking for.

The logical endpoint of the metaphysical idealism of Mahayana is the nihilism of the school of Madhyamika.

back Chapter 7 next

Index / Introduction / Chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Biblio

* People who read this also read:

* To read more on Advaita Vedanta and Yoga and its harmony with modern science and reason, you can go through my book on Amazon:

Advaita Philosophy, Yoga Philosophy

The Circle of Fire: The Metaphysics of Yoga

// //

Home Book Discussion Excerpts Reviews Contact Us
Articles Author Info Discussion Forum Live Chat Blog