Tuesday, 17 January 2017

King on Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism


Even the author of the fourth prakarana (treatise) is an heir to the atman tradition which upholds permanence and constancy as the fundamental nature of reality. For the GK (Gaudapadiya Karika) as a whole the appearance of the world can only be adequately explained if there is some unchanging substratum supporting its manifestation. Reality must have an unchanging intrinsic nature or it could not be “reality”. This is clearly a Vedantic and not a Madhyamaka conception of reality, dispite the GK’s propensity for Buddhist arguments and terminology.
(pg.140: Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism by Richard King)

Would it be invidious to suggest that one might start with a Buddhist conception of non-origination and work one’s way out of it? My own sense of the Buddhist influence is the severely monolithic monism which declares:

GK IV.23 : A cause is not born of a beginningless effect ; nor does an effect naturally come out (of a beginningless cause). (Cause and effect are thus birthless); for a thing that has no cause, has certainly no birth.

GK:IV.26: Consciousness has no contact with objects so also it has certainly no contact with appearances of objects. For according to the reasons adduced, an object has no existence, and an illusory object is not separate from awareness.

This latter goes even further than Madhyamaka’s “for impermanence is never absent in entities”. There are no such things as entities for them to be impermanent. Their being is the being of the unborn (ajativada) and they cannot be other than such.

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