Saturday, May 6, 2017

100% proof! Was the Buddha a Hindu?

Dhr. Seven, Ven. Karunananda, Amber Larson, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly

There was, in fact, no such thing as "Hinduism" at the time of the Buddha. The Buddha Gautama (the former Prince Siddhartha of Shakya Land, the foothold/territory or janapada of the Sakas) was not a Hindu. "Hinduism" only came to be systematized under Sri Shankara many centuries later.

But there was Brahmanism and the religion of the Vedas, the sacred texts of the Brahmin caste priests. The Buddha rejected them. He was not a Brahmin, and he did not accept the Vedas as ultimate truth.

Why did Hinduism's founder reject Buddhism?
Shankara with Disciples (Raja Ravi Varma, 1904)
Shankara's works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the ātman and nirguna brahman ("brahman without attributes").

He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis. His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. Shankara's publications criticized the ritually-oriented Mīmāṃsā school of Hinduism ("How Adi Shankara Acharya united a fragmented land with philosophy, poetry, and pilgrimage"). Shankara also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism by stating that Hinduism asserts that "atman (soul, self) exists," whereas Buddhism asserts that "there is no soul, no self" (anatta). More
  • Sri Adi Shankara (8th century CE) consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.
What the difference?
The key to the Vedas and to the Brahmin's religion is that Brahman (GOD, Godhead, the permanent reality behind the transitory illusion/Maya) is ultimately real -- and as part of the All the atman (self, soul, individual being) is ultimately real.

The Buddha uniquely taught not-self (an-atman). Central to the Buddha-Dharma (the Buddhist path to enlightenment and liberation) is this teaching. There is, in the ultimate sense, no self.
In conventional terms we speak of a self -- an I or me with things that are mine -- but that is an illusion. Not only is there not a personal self, there is -- for the same reasons as explained in the teaching of the Five Aggregates -- not a Brahma ("Supreme").

Brahman, ultimate truth, is impersonal (not-self) in Buddhism. (Mahayana Buddhism is so saturated with Brahminical and Hindu teachings, which the historical Buddha clearly and unambiguously rejected, that it muddles the argument and by syncretism makes it sound like they're really teaching the same thing: an "essential self," a "higher self," a "true self" or Ātman in Buddhism.

The One Who Knows and Sees
Anyone who says "Lord Buddha" (as if he were just another god in the Hindu pantheon or an avatar some divine incarnation of Lord Vishnu) ignore this essential fact: "self or soul" -- Ātman in Hinduism -- is a philosophical concept common to ALL schools of Hindu philosophy.

The Buddha not only rejected this philosophical concept, he taught the exact opposite (anatta, anatman).

It is inconceivable to our ordinary and customary way of thinking that there is no self. Of course, there is! Look, I'm touching it. It's speaking, it's writing, it's thinking. "I think therefore I am," as Descartes reasoned. It's not ultimately true; that is us clinging to one or more of the Five Aggregates (form, feeling, perception, formation, consciousness) as self.

Why isn't it or why aren't they self? All aggregates (heaps, groups) are marked by three characteristics: they (all conditioned things) are all impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal.

One thing is unconditioned, but it is the only thing that is, so to call it a "thing" (which should be reserved for conditioned elements) is misleading. It is completely different from ordinary things, and it is nirvana.

Sadly, by speaking of it in ordinary terms, ordinary people tend to come under a pernicious delusion and that is the idea (wrong view) that nirvana, not being a "thing," must therefore be nothing (void, nothingness, emptiness).

That is completely wrong; for thorough evidence that this view is a mistaken conclusion, see Bhikkhu Bodhi's lecture "Nibbana" from The Buddha's Teaching: As It Is.
  • NOTE: In spite of it being ultimately that there is no self, there is still personal karma and continual rebirth even without there being some one, ultimately, who is being reborn again and again. Learn more about Buddhism to see how this apparent paradox is not a paradox at all. The Buddha was very wise and interested in people gaining enlightenment and final liberation as soon as possible. He would not have spent so much time teaching this subtle doctrine were it now key to wisdom, compassion, and freedom.

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