Problems with Advaita Vedanta.
Posted: 04 May 2011 02:30 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I have long been a follower of Advaita Vedanta.


The major points of Advaita are:


1.  Everything is connected. (traditionally Advaita, which means not-two)
2.  This is connected whole is called consciousness. (traditionally: Brahman)
3.  This consciousness (Brahman) is also our personal consciousness.  (traditionally: atman)
4.  Our personal consciousness (synonym: awareness) is what we are.


From this follows:


5.  There is no separate self.
6.  There being no separate self, there is no free will.
7.  There is no self to suffer.
8.  Realization – knowing this “deeply” – is the end of suffering.


Lately however if have begun to have doubts about Advaita.


Mainly point 3, I can’t really understand how our personal consciousness could be the substance of the universe.  Part of it yes, but the same?


Practically it is usually approached as in point 4, we are our personal consciousness. So we are not our body or mind, but we are consciousness. The logic behind this is that we can perceive our body and our mind, but not consciousness itself, so it must be what we are. This doesn’t make sense to me either, I understand that we cannot reduce our self to just the body or just the mind, but why would we do this with our awareness?


Does anyone have any thoughts about this?


You might be wondering, why bother with this at all? The answer to that is, because of point 8, if suffering can be eliminated or even lessened, it would be worth it to follow this philosophy to the best of my ability.


The reason I post this here is because I want people to look at this critically. I would never get that from followers of advaitic philosophy.

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Posted: 04 May 2011 07:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I just discovered that something like this is also known as Panpsychism, interesting.


EDIT: or Pantheism


EDIT2:


And it is also related to the concept of Monistic Idealism.


I had the impression that this was a lively forum. I guess I was wrong. Luckily I have found as much of an answer to my questions as I will probably ever get.


If anyone is interested in these things, like I am, the embolded terms above are a great way to get into it. Also lookup Susan Blackmore, she has a thing or two to say about this.

[ Edited: 06 May 2011 09:55 AM by lente]
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Posted: 04 June 2011 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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lente - 04 May 2011 06:30 AM

I have long been a follower of Advaita Vedanta.

The major points of Advaita are:

1. Everything is connected. (traditionally Advaita, which means not-two)
2. This is connected whole is called consciousness. (traditionally: Brahman)
3. This consciousness (Brahman) is also our personal consciousness.  (traditionally: atman)
4. Our personal consciousness (synonym: awareness) is what we are.

From this follows:

5. There is no separate self.
6. There being no separate self, there is no free will.
7. There is no self to suffer.
8. Realization – knowing this “deeply” – is the end of suffering.

Lately however if have begun to have doubts about Advaita.

Mainly point 3, I can’t really understand how our personal consciousness could be the substance of the universe.  Part of it yes, but the same?

Practically it is usually approached as in point 4, we are our personal consciousness. So we are not our body or mind, but we are consciousness. The logic behind this is that we can perceive our body and our mind, but not consciousness itself, so it must be what we are. This doesn’t make sense to me either, I understand that we cannot reduce our self to just the body or just the mind, but why would we do this with our awareness?

Does anyone have any thoughts about this?

You might be wondering, why bother with this at all? The answer to that is, because of point 8, if suffering can be eliminated or even lessened, it would be worth it to follow this philosophy to the best of my ability.

The reason I post this here is because I want people to look at this critically. I would never get that from followers of advaitic philosophy.

——-

Based on what I’ve gathered from wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta), it seems that what you refer to as personal consciousness means an Atman or a permanent self or soul to be merge with a Brahman the godhead or whole consciousness, at you puts it.

For better clarification, we will use the term Soul (a permanent self or an active consciousness that is compounded from past reincarnations) and we will use the term Brahman (a god, godhead or an absolute unifying being of some sort).

Point 3:

Given this Brahman theory exists similar to the Chinese concept of Tao, then theoretically speaking, all phenomena manifested from the Brahman to a permanent Soul is similar to all phenomena manifested from Wuji to Taiji (Yin and Yang). Thus, it is like a mother who gives birth to a child. The child would have characteristics of the mother, analogously speaking.

Point 4:

General awareness of an object lacks details. Personal consciousness is personal experience and not general awareness. For personal experience is totality result of the of compounded consciousness from contacting with their respective sense objects and associates with other mental faculties and processes. So in short, personal consciousness or experience gives not only the details of an object via perception, but the sense feeling and possible volitional actions.

With the general category of Samatha (calm) meditation alone, a practitioner cannot penetrate the nature of consciousness (among other objects) down to sub atomic level, which may be absent in most of if not all types of non Buddhist meditations. Only in Vipassana (clear seeing or direct seeing, aka insight) mediation founded only in Buddhism can do this.

Point 8:

From what I understand of Hindu teachings, there is the possibility of cessation in the cycle of rebirth (Samsara) like in Buddhism by extinguishing all desires. In Buddhism, the source of such desires is the Five Aggregates of Clinging (Five Khandhas) which is the cause of suffering (Dukkha). I’m not sure of the methodology specifically in Advaita Vedanta, but in Buddhism it is based in the Three Fold Practice from The Noble Eightfold Path (aka. The Middle Way or Middle Path).

Threefold Practice From The Noble Eightfold Path:

1. Morality, Ethical or Virtuous Conduct (Sila) (development of non dual or de-conditioning of dualism).
2. Mental Discipline or Concentration (Samadhi) (development for Samatha mediation).
3. Insight or Wisdom (Panna) (development for Vipassana mediation).

Like in the 8 steps of The Noble Eightfold Path, the Threefold Practice too overlaps one another without any linear sequence or patterns as all events and processes are never linear in nature due to the nature of many conditions involved. All paths are really preparatory stages for first Samatha mediation, then Vipassana and finally both simultaneously.

Let me know if this help you any.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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lente - 04 May 2011 02:30 AM

I have long been a follower of Advaita Vedanta.


The major points of Advaita are:


1.  Everything is connected. (traditionally Advaita, which means not-two)
2.  This is connected whole is called consciousness. (traditionally: Brahman)
3.  This consciousness (Brahman) is also our personal consciousness.  (traditionally: atman)
4.  Our personal consciousness (synonym: awareness) is what we are.


From this follows:


5.  There is no separate self.
6.  There being no separate self, there is no free will.
7.  There is no self to suffer.
8.  Realization – knowing this “deeply” – is the end of suffering.


Lately however if have begun to have doubts about Advaita.


Mainly point 3, I can’t really understand how our personal consciousness could be the substance of the universe.  Part of it yes, but the same?


Practically it is usually approached as in point 4, we are our personal consciousness. So we are not our body or mind, but we are consciousness. The logic behind this is that we can perceive our body and our mind, but not consciousness itself, so it must be what we are. This doesn’t make sense to me either, I understand that we cannot reduce our self to just the body or just the mind, but why would we do this with our awareness?


Does anyone have any thoughts about this?


You might be wondering, why bother with this at all? The answer to that is, because of point 8, if suffering can be eliminated or even lessened, it would be worth it to follow this philosophy to the best of my ability.


The reason I post this here is because I want people to look at this critically. I would never get that from followers of advaitic philosophy.

 

I have followed Advaita for many years.
I have sat with many of those who have accepted the mantle of enlightenment.
Essentially Advaita’s claim of “the oneness of all things” is as meaningless as “For God loved the world so much that ..................”.
The conceptual mind piles up all of its labels and labels the pile “Oneness”.
It then thinks it has solved a riddle that exists only within its-self.
After a personal catharsis in which the sense of self lost its opacity, Advaita has no more appeal than Scientology.
Advaita is merely another attempt of the fear-based mind to soften its own impending plunge into oblivion.
There is no combination of concepts that the sense of self can come up with that will answer questions about its own reality, simply because it doesn’t have one.
Every guess that mind can come up with about the nature of what it calls reality is delusional.
It is, however, possible to drift along through this most delightful mystery with no beliefs whatsoever.

 

[ Edited: 10 August 2012 07:28 AM by toombaru]
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Posted: 20 January 2015 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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0

[ Edited: 19 April 2015 10:11 AM by dharmaresearcher]
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Posted: 22 January 2015 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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extreme necro-post

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Posted: 19 February 2015 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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The power of Advaita is in satsang. Intellectually, there’s almost nothing to it, and that idea of a sort of cosmic consciousness doesn’t go anywhere with those of us who prefer a scientific outlook. Satsang is a social situation. The word means something like ‘gathering in truth’, and it’s much more about communication of attitude than philosophy. I had come to a dead end with Buddhism and meditation practice when I discovered satsang with Francis Lucille. I found him, and the people around him, easy to talk with, and that was exactly what I needed at the time. I had developed various subconscious assumptions which were holding me back. Satsang brought that tangled mess into the light. Francis presented some simple, clear ideas in such a friendly manner that my confusion was undermined, cut from the mistaken beliefs which I hadn’t even known I was holding onto. Rupert Spira provided further clarification and encouragement. I stayed away from those folks giving satsang who seemed to me pretentious or untrustworthy.  I looked for a group ethos which was not conformity, but independent investigation. The back and forth conversation between the main speaker and the other members of the group would bring up questions I didn’t know I had, and the whole process was like sparks falling on dry tinder. I was able to begin a meditation practice with a fresh and eager mind. I discovered Tony Parsons on youtube, and I love the way he disparages meditation practice because then the practice can happen with fewer delusions. These days I don’t feel much need of satsang, but when Adyashanti comes to Colorado, I’ll be there in that room. “Waking up” is not the end, but the beginning of a truly dynamic journey without a goal.

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Posted: 01 April 2015 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Here’s a brakedown of the end game of advaita: Enlightenment: What It Is And How To Get It

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Posted: 18 April 2015 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Good essay ^^.

The original question or “problem” proposed here is semantical based imo.  Not sure the problem exists.

Maybe we can just dance it away or dance around it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShfVWlTvIGk

There are a few medieval era texts that really weigh in on this question (Avadhut Gita, Ashtavakara Gita, Tripura Rahasya, etc) and there’s something of a survey of those texts here:
http://newsunwesternskies.com/advaita-vedanta-history/

[ Edited: 19 April 2015 10:10 AM by dharmaresearcher]
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