Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism: The Mahayana Context of the Gaudapadiya-Karika

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SUNY Press, 1995 - Philosophy - 341 pages
2 Reviews
This book provides an in-depth analysis of the doctrines of early Advaita and Buddhism that has important implications for the question of the relationship between Hindu and Buddhist thought. The author examines the central doctrines of the Gaudapadiya-karikain a series of chapters that discuss early Advaita in relation to the Abhidharma, Madhyamaka, and Yogacara schools of Buddhism. The question of the doctrinal diversity of Indian Buddhism is also discussed through an analysis of the concept of 'Buddha-Nature' and its relationship with Vedantic thought.
 

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In his book,"Early adwaita vedanta and Buddhism:the Mahayana context of the Gaudapadiya",Prof.Richard King says,"Despite the tradition which affirms that Sankara died at a very young age,upholders of the second approach have attempted to classify texts into "early","middle"and "late"compositions.For instance,if the Gaudapadiya-Karika-bhashya is an authentic work of Sankara's,then it would seem to be one of his earliest works,since it displaya an immaturity and uncertainty that is not found in the commentary on the Brahmasutra.The GK's commentator is either ignorant of Buddhist terminology and doctrines,or naively careless in his attempts to "coverup"their appearance in this Vedantic text".
The above ascription to "Gaudapadiya-karika bhashya"is erroneous and shows a non-understanding of the karikas and the Shankara bhashya on the karikas.In writing his bhashya Shankara has kept himself closely following the Karikas by quoting sruthi whereever necessary.He has not added his views to that of Gaudapada.This being a commentary on the karikas,and not a independent treatise like his "Brahmasutra bhashya"where his interpretation of the sutras are also necessary,it seems that it is an early work.It is not also true that the karikas are a collection of statements at various times of his teaching career,just like the present day Research professors,but a consistent work where the statements made earlier are not contradicted at later times.Carefully reading through the work,it is clear that "Shankara is not ignorant of the Buddhist terminology and doctrines,or naively careless in his attempts to "coverup"their appearance in this Vedantic text"but,has remained very precise in his commentary on these Buddhistic terminology and doctrines",because it is not necessary to explain them,as this work is a purely an Adwaitic text.Even in his "Brahmasutra bhashya"whereever he discusses Buddhistic terminology and doctrines,he has remained very precise and brief and has refrained from criticising them,because it is not his intention.Both Vedanta and Buddhism has a long and hoary history,and borrowing from each other will not make either school potent and honest,but also vitiate the very purpose.
N.Srikanta.
 

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The author of this book,Prof.Richard King though has raised several points regarding the presence of Buddhism terms,found in the IV th prakarana,"The Alata Shanti prakarana"in the Gaudapada karikas,has missed several points.Though he has commented upon the karikas with the notion that they are Buddhistic,he has missed one crucial aspect or question,that why Gaudapada should write these karikas in the IV th prakarana which smacks of Buddhistic sentiments?We find the course of the arguments in this prakarana to be very analytical,an attempt to put the understanding of the concepts in their right perspective.
We find at the start of the prakarana itself,the karika,
"Bhutasya jatimicchanti vadinah kecideva hi
abhutasapare dhirah vivadantah parsparam"
Then we find the arguments on both sides,and finally we see the gradual introduction of the Vijnanavadi view.
It is clear for one who studies this prakarana,that Gaudapada analyses the Buddhistic concepts and finally states the Vedantic position.
We find the karika,
"Kramate na hi Buddhasya jnanam dharmeshu tapinah(tayinah)
sarve dharmah tatha jnanam naitad Buddhena bhashitam"
IThe prakarana does not stop there with this karika,but is concluded with the following karika:
"durdarsham ati gambhiram ajam samyam visharadam
buddhva padam ananatvam namaskurmo yathabalam".
This book of Prof,Richard King fails to answer this and many other questions on Gaudapada karikas.
N.Srikanta
Professor
773/2,7 th Cross
Ramanuja Road
Mysore-570 004.
Email:srikanta@nie.ac.in
 

Contents

VI
15
VII
21
VIII
31
IX
35
X
43
XI
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XII
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XIII
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XXXV
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XXXVI
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XXXVII
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XXXVIII
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XXXIX
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XL
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XLI
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XLII
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XIV
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XV
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XVI
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XVII
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XVIII
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XIX
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XXI
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XXII
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XXIII
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XXIV
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XXV
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XXVI
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XXVII
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XXVIII
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XXIX
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XXX
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XXXI
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XXXII
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XXXIII
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XXXIV
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XLIII
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XLIV
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XLV
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XLVI
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XLVII
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XLVIII
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XLIX
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L
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LI
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LII
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LIII
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LIV
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LV
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LVI
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LVII
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LVIII
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LIX
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LX
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LXI
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LXII
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About the author (1995)

Richard King is Lecturer in Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland.

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