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Saturday, December 31, 2022

More of the same

 Atman is the “knower”, functioning in all individualized lives. Brahman is the collective aspect of Atman. Atman and Brahman are the same according to Advaita.

The “knower” cannot be the object of knowledge, because knowledge depends on the “knower”.

Atman, the “knower” is a witness to

                Several states of mind such as “I am sad”, “I am happy”.

                Several states of awareness such as “I am awake or sleeping or dreaming”.

                Aware that “I know this” and “I do not know that”.

That is about the essence of what Adi Sankara said. Learning to experience that state of being a witness is the essence of meditation. But Buddha is wrongly quoted as saying that there is no such thing as "atman". What does one meditate on then - a void?

In opposing the Buddhist view of anatman, he went on to say that if Atman and Brahman are illusions, not real, “all that remains are a group of impermanent things; permanent happiness and someone who can realize that permanent happiness cease to exist”. He further said: “Emptiness (sunyata) and absence of self (anatman) of Buddhism are dark and bleak concepts. If you can see Brahman in everything it is blissful and full of light”.

In his critique of the Buddhist ideas that we have only moments of consciousness and there is nothing called a “perceiver”, Gaudapada says: “In the absence of a common unchanging substratum it is not possible to be aware of change of consciousness from moment to moment. If there is no substratum, how can one be aware of momentariness of thoughts and the experience of pain and misery?  If all that exists is void, there must still be a perceiver of the void. Otherwise, who or what is there to assert that void?”

Learning about these intellectual discussions does not contribute one bit in one's spiritual journey, except to keep the flame of self-discovery going.  

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