« Dogen's branding of Zen | Main | The symbolic lotus »

January 27, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Nice posting. Do you know about these Sanskrit books?


We should note also that what is commonly called Hinduism nowadays is mainly an invention of 19th century Western scholars. These notions have then being accepted by reformed Hindu organizations like the Brahmasamaj or Aryasamaj. I would call that post-Victorian reformed Hinduism. Of course, there is no creator in the Hindu religion that could be compared to the God of three monotheist religions. Brahma only symbolizes the principle of creation or expansion, like Shiva symbolizes the force of dissolution and involution. Hindu mythology is only a poetic metaphor of the highest mystical and philosophical insights of yogis and seers (rishis).

Now a last point of apparent disagreement that comes to mind could be the cast system. But here also one should be aware of the fact that yogis and sadhus (wandering ascetics) are de facto beyond casts. Needless to say, the early Buddhist sangha was an order of sadhus or sramanas.

In some South Indian sources, Buddha-dharma is mentioned as one of the orthodox darshanas (visions of reality), like Vedanta, Samkhya, Mimamsa, Yoga, Nyaya or Vaisheshika. It is true that other sources only recognize six orthodox darshanas. In this case, Buddhism and Jainism are called heterodox since they do not recognize the binding authority of the Vedas. But then, we must also keep in mind the fact that many Hindu tantric schools (Kaula, Mishra, Samaya, Nath, Aghora, Kapalika, etc.) are also considered heterodox from a strict orthodox Hindu perspective. Interestingly, these heterodox Hindu schools had a deep influence on Vajrayana.

-Alex W.

In my undestanding, both aim at one "thing" that they both call the natural state (and both are nourishing my practice). One can find ample evidence of this by studying teachings on Advaita Vedanta, such as the sayings of Ramana Maharshi or the "Amrut Laya" of Siddharameshwar Maharaj. Comparing traditional texts like the "Avadhuta Gita" or the "Kunjed Gyalpo", a Dzogchen tantra, is worth the effort. Another text worth studying is "Mahamudra Quintessence of Mind and Meditation" by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal which some may argue it is not Buddhism. Well maybe they are right, it is only Buddhadharma (that is included in Sanathana Dharma, a more suitable term to me than Hinduism) ! But in the end, only direct experience matters, doesn't it?


While you are correct in that during the sinicization of Buddhism various concepts (e.g. atman, tathagatagarbha, Buddha nature, original enlightenment, etc.) were introduced which are decidedly non Buddhist, making the mistake of thinking that those concepts are Buddhist and using them as a basis for claiming that Buddhism and Hinduism are not different is simply, well, naive.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo