Upanisad buddha

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A comparative study of the teachings of the Upanisads and those of the Buddha.

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Upanisad buddha

  1. 1. The Essence of Spiritual Development as Taught by The Upanisads and the Buddha – A Comparative Study Prof. P. L. Dhar I.I.T. Delhi
  2. 2. Comparison based on “Theory” • Varied interpretations of Upanisads & Buddha’s Teachings • They are the same--highlighting the similarities : law of karma, rebirth, transitory nature of individual existence • There are irreconcilable differences: GOD, Atman, Nature of world, Enlightened Being after death etc. • Not of much importance from a “practical” point of view
  3. 3. The Upanisadic Path • Cause of Suffering : “avidyadosena vidyamanasya atmanah tiraskaranat” --- Sankaracharya – denial of everpresent Atman through spiritual blindness • Spiritual development: realizing that we are not the body-mind complex but the eternal Atman • How to do so ?
  4. 4. The Upanisadic Path • (b) Satyena labhyastapasa hyesa atma Samyagjnanena brahmacaryena nityam; • Antah sarire jyotirmayo hi subhro Yam pasyanti yatayah ksinadosah – Mundudaka Upanisad (III.1.5) • This Atman can be realized by the constant practice of truth, self-control, true knowledge and chastity. The self controlled ones, freed from sin, realize Him, the luminous and the pure One, within their own being.
  5. 5. The Upanisadic Path • (d) Drsyate tvgryaya buddhya suksmaya suksmadarsibhih – Katha Upanisad (III.12) – “The Atman is certainly realized by the one-pointed minds of those who are capable of seeing subtle truths, by minds which have been trained to grasp subtler and subtler facts.”
  6. 6. The Upanisadic Path • (g) Yacchet vak manasi prajnah, tat yacchet jnana atmani; Jananam atmani mahati myacchet, tat yacchet santa atmani – (Katha Up III. 13) • “Let the wise man merge the speech in the manas, and the manas in the buddhi; let him merge the buddhi in the great self (mahat), and that great self, again, in the Self of peace (the Atman or Purusa) • Consolidation by Patanjali , Bhagwad Gita
  7. 7. The Upanisadic Path :Patanjali’s Yoga • 1. Yama (i.e. abstention from injury (ahimsa), untruth (satya), stealing (asteya), incontinence (abrahmacarya) and acquisitiveness (aparigraha) • 2. Niyama (observances like cleanliness (sauca), contentment (santusa), austerity (tapah), self-study (swadhyaya) and surrender to God (iswarpranidhana) • 3. Asana (posture) • 4. Pranayama (regulation of breath)
  8. 8. The Upanisadic Path :Patanjali’s Yoga 5.Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses from their respective objects) 6.Dharana (contemplation) 7.Dhyana (one-pointed attention) 8.Samadhi (absorption/concentration)
  9. 9. The Upanisadic Path • Object of Meditation : Numerous suggestions , visualization, verbalization, mystic syllable OM • Bhagwad Gita– Yukta asita matparah :“the thought of God” ; atmasamstham manah kritwa, i.e. mind firmly fixed on the Self • Deep Absorption leads to purification of mind and eventually to merger with “Self”
  10. 10. • Cause of suffering : Avidya or ignorance • Avidya: ignorance giving rise to tanha due to instinctive reactions to the bodily feelings, the sensations , which are mostly below the threshold of our normal awareness • Tanha makes the mind impure which leads to suffering • Complete eradication of tanha by following the Noble Eight-fold Path The Buddha’s Path
  11. 11. • The Practice of Eightfold Noble Path • Sila : samma vaca , samma kammanta, samma ajivo • Samadhi : samma vayamo , samma sati , samma samadhi – emphasis of samma sati : fourfold => kaya.., vedana.., citta..., dhamma….anupassana • Pannya: samma sankappo, samma dithi The Buddha’s Path
  12. 12. • Samma dithi is the Liberating insight yam kinci vedyati dukkhasmim • This can arise only though practice of samma sati --especially the non-reactive observation of the sensations yatha bhuta-nana-darsanam • This leads to purification of the mind by slowly changing our deep rooted habit pattern of instinctual response to sensations and eradicating tanha The Buddha’s Path
  13. 13. • Two types of Meditation : . samatha- bhavana and vipassana-bhavana : (Development of ) Tranquility and Insight • Samatha :Tranquility due to increased concentration : 40 objects of meditation including one’s own respiration (Anapana) – doesn’t lead to complete extinction of suffering since some anusaya kilesa buried in deep unconscious mind , do not get eradicated The Buddha’s Path
  14. 14. • Vipassana, or insight meditation also begins with concentration exercises…….but after mind is relatively free from distractions we begin to examine with full awareness all that is happening in the body-mind complex ,which thereby reveal their basic characteristics of impermanence (anicca) and impersonality (anatta). • Detailed Instruction in Mahasatipatthana suttam The Buddha’s Path
  15. 15. • Complete purification of the mind prepares the ground for the final leap into Nibbana , the transcendental Reality • This naturally leads to transmutation of the consciousness as old habit patterns are extinguished completely, without any residue. • Pure mind has innate characteristics of metta, karuna, mudita and uppekkha The Buddha’s Path
  16. 16. Comparative Analysis • Similar preparatory steps : yama panc-sila • Need for calming and gaining mastery over the mind to become Avrattcaksuh • Suggest different objects to increase the concentration power of the mind • Final step : – Upanisadic : meditation on “self” , OM – The Buddha : satipatthana leads to Nibbana • The main distinction : no observation of somatic sensations/feelings in Upanisadic path
  17. 17. Concluding Remarks • The essence of spiritual development : Purification of the mind • Final steps differ …… but not contradictory ,any one can verify the claims !! • “Practical” result of the practice : metta , karuna, mudita , upekkha • Any path leading to such qualities should be welcome!!
  18. 18. Thank you !! Bhavatu sabba Mangalam!

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