Philosophic Background

CW28:No.31
(Chapter 26 of "Discriminations Between Buddhist and Hindu Tantras.")

Yogi C. M. Chen


In general, philosophers divide the process of development in all religions into three progressive degrees. The first one is believing in nature; the second, developing an excellent character; the final and highest one, Truth. Vedic philosophy belongs to the first stage as the four Vedas were written by some sages of Brahmanism for an ancient people who were not well educated and who had some basic sense of prayer and sacrifice. The Rigveda is a Veda of hymns and praises, the Yujurveda of prayers of sacrificial formulas, the Samaveda of tunes and chants, and the Atharvaveda of the officiating priests at the sacrifices. The Rigveda sacrificial hymns are offered to atmospheric gods of thunder storms, wind, sun, moon, and stars, to all uncontrollable forces of nature. Among all these Vedic doctrines the fundamental idea of transmigration and Ahimsa is never mentioned but on the contrary many animal victims are needed for sacrifice. Therefore, besides nature worship and polytheism we cannot say that there is within the Vedas any complete practical system of philosophy leading all human beings to a liberated state. Buddha has a criticism on the first three vedas as is stated in the Tevigga Sutra: "Again Vasettha, if this river Akiravati were full of water, even to the brim and over-flowing and a man with business on the other side, making for the other side, bound for the other side, should come up and want to cross over but he standing on this bank, should invoke the further bank, and say "Come hither, O further bank come over to this side." Now what do you think Vasettha? Would the further bank of the river Akiravati by reason of that man's invoking and praying and hoping and praising, come over to this side?"

"Certainly not, Gautama." "In just the same way, Vasettha, do the Brahmans versed in three vedas, omitting the practice of which really makes a man a Brahman and adopting the practice of these qualities which really make men nonBrahmans, say thus "Indra we call upon,Prajapati we call upon, Soma we call upon,Varuna we call upon, Brahma we call upon, Yama we call upon. Verily, Vasettha, that those Brahmans versed in the three vedas but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans that they, by reason of their invoking and praying and hoping and praising, should after death and when the body is dissolved become united with Brahman--verily such a condition of things can in no wise be." Buddha again made his conclusion and added: "Therefore is it that the threefold wisdom is called a pathless jungle, their threefold wisdom is called perdition." But Buddhism has a complete practical system of philosophy leading all sentient beings across transmigration and allowing them to attain ultimate liberation. To repeat, philosophers always divide the development of all religions into three progressive degrees from polytheism to monotheism and from this to atheistic atheism. Atheism has two meanings: (a) the belief that there is no God at all, (b) the Buddhist belief that there is no absolute God in reality. Vedic philosophy is polytheistic; you can find the names of many different deities in the four vedas. Latter-day Hinduism is monotheistic as some Hindu people believe in only Brahma as God, while others believe in only Shiva, and others in Krishna. Buddhism is neither polytheistic, monotheistic nor atheistic atheism. In its final truth it does not allow that there is any absolute God. It seems atheistic to the beginner--the less educated person who believes in the deities of nature--but Buddhists never do anything against the deities of others as Christians do. Buddhism may seem to be polytheistic, nevertheless, Buddhists also emphasize that every sentient being is in one Dharmakaya. It seems to be monotheistic, but this is only to the moderately-educated person. For the wise person who knows the Truth of voidness, there is the Ch'an School which seems to be atheistic. Here I would like to introduce a story of a well known Ch'an monk.

Once a monk named Tien-Yen went to a temple in the winter. He was suffering from cold and took a wooden Buddha image to make a fire. Then a boy of that temple told about this with anger to his master, the abbot. The abbot asked Tien-Yen, "Why should you do this?" Tien-Yen said, "I wanted to get some holy relics from this image of Buddha by burning it." The abbot said, "This is made of wood. How can you get any relics?" "You fool!" Tien-Yen immediately said, "Then I may use this wood for a fire and why should you forbid me to do so?" Thereupon the abbot welcomed Tien-Yen into his own room. A Ch'an monk never takes Buddhism as either polytheism or monotheism. He believes only the truth of Ch'an. No Buddhist worships Gautama as an absolute god, as a Hindu does.

Although there are many schools of Indian philosophy, only Jainism and Brahmanism occurred in the same generation as Buddhism. The materialist school and the other six schools were later than Buddhism. The western philosophers mistake the birthday of Buddha Gautama as in the sixth century B.C. But according to the history of China, Buddha was born in the Chou Dynasty, Empire-Chao twenty-sixthth year, the year 1027 B.C. and on that holy day a special astronomical event was visible which occurs only at the appearance of a Buddha. From Gautama Buddha's birth until the birth of the next Buddha, there will be no such particular sign in the sky as appeared on that holy date.

According to the history of Tibet, the holy day is also 360 years earlier than the recorded sixth century B.C. In the early years of Buddhism there were only the three vedas mentioned by Buddha himself and many records of arguments with Jains and Brahmans, but nothing described the six schools of Indian philosophy. What I mentioned as the six gurus in the chapter on supernatural power are different from the six systems of Indian philosophy.

The six gurus were named Purana-Kasyapa, Maskari-Gosaliputra, Sanjaya-Vairatiputra, Ajita-Kesakambala, KakudaKatyayana and Nirgrantha-Jnatrputra. They were the six heretical teachers living at the same time as Gautama Buddha. Purana-Kasyapa held to annihilationism, Maskari-Gosaliputra to naturalism, Sanjaya-Vairatipurtra to natural annihilationism as a mass of threads pulling off from a hill will finish by nature. Ajita-Kesakambala held to Asceticism. Kakuda Katyayana held to a philosophy of uncertainty, everything may be form or non-form, and Nigrantha-Jnatrputra held to fatalism. They all rejected Buddhism.

As regards the six schools of Indian philosophy, they are named Nyaya, Sankhya, Vaisesika, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta. They all occurred later than Buddhism. Vedanta means the end of the Veda and is also called Uttara Mimamsa which means later investigation. It is attributed to Jaimini of the fourth, fifth century A.D. The Sankhya school is founded by Kapila whose age is not clear to historians but had expression in a poem attributed to Isvara Krishna who lived in the fourth century A.D.

The yoga school was formulated by Patanjali. His age is mentioned in three different records; one is 200 B.C., while the other is 300 A.D. and the other is 400 A.D. No matter which one is right, they are all later than the age of Buddha Gautama. These six philosophies are later than the age of early Buddhism.

Although they all regard the Vedic philosophy, they are different from one another to a great extent on some points. This is because the vedic scriptures have not shown a complete and perfect philosophic system very clearly. Only the Vedanta and Mimamsa are based on the Vedic philosophy while the other four schools are based upon it and have their own independent philosophic ideas. As for Jainism and Materialism or Chanakas, even the value of the Vedas are refuted as well as Buddhism.

All these systems start with the fact that there are spirit and matter, consciousness and unconsciousness and all are apparent and real. Sankhya, Vedanta and Shakta Agama are called the first Purusha, Brahma, Shiva, and the second Prakriti, Maya Shakti, respectively. All agree that this is from the association of the universe. All again agree that the first principle is infinite formless consciousness and the second is a finishing principle which makes forms. Thirdly, all regard this last as a veiling principle which veils consciousness, and hold that it is eternal, all pervading, existing now as seed and now as fruit, composed of the gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, unperceivable except through the principle of nature. In all it is the material cause of the material universe. But all these three identifications of ideas of the six schools are rejected by Buddhist philosophy.

Buddhism does not allow that there is a permanent consciousness being the eternal or infite principle or truth. The consciousness itself still belongs to the ignorance system, which should be transformed into the Buddhist wisdom of voidness or of non-egoism. What Indian Philosophy calls the two main principles of Shakti and Shakta, are like the Taoist Yin and Yang, because both of these two principles belong to the ignorance system. Their difference is only in the degrees of ignorance, between subtle and gross. The universe including the world we live in is caused by the public karmas of ignorance; and the state of a human being, whether poor or rich, strong or weak, long or short-lived, handsome or ugly, is caused by his individual karmas of ignorance in his previous lives and this life.

Let us leave the problem of the age of both philosophies and compare the philosophic purports of Buddhism and modern Hinduism in the following paragraphs which may be taken as a total review of all of the last few chapters.

The fundamental discrimination between Buddhism and Hinduism is this. Buddhism is based on non-egoism, while Hinduism on egoism. The former is the system of enlightenment, the latter of ignorance. All the main ideas of Hinduism such as creator, soul, consciousness and intelligence are radically developed from the egoism that is the high-self or divine-self. The following quotations are proof taken from Hinduism's own doctrines:

1. The Aitreya Upanishad says, "In the beginning was Atman (Highself or Soul); verily one only was here--no other thing whatever. He bethought himself, "Let me now create the world."
2. The Prasana Upanishad says: "To them he said, 'Thus far, in truth, I know that supreme Brahma. There is naught higher than he.'"
3. The Mandukya Upanishad says: "For truly everything here is Brahma, this self is Brahma."
4. The Maitri Upanishad says: "Intellect, mind and egoism--this is the intelligence from."
5. The Katha Upanishad says: "Higher than the intellect is the Great-self."
6.The Chandogya Upanishad says: "Now that serene one who is rising up out of this body reaches the highest light and appears with his own form--he is the soul (Atman or self)."
7. The Prasana Upanishad says: "Truly this seer, toucher, hearer, smeller, conceiver, doer, the conscious self, the person--his resort is in the supreme imperishable soul (Atman-self)."

According to the above quotation 1) we know that the high self or egoism is the foundation of Hindu philosophy and what they are proud of regarding as the universal soul is this world which originally formed from their ignorance and not from that of wisdom of Buddhism. Please review Chapter 12 "Universe" and Chapter 1 "Microcosm and Macrocosm."

According to the above quotations 2) and 3) we know that this self is Brahma and Brahma is the Truth. Brahma has two characters, one is the God of Heaven while the other is pure consciousness. They emphasize that Heaven may be destroyed but the pure consciousness is eternal. Both are refuted by Buddha. Please review Chapter 10 "Buddha and Deity" and Chapter 22 "Wisdom".

According to the above quotations 4) and 5) we know that there is no excellent intelligence beyond the high-self or divine-self or great-self, for Brahma is higher than the intelligence. It is like the work "Shakti and Shakta" which says, "When the Brahma is known all is known". Hindu philosophy therefore has no more profound truth than egoism. But the non-egoism of Buddhist philosophy which is the reality and has been debated with many other religions gets a victorious reputation in every Buddhist country. Please review Chapter 24 "Ch'an and Shiva's 112 Meditative Ways".

According to the above quotation 6) we know that there is no excellent light which is beyond the high-self. But there are many kinds of holy light from Buddha which are without the hindrance of high-self. Please review Chapter 20 "Light" and Chapter 16 "Dream."

According to the above quotation 7) we know that their egoism is a spiritualism which is imperishable, or so they think. But in Buddhism the soul is a master of transmigration caught in endless pains which should be destroyed by the meditative force of non-egoism. It is just because the ego transmigrates through many lives that it becomes the object of destruction by Buddhist wisdom. But the Hindus keep their own foe as their own Lord.

Again, according to the above quotation 1) we know that Hinduism is involved with creation as well as Christianity and somehow it is like universalism but does not connect with optimism as American universalism does. Because they borrow the doctrine of karma from Buddhism, therefore there are some contradictions in their philosophy. By referring to the work "Shakti and Shakta" by Woodroffe, you will find out how many contradictions that philosophy contains.

It says on page 324, "The world is real, being unreal only in the sense that it is a shifting passing thing, whereas Atman as the true Reality endures. Bondage is real for Bondage is Avidyashakti, binding consciousness. Liberation is real for this is the grace of Vidyashakti. On page 366 it says, "In short, the Brahman may be conceived of as having twin aspects, in one of which it is the cause of the changing world and in the other of which, it is the unchanging soul of the world"

Thus everything either good or evil, either changeable or unchangeable, either this world or that of heaven, either bondage or liberation, all are Brahma. Then there is no necessity for religion and yoga. Then everything is created and destroyed, bound and released by Brahma Himself. That is all. There is no need of free will or practice. What will happen in this world? What kind of things are we? It is unreasonable.

Again, if this world is created by Brahma, it might contradict the doctrine of maya in Hinduism. They cannot but confess that the maya as a creative energy which fashions the world of phenomena is closely connected with the half mythological conceptions founded in the Pancaratra and Shiva philosophy which regards this creative illusion as a female force, indeed a goddess, thus the idea of maya in Hinduism is still a matter of fact. It is hardly to be renounced. Please review Chapter 12 "Universe" and Chapter 13 "Maya." And if maya appertains to Brahma, if it exists as his will, then why is it an evil, why should we be released from it? Ought not the individual soul who serves Brahma also serve him better by living gladly in the phenomenal world? If on the other hand maya is an evil or at least an imperfection, which is like rust on a blade or dimness in a mirror, then the edges of Brahma are weak and break into fragments.

Moreover, the Hindu tantra emphasizes that this world is true and it is the Lord's experience. It is written in "Shakti and Shakta" by Woodroffe, page 351, "Therefore the tantra shastra here spoken of deals with true bondage in a true world and aims at true liberation from it. It is Shakti who both binds and liberates and sadhana of Her is the means of liberation. Nothing is unreal or false, Shakti and Shakta creates and thus appears as the universe".

On page 30 in the same work it states, "Further, the world is the lord's experience. He as Lord is the whole experience and as creature, he is the experience of parts in it. The experience of the Lord is never unreal. The reality however, which changelessly endures may be said to be reality in its fullest sense."

Such a saying is unreasonable. It seems to make the powerful Lord as an oppressive authority to oppress the people to believe in Him. What an arbitrary philosophy it is. To express the maya in a statement of a philosophic system which seems very reasonable is the following words on page 10 of the same work, "Shakti and Shakta", "This maya shakti assumes the form of prakriti tattva which is composed of three gunas or factors called sattva, rajas and tamas. The function of prakriti is to veil, limit, or finitise pure infinite formless consciousness, so as to produce form, for without such limitations, there cannot be the appearance of these gunas work by mutual suppression. The function of tamas is to veil consciousness, of sattva to reveal it and of rajas the active principle to make either tamas suppress sattva or sattva suppress tamas.

These gunas are present in all particular existence as in the general cause or prakriti shakti. Evolution means the increased

operation of sattva guna. Thus the mineral world is more subject to tamas than the rest. There is less tamas and more sattva in the vegetable world. In the animal world sattva is increased and still more so in man who may rise through the cultivation of the sattva guna to pure consciousness itself".

Certainly the statement of the gunas is somewhat like the Idealism of Buddhism. But the Hindu Idealism is a kind of monistic Idealism and that of Buddhism is a psychology of the Dharmalaksana sect but not a final doctrine of reality. It is neither subjective idealism for it is caused by fundamental ignorance, nor is it objective idealism, for it should be transformed by the voidness-meditation into Buddha's wisdom. It is only to conveniently express all the Dharmas. No matter how convenient it may be, it is the master of transmigration which should be destroyed by non-egoism.

The Buddhist Idealism never says that the consciousness itself is absolute or is a high-self, but on the contrary, it is said in the Lankavatara Sutra (a main sutra of Idealist School) that, "Consciousness consisting of the skandhas, dhatus and ayatanas which are without a self or of anything of the nature of a self, arises from ignorance, karma and craving and it functions through being attached to grasping by means of the eye and all the organs and makes the presentation of its storemind appear as bodies and vessels, which are manifestations of its own mind unattainable like a river, a seed, a lamp, wind, a cloud, it is subject to destruction from moment to moment."

Further, the eighth consciousness described in Buddhism has three states of transformations. The evolution of the seeds that have ripened in the store-consciousness is the first transformation. The second transformation is the evolution of manas, the seventh consciousness in which the manas is accompanied by the heresy of a self. The third transformation is the perception of the sixfold objects, form and its colour, sound, scent, taste, touch and thing. The idea of a self consisting of the skandhas thus becomes concrete. The seventh consciousness is associated with all the modes of the senses and thought and other non-material activities of the individual. These are the samskaras of an ordinary person but not that of a Buddha. Because of the transformation of consciousness, itself is a false imagination. Everything thus imagined is in general parikalpita, falsely imagined and has no self-existence but the Hindus persist in believing in it very much.

In "Shakti and Shakta", page 300, three states of consciousness have been described:

1) "The supramental supreme consciousness disassociated from mind which is the basis of all this existence."

This is the Alaya or eighth consciousness in Buddhist terms. It is the high-self or Brahma in Hindu terms. Yet it is the main enemy which should be destroyed by the meditative force of non-egoism of Buddhism.

2) "Consciousness associates with mind in organic matter working through its vehicles of mind and matter."

In Buddhism this is the sixth consciousness which always makes the false imaginations and it appertains to the third transformation of the Alaya.

3) "Consciousness associated with and almost entirely veiled by inorganic gross matter only."

In Buddhism this is the "part of form" of the Alaya. It is the object of the "part of view" of the Alaya. All these three states of consciousness are appertaining to the ignorance system; when they are transformed into Buddha's wisdom they may then be belonging to the enlightened system.

All the above paragraphs are dealing with the consciousness in its transformed state. As for the pure consciousness in Hinduism, it is the eighth consciousness in Buddhism which I shall discuss in detail after the main subject of high-self of Hinduism is well settled in the following argument.

The main aim of Hindu tantra is as Sir John Woodroffe said in his work "Shakti and Shakta", page 231:

"Its principles admit a progressive revelation of the self to the self according to varying competencies and stages of spiritual advance, though each doctrine and practice belongs to varying levels and therefore the journey may be shorter or longer as the case may be, ultimately all lead to Vedasvarupa or knowledge of the self than which there is no other end."

But the Buddhist tantra lays most stress on the destruction of the self of sentient beings and that of phenomena. No matter whether the self is high or low, divine or human, individual or universal, all should be destroyed by the voidness meditation.

A. Buddhism not only never promotes high-self but also gives a great many doctrines to refute it. In the great Prajnaparamita Sutra, there are sixteen kinds of selves which are altogether refuted.

1. "I" as the self--They think of the five skandhas or aggregates as their selves, subject and object--but among these five aggregates we cannot find out which one is the exact self.
2. All the five aggregates gathered in one self--but it is only one false name called self which cannot find its own nature.
3. The liver who receives the reward of his own karma in this life is the self--but it is impermanent too. If it were a divine self, it should be a permanent one.
4. The root of life who keeps his life continually is the self-- but it is still followed by death.
5. The bearer who bears in this world is the self--but it will be the dier too.
6. The feeder is the self--but it will be the dier, too.
7. The one who gathered together the total members of five aggregates, the twelve sadayatanas or entries and eighteen dhatus or realms, is the self--but they will be dissolved too.
8. The one who is not like animal and can practise the Dharma is the self--but he may go up to the heaven or fall down to hell or become an animal according to his karma. He has no certainty.
9. The doer who can do every good deed is the self--but the doer may sometimes do good and sometimes do bad.
10. The master of the doer who can cause the doer to do good actions is the self. If the master is the self, then who is the doer? Could a self have two persons? It is unreasonable.
11. The raiser who can raise up the rewards of good or evil is the self--but how can divine self raise up evil rewards.
12. The master of the raiser who causes the raiser to raise up all the rewards of good and evil. It is similarly unreasonable as the master of the doer.
13. The receiver who will get a reward hereafter is the self--but when nothing is to be received, who is the self?
14. The master of the receiver is the self. This is unreasonable too.
15. The knower who knows there are five organs and five objects is the self--but if the self is the knower, who is the doer?
16. The seer who has eyes enabled to see everything is the self. If the seer were the self, then the hearer, the smeller, the taster, the toucher must each also be the self.

B. Buddhism not only negatively refutes doctrines of self as above but also positively gives a fundamental doctrine of non-egoism or of voidness to meditate upon. Thereby the self idea of human-self and of phenomenal-self may be destroyed and the function of voidness will act. There are eighteen degrees of voidness-meditations:

1. Internal voidness meditation--destroys the idea of self which rises up from the inner organs. The functions of supernatural power concerning the five organs will act.
2. External voidness meditation--destroys the self ideas of phenomena, and the functions of supernatural power concerning the universe will act.
3. Internal and external voidness in union--meditation destroys the self ideas among the five organs and its five objects. The functions of Dharmakaya will be developed.
4. Voidness itself meditation--destroys the ideas of self in the voidness. The Dharmakaya will be more clear than before.
5. Great element voidness meditation--destroys the self ideas in the four great elements. The four holy elements will function.
6. Supreme reality voidness meditation--destroys the ideas of self in the Reality. Even in the Nirvana, there is nothing that can be called the Divine self. The holy characteristics will appear.
7. Effective voidness meditation--destroys the ideas of self in every practical effection. Every practice becomes natural.
8. Ineffectual voidness meditation--destroys the self idea of voidness in the Nirvana. The Hinayana is enlarged and its functions are multiplied.
9. Ultimate voidness meditation--destroys the self ideas of all kinds without remainders. The Mahayana's Nirvana's brightness is deepened.
10. Beginninglessness voidness meditation--destroys the self idea in time and the non-death functions.
11. Dissolve voidness meditation--destroys the self idea in dispersed beings and dispersed things. All beings may be saved thereby.
12. Natural voidness meditation--destroys the self idea of nature. All things of nature united.
13. Self-form voidness meditation--destroys the self idea of its own form of phenomena, and of personality. Nirmanakaya functions.
14. All Dharma voidness meditation--destroys the self idea in every Dharma. Every kind of transformation functions .
15. Unattainable voidness meditation--destroys the self idea in the unattainable Dharma. The last supernatural power of non-leak or Arravaksayajnana functions, and Sambhogakaya appears.
16. Nothingness voidness meditation--destroys the idea in the nothingness. All obstacles are subdued.
17. Haveness voidness meditation--destroys the self idea in the haveness; rebirth of the nine haveness prevented.
18. Nothingness and haveness both in one voidness meditation--destroys the self of all phenomena in the three great periods.

C. In the Madhyamika school of Buddhism we find out many methods to practice the voidness meditation fruitfully.

1. The instruction of eight negations: a) without cessation b) without origination c) without cutting off d) eternal e) not the same f) not differentiated g) without coming h) without going.
2. The instruction of four points: a) there is nothing at all that has arisen from one's self b) nor from others c) nor from both d) nor without conditions.
3. The instruction of six parables which were taught by Buddha Gautama himself in the Diamond Sutra: a) dream b) maya c) bubble d)shadow e)dew f) lightning. In other sources there are eight similes. So should one look on compound things.

The founder of the Madhyamika school is the well known sage Nagarjuna. He refers and refutes the different ways of philosophic parties in the seventh century A.D.

D. But the Hindu philosophy is quite different from Buddhism.

1. There are those who imagine the existence of entities and they are said to be the three Hindu schools of karma: Mimamsa, Vaisesika, and Sankhya.
2. Those who deny existence are the Nastikas, materialists or nihilists. This is quite different from the sunyata of Buddhism. The shadow in the mirror should not be denied.
3. There are those who deny the existence of a past and future moral character composed of unconscious mental elements, but assert existence of the present. These are the Santrantikas. This is not like the complete sunyata of Buddhism.
4. There are those who deny the real existence of the falsely known but assert it of that which exists through conditions and of that which is thought in its true nature. These are yogacharas who became an important school. In Buddhism the condition of sunyata is also void on account of non-self.

E. Buddha Gautama was born in this world to carry on the great work of the destruction of the self. It is not only his doctrine of voidness but all of his preachings which are directed at the same aim, the destruction of self and the liberation from the fetters of self. The fundamental doctrine of the Four Truths, practised in Hinayana, teaches us that:

1. This self-existence with its birth, decay, death and sorrow is full of pain.
2. This craving for eternal self-existence is the cause of pain.
3. To eliminate the craving for eternal self-existence is the extinction of pain.
4. To give oneself up to self-mortification is the way leading to the extinction of pain.

F. Buddha Gautama gave us the noble eightfold path to lead us to the extinction of pain.

1. Right understanding is to know that the self is the root of all demerits.
2. Right mindfulness is to think of how to free oneself from self-view, self-love, self-pride and self-ignorance along with the lust, ill will and cruelty arising from the self.
3. Right speech is to avoid lying, tale-hearing, harsh language and vain talk to deceive others for oneself.
4. Right action is for one to avoid murder, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse for oneself and to do everything to benefit others and not for self-gain.
5. Right living is for one to get his livelihood by a right profession which never harms others and never for one's own selfishness and gain but only for lawful profits.
6. Right effort is to avoid or overcome the evil thought of self and demeritorious things caused by selfishness with teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the gums.
7. Right attention is to contemplate attentively upon the voidness of both the ego of beings and that of phenomena.
8. Right concentration is to enter into a state free from the thought of self either high or low.

G. There are six paramitas which are practised by every Buddhist:

1. Paramita of Almsgiving--by practising this, one destroys self-greediness and helps others to get what they want.
2. Paramita of keeping all the precepts--by practising this, one destroys self-loving and helps others on every occasion without hatred.
3. Paramita of humility--by practising this, one destroys self-pride and helps others to get rid of anger.
4. Paramita of Zeal and Perseverence--by practising this, one destroys self-aggrandizement and helps others to do something.
5. Paramita of Concentration--by practising this, one destroys all his selfish conceptions and helps others to get tranquility as well.
6. Paramita of Wisdom--by practising this, one destroys by the roots his self-ignorance and helps others to get enlightenment ultimately.

H. There are three cumulative commandments:

1. The formal, five, eight, ten or 250 vows which forbid all evils of selfishness.
2. Whatever work for goodness is done to benefit others and not for one's own advantage.
3. Whatever work is done is for the welfare or salvation of living beings and not for oneself.

I. There are four commandments of Bodhi-heart by which one may be trained to be faithful to every sentient being and to get rid of selfishness.

J. There are forty-five commandments of a Bodhisattva by which a Bodhisattva may be a good friend of sentient beings and would do nothing for himself.

K. There are seven conditions of good deeds of the great Bodhisattva named Samantabhadra which should be followed by every Buddhist:

1. Worship--to be humble and get rid of self-pride.
2. Praise--to be humble and get rid of self-recommendation.
3. Offering--to be generous and get rid of self-lust.
4. Confession--to be just and get rid of self-delusion.
5. Pray to Buddha to turn his Dharma wheel--to be devoted and get rid of self-conceit.
6. Pray to Buddha to live here forever--to be zealous and get rid of self-indulgence.
7. Turn the merits to all sentient beings--to be kind and get rid of selfishness.

Thus in the above several paragraphs a Buddhist theoretically learns how to destroy the self and actually practices to get rid of it. The good result is that all Buddhists who succeed in the voidness meditation of non-egoism can meet the Sambhogakaya from whom they can receive the doctrines of tantra. There were 1,000,000 great Buddhist yogis enlightened in ancient India. They all transformed their flesh bodies into light bodies like a rainbow and flew away to the pure land of Buddha. The most supreme Tantras of Vajrayana appeared.

Therefore the tantra in Buddhism is not like that of Hinduism which is only a systematization of vulgar magical rites together with its formulas and pantheism. It is a highly developed mysticism, a vajsrayana of highest wisdom. It is an innovation to the ancient theology. It is much more than a pagan system of worship and sorcery. It is a vehicle or a way to final liberation. The word vajra "lightning" was originally and still remains the weapon of Indra against his enemies. But vajra in Buddhism has assumed new meaning. It designates wisdom (vijnana), vajra-Bodhisattva or "Bodhisattva of wisdom", and vajra yogini, a gnostic dakini. There are so many vajrasattvas, beings of vajra, one of them is the supreme being, the Adi-Buddha who is the vajradhara par excellence in the perfect enlightenment that is in the wisdom.

On the other hand, vajra is the other name or variant of the male reproductive organ just as padma or lotus is the rendering of the female organ. The Vajrayana clings to the theory of universal voidness but develops the concepts of tathata, tathatagarbha, etc., and the result is non-dualism. The tantra maintains that all beings are vajrasattvas, are the unique vajrasattva, and they also maintain that the nature of vajra is imminent in all beings and can be actualized by appropriate meditations on voidness. The Hindu tantra which releases not the High Self cannot compare with the Buddhist tantra at all.

Most difficult among all the discriminations between Hinduism and Buddhism is this. Hinduism mistakes the Adana (Alaya-vijnana) as the great self and makes some modifications to this consciousness. Adana may easily be mistaken as wisdom by the Neophytes of the West and even of the East as well as by the Ch'anist. See the following quotations please.

A jnana yoga text says, "I am Brahma, soham, I am He. 'I' have neither hatred nor love, neither greed nor delusion, neither egotism nor pride, nor vanity, neither creed nor faith, nor aim nor desire for freedom. I am absolute existence, knowledge and bliss. I am He. I am He."

And in "Shakti and Shakta" by John Woodroffe it says: "It is of self-existence, unending, changeless, undifferentiated, spaceless, timeless, all-pervading, self-illuminating, pure experience."

And the Kularanva Tantra says, "Shiva is the impartial supreme Brahma, the all knowing creator of all. He is the stainless Lord of all. He is one without a second, He is light itself. He changes not and is without beginning or end. He is without attribute and above the highest. He is Being, consciousness and bliss."

All these quotations provide the same description of the Adana. They are easily mistaken by the western readers. It is like Ch'an. They do not know that it describes the Adana as concentration without movement by the sixth consciousness or by the mind. By persisting to hold the Adana as their High-self the following mistakes take place:

  1. When the meditation Adana appears, the sixth consciousness disappears and all thoughts cease, all sorrows are quenched. It seems the eighth consciousness is alone in the meditation without movement. As all the former five consciousness are quenched by this concentration, the inner body and outer phenomena all disappear. There is only the light and the pure consciousness. They persist in holding this pure consciousness as their High Self. This is the source of all the philosophic mistakes of Hinduism.
  2. In this pure consciousness meditation though there is light but this light is enveloped by this eighth consciousness or Adana or Alaya. It is only a light of heaven and not that of holy enlightened light which passes beyond the limitation of the eighth consciousness. Please review Chapter 20 "Light" and Chapter 16 "Dream."
  3. This pure consciousness meditation is persistently held by the seventh consciousness which is very close to the eighth consciousness as the self. Therefore though he is in meditation, he still keeps the voliton of High-self and He always says, "I am He, I am He. I am Brahma; I am Shiva."

  4. As the pure consciousness appears without hindrance and recollection before the sixth consciousness arises this meditation is easily mistaken as the pure truth which has neither subject nor object, neither love nor hate, is neither negative nor positive, just like the above quotations of Hindu works. But this pure consciousness is held by the seventh consciousness and easily moved by the sixth consciousness. It is still the master of transmigration. If it is transformed by the voidness meditation it may be the truth itself. But Hinduism never knows what voidness means. They never forget their High-self which is the obstacle of voidness and/or reality. Therefore they never get the truth of what they described.
  5. As they get the meditation of pure consciousness, they never see there is any worldly thing again, so they mistake this nothingness as the destruction aspect of Brahma.
  6. As their meditation is moved by the sixth consciousness, there seems that some things appear which is what is thought of in their sixth consciousness and that they mistake as the creation aspect of Brahma.

  7. As the sixth consciousness rises and many worldly things appear and many sorrows follow which are changeable, they cannot but call this the maya of Brahma and it is not to be renounced. Then many mistakes follow.

All the above criticisms of mine are very important to all religious persons. Please pay careful attention to them. Then you will never be deceived by non-Buddhist philosophy.

In the Sandhinirmocana Sutra our Lord Gautama taught us with a well known hymn that the Adana is easily to be mistaken as one's High-self or divine self:

Adana consciousness is very subtle.
Containing many seeds like a waterfall.
I dare not to tell it to every fool.
For he will mistake it as ego.

Unfortunately the Hindus hold the Adana as their High Self. We can find this idea everywhere in their doctrines.

1. The Mahanirvana Sutra of Hindu tantra, page 449, states, "The spirit is in its own nature the Eternal Witness, and like the Ether exists both outside and inside all things and has neither birth nor childhood nor youth nor old age, but is the mere feeling consciousness which is ever the same, knowing no change."

2. Again in the same sutra on page 450 it says, "Knowledge is consciousness, the object of knowledge is consciousness, the knower is consciousness. He who knows this knows the self."

3. In the Prasana Upanishad, it says, "Mind and what can be perceived, intellect and what can be conceived, egoism and what can be connected with "Me", thought and what this resort is, is in the supreme imperishable soul."

It is only in Buddhism that we can find a way to destroy the root of ignorance--the Adana. This is the fundamental differentiation between the two philosophies.

The profound methods of Buddhist tantra are an important work which transforms all the consciousness into Buddha's wisdom--either through mantra (please review the chapter on Mantra) or concentration of growing yoga or meditation on the oneness of four voidnesses corresponding with the four blisses. They all carry on with this same purpose, that is the transformation of the first five consciousnesses into Krtyanusthanajnana (wisdom of performance), the sixth consciousness into pratyaveksanajnana (wisdom of distinguishment), the seventh consciousness into the Samatajnana (wisdom of equal intention) and the Adana or the eighth consciousness into the Adarsanajnana (or wisdom of mirrorlikeness). Thus the master of transmigration, that is the Adana, the High-self, has been put to an end. We know that the Adana always comes first into the womb of one's mother before the body is formed and goes out at the end after one's elements and organs have vanished. If this consciousness is transformed into wisdom then transmigration will cease. This is the main purpose of Buddhism which is neglected in Hinduism.

Another difficult philosophic problem is whether the non-dualism of Hindu tantra is the same as that of the Buddhist tantra.

The Buddhist tantra seems a non-dualism as it is always said that the four voidnesses and the four blisses or pleasures are in oneness, that is, in non-dualism. Yet it is not like Shivaism which makes the active principle as male and the passive principle as female and both Shiva and Shakti are in non-dualism. For the Hindu, non-dualism is of the system of ignorance without the wisdom of voidness meditation, but the Buddhist non-dualism is of the system of enlightenment. In Buddhist tantra the female is the symbol of the wisdom of voidness while the male is the bliss of Buddha's pleasure. Both the four kinds of voidness and that of Blisses form the Buddhahood of Sambhogakaya of which there is no high-self (review Chapter 23 "Vajra Love").

Because the four kinds of voidness are not of nothingness, it is not negation and withdrawal from Truth. It is emptiness of the illusion of self, which makes the human believe it to be more important than the Truth. Each of them contain a kind of bliss or great pleasure. In the karmamudra in both sexes at four moments there arises the four blisses corresponding to the four voidnesses respectively.

Four Moments Four Pleasures Four Voidness

Stimulus Pleasure Great Voidness(Vicitra) (Ananda)
Elaborated Transport Supreme Reflex (Vipaka) (Paramananda) Voidness
Final Response Satiety Excellent (Vimarda) (Viramananda) Voidness
Afterconsummation Bliss Holy with awareness (Sahajananda) voidness (Vilaksana)

Here the four kinds of voidness in Vajrayana are quite different from the eighteen kinds of voidness in Mahayana. I will discuss them in detail in the next chapter.

I am very sorry to say that the egoism of Hinduism went from bad to worse, the utmost development of which is the Bhagavadgita. It is clear that in India the sacerdotal families acquired a position without parallel elsewhere and influenced its whole social and political history. In most kingdoms, powerful Hindu priesthoods were closely connected with the government under which they flourished and supported the secular authority. As a result of this alliance, kings and upper classes generally professed to protect orthodoxy. Hence, the Mahabharata epic took advantage of this necessity and proclaimed militarism. The wellknown Bhagavadgita which is studied by every family in India is a mixture of militarism and Hindu egoism. It emphasizes that to die in battle is very sweet. Through fighting, the soul will rise up to heaven and to fight with relatives is called their holy duty. The king and the young prince Arjuna occupy not even a page of the real Indian general history. The epic was actually written by a political ambitioner who wanted to take advantage of Hinduism and the higher castes to increase their people's boldness and become militaristic by which the force of the king might be protected forever. Therefore it emphasized that to fight and so slay is a duty of a Hindu in spite of any religious book. The Gita has been mixed with many sayings of yoga which are entirely contradictory to the misleading advice of fighting. The following verses in the Gita are its self-proof for this view point:

1. In the Gita, Chapter 11, verse 58, says, "When again as a tortoise draws its limbs in on all sides, he withdraws his senses from the objects of sense. This is his well-poised understanding." If so, why should you not draw in the limbs when fighting and slaying? On both sides of battle are brothers and both are in the same religion. Why should they fight each other? By what reason is it a duty!

2. In the same book, Chapter 2, verse 63, says, "Cometh forth; from anger preceedeth delusion, from delusion, confused memory." If so, why should you ask them to fight? Is fighting without anger, without confusing the memory of relatives and of the same religion?

3. In the same chapter, verse 66, says, "There is no pure reason for the non-harmonized." If so, your misleading advice about fighting is unreasonable. It is just like slapping your own face with your own palm.

Almost all of the verses teaching of yoga contradict its own misleading advice about fighting. I am just afraid to make this chapter too long and too complex so I will not quote anymore. It is certain that the egoism of the individual may be easily enlarged through national militarism. There is no other religion which mixes militarism as Hinduism does. By this Hindu militarism many pages of Indian history have been defiled with a great ocean of blood. The following historical events are the proof of this view point.

1. After Buddha Gautama's parinirvana, about 500 years later a great official named Jinamitra who was a Brahman killed many Buddhist monks and set fire to many Buddhist monastaries.

2. The well-known great Buddhist university with around eighty-four monasteries was burnt by two Brahmins. there was a great water which flowed from the sutra titled "Sacred Gathered Vajra" (Guhyasamaja) by which many sutras were saved from the fire. But many monks died in this conflagration.

3. Before Siladitya conquered the Kanyakubja there was a cruel king named Srishunkha who killed more than 300 great Buddhist sages with fire and enslaved many Buddhist monks and cut the root of the Bodhi tree under which Buddha Gautama was enlightened. Siladitya hated what the king Srishunkha had done. He vowed to Buddha and said that, "If I might be the king I will revive and spread the Dharma all over the country and if Buddha does allow me this grant, may this Bodhi tree grow up again immediately." Thereupon the Bodhi tree actually grew up and Siladitya eventually became king.

4. The Hindus not only killed many Buddhists but also killed many Jainists, according to the Tamil Puranas. The Shiva religion was firmly established by the cruel tortures inflicted on the Jains. Specific references is made to an earlier period when Jains were impaled on stakes.

Though all the political ambitioners utilized religious powers for their militarism, India was still conquered by the British Empire for a long time, and the success of the independence movement belongs not to militarism, the misleading doctrine of the Bhagavadgita, but to the ism of nonresistance of Mahatma Gandhi who was an inward Jainist and not a Hindu, and who was yet killed by a Hindu.

In Chinese Buddhist history there were many examples of making peace by prayers or by meditation or by supernatural power. Once the Ch'an monk named Yin-Fung was on a trip and passed by a civil war battle. He flew up to the sky and gave them merciful advice. They stopped and made friendship again. Please review the chapter on supernatural power in which I have described the guru who alone sat in meditation from which came many spiritual troops fighting away all the robbers around his temple. Those robbers who died in the battle became alive again when the matter was settled.

Another example of making peace by prayer in a Chinese sage's history is this. On the first year of Taipao of the Tang dynasty, there were five foreign countries of the western direction who gathered many troops and came to China to fight. The king asked the sage Amogha to come from India to pray for peace. All the foreign troops saw the heavenly troops in the sky and the king of the heaven named Vaisravana also appeared. All the foreign troops escaped without fighting. I do believe that the god Krishna is a protector of Buddha Gautama but what is described in the Gita is false. If it is real, the god Krishna might be born in the Brahmin caste but not as a low caste cowherder. He might again settle that war of relatives in peace by his supernatural power without giving a misleading doctrine which afterwards caused all its believers to be killers.

A Buddhist has no permission to murder, neither has he such a duty of fighting to keep his own political force. Lord Gautama, even though he was the only prince of his father the king, renounced his easy life for religious purpose. Would we criticize him that he was not a dutiful son of his father? All his followers, the Bodhisattvas, never killed others but killed themselves for the sake of offering and almsgiving. They never killed any others either for political power or for economic purpose.

It is told that Joyful-deed Bodhisattva gave his eyes as alms, Victory-deed Bodhisattva gave his ears, Pushpadanti Bodhisattva, his teeth, Avaitarika Bodhisattva, his tongue, All-almsgiving Bodhisattva, his flesh, Enlightened-king, his bones, good minded Bodhisattva, his head, Insatiable Bodhisattva, his heart and Ajita Bodhisattva, his whole body. There are still many good examples in the Avatamsaka Sutra. As for offerings, the All-like-to-see Bodhisattva burnt his body to offer to the Buddha named Sun-moon-holy-light who preached the Lotus Sutra to the All-like-to-see Bodhisattva. It is written in the Lotus Sutra.

My good readers, try to compare all these good examples with the story of the Gita. Make the comparison. Let me introduce some common sense of Buddhist philosophy in the following articles.

  1. Buddhism is not merely a religion for the Ch'anist never worships a god or repeats an incantation or holds a ritual.

  2. Buddhism is not merely a philosophy for the ideas come not from any thinker but from Buddha's wisdom.

  3. Buddhism is not merely negative with nothing to do with science but itself contains many kinds of science which cannot be refuted by the modern sciences as other sciences are refuted one by one, generation after generation as new information becomes known.

  4. Buddhism is not any "ism" either monism or dualism, either spiritualism or materialism, either socialism or universalism, either nationalism or individualism, either capitalism or communism, either pantheism or theism or deism, either idealism or personalism or impersonlism, either naturalism or non-naturalism.

  5. Buddhism is the truth itself, therefore it is the whole but not a part; if you describe it with any "ism" you can only point out its part but not its whole.
  6. Buddhism is the right way of mankind by which you may live rightly and recover your own Buddhahood.

Therefore, a man or woman who has a human body and has not learned Buddhism is not worthy to be a man or woman. Wandering between Buddhism and Hinduism is only wasting one's precious life. Nowadays the great leaders of India such as Nehru and his followers all keep their heart faith only in Buddhism. See the four headed lion which was on the great pillar of Asoka's golden age of Buddhism, now printed on their bank notes and impressed on coins. The Buddhist dharma wheel is the emblem of their national flag. A multitude of the people have been left in the Hindu faith. I hope they may be converted to Buddhism after reading this chapter.


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