(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
2. This craving for eternal self-existence is the cause of pain.
3. To eliminate the craving for eternal self-existence is the extinction
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
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
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
2. Whatever work for goodness is done to benefit others and not for one's
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
6. Pray to Buddha to live here forever--to be zealous and get rid of
7. Turn the merits to all sentient beings--to be kind and get rid of
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
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
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:
- 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
- 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."
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."
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.
- 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.
- As their meditation
is moved by the
there seems that
some things appear
which is what
is thought of
in their sixth
and that they
mistake as the
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
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
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
"Me", thought and what this resort is, is in the supreme imperishable
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
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
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 Vaishravana 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.
- Buddhism is not merely a religion for the Ch'anist never worships a
god or repeats an incantation or holds a ritual.
- Buddhism is not merely a philosophy for the ideas come not
from any thinker but from Buddha's wisdom.
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
- Buddhism is
not any "ism" either
monism or dualism,
or theism or
idealism or personalism
any "ism" you
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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