Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta - Are Nirvana and Moksha the Same?
David Loy National
Univ. of Singapore

an interesting read :)

WHAT MOST distinguishes Indian from Western philosophy is that all the important Indian systems point to the same phenomenon: Enlightenment or Liberation. Enlightenment has different names in the various systems -- kaivalya, nirvana, moksha, etc. -- and is described in different ways, but the similarities among them are great. Perhaps the most significant is the agreement that enlightenment is intellectually incomprehensible; it cannot be understood or attained through conceptual knowledge, because it escapes all categories of thought. Hence Indian philosophy points beyond itself to a realization which transcends philosophy.

This paper will consider one crucial aspect of Indian philosophy: what happens when one attains enlightenment. The experience of attaining enlightenment is not merely one of many aspects which could be examined; it is the most critical one. It is the hinge upon which each metaphysic turns, for in each system it is enlightenment which finally and indubitably reveals the true nature of reality. I shall consider how this aspect is treated in three important Indian systems: Samkhya-Yoga, early Buddhism, and Shankara's Advaita Vedanta.

The issue is this: Since enlightenment itself transcends all conceptual understanding, are these different philosophies referring to the same experience? It is difficult not to suspect this. It may be that there are different types of enlightenment, but it seems more likely that various characteristics are stressed because of the differing metaphysical systems within which enlightenment occurs. For example, Samkhya-Yoga may emphasize the isolation from and indifference to the natural world which kaivalya (lit., "aloofness") brings because it is based upon the ontological dualism of a purusha (pure consciousness) which realizes its distinction from prakrti (everything else). This paper will not attempt to resolve the contradictions between these three philosophies; as metaphysical systems they are irreconcilably different. Samkhya-Yoga is dualistic, early Buddhism may be considered pluralistic, and Advaita Vedanta is monistic. The issue is whether it is possible to understand these various systems as describing the same phenomenon from differing perspective...

An ideal religion to end spiritual suffering.

One day i asked God how does it feel to be a buddhist.

After a few moments, i began to feel differently.

It was as if my spirit had gotten number and lighter.

Though it feels number, all your spiritual suffering goes away.

Also i began to view God from a different perspective. It was as if there is a Force in the universe Who is guiding and protecting us.

If you ask if there is any negative side, i say yes.

After you practice Buddhism, you feel spiritually numbed and your fighting force lessens considerably. If you're in the military, consider carefully.

In addition, though Buddhism is not godless, you feel something is missing in it. It's humanistic, not godless, yes. However if you're previously a God believer, you notice the absence of a All mighty God.
A fact. I strongly believe that they are a gift for humanity to find peace. Even their perception of God is different from that of Abrahamic religions, they are great for one's psyche and many other things.

Before, i was looking at them like they are unnecessary and like fairy tales. However, one day, this has changed. I prayed God to experience what's Buddhism like. He accepted my prayer and i became psychologically a Buddhist. It was amazing. I felt as if, my psyche was given some drug to feel freed of spiritual distresses. And i enjoyed it so much. Similar for Taoism. It's a bit pacifying, anyway among all religions, it's the one with least restriction. Therefore i can say they provide great benefits. Though not the ultimate truth, a way to understand Universe and life.

If you ask me, what's my choice, i could say my favorite is Abrahamic derivatives. Because God is outside the Universe as much as He's inside the Universe, which is their belief. Might depend from person to person. Some seek peace, some want to serve Creator. Anyway they are some kind of great alternatives.

A small essay i wrote

Thanks for reading :-)


FOTCM Member
Bosphorous, you've already posted about Buddhism here: Buddhism - rather than open a new thread to post the above, because they're essentially about the same topic, you could post it in the Buddhism thread you opened. Maybe a mod could merge?

When opening new threads it is suggested that members do a search to see if there is already a thread on the topic, that way there aren't lots of threads being opening about the same thing, and also Mods then don't have to spend their time merging threads. It's just the considerate thing to do. Perhaps you could try to do that in the future?
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