Search & Read
The Limitation of Buddhism and Yoga
Ram: Dear Babs, it was very nice to speak with you the other day. I am happy that your spiritual work has led you to inquire about Advaita, non-duality. As perhaps you know I have been a teacher of Advaita for over thirty-five years. As such I know quite a bit about the subject. I am enclosing a thirty-page pamphlet that I wrote a couple of years ago that explains what Advaita is. I think you will find it useful. I can also recommend other books. However, I think you should know that reading books on Vedanta as well as other spiritual paths without the help of a teacher can easily lead to confusion.
The big advantage you have is that through your meditation practice you have experienced non-dual reality, what Vedanta calls the “self” and the Buddhists call the “Buddha nature,” so all that is left for you is to understand what this experience is and how it relates to who you are. Because of your experience, the teachings of Vedanta should be quite easy to assimilate.
However, if you have studied Buddhism there may be difficulty with the language of Vedanta insofar as it uses different terms. If you really want to get clear what is happening with you and who you really are, then I think you should be prepared to learn the Vedantic language. You will find many of the same ideas in Vedanta that you find in Buddhism, and in fact both are means of liberation, but mixing the two will only confuse you. If you are ready to move beyond the Buddhist formulation (I would recommend that you keep up your mediation practice, however) and you find Vedanta appealing, I can help you make the transition. Vedanta is not a religion or a belief system of any kind and has no problem with spiritual and religious practices that one does.
Many people nowadays are moving from Yoga and Buddhism to Vedanta as they develop spiritually because it is the most clear and comprehensive means of liberation available and because it most clearly addresses the question of the limitations of spiritual practice. Furthermore, both Yoga and Buddhism do not adequately address the “who am I?” issue – which is the final problem to be resolved for any spiritual person. I am not in any way disparaging Buddhism or Yoga, because they are very useful in preparing the mind for enlightenment. But the emphasis on practice is a severe limitation because enlightenment, liberation, is not something that can be achieved through karmic means. It is the very nature of the self and can only be realized, not achieved.
Anyway, we will talk about it when I come to visit and we will see if I can be of further assistance to you.