What Is Advaita?
Aye aye, Robot
An utterly poor definition of Advaita
What is Advaita? It’s a tough question… to answer. I could spew words out about it for hours and never pinpoint it. (But isn’t that true of everything?)
I think I have gone into a bit in another hub, but maybe I’ll give a more comprehensive answer here.
First of all, let’s do the obligatory verbal breakdown: Advaita is an old Sanskrit word which basically means “not two”. A (not) + Dvaita (two) = not two, or nondual. Anyway, that is the academic definition.
Advaita in a more practical sense refers to a branch of Vedantic philosophy emanating out of ancient India. It is one school of thought in the big, old pot of fun called the Hindu religion.
What does it postulate?
Some modern teachers of Advaita (or nonduality) have come to focus on a
couple different aspects of the Truth. People like Ramesh Balsekar,
Tony Parsons, John Sherman, Adyashanti, Wayne Liquorman, and an
ever-growing host of other teachers talk about it in different ways.
Of course, the tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. So all words are lies.
My favorite 3 Advaita books (they can explain it better than me)
- The Ancient Indian Philosophy of Advaita Vedanta
In India are the oldest texts known to man. Their oldest holy books go way back into the B.C. era, and until relatively recently the nation had the largest GDP in the world. Advaita (Vedanta) is the final...
You don't exist
The you that you think you are is not real. It is a phantom. It is a false belief that was implanted into you when you were about two years old.
You think that you are an entity, a mind which sort of operates itself and the body hanging off of it. But can a thing really operate itself? Where does its power to do so come from? Where is the border that separates its autonomy from the outside world (which it has no control over)?
And what are you really? Are you the mind or are you a silent thing that’s behind the mind? Oh, you think you are a little nonphysical self that sees your own thoughts and then bats them around in order to get the body to do things, which in turn makes things happen in your life.
Advaita questions the assumption that there is a you in there which can “do” anything. Most people, I think, believe that they are in there somewhere. Yes, the world is big and powerful, and I have little say over most of it, especially when you start getting further out on the radius away from me. But right here, inside me, and within a few feet radius of me (and further if I use modern technology like the telephone) I can effect things. I can have an impact.
Still mo' Advaita
100% effect, 0% cause
Advaita pushes us to look at whether we have any causative power… at all. It says we are like the character on the movie screen. Or the leaf falling in the wind. It has no say in which way it falls. And it didn’t have a say in its own creation. It didn’t have a say in the patterns on it, or the distribution of its weight, the length of its stem. It had no say because there really is no “it”.