Vaishnava view on Buddhism, Jainism, and Tantric philosophy

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

(From "Sampradaya: Asat-Sampradayas" - click to read more from it.
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– Why did Buddhism and Jainism appear in the world?

– By composing selfish religious literature, the so-called Brahmanas began to cheat people. Being unable to fight, so-called kshatriyas lost their kingdoms and eventually began to preach Buddhist philosophy. The so-called vaishyas began to preach philosophies like Jainism. As a result, India lost a great deal of business. The so-called sudras, being unable to engage in their natural service activities became plunderers. The study of Vedic literature gradually diminished. Taking advantage of the situation, the kings of the mleccha countries attacked and conquered India. (Caitanya-siksamrta 2/3)

– Why these philosophies of ultimate emancipation or nirvana are considered to be an atheism?

– Since Buddha opposed the Vedic injunctions, Vedic Aryans called him an atheist, but the Mayavadis’ propagation of atheism under the shelter of the Vedas is more dangerous than Buddhism because an enemy in the guise of a friend is more dangerous than an enemy. (Commentary on Caitanya caritamrta Madhya 6.168)

– What is the brief history of Buddhism and Jainism?

– According to Buddhism, after many births of practicing kindness and renunciation, one becomes first a bodhisattva and finally a Buddha. In this philosophy by practicing humbleness, peacefulness, tolerance, kindness, selflessness, meditation, renunciation, and friendliness, the soul eventually attains parinirvana. In parinirvana the soul no longer exists. In ordinary nirvana the soul continues to exist in a form of mercy. The followers of Jainism say that by practicing kindness and renunciation, and by cultivating all virtues, the soul gradually passes through the stages of Naradatva, Mahadevatva, Vasudevatva, Paravasudevatva, Cakravartitva, and, at the end, attains nirvana, Bhagavattva.

Buddhism and Jainism both accept the following ideas: “The material world is eternal.” “Karma has no beginning, but it does have an end.” “Existence is suffering, and cessation of existence (parinirvana) is happiness.” “Jaimini’s karma-mimamsa philosophy, which claims to accept the authority of the Vedas, is inauspicious for the living entities.” “Cessation of existence (parinirvana) is auspicious for the living entities.” “Although they are masters of the followers of karma-mimamsa, Indra and the devatas are servants of the sages who seek nirvana.” (Tattva-viveka 1/13)

– When the philosophy of Godless secularism was very prominent in India; when the Vedic literature, which is full of transcendental truths, was accepted only as religious literature; when the mundane brahmanas promoted secularism as the path of the Vedas; and when such brahmanas tried to attain sense gratification by performing sacrifices and searching after perpetual happiness and the association of the Apsaras in heaven after their death, at that time Sakyasimha established Buddhism.

Becoming dissatisfied with material happiness, Sakyasimha, who was born in the family of a kshatriya, established the philosophy of Buddhism, whose ultimate goal is the happiness of nirvana.

There is much evidence that even before Sakyasimha, others preached the philosophy of attaining the “happiness” of nirvana. However, since the time of Sakyasimha, this philosophy has been widely accepted, the followers of Buddha have accepted Him as the original preacher of this philosophy.

Before and at the same time as Sakyasimha, a scholar named Jin, born in a vaishya family, preached a similar philosophy to that of Buddhism. The name of this philosophy was Jainism. Jainism was confined in India. The philosophy of Buddhism however crossed the rivers, mountains, and oceans and spread to countries like China, Tatara, Shyama, Japan, Burma, and Sri Lanka. (Tattva-viveka)

– Is there any philosophy of nirvana like Buddhism and Jainism in the Western countries?

– A philosophy of ultimate emancipation or nirvana similar to that of Buddhism and Jainism has been preached in Europe. The people of Europe call this religion Pessimism. There is no difference between Pessimism and Buddhism except that in Buddhism, the living entities are suffering birth after birth and in some lifetime they will accept the process of nirvana, gradually attain nirvana the ultimate nirvana. But the philosophy of Pessimism does not accept reincarnation. (Tattva-viveka 1/13)

– From which philosophy has the tantric philosophy appeared?

– There are various opinions regarding the tantras: it cannot be said that they have arisen from a particular philosophy. That which is accepted in one place is rejected in another place. In different places, the Para Brahman, material nature, or the living entity are accepted as the doer of everything. In this philosophy, the living entities are sometimes accepted as false and sometimes as truth. (Tattva-viveka 1/14)

– What is the real form of the philosophy of tantric power?

– The various sadhanas that are described in the tantras — such as lata-sadhana, the ritual of performing illicit sex, panca-makara-sadhana, the ritual activities of sex and the consumption of wine, flesh, and fish, and sura-sadhana, the ritual of drinking wine, certainly do not appear to be taken from any religious philosophy. They are nothing more than the philosophy of secularism and Comte’s concocted philosophy of worshiping women. (Tattva-viveka 1/14)

– From where did the philosophy of Saivite come?

– In our opinion, the philosophy of Saivite emanated from the Sankhya philosophy of pseudo Kapila. However, there is a great deal of respect for material nature in this philosophy, and therefore ignorant people mistakenly think it is the same as tantric philosophy. In the tantric philosophy, two seeds have been compared to the enjoyer and material nature, but in conclusion, material nature has been accepted as the creator of spiritual variegatedness. (Tattva-viveka 1/14)

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Harih Om Tat Sat.

Natural Brotherhood (Bhaktivinoda Thakura):

BhaktiVinoda Thakura

"Gradually, when the offensive portions of the established religions are destroyed, there will be no more differences in the bhajana performed by the various Sampradayas nor any quarrel between them.

Then as brothers, the people of all castes and countries will spontaneously chant the Holy Names of the Supreme Lord together.

At that time, no one will hate anyone or consider others dogeaters; nor will anyone be overwhelmed by the pride of high birth.

The living entities will not forget the principle of natural brotherhood."

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