Early Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism

The Mahāyāna Context of the Gauḍapādīya-Kārikā

By Richard King

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791425145, 341 pages, August 1995
Hardcover : 9780791425138, 341 pages, August 1995

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Table of contents



Recent Work on the Gaudapadiya-karika

Outline of the Monograph

1. The Date and Authorship of the Gaudapadiya-karika
The Identity and Date of Gaudapada
Authorship of the Gaudapadiya-karika


The Relationship Between the First and Second Prakaranas
The Relationship of GK II, III, and IV


The Gaudapadiya-karika and Bhavaviveka
The Author of the Fourth Prakarana and Buddhist Scholasticism

2. The Vedantic Heritage of the Gaudapadiya-karika
The Three Foundations (Prasthanatraya) of the Vedanta-Darsana
The Upanisadic Heritage of the Gaudapadiya-karika


Cosmogonic Speculation in the Upanisads
Psychology in the Upanisads
The Four States of Experience
The Mandukya Upanisad


The Bhagavadgita and the Gaudapadiya-karika
The Brahmasutra


Doctrines of the Brahmasutra


3. The Abhidharma Context of Non-Origination (Ajativada)
The Non-Origination Date of Dharmas--Absolutism and the Svaghava Debate in Buddhism
The Sarvastivada Abhidharma
The Nature of Samskrta and Asamskrta Dharmas


The Sautrantika Position: Asamskrta-Nairatmya


The Unique Particularity of Dharmas--A Mahayana Critique


The Non-arising (Anutpada) and Immutability of Dharmas


4. Non-Origination in the Gaudapadiya-karika: Early Vedantic Ontology and Madhyamaka Buddhism
Mahayana Buddhism and the Fourth Prakarana of the GK


The Two Truths in the Mahayana Tradition: The Nature of Samvrti
The Two Truths in the Gaudapadiya-karika


Foundations of Non-Origination: The Paradox of Change


Nagarjuna's Refutation of Absolutism (Svabhavavada) and the Gaudapadian Response
Emptiness (Sunyata) and Non-dualism (Advaita)


Non-Origination and Emptiness: The Madhyamaka and Advaita Perspectives

5. Asparsa-yoga in the Gaudapadiya-karika
Asparsayoga as a Meditative Technique


The Four States of Experience in the Agama-Prakarana (GK I)
Meditation on the Phoneme OM


Asparsayoga as a Description of the Ultimate State


The Attainment of Gnosis (Jnana) in the GK


Asparsayoga: The Gaudapadian Phenomenology of Perception


Non-contact (Asparsa) and Representation-Only (Vijnapti-matra)
The Yogacara Phenomenology of Perception
The Non-Veridicality (Vaitathya) of Waking and Dream Experience in the GK
Maya in the Gaudapadiya-karika


The Meaning of the Term 'Asparsayoga'

6. Gaudapadian Inclusiveness and the Mahayana Buddhist Tradition
The Gaudapadian Conception of Buddhism
The Theory of Non-Conflict (Avirodhavada) in the GK


Inclusivism in the Gaudapadiya-karika
The Bhavavivekan Response to the Vedantic Inclucivism of the GK


7. Absolutism in the BK and the Mahayana: the Tathagatagarbha Texts
The Tathagatagarbha Texts
The Systematization of Indian Tathagatagarbha: The Ratnagotravighagasastra
A Question of Hermeneutics: Is There a Mahayana Absolutism?


Tathagatabarbha and Two Types of Emptiness in Tibetan Mahayana


The Gaudapadiya-karika and Tathagatagarbha Buddhism

Appendix: A Running Translation of the Gaudapadiya-karika
Index of Verses

This book provides an in-depth analysis of the doctrines of early Advaita Vedanta and Indian Mahayana Buddhism in order to examine the origins of Vedanta.


This book provides an in-depth analysis of the doctrines of early Advaita and Buddhism that has important implications for the question of the relationship between Hindu and Buddhist thought. The author examines the central doctrines of the Gaudapadiya-karikain a series of chapters that discuss early Advaita in relation to the Abhidharma, Madhyamaka, and Yogacara schools of Buddhism. The question of the doctrinal diversity of Indian Buddhism is also discussed through an analysis of the concept of 'Buddha-Nature' and its relationship with Vedantic thought.

Richard King is Lecturer in Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland.


"The complex relationship between the Vedantic world of ideas and that of the Mahayana Buddhists has for a long time been either completely ignored by traditionalist Hindu scholars, or summarily paid lip service to by Western scholars as a form of 'crypto-Buddhism. ' Therefore, a thoroughgoing and well-documented investigation of each and every major Vedantic work's indebtedness to the Buddhist conceptual framework is of great importance for the understanding of Indian philosophical progress. " -- F. G. Sutton, Pace University

"King's fine grasp of Mahayana thinking enables him to read the Gaudapadiya-karika with insight and develop his argument with cogency. " -- John P. Keenan, Middlebury College