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I have been looking at another forum where a conversation on dharmic religions had taken place. One person, a buddhist, wrote that "anatta does not necessarily deal in Shankara's atman concept".

Sadly very few buddhists or hindus use the forum so a discussion did not come about.

Any comments?


  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited March 2018

    I don't know who or what Shankara is and it isn't clear what they mean exactly, but in general anatta deals pretty directly with atman such that the term anatman (no soul) is used interchangeably with anatta (no self).

  • I found a Wikipedia entry for Adi Shankara. He was an 8th century Indian philosopher credited with synthesizing currents of thought in Hinduism. The wiki says 'He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts "Atman (Soul, Self) exists", while Buddhism asserts that there is "no Soul, no Self".'

  • rocalarocala Explorer

    Hi @Snakeskin, I am pretty sure that those key differences had been explained long before that.

    The commentator that I am referring to seems to feel that Shankara's 'concept' was in some way giving a different slant to the meaning of atman. So much so that he was questioning the applicability of the sutras to this later development. It is this that has piqued my interest.

    I have read some of the mans other posts, he is certainly learned, but I think this will be controversial whatever it is based on.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    It is kind of hard to comment on the context of a post from another board and a user who is not here. Often when you hang out on a board you get a sense, as you have, of the direction of the posts because of the other things they have talked about. There truly is not much discussion of Hinduism here at all, either, as it is a Buddhist board so you are unlikely to find much of a discussion about that comparison, controversial or otherwise. It is hard to compare the 2 when you have so little reference point for Hinduism.

    Shankara is the founder of Advaita Vedanta. I know a little bit about it but not enough to be able to comment on the differences and similarities between it and Anatta nor in regards to the users comment. The suggestion that Shankaras idea is a different slant is correct though. At the time, Hindus largely believed that the soul/Atman was part of Brahman, and when you died, it returned to merge with Brahman. Shankara believed that soul/Atman was the entirety of Brahman, that there was no difference between them, no separation. He pretty much introduced the concept of nonduality to Hinduism and shifted the whole modern view. At least how I understand it but I have only read a little, like I said. Some actually accused him of being a secret Buddhist because of the way he discussed it, I guess.

  • rocalarocala Explorer

    Thank you @karasti, I had done a little more digging and it is in line with what you say.

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