Debate – Phenomenology vs Advaita Vedanta

M.  Es cierto, el Advaita es una filosofía operative al tiempo que es metafísica en su fondo o base – diferente de la metafísica aristotélica o budista, etc. Creo que podemos equiparar metafísica con esoterismo (dimensión interior de la religión). Véase el fragmento de mi artículo más abajo. He tratado de todo esto en mi blog, ‘Unanimous Tradition’ de wordpress (justo abajo), que he mantenido desde 2007 – al principio era bilingüe. Dices que ves en el Advaita algo que no cuadra y te refieres a la (a su) dualidad. Esta última, como ya dije, existe necesariamente en la exposición, oral o escrita, pero para llegar a la comprensión no-dual del mismo hace falta un estudio (y experiencia) muy profundos y prolongados de su dimensión o conocimiento superior (paramartha). Creo que el método fenomenológico puede ser útil en algún sentido, aunque el AV lo contiene todo de un modo integral, siendo una metafísica espiritual, racional (y mística). Asumo que el análisis fenomenológico (del que solo tengo atisbos) está inmerso en la dualidad, y me lo confirmas al hablar de la ‘actualización’ como acto y ‘las cosas’ – radical alteridad.

Tú. ‘El acto es el surgir de la cosa, y por ello nos damos cuenta que el surgir nunca surge. El surgir se muestra como radicalmente otro a lo surgido.’


En el Advaita el verbo ‘drs’ significa ver, percibir, entender, y ‘drk’ el que ve, percibe, y también ‘conciencia’ o ‘consciencia’. De aquí, drishti’= visión intuitiva, conocimiento, percepción, punto de vista. Es el acto de ver el que proyecta al objeto, como tú mismo subrayas, con la diferencia de que en el AV todo objeto es fenoménico, no externo, sólido o material – es ‘tejido mental’ e ilusorio (si es tomado como real), y la mente es un instrument de la Conciencia, única realidad. Los fenómenos son reducibles a la mente y la mente a la Conciencia —  de ahí la no dualidad del AV. Otra cosa: una cosa es analogía y otra sincretismo, el cual sí es problemático.

What is known as metaphysics or spirituality (or non-duality – all of them one in essence) is evidently dressed up in words and concepts, words-which-encapsulate-concepts-which-refer-to-what-is real. The referent, reality, be it whatever it is, is not a concept, although it necessarily becomes a concept (or a sign, a symbol) when thinking or talking about it. In this sense, metaphysics is one thing, and ‘realization’ (the end of metaphysics) quite another. Saying it in a different way, realization is beyond words and, ultimately, beyond the mind, though it (and what is referred to by its equivalent terms, awakening and enlightenment) first occurs in the mind, an apparently individual mind. Mystery of the timeless descending, as it were, into time, of the …

… One could say that philosophy is one thing and mysticism or spiritual science is another. But the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, to put one example – and, in general, what are recognized as sacred texts –  even though being dressed up in language and thus ‘dual’ are in a different category. There is frequent use in them of metaphors, analogies, and parables or stories in order to evoke, rather than describe what in the end is going to be indescribable. These texts are considered ‘revelation’ or, simply, inspired writings, like those of the ancient rishis and (why not?) the contemporary ‘visionaries’ – anyone that becomes identified with reality, ‘what is’.

Intuition tells us that there cannot be more than one reality – one overarching truth, one existence, one intelligence. Sat-chit-ananda, or Intelligence-space (chit-akasha), or Intelligence-energy (Shiva-Shakti) are expressions that convey, or try to convey, That which is inexpressible, indefinable.

This transcendental intuition is often called in recent times ‘non-dual experience’. Here is a juicy excerpt from ‘NONDUALITY’: A Study on Comparative Philosophy, by David Loy (1988):

‘… the nondual nature of reality is indubitably revealed only in what they term enlightenment or liberation (nirvana, moksha, satori), which is the experience of nonduality. That experience is the hinge upon which each metaphysic turns, despite the fact that such enlightenment has different names in the various systems and is often described in very different ways. Unlike Western philosophy, which prefers to reflect on the dualistic experience accessible to all, these systems make far-reaching epistemological and ontological claims on the basis of counterintuitive experience available to very few – if we accept their accounts, only to those who are willing to follow the necessarily rigorous path, who are very few. It is not that these claims are not empirical, but if they are true, they are grounded on evidence not readily available.’


(Al principio de mi artículo, Frithjof Schuon and Advaita Vedanta’, publicado en 2010 por ‘Sacred Web’)

‘If we speak of different metaphysics or esoterisms[1], we are at a higher level of discourse than when dealing with the various religions, and thus we will find at least some cognitive approximations, if not identity, between them; but differences there are. Unquestionably, the esoterisms of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism differ from each other, including, of course, the doctrinal aspect, and we could say of them, though the comparison is only approximate, what Reza Sha-Kazemi writes about spiritual realization and the religions:… is the summit of the mystical quest one and the same, or are there as many summits as there are religions? The overriding conclusion is that… one can justifiably speak of a single, transcendent essence of spiritual realization, whatever be the religious starting-point. The stress here is on the word ‘transcendent’; anything short of this level inescapably entails multiplicity and hence differences as well as similarities, but not unity: unity in an absolute sense is only to be found at thelevel of the Absolute, that is, at the transcendent level, precisely.[2]

[1] Esoterism as such is metaphysics, to which an appropriate method of realization is necessarily added… the ultimate reality of metaphysics is a Supreme Identity in which the opposition of all contraries, even of being and not-being is resolved – F. Schuon, Two Esoterisms, in Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism,p.115).

[2] Paths to Transcendence – according to Shankara, Ibn Arabi, and Meister Eckhart, 2006 – p. xiv.

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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