The Final Goal, Buddhist and Hindu
(Chapter 19 of "Discriminations Between Buddhist and Hindu Tantras")
Yogi C. M. Chen
Most Western scholars say the same thing, that by different ways one
may attain the same goal. To be specific, this means that different religions
all lead to the same goal. This idea may be appropriate in regard to
other religions, but the goal of Buddhism is quite different from all
other belief systems. Even among the non-Buddhist religions, goals differ
as there are many different kinds of heavens.
A. All heavens can be classified into three types. The lower ones are
heavens called Kamadhatu, which means Heaven of Desire. Included in it
are Bhauma Antarikso, Caturmaharajakayika, Trayastrimsa, Yama, Tusita
Mrmanarati, and Paranirmitavasavartin. Confucianism has a doctrine of
ethics and good manners but none pertaining to heaven or nirvana. However,
a good Confucianist who has never done anything against the gods, will
go to this kind of heaven after death, even though he has not prayed
to the gods.
B. The next type of heaven is called Rupadhatu, which means the Heaven
of Form. It contains Brahmakayika, Brahmaparisadya, Brahmapurohita, and
Mahabrahma. These four heavens belong to the first dhyana. The religions
containing the doctrines of dhyana leading to these heavens are Christianity,
Judaism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism. These religions teach us how to be good
and go to heaven. Some who practice a higher renunciation and deeper
meditation can go to the Rupadhatu (Heaven of Form) while those whose
renunciation is not so complete and whose meditation is not so deep go
to the Kamadhatu (Heaven of desire) only.
Parittabha, Apramanabha and Abhasvara are the three heavens belonging
to the second dhyana. Persons in the above six religions who have attained
the second dhyana in their practice may come to these heavens. Parittasubha,
Apramanasubha and Subhakrtsna are heavens of the third dhyana; and those
who have attained to the third dhyana may go to these heavens. Anabhraka,
Punyaprasava and Brhaiphala are the heavens belonging to the fourth dhyana.
He who has attained the fourth dhyana can go to all the heavens of that
dhyana. Similarly, those having attained the second and third dhyana
can go to all the heavens under them but not to those above them.
There are still the seven heavens belonging to the Rupadhatu called
the Brahmaloka. They are Avrha, Atapa, Sudrsa, Sudarsana, Akanishta,
Aghanistha and Mahamahesvara.
The heavens of the four dhyanas have no power to overcome calamities.
All the heavens under the second dhyana may be destroyed by fire, those
under the third by water and those under the fourth by wind. Most of
the tantric Hindus who practice the four dhyanas may go to those heavens,
but there are only a few who can unite with Brahma (the Universal Soul)
and go to the Heaven of Non-Form (Arupadhatu).
C. Arupadhatu contains the following heavens: Akasanantyayatana, Vijnananantyayatana,
Akincanyayatana and Naivasamjnanasanjna-yatana. It is also called Caturupabrahmaloka.
They are the highest heavens. The Hindus and Jains who have many doctrines
of concentration and absorption, believing only in the absolute soul
or consciousness (everything else being impermanent) go to the Heavens
of Non-Form if their meditation is sufficient to do so.
Universal consciousness is a Hindu term that is very appealing to Western
scholars. It is also in accord with Buddhism in that the Heaven of Non-Form
does not have the three great calamities and universal consciousness
is a dhyana of vijnananantyayatana, which means a dhyana of consciousness
without boundary. However, consciousness itself contains the seeds of
sorrow. Whenever dhyana is disturbed, the seeds of sorrow reproduce and
transmigration is effective again. In Buddhism the doctrine of absolute
soul or consciousness is not permitted. The Sangiti Sutra states, "Six
ideas conductive to Nirvana are the idea of impermanence, of ill in impermanence,
of soullessness in ill, of elimination, of passionlessness, of cessation."
There are many scriptures from which one may quote to prove that the
final goal of Hinduism is heaven:
1. Maitre Upanishad: "Verily, the source of the delusion is the
fact of association of one who is worthy of heaven with those who are
not worthy of heaven".
2. Kaushitaki Upanishad: "He, having entered into the wind, having
the nature of space, goes to heaven."
3. Mundaka Upanishad: "The mystic syllable "Om" is
the bow, the arrow is the soul, Brahma is said to be the mark."
As I have indicated before,the Brahmaloka belongs to the heaven of
form, therefore "the marks" here can be said to be heaven
too as Brahma is called a heavenly person in another part of the same
Upanishad. "So the knower being liberated from name and form goes
unto the heavenly person, higher than the high, and this Brahma heaven
cannot be transcended by anyone."
4. The Katha Upanishad states, "Its roots above, its branches
below, this eternal fig tree, that indeed is the pure, that is Brahma.
That indeed is called the immortal. On it all the worlds do rest, and
no one ever goes beyond it." It proves that no Hindu can go beyond
the heaven of form. Because of their ignorance, the heavens of non-form
and many pure lands of enlightenment are closed to them.
5. He who desires to get to the Brahma heaven must be chosen by Him
first. "He is to be obtained only by one whom He chooses",
6. In "Kundalini Yoga" by Sivananda it states, "The
sahasrara chakra is the abode of Lord Shiva. This corresponds to the
Bria mandal physical plane (region of the earth). Bhuva Siva or Swarga
Mahajana lokas and satya lokas are above these chakras." All those
lokas are heavens. There is nothing beyond heaven. Please review Chapter
1 of "Discriminations Between Buddhist and Hindu Tantras", "The
Body and the Microcosm."
There is a difference between the Brahmaloka and the heaven of desire
as explained in the Brahma Sutra, "From Brahma-Loka one does not
return to this mortal world. Whereas from the heavens one returns." Though
the Brahmaloka being a heaven of form is greater than the heavens of
desire, it is held by the four dhyanas which are not of the unquenching
samadhi Buddhahood. When the four dhyanas are moved or disturbed by their
sorrows, they will return to states of transmigration in accordance with
their karma. In the Hindu tantra "Shatchakra Virupana," verse
38, it states, "The excellent yogi at the time of death joyfully
places his vital breath here and enters that supreme, eternal, birthless,
primeval deva, the purusha who was before the three worlds and who is
known by the Vedanta." Below is the commentary:
1. He pierces the brahmarandhra, leaves the body and becomes merged
2. Deva means "He whose play is creation, existence, and destruction."
Though the Shatchakra Virupana gives the most important principles of
Tantric Hinduism, it never goes beyond Brahma. We know this because the
soul of a Hindu passes away from Brahmarandhra (at the gate of the fontenelle).
The Brahmarandhra is different from the Buddhist aperture in that it
leads to heaven only. I have discussed this fully in Chapter 18 of "Discriminations
between Buddhist and Hindu Tantras."
As for Nirvana, it is quite different from any kind of heaven. The Lankavatara
"The Tathagata's Nirvana is where it is recognized that there
is nothing but what is seen of the mind itself; is where recognizing
the nature of the self-mind, one no longer cherishes the dualism of
discrimination; is where there is no more thirst nor grasping; it is
where the thinking mind with all its discrimination, attachment, aversions,
and "egoism" is forever put away; is where logical measures
as they are seen to be inert are no longer seized upon; is where even
the notion of truth is treated with difference because of its causing
bewilderment; is where getting rid of the four propositions, there
is insight into the abode of reality. Nirvana is where twofold passions
have subsided and the twofold hindrances are cleared away and the "twofold
egolessness" is patiently accepted; where by the attainment of
the turning about the self-realization of noble wisdom is fully entered
into--that is the Nirvana of the Tathagata."
"Nirvana is where the Bodhisattva stages are passed one after
another; is where the sustaining power of the Buddhas upholds the Bodhisattva
in the bliss of the Samadhis; is where the Tathagata compassion for
others transcends all thoughts of "self"; is where the Tathagata
state is finally realized."
The ideas which reject the self are mentioned three times in the above
quotations, such as: "The egoism is forever put away", "Twofold
egolessness is patiently accepted", and "Compassion for others
transcends all thoughts of self."
Furthermore, Nirvana is described with a wealth of epithets containing
the same idea which strictly rejects the self of Tantric Hinduism and
lays great stress on the philosophy of voidness. I would like to give
some explanation to each name of Nirvana:
1. The Harbor of Refuge--The protection which keeps the twofold enemies,
the ego of being and that of phenomena, away.
2. The Cool Cave--Where there is no warmth of passion for self.
3. The Island Amidst the Flood--Where there is only one place which
cannot be immersed by the floods of selfishness.
4. The Place of Bliss--Where there is no sorrow of self but only bliss.
5. Emancipate--To renounce the fetters of selfishness.
6. Liberation--Free from the bondage of egoism.
7. Safety--No danger from the twofold egoism again.
8. The Supreme--There is no higher state than non-egoism.
9. The Transcendental--The highest state, higher than the three types
of heavens and that of the sravaka and pratyeka Buddha.
10. The Uncreated--The supreme state beyond the creators of any other
11. The Tranquil--Where there is no longer the excitement of selfish
12. The Home of Ease--There is no more work left for self improvement.
13. The Calm--Where there are no waves coming from the ignorant and
the ocean of the inner foe.
14. The End of Suffering--The root of ego has already been dug out.
15. The Medicine for All Evils--The Samadhi of voidness which has healed
all the diseases of selfishness.
16. The Unshaken--The mountain of Samadhi of voidness.
17. The Ambrosia--The sweet food of non-egoism.
18. The Immaterial--The non-ego of phenomena.
19. The Imperishable--There is nothing of self to perish.
20. The Abiding--The voidness.
21. The Further Shore--The shore for others but not the thither shore
22. The Unending--The great mercy for others which is endless.
23. The Bliss of Effort--All the good karmas for others are gathered
24. The Supreme Joy--The countless converters gathered thereby with
25. The Detachment--Detachment from all the sorrows of selfishness.
26. The Ineffable--The great karmas for others have been gathered thereby
in ineffable quantity.
27. The Holy City--The city that keeps away all the defilements of
Moreover, the kingdom of Buddha is not a place belonging to the ignorance
system of this world or this universe but the system of enlightenment
which is without any calamities. A Hindu may unite at most with Brahma
but he cannot establish his own kingdom outside of Brahma. When a Buddhist
is enlightened he may freely establish his own kingdom separately from
all the other Buddha worlds. In Buddhism there is no such saying that
a Buddhist should unite with Gautama after enlightenment. That is why
there are many, many Buddha-worlds as I have mentioned about in the previous
chapter "The Universe."
Here I would like to quote the sentence from the very well-known Tibetan
work by the great guru Gampopa: "Even having obtained the desireless
bliss of Brahmahood, he has to again suffer unending pain of having become
fuel of the Avici-hell." (From "The Jewel Ornament of Liberation",
Appendix: Brahmarandhra and Buddharandhra
The distance between the Buddha-aperture and the Brahma-aperture is
only four fingers in length, but those two places are the gateways to
two different goals, and therefore we should understand this and choose
the gate according to our goal.
The smouldering fire can burn a great building or a great forest. The
error of one moment becomes the sorrow of a whole lifetime, and one finger
in front of the eyes hides a high mountain in the distance. These adages
are mentioned only to emphasize my main point here. The following stories
may also serve the same purpose:
Once an evil neophyte asked his guru, "What is the best place to
make a hole in a wall in order to steal?" His guru replied in a
scholarly fashion, "Everyplace is good, for every hole is good
for stealing." The neophyte, following this good information, dug
a hole through the wall of a rich man's building next to where the servants
were sleeping. He was of course caught by the servants. Likewise, he
who is unable to discriminate the aperature of Buddha will surely be
caught by the ruler of Hades.
Once a fool named "Almost" went to the railway station but
reached there just minutes after the train had started. He rebuked the
train saying, "Why do you not wait a little while as I am just a
few minutes late." Again during the first night of his wedding,
Almost went to his wife and touched her anus. His wife said that he should
put it a little higher. Then he touched her urethra and said that he
could not get it in. She told him to put it just a little lower. Finally
he got it in with great pleasure. In the midst of this pleasure he suddenly
stopped and began to ponder over the openings. When he could not figure
it out, he asked his wife why there was so much pleasure in that hole
and not in the others when they are only a little distance from one another.
His wife begged him not to be silly.
The Buddhist opening was given the same name as that of Brahma, but
I mention them with different names because they are different, originally
and traditionally. This term "Brahma" in Hinduism is like "Tao" in
Taoism. It has its special and common meaning. "Tao" may also
be found in Confucianism because it means "path" in Chinese.
Many Western scholars have made errors in translation by mistaking the
two meanings of this one word. Thus in "A Buddhist Bible" edited
by Dwight Goddard, we find the principle sutra of Taoism "The Tao-Teh-Ching." It
is quite a joke! With this in mind, I have taken liberty to use the word,
or I should say create the word, Buddharandhra to mean the aperture of
Buddha, for the sake of clarity.
It has been said that the gate through which the soul rises to heaven
is the fontanelle, but the gate through which the soul rises to Buddha's
Pure Land is not the fontanelle but is located four fingers behind it.
The fontanelle is situated on the skull four fingers distance back from
the edge of the hairline on the forehead. This is the Brahmarandhra.
The Buddharandhra is at the center of the skull, the mouth of the median
nerve. It is eight fingers distance from the edge of the hairline of
the forehead, and the same distance from there to the cerebellum.
The soul rises up through the Brahmarandhra to the heavens of desire
or of form. Both will be destroyed by fire, water and wind.
On page 143-144 of "The Serpent Power" by John Woodroffe, "Below
visarga which is the upper part of Brahmadhara, is the situation of the
fontanelle . . . is liberated through living and attains bodiless liberation
on the dissolution of his physical body." Hindu doctrine also says, "The
creator of the human beings body puts his glory light into it through
this hole at the beginning. They who die should also go back to Brahma's
heaven through this hole." On this point, Buddhism does not disagree
with Hinduism, and the Buddhist who does not practice the voidness meditation
of that of non-ego but has done many good deeds can go to the Brahma
heaven, even if he does not believe in Him, through this hole.
The soul which rises up to the Pure Land of Buddha through the Buddharandhra
will never fall into transmigration since the Pure Land is established
on the wisdom of voidness or non-ego which is without creation and destruction.
The Pure Land is not beset with the three great calamities and he who
goes there has no selfishness, no ego, no ignorance, ever again. It is
the place of real everlasting life.
This distance of only four fingers means the difference between transmigration
and freedom from it. What a dangerous thing it is to make a mistake here.
Let us give thanks to Buddha Gautama who through his own precious experience
or enlightenment showed us the priceless, precious gate.
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