Gate gate para gate parasamgate bodhi svaha.
Heart sutra is a great sutra. Yes it takes us to the inner realm but all the Buddhist sutras limited to physicality, we have to go beyond physicality by perfect understanding. Since the self is not the form self is formless. All the skandas are in physical realm (Form, feeling, perception, mental formation and consciousness). The self is not limited the physicality but it pervades in everything and everywhere in all the three states. Thus, the heart sutra yields only half-truth.
The Buddhist scriptures were completely distorted by the time of Sage Sri, Sankara. Sage Sri, Sankara had to criticize the Buddhist literature prevailing then as the Buddhists themselves were confused as to what Shunyata is. Vasubandhu and his disciple Dignaga (the latter lived about a couple of centuries before Sage Sri, Sankara) could not retain the original teachings of Lord Buddha. At first Vasubandhu did not agree with his half-brother Asanga and wrote one book on Abhidharma and later on he went to the side of Asanga and wrote a second book, where? he opposed his own earlier views on Abhidharma. Sage Sri, Sankara? had to criticise the Buddhist knowledge? and literature of his time as he wanted to bring to us back the Pure Vedantic knowledge through his work on the Prasthanatraya.. That is why there is reference to the writing of Dharmakirti in Sutrabashya.
There is another aspect also The? Vishnu Purana also says that Lord Buddha created confusion. In Sarnath, he first taught about the Moral code which is basic. He talked about Anatma. Then? two decades later he taught the concept of Shunyata and? the tenets of the Mahayana Buddhism.? In spite of Nagrjuna's telling that Shunyata is not Nihilism and that Parajanaparamita also mentioning about the Shunyata after one leaves? the five? skandhas, there are and there will always be people who will go on calling Buddha's philosophy as Nihilism. About the origin of the? Tantric Buddhism also? there are controversies.
The most valuable contribution of Sage Sri, Sankara is that he gained general consciousness on the issue that the authoritative explanation of Upanishads, Gita and Brhma Sutra was the final say in matter of religion. Anything that goes contrary to the trio is not authentic. He also made a clear distinction between Vedas and Upanishads in his commentary on Gita. He stated that the Karma Kand of the Vedas deal with the injunctions relating to the performance of duties and actions. These are for ordinary householders.
The path of religion, path of yoga and the path of wisdom were intended for different classes of people. The wisdom is for the advanced seekers of truth. It deals with the nature of the ultimate Truth and Reality. It is meant for superior aspirants who have inner urge to know the truth and it is not for those who are immersed in earthly desires.
Sage Sri Sankara’s whole teaching can be summed up into one sentence, ‘There is nothing else but Brahma He says that the Absolute Existence, Absolute Knowledge and Absolute Bliss is Real. The universe is not real. He says that Brahma and Atman are one. The ultimate and the Absolute Truth is the Self, which is one though appearing as many in different individuals. The individual has no reality. Only the Self is real; the rest, mental and physical are but passing appearances.
In fact Sage Sri, Sankara states a paradox- the world is and is not. It is neither real nor unreal. It leads us to recognize the existence of Maya. He thinks that the world is illusory from one perspective and from the second it is nothing but Brahma Itself in manifestation. This apparent world is Maya and has its basis in Brahman, the Eternal. It looks as real. It has names and forms and actually, it is not real In the light of true knowledge, it disappears and Self-alone shines as real. However Sage Sri, Sankara's Mayavad has not been accepted by many preachers and philosophers.
When Sage Sri, Sankara says clearly, the universe is not real. He says that Brahman and Atman are one. The ultimate and the Absolute Truth is the Self, which is one though appearing as many in different individuals. The individual has no reality. Only the Self is Real; the rest, mental and physical are but passing appearances, then it indicates the form (waking or duality or mind) is unreal the formless witness is real (soul). Therefore, only Atman is real because there is no second thing other than Atman.
He also clearly mentions that:-
The path of religion, the theory of karma, the path of yoga and the path of wisdom were intended for different classes of people. The wisdom is for the advanced seekers of truth. It deals with the nature of the ultimate Truth and Reality. It is meant for superior aspirants who have the inner urge to know the truth and it is not for those who are immersed in earthly desires.
Thus, we have to know the fact that Lord Buddha, Sage Sri, Goudpada and Sage Sri,Sankara are not only reformers but also the greatest scientists. Since there original thesis on path of wisdom have been lost in the labyrinths of philosophy and mutilated by pundits and priest craft, it becomes very difficult understand and assimilate the wisdom expounded by the great masters. In addition, the conservativeness of the orthodox scholars will not allow any research other than playing with the words, which suits the mass mind sets, because of their egocentric outlook.
All the add-ons have to be deleted, in order to understand and assimilate the real fragrance of the wisdom expounded by the great masters of Advaita, but it is hurricane task. Thus, it is no use going through all the scriptures, when there is direct path to non-dual truth. The same time and effort can be used to reach the non-dual destination, in lesser time and effort.