Have any Hindu acharyas debunked shunyata as propounded by Madhyamika? I am a former Tibetan Buddhist, and to my knowledge emptiness depends on co-dependant arising,if we refute that then all of Buddhism and anatta etc are refuted,even Buddha said something to the effect that dharma is paticasamutpada and that his whole religion rests on that. I heard Adi Shankara refuted Buddhism, are there any writings in English I can read of his?

  • There is no conflict, or little, between Advaita Vedanta and Mahayana. You might start here - archive.org/details/IndianPhilosophyACriticalSurvey Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 5:18
  • @Bennie please read Sarvadarshana Sangraha of Shri Madhavacharya, where each successive school in the beginning refutes the preceeding school.
    – user13262
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 7:39
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    The authentic teachings of the Buddha are found in the Pali Tipitaka. A very high percentage of sayings attributed to the Buddha on the internet are not actually from him. I would encourage as the necessary first step finding the exact location in the Pali Tipitaka where he is said to have said that.
    – Chozang
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


Read Sankara's Brahma Sutra Bhasya II.ii.31 where he attacks the Buddhist Idealists (Vijnanavada), Buddhist Realists (Sarvastitvavadins) and Buddhist Nihilists (Sarvasunyavadins or Madhyamikas).

As for the ego-consciousness that is assumed to be the abode of disposition (or tendency), that too has no stable form, since you postulate its momentariness like sense-perception. Hence it cannot be the abode of tendencies. For unless there be some principle running through everything and abiding through all the three periods of time or some unchanging witness of all, there can be no human dealing involving remembrance, recognition, etc, which are contingent on past impressions that are stored up in conformity with environment, time and causation. If the ego-consciousness be (assumed to be) unchanging by nature, your doctrine (of momentariness) will be set at naught. Moreover since the theory of momentariness is upheld equally in Vijnanavada, all the defects arising from momentariness that were levelled (by us) against the theory of these (Buddhists) who believe in the existence of (momentary) external things, viz those shown under the aphorisms starting from, "And because the earlier is negated when the later emerges" (II.ii.20) are to be remembered in this context as well. Thus are refuted both these Buddhist points of view - of both those who believe in external things and those who believe in (subjective) consciousness). As for the view of the absolute nihilist, no attempt is made for its refutation since it is opposed to all means of valid knowledge. For human behaviour, conforming as it does to all right means of valid knowledge, cannot be denied so long as a different order of reality is not realized; for unless there be an exception, the general rule prevails.

Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya II.ii,31

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