How did different people with different philosophies and ideologies attain the same enlightenment or did they not? Buddha attained enlightenment and so did Adi Shankaracharya, but their philosophies are different (not to mention ramanujacharya, nagarjuna and many others). Or is it the case that we can never really know who attains enlightenment? Well I know that there is similarity between Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta but at the core they are very different. How did they attain the same enlightenment knowing the real truth in two different ways? At least one of them is wrong.

Well some say the truth can be interpreted in different ways but if advaita says self exists and buddhism denies it there is a big problem you can't make them compatible with one another.

I have already asked this question here https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/41369/nature-of-enlightenment/41383?noredirect=1#comment67347_41383 and got pretty decent answers, i just wanted to know advaitins view.

  • Buddha acted as enlightened from Gaya for moha of buddhist. But actually buddha is avatara of vishnu there is no requirement for enlightened because he is light itself.
    – Prasanna R
    Sep 2, 2020 at 7:40
  • well i'm not spiritual so i want more of philosophical answer. advaita claims "aham brahamasmi" Sep 2, 2020 at 12:16
  • Same Moksha can be achieved by various methods. As Ramakrishna Paramhamsa used to say "Jato mat tato path" which means "there are as many paths to moksha as there are doctrines" @dark_prince
    – Rickross
    Sep 3, 2020 at 11:34
  • @Pradip Gangopadhyay and @ Srimannarayana K V has already given a speculative answers. My problem was that the one who follows advaita becomes enlightened after knowing - brahman alone exists and he is that(brahman) while the one who follows buddhism gets enlightenment after he realizes that everything is impermanent and transient these two statement are at the opposite end of the spectrum one says there is self and other says there is no self but still both of them gets the same enlightenment. Sep 3, 2020 at 11:46
  • Budha the avatar of Vishnu is different from Buddha who estb Buddhism. K thought that's clearly sorted.
    – sbharti
    Sep 28, 2020 at 0:07

3 Answers 3


No definitive answer can be given to this question. However, a speculative answer may be given.

Advaita Vedanta enlightenment is attained when the mind becomes still.

When the lake of the mind becomes clear and still, man knows himself as he really is, always was, and always will be. He knows that he is the Atman. His 'personality', his mistaken belief in himself as a separate, unique individual, disappears. "Patanjali" is only an outer covering, like a coat or a mask, which he can assume or lay aside as he chooses. Such a man is known as a free, illumined soul.

How to know God The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali I.3 Commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood

:"Now I'd like to say more about the fundamental nature of the mind. There is no reason to believe that the innate mind, the very essential luminous nature of awareness, has neural correlates, because it is not physical, not contingent upon the brain. So while agree with neuroscience that gross mental events correlate with brain activity, I also feel that on a more subtle level of consciousness, brain and mind are two separate entities."

Dalai Lama in 'On Luminosity of mind' quoted in 'The Really hard problem meaning in a material world' by Owen Flanagan

It seems comparing the two quotes that Advaita Vedanta enlightenment is achieved when the mind disappears while Buddhist enlightenment is attained when the mind itself becomes luminous.

  • so is the nature of enlightenment of buddhists and advaitin different? and if this is so which one is correct? and is this sense of correctness subjective? Sep 2, 2020 at 12:21
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    Judging by the two quotes they seem to be different. The Advaita experience is ontological while the Buddhist experience is psychological. Both are experiences. So the question boils down to which experience leads to enlightenment. It is not possible to answer this question without experiencing both. Sep 2, 2020 at 12:44
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    Can an experience of a Salt be different for Buddhist and advaitin? Experience is an ABSTRACT thing. So enlightenment will be the same. @dark_prince Sep 2, 2020 at 12:46
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    @dark_prince: Did Buddha himself state that the nature of enlightenment of buddhists and advaitin different? I don't think so. Normally, an enlightened person will not enter into unnecessary arguments. At best, he may provide a terse reply to a query put forth to him. The hair-splitting arguments are the product of people without actual REALISATION. Sep 2, 2020 at 13:32
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    I think that's why attaining enlightenment is difficult. thanks for giving such a perfect answer. Sep 2, 2020 at 13:46

Enlightenment is philosophical phenomena each tradition has it's own definition. if one is not belonjng to that specific cannot claim that I'm enlightened in that tradition its like saying I'm PhD in physics submitted thesis in physics but got PhD in chemistry instead.

Now Advaita says that for enlightenment only brahman exists ones illusion must be destroyed completely to be that brahman the whole world illusion. As per this theory enlightened person should vanish from this illusionary world as he is destroyed illusion aka the world that was only his making. Since no enlightened person exists in this illusionary world one cannot compare with Buddhist enlightment

For tattvada its realizing oneself and in turn god inside ones heart is enlighment here the criteria of destruction of illusionary world is not there because world is real and ever changing here both jive and brahman exists confirmed by dwasuparna. Enlightenment is attainment of ones own bliss that is different for different jivas according to their capacity its relative fullness cup is full, bucket is full in it's own capacity as its evident bucket is not same as cup qualitative same but quantitatively different. There is gradation is difference of bliss in moksha what jiva are having bliss on moksha that is both qualitative and quantitative several thousand less in comparison with brahma the creator even without moksha brahma have bliss which several times greater than normal jiva in moksha


Two people who has attained enlightenment cannot work on the same philosophy or path. They have to create their own instead.

An enlightened being sees other enlightened being as a replica who is doing the same job but in a different way.

the main task is to make people realise who actually they are, and making them realise who they are is one of the hardest job on this planet. for this, philosophies are developed, a philosophy is nothing but a thought. A thought of seeing the humanity in its best possible state.

It is obvious that this thought of seeing humanity in its best state must be common to every enlightened being. In reality this thought is the core motive of every philosophy, be it philosophy of science or any other philosophy given by a being.

But when we see, the expanded form of this thought, it looks very different from other expanded forms of this same thought. Sometimes they seems just opposite to each other.

so, wether its Buddha or Adi Shankaracharya, both worked for the same cause.


Suppose there are two points A and B.

Now say, there is a men who is sticked with point A, sticking simply means he is calling only point A is true.

Now, You have to make him detach from point A, in order to make him realise what he is calling true is not true for everyone, what will you do? you will disagree with point A in your philosophy.

And same will go for point B.

Now, in this contradiction which really exists in our society, the men will think if point A is not true and B is also not true, Than what is the truth.

In this he will go for self enquiry, which is the ultimate aim of spirituality. Hence every philosophy has its own values, so instead of going through them, go in yourself. In the end every philosophy becomes true.

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