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UK Hessiandom

UK Hessiandom
January 25, 2011, 09:24:29 AM

UK Hessiandom - articles, reviews, networking, and more.  Updated relatively frequently, for the moment.

Re: UK Hessiandom
February 01, 2011, 03:56:16 PM
New article written by Vogkt of Formicator (cheers for the name, Conservationist) online, as well as some other writings since I posted this thread.

URL might become hessian.org.uk in the near future.

Surely if this thread is stickied (again, cheers mods), the new(ish) hessian.org thread should be moved here and stickied too?  Transatlantic siblingship and all that, wot wot.

Hessian Meetings (London)
February 02, 2011, 09:44:55 AM
We're aiming to set up a meeting of local (London-based) Hessians for some time over Easter.  If you live in London, or could make it to London for a night, send me a PM, or email me at earradhubh@hotmail.co.uk.

Re: UK Hessiandom
February 02, 2011, 08:20:29 PM
Awesome stuff so far... and I liked what I was hearing on Formicator's myspace; it's full of an amazing energy.

Re: UK Hessiandom
February 03, 2011, 02:35:45 AM
Cheers for the compliments!  The Formicator stuff that's on the myspace is a lesser form of what we're writing at the moment.  The Awakening and Infusion of Deities is something of a guide to what Formicator is sounding like now.

Re: UK Hessiandom
February 07, 2011, 06:44:12 PM
We're now located at http://www.hessian.org.uk - the site is still being built, so, for the moment, it's just a blog.  Eventually, we're hoping to get a proper, fully functioning website running.

Also, hoping that none of the guys behind hessian.org mind my appropriating and modifying the Hessian flag for my own designs!

Re: UK Hessiandom
February 07, 2011, 06:51:41 PM
Should probably be noted that this will differ in layout and delivery style from the original Hessian.org (speaking of which, anybody else noticed its inactivity of late?). As opposed to assorted clusterfucks of good reading, this will probably get done in bits and pieces at a time.

Also, cheers nothingnowhere, but I wouldn't take anything on there apart from Awakening And Infusion Of Deities too seriously. The other two tracks are pretty dire in retrospect, but thanks anyway.

Re: UK Hessiandom
March 13, 2011, 06:29:53 AM
New article added to hessian.org.uk:

“One suffers or enjoys the consequences of the action one has done in the past”: a comparison of Hindu and Buddhist views on Karma and Rebirth

Probably more for the religiously minded of you, but worth reading nonetheless.  Living with the knowledge that your actions may have vast ramifications is a good path to temperance.

More articles to come shortly; we apologise for the inactivity of late.

Re: UK Hessiandom
March 13, 2011, 08:19:56 AM
I disagree with the articles claim that Advaita philosophy is a result of Buddhist influence on Hinduism - in fact, the Upanishads and the Brahmasutras (the foundational texts expounding Vedanta based on the Upanishads) are completely monist in nature (and not just that - they are also atheistic, in the sense that they do not teach the existence of any supreme "god", or ishwara). I recommend reading the following text which discusses the development of theistic thought within Hinduism:


What Shankara did when he created Advaita Vedanta was try and unify Hindu thought by merging the original Vedanta philosophy (in which Brahman is viewed as a universal reality) with the various theistic god cults that became popular in middle age India. Hence, Shankara's Advaita philosophy actually recognizes TWO brahmans, nirguna brahman (the universal reality) and saguna brahman (also called ishwara, a pantheistic god entity). Later theistic Hinduism only recognizes the latter.

In fact, Vedanta has had an influence on Buddhism - several Buddhist sects within Mahayana Buddhism actually recognize the existence of a universal reality:


Re: UK Hessiandom
March 13, 2011, 09:08:00 AM
I should have stressed a two-way influence.  There's definitely Buddhist influence in the Upanishads, and there's definitely Vedic influence in Buddhism as a whole (the Buddha himself was brought up in a traditional Hindu manner, and he favoured Brahmin and Kshatriya during his later life).  I maintain that there is definite Buddhist influence in Advaita Vedanta, and I will also say, now, that there is definite Vedantic influence in Buddhism, be it to the chagrin of each side or not.

Re: UK Hessiandom
March 13, 2011, 12:16:49 PM
I'm sorry - but any article discussing Vedanta without referencing the Brahma Sutras is merely a joke. The only way to gain a clear perspective on the development of Vedantic thought through the ages is to start from the beginning and work onwards.

The idea of Brahman as being a universal reality is present and central even to Upanishads that predate Buddhism (Brihadaranyaka, Jaiminiya  and Chandogya, for example, date to the late Vedic Brahmana period which predates Buddhism).

In contrast, dualistic sects of "vedanta" can all be dated to India's medieval era and are mostly associated with Vaishnavism:

Dvaita was founded by Madhava (1218-1317)
Bhedabheda was founded by Chaitanya (1486-1584)
Visishtadvaita was founded by Ramanuja (around the 11thc entury AD)

Also, your article confuses Dvaita (monotheism, absolute dualism) with Visishtadvaita (pantheism, also described as qualified nondualism).

Dvaita Vedanta (“dualistic Vedanta”) school of Hindu philosophy, attaining moksha results in the atman recognising itself as part of an even greater being, known as paramatman, an aspect of Brahman. Ultimately, an individual can only attain moksha once all of their karma has been experienced, and they have no more desire to be reborn.

as opposed to the Dvaita concept of being with Brahman, separately, as a part of paramatman.

recognition of the true self, as in Dvaita Vedanta

This is not Dvaita. Dvaita recognizes five fundamental, *eternal* differences:

1. Between the individual soul (Jiva) and God (Vishnu).
2. Between matter and God.
3. Among individual souls
4. Between matter and souls
5. Among various types of matter

Dvaita is a monotheistic philosophy where souls do not merge into any supreme being - souls are instead predestined to end in heaven or to be damned in hell eternally. Another class of souls reincarnate forever.

This concept of anatta has certainly had an influence on later Hindu philosophies. In Advaita Vedanta (“non-dualistic Vedanta”), moksha is attained through the recognition of the true self, as in Dvaita Vedanta. However, the true self is then further recognised as being no different from Brahman itself. It is understood that the concept of individuality is illusory, and that all things are Brahman[9]. The state of moksha is described as being one with Brahman, as opposed to the Dvaita concept of being with Brahman, separately, as a part of paramatman. Advaita Vedanta, like Buddhism, makes no distinction between self and reality once release from samsara has been achieved. However, unlike Buddhism, the concept of atman is welcomed, and is seen as being an intrinsic part of the nature of Brahman, rather than a delusion created by a devolved consciousness.

Your description of Advaita in this paragraph is also very misleading. Atman and Brahman are synonymous in Advaita. There is no such thing as "being one with brahman" in Advaitic thought, simply because there is nothing to be one with brahman. Neither is there any such thing as one's atman - whether before or after moksha. In fact - strictly speaking, in Advaita there is no such thing as moksha, reincarnation, self or samsara at all.

Re: UK Hessiandom
March 13, 2011, 12:51:16 PM
Shall I add a disclaimer?  Perhaps something along the lines of "People who know more about this than me disagree with what's been said because I haven't gone into enough detail and don't have the resources to make more than cursory points, which was the original intention of this article anyway, but that's not important right now"?  This article was inspired by my Indigenous and Asian Religions course, and everything that I've written here corresponds to what I've been taught by my lecturer and tutor.  I am aware that it's impossible to learn from a University course what many dedicate their entire lives to, but I was not aware that I had been given so exceedingly shallow a view of the specifics.  Moreover, I was not aware that the various textbooks, articles, and translations that I used as sources over the entirety of the course were so categorically wrong.  No, even I'm not sure whether I'm being sarcastic or not.

there is nothing to be one with brahman

Surely Brahman is one with Brahman, and, as Brahman, "we" are Brahman?  Otherwise, not even Brahman exists, and then we'd be Buddhists.

I've always understood "atman" to be an aspect of Brahman, just as "self-awareness" is an aspect of humans.  Because of the nature of Brahman, Brahman causes Brahman to consider Brahman to be an infinite number of different beings experiencing every possibility in whatever one might call an "instant" when there's no such thing as time (given that time is an illusion).  But then, I'm sure that's not an orthodox way of looking at things, even though it makes perfect sense to me.

Re: UK Hessiandom
March 14, 2011, 01:22:17 AM
I've always understood "atman" to be an aspect of Brahman, just as "self-awareness" is an aspect of humans.  Because of the nature of Brahman, Brahman causes Brahman to consider Brahman to be an infinite number of different beings experiencing every possibility in whatever one might call an "instant" when there's no such thing as time (given that time is an illusion).  But then, I'm sure that's not an orthodox way of looking at things, even though it makes perfect sense to me.

Well this is kind of a misunderstanding of Advaita as it's basically working backwards from a dualistic perspective. Advaita basically views all of physical existence as being temporary, ever changing, and relative (this includes identity, thoughts, emotions, whatever, all are fleeting/relative/temporary/illusory). It then concludes that the only constant is the "perception" of the relative reality (maya), which is the only "absolute". Brahman is therefore defined as being absolute awareness/consciousness/perception. Therefore, matter/thoughts/emotions/self (relative reality or "maya") are all superimposed on consciousness (brahman). The main "cause" of the superimposition of maya on brahman is one's own avidya or ignorance. Just like a dream, which is created from, by and through the mind, relative reality (maya) is created from, by and through itself, and is illusory in comparison to Brahman, the absolute reality. So Brahman itself is akarta, a non agent, incapable of causing anything as it it beyond the relative reality of causation and change, it is non dual, without a second, as it is all that truly exists.

So in Advaita, there is no such thing as a separate "atman", in Advaitic parlance atman is used as a synonym for Brahman. Brahman is the Atman and vice versa.  the most famous Vedantic aphorism declares: "brahma sarvam jagan mithya jivo brahmaiva na aparah". Brahman is real, the universe is illusory, the soul and brahman are one and the same.

Re: UK Hessiandom
March 20, 2011, 11:43:21 AM
If you folks ever have a meeting up north west England I'd love to come down.

Re: UK Hessiandom
June 18, 2011, 10:17:50 AM
Update, finally.  Sorry to those of you who may have been waiting for more - we've had a lot to deal with, including the first Formicator demo, and various other musical exploits.  We should be back to doing more regular posts over the Summer.

Roshan, I was certain that Maya was Brahman, just as atman is Brahman, and all things are Brahman.  To suggest that Maya is like a dream imposed upon the reality of Brahman is to suggest that Brahman is not "all that is" (after all, are dreams not "real", in that they occur?).  This is probably me still not quite understanding, or a difficulty inherent to translating these concepts into a different language from which they originate.