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Philosophy Religion Samkhya and Buddhism


Staff member
Does anyone have any information on the relation between Samkhya and Buddhism?

As I understand it Samkhya (also known as Sankhya) is the oldest of the 6 schools of Hindu philosophy.

It is dualistic believing in Purusha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter). These 2 are co-eternal. Every being is an eternal Purusha.

There is some similarity with Jainism.

As it is the oldest school it may have survived the past golden age. Where as other later philosophies came in during the descending Yugas where there are errors.

As I heard it some of the Buddha's teachers were Samkhya people.

I like the neti neti practice whereby we say "not this, not this" gradually giving up false identifications and realizing that we are pure consciousness only.

Neti neti makes sense with the dualistic Samkhya but not so well with Advaita school etc.

Many of Buddha's followers were originally Samkhya people. Although I believe that he gained insight from the Samkhya philosophy which helped him achieve enlightenment.

By the time of the Buddha the ancient Samkhya philosophy had fallen somewhat into decay due to the downturn of the Yugas.

So the Buddha's fresh insights were helpful and may have corrected some errors.

However, after originally studying Buddhism I then found Samkhya and it seems logical.

The Purusha is each our center, our true nature, as pure unchanging witness. As it is unchanging it means that it is not subject to time. It is beyond both creation and destruction.

Prakriti is 100% unconscious and is the substratum of all matter/energy. Again this is eternal. No matter/energy process can have created it nor can destroy it as it is their foundation.

Purusha/consciousness as pure witness also cannot have created it because pure witness is unchanging and not creative.

So if neither created the other then it means that they are co-eternal.

The only other factor is eternal truth such as the infinite number of eternal mathematical facts and all other transcendental unchanging truths.

Is not the Nirvana state a state of natural bliss? This means that there is a witness. If there were no Experiencer then there could be no bliss.

I would be interested to hear some Buddhist viewpoints on this.