Budhism is an off-shoot of Hinduism. Adi Shankara's Advaitham is the examination of Hindu philosophical thought from one point.Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaitham and Madhwacharya's Dwaitham are other points of view. These three schools of thought are the manifestations of the multifaceted philosophical thought of Hinduism. The basics of all these three are one and the same. Pranava, Vedas and Bhagavad geetha are accepted as supreme by all these three. Coming to Budha, he is regarded as one of the 'Avataras' of the Divine Power(Vishnu) and if we go by Veda Vyasa, all those that regard the fellow human beings as Gods is a God himself! The Goals of Budha, Adi Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhwacharya were the same, to free the suffering human beings from the shackles of innocense, ignorance, greed, lust, worldly pleasures and to purify the 'Soul' to be fit to be called the 'Image' of the Supreme Being, that is the God. Budha resented the outstretched and ill practiced ways of the Vedic Brahmins, he was not against the message of the 'Vedas', for that matter, for after all, what Buddha preached were the same from the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad geetha! Principles are the same but only practices differ! That is why these many schools of thought within the same religion. What Budha preached all the way can be found in any one shloka from Shankaracharya! I request my brothers to go through 'Maneesha Panchakam' of Adi Shankaracharya, commentary along with original text also was posted by me in this very community, for those interested, this is not show my talent, but to know Adi shankara! Adi Shankara was the culmination of Budha,Ramanuja, Madhwacharya, Sri Rama and Sri Krishna and he was the very Avtara of Veda Vyasa. Sakara, Nirakara, Saguna, Nirguna, Gnana, Bhakthi, Vyragya,all these are found in the preachings of Adi Shankara!He gave every body the things they wanted, because he knew! Budha started midway and finished midway, sorry to say. He was neither a continuity from the previous nor for the future! Idolatry he condemned, but his idols everywhere!Idols are only representations of the thoughts in some shape, even the sound, the word and the thought of anything are the representations of that particular thing!Without seeing or imagining any thing either in shape or in sound, or in word, or in picture, how can you meditate on that? You search for what you know and miss!Without knowing what you are searching for how can you call it a search? Budha was a Great Thinker but he did not finish his mission!He called upon every body to stop violence and what came of it? weakening of the Kshatra of the hitherto ferocious valour of the Sons of the Great Mother India! If a surgeon makes an incision on a patient's body, it is not violence, it is his duty in saving that patient! Sword, valour and violence are necessary for a prince to be a prince, in saving his subjects! After the severest of violence in history, suddenly Ashoka becomes a budhist and preaches the same, prevails upon the others for the same, budhism spreads, valient become volatile, the fighter becomes a refugee and in few generations time, the courage and will to oppose vanishes along with other long lost good qualities and when invaders come galloping, lo! Indian princes ready meat! This is the way one after the another plundered, massacred and looted us! For any society to survive, each and every part of it has to know what its role is and should strive to fulfill that need, suppose in an office every body renunciating who is to run the office? No body is great in the office, office itself is the supreme one, it will be so only if every body does his entrusted duty sincerely each and every time! Great thinkers and leaders are measured on the results after their exit, Budha sacrifised his every thing for the common man and after his exit, his very disciples fell into two! All are not fortunate enough to sacrifice. A fallen woman can sacrifice her physical desire to become pious, a thief his thefts to become an honest man, but a royal prince can not sacrifice his sword to become a sadhu, because it is not his privilege but it his responsibility. One can sacrifice his rights, not his responsibilities, this is karma sidhanta, this is what Sri Krishna preached to Arjuna, sacrifice does not and should not mean escaping from the questioning realities of duties, you have to perform your duty and sacrifice the urge to influence or manipulate the result, that is real sacrifice. Budha should have 'sacrificed' the intimate and intense relationship as a husband and father, not a wife and a son! Friends, kindly do not misunderstand me, if you have not gone through 'Yoga Vashishtam' or 'Vashista Ramayanam' or ''Vashishta Geetha'(it has got these many names)already, go through it now, to find that Sree Rama was just like Gowthama Budha, frustrated and disillusioned with the sufferings, sorrows and miseries of this worldly life and its bondages and temptations and he also decided to relinquish this world and to become a monk! Then followed and flowed the Divine Ganga of Vashishta, that answered and consoled Sri Rama and he accepted his duties as a Son, Prince, Student , Husband and as a Ruler! Is it not amazing and hard to understand that Budha did not care to dress the sufferings of his wife and child on way to redressal of the sufferings of human beings at large?Why did he not try to educate, preach and guide his wife and son about the temporal and ephimeral nature of this world and worldly bondages, instead of leaving them for ever in a dark night? This is where Rama Krishna Parama Hamsa was great, he did not think Sharadamba his wife and hence she was not an obstacle on the way to solvation and did not need to leave her! This is what Adi Shankara meant when he said 'Jagath Midhya", this world is a reality because it is visible presently, but not permanent and hence it is midhya! here was nothing new that Gowtama Budha gave to the World. It already existed there. He gave new dimension to it, he once again brought the fact to light that every body has got a right to be uplifted, that all are equally good and equally bad.Advised us to try to inculcate the good qualities and increase them and try to kill the evil ones. He rejuvenated and gave new life to 'Hinduism'only. His was not a new religion, but only a new application of the same!It is not necessary to discuss who was great. The Religion ,the philosophy they tried to impress upon were real great ones.Even then one persists with the discussion, He(Budha) was Great ,no doubt, but, Adi Shankara was the Greatest! as far as the meditation or concentration that is adivised by Budha and other moderns also. The basics of Hindusim and, the amazingly the highest knowledge also, lie in vedas and upanishads are the ends or epitome of vedas and upanishads or vedas advocate the formless,shapeless, rootless,endless,soundlessDivine Entity, that is called the Parabrahmam, Maha Prakrithi so on and so forth, it sees everything but can not be seen be seen by any thing,it listens every thing but not heard by anything, it touches every thing but not touched by anything, it is not smelt or perceived by anything but smells or perceives everything, it is present everywhere not found anywhere. The final Goal is definitely this one, but it takes form when it wishes, and any form can be seen by some form only! We are physical entities and can see only physical forms, our naked eyes can see and perceive physical matter only, hence we are to know the Divine Thing with a form and then have to realise that it is formless, in the sense that it is not limited to one form!Imagine the Electrical Power, that is always present there. We can not see it with our naked eyes, but when turned into an electrical bulb or a motor or some other electrical appliance, we can perceive its power or presence! Absolute power can be perceived by absolutely powerful apparatus only and as our physical bodies can not with stand that absolute power, we are advised to visualise that slowly, steadily but surely, step by step, first in some form and then to know that it is of all forms and without any form too. It is like driving a bike blind fold, for which you have to first learn how to ride a bike with eyes open and then you can ride it closing your eyes! Imagine what happens when 25000kw power passes through a 60 volts bulb! It can not withstand such great power and blasts off! It is why the physical bodies of even Great people like Rama Krishna Paramahamsa decayed! Here lies the greatness of Hindu way of worship or philosophical thought. It is a science in itself and advises to proceed step by step, through idol worship first and then when you are at home with it, when you are so immersed with its presence everywhere and anywhere, you can approach it as not having any form also! It is why for the Final Stage in Hindu way of living, that is the Sanyasa Ashrama, all rituals and worships are ruled out and it implies that only that stage can make you a real 'Sanyasi' or a 'Saint', when we realise it we can not but laugh at the Modern Sanyasis! It is just like needing a book to know what is written in it, and, when you get the content by heart, you do not need the book in its physical form, for the content is with you even without that book! So meditating about the 'Shunya' is possible only when you become shunya, not until and unless you loose your physical entities or the boundaries that are created by physical and and geographical differences and diversions! contd..