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  1. Before one criticizes another tradition or tries to posit comparative analyses, the following questions should be taken into consideration. Why are you interested in the differences? You will know, deep in your heart why. Is it to prove X is better than Y? Do you think having a transactional (mercantile) attitude towards spirituality is going to serve you well in the long run? Have you actually learnt in their entirety, the systems that you are comparing? I'll take Advaita Vedanta for instance. Many a sharpshooter has tried to do these type of comparative studies of AV (AV vs This or That). Hold on a second...are you actually qualified to do so? If you want to do justice to your intellect and your spiritual path, you need to first qualify as a student. In Ancient India, there was a healthy tradition of debates between different schools of thought/sprituality. But that required a deep understanding of both positions (that which you are speaking for, and that which you are critiquing). If AV vs "X, Y or Z" is your topic of choice, you need to qualify as a serious student first, before you get the right to criticize it. In order to be considered a serious Advaita Vedantin, the following conditions need apply -- Sādhanā chatustāya - The Four Means What are they? The four means are -- Viveka - The ability to discriminate real from unreal (Real here means that which has independent Self-nature - aka the Self). This at least needs to manifest in the ability to discern what doesn't have independent self-nature (aka phenomena). vairagya - Non-attachment Shadsampat - The six virtues -- Shama - Tranquility of the mind (reducing the modifications of the mind) Dama - Control of the senses uparati - cessation of the need for sensory activities (not craving experiences), implying a sense of contentment titikshā - Fortitude - The ability to persevere with the inquiry/practice. Come what may, I WILL NOT give up until I have full understanding shraddhā - Respect for the tradition, the teachings and it's preceptors. samādhāna - Focus that will allow one to pursue the inquiry Mumukshutva - Burning Thirst for Liberation If you don't have these, then you are not a serious student of Advaita Vedanta. These are the qualities that qualify one to be an Advaita Vedantin (adhikāri). If you haven't done your homework, your comparisons are going to be in vain. Some of the shoddy comparisons I find pertaining to Advaita Vedanta prompted me to write this post. Somethings we should avoid doing is setting up straw man arguments. This is 101 in debates. Otherwise the comparisons/debates become farcical. What constitute straw man arguments? Attributing cherry-picked/out of context, or incomplete facts towards one party of the comparison/debate, or, worse still, half-truths (or half-lies). For instance - "Advaita Vedanta says World is False/illusory". Yes, but when taken in context of the second part of the statement - The World is none other than Brahman who is Absolute Reality, it doesn't seem as shocking or dramatic anymore. Or take for instance the statement - "Advaita Vedanta says that the limited being cannot experience the Universal Being". No where in any upanishads or commentaries of the various Advaita Vedanta masters is that said. Instead, when we study deeper, we find that Advaita Vedanta says the Universal Being (Brahman) appears to the individual being in different forms depending on the state he/she is in (waking, dreaming, deep-sleep). The list can go on and on...but I'll stop here. Hari Om Tat Sat