Re: Soul..There Yet Not There?
I have thought on this issue for long. Buddha or anyone in quest of the Truth must reach the same destination and even if there are issues in choosing the right words/terms, they would more or less mean the same.
The relationship between Jeeva and Brahman is the most difficult part to understand. Whatever language/words/terms/analogy you choose, it cannot be described as it really is. This is because, this Jeeva perceives differences very strongly and has most characteristics of being labelled as "existing". Otherwise valid questions are : "If there is no Jeeva, who takes birth, who accumulated karma, who dies and who is re-born ? If Jeeva is non-existent then what is Karma, what is bondage and what is liberation ?" ... and yet, Upanishads say unequivocally that there is Self alone and anyone "who sees differences here goes from death to death" (Ref : Kathopanishad) ! So, we take the analogy of rope and snake, imagined reality over the absolute reality.
Buddha faced similar dilemma. Perhaps, that is why he chose not to indulge into such discussions. Such discussion, anyway won't lead to anywhere and it would hardly help in attaining liberation. We must keep in mind that Buddha was able to spread his message to masses whereas Advaita had difficulty in making this common. This was because in Advaita VedAnta, discussion and enquiry are of such a high level that unless one is more intelligent than average, he won't be able to make any headway in this discussion. So, Advaita VedAnta failed in being spread in common public even though it addressed the reality in much better way than Buddha did.
I think Buddha did it purposefully so that people don't waste time in discussion and straightway aim for the highest goal through meditation. Again, Buddha aims for the highest goal and not anything less than that. That is Turiya state or Buddha state. By holding on to any notion strongly, one cannot reach this state. Even holding on to concept of God can be a hindrance in attaining this state as happened to Ramkrishna Paramhansa. That is why Buddha, perhaps thought not to encourage having any concept of "individual soul" or "jeeva" or even "Self" in his preaching. He advises to be patient in meditation and wait for the Reality to reveal Itself upon the seeker. He feels that any concept which has to be abandoned in the end is only a hindrance and therefore there is no need to keep on head any baggage even in the beginning.
If you say that there is Jeeva your natural tendency is to hold on to the concept of Jeeva. Even if you don't mention anything about Jeeva, the sense of individuality tries to make us feel that we have separate existence. Therefore, Buddha wants that this concept must be denied any cognizance from the beginning itself. Even the word "Self' gives a notion of some entity other than "ourselves" and that becomes a hindrance !
"Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"