Nibbana vs. annihilation?

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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:31 pm

Hello Gabriel, All,

gabrielbranbury wrote:
The Buddha does not teach the non being of an existing being. The Buddha teaches a very deep and subtle profound truth.


Metta
Gabe


And neither do I believe in a trully existing being that can exist/not-exist/both/neither after parinibbana.
I do not hold that there is a trully existing being that can be reborn from moment to moment, nothing to say about from life to life. However for the sake of coherency I use common words, this being a Buddhist board I hope that people understand that when I talk about an Arahant, I do NOT mean an Arahant as a trully existing Being, but as a certain procession of vipāka & kiriya cittas along with certain cetasikas and rūpas. Same with worldling except in that case there are also corresponding cittas of all 4 jāti and certain cetasikas and rūpas corresponding to that induvidial.

So please view all my recent messages (certainly this and the rebirth thread) with the above in mind.

With metta,

Alex
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:36 pm

Ben wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Here is a very rough example of what PariNibbana "feels" like. Have you ever been...


Alex, how do you know what parinibbana feels like? For that matter, nibbana?
Please clarify.


First of all, please note that I put "feels" in quotes. Because as suttas tell us, there is no feeling, no vedanā cetasika there, and I also base it on my experiences and contemplations.

Without 5 aggregates or 3 kinds of paramattha dhammas, pariNibbana is not a felt experience. There are moments within daily life that are very rough approximations of some aspects of parinibbana, such as temporary absence of (all or almost all) consciousness (deep dreamless sleep, under anasthesia, being knocked out completely, and for few people states like nirodha-samapatti, etc).
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:51 pm

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Retro, I know that what you are arguing is a possible interpretation, but I wonder if you'd be able to give a reference to a coherent discussion of the pros and cons of considering such quotes as referring to:
1. Nibbana as something permanent;
2. Nibbna as an experience of nibbana, after which the arahant returns to "normal life".

...
In fact, the two questions you ask would not arise for someone who bases their analysis solely on the sutta treatment of nibbana, and perhaps this is why you have not found a direct answer to them in Bhikkhu Nanananda's teachings.

I'm not sure if Ven Nanananda would agree with this statement. I gave you an example where Ven Nanananda seems to be discussing things in just this way:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 339#p83074
Nanananda wrote:This refers to the experience of the cessation of consciousness (vinnananirodha DI.213) with the removal of its support name and form. The experience is described in the Suttas as a very unusual kind of 'jhana' or 'samadhi', since it does not partake of any perceptual data. (A.IV.427, V.7,8,318,319,324f,353ff).

Clearly this cannot be a permanent condition for an arahant: "does not partake of any perceptual data".

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Nihilism / annihilationism misrepresents the Buddha

Postby manas » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:55 pm

I can't seem to post ANY replies (to others' posts) at present. The system won't allow me to. So I am simply starting up a new topic.

Nihilism has crept into Theravada Buddhism, despite our own scriptures clearly stating that Buddha was NOT either a nihilist or an annihilationist. I refer specifically to what is written below:



PariNibbāna is not some retirement home where consciousness go to exist for eternity. Unfortunately some teachers are afraid of giving a clear cut explanation of Final Nibbāna, and try to obfuscate the issue by making it sound as not complete and utter cessation without any remainder. Thus ending becomes reinterpreted as a new beginning, and nothing is reinterpreted as something. Existence of any kind is simply not worth it, every saṅkhāra is tainted with dukkha. Those who think that Final Nibbāna is some form of existence, haven't seen the fact that all and any experience is just more or less, hidden or revealed dukkha.
Alex123




Yes, Nibbana must be something OTHER than what we call existence here. And clearly there is no self to speak of there. But neither is it annihilation or 'nothingness', as the Buddha himself warns us:

35. "And how is the monk a Noble One who has taken down the flag, put down the burden, become unfettered? He has abandoned the conceit of self, has cut it off at the root, removed it from is soil like a palmyra tree, brought it to utter extinction, incapable of arising again. Thus is the monk a Noble One who has taken down the flag, put down the burden, become unfettered.

36. "When a monk's mind is thus freed, O monks, neither the gods with Indra, nor the gods with Brahma, nor the gods with the Lord of Creatures (Pajaapati), when searching will find[36] on what the consciousness of one thus gone (tathaagata) is based. Why is that? One who has thus gone is no longer traceable here and now, so I say.[37]

Misrepresentation

37. "So teaching, so proclaiming, O monks, I have been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans: 'A nihilist[38] is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'[39]

"As I am not as I do not teach, so have I been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans thus: 'A nihilist is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'

"What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering.




Clearly, then, even asking the question "will we exist?" or "will we not exist?" (after parinibbana) etc is not the right question, and leads to the kind of speculations that the Buddha warns us about in the Snake-simile Sutta quoted above. We should not misrepresent the Buddha by even implying that Nibbana is 'nothingness'. If it were merely that I don't think it would be worth striving so hard for!
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:57 pm

Greetings Mike,

It appears we might be talking at cross-purposes. I was talking of nibbana, not vinnananirodha.

To differentiate the two, I understand nibbana as what the Buddha experienced from the time of his enlightenment to the time of his death (and I shant speculate beyond that). Vinnananirodha was a temporary state, induced through meditation, which acted as a painkiller.

Physical sensations are not dependent upon avijja... hence, the Buddha could still experience them.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:57 pm

Hello Lazy_eye, all,

Lazy_eye wrote:
Alex, I have some objections for you to field...

1) You are dealing only with what exists within the set Samsara = X(a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l). Even if all the components in the set, together with the set itself, are rendered null, this tells us nothing (literally!) about any possible Y or Z that might be operative beyond the set. Since we ourselves, and our language and terminology, exist within the set, we can say nothing about it. We thus cannot say whether nibbana=oblivion, as you state here. The only way to resolve the matter would be through direct realization.


Yes you are right in a certain way. I have also read and studied the possibility (that I later rejected) that when the Buddha has said ABCDEF is not Self, it logically doesn't exclude the possibility that X could be a Self. However when something totally covers all the range of experience, then it is possible to make such justifications. For example the 5 aggregates is the all range of experience by aggregate sphere, and so on with others. Without them, no experience is possible. No experience should NOT be made into an experience called "no experience".



None of us have any direct realization of Parinibbana OR materialist oblivion so we can only make guesses based on the somewhat conflicting references in the suttas, commentaries and advice from our teachers.


But short lasting experiences that approximate those states, at least from the mental side can happen, and it is possible to extrapolate the personal experiences + what suttas tell + wise reflection. I had very interesting experiences of blanking/passing out. When consciousness ceases, there is no experience of "blackness" or "time/timelessness". So it is wrong to assume that materialistic or Parinibbana is falling into some new experience, such as black void. None of this can occur without consciousness.


2) The Buddha and many teachers after him, including every one of the sources linked to by Cooran earlier in this thread, refer to nibbana not only as a subtractive process (as you do) but also in terms which involve qualia. By definition, qualia imply some type of awareness. We do not say that a concrete divider or a dead tree stump is "at ease", "happy", "liberated" or "in a state of peaceful coolness", unless we are trying to be cute.


These passages dealing with ALIVE ARAHANT (or to say precisely with aggregates still remaining)? Because passages dealing with what happens when "the body breaks up" is clear. Mere bodily remains, and even they turn to dust. No new experience.



3) The concepts (or non-concepts, if you like) "nibbana" and "oblivion" belong to conflicting philosophical systems and their meaning has to be understood within the context of their respective paradigms. For a Buddhist to start talking about suicide as the path to nothingness is like Richard Dawkins talking about nibbana. Different animals. As a follower of the Buddha you don't accept the the materialist paradigm, so to refer to the dhammic consequences of "there only being one life" is a logical absurdity from either perspective. It's mixing the premises of one system with the conclusions of another, creating a philosophical monster.

Right. I don't accept one life only belief. If I did, then suicide would be the most rational thing to eventually do. But as for the death of An Arahant (not a worldling or sekhas, who are still subject to rebirth) it is not experientially different from atheistic anihhilation in experience. The only difference is how it is interpreted. The atheists hold different and wrong beliefs (they may believe in a Self and that life is good, thus death is bad).



4) Although the Buddha rejected both annihilationism and eternalism, he preferred eternalism as the lesser of evils because of its potential to inspire the holy life (see here). Since the Middle Way is hard to understand and we invariably lean towards one of the two poles, it is better to lean towards eternalism. Does your equation of nibbana with suicidal oblivion promote the undertaking of the holy life?


Actually the highest of outside views was the belief in anihhilation because it was closer to non-lust as opposed to eternalism which was viewed as being close to lust. I think that what you've talked about moral & ontological nihilism which the Buddha, and I, consider to be very wrong.

[8] "The supreme view-point external [to the Dhamma] is this: 'I should not be; it should not occur to me; I will not be; it will not occur to me.' Of one with this view it may be expected that '[the perception of] unloathsomeness of becoming will not occur to him, and [the perception of] loathsomeness of the cessation of becoming will not occur to him.' And there are beings who have this view. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


The difference between that supreme view-point external to the Dhamma is the anatta, kamma and possibly few other teachings. But please not as to what kind of superior external view is endorsed and why it was endorsed by the Buddha. It leans closer to complete cessation and relinquishment, then the belief in eternal existence.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:10 pm

Hello Retro, all,

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alex,

Alex123 wrote:The D.O. is not just momentary ....Even in sutta-pitaka it is defined within 2-3 lives.

A couple of points in relation to this.

1. I was only talking about the link between avijja and sankhara, so even if one is inclined to partition dependent origination over multiple lives ala Buddhaghosa, these two segments (and the link between them) remain in the same temporal region.
[/quote]

The D.O. spread over multiple lifetimes is found in the sutta-pitaka.


The events that appear now may be due to causes done many lives back, or before ignorance ceased. For example Ven. MahaMoggallana died a very painful death. As the story goes (was it in commentary?) he killed his parents in a forest and last bits of that heineous kamma was giving its results in his last life.

Also the Arahant Angulimala felt great pains before his death, these pains were ripening of the bad kamma that he did prior to Awakening. So becoming awakened doesn't prevent results of past kamma to happen in some form prior to Parinibbana.


2. If you really do believe it to require "2-3 lives", are you then claiming that even after the complete cessation of ignorance, the results still take 2-3 lifetimes to peter out? This would certainly be at odds with what the Buddha said about arahants.


The kamma left will have to work itself out within the remainder of Arahats death, and the rest will become defunct kamma (ahosikamma).

Kamma is not a totally linear process. It can be greatly attenuated and in some cases completely abandoned (ahosikamma).


Ven. Angulimala would suffer greatly (for murdering 999 people) if he didn't become an Aryan. But because he became an Arahant he really cut off most of potential bad kamma results and severely weakened the rest.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Individual » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:14 pm

I'm probably just being mischievous here (proudly amusing myself with my own cleverness) and I hope I don't ruin Ben, Mike, and Retrofuturist's attempts here, but...

Alex123 wrote:First of all, please note that I put "feels" in quotes.

Yes, but not "I" or "my".

Therefore, I logically conclude you have sakkaya-ditthi and therefore no authority to describe what Nibbana feels like, or any approximations thereof not explicitly described in the suttas.
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Re: Nihilism / annihilationism misrepresents the Buddha

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:20 pm

manasikara wrote:I can't seem to post ANY replies (to others' posts) at present. The system won't allow me to. So I am simply starting up a new topic.

Nihilism has crept into Theravada Buddhism, despite our own scriptures clearly stating that Buddha was NOT either a nihilist or an annihilationist. I refer specifically to what is written below:

PariNibbāna is not some retirement home where consciousness go to exist for eternity. Unfortunately some teachers are afraid of giving a clear cut explanation of Final Nibbāna, and try to obfuscate the issue by making it sound as not complete and utter cessation without any remainder. Thus ending becomes reinterpreted as a new beginning, and nothing is reinterpreted as something. Existence of any kind is simply not worth it, every saṅkhāra is tainted with dukkha. Those who think that Final Nibbāna is some form of existence, haven't seen the fact that all and any experience is just more or less, hidden or revealed dukkha.
Alex123


Misrepresentation

37. "So teaching, so proclaiming, O monks, I have been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans: 'A nihilist[38] is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'[39]

"As I am not as I do not teach, so have I been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans thus: 'A nihilist is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'

"What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering.



The above is correct. The reason why what I say isn't anihhilation is because there is ultimately no Being-in-itself to be anihhilated.

But there is cause-effect stream, there is kamma & kammavipāka, there is rebirth. So no nihilism.


Clearly, then, even asking the question "will we exist?" or "will we not exist?" (after parinibbana) etc is not the right question,


That question wrongly assumes that there is a Self that can exist or that is anihhilated. In that way it is wrong.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:22 pm

Hi Individual, all,

Individual wrote:I'm probably just being mischievous here (proudly amusing myself with my own cleverness) and I hope I don't ruin Ben, Mike, and Retrofuturist's attempts here, but...

Alex123 wrote:First of all, please note that I put "feels" in quotes.

Yes, but not "I" or "my".

Therefore, I logically conclude you have sakkaya-ditthi and therefore no authority to describe what Nibbana feels like, or any approximations thereof not explicitly described in the suttas.



I do not believe in a trully existing being that can exist/not-exist/both/neither after after parinibbana. I do not hold that there is a trully existing being that can be reborn from moment to moment, nothing to say about from life to life. However for the sake of coherency I use common words, this being a Buddhist board I hope that people understand that when I talk about an Arahant, I do NOT mean an Arahant as a trully existing Being, but as a certain procession of vipāka & kiriya cittas along with certain cetasikas and rūpas. Same with worldling except in that case there are also corresponding cittas of all 4 jāti and certain cetasikas and rūpas corresponding to that induvidial.

So please view all my recent messages (certainly this and the rebirth thread) with the above in mind.

With metta,

Alex
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:23 pm

Greetings Alex,

Alex123 wrote:The D.O. spread over multiple lifetimes is found in the sutta-pitaka.

A matter of conjecture which probably warrants its own topic, in my opinion.

Alex123 wrote:The events that appear now may be due to causes done many lives back, or before ignorance ceased. For example Ven. MahaMoggallana died a very painful death. As the story goes (was it in commentary?) he killed his parents in a forest and last bits of that heineous kamma was giving its results in his last life.

Also the Arahant Angulimala felt great pains before his death, these pains were ripening of the bad kamma that he did prior to Awakening. So becoming awakened doesn't prevent results of past kamma to happen in some form prior to Parinibbana.

The death of these bhikkhus was noted in the Sutta Pitaka, but it was left for the commentaries to provide the explanations of kammic retribution which you detail above.

Alex123 wrote:The kamma left will have to work itself out within the remainder of Arahats death, and the rest will become defunct kamma (ahosikamma).

This is what you and the Mahavihara Theravada tradition say, but the Sutta Pitaka does not. Again, that's all well and good, and you're welcome to your view... but the differentiations are useful as different people put different stock in different sources of information. Being clear on the origins of certain theories and perspectives helps people decide for themselves what to accept, based on their own understandings of what doctrinal sources ought to be considered authoratative.

I understand it that kamma and vipaka cease to function once ignorance is destroyed and arahantship is attained. Ignorance sustains the notion of "self", which in turn sustains kamma and vipaka. Kamma does not exist outside of the aggregates, so once the burden of the aggregates is laid down, how can they come back and haunt the arahant in the form of vipaka? Just as a snake is not haunted by the skin it has shed, the arahant is not haunted by the kamma he/she has shed.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:24 pm

Alex123 wrote:As I know, there is no permanent being within a worldling or an Arahant. There is just more dukkha and avijja within 5 aggregates of a worldling than an Arahant. The reason why I was talking about an Arahat/Tathagata was because that "person" was the subject of discussion of "What happens to a fully awakened at Death"?


Hello Alex,
Like the extinguishing of a flame whose fuel has run out and we can not say it has gone this way or that. The flame is a kind of relationship between fuel and oxygen. If the flame is blown out or the fuel runs out how can the relationship continue. I think this is what you are saying and I respect that. I would just stress again that the Buddha identified with Paṭicca-samuppāda and not with aggregates. I dont think the Buddha experienced pain as dukkha but we must agree to disagree there. Your language reads to me like you are asserting the non existence of an existing being after death. Even if you are not I think a greater degree of sensitivity is warranted regarding the effect of your words and how the can be understood.


With Metta

Gabe
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Re: Nihilism / annihilationism misrepresents the Buddha

Postby Individual » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:31 pm

manasikara wrote:Yes, Nibbana must be something OTHER than what we call existence here.

It must be? Why?

Could it not also be that Nibbana is nothing other than what we call existence or that what we call existence is not really existence?
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Re: Nihilism / annihilationism misrepresents the Buddha

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:35 pm

Individual wrote:Yes, Nibbana must be something OTHER than what we call existence here.
What is the most basic definition of nibbana given by the Buddha?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Nihilism / annihilationism misrepresents the Buddha

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:36 pm

Individual wrote:
manasikara wrote:Yes, Nibbana must be something OTHER than what we call existence here.

It must be? Why?

Could it not also be that Nibbana is nothing other than what we call existence or that what we call existence is not really existence?


I think it could be so :smile:

Gabe
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Re: Nihilism / annihilationism misrepresents the Buddha

Postby Kenshou » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:05 am

tiltbillings wrote:What is the most basic definition of nibbana given by the Buddha?

Mystical non-dual eternal unity with the transcendental "ground-of-being", right?

No?
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Re: Nihilism / annihilationism misrepresents the Buddha

Postby Individual » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:08 am

Kenshou wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What is the most basic definition of nibbana given by the Buddha?

Mystical non-dual eternal unity with the transcendental "ground-of-being", right?

No?

ROFL
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:33 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alex,

The death of these bhikkhus was noted in the Sutta Pitaka, but it was left for the commentaries to provide the explanations of kammic retribution which you detail above.

I understand it that kamma and vipaka cease to function once ignorance is destroyed and arahantship is attained. Ignorance sustains the notion of "self", which in turn sustains kamma and vipaka. Kamma does not exist outside of the aggregates, so once the burden of the aggregates is laid down, how can they come back and haunt the arahant in the form of vipaka? Just as a snake is not haunted by the skin it has shed, the arahant is not haunted by the kamma he/she has shed.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Do you accept the possibility that kamma done prior to Arhatship may come up for an Arahant?

In any case, where this discussion originated was the fact that even an Arahant or the Buddha can experience physical pain. Not only that, but there are multiple kinds of dukkha, and the Arahat has eliminated only the dukkha due to mental defilements. Dukkha of painful feeling still remains, dukkha of change still remains.

"Whatever is felt is included in suffering." yaṃ kiñci vedayitaṃ taṃ dukkhasmi’nti -SN 36.11(1)

"All formations are stressful." Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā’’ti - Dhp 278
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:40 am

gabrielbranbury wrote: I would just stress again that the Buddha identified with Paṭicca-samuppāda and not with aggregates. I dont think the Buddha experienced pain as dukkha but we must agree to disagree there. Gabe



Paṭicca-samuppāda is nothing but conditional interaction of 5 aggregates. Conditionality cannot be without things (aggregates) that are conditioned.

Buddha doesn't experience pain as mental dukkha, right. But as bodily feeling of pain, kāya dukkha vedanā.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:49 am

Alex123 wrote:Paṭicca-samuppāda is nothing but conditional interaction of 5 aggregates.

The Buddha honored and respected Paṭicca-samuppāda.

"It would be for the sake of perfecting an unperfected aggregate of knowledge and vision of release that I would dwell in dependence on another priest or contemplative, honoring and respecting him. However, in this world with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, in this generation with its priests and contemplatives, its royalty and common-folk, I do not see another priest or contemplative more consummate in knowledge and vision of release than I, on whom I could dwell in dependence, honoring and respecting him.

"What if I were to dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened, honoring and respecting it?"


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn06/sn06.002.than.html
With Metta

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