Nibbana vs. annihilation?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:06 am

Alex123 wrote:Experientially there is no difference between atheistic death and PariNibbana, unless atheists think that death is falling into black nothingness. What the materialist atheist differ is in conceptual interpretation and lack of belief in rebirth. But Parinibbana is COMPLETE cessation with nothing remaning. It is just not death of a trully existing being, and it is not a bad event. It is a liberating and peaceful event for an Arahant as all that is lost is just pile of suffering.


I understand that for those who don't realize that all and any awareness/consciousness/experience is ultimately dukkha, the Buddha's teaching on Nibbāna can sound bleak. Even in His time he was criticized (by those who didn't understand) for teaching "anihhilationism".


You are doing a serious disservice to the Dhamma in my opinion. I hope that you can find a way out of this pernicious view. Thankfully the Buddha has provided the way out so I hope you continue to study.


Take care

Gabe
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:11 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:How can there be dukkha if there is no existing being? I


But there are aggregates. There is dukkha-vedanā.

in what way do you think beings exist?

As a stream of cause-effect process of aggregates.

In what way do the aggregates exist?

As a fact of Experience. The idea of a Being is a conceptual overlay.

Dependent Arising rolls on for better or for worse. The Dhamma is dependent arising. There is nothing which arises without influencing that which arises in its wake.

Dependent arising (I assume you mean paṭicca-samuppāda) rolls ONLY for worse as it starts with avijjā.
Cessation of it is happiness, but never arising.

How do we see the Buddha? We see the Buddha by seeing Dependent Arising. When we see Dependent Arising We will see the Buddha.


So are you saying that the Buddha is "with the arising of ignorance, there is arising of volitional activities?" ???


with ignorance as condition, volitional activities come to be;
with volitional activities as condition, consciousness comes to be;
with consciousness as condition, name-and-form comes to be;
with name-and-form as condition, the sixfold base comes to be;
with the sixfold base as condition, contact comes to be;
with contact as condition, feeling comes to be;
with feeling as condition, craving comes to be;
with craving as condition, grasping comes to be;
with grasping as condition, being comes to be;
with being as condition, birth comes to be;
with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair come to be.
This is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:11 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Experientially there is no difference between atheistic death and PariNibbana, unless atheists think that death is falling into black nothingness. What the materialist atheist differ is in conceptual interpretation and lack of belief in rebirth. But Parinibbana is COMPLETE cessation with nothing remaning. It is just not death of a trully existing being, and it is not a bad event. It is a liberating and peaceful event for an Arahant as all that is lost is just pile of suffering.


I understand that for those who don't realize that all and any awareness/consciousness/experience is ultimately dukkha, the Buddha's teaching on Nibbāna can sound bleak. Even in His time he was criticized (by those who didn't understand) for teaching "anihhilationism".


You are doing a serious disservice to the Dhamma in my opinion. I hope that you can find a way out of this pernicious view. Thankfully the Buddha has provided the way out so I hope you continue to study.


Take care

Gabe


Can you please explain exactly what you disagree with and why?

Are you saying that something remains after parinibbāna?

With the breakup of the body, following the exhaustion of life, all feelings, not being delighted in, will become cool right here; mere
bodily remains will be left."
-
SN12.51(1). BB Trans

The body disintegrated, perception ceased, pain & rapture were entirely consumed, fabrications were stilled: consciousness (Viññāṇaṃ) has come to its end.” – Ud 8.9
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:20 am

Alex123 wrote:Dependent arising (I assume you mean paṭicca-samuppāda) rolls ONLY for worse as it starts with avijjā.
Cessation of it is happiness, but never arising.


Here is how paṭicca-samuppāda rolls on for the better. This is but one exposition of how but there are many others.

"Just as, monks, when rain descends heavily upon some mountaintop, the water flows down along with the slope, and fills the clefts, gullies, and creeks; these being filled fill up the pools; these being filled fill up the ponds; these being filled fill up the streams; these being filled fill up the rivers; and the rivers being filled fill up the great ocean — in the same way, monks, ignorance is the supporting condition for kamma formations, kamma formations are the supporting condition for consciousness, consciousness is the supporting condition for mentality-materiality, mentality-materiality is the supporting condition for the sixfold sense base, the sixfold sense base is the supporting condition for contact, contact is the supporting condition for feeling, feeling is the supporting condition for craving, craving is the supporting condition for clinging, clinging is the supporting condition for existence, existence is the supporting condition for birth, birth is the supporting condition for suffering, suffering is the supporting condition for faith, faith is the supporting condition for joy, joy is the supporting condition for rapture, rapture is the supporting condition for tranquillity,tranquillity is the supporting condition for happiness, happiness is the supporting condition for concentration, concentration is the supporting condition for the knowledge and vision of things as they really are, the knowledge and vision of things as they really are is the supporting condition for disenchantment, disenchantment is the supporting condition for dispassion, dispassion is the supporting condition for emancipation, and emancipation is the supporting condition for the knowledge of the destruction (of the cankers)."

Upanisa Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel277.html
Last edited by Prasadachitta on Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:23 am

So you've meant what is known as transcendental arising, not the standard version of paṭicca-samuppāda that starts with ignorance and ends with suffering. Good.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:25 am

Alex123 wrote:So you've meant what is known as transcendental arising, not the standard version of paṭicca-samuppāda that starts with ignorance and ends with suffering. Good.


Indeed but it still starts with ignorance.

Just as Ignorance supports Suffering

Suffering supports Faith

and so on.

Paṭicca-samuppāda happens for better or for worse.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:32 am

Greetings Alex,

Alex123 wrote:I understand that for those who don't realize that all and any awareness/consciousness/experience is ultimately dukkha, the Buddha's teaching on Nibbāna can sound bleak. Even in His time he was criticized (by those who didn't understand) for teaching "anihhilationism".

Given that you're relating to dukkha as one of the three characteristics of existence (even though not using the actual term), your definition of existence as "presence of mind and/or body" remains the crux of the apparent disagreement... and why, by your logic, dukkha cannot be transcended, short of the death of an arahant.

I concur with Gabe when he said, "You are doing a serious disservice to the Dhamma in my opinion." by positing that the highest goal in the Dhamma is the ability to be permanently dead.

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 12:35 am

Can you please explain exactly what you disagree with and why?

Are you saying that something remains after parinibbāna?


It depends on how you characterize "somthing". Certainly Paṭicca-samuppāda remains.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:39 am

Greetings Gabriel,

gabrielbranbury wrote:Certainly Paṭicca-samuppāda remains.

I disagree and would be interested in your reasons.

My understanding is that once ignorance is uprooted, everything which depended upon it ceases.

Without ignorance to sustain the sequence (as per the arahant), how does paṭicca-samuppāda remain?

Are you speaking more broadly in terms of cause-and-effect? I suspect there may be some variety of Mahayana interpretation leaking into what you're saying here... since some Vajrayanists in particular, seem to attribute the ontological existence of everything in the universe (the sun, stars and moon etc.) to dependent origination. This over-extension of the principle was refuted by the Theravadins in the Points Of Controversy.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:44 am

I think people should think twice before they accuse others of having pernicious views ...

No one on this thread is the ultimate expositor of Buddha-Dhamma.

From your cranky neighbourhood Asura,

V.

NB - and yes, even Arahants can experience the 'blow-back' from past kamma - some of which is unpleasant - but they don't attach to it as a 'self' - unlike you or I would. But, using conventional speech - which is certified as okely dokely by the Tathagata himself to speak in - the 'Arahant' - 'him' or 'herself' experiences that vipaka-kamma.

The Buddha also felt pain - read the parinibbana sutta - 'he' was in 'agony' - why? he had a body and he was quite ill. But he didn't attach to it - unlike you or I probably would. It was just 'the felt' of the heaps - not 'O Christ, my guts are killing me - why me?'

Realisation of nibbana doesn't mean one is 'super-monk' or 'super-monketta'

Crankily yours,

Vepacitta Asura :x
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Gabriel,

gabrielbranbury wrote:Certainly Paṭicca-samuppāda remains.

I disagree and would be interested in your reasons.

My understanding is that once ignorance is uprooted, everything which depended upon it ceases.

Without ignorance to sustain the sequence (as per the arahant), how does paṭicca-samuppāda remain?

Are you speaking more broadly in terms of cause-and-effect? I suspect there may be some variety of Mahayana interpretation leaking into what you're saying here... since some Vajrayanists in particular, seem to attribute the ontological existence of everything in the universe (the sun, stars and moon etc.) to dependent origination. This over-extension of the principle was refuted by the Theravadins in the Points Of Controversy.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hello Retro,

If Paṭicca-samuppāda did not remain then you and I would not be able to see it. Im really not saying anything special. The influence of the Buddha is characterized by a movement towards liberation. If this is not the case it is not the influence of the Buddha. The Buddha identified himself with Paṭicca-samuppāda. He did this out of compassion as he understood that we would want to know him more intimately. To know him intimately is to know Paṭicca-samuppāda. To see Paṭicca-samuppāda is to naturally move toward liberation.

The Mahayana in my opinion is often trying to express this. Not without being very confusing in the process I might add.

Metta

Gabe
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:54 am

Greetings Gabe,

I understand what you mean - the abstracted structural principle remains true in the universe for (unenlightened) sentient beings.

When Alex asked, "Are you saying that something remains after parinibbāna?", I'm pretty sure he was asking in terms of the "continuity" of the "person".

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
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 12:55 am

Vepacitta wrote:I think people should think twice before they accuse others of having pernicious views ...

No one on this thread is the ultimate expositor of Buddha-Dhamma.

From your cranky neighbourhood Asura,

V.

NB - and yes, even Arahants can experience the 'blow-back' from past kamma - some of which is unpleasant - but they don't attach to it as a 'self' - unlike you or I would. But, using conventional speech - which is certified as okely dokely by the Tathagata himself to speak in - the 'Arahant' - 'him' or 'herself' experiences that vipaka-kamma.

The Buddha also felt pain - read the parinibbana sutta - 'he' was in 'agony' - why? he had a body and he was quite ill. But he didn't attach to it - unlike you or I probably would. It was just 'the felt' of the heaps - not 'O Christ, my guts are killing me - why me?'

Realisation of nibbana doesn't mean one is 'super-monk' or 'super-monketta'

Crankily yours,

Vepacitta Asura :x


Thank you for your criticism Vepscitta. I did think twice about it and chose to do it anyway. It was out of concern and I know I am not the "ultimate expositor of Buddha-Dhamma". My purpose is not to offend.

Metta

Gabe
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Gabe,

I understand what you mean - the abstracted structural principle remains true in the universe for (unenlightened) sentient beings.

When Alex asked, "Are you saying that something remains after parinibbāna?", I'm pretty sure he was asking in terms of the "continuity" of the "person".

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yes I am pretty sure he was asking in those terms as well. However, this is no ordinary person. This is a person who's personality is in perfect alignment with Paṭicca-samuppāda. So much so that the only way to have any idea of that personality and its "continuity" is to also know and see Paṭicca-samuppāda for yourself. It is my opinion that the Buddha wanted the terms which discuss his "continuity" to be dealt with in this manner.

I am happy at the thought. :bow:

Gabe
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:25 am

Greetings Asura-girl!

Vepacitta wrote:NB - and yes, even Arahants can experience the 'blow-back' from past kamma - some of which is unpleasant - but they don't attach to it as a 'self' - unlike you or I would. But, using conventional speech - which is certified as okely dokely by the Tathagata himself to speak in - the 'Arahant' - 'him' or 'herself' experiences that vipaka-kamma.

The Buddha also felt pain - read the parinibbana sutta - 'he' was in 'agony' - why? he had a body and he was quite ill. But he didn't attach to it - unlike you or I probably would. It was just 'the felt' of the heaps - not 'O Christ, my guts are killing me - why me?'


Absolutely no argument with you there. The issue seems to be whether arahants endure suffering until death. Is painful sensation suffering? Absolutely not - its certainly not my understanding and from my reading of your post, it isn't yours either.

Asura-girl wrote:Realisation of nibbana doesn't mean one is 'super-monk' or 'super-monketta'

Ah well,to be in the words of John Dunne, a 'pedantic wretch', I would say that would depend on what you meant by 'super-monk' and 'super-monketta'. If one had full realization (arahant) or even one of the three lower ariyan attainments, I reckon it would be grounds for super-hood.
kind regards

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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:42 am

retrofuturist wrote:
When Alex asked, "Are you saying that something remains after parinibbāna?", I'm pretty sure he was asking in terms of the "continuity" of the "person".


Right. Parinibbana is the end.

Ben wrote:The issue seems to be whether arahants endure suffering until death. Is painful sensation suffering? Absolutely not


Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā’’ti , All formations are dukkhā. Dhp 278

Is dukkha-vedanā, dukkha?


28. But when the Blessed One had entered upon the rainy season, there arose in him a severe illness, and sharp and deadly pains came upon him.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#fnt-41



The fact is that even the Buddha has experienced dukkha to some degree.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:45 am

Alex123 wrote:The fact is that even the Buddha has experienced dukkha to some degree.


Actually, Alex,its just your interpretation based on selective reading.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:46 am

Gabe - one cannot impute a personality onto the Tathagata- a Tathagata has no personality to be aligned anywhere. There is no being there.

V.

NB - Ben- the super monk (monketta is my derivation thereof) is something my teacher said about how the suttas display the 'steely' qualities of monks, especially the Buddha. "But not SUPERMONK!" (then imagine a skinny Buddhist monk flexing his biceps. It was pretty funny). However, it has occurred to me that there is some exageration in the sutta pitika ( :jawdrop: I know!) And it has also occurred to me that 'us beings here' tend to have a perniciously exagerrated view of what 'the quenching' (nibbana) really is. People tend to imbue people/things/concepts with their own projections - and I think that the authors of the suttas were no exception. And we, the readers are no exceptions - and so - I like to take things down a peg, or two, or maybe even ... three.

Just my thoughts on the matter -

o and it's Asura-GAL to you!

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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:49 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:
Can you please explain exactly what you disagree with and why?

Are you saying that something remains after parinibbāna?


It depends on how you characterize "somthing". Certainly Paṭicca-samuppāda remains.


First you mean the one that starts with ignorance and ends with dukkha? Or do you mean the Upanisa one?

Even "khayeñāṇa" (knowledge of destruction ) doesn't remain when parinibbāna occurs. How could "khayeñāṇa" remain if all consciousness ceases, and no new consciousness (which would be required for any knowledge/experience) arises?
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:50 am

Vepacitta wrote:Gabe - one cannot impute a personality onto the Tathagata- a Tathagata has no personality to be aligned anywhere. There is no being there.
Let us not forget that tathagata is also a descriptive term for an arahant. Arahants, as we see them in the Pali suttas, do not have distinct personalities?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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