"The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which sutta?

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"The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which sutta?

Postby fivebells » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:41 pm

In Small Boat, Great Mountain, Ajahn Amaro says

Ānanda and another monk had been debating about the nature of the deathless state and they decided to consult the Buddha. They wanted to know: “What is the nature of deathlessness?” They prepared themselves for a long, expansive explanation. But the Buddha’s response was brief and succinct. He replied, “The cessation of grasping is deathlessness.” [p. 45 in the pdf]


Anyone know which sutta he's referring to, here?

I'm curious to know how this book has been received. I've found very little critical commentary of it, but I was quite surprised by his presentation of the Bahiya sutta as an ontological teaching rather than as an advanced practice instruction. (E.g., on p. 46, he has the Buddha saying "In the seen, there is only the seen," when the translation I'm familiar with has "...you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.") I'm about a third of the way through the book, and so far I've found very little of practical value in it. (Trying to decide whether to participate in a discussion group focused on the book. So far I'm thinking I shouldn't because something I disagree with seems to come up on every page. I'm enjoying his description of the deathless, but that may be because the deathless is relatively alien to me.)
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby reflection » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:25 pm

I don't know the specific sutta, but of course the suttas do say the cessation of clinging is, or leads to, the cessation of dukkha.

As to how the book will be received, may I ask why you want to know? Because the only important thing is how you receive it. In general, probably it will be well received by those who (are inclined to) share the views in it, and not well received by those who don't - as usually happens. Personally, just reading the section you quoted made me sort of sad inside, because this is not how I understand the Buddha's teachings. It's constructing nibbana in the conditioned. :( I don't intend to start this whole discussion here. This has probably been done before on this board, but just to say you are not alone if you disagree with much of what is said. However, if you wish me to expand upon it, I'm happy to do so, if you think that may help you.

Metta! :buddha2:
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby kirk5a » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:18 am

fivebells wrote:In Small Boat, Great Mountain, Ajahn Amaro says

Ānanda and another monk had been debating about the nature of the deathless state and they decided to consult the Buddha. They wanted to know: “What is the nature of deathlessness?” They prepared themselves for a long, expansive explanation. But the Buddha’s response was brief and succinct. He replied, “The cessation of grasping is deathlessness.” [p. 45 in the pdf]


Anyone know which sutta he's referring to, here?

Possibly MN 106, although I don't see a debate mentioned there.
This is the Deathless, namely, the liberation of the mind through not clinging.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby fivebells » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:20 am

Thanks, reflection.
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby Aloka » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:45 am

reflection wrote: It's constructing nibbana in the conditioned.


Isn't Nibanna often known as the cessation of desire, hatred, delusion ..and of grasping/attachment?

Im not quite sure how Ajahn Amaro can be constructing Nibbana in the conditioned, when it's clearly described as "the unconditioned" in his co-written book : ''The Island - An Anthology of the Buddha's Teachings on Nibanna" by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro.

http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=10&ref=deb
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby reflection » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:59 am

Aloka wrote:
reflection wrote: It's constructing nibbana in the conditioned.


Isn't Nibanna often known as the cessation of desire, hatred, delusion ..and of grasping/attachment?

Im not quite sure how Ajahn Amaro can be constructing Nibbana in the conditioned, when it's clearly described as "the unconditioned" in his co-written book : ''The Island - An Anthology of the Buddha's Teachings on Nibanna" by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro.

http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=10&ref=deb

Hi,
It is not simply grasping, but in the back of our mind it should also include grasping to what? To the aggregates. And resulting in what? The cessation of the aggregates. In my eyes, based on what I read, Venerable Amaro has made a nibbana in consciousness he calls "spaciousness". We could call that unconditioned, but that doesn't make it so.

With metta,
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby kirk5a » Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:26 pm

In my opinion the thing to do would be to become established in what Ajahn Amaro describes as "empty, lucid, awake, and bright, spaciousness, stillness, and openness that knows" and then decide what that's about in terms of the Buddha's teachings, and what there might still be left to do. Realize, then criticize. Ajahn Amaro wasn't going on and on about something with no benefit, at the least.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby Aloka » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:07 pm

reflection wrote: In my eyes, based on what I read, Venerable Amaro has made a nibbana in consciousness he calls "spaciousness". We could call that unconditioned, but that doesn't make it so.


Have you read both of the books referenced in this thread or listened to any of his talks ?

Ajahn Amaro is the abbot of a monastery and an experienced practitioner of many years. Personally I have learned a lot from the talks of his that I've attended at Amaravati Monastery and he frequently refers to the suttas. I certainly don't think he can be just dismissed after reading a quote, or even after reading the whole book 'Small Boat Great Mountain', written 10 years ago - and which appears to be a collaboration with a Tibetan Buddhist teacher about Dzogchen and Theravada.

As a general observation,I think it often seems to be the case that an increasing number of people on the internet think they know better than all the teachers - or even than the Buddha in some cases.

I think I'm done with this thread now. Have a nice day.

:anjali:
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby alan » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:26 pm

There is no such sutta.
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby kirk5a » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:39 pm

The book quite fairly acknowledges the aspect which might be controversial.
This notion of an intrinsic awareness as an aspect of the
deathless nature is generally considered a Mahayana innovation.
Yet it is found often in the Thai forest tradition as well. Tracing
its genesis, one can find hints of this idea in the Pali Canon, the
traditional sourcebook for Theravada, but the references are
infrequent and somewhat ambiguous. One of the delights of
Small Boat, Great Mountain is that Ajahn Amaro has enumerated
many of these references and provided clear and compelling
explanations of them. In orthodox circles in Burma and Sri
Lanka, however, this notion is frankly heretical, since awareness
(or consciousness, viññana) is considered impermanent.

from the Preface by Guy Armstrong
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby fivebells » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:20 pm

alan wrote:There is no such sutta.


Thanks, alan. Are there any repeatable steps you took to verify this? Not that I distrust your claim, and if it's just that you know the suttas inside out and backwards, that's cool (and the most likely possibility, since you only an exhaustive examination could prove such a negative), but it would be nice to have more to back it up than just your comment.
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby Viscid » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:22 pm

Old argument. Either you think Nibbana is to be realized within conscious experience (so that it is merely the extinction of GHD) or it is fully realized with the extinction of consciousness (which, through non-grasping, is abandoned.)
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:38 pm

This is the Deathless, namely, the liberation of mind through not-clinging
(Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation. MN
106.13)
This is deathless, namely, the liberation of mind through lack of
clinging/sustenance. (Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation)

http://www.sati.org/wp-content/upLoads/ ... quotes.pdf
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby fivebells » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:29 am

Thanks, polar. That doesn't have the debate Amaro mentioned, but that debate is incidental to his point.
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Re: "The cessation of grasping is deathlessness" -- which su

Postby alan » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:39 pm

fivebells,
I'm familiar with most of the suttas, and know of nothing expressed in this manner.
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