The Arahant and the Void

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The Arahant and the Void

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:00 am

Hi all,

I was reading about what an arahant is. From Dhp VII, Arahantavagga, The Arahant or Perfected One:

92. Those who do not accumulate and are wise regarding food, whose object is the Void, the Unconditioned Freedom — their track cannot be traced, like that of birds in the air.


What does this mean that their object is the void? Everything I've ever read about "voidness" or "the void" is that it's to be avoided. In fact in the tradition I come from, getting attached to the void or meditating improperly on emptiness can potentially lead to post-mortem-continuation in a formless realm.

Any comments appreciated :thanks:
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Re: The Arahant and the Void

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:45 am

Greetings Drolma,

Yes, this is referring to emptiness.

However, it's not necessarily referring to the "formless jhanas" such as that in which the Buddha's meditation teachers dwelt in and experienced the fate you describe above.

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: The Arahant and the Void

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:16 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Drolma,

Yes, this is referring to emptiness.

However, it's not necessarily referring to the "formless jhanas" such as that in which the Buddha's meditation teachers dwelt in and experienced the fate you describe above.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yes I see. In the book I'm reading the Buddha's teachers were described, and as I understand it he mastered what they (ascetics) had to offer and then moved on. So in the quote I referenced above, The Void really means realization of emptiness (as understood in the proper sense)?

Thank you!
Drolma :smile:
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Re: The Arahant and the Void

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:18 am

Greetings Drolma,

I see it here as relating to a dynamic mode of perception, where there is knowledge/awareness that all that is being experienced is both anatta and anicca. There is no perception of, or clinging to, any form of 'self'.

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: The Arahant and the Void

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:21 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Drolma,

I see it here as relating to a dynamic mode of perception, where there is knowledge/awareness that all that is being experienced is both anatta and anicca. There is no perception of, or clinging to, any form of 'self'.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Perfect. I get it, thanks :smile:
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Re: The Arahant and the Void

Postby Element » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:18 am

Drolma wrote:What does this mean that their object is the void?

The Blessed One said to him: "Sariputta, your faculties are clear. The colour of your skin is pure and bright. What abiding do you often abide in now, Sariputta?"

‘‘Suññatā vihārena kho ahaṃ, bhante, etarahi bahulaṃ viharāmī’’ti.

"Now, venerable sir, I often abide in voidness".

‘‘Sādhu, sādhu, sāriputta! Mahāpurisavihārena kira tvaṃ, sāriputta, etarahi bahulaṃ viharasi. Mahāpurisavihāro eso, sāriputta, yadidaṃ – suññatā.

"Good, good, Sariputta! Now, indeed, you often abide in the abiding of a great man. For this is the abiding of a great man, namely, voidness"

MN 151


And what is the deliverance of mind through voidness? There is the case where a monk, having gone into the wilderness, to the root of a tree or into an empty dwelling, considers thus: 'This is void of self or of anything belonging to self.' This is called the deliverance of mind through voidness.

MN 43
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Re: The Arahant and the Void

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:55 pm

Thank you kindly, Element. I see that sunnata and void are used together in these contexts :smile:

Best,
Drolma
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Re: The Arahant and the Void

Postby Individual » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:20 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Drolma,

I see it here as relating to a dynamic mode of perception, where there is knowledge/awareness that all that is being experienced is both anatta and anicca. There is no perception of, or clinging to, any form of 'self'.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Yes, so in this sense, the Arahant, through seeing the Void, sees things they are, and so when he sees something, he sees "this is not self" and "whatever would be the cause for agitation, that is not present here".
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: The Arahant and the Void

Postby Jason » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:27 pm

Drolma,

Drolma wrote:I was reading about what an arahant is. From Dhp VII, Arahantavagga, The Arahant or Perfected One:

92. Those who do not accumulate and are wise regarding food, whose object is the Void, the Unconditioned Freedom — their track cannot be traced, like that of birds in the air.


What does this mean that their object is the void? Everything I've ever read about "voidness" or "the void" is that it's to be avoided. In fact in the tradition I come from, getting attached to the void or meditating improperly on emptiness can potentially lead to post-mortem-continuation in a formless realm.


Perhaps reading Daw Mya Tin's translation w/ commentary will help to answer some of your questions.

Jason
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: The Arahant and the Void

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:46 pm

Elohim,

Thank you very much. Text in context is quite helpful!
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