"The Deathless" (amata)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: freedom from death

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:27 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
    ”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to death because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to death, seeking freedom from death, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from death, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...."



I came across this passage in AN 7.70, the Arakenanusasani Sutta: Araka's Teaching
( translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu ):

"'Just as a river flowing down from the mountains, going far, its current swift, carrying everything with it, so that there is not a moment, an instant, a second where it stands still, but instead it goes & rushes & flows, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a river flowing down from the mountains — limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death."
Yes, that is actually the point. Awakening, nibbana, bodhi frees one from birth, being freed from birth there is freedom from death.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: freedom from death

Postby nowheat » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:48 pm

Sorry to all that I have been absent these last few days.

tiltbillings wrote:
nowheat wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The problem, which I think you are missing, is that the point I am making is that "the Deathless" is a bad translation.

I've seen you saying that, but I haven't seen you give convincing evidence that this is so. I don't have anything to say about the supposition without anything to back it up. You cited a sutta, but didn't give any detail.

Okay. We can start with this: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 72#p159172


Thanks for the link to the posting on the Deathless, Unborn, etc. Really good and thorough examination. But I'm not sure it changes anything I'm trying to convey.

Objections about the "the" in front of these words making them seem concrete, well, I guess people could read it that way but I never did. I always read "seeking the Unborn" as "seeking whatever is unborn" so it is an adjective. Or whatever grammatical label we give words that go from adjective to noun-like, as in someone "seeking the green" (meaning money -- seeking that which is green).

Because I have long recognized that all of these are used as equivalents of "freedom from suffering" -- aka liberation -- I don't get too excited over the seeming Cosmic Significance of such terms. When I saw many of the same terms used in the Upanishads, it became clear that the Buddha was just bending language from other schools of thought to his own usage. Sort of: -"Yeah, we have that too"- but he is redefining what he means by "that", as always.

"There is no philological reason that the four words in question must be translated as we generally see them translated: unborn, unconditioned, etc. " Except that it's not what the Buddha said. Seems to me if the Buddha had wanted to say "freedom from birth" he could have, so I wouldn't change the translation the way you did. It might be that he is making a specific reference to something else in the texts and the translator isn't aware of that reference, so changing the words may make the point -- already missed by one person -- even more obscure to others. I am thankful to Thanissaro Bhikkhu for the accuracy and consistency of his translations, because by keeping as close as he can to the original structure and usage, I am able to pick up much-needed clues.

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Re: freedom from death

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:07 pm

nowheat wrote:Thanks for the link to the posting on the Deathless, Unborn, etc. Really good and thorough examination. But I'm not sure it changes anything I'm trying to convey.
The point that I addressed is that "the Deathless" really is not a helpful or meaningful or accurate translation, and what is "the Deathless?" And since Pali/Sanskrit do not use capital letters, "the Deathless" is not meaningful. Adding "the" to "Deathless" turns it into an object.

Objections about the "the" in front of these words making them seem concrete, well, I guess people could read it that way but I never did. I always read "seeking the Unborn" as "seeking whatever is unborn" so it is an adjective. Or whatever grammatical label we give words that go from adjective to noun-like, as in someone "seeking the green" (meaning money -- seeking that which is green).
And you are making my point about having to go through an unneeded mental gymnastics because of the clumsy "the Deathless."

Because I have long recognized that all of these are used as equivalents of "freedom from suffering" -- aka liberation -- I don't get too excited over the seeming Cosmic Significance of such terms. When I saw many of the same terms used in the Upanishads, it became clear that the Buddha was just bending language from other schools of thought to his own usage. Sort of: -"Yeah, we have that too"- but he is redefining what he means by "that", as always.
And now you make another point for me. First of all, the clumsy translation of "the Deathless" or "the unborn" and so forth do lead to an easy misreading of the texts. While the terminology may be delibarely echoing the Upanishads, the meaning is radically different, and the there is no reason not to reflect that in the translations.

"There is no philological reason that the four words in question must be translated as we generally see them translated: unborn, unconditioned, etc. " Except that it's not what the Buddha said. Seems to me if the Buddha had wanted to say "freedom from birth" he could have, so I wouldn't change the translation the way you did.
It is what the Buddha said, and unlike you, I have given a careful discussiuon of why I have opted to go with the translations I have offered. They accurately reflect what the Buddha taught:

    Gone to the beyond of becoming,
    you let go of in front,
    let go of behind,
    let go of between.
    With a heart everywhere let-go,
    you don't come again to birth
    & aging.
    (Ven Thanisssaro) Dhp 348

    Through not seeing the Four Noble Truths,
    Long was the weary path from birth to birth.
    When these are known, removed is rebirth's cause,
    The root of sorrow plucked; then ends rebirth.
    DN ii 91

    "Destroyed is birth; the higher life is fulfilled; nothing more is to
    be done, and beyond this life nothing more remains."
    DN ii 153

    Then Mara the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her & said, "What is it that you don't approve of, nun?"

    [Sister Cala:]
    "I don't approve of birth, my friend."

    [Mara:]
    Why don't you approve of birth?
    One who is born
    enjoys sensual pleasures.
    Who on earth
    ever persuaded you:
    'Nun, don't approve of birth'?

    [Sister Cala:]
    For one who is born
    there's death.

    One who is born
    sees pain.
    It's a binding, a flogging, a torment.
    That's why one shouldn't approve
    of birth.

    The Awakened One taught me the Dhamma
    — the overcoming of birth —
    for the abandoning of all pain,
    he established me in
    the truth.
    But beings who have come to form
    & those with a share in the formless,
    if they don't discern cessation,
    return to becoming-again.
    S i 132
It is not some sort of "the unborn" or "the Deathless" we are striving for here. It is freedom from birth and death. There is no grammartical or phiological reason why the translations of the texts in question cannot accurately reflect that.

Let me quote again from MN 26:

"Then, monks, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking freedom from birth, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding/nibbana, I reached freedom from birth, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeking freedom from aging, freedom from illness, freedom from death, freedom from sorrow, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the freedom from aging, freedom from illness, freedom from death, freedom from sorrow, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'

Is it “the Deathless” -- to take the word literally: some thing that does not die, whatever that might be -- a meaningful goal, or is it freedom from death?

Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' MN (140) III 246
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: freedom from death

Postby nowheat » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:18 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The point that I addressed is that "the Deathless" really is not a helpful or meaningful or accurate translation...


But, tiltbillings, that is true of most of what's in the suttas. For example the bit you quoted:

Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die


Since we can see that a sage at peace does indeed age and die, that's really not helpful or meaningful either. A huge proportion of the suttas are filled with sayings that are not meaningful when we don't have the context to understand them. Seems to me we have two choices: explain the dhamma with little or no reference to the Buddha's terms and times -- this should not be hard to do, since it is a truth that stands the test of time -- or explain the dhamma in terms of the Buddha's own frame of reference. If we explain it in modern terms alone, then "the Deathless" clearly is not helpful. Neither is "a sage at peace does not age, does not die..."

But if we are going to explain the Buddhadhamma in terms of what's in the suttas, then we need to be as exact as possible with the wording *even* if it makes us uncomfortable and confuses some of us. Instead of changing the words we need to provide the background to understand the words.

Dabbling -- doing a little of one and a little of the other -- adds to confusion in the long run, imho.

And anyway, the a- in amata is a negation. Just as the "an-" in anatta means "not" self, rather than "freedom from self" the "a-" in amata doesn't mean "freedom from" so you aren't, as far as I can see, making "a more accurate translation" but distorting what's there.

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Re: freedom from death

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:30 am

Dabbling -- doing a little of one and a little of the other -- adds to confusion in the long run, imho.
Dabbling. If that is what you are suggesting that I am doing with the translations I have offered, that is presumptuously insulting.

But if we are going to explain the Buddhadhamma in terms of what's in the suttas, then we need to be as exact as possible with the wording *even* if it makes us uncomfortable and confuses some of us. Instead of changing the words we need to provide the background to understand the words.
Exact as possible is exactly what I have done.

Let me make something clear to you. In the mid 80’s I did four years of Pali studies in the South Asian/Buddhist Studies Dept at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI with two highly regarded teachers of Sanskrit and prakrits. The translation of Itivuttaka, 37-8 I provided above is a bit more than dabbling. It was done as part of final project at the end of my Pali studies. At this time in addition to the University of Wisconsin professor, I was also working in this class with a visiting Indian Buddhist language specialist from Otani University, Kyoto, Japan. The translation is in the least defensible.

Essentially, your comments really do not address what I have said and really make no argument for your position.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: freedom from death

Postby nowheat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:05 am

tiltbillings wrote:Dabbling. If that is what you are suggesting that I am doing with the translations I have offered, that is presumptuously insulting.

Sorry that you took it personally; it wasn't meant that way. I wasn't even aware that the translations you put up were yours, though I got that the "freedom from"s were yours. I didn't study the translations at all, just skimmed them for context, so I could hardly be making any comment on your overall skill as a translator. I was dealing only with amata/The Deathless, and then made a general statement of philosophy.

I am thinking you might be using this definition of dabbling:

" a superficial or intermittent interest, investigation, or experiment <his dabblings in philosophy and art"


whereas I was using this definition of it:

Immerse (one's hands or feet) partially in water and move them around gently.


with the intent of my use being descriptive, "to mix things up by dabbling".


Essentially, your comments really do not address what I have said and really make no argument for your position.


Could you please summarize for me what it is you think my position is? I'd like to make sure this heat is about something I actually am stating rather than some misunderstanding.

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Re: freedom from death

Postby nowheat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:11 am

nowheat wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Dabbling. If that is what you are suggesting that I am doing with the translations I have offered, that is presumptuously insulting.

Sorry that you took it personally; it wasn't meant that way. I wasn't even aware that the translations you put up were yours, though I got that the "freedom from"s were yours. I didn't study the translations at all, just skimmed them for context, so I could hardly be making any comment on your overall skill as a translator. I was dealing only with amata/The Deathless, and then made a general statement of philosophy.

I am thinking you might be using this definition of dabbling:

" a superficial or intermittent interest, investigation, or experiment <his dabblings in philosophy and art"


whereas I was using this definition of it:

Immerse (one's hands or feet) partially in water and move them around gently.


with the intent of my use being descriptive, "to mix things up by dabbling".


Essentially, your comments really do not address what I have said and really make no argument for your position.


Could you please summarize for me what it is you think my position is? I'd like to make sure this heat is about something I actually am stating rather than some misunderstanding.

:namaste:

Edit added a few moments later:

I even defined exactly what I meant by dabbling in the original post:

Dabbling -- doing a little of one and a little of the other --
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Re: freedom from death

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:26 am

nowheat wrote:
nowheat wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Dabbling. If that is what you are suggesting that I am doing with the translations I have offered, that is presumptuously insulting.

Sorry that you took it personally; it wasn't meant that way. I wasn't even aware that the translations you put up were yours, though I got that the "freedom from"s were yours. I didn't study the translations at all, just skimmed them for context, so I could hardly be making any comment on your overall skill as a translator. I was dealing only with amata/The Deathless, and then made a general statement of philosophy.
In other words, you were not engaging what I said to any reasonable degree.

I am thinking you might be using this definition of dabbling:

" a superficial or intermittent interest, investigation, or experiment <his dabblings in philosophy and art"


whereas I was using this definition of it:

Immerse (one's hands or feet) partially in water and move them around gently.


with the intent of my use being descriptive, "to mix things up by dabbling".
That is an eye-roller.

At this point, while I have made my point, you have pointedly not engaged it, so there is no point to further belabour the point.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: freedom from death

Postby Nyana » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dabbling -- doing a little of one and a little of the other -- adds to confusion in the long run, imho.
Dabbling. If that is what you are suggesting that I am doing with the translations I have offered, that is presumptuously insulting.

Quite presumptuous indeed.

tiltbillings wrote:
But if we are going to explain the Buddhadhamma in terms of what's in the suttas, then we need to be as exact as possible with the wording *even* if it makes us uncomfortable and confuses some of us. Instead of changing the words we need to provide the background to understand the words.
Exact as possible is exactly what I have done.

Far more accurate in meaning than "the Unborn," "the Deathless," and so on.
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Re: freedom from death

Postby nowheat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:29 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dabbling -- doing a little of one and a little of the other -- adds to confusion in the long run, imho.
Dabbling. If that is what you are suggesting that I am doing with the translations I have offered, that is presumptuously insulting.

Quite presumptuous indeed.


It is just beyond me how, when I defined what I meant by "dabbling" IN THE ORIGINAL SENTENCE as "doing a little of one and a little of the other" (in other words, mixing two kinds of translation up: one literal, one interpretive) folks keep reading it as some kind of insult. If it were the insulting sort of "dabbling" I'd have had to be talking about "superficial interest" and I clearly wasn't.

Some of the readers here latch onto a meaning of the word that is prejudicial and find me guilty of (and hang me for) applying it to a particular person when it is clear I was talking about the philosophy of mixing kinds of translation. I feel sure this is exactly what the Buddha is trying to teach us *not* to do -- take what happens in the world, apply our own assumptions to it, and then insist we know what's going on/what the other person thinks/meant/why they did what they did, and act accordingly -- and goodness knows, don't listen when anyone points out evidence to the contrary!

The implication that I was being insulting when the original sentence defines the word tilt objected to in a way that makes it apply to mixing translations *in general* not to his overall involvement with translations *specifically* -- that is presumptuous. Not even listening when I point out how I meant it, and continuing to hang me for a crime I didn't commit -- indicates you think my explanation is a deliberate lie. And yet, my definition of the word is there IN THE ORIGINAL SENTENCE and it is clearly not directed at a tilt's level of interest in translating Pali, it is talking about translation in general.

tiltbillings wrote:
But if we are going to explain the Buddhadhamma in terms of what's in the suttas, then we need to be as exact as possible with the wording *even* if it makes us uncomfortable and confuses some of us. Instead of changing the words we need to provide the background to understand the words.
Exact as possible is exactly what I have done.

Far more accurate in meaning than "the Unborn," "the Deathless," and so on.


It would be more accurate if what the translator understands the Buddha to be trying to convey with those terms is dead-accurate, and they feel that the meaning is distorted by the usual translations. But I am suggesting that the understanding represented by "freedom from death" may not be completely accurate (but close, ballpark). I am further suggesting that the Buddha may have specificially wanted people -- then and now -- to question why he used those terms so that they would look a little more deeply at what he is saying. Tilt objects to "the Deathless" because he feels it indicates a state and that's not what the Buddha meant -- I am saying that he may be mistaken. The Buddha may have meant a state. The Buddha may have provided it as a koan or a clue to look carefully at why he used that term. It certainly has worked as a clue for me. Because it was there in translations I went off seeking how it could be used in a way that is consistent with the rest of the Buddha's teachings and it is, and it is part of the answer to the question of what Dependent Arising is, and in particular what place "birth" and "aging-and-death" play in it. Once we understand how "unborn, deathless" are meant in terms of Dependent Arising, the terms make sense, and the whole of the DA makes sense.

Presumptuous is thinking that an individual in this day and age should get to change the Buddha's choice of words because they can do better than he did. I will say again that I have no objection to changing the language entirely when just talking about / trying to teach the dhamma. And I would further say that if one wanted to offer suttas in a more readable form -- not staying at all close to the original language (a sort of "easy reader" edition of suttas) -- as long as the author makes it clear these are not intended to be a close translation of what the Buddha's suttas say -- that should be no problem either. But if we are trying to do an accurate translation of the suttas, I really don't think editing the Buddha's choice of language is wise.

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Re: freedom from death

Postby nowheat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:38 pm

Let me ask a question. What is "presumptuous" about saying:

By putting "freedom from death" as a translation of "amata" in an otherwise accurate translation, tiltbillings is confusing things by mixing one kind of translation with another.


I ask because perhaps Ñāṇa and tiltbillings are upset by what I actually said, and I am misreading the situation, and everyone actually gets that I wasn't casting aspersions on tilt's level of interest in Pali.

:namaste:
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Re: freedom from death

Postby kirk5a » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:23 pm

nowheat wrote:Let me ask a question. What is "presumptuous" about saying:

By putting "freedom from death" as a translation of "amata" in an otherwise accurate translation, tiltbillings is confusing things by mixing one kind of translation with another.


I ask because perhaps Ñāṇa and tiltbillings are upset by what I actually said, and I am misreading the situation, and everyone actually gets that I wasn't casting aspersions on tilt's level of interest in Pali.

:namaste:

I would just like to add that when I used the phrase "pet translation" in reference to Tilt's translation, that might have come across as insulting, so I apologize for that. I should have said "favored translation." (Yet I also still have some reservations about whether it is the most accurate or optimal for understanding what the Buddha was communicating there).
"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: freedom from death

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:45 pm

nowheat wrote:. . . I really don't think editing the Buddha's choice of language is wise.
Interestingly, for all the verbiage, there is no actual argument presented here from out wheat intolerant friend. This last comment about choice in language, however, deserves a comment. Translation, even in its most literal, is always interpretive. It is not just a matter of just knowing the vocabulary and grammar, but it is also a matter of understanding the immediate and broader contexts of what is being translated.

Offering differing translations in English of a particular text is hardly "editing the Buddha's choice of language." To say one is “editing the Buddha's choice of language" in this context -- to be meaningful -- would mean going into the Pali and changing that. Offering as an exploration (which is all any translation actually is) alternative translations to help pull out the meaning is not editing the Buddha's choice of language, given that the Buddha did not speak the language of the translation. In other words, the complaint about "editing the Buddha's choice of language" is a meaningless, and it is simply not a well informed objection.

"Atthi ajatam, abhutam, akatam, asankhatam." Udana 80 and Itivuttaka, 37-8.

There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. -- J. Ireland

There is, monks, an unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated. -- Thanissaro

Monks, there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-compounded. -- F.L. Woodward

What does this concatenation of words mean? It is not all evident from these translations. As we have seen here recently, this line, with this type of translations, has, with good reason, been pressed into service to argue for the existence of what would be called "God."

However, what is worth doing is going into the suttas, looking at how each of the four words, in their variations, is used. What one finds is that each of the four words in their variations has to do with the core idea found within the Buddha’s teachings of the highly dynamic putting together and the stopping of putting together.

One can either go with:
    There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.
or

    "Monks, there is freedom from birth, freedom from
    becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning.
    For, monks if there were not this freedom from birth, freedom from
    becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning,
    then escape from that which is birth, becoming, making,
    conditioning, would not be known here. But, monks, because there
    is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from
    making, freedom from conditioning, therefore the escape from that
    which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning is known."

Where the second translation is clear, the first raises immediate question of what is “an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated?”

Also, keep in mind that in the various texts that are translated as “the Deathless,” there is no word for the definite article “the” to be found preceding amatam, nor is there capitalization used. “The Deathless” is, in fact, highly interpretive of what is actually found in the Pali. The locution “the Deathless” moves in the wrong direction of suggesting that there is some static “thing” that exists with out death to be attained.

My preference is to reflect the dynamic language, thought, and practice found within the Pali suttas.

For those who want to go with “the Deathless,” fine; however, for me “the Deathless” fails to capture the richness of the Pali and of the Buddha’s teachings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: freedom from death

Postby Alex123 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:59 pm

As I understand it, and what some bhikkhus say, amata does NOT mean some positive existing state that is implied by "the Deathless".

All it means is that when Parinibbāna occurs, there is no more birth. Without birth, there is no aging and no death. So it is deathless in this sense.
"dust to dust...."
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Re: freedom from death

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:03 pm

Alex123 wrote:As I understand it, and what some bhikkhus say, amata does NOT mean some positive existing state that is implied by "the Deathless".
Except the language itself pushes in the direction of some thing that is without death.

All it means is that when Parinibbāna occurs, there is no more birth. Without birth, there is no aging and no death. So it is deathless in this sense.
There is freedom from death.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: freedom from death

Postby nowheat » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:02 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Interestingly, for all the verbiage, there is no actual argument presented here from out wheat intolerant friend.

I have stated my argument several times, in a variety of ways, and even given background at length on what I am saying "the deathless" is, by way of example. A failure to communicate does not necessarily lie with one side or another. That you find "no actual argument" simply means that, for some reason, what I am saying is not getting through. I give up trying to make my point.

For what it's worth, I don't find "freedom from death" to be (to borrow your phrase) "a bad translation". It accurately enough captures the essence of what's being said, but... oh wait, I said I was going to give up trying to explain, so I will not go past "but".

That was a nice long post you wrote, and I thank you for it, and I'm genuinely sorry that we have a failure to communicate that makes it not a wise use of time to try answering.

:namaste:
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Bagoba » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:48 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm new here, just reading through this post where some are saying that Nibbana is no-thing.

Just wondering what you guys make of the following definition of Nibbana:
http://en.dhammadana.org/dhamma/nibbana.htm

"He therefore taught that there are four things that make up this universe.
Consciousness, which is the faculty of cognizing.
Material and physical properties, which can be known by consciousness.
Mental properties, desserving to be known by consciousness.
nibbāna, parinibbāna."

Does that contradict anything that's been said here?

Thanks y'all! :)
"This path is a thorough investigation and understanding of the limitations of the mortal condition of the body and mind. Now you're developing the ability to turn away from the conditioned and to release your identity from mortality." Ajan Sumedho, "Mindfulness, the path to the Deathless." http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/deathless.pdf
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:23 pm

Hi Bagoba,

What you are quoting there is the classification according to the Abhidhamma, which is a very detailed classification of experience that one can view as an elaboration on sutta classifications of conditioned phenomena (classified in terms of khandhas (aggregates) or sense base, elements, etc) + nibbana.

As the page you refer to goes on to say:
That which we call consciousness, mental and physical phenomena, are the five aggregates.


In either Sutta or Abhidhamma terms one has "conditioned phenomena" (aggregates) + nibbana, which is described as unconditioned in either scheme. So nibbana is somethink to do with freedom from conditioned phenomena. What exactly that means is, as you can see, a subject of some lively discussion.

:anjali:
Mike
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Bagoba » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:39 pm

Many thanks Mike. :anjali:

I wonder sometimes, what if we actually only live once, what if when we die, we really die, we cease to exist completely, without any residual consciousness, kammic wind or possibilities to get reborn in any new form. In other words, "show's over, curtain's closed, lights out". Can Nibbana be compared to that, in the context of continuous rebirths?

Apart from the excellent moral and ethical values associated with following the Buddha's teachings, would it make sense to follow the Buddha's path if the above was actually true?

I don't mean to bother anyone here, the answer to this question is important for my personal spiritual quest.

Many thanks,
Bagoba
"This path is a thorough investigation and understanding of the limitations of the mortal condition of the body and mind. Now you're developing the ability to turn away from the conditioned and to release your identity from mortality." Ajan Sumedho, "Mindfulness, the path to the Deathless." http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/deathless.pdf
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:33 pm

Hello Bagoba,

This is the Annihilationist View and was strongly refuted by the Buddha.

Here is a previous thread on the topic:

Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=157


with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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