"The Deathless" (amata)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:33 pm

daverupa wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:a straightforward understanding based on the way DO is described


"Do not say so, Ananda..."


I'm talking about the way DO is described in the suttas, where in the cessation mode there is cessation of death following the cessation of birth. Given this it is logical to conclude that amata, the Deathless, refers to Pari-nibbana.

Actually though, I can see some some ambiguity in the suttas extracts we've been looking at, and I can see that amata may well refer to both Nibbana and Pari-nibbana.

What I find interesting is the reluctance of some contributors to acknowledge the option that amata refers to Pari-nibbana.

Spiny
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
 
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby squarepeg » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:57 pm

I feel asthough there is a tendonsey to take buddhist termonolgy out of the context of a living organism when pali terms act as a foundation for cultural concepts and wording. They are taken as entities, that is to say that a pali term, i feel, is seen as being created by the Buddha with a set amout of qualities, and then it becomes our goal to reason out a perspective or wording that is able to take into account all of these percieved inherient qualities that we feel the pali word rightly deserves.

With that being said, if one were to realize this deathless state, whitch the term "state" here is ment to take into account the presence of those who have not realized this amata and is purely ment to define amata by compairson to the mundane. Not to say that amata or nibbana has some sort of limitation from which a boarder can be constructed, but a "state" as defined by the limited perception of those un-realized beings, defined for the sake of us who relay on definition. In this case we become the boarder from which amata or nibbana is to be seen as limited, because to be seen as unlimited something has to be experienced in the 1st person, and the opposite is true that everything experienced in the 3rd person is to be seen as limited.

If one were to realize this deathless "state" while still alive, assuming that it is infinite, all subsequent 1st person, assuming a 1st person in the same way the term "state" is used, i.e. a 1st person that is infered by the experience of a 3rd person. All subsequent "infered" 1st person experience would by definition of infinite have to be defined by this moment of amata realization. Death or Parinibbana taking place after this realization would therefor fall under the influence of this deathless realization.

So in response to Spiny O'Norman: I think it would be safe for us definers to say that this amata would encompass, by means of a 3rd person infering a 1st person, both the attainment of Nibbana and all subsequent actions including the extinguishing of the life force at the moment of death or Pari-Nibbana.
"Yadisam vapate bijam tadisam harate phalam" — as we sow, so shall we reap
Maranam Bhavissati - "death will take place"
squarepeg
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:58 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:28 pm

squarepeg wrote:. . . .
There is no "deathless state" unless you mean one is no longer reborn then no longer dies and if you mean that one is no longer characterized by the conditioning of greed, hatred, and delusion -- in other words one is nibbana-ized. And there is no point in calling it "deathless," given the confusion that such inartful translation leads to.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19419
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby squarepeg » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
squarepeg wrote:. . . .
There is no "deathless state" unless you mean one is no longer reborn then no longer dies and if you mean that one is no longer characterized by the conditioning of greed, hatred, and delusion -- in other words one is nibbana-ized. And there is no point in calling it "deathless," given the confusion that such inartful translation leads to.


I can see how "deathless" is a useless translation because to an observer the Buddha obviously died. To say that he was no longer reborn and no longer conditioned by greed, hatered, and delusion is too assume the position of an observer infering another is experiencing these things in the 1st person. But! Too try to force a 3rd person perspective into words that convay the direct experience of a 1st person, i feel, how ever artfull, is to beat the meaning out of these words. And i fear all that would be left in the end is a flacid collection of dogmatic adjectives. Like Hes an "awsome" god or a "gracefull" god or a "powerfull" god... exc. I think the Buddha knew we were experienceing his teachings in the 3rd person and took acount for this by trying to modivate us with his terminology. To try to beat these words into the 1st person is to take away their modivational power (as has happend with our christian termonilogy).

DEATHLESS!!! is powerfull! everyone is afraid of DEATH!!! we want to be with out DEATH!!! so we practice what our teacher says leads to the DEATHLESS!!! If you can give a more rational reason to reshape these words then to modivate people to meditate and practice the N8FP then ide love to hear it.

I fear something like this could end up happening to buddhism in the west:

"Let us call the men who make use of the idea the prophets have announced the priests. The prophets live their ideas. The priests administer them to the people who are attached to the idea. The idea has lost its vitality. It has become a formula. The priests declare that it is very important how the idea is formulated; naturally the formulation becomes always important after the experience is dead; how else could one control people by controlling their thoughts, unless there is the "correct" formulation? The priests use the idea to organize men, to control them through controling the proper expression of the idea, and when they have anesthetized man enough they declare that man is not capable of being awake and of directing his own life, and that they, the priests, act out of duty, or even compassion, when they fulfill the function of directing men who, if left to themselves, are afraid of freedom." - Erich Fromm "prophets and priests," from "On disobediece and other essays" seabury press / new york
"Yadisam vapate bijam tadisam harate phalam" — as we sow, so shall we reap
Maranam Bhavissati - "death will take place"
squarepeg
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:58 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:48 pm

"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said? There is the case where a monk, secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

the property of deathlessness = amatāya dhātuyā
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:39 pm

Greetings Kirk,

Nice find. I wonder what Tilt will make of it...

:juggling:

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14657
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:42 pm

kirk5a wrote:
"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said? There is the case where a monk, secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

the property of deathlessness = amatāya dhātuyā
First of all notice it is not "the Deathless," and secondly the word dhatu is a mine field. Care to actually walk through it?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19419
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:First of all notice it is not "the Deathless," and secondly the word dhatu is a mine field. Care to actually walk through it?

Certainly. You first. :smile:
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:01 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:First of all notice it is not "the Deathless," and secondly the word dhatu is a mine field. Care to actually walk through it?

Certainly. You first. :smile:
No, no, no, no. You brought it up.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19419
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:First of all notice it is not "the Deathless," and secondly the word dhatu is a mine field. Care to actually walk through it?

Certainly. You first. :smile:
No, no, no, no. You brought it up.

I don't see the mine field that you do. Is there something problematic with "inclines his mind to the property [dhatu] of deathlessness" ?
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:41 pm

In the book "The Island - An anthology of the Buddha's teachings on Nibbana" by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro, Chapter 7 is called "Attending to the Deathless". The book is available in PDF or free by post from Forest Sangha Publications.


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


.
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3617
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:12 pm

kirk5a wrote:I don't see the mine field that you do. Is there something problematic with "inclines his mind to the property [dhatu] of deathlessness" ?
Well, as I said above in this thread someplace, "deathlessness" is better than "the Deathless" and certainly "deathless," though it is still fairly inartful.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19419
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Well, as I said above in this thread someplace, "deathlessness" is better than "the Deathless" and certainly "deathless," though it is still fairly inartful.

So would you translate that passage as "inclines his mind to the property of freedom from death" ? Or how? If it is still inartful, then what is the alternative? And since we're talking about "art" - what does the "art" of translation amount to?
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:19 pm

Aloka wrote:In the book "The Island - An anthology of the Buddha's teachings on Nibbana" by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro, Chapter 7 is called "Attending to the Deathless". The book is available in PDF or free by post from Forest Sangha Publications.


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


.

Thanks for this. There is much there directly relevant to this discussion.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:58 pm

Aloka wrote:In the book "The Island - An anthology of the Buddha's teachings on Nibbana" by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro, Chapter 7 is called "Attending to the Deathless". The book is available in PDF or free by post from Forest Sangha Publications.


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


.
And given the explanations they have to go through pretty much makes my point about using "the Deathless" as a translation.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19419
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:06 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And given the explanatiuons they have to go through pretty much makes my point about using "the Deathless" as a translation.

And yet, it is used, in many places. So you certainly have not made the case for using an alternative to "the deathless" wherever it appears in the sutta translations. One sutta, so far, is the only alternative translation you have presented, that I have seen.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:24 am

kirk5a wrote: Is there something problematic with "inclines his mind to the property [dhatu] of deathlessness" ?


If this is pointing to Nibbana, cessation of the taints, then I wonder if there is an equivalence between amata and nirodha ( cessation )? I'm thinking of particularly of cessation in the context of DO.

Spiny
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
 
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:03 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And given the explanatiuons they have to go through pretty much makes my point about using "the Deathless" as a translation.

And yet, it is used, in many places. So you certainly have not made the case for using an alternative to "the deathless" wherever it appears in the sutta translations. One sutta, so far, is the only alternative translation you have presented, that I have seen.
So, never mind my arguments and my showing the defining sutta's use of amata, you want numbers.

The defining sutta:

    ”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...." -- MN I 173

and a couple of others:

    At Savatthi. "Monks, remain with your minds well-established in the four establishings of mindfulness. Don't let freedom from death be lost to you. -- SN 47.41

    "Sariputta, do you take it on conviction that the faculty of conviction, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in freedom from death, has freedom from death as its goal & consummation? -- SN v 220

    "Monks, these seven perceptions, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit, of great benefit. They gain a footing in freedom from death, have freedom from death as their final end. -- AN iv 46

    For knowing, the Blessed One knows; seeing, he sees. He is the Eye, he is Knowledge, he is Dhamma, he is Brahma. He is the speaker, the proclaimer, the elucidator of meaning, the giver of feedom from death, the lord of the Dhamma, the Tathagata. -- MN i 108

    "There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. For him, remaining focused on the body in and of itself, any desire for the body is abandoned. From the abandoning of desire, freedom from death is realized. -- SN v 181

    "There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. For him, remaining focused on the body in and of itself, the body is comprehended. From the comprehension of the body, freedom from death is realized. -- SN v 182

    Throw open the door to freedom from death!
    Let them hear the Dhamma
    realized by the Stainless One!
    -- SN i 136
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19419
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:01 am

Greetings Tilt, Kirk, all,

I know Tilt likes the "freedom from death" translation, but it's hard to see the etmology of this translation. It's certainly not a literal one, as there doesn't seem to be anything there resembling "freedom" let alone "freedom from" in the Pali word amata.

Similarly, to pick up Tilt's point, there's no "the" in amata either, so similarly, "the deathless" is not a literal translation of the term in question either.

Both "freedom from death" and "the deathless" are interpretations of what amata might mean rather than a literal and agreed definition per se. Being interpretations they're both far more subjective than an agreed definition, and different people will have their preferred interpretation for different reasons... hence the reasons different people are presenting different suttas, and finding that neither interpretation universally applies or fits with all.

Now I'm not a Pali expert at all, but a reasonable etymology for amata seems to be...

a [not] + mara [death] + ata [ness]

It's not an interpretation - it's a deconstruction of the term into (what might be) its constituent components.

And despite all the brouhaha about how amata should be interpreted, and the fact I'm sure a hundred and one holes could be poked through my Pali tinkering, the definition "not-deathness" I propose here seems to be an amenable fit with all the suttas that have been provided by participants in the discussion.

Any thoughts on "not-deathness"? Perhaps try substituting it into the sutta extracts provided above and see how it fits.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14657
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:37 am

The etymology looks to be linked to the english "immortal"
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :2001.pali
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Goofaholix, mikenz66 and 8 guests