Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

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Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby SarathW » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:43 am

Bhante Pesala,
You said:
Only those who have realised nibbāna are assured of rebirth in the higher realms of existence.

http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Pesala/Reb ... birth.html

Is this what you mean to say?
My undestading is that there is no existence/non existence once you realise Nibbana.
:)
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:58 pm

Hi SarathW,

I presume Bhikkhu Pesala is talking about someone who is at least a stream enterer, who has "glimpsed" nibbana.

See this thread:
SN 12.68: Kosambi Sutta
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=12266

"My friend, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended. [2] It's as if there were a well along a road in a desert, with neither rope nor water bucket. A man would come along overcome by heat, oppressed by the heat, exhausted, dehydrated, & thirsty. He would look into the well and would have knowledge of 'water,' but he would not dwell touching it with his body. [3] In the same way, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended."


:anjali:
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:49 am

SarathW wrote: My undestanding is that there is no existence/non existence once you realise Nibbana. :)

Stream-winners have realised nibbāna, and are free from rebirth in the lower realms.

Arahants realise parinibbāna on their demise, and are assured of not being reborn anywhere.

On attaining nibbāna for the very first time, a worldling (puthujjana), enters the stream leading to Arahantship. Their first realisation of nibbāna at the moment of attaining the Path of Stream-winning (sotāpatti magga) is exceedingly brief — only two or three thought moments — but its enough to destroy personality-view, sceptical doubt, and adherence to rites and rituals.

Thereafter, they must strive in meditation again to realise nibbāna while enjoying the Fruition of Stream-winning (sotāpatti phala) for short or long periods. They have a choice at that point — they may rest content sure in the knowledge that they are free from rebirth in lower realms, they may continue to develop concentration to abide in Fruition for longer periods, or they may strive to develop insight to gain the higher paths.
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:35 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi SarathW,

I presume Bhikkhu Pesala is talking about someone who is at least a stream enterer, who has "glimpsed" nibbana.

See this thread:
SN 12.68: Kosambi Sutta
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=12266

"My friend, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended. [2] It's as if there were a well along a road in a desert, with neither rope nor water bucket. A man would come along overcome by heat, oppressed by the heat, exhausted, dehydrated, & thirsty. He would look into the well and would have knowledge of 'water,' but he would not dwell touching it with his body. [3] In the same way, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended."


:anjali:
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I was wondering if the said vision was directly consciousness of a dhamma or perhaps just something indirect, like an inference drawn from another experience. The underlined words are yathābhūta in the Pali. Ven Analayo (http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... abhuta.pdf ) points to another sutta where nibbāna and yathābhūta are juxtaposed -

Suppose, monk, that there were a royal frontier fortress with strong walls & ramparts and six gates. In it would be a wise, experienced, intelligent gatekeeper to keep out those he didn't know and to let in those he did. A swift pair of messengers, coming from the east, would say to the gatekeeper, 'Where, my good man, is the commander of this fortress?' He would say, 'There he is, sirs, sitting in the central square.' The swift pair of messengers, delivering their accurate report to the commander of the fortress, would then go back by the route by which they had come. Then a swift pair of messengers, coming from the west... the north... the south, would say to the gatekeeper, 'Where, my good man, is the commander of this fortress?' He would say, 'There he is, sirs, sitting in the central square.' The swift pair of messengers, delivering their accurate report to the commander of the fortress, would then go back by the route by which they had come.

I have given you this simile, monk, to convey a message. The message is this: The fortress stands for this body — composed of four elements, born of mother & father, nourished with rice & barley gruel, subject to constant rubbing & abrasion, to breaking & falling apart. The six gates stand for the six internal sense media. The gatekeeper stands for mindfulness. The swift pair of messengers stands for tranquillity (samatha) and insight (vipassana). The commander of the fortress stands for consciousness. The central square stands for the four great elements: the earth-property, the liquid-property, the fire-property, & the wind-property. The accurate report stands for Unbinding (nibbana). The route by which they had come stands for the noble eightfold path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

‘Seyyathāpi, bhikkhu, rañño paccantimaṃ nagaraṃ daḷhuddhāpaṃ [daḷhuddāpaṃ (sī. pī.)] daḷhapākāratoraṇaṃ chadvāraṃ. Tatrassa dovāriko paṇḍito byatto medhāvī, aññātānaṃ nivāretā, ñātānaṃ pavesetā. Puratthimāya disāya āgantvā sīghaṃ dūtayugaṃ taṃ dovārikaṃ evaṃ vadeyya – ‘kahaṃ, bho purisa, imassa nagarassa nagarassāmī’ti? So evaṃ vadeyya – ‘eso, bhante, majjhe siṅghāṭake nisinno’ti. Atha kho taṃ sīghaṃ dūtayugaṃ nagarassāmikassa yathābhūtaṃ vacanaṃ niyyātetvā yathāgatamaggaṃ paṭipajjeyya. Pacchimāya disāya āgantvā sīghaṃ dūtayugaṃ…pe… uttarāya disāya… dakkhiṇāya disāya āgantvā sīghaṃ dūtayugaṃ taṃ dovārikaṃ evaṃ vadeyya – ‘kahaṃ, bho purisa, imassa nagarassāmī’ti? So evaṃ vadeyya – ‘eso, bhante, majjhe siṅghāṭake nisinno’ti. Atha kho taṃ sīghaṃ dūtayugaṃ nagarassāmikassa yathābhūtaṃ vacanaṃ niyyātetvā yathāgatamaggaṃ paṭipajjeyya.

Upamā kho myāyaṃ, bhikkhu, katā atthassa viññāpanāya. Ayañcettha attho – ‘nagara’nti kho, bhikkhu, imassetaṃ cātumahābhūtikassa kāyassa adhivacanaṃ mātāpettikasambhavassa odanakummāsūpacayassa aniccucchādanaparimaddanabhedanaviddhaṃsanadhammassa. ‘Cha dvārā’ti kho, bhikkhu, channetaṃ ajjhattikānaṃ āyatanānaṃ adhivacanaṃ. ‘Dovāriko’ti kho, bhikkhu, satiyā etaṃ adhivacanaṃ. ‘Sīghaṃ dūtayuga’nti kho, bhikkhu, samathavipassanānetaṃ adhivacanaṃ. ‘Nagarassāmī’ti kho, bhikkhu, viññāṇassetaṃ adhivacanaṃ. ‘Majjhe siṅghāṭako’ti kho , bhikkhu, catunnetaṃ mahābhūtānaṃ adhivacanaṃ – pathavīdhātuyā, āpodhātuyā, tejodhātuyā, vāyodhātuyā. ‘Yathābhūtaṃ vacana’nti kho, bhikkhu, nibbānassetaṃ adhivacanaṃ. ‘Yathāgatamaggo’ti kho, bhikkhu, ariyassetaṃ aṭṭhaṅgikassa maggassa adhivacanaṃ, seyyathidaṃ – sammādiṭṭhiyā…pe… sammāsamādhissā’’ti. Aṭṭhamaṃ.

SN 35.204


Perhaps the translation of yathābhūta as "as it actually is present" might be more of a stretch than the more grammatical "as it has come to be". Such a slight difference might possibly yield a different interpretation of whether said glimpse of nibbāna is a direct glimpse, or an indirect one.

:anjali:

Edit - some posts in danieLion's "Originalist" thread led me to some further thoughts on this glimpse of nibbāna. See - viewtopic.php?f=14&t=16405&start=20#p234002

Those who have not known, seen, penetrated, realized, or attained it by means of discernment would have to take it on conviction in others that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation (pariyosāna); whereas those who have known, seen, penetrated, realized, & attained it by means of discernment (paññāya) would have no doubt or uncertainty that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation.

SN 48.44


This reminds me of another sutta which also touches onn the 5 Faculties, SN 48.53 which says -

"Furthermore, the monk who is a learner discerns the five faculties: the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment. He sees clear through with discernment (paññāya) their destiny, excellence, rewards, & consummation (pariyosāna), but he does not touch them with his body. This too is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that 'I am a learner.'


I take it that amata ("deathless") is synonymous with nibbāna in SN 48.44. It appears that SN 48.44 is contrasting the trainee against the non-ariyan disciple. The former "knows through discernment/wisdom (paññāya)" the goal and consummation of the 5 Faculties being nibbāna, but according to SN 48.53, the trainee "does not dwell touching them with his body" (na heva kho kāyena phusitvā viharati), ie the trainee has not experienced it personally. The personal experience is reserved only for the arahant -

And what is the manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is an adept, standing at the level of an adept, can discern that 'I am an adept'? There is the case where a monk who is an adept discerns (sees) the five faculties: the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment. He touches with his body and sees clear through with discernment what their destiny, excellence, rewards, & consummation are. This is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is an adept, standing at the level of an adept, can discern that 'I am an adept.'


It appears that even non-Ariyans can get some sort of "glimpse" of nibbāna, although the trainee's glimpse would be even stronger, while the arahant's familiarity with nibbāna is fully experiential.
Last edited by Sylvester on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby danieLion » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:35 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Their first realisation of nibbāna at the moment of attaining the Path of Stream-winning (sotāpatti magga) is exceedingly brief — only two or three thought moments — but its enough to destroy personality-view, sceptical doubt, and adherence to rites and rituals.

Greetings Bhante,

Would you (or others participating in this thread) please expand on and explain not only what is exaclty meant by sakkaya-ditthi (personality view), vicikiccha (sceptical doubt), and silabbata-paramasa (adherence to rites and rituals), but also how one knows for oneself with certainty that these fetters have indeed been permanently removed? I feel I have the best understanding of sakkaya-ditthi but it seems that the other two are interpreted in a variety of differing ways.

Could you (or others) also relate your understandning(s) of the samyojana (fetters) to your understanding(s) of the anusaya (proclivities), the asava (influxes) and the kilesa (defilements). I'm familiar with the Bhikkhu Bodhi lectures and essays on this and also familiar with the charts and text on this in A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma so am asking you to elaborate and expand on this.

Finally, could you relate all this to whether or not you think it is valid to map the four levels of awakening to the fetter scheme? In other words, is it necessary to definitionally apply Theravada Buddhist cosmology to the destruction of the fetters, or is viewing it in terms of the fetters alone sufficient?

Thank you for time and consideration.
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby danieLion » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:01 pm

Sylvester wrote:It appears that even non-Ariyans can get some sort of "glimpse" of nibbāna, although the trainee's glimpse would be even stronger, while the arahant's familiarity with nibbāna is fully experiential.

Hi Sylvester,
Is this similar to what I've seen some refer to as a "little stream-enterer" or "semi-stream-enterer"?
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby Sylvester » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:25 am

Quite possible. But I've not delved into this issue.
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby SarathW » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:48 am

Dan wrote
also how one knows for oneself with certainty that these fetters have indeed been permanently removed?
-----------------
The way I understand is that, first three fetters will be permanently removed only by attaining Arahantship. I do not think that four stages of sainthood are achieved like climbing a ladder by step by step. It is a gradual process more like clearing muddy water. However there are four important landmarks that you can see for yourself what stage you are in.
Just like a “pert diagram” the process has an order in which particular stage (say Sakrudagami) can’t be completed before you complete first sage (Say Sotapanna) ie. Foundation is necessary before build a house. :)
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby SarathW » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:53 am

danieLion wrote:
Sylvester wrote:It appears that even non-Ariyans can get some sort of "glimpse" of nibbāna, although the trainee's glimpse would be even stronger, while the arahant's familiarity with nibbāna is fully experiential.

Hi Sylvester,
Is this similar to what I've seen some refer to as a "little stream-enterer" or "semi-stream-enterer"?


I think this is similart to Gotrabhu Citta

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=14438

or Chulasotapana

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=434#p4440
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby danieLion » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:40 am

SarathW wrote:or Chulasotapana

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=434#p4440

Yes, SarathW, this is what I was thinking of. Thanks for finding it for me. I really like the last post by Rev. Dhammanando.
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:33 am

SarathW wrote:The way I understand is that, first three fetters will be permanently removed only by attaining Arahantship.

No. The first three fetters are permanently removed by attaining the path of Stream-winning. No regression is possible after that.
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby SarathW » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:19 am

ven Pesala
I got another question for you you said in your article:

So past kamma is only responsible for about one sixteenth, the remainder is due to other causes.

http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Pesala/Reb ... birth.html

-----------------------
Where did you get that number from?
By the way your article was very good and every one must read it. :)
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:00 am

See the Sīvaka Sutta

Of course, there is also kamma done in the present life. If our fate was predetermined by past kamma there would be no benefit of striving to abandon unwholesome deeds, cultivate wholesome deeds, and purifying the mind through the practice of tranquillity and insight meditation. All such efforts are wholesome kamma, which will definitely increase our future happiness and reduce both present and future suffering.

Striving hard may also increase present suffering, e.g. feeling hungry in the afternoon when observing eight precepts, or feeling stiffness in the limbs through sitting or walking in meditation for long periods. However, it will reduce future suffering by increasing our wisdom, courage, and patience.
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Re: Question for Bhikkhu Pesala

Postby SarathW » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:50 am

Thank you Bhante,
I am in excruciating pain at the moment due to my illness in Shingles. I haven’t taken pain killers for almost ten days. Do you think it will reduce future suffering by increasing my wisdom, courage, and patience? Can you give me some Sutta reference which will help me in this regard. Some of my friends think that I punish my body invane. :)

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=16532
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