the great Nibbana = annihilation, eternal, or something else thread

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nathan
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby nathan » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:05 am

robertk wrote:Dear Pt
You do understand that there are only citta cetasika and rupa, no self. Upon death of the arahat all that remains is the bone fragments, i.e. some rupa.

Thus in no way is there anilhilation as there never was a self, ever.

BTW there are some hilarious things on the internet about people talking with past Buddhas, or searching through relics of monks to find crystals which "show" they were arahats. I used to find these things a bit sad but it is better to enjoy a laugh (albeit rooted in lobha).
Edit to add this links. After writing this post I came across this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1096

robert

Oh I just remembered the best one yet. One article I read claims that an arhats citta or consciousness or whatver is some special type that is unbound and floats around somehow after death, presumably outside of samsara. Darn now I feel sad again.
As long as you recognize that nibbana exists, is not nothingness, and exists outside of space, time and consciousness I am fine with what you have to say here otherwise. As there never has been a self, eternities and annihilations could hardly be said to apply to such a thing. If the explanation was as cut and dried as you state here the Buddha could have presented the situation in exactly the same way, yet He did not.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:40 am

The range of jhana and the range of a Buddha is 'acinteyya' or 'unthinkinkable'. It is not possible to apply logical abhidhammic analysis to these phenomena beyond a certain level.
With Metta

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Mudita
& Upekkha

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sukhamanveti
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby sukhamanveti » Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:32 pm

robertk wrote:Dear Pt
You do understand that there are only citta cetasika and rupa, no self. Upon death of the arahat all that remains is the bone fragments, i.e. some rupa.

Thus in no way is there anilhilation as there never was a self, ever.

BTW there are some hilarious things on the internet about people talking with past Buddhas, or searching through relics of monks to find crystals which "show" they were arahats. I used to find these things a bit sad but it is better to enjoy a laugh (albeit rooted in lobha).
Edit to add this links. After writing this post I came across this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1096

robert

Oh I just remembered the best one yet. One article I read claims that an arhats citta or consciousness or whatver is some special type that is unbound and floats around somehow after death, presumably outside of samsara. :rofl: :rofl: Darn now I feel sad again:tantrum:


Hi robert,

Several of us already brought up Not-Self earlier in the thread and the false view of annihilationism as well, just so that we were all clear about what we were discussing. I think it is safe to say that everyone in this thread knows that a changing consciousness is not a Self. No one here is proposing belief in an ultimately existing Self.

The view of Thanissaro Bhikkhu & his teacher Phra Ajaan Fuang Jotiko is not that the arahat's consciousness "floats around," rather that it is so subtle and diffuse as to be in no specific location (perhaps everywhere would be accurate). This idea comes from looking at how the people of the Buddha's day would have understood the Buddha's extinguished fire metaphor. If the metaphor was aimed at an ancient people with a different view of the nature of fire, then it seems relevant to try to understand what that view was in order to see what the Buddha was getting at.

Now I know that Thanissaro Bhikkhu is sometimes unorthodox, so I can understand your reaction, but when a first-rate scholar who knows the Tipitaka in Pali like Bhikkhu Bodhi writes (in the introduction to his translation of the Majjhima Nikaya), "even the more sophisticated view that Nibbana is merely the destruction of defilements and the extinction of existence cannot stand up under scrutiny,"* it seems to me that it might be worthwhile to consider this viewpoint, rather than to reject it out of hand.

You may be right when you say "all that remains is the bone fragments," but there is much more to the opposing view than you might think.

Metta,

Ed

*The italics are mine.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5

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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby robertk » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:49 am

[quote="sukhamanveti"][quote="robertk"]Dear Pt
Now I know that Thanissaro Bhikkhu is sometimes unorthodox, so I can understand your reaction, but when a first-rate scholar who knows the Tipitaka in Pali like Bhikkhu Bodhi writes (in the introduction to his translation of the Majjhima Nikaya), "even the more sophisticated view that Nibbana is merely the destruction of defilements and the extinction of existence cannot stand up under scrutiny,"* it seems to me that it might be worthwhile to consider this viewpoint, rather than to reject it out of hand.

You may be right when you say "all that remains is the bone fragments," but there is much more to the opposing view than you might think.

Metta,

Ed

Dear Ed
The view carries no more weight with me than if you told me that Martians were in Halley's Comet and will take me to eternal bliss in another galaxy. I understand the view thanissaro puts about well enough to know that it is eternalism and certainly opposed to Theravada teachings.
Of course if one dismisses the Abhidhamma, many suttas, all the ancient Commentaries then one might be able to digest it without choking. But then why do that?

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sukhamanveti
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby sukhamanveti » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:37 pm

robertk wrote:Dear Ed
The view carries no more weight with me than if you told me that Martians were in Halley's Comet and will take me to eternal bliss in another galaxy. I understand the view thanissaro puts about well enough to know that it is eternalism and certainly opposed to Theravada teachings.
Of course if one dismisses the Abhidhamma, many suttas, all the ancient Commentaries then one might be able to digest it without choking. But then why do that?



Hi robert,

Thank you for your reply.

Please be patient with me. I will have to respond to you in stages and this will take some time.

First I would like to address the charge that Thanissaro Bhikkhu adheres to eternalism. (In subsequent responses I will address the rest.) Eternalism is, in essence, the view that a permanent, unchanging self exists or, as the Brahmajala Sutta (DN 1) defines it in verse 31, “The self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, standing firm like a pillar. And though these beings roam and wander (through the round of existence), pass away and re-arise, yet the self and the world remain the same just like eternity itself.”(1) It is one of the wrong views given at MN 2.8: “It is this self of mine that speaks and feels and experiences here and there the result of good and bad actions; but this self of mine is permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and it will endure as long as eternity.”(2)

Since an eternalist espouses a belief in an eternally immutable Self, Thanissaro Bhikkhu cannot be an eternalist, as near as I can tell, despite what some have concluded from his interpretation of Not-Self as a strategy. In the course of explaining his understanding of Not-Self (which he derives from MN 2) in the book Buddhist Religions, he actually agrees that a Buddhist should not believe in a permanent self for the following reason: “To believe in a permanent self, he [the Buddha] says, is to deny the possibility of spiritual self-change.”(3) He does not want to utterly deny the existence of a self in all possible senses, however, because he does not want to “deny the worth of a moral or religious life.”(4) Where he departs from the commentaries is in rejecting all views of a self, even as a conventional truth: “…a person seeking Awakening should entirely drop the question of the existence of the self and focus instead on the categories of the Four Noble Truths so as to avoid the pitfalls entailed in any view asserting the existence or nonexistence of the self. For a person well advanced on the Path… the question of whether or not there is a self simply would not occur.”(5) What he says about the strategy is this: “the not-self doctrine, like the teaching on suffering, is to be regarded as a strategy for undercutting craving and clinging in the formula of dependent co-arising. The meditator is taught simply to observe the five [aggregates] as they occur and to let go of them by noting that they are not self. This would open the way for the experience of the unfabricated [Nibbana], to which labels of ‘self’ or ‘not-self’…would not apply.”(6) (Let me be clear: I am not agreeing with this interpretation. I am merely attempting to explain it according to my understanding of it.)

I think that it is clear from the preceding that Thanissaro Bhikkhu, however unusual his interpretation may be, is not a proponent of a view of a permanent Self or of any self for that matter. Moreover, if he were, then surely he would have said so. For decades a number of diverse, heterodox Thai Buddhists have argued quite openly (and erroneously) that the Buddha taught the existence of a “true Self.”(7) If Thanissaro Bhikkhu really held this view, then I see no reason why he should not be communicative about it.

Now you might say, “A surviving super-consciousness (or whatever it is) that never completely ceases to exist once and for all must be permanent and therefore a Self,” but this would be to miss a crucial aspect of the radical view of impermanence taught by the Buddha. As the Paramatthajotika Commentary puts it: “When the Aggregates arise, decay, and die, O bhikkhu, every moment you are born, decay, and die.”(8) In other words, the Five Aggregates are constantly arising and ceasing. Anything that constantly arises and ceases must be “impermanent” or “subject to change.” Whatever is impermanent is not Self, according to the Buddha.(9) If Ven. Thanissaro’s “mind like fire unbound”(10) constantly arises and ceases, then it cannot be a Self, even if it continues to exist indefinitely.

1. Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans. The Discourse on the All-Embracing Net of Views: The Brahmajala Sutta and Its Commentaries (Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1992) p. 62.
2. Ibid. The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, 3rd edition (Somerville, Mass.: Wisdom Publications, 2005) p. 92.
3. Richard Robinson, Willard Johnson, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction, 5th edition (Belmont, CA: Holly J. Allen, 2005) p. 28.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid. pp. 28-29.
6. Ibid. p. 29.
7. Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, 2nd edition (New York: Routledge, 2009) pp. 125-127.
8. quoted by Ven. Dr. Walpola Rahula in What the Buddha Taught, 2nd edition (New York: Grove Press, 1974) p. 33.
9. e.g., Majjhima Nikaya 22.26, 35.20, etc.
10. Ven. Thanissaro finds his definition of Nibbana as “unbinding” in Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhimagga and sees it as signifying “release from bondage”:“Thus the metaphor [for] nibbana in this case would have implications of calming together with release from dependencies, attachments, & bondage. This in turn suggests that of all the attempts to describe the etymology of the word nibbana, the closest is one Buddhaghosa proposed in The Path of Purification: Un- (nir) + binding (vana): Unbinding.” http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ire/1.html

Best regards.

Ed
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5

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Jason
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby Jason » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:02 pm

sukhamanveti wrote:Since an eternalist espouses a belief in an eternally immutable Self, Thanissaro Bhikkhu cannot be an eternalist, as near as I can tell, despite what some have concluded from his interpretation of Not-Self as a strategy.


Good luck trying to convince robertk of that, Ed. God knows I've been trying for years! :D
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:17 pm

If Ven. Thanissaro’s “mind like fire unbound”(10) constantly arises and ceases, then it cannot be a Self, even if it continues to exist indefinitely.



only conditioned things are impermanent, that which is unconditioned is not subject to anicca, if "mind like a fire unbound" is meant to be nibbana or the mind of an arahant, then it is unconditioned and so not subject to anicca


Metta
The dogmatists have claimed to have found the truth, others say that it cannot be apprehended; the Sceptics continue the search.
Sextus Empiricus

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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby sukhamanveti » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:44 am

clw_uk wrote:
If Ven. Thanissaro’s “mind like fire unbound”(10) constantly arises and ceases, then it cannot be a Self, even if it continues to exist indefinitely.



only conditioned things are impermanent, that which is unconditioned is not subject to anicca, if "mind like a fire unbound" is meant to be nibbana or the mind of an arahant, then it is unconditioned and so not subject to anicca


Metta


As see it, the mind is always conditioned in whichever form it takes according to the Buddha, but the Nibbana element which an enlightened consciousness perceives is unconditioned. I do not see how a mind could become unconditioned.
Last edited by sukhamanveti on Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5

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sukhamanveti
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby sukhamanveti » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:52 am

sukhamanveti wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
If Ven. Thanissaro’s “mind like fire unbound”(10) constantly arises and ceases, then it cannot be a Self, even if it continues to exist indefinitely.



only conditioned things are impermanent, that which is unconditioned is not subject to anicca, if "mind like a fire unbound" is meant to be nibbana or the mind of an arahant, then it is unconditioned and so not subject to anicca


Metta


As see it, the mind is always conditioned, in whichever form it takes, according to the Buddha, but the Nibbana element which an enlightened consciousness perceives is unconditioned. I do not see how a mind could become unconditioned.


P.S.: I should add that Ajahn Sumedho, as you know, seems to regard pure awareness as "unconditioned." This is an unorthodox perspective which I cannot make sense of and does not fit my understanding of the suttas or the Theravada tradition.
Last edited by sukhamanveti on Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5

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sukhamanveti
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby sukhamanveti » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:05 am

Elohim wrote:
sukhamanveti wrote:Since an eternalist espouses a belief in an eternally immutable Self, Thanissaro Bhikkhu cannot be an eternalist, as near as I can tell, despite what some have concluded from his interpretation of Not-Self as a strategy.


Good luck trying to convince robertk of that, Ed. God knows I've been trying for years! :D


Oh, no! I don't have the time or the energy for a debate that long. :shock:
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5

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clw_uk
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:32 pm

P.S.: I should add that Ajahn Sumedho, as you know, seems to regard pure awareness as "unconditioned." This is an unorthodox perspective which I cannot make sense of and does not fit my understanding of the suttas or the Theravada tradition.



My understanding of his view (i must stress i might be wrong) is that pure awareness (which i take to be Voidness) is unconditioned since there is no ignorance in pure awareness, no liking or averting or constructing "I am". There is just knowing and watching of Dhammas rise and fall


I have found a similar teaching in the TFT from Ajahn Maha Boowa

The following comments about the nature of the citta have been excerpted from several discourses given by Ãcariya Mahã Boowa.

OF FOREMOST IMPORTANCE IS THE CITTA, the mind’s essential knowing nature. It consists of pure and simple awareness: the citta simply knows. Awareness of good and evil, and the critical judgements that result, are merely activities of the citta. At times, these activities may manifest as mindfulness; at other times, wisdom. But the true citta does not exhibit any activities or manifest any conditions at all. It only knows. Those activities that arise in the citta, such as awareness of good and evil, or happiness and suffering, or praise and blame, are all conditions of the consciousness that flows out from the citta. Since it represents activities and conditions of the citta that are, by their very nature, constantly arising and ceasing, this sort of consciousness is always unstable and unreliable.

The conscious acknowledgement of phenomena as they arise and cease is called viññãna. For instance, viññãna acknowledges and registers the sense impressions that are produced when sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations contact the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body respectively. Each such contact between an external sense sphere and its corresponding internal base gives rise to a specific consciousness that registers the moment at which each interaction takes place, and then promptly ceases at the same moment that the contact passes. Viññãna, therefore, is consciousness as a condition of the citta. Sankhãra, or thoughts and imagination, is also a condition of the citta. Once the citta has given expression to these conditions, they tend to proliferate without limit. On the other hand, when no conditions arise at all, only the citta’s inherent quality of knowing is apparent.

Still, the essential knowing of the average person’s mind is very different from the essential knowing of an Arahant. The average person’s knowing nature is contaminated from within. Arahants, being khïõãsava, are free of all contamination. Their knowing is a pure and simple awareness without any adulteration. Pure awareness, devoid of all contaminants, is supreme awareness: a truly amazing quality of knowing that bestows perfect happiness, as befits the Arahant’s state of absolute purity. This Supreme Happiness always remains constant. It never changes or varies like conditioned phenomena of the world, which are always burdened with anicca, dukkha, and anattã. Such mundane characteristics cannot possibly enter into the citta of someone who has cleansed it until it is absolutely pure.

The citta forms the very foundation of samsãra; it is the essence of being that wanders from birth to birth. It is the instigator of the cycle of existence and the prime mover in the round of repeated birth and death. Samsãra is said to be a cycle because death and rebirth recur regularly according to the immutable law of kamma. The citta is governed by kamma, so it is obliged to revolve perpetually in this cycle following kamma’s dictates. As long as the citta remains under the jurisdiction of kamma, this will always be the case. The citta of the Arahant is the sole exception, for his citta has completely transcended kamma’s domain. Since he has also transcended all conventional connections, not a single aspect of relative, conventional reality can possibly become involved with the Arahant’s citta. At the level of Arahant, the citta has absolutely no involvement with anything.

Once the citta is totally pure, it simply knows according to its own inherent nature. It is here that the citta reaches it culmination; it attains perfection at the level of absolute purity. Here the continuous migration from one birth to the next finally comes to an end. Here the perpetual journey from the higher realms of existence to the lower ones and back again, through the repetitive cycle of birth, ageing, sickness, and death, totally ceases. Why does it cease here? Because those hidden, defiling elements that normally permeate the citta and cause it to spin around have been completely eliminated. All that remains is the pure citta, which will never again experience birth and death.

Rebirth is inevitable, however, for the citta that has yet to reach that level of purity. One may be tempted to deny that rebirth follows death, or one may doggedly hold to the nihilistic viewpoint that rejects all possibility of life after death, but such convictions cannot alter the truth. One’s essential knowing nature is not governed by speculation; nor is it influenced by people’s views and opinions. Its preeminence within one’s own being, coupled with the supreme authority of kamma, completely override all speculative considerations.


http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... m#APPENDIX


Metta
The dogmatists have claimed to have found the truth, others say that it cannot be apprehended; the Sceptics continue the search.
Sextus Empiricus

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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby sukhamanveti » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:51 pm

clw_uk wrote:
P.S.: I should add that Ajahn Sumedho, as you know, seems to regard pure awareness as "unconditioned." This is an unorthodox perspective which I cannot make sense of and does not fit my understanding of the suttas or the Theravada tradition.



My understanding of his view (i must stress i might be wrong) is that pure awareness (which i take to be Voidness) is unconditioned since there is no ignorance in pure awareness, no liking or averting or constructing "I am". There is just knowing and watching of Dhammas rise and fall


I have found a similar teaching in the TFT from Ajahn Maha Boowa

The following comments about the nature of the citta have been excerpted from several discourses given by Ãcariya Mahã Boowa.

OF FOREMOST IMPORTANCE IS THE CITTA, the mind’s essential knowing nature. It consists of pure and simple awareness: the citta simply knows. Awareness of good and evil, and the critical judgements that result, are merely activities of the citta. At times, these activities may manifest as mindfulness; at other times, wisdom. But the true citta does not exhibit any activities or manifest any conditions at all. It only knows. Those activities that arise in the citta, such as awareness of good and evil, or happiness and suffering, or praise and blame, are all conditions of the consciousness that flows out from the citta. Since it represents activities and conditions of the citta that are, by their very nature, constantly arising and ceasing, this sort of consciousness is always unstable and unreliable.

The conscious acknowledgement of phenomena as they arise and cease is called viññãna. For instance, viññãna acknowledges and registers the sense impressions that are produced when sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations contact the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body respectively. Each such contact between an external sense sphere and its corresponding internal base gives rise to a specific consciousness that registers the moment at which each interaction takes place, and then promptly ceases at the same moment that the contact passes. Viññãna, therefore, is consciousness as a condition of the citta. Sankhãra, or thoughts and imagination, is also a condition of the citta. Once the citta has given expression to these conditions, they tend to proliferate without limit. On the other hand, when no conditions arise at all, only the citta’s inherent quality of knowing is apparent.

Still, the essential knowing of the average person’s mind is very different from the essential knowing of an Arahant. The average person’s knowing nature is contaminated from within. Arahants, being khïõãsava, are free of all contamination. Their knowing is a pure and simple awareness without any adulteration. Pure awareness, devoid of all contaminants, is supreme awareness: a truly amazing quality of knowing that bestows perfect happiness, as befits the Arahant’s state of absolute purity. This Supreme Happiness always remains constant. It never changes or varies like conditioned phenomena of the world, which are always burdened with anicca, dukkha, and anattã. Such mundane characteristics cannot possibly enter into the citta of someone who has cleansed it until it is absolutely pure.

The citta forms the very foundation of samsãra; it is the essence of being that wanders from birth to birth. It is the instigator of the cycle of existence and the prime mover in the round of repeated birth and death. Samsãra is said to be a cycle because death and rebirth recur regularly according to the immutable law of kamma. The citta is governed by kamma, so it is obliged to revolve perpetually in this cycle following kamma’s dictates. As long as the citta remains under the jurisdiction of kamma, this will always be the case. The citta of the Arahant is the sole exception, for his citta has completely transcended kamma’s domain. Since he has also transcended all conventional connections, not a single aspect of relative, conventional reality can possibly become involved with the Arahant’s citta. At the level of Arahant, the citta has absolutely no involvement with anything.

Once the citta is totally pure, it simply knows according to its own inherent nature. It is here that the citta reaches it culmination; it attains perfection at the level of absolute purity. Here the continuous migration from one birth to the next finally comes to an end. Here the perpetual journey from the higher realms of existence to the lower ones and back again, through the repetitive cycle of birth, ageing, sickness, and death, totally ceases. Why does it cease here? Because those hidden, defiling elements that normally permeate the citta and cause it to spin around have been completely eliminated. All that remains is the pure citta, which will never again experience birth and death.

Rebirth is inevitable, however, for the citta that has yet to reach that level of purity. One may be tempted to deny that rebirth follows death, or one may doggedly hold to the nihilistic viewpoint that rejects all possibility of life after death, but such convictions cannot alter the truth. One’s essential knowing nature is not governed by speculation; nor is it influenced by people’s views and opinions. Its preeminence within one’s own being, coupled with the supreme authority of kamma, completely override all speculative considerations.


http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... m#APPENDIX


Metta


Interesting. This reminds me of the concept of rigpa in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5

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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby nathan » Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:38 am

Seems to me that no matter what is said about this in an attempt to clarify the nature of nibbana here and now and of parinibbana one is bound to be accused of saying something indicative of either an eternalistic or annihilationistic doctrine. Seems to me that the Buddha sidestepped this by saying that he was not saying either of these things and leaving it at a thorough negation of the typical accusations. That is probably as far as any teacher can safely go with this. I think if people keep up the flack we will eventually not have teachers who are willing to say anything more than what the Buddha said, which is fine by me but is going to be tough for those who are looking for anything more than that. More could probably be said about it but not without suffering these accusations in one form or another. After a few years of experience with all of these shenanigans in forum discussions, if I am ever asked to teach anything about anything all I am probably going to do is recite directly from the suttas and say "best of luck and git crackin' ".
:broke:

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:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby fig tree » Mon May 04, 2009 4:24 am

nathan wrote:Seems to me that no matter what is said about this in an attempt to clarify the nature of nibbana here and now and of parinibbana one is bound to be accused of saying something indicative of either an eternalistic or annihilationistic doctrine. Seems to me that the Buddha sidestepped this by saying that he was not saying either of these things and leaving it at a thorough negation of the typical accusations.

Some of what we're saying really doesn't differentiate between the person who does not attain arahantship and the person who does, but it seems to me that part of our difficulty here is that there's some difference, but it's pretty easy to describe it misleadingly.

We have suttas on the one hand like SN 12.46 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.046.than.html) where an individual is said to be not entirely other than the person who committed an action (nor simply the same), and SN15.3 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn15/sn15.003.than.html) which refer to monks' long wanderings in samsara. Some of our actions are committed very late in life or for various other reasons don't ripen in this life, so I think we can infer that the person suffering is sometimes a later life. On the other hand we have suttas such as SN 44.11 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.011.than.html) where the Buddha refers to the absence of basis for making such future attributions in his case.

As a psychological observation, it seems to me that fairly often when we are veering toward the annihilationist doctrine, it comes accompanied by certain expectations concerning cause-and-effect. For example, a secular atheist who considers a person to be essentially the same as their body (with brain) might think of a dead mass-murderer like McVeigh that what he did has given rise to a bunch of suffering, but all of it by completely different people from him (since he's dead). Or one might find oneself speculating that the world might now be a better place now if Sariputta had stopped short of becoming noble, so that he would still be here, as presumably a relatively virtuous person continuing to help others. ("Uh oh... we lost bhante to nibbana!") Even if we are careful to think, "a permanent self is not to be found in him", I think we can still err by reasoning as though the presence of his self were a separate cause of the good results he produced, which is no longer available.

I don't know whether Thervada teaches that each effect (of some cause) is in turn among the causes of further effects. (I've read that attributed to another school.) I've almost never heard or read a reason to think it's not true. (Black holes at one time were suspected by secular physicists of erasing information about things that fall into them, but no longer are. That's about all.) I wonder whether this is correct, and if so whether it would help to bar some of our misunderstandings of dependent origination. Certainly things that arise in arahants have effects, through their deeds and so on. That they do not give rise to anything that we can call a reappearance of them after death distinguishes them from ordinary people, but I wonder whether we aren't tending to infer mistakenly that paranibbana "stifles" the effects in ways that it doesn't, due to a lingering trace of the annihilationist error.

Fig Tree

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Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:36 am

Hi all,

The recent rebirth thread has been closed, having run its course. However, there was an unresolved issue left and the poster had sought a response.

Specifically, it was proposed that if there is only one life, "instant nibbana" can be attained through suicide. As Alex123 explained,

Alex123 wrote:If all existence is suffering and the death would be the end of the suffering (and equivalent to parinibbana), why not hasten it? Isn't cessation of dukkha (mental and physical) is what Buddhism all about?

...Even 8th Jhana is still imperfect. No feelings & perceptions is much better. If there was one life, it would be easy to accomplish that.


Now this line of thinking raises a rather important question: what kind of state is Nibbana?

For a physicalist, suicide leads to utter annihilation. It's not simply the extinguishing of conditioned consciousness but of any sort of awareness whatsoever. If we draw an equation between the goal of Buddhist practice and the goal of suicide, then we are implying that Buddhist nibbana is identical to annihilation and oblivion (what a materialist would expect to happen after death). But is that the case?

Thannisaro Bhikkhu writes:

When we first learn that the name for the goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana (nirvana), literally means the extinguishing of a fire, it's hard to imagine a deadlier image for a spiritual goal: utter annihilation. It turns out, though, that this reading of the concept is a mistake in translation, not so much of a word as of an image. What did an extinguished fire represent to the Indians of the Buddha's day? Anything but annihilation.
According to the ancient Brahmans, when a fire was extinguished it went into a state of latency. Rather than ceasing to exist, it became dormant and in that state — unbound from any particular fuel — it became diffused throughout the cosmos.


And further:

The image underlying nibbana is one of freedom. The Pali commentaries support this point by tracing the word nibbana to its verbal root, which means "unbinding." What kind of unbinding? The texts describe two levels. One is the unbinding in this lifetime, symbolized by a fire that has gone out but whose embers are still warm. This stands for the enlightened arahant, who is conscious of sights and sounds, sensitive to pleasure and pain, but freed from passion, aversion, and delusion. The second level of unbinding, symbolized by a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold, is what the arahant experiences after this life. All input from the senses cools away and he/she is totally freed from even the subtlest stresses and limitations of existence in space and time.

The Buddha insists that this level is indescribable, even in terms of existence or nonexistence, because words work only for things that have limits. All he really says about it — apart from images and metaphors — is that one can have foretastes of the experience in this lifetime, and that it's the ultimate happiness, something truly worth knowing.


And finally:

The consciousness of nirvana is said to be "without surface" (anidassanam), for it doesn't land. Because the consciousness-aggregate covers only consciousness that is near or far, past, present, or future — i.e., in connection with space and time — consciousness without surface is not included in the aggregates. It's not eternal because eternity is a function of time. And because non-local also means undefined, the Buddha insisted that an awakened person — unlike ordinary people — can't be located or defined in any relation to the aggregates in this life; after death, he/she can't be described as existing, not existing, neither, or both, because descriptions can apply only to definable things.


The suttas, likewise, speak of "consciousness without surface, without end, luminous all around". Is this equivalent to oblivion?

If we equate nibbana with nothingness, then we would be concluding that an enlightened person does not exist after death. But according to the Buddha, there are four things we cannot say about an awakened person: that he exists after death, does not exist, both does and does not exist, neither exists or does not exist.

Moreover, if the goal is utter annihilation, why do arhats continue to live? They could undertake santhara, like the Jains, or even take the knife to their throats without blame (since they are without desire).

Note: this is not an attempt to revive the rebirth thread. Please limit any responses to the topic of nibbana and whether it is comparable to post-mortem nothingness.

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ground
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby ground » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:31 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Specifically, it was proposed that if there is only one life, "instant nibbana" can be attained through suicide.


The issue is the "if". :tongue:
You may doubt or believe from the depth of your heart but you cannot know.
If one committed suicide then this could just perpetuate all the misery.
Since one is going to die anyway it seems reasonable to use the remainder of this lifetime to do one's best to put an end to all misery. :)

Kind regards

Individual
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Individual » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:51 pm

Annihilation is the destruction of the conditioned state, the destruction of consciousness.

Nibbana is described as the Unconditioned, luminous consciousness without features.

A light of awareness underlying every experience, which becomes brighter and darker, to the degree that one follows the Noble Eightfold Path.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Jason
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Jason » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:04 pm

If you're interested, Lazy_eye, you can read some of my thoughts about nibbana and vinnanam anidassanam here and here.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

leaves in the hand (Buddhist-related blog)
leaves in the forest (non-Buddhist related blog)

Sunrise
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Sunrise » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:41 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Specifically, it was proposed that if there is only one life, "instant nibbana" can be attained through suicide.

But you believe there are other lives right? So you can safely assume that if you kill yourself you will be born again somewhere.

Lazy_eye wrote:what kind of state is Nibbana?

Nibbana is the complete and remainderless cessation of suffering caused by mental clinging to the five aggregates

Code: Select all

He feels whatever feelings pleasant, or unpleasant or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. He sees impermanence in these feelings. Detaching his mind from them and seeing their cessation, gives them up. Thus he abides seeing impermanence, detachment, cessation and giving up of those feelings, does not seize anything in the world. Not seizing does not worry. Not worried is internally extinguished....

What should be done is done... there is nothing more to wish.

MN 37


Lazy_eye wrote:Buddhist nibbana is identical to annihilation

Annihilation does not apply. Eternalism doesn't apply. Why? Because both concepts have self-identification. You can ask yourself, what am I annihilating?
Please check the brahmajala sutta

Lazy_eye wrote:If we equate nibbana with nothingness

Nibbana is not nothingness.

There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished, unevolving, without support (mental object). This, just this, is the end of stress.

nibbana sutta



Lazy_eye wrote:concluding that an enlightened person does not exist after death

But you said the Buddha said "we cannot say" right?

But according to the Buddha, there are four things we cannot say about an awakened person: that he exists after death, does not exist, both does and does not exist, neither exists or does not exist.


Lazy_eye wrote:Moreover, if the goal is utter annihilation, why do arhats continue to live?

The goal is not annihilation. The goal is seeing through direct experience that there is nothing that is yours to annihilate. Once you see that, the five aggregates that make up an awakened person will dwell and unbind according to the cause of nature.

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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:44 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Hi all,
Specifically, it was proposed that if there is only one life, "instant nibbana" can be attained through suicide. As Alex123 explained,
Now this line of thinking raises a rather important question: what kind of state is Nibbana?



Other than conceptual overlay (there is no Self, or anything pleasant that ceases), there is no difference between Parinibbana and Atheistic one-life-only death.

The difference between Dhamma and Atheistic one-life-only is that Dhamma teaches that there is cause-effect stream of delusive "I, me, mine" making that goes on until citta is no longer producing future effect (Arhatship). Death is not the end unless one doesn't produce any new cittas. Parinibbana is not death of an "Arahant as an existing being" because as Yamaka Sutta states
"And so, my friend Yamaka — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.085.than.html


The Parinibbana of an Arhat (not anyone below) is described as
"He understands: ‘With the breakup of the body, following the exhaustion of life, all feelings, not being delighted in, will become cool right here; mere
bodily remains will be left."
- SN12.51(1).


And If I can add my 2 cents, those bodily remains will crumble to dust soon enough. No consciousness remains. Total peace, total freedom!
Last edited by Alex123 on Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."


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