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

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Prasadachitta
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA
Contact:

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:05 am

Vepacitta wrote:
(But don't piss Mama-Asura off ...)



Hey Now lets take it down a notch.... or three. ;)

I still agree with you.


Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:09 am

Hi Asura-GAL (Asura-grrl)

Vepacitta wrote:However, it has occurred to me that there is some exageration in the sutta pitika ( :jawdrop: I know!)

Do you really want to open that can-o-worms here? You really must be an Asura-grrl!

Vepacitta wrote:And it has also occurred to me that 'us beings here' tend to have a perniciously exagerrated view of what 'the quenching' (nibbana) really is.
Don't you think that the nature of reality becomes clear to those who actually practice the path? I know my flakey conception of nibbana that I held many many years ago is not the same view I hold now.

Vepacitta wrote:People tend to imbue people/things/concepts with their own projections - and I think that the authors of the suttas were no exception.
Well I tend to believe the compilers knew what they were talking about, they were certainly further along the path than I (or anyone else here is). But I do concede that there are some very sticky issues relating to language, meaning and context. But again,my answer to this is to actually continue to walk on the path and to study the ancient literature and the works of latter-day scholars and meditation masters and to not invest too heavily into one view or the other. The path is a path of discovery and the only way you can do that is if you let go.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3475
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:11 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:
"And so, my friend Yamaka — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'As I understand the Teaching explained by the Blessed One, a monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death'?"

"Previously, my friend Sariputta, I did foolishly hold that evil supposition. But now, having heard your explanation of the Dhamma, I have abandoned that evil supposition, and have broken through to the Dhamma."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.085.than.html


I was saying it all the time that as an existing being, Arhat doesn't exist. Thus there is no annihilationism because there is no one to be annihilated. However what we take for a person are just 5 aggregates or some of them. There is no 6th aggregate, and all 5 aggregates cease at Parinibbana without ANY remainder, except for the bodily remains (which turn to dust soon enough). None of what you've said support the idea of some sort of Parinibbanic experience, existence or consciousness there. And that what makes nibbana ultimate bliss. There is nothing there to be anicca or dukkha, unlike existence of 5 aggregates.

So the reason why Nibbana is not annihilation is because there is no one as trully existent Being to be annihilated, just a process that ceases and never reoccurs. However this doesn't mean that something eternally lives on. The process on which others could impute the conception of Arhat/Tathagata has completely ceased, and with it all awareness, all consciousness, all knowing, all doing has ceased.
Last edited by Alex123 on Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:19 am, 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..."

User avatar
Vepacitta
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:58 pm
Location: Somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Meru

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:19 am

I agree Vepacitta. However the closest the Buddha came to allowing himself to be identified was to Identify with Paṭicca-samuppāda. This is of course not a personality in any sense which we understand it.

Metta

Gabe


Me? I could give a damn - I don't care if people use conventional speech.


V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 16757
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:54 am

Greetings Alex,

What is your opinion, from a Dhamma perspective...

Would we all be better off permanently dead?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 13973
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:55 am

Alex123 wrote:
Ben wrote:
Alex123 wrote:The fact is that even the Buddha has experienced dukkha to some degree.

Actually, Alex,its just your interpretation based on selective reading.

How do you explain DN16 talk on Buddha's illness? How do you explain that all saṅkhārā are dukkhā?
Bodily pain is classified as being included in 1st NT of Dukkha.
[a] "Now what is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful; separation from the loved is stressful; not getting what one wants is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

"And what is pain? Whatever is experienced as bodily pain, bodily discomfort, pain or discomfort born of bodily contact, that is called pain.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have to say that Ven Nyanatiloka's Dictionary definition of dukkha seems to agree with Alex on this point. While one might argue that an arahant does not suffer, or is not perturbed by the dukkha, (see the following post) it seems reasonably clear that an arahant experiences dukkha:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... htm#dukkha
Dukkha: 1 'pain', painful feeling, which may be bodily and mental see: vedanā

2 'Suffering', 'ill'. As the first of the Four Noble Truths see: sacca and the second of the three characteristics of existence see: ti-lakkhana the term dukkha is not limited to painful experience as under 1, but refers to the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena which, on account of their impermanence, are all liable to suffering, and this includes also pleasurable experience. Hence 'unsatisfactoriness' or 'liability to suffering' would be more adequate renderings, if not for stylistic reasons. Hence the first truth does not deny the existence of pleasurable experience, as is sometimes wrongly assumed. This is illustrated by the following texts:

;Seeking satisfaction in the world, Bhikkhus, I had pursued my way. That satisfaction in the world I found. In so far as satisfaction existed in the world, I have well perceived it by understanding. Seeking for misery in the world, Bhikkhus, I had pursued my way. That misery in the world I found. In so far as misery existed in the world, I have well perceived it by understanding. Seeking for the escape from the world, Bhikkhus, I had pursued my way. That escape from the world I found. In so far as an escape from the world existed, I have well perceived it by understanding; A. 111, 101.

;If there were no satisfaction to be found in the world, beings would not be attached to the world. If there were no misery to be found in the world, beings would not be repelled by the world. If there were no escape from the world, beings could not escape therefrom; A. 111, 102.

See dukkhatā For texts on the Truth of Suffering, see W. of B. and 'path'.

See The Three Basic Facts of Existence, II. Suffering WHEEL 191/193.

Mike
Last edited by mikenz66 on Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 13973
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:57 am

PS:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
"But in the case of a well-taught noble disciple, O monks, when he is touched by a painful feeling, he will not worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. It is one kind of feeling he experiences, a bodily one, but not a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart, but was not hit by a second dart following the first one. So this person experiences feelings caused by a single dart only. It is similar with a well-taught noble disciple: when touched by a painful feeling, he will no worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. He experiences one single feeling, a bodily one.


Mike

User avatar
beeblebrox
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:41 pm

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:59 am

I think what Gabe said is true. If there was no paṭicca-samuppāda, then the Buddha's gone. The four noble truths were based on it. If not for this, no one would've been able to follow his track. He's become trackless like the birds in the sky. He's extinguished.

I like this post (and I think this is really what made the Buddha a genius):

gabrielbranbury wrote:If Paṭicca-samuppāda did not remain then you and I would not be able to see it. I'm really not saying anything special. The influence of the Buddha is characterized by a movement towards liberation. If this is not the case it is not the influence of the Buddha. The Buddha identified himself with Paṭicca-samuppāda. He did this out of compassion as he understood that we would want to know him more intimately. To know him intimately is to know Paṭicca-samuppāda. To see Paṭicca-samuppāda is to naturally move toward liberation.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 16757
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:05 am

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:While one might argue that an arahant does not suffer, or is not perturbed by the dukkha, (see the following post) it seems reasonably clear that an arahant experiences dukkha:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... htm#dukkha
Dukkha: 1 'pain', painful feeling, which may be bodily and mental see: vedanā

2 'Suffering', 'ill'. As the first of the Four Noble Truths see: sacca and the second of the three characteristics of existence see: ti-lakkhana the term dukkha is not limited to painful experience as under 1, but refers to the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena which, on account of their impermanence, are all liable to suffering, and this includes also pleasurable experience. Hence 'unsatisfactoriness' or 'liability to suffering' would be more adequate renderings, if not for stylistic reasons. Hence the first truth does not deny the existence of pleasurable experience, as is sometimes wrongly assumed.

As pointed out by Mike above, dukkha can have both narrow and broader meanings, each with significantly different implications... and it's important to identify which one is being used in each instance, and not mix-and-match them for the purposes of advocating a particular position.

As for the 2nd definition, I would argue that "general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena" is addressing "experienced phenomena" (i.e. dhammas, conditioned by ignorance... i.e. sankharas) and that it isn't some broad-brush ontological statement about the dissatisfactory nature of the objective universe (e.g. suns, televisions, fireworks, comic books)

As the Buddha says... sabbe sankhara anicca, sabbe sankhara dukkha, sabbe dhamma anatta. This is after all where the "three characteristics" (ti-lakkhana) of the commentarial tradition derive... but as the Buddha says (in SN 12.15 for example), "Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of sankharas". So if ignorance ceases, and sankharas cease in turn, what justification is there for saying an arahant experiences dukkha (of the 2nd definiton)?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 9911
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:13 am

mikenz66 wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
"But in the case of a well-taught noble disciple, O monks, when he is touched by a painful feeling, he will not worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. It is one kind of feeling he experiences, a bodily one, but not a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart, but was not hit by a second dart following the first one. So this person experiences feelings caused by a single dart only. It is similar with a well-taught noble disciple: when touched by a painful feeling, he will no worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. He experiences one single feeling, a bodily one.



Pain exists, suffering is optional.

The Buddha did not deny the existence of pain, but he did not react to physical pain with craving or aversion. He did not suffer, even while still alive.

User avatar
Vepacitta
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:58 pm
Location: Somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Meru

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:16 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alex,

What is your opinion, from a Dhamma perspective...

Would we all be better off permanently dead?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Ajahn Chah used to say that people should cry at births and celebrate at funerals.

And sometimes, life ain't what's it's cracked up to be Retro - some people might enjoy being permanently dead - annhilated - no pain. I could understand that. It's not a popular view - one is supposed to 'want life' - but it is a view of some - and not that odd if you really think about how life can be.,

Just my thoughts from atop Mt. Meru.

V.

And as Jim Morrison always said - "No one gets out of here alive" - I find that comforting in a way - God knows why ... :thinking:
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura

User avatar
Jason
Posts: 474
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:09 am
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Jason » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:54 am

Alex123 wrote:Are you saying that consciousness-aggregate exist in Nibbana, and it takes an "object"?


No, that's not what I'm saying.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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

User avatar
Prasadachitta
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA
Contact:

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:39 am

Alex123 wrote:I was saying it all the time that as an existing being, Arhat doesn't exist. Thus there is no annihilationism because there is no one to be annihilated. However what we take for a person are just 5 aggregates or some of them. There is no 6th aggregate, and all 5 aggregates cease at Parinibbana without ANY remainder, except for the bodily remains (which turn to dust soon enough). None of what you've said support the idea of some sort of Parinibbanic experience, existence or consciousness there. And that what makes nibbana ultimate bliss. There is nothing there to be anicca or dukkha, unlike existence of 5 aggregates.

So the reason why Nibbana is not annihilation is because there is no one as trully existent Being to be annihilated, just a process that ceases and never reoccurs. However this doesn't mean that something eternally lives on. The process on which others could impute the conception of Arhat/Tathagata has completely ceased, and with it all awareness, all consciousness, all knowing, all doing has ceased.


Hello Alex,
"I was saying it all the time that as an existing being, Arhat doesn't exist."

According to the Suttas it is not appropriate to say that an Arhat doesn't exist.
"However what we take for a person are just 5 aggregates or some of them."

And yet you continue to identify the awakened one with the aggregates.
"So the reason why Nibbana is not annihilation is because there is no one as trully existent Being to be annihilated, just a process that ceases and never reoccurs."

Here you are saying that the Awakened one does not exist.
"The process on which others could impute the conception of Arhat/Tathagata has completely ceased,"

Indeed one could make such an imputation which is what you are implicitly doing.





Then King Pasenadi Kosala went to the bhikkhuni Khema and, on arrival, having bowed down to her, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to her, "Now then, lady, does the Tathagata exist after death?"

"That, great king, has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata exists after death.'"

"Well then, lady, does the Tathagata not exist after death?"

"Great king, that too has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata does not exist after death.'"

"Then does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?"

"That has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death.'"

"Well then, does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?"

"That too has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.'"

"Now, lady, when asked if the Tathagata exists after death, you say, 'That has not been declared by the Blessed One: "The Tathagata exists after death."' When asked if the Tathagata does not exist after death... both exists and does not exist after death... neither exists nor does not exist after death, you say, 'That too has not been declared by the Blessed One: "The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death."' Now, what is the cause, what is the reason, why that has not been declared by the Blessed One?"

"Very well, then, great king, I will question you in return about this very same matter. Answer as you see fit. What do you think great king: Do you have an accountant or actuary or mathematician who can count the grains of sand in the river Ganges as 'so many grains of sand' or 'so many hundreds of grains of sand' or 'so many thousands of grains of sand' or 'so many hundreds of thousands of grains of sand'?"

"No, lady."

"Then do you have an accountant or calculator or mathematician who can count the water in the great ocean as 'so many buckets of water' or 'so many hundreds of buckets of water' or 'so many thousands of buckets of water' or 'so many hundreds of thousands of buckets of water'?"

"No, lady. Why is that? The great ocean is deep, boundless, hard to fathom."

"Even so, great king, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form, great king, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the ocean. 'The Tathagata exists after death' doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata both exists and doesn't exist after death' doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata neither exists nor doesn't exist after death' doesn't apply.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.001.than.html

Now, If the Blessed one will say nothing of the postmortem status of an arahat, why is it that you are so flippant about doing it. I believe this is a serious issue which we should leave to the record of the word of the Buddha and not deduce what he himself would say nothing about.

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:29 am

Dear All

Might it be possible that the notion that a Buddha does not experience dukkha (as in the 1st Noble Truth Dukkha) is premised on the understanding that with the cessation of avijja etc etc, dukkha also ceases?

Let's take a look at the shortform expression of Dependant Origination, ie Idappaccayata -

When this is, that is. From the arising of this, that arises.
When this is not, that is not. From the ceasing of this, that ceases.

Imasmim sati, idam hoti. Imass uppadadam uppajjati.
Imasmim asati, idam na hoti. Imassa nirodha, idam nirujjhati


The highlighted text are expressed in the Pali locative absolute. While this can admit of the temporal conjunction of "this" and "that", the locative absolute also allows "this" to precede "that" by any amount of time, even lifetimes. So, the cessation of avijja etc as an instance of Dependant Cessation can produce its result - the cessation of dukkha - much later.

While dukkha is understood as including physical pains etc, the 1st Noble Truth does summarise dukkha in broader terms by identifying dukkha with the "5 clinging aggregates". As I understand it, an Arahant has stopped clinging. And I understand MN 44's distinction between "clinging" and "the 5 clinging aggregates" to suggest that they are not the same thing, even if they cannot be apart. Does this imply that an Arahant's aggregates are the non-clinging variety? If so, dukkha in the form of the 5 clinging aggregates will have ceased for the Arahant, but what about the preceding definition of dukkha wrt physical pain etc?

User avatar
Lazy_eye
Posts: 970
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact:

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:40 pm

The great ocean is deep, boundless, hard to fathom."[/color]

"Even so, great king, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form, great king, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the ocean. 'The Tathagata exists after death' doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata both exists and doesn't exist after death' doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata neither exists nor doesn't exist after death' doesn't apply.


Jason Merritt wrote:while some Theravadins describe nibbana as the end of all consciousness, stressing the cessation aspect of nibbana, others describe nibbana as a state of purified awareness and stress its transcendent aspect. To be honest, I can see how both views — i.e., the annihilation of consciousness vs. an awareness untouched by death — seem like the extremes of annihilationism and eternalism. Nevertheless, both have support in the suttas, as well as sophisticated arguments as to why their view doesn't fall into either extreme.


Hi all,

I was thinking over Jason's blog posts and it occurred to me there might be a sense in which both "sides" in this debate are right, provided their positions are being offered as correctives rather than absolutes. Those teachers who use positive terms to describe Nibbana may be doing so in order to direct us away from nibbana as utter nothingness -- a formulation which contradicts the Buddha's teachings (annihilation=the Tathagata doesn't exist after death).

Alex, and others coming from a similar angle, may wish to direct us away from eternalistic conceptions of nibbana, a risk which can be easily seen in some of the positive fomulations, and which also contradicts the teachings (eternal "awareness"=the Tathagata exists after death).

The problem arises if, on either side, we take the corrective as a definitive statement. I think Alex goes too far in equating nibbana with materialist oblivion, for the simple reason that making this equation would require him to have experienced both. He would have had to directly realize nibbana, as well as nothingness, and then come back to tell us whether they are the same. But that's impossible.

The effort to describe the Unconditioned by means of language presents an obvious paradox. Language belongs to conditional existence and is thus part of the same processes which come to an end when parinibbana is attained. As de Saussure tells us, linguistic signifiers only gain meaning via their relationship to other signifiers. Dhamma deconstructs the whole system and with it go all the signifiers.

Therefore, if we speak of any kind of "awareness", "consciousness", "existence" or "luminosity" we are borrowing terms from the conditioned in order to make some point about the unconditioned. Still, we can use conventional language to make that point -- indeed, we have no choice.

We do this elsewhere in Buddhism. For example, even though we consider anatta to be one of the characteristics of samsaric existence, we don't routinely avoid personal pronouns. We recognize both the conventions of language and the fact that we -- as ordinary beings -- still adhere to a conventional world view (i.e. most of us still harbor the illusion of personality).

The existence of both positive and negative teachings on Nibbana is in keeping with the Buddha's method throughout the suttas. He does this repeatedly, usually by starting with the negative presentation and following it with the positive one. I think it's important to keep this in mind. If we look only at the positive side, then the dhamma may turn into something resembling a quest for eternal bliss -- similar to Hindu aspirations for union with Brahma, etc. If we look exclusively at the negative side, Buddhism becomes rather perverse -- a religion for suicidal people who believe that suicide doesn't work??

It is practically impossible not to use some sort of positive terminology. Looking through the links which Cooran provided earlier, we see that almost every teacher does this to a greater or lesser degree. Mahasi Sayadaw, for example, speaks of "the state of peaceful coolness or santi". But this implies some form of awareness that experiences the "coolness". There is no coolness in oblivion, just as there is no warmth or anything else. Even Alex does this at one point when he says nibbana is "total peace! total freedom!" Neither term is applicable to oblivion; the dead don't know peace any more than they know stress.

Oblivion is not "deep, boundless, hard to fathom". None of these adjectives apply.

Leonard Bullen wrote:We can, inadequately and not very accurately, describe it as a positive state of being. It is characterized by supreme bliss and complete freedom from suffering and is so utterly different from ordinary existence that no real description of it can be given. The Unconditioned can be indicated ... only by stating what it is not; for it is beyond words and beyond thought.


Now, interestingly, the quote above could also apply to materialist death. Oblivion is also "utterly different from ordinary existence"; "no real description of it can be given"; we can only state "what it is not". But it does not necessarily follow from this that nibbana=oblivion. It simply follows that both oblivion and nibbana are inconceivable and indescribable.

Or, as Wittgenstein said, "what we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence".

User avatar
Prasadachitta
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA
Contact:

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:27 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Now, interestingly, the quote above could also apply to materialist death. Oblivion is also "utterly different from ordinary existence"; "no real description of it can be given"; we can only state "what it is not". But it does not necessarily follow from this that nibbana=oblivion. It simply follows that both oblivion and nibbana are inconceivable and indescribable.

Or, as Wittgenstein said, "what we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence".


Thank you for that Lazy eye. Your very sober assessment of this discussion is warranted. However, if we have faith in the Buddha then we can have some trust with regard to Nibbana. When it comes to Oblivion who do we trust? The Buddha did not teach of oblivion. Oblivion is a concept which we worldlings have concocted and which may not be applicable to anything. It seems to me Alex is going farther than simply correcting a tendency towards a hope for eternal existence. I could be wrong but that is why I stick to relying on more explicit teaching rather than deduce conclusions that seem to be implied. Oblivion is a word which nobody is claiming to have any experience of. For Nibbana we have the Aria Sangha.

Namo Buddhaya Namo Dhammaya Namo Sanghaya.


Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3475
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:44 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alex,

What is your opinion, from a Dhamma perspective...

Would we all be better off permanently dead?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Then there would be no dukkha (physical, and for unawakened, mental as well) there would be no anicca.

It would be wonderful if I was never born. It would be awesome if there was one life and suicide could end it all quickly and easily... It is better not to exist at all, (unless one could be of real help to others).
"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..."

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3475
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:47 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
"But in the case of a well-taught noble disciple, O monks, when he is touched by a painful feeling, he will not worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. It is one kind of feeling he experiences, a bodily one, but not a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart, but was not hit by a second dart following the first one. So this person experiences feelings caused by a single dart only. It is similar with a well-taught noble disciple: when touched by a painful feeling, he will no worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. He experiences one single feeling, a bodily one.



Pain exists, suffering is optional.

The Buddha did not deny the existence of pain, but he did not react to physical pain with craving or aversion. He did not suffer, even while still alive.


Right. In my recent posts I have tried to use word dukkha rather than suffering, because "Arhat" doesn't suffer emotionally/mentally (no feeling or perception of I, ME, MINE) - but excruciating and painful bodily feelings are still there.
"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..."

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3475
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:54 pm

Hello Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:As the Buddha says... sabbe sankhara anicca, sabbe sankhara dukkha, sabbe dhamma anatta. This is after all where the "three characteristics" (ti-lakkhana) of the commentarial tradition derive... but as the Buddha says (in SN 12.15 for example), "Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of sankharas". So if ignorance ceases, and sankharas cease in turn, what justification is there for saying an arahant experiences dukkha (of the 2nd definiton)?

Metta,
Retro. :)


The D.O. is not just momentary and there can be present results due to causes done Aeons ago. Even in sutta-pitaka it is defined within 2-3 lives. So cessation of suffering could also mean the cessation of suffering that would happen if rebirth occured.

Furthermore not all sankharas cease for an arahant/Buddha. The many sankharas that due to PREVIOUS ignorance/craving done maybe even Aeons ago can still arise and remain for a while. There are still vipaka sankharas left and they can be painful. Arhat just doesn't make any new sankharas, but there is almost infinite store of sankharas due to past causes that could ripen within the limited time the Arhat has left.
Last edited by Alex123 on Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:18 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..."

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3475
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:11 pm

Hello Lazy_Eye, thank you for your post.

Lazy_eye wrote:The great ocean is deep, boundless, hard to fathom."[/color]

"Even so, great king, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form, great king, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the ocean. 'The Tathagata exists after death' doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata both exists and doesn't exist after death' doesn't apply. 'The Tathagata neither exists nor doesn't exist after death' doesn't apply.


Note: The refusal to non-existence of an Arahant is applied ONLY to post-parinibbana state. The Yamaka and the next sutta clearly says that
...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



As an Awakened process, an Arahant, is not Being something or someone. There is no "I, ME, MINE" delusion, here is no internal identification with any aggregate. Thus an Arahant cannot be measured as being something or someone. In that way an Arahant is not measured and cannot be controlled by greed,hatred or delusion.


I think Alex goes too far in equating nibbana with materialist oblivion, for the simple reason that making this equation would require him to have experienced both.


When there is no consciousness, there is no perception of Nothingness or Somethingness. There is no perception of long/short, good/bad, etc. The total peace that I've talked about is not peace as a feeling, but peace as absence of ALL feelings, perceptions, consciousness, awareness. Nibbana cannot be imagined in a sense that there isn't anything to imagine about it for all imaginations are in a sphere of consciousness, and there isn't any when Nibbana occurs.




The existence of both positive and negative teachings on Nibbana is in keeping with the Buddha's method throughout the suttas. He does this repeatedly, usually by starting with the negative presentation and following it with the positive one.


The positive description describes nibbana as experienced by 5 aggregates of an Arahant. But ultimately pariNibbana is not a new experience, it is an end to it.

Even Alex does this at one point when he says nibbana is "total peace! total freedom!" Neither term is applicable to oblivion; the dead don't know peace any more than they know stress.
[/quote]

As I've said, the "peace" is not reference to a feeling (vedana) but an absence of ALL experience. All and any experience is ultimately just irritating...
The true "happiness" is not a presence of pleasant feelings, but total absence of ALL dukkha.


Here is a very rough example of what PariNibbana "feels" like. Have you ever been totally knocked out unconscious? Between the last moment of consciousness prior to being knocked out and first consciousness when you got up, there wasn't any experience. You didn't see black space, didn't feel warmth or coldness, didn't percieve time as lasting a long or short time. Something similar is with parinibbana except for
a) "You" don't ever wake up
b) There is no alive body left, and mere bodily remains crumble to dust.
c) 100% absence of any awareness (if being knocked unconsciousness isn't 100% temporary end of consciousness).



With metta,

Alex
"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..."


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: befriend, Majestic-12 [Bot], mikenz66, netlava, Yong Fa and 61 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine