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

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Alex123
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:29 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:Hello Alex,
According to the Suttas it is not appropriate to say that an Arhat doesn't exist.

Please carefully read those suttas, they refuste to answer Arhat exist/doesn't/both/neither AFTER DEATH. The question isn't asked about alive Arahant.

And yet you continue to identify the awakened one with the aggregates.

I am only doing it to distinguish one set of 5 aggregates (The Buddha) from another (some other "person").



Here you are saying that the Awakened one does not exist.


Right. See Yamaka/Anuruddha sutta. Because an arahant doesn't truly exist, the question about what happens to an Arahant (as an existing being) is wrongly put. It assumes that there is an Arahant that can either exist after death, not exist, both, neither.

This is why tetralema doesn't apply. It assumes

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


He refused to answer the wrongly put question that assumed an existing being. What I am talking about is just a process that we conviniently call "An Arahant, Buddha, etc".

The suttas are clear that Final Nibbana is the end. It is not some retirement home for a job well done. Nothing is not something. Cessation is not a begining. We existed for almost infinitely long time already, and it all sucked in the end. Cessation is final rest, final "peace" from this load of dukkha.


"The body disintegrated, perception ceased, pain & rapture were entirely consumed, fabrications were stilled: consciousness (Viññāṇaṃ) has come to its end.” – Ud 8.9http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.09.than.html

Such is very inspirational description of Nibbāna.

Trying to salvage anything for Nibbāna is just trying to salvage more suffering. It betrays the fact that one is attached to that which one tries to salvage.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:35 pm

Alex123 wrote:Note: The refusal to non-existence of an Arahant is applied ONLY to post-parinibbana state.


And yet in the face of that refusal you think yourself wise enough to exclaim what the Buddha would not.


Metta

Gabe
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:46 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Note: The refusal to non-existence of an Arahant is applied ONLY to post-parinibbana state.


And yet in the face of that refusal you think yourself wise enough to exclaim what the Buddha would not.


Metta

Gabe


What didn't Buddha exclaim?

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). Ven BB Transl.


No hint or possibility to salvage anything to exist timelessly or eternally when Parinibbana occurs.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:51 pm

Alex123 wrote:He refused to answer the wrongly put question that assumed an existing being. What I am talking about is just a process that we conviniently call "An Arahant, Buddha, etc".


You Also assume an existing being unless you are enlightened. We do not talk of a process out of "convenience" because we are not fully awakened and likely not even partially. You are deducing out of ignorance. I have said nothing about the status of a Buddha which is not explicitly stated in the scriptures.

Metta

Gabe
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:12 pm

Alex123 wrote:
gabrielbranbury wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Note: The refusal to non-existence of an Arahant is applied ONLY to post-parinibbana state.


And yet in the face of that refusal you think yourself wise enough to exclaim what the Buddha would not.


Metta

Gabe


What didn't Buddha exclaim?



It would be awesome if there was one life and suicide could end it all quickly and easily
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:43 pm

37. "So teaching, so proclaiming, O monks, I have been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans: 'A nihilist[38] is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'[39]

"As I am not as I do not teach, so have I been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans thus: 'A nihilist is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'

"What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.022.nypo.html


The Buddha does not teach the non being of an existing being. The Buddha teaches a very deep and subtle profound truth.


Metta


Gabe
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:49 pm

Hi Retro, Alex, Lazyeye,
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)?

Alex123 wrote: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.

Lazy_eye wrote: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).

This is an interesting discussion. I recall Bhikkhu Bodhi saying in his lectures on On the Buddha's Words when he got to Nibbana, that he was going to alienate half the audience no matter what he said.

Retro, I know that what you are arguing is a possible interpretation, but I wonder if you'd be able to give a reference to a coherent discussion of the pros and cons of considering such quotes as referring to:
1. Nibbana as something permanent;
2. Nibbna as an experience of nibbana, after which the arahant returns to "normal life".
I tried to discuss this in a thread a little while ago:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5339

I know those who like Bhikkhu Nanananda's interpretations often take the view that Retro expresses, but I've yet to find a really clear expression from the Venerable himself. As I pointed out here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 339#p83074 he says in hie notes to SN1.2:
SN1.2 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #passage-2
Nanananda wrote:When delight and existence [8] are exhausted
When perception and conciousness[9] are both destroyed
When feelings cease and are thus appeased [10] - thus, O friend,
Do I know, for them that live
Deliverance, freedom, detatchment.

[Note 8] Delight (nandi) is said to be the root of existence (bhava), and hence the fading away of the former results in the cessation of the latter. It amounts to a realization, here and now, of the fact that one has crossed over all forms of existence (bhavass paragu - Dhp v. 348). This experience that hte consciousness is not established anywhere - neither here (neva idha), nor beyond (na huam), no in between (na ubhayamantara - Ud. 81) - provides for the arahant certitude often expressed in the words: 'Extinct is birth, lived is the holy life, done is the task, and there is nothing beyond this for (a designation of) the conditions of this existence.'

[Note 9] This refers to the experience of the cessation of consciousness (vinnananirodha DI.213) with the removal of its support name and form. The experience is described in the Suttas as a very unusual kind of 'jhana' or 'samadhi', since it does not partake of any perceptual data. (A.IV.427, V.7,8,318,319,324f,353ff).

[Note 10] The cessation of appeasement of feelings is yet another aspect of this experience. Thereby the arahant realizes the extinction of all suffering, mental as well as physical, which in effects is the bliss of nibbana as the deliverance from all samsaric suffering. What is most significant about this paradoxical jhana is that, despite the extinction of all that normally constitutes our waking experience, the arahant is still said to be mindful and aware. It is sometimes referred to as 'the sphere' (ayatana) in which the six sense spheres have totally ceased (See MIII.218, S.IV.98)

I think, like Bhikkhu Bodhi, we have to acknowledge that there are many ways to interpret these Suttas. My interest is to hear the different interpretations without feeling like I have to argue for or against any one in particular.

:anjali:
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:10 pm

I think, like Bhikkhu Bodhi, we have to acknowledge that there are many ways to interpret these Suttas. My interest is to hear the different interpretations without feeling like I have to argue for or against any one in particular.


:goodpost: Mike!

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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:48 pm

Alex123 wrote: 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 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?


Alex, I have some objections for you to field...

1) You are dealing only with what exists within the set Samsara = X(a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l). Even if all the components in the set, together with the set itself, are rendered null, this tells us nothing (literally!) about any possible Y or Z that might be operative beyond the set. Since we ourselves, and our language and terminology, exist within the set, we can say nothing about it. We thus cannot say whether nibbana=oblivion, as you state here. The only way to resolve the matter would be through direct realization.

None of us have any direct realization of Parinibbana OR materialist oblivion so we can only make guesses based on the somewhat conflicting references in the suttas, commentaries and advice from our teachers.

2) The Buddha and many teachers after him, including every one of the sources linked to by Cooran earlier in this thread, refer to nibbana not only as a subtractive process (as you do) but also in terms which involve qualia. By definition, qualia imply some type of awareness. We do not say that a concrete divider or a dead tree stump is "at ease", "happy", "liberated" or "in a state of peaceful coolness", unless we are trying to be cute.

3) The concepts (or non-concepts, if you like) "nibbana" and "oblivion" belong to conflicting philosophical systems and their meaning has to be understood within the context of their respective paradigms. For a Buddhist to start talking about suicide as the path to nothingness is like Richard Dawkins talking about nibbana. Different animals. As a follower of the Buddha you don't accept the the materialist paradigm, so to refer to the dhammic consequences of "there only being one life" is a logical absurdity from either perspective. It's mixing the premises of one system with the conclusions of another, creating a philosophical monster.

4) Although the Buddha rejected both annihilationism and eternalism, he preferred eternalism as the lesser of evils because of its potential to inspire the holy life (see here). Since the Middle Way is hard to understand and we invariably lean towards one of the two poles, it is better to lean towards eternalism. Does your equation of nibbana with suicidal oblivion promote the undertaking of the holy life?

Alex123 wrote:Any kind of justification of existence after Parinibbana is simply clinging to existence.


I agree that Buddhists who incline towards Nibbana as an "experience" may have at least some residual attachment to becoming. Guilty as charged, may I add! Until we perfect our practice, we won't have achieved full equanimity and we will necessarily incline towards desire or aversion. By the same token, the view of Nibbana as oblivion tends to aversion, as some of your statements suggest, e.g:

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...


it all sucked in the end


All and any experience is ultimately just irritating...


Ok, enough for now. Thanks for your provocative and rigorously argued posts, Alex. I'm learning a lot from this discussion. :)

Metta,

LE
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:10 pm

Alex123 wrote:Here is a very rough example of what PariNibbana "feels" like. Have you ever been...


Alex, how do you know what parinibbana feels like? For that matter, nibbana?
Please clarify.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Individual » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:53 pm

Lazy_eye wrote: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).

Why can't one teacher do both, without looking like a mumbling idiot?
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:04 pm

Greetings Alex,

Alex123 wrote:The D.O. is not just momentary ....Even in sutta-pitaka it is defined within 2-3 lives.

A couple of points in relation to this.

1. I was only talking about the link between avijja and sankhara, so even if one is inclined to partition dependent origination over multiple lives ala Buddhaghosa, these two segments (and the link between them) remain in the same temporal region.

2. If you really do believe it to require "2-3 lives", are you then claiming that even after the complete cessation of ignorance, the results still take 2-3 lifetimes to peter out? This would certainly be at odds with what the Buddha said about arahants.

Alex123 wrote: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.

If you could find something from the Sutta Pitaka to substantiate your position, that would be appreciated. This seems much like an interpretation of a particular tenet system rather than anything the Buddha is recorded to have said. Again, nothing wrong with that per se... but my inclination is to go straight to the source where possible. Others may find your analysis to have merit, so please don't feel like I'm on the attack.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:23 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:
Alex123 wrote:He refused to answer the wrongly put question that assumed an existing being. What I am talking about is just a process that we conviniently call "An Arahant, Buddha, etc".


You Also assume an existing being unless you are enlightened. We do not talk of a process out of "convenience" because we are not fully awakened and likely not even partially.
Metta

Gabe


As I know, there is no permanent being within a worldling or an Arahant. There is just more dukkha and avijja within 5 aggregates of a worldling than an Arahant. The reason why I was talking about an Arahat/Tathagata was because that "person" was the subject of discussion of "What happens to a fully awakened at Death"?


You are deducing out of ignorance. I have said nothing about the status of a Buddha which is not explicitly stated in the scriptures.


From suttas, consideration and experience. Yamaka and other suttas explicitly state that an Arahant cannot be found in truth and reality even now, so how can one hold any of 4-5 positions regarding the post-mortem state of an Arahant that was assumed to exist in the first place? I like to stick with the suttas and not my opinions.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:24 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Retro, I know that what you are arguing is a possible interpretation, but I wonder if you'd be able to give a reference to a coherent discussion of the pros and cons of considering such quotes as referring to:
1. Nibbana as something permanent;
2. Nibbna as an experience of nibbana, after which the arahant returns to "normal life".

I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but I'll have a look around when I get a chance.

One thing to consider though is that, if one accepts the findings of scholars who indicate that the Abhidhamma Pitaka was not authored by the Buddha (even though it may well have been synthesized by scholar monks from his teachings), it might be worthwhile resisting the temptation to retrofit a sequential "mindstate" type analysis over the top of suttas that deal with the subject of nibbana.

As I understand it from what I have read (canonical or not), nibbana is the quenching/cooling of craving that comes about through the eradication of ignorance. On those grounds, there is no basis upon which someone could "un-nibbana", because this would imply a return to ignorance. In my opinion, nibbana shouldn't be thought of as a graded state of bliss, like for example jhanas are, and one who experiences nibbana (e.g. the Buddha) could experience all ranges of jhanas whilst also experiencing nibbana (consider the Mahaparinibbana Sutta and his final meditation session). For that matter, nibbana and unpleasant physical sensation aren't mutually exclusive experiences either. There are suttas that show the Buddha experiencing unpleasant physical sensation.

Again, this may or may not line up against the concepts of "fruit" and "path" moments of the post-Buddha schemas but it seems to be reliably consistent with the teachings of the Sutta Pitaka. In fact, the two questions you ask would not arise for someone who bases their analysis solely on the sutta treatment of nibbana, and perhaps this is why you have not found a direct answer to them in Bhikkhu Nanananda's teachings.

If you find anything of interest during your investigations, please do share.

Metta,
Retro. :)

P.S. If someone could "un-nibbana" and then die with an "un-nibbanised" mindstate, wouldn't there be the possibility of "rebirth", given that the last minute allegedly conditions the nature of the rebirth? This notion of un-nibbana-isation opens a veritable can of worms.
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:31 pm

Hello Gabriel, All,

gabrielbranbury wrote:
The Buddha does not teach the non being of an existing being. The Buddha teaches a very deep and subtle profound truth.


Metta
Gabe


And neither do I believe in a trully existing being that can exist/not-exist/both/neither after parinibbana.
I do not hold that there is a trully existing being that can be reborn from moment to moment, nothing to say about from life to life. However for the sake of coherency I use common words, this being a Buddhist board I hope that people understand that when I talk about an Arahant, I do NOT mean an Arahant as a trully existing Being, but as a certain procession of vipāka & kiriya cittas along with certain cetasikas and rūpas. Same with worldling except in that case there are also corresponding cittas of all 4 jāti and certain cetasikas and rūpas corresponding to that induvidial.

So please view all my recent messages (certainly this and the rebirth thread) with the above in mind.

With metta,

Alex
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:36 pm

Ben wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Here is a very rough example of what PariNibbana "feels" like. Have you ever been...


Alex, how do you know what parinibbana feels like? For that matter, nibbana?
Please clarify.


First of all, please note that I put "feels" in quotes. Because as suttas tell us, there is no feeling, no vedanā cetasika there, and I also base it on my experiences and contemplations.

Without 5 aggregates or 3 kinds of paramattha dhammas, pariNibbana is not a felt experience. There are moments within daily life that are very rough approximations of some aspects of parinibbana, such as temporary absence of (all or almost all) consciousness (deep dreamless sleep, under anasthesia, being knocked out completely, and for few people states like nirodha-samapatti, etc).
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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:51 pm

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Retro, I know that what you are arguing is a possible interpretation, but I wonder if you'd be able to give a reference to a coherent discussion of the pros and cons of considering such quotes as referring to:
1. Nibbana as something permanent;
2. Nibbna as an experience of nibbana, after which the arahant returns to "normal life".

...
In fact, the two questions you ask would not arise for someone who bases their analysis solely on the sutta treatment of nibbana, and perhaps this is why you have not found a direct answer to them in Bhikkhu Nanananda's teachings.

I'm not sure if Ven Nanananda would agree with this statement. I gave you an example where Ven Nanananda seems to be discussing things in just this way:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 339#p83074
Nanananda wrote:This refers to the experience of the cessation of consciousness (vinnananirodha DI.213) with the removal of its support name and form. The experience is described in the Suttas as a very unusual kind of 'jhana' or 'samadhi', since it does not partake of any perceptual data. (A.IV.427, V.7,8,318,319,324f,353ff).

Clearly this cannot be a permanent condition for an arahant: "does not partake of any perceptual data".

Mike

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Nihilism / annihilationism misrepresents the Buddha

Postby manas » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:55 pm

I can't seem to post ANY replies (to others' posts) at present. The system won't allow me to. So I am simply starting up a new topic.

Nihilism has crept into Theravada Buddhism, despite our own scriptures clearly stating that Buddha was NOT either a nihilist or an annihilationist. I refer specifically to what is written below:



PariNibbāna is not some retirement home where consciousness go to exist for eternity. Unfortunately some teachers are afraid of giving a clear cut explanation of Final Nibbāna, and try to obfuscate the issue by making it sound as not complete and utter cessation without any remainder. Thus ending becomes reinterpreted as a new beginning, and nothing is reinterpreted as something. Existence of any kind is simply not worth it, every saṅkhāra is tainted with dukkha. Those who think that Final Nibbāna is some form of existence, haven't seen the fact that all and any experience is just more or less, hidden or revealed dukkha.
Alex123




Yes, Nibbana must be something OTHER than what we call existence here. And clearly there is no self to speak of there. But neither is it annihilation or 'nothingness', as the Buddha himself warns us:

35. "And how is the monk a Noble One who has taken down the flag, put down the burden, become unfettered? He has abandoned the conceit of self, has cut it off at the root, removed it from is soil like a palmyra tree, brought it to utter extinction, incapable of arising again. Thus is the monk a Noble One who has taken down the flag, put down the burden, become unfettered.

36. "When a monk's mind is thus freed, O monks, neither the gods with Indra, nor the gods with Brahma, nor the gods with the Lord of Creatures (Pajaapati), when searching will find[36] on what the consciousness of one thus gone (tathaagata) is based. Why is that? One who has thus gone is no longer traceable here and now, so I say.[37]

Misrepresentation

37. "So teaching, so proclaiming, O monks, I have been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans: 'A nihilist[38] is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'[39]

"As I am not as I do not teach, so have I been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans thus: 'A nihilist is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'

"What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering.




Clearly, then, even asking the question "will we exist?" or "will we not exist?" (after parinibbana) etc is not the right question, and leads to the kind of speculations that the Buddha warns us about in the Snake-simile Sutta quoted above. We should not misrepresent the Buddha by even implying that Nibbana is 'nothingness'. If it were merely that I don't think it would be worth striving so hard for!
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

(SN 22.97)

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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:57 pm

Greetings Mike,

It appears we might be talking at cross-purposes. I was talking of nibbana, not vinnananirodha.

To differentiate the two, I understand nibbana as what the Buddha experienced from the time of his enlightenment to the time of his death (and I shant speculate beyond that). Vinnananirodha was a temporary state, induced through meditation, which acted as a painkiller.

Physical sensations are not dependent upon avijja... hence, the Buddha could still experience them.

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)

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Re: Nibbana vs. annihilation?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:57 pm

Hello Lazy_eye, all,

Lazy_eye wrote:
Alex, I have some objections for you to field...

1) You are dealing only with what exists within the set Samsara = X(a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l). Even if all the components in the set, together with the set itself, are rendered null, this tells us nothing (literally!) about any possible Y or Z that might be operative beyond the set. Since we ourselves, and our language and terminology, exist within the set, we can say nothing about it. We thus cannot say whether nibbana=oblivion, as you state here. The only way to resolve the matter would be through direct realization.


Yes you are right in a certain way. I have also read and studied the possibility (that I later rejected) that when the Buddha has said ABCDEF is not Self, it logically doesn't exclude the possibility that X could be a Self. However when something totally covers all the range of experience, then it is possible to make such justifications. For example the 5 aggregates is the all range of experience by aggregate sphere, and so on with others. Without them, no experience is possible. No experience should NOT be made into an experience called "no experience".



None of us have any direct realization of Parinibbana OR materialist oblivion so we can only make guesses based on the somewhat conflicting references in the suttas, commentaries and advice from our teachers.


But short lasting experiences that approximate those states, at least from the mental side can happen, and it is possible to extrapolate the personal experiences + what suttas tell + wise reflection. I had very interesting experiences of blanking/passing out. When consciousness ceases, there is no experience of "blackness" or "time/timelessness". So it is wrong to assume that materialistic or Parinibbana is falling into some new experience, such as black void. None of this can occur without consciousness.


2) The Buddha and many teachers after him, including every one of the sources linked to by Cooran earlier in this thread, refer to nibbana not only as a subtractive process (as you do) but also in terms which involve qualia. By definition, qualia imply some type of awareness. We do not say that a concrete divider or a dead tree stump is "at ease", "happy", "liberated" or "in a state of peaceful coolness", unless we are trying to be cute.


These passages dealing with ALIVE ARAHANT (or to say precisely with aggregates still remaining)? Because passages dealing with what happens when "the body breaks up" is clear. Mere bodily remains, and even they turn to dust. No new experience.



3) The concepts (or non-concepts, if you like) "nibbana" and "oblivion" belong to conflicting philosophical systems and their meaning has to be understood within the context of their respective paradigms. For a Buddhist to start talking about suicide as the path to nothingness is like Richard Dawkins talking about nibbana. Different animals. As a follower of the Buddha you don't accept the the materialist paradigm, so to refer to the dhammic consequences of "there only being one life" is a logical absurdity from either perspective. It's mixing the premises of one system with the conclusions of another, creating a philosophical monster.

Right. I don't accept one life only belief. If I did, then suicide would be the most rational thing to eventually do. But as for the death of An Arahant (not a worldling or sekhas, who are still subject to rebirth) it is not experientially different from atheistic anihhilation in experience. The only difference is how it is interpreted. The atheists hold different and wrong beliefs (they may believe in a Self and that life is good, thus death is bad).



4) Although the Buddha rejected both annihilationism and eternalism, he preferred eternalism as the lesser of evils because of its potential to inspire the holy life (see here). Since the Middle Way is hard to understand and we invariably lean towards one of the two poles, it is better to lean towards eternalism. Does your equation of nibbana with suicidal oblivion promote the undertaking of the holy life?


Actually the highest of outside views was the belief in anihhilation because it was closer to non-lust as opposed to eternalism which was viewed as being close to lust. I think that what you've talked about moral & ontological nihilism which the Buddha, and I, consider to be very wrong.

[8] "The supreme view-point external [to the Dhamma] is this: 'I should not be; it should not occur to me; I will not be; it will not occur to me.' Of one with this view it may be expected that '[the perception of] unloathsomeness of becoming will not occur to him, and [the perception of] loathsomeness of the cessation of becoming will not occur to him.' And there are beings who have this view. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


The difference between that supreme view-point external to the Dhamma is the anatta, kamma and possibly few other teachings. But please not as to what kind of superior external view is endorsed and why it was endorsed by the Buddha. It leans closer to complete cessation and relinquishment, then the belief in eternal existence.
"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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