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

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Sarva
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Sarva »

Dear all
I hope Dugu will permit me to add some questions rather than answers to this useful thread. I hope it will help us both because I have some lingering concern with the way consciousness is presented in Theravada.

Firstly, my understanding of the Pali Cannon is that Consciousness is similar to thoughts/memories, which arise and fall, without our ability to control them:

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' Link:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There is also the concept the consciousness is related to the sense and intellect:

SN 27.3: Viññana Sutta — Consciousness
At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to eye-consciousness is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to ear-consciousness... nose-consciousness... tongue-consciousness... body-consciousness... intellect-consciousness is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."
Link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


This is all useful in respect to anatta. However I feel this is not the same consciousness which is well quoted by Ñāṇa above: e.g.

"5. The Fifth Jhāna Sotāpatti Path-consciousness together with equanimity and one-pointedness."
Source here: http://www.palikanon.com/english/sangaha/chapter_1.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Is this a problem with translation or are we facing different ideas of consciousness depending on their location and use?
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
Nyana
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Nyana »

Sarva wrote:Firstly, my understanding of the Pali Cannon is that Consciousness is similar to thoughts/memories, which arise and fall, without our ability to control them:
Consciousness (viññāṇa) is the bare awareness of a sense object (i.e. visible form, sound, odor, taste, tactile sensation, mental object).
Sarva wrote:However I feel this is not the same consciousness which is well quoted by Ñāṇa above: e.g.

"5. The Fifth Jhāna Sotāpatti Path-consciousness together with equanimity and one-pointedness."

Is this a problem with translation or are we facing different ideas of consciousness depending on their location and use?
Here the term is "citta" but the meaning is the same as above. Each path consciousness and fruition consciousness are mental consciousnesses (manoviññāṇa). These path and fruition consciousnesses are considered supramundane.
Sarva
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Sarva »

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sarva wrote:Firstly, my understanding of the Pali Cannon is that Consciousness is similar to thoughts/memories, which arise and fall, without our ability to control them:
Consciousness (viññāṇa) is the bare awareness of a sense object (i.e. visible form, sound, odor, taste, tactile sensation, mental object).
Sarva wrote:However I feel this is not the same consciousness which is well quoted by Ñāṇa above: e.g.

"5. The Fifth Jhāna Sotāpatti Path-consciousness together with equanimity and one-pointedness."

Is this a problem with translation or are we facing different ideas of consciousness depending on their location and use?
Here the term is "citta" but the meaning is the same as above. Each path consciousness and fruition consciousness are mental consciousnesses (manoviññāṇa). These path and fruition consciousnesses are considered supramundane.
Thanks Ñāṇa
Is there always consciousness in Theravada, be it either translation, or is there ever a time when we can speak of no consciousness of any type?
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
Nyana
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Nyana »

Sarva wrote:Is there always consciousness in Theravada, be it either translation, or is there ever a time when we can speak of no consciousness of any type?
In unconscious states such as a faint or deep sleep there is no active consciousness occurring.
Sarva
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Sarva »

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sarva wrote:Is there always consciousness in Theravada, be it either translation, or is there ever a time when we can speak of no consciousness of any type?
In unconscious states such as a faint or deep sleep there is no active consciousness occurring.
Hi Ñāṇa
Do you know if it is considered that inactive consciousness continues through sleep? For example, in dream sleep there is a certain consciousness of dream, later on awaking we are consicous that we slept deeply and/or that we drempt. I am curious if there is such a consciousness in scripture or spoken of elsewhere that you may know?

Metta
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
Nyana
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Nyana »

Sarva wrote:Do you know if it is considered that inactive consciousness continues through sleep? For example, in dream sleep there is a certain consciousness of dream, later on awaking we are consicous that we slept deeply and/or that we drempt. I am curious if there is such a consciousness in scripture or spoken of elsewhere that you may know?
I can't recall offhand what the Theravāda commentaries have to say on this (and I can't think of where to look in the commentaries for a discussion of it). Of the top of my head I would guess that the underlying continuum (bhavanga-sota & bhavanga-citta) continues during deep, dreamless sleep, and that mental consciousness (manoviññāṇa) occurs when dreaming. However, there may be a more precise description of the mental processes during the dream state.
Sarva
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Sarva »

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sarva wrote:Do you know if it is considered that inactive consciousness continues through sleep? For example, in dream sleep there is a certain consciousness of dream, later on awaking we are consicous that we slept deeply and/or that we drempt. I am curious if there is such a consciousness in scripture or spoken of elsewhere that you may know?
I can't recall offhand what the Theravāda commentaries have to say on this (and I can't think of where to look in the commentaries for a discussion of it). Of the top of my head I would guess that the underlying continuum (bhavanga-sota & bhavanga-citta) continues during deep, dreamless sleep, and that mental consciousness (manoviññāṇa) occurs when dreaming. However, there may be a more precise description of the mental processes during the dream state.
Thanks again Ñāṇa! Having followed up on the links you kindly provided it appears to me that the topic is more profound than thought; there are more than 2 terms which can be translated into the English word "Consciousness" and hence I am not 100% clear on how these were used. I feel I have two options: 1) perhaps someone can point me towards some indepth research so I can study further or 2) let the topic rest :)

Metta.
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
Nyana
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Nyana »

Sarva wrote:1) perhaps someone can point me towards some indepth research so I can study further or
The Mind in Early Buddhism by Bhikkhu Thich Minh Thanh.
Sarva wrote:2) let the topic rest
Not a bad idea either. It's prudent to just study a bit at a time, and try to internalize the meaning in practice.
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by Lazy_eye »

Dugu wrote:
vinasp wrote:Hi Dugu,

1. Do you mean nibbana for one still alive, or some supposed after-death state?
I suppose my question refers more to after-death state.
Perhaps another way of asking the question would be: is parinibbana identical to death as understood by a physicalist? Is it equivalent to annihilation?
daverupa
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Re: Are there any consciousness or awareness in Nibbana?

Post by daverupa »

Lazy_eye wrote:Perhaps another way of asking the question would be: is parinibbana identical to death as understood by a physicalist? Is it equivalent to annihilation?
It's possible to understand life and death in purely physical terms such that the apparent lack of existence prior to one's birth is taken as equivalent to that after death, with life an interlude of happenstance,* but this view strikes me as being just as pernicious as any other view to which one might cling, especially as it crosses an epistemological divide. In this case I would see such a physicalist, not as adhering to annihilationism, but rather as unwittingly conceiving of/in/from "nibbana" per MN 1.




---
*here, "happenstance" is very broad - for example, there is the possibility of taking various neuroscientific facts as proof of the lack of an enduring self, such that one understands no self to be annihilated at death. Additionally, this need not entail moral nihilism as there are various ways ethics can have a foundation here.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Modus.Ponens
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Cessation of perception and feeling and Nibbana

Post by Modus.Ponens »

Hello.

I've been intrigued for a long time as to why the Buddha teached the formless jhanas. They are not included in the right concentration classification. Plus, they lead to rebirth in states of ignorance. But I found a sutta I'd like to discuss. It can be found here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The crucial passage is: "Then there is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters & remains in the cessation of perception & feeling. And, having seen [that] with discernment, his mental fermentations are completely ended. Even this much is described by the Blessed One as the attaining of an opening in a confining place, without a sequel."

This seems to be the purpose of teaching the formless jhanas. They lead, step by step, to the attainment of nirodha samapatti. And then, when this state is seen with discernment, it leads to Nibbana.

So what is the relation between nirodha samapatti and nibbana? Or, in a different manner, what is it about nirodha samapatti that is important to realise nibbana?
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta
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Re: Cessation of perception and feeling and Nibbana

Post by daverupa »

Modus.Ponens wrote:Or, in a different manner, what is it about nirodha samapatti that is important to realise nibbana?
Possibly nothing.

First jhana is enough, for some, and the other rupajhanas are together themselves sufficient; the formless attainments are more likely to be extant brahmanical methods current at that time, which is why Alara and Uddaka could teach those - no one was teaching the rupajhanas before the Buddha introduced them (possibly even having first discovered them under the rose-apple tree as a youth).
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Cessation of perception and feeling and Nibbana

Post by Modus.Ponens »

I think you missed the point. There are various ways to realise nibbana, such as the samadhi focusing on anicca, the samadhi focusing on dukha and the samadhi focusing on anatta. This sutta indicates another way to realise it. What I'm asking is what is the process through which nibbana is realised by seeing with discernment the cessation of perception and feeling. I'm asking about this process in particular.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta
Sarva
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Re: Cessation of perception and feeling and Nibbana

Post by Sarva »

Modus.Ponens wrote:I think you missed the point. There are various ways to realise nibbana, such as the samadhi focusing on anicca, the samadhi focusing on dukha and the samadhi focusing on anatta. This sutta indicates another way to realise it. What I'm asking is what is the process through which nibbana is realised by seeing with discernment the cessation of perception and feeling. I'm asking about this process in particular.
Hi Modus
To help answer the question more accurately, why do you think the cessation of perception and feeling is not a samadhi focusing on anatta or dukkha?

metta
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
Cafael Dust
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Re: Cessation of perception and feeling and Nibbana

Post by Cafael Dust »

The other day a thought came to me about just this question. I think it may be something similar to near death experiences - perhaps nirodha samapatti and what happens then shows the mind that there is nothing to fear, thus nothing i.e. self, to protect.

But then, work needs to be done on actualising this in daily life, hence the attainment is not the end of the path.
Not twice, not three times, not once,
the wheel is turning.
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