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

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:11 pm

Myotai wrote:
I cannot see any inspiration in ceasing to exist...sounds horribly nihilistic!
My understanding is probably faulty, so please take my comments below with a grain of salt. The issue you bring up has been an obstacle for me too, at times.

But anyway, here's how I see it:

(Theravada) Buddhists are inspired by the goal of transcending the samsaric cycle and attaining the supreme state of tranquility and freedom known as nibbana, which the Buddha achieved.

Once you've reached that state, non-existence (parinibbbana) happens in due course. You don't crave continued existence, but you're not desiring non-existence either. It's just what happens naturally when the time is right. Or, to be more doctrinally precise, when the kammic fuel sustaining your existence is used up.

The Buddhist path is a gradual one, with insight unfolding as we progress. In the beginning one may be motivated primarily by the wish to do something about dukkha. As we begin to understand the pervasiveness of dukkha, the desire to be utterly free of it deepens. With greater insight, we are drawn to the "other shore" which is nibbana.

And when we get there, we are very happy.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:28 pm

Myotai wrote:I cannot see any inspiration in ceasing to exist...sounds horribly nihilistic!
That is to be expected for anyone still addicted to sensual pleasures and the wrong view of a self. See the Paccaya Sutta quoted below.

How about if we just rephrase it as the cessation of all suffering? Does that sound like something more worth striving to achieve.
Paccaya Sutta wrote:“When a disciple of the noble ones has seen well with right discernment this dependent co-arising and these dependently co-arisen phenomena as they have come to be, it is not possible that he would run after the past, thinking, ‘Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past?’ or that he would run after the future, thinking, ‘Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?’ or that he would be inwardly perplexed about the immediate present, thinking, ‘Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?’ Such a thing is not possible. Why is that? Because the disciple of the noble ones has seen well with right discernment this dependent co-arising and these dependently co-arisen phenomena as they have come to be.”
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:46 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Myotai wrote:I cannot see any inspiration in ceasing to exist...sounds horribly nihilistic!
That is to be expected for anyone still addicted to sensual pleasures and the wrong view of a self.

How about if we just rephrase it as the cessation of all suffering? Does that sound like something more worth striving to achieve.
No doesn't help - the implication is that I would know that suffering has ended. You're stating that this wouldn't be the case aren't you?

Why would 'death' necessarily bring about a cessation of conscious thought? Doesn't dependent origination dictate that 'thought' (which would include imputing a self - albeit conventionally) naturally gives rise to another responding thought? Unless we are saying that thought is an emergent property of the brain?

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:00 pm

Myotai wrote:No doesn't help - the implication is that I would know that suffering has ended. You're stating that this wouldn't be the case aren't you?
No, I am not stating that. The Arahant will know the cessation of suffering before death. Even a Stream-winner can understand that nibbāna is the cessation of suffering. For most of us, we can only understand it by inference. We can understand that less craving means less suffering, so we can infer that no craving at all would mean no suffering at all.
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:50 am

If after "attaining the supreme state of tranquility and freedom known as Nibbana" a Buddha has no 'state'...how is there an awareness of the 'peacve and tranquility'?

I really can't see anything to inspire one to sit here.

Correct me if I have misunderstood, but.....

When an un-enlightened person dies they're reborn immediately with no concept of having died - no awareness of self or other (in the conventional sense)?

When A Buddha dies 'he/she' possesses no state and there for consciousness ceases as do an awareness of self and other leaving nothing behind?

If the latter is the case, again, how is peace known??

M...

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Oct 01, 2015 12:33 pm

Myotai wrote:If after "attaining the supreme state of tranquility and freedom known as Nibbana" a Buddha has no 'state'...how is there an awareness of the 'peacve and tranquility'?

I really can't see anything to inspire one to sit here.
But nibbana takes place while the Buddha or arahant is still alive. It's a state characterized by four special attributes: happiness, moral perfection, realization, and freedom.

Wouldn't the possibility of attaining such a state inspire at least some people to practice?

It's true that the Buddha or arahant doesn't persist in that state eternally. Eventually, in due course, he passes away (reaches parinibbana). So the short answer is: yes, practice will lead to the highest happiness, a state much to be desired, but this state does not persist eternally. When the time comes, life and consciousness are let go of as well.

Do you consider this unsatisfactory somehow? Why?
If the latter is the case, again, how is peace known??
As I understand it, peace is known at the time of enlightenment and then continues until paranibbana. This is the natural culmination of the process of letting go. The Buddha or arahant is aware that this final release is coming, and experiences the happiness associated with this awareness.

This is according to Theravada. Mahayana Buddhism has a different view.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by kirk5a » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:07 pm

Myotai wrote:When A Buddha dies 'he/she' possesses no state and there for consciousness ceases as do an awareness of self and other leaving nothing behind?
The mind is unable to grasp a satisfactory answer to that. "nothing" is not accurate, nor any other description revolving around nothing, something, both or neither. Some Buddhists appear to think "nothing" is the right way to talk about it, but it isn't. They're actually spreading annihilationist views.
[Sariputta:] "The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification.[1] The statement, '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:20 pm

kirk5a wrote: The mind is unable to grasp a satisfactory answer to that. "nothing" is not accurate, nor any other description revolving around nothing, something, both or neither. Some Buddhists appear to think "nothing" is the right way to talk about it, but it isn't. They're actually spreading annihilationist views.
It seems to be difficult if not impossible to discuss parinibbana without framing it in either eternalistic or annihilationist terms. If we say "yes, there's something that goes on after the death of the Buddha or arahant," then naturally the question arises as to what that something is. But to describe it we have to use language that is associated with samsaric existence, so we end up either contradicting ourselves or just being vague.

But my sense is that Buddhism is more pragrmatic. We can be confident about the following:

Dukkha is pervasive.
The Dhamma offers a path to freedom from dukkha.
The state of freedom from dukkha (nibbana) can be known and experienced.

Isn't that enough as a goal or inspiration for practice? Why worry about what happens after the bodily death of a Buddha or arahant? A Buddha wouldn't worry about it, because he does not crave either existence nor non-existence, nor does he feel aversion towards either.

Perhaps it's worth getting to nibbana just so one doesn't feel worried about it any more! :)

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by lyndon taylor » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:21 pm

When the Buddha was asked what happens to the Arahant after death, he basically refused to answer the question, what surprises me is so many unenlightened people think they have the answer, that you literally cease to exist, again not what the Buddha said, he said after death you can not say he exists and you can not say he doesn't exist, in other words its something beyond description, and most likely NOT complete annihilation.
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:29 pm

So, there is a state that can be attained that is perfect in every respect other than that it is temporary and ended by death of the body?

Still doesn't inspire me I am afraid. It might some though, I can see that.

Sounds a bit self centered too (dare I say). Striving to get this really cool state of mind, like a fantastic drug...then you die!

Hmmmm....not the noble goal thought it was ;)

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Oct 01, 2015 4:11 pm

Myotai wrote:So, there is a state that can be attained that is perfect in every respect other than that it is temporary and ended by death of the body?

Still doesn't inspire me I am afraid. It might some though, I can see that.

Sounds a bit self centered too (dare I say). Striving to get this really cool state of mind, like a fantastic drug...then you die!

Hmmmm....not the noble goal thought it was ;)
What do you see as a nobler goal?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the issue you bring up has been a sticking point for me in the past. But then I started to ask: why exactly am I uncomfortable with the possibility of cessation? Why is it more palatable to think that one ends up as a immortal Buddha living in a Buddha land for all eternity, or something along those lines?

And I think the answer has to do with desire for existence and aversion to non-existence. And this desire/aversion combo is what fuels dukkha. So the immediate problem is to work on this desire and aversion -- not get tangled up in mental knots over the post-mortem state of a Buddha...which we have no way of knowing anything about, since we're neither Buddhas nor dead. The task before us is to address the factors that generate dukkha, and cultivate the factors that generate sukha.

But anyway, to get back to my question...if cessation is an unsatisfactory end-point to the path, what would you see as a more satisfactory one?

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by daverupa » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:45 pm

Myotai, you seem to think that if nibbana isn't an object of knowledge post-death, then there's no point to attaining it - but you fail to recognize that lack of nibbana means continuation of some sort, and that necessarily entails dukkha.

The permanent ending of dukkha is the goal here, not a permanent experience of sukha. This is neither eternalism, nor annihilationism - it's just dukkha-nirodha.
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:05 pm

Myotai wrote:Striving to get this really cool state of mind, like a fantastic drug...then you die!
Yes, and the Buddha's apparent refusal to clarify this question is puzzling. To me it all looks rather vague and not very elegant.
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by SarathW » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:36 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Myotai wrote:Striving to get this really cool state of mind, like a fantastic drug...then you die!
Yes, and the Buddha's apparent refusal to clarify this question is puzzling. To me it all looks rather vague and not very elegant.
This is the fear of unknown.
You have this fear when you apply for a new job, starting a new relationship, migrating to a new country, moving to a new house etc.
Do not have great plans like attaining Nibbana.
Do little things like observing five precepts, practicing loving kindness and generosity.
If these things do not give you happiness, then you got a problem.
Otherwise the rest will fallen to its own place.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by pegembara » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:40 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Myotai wrote:I cannot see any inspiration in ceasing to exist...sounds horribly nihilistic!
That is to be expected for anyone still addicted to sensual pleasures and the wrong view of a self. See the Paccaya Sutta quoted below.

How about if we just rephrase it as the cessation of all suffering? Does that sound like something more worth striving to achieve.
Paccaya Sutta wrote:“When a disciple of the noble ones has seen well with right discernment this dependent co-arising and these dependently co-arisen phenomena as they have come to be, it is not possible that he would run after the past, thinking, ‘Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past?’ or that he would run after the future, thinking, ‘Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?’ or that he would be inwardly perplexed about the immediate present, thinking, ‘Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?’ Such a thing is not possible. Why is that? Because the disciple of the noble ones has seen well with right discernment this dependent co-arising and these dependently co-arisen phenomena as they have come to be.”
Sounds like a beautiful bait.

Here is dukkha and this is how to put an end to it.

:anjali:
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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