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 » 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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Myotai
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:50 am

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.
Couldn't agree more...feels like there may have been some other reason for not pursuing it, philosophical, social maybe or just a way of saying concentrate on attaining Nibbana rather than wallowing in the knowledge that it will all be 'ok' after death - if of course that is the case.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:55 am

Lazy_eye wrote:
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 ;)
And I think the answer has to do with desire for existence and aversion to non-existence.

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?
Why is a wish to exist demonized so much...I just don't get that at all...??? Because its a source of suffering? Not to everyone, I know some Christians who are blissfully happy and take the pain they experience through life as an inherent part of being human and not an aberration.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by SarathW » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:59 am

If there is a solution to never ending pain and suffering will those Christians will they look in to it as a solution.
Or just they wish to live in this roller coaster of birth and death.
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by pegembara » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:28 am

Myotai wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:
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 ;)
And I think the answer has to do with desire for existence and aversion to non-existence.

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?
Why is a wish to exist demonized so much...I just don't get that at all...??? Because its a source of suffering? Not to everyone, I know some Christians who are blissfully happy and take the pain they experience through life as an inherent part of being human and not an aberration.
The wish for continued existence[bhavatanha] or the end of existence[vibhavatanha] are both sources of suffering resulting from not being able to accept the law of nature(Dhamma). Perhaps those Christians friends are more accepting of things as they are and so can still experience joy while still having physical pain. The surrender to God is not that different from surrender to Dhamma.
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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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:50 am

SarathW wrote:If there is a solution to never ending pain and suffering will those Christians will they look in to it as a solution.
Or just they wish to live in this roller coaster of birth and death.
Dunno! :broke:

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by kirk5a » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:03 pm

The Buddha did answer this question actually. He said exists after death, does not exist, both or neither - "do not apply" - and used the metaphor of the ocean to explain why.
the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the ocean
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:12 pm

Myotai wrote:Why is a wish to exist demonized so much...I just don't get that at all...??? Because its a source of suffering? Not to everyone, I know some Christians who are blissfully happy and take the pain they experience through life as an inherent part of being human and not an aberration.
As long as one has not attained Stream-winning, when the end of suffering is guaranteed within a limited number of existences, suffering is unlimited and eternal. Due to wholesome deeds one may be reborn in heavenly realms for aeons, but eventually that merit expires and rebirth in the lower realms will follow. Even the gods are not always happy because they have mental defilements such as envy and avarice.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:26 pm

kirk5a wrote:The Buddha did answer this question actually. He said exists after death, does not exist, both or neither - "do not apply" - and used the metaphor of the ocean to explain why.
the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the ocean
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Perhaps, but I have no idea what this means, so to me it's a non-answer and not at all satisfying.
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:34 pm

Myotai wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Yes, and the Buddha's apparent refusal to clarify this question is puzzling. To me it all looks rather vague and not very elegant.
Couldn't agree more...feels like there may have been some other reason for not pursuing it, philosophical, social maybe or just a way of saying concentrate on attaining Nibbana rather than wallowing in the knowledge that it will all be 'ok' after death - if of course that is the case.
Most religions are clear on questions like this, I still don't understand why Buddhism isn't. Traditionally in Buddhism it appears that the ultimate goal is pari-Nibbana, liberation from the cycle of birth and death - but does liberation mean annihilation? It sounds like a straightforward question, but you never get a straightforward answer. :shrug:
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:39 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
kirk5a wrote:The Buddha did answer this question actually. He said exists after death, does not exist, both or neither - "do not apply" - and used the metaphor of the ocean to explain why.
the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the ocean
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Perhaps, but I have no idea what this means, so to me it's a non-answer and not at all satisfying.
Agreed. Its not an answer at all...a response maybe but its not answering the question.





Edited: Typos.... :/

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:52 pm

Myotai wrote: Why is a wish to exist demonized so much...I just don't get that at all...???
Well, firstly I would say we are not talking merely about the wish to exist, but the wish to exist eternally.

If it were simply the former, there would be no objection to cessation as the end of the Buddhist path. The Buddha existed, he had an admirable life and attained the supreme happiness, and then when the time came he passed away into parinibbana. What's wrong with that?

What's wrong with it is that we don't want existence to end -- we want a permanent existence. But this is a form of greed. And the Buddhist explanation of suffering is that greed is one of the causes. So since a Buddhist is attempting to become free of suffering, he or she starts by tackling the root causes, which include greed.

In a sense, a Buddhist is not even concerned about whether or not the Buddha or arahant continues or ceases after death -- rather, he or she is concerned primarily with the underlying desire behind that question, which is the desire for continued existence. This desire, as a manifestation of greed, causes dukkha. And the point of dharma is to investigate the causes of dukkha so we can be free of it. Regardless of what actually happens in the post-mortem state.
Because its a source of suffering? Not to everyone, I know some Christians who are blissfully happy and take the pain they experience through life as an inherent part of being human and not an aberration.
That's because they have solved the problem in a different way. Existence causes suffering because of anatta (impermanence). The Christian answer is that a permanent existence is possible, taking the form of heaven or union with God. Believing that, they can suffer less and be blissfully happy.

From a Dhamma perspective, though, that view is a pleasant delusion which perpetuates suffering in the long run.

I wrote this a couple years ago when I was struggling with some of the questions you've raised here. Possibly of interest/relevance.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by kirk5a » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:05 pm

The problem with what is normally considered an "answer" - "objectifies non-objectification" as Ven. Sariputta said. In other words, what we're talking about isn't graspable by thought. It gets to the heart of non-grasping itself. Total non-grasping cannot be put into terms which inherently involve the mind grasping an idea. So yes, the grasping mind which demands a firm conceptual answer remains "unsatisfied." Satisfaction is found by developing non-grasping to the end, not by philosophizing.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Myotai
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:30 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Myotai wrote: Why is a wish to exist demonized so much...I just don't get that at all...???
If it were simply the former, there would be no objection to cessation as the end of the Buddhist path. The Buddha existed, he had an admirable life and attained the supreme happiness, and then when the time came he passed away into parinibbana. What's wrong with that?
What is wrong with it is this, if there is no continuity of conciousness then why have any concerns for future lives, ESPECIALLY if I am not going to be aware of them?

I can no more develop an interest in those type of future existences than I can characters in a film.....they just don't matter to me.

If there are no consequences to 'me' and even if there is a continuity of karmic potentialities but 'I' won't experience them, then what's stopping me just robbing that bank and spending the remainder of this existence on a beach in the Maldives???

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:48 pm

kirk5a wrote:The problem with what is normally considered an "answer" - "objectifies non-objectification" as Ven. Sariputta said. In other words, what we're talking about isn't graspable by thought. It gets to the heart of non-grasping itself. Total non-grasping cannot be put into terms which inherently involve the mind grasping an idea. So yes, the grasping mind which demands a firm conceptual answer remains "unsatisfied." Satisfaction is found by developing non-grasping to the end, not by philosophizing.
It's an interesting answer, but it also sounds like a more sophisticated version of answers like: "God works in mysterious ways, have faith and all will be revealed".
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:51 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
kirk5a wrote:The problem with what is normally considered an "answer" - "objectifies non-objectification" as Ven. Sariputta said. In other words, what we're talking about isn't graspable by thought. It gets to the heart of non-grasping itself. Total non-grasping cannot be put into terms which inherently involve the mind grasping an idea. So yes, the grasping mind which demands a firm conceptual answer remains "unsatisfied." Satisfaction is found by developing non-grasping to the end, not by philosophizing.
It's an interesting answer, but it also sounds like a more sophisticated version of answers like: "God works in mysterious ways, have faith and all will be revealed".
And very 'Zen' like.....nothing wrong in that though - just not what we're looking for

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