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

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Alex123
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Alex123 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:05 pm

daverupa wrote:
Myotai wrote:But thats my whole point. There will be a stream of conciousness between here and the next ten minutes, or years that may not have at its core an individual, self or soul but there is an experience of continuity isn't there?
Sure; keep in mind that it's probably an experience of sakkaya-ditthi as well as asmi-mana, alongside the conditional nature of it all.
Sakkaya-ditthi is advanced theorizing which doesn't happen in above case said by Myotai.

I also wonder if Atta (ancient Indian metaphysics) that Buddha meant is very relevant to us. How many ordinary westerners believe in nicca, sukkha, ultimate controller?
Last edited by Alex123 on Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:07 pm

samseva wrote: One's karma-formations (saṇkhāra) are a condition for a new birth. In a way, you could say that only 5% of you "transmigrates" to a new body, but very little and only that..
But this 5% is actually a pretty big deal, according to the suttas.
Student, beings are owners of kammas, heirs of kammas, they have kammas as their progenitor, kammas as their kin, kammas as their homing-place.
I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'...
Also, to say that consciousness does not transmigrate (in the sense of some ineffable substance carrying over from life to life) is not to say there is no continuity; there is continuity between a seed and mango tree, or between the flame of one candle and the flame it lights on another candle. The issue, it seems to me, has to do with the nature of that continuity: it is a cause-and-effect relationship rather than a transmigration of some substance or essence.

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samseva
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by samseva » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:09 pm

Alex123 wrote:
samseva wrote:This all stems from a slight misunderstanding of rebirth. From one life to the next, everything ceases except one thing, which is karma-formations (saṇkhāra), or one's past kamma. There is no continuation of consciousness at all, which breaks down like the other 5 aggregates (saṇkhāra in this context has a different definition than saṇkhāra-kkhanda).
What about memory? How can one recollect one's former lives?
I would say that it is due to karma-formations (saṇkhāra). One thing is sure is that the Suttas make it clear that all 5 aggregates break down at death.

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samseva
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by samseva » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:14 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:But this 5% is actually a pretty big deal, according to the suttas.
Yes, I agree. It is a very important 5%.
Lazy_eye wrote:Also, to say that consciousness does not transmigrate (in the sense of some ineffable substance carrying over from life to life) is not to say there is no continuity; there is continuity between a seed and mango tree, or between the flame of one candle and the flame it lights on another candle. The issue, it seems to me, has to do with the nature of that continuity: it is a cause-and-effect relationship rather than a transmigration of some substance or essence.
There is a continuation, but there is no continuation of consciousness, which completely breaks down at the death of the individual.

Regarding transmigration, that is why I added quotation marks and started the sentence with "In a way".

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:23 pm

samseva wrote: There is a continuation, but there is no continuation of consciousness, which completely breaks down at the death of the individual.
Except that in the Abidhamma account of things, there isn't some fixed entity known as "consciousness" which breaks down at the moment of death; rather, as I understand it least, there's a succession of cittas (consciousness moments), each conditioning the next. And that process continues across lives via the paṭisandhi-citta ("relinking citta").

So it is a type of continuity, in the sense that there is continuity across a chain or continuum.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:29 pm

duplicate post - sorry!
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Alex123 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:31 pm

Lazy_eye wrote: there's a succession of cittas (consciousness moments), each conditioning the next. And that process continues across lives via the paṭisandhi-citta ("relinking citta").

So it is a type of continuity, in the sense that there is continuity across a chain or continuum.
I wonder, from where does citta arise and where does it go when it ceases?
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Alex123 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:32 pm

samseva wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
samseva wrote:This all stems from a slight misunderstanding of rebirth. From one life to the next, everything ceases except one thing, which is karma-formations (saṇkhāra), or one's past kamma. There is no continuation of consciousness at all, which breaks down like the other 5 aggregates (saṇkhāra in this context has a different definition than saṇkhāra-kkhanda).
What about memory? How can one recollect one's former lives?
I would say that it is due to karma-formations (saṇkhāra). One thing is sure is that the Suttas make it clear that all 5 aggregates break down at death.

Where is this kamma-formation stored until it is retrieved?
"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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Myotai
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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:35 pm

All sounds really rather depressing if I'm honest.

You cannot compare the stream of consciousness in this life and how we show concern for our future selves to that of future lives. Especially when it's been said that consciousness ends at death. They are two completely separate and incomparable things. I'm not in the slightest bit interested in what I am never going to know. Why on earth would I?

Also, if enlightenment only lasts as long as the life it's achieved in, what's the point? Especially if at Para-nibbana it's definitely all over....with no opportunity to offer your experiences to others who might benefit from them. Sounds like an extremely flawed idea from the start, sorry.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:46 pm

Myotai wrote:They are two completely separate and incomparable things.
But see, I would argue that this is an incorrect rendering of what the Dhamma teaches. It does not teach that they are "completely separate and incomparable things."

If it did, there would be little point in undertaking the path.
I'm not in the slightest bit interested in what I am never going to know. Why on earth would I?
Traditionally, it's taught that when you are further along the path to nibbana you will know the details of your past lives and understand the causes and conditions that brought about your experiences.
Also, if enlightenment only lasts as long as the life it's achieved in, what's the point? Especially if at Para-nibbana it's definitely all over....with no opportunity to offer your experiences to others who might benefit from them.
How are you arriving at this conclusion? The Buddha taught for forty years and offered his experiences to the entire population of the planet, and so do countless wise teachers in the Theravada tradition.

Have you investigated Mahayana or Vajrayana? It sounds as though you might find them preferable. I'd be interested to see the responses to a similar thread on the Dharma Wheel forum.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by samseva » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:48 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
samseva wrote: There is a continuation, but there is no continuation of consciousness, which completely breaks down at the death of the individual.
Except that in the Abidhamma account of things, there isn't some fixed entity known as "consciousness" which breaks down at the moment of death; rather, as I understand it least, there's a succession of cittas (consciousness moments), each conditioning the next. And that process continues across lives via the paṭisandhi-citta ("relinking citta").

So it is a type of continuity, in the sense that there is continuity across a chain or continuum.
The Suttas and Abhidhamma slightly differ on this account. At an individual's death, according to the Suttas, consciousness (viññāṇa-kkhanda) breaks down like the other aggregates.

Although citta is said to be synonymous with viññāṇa, in Nyanatiloka Thera's Buddhist Dictionary, viññāṇa is translated as consciousness, whereas citta is translated as mind, consciousness and state of consciousness. I prefer to use the term mind for citta, as to differentiate the Sutta-based and Abhidhamma-based models.

For bhavanga-citta, it is translated as subconscious and 'life-continuum.

So the Suttas state that all five aggregates end at death, but the Abhidhamma states that there remains a form of consciousness or mentality. I think this conundrum is due to terms. For there to be karma-formations (saṇkhāra), some form of mentality is probably needed.

Here is XIV of the Visuddhimagga:
“As soon as rebirth-consciousness [paṭisandhi] (in the embryo at the time of conception) has ceased, there arises a similar subconsciousness with exactly the same object, following immediately upon rebirth-consciousness and being the result of this or that karma (volitional action done in a former birth and remembered there at the moment before death). And again a further similar state of subconsciousness arises. Now, as long as no other consciousness arises to interrupt the continuity of the life-stream, so long the life-stream, like the flow of a river, rises in the same way again and again, even during dreamless sleep and at other times. In this way one has to understand the continuous arising of those states of consciousness in the life-stream.”

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:35 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Myotai wrote:They are two completely separate and incomparable things.
But see, I would argue that this is an incorrect rendering of what the Dhamma teaches. It does not teach that they are "completely separate and incomparable things."

If it did, there would be little point in undertaking the path.
I'm not in the slightest bit interested in what I am never going to know. Why on earth would I?
Traditionally, it's taught that when you are further along the path to nibbana you will know the details of your past lives and understand the causes and conditions that brought about your experiences.
Also, if enlightenment only lasts as long as the life it's achieved in, what's the point? Especially if at Para-nibbana it's definitely all over....with no opportunity to offer your experiences to others who might benefit from them.
How are you arriving at this conclusion? The Buddha taught for forty years and offered his experiences to the entire population of the planet, and so do countless wise teachers in the Theravada tradition.

Have you investigated Mahayana or Vajrayana? It sounds as though you might find them preferable. I'd be interested to see the responses to a similar thread on the Dharma Wheel forum.
If the Mahayana/Vajrayana are correct and their views differ greatly then wouldn't this mean the Theravada is incorrect?

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:20 pm

Myotai wrote:
If the Mahayana/Vajrayana are correct and their views differ greatly then wouldn't this mean the Theravada is incorrect?
Sort of. The canonical Mahayana take is that the Buddha first gave one set of limited, provisional teachings (i.e. the contents of the Pali Canon) and then gave some later, higher teachings, found in the Mahayana sutras. Why not ask over at the sister site?

From the perspective of many if not most Theravadins, Mahayana contains doctrines that diverge from what the Buddha taught and these newer doctrines are misleading and unnecessary.

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Myotai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:06 pm

I am familiar with the Mahayana stance. In particular the Gelug, Madhyamika Prasangika. I'm just very interested in the Theravada position. :geek:

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Re: Continuation of conciousness / awareness

Post by Digity » Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:52 pm

For those who have an issue with Nibbana, please explain one thing to me. Why is that not a single person who attained awakening during the Buddha's time regretted doing so? Not a single one....zero, zilch, nada. If awakening is such a bad things as you postulate then you'd think at least one person would have regretted it and wished to go back rebirth. Yet, that's not the case. The problem here is that you have unenlightened people trying to wrap their heads around enlightenment. This is why the Buddha was reluctant to teach at first, because he was weary people wouldn't get it and that they were too enamored with life's pleasures.

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