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

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Circle5
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by Circle5 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:38 pm

Is he part of the Thai Forest tradition ? If he is, there is nothing to be surprised about. Belief in a self and in consciousness in nibbana is very popular in that tradition. Why ? Because, as Buddha would say, "he has not fully understood it, I say".

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CedarTree
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by CedarTree » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:45 pm

Circle5 wrote:Is he part of the Thai Forest tradition ? If he is, there is nothing to be surprised about. Belief in a self and in consciousness in nibbana is very popular in that tradition. Why ? Because, as Buddha would say, "he has not fully understood it, I say".
He is part of Thai Forest, School of Ajahn Chah and considered a patriarch in that tradition.

He is referring to Consciousness without Surface I believe which in the Suttas is spoken of as Nibbana.


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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:53 pm

Whatever he meant by this, let's all wish him a very happy eighty-second birthday - today!

:candle: x82

chownah
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by chownah » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:54 pm

CedarTree wrote:
Circle5 wrote:Is he part of the Thai Forest tradition ? If he is, there is nothing to be surprised about. Belief in a self and in consciousness in nibbana is very popular in that tradition. Why ? Because, as Buddha would say, "he has not fully understood it, I say".
He is part of Thai Forest, School of Ajahn Chah and considered a patriarch in that tradition.

He is referring to Consciousness without Surface I believe which in the Suttas is spoken of as Nibbana.
I was not aware the conscoiunsess without surface means nibbana. Can someone bring a reference which says something to that effect as I would be interested in seeing it.
chownah

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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by JohnK » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:00 pm

CedarTree wrote: He is referring to Consciousness without Surface I believe which in the Suttas is spoken of as Nibbana.
Thanks for that -- that is what I was getting at in my post saying he must be referring to the deathless (nibbana) if he is talking about permanent (perhaps "code" as also noted above; obviously a bit confusing though!).
Can you provide a sutta reference for Consciousness w/o Surface? [Edit: posts are hitting fast -- didn't see chownah's post immediately above asking for similar]
Thanks!
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by chownah » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:10 pm

I found this at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-9:
9.Consciousness without surface (viññanam anidassanam): This term appears to be related to the following image from SN 12.64:

"Just as if there were a roofed house or a roofed hall having windows on the north, the south, or the east. When the sun rises, and a ray has entered by way of the window, where does it land?"

"On the western wall, lord."

"And if there is no western wall, where does it land?"

"On the ground, lord."

"And if there is no ground, where does it land?"

"On the water, lord."

"And if there is no water, where does it land?"

"It does not land, lord."

"In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food ... contact ... intellectual intention ... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or grow. Where consciousness does not land or grow, name-&-form does not alight. Where name-&-form does not alight, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair."

In other words, normal sensory consciousness is experienced because it has a "surface" against which it lands: the sense organs and their objects, which constitute the "all." For instance, we experience visual consciousness because of the eye and forms of which we are conscious. Consciousness without surface, however, is directly known, without intermediary, free from any dependence on conditions at all.

This consciousness thus differs from the consciousness factor in dependent co-arising, which is defined in terms of the six sense media. Lying outside of time and space, it would also not come under the consciousness-aggregate, which covers all consciousness near and far; past, present, and future. And, as SN 35.23 notes, the word "all" in the Buddha's teaching covers only the six sense media, which is another reason for not including this consciousness under the aggregates. However, the fact that it is outside of time and space — in a dimension where there is no here, there, or in between (Ud I.10), no coming, no going, or staying (Ud VIII.1) — means that it cannot be described as permanent or omnipresent, terms that have meaning only within space and time.

Some have objected to the equation of this consciousness with nibbana, on the grounds that nibbana is nowhere else in the Canon described as a form of consciousness. Thus they have proposed that consciousness without surface be regarded as an arahant's consciousness of nibbana in meditative experience, and not nibbana itself. This argument, however, contains a flaw: If nibbana is an object of mental consciousness (as a dhamma), it would come under the all, as an object of the intellect. There are passages in the Canon (such as AN 9.36) that describe meditators experiencing nibbana as a dhamma, but these passages seem to indicate that this description applies up through the level of non-returning. Other passages, however, describe nibbana as the ending of all dhammas. For instance, Sn V.6 quotes the Buddha as calling the attainment of the goal the transcending of all dhammas. Sn IV.6 and Sn IV.10 state that the arahant has transcended dispassion, said to be the highest dhamma. Thus, for the arahant, nibbana is not an object of consciousness. Instead it is directly known without mediation. Because consciousness without feature is directly known without mediation, there seems good reason to equate the two.
What about the possibility that consciusness without surface is the consciousness of an arahant in general and NOT the arahants consciousness of nibanna as the excerpt I have colored above indicates. Let' face it....arahants in the pali suttas walk around and talk go people so there seems like there is some consciousness there....maybe it its the one without surface....I guess....don't know for sure....
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cjmacie
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by cjmacie » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:36 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
aflatun wrote:
Can something impermanent know something that's not impermanent?....Can an impermanent condition be aware of another impermanent condition?
I don't see why not. Sumedho might be right in stating that consciousness is permanent, but this is not a convincing argument for it being so.
Paradox. LP Sumedho is using words, the concepts they convey, to refer to an experience, one of realizing what experience is (or one could say “what experience is like” in terms of concepts). The moment the mind asks “is experience / awareness etc. permanent etc.” it is no longer simply witnessing experiencing. Paradox.

It’s worthwhile, IMO, to actually listen to the whole of that Q/A session, if only to get a sense of what he’s trying to refer to, the experience he’s trying to communicate, to elicit. Again and again he refers to Ajan Chah’s way of putting it, and to his own experiences trying to teach this (e.g. to that woman trying to get the sound-of-silence in a retreat). Same problem here: “looking for a convincing argument” vs experimenting to have the experience itself he’s trying to impart.

The delusion of mistaking conceptual recognition for experiential knowing, or put as the mental machinations of figuring-out conceptual recognition (proof, convincing) vs playing with the mind (experimenting, practicing) to fall into the experience itself – a theme one can recognize running throughout teachings of, say, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Mahasi Sayadaw – to indicate a broad range of teaching styles – and of LP Sumehdo.

Listing to that Q/A discussion is a good example of another paradox: that “teaching” in the Buddha’s sense, is more providing examples of how an aware minds works, when playing with words, concepts to describe what’s basically an immediate dimension of awareness itself. Notice less the concepts LPS uses, notice more how his mind works, reacts to the questions, what kind of examples he offers to suggest a mental attitude...

One can talk about “swimming” to any length, but without going in the water, feeling how it touches the skin, how the limbs can move with the water, in response to the water, what the weightlessness of swimming or floating is like – the talk, the conceptual description remains rather empty; and if the mind thinks such talk is the reality, then there’s an opportunity to glimpse the nature of delusion, which would be quite a step forward...

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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by JohnK » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:28 pm

cjmacie wrote:...
Nice take on it.
(I'll take your advice and listen to the whole Q&A later for more context.)
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Aloka
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by Aloka » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:42 pm

In the book "The Island" by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro, chapter 8 is titled 'Unsupported and Unsupportive Consciousness. and begins:

ONE OF THE WAYS IN WHICH THE BUDDHA CHARACTERIZED the quality of awareness was to present it as a form of consciousness (viññana). This represents a unique usage of the term – customarily ‘viññana’ only refers to the conditioned
activity of the six senses – however, we also find that the Buddha gives us some adjectives with which to describe it, when the term is used in this unique way: ‘viññana anidassanam anantam sabbato pabham’ – ‘consciousness that is signless,
boundless, all-luminous,’ is one translation of this expression.

It almost goes without saying that there is controversy as to the precise meaning of this enigmatic phrase (it appears in only a couple of places in the Canon: M 49.25 & D 11.85). However, the constellation of meanings of the individual words is small enough to give us a reasonably clear idea of what the Buddha was pointing at.

Firstly, we must assume that he is using ‘viñnana’ in a broader way than it usually is meant. The Buddha avoided the nit-picking pedantry of many philosophers contemporary with him and opted for a more broad-brush, colloquial style,geared to particular listeners in a language which they could understand (see after §1.11). Thus ‘viñnana’ here can be asssumed to mean ‘knowing’ but not the partial, fragmented, discriminative (vi-) knowing (-ñana) which the word usually implies. Instead it must mean a knowing of a primordial, transcendent nature, otherwise the passage which contains it would be self-contradictory.

Secondly, ‘anidassanam’ is a fairly straightforward word which means (a-) ‘not, non-, without’ (-nidassanam) ‘indicative, visible, manifestative,’ i.e. invisible,empty, featureless, unmanifest; ‘anantam’ is also a straightforward term, meaning
‘infinite’ or ‘limitless.’

Continues at the link on page 131 https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/the-island
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by Bakmoon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:25 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Context is everything, of course (I haven't had time to view the video yet) and he might have meant that consciousness is permanent in terms of our experience of this life (i.e. it is the one factor which persists throughout our entire lives, from birth to death). If he meant, though, that there is an everlasting consciousness which is uncaused and which persists after our death, then I think he is at odds with what the Buddha taught.
:goodpost:
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by aflatun » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:07 am

cjmacie wrote: Paradox. LP Sumedho is using words, the concepts they convey, to refer to an experience, one of realizing what experience is (or one could say “what experience is like” in terms of concepts). The moment the mind asks “is experience / awareness etc. permanent etc.” it is no longer simply witnessing experiencing. Paradox.

It’s worthwhile, IMO, to actually listen to the whole of that Q/A session, if only to get a sense of what he’s trying to refer to, the experience he’s trying to communicate, to elicit. Again and again he refers to Ajan Chah’s way of putting it, and to his own experiences trying to teach this (e.g. to that woman trying to get the sound-of-silence in a retreat). Same problem here: “looking for a convincing argument” vs experimenting to have the experience itself he’s trying to impart.

The delusion of mistaking conceptual recognition for experiential knowing, or put as the mental machinations of figuring-out conceptual recognition (proof, convincing) vs playing with the mind (experimenting, practicing) to fall into the experience itself – a theme one can recognize running throughout teachings of, say, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Mahasi Sayadaw – to indicate a broad range of teaching styles – and of LP Sumehdo.

Listing to that Q/A discussion is a good example of another paradox: that “teaching” in the Buddha’s sense, is more providing examples of how an aware minds works, when playing with words, concepts to describe what’s basically an immediate dimension of awareness itself. Notice less the concepts LPS uses, notice more how his mind works, reacts to the questions, what kind of examples he offers to suggest a mental attitude...

One can talk about “swimming” to any length, but without going in the water, feeling how it touches the skin, how the limbs can move with the water, in response to the water, what the weightlessness of swimming or floating is like – the talk, the conceptual description remains rather empty; and if the mind thinks such talk is the reality, then there’s an opportunity to glimpse the nature of delusion, which would be quite a step forward...
Brilliant and wise words, cjmacie! :goodpost:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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aflatun
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by aflatun » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:10 am

chownah wrote:
CedarTree wrote:
Circle5 wrote:Is he part of the Thai Forest tradition ? If he is, there is nothing to be surprised about. Belief in a self and in consciousness in nibbana is very popular in that tradition. Why ? Because, as Buddha would say, "he has not fully understood it, I say".
He is part of Thai Forest, School of Ajahn Chah and considered a patriarch in that tradition.

He is referring to Consciousness without Surface I believe which in the Suttas is spoken of as Nibbana.
I was not aware the conscoiunsess without surface means nibbana. Can someone bring a reference which says something to that effect as I would be interested in seeing it.
chownah
The three authors that come to mind are Peter Harvey, Nanananda, and Thanissaro.

Of the three Thanissaro only touches on it obliquely. Harvey argues for it quite lucidly in his "Selfless Mind," and Nanananda covers this all over his sermons and writings.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

chownah
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by chownah » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:00 am

aflatun wrote:
chownah wrote: I was not aware the conscoiunsess without surface means nibbana. Can someone bring a reference which says something to that effect as I would be interested in seeing it.
chownah
The three authors that come to mind are Peter Harvey, Nanananda, and Thanissaro.

Of the three Thanissaro only touches on it obliquely. Harvey argues for it quite lucidly in his "Selfless Mind," and Nanananda covers this all over his sermons and writings.
Thanks for that. I should have been more specific about what I was requesting. I meant to ask for a sutta reference. If you saw my last post it brings some sutta related stuff to the discussion but no one seems to care much that there doesn't seem to be clear evidence there. What I brought relates the term to a specific sutta passage about light not having any surface on which to land.

I guess it is more fun to construe than to see that in the suttas this consciousness without surface seems to be just an analogy without a broad meaning......but in this case it is not clear exactly what is being analogized......seems pretty flimsy data to extrapolate all the way to any kind of a statement about consciousness being permanent.
chownah

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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:28 am

cjmacie wrote: Paradox. LP Sumedho is using words, the concepts they convey, to refer to an experience, one of realizing what experience is (or one could say “what experience is like” in terms of concepts).
Perhaps, but it does help when people are clear and precise in the way that they use language. Leaving people confused and uncertain isn't an effective way of communicating.
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Sam Vara
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Re: LP Sumedho "consciousness is permanent" - thoughts?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:21 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
cjmacie wrote: Paradox. LP Sumedho is using words, the concepts they convey, to refer to an experience, one of realizing what experience is (or one could say “what experience is like” in terms of concepts).
Perhaps, but it does help when people are clear and precise in the way that they use language. Leaving people confused and uncertain isn't an effective way of communicating.
Yes, that was my thought. I have great respect for Sumedho, and have attended dozens of his dhamma talks at Amaravati and Cittaviveka, and have read all his books. I understand that he teaches a relatively simple and "doctrine free" interpretation of the Dhamma, and doesn't go in for intellectualising and positions based on definitions. (He once said that he had only ever repeated the same dhamma talk over and over again during his life, and there is some truth in that!) But the questioner seemed to be asking about doctrine, and Sumedho's answer was couched in the same terms. Amaro, Sucitto and his other successors have taken pains to clarify the contextual nature of his talks, but Sumedho himself didn't do it on that occasion. In general, Sumedho isn't the monk to refer to when perplexed about the meanings of terms and their implications for practice. His strengths - and they are awesome strengths - lie elsewhere.

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