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

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aflatun
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Re: the great Nibbana = annihilation, eternal, or something else thread

Post by aflatun » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:48 pm

James Tan wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:53 pm
If you can't pinpoint anything at all , how could anything being said arises or as being solid substance or being empty .

That's the million dollar question
Mūlamadhyamakakārikā wrote:
(Nagarjuna)
“The Transcendent Conqueror has taught
That all deceptive phenomena are false.
All conditioned phenomena are deceptive,
And, therefore, they are false. [XIII.1]

If a phenomenon that is deceptive is also false,
Then what is it that deceives?
With this, the Transcendent Conqueror
Has fully revealed emptiness. [XIII.2]


(Opponent)
Things are devoid of essence
Because they are perceived to change.
There are no entities without essence
Because entities possess emptiness. [XIII.3]


(Nagarjuna)
If there is no essence,
To what does change pertain?
If there were essences,
How could there be change? [XIII.4]

Change is not in that itself,
Nor is it in something else,
Because the young do not age,
And because the aged do not age. [XIII.5]

If that itself changes,
Then milk itself is yogurt.
What, other than milk,
Would turn into yogurt? [XIII.6]

If there were a bit of something that is not empty,
There could be a bit of something that is empty.
As there is not a bit that is not empty,
How could there be anything that is empty? [XIII.7]

The Victorious Ones have taught emptiness
As a deliverance from all views.
“For those whose view is emptiness, they teach,
Nothing can be accomplished. [XIII.8]”

Mabja Jangchub Tsondru. “Ornament of Reason: The Great Commentary to Nagarjuna's Root of the Middle Way.”
"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: Nirvana is a Transcendent Reality

Post by aflatun » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:55 pm

aflatun wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:23 pm
David N. Snyder wrote: Perhaps neither the classical Theravadins nor the suttanta Theravadins can be generalized to a specific view on nibbana. There is a wide range of views in all of them. I was familiar with Buddhaghosa not accepting the nihilist view, but I had thought most classical Theravadins today were of the atheist-death view for parinibbana (with rebirth up to that point).
With respect to the suttanta camp I would agree, its a wide playing field. But regarding the former I'm not so sure. I guess it depends on how we define classical! If we mean commentarial tradition up to and including Burmese Vipassana, then I'm not aware of any significant departure from Buddhaghosa's general understanding, but I'm happy to be corrected on this if anyone has historical sources that imply otherwise.

For me this view is sharply distinct from those of specifically "Buddhist nihilism" (because despite all aggregates ending Nibbana is an unconditioned ultimate reality) and suttanta style "Buddhist eternalism" (because all aggregates end which rules out sentience). But I would still classify it as a form of "Buddhist Eternalism"...

The only thing I'm aware of that smacks of "absolute death, nothing else" aside from a few modern monks is the Sautrantikas, and I don't know their literature well enough to confirm this. I wouldn't be surprised to find more sublety there, similar to Bhante Sujato.

And so as a hypothesis-which is subject to revision!-my current understanding is that aside from the (maybe) Sautrantikas, this is an entirely modern phenomenon.
Of course that doesn't make it wrong by default. But personally I have come to regard it as an aberration and an innovation.
David N. Snyder wrote:Buddhism, especially Theravada does seem to have an appeal to nihilists. Perhaps it is because nibbana gets mistaken as annihilation.
I believe you have nailed it, good sir :)
Just to add another piece of data in support of my hypothesis above, it appears Lance Cousins held a similar opinion regarding the uniqueness of the Sautrantika position, i.e. Nibbana without residue is non existence, a non implicative negation, the unconditioned is merely the absence of the conditioned, etc.
Lance Cousins wrote:It seems clear that although lists of unconditioned dharmas varied among the schools to some extent, they were all agreed that there were unconditioned dharmas were not the mere absence of the conditioned. Only the sautrantikas and allied groups disputed this last point. It seems clear that their position is a later development based upon a fresh look at the Sutra literature among groups which did not accord the status of authentic word of the Buddha to the abidharma literature.

...

To summarize the kind of evolution suggested here: We may say that the main force of the nikayas is to discount speculation about nibbana. It is the summum bonum. To seek to know more is to manufacture obstacles. Beyond this only a few passages go. No certain account of the ontological status of nibbana can be derived from the nikayas. It cannot even be shown with certainty that a single view was held. By the time of the early abidhamma the situation is much clearer. The whole Buddhist tradition is agreed that nibbana is the unconditioned dhamma, neither temporal nor spatial, neither mind (in its usual form) nor matter, but certainly not the absence or mere cessation of other dhammas. The uniformity is certainly a strong argument for projecting this position into the nikayas and even for suggesting that it represents the true underlying position of the suttas.
Nibbāna and Abhidhamma
"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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Re: the great Nibbana = annihilation, eternal, or something else thread

Post by cappuccino » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:09 pm

By seeking the other shore, you won't fall off the edge
of the earth…

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

Post by boundless » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:35 pm

aflatun wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:55 pm
aflatun wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:23 pm
David N. Snyder wrote: Perhaps neither the classical Theravadins nor the suttanta Theravadins can be generalized to a specific view on nibbana. There is a wide range of views in all of them. I was familiar with Buddhaghosa not accepting the nihilist view, but I had thought most classical Theravadins today were of the atheist-death view for parinibbana (with rebirth up to that point).
With respect to the suttanta camp I would agree, its a wide playing field. But regarding the former I'm not so sure. I guess it depends on how we define classical! If we mean commentarial tradition up to and including Burmese Vipassana, then I'm not aware of any significant departure from Buddhaghosa's general understanding, but I'm happy to be corrected on this if anyone has historical sources that imply otherwise.

For me this view is sharply distinct from those of specifically "Buddhist nihilism" (because despite all aggregates ending Nibbana is an unconditioned ultimate reality) and suttanta style "Buddhist eternalism" (because all aggregates end which rules out sentience). But I would still classify it as a form of "Buddhist Eternalism"...

The only thing I'm aware of that smacks of "absolute death, nothing else" aside from a few modern monks is the Sautrantikas, and I don't know their literature well enough to confirm this. I wouldn't be surprised to find more sublety there, similar to Bhante Sujato.

And so as a hypothesis-which is subject to revision!-my current understanding is that aside from the (maybe) Sautrantikas, this is an entirely modern phenomenon.
Of course that doesn't make it wrong by default. But personally I have come to regard it as an aberration and an innovation.
David N. Snyder wrote:Buddhism, especially Theravada does seem to have an appeal to nihilists. Perhaps it is because nibbana gets mistaken as annihilation.
I believe you have nailed it, good sir :)
Just to add another piece of data in support of my hypothesis above, it appears Lance Cousins held a similar opinion regarding the uniqueness of the Sautrantika position, i.e. Nibbana without residue is non existence, a non implicative negation, the unconditioned is merely the absence of the conditioned, etc.
Lance Cousins wrote:It seems clear that although lists of unconditioned dharmas varied among the schools to some extent, they were all agreed that there were unconditioned dharmas were not the mere absence of the conditioned. Only the sautrantikas and allied groups disputed this last point. It seems clear that their position is a later development based upon a fresh look at the Sutra literature among groups which did not accord the status of authentic word of the Buddha to the abidharma literature.

...

To summarize the kind of evolution suggested here: We may say that the main force of the nikayas is to discount speculation about nibbana. It is the summum bonum. To seek to know more is to manufacture obstacles. Beyond this only a few passages go. No certain account of the ontological status of nibbana can be derived from the nikayas. It cannot even be shown with certainty that a single view was held. By the time of the early abidhamma the situation is much clearer. The whole Buddhist tradition is agreed that nibbana is the unconditioned dhamma, neither temporal nor spatial, neither mind (in its usual form) nor matter, but certainly not the absence or mere cessation of other dhammas. The uniformity is certainly a strong argument for projecting this position into the nikayas and even for suggesting that it represents the true underlying position of the suttas.
Nibbāna and Abhidhamma
Hi,

to give further evidence for your hypothesis I found this section of the "Kathavatthu" (Abhidhamma) https://suttacentral.net/en/kv1.6:
Theravādin: If you assert that the material-aggregate retains its materiality, you must admit that the material-aggregate is permanent, persistent, eternal, not subject to change. You know that the opposite is true; hence it should not be said that materiality is retained.

Nibbāna does not abandon its state as Nibbāna—by this we mean Nibbāna is permanent, persistent, eternal, not subject to change. And you ought to mean this, too, in the case of material-aggregate, if you say that the latter does not abandon its materiality.
It seems that the view of the "permanent Nibbana" was well estabilished when (at least this part of) the Abhidhamma was written.

Of course there were many schools and hence many views and many opinions. Personally I think that the "non-existence" view is mistaken since it seems too reductionistic!

Regarding Nagarjuna personally I have a very hard time to understand him.

However I have a veryhard time to understand a lot of things but also it is true that:
[The Blessed One]: "This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise..." //www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn06

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

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:26 am

"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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

Post by aflatun » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:12 pm

boundless wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:35 pm
Hi,

to give further evidence for your hypothesis I found this section of the "Kathavatthu" (Abhidhamma) https://suttacentral.net/en/kv1.6:
Theravādin: If you assert that the material-aggregate retains its materiality, you must admit that the material-aggregate is permanent, persistent, eternal, not subject to change. You know that the opposite is true; hence it should not be said that materiality is retained.

Nibbāna does not abandon its state as Nibbāna—by this we mean Nibbāna is permanent, persistent, eternal, not subject to change. And you ought to mean this, too, in the case of material-aggregate, if you say that the latter does not abandon its materiality.
It seems that the view of the "permanent Nibbana" was well estabilished when (at least this part of) the Abhidhamma was written.

Of course there were many schools and hence many views and many opinions. Personally I think that the "non-existence" view is mistaken since it seems too reductionistic!

Regarding Nagarjuna personally I have a very hard time to understand him.

However I have a veryhard time to understand a lot of things but also it is true that:
[The Blessed One]: "This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise..." //www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn06
Welcome boundless, and thank you for sharing the great find! :thumbsup:
"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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Re: the great Nibbana = annihilation, eternal, or something else thread

Post by Seymour » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:43 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:05 am
identification wrote:People here should contemplate the Thai forest traditions teachings on the Primordial Citta, which is without end, is never born, never dies, and creates the five aggregates of body and mind.
For a supposed entity to possess the attribute of primordiality is possible only in a system that posits a primordium, but the Buddha doesn’t. In several suttas in the Saṃyutta Nikāya’s Ananmatavagga he says:
  • “Bhikkhus, this saṃsāra is without discoverable beginning. A first point is not discerned of beings roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.”
And in the Anguttara Nikāya:
  • “A first point of ignorance, bhikkhus, is not seen such that before this there was no ignorance and afterward it came into being.”
In a system that lacks a first (primus) beginning (ordium) it’s incoherent to posit a “primordial” citta or a primordial anything else.
identification wrote:People here should contemplate the Thai forest traditions teachings on the Primordial Citta, which is without end, is never born, never dies
It’s a contradiction in terms to say of something primordial that it “is never born”. To be primordial is to have come into being at the beginning of time, but not to have existed before that. In Christian belief, for example, God is eternal (existing outside of time), but light is primordial; in the Genesis account light was the first thing that God created and so it came into being/was born at the primordium.

So which is your mysterious citta? Eternal or primordial?
identification wrote:“In fact, the true nature of the citta cannot be expressed in words or concepts.”
Oh come on, you can do better than this. This kind of talk from Maha Boowa and his disciples is just an intellectually lazy tactic for ensuring that the irrationalist tendencies and textually unsupported views of his tradition are quarantined from any possible criticism.
Okay I'm willing to play the forum game and open myself up to whatever criticism, but only in return for being able to send private messages.

The post initially began a question about Nibbana, this lead me to reread a simple writing by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

https://www.dhammaforeveryone.com/nibba ... bodhi.html

Some takeaways.

1)"The Buddha refers to Nibbana as a 'dhamma'. For example, he says "of all dhammas, conditioned or unconditioned, the most excellent dhamma, the supreme dhamma is, Nibbana". 'Dhamma' signifies actual realities, the existing realities as opposed to conceptual things. Dhammas are of two types, conditioned and unconditioned. A conditioned dhamma is an actuality which has come into being through causes or conditions, something which arises through the workings of various conditions. The conditioned dhammas are the five aggregates: material form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness. The conditioned dhammas do not remain static. They go through a ceaseless process of becoming. They arise, undergo transformation and fall away due to its conditionality."

my notes;
After reading this it becomes clear why the Buddha used the words he did in Dhammapada v.277-279

sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā — "all saṅkhāras(conditioned things) are impermanent"

sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā — "all saṅkhāras are unsatisfactory"

sabbe dhammā anattā — "all dharmas(conditioned or unconditioned things) are not self"

Maybe I'm missing something or maybe something is missing... But then again certain Disciples of the Buddha we're supposedly able to reach such high attainments with just a sliver of Dhamma. No books or manuals, no internet just a memory of what they had heard ( and said accumulation of merit ). Sometimes I wonder... could too much information possibly serve as a hindrance of development. I'm sure the answer is different for everyone at different times.

2)"Is Nibbana conditioned by its path?
Now the question is often asked: If Nibbana is attained by the practice of the path, doesn't this make it something conditioned something produced by the path? Doesn't Nibbana become an effect of the cause, which is the path? Here we have to distinguish between Nibbana itself and the attainment of Nibbana. By practising the path one doesn't bring Nibbana into existence but rather discovers something already existing, something always present."

my notes;
***Nibbana is, in some currently inconceivable way, present always.

3)"The Buddha refers to Nibbana as
-a 'dhatu,' an element, the 'deathless element' (amata-dhatu).
-a 'state' (pada), as 'amatapada' - the deathless state - or ‘accutapada’, the imperishable state.
-something that can be experienced by the body "touching the deathless element with one's own body."
-As an 'ayatana'. This means realm, plane or sphere"

my notes;
*** what strikes me here is the freedom of expression within his description, even though as Ven. Bodhi writes "Nibbana cannot be understood through words or expressions"&"It is a sphere where there is nothing at all that corresponds to our mundane experience".

So,
To paint a picture, we have this element, this sphere, this deathless state always existing, timeless and able to be touched by our bodies.....but primordial citta!....come on! No, I think I'd be willing to cut some slack and give the credit to a poor choice of words or a bad translation. I have seen the expression "Primal"nature used

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_Fo ... d_glossary

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminou ... ara_Nikaya

maybe that's a "safer" word? The mind being an essential aspect and at least coming before in time with reguard to our ability for cultivation, acting as the "Forerunner". Reminds me of the first pair of verses in the Yamakavagga, no? Possibly trying to give the benefit of the doubt here but the aim seems to be the same within the tradition.
"experiencing the Deathless (Pali: amata-dhamma): an absolute, unconditioned dimension of the mind free of inconstancy, suffering, or a sense of self."
Currently I do not hold any belief or experience on the particular topic of Nibbana but became interested in this post because I have been invited by a Thai monk from Ubon Ratchathani to travel with him to Ven. Chah's Wat Pha Nanachat, which I'm sure most of you know is part of the Thai forest tradition. Not seeing any harm in it, I agreed. After all the opinions, It can't be a bad place to study or at least observe the many aspects of monastic life for a westerner who can't yet speak the language. I suppose certain individuals could benefit from the structured nature of the place as well...Yours truly.
Seymour
Wat Chonprathan Rangsarit
Nonthaburi, Thailand
Last edited by Seymour on Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Simple living high thinking.

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

Post by cappuccino » Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:23 pm

a poor choice of words or a bad translation.
Why can't you accept the choice of words?

You need faith to accept.

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

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:14 pm

"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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

Post by Seymour » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:08 am

cappuccino wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:23 pm
a poor choice of words or a bad translation.
Why can't you accept the choice of words?

You need faith to accept.
Let the games began!

I wasn't painstakingly clear and I meant no offense. Actually besides that one sentence the rest of my post was written in the spirit of support. I only meant if you find yourself confused about those particular words because of the reasons Dhammanando pointed out that there are other ways of expression, even within that tradition, that are similar and possibly fit better with other teachings of the Buddha. I fully accept that people have different ideas, some people like to eat pizza with tomato ketchup, but trying to clarify a meaning especially on a forum designed for that reason doesn't really equate to non-acceptance. I suppose instead of using the words I did I could have said this. It appears I had my own poor choice of words. Why couldn't you accept them?
:sage:
Simple living high thinking.

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

Post by Seymour » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:04 am

Seymour wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:08 am
some people like to eat pizza with tomato ketchup.
Really! In Thailand if your order a pizza they are very likely to give you a bottle ketchup of to go with it. I guess a large number of Thais eat it this way. This is a harsh reality to accept!

If you can't tell yet, I believe in a healthy dose of sacsaim.
It is possible that if I don't get better at expressing it in my writing I will end up apologizing more often than not.
Simple living high thinking.

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

Post by Amanaki » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:37 am

I my understanding of nibbana/nirvana it is not a place it is an state of enlightenment it is like blowing out all that has been.

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

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:58 am

cappuccino wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:23 pm
You need faith to accept.
If that were the case, I'd still be a Roman Catholic. :tongue:

"Bless me father, for I have sinned, it has been 45 years since my last confession and we are going to be here a long time...." :toilet:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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

Post by Zom » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:22 pm

1)"The Buddha refers to Nibbana as a 'dhamma'. For example, he says "of all dhammas, conditioned or unconditioned, the most excellent dhamma, the supreme dhamma is, Nibbana".
"dhamma" is not necessarily a "thing", but can be just a concept. For example, Buddha did say that the best conditioned dhamma is Noble Eightfold Path. Like there is no Noble Eightfold Path flying around in the space, there is no such "nibbana dhamma", somewhere "out there" .)
3)"The Buddha refers to Nibbana as
-a 'dhatu,' an element, the 'deathless element' (amata-dhatu).
-a 'state' (pada), as 'amatapada' - the deathless state - or ‘accutapada’, the imperishable state.
-something that can be experienced by the body "touching the deathless element with one's own body."
-As an 'ayatana'. This means realm, plane or sphere"
1) dhatu not necessarily "a thing" as well. For example, there is nekkhama-dhātu - element of renunciation, which is well, just a renunciation. Again, a concept, or the process at best.

2) state doesn't mean that there something must exist as a thing. State can be a just a sitation. In case of nibbana - situation of non-existence. Or, this can mean nibbana with a residue, which is simply the mind of arahant without greed, hatred, and delusion.

3) touching with the body - is ancient pali idiom, which just means "to realize".

4) ayatana is not "a realm", but more a sphere in figurative sense (ayatana of one's skills and abilities); for example, there is "ear ayatana" and "sounds ayatana", which doesn't mean there are "two realms" or "two worlds" or "two places" or smth like that. In this sense "nibbana ayatana" is again just a situation where there are no other ayatanas like ear and sounds, eye and forms, mind and mental object - a situation when everything simply ceases, stops to exists.

8-)

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

Post by cappuccino » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:43 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:58 am
cappuccino wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:23 pm
You need faith to accept.
If that were the case, I'd still be a Roman Catholic.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el065.html

Spiritual progress depends on the emergence of five cardinal virtues — faith, vigor, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom.

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