Death or annihilation as the end point

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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mikenz66
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Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:46 am

Though it probably was not the intention of the post:
Mr Man wrote:I think death as an end point does generally make humans uncomfortable. I think we should learn to acknowledge that.
http://dhammawheel.com/posting.php?mode ... 3&p=360103
It reminded me of something in a talk I attended recently by a lay teacher that, on reflection, I found interestingly contradictory.

He took the modern line that we should see rebirth as cultural baggage and follow Heidegger's line that an authentic life is aware of the finiteness imposed by death.

That's a plausible argument enough argument in itself. However, later in the talk he remarked that there are, of course, popular teachers who take rebirth seriously such as Ajahn Brahm.

Curiously, he then proceeded to ridicule Ajahn Brahm's (and other's) contention that the death of an Arahant was the end. Annihilation. What was the point of that?

This brings me back to Mr Man's remark. Certainly death (or annihilation) as an end point makes people uncomfortable, and is hard to accept. However, he didn't pick up the irony that he was also preaching annihilation, only in his version annihilation happened at the end of every life.

Perhaps the modernists and the traditionalists are not as far apart as they might seem. In both cases the end is annihilation. The modernists just have the annihilation come earlier...

:anjali:
Mike

YouthThunder
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by YouthThunder » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:51 am

Sleeping (stop existing) is better than working (rebirth) imo.

SarathW
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by SarathW » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:27 am

For me, the death is the end or whether there is re-birth does not matter.
I like the safe bet argument.
The certain thing for me is the death.
I have no idea what Nibbna is even though I have my own views about it. (I do not think it is Annihilation)

So my point is I have to live until I die.
So the best strategy is to live to make your life and others life happy according to your capacity.
That is to follow the Noble Eight Fold Path.

I know above is a very technical answer. But I do not have any other choice.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

coreycook950
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by coreycook950 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:58 pm

Peace to you!

I assume your question is in regards to what happens after the death of an Arahant.

Lord Gautama, to an extent, did not expound much information on the nature of Parinibbana.
So let us not become attached to views.

I've seen this topic before.

C.

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:47 pm

mikenz66 wrote: Perhaps the modernists and the traditionalists are not as far apart as they might seem. In both cases the end is annihilation. The modernists just have the annihilation come earlier...
I've been trying to gain a proper understanding of this issue for a couple years now (at least); at present, my understanding is more or less as you wrote above. Or to elaborate further, the difference between traditionalists and (some) modernists is that the latter hold a view that equates self with a material body that lives and dies.

Whereas in Buddhism punabbhava is sustained precisely as a result of erroneous self-view and the underlying craving that motivates this view.

We may or may not be able to bracket off literal rebirth (as presented in the tradition) as "baggage," but it seems to me that we also have to reject the notion of a self that lives and dies with the body, or the Dhamma simply doesn't cohere. Given such a self-view, the most rational choice would probably be to simply wait out the biological process, ideally on one of the Hawaiian islands or perhaps somewhere in France.

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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by dhammacoustic » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:17 pm

Monks, for a person of wrong view, whatever bodily, verbal, or mental conduct he undertakes in accordance with that view, and whatever
volition, aspiration, wish, and volitional formations he engenders in accordance with that view, all lead to what is undesirable, unwanted,
and disagreeable, to harm and suffering. For what reason? Because the view is bad. Just as, when a seed of neem, bitter cucumber, or bitter gourd is planted in moist soil, it transforms any nutriment it obtains from the soil and the water into a fruit with a bitter, harsh, and disagreeable taste, even so is it for a person of wrong view. For what reason? Because the view is bad.
Uppādā vā tathagātanaṃ anuppādā vā tathagātanaṃ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā. Taṃ tathagāto abhisam­buj­jhati abhisameti. Abhisam­bujjhitvā abhisametvā ācikkhati deseti paññāpeti paṭṭhapeti vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti. ‘Passathā’ti cāha; ‘avijjāpaccayā, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā’. Iti kho, bhikkhave, yā tatra tathatā avitathatā anaññathatā idappaccayatā-ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, paṭiccasamup­pādo.
:heart: namō tassa bhagavatō, arahatō, sammā sambuddhassā

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ihrjordan
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by ihrjordan » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:49 pm

Death is a concept with no basis in reality under the current usage of the word...what does it even mean for an idividual to die?

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Nicolas
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by Nicolas » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:56 pm

ihrjordan wrote:Death is a concept with no basis in reality under the current usage of the word...what does it even mean for an idividual to die?
Mahā­satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (DN 22) wrote: Now what, monks, is death?
For the various beings in the various classes of beings there is a fall, a falling away, a breaking up, a disappearance, a dying, a death, a making of time; the break up of the constituents (of mind and body), the throwing off of the body; the cutting off of the life faculty: this, monks, is called death.

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ihrjordan
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by ihrjordan » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:20 pm

Nicolas wrote:
ihrjordan wrote:Death is a concept with no basis in reality under the current usage of the word...what does it even mean for an idividual to die?
Mahā­satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (DN 22) wrote: Now what, monks, is death?
For the various beings in the various classes of beings there is a fall, a falling away, a breaking up, a disappearance, a dying, a death, a making of time; the break up of the constituents (of mind and body), the throwing off of the body; the cutting off of the life faculty: this, monks, is called death.
Yes, I get that but you must understand that the Buddha is speaking conceptually here. And even still he manages to remark how the individual is merely the some of its constituent parts. When a car has a flat tire, no self respecting mechanic would tell you "yeh your car is dead". Why? because it is a system rather than a an entity unto itself.

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ihrjordan
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by ihrjordan » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:25 pm

Fact of the matter is, an individual can never truly die because there was never an individual to begin with. Compare it to a forest ecosystem, if an acorn falls off a tree or some earth is dug up within the forest, does this thereby mean that "the forest has died"?

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daverupa
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by daverupa » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:55 pm

All of these post-death speculations are covered in the Brahmajala Sutta; traditionalists & modernists simply persist in taking up one or another of them as "obviously true", "obviously what the Buddha taught", or something similar.
"Yes, we should transcend views - but rebirth is a true view."

v

"Yes, we should transcend views - but materialism is a true view."
...and so on.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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dhammacoustic
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by dhammacoustic » Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:26 pm

daverupa wrote:
"Yes, we should transcend views - but rebirth is a true view."
Well, it is :juggling:

since,

...one who holds the view ‘there is another world’, ‘there is doing’ and ‘there is causality’ has right-view. Since there actually is another world, doing and causality, one who thinks ‘there is another world’ has right intention. Further, the one who makes the statement that ‘there is another world’, ‘there is doing’ and ‘there is causality’ has right-speech. One who says ‘there is another world’, ‘there is doing’, ‘there is causality’, is not opposed to those Arahants who know the other world.

─ MN 60, Apaṇṇaka Sutta
Uppādā vā tathagātanaṃ anuppādā vā tathagātanaṃ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā. Taṃ tathagāto abhisam­buj­jhati abhisameti. Abhisam­bujjhitvā abhisametvā ācikkhati deseti paññāpeti paṭṭhapeti vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti. ‘Passathā’ti cāha; ‘avijjāpaccayā, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā’. Iti kho, bhikkhave, yā tatra tathatā avitathatā anaññathatā idappaccayatā-ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, paṭiccasamup­pādo.
:heart: namō tassa bhagavatō, arahatō, sammā sambuddhassā

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ihrjordan
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by ihrjordan » Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:41 pm

Possesing right view equates to transcending views.

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mikenz66
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:06 pm

Some interesting comments here, but I don't think I made my original point very clear.

My point was that the criticism by many modernists of traditional views on rebirth overlook the fact that the aim expressed in the suttas is to end birth, not to continue it. Putting aside details about view, the nibbana/extinguishment spoken of in the suttas is just as uncomfortable and challenging as the one-life extinguishment spoken of by the modernists.

:anjali:
Mike

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daverupa
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Re: Death or annihilation as the end point

Post by daverupa » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:21 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Putting aside details about view, the nibbana/extinguishment spoken of in the suttas is just as uncomfortable and challenging as the one-life extinguishment spoken of by the modernists.
Hmm... maybe... but, if nibbana is understood as greed/hate/delusion-cessation, then how is that frightening?

Because it seems to me that fright (i.e. discomfort & challenge) only occurs after some view is taken up, not before... discussing nibbana simply brings this to the surface...
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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