Unconditioned

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Mkoll
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by Mkoll » Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:59 am

Hello all,

It seems to me that whatever view we form about Nibbana will miss the mark. That's not to say we shouldn't reflect on it—in fact, it is a meditation subject (AN 10.60 and others). Respectfully asking, reading, listening, sharing, and learning from each other about what we think of it can aid our reflection. Aiding our reflection is the purpose of such things. However, if we ask, read, listen, share, and learn from each other for the purpose of "attacking others and for defending themselves in debate," we are grasping the snake by its tail and it will bite us (MN 22).

How often I have done this! Because of those actions, I have that tendency in my mind and if I'm not careful when it arises, I don't restrain my speech and much dukkha results. It is good to see our intention when we speak because our intention is our kamma (AN 6.63). That way if there is bad intention, we can restrain our speech and if there is good intention, we can speak.

:anjali:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd » Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:34 pm

Mkoll wrote: That way if there is bad intention, we can restrain our speech and if there is good intention, we can speak.
There is a good reason to discuss this topic. Namely, in modern Buddhism there is so much skepticism about kamma and rebirth. Why? Because of the denial of the existence of a persisting self. If there is no self to be reborn, rebirth makes little sense, and it gets dropped. Furthermore, the notion that liberation from a cycle of rebirth required that you get enlightened to become liberated falls by the wayside. Either because people can't bring themselves to believe in rebirth without a self, or they do find some way to believe in rebirth without a self, but this version of rebirth is no such a one that has any need for liberation from a cycle. What is reborn in the weakened version of rebirth is not a self, not anything that can suffer, but merely residual mind-stream or memories that are not a self. Such things are not sentient and don't need liberating. The conventional being doesn't need to become enlightened to be liberated, since it achieves liberation merely by ceasing to exist at the point of death. The whole concept of liberation from the cycle of Samara requires a persisting unconditioned self, which will actually have to become Enlightened to achieve liberation. So if you want to be able to make sense of everything Buddha says, rather than just only be able to accept 1% - 10% of the dhamma, you have to think this through very deep.

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cappuccino
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by cappuccino » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:07 pm

Are you trying to cause a schism in the sangha? By rejecting and confusing the issue of rebirth.

davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:32 pm

cappuccino wrote:Are you trying to cause a schism in the sangha? By rejecting and confusing the issue of rebirth.
Who is rejecting and confusing the issue of rebirth? The schism has already been caused. Monks are already running around saying "you don't have to believe in rebirth." Laymen are running around teaching that rebirth is only a metaphor. I think I'm trying to heal the schism by showing that the nonsense with which they undermined rebirth was not taught by Buddha and is actually easy to logically disprove if you bother to pay closer attention to what Buddha says.

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cappuccino
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by cappuccino » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:52 pm

Indeed. The schism is Secularism, a failure to accept the teaching. Because at this time faith is low, among the human race.

santa100
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by santa100 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:50 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:he whole concept of liberation from the cycle of Samara requires a persisting unconditioned self, which will actually have to become Enlightened to achieve liberation. So if you want to be able to make sense of everything Buddha says, rather than just only be able to accept 1% - 10% of the dhamma, you have to think this through very deep.
There'll be folks who believe in a self, not in a self, an unconditioned self, a super-duper self, etc. With all the disagreements, they all agree on the fact that dukkha exists. They can keep arguing but all would agree that when being knifed in the gut, dukkha is very real and it is extremely painful regardless of what one believes in. So, whether there's a persisting unconditioned self or not is irrelevant to the liberation from the cycle of Samara. Dukkha, its presence, its origination, its cessation, and the path to its cessation are:
Ud 5.5 wrote: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

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cappuccino
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by cappuccino » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:54 pm

Self is dukkha.
In other words, if we exist, we suffer.

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Dan74
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by Dan74 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:21 am

Many teachers have spoken about this confusion regarding no self and rebirth. Rebirth us due to cause and effect, the flow of kamma. It doesn't require a self.

But there is also confusion regarding the conventional and the ultimate. Conventionally we speak of self, I, mine, etc, like the Buddha had done for specific purposes. Ultimately there is nothing to hold on to that can be described as a self.

Does my dog have a self? In my mind he does, but mostly likely he doesn't spend much time thinking about it (I don't actually have a dog). I will see the arahat as a self, an entity, but he or she will not entertain any such notions. So is there or isnt there?

What use is it? Something to hang on to. If it's helps cross the turbulent waters - great! Otherwise it's just a burden to carry or worse.
_/|\_

davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:30 am

santa100 wrote: There'll be folks who believe in a self, not in a self, an unconditioned self, a super-duper self, etc. With all the disagreements, they all agree on the fact that dukkha exists. They can keep arguing but all would agree that when being knifed in the gut, dukkha is very real and it is extremely painful regardless of what one believes in. So, whether there's a persisting unconditioned self or not is irrelevant to the liberation from the cycle of Samara.
They will agree that there is dukkha and that they want to be liberated from it, certainly. But will they agree that awakening/enlightenment is necessary for such liberation? The nihilist, because he believes the only self there is is this physical self, can believe that suicide will liberate him from dukkha. Is what he believes the dhamma?

This is why it is important to believe in the self that is beyond the aggregates. If we are only the aggregates, which is what everyone extending anatta beyond the aggregates and extending "all phenomena are non-self" beyond conditioned phenomena to somehow apply to the unconditioned as well, is saying: they are saying you are just the body, there is nothing more. In which cases, there is no need for enlightenment, just suicide, and bam, you're liberated from dukkha. This is a huge problem.

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Re: Unconditioned

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:39 am

davidbrainerd wrote:This is why it is important to believe in the self that is beyond the aggregates. If we are only the aggregates, which is what everyone extending anatta beyond the aggregates and extending "all phenomena are non-self" beyond conditioned phenomena to somehow apply to the unconditioned as well...
Where is the evidence for this "true self" in the suttas?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:54 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:This is why it is important to believe in the self that is beyond the aggregates. If we are only the aggregates, which is what everyone extending anatta beyond the aggregates and extending "all phenomena are non-self" beyond conditioned phenomena to somehow apply to the unconditioned as well...
Where is the evidence for this "true self" in the suttas?
Did Buddha teach suicide or the eight-fold noble path as the means to liberation? If there is no true self, and only this body, then death is our liberation, and suicide can cause death as well as any other method. Therefore the fact that Buddha does not teach death or suicide as the method of liberation but rather enlightenment/awakening, etc., is the greatest proof that he teaches the liberation of true self or "soul (i.e. citta) from the physical world by going (back) to the unconditioned, transcendent, to Nirvana. We could waste a billion years debating this sutta and that sutta, this Pali term and that Pali term, but this cuts right to the heart of the issue.

Bakmoon
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by Bakmoon » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:41 am

davidbrainerd wrote:Did Buddha teach suicide or the eight-fold noble path as the means to liberation? If there is no true self, and only this body, then death is our liberation, and suicide can cause death as well as any other method. Therefore the fact that Buddha does not teach death or suicide as the method of liberation but rather enlightenment/awakening, etc., is the greatest proof that he teaches the liberation of true self or "soul (i.e. citta) from the physical world by going (back) to the unconditioned, transcendent, to Nirvana. We could waste a billion years debating this sutta and that sutta, this Pali term and that Pali term, but this cuts right to the heart of the issue.
The Buddha's teaching on non-self is not some obscure teaching tucked away in a few dusty books, but rather it is presented by the suttas as being among the crown jewels of the entire edifice of his teaching. He repeatedly enjoined that the aggregates and the sense bases are without any kind of self, and also denied that there is anything beyond them as well. According to the suttas, 'self' is just a concept we use conventionally to refer to a particular collection. It is a name, a placeholder, and nothing more.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

Dinsdale
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:30 am

cappuccino wrote:Are you trying to cause a schism in the sangha? By rejecting and confusing the issue of rebirth.
Please let's not derail the discussion with an argument about rebirth, there is a separate thread for that.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:16 am

davidbrainerd wrote:. . . he teaches the liberation of true self or "soul (i.e. citta) from the physical world by going (back) to the unconditioned, transcendent, to Nirvana. . .
Soul? The nature of citta as taught by the Buddha:
    • Bhikkhus, I will teach the origination and passing away of the four esatblishments of mindfulness. Listen to that.

      And what, bhikkhus, is the origination of the body? With the origination of nutriment there is origination of the body. With the cessation of nutriment there is the passing away of the body.

      With the origination of contact there is origination of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the passing away of feeling.

      With the origination of name-and-form there is origination of mind
      [citta]. With the cessation of name-and-form there is passing away of mind.

      With the origination of attention there is origination of phenomena
      [experience, dhamma]. With the cessation of attention there is passing away of phenomena. -- SN V 184
Soul going back to "the unconditioned"? What is the exact nature of "the unconditioned" according to the Buddha, and please quote his teachings to back up your claims of a 'soul going back to "the unconditioned."'
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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cjmacie
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by cjmacie » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:19 pm

Postby Mkoll » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:59 am
" It seems to me that whatever view we form about Nibbana will miss the mark. That's not to say we shouldn't reflect on it—in fact, it is a meditation subject (AN 10.60 and others). Respectfully asking, reading, listening, sharing, and learning from each other about what we think of it can aid our reflection. Aiding our reflection is the purpose
of such things."


Excuse the intrusion here, as I've not read-through this whole thread; but this passage brought to mind a passage I just came across in Mahasi Sayadaw's talks expounding the Wheel-of-Dhamma Sutta (p.157 in ). I can't claim knowing the truth of this matter, e.g. perhaps subtle distinctions between "reflecting" and taking a meditation object, but was struck by Mahasi's treatment of this topic. (color emphasis added)

" “Meditation on the four truths was taught prefaced by the words ‘understanding of the four truths.’ Of these four truths, the first two, namely, the truth of suffering and the truth of the origin of suffering are concerned with the cycle of existence (vatta). The last two, namely, the truth of cessation of suffering, and the truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering are concerned with escape from the cycle of existence (vivatta).
The meditator employs only the first two truths as objects of meditation and not the last two truths.

It means that the meditator contemplates the first two mundane truths, not the last two supramundane truths, which are unsuitable subjects for meditation.
Indeed it is impossible to meditate on them. Why so? The Subcommentary states that these supramundane truths are beyond the understanding of ordinary common worldlings.

Indeed it is true that ordinary common worldlings cannot take the path and fruition as their objects of meditation, nor is nibbāna within the scope of their knowledge before they attain the stage of maturity knowledge (gotrabhū-ñāna). Maturity knowledge consciousness arises only after knowledge of adaptation (anuloma-ñāna), when insight becomes fully developed. Immediately after maturity knowledge comes the realisation of the Path and its Fruition. Therefore, it is obvious that a common worldling is not in a position to take nibbāna or the path and its fruition as an object of meditation. Thus, it must be carefully noted that any instruction to begin with meditation on nibbāna is totally wrong.


The question might arise whether nibbāna may not be taken as an object for tranquility meditation. Contemplation on the qualities of nibbāna such as being devoid of lust (virāga), may be adopted as to gain concentration. However, this exercise is taken solely for the purpose of achieving one-pointedness of mind; it is not to immediately realise the Noble Path and Fruition. In any case this meditation exercise is most appropriate only for the Noble Ones who have already realised nibbāna, and not for the ordinary common worldling. Thus it is definitely a mistaken practice to try to achieve the path and fruition by dwelling on nibbāna from the very start."

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