To be free from existence

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
davidbrainerd
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To be free from existence

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:29 pm

[ Topic split from Anatta, another angle... ]
cappuccino wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:After all, what sort of freedom is freedom from yourself?
A very Buddhist question.
To be free from the drama of physical/phenominal existence, but still exist, is a great freedom. To be free from existence, is something else. I think this is why people typically say "free as a bird" and "without a care in the world" rather than "free as a rock." But how about "free as an asteroid floating in space"?

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cappuccino
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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:33 pm

If you know existence well… you would want to be free (from existence).

davidbrainerd
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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:40 pm

cappuccino wrote:If you know existence well… you would want to be free (from existence).

Depends on if you limit the meaning of existence to this world (due to some Indian taboo that the spiritual realm is to high to call existence, that that's too low of a word), or if you stick more to English.

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cappuccino
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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:41 pm

Buddha has said, "As even a little excrement is of evil smell, I do not praise even the shortest spell of existence, be it no longer than a snap of the fingers."

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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:50 pm

cappuccino wrote:Buddha has said, "As even a little excrement is of evil smell, I do not praise even the shortest spell of existence, be it no longer than a snap of the fingers."
But he's Indian. Existence to him means in this world. Paraphrasing: You can't say the Tatagatha exists or doesn't exist because he's to high and holy for such low terms. I'm American..or the aggregates are. I refuse to use existence in English in such a foreign way. I will distinguish two modes of existence, so that I can be understood. Honestly, Buddha's linguistic taboos make him misunderstood in other cultures and languages by those too lazy to think hard about the fact that these are linguistic taboos, nothing more.

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cappuccino
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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:56 pm

excrement… excrement
(Buddha has said, "As even a little excrement is of evil smell…)

davidbrainerd
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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:03 pm

cappuccino wrote:excrement… excrement
Excrement gets along pretty well without a self too.

Then a dung beetle comes along and eats it, so it gets anhihilated without even having to meditate. That's a pretty sweet deal for a nihilist. I guess being like dung is the goal of nihilism.

I'd prefer more like a butterfly. The cacoon is anatta, you're not that that or that, and when it finally realizes this and emerges, unbinds from the not-self, it flies away, all the anatta (the crysalis/cacoon) left behind to rot.

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cappuccino
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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:17 pm

A butterfly suffers…

davidbrainerd
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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:53 pm

cappuccino wrote:A butterfly suffers…
Its an analogy.

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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by badscooter » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:12 am

cappuccino wrote:If you know existence well… you would want to be free (from existence).
What becomes free from existence??

:anjali:
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"

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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by davidbrainerd » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:39 am

badscooter wrote:
cappuccino wrote:If you know existence well… you would want to be free (from existence).
What becomes free from existence??

:anjali:
The aggregates right? Oh wait. When I go to Nibbana all those atoms from the aggregates stay in Samsara in phenominal existence. Hmm. Looks like a soul is required after all to be able to say anything escapes phenominal existence.

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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:44 pm

Greetings David,
davidbrainerd wrote:The aggregates right? Oh wait. When I go to Nibbana all those atoms from the aggregates stay in Samsara in phenominal existence. Hmm. Looks like a soul is required after all to be able to say anything escapes phenominal existence.
No. This is wrong on so many levels.

Nibbana can be experienced here and now... it is not a place separate from physicality. No "soul" is required for any of that.

You'd be better off learning more about bhava in the Dhamma, rather than clinging to soul theories that will prevent you from ever breaking the fetters required for stream entry.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

spacenick
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Re: To be free from existence

Post by spacenick » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:10 pm

The way the Buddha defines existence is often overlooked and results in tons of confusion. Particularly crucial is the passage on name-&-form and consciousness in DN 15 (and the whole sutta is a gem and is sufficient for anyone to reach the complete cessation of Pain).
DN 15, Thanissaro translation wrote: "'From name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness. If consciousness were not to gain a foothold in name-and-form, would a coming-into-play of the origination of birth, aging, death, and stress in the future be discerned?

"No, lord."

"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for consciousness, i.e., name-and-form.

"This is the extent to which there is birth, aging, death, passing away, and re-arising. This is the extent to which there are means of designation, expression, and delineation. This is the extent to which the sphere of discernment extends, the extent to which the cycle revolves for the manifesting (discernibility) of this world — i.e., name-and-form together with consciousness.
In other words: it is only insofar as the conjunction of consciousness & name-&-form that there can be said to be a "being" that "exists" and that "the world" can be discerned. If there was no consciousness nor name-&-form, there could not be "existence". This is crucial and is a radically different way of seeing things, a paradigm shift (which is, as long as we are unenlightened, to see, to conceive of "the world" as "existing" "out there" and perceived by "myself").

This is why we call stream-entry the "breakthrough"; you are breaking through your sphere of perception if you wish. Your are breaking through the world (which is nothing more than sensations at the different sense-doors. That's as much as we can say from our subjective experience [^1])

I find the simile of a dream always helpful: it is only because there's the conjunction of consciousness with a dreaming (mind-made) body that there can be the discrimination of "the dream world".

Or, another way of conveying the same idea: let's say that today you learn about a race of strange animals that have been living for 15,000 years in the Himalayas but that you had no idea about. Because there was no conjunction of consciousness with name-&-form (or, we could say that they did not make contact with your senses doors), from your subjective experience (and using the definition of Gotama), these animals do not exist.

Because we take up the belief (ditthi) that there's an existing self and an existing world out there (two sides of the same coin), we opt for rebirth by making intention (kamma), which ripens in according realms (themselves co-created by the collective hallucination of beings thinking that they "exist"). So it's very important to get clear about that concept of "existence".

So to be free from existence is to be free from pain, because any form of existence is own-made, fabricated (sankharamed). It comes from blindness to that whole process[^2] (thinking that "I" exist, therefore having some "thing" to defend, making intentions, pushing on the Wheel of Samsara over and over again). Everything that is own-made is subject to ending. Something that is subject to ending will cause pain to the degree that one is attached to it. Something that causes pain is out of control. Something that is out of control cannot be said to be "me" or "mine".

What the Buddha is offering here is freedom from existence, but it isn't "annihilation" per se. It "is" (but does not exist, because it is a result of not own-making, not doing, having ended kamma, having stopped to push the wheel) a class of consciousness that cannot be pinned down - "unmanifest" consciousness. Nibbana.

Readings on the same topic:

SN 12.48

[^1] There's one thing said by a non-dual teacher Rupert Spira which stuck with me: "we think there's a world out there, but this has never been anyone's experience ever"
[^2] The Four Noble Truths, or Dependent Co-Arising

pegembara
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Re: anatta, another angle…

Post by pegembara » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:27 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
cappuccino wrote:excrement… excrement
Excrement gets along pretty well without a self too.

Then a dung beetle comes along and eats it, so it gets anhihilated without even having to meditate. That's a pretty sweet deal for a nihilist. I guess being like dung is the goal of nihilism.

I'd prefer more like a butterfly. The cacoon is anatta, you're not that that or that, and when it finally realizes this and emerges, unbinds from the not-self, it flies away, all the anatta (the crysalis/cacoon) left behind to rot.

Speaking of caterpillar and butterfly, where did the caterpillar go when it "became" a butterfly? Is the caterpillar anatta? If caterpillar is atta then at which point did it cease to "exist" or is it still "existing" in the form of a butterfly?

Firewood becomes ash. Ash cannot turn back into firewood again. However, we should not view ash as after and firewood as before. We should know that firewood dwells in the dharma position of firewood and it has its own before and after. Although there is before and after, past and future are cut off. Ash stays at the position of ash and it has its own before and after. As firewood never becomes firewood again after it is burned and becomes ash, after person dies, there is no return to living. However, in buddha dharma, it is a never-changing tradition not to say that life becomes death. Therefore we call it no-arising. It is the laid-down way of buddha's turning the dharma wheel not to say that death becomes life. Therefore, we call it no-perishing. Life is a position at one time; death is also a position at one time. For instance, this is like winter and spring. We don't think that winter becomes spring, and we don't say that spring becomes summer.
Dogen
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: To be free from existence

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:14 am

davidbrainerd wrote:To be free from the drama of physical/phenominal existence, but still exist, is a great freedom. To be free from existence, is something else. I think this is why people typically say "free as a bird" and "without a care in the world" rather than "free as a rock." But how about "free as an asteroid floating in space"?
The suttas talk about freedom from the taints.

"Now, O monks, what is worldly freedom? The freedom connected with the material. What is unworldly freedom? The freedom connected with the immaterial. And what is the still greater unworldly freedom? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred, and freed of delusion, then there arises freedom."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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