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What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:21 am
by TRobinson465
Hello all,

I have question. I have actually seen this question asked on other Buddhist discussion groups but the people who answered always kinda deflected the question using Thanissaro Bhikkhu's famous commentaries on self. So this might be a better place to ask it.

The Buddha states that "nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ", or that nibbana is the highest bliss (sukha).

https://suttacentral.net/dhp197-208/en/buddharakkhita

So basically, my question is, if there is no self and nibbana is the greatest bliss, what is it that experiences this bliss?


For those of you who don't know, I would like to disclose that I am actually skeptical about the more mainstream annihilationist intepretation of anatta so this wouldn't really affect my personal understanding of it. But i am curious and would like to understand the point of view of the Buddhist community with a mainstream interpretation on self, as this has always been something I had trouble wrapping my head around.

:anjali:

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:31 am
by Bundokji
Who experiences the self?

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:19 am
by cookiemonster
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:21 am
Hello all,

I have question. I have actually seen this question asked on other Buddhist discussion groups but the people who answered always kinda deflected the question using Thanissaro Bhikkhu's famous commentaries on self. So this might be a better place to ask it.

The Buddha states that "nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ", or that nibbana is the highest bliss (sukha).

https://suttacentral.net/dhp197-208/en/buddharakkhita

So basically, my question is, if there is no self and nibbana is the greatest bliss, what is it that experiences this bliss?


For those of you who don't know, I would like to disclose that I am actually skeptical about the more mainstream annihilationist intepretation of anatta so this wouldn't really affect my personal understanding of it. But i am curious and would like to understand the point of view of the Buddhist community with a mainstream interpretation on self, as this has always been something I had trouble wrapping my head around.

:anjali:
IMO those within samsaric existence experiences elements of an arahant's nibbana. Just as a fire or flame that has cooled no longer heats up those around it, an arahant's nibbana & completion of wisdom no longer fuels or reinforces the fires of delusion, greed, or aversion in others within samsara - the greatest gift one can offer others. The existing vinnana/consciousness of the arahant before parinibbana also experiences that cooling.

After an arahant paranibbana-izes, the heat of existing vinnana disbands completely and becomes the coolness of nibbana itself. Nibbana in and of itself, without dependent arising.

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:34 am
by pegembara
So basically, my question is, if there is no self and nibbana is the greatest bliss, what is it that experiences this bliss?
Happiness is experienced just as dukkha is experienced. That there is "someone" experiencing them is just an assumption. The "experiencer" is not separate from the experience. Just as the "thinker" is not separate from thinking.

"Which feeling, lord? And whose is this feeling?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said... "From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:44 am
by DooDoot
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:21 am
For those of you who don't know, I would like to disclose that I am actually skeptical about the more mainstream annihilationist intepretation of anatta...
Annihilationism & anatta appear to be total opposites because it appears Annihilationism is a self-view. Refer to DN 1; Iti 49; SN 12.17, etc. Therefore, it is doubtful there can be such thing as an "annihilationist intepretation of anatta".
84. There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists and who on seven grounds proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honorable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

85. "Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: 'The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.' In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

DN 1
:alien:
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:21 am
would like to understand the point of view of the Buddhist community with a mainstream interpretation on self, as this has always been something I had trouble wrapping my head around.
SN 22.81 appears to say 'self' is a mental formation (sankhara) that is born (jātiko) from ignorance & craving. Being a mental formation (sankhara), self would appear to have to have no real substance & is merely like an illusion (refer to Phena Sutta).
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:21 am
So basically, my question is, if there is no self and nibbana is the greatest bliss, what is it that experiences this bliss?
It appears the mind (citta) experiences NIbbana. Refer to end of MN 29 & 30 or simply Dhammapada 154.
Visaṅkhāragataṃ cittaṃ taṇhānaṃ khayamajjhagā.

The mind has reached the Unconditioned; attained the destruction of craving.

Dhammapada 154
MN 1 appears to say the 'self' cannot experience Nibbana:
Here, bhikkhus, an untaught ordinary person... perceives Nibbāna as Nibbāna. Having perceived Nibbāna as Nibbāna, he conceives himself as Nibbāna, he conceives himself in Nibbāna, he conceives himself apart from Nibbāna, he conceives Nibbāna to be ‘mine,’ he delights in Nibbāna. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

MN 1

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:13 am
by TRobinson465
DooDoot wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:44 am


It appears the mind (citta) experiences NIbbana. Refer to end of MN 29 & 30 or simply Dhammapada 154.
Visaṅkhāragataṃ cittaṃ taṇhānaṃ khayamajjhagā.

The mind has reached the Unconditioned; attained the destruction of craving.



This is actually sorta what i was looking for. thanks.

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:15 am
by TRobinson465
DooDoot wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:44 am
85. "Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: 'The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.' In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.
Interesting, can i get a link to this passage?

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:28 am
by SarathW
if there is no self
Buddha did not say that there is no self.
Instead of going to two extremes of existence and non-existence, Buddha taught Dependent Origination.
Living Buddha's old Dependently Originated consciousness still there to experience Nibbana.

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:37 am
by DooDoot
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:15 am
Interesting, can i get a link to this passage?
DN 1: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .bodh.html

To examine Pali-English: https://suttacentral.net/dn1/en/sujato
There are some ascetics and brahmins who are annihilationists. They assert the annihilation, eradication, and extermination of an existing being on seven grounds.

Santi, bhikkhave, eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā ucchedavādā sato sattassa ucchedaṃ vināsaṃ vibhavaṃ paññapenti sattahi vatthūhi.

And what are the seven grounds on which they rely?

Te ca bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā kimāgamma kimārabbha ucchedavādā sato sattassa ucchedaṃ vināsaṃ vibhavaṃ paññapenti sattahi vatthūhi?

There are some ascetics and brahmins who have this doctrine and view:

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā evaṃvādī hoti evaṃdiṭṭhi:

‘This self is physical, made up of the four primary elements, and produced by mother and father. Since it’s annihilated and destroyed when the body breaks up, and doesn’t exist after death, that’s how this self becomes rightly annihilated.’

‘yato kho, bho, ayaṃ attā rūpī cātumahābhūtiko mātāpettikasambhavo kāyassa bhedā ucchijjati vinassati, na hoti paraṃ maraṇā, ettāvatā kho, bho, ayaṃ attā sammā samucchinno hotī’ti.

That is how some assert the annihilation of an existing being.

Ittheke sato sattassa ucchedaṃ vināsaṃ vibhavaṃ paññapenti.

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:39 am
by TRobinson465
SarathW wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:28 am
if there is no self
Buddha did not say that there is no self.
Instead of going to two extremes of existence and non-existence, Buddha taught Dependent Origination.
Living Buddha's old Dependently Originated consciousness still there to experience Nibbana.
Yes, im aware that he never says this. As when asked, he didn't answer. but reading through some of the anatta threads its apparent many people on this forum interpret the phrase "Sabbe dhamma anatta" "All phenomenon are not self" to imply that there is no self. thus the criticism of groups and teachers who teach otherwise.

for instance.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=11079
viewtopic.php?t=18229
https://speculativenonbuddhism.com/2013 ... o-bhikkhu/

So I would simply like to know what this particular group of people think experiences happiness after nibbana.

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:40 am
by TRobinson465
DooDoot wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:37 am
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:15 am
Interesting, can i get a link to this passage?
DN 1: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .bodh.html

To examine Pali-English: https://suttacentral.net/dn1/en/sujato
There are some ascetics and brahmins who are annihilationists. They assert the annihilation, eradication, and extermination of an existing being on seven grounds.

Santi, bhikkhave, eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā ucchedavādā sato sattassa ucchedaṃ vināsaṃ vibhavaṃ paññapenti sattahi vatthūhi.

And what are the seven grounds on which they rely?

Te ca bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā kimāgamma kimārabbha ucchedavādā sato sattassa ucchedaṃ vināsaṃ vibhavaṃ paññapenti sattahi vatthūhi?

There are some ascetics and brahmins who have this doctrine and view:

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā evaṃvādī hoti evaṃdiṭṭhi:

‘This self is physical, made up of the four primary elements, and produced by mother and father. Since it’s annihilated and destroyed when the body breaks up, and doesn’t exist after death, that’s how this self becomes rightly annihilated.’

‘yato kho, bho, ayaṃ attā rūpī cātumahābhūtiko mātāpettikasambhavo kāyassa bhedā ucchijjati vinassati, na hoti paraṃ maraṇā, ettāvatā kho, bho, ayaṃ attā sammā samucchinno hotī’ti.

That is how some assert the annihilation of an existing being.

Ittheke sato sattassa ucchedaṃ vināsaṃ vibhavaṃ paññapenti.
Cool thanks. :anjali:

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:41 am
by DooDoot
SarathW wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:28 am
Buddha did not say that there is no self.
What about this? :shrug:
Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
:candle:
SarathW wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:28 am
Living Buddha's old Dependently Originated consciousness still there to experience Nibbana.
Since the Buddha was free from ignorance, how could Dependently Originated consciousness arise? :shrug:
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:39 am
Yes, im aware that he never says this. As when asked, he didn't answer.
This only most notably happened once (SN 44.10), when speaking to a confused person. However, in SN 44.10, the subject of "anatta" was not mentioned by or with the confused person.
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:39 am
but reading through some of the anatta threads its apparent many people on this forum interpret the phrase "Sabbe dhamma anatta" "All phenomenon are not self" to imply that there is no self.
The suttas report the Buddha said what is a "disease" and what is "suffering" the world calls "self". It appears the Buddha never said there was a "self". Instead, it appears the Buddha only said there is the arising of "disease" ("mental illness") and "suffering". If a mentally ill person believes they are Julius Ceasar or Jesus Christ, would you affirm that "self"?

This world is burning.
Afflicted by contact,
it calls disease a 'self.'

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

SN 12.15 https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Why now do you assume 'a being'? [' a self']
Mara, have you grasped a view?
This is a heap of sheer constructions:
Here no being is found.

Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being.'

It's only suffering that comes to be,
Suffering that stands and falls away.
Nothing but suffering comes to be,
Nothing but suffering ceases.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .bodh.html

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:50 am
by robertk
all there is is dukkha, and the end of dukkha.

What could be happier than the final end of dukkha.

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:12 am
by TRobinson465
robertk wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:50 am
all there is is dukkha, and the end of dukkha.

What could be happier than the final end of dukkha.
I was thinking the same thing. But I sorta feel like some people would rather just have several long experiences in truly "happy" realms like the heaven or brahma realms than just disappear. although this could certainly be a wrong way of thinking about life i feel like many people would prefer this to ceasing to exist.

Re: What experiences happiness in Nibbana?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:21 am
by robertk
TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:12 am
robertk wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:50 am
all there is is dukkha, and the end of dukkha.

What could be happier than the final end of dukkha.
I was thinking the same thing. But I sorta feel like some people would rather just have several long experiences in truly "happy" realms like the heaven or brahma realms than just disappear. although this could certainly be a wrong way of thinking about life i feel like many people would prefer this to ceasing to exist.
Well, let's be honest. Most of us would enjoy winning lotto, and having power and the trappings - even in this life. And lots of pleasure and bliss and peace for a long time in other realms doesn't sound so bad.

But only total ending of the khandhas is the real extinction of dukkha.