enlightenment in theravada

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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dudette
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enlightenment in theravada

Post by dudette » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:23 am

There is one more thing which puzzles me in Theravada Buddhism.
Normally, Enlightenment is described in Buddhism the same way as in Hinduism (mokcha) which is just "The Sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-
Perception" or some kind of state of mind which is reached via meditation. OK!
But then in Theravada, I have noticed that there are two "different" understanding of enlightenment. The first one is like in zen, hinduism and other religions (via deep meditation you reach the enlightenment); however, the second one is something like Walpola Rahula, Jiddu Krishnamurt and Stoics said that enlightenment is not just state of mind which is achieved via meditation, but actually transformation of your mind/personality which is free of desires and passions.

I am not sure what to think about this :(
I mean am I wrong about this?

santa100
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by santa100 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:59 am

dudette wrote:Normally, Enlightenment is described in Buddhism the same way as in Hinduism (mokcha) which is just "The Sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception" or some kind of state of mind which is reached via meditation.
Actually that's a very strange definition of enlightenment according to both the Theravada's Nikayas and Mahayana's Agamas sources. The Neither-Perception-nor-Non-Perception attainment is just a meditative state (the 8th state to be accurate). Above that, there's the 9th state called Cessation of Feeling and Perception, which is the last and highest meditative state, but neither one by itself is defined as enlightenment. (ref: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html ). Also refer to Ven. Gunaratana's excellent "The Jhanas" for further info.

cookiemonster
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by cookiemonster » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:03 am

dudette wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:23 am
There is one more thing which puzzles me in Theravada Buddhism.
Normally, Enlightenment is described in Buddhism the same way as in Hinduism (mokcha) which is just "The Sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-
Perception" or some kind of state of mind which is reached via meditation. OK!
But then in Theravada, I have noticed that there are two "different" understanding of enlightenment. The first one is like in zen, hinduism and other religions (via deep meditation you reach the enlightenment); however, the second one is something like Walpola Rahula, Jiddu Krishnamurt and Stoics said that enlightenment is not just state of mind which is achieved via meditation, but actually transformation of your mind/personality which is free of desires and passions.

I am not sure what to think about this :(
I mean am I wrong about this?
Enlightenment, to me, simply means freedom from dukkha. Different methods can be employed to achieve that freedom.

pegembara
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by pegembara » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:36 am

Is the release from the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. From birth, aging & death, from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.

It comes from seeing the 3 marks of existence ie. seeing things as they are.
“Monks, the All is aflame. Which All is aflame?

With that, too, he grows disenchanted. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’”

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN35_28.html
Regardless of time and place, the whole practice of Dhamma comes to completion at the place where there is nothing. It’s the place of surrender, of emptiness, of laying down the burden. This is the finish. It’s not like the person who says, ‘Why is the flag fluttering in the wind? I say it’s because of the wind.’ Another person says it’s because of the flag. The other retorts that it’s because of the wind. There’s no end to this! The same as the old riddle, ‘Which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ There’s no way to reach a conclusion, this is just nature.

All these things we say are merely conventions, we establish them ourselves. If you know these things with wisdom then you’ll know impermanence, suffering and not-self. This is the outlook which leads to enlightenment.

https://buddhismnow.com/2017/04/30/this ... jahn-chah/
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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budo
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by budo » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:02 am

dudette wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:23 am
There is one more thing which puzzles me in Theravada Buddhism.
Normally, Enlightenment is described in Buddhism the same way as in Hinduism (mokcha) which is just "The Sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-
Perception" or some kind of state of mind which is reached via meditation. OK!
But then in Theravada, I have noticed that there are two "different" understanding of enlightenment. The first one is like in zen, hinduism and other religions (via deep meditation you reach the enlightenment); however, the second one is something like Walpola Rahula, Jiddu Krishnamurt and Stoics said that enlightenment is not just state of mind which is achieved via meditation, but actually transformation of your mind/personality which is free of desires and passions.

I am not sure what to think about this :(
I mean am I wrong about this?
It's both

On cushion = meditation (jhanas)/contemplation
Off cushion = sila/ethics/conduct/reflection/contemplation

Both are a means to an end: nibbana

If you have attained enlightenment then why would you desire other things? Of course you've been transformed. However some people have the latter (lifestyle) without the former (enlightenment), like stoicism and asceticism for example. But everyone who has the former (enlightenment) has the latter (lifestyle).

Dinsdale
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:29 am

dudette wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:23 am
enlightenment is not just state of mind which is achieved via meditation, but actually transformation of your mind/personality which is free of desires and passions.
I understand Buddhist enlightenment to be a permanent transformation of one's state of mind.
In Theravada it is commonly described as a mind ( permanently ) freed from the taints.

I think the third frame of the Satipatthana Sutta ( MN10 ) on contemplation of Mind provides some useful clues:

"When the mind is without passion, he discerns that the mind is without passion... When the mind is without aversion, he discerns that the mind is without aversion.... When the mind is without delusion, he discerns that the mind is without delusion.
"When the mind is enlarged, he discerns that the mind is enlarged.... When the mind is unsurpassed, he discerns that the mind is unsurpassed."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Crazy cloud
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by Crazy cloud » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:49 am

dudette wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:23 am
There is one more thing which puzzles me in Theravada Buddhism.
Normally, Enlightenment is described in Buddhism the same way as in Hinduism (mokcha) which is just "The Sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-
Perception" or some kind of state of mind which is reached via meditation. OK!
But then in Theravada, I have noticed that there are two "different" understanding of enlightenment. The first one is like in zen, hinduism and other religions (via deep meditation you reach the enlightenment); however, the second one is something like Walpola Rahula, Jiddu Krishnamurt and Stoics said that enlightenment is not just state of mind which is achieved via meditation, but actually transformation of your mind/personality which is free of desires and passions.

I am not sure what to think about this :(
I mean am I wrong about this?
Maybe the biggest difference is how these different sects understands the word or concept of "meditation". I have experienced the same feeling of cessation of self from both formal meditation, and off the cushion but still in a meditative state of mind.
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

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rightviewftw
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:31 am

Enlightenment in the doctrine of analysis is defined as an awakening to the truth, which is defined as
When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on delusion, he places conviction in him. With the arising of conviction, he visits him & grows close to him. Growing close to him, he lends ear. Lending ear, he hears the Dhamma. Hearing the Dhamma, he remembers it. Remembering it, he penetrates the meaning of those dhammas. Penetrating the meaning, he comes to an agreement through pondering those dhammas. There being an agreement through pondering those dhammas, desire arises. With the arising of desire, he becomes willing. Willing, he contemplates (lit: "weighs," "compares"). Contemplating, he makes an exertion. Exerting himself, he both realizes the ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with discernment."To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is an awakening to the truth. To this extent one awakens to the truth. I describe this as an awakening to the truth. But it is not yet the final attainment of the truth.

This realization can be further defined as seeing the cessation of aggregates and knowing the unmade. Further defining the unmade without meditative attainments is not something that the average person can grasp as that truth is hard to see, the unconditioned element is beyond conjecture but it is not impossible to get an idea by understanding what it is not, by understanding the conditioned. One could also say that those who are faith and dhamma-followers are also enlightened in that they are guaranteed awakening. The awakening is also referred to as seeing with wisdom and culmination of discernment faculty, thus it can be understood that it is also referred to as destruction of delusion. Having seen with discernment one sees and understands the fourfold round namely the conditioned, how it originates, it's cessation and the how the cesation is brought about. Having seen with discernment one gains knowledge of destruction of greed, anger and delusion, having thus seen one comes to eventually destroy delusion along with other taints and at that point one is said to have attained the truth. Having thus attained the truth the conditioned will be brought to an end with the breakup of the body.
He goes to Niraya, the one who asserts what didn't take place, as does the one who, having done, says, 'I didn't.' Both — low-acting people — there become equal: after death, in the world beyond.
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
How to Meditate: Mindfulness of Breathing
Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
How to Meditate: Basic Satipatthana
Parallel Dhammapada Reading

Dinsdale
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:12 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:31 am
This realization can be further defined as seeing the cessation of aggregates and knowing the unmade.
Knowing the unmade I agree with, but what do you mean by "cessation of the aggregates"? Aren't the aggregates just a model of experience?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Sam Vara
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:18 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:12 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:31 am
This realization can be further defined as seeing the cessation of aggregates and knowing the unmade.
Knowing the unmade I agree with, but what do you mean by "cessation of the aggregates"? Aren't the aggregates just a model of experience?
Wouldn't that just mean the cessation of experience?

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rightviewftw
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:26 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:12 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:31 am
This realization can be further defined as seeing the cessation of aggregates and knowing the unmade.
Knowing the unmade I agree with, but what do you mean by "cessation of the aggregates"? Aren't the aggregates just a model of experience?
i am not sure what confuses you but here are some Sutta excerpts, see if anything sticks and ask if it is still unclear;
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, "Monks, there are these five clinging-aggregates. Which five? Form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as an a clinging-aggregate.

"Now, as long as I did not have direct knowledge of the fourfold round with regard to these five clinging-aggregates, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening in this cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, in this generation with its brahmans & contemplatives, its royalty & common people. But when I did have direct knowledge of the fourfold round with regard to these five clinging-aggregates, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening in this cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, in this generation with its brahmans & contemplatives, its royalty & common people.

"The fourfold round in what way? I had direct knowledge of form... of the origination of form... of the cessation of form... of the path of practice leading to the cessation of form.

"I had direct knowledge of feeling...

"I had direct knowledge of perception...

"I had direct knowledge of fabrications...

"I had direct knowledge of consciousness... of the origination of consciousness... of the cessation of consciousness... of the path of practice leading to the cessation of consciousness.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"And what is the faculty of discernment? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising & passing away — noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. He discerns, as it has come to be: 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.' This is called the faculty of discernment.
Eyes
This was said by the Lord …

“Bhikkhus, there are these three eyes. What three? The fleshly eye, the divine eye, and the wisdom eye. These, bhikkhus, are the three eyes.”

The fleshly eye, the divine eye,
And the unsurpassed wisdom eye—
These three eyes were described
By the Buddha, supreme among men.

The arising of the fleshly eye
Is the path to the divine eye,
But the unsurpassed wisdom eye
Is that from which knowledge arises.
By obtaining such an eye
One is released from all suffering.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .wlsh.html
"Monks, I declare that the destruction of the cankers[2] comes for him who knows and sees, and not for him who does not know and does not see. By knowing what, by seeing what, does the destruction of the cankers come about? 'Such is material form, such is its arising, such is its passing away; such is feeling... such is perception... such are the mental formations... such is consciousness, such is its arising, such is its passing away': for him who knows this, for him who sees this, the destruction of the cankers comes about.
“But when one sees with correct wisdom
The truths of the noble ones—
Suffering and its origin,
The overcoming of suffering,
And the Noble Eightfold Path
That leads to suffering’s appeasement—
Then that person, having wandered on
For seven more times at most,
Makes an end to suffering
By destroying all the fetters.”
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:18 pm
Dinsdale wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:12 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:31 am
This realization can be further defined as seeing the cessation of aggregates and knowing the unmade.
Knowing the unmade I agree with, but what do you mean by "cessation of the aggregates"? Aren't the aggregates just a model of experience?
Wouldn't that just mean the cessation of experience?
yes basically. it implies cessation of Nama&Rupa.
He goes to Niraya, the one who asserts what didn't take place, as does the one who, having done, says, 'I didn't.' Both — low-acting people — there become equal: after death, in the world beyond.
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
How to Meditate: Mindfulness of Breathing
Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
How to Meditate: Basic Satipatthana
Parallel Dhammapada Reading

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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:27 pm

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:heart:
Mike

Dinsdale
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:24 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:26 pm
Dinsdale wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:12 pm
Wouldn't that just mean the cessation of experience?
yes basically. it implies cessation of Nama&Rupa.
I'm still not clear what this means, practically speaking. Do you mean nothing arising at the sense bases, no sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, etc?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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rightviewftw
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:58 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:24 am
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:26 pm
Dinsdale wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:12 pm
Wouldn't that just mean the cessation of experience?
yes basically. it implies cessation of Nama&Rupa.
I'm still not clear what this means, practically speaking. Do you mean nothing arising at the sense bases, no sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, etc?
this means that the sense-bases themselves cease and arise again, with their cessation and arising clearly discerned. Practically it would be discerned as the internal and external world disappearing along with time and space and arising a new, thus the person also ceasing and arising a new and thus coming to to know that if the conditioned is not = the unconditioned is, comes to know the ground for the conditioned as the conditioned phenomena are not manifest [are uprooted], the primary happiness described thus;
‘Where do earth, water, fire and air no footing find?
Where are long and short, small and great, fair and foul -
Where are “name-and-form” wholly destroyed?’
And the answer is:
‘Where consciousness is signless,
boundless, all-luminous,
That’s where earth, water, fire and air find no footing,
There both long and short, small and great, fair and foul -
There “name-and-form” are wholly destroyed.
With the cessation of consciousness this is all destroyed.’”
the unconditioned state is not seen by means of the eye or the perception or any sense base of the being who experiences cessation, neither the world nor what constitutes a being gains footing beyond the treshold of cessation;
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe36/sbe3605.htm
Questions of King Milinda;
...
'Well! therefore is it that while a cause for the realisation of Nirvâna can be declared, the cause of its origin can not. And could a man, O king, by his ordinary power cross over the great ocean in a ship, and so go to the further shore of it?'

'Yes, Sir, he could.'

'But could a man [270] by his ordinary power bring the further shore of the ocean here?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Well! so is it that while a cause for the realisation of Nirvâna can be declared, the cause of its origin can not. And why not? Because Nirvâna is not put together of any qualities.'

16. 'What, Sir! is it not put together?'

'No, O king. It is uncompounded, not made of anything. Of Nirvâna, O king, it cannot be said that it has been produced, or not been produced, or that it can be produced 1, that it is past or future or present, that it is perceptible by the eye or the ear or the nose or the tongue, or by the sense of touch.'

'But if so, Nâgasena, then you are only showing

p. 106

us how Nirvâna is a condition that does not exist 1. There can be no such thing as Nirvâna.'

'Nirvâna exists, O king. And it is perceptible to the mind. By means of his pure heart, refined and straight, free from the obstacles 2, free from low cravings, that disciple of the Noble Ones who has fully attained can see Nirvâna.'

17. 'Then what, Sir, is Nirvâna? Such a Nirvâna (I mean) as can be explained by similes 3. Convince me by argument how far the fact of its existence can be explained by similes.'

'Is there such a thing, O king, as wind?'

'Yes, of course.'

'Show it me then, I pray you, O king--whether by its colour, or its form, whether as thin or thick, or short or long!'

'But wind, Nâgasena, cannot be pointed out in that way 4. It is not of such a nature that it can be taken into the hand or squeezed. But it exists all the same.'

'If you can't show me the wind, then there can't be such a thing.'

'But I know there is, Nâgasena. That wind

p. 107

exists I am convinced 1, [271] though I cannot show it you.'

'Well! just so, O king, does Nirvâna exist, though it cannot be shown to you in colour or in form 2.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
my preferred translation of dhp 1;
1 Mind precedes created things;
Mind is chief; mind-made are they.
purified discernment conditions right intention and right intention is not intending on arising of conditioned phenomena [suffering]
"But when one doesn't intend, arrange, or obsess [about anything], there is no support for the stationing of consciousness. There being no support, there is no landing of consciousness. When that consciousness doesn't land & grow, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress."
, thus that which is mind made is not brought into being by means of discernment. Therefore the unconditioned is not cognized, felt or perceived by or as that which is brought into being but it is itself explained as "Consciousness without a Feature" or "Consciousness that is signless" or my preferred translation "Consciousness without a medium".
Constant and beyond time.
Here is more on this particular point of viññanam anidassanam , from viewtopic.php?f=19&t=31737#p468800 ;
The phase viññanam anidassanam has been explained by the pali attakattha and tika. Suan Lu zwa, a Burmese pali scholar writes:

"Tattha viññatabbanti "Viññanam" nibbanassetam namam,.."

"There, to be known specially, so (it is) "Viññanam". This is the name of nibbana."

And Kevatta Sutta Tika further explains the phrase "viññatabbanti" as follows:

"Viññatabbanti visitthena ñatabbam, ñanuttamena ariyamaggañanena paccakkhato janitabbanti attho, tenaha "nibbanassetam namam"ti."

"(To be known specially) means to be extraordinarily known. The meaning is 'to be known in the sense of realization by ultimate wisdom, by noble path wisdom'". Therefore, (the commentator) stated that 'This is the name of nibbana'" Therefore, the term 'Viññanam' in the line of the original Pali verse "Viññanam anidassanam, anantam sabbatopabham .." does not refer to consciousness, the usual meaning of viññanam.
In fact, the same verse includes the following two lines "Ettha namañca rupañca, asesam uparujjhati
Viññanassa nirodhena, etthetam uparujjhati'ti". "Here (in nibbana), nama as well as rupa ceases without remainder. By ceasing of consciousness, nama as well as rupa ceases here."
Nibbana does not become a sort of consciousness just because one of its Pali names happens to be Viññanam. In English language, the term 'object' can have different meanings. For example, the term 'object' in visual object has no relation to
the term 'object' in my object of studying Pali."" endquote Suan
He goes to Niraya, the one who asserts what didn't take place, as does the one who, having done, says, 'I didn't.' Both — low-acting people — there become equal: after death, in the world beyond.
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
How to Meditate: Mindfulness of Breathing
Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
How to Meditate: Basic Satipatthana
Parallel Dhammapada Reading

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rightviewftw
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Re: enlightenment in theravada

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:58 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:58 pm
...
purified discernment conditions right intention and right intention is not intending on arising of conditioned phenomena [suffering]
"But when one doesn't intend, arrange, or obsess [about anything], there is no support for the stationing of consciousness. There being no support, there is no landing of consciousness. When that consciousness doesn't land & grow, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress."
, thus that which is mind made is not brought into being by means of discernment.
...
The above is not well formulated, what i meant is that when discernment is cultivated one becomes dispassionate and directs the mind to cessation:
“Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self. He turns his mind away from those states [436] and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ I
He goes to Niraya, the one who asserts what didn't take place, as does the one who, having done, says, 'I didn't.' Both — low-acting people — there become equal: after death, in the world beyond.
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
How to Meditate: Mindfulness of Breathing
Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
How to Meditate: Basic Satipatthana
Parallel Dhammapada Reading

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