mikenz66 wrote:Is that your invention, or does it have some basis in suttas or commentaries?
retrofuturist wrote:I think it's my invention (though I vaguely recall Ajahn Chah saying something not dissimilar) ... it just seemed like an apt way of explaining the point I was trying to make.
mikenz66 wrote:In the story I remember Ajahn Chah was talking about people coming to him with their problems. He said was a rubbish bin with no bottom, so he didn't keep any of the rubbish.
I'm afraid I don't understand what you're getting at, but we're probably getting off topic for this thread...
I think retro's point was more or less the same as my point with the story of stopping smoking (he is not describing the story you recall above, but makes a different simile), though his had more layers of detail than mine on smoking. The point being that the practice gives us evidence. I had assumed his simile was in answer to your question "How do you know you're heading in the direction of Nibbana?"
mikenz66 wrote:That nibbana is possible. Something that I take on faith.
retrofuturist wrote:That's one way of getting there... there may be others.
For example, nibbana is asankhara (unfabricated). We can observe sankharas (fabrications) rise and cease.
mikenz66 wrote:Sure, that's the normal thing to do isn't it? Watch rise and fall, etc.
We can learn to tranquillize the fabrications. We can learn that it is possible to forestall the rising of sankharas.
mikenz66 wrote:Sure, with the cessation of ignorance, clinging, etc....
In other words, rather than headlong believing in nibbana, we can see and understand the characteristics of experience which make it not nibbana.
I don't understand the point here. Did anyone suggest attaining nibbana by believing it?
What I meant was that we take the possibility of nibbana on faith, and then we practice. As you say:
But that doesn't contradict your statement that "There is an appeal to authority by all non-ariyan Dhamma practitioners."
I say it does contradict. This is where the difference is, as far as I can tell. Mike is saying that faith comes first, and then practice bears it out, whereas I would say that practice comes first, then experience, then confidence, and faith has nothing to do with it.
And anyway, it seems to me that Mike's "taking the possibility of nibbana" isn't faith at all. It's accepting a possibility. Faith is *believing* in something, not accepting something as a possible.