Here is my post regarding (Sam)bodhi.
This quote is from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Fabricated = conditioned = saṅkhata.
"Is the noble eightfold path fabricated or unfabricated?"
"The noble eightfold path is fabricated."
If Noble Eightfold Paths is conditioned then the Four Noble Truths is also conditioned. As Nirodha is in Four Noble Truths, this will make Nirodha conditioned. However, Nibbana is unconditioned so I think this will rule out that Nirodha is equal to Nibbana.
And the sutta mentioned that when an arahants awake(sambodhi
), they are awoken to the Four Noble Truths. That in effects say that sambodhi
is conditioned by the Four Noble Truths. Another way of looking is that awakening is conditioned by the maturing of the Seven Factors of Awakening. Then the state they reach is Nibbana which is unconditioned. So, that is the reason I also don’t equate (Sam)bodhi with Nibbana.
Now let’s deal with the list.
First, some housekeeping. In your discussion with Savant, you have about 22 itemized contention or sutta quote. To that I will add the following item you mentioned just to keep tract of them.
23] S.N. IV 251 and IV 321
24] S.N. IV 371
25] MN i 167; MLDB page 260
26] MN ii 83; MLDB page 697
From this I want discuss the list shown on items because they show common feature.
9] SN v 82
10] SN v 437 cf DN i 189
11] SN ii 223
13] SN iv 330-1
14] MN i 15
26] MN ii 83; MLDB page 697
25] may seems needed to be included but it can be interpreted differently. I think if one would go through the sutta more thoroughly, one can find more similar list. But 26] MN ii83 is the most complete and representative of the list, so I quoted them below.
MN ii 83; MLDB page 697: “This is the good practice instituted by me now, which leads to complete disenchantment [ekantanibbāya], to dispassion [virāgāya], cessation [nirodhāya], to peace[upasamāya], to direct knowledge [abhiññāya], to enlightenment [sambodhāya], to Nibbana.”
Because I don’t equate (Sam)bodhi with Nibbana, when I read the list above, instead of synonym I see a progression, like stages of development culminating in Nibbana. In fact, one can fit Buddha chronology of his development into the list:
1. His complete disenchantment with the sorrow of daily, aging, death.
2. His dispassion of that life that drives him to become contemplative.
3. His cessation of lay life and beginning of contemplative life.
4. His peace obtain through samadhi.
5. The three knowledge obtain in the night of his enlightenment.
6. To his englightenment.
I would say, he is speaking from his own life experience to Nibbana.
Note that the list follow this general logical format: “If you do what I just teach you, it will lead you to … , … , … , Nibbana”. But the list occurs so often in the sutta (albeit with varying number of items), one would wonder why? One possibility is that when a Bhikkhu accepted Buddha’s teaching to reach for Nibbana, the natural inclination would be to think “how would I get from where I am now to Nibbana?” Sensing that question, the Buddha would dish out a list (depending on the inclinaton of the Bhikkhu) showing how adoption of his teaching would put the Bhikkhu on a progressive stage from where he is to Nibbana.
This list contain 6 items plus Nibbana. As I recall, the sutta is quite meticulous with lists. It may remove items from a list but it rarely mixed up the sequence. In fact of the 6 lists (9,10,11,13,14,26), although the item at the beginning of the list may differs, the last three (direct knowledge, enlightenment, Nibbana) are always the same. It’s like saying, at beginning of their path toward Nibbana, the Bhikkhus are quite varied in term of what their stages of development. But getting closer, they are converging. And at the end they end up at the same Nibbana. The direct knowledge of various Arahants would be different because some have 3 knowledges while other just one. I think the Arahants (Sam)bodhi would be different because it is conditioned by their individual bojhanga.
List presented in 14] (MN I 15) is peculiar. It started with wisdom and as I recall, it appears quite frequently in the sutta, perhaps as frequently as list in 26] (MN ii 83). One conjecture is that MN ii 83 is a list intended for Bhikkhu with inclination of ceto-vimutti, and MN i 15 is intended for Bhikkhu with inclination of panna-vimutti. Just a guess.
These six item could also be an indicator to Nibbana in the same way traffic sign “Missouri” could mean one is entering the state of Missouri. But when one equate Nirodha or (Sam)bodhi with Nibbana, that is like saying the traffic sign “Missouri” is equal to the state of Missouri. Tell that to the Missourians and they might say “Show me!”.
Another way these six can be an indicator to Nibbana is in a colloquial context. In conversation, monks in Thailand would say “That monk is peaceful.”, which is a coded word for monk with high attainment, perhaps even an Arahant.
But I think to equate any of the six items in this list to Nibbana is a danger of mistaken the raft for the destination.
Let me give an analogy to illustrate my interpretation. Suppose suffering is equal to breathing polluted air. Complete disenchantment is like disenchantment with breathing the poluted air everday in the valley. Dispassion would be like no longer interested in doing any activity there. Cessation is like ceasing to live in the valley and begin to travel up the mountain where the air is fresher. Peace is like being refresh as the air quality get better. Direct knowledge is like knowledge that we ourself caused that pollution in the air. Enlightment is like reaching the summit where the air is totally fresh. Nibbana is like the absence of polution in the air.
Finally, I prefer the path of Arahantship than Bodhisatva but not so inspire to discuss the distinction between Buddha and Arahant. I have a few observations regarding the Bodhisatva path.
It seems like it is the student who is eager to pursue Bodhisatva Path. If we accept the story of the present Buddha where in the past life he made the vow to become the Buddha, the vow was made by his own determination, not by the urging of the past Buddha that he met. I don’t think any Buddha could have recommend Bodhisatva Path. While the Noble Eighfold Path was just being reveal, it would have been very odd to encourage anybody to go through eons of lifetime perfecting their paramis just to be like Buddha. That would be a cruelty and not compassion which is the quality of enlighten person. Ven. Sariputa was chastized by Buddha for teaching a brahmin to be reborn in Brahma world. So Buddha encouraging people to pursue Bodhisatva Path? No.