Someone here few days back warned me of rebirth in lower realms if I did not immediately stop being an agnostic and became an atheist.
Hi No_Mind, I never meant to say so, you have been misunderstood. I meant only to give you some information, not to frighten you. This is also the reason I didn't answer your questions on that thread of yours. I said the choice is yours. I didn't expect you to argue. It is about faith, conviction, saddha, something no one can be forced to believe.
Enlightenment (in buddhist context) is a ruse only for those who don't understand or don't have any idea. You are from India, the birthplace of Buddhism, yet you look for the answer on western forum. It is not a problem at all, I'm just expressing how ironic dhamma ending age can be. The place where buddhism was flourish and now buddhism have become minority. You seem to be serious with your inquiries about enlightenment. Let me try to shed light for you.
Since Theravada is almost all about commentary, earlier I thought there is no Theravada monk who looks at the four main nikayas anymore. Until I found from a thread someone pointed out
on this thread
Nyana wrote:Given your penchant for reading Vedic views into the dhamma there's probably very little point in trying to clarify this issue. But here are a couple of contemporary Theravāda authors who refute your ideas about consciousness and nibbāna:
Nibbana is not Viññāṇa. Really, it just isn’t by Ven Sujato.
The Mind Stilled: 33 Sermons on Nibbāna by Ven. Ñāṇananda.
[ I'm not sure if Ven Nanananda's view of Nibbana is the same as Ven Sujato's. I haven't gone through the 33 audio talks, too much to go through for me. I tried to listen some yet I didn't get any of his points. But from the title, "Mind Stilled", it suggests the same idea. So I guess they have the same view. ]
Ven Sujato's understanding of nibbana can be found just right there is suttas, yet it doesn't seem to be popular. What popular in the mainstream Theravada these days is the Burmese Vipassana movement, besides the Thai Forest tradition. Even among thai buddhist monks I heard there is view that vipassana is a kind of shortcut to enlightenment compared to samatha. There is samatha-vipassana dichotomy. Discounting Noble 8-fold Path to Noble 7-fold Path is also a contribution of vipassana movement. No wonder many newcomers got lost. The problem is that they don't known they've got lost.
Those who rely on commentary and don't investigate the suttas usually only know the exposition of nibbana or epithet of nibbana, that's the farthest they know, they are stuck. The entire Buddhist path (the theory) is still a big mystery for them. "End of suffering", "free from greed, hatred, delusion", "cessation of craving", they are only expositions. "Unconditioned", "deathless", they are only epithets. Expositions and epithets, they are the other words used by the Buddha to say something about nibbana.
This is where the problem lays. The problem can be seen from the way, the technique to accomplish it. A quite famous monk from a well known lineage on his video (someone posted on another thread) says to abandon craving (tanha). A famous burmese vipassana teacher taught to observe feeling (vedana), resorting to indifferent feeling so that there will be no craving. Anyone who understands, or at least considers the law of dependent origination can see the problem in those approaches. Now compare it with what Ven Sujato said. Since it doesn't seem to be so popular, probably many theravadins never heard it before. He said: "cessation of consciousness".
Take a look at a very good sutta quote someone replied on the same thread
kirk5a wrote:SN 12.51 wrote:
"When there is utterly no consciousness, with the cessation of consciousness, would name-and-form be discerned?"
"No, venerable sir."
This is the more complete quote of the sutta:
SN 12.51 wrote:SN 12.51
When there is utterly no consciousness, with the cessation of consciousness
, would name-and-form be discerned?”
“No, venerable sir.”
“When there is utterly no name-and-form … no six sense bases ... ... no contact ... no feeling ... no craving ... no clinging ... no existence … no birth, with the cessation of birth, would aging-and-death be discerned?”
“No, venerable sir.”
“Good, good, bhikkhus! It is exactly so and not otherwise! Place faith in me about this
, bhikkhus, resolve on this. Be free from perplexity and doubt about this
. Just this is the end of suffering
Now you can see what the Buddha's instruction is and what those vipassana-fever teachers' is. The Buddha taught to work on (resolve on) the lowest of the chain of the dependent origination, while today's teachers teach to work on somewhere in the middle of the chain of dependent origination. The Buddha taught to destroyed the root - to make like a palmyra stump, deprived of further arising, while today's teachers teach to destroy the stem or branch.
"That's all I have to say about that". Please allow me to borrow the Forrest Gump quote (someone has used it in this forum.)
ps: I don't know if you can understand it or it is what you are looking for. Nevertheless, may this information useful for anyone with faith in the teaching.