tiltbillings wrote: But as you say, nibbana is "only more unimaginably profound." (How do you know that?) If it's so different from what we can possibly imagine.. if it's so different from our past experience, how can we speak of it at all? How can we know our projection is accurate? Conceptualizing nibbana in such a way is pragmatic in the sense that it motivates our practice toward a goal, but can we say with any conviction we actually know what nibbana is?
How do I know that? The sentence that you quote in part in whole reads: "That I would imagine is what nibbana would be, but only more unimaginably profound.
" Obviously, I do not know, but given that the awakening to the Dhamma plays itself out in the world
, it would be surprising if the experience of nibbana would not be foreshadowed by the experiences of practices of meditation in the "world."
As to what nibbana really is, I think the practices outlined by the Buddha point to letting go, unbinding, cessation, and in the context of meditation practice (but not solely limited to meditation experiences) we can experience small letting go-s, small unbindings, small cessations. I do not know why nibbana would be some experience totally unrelated. The texts suggest that the experience of nibbana is not unrelated to what is foreshadowed by the very practice itself, which makes sense, and it is the reason why I interpret the Dhamma the way I do.
On the other hand, that is what I believe, it is my opinion, but I do keep Seng-Ts'an in mind when it comes to my opinions, but in actual terms of practice, I really do not care. I don't worry about it; I do not worry about attainments of any sort, jhana, sotapanna, etc. The practice is about letting go. I do not much like the word "enlightenment" as a translation of bodhi
, but the word enlightenment does allow one to pun on it. The practice is about lightening-up
, carrying less baggage, and so forth.
These conversations can be fun, but . . . .