What's after the end

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
starphlo
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What's after the end

Post by starphlo » Tue Aug 11, 2015 5:42 am

I know I'm missing someting here and this is most likely a stupid question. If we cease the cycle of becomming, where do we go? After Buddha's enlightenment and subsequent death, where did he go?
Thank you for your indulgence:)

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samseva
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Re: What's after the end

Post by samseva » Tue Aug 11, 2015 5:50 am

After having attained Nibbāna and the ceasing of the life faculty, the five aggregates break up and there is no rebirth.

pegembara
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Re: What's after the end

Post by pegembara » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:06 am

Eternal peace. After waking up, self identification with the mind-body ceases. Upon "death" all experiences end.
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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samseva
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Re: What's after the end

Post by samseva » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:14 am

pegembara wrote:Eternal peace. After waking up, self identification with the mind-body ceases. Upon "death" all experiences end.
If all experience ends, then there is no eternal peace to experience. :D

Mawkish1983
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Re: What's after the end

Post by Mawkish1983 » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:25 am

This is one of those 'what's in it for me' scenarios. It makes sense intellectually that our aversion to non-existance is rooted in ignorance of what we really are. Intellectually, we can appreciate that all experiences are ultimately dukkha, so nibbana would be a desirable state to attain; however, when we try to imagine non-existance it seems so abhorrent to us because of our attachment to the illusion of atta. It's evolutionary and a powerful force for the survival of our species.

The Buddha instructed us to accept teachings that are from the wise, so I think that accepting nibbana as the highest bliss has to be an act of saddha rather than an intellectual exercise.

Until we glipse nibbana ourselves.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What's after the end

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:04 am

If a candle runs out of wax and ceases to burn, where does the flame go? Does it go to the East, the West, North, or South? Does it go up or down?
AIM ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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rowboat
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Re: What's after the end

Post by rowboat » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:22 am

starphlo:If we cease the cycle of becomming, where do we go?
Nibbana is an existing reality

Regarding the nature of Nibbana, the question is often asked: Does Nibbana signify only extinction of the defilements and liberation from samsara or does it signify some reality existing in itself? Nibbana is not only the destruction of defilements and the end of samsara but a reality transcendent to the entire world of mundane experience, a reality transcendent to all the realms of phenomenal existence.

The Buddha refers to Nibbana as a 'dhamma'. For example, he says "of all dhammas, conditioned or unconditioned, the most excellent dhamma, the supreme dhamma is, Nibbana". 'Dhamma' signifies actual realities, the existing realities as opposed to conceptual things. Dhammas are of two types, conditioned and unconditioned. A conditioned dhamma is an actuality which has come into being through causes or conditions, something which arises through the workings of various conditions. The conditioned dhammas are the five aggregates: material form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness. The conditioned dhammas, do not remain static. They go through a ceaseless process of becoming. They arise, undergo transformation and fall away due to its conditionality.

However, the unconditioned dhamma is not produced by causes and conditions. It has the opposite characteristics from the conditioned: it has no arising, no falling away and it undergoes no transformation. Nevertheless, it is an actuality, and the Buddha refers to Nibbana as an unconditioned Dhamma.

The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as an 'ayatana'. This means realm, plane or sphere. It is a sphere where there is nothing at all that correspond to our mundane experience, and therefore it has to be described by way of negations as the negation of all the limited and determinate qualities of conditioned things.

The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a, 'Dhatu' an element, the 'deathless element'. He compares the element of Nibbana to an ocean. He says that just as the great ocean remains at the same level no matter how much water pours into it from the rivers, without increase or decrease, so the Nibbana element remains the same, no matter whether many or few people attain Nibbana.

He also speaks of Nibbana as something that can be experienced by the body, an experience that is so vivid, so powerful, that it can be described as "touching the deathless element with one's own body."

The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'state' ('pada') as 'amatapada' - the deathless state - or accutapada, the imperishable state.

Another word used by the Buddha to refer to Nibbana is 'Sacca', which means 'truth', an existing reality. This refers to Nibbana as the truth, a reality that the Noble ones have known through direct experience.

So all these terms, considered as a whole, clearly establish that Nibbana is an actual reality and not the mere destruction of defilements or the cessation of existence. Nibbana is unconditioned, without any origination and is timeless.

Excerpt from Nibbana by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

Herbie
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Re: What's after the end

Post by Herbie » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:31 am

starphlo wrote:I know I'm missing someting here and this is most likely a stupid question. If we cease the cycle of becomming, where do we go?
I just can speak for myself. For me "becoming" is a thought. If I do not think it there is no "becoming", i.e. "becoming" appears to be true just due to me thinking it. Without me thinking it there is just a steady flow of experiences but nothing "becomes".
Inspiration is based on the exchange of different linguistic expressions. But inspiration is best knowing how language relates to truth. :smile:

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tiltbillings
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Re: What's after the end

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:08 am

rowboat wrote:
starphlo:If we cease the cycle of becomming, where do we go?
Nibbana is an existing reality . . .
So, if there were no arahants or other ariya, nibbana would still be existing someplace "out there."
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Aloka
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Re: What's after the end

Post by Aloka » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:33 am

starphlo wrote:I know I'm missing someting here and this is most likely a stupid question. If we cease the cycle of becomming, where do we go? After Buddha's enlightenment and subsequent death, where did he go?
Thank you for your indulgence:)

The Buddha didn't "go" anywhere.

Here's a quote from page 180 of "The Island - An Anthology of the Buddha's Teachings on Nibbana" by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro
The Buddha was extraordinarily resolute in saying nothing about what happens after the death of an enlightened one; therefore, one small point to clarify at the beginning is that when the noun Paranibbana is used to denote this, it does not mean "Nibbana after death".

http://forestsanghapublications.org/vie ... 10&ref=deb

:anjali:

SarathW
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Re: What's after the end

Post by SarathW » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:40 am

What lies on the other side of Unbinding?"

"You've gone too far, friend Visakha. You can't keep holding on up to the limit of questions. For the holy life gains a footing in Unbinding, culminates in Unbinding, has Unbinding as its final end. If you wish, go to the Blessed One and ask him the meaning of these things. Whatever he says, that's how you should remember it."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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tiltbillings
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Re: What's after the end

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:46 am

SarathW wrote:Unbinding?"
I am not a big fan of Ven Thanissaro, but I like "unbinding" as a translation of nibbana. It suggest that one is free of that which holds one in place, as it were. No suggestion of unbinding is some sort of an "existing reality."
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Bundokji
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Re: What's after the end

Post by Bundokji » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:05 am

The question in the OP involves an assumption that "we" and "the cycle of becoming" are two different things! and when this assumption is seen to be false, the question itself becomes meaningless.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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rowboat
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Re: What's after the end

Post by rowboat » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:10 am

SarathW:
What lies on the other side of Unbinding?"

"You've gone too far, friend Visakha. You can't keep holding on up to the limit of questions. For the holy life gains a footing in Unbinding, culminates in Unbinding, has Unbinding as its final end. If you wish, go to the Blessed One and ask him the meaning of these things. Whatever he says, that's how you should remember it."
Further excerpt from Bhikkhu Bodhi's essay titled Nibbana

State of an Arahant after passing away

What is the state of the Arahant after death? Is it a state of annihilation, of non existence, or a state of eternal existence in some other form. The Buddha rejects both these alternatives, declaring that this question is inapplicable.
The question, "What is the state of the Arahant after death?" arises because of the subtle clinging to the idea that an Arahant has a self. But since the Arahant has no self, he does not enter into any state of eternal existence in some heavenly world or as a universal self in some impersonalized form. Also final Nibbana is not a state of annihilation, since there is no self to be annihilated or extinguished. What we call the Arahant is a dependently arisen process of becoming, and the attainment of final Nibbana is cessation of this process of becoming. To try to speak about what lies beyond the ending of this process is to venture outside the boundaries of conceptualization, outside the boundaries of language.

The Buddha says:

"In so far only is there a pathway for words, a pathway for language, a pathway for concepts, a sphere of understanding, that is, when there is consciousness together with mind and body. When there is no remainder of consciousness and the mind-body process, then there is no pathway for words, no pathway for language, no pathway for concepts."
So from this we see that concepts cannot conceive the 'inconceivable' and the mind cannot measure the 'immeasurable'.


The Buddha illustrates this with the example of a fire. Suppose there is a fire, burning in dependence on fuel, the sticks and logs. Now if the fire does not get any further fuel, when it uses up the old fuel, then it goes out. Suppose we ask, when the fire goes out; where did it go? Did it go to the North? To the South? To the East? To the West? The answer to this is that none of these questions apply. All of these are inapplicable. The fire has simply gone out.

Excerpt from Nibbana by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

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waterchan
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Re: What's after the end

Post by waterchan » Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:11 am

starphlo wrote: After Buddha's enlightenment and subsequent death, where did he go?
He went "poof". That's probably as close as we can get with words.

mal4mac
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Re: What's after the end

Post by mal4mac » Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:11 pm

In "An Introduction to Buddhism" Peter Harvey puts across his own view of Nibbana as 'objectless consciousness', and contrasts it to the Theravadin tradition of seeing Nibbana as 'objectless', but regarding, 'conscious as always having an object... Nibbana is itself the object of the Arahat's consciousness.' p.76.

But, Harvey, also points out that the question of the state of an Arahat after death is one of a set of questions that the Buddha set aside without answering, because answering such questions is not conducive to practice and achieving Nibbana. Also, asking the question 'what's an Arahat after death?' has the misconception of a permanent self built into it.
- Mal

pegembara
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Re: What's after the end

Post by pegembara » Tue Aug 11, 2015 2:19 pm

samseva wrote:
pegembara wrote:Eternal peace. After waking up, self identification with the mind-body ceases. Upon "death" all experiences end.
If all experience ends, then there is no eternal peace to experience. :D
Experiences are not peaceful.

"Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?"

"The eye is burning, forms are burning, eye-consciousness is burning, eye-contact is burning, also whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant that arises with eye-contact for its indispensable condition, that too is burning.

Fire Sermon

:buddha2:
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

freedom
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Re: What's after the end

Post by freedom » Tue Aug 11, 2015 2:53 pm

Last night, I had a dream. In that dream, I went to some strange places and did many odd things. After waking up, where do that "I" in the dream go?
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

SamKR
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Re: What's after the end

Post by SamKR » Tue Aug 11, 2015 2:58 pm

A few relevant suttas:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
[Sariputta:] "The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification.[1] The statement, '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"Vaccha, whatever cause, whatever reason there would be for describing him as 'possessed of form' or 'formless' or 'percipient' or 'non-percipient' or 'neither percipient nor non-percipient': If that cause, that reason, were to cease totally everywhere, totally in every way without remainder, then describing him by what means would one describe him as 'possessed of form' or 'formless' or 'percipient' or 'non-percipient' or 'neither percipient nor non-percipient'?"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"And so, Anuradha — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?

Mawkish1983
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Re: What's after the end

Post by Mawkish1983 » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:32 pm

waterchan wrote:He went "poof".
Erm, that can have a different meaning.

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