In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?

In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

not applicable, there is no rebirth, it is annihilation for all
2
2%
no more becoming, non-existence as we know it but not annihilation since there is no self
44
36%
existence in a buddha-field / realm
4
3%
pantheism
7
6%
citta continues in paranibbana
12
10%
a subtle existence that is ineffable, inexpressible
23
19%
don't know or agnostic about it, set-aside for now
31
25%
 
Total votes: 123

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samseva
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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by samseva » Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:29 am

Pragmatic wrote:Hi samseva once again. Thanks for the further explanation, and the fine distinction you're advancing here. I don't dismiss your arguments, which make a certain sense in your tradition, but which again I don't feel are cogent for me, from my perspective.

But let me again make my own distinction between the intellectual level and the level of practice. I hope I'm not indulging in my own kind of sophistry but I think these two levels don't always coincide. That I don't buy your arguments doesn't mean that I don't recognize your practice and the inappropriateness of suggesting, as I have done, that its aim is annihilation. So for that I apologize.

But maybe your idea of choice is a sort of happy meeting place for our discussion, because it's true that any path of renunciation, however negative its terms may appear to outsiders, is at the same time a positive choice, a dedication to a higher aim in life.

So again thanks for your patient engagement with the question. Pragmatic
All good and well. Take care.

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by Pragmatic » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:26 pm

samseva wrote: All good and well. Take care.
Not to trouble you further but I feel I need to add a little addendum, a suggestion from an outsider on how the dhamma could be better presented to outsiders without betraying core principles.

I feel it's a question of emphasis, of focusing less on the associated goal of ending rebirth and more on the central goal of ending suffering and the highest bliss this entails, as well as on the larger context in which this all makes sense.

The late Buddhist scholar Edward Conze used the Latin term "summum bonum", to refer to nibbana/nirvana. It's the idea of the highest good, the greatest happiness one can obtain from a human birth, the culminating good that includes all the goods that preceded it, after which there is nothing more to strive for.

It's very telling that even in the earliest suttas the Buddha is furnished with innumerable former lives, through which he's done and experienced everything possible for a human being. In short, he's been there and done that. To become a universal monarch would just be more of the same.

This back story is more important I think than the usual quotes and arguments Buddhists advance to explain their tradition. Certainly the emphasis on the unsatisfactory nature of samsara is part of gradual training, but samsara, and in particular precious human birth, is the necessary process which entails not just suffering but also passing goods, including Buddhist training, that leads toward the ultimate good, the summum bonum.

Now of course I would be presumptuous if I were to pretend that I know better than qualified teachers, or that such teachers don't take all this into account. Rather my point is that this grand context as well as the true nature of the ultimate goal commonly goes missing in general introductions to the Buddhist path and what it means. Or perhaps more accurately it's rarely spelled out in sufficiently clear and precise terms, but is more often than not shrouded in mystification or dealt out in a piecemeal, dumbed-down fashion. Lacking this grand context, the inference outsiders draw of "nihilism" or seeking "annihilation" is almost inevitable.

Anyone interested in Theravadin Buddhism beyond merely adopting a few psycho-therapeutic techniques, or pursuing a better rebirth, needs to understand this grand context. They need to determine whether they accept its underlying assumptions, whether this world picture makes sense to them, and whether they too, like the Buddha, have been there and done that and truly are ready to enter the culminating path.

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by cappuccino » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:30 pm

Life is suffering from rebirth as a ghost, or much worse...
So rebirth is very necessary.

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samseva
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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by samseva » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:53 am

Pragmatic wrote:...
The goal of the Buddhist path could be seen like this, but even the pure rapture of the jhānas, boundless loving-kindness, compassion and so on are not the end goal. On the contrary, to desire such pleasurable sensations—or the expected bliss of Nibbāna—are forms of craving. Even if there is no craving for feelings of (non-worldly) pleasure, once these end, there ultimately is suffering.

The end goal of the Buddhist teachings is the complete cessation of dukkha; that is the most sublime state. It is not pleasurable sensations of either the body or the mind, but it is a perfect equilibrium and serenity. However, it is important to make the distinction that the end goal is not the bliss—i.e., the pleasurable sensations—of this equilibrium and serenity, but it is the the complete disappearance and absence of dukkha.

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by SarathW » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:59 am

Perfect equilibrium and serenity. (equanimity) is not the Nibbana.
However this may very close to Arahattaphala Samadhi.
Cessation of perception and feeling without residue is the Nibbana.
Which can not be described in words even though Buddha use many words (about 33) to describe it.

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Nibbana" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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samseva
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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by samseva » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:02 am

SarathW wrote:Perfect equilibrium and serenity. (equanimity) is not the Nibbana.
However this may very close to Arahattaphala Samadhi.
Cessation of perception and feeling without residue is the Nibbana.
Which can not be described in words even though Buddha use many words (about 33) to describe it.

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Nibbana
I wasn't talking about equanimity. I was talking about a state (Nibbāna) where there are no defilements of mind, craving, greed, hate, dukkha and so on. A mind that is in equilibrium and that is serene.

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by Pragmatic » Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:21 am

samseva wrote:
Pragmatic wrote:...
The goal of the Buddhist path could be seen like this, but even the pure rapture of the jhānas, boundless loving-kindness, compassion and so on are not the end goal. On the contrary, to desire such pleasurable sensations—or the expected bliss of Nibbāna—are forms of craving. Even if there is no craving for feelings of (non-worldly) pleasure, once these end, there ultimately is suffering.

The end goal of the Buddhist teachings is the complete cessation of dukkha; that is the most sublime state. It is not pleasurable sensations of either the body or the mind, but it is a perfect equilibrium and serenity. However, it is important to make the distinction that the end goal is not the bliss—i.e., the pleasurable sensations—of this equilibrium and serenity, but it is the the complete disappearance and absence of dukkha.
Well I wasn't suggesting that the jñanas or the four immeasurables were the goal, but I guess my use of the word "bliss" raised your concerns. But point taken.

There's a parallel in Vedanta where sat, chit, ananda (being, consciousness, bliss) are attributed to nirguna Brahman (the inconceivable ground, beyond being and non-being) as phenomenal markers for what would be otherwise unsayable. That is, sat, chit, ananda are the closest one can get to describing what experience of the groundless ground is actually like.

Yet if one pushes the logic far enough then not just sat, chit, ananda, but also "sublime state", "equilibrium", "serenity" also fail, also say too much.

But a too rigorous effort to empty the goal of all affective connotation may err in the opposite direction, may desiccate rather than simply weaken a practice.

So while the tradition/teachers you follow may have settled on a particular vocabulary, it's well to keep in mind that what is important are not the words but the skill in means of how, when and if they're employed.

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samseva
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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by samseva » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:57 am

Pragmatic wrote:But a too rigorous effort to empty the goal of all affective connotation may err in the opposite direction, may desiccate rather than simply weaken a practice.
Nibbāna is bliss, but it is only bliss because it is a complete and absolute absence of dukkha. It is not bliss due to pleasure, which is almost always what it is believed to be.

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by Pragmatic » Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:18 pm

samseva wrote:
Pragmatic wrote:But a too rigorous effort to empty the goal of all affective connotation may err in the opposite direction, may desiccate rather than simply weaken a practice.
Nibbāna is bliss, but it is only bliss because it is a complete and absolute absence of dukkha. It is not bliss due to pleasure, which is almost always what it is believed to be.
One of the attractions of basic Buddhist practice is the simplicity of the logic, the progressive "letting go", through meditation and insight etc. of tanha from gross to subtler and subtler forms and with each letting go a more refined "bliss" of relief. The effects are immediate and the path is clear.

Underlying this process is the analysis of desire and its deceptions, that it propels one toward satisfactions but that these satisfactions are always momentary, resulting in dissatisfactions that form the basis for further, usually more insistent desires. So the implication is that desire itself, in some recursive way, creates the dissatisfactions on which it depends for its existence. This makes desire and satisfaction/dissatisfaction (dukkha) two sides of the same coin, as it were, and so the extinction of desire is simultaneously the extinction of dukkha.

In the end one might say that what's left is pure "satisfaction", except that satisfaction is of a piece with dissatisfaction and a creature of desire and so must be dukkha. So I guess this is why we imagine a state of undisturbed "serenity", "equilibrium" or "bliss" only in a special sense, as you say, a primordial state of affairs absent the disturbances of the satisfaction/dissatisfaction economy created by desire.

This is just me trying to understand.

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by Lazy_eye » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:21 pm

Hello friends -- haven't posted in awhile...just wanted to offer a small observation, which is that when we ask "what happens at parinibbana," what we're usually asking is "what happens to consciousness?"

That might not be true for everyone, but I suspect it's true for most people. For that reason, option two in the list ("no more becoming, non-existence as we know it but not annihilation since there is no self") strikes me as a misleading response. After all, there was no self prior to nibbana and parinibbana, so pointing out that there is no self post-parinibbana doesn't tell us anything. In other words, bringing in the self here is something of a :redherring:.

The real question is what happens to the aggregates, in particular consciousness. It would be clearer, I think, if the second option were simply "viññāṇa (along with the other aggregates) comes to an end and does not re-arise anywhere." The other options on the list (with the exception of 1 and 5) are about viññāṇa continuing in some sense.

:namaste:

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samseva
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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by samseva » Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:19 pm

Pragmatic wrote:
samseva wrote:Nibbāna is bliss, but it is only bliss because it is a complete and absolute absence of dukkha. It is not bliss due to pleasure, which is almost always what it is believed to be.
One of the attractions of basic Buddhist practice is the simplicity of the logic, the progressive "letting go", through meditation and insight etc. of tanha from gross to subtler and subtler forms and with each letting go a more refined "bliss" of relief. The effects are immediate and the path is clear.

Underlying this process is the analysis of desire and its deceptions, that it propels one toward satisfactions but that these satisfactions are always momentary, resulting in dissatisfactions that form the basis for further, usually more insistent desires. So the implication is that desire itself, in some recursive way, creates the dissatisfactions on which it depends for its existence. This makes desire and satisfaction/dissatisfaction (dukkha) two sides of the same coin, as it were, and so the extinction of desire is simultaneously the extinction of dukkha.

In the end one might say that what's left is pure "satisfaction", except that satisfaction is of a piece with dissatisfaction and a creature of desire and so must be dukkha. So I guess this is why we imagine a state of undisturbed "serenity", "equilibrium" or "bliss" only in a special sense, as you say, a primordial state of affairs absent the disturbances of the satisfaction/dissatisfaction economy created by desire.

This is just me trying to understand.
That's pretty much it.

I imagine the mind of one who has attained Nibbāna is the equivalent of water flowing down a slab of pristine white marble, compared to coarse and dirtied rock. Nibbāna is not like a 4K HD TV slab most people think it is. :smile:

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by Pragmatic » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:24 am

samseva wrote:
That's pretty much it.

I imagine the mind of one who has attained Nibbāna is the equivalent of water flowing down a slab of pristine white marble, compared to coarse and dirtied rock. Nibbāna is not like a 4K HD TV slab most people think it is. :smile:
But this metaphor for the mind of Nibbana presumably refers to a threshold experience, the last effect/affect of the stilling of Dukkha, since on principle there can be no further continuity of consciousness?

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samseva
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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by samseva » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:52 am

Pragmatic wrote:But this metaphor for the mind of Nibbana presumably refers to a threshold experience, the last effect/affect of the stilling of Dukkha, since on principle there can be no further continuity of consciousness?
The metaphor shouldn't be taken seriously. It is just an image that came to mind. I guess the marble would completely disintegrate after Parinibbāna. :smile:

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by Saoshun » Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:39 pm

Experience of nibbana is emptiness and bliss. Indescribable that's why people either think of eternalism or nihilism when comes to explaining this. As nobody can make a color they do not know they can not experience nibbana unless they do the work and know the fruit.
Remember… the Buddha had said that everyone living in this world is crazy, by the phrase, “Sabbē prutajjana ummattakā”; excluding the Arahants, everyone else is crazy. Would you get angry if a mad person scolds? Do we get angry for a crazy thing done by a crazy person? Just think about it! :candle:

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Re: In your view, understanding, Parinibbana is:

Post by justindesilva » Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:06 am

We are a form of energy existing as Nama rupa. Nama rupa is conditioned by our greed or sensual attachments.
Once sensusl attachments are exterminated with our own determination the bond of Nama rupa which are existing energies separate and bonds are broken. Such energies cannot be brought in for creation or origination of Nama rupa but will remain as neutral universal energies is my view of nirvana. Complete extinction of energies that we are does not occur.
(This is my personnel view that I have formed from budda sutra).
May all that strive to attain nirvana be successful.

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