Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
Lazy_eye
Posts: 996
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact:

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:06 am

Paul Davy wrote: Eternalism assumes there is existence and that it is indefinite. Annihilation assumes there is existence and it is destroyed. Each come from the root view that there is, at some point, existence. Yet (as I was kindly reminded by a fellow DW member earlier today), the Buddha said that "as even a little excrement is of evil smell, I do not praise even the shortest spell of existence, be it no longer than a snap of the fingers."
So, along similar lines, what is mistaken about vibhava-tanha? After all, isn't it reasonable to want to be rid of the excrement/evil smell?

User avatar
katavedi
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:42 pm

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by katavedi » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:23 am

Hello Lazy_eye,
Lazy_eye wrote:So, along similar lines, what is mistaken about vibhava-tanha? After all, isn't it reasonable to want to be rid of the excrement/evil smell?
Vibhava-tanha is still based on the mistaken assumption of existence. Wanting to be rid of existence means that one believes existence is real. If someone is hallucinating that ants are crawling all over their body, the imaginary ants aren't the problem -- the hallucinating is.

Kind wishes,
katavedi
“But, Gotamī, when you know of certain things: ‘These things lead to dispassion, not to passion; to detachment, not to attachment; to diminution, not to accumulation; to having few wishes, not to having many wishes; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to socializing; to the arousing of energy, not to indolence; to simple living, not to luxurious living’ – of such things you can be certain: ‘This is the Dhamma; this is the Discipline; this is the Master’s Teaching.’”

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by daverupa » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:42 am

So, to get around a rebirth-necessity in the case of a null bomb or a death doctor, begin from the foundation that agnosticism prevails in all cases of post-death assertions. This also removes post-death promises from being considered as primary goals since the Dhamma is unique in offering a 'here and now' method of investigation.

What is left as an axial value is cessation of dukkha for living beings. Bombs & Deathdocs don't do that (though, in my opinion, another axial value here is a stepwise anti-natalism).
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6440
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by Mkoll » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:41 pm

daverupa wrote:So, to get around a rebirth-necessity in the case of a null bomb or a death doctor, begin from the foundation that agnosticism prevails in all cases of post-death assertions. This also removes post-death promises from being considered as primary goals since the Dhamma is unique in offering a 'here and now' method of investigation.

What is left as an axial value is cessation of dukkha for living beings. Bombs & Deathdocs don't do that (though, in my opinion, another axial value here is a stepwise anti-natalism).
For the sake of argument, let's say someone is agnostic about rebirth and they practice diligently and attain arahantship.

Are they then still agnostic about rebirth? Do they still not know if rebirth follows the break-up of their body? Not knowing this, do they really have "final knowledge"? Have they really attained arahantship?

Or upon arahantship, do they gain the "final knowledge" that there is no rebirth after the break-up of their body? In that case, wouldn't they no longer be agnostic about rebirth but sure of it? So in the end, though they might not have adopted rebirth as a view on the way there, they end up knowing its potential, or rather the end of its potential, in fact?

In responding to this, please keep in mind the difference between the power of recollecting past lives and knowledge of the end of rebirth at arahantship. One is not required for the other according to the texts.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Lazy_eye
Posts: 996
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact:

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:32 pm

daverupa wrote:So, to get around a rebirth-necessity in the case of a null bomb or a death doctor, begin from the foundation that agnosticism prevails in all cases of post-death assertions. This also removes post-death promises from being considered as primary goals since the Dhamma is unique in offering a 'here and now' method of investigation.

What is left as an axial value is cessation of dukkha for living beings.
Thanks, Dave. It seems as though you and Breyer are basically in agreement:
Daniel Breyer wrote:The Nirodha View has the resources to resist the Null Bomb Objection precisely because it recognizes that the cessation of
suffering is intrinsically valuable in a relational sense: it is not the unqualified cessation of suffering that is intrinsically valuable, but the cessation of suffering in those capable of suffering.
...although you add the element of agnosticism, which I don't believe he mentions.

So, just to sum up, I see three available responses to the Null Bomb: the argument from rebirth, the argument from dependent origination, and the argument based on scope (the Dhamma is for living beings). Whether these arguments are mutually compatible might be an interesting question: if we add in agnosticism, #3 seems to contradict #1. It is still consistent with #2, though.
katavedi wrote:If someone is hallucinating that ants are crawling all over their body, the imaginary ants aren't the problem -- the hallucinating is.
That explains it very clearly -- thanks Katavedi!

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by daverupa » Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:16 pm

Mkoll wrote:For the sake of argument, let's say someone is agnostic about rebirth and they practice diligently and attain arahantship. Are they then still agnostic about rebirth?
SN 12.70 applies here. It demonstrates that for some arahants (most? could it be... ALL of them?) the regularity of the Dhamma is seen, but they do not see past lives or kamma-vipaka for beings.

Unless they overestimate themselves, they know that the cessation of ignorance has occurred & therefore that there is no more coming to any state due to the lack of necessary nutriment for such an event. At the same time, they do not have any confirmation of pre-/post-death continuities (meditative visions of such things are not confirmation of them as ontological facts, but simply ongoing evidence of their having a foundation in feeling, per DN 1).

...so, what's the problem again? Staying within the scope of the OP, the goal is dukkha-nirodha, not rebirth-nirodha. (The former is alleged to mean the latter, but this always remains an inferential conclusion. The former, in and of itself, is the point.)
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6440
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by Mkoll » Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:34 pm

daverupa wrote:
Mkoll wrote:For the sake of argument, let's say someone is agnostic about rebirth and they practice diligently and attain arahantship. Are they then still agnostic about rebirth?
SN 12.70 applies here. It demonstrates that for some arahants (most? could it be... ALL of them?) the regularity of the Dhamma is seen, but they do not see past lives or kamma-vipaka for beings.
That sutta backs up what I said before:
Mkoll wrote:In responding to this, please keep in mind the difference between the power of recollecting past lives and knowledge of the end of rebirth at arahantship. One is not required for the other according to the texts.
As the sutta says, seeing kamma-vipaka of other beings falls under the same category as recollection of past lives: not necessary for arahantship.

~~~
daverupa wrote:Unless they overestimate themselves, they know that the cessation of ignorance has occurred & therefore that there is no more coming to any state due to the lack of necessary nutriment for such an event. At the same time, they do not have any confirmation of pre-/post-death continuities (meditative visions of such things are not confirmation of them as ontological facts, but simply ongoing evidence of their having a foundation in feeling, per DN 1).

...so, what's the problem again? Staying within the scope of the OP, the goal is dukkha-nirodha, not rebirth-nirodha.
So you are saying they know there is no nutriment for rebirth, or "coming into any state", yes? If so, how is that not confirmation of the lack of post-death continuity, i.e. confirmation that birth has ended, i.e. no more rebirth? It sounds like a contradiction.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5795
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by Aloka » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:13 pm

Paul Davy wrote: the Buddha said that "as even a little excrement is of evil smell, I do not praise even the shortest spell of existence, be it no longer than a snap of the fingers."

Could you provide the source of the quote, please Paul ?


:anjali:

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20130
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:32 pm

Greetings Aloka,

It's AN 1.328.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by daverupa » Fri Apr 29, 2016 12:28 am

My thinking was that the arahant knows that the ending of dukkha has occurred, though the body may yet stand as a condition for unpleasant feeling. But that's only temporary, and when it ends there's just no more fuel around for such things, whether or not it would have happened.

Maybe it's too thin a slice to satisfy... ah well; I still see a space for withholding a commitment. Surely I can only guess at what an arahant knows.

:broke:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6440
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by Mkoll » Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:29 am

daverupa wrote:My thinking was that the arahant knows that the ending of dukkha has occurred, though the body may yet stand as a condition for unpleasant feeling. But that's only temporary, and when it ends there's just no more fuel around for such things, whether or not it would have happened.

Maybe it's too thin a slice to satisfy... ah well; I still see a space for withholding a commitment.
Yes, the contradiction remains AFAICS. I do agree about withholding full commitment though, as per the Canki Sutta (MN 95).
daverupa wrote:Surely I can only guess at what an arahant knows.

:broke:
Indeed, we can only speculate.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Lazy_eye
Posts: 996
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact:

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:44 am

daverupa wrote: Maybe it's too thin a slice to satisfy... ah well; I still see a space for withholding a commitment. Surely I can only guess at what an arahant knows.
That is a very interesting sutta. It makes me wonder whether an "axiological" approach to the Dhamma might be fundamentally off the mark -- since in this presentation, samsara itself seems to bring forth nibbana.

User avatar
The Thinker
Posts: 805
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:12 pm
Location: UK

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by The Thinker » Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:27 am

How can one" know or see "if he should not think?
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

User avatar
The Thinker
Posts: 805
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:12 pm
Location: UK

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by The Thinker » Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:53 am

Paul davy wrote - AN 1.328.

This sutta in isolation can be a great cause of suffering, I feel it was not correct, or I should say a poor teaching if thinking is a cause of suffering this can trigger all sorts of nihilistic thought and yes some may encounter thoughts of suicide. If craving( not-thinking) was the meaning then the word craving should have been used!
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Goal of the path: "nirvana" vs "nirodha"?

Post by Sylvester » Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:01 am

daverupa wrote:
Mkoll wrote:For the sake of argument, let's say someone is agnostic about rebirth and they practice diligently and attain arahantship. Are they then still agnostic about rebirth?
SN 12.70 applies here. It demonstrates that for some arahants (most? could it be... ALL of them?) the regularity of the Dhamma is seen, but they do not see past lives or kamma-vipaka for beings.
I think SN 12.70 and its Chinese parallel have both suffered some messy transmission problems.

For one, the Chinese has the enlightened monk declaring that he does not have any of the jhanas, unlike SN 12.70 which mentions only the formless attainments. Unlike the Pali version, the Chinese is missing any reference to the supernormal powers.

What gives? On the basis of SA 347, there is now canonical support for the notion of the Dry-Insight Worker. :stirthepot:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot] and 59 guests