Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:18 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:09 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:43 pm
Something that might interest the OP, since this is Connections to Other Paths:

Śrāvakayāna has two negations of two extremes*.

Bodhisattvayāna has four negations of four extremes*.

*I am 99.999% sure that one can find the fourfold negation in Pāli & Chinese śrāvaka material too, not just the twofold negation, but I cannot find attestation. I will post more if I can find it.

The twofold negation is
1) Existence/Affirmation (i.e. there "is" a self/soul)
2) Nonexistence/Negation (i.e. there is nothing, not "there is no self/soul")

The fourfold negation is
1) Existence/Affirmation (i.e. there is a self/soul, it exists like anything else)
2) Nonexistence/Negation (i.e. there is nothing)
3) Both existence and nonexistence/A mix of affirmation & negation (i.e. there is sort-of nothing and sort-of a self/soul, both at once)
4) Neither existence nor nonexistence/None of the above (i.e. the "self/soul" is "something else", undefined, entirely, and/or is inconceivable)

All of these are negated. We cannot say the self/soul is extant. We cannot say there is nothing. We cannot say the self/soul is both extant and nonextant. We cannot say the self/soul is free from the two extremes of existence and nonexistence (this is negation 4). This is standard Madhyamaka, but it is also found in śrāvaka literature.

I want to focus for a moment specifically on negation 4: neither existence nor non-existence.

This means that "something else" is not an option. "Some other ineffable mode of being" is not an option.

Even "the self/soul is indescribable/non-conceptual" is a violation of negation 4, as that would involve the self being neither simply extant nor simply nonextant.
Not an expert but Catuskoti is about the ultimate reality

and a version of it is found in Brahmajala Sutta

I am not speaking of ultimate reality.
Conventionally, anything goes. Selves for everyone.

For the sake of a point-counter-point, however, in the Mahāyāna:
na saṃsārasya nirvāṇāt kiṃ cid asti viśeṣaṇam | na nirvāṇasya saṃsārāt kiṃ cid asti viśeṣaṇam ||19||
nirvāṇasya ca yā koṭiḥ koṭiḥ saṃsaraṇasya ca | na tayor antaraṃ kiṃ cit susūkṣmam api vidyate || 20||
19. There is no distinction whatsoever between saṃsāra and nirvāṇa. There is no distinction whatsoever between nirvāṇa and saṃsāra.
20. What is the limit of nirvāṇa, that is the limit of saṃsāra. There is not even the finest gap to be found between the two.
(Nirvāṇaparīkṣāparivartaḥ Āryanāgārjunasya Mūlamadhyamakakārikā)

The conventional and the ultimate are the same. That is the most radical claim of the Mahāyāna IMO.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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No_Mind
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:23 pm

I quit philosophy.

My mother is a philosophy grad. One of her teachers was a famous Vedanta scholar who told her "it (metaphysics) is like looking for a black cat in a dark room where there is no cat"

So yes some meditation .. mostly to calm the mind and continuing belief in Brahman/Tao/Force .. will be agnostic about the soul .. but no more reading pages after pages of esoteric concepts.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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cappuccino
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:40 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:15 pm
I am almost on the verge of giving up study of all philosophy
you're closer than you've ever been
Last edited by cappuccino on Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:20 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:23 pm
So yes some meditation .. mostly to calm the mind and continuing belief in Brahman/Tao/Force .. will be agnostic about the soul ..
Relating to "soul", "Tao," "God", I suppose, "Other Paths", here are some more quotations for Connections to Other Paths, since that seems to be my noon today (I'm getting a weekend in the middle of the week, its decent). From Igumen Hieromonk Damascene's Christ the Eternal Tao, a combination of elements of DDJ XXV & IV:
There exits a being that is undifferentiated and complete,
born before heaven and earth.
Tranquil, boundless,
Abiding alone and changing not,
Encircling everything without exhaustion.
Fathomless, it seems to be the source of all things,
I do not know its name,
But characterize it as the "Dào".
Arbitrarily forcing a name upon it,
I call it "Great".
(Damascene 8, "there exists a being that is [...]" here can also be read as "there exists being that is [...]", note how much "a being" vs "being" changes the reading!)

1. 太初有道,道与神同在,道就是神。
At utmost inception there is the dào, the dào and the divinity are both-together, the dào is, precisely, the divinity.
2. 这道太初与神同在 。
This dào at this utmost inception and this divinity are both-together.
3. 萬有是藉著他而成的;凡被造的,没有一样不是藉着他造的。
All things are by means of his having made them; as all is by his making, there is not one thing that is not by means of his having made it.
4. 生命在他裡頭,這生命就是人的光。
There is life born within his inner being, this life precisely is mankind's light.
5. 光照在黑暗裡,黑暗卻不接受光。
This light shines in the dark, the dark retreats and does not receive the light.
(John 1:1-5, Chinese translation/CUV)

So many connections. So many paths.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:52 am, edited 3 times in total.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:44 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:The twofold negation is
1) Existence/Affirmation (i.e. there "is" a self/soul)
2) Nonexistence/Negation (i.e. there is nothing, not "there is no self/soul")

The fourfold negation is
1) Existence/Affirmation (i.e. there is a self/soul, it exists like anything else)
2) Nonexistence/Negation (i.e. there is nothing)
3) Both existence and nonexistence/A mix of affirmation & negation (i.e. there is sort-of nothing and sort-of a self/soul, both at once)
4) Neither existence nor nonexistence/None of the above (i.e. the "self/soul" is "something else", undefined, entirely, and/or is inconceivable)

All of these are negated. We cannot say the self/soul is extant. We cannot say there is nothing. We cannot say the self/soul is both extant and nonextant. We cannot say the self/soul is free from the two extremes of existence and nonexistence (this is negation 4). This is standard Madhyamaka, but it is also found in śrāvaka literature.

I want to focus for a moment specifically on negation 4: neither existence nor non-existence.

This means that "something else" is not an option. "Some other ineffable mode of being" is not an option.

Even "the self/soul is indescribable/non-conceptual" is a violation of negation 4, as that would involve the self being neither simply extant nor simply nonextant.
I hope I am not proliferating too greatly, but if I may offer one last perspective, these four negations can be further divided into Buddhist Abhidharma terminology (since the main target of Āryanāgārjuna's polemics are Sarvāstivādin Abhidharmikāḥ).

Before I write these four negations: some terminology that may well be already known by everyone.

svābhāva = "own-being" = a dharma that arises on account of "itself".

For example, God, in traditional monotheistic religions, would be called "svābhāva" because he "causes" his own existence on account of his "own-nature" or "own-being".

parabhāva = "other-being" = a dharma that arises on account of "something else" or "another dharma".

"Creation", in traditional monotheistic religions, would be called "parabhāva" because it is "caused" by God (something that is "other" than "creation").

With these terms in mind, we see, concerning "it" ("it" here stands in for "absolutely anything"), four extremes:

1) "it" is svābhāva
2) "it" is parabhāva
3) "it" is both svābhāva and parabhāva (thus it cannot be properly described as either extreme)
4) "it" is neither svābhāva nor parabhāva (the cause of its arising cannot be found in either self or other, note: this is the historical view of the those that cause their arguments to wriggle like an eel, amarāvikṣepikāḥ, as mentioned in Dvayānika Brahmājālasūtra)
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:25 am, edited 3 times in total.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

pegembara
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by pegembara » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:51 am

Akase padam natthi, samano natthi bahire,
Papancabhirata paja, nippapanca tathagata.

There are no footprints in the sky;
You won’t find the sage out there.
The world delights in conceptual proliferation (papanca).
Buddhas delight in the ending of that (nippapanca).

https://tricycle.org/magazine/tangled-thought/
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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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:32 am

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:23 pm
I quit philosophy.
I have quit it many times. ;)

It does often just seem like a "thicket of views".
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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No_Mind
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:04 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:32 am
No_Mind wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:23 pm
I quit philosophy.
I have quit it many times. ;)

It does often just seem like a "thicket of views".
Spiny, the reason I quit is because of this blog (read all comments).

I already knew the theoretical problems of Buddhism (knew them only too well) .. I was planning on at last somehow being able to do a Goenka retreat in June (after five years of trying for a 12 day leave) ..
After five years of hearing Goenka vipassana is the real McCoy .. I now read that his method is far from correct ..

I never knew he said "there was no Vipassana practice in Thailand"

The comments are as important as the blog post. Senior meditation experts are arguing among themselves!

I am confused and will spend rest of my life baking cakes or growing flowers. No confusion there.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

Saengnapha
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:14 am

No_Mind wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:04 am
Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:32 am
No_Mind wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:23 pm
I quit philosophy.
I have quit it many times. ;)

It does often just seem like a "thicket of views".
Spiny, the reason I quit is because of this blog (read all comments).

I already knew the theoretical problems of Buddhism (knew them only too well) .. I was planning on at last somehow being able to do a Goenka retreat in June (after five years of trying for a 12 day leave) ..
After five years of hearing Goenka vipassana is the real McCoy .. I now read that his method is far from correct ..

I never knew he said "there was no Vipassana practice in Thailand"

The comments are as important as the blog post. Senior meditation experts are arguing among themselves!

I am confused and will spend rest of my life baking cakes or growing flowers. No confusion there.

:namaste:
Everything you need is right in front of your face. :shrug:

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seeker242
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by seeker242 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:04 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:23 am
Can it be we have a soul .. but not one that is permanent (in a different way) ..

The soul disappears when we attain Nibbana

Does not this explanation fit all the questions .. from how are we reborn, what is reborn, to what is Nibbana (what is snuffed out)

The model I am proposing is .. God/Nature/Universe .. call it whatever put a soul into everyone .. as long as they have that soul they will keep on being reborn .. so try and get rid of the soul .. (bit like taking off a sweater) and you will never be born again.

Buddhism posits we have no eternal soul and we all keep asking what gets reborn. We have a soul till Nibbana. Does this not answer both.

:namaste:
I don't see how this can match up with Buddhist teaching because Buddhist teaching teaches that it is just ignorance that is there and just ignorance that disappears when we attain Nibbana. And it is just ignorance that give rise to all the rest of this stuff, creating wrong ideas like there is some kind of thing behind it all. What disappears when we attain Nibbana is just ignorance.

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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:53 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:04 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:23 am
Can it be we have a soul .. but not one that is permanent (in a different way) ..

The soul disappears when we attain Nibbana

Does not this explanation fit all the questions .. from how are we reborn, what is reborn, to what is Nibbana (what is snuffed out)

The model I am proposing is .. God/Nature/Universe .. call it whatever put a soul into everyone .. as long as they have that soul they will keep on being reborn .. so try and get rid of the soul .. (bit like taking off a sweater) and you will never be born again.

Buddhism posits we have no eternal soul and we all keep asking what gets reborn. We have a soul till Nibbana. Does this not answer both.

:namaste:
I don't see how this can match up with Buddhist teaching because Buddhist teaching teaches that it is just ignorance that is there and just ignorance that disappears when we attain Nibbana. And it is just ignorance that give rise to all the rest of this stuff, creating wrong ideas like there is some kind of thing behind it all. What disappears when we attain Nibbana is just ignorance.
Correct.

Inside the framework of my hypothesis -

We have a soul that survives from birth to birth. And we are ignorant and we think it is permanent. That ignorance disappears at Nibbana since we realise the soul will perish at Nibbana.

Contrast this with belief in an eternal soul and you will see why Buddha termed it as "ignorance".

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I know one thing: that I know nothing

chownah
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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by chownah » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:05 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:53 pm
...... That ignorance disappears at Nibbana since we realise the soul will perish at Nibbana.
That ignorance disappears at nibbana since we realise the soul will be annihilated at nibbana?
chownah

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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:07 pm

chownah wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:05 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:53 pm
...... That ignorance disappears at Nibbana since we realise the soul will perish at Nibbana.
That ignorance disappears at nibbana since we realise the soul will be annihilated at nibbana?
chownah
Because we realise the soul is not permanent our ignorance (as seeker242 put it) vanishes.

Do not ask about annihilation .. because that was asked with reference to one or few lives ..

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by binocular » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:11 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:23 am
The soul disappears when we attain Nibbana

Does not this explanation fit all the questions .. from how are we reborn, what is reborn, to what is Nibbana (what is snuffed out)

The model I am proposing is .. God/Nature/Universe .. call it whatever put a soul into everyone .. as long as they have that soul they will keep on being reborn .. so try and get rid of the soul .. (bit like taking off a sweater) and you will never be born again.

Buddhism posits we have no eternal soul and we all keep asking what gets reborn. We have a soul till Nibbana. Does this not answer both.
Must be something in the air, lately:
In another interview with his longtime atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis claims that Hell does not exist and that condemned souls just "disappear."
https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w- ... re-no-hell
It turned out to be fake news and the Vatican denied the Pope made any such claims. Nevertheless, the idea got traction in the media, and the OP here preempted it!
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Do we have a soul till Nibbana?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:17 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:11 pm
and the OP here preempted it!
And then he left philosophy to try and become a prize winning horticulturist.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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