Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by zan » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:58 pm

Consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist.

-SN 22.94
So, since nibbana is permanent, stable, etc. and the Buddha here says that consciousness with these attributes does not exist, nibbana cannot be consciousness.

Full sutta:
saṃyutta nikāya 22

connected discourses on the aggregates

94. Flowers
At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists.

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist? Form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist.

“That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist.

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.

“That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists.

“There is, bhikkhus, a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathagata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it.

“And what is that world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathagata has awakened and broken through? Form, bhikkhus, is a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathagata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it. When it is being thus explained … … and elucidated by the Tathagata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?

“Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness is a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathagata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it. When it is being thus explained … and elucidated by the Tathagata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?

“Bhikkhus, just as a blue, red, or white lotus is born in the water and grows up in the water, but having risen up above the water, it stands unsullied by the water, so too the Tathagata was born in the world and grew up in the world, but having overcome the world, he dwells unsullied by the world.”
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:21 am

Greetings,

A bunch of posts showing total disregard for the OP's topic have been removed... please remember...
Hi Classical Theravada dhamma friends! I thought it may be useful to collect a list of quotes that show how impossible it is that nibbana is consciousness or a self.
Personal opinions are not suttas.

:focus:

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:56 pm

Greetings,

If you have any additional suttas to add to those listed above, please PM me the details (preferably with a brief note about their relevancy) and I will add them to this topic.

Until then, due to a proliferation of off-topic postings, this topic has been closed - a decision made in consultation with the OP.

:thanks:

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:23 am

zan wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:16 am
saṃyutta nikāya 1

connected discourses with devatas

2. Emancipation
At Savatthi. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:

“Do you know, dear sir, emancipation, release, seclusion for beings?”

“I know, friend, emancipation, release, seclusion for beings.”

“But in what way, dear sir, do you know emancipation, release, seclusion for beings?”

The Blessed One:

“By the utter destruction of delight in existence,
By the extinction of perception and consciousness,
By the cessation and appeasement of feelings:
It is thus, friend, that I know for beings—
Emancipation, release, seclusion.”
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:18 pm

zan wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:39 pm
I have clearly seen as it really is with correct wisdom, ‘Nibbāna is the cessation of existence'
-SN 12.68
‘The cessation of existence is nibbāna.’
-AN 10.7
“Therefore, Ānanda, this is the cause, source, origin, and condition for consciousness, namely, mentality-materiality.
-DN 15
“Ānanda, if one is asked: ‘Is consciousness due to a specific condition?’ one should say: ‘It is.’ If one is asked: ‘Through what condition is there consciousness?’ one should say: ‘With mentality-materiality as condition there is consciousness.’
-DN 15
thus i heard: At one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī, in Jeta’s Wood, at Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then at that time the Gracious One was instructing, rousing, enthusing, and cheering the monks with a Dhamma talk connected with Emancipation. Those monks, after making it their goal, applying their minds, considering it with all their mind, were listening to Dhamma with an attentive ear.

Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“There is that sphere, monks, where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air, no sphere of infinite space, no sphere of infinite consciousness, no sphere of nothingness, no sphere of neither perception nor non-perception, no this world, no world beyond, neither Moon nor Sun. There, monks, I say there is surely no coming, no going, no persisting, no passing away, no rebirth It is quite without support, unmoving, without an object,—just this is the end of suffering.”

-Ud 8.1
No Primary Elements in Nibbāna
In nibbāna there are no element of earth or solidity, no element of water or fluidity, no element of fire or thermal energy, and no element of air or motive force that can usually be met with in the world of the senses, such as the world of men and devas, or in the world of Form, such as the world of corporeal brahmas, etc. Possessing solidity, men, devas, and brahmas assume shapes and forms. Cessation means the end of such shapes and forms that possess mass. In the absence of mass, there are no elements of fluidity, thermal energy, and motive force.

Matter is Non-existent in Nibbāna
In the absence of the four primary elements there can be no derived materiality (upāda rūpa) formed by these four elements, for instance, the eye and the sight, the ear and the sound, etc. Since they are absent there will be no phenomena of seeing, hearing, etc., which occur in the sensual realm as sense-sphere consciousness and in the Form Sphere as form-sphere consciousness.

Consider this: without eyes one cannot see, without ears one cannot hear, without nose one cannot smell, without tongue one cannot taste, and without body one cannot get the sensation of touch. The physical sense bases are the seat of sensation, or the five sense organs that form the bases of consciousness. Devoid of the organs of sense, consciousness cannot arise. In the world of the brahmas, only the eye-base (cakkhu pasāda) and ear-base (sota pasāda) exist — nose-base (ghāna pasāda), tongue-base (jivhā pasāda), and body-base (kāya pasāda) being absent. So brahmas may possess noses and tongues in rudimentary forms or bodies or masses in great dimensions, but they do not know what smell is, what taste is, or what bodily impression is. However, there is the seat of consciousness usually called the heart-base (hadaya vatthu), in all sentient beings, whether celestial or human. So in these three realms, thought, knowledge, and absorptions can occur.

As I have said, as there are no primary elements in nibbāna, all matter dependent on these four elements are non-existent. Because of the absence of matter, there is no consciousness appertaining to the realm of the senses or to the realm of form — as, for instance, the first jhānic consciousness. For brevity’s sake I will discuss only about mind (citta), but whenever mind is mentioned one must remember it is accompanied by mental concomitants (cetasikā). Now the question arises whether in nibbāna there are still extant consciousness that arises without depending on matter as, for example, formless consciousness.

Absence of Formless Consciousness
Here, the text is also very explicit about the absence of formless sphere consciousness in nibbāna, whether it be consciousness appertaining to the abode of the Infinity of Space, or to the abode of the Infinity of Consciousness, or to the abode of Nothingness, or to the abode of Neither Perception nor Non-perception. In the realm of the Infinity of Space, rebirth-linking begins with the advent of consciousness relating to kamma result, mind and mental concomitants. For ordinary people, during the course of existence between rebirth-linking and death, wholesome or unwholesome consciousness, together with their concomitants arise. When such ordinary people are duly trained in the Dhamma they are known as trainees (sekkha).

Such trainees may become Arahants when they are reborn in the realm of the infinity of Space. In that case, only wholesome and functional consciousness arise together with their respective concomitants, but matter is absent there. Only mind and mental concomitants — all in a state of flux — are present. In that realm all phenomena are psychical. It just occurs to me that psychic beings need no food, clothing, or shelter, but it is usual for artists to depict this realm and others of the Formless Sphere as having palaces and mansions. However, in nibbāna they will be superfluous, as in nibbāna there is neither mind or matter.

Today non-Buddhists have become highly interested in space, but the space they have in mind is space in the physical sense. They may not be able to assimilate the idea of the existence of the realm of Infinity of Space, but the Buddha clearly differentiates the realm of mind and its constituents together with its state of absorptions from the realm of no-mind where all its concomitants and absorptions are nullified. A meditator who concentrates his or her mind on the rise and fall of the aggregates can aspire to reach the stage of knowledge of equanimity about formations. If he or she reaches that stage, he or she would feel the disappearance of the physical self, experiencing only a stream of consciousness that floats in space. As his or her knowledge progresses, this stream will become clearer and clearer. Strictly speaking, this is not absorption on Infinity of Space, but it is an insight akin to that absorption.

From the foregoing it may also be adduced that there is no consciousness and its concomitant appertaining to the realm of Infinity of Consciousness, and the same may be said of consciousness and its concomitant appertaining to the realm of Nothingness, and of Neither Perception nor Non-perception. The highest plane of existence is where perception is so subtle that it can be described as an intermediate stage between perception and non-perception. Equally subtle are contact, feeling, consciousness, and mental formations — concomitants of the mind that can be met with in that realm. In nibbāna such subtleties of the mind are entirely absent.

Those lacking confidence in the Dhamma and unable to realise the attainment of jhāna or ecstatic meditation (samāpatti), dispute all teachings relating to the realms of existence just described. What such sceptics should do is to practise insight meditation as taught by the Buddha. If they do they will attain jhāna that belongs to the realm of Neither Perception nor Non-perception, and realise for themselves the difference between the jhānic state in the Formless Sphere and nibbāna where such a state becomes redundant. It is futile to reject jhāna and nibbāna without any practical investigation.

Absence of Mind and Matter in Nibbāna
In nibbāna there are no such things as mind or mental concomitants, which can be met with in the sense-sphere or form-sphere. It naturally follows that mind and matter that belong to the thirty-one planes of existence are totally absent in nibbāna. However, some would like to propose that after the parinibbāna of the Buddha and the Arahants, they acquire a special kind of mind and matter in nibbāna. Such an extraordinary way of thinking may appeal to those who cannot do away with self or ego.

With regard to this proposition a learned Sayādaw reasoned that if there is a special kind of mind and matter in nibbāna, there must also be a special kind of rebirth which gives rise to a special kind of old age, disease, and death, which in turn bring about a special kind of sorrow, lamentation, suffering, distress, and despair. When the teachings explicitly say cessation, it will be improper to go beyond it and formulate an idea of a special kind of existence. Extinction points to nothing other than Nothingness. Nibbāna, which is not involved in mind and matter, cannot be made to get involved either in this world or in other worlds.
-Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, On the Nature of Nibbana
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:04 am

zan wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:30 am
The Suttas emphatically, repeatedly, and unambiguously (sabbena sabbam sabbattha sabbam kassaci kimhici) deny the possibility of any “Nibbanic sentience”, and this is, in fact, one of their principle doctrines, stated in direct opposition to the Upanishadic notion of the transcendent consciousness. In addition to this ontological position, the Suttas also express an unreserved and equally unambiguous positive sense of how we should feel about Nibbana. Beyond this, one is proliferating the unproliferated….
-Bhikkhu Sujato, comment to Nibbana is not vinnana. Really, it just isn't.
...i believe that the Buddha actually said what he meant, and don’t feel the need to rely on later teachers to correct him. To expand or clarify things, sure; but not to propound something that is manifestly different.

What I am talking about is not, in fact, identical with the annihilation of the materialists, and I would ask you to respect the fact that, while you may see no difference, I do. That the Buddha’s view was similar to that of annihilation, and was liable to be mistaken for it, is acknowledged in the Suttas themselves. However, the fallacy is that of reductionism: because the Buddha’s teaching of Nibbana as the “cessation of existence” (bhavanirodho nibbanam) shares some things in common with the annihilationist teaching of the destruction of a physical (or immaterial, for that matter) Self, it is assumed to be the same.

This is why, as I emphasized in a previous comment, the Buddha’s position will be always misunderstood as long as one or other aspect is emphasized exclusively. To repeat: when speaking of the ontology of Nibbana–what actually exists after the death of an arahant–the Buddha always spoke in negative terms: the cessation of consciousness, the ending of the five aggregates, and so on. However, when he spoke of our subjective attitudes towards Nibbana, he always spoke in positive terms: the peaceful, the sublime, the refuge, and so on.
-Bhikkhu Sujato, comment to Nibbana is not vinnana. Really, it just isn't.
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:10 pm

zan wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:44 pm
Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:
“Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that (1) he would not be percipient of earth in relation to earth; (2) of water in relation to water; (3) of fire in relation to fire; (4) of air in relation to air; (5) of the base of the infinity of space in relation to the base of the infinity of space; (6) of the base of the infinity of consciousness in relation to the base of the infinity of consciousness; (7) of the base of nothingness in relation to the base of nothingness; (8) of the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception in relation to the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (9) of this world in relation to this world; (10) of the other world in relation to the other world, but he would still be percipient?”
“He could, Ānanda.”
“But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?”
“Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu is percipient thus: ‘This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.’ It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu could obtain such a state of concentration that he would not be percipient of earth in relation to earth; of water in relation to water; of fire in relation to fire; of air in relation to air; of the base of the infinity of space in relation to the base of the infinity of space; of the base of the infinity of consciousness in relation to the base of the infinity of consciousness; of the base of nothingness in relation to the base of nothingness; of the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception in relation to the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; of this world in relation to this world; of the other world in relation to the other world, but he would still be percipient.”
-AN 10.6
AN 10.6, 10.60, 11.8 and similar suttas are often used to argue that consciousness is eternal or that nibbana is consciousness, or both, or it somehow tied up with the nibbana is self or there is a self ideas.

This is wrong. These suttas are clearly referencing a meditative attainment.
They are speaking about saupadisesa nibbana (nibbana with residue; the five aggregates). This is how someone experiences nibbana while alive, and so does not prove that nibbana is consciousness, nor that an arhant will live on as consciousness after death. That would be a discussion on anupadisesa nibbana (nibbana without residue), which is not the topic of these suttas. The attainment of anupadisesa nibbana is spoken of in relation to nirodha samapatti by the Visuddhimagga
(v) Why do they attain it? Being wearied by the occurrence and dissolution of formations, they attain it thinking, “Let us dwell in bliss by being without consciousness here and now and reaching the cessation that is Nibbána.”13
13. “‘Reaching the cessation that is Nibbána’: as though reaching Nibbána without remainder of result of past clinging. ‘In bliss’ means without suffering” (Vism-mhþ 902).
-Vissuddhimagga XXIII 30
Further, anupadisesa nibbana is stated in the suttas many times to be the end of all consciousness
When… consciousness ceases. … That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.”
-SN 12.2
See also the many other suttas quoted above in this thread.

As referenced above in another post, Bhikkhu Sujato states that this type of thing is sleight of hand, and I think it applies here to switching from talking about saupadisesa nibbana to anupadisesa nibbana.

Now that that is cleared up and we know what we’re actually talking about the argument is usually that if one is able to experience nibbana while conscious, doesn’t that mean nibbana is consciousness? No, see all of the suttas and Venerable’s quotes above that rule this out.
For example
nowhere in the Nikayas is Nibbana described as consciousness
-Bhikkhu Bodhi, note to MN 49
And of course the many suttas that describe anupadisesa nibbana as the cessation of consciousness completely negate the idea that nibbana itself is consciousness.

The body broke up,
perception ceased,
feelings went cold
— all —
fabrications were stilled,
consciousness has come to an end.
-Ud 8.9
“Now what, bhikkhus, is the Nibbāna-element with no residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant … completely released through final knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is experienced, not being delighted in, will be extinguished. That, bhikkhus, is called the Nibbāna-element with no residue left.
“These, bhikkhus, are the two Nibbāna-elements.”
These two Nibbāna-elements were made known
By the Seeing One, stable and unattached:
One is the element seen here and now
With residue, but with the cord of being destroyed;
The other, having no residue for the future,
Is that wherein all modes of being utterly cease.
Having understood the unconditioned state,
Released in mind with the cord of being destroyed,
They have attained to the Dhamma-essence.
Delighting in the destruction (of craving),
Those stable ones have abandoned all being.

-It 44
Another idea may be that if consciousness experiences the unconditioned, that consciousness becomes unconditioned and therefore eternal.
This is ruled out as a misunderstanding per MN 1
“He perceives Nibbāna as Nibbāna. Having perceived Nibbāna as Nibbāna, he conceives himself as Nibbāna, he conceives himself in Nibbāna, he conceives himself apart from Nibbāna, he conceives Nibbāna to be ‘mine,’ he delights in Nibbāna. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.
-MN 1
and as a wrong view per DN 1
that which is called “mind” (citta) or “mentality” (mano) or “consciousness” (viññāṇa)—that self is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and it will remain the same just like eternity itself.’


“When those recluses and brahmins who are eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things proclaim on four grounds the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal—that too is only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving.
-DN 1
From here the argument is usually that these suttas are talking about viewing eternal consciousness as a self, and so viewing eternal consciousness as not self is okay.

This is ruled out by SN 22.97, also and other suttas.
"At Savatthi. Seated to one side, that mendicant said to the Buddha: “Sir, is there any form at all that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever? Is there any feeling … perception … choices … consciousness at all that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever?” “Mendicant, there is no form at all that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever. There’s no feeling … perception … choices … consciousness at all that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever.”

Then the Buddha, picking up a little bit of dirt under his fingernail, addressed that mendicant: “There’s not even this much of any form that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever. If there were, this living of the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering would not be found. But since there isn’t, this living of the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering is found.

There’s not even this much of any feeling …

perception … choices …

consciousness that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever. If there were, this living of the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering would not be found. But since there isn’t, this living of the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering is found.

What do you think, mendicant? Is form permanent or impermanent?” “Impermanent, sir.” “Is feeling … perception … choices … consciousness permanent or impermanent?” “Impermanent, sir.” … “So you should truly see … Seeing this … They understand: ‘… there is no return to any state of existence.’”
-SN 22.97
Consciousness depends on a dyad (SN 35.93), contact between a sense base and an object. In this case it is the mind base contacting nibbana and consciousness of nibbana arises. However consciousness is necessarily, and without exception, impermanent as stated in SN 22.97 and hundreds of other suttas throughout the Pali Canon.

So can a person experience nibbana while conscious per AN 10.6, 11.8, etc.? Of course. But that in no way means that nibbana is self, consciousness or that consciousness is ever or can ever become eternal. And parinibbana is still the ending of all consciousness.
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:56 am

zan wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:55 am
saṃyutta nikāya 12

connected discourses on causation

15. Kaccanagotta
At Savatthī. Then the Venerable Kaccanagotta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘right view, right view.’ In what way, venerable sir, is there right view?”

“This world, Kaccana, for the most part depends upon a duality—upon the notion of existence and the notion of nonexistence. But for one who sees the origin of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world. And for one who sees the cessation of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world.

“This world, Kaccana, is for the most part shackled by engagement, clinging, and adherence. But this one with right view does not become engaged and cling through that engagement and clinging, mental standpoint, adherence, underlying tendency; he does not take a stand about ‘my self.’ He has no perplexity or doubt that what arises is only suffering arising, what ceases is only suffering ceasing. His knowledge about this is independent of others. It is in this way, Kaccana, that there is right view. “‘All exists’: Kaccana, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle: ‘With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.”
-SN 12.15
saṃyutta nikāya 5

connected discourses with bhikkhunis

10. Vajira
At Savatthi. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Vajira dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms. When she had walked for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men’s Grove for the day’s abiding. Having plunged into the Blind Men’s Grove, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.

Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Vajira, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

“By whom has this being been created?
Where is the maker of the being?
Where has the being arisen?
Where does the being cease?”

Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Vajira: “Now who is this that recited the verse—a human being or a nonhuman being?” Then it occurred to her: “This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from concentration.”

Then the bhikkhuni Vajira, having understood, “This is Mara the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

“Why now do you assume ‘a being’?
Mara, is that your speculative view?
This is a heap of sheer formations:
Here no being is found.

“Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word ‘chariot’ is used,
So, when the aggregates exist,
There is the convention ‘a being.’

“It’s only suffering that comes to be,
Suffering that stands and falls away.
Nothing but suffering comes to be,
Nothing but suffering ceases.”

Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhuni Vajira knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.
-SN 5.10
saṃyutta nikāya 35

connected discourses on the six sense bases

85. Empty Is the World
Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘Empty is the world, empty is the world.’ In what way, venerable sir, is it said, ‘Empty is the world’?”

“It is, Ānanda, because it is empty of self and of what belongs to self that it is said, ‘Empty is the world.’ And what is empty of self and of what belongs to self? The eye, Ānanda, is empty of self and of what belongs to self. Forms are empty of self and of what belongs to self. Eye-consciousness is empty of self and of what belongs to self. Eye-contact is empty of self and of what belongs to self…. Whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—that too is empty of self and of what belongs to self.

“It is, Ānanda, because it is empty of self and of what belongs to self that it is said, ‘Empty is the world.’”
-SN 35.85
At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, those ascetics and brahmins who regard anything as self in various ways all regard as self the five aggregates subject to clinging, or a certain one among them.
-SN 22.47
1. about māra

2. Sentient Beings
At Sāvatthī.

Seated to one side, Venerable Rādha said to the Buddha:

“Sir, they speak of this thing called a ‘sentient being’. How is a sentient being defined?”

“Rādha, when you cling, strongly cling, to desire, greed, relishing, and craving for form, then a being is spoken of. When you cling, strongly cling, to desire, greed, relishing, and craving for feeling … perception … choices … consciousness, then a being is spoken of.

Suppose some boys or girls were playing with sandcastles. As long as they’re not rid of greed, desire, fondness, thirst, passion, and craving for those sandcastles, they cherish them, fancy them, treasure them, and treat them as their own. But when they are rid of greed, desire, fondness, thirst, passion, and craving for those sandcastles, they scatter, destroy, and demolish them with their hands and feet, making them unplayable.

In the same way, you should scatter, destroy, and demolish form, making it unplayable. And you should practice for the ending of craving. You should scatter, destroy, and demolish feeling … perception … choices … consciousness, making it unplayable. And you should practice for the ending of craving. For the ending of craving is extinguishment.”
-SN 23.3
saṃyutta nikāya 35

connected discourses on the six sense bases

23. The All
At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, I will teach you the all. Listen to that….

“And what, bhikkhus, is the all? The eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odours, the tongue and tastes, the body and tactile objects, the mind and mental phenomena. This is called the all.

“If anyone, bhikkhus, should speak thus: ‘Having rejected this all, I shall make known another all’—that would be a mere empty boast on his part. If he were questioned he would not be able to reply and, further, he would meet with vexation. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, that would not be within his domain.”
-SN 35.23
Cessation of the Senses is Nibbāna
To sum up, the cessation of senses is nibbāna. In the Commentary on the Pañcattaya Sutta,⁹ the negation of the six pairs of sense faculties has been shown as nibbāna. Venerable Ānanda confirmed this by saying that according to the Buddha, nibbāna means the cessation of the six organs of sense and six sense-bases meaning, of course, the cessation of their operations. Dependent on the internal faculties of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind notions of ego-entity arise, and then we say that, this is an individual, this is a man, and this is a woman. When these egoistical ideas are dispelled, peace is established with the cessation of suffering relating to aging and death. The cessation of external sense faculties of form, sound, odour, taste, contact, and ideas are only secondary to the extermination of suffering, but as they are the adjuncts of the internal sense faculties, it is only when they cease that others follow suit. Negation of these pairs of faculties is nibbāna.
-Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, On the Nature of Nibbana
But the Realized One has awakened to the supreme state of sublime peace, that is, liberation by not grasping after truly understanding these six sense fields’ origin, ending, gratification, drawback, and escape.”
-MN 102
saṃyutta nikāya 12

connected discourses on causation

1. Dependent Origination
thus have i heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus!”

“Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, I will teach you dependent origination. Listen to that and attend closely, I will speak.”–“Yes, venerable sir,” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“And what, bhikkhus, is dependent origination? With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form; with name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition, contact; with contact as condition, feeling; with feeling as condition, craving; with craving as condition, clinging; with clinging as condition, existence; with existence as condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. This, bhikkhus, is called dependent origination.

“But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of consciousness, cessation of name-and-form; with the cessation of name-and-form, cessation of the six sense bases; with the cessation of the six sense bases, cessation of contact; with the cessation of contact, cessation of feeling; with the cessation of feeling, cessation of craving; with the cessation of craving, cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of existence; with the cessation of existence, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.”

This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, those bhikkhus delighted in the Blessed One’s statement.
-SN 12.1

It would seem to me that the understanding here is that there is the all and literally nothing is outside of this but nibbana. Since nibbana is not consciousness (nowhere in the Nikayas is Nibbana described as consciousness-Bhikkhu Bodhi, note to MN 49) nor the self (sabbe dhamma anatta SN 44.10) and is outside the all, then there is nothing that could be said to continue into parinibbana, since literally everything else ceases, then it is utterly impossible and illogical to say that anything continues into nibbana as the all has ceased with parinibbana. It is self contradictory to say that anything enters parinibbana. The all has ceased, and yet something continues into parinibbana? All has ceased, therefore nothing continues into parinibbana. All ceases but nibbana. There is no way around this. Anything that could be conceived of and suggested as making it into parinibbana is automatically included in the all which has ceased.

Even if you want to say there is some special thing that is not self, nor consciousness, nor whatever, it is automatically still part of the all, which ceases at parinibbana. Every single thing you could possibly think or come up with is part of the all, which ceases. Your mind, that comes up with these fantastical ideas, ceases at parinibbana.

Even if, hypothetically, nibbana were consciousness, since it is not self and therefore could not be said to be the arahants consciousness, an arahants consciousness could not enter it at death, as the aggregates cease with the death of an arahant. So still, literally nothing makes it into parinibbana, and so even if it were consciousness, then it would be a consciousness wholly and forever separate from the deceased arahant. There is no value in imagining nibbana as a consciousness that is totally irrelevant to the death of an arahant.

Some argue that since nibbana is said to be a refuge, the other shore, etc. that it must be a place where something of the arahant survives after parinibbana. However, since the all ceases at the death of the arahant, nothing remains of them and so nibbana must be an empty refuge, the other shore that is unpopulated, etc. More than likely, these positive descriptions of nibbana are denoting sa upadisesa nibbana which is nibbana for a living arahant. For them, nibbana is a refuge, etc. But anupadisesa nibbana cannot be a literal place where an arahant can go after death, because the all ceases, leaving only nibbana.

Even if nibbana were hypothetically to be considered part of the all, it is the only thing in the all that does not cease. So that changes nothing. It is still the case that everything ceases but nibbana and so nothing could make it into parinibbana.

Even if, hypothetically, nibbana were part of the all and consciousness, it still changes nothing. Sabbe dhamma anatta means that everything, including nibbana is not self. Sabbe sankhara anicca means that all things but nibbana are temporary. So even in this hypothetical situation, we have a conscious nibbana that is not self. All that is an arahant ceases at death, leaving only this not self nibbana consciousness. So here, too, nothing could possibly be said to enter parinibbana. So it may be a conciousness that can be experienced by the aggregates of an arahant while alive, but once an arahant dies, those aggregates cease utterly, leaving only nibbana.

Every single thing used to denote a being, or even an arahant, is said to be temporary. Inventing a new consciousness outside the five aggregates that is eternal seems like a way to circumvent this, but, per the sutta above, would be "empty boasting", since the all is the six senses and bases and the six senses are flatly stated to be impermanent in the suttas. Inventing this new consciousness would be trying to go outside the all. Even if hypothetically we say there is a consciousness outside the five aggregates, it is necessarily temporary, only nibbana is ever said to be permanent.

So the only place to hide a self or eternal consciousness or somthing that continues, it seems to me, would be as or in nibbana. But nibbana is not self, so it does not make a bridge for an arahant to continue. An arahant is the five aggregates.

Finally, the argument is often made that the Buddha was hinting that there was a self, or, if that word is not used, he was hinting that there was something that continued of an arahant into parinibbana after death when he refused to state whether an arahant exists after death. However what is missed here, is that the questioner is always assuming the arahant has a self, which is wrong. So the question cannot be answered at all without confusing the questioner. It would be like if someone asked "After the chariot is completely destroyed, what happens to him, does he still exist? Or where does the chariots soul go once it is destroyed? The question is totally irrational and based on a misunderstanding, it cannot be answered as formulated. One could say, well, a chariot is just wood and steel, the wood and steel break down and disintegrate. So, instead, the Buddha would frequently refuse to answer that question and then tell them what does cease with the death of an arahant. This of course is the all, the five aggregates, name and form, six senses, the end of all consciousness, the end of dependent origination, etc. Since the Buddha always defined beings as nothing other than the aggregates, the all, dependent origination, suffering, etc., then everything that the confused questioner assumed to be the arahant is said to cease.

Also notable is a "being" is defined as clinging in the above sutta. An arahant no longer clings, this may have something to do with the inability to discuss them as any kind of actuality. It does not, however, mean that they are immortal.

End my words, back to quotes!
Nibbāna is Beyond All Realms
Hence the text says, “nāyaṃ loko, na paraloko,” which means “neither in this world nor in other worlds.” In the absence of matter there can be no concept of darkness; and in the absence of the concept of darkness, there can be no concept of light. Hence in nibbāna there is no sun nor moon. Where no new bodies of the aggregates arise there can be no darkness or light. Yet the question might arise whether it is possible for sentient beings to come to nibbāna in the way that beings from the lower realms come to the human world, or beings from the human world come to the world of devas. However, in nibbāna there are no such comings. The usual term to describe the realisation of nibbāna is that the Buddhas and Arahants “enter” nibbāna, or specifically, anupādisesanibbāna. This does not mean the arrival of new aggregates, but the cutting off of the flow of mind and matter that causes existence. It is the complete extinction of aggregates; and this extinction is recognised as anupādisesanibbāna. It is not a place where beings make their landing from other planes of existence.

No one goes out or gets transported from nibbāna to other planes of existence either. Beings with wholesome kammas depart this human world for the world of devas; and those from heaven might also come down to earth as human beings. Those with unwholesome kammas might prefer going down to the lower realms. In nibbāna there is no such coming and going.

Attributes of Nibbāna

Nibbāna Has No Mass
It is often asked whether the Buddhas and Arahants exist as individuals in nibbāna. There is no mass in nibbāna. As it is not built up with a special kind of matter or mind, it cannot be looked upon as a mountain peopled by individuals, standing solidly across the firmament, like heaven or earth.
-Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, On the Nature of Nibbana
Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen.; Vis.MXVI
And yet it is not useless nothing, as the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw said:
Nibbāna is Real
Since nibbāna means the cessation of mind, matter, and mental formations, suggestions have often been put forward that it signifies nothing and is thus useless. However, nibbāna is absolute reality, the reality of the nullification of the activities of mind, matter, and mental formations to which the knowledge of the Path, Fruition, and reviewing (paccavekkhaṇa) is inclined. It is the mind-object to which this knowledge is directed. Buddhas, Arahants, and Noble Ones vouch for the truth of its reality. For the sake of argument, let us say that there is no nibbāna where all the cycles of defilement, actions, and results cease. Then no one in this Universe can find peace. In the absence of nibbāna, defilement will play havoc with our lives to produce action, which will bring about results, which will create conditions for the arising of a new group of aggregates attended by suffering. It is only the Path and its Fruition that can exterminate defilements, and this extermination will bring the cycle of suffering to an end. This cessation of suffering is real. Buddhas and Arahants actually reach this stage, and after their parinibbāna all sufferings come to an end.-Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, On the Nature of Nibbana
Nibbāna: Sanskrit nirvāna lit. 'ceasing' nir + Ö va to cease blowing, to become extinguished; according to the commentaries, 'freedom from desire' nir+ vana Nibbāna constitutes the highest and ultimate goal of all Buddhist aspirations, i.e. absolute ceasing of that life-affirming will manifested as greed, hate and confusion, and convulsively clinging to existence; and therewith also the ultimate and absolute deliverance from all future rebirth, old age, disease and death, from all suffering and misery. Cf. parinibbāna

Extinction of greed, ceasing of hate, ceasing of confusion: this is called Nibbāna; S. XXXVIII. 1.

The 2 aspects of Nibbāna are:

1: The full ceasing of defilements kilesa-parinibbāna also called sa-upādi-sesa-nibbāna see: It. 41, i.e. 'Nibbāna with the groups of existence still remaining' see: upādi. This takes place at the attainment of Arahatship, or perfect Nobility see: ariya-puggala.

2: The full ceasing of the groups of existence khandha-parinibbāna also called an-upādi-sesa-nibbāna see: It. 41, A. IV, 118, i.e. 'Nibbāna without the groups remaining', in other words, the coming to rest, or rather the 'no-more-continuing' of this physico-mental process of existence. This takes place at the death of the Arahat. - App.: Nibbāna.

Sometimes both aspects take place at one and the same moment, i.e. at the death of the Arahat; see: sama-sīsī

This, o Bhikkhus, truly is the peace, this is the highest, namely the end of all constructions, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving, detachment, ceasing, Nibbāna; A. III, 32.

Enraptured with lust rāga enraged with anger dosa blinded by confusion moha overwhelmed, with mind ensnared, man aims at his own ruin, at the ruin of others, at the ruin of both, and he experiences mental pain and grief. But if lust, anger and confusion are given up, man aims neither at his own ruin, nor at the ruin of others, nor at the ruin of both, and he experiences no mental pain and grief. Thus is Nibbāna visible in this life, immediate, inviting, attractive, and comprehensible to the wise; A. III, 55.

Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither visible forms, nor sounds, nor odours, nor tastes, nor bodily contacts, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance; A, VI, 55.

Verily, there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible; Ud. VIII, 3.

One cannot too often and too emphatically stress the fact that not only for the actual realization of the goal of Nibbāna, but also for a theoretical understanding of it, it is an indispensable preliminary condition to grasp fully the truth of anattā, the egolessness and insubstantiality of all forms of existence. Without such an understanding, one will necessarily misconceive Nibbāna - according to one's either materialistic or metaphysical leanings - either as annihilation of an ego, or as an eternal state of existence into which an ego or self enters or with which it merges. Hence it is said:

Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen.; Vis.MXVI
-Maha Thera Nyanatiloka , Buddhist Dictionary
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:56 pm
Greetings,

If you have any additional suttas to add to those listed above, please PM me the details (preferably with a brief note about their relevancy) and I will add them to this topic.

Until then, due to a proliferation of off-topic postings, this topic has been closed - a decision made in consultation with the OP.

:thanks:

Metta,
Paul. :)
salayatananirodha wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:21 pm
“There is the case where a certain contemplative or brahman is a logician, an inquirer. He states his own improvisation, hammered out by logic, deduced from his inquiries: ‘That which is called “eye” & “ear” & “nose” & “tongue” & “body”: That self is inconstant, impermanent, non-eternal, subject to change. But that which is called “mind” or “intellect” or “consciousness”: That self is constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, and will remain just like that for eternity.’12

“This is the fourth basis—with reference to which, coming from which—some contemplatives & brahmans are partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/DN/DN01.html
8. “As for the fourth: With reference to what, coming from what, are contemplatives & brahmans partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos?

“There is the case where a certain contemplative or brahman is a logician, an inquirer. He states his own improvisation, hammered out by logic, deduced from his inquiries: ‘That which is called “eye” & “ear” & “nose” & “tongue” & “body”: That self is inconstant, impermanent, non-eternal, subject to change. But that which is called “mind” or “intellect” or “consciousness”: That self is constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, and will remain just like that for eternity.’12

“This is the fourth basis—with reference to which, coming from which—some contemplatives & brahmans are partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos.

“These, monks, are the contemplatives & brahmans who are partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists, who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos on four grounds. And whatever contemplatives & brahmans who partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists, who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos, they all do so on one or another of these four grounds. There is nothing outside of this.

“With regard to this, the Tathāgata discerns that ‘These standpoints, thus seized, thus grasped at, lead to such & such a destination, to such & such a state in the world beyond.’ That the Tathāgata discerns. And he discerns what is higher than that. And yet, discerning that, he does not grasp at it. And as he is not grasping at it, unbinding [nibbuti] is experienced right within. Knowing, as they have come to be, the origination, ending, allure, & drawbacks of feelings, along with the escape from feelings, the Tathāgata, monks—through lack of clinging/sustenance—is released.

“These, monks, are the dhammas—deep, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise—that the Tathāgata proclaims, having directly known & realized them for himself, and that those who, rightly speaking in praise of the Tathāgata in line with what is factual, would speak.

[...]

“There, where any of those contemplatives & brahmans who are theorists about the past, theorists about the future, & theorists about the past & the future hold views about the past & the future, approve of various beliefs with reference to the past & the future on 62 grounds, that is just an agitation & vacillation to be felt by those contemplatives & brahmans who, not knowing, not seeing, are immersed in craving.

[...]

“There, where any of those contemplatives & brahmans who are theorists about the past, theorists about the future, & theorists about the past & the future hold views about the past & the future, approve of various beliefs with reference to the past & the future on 62 grounds, that comes from contact as a requisite condition.

[...]

“There, where any of those contemplatives & brahmans who are partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos on four grounds: That they would experience that other than through contact isn’t possible.
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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