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According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:46 pm
by zan
Again, according to Orthodox Theravada only, is it? Do the suttas ever clarify or rule out this possibility?

I know there are modern, or otherwise, interpretations that makes this a very sticky issue and so I am limiting the scope of the question to solely Orthodox Theravada.

Might one posit that, while the aggregates and all experience are said to be not self, once one enters nibbana they enter or find the self? Or that nibbana itself is the self?

Sutta quotes only, please, or classical Orthodox Theravada commentary with accompanying sutta quotes.

Opinions and unsourced statements are interesting but none of those can answer this question.

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:29 pm
by Sam Vara
Well, the Suttas say

"Sabbe dhamma anatta", which is taken to mean that all things are devoid of self; and the contrast with all sankhara, or compounded phenomena, is often taken to mean that the "all things" include the unconditioned, or nibbana.

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:43 pm
by Zom
MN 1 is what you need:


“Here, bhikkhus, an untaught ordinary person... 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.

A bhikkhu who is an arahant with taints destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached his own goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and is completely liberated through final knowledge, he too directly knows nibbana as nibbana. Having directly known nibbana as nibbana, he does not conceive himself as nibbana, he does not conceive himself in nibbana, he does not conceive himself apart from nibbana, he does not conceive nibbana to be ‘mine,’ he does not delight in nibbana. Why is that? Because he has fully understood it, I say.

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:56 pm
by cappuccino
Nirvana is (in part) lack of "I am" conceit

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:01 pm
by JamesTheGiant
Zom wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:43 pm
MN 1 is what you need:


“Here, bhikkhus, an untaught ordinary person... 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.

A bhikkhu who is an arahant with taints destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached his own goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and is completely liberated through final knowledge, he too directly knows nibbana as nibbana. Having directly known nibbana as nibbana, he does not conceive himself as nibbana, he does not conceive himself in nibbana, he does not conceive himself apart from nibbana, he does not conceive nibbana to be ‘mine,’ he does not delight in nibbana. Why is that? Because he has fully understood it, I say.
That is the very best, most perfect and conclusive answer I've seen on here in a long time. Well done! :thumbsup:

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:41 pm
by cappuccino
For him … not being delighted in, will become cool right here.
Samsara is sweat.

Nirvana is air conditioning.

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:03 pm
by SarathW
:goodpost:
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:01 pm
Zom wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:43 pm
MN 1 is what you need:


“Here, bhikkhus, an untaught ordinary person... 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.

A bhikkhu who is an arahant with taints destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached his own goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and is completely liberated through final knowledge, he too directly knows nibbana as nibbana. Having directly known nibbana as nibbana, he does not conceive himself as nibbana, he does not conceive himself in nibbana, he does not conceive himself apart from nibbana, he does not conceive nibbana to be ‘mine,’ he does not delight in nibbana. Why is that? Because he has fully understood it, I say.
That is the very best, most perfect and conclusive answer I've seen on here in a long time. Well done! :thumbsup:
:goodpost:

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:18 pm
by zan
SarathW wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:03 pm
:goodpost:
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:01 pm
Zom wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:43 pm
MN 1 is what you need:


“Here, bhikkhus, an untaught ordinary person... 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.

A bhikkhu who is an arahant with taints destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached his own goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and is completely liberated through final knowledge, he too directly knows nibbana as nibbana. Having directly known nibbana as nibbana, he does not conceive himself as nibbana, he does not conceive himself in nibbana, he does not conceive himself apart from nibbana, he does not conceive nibbana to be ‘mine,’ he does not delight in nibbana. Why is that? Because he has fully understood it, I say.
That is the very best, most perfect and conclusive answer I've seen on here in a long time. Well done! :thumbsup:
:goodpost:
Agreed! Thanks!

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:19 pm
by zan
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:29 pm
Well, the Suttas say

"Sabbe dhamma anatta", which is taken to mean that all things are devoid of self; and the contrast with all sankhara, or compounded phenomena, is often taken to mean that the "all things" include the unconditioned, or nibbana.

Thank you. Which sutta is this quote from exactly?

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:26 pm
by zan
So MN 1 makes it pretty clear that nibbana is not the self. To my knowledge this sutta is what the Orthodox Theravada would present to answer this question, so it is perfect.

For the sake of being thorough, does anyone know any other suttas that the traditional Theravada Orthodox commentators would present as an answer to the question? Or commentaries with accompaning suttas?

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:35 am
by Sam Vara
zan wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:19 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:29 pm
Well, the Suttas say

"Sabbe dhamma anatta", which is taken to mean that all things are devoid of self; and the contrast with all sankhara, or compounded phenomena, is often taken to mean that the "all things" include the unconditioned, or nibbana.

Thank you. Which sutta is this quote from exactly?
It's in the Maggavagga of the Dhammapada (v. 277-279). I think it's also in the Digha Nikaya somewhere, but I can't recall where.

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:38 am
by TRobinson465
zan wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:19 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:29 pm
Well, the Suttas say

"Sabbe dhamma anatta", which is taken to mean that all things are devoid of self; and the contrast with all sankhara, or compounded phenomena, is often taken to mean that the "all things" include the unconditioned, or nibbana.

Thank you. Which sutta is this quote from exactly?
A Realized One understands this and comprehends it,
Taṃ tathāgato abhisambujjhati abhisameti.
then he explains, teaches, asserts, establishes, clarifies, analyzes, and reveals it:
Abhisambujjhitvā abhisametvā ācikkhati deseti paññāpeti paṭṭhapeti vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti:
‘All conditions are suffering.’
‘sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā’ti.
Whether Realized Ones arise or not, this law of nature persists, this regularity of natural principles, this invariance of natural principles:
Uppādā vā, bhikkhave, tathāgatānaṃ anuppādā vā tathāgatānaṃ ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā.
all things are not-self.
Sabbe dhammā anattā.
A Realized One understands this and comprehends it,
Taṃ tathāgato abhisambujjhati abhisameti.
then he explains, teaches, asserts, establishes, clarifies, analyzes, and reveals it:
Abhisambujjhitvā abhisametvā ācikkhati deseti paññāpeti paṭṭhapeti vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti:
‘All things are not-self.’”
‘sabbe dhammā anattā’”ti.

https://suttacentral.net/an3.136/en/sujato

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:21 am
by Polar Bear
zan wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:26 pm

For the sake of being thorough, does anyone know any other suttas that the traditional Theravada Orthodox commentators would present as an answer to the question? Or commentaries with accompaning suttas?
This sutta is pretty thorough in negating self:
“What do you think, Anuradha, do you regard form as the Tathagata?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Do you regard feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness as the Tathagata?”—“No, venerable sir.”

“What do you think, Anuradha, do you regard the Tathagata as in form?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Do you regard the Tathagata as apart from form?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Do you regard the Tathagata as in feeling? As apart from feeling? As in perception? As apart from perception? As in volitional formations? As apart from volitional formations? As in consciousness? As apart from consciousness?”—“No, venerable sir.”

“What do you think, Anuradha, do you regard form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness taken together as the Tathagata?”—“No, venerable sir.”

“What do you think, Anuradha, do you regard the Tathagata as one who is without form, without feeling, without perception, without volitional formations, without consciousness?”—“No, venerable sir.”

“But, Anuradha, when the Tathagata is not apprehended by you as real and actual here in this very life, is it fitting for you to declare: ‘Friends, when a Tathagata is describing a Tathagata—the highest type of person, the supreme person, the attainer of the supreme attainment—he describes him apart from these four cases: ‘The Tathagata exists after death,’ or … ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death’?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Good, good, Anuradha! Formerly, Anuradha, and also now, I make known just suffering and the cessation of suffering.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn22.86/en/bodhi

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:23 am
by Dinsdale
zan wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:26 pm
So MN 1 makes it pretty clear that nibbana is not the self.
Not exactly. It's saying you won't understand what Nibbana is if you consider it as "me" or "mine". It doesn't say anything about what Nibbana is, or isn't.

Re: According to Orthodox Theravada only, in the suttas, is nibbana the self?

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:35 pm
by Zom
It's in the Maggavagga of the Dhammapada (v. 277-279). I think it's also in the Digha Nikaya somewhere, but I can't recall where.
In Anguttara, from AN1 - suttas № 268, 269, 270:

It is impossible and inconceivable, bhikkhus, that a person
accomplished in view could consider any conditioned phenomenon
as permanent; there is no such possibility. But it is
possible [27] that a worldling might consider some conditioned
phenomenon as permanent; there is such a possibility

It is impossible and inconceivable, bhikkhus, that a person
accomplished in view could consider any conditioned phenomenon
as pleasurable; there is no such possibility. But it is
possible that a worldling might consider some conditioned phenomenon
as pleasurable; there is such a possibility

It is impossible and inconceivable, bhikkhus, that a person
accomplished in view could consider anything as a self; there
is no such possibility. But it is possible that a worldling might
consider something as a self; there is such a possibility

:coffee:
Not exactly. It's saying you won't understand what Nibbana is if you consider it as "me" or "mine". It doesn't say anything about what Nibbana is, or isn't.
It says that you are wrong (being an untaught ordinary person), if you think that "self" is somehow connected with nibbana. I know there's a view among abhidharmists that nibbana is a part of you. They say: abhidhamma explains things (dhammas) existing in a living being. Among these dhammas there is one unconditioned which is nibbana. All dhammas are conditioned and will be gone, but nibbana is always there, and so it remains after the death of arahant. For me such kind of view is "nibbana = true self".