Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Coyote
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Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by Coyote » Sat May 10, 2014 9:24 am

In a recent talk Ven. Sujato references the fact that the Theravadin school is the only early Buddhist school that recognised only one unconditioned element, nibbana. Other schools apparently had lists of other phenomena they considered unconditioned, besides nibbana. You can listen to the talk here, the reference is about 15mins in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al5QE6LcLX0

I would like to know more. What were these other unconditioned elements?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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tiltbillings
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by tiltbillings » Sat May 10, 2014 9:26 am

Coyote wrote:In a recent talk Ven. Sujato references the fact that the Theravadin school is the only early Buddhist school that recognised only one unconditioned element, nibbana. Other schools apparently had lists of other phenomena they considered unconditioned, besides nibbana. You can listen to the talk here, the reference is about 15mins in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al5QE6LcLX0

I would like to know more. What were these other unconditioned elements?
Space.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Mkoll
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by Mkoll » Sat May 10, 2014 9:29 am

That is very interesting. I wonder what the source is of these lists.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Coyote
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by Coyote » Sat May 10, 2014 9:52 am

Should have listened to the entire talk before posting. He mentioned at around 40:00 the formless attainments, cessation attainment.
Still, I would like to know more if anybody knows anything.
tiltbillings wrote:Space.
That's interesting, as the difference between space and nibbana comes up in the Milinda Panha.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

SarathW
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by SarathW » Sat May 10, 2014 11:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Coyote wrote:In a recent talk Ven. Sujato references the fact that the Theravadin school is the only early Buddhist school that recognised only one unconditioned element, nibbana. Other schools apparently had lists of other phenomena they considered unconditioned, besides nibbana. You can listen to the talk here, the reference is about 15mins in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al5QE6LcLX0

I would like to know more. What were these other unconditioned elements?
Space.
I think space is conditioned.
eg: Infinity of space Jhana

see also:
Buddha said Nibbana is, space is not.

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=16160
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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bharadwaja
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by bharadwaja » Mon May 12, 2014 5:28 pm

Is there a source for the belief that unconditioned refers to nibbana rather than something else?

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daverupa
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by daverupa » Mon May 12, 2014 7:23 pm

arhat wrote:Is there a source for the belief that unconditioned refers to nibbana rather than something else?
For example, Udana 8.3. The footnotes offer a quick and helpful discussion of this 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]

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bharadwaja
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by bharadwaja » Tue May 13, 2014 7:51 am

If a movement is possible from Samsara to Nibbana (imagining that it is the movement from a conditioned to an unconditioned state of being), why would the reverse also not be possible? Is it a mental state that one can change as frequently as one wants (now I am in nibbana, tomorrow I will be in samsara)? Is this why there is a distinction between temporary nibbana and parinibbana?

Or does the unconditioned refer to something else rather than nibbana?

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by beeblebrox » Tue May 13, 2014 6:29 pm

arhat wrote:If a movement is possible from Samsara to Nibbana (imagining that it is the movement from a conditioned to an unconditioned state of being), why would the reverse also not be possible?
Hi Arhat,

I don't think the conditions move to non-condition... it's through their falling away that non-condition (or freedom from conditions) can be discerned. When you're aware of this non-condition, you find peace. (I.e., nibbana.) It also doesn't make sense to try make conditions out of non-condition.
Is it a mental state that one can change as frequently as one wants (now I am in nibbana, tomorrow I will be in samsara)? Is this why there is a distinction between temporary nibbana and parinibbana?
I don't think nibbana is considered temporary. It's ignorance that makes it seem temporary (and also to try view it as something that is eternal). Parinibbana is just the final extinguishment of the five khandas.
Or does the unconditioned refer to something else rather than nibbana?
"The unconditioned" is an English translation of asankhata. I don't think that this word refers to "something" or a "place" which is "the unconditioned."

:anjali:

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bharadwaja
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by bharadwaja » Tue May 13, 2014 6:50 pm

"The unconditioned" is an English translation of asankhata. I don't think that this word refers to "something" or a "place" which is "the unconditioned."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Atthi bhikkave -- ajaata, abhuuta, akata, asankhata"

My translation: "(There) exists, bhikkus -- an unborn, an unbecome, an unmade, an unassembled."

4 adjectives that qualify the same thing, and you are saying these adjectives do not describe a noun i.e. thing? That's strange.

He is talking of the existence of a thing which he then qualifies with adjectives.

If you say nibbana is not a noun/thing, I would tend to agree. That's why I've raised the question whether he was talking about nibbana at all.
Last edited by bharadwaja on Tue May 13, 2014 7:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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beeblebrox
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by beeblebrox » Tue May 13, 2014 7:01 pm

arhat wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Atthi bhikkave -- ajaata, abhuuta, akata, asankhata"

4 adjectives that qualify the same thing, and you are saying these adjectives do not describe a noun i.e. thing? That's strange.

If you say nibbana is not a noun/thing, I would tend to agree. That's why I've raised the question whether he was talking about nibbana at all.
I think you make a good point. It seems possible that he didn't use these words as descriptions for nibbana, but to point out how the escape from "born, become, made and fabricated" could be discerned.

I didn't catch that the first time around. Thanks for bringing it up.

:anjali:

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bharadwaja
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by bharadwaja » Tue May 13, 2014 7:06 pm

Parinibbana is just the final extinguishment of the five khandas
So when you say parinibbana is not permanent nibbana (since there is no such thing as a temp nibbana according to you), you mean what is called Parinibbana does not really mean a kind of nibbana at all, since it is already attained before?

Then why should it be (misleadingly, according to you) named pari-nibbana?
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beeblebrox
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by beeblebrox » Tue May 13, 2014 7:15 pm

arhat wrote:
Parinibbana is just the final extinguishment of the five khandas
So you mean what is called Parinibbana does not really mean a kind of nibbana at all, since it is already attained before?

Then why should it be (misleadingly, according to you) named pari-nibbana?
Hi Arhat,

It is mystifying to me how you read that into my post.

Parinibbana is a full, complete nibbana... which involves "just" the final extinguishment of the five khandhas.

:anjali:

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by Coyote » Tue May 13, 2014 7:20 pm

Nibbana means extinction, doesn't it?

Kilesa-parinibbana being the extiction of defilement, khanda-parinibbana being the extinction of the aggregates.
Such a state (if it can be called that) is asankhata because there is no falling back from it. The extinction (of kilesa/khandha) is final.

Space, and other elements are conditioned because it is possible to attain them, as meditative states, and yet fall back from them. They are supported by conditions and so change accordingly. Nibbana is not a state of becoming, but the end of them. Not something built up, but an ending of the process of becoming, fabrication ect. based on ignorance.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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bharadwaja
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Post by bharadwaja » Tue May 13, 2014 7:28 pm

Parinibbana is a full, complete nibbana... which involves "just" the final extinguishment of the five khandhas
OK sorry I misunderstood your interpretation. So death is necesary for completion of nibbana, until then it would not be full/complete? So the ordinary nibbana depends on conditions to become parinibbana?

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