Nibbana and nihilism

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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rightviewftw
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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:28 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:17 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:09 pm
Maybe i am wrong of course
More than you realize
Even if u master attainment of dimension of neither perception nor non-perception i will do this to you. As long as you keep saying wrong things.
I would not even call you out on this as i have not done so before but ITT you called Slander yourself, so you were asking for it.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DCM
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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by DCM » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:31 pm

Zom wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:37 pm
This is something that has been bothering me for a while. If Nibbana is the cessation of everything, then what’s the aim of the spiritual quest? Nothingness?
Strange question from someone who's been studying Buddhism for decades. The aim is, obviously, the cessation of suffering (and no, not eternal happiness, eternal heavens, eternal well-being or something like that). :coffee:
What are you on about? I studied Mahayana for 2 years, am in my 1st year studying and practising Theravada and have read the Digha once and am a quarter way through the Samyutta.

Are these not normal questions from people with my background and experience ? I’m trying my best to cut through old views. Unfortunately there are people who make wrong assumtions and patronise based on those presumptions.

What I should have said was result, not aim. And extinction not nothingness.
Last edited by DCM on Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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cappuccino
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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by cappuccino » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:43 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:28 pm
Even if u master attainment of dimension of neither perception nor non-perception i will do this to you.

As an elephant in the battlefield withstands arrows shot from bows all around, even so shall I endure abuse.
Last edited by cappuccino on Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:46 pm, edited 6 times in total.
neither eternal identity, nor annihilation

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Zom
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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by Zom » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:31 pm

What are you on about? I studied Mahayana for 2 years
Ah sorry, I thought you just cited Alan Wallace ))

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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by Zom » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:32 pm

Don't misrepresent the Blessed One. It's not good to misrepresent the Blessed One
Indeed, a good advice for yourself .)

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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by DCM » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:35 pm

Zom wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:31 pm
What are you on about? I studied Mahayana for 2 years
Ah sorry, I thought you just cited Alan Wallace ))
No problem. I thought you were referring to me. I’ve got a long way to go, but I have a strong desire to have right view in accordance with the early Suttas. Perhaps forums aren’t the best place for someone inexperienced as me!

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DooDoot
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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by DooDoot » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:39 am

:console:
DCM wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:35 pm
No problem. I thought you were referring to me. I’ve got a long way to go, but I have a strong desire to have right view in accordance with the early Suttas. Perhaps forums aren’t the best place for someone inexperienced as me!
I attempt to answer your questions with integrity. The right view in accordance with the very early Suttas is obviously found in the Suttas. Therefore, NIbbana in the very early suttas is as I posted, namely: (i) here & now Nibbbana & (ii) Nibbana at the termination of life.

As for annihilationism, again, we should read the suttas about it. In the suttas, annihilationism is referred to as a "doctrine" or "view". However, Bhikkhu Bodhi appears to refer to it as a metaphysical reality. Bhikkhu Bodhi said:
BB: This isn’t my position, but their position. They would say that annihilationism is the doctrine that there is a substantial self that perishes at death, but with “right view” one sees that it is only the procession of self-less aggregates that ceases and beyond this there is nothing. For them, nibbāna is total extinction. It seems to me that on this position, what happens to the arahant at the time of death is exactly what happens to every living being at the time of death from the perspective of philosophical materialism. The only difference would be that the Buddhist posits rebirth for those who are non-arahants while the materialist posits “final nibbāna” for everyone.
About annihilationism (ucchijjati & ucchedaṃ), the following suttas affirm what is highlighted in red above:
He may not regard form as self … or hold such an eternalist view, but he holds such a view as this: ‘I might not be, and it might not be for me; I will not be, and it will not be for me.’ That annihilationist view (ucchedadiṭṭhi) is a (thought) formation….

Yā kho pana sā, bhikkhave, ucchedadiṭṭhi saṅkhāro so

SN 22.81
He thinks thus: ‘So I shall be annihilated! So I shall perish! So I shall be no more!’ Then he sorrows, grieves, and laments, he weeps beating his breast and becomes distraught.

MN 22
Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: 'The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.' In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

DN 1
How, bhikkhus, do some overreach? Now some are troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by this very same being and they rejoice in (the idea of) non-being, asserting: ‘In as much as this self, good sirs, when the body perishes at death, is annihilated and destroyed and does not exist after death—this is peaceful, this is excellent, this is reality!’ Thus, bhikkhus, do some overreach.

Iti 49
But, Kassapa, if one thinks, ‘The one who acts is one, the one who experiences the result is another,’ then one asserts with reference to one stricken by feeling: ‘Suffering is created by another.’ When one asserts thus, this amounts to the doctrine of annihilationism (vadaṃ ucchedaṃ).

SN 12.17
In AN 8.11, when the Buddha was accused of being an anihilationist, he replied in the following way (rather than replied with the view of Bhikkhu Bodhi):
(4) “Master Gotama is an annihilationist.”

“There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist.’ For I assert the annihilation of lust, hatred, and delusion; I assert the annihilation of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.”

https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.11
At least for me, although the suttas may teach about 'kamma & rebirth', I have not read in the suttas the term 'annihilationism' (ucchijjati & ucchedaṃ) used as a denial of 'kamma & rebirth'. If someone could quote directly from the suttas to amend by impression, that might be useful.

:reading: :smile:
Last edited by DooDoot on Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:40 am, edited 6 times in total.

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aflatun
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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by aflatun » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:44 am

DCM wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:34 am

Yes, fair enough, but if the final goal is extinction, it seems to be the annihilation of being. It may seem I am holding an eternalist view and craving for some existence in Nibbana, but I am trying to understand the difference between an Arahants death, and the death of a being according to the materialists view, where they both seem to mean extinction, annihilation. I know the Aaraht destroys the taints and according to Buddhist view the materialist will take re birth in Samsara, but the materialists would still say the Arahant is annihilated.
For sautrantikas (the classical school and some modern sutta only folks) there is no difference at all between materialist death and Nibbana without residue, or at least not one I've seen anyone formulate to my satisfaction. The problem for them it seems is not craving, but that there is any experience at all, and since the only way to end all experience is to end craving, we end craving to affect a definitive suicide (suicide of "what" the neo-sautrantika will here interject. Fair question, but for one who is still subject to this "what" such dismissals are worthless and reveal more about the dismisser than anything. Someone who 'gets it" doesn't speak this way to someone who does not. Just look at the Buddha.)

For the Classical Theravada on the other hand (and most other non Mahayana schools as far as I know) the difference is that Nibbana without residue is not the mere cessation of the aggregates (consciousness included) and the defilements, but also an unconditioned (asankhata), ultimate (paramattha) reality (dhamma). The latter is "what remains." Bhikkhu Bodhi is impeccably orthodox in his presentation of this view I think.

On this point you might want to check out the Lance Cousins paper boundless cited (I think it was in this thread?)

And for some contemporary Pali Buddhists Nibbana without residue is a timeless, unconditioned and objectless consciousness, or at least includes some kind of sentience (Check out Professor Peter Harvey's Selfless Mind for the most scholarly and forcefully argued example I'm familiar with). The Arahant can "step into" this domain while alive (on this reading this is not sanna vedayita nirodha).

To address another one of your posts, yes its entirely normal and good to have these questions because you should want to know what you're practicing for! I know this doesn't answer your question, but I do believe that when self view ceases the question of what happens "after" death does become more or less irrelevant. The mountain range sized suffering one was aquainted with becomes reduced to a few grains of sand, and one can see the end, so to speak, eyes open and senses functioning. But IMO this also means any notion that experience needs to be "blacked out" to bring suffering to an end goes :toilet: Just my take.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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DooDoot
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Re: Nibbana and nihilism

Post by DooDoot » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:07 am

DCM wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:53 pm
Bodhi is here commenting on ‘Some modern interpreters—including a number of prominent Western bhikkhus’.

BB: This isn’t my position, but their position. They would say that annihilationism is the doctrine that there is a substantial self that perishes at death, but with “right view” one sees that it is only the procession of self-less aggregates that ceases and beyond this there is nothing. For them, nibbāna is total extinction. It seems to me that on this position, what happens to the arahant at the time of death is exactly what happens to every living being at the time of death from the perspective of philosophical materialism. The only difference would be that the Buddhist posits rebirth for those who are non-arahants while the materialist posits “final nibbāna” for everyone.
I am personally intrigued by what VBB has to say here so I decided to research more, namely, MN 60, which states:
Thanissaro wrote: There are some contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view: 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no other world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the other after having directly known and realized it for themselves.'.... a person of bad habits & wrong view: one who holds to a doctrine of non-existence (natthikavādo).'

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
VBB translates natthikavādo as follows:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:... one of wrong view who holds the doctrine of nihilism.

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn60
natthikavāda
mfn.
professing the doctrine of an unbeliever.

natthika
m(fn).
an unbeliever; a skeptic.
The word 'natthika' is found in SN 3.21 and obviously does not mean a doctrine of 'annihilationism':
He who abuses & reviles ascetics
Brahmins & other mendicants
A natthika (nihilist), a scoffer, who hinders
Another giving food to beggers
Alternate translation:
A miserly man without faith and means, in view gone wrong,
With evil thoughts, greedy and without compassion,
Angry without a reason, he rebukes and debases, recluses,
Brahmins, or wayfarers and prevents them from getting gifts.
Therefore, it seems VBB, by validly choosing the English word 'nihilist' for 'natthika', is confusing this with the word 'uccheda' (annihilationism).
nihilist

a person who believes that life is meaningless and rejects all religious and moral principles.
In my opinion, the word 'uccheda' (annihilationism) has no relationship in the suttas with disbelief in 'kamma & rebirth'. As shown in my previous post, 'uccheda' (annihilationism) appears to refer to the view that a 'self' perishes at death. Where as the word for 'disbelief' in kamma & rebirth appears to be one of the three doctrines below from MN 60, MN 117, SN 22.62 and AN 4.30 that are criticized, namely:

1. ahetuvādā - doctrine of noncausality

2. akiriyavādā - doctrine of inefficacy of action

3. natthikavādā - doctrine of nihilism or immorality

'Ucchedavada' (annihilationism) does not appear to be related to the above three doctrines; which is probably why VBB's idea below is not related to the suttas. What is highlighted in green appears to accord with the suttas. The remainder appears to be VBB's personal depature into other wrong doctrines, such as ahetuvādā, akiriyavādā & natthikavādā.
BB: This isn’t my position, but their position. They would say that annihilationism is the doctrine that there is a substantial self that perishes at death, but with “right view” one sees that it is only the procession of self-less aggregates that ceases and beyond this there is nothing. For them, nibbāna is total extinction. It seems to me that on this position, what happens to the arahant at the time of death is exactly what happens to every living being at the time of death from the perspective of philosophical materialism. The only difference would be that the Buddhist posits rebirth for those who are non-arahants while the materialist posits “final nibbāna” for everyone
It seems quite strange that VBB gives the impression of labelling those with the right view of anatta as "philosophical materialists" and labelling those with the view of self (atta) or beings (satta) as "Buddhist". Regardless, VBB's position above sounds mixed up (because VBB appears to be mixing doctrines; as previously suggested). Just because a Noble Practitioner views all life forms (including at the termination of life) as anatta (not-self); this does not necessarily mean there is an implicit denial of 'something' being reincarnated. VBB, above, appear to be refuting the phase: "Sabbe dhamma anatta" (all things are not-self). VBB appears to be saying Arahants are not-self (because there is not a substantial self that perishes at death for arahants) but non-arahants are a self (because for non-arahants a substantial self that perishes at death). This mixed up appears to be result of mixing up the doctrines of ucchedavada, ahetuvādā, akiriyavādā & natthikavādā.

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