Nibbana according to Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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zan
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Nibbana according to Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

Post by zan » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:27 pm

For the sake of simplicity please consider the Visuddhimagga and commentaries as authoritative in this question because they were considered authoritative by the author and so speculation and answers outside of these things will not necessarily answer the question in the proper context.

In "Manual of Insight" Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw explains that the experience of Nibbana is the cessation of both noted objects and the mind that notes them (page 292).

I am perplexed as to how this could be "experienced" other than as a retroactive viewing. If there were any experience of the event as it was happening then the mind has not ceased. Is it that one would be experiencing phala samapatti and so ones normal mind that notes has ceased but lokuttara citta is still there?

In contrast, is it correct that once one has moved up to non-returner (Anagami) or Arahant, only then could one experience nirodha samapatti in which all consciousness ceases and therefore one would necessarily only experience it as a retroactive viewing?

So all experience of Nibbana is viewing of it with a consciousness except when non-returners and Arahants actually fully experience it without any consciousness at all? Essentially Sotapannas and Sakagamis can only see and understand Nibbana whereas Anagamis and Arahants can actually experience it?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

Bakmoon
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Re: Nibbana according to Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

Post by Bakmoon » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:34 pm

zan wrote:I am perplexed as to how this could be "experienced" other than as a retroactive viewing. If there were any experience of the event as it was happening then the mind has not ceased. Is it that one would be experiencing phala samapatti and so ones normal mind that notes has ceased but lokuttara citta is still there?
Correct, according to the Abhidhamma, when one experiences Nibbana, there is lokuttara citta present that is cognizing Nibbana.
zan wrote:In contrast, is it correct that once one has moved up to non-returner (Anagami) or Arahant, only then could one experience nirodha samapatti in which all consciousness ceases and therefore one would necessarily only experience it as a retroactive viewing?

So all experience of Nibbana is viewing of it with a consciousness except when non-returners and Arahants actually fully experience it without any consciousness at all? Essentially Sotapannas and Sakagamis can only see and understand Nibbana whereas Anagamis and Arahants can actually experience it?
According to the Abhidhamma and the Classical Tradition, Nirodha Samapatti isn't the same thing as experiencing Nibbana, and Anagamis and Arahants do have consciousness while experiencing Nibbana.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

zan
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Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Nibbana according to Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

Post by zan » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:52 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
zan wrote:I am perplexed as to how this could be "experienced" other than as a retroactive viewing. If there were any experience of the event as it was happening then the mind has not ceased. Is it that one would be experiencing phala samapatti and so ones normal mind that notes has ceased but lokuttara citta is still there?
Correct, according to the Abhidhamma, when one experiences Nibbana, there is lokuttara citta present that is cognizing Nibbana.
zan wrote:In contrast, is it correct that once one has moved up to non-returner (Anagami) or Arahant, only then could one experience nirodha samapatti in which all consciousness ceases and therefore one would necessarily only experience it as a retroactive viewing?

So all experience of Nibbana is viewing of it with a consciousness except when non-returners and Arahants actually fully experience it without any consciousness at all? Essentially Sotapannas and Sakagamis can only see and understand Nibbana whereas Anagamis and Arahants can actually experience it?
According to the Abhidhamma and the Classical Tradition, Nirodha Samapatti isn't the same thing as experiencing Nibbana, and Anagamis and Arahants do have consciousness while experiencing Nibbana.
Thank you.

So then the only time there is the total cessation of consciousness upon entering Nibbana is at the time of an Arahants death when they enter Parinibbana? Other than this there is always, without exception, lokattura citta when Nibbana is experienced?

Is there a detailed distinction explained between Nirodha Samapatti and Nibbana?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

SarathW
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Re: Nibbana according to Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

Post by SarathW » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:51 pm

Is there a detailed distinction explained between Nirodha Samapatti and Nibbana?

The fallowing thread discuss this.

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=21484&hilit
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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cjmacie
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Re: Nibbana according to Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

Post by cjmacie » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:50 am

Bakmoon wrote: According to the Abhidhamma and the Classical Tradition, Nirodha Samapatti isn't the same thing as experiencing Nibbana, and Anagamis and Arahants do have consciousness while experiencing Nibbana.
Interesting point, that shows up off and on.

Many characterize "Nirodha Samapatti" as a "total blackout". Notably a few academic writers (e.g. Paul Griffiths' "On Being Mindless: Buddhist Meditation and the Mind-Body Problem") who assert such, even for the experience of (Visuddhimagga-type) 4th-jhana, and even any such jhana at all. In fact, this tendency runs through the "research" behind the "sutta-jhana" hypothesis.

On the other hand, I once asked Thanissaro Bhikkhu about that ("is Nibbana such a black-out", as held by Griffiths, Stuart-Fox, even Rod Bucknell); his brief answer was that there is awareness (i.e. as per Bakmoon's quotation above).

My suspicion is that for one irretrievably and un-selfreflectively stuck in, identified with mental conceptualization, such as in academic mentality, the "stilling" of mental activity may well seem like annihilation.

Bakmoon
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Re: Nibbana according to Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

Post by Bakmoon » Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:35 pm

zan wrote:So then the only time there is the total cessation of consciousness upon entering Nibbana is at the time of an Arahants death when they enter Parinibbana? Other than this there is always, without exception, lokattura citta when Nibbana is experienced?

Is there a detailed distinction explained between Nirodha Samapatti and Nibbana?
According to my understanding, you are correct, that is what is taught in the Abhidhamma.

There is a discussion of Nirodha Sammapati in the Abhidhammatasamgaha. Bhikkhu Bodhi writes
The attainment of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti) is a meditative attainment in
which the stream of consciousness and mental factors are temporarily completely cut off.
It can be obtained only by non-returners and Arahants who have mastery over all the
fine-material and immaterial jhānas. Further, it can be obtained only within the sensory
plane or the fine-material plane of existence. It cannot be obtained within the immaterial
plane, for there is no attaining of the four fine-material jhānas there, which are the pre-
requisites for entering cessation (nirodha).
To enter cessation, the meditator must attain each jhāna in proper sequence.
After emerging from each one, he contemplates its factors as impermanent (anicca),
suffering (dukkha), and non-self (anattā). In this manner, the procedure is carried as far
as the base of nothingness. After emerging from the base of nothingness, the meditator
then makes four resolutions: (1) that his requisites should not be destroyed; (2) that he
should emerge if his services are needed by the Sangha; (3) that he should emerge if he is
summoned by the Buddha (only applicable during the Buddha’s lifetime); and (4) that he
is not bound to die within seven days.
After making these resolutions, he enters the fourth immaterial jhāna, which
occurs for two moments of javana. Immediately after, he attains cessation, wherein the
stream of consciousness is temporarily suspended.
But that's about it. The Classical tradition has always seen the two as distinct things. Of course, in modern times there are a variety of opinions.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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