rowyourboat wrote:The second you think of a conscious nibbana it is eternalism all the way!
Because of the importance to understand nibbana correctly to eliminate the ignorance of the third noble truth, I'd like to continue this discussion.
To my understanding of the Buddha's teaching, indeed there's no five aggregate consciousness in nibbana. But whether or not the unconditioned, "luminous all-around" transcendental "consciousness" of arahants disappears or not when they enter final nibbana is a question. Even when Ven Sariputta enters the sphere of cessation of perception and feeling, he was still conscious of nothingness/emptiness there, not without consciousness of the state. The Buddha indicated that FREED FROM THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE FIVE AGGREGATES, "THE TATHAGATA (THE UNCONDITIONED) IS DEEP, BOUNDLESS, HARD TO FATHOM, LIKE THE SEA -- so he was "conscious" (transcendental consciousness) of such a state of nibbana, not without any "consciousness" (transcendental consciousness).
In Bikkhu Bodhi's NIBBANA (http://hkims.org/documents/Nibbana%20by ... 0Bodhi.pdf
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"By practising the path one doesn't bring Nibbana into existence but rather discovers something already existing, something always present.
it is an actuality and the Buddha refers to Nibbana as an unconditioned Dhamma.
The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as an 'ayatana'. This means realm, plane or sphere. It is a sphere where there is nothing [conditioned things] at all that corresponds to our mundane experience.
The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'dhatu,' an element, the 'deathless element' (amata-dhatu). He compares the element of Nibbana to an ocean. He says that just as the great ocean remains at the same level no matter how much water pours into it from the rivers, without increase or decrease, so the Nibbana element remains the same, no matter whether many or few people attain Nibbana. [because it’s pure emptiness].
He also speaks of Nibbana as something that can be experienced by the body, an experience that is so vivid, so powerful, that it can be described as "touching the deathless element with one's own body."
The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'state' (pada), as 'amatapada' - the deathless state - or ‘accutapada’, the imperishable state.
Another word used by the Buddha to refer to Nibbana is 'sacca', which means 'truth', an existing reality. This refers to Nibbana as the truth, a reality that the Noble Ones have known through direct experience.
So all these terms, considered as a whole, clearly establish that Nibbana is an actual reality and not the mere destruction of defilements or the cessation of existence. Nibbana is unconditioned, without any origination and is timeless.
The story of the Turtle and the Fish
To illustrate this error of regarding Nibbana as sheer nothingness [emptiness doesn't equal to (transcendental) nothingness], the Buddhists relate the story of the turtle and the fish.
There was once a turtle who lived in a lake with a group of fish. One day the turtle went for a walk on dry land. He was away from the lake for a few weeks. When he returned he met some of the fish. The fish asked him, "Mister turtle, hello! How are you? We have not seen you for a few weeks. Where have you been? The turtle said, "I was up on the land, I have been spending some time on dry land." The fish were a little puzzled and they said, "Up on dry land? What are you talking about? What is this dry land? Is it wet?" The turtle said "No, it is not," "Is it cool and refreshing?" "No, it is not", "Does it have waves and ripples?" "No, it does not have waves and ripples." "Can you swim in it?" "No you can't" So the fish said, "it is not wet, it is not cool, there are no waves, you can’t swim in it. So this dry land of yours must be completely non-existent, just an imaginary thing, nothing real at all." The turtle said that "Well, may be so" and he left the fish and went for another walk on dry land.
Metta to all,