Is it really the case that every moment which arises is dukkha? Do arahats experience the arising of the aggregates? Do they suffer when they do?It can be discussed with someone who has an initial understanding of dukkha (that is that every moment which arises is dukkha)- a discussion on how that dukkha comes to a cessation.
From the Kotthita Sutta:
"And through this line of reasoning one may know how the eye is not the fetter of forms, nor are forms the fetter of the eye, but whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there....
That line of reasoning is:
The Blessed One sees form with the eye, but he is well-released because there is no desire or passion in the Blessed One. That doesn't sound like pitch-black cessation. It sounds to me like the arahat is unbound by the elimination of the mind's reactiveness -- in other words, the defilements. The arahat sees forms with the eye, but because he has, through insight, eliminated the craving and clinging that would lead to further becoming, he is does not suffer from what he sees. Is that, rather than a black vacuum, nibbana?There is an eye in the Blessed One. The Blessed One sees forms with the eye. There is no desire or passion in the Blessed One. The Blessed One is well-released in mind.
If suffering only ends with cessation of experience, was the Buddha suffering when he was aware of his surroundings?
From the Sakalika Sutta
Again, it sounds like the Buddha was fully aware of unpleasant feelings, but unperturbed because he had severed the bonds of craving and clinging which would allow those feelings to disturb his mind.Now at that time his foot had been pierced by a stone sliver. Excruciating were the bodily feelings that developed within him — painful, fierce, sharp, wracking, repellent, disagreeable — but he endured them mindful, alert, & unperturbed.
I guess this is how I understand nibbana: an elimination not of experience, but of the defilements which cause us to concoct suffering out of experience. Suffering is optional, a second, unnecessary arrow with which we shoot ourselves. We are trying to uproot those defilements, not experience itself. Am I wrong about this?