Spiny O'Norman wrote: nowheat wrote:
kirk5a wrote:I am curious to know whether a poster who proclaims views about "the Deathless" actually knows and sees the Deathless for him/herself or whether it's rooted in mere reading, thinking, and reasoning.
Knows and sees, and that this is what is experienced is backed up by "mere reading thinking, and reasoning."
Could you say a little about your experience of seeing the Deathless?
Spiny O'Norman wrote:
nowheat wrote:I am saying The Deathless isn't a great mystical state or Release From (literal) Death. I am saying it is a state of being liberated from the specific circumstances of DA, and that it is release from the Death he defined there, which is, really, just dukkha.
But in DO "death" is defined in straightforward physical terms - so I'm not sure I follow your reasoning here.
Are you talking about, for example:
"And what is ... death? ... Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Sure does sound pretty straightforward, I admit, but that's because it is layered with meaning, and we need to locate all of them to get to the overall meaning. That quote is actually part of "aging and death" as Sariputta gives it as the final link in dependent origination, and these are the ways we can look at it, along with the "birth" that precedes it:
(1) If there were no birth, no aging, no death at all in the world, anywhere, of any being, there could be no dukkha. We have to exist (be born) and encounter events that trouble us (like the aging and death of those we love, and of ourselves) for there to be any discomfort. The literal understanding of these is the "ground" or the "field" that is required for dukkha to grow. Other things grow in the same field (not just dukkha), but no field, no growth. This is why the description of death sounds so literal: in each and every step Sariputta is describing not what is happening in that step, but the ground for it to happen. I think of this as him telling us where to look to see the thing he is describing growing.
(2) The experiences we have in relation to birth, aging, sickness, death are nutriment for dukkha. They aren't dukkha itself, but they are the seeds in the field. If we were simply born, but there was no aging or death, of ourselves or our loved-ones -- if things weren't impermanent -- we wouldn't experience the dukkha that comes from loss. Dukkha isn't the loss itself, but it's what we do with that loss, out of our constructed sense of self. We have to water the seeds in the field for dukkha to grow.
(3) In the overall scheme of dependent arising, the Buddha is simultaneously describing what people think is going on (the way atta arises, and eventually goes to bliss) and what is actually going on (the way anatta arises, and eventually goes in the opposite of the direction folks think all their efforts should take them in: to dukkha instead of bliss). Bhava is the transition point in the normal Vedic way of seeing things, where one goes through the funeral pyre and becomes whatever they will be in one of the three realms they have been aiming all their lives towards. Their expectation would be something like "bhava to bliss" but the Buddha is saying, "Bhava, sure, but not to bliss, just to the experience of life that we all have: birth, sickness, aging, and death: dukkha." This is because the Buddha is not describing something which will survive the transition of bhava and go on to either bliss or a new life, but he is describing anatta which isn't going anywhere.
In the Upanisa Sutta you can see that the Buddha is defining "aging-and-death" as "dukkha":
...feeling is the supporting condition for craving, craving is the supporting condition for clinging, clinging is the supporting condition for existence (bhava), existence is the supporting condition for birth, birth is the supporting condition for suffering (dukkha), suffering is the supporting condition for faith...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
This paragraph starts with ignorance, works all the way through DA and takes us into a liberative DA, but what's notable is that "aging-and-death" has been replaced with dukkha. That is the fourth layering of "death" -- it is not just part of the field, it is not just a seed, it is not just the end-result instead of bliss, it is (along with aging) specifically dukkha. Again I will point out, though, that aging and death are not dukkha itself, but they are the food that nourishes the dukkha we ourselves grow, so it's not even that "aging and death are dukkha" it's actually "what we do in response to aging and death results in dukkha".
Actually, the whole of dependent origination simply describes the arising of dukkha. If you look at MN 9 you'll see that Sariputta puts each and every step in the "what it is, where it comes from, how does it cease, what is the way to get it to cease" formulation. Pretty much anything described in that four-part formula (in whatever suttas we encounter it) is the equivalent of dukkha in some sense, so every step of dependent arising is dukkha. This is because what it answers is question #2: what is the origin of dukkha?
Dependent arising simultaneously describes how dukkha arises, and how anatta arises (it is the source of dukkha) ((and, as an aside, that all of this is impermanent, making it a discourse on the three marks of existence, too)) and everything that happens in DA is conditioned by that drive to create and nurture that sense-of-self that becomes anatta. Any time we are engaged in activities that have reference to that sense-of-self, we are in the DA process, engaged in fueling it, adding to our concepts of self, so we are part of what is "born, ages, suffers, dies" (in that we are feeding off of those experiences).
So when any one of us sits quietly in meditation, with the mind settled, and sensory information coming in, being observed and then allowed to pass, without reference to self, we are not engaged in feeding off of those experiences, so for those moments, we are experiencing the world without reference to being born, aging, suffering, dying -- we are experiencing "the deathless".
I think that answers all the questions you posed?