squarepeg wrote:. . . .
There is no "deathless state" unless you mean one is no longer reborn then no longer dies and if you mean that one is no longer characterized by the conditioning of greed, hatred, and delusion -- in other words one is nibbana-ized. And there is no point in calling it "deathless," given the confusion that such inartful translation leads to.
I can see how "deathless" is a useless translation because to an observer the Buddha obviously died. To say that he was no longer reborn and no longer conditioned by greed, hatered, and delusion is too assume the position of an observer infering another is experiencing these things in the 1st person. But! Too try to force a 3rd person perspective into words that convay the direct experience of a 1st person, i feel, how ever artfull, is to beat the meaning out of these words. And i fear all that would be left in the end is a flacid collection of dogmatic adjectives. Like Hes an "awsome" god or a "gracefull" god or a "powerfull" god... exc. I think the Buddha knew we were experienceing his teachings in the 3rd person and took acount for this by trying to modivate us with his terminology. To try to beat these words into the 1st person is to take away their modivational power (as has happend with our christian termonilogy).
DEATHLESS!!! is powerfull! everyone is afraid of DEATH!!! we want to be with out DEATH!!! so we practice what our teacher says leads to the DEATHLESS!!! If you can give a more rational reason to reshape these words then to modivate people to meditate and practice the N8FP then ide love to hear it.
I fear something like this could end up happening to buddhism in the west:
"Let us call the men who make use of the idea the prophets have announced the priests. The prophets live their ideas. The priests administer them to the people who are attached to the idea. The idea has lost its vitality. It has become a formula. The priests declare that it is very important how the idea is formulated; naturally the formulation becomes always important after the experience is dead; how else could one control people by controlling their thoughts, unless there is the "correct" formulation? The priests use the idea to organize men, to control them through controling the proper expression of the idea, and when they have anesthetized man enough they declare that man is not capable of being awake and of directing his own life, and that they, the priests, act out of duty, or even compassion, when they fulfill the function of directing men who, if left to themselves, are afraid of freedom." - Erich Fromm "prophets and priests," from "On disobediece and other essays" seabury press / new york