Path and Nibbana

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Kenshou
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Kenshou » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:20 pm

Depends how you interpret it, I guess.

It seems to me that going with nibbana as some thing that exists out there somehow raises far more questions than it addresses.

"Nibbana" is a singular noun, but that noun refers to some specific events, none of which require such a transcendent thing, as far as I know. "Nibbana" as a term is a convenient expression but problematic if solidified into a "thing".

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:37 pm

Alex123 wrote:
I understand that, to speak precisely, Awakening (not Nibbāna) happens when one lives in accordance with N8P, etc etc.

Nibbāna cannot occur "when..." or "due to..." because that would imply a starting point for it and conditions to create it. But it has no causes and never arises. It always is. It is: “not-born (ajātaṃ) , not-brought-to-being (abhūtaṃ), not-made (akataṃ), not-conditioned (asaṅkhataṃ).”
So, then, you think that "unbinding", "release", "awakening" and "enlightenment" are events, which have a cause, but nibbana just is.

I think that I agree. Now if we can get Tiltbillings onboard, then that will also be an event. :jumping:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Alex123
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Alex123 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:50 pm

Kenshou wrote:It seems to me that going with nibbana as some thing that exists out there somehow raises far more questions than it addresses.
In Ud8.1 Nibbāna is said to be an āyatana.
  • There is (Atthi), bhikkhus, that base (tadāyatanaṃ) where there is no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.
In Ud8.3 it does say:
  • There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned.
    Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ.
Kenshou wrote: "Nibbana" is a singular noun, but that noun refers to some specific events, none of which require such a transcendent thing, as far as I know. "Nibbana" as a term is a convenient expression but problematic if solidified into a "thing".
An event occurs in time and is impermanent. Nibbāna does not.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:22 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:It seems to me that going with nibbana as some thing that exists out there somehow raises far more questions than it addresses.
In Ud8.1 Nibbāna is said to be an āyatana.
  • There is (Atthi), bhikkhus, that base (tadāyatanaṃ) where there is no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.
In Ud8.3 it does say:
  • There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned.
    Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ.
Kenshou wrote: "Nibbana" is a singular noun, but that noun refers to some specific events, none of which require such a transcendent thing, as far as I know. "Nibbana" as a term is a convenient expression but problematic if solidified into a "thing".
An event occurs in time and is impermanent. Nibbāna does not.
Excellent! Nibbana is unconditioned and permanent, whereas unbinding, release, awakening, and enlightenment are all conditioned by living and practicing sufficiently, if not "perfectly" The Noble Eight Fold Path.

The problem is that neither you nor I have attained nibbana, so aside from our understanding and interpretation of the suttas, neither of us have direct knowledge. But, I am willing to wait to find out. I suspect it will be worth the wait. :tongue:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

vinasp
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by vinasp » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:37 pm

Hi Alex123,

Quote:

"But don't the suttas state that Nibbāna always exists."

I do not think that this is stated anywhere. It may be implied in some
interpretations.

Can you cite a sutta which says this?

For me, nibbana is a state-of-mind.

A state-of-mind in which the mind is partially de-conditioned.

Regards, Vincent.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:41 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:I figure, nibbana is what happens when we stop creating. When a flame goes out do we say that non-flameness has been created? That would be rather backwards.
Thanks for good point. But don't the suttas state that Nibbāna always exists. Nibbāna cannot be "what happens when..."
So, when there are no arahants, no buddhas, no ariya of any kind, there is still nibbana exising some place, some how. Is that what you are saying? Where did the Buddh say that?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:46 pm

Alex123 wrote:Nibbāna cannot occur "when..." or "due to..." because that would imply a starting point for it and conditions to create it. But it has no causes and never arises. It always is. It is: “not-born (ajātaṃ) , not-brought-to-being (abhūtaṃ), not-made (akataṃ), not-conditioned (asaṅkhataṃ).”
But what do these words actually mean in relation to nibbana? You can do the Hindu thing here, or you can look at these words in there various contexts. Nibbana "always is," Is what? Where is it? Is an an ultimate? An absolute? Is it completewly, absolutely unconditioned, having no relationship to anything conditioned? Nibbana is what?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:48 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:It seems to me that going with nibbana as some thing that exists out there somehow raises far more questions than it addresses.
In Ud8.1 Nibbāna is said to be an āyatana.
  • There is (Atthi), bhikkhus, that base (tadāyatanaṃ) where there is no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.
And you reify that, as you are doing, you become a Hindu.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Alex123
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Alex123 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:51 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi Alex123,
Alex wrote: "But don't the suttas state that Nibbāna always exists."
I do not think that this is stated anywhere. It may be implied in some interpretations.
Buddha called Nibbāna that base (tadāyatanaṃ) that is (Atthi), that is not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. etc.

If Nibbāna ever had a starting point, then wouldn't that be the beginning of it? And whatever has beginning, has an end.

tiltbillings wrote:So, when there are no arahants, no buddhas, no ariya of any kind, there is still nibbana exising some place, some how. Is that what you are saying? Where did the Buddh say that?
Nibbāna is not conditioned by presence or absence of Arhats, Buddhas, ariyas. It is not-made (akataṃ) and not-conditioned (asaṅkhataṃ), etc.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Alex123 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:52 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:It seems to me that going with nibbana as some thing that exists out there somehow raises far more questions than it addresses.
In Ud8.1 Nibbāna is said to be an āyatana.
  • There is (Atthi), bhikkhus, that base (tadāyatanaṃ) where there is no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.
And you reify that, as you are doing, you become a Hindu.
I am reading a sutta and what it says. What do you think Atthi and tadāyatanaṃ mean?

Atthi as I remember is also used for existence of 5 aggregates and is opposite of natthi.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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tiltbillings
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:17 pm

Alex123 wrote:
vinasp wrote:Hi Alex123,
Alex wrote: "But don't the suttas state that Nibbāna always exists."
I do not think that this is stated anywhere. It may be implied in some interpretations.
Buddha called Nibbāna that base (tadāyatanaṃ) that is (Atthi), that is not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. etc.
And the context of the four "not" words? Also, do you think you might be reifying atthi? And you know what tadāyatanaṃ actually means? And what is actually being described in the text in question? Something that exists independently of the arahant? Where is it?
tiltbillings wrote:So, when there are no arahants, no buddhas, no ariya of any kind, there is still nibbana exising some place, some how. Is that what you are saying? Where did the Buddh say that?
Nibbāna is not conditioned by presence or absence of Arhats, Buddhas, ariyas. It is not-made (akataṃ) and not-conditioned (asaṅkhataṃ), etc.
Then where is it?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:19 pm

Alex123 wrote: Atthi as I remember is also used for existence of 5 aggregates and is opposite of natthi.
And do the khandhas exist independent of any cause and condition? Rather than doing the Hindu thing here, maybe you better give some thought to how atthi is being used here.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Alex123
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Alex123 » Sun May 13, 2012 11:17 pm

If Nibbāna never arises, always is, uncreated, unconditioned, etc - then how can practice which is conditioned create it?
One proposed solution is to use this simile: When you travel from one city to another city, you do not create destination. You only arrive
there. So the path does not created Nibbāna, it brings you there. Here is the limitation of this example: Nibbāna is not a place, so the spatial
simile is not totally valid. There is no person who travels from saṃsāra to Nibbāna. Nibbāna is more of "experience" (or lack of certain kind of experience) than a place where "one" arrives. What was not experienced before, and now is experienced for the first time , for all intents and purposes is as if it arises. Un-experienced Nibbāna would become experienced now. Can un-experienced experience really exist? No. But Nibbāna does.

It is possible to say that what arises is Awakening (maggaphala).
Next question: What would be the relationship between Nibbāna and Awakening(maggaphala) experiencing Nibbāna for the first time?
If they are same then it doesn't solve the original question. If they are different than how do they relate and how Nibbāna is attained?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Polar Bear
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Polar Bear » Mon May 14, 2012 12:55 am

A couple of problems here, first Nibbana is not a place, supposedly it is the lack of certain processes, here is an article from Thanissaro...

http://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2010/0 ... t-a-place/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

here is the problem though, Thanissaro describes the experience of nibbana as consciousness that doesn't land but consciousness only arises due to causes and conditions and always takes an object in order to arise, for example...

When it is realized that consciousness results only from conditioning causes and that it soon disappears, it becomes obvious that there is no such thing as a permanently enduring self. For example, eye-consciousness arises only when there is eye and object of sight. Likewise, ear consciousness can arise only when there are ear and sound; smell-consciousness can only arise when there are nose and odor; tongue-consciousness can arise only when there are tongue and taste; body-consciousness only when there are body and tactile object; and mental consciousness, only when there are mind and mental object. When these conditional causes for their respective results are known, the notion of a permanent entity, nivāsī attā clinging, is discarded.
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/mahasi-anat/anat04.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There seems to some contradiction here, which seems to indicate possible contradiction in the suttas or confusion on my part, for example

"Where there is no passion for the nutriment of consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or increase. Where consciousness does not land or increase, there is no alighting of name-&-form. Where there is no alighting of name-&-form, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair.

"Just as if there were a roofed house or a roofed hall having windows on the north, the south, or the east. When the sun rises, and a ray has entered by way of the window, where does it land?"

"On the western wall, lord."

"And if there is no western wall, where does it land?"

"On the ground, lord."

"And if there is no ground, where does it land?"

"On the water, lord."

"And if there is no water, where does it land?"

"It does not land, lord."

"In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food... contact... intellectual intention... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or increase. Where consciousness does not land or increase, there is no alighting of name-&-form. Where there is no alighting of name-&-form, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The sutta above either that consciousness can exist without an object or the metaphor is simply poorly formulated in the sense that the correct answer is that there would be no consciousness to land anywhere not that there would be nowhere for consciousness to land

and then this sutta

"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Thanissaro claims that the consciousness experiencing nibbana can't be associated with the five aggregates but that sounds like a cop out to me. Where does it come from then, it makes no sense to me.

If someone could clarify this for me it would be greatly appreciated.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Alex123
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Re: Path and Nibbana

Post by Alex123 » Mon May 14, 2012 1:10 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:A couple of problems here, first Nibbana is not a place,
Right. I've said that in my previous post.
polarbuddha101 wrote: supposedly it is the lack of certain processes, here is an article from Thanissaro...
http://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2010/0 ... t-a-place/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
here is the problem though, Thanissaro describes the experience of nibbana as consciousness that doesn't land but consciousness only arises due to causes and conditions and always takes an object in order to arise, for example...
If Nibbāna is a consciousness that arises... Doesn't that make Nibbāna temporal (there wasn't consciousness of it before, now it is) and conditioned (by the factors that cause this "consciousness" to arise)?

Bhikkhu Bodhi has said that:
  • "By practising the path one doesn't bring Nibbana into existence but rather discovers something already existing, something always present."


Isn't discovery of something implies a beginning of that cognitive state? One didn't know before and then one knows it...
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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