Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
pascal
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Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by pascal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:47 pm

Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana, once one has achieved it, and to enter samsara again (at least in theory)? Or is it completely impossible?

(I do not really expect a definite answer to this question, since no one -- except for a few enlightened beings, perhaps ;) -- knows what Nirvana is like, but I'd be interested in some views nevertheless.)

dude
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by dude » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:05 pm

What if I told you it is?

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Aloka
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by Aloka » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:19 pm

pascal wrote:Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana, once one has achieved it, and to enter samsara again (at least in theory)? Or is it completely impossible?

(I do not really expect a definite answer to this question, since no one -- except for a few enlightened beings, perhaps ;) -- knows what Nirvana is like, but I'd be interested in some views nevertheless.)
Hi pascal,

Nibanna isn't a place. Its the complete cessation of greed, hatred and delusion.

Kind regards,

Aloka

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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:24 pm

No, although there are some vague references to a form of temporary liberation using similare terms, Nibbana isn't generally described like that and isn't reversable once it has happened.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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pascal
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by pascal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:46 pm

dude wrote:What if I told you it is?
Well, if it is possible to leave Nirvana, then it is possible for a being that once entered Nirvana to fall back into Samsara and to suffer again. If this possibility exists, then wouldn't it make Nirvana impermanent, at least in theory?

pascal
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by pascal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:55 pm

Aloka wrote:Hi pascal,

Nibanna isn't a place. Its the complete cessation of greed, hatred and delusion.

Kind regards,

Aloka
Hi Aloka,

yes, I know that Nibbana isn't a place (this is why I put the word leave in quotation marks, since it cannot be 'left' like, say, a house), but rather a state of consciousness (free from greed, hatred and delusion, as you say). So my question would be if it is possible -- in theory -- for this state of consciousness to change so that greed, hatred and delusion return.

pascal
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by pascal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:59 pm

Cittasanto wrote:No, although there are some vague references to a form of temporary liberation using similare terms, Nibbana isn't generally described like that and isn't reversable once it has happened.
Thanks for your response. :)

ALot
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by ALot » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:09 pm

When you practise well your unskillful volitions and actions V(x) gradually decrease until finally they drop below enlightenment level E and your mind achieves nirvana:

Image
Image

Mind that is freed from greed, hatred and delusion doesn't grasp on anything, there's nothing that could remove it from that calm, stable equilibrium state.

So, the definite answer is: It is not possible to 'leave' Nirvana.

dude
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by dude » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:42 pm

pascal wrote:
dude wrote:What if I told you it is?
Well, if it is possible to leave Nirvana, then it is possible for a being that once entered Nirvana to fall back into Samsara and to suffer again. If this possibility exists, then wouldn't it make Nirvana impermanent, at least in theory?
If Nirvana is permanent, how can a Buddha appear in this world?

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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:46 pm

Greetings Pascal,
pascal wrote:yes, I know that Nibbana isn't a place (this is why I put the word leave in quotation marks, since it cannot be 'left' like, say, a house), but rather a state of consciousness (free from greed, hatred and delusion, as you say). So my question would be if it is possible -- in theory -- for this state of consciousness to change so that greed, hatred and delusion return.
Since these consciousnesses are sankharas dependent upon ignorance (as per dependent origination / cessation), it is hard to see how it could be so.

Consider also the scheme of the "fetters" that are eradicated at each point of nobility.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

pascal
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by pascal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:50 pm

ALot wrote:When you practise well your unskillful volitions and actions V(x) gradually decrease until finally they drop below enlightenment level E and your mind achieves nirvana:

Image
Image
Hehe, a nice way to explain it. :)
Mind that is freed from greed, hatred and delusion doesn't grasp on anything, there's nothing that could remove it from that calm, stable equilibrium state.

So, the definite answer is: It is not possible to 'leave' Nirvana.
Sounds plausible to me, thank you.

pascal
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by pascal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:55 pm

dude wrote:If Nirvana is permanent, how can a Buddha appear in this world?
Good question. Perhaps he's still 'in Nibbana' (that is, free from greed, hatred and delusion), but yet in this world? Dunno ...

Otherwise, if Nibbana were not permanent, wouldn't this make his teachings obsolete?

pascal
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by pascal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:03 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Pascal,
pascal wrote:yes, I know that Nibbana isn't a place (this is why I put the word leave in quotation marks, since it cannot be 'left' like, say, a house), but rather a state of consciousness (free from greed, hatred and delusion, as you say). So my question would be if it is possible -- in theory -- for this state of consciousness to change so that greed, hatred and delusion return.
Since these consciousnesses are sankharas dependent upon ignorance (as per dependent origination / cessation), it is hard to see how it could be so.

Consider also the scheme of the "fetters" that are eradicated at each point of nobility.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Hi Retro,

I'm not familiar with this scheme, do you have a link where it is explained? (I'm still in the n00b phase. :embarassed:)
Last edited by pascal on Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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equilibrium
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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by equilibrium » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:32 pm

pascal wrote:
dude wrote:If Nirvana is permanent, how can a Buddha appear in this world?
Good question. Perhaps he's still 'in Nibbana' (that is, free from greed, hatred and delusion), but yet in this world? Dunno ...

Otherwise, if Nibbana were not permanent, wouldn't this make his teachings obsolete?
So what exactly is Buddha?.....define Buddha.
And the word "he's" (in red).....why is the word "he's" being used?.....Is Buddha a person?

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Re: Is it possible to 'leave' Nirvana?

Post by Polar Bear » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:39 pm

From A Verb for Nirvana
This may seem like a word-chopper's problem — what can a verb or two do to your practice? — but the idea of nirvana as a place has created severe misunderstandings in the past, and it could easily create misunderstandings now. There was a time when some philosophers in India reasoned that if nirvana is one place and samsara another, then entering into nirvana leaves you stuck: you've limited your range of movement, for you can't get back to samsara. Thus to solve this problem they invented what they thought was a new kind of nirvana: an unestablished nirvana, in which one could be in both places — nirvana and samsara — at once.

However, these philosophers misunderstood two important points about the Buddha's teachings. The first was that neither samsara nor nirvana is a place. Samsara is a process of creating places, even whole worlds, (this is called becoming) and then wandering through them (this is called birth). Nirvana is the end of this process. You may be able to be in two places at once — or even develop a sense of self so infinite that you can occupy all places at once — but you can't feed a process and experience its end at the same time. You're either feeding samsara or you're not. If you feel the need to course freely through both samsara and nirvana, you're simply engaging in more samsara-ing and keeping yourself trapped.

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