Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

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Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by dylanj » Thu May 04, 2017 7:51 pm

I have always read that the fruit of each stage occurs when the mind experiences Nibbāna...I have never read this in any actual sutta. Is it canonical? If so, is it just in the Abhidhamma or elsewhere?
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all assets, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by Zom » Thu May 04, 2017 9:03 pm

If we take suttas only - meditative nibbana experience happens only upon reaching the fruit of non-returning. There's a sutta SN 12.68.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu May 04, 2017 9:24 pm

By my reading, it's the theme of Nananada's Nibbana Sermons:
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=27940
In the second sermon, Ven Nananada makes the argument, based on sutta sources, that nibbana is experienced for each path, not just by an Arahant. Furthermore, the experiences of nibbana before death happen for a finite period of time, with that nibbanic cessation resulting in the removal of defilements.

That conclusion is consistent with the traditional Theravada view expressed in, for example, the Visuddhimagga.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by paul » Thu May 04, 2017 9:43 pm

"...I have always read that the fruit of each stage occurs when the mind experiences Nibbāna."

According to Vism. it is a gradual development beginning when stream entry is achieved and the mind takes as its object nibbana for the first time. "Change-of-lineage arises which knowledge passes out of the lineage of the ordinary man and enters the lineage of the Noble Ones- which being the first adverting, the first concern, the first reaction, to nibbana as object..." ---Vism.XXII, 5.

This is also indicated by the progressive eradication of the fetters with each path.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by Zom » Thu May 04, 2017 10:49 pm

In the second sermon, Ven Nananada makes the argument, based on sutta sources, that nibbana is experienced for each path
What suttas does he cite? I personally didn't find any evidences that nibbana is experienced with the first 2 fruits, let alone paths. More than that - stream-entry is clearly associated in the suttas with "opening of the dhamma eye" which is explained as seeing paticca-samuppada principle, but not nibbana. And if we take MN64, we can see mentioning of nibbana there, but it is refered clearly to (at least) the non-returner (3rd fruit):

He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously in the Pure Abodes.

First two fruits are not mentioned here. Seeing nibbana leads either to full enlightenment, or, at the very least, to non-returning.
Last edited by Zom on Thu May 04, 2017 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu May 04, 2017 10:59 pm

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:By my reading, it's the theme of Nananada's Nibbana Sermons
Is it? I'd be interested to see a tract of ven. Nanananda's own text which you believe substantiates that perspective.

We also need to be mindful of what we call 'seen' as well... the ending of the following sutta comes to mind, in that context.

SN 12.68: Kosambi Sutta
"My friend, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended. It's as if there were a well along a road in a desert, with neither rope nor water bucket. A man would come along overcome by heat, oppressed by the heat, exhausted, dehydrated, & thirsty. He would look into the well and would have knowledge of 'water,' but he would not dwell touching it with his body. In the same way, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended."

When this was said, Ven. Ananda said to Ven. Pavittha, "When he speaks in this way, friend Pavittha, what do you have to say about Ven. Narada?"

"When Ven. Narada speaks in this way, friend Ananda, I have nothing to say about Ven. Narada except that [he is] admirable & skillful."
Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by Zom » Thu May 04, 2017 11:04 pm

We also need to be mindful of what we call 'seen' as well... the ending of the following sutta comes to mind, in that context.

SN 12.68: Kosambi Sutta
Interesting to read a Commentary here (Ven. Bodhi translates some). It must be very old, not overridden by later abhidhammic one, because it equates a man in this simile with a non-returner.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu May 04, 2017 11:22 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:By my reading, it's the theme of Nananada's Nibbana Sermons
Is it? I'd be interested to see a tract of ven. Nanananda's own text which you believe substantiates that perspective.
I'm sure you've read his second sermon. If you disagree, please point out where I am misrepresenting him.
Nibbana Sermon 2 wrote: Though it may be so in the case of the Arahant, what about the
stream-winner, the sotāpanna, one may ask. There is a general belief
that in the case of a sotāpanna the vision of Nibbāna is like a
glimpse of a distant lamp on a road with many bends and the sotā-
panna has just negotiated the first bend.

But in accordance with the Dhamma it may be said that the norm
of immediacy is applicable even to the knowledge of the first path. ...
...
...Some might argue
that only these fetters are abandoned at this stage, because it is a
glimpse of Nibbāna from a distance. But then there is this second
epithet, pattadhammo, which means that he has reached the Dhamma,
that he has arrived at Nibbāna. Not only that, he is viditadhammo,
he is one who has understood the Dhamma, which is Nibbāna.
He is pariyogā)hadhammo, he has plunged into the Dhamma, he has
dived into the Dhamma, which is Nibbāna. ...
...
So this string of epithets testifies to the efficacy of the realization
by the first path. It is not a mere glimpse of Nibbāna from a distance.
It is a reaching, an arrival or a plunge into Nibbāna. ...
...
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... ol_1-1.pdf
There are plenty of references in the text.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu May 04, 2017 11:40 pm

Greetings Mike,

No, you're not misrepresenting him - I just wanted to see what you were referring to.

Frankly, I do believe ven. Nanananda is over-reaching somewhat by equating the Dhamma with Nibbana here...
Nanananda, Nibbana Sermon 2 wrote: But then there is this second
epithet, pattadhammo, which means that he has reached the Dhamma,
that he has arrived at Nibbāna. Not only that, he is viditadhammo,
he is one who has understood the Dhamma, which is Nibbāna.
He is pariyogā)hadhammo, he has plunged into the Dhamma, he has
dived into the Dhamma, which is Nibbāna.
I believe that suttas such as this...
Itivuttaka wrote:"To the learner, learning
In pursuit of the straight path,
First comes the knowledge of destruction
And then immediately the certitude.
"
...are instead analogous instead to this (i.e. "whatever arising-dhamma cessation-dhamma".
MN 56 wrote:To Upali the householder, as he was sitting right there,
there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is
subject to origination is all subject to cessation. Then – having
seen the Dhamma, having reached the Dhamma, known the
Dhamma, reached a footing in the Dhamma
, having crossed over & beyond doubt, having had no more questioning
– Upæli the householder gained fearlessness and was independent of others with regard to the Teacher’s message.
The "Dhamma eye" in question does not equate to the "nibbana eye".

(The above is my understanding. To me, it accords with the suttas, but I am more than happy given the sub-forum we're in to be 'corrected' by someone who is making recourse to the commentaries.)

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu May 04, 2017 11:48 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

No, you're not misrepresenting him - I just wanted to see what you were referring to.

Frankly, I do believe ven. Nanananda is over-reaching somewhat by equating the Dhamma with Nibbana here...)
Hmm, strange. I know you like Ven Nanananda's ideas, and I thought this was one of the really key messages from his sermons, and one that is particularly relevant to the dedicated (Mahasi style) meditators he was addressing (and was one of), who were familiar with the classical insight knowledges.

Like the Classical Commentaries, Ven Nanananda describes Nibbana as something that is experienced at each path, and that experience removes the appropriate fetters. He rejects the idea that the nibbana experiences before death are continuous, just like the Commentaries.

Certainly, he criticises certain aspects of the Commentaries, but his description of the overall path and fruit experiences seems very similar.


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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu May 04, 2017 11:52 pm

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Hmm, strange. I know you like Ven Nanananda's ideas...
I do, but only because I review them, and consider for myself that they are of merit. It's certainly not some kind of fanboy relationship, where I unquestioningly embrace each and every word of his with adoring eyes. In this instance, I believe he is over-reaching...

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by dylanj » Thu May 04, 2017 11:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

No, you're not misrepresenting him - I just wanted to see what you were referring to.

Frankly, I do believe ven. Nanananda is over-reaching somewhat by equating the Dhamma with Nibbana here...
This was my thought as well. I had always understood the 'reaching of the dhamma' attained by stream-enterers as a type of intuitive pull to it, not as full-blown experience of it uncorrupted.
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all assets, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri May 05, 2017 12:10 am

Greetings maranadhammomhi,
maranadhammomhi wrote:This was my thought as well. I had always understood the 'reaching of the dhamma' attained by stream-enterers as a type of intuitive pull to it, not as full-blown experience of it uncorrupted.
A while ago I collated several sutta-based instances of the arising of the Dhamma-eye. It is interesting to note what is common across all those instances, and what is not...

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri May 05, 2017 12:25 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Hmm, strange. I know you like Ven Nanananda's ideas...
I do, but only because I review them, and consider for myself that they are of merit. It's certainly not some kind of fanboy relationship, where I unquestioningly embrace each and every word of his with adoring eyes. In this instance, I believe he is over-reaching...

Metta,
Paul. :)
Oh, OK, fair enough.

However, since this (that each path is an experience of nibbana) appears to be a key feature of his whole discussion of Nibbana, I'm not sure I could make any sense of the sermons if it was removed.

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Re: Is the idea that Nibbāna is seen at each of 4 stages of awakening canonical?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri May 05, 2017 12:33 am

Perhaps this discussion about Ven Nananada would be better carried on over here:
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 37#p424337

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