Alex123 wrote: When there is no consciousness, there is no perception of Nothingness or Somethingness. There is no perception of long/short, good/bad, etc. The total peace that I've talked about is not peace as a feeling, but peace as absence of ALL feelings, perceptions, consciousness, awareness. Nibbana cannot be imagined in a sense that there isn't anything to imagine about it for all imaginations are in a sphere of consciousness, and there isn't any when Nibbana occurs.
The true "happiness" is not a presence of pleasant feelings, but total absence of ALL dukkha. Here is a very rough example of what PariNibbana "feels" like. Have you ever been totally knocked out unconscious?
Alex, I have some objections for you to field...
1) You are dealing only with what exists within the set Samsara = X(a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l). Even if all the components in the set, together with the set itself, are rendered null, this tells us nothing (literally!) about any possible Y or Z that might be operative beyond the set. Since we ourselves, and our language and terminology, exist within the set, we can say nothing about it
. We thus cannot say whether nibbana=oblivion, as you state here. The only way to resolve the matter would be through direct realization.
None of us have any direct realization of Parinibbana OR materialist oblivion so we can only make guesses based on the somewhat conflicting references in the suttas, commentaries and advice from our teachers.
2) The Buddha and many teachers after him, including every one of the sources linked to by Cooran earlier in this thread, refer to nibbana not only as a subtractive process (as you do) but also in terms which involve qualia. By definition, qualia imply some type of awareness. We do not say that a concrete divider or a dead tree stump is "at ease", "happy", "liberated" or "in a state of peaceful coolness", unless we are trying to be cute.
3) The concepts (or non-concepts, if you like) "nibbana" and "oblivion" belong to conflicting philosophical systems and their meaning has to be understood within the context of their respective paradigms. For a Buddhist to start talking about suicide as the path to nothingness is like Richard Dawkins talking about nibbana. Different animals. As a follower of the Buddha you don't accept the the materialist paradigm, so to refer to the dhammic consequences of "there only being one life" is a logical absurdity from either perspective. It's mixing the premises of one system with the conclusions of another, creating a philosophical monster.
4) Although the Buddha rejected both annihilationism and eternalism, he preferred eternalism as the lesser of evils because of its potential to inspire the holy life (see here
). Since the Middle Way is hard to understand and we invariably lean towards one of the two poles, it is better to lean towards eternalism. Does your equation of nibbana with suicidal oblivion promote the undertaking of the holy life?
Alex123 wrote:Any kind of justification of existence after Parinibbana is simply clinging to existence.
I agree that Buddhists who incline towards Nibbana as an "experience" may have at least some residual attachment to becoming. Guilty as charged, may I add! Until we perfect our practice, we won't have achieved full equanimity and we will necessarily incline towards desire or aversion. By the same token, the view of Nibbana as oblivion tends to aversion, as some of your statements suggest, e.g:
It would be wonderful if I was never born. It would be awesome if there was one life and suicide could end it all quickly and easily... It is better not to exist at all...
it all sucked in the end
All and any experience is ultimately just irritating...
Ok, enough for now. Thanks for your provocative and rigorously argued posts, Alex. I'm learning a lot from this discussion.