Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby manas » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:21 pm

AdvaitaJ wrote:Having read Ajahn Brahm's book, Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond, this question keeps haunting me. With parinibbana described as the remainder-less cessation of everything, what is the difference between that and annihilation? I understand that as long as you're subject to rebirth, annihilation is wrong view. What I don't understand is how the results are different when you're no longer subject to rebirth. Everything ceases, right? The flame is extinguished, out, gone. It didn't go anywhere, it's just gone. So, how is this different from annihilation? :?:

Regards: AdvaitaJ
Language can deceive us sometimes. Especially ancient language (Pali) translated imperfectly into modern (English) language. No wonder there are misunderstandings.

Although I have respect for Ajahn Brahm as a very skilled instructor of meditation, and am grateful that he wrote the book you mention, I found that his description of parinibbana did not exactly inspire me, yet the Buddha's many similes and attempts to describe in words what can't really be described in words, do inspire me. So with regards to that issue, I stick with the Buddha's inspiring metaphors. Goodness, he says jhana is far more pleasurable than even heavenly sense-pleasure, then goes on to say that nibbana is even more pleasureable than jhana...please take note, the Buddha calls it the 'highest bliss' as I recall! What that bliss is, i don't know...maybe something beyond both happiness and distress, something we cannot even comprehend with this current mind...but we will find out one day. :anjali:
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby Gena1480 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:25 am

Hello to all
you guys should not worry about what is nibbana
try to attain cessation of feeling and perception
as discribes in sutta MN 111
to be the heir of damma
MN 111

I have heard that at one time the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks, saying, "Monks."

"Yes, lord," the monks responded to him.

The Blessed One said, "Monks, Sariputta is wise, of great discernment, deep discernment, wide... joyous... rapid... quick... penetrating discernment. For half a month, Sariputta clearly saw insight[1] into mental qualities one after another. This is what occurred to Sariputta through insight into mental qualities one after another:

"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness,[2] desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

"Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, Sariputta entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. Whatever qualities there are in the second jhana — internal assurance, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

"Furthermore, with the fading of rapture, Sariputta — remaining in equanimity, mindful & alert, and physically sensitive to pleasure — entered & remained in the third jhana, of which the noble ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' Whatever qualities there are in the third jhana — equanimity-pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He understood, He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

"Furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — Sariputta entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. Whatever qualities there are in the fourth jhana — a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of awareness;[3] singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space,' Sariputta entered & remained in the dimension of the infinitude of space. Whatever qualities there are in the dimension of the infinitude of space — the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] 'Infinite consciousness,' Sariputta entered & remained in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. Whatever qualities there are in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness — the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [perceiving,] 'There is nothing,' Sariputta entered & remained in the dimension of nothingness. Whatever qualities there are in the dimension of nothingness — the perception of the dimension of nothingness, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, Sariputta entered & remained in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.[4]

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, Sariputta entered & remained in the cessation of feeling & perception. Seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is no further escape,' and pursuing it there really wasn't for him.

"If a person, rightly saying it of anyone, were to say, 'He has attained mastery & perfection in noble virtue... noble concentration... noble discernment... noble release,' he would be rightly saying it of Sariputta if he were to say: 'He has attained mastery & perfection in noble virtue... noble concentration... noble discernment... noble release.'

"If a person, rightly saying it of anyone, were to say, 'He is the Blessed One's son, his offspring — born of his mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, his heir in the Dhamma, not his heir in material things,' he would be rightly saying it of Sariputta if he were to say: 'He is the Blessed One's son, his offspring — born of his mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, his heir in the Dhamma, not his heir in material things.' Sariputta, monks, takes the unexcelled wheel of Dhamma set rolling by the Tathagata, and keeps it rolling rightly."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.

clearly the Buddha says practice matireal and immaterial Jhanas
until you attain the cessation of feeling and percetion.
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:37 pm

Gena1480 wrote:Hello to all
you guys should not worry about what is nibbana
try to attain cessation of feeling and perception
as discribes in sutta MN 111
to be the heir of damma

Well, where does "cessation of feeling and perception" fit in, exactly? It doesn't seem like a necessity. Other suttas, like AN 11.17 describe attaining arahantship or non-returner having attained any of the jhanas. Even just the first could be sufficient.
"There is the case, householder, where a monk, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He reflects on this and discerns, 'This first jhana is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.' Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations. Or, if not, then — through this very Dhamma-passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five Fetters[1] — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.


When this was said, Dasama the householder from Atthakanagara said to Ven. Ananda, "Venerable Ananda, just as if a man seeking a single opening onto treasure were all at once to come upon eleven openings onto treasure, in the same way I — seeking a single doorway to the Deathless — have all at once come to hear of eleven doorways to the Deathless. And just as if a man whose house had eleven doors could take himself to safety by means of any one of those doors, in the same way I can take myself to safety by means of any one of these eleven doors to the Deathless. Venerable sir, when sectarians search for a teacher's fee for their teachers, why shouldn't I pay homage to Ven. Ananda?"



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby Gena1480 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:47 am

i do not agree with this sutta, you can not cease mental fabrication form first jhana,as ceassationg of verbal fabrication is aready the second jhana
there is sutta discribing how the cessation and perception is attain MN 44
first the verbal fabrication(force) is ceased
second the body fabrication(force) is ceased
third the mental fabrication(force) is ceased (percetion and feeling)
this atttainment is directly target to end Kamma
as there are 3 types of kamma
verbal kamma
body kamma
and mental kamma(feeling and percetion)
you can not end mental fabrication from first Jhana
as they ceased in order
please read

Kamabhu Sutta: With Kamabhu
(On the Cessation of Perception & Feeling)
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
MN 44.

On one occasion Ven. Kamabhu was living near Macchikasanda in the Wild Mango Grove. Then Citta the householder went to him and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Kamabhu, "Venerable sir, how many [types of] fabrications are there?"

"There are three fabrications, householder: bodily-fabrications, verbal fabrications, & mental fabrications."

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "But what are bodily-fabrications? What are verbal fabrications? What are mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "But why are in-&-out breaths bodily fabrications? Why are directed thought & evaluation verbal fabrications? Why are perceptions & feelings mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "Now, how does the attainment of the cessation of perception & feeling come about?"

"The thought does not occur to a monk as he is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling that 'I am about to attain the cessation of perception & feeling' or that 'I am attaining the cessation of perception & feeling' or that 'I have attained the cessation of perception & feeling.' Instead, the way his mind has previously been developed leads him to that state."

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "When a monk is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling, which things cease first: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, or mental fabrications?"

"When a monk is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling, verbal fabrications cease first, then bodily fabrications, then mental fabrications."[1]

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "What is the difference between a monk who has died & passed away and a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling?"

"In the case of a monk who has died & passed away, his bodily fabrication has ceased & subsided, verbal fabrication has ceased & subsided, mental fabrication has ceased & subsided, his life force is totally ended, his heat is dissipated, and his faculties are shut down. But in the case of a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, his bodily fabrication has ceased & subsided, verbal fabrication has ceased & subsided, mental fabrication has ceased & subsided, his life force is not ended, his heat is not dissipated, and his faculties are bright & clear. This is the difference between a monk who has died & passed away and a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling."[2]

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "Now, how does emergence from the cessation of perception & feeling come about?"

"The thought does not occur to a monk as he is emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling that 'I am about to emerge from the cessation of perception & feeling' or that 'I am emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling' or that 'I have emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling.' Instead, the way his mind has previously been developed leads him to that state."

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "When a monk is emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling, which things arise first: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, or mental fabrications?"

"When a monk is emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling, mental fabrications arise first, then bodily fabrications, then verbal fabrications."

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "When a monk has emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling, how many contacts make contact?"

"When a monk has emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling, three contacts make contact: contact with emptiness, contact with the signless, & contact with the undirected."[3]

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "When a monk has emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling, to what does his mind lean, to what does it tend, to what does it incline?"

"When a monk has emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling, his mind leans to seclusion, tends to seclusion, inclines to seclusion."[4]

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "How many mental qualities are of great help in the attainment of the cessation of perception & feeling?"

"Actually, householder, you have asked last what should have been asked first. Nevertheless, I will answer you. Two qualities are of great help in the attainment of the cessation of perception & feeling: tranquillity & insight."[5]

Notes
1.According to SN 36.11, verbal fabrication grows still on attaining the second jhana; bodily fabrication grows still on attaining the fourth jhana; mental fabrication grows still on attaining the cessation of perception & feeling.
2.This question and answer are not included in MN 44.
3.Emptiness, the signless, & the undirected are names for a state of concentration that lies on the threshold of Unbinding. They differ only in how they are approached. According to the commentary, they color one's first apprehension of Unbinding: a meditator who has been focusing on the theme of inconstancy will first apprehend Unbinding as signless; one who has been focusing on the theme of stress will first apprehend it as undirected; one who has been focusing on the theme of not-self will first apprehend it as emptiness.
4.According to the commentary, "seclusion" here stands for Unbinding. On emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling, and having had contact with emptiness/the signless/the undirected, the mind inclines naturally to a direct experience of Unbinding.
5.This question and answer are also not included in MN 44.
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby ground » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:53 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:Having read Ajahn Brahm's book, Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond, this question keeps haunting me. With parinibbana described as the remainder-less cessation of everything, what is the difference between that and annihilation? I understand that as long as you're subject to rebirth, annihilation is wrong view. What I don't understand is how the results are different when you're no longer subject to rebirth. Everything ceases, right? The flame is extinguished, out, gone. It didn't go anywhere, it's just gone. So, how is this different from annihilation? :?:


I don't know how this is different from annihilation but I feel that being worried about that this might be annihilation is an instance of clinging to existence. On the other hand desiring this "complete cessation" might be an instance of clinging to non-existence.
A way out of this dilemma of extremes may be to rejoice in any tiny cessation occuring - even if only temporary - and not bother about annihilation and non-annihilation and thus renounce speculating distracting mind.


kind regards
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:27 am

The remainder-less cessation of everything only looks like annihilation to someone with a view of Self, as it is such a Self which is taken to be annihilated.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:01 pm

Gena1480 wrote:i do not agree with this sutta, you can not cease mental fabrication form first jhana,as ceassationg of verbal fabrication is aready the second jhana

That sutta talks about the end of mental fermentations, not fabrications. So I think you'd have to revisit your argument in light of that.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby reflection » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:29 pm

Alex123 wrote:Parinibbāna is annihilation... of all suffering and stress.


[Sariputta] how would you answer if you are thus asked: A monk, a worthy one, with no more mental effluents: what is he on the break-up of the body, after death?"
[Yamaka] "Thus asked, I would answer, 'Form is inconstant... Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is inconstant. That which is inconstant is stressful. That which is stressful has ceased and gone to its end."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Nibbāna is cessation of becoming. bhavanirodho nibbāna. - AN10.7
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

There is a difference between annihilation and cessation. Cessation is a process of stopping, becoming to an end. That's not annihilation. The Buddha did not teach annihilation because there is nothing solid to be annihilated.

But apart from this, yes, cessation is what the Buddha taught. Nibbana means a flame to go out.
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby manas » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:20 am

If I thought for a moment that the successful end result of our practice was total annihilation (of an existent self), I would say, thank you very much for all your help, been lovely knowing you all, and would then seek out another practice. But as the Buddha did not say that anywhere, I'm still here, and still practising.
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby Sidney » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:52 am

Nibbana from a lay person’s perspective

Nibbana is an ultimate goal for every Buddhists, which is alluring and esoteric, and many people will not understand it fully. The word Nibbana is generally used by Buddhists as we often say in our prayers, yet it is hard to understand and comprehend.
It may not be surprising as Nibbana is not a ‘pinnatti’ or a conditional truth as we mortals know and comprehend, but a ‘paramatta cissa’ or non-conditional and ultimate truth that is universal, although many will refute as it is beyond their comprehension.
In the texts it is often described in negation; for instance, absence of suffering, death, rebirth and decaying since Nibbana could not be described satisfactorily using our common and daily terms. It is not a place or an abode which can be appreciated and comprehended like heaven or paradise as in other faiths, yet it is said to be always present and is everywhere.

‘So, what is Nibbana?’
There have been a lot of descriptions on Nibbana, and even monographs exist on this subject, yet it is still mystifying and hard to comprehend and appreciate by most lay persons.
Nibbana may not be totally described using our daily terms and conditions, as it is ‘un-conditional.’ However, if I may describe it as far as my collective knowledge and experience permits, it may be roughly comparable to an ultimate and enduring peace, free of any suffering and pain.
The readers can decide for themselves if this explanation is logical and comprehensible or not, and scholars may also challenge on this description, but this is just my humble sharing of thoughts, which might be wrong. It is also my attempt to defend against some accusations like ‘Buddhism is nihilistic and pessimistic’ and it is annihilation to try to obtain Nibbana.

We may not appreciate Nibbana until and unless the following three conditions are met:
1. the ultimate realisation of suffering or ‘dukkha’ in Pali,
2. impermanence or ‘anicca’ in Pali, and
3. the absence of eternal soul, or in Pali ‘anatta.’
It is relatively easy to understand suffering or ‘dukkha’ as we know we all have to die one day and we would have come across many incidents of unpleasantness. However, we may comprehend suffering only in conditional terms, as pleasure and happiness usually follow after temporary suffering, and we soon forget it eventually.
Some may have been deluded by false assurances that heaven and paradise are eternal and they are the end of suffering, but if they were to develop enough wisdom they will know that it is not the case as every existence is mortal and will extinguish with time.

Regarding impermanence, science has come to understand ‘anicca’ in such a way nearer to conditional truth and has acknowledged that everything, including the universe is in a decaying process within a time factor. This understanding may become perfect when science discovered the existence of heavens and paradises that situate in the universe.

Some may believe there is nothing after death, which is not exactly the same understanding as ‘anatta’ in unconditional sense, but it maybe in halfway to understand anatta. This may be the reason why teachers used to say that atheists are much easy to become enlightened when they started practising vipassana meditation than traditional Buddhists. The most difficult to understand is ‘anatta’ since we are firmly attached to our notions and beliefs that have been engrained throughout our life, and our desire to live eternally, and happily.

If I were to describe Nibbana in our perceptual terms I would use three analogies to help understand Nibbana.
Firstly to highlight the nature of suffering I would use this scenario.
Supposing someone who does not believe in life after death, or an atheist for instance, is suffering from an intractable and severe pain from an incurable disease, and the only way of relief from this suffering is falling asleep.
Then, this person may want to get a sound sleep or to die when the person can no longer bear the pain and the suffering. The person may have the experience of a short relief from suffering when fallen asleep and wants to get the same relief for a longer period or indefinitely, he or she may opt to die believing that there is nothing after death and would be free of pain after dying; like someone who has opted for euthanasia. For those persons, Nibbana is like falling asleep indefinitely and a relief from intractable pain and suffering.
So, is Nibbana, which is an ultimate relief from all forms of suffering, including death and decaying. However, it is not like dying of someone who does not believe in life after death, as there is life after death. You may not believe until you encounter it yourself at death.

Secondly, I would give another example on the nature of freedom and relief, and this time in a positive perspective. Let us suppose a person has been sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour and punishment, and there is no hope for him or her to be released.
If his person has been given amnesty and would be released immediately with no bonds attached, how happy would she or he might be to be free of imprisonment and hardship.
Again, it would be like a nibbana for this person to be free. Likewise, Nibbana is a freedom from the constant bondage of life and death in a cycle of rebirths known as ‘samsara.’ The pleasure of relief may be like happiness or ‘santi & sukha’ that ‘arahats’ enjoy when they were relieved of the bondage of ‘samsara’ prior to the final moment of their death.

Here, one may argue that Nibbana has no perceptual experience and how could one experience piti or happiness of Nibbana?
It has been well documented in the Buddhist literature that the pleasure and peace of Nibbana can be experienced by those who have been there, when they came out of ‘phala’ or roughly speaking, somewhat like an entranced state where there is no perception at all. Nibbana can be experienced again and again during life and permanently after the death of ‘arahats’ or enlightened persons. This analogy is the nearest comparison that I could think of to describe Nibbana in a positive perspective.
Here, I would like to emphasize that experiencing Nibbana is not the same as someone who is in ‘entranced’ state, although all physical and mental phenomena ceased while someone is at Nibbana. If you were to witness someone who is in Nibbana you will find that all physical phenomena ceased to function including the heart and brain activity, unlike someone who is in entranced state.


The last but not the least description of Nibbana in positive perspective, I would like to put forward the achievement of a person in terms of his or her ultimate goal.
Christians may regard heaven as their ultimate goal, so as Muslims do for ‘paradise’ and Hindus for the reunion of atman-soul with the creator Brahma-god.
Nibbana is the equivalent achievement for Buddhists, and like other faiths the person will feel his or her accomplishment once Nibbana is experienced, which may occur in this very life, unlike other goals set by various faiths which may be achieved only after dying, and it is unconditional and opens to everybody.
May each of us attain our respective goals!
Sidney
http://www.myanmarnet.co.uk/dhamma/text/text113.htm
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Re: Is the result of Parinibbana Annihilation?

Postby Sidney » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:57 am

Enlightenment in Buddhist Philosophy

Enlightenment in terms of Buddhist philosophy is an insight when one experiences physically and mentally what Nibbana is through vipassana or insight meditation which has various stages or levels of insight that must be passed through.
Insight levels occur in stages but if a person has experienced certain insight level the person can start from the last insight to proceed towards Nibbana. Those who have experienced Nibbana usually commence from Sankharupekkha nana and proceed forwards.
Sankharupekkha nana is the knowledge and experience where a person gets detached from all conditioned phenomena (sankhara=reaction or conditioning), and must have break away from the egocentricity.
The Supra-mundane Wisdom (1-2)
The following insight wisdom can only be attained when a Yogi perceives Nibbana. These are supra-mundane wisdom only known to those who are enlightened. These descriptions are compiled from various sources that are regarded as genuine experiences of the Ariyas.
Anuloma nana: the knowledge of adaptation that Nibbana is in sight.
Gotrabu nana: a fleeting thought that Nibbana is in progress, and a Yogi must contemplate further on the meditative object with a well-tuned and balanced approach. Once the Yogi has passed through these two final stages, which will occur in a succession, nibbana is now eminent.
The late Ven. Ajahn Chah had described this understanding as follows. “ Samadhi means the mind that is firmly concentrated, and the more you practise the firmer the mind becomes. The more firmly the mind is concentrated, the more resolute in the practice it becomes. The more you contemplate, the more confident you become. The mind becomes truly stable; to the point where it can’t be swayed by anything at all. You are absolutely confident that no single mind-object has the power to shake it. Mind-objects are mind-objects; the mind is the mind. The mind experiences good and bad mental states, happiness and suffering, because it is deluded by mind-objects. If it isn’t deluded by mind-objects, there’s no suffering. The un-deluded mind can’t be shaken. This phenomenon is a state of awareness, where all things and phenomena are viewed entirely as dhatu (natural elements) arising and passing away; just that much. It might be possible to have this experience and yet still be unable to fully let go. Whether you can or can’t let go, don’t let this bother you. Before anything else you must at least develop and sustain this level of awareness or fixed determination in the mind. You have to keep applying the pressure and destroying the defilements through determined effort, penetrating deeper and deeper into the practice.
Having discerned the Dhamma in this way, the mind will withdraw to a less intense level of practice, which the Buddha and the subsequent Buddhist scriptures describe as the gotrabhu citta. The gotrabhu citta refers to the mind, which has experienced going beyond the boundaries of the ordinary mind. It is the mind of the puthujjana (ordinary enlightened individual) breaking through into the realm of the ariyan (Noble One). However, this phenomena still takes place within the mind of the ordinary enlightened individual like us. The gotrabhu puggala is someone, who, having progressed in their practice until they gain temporary experience of Nibbana, withdraws from it and continues practising on another level, because they have not yet completely cut off all defilements. You know the way to go beyond defilements, but are still unable to go there, and so step back. Once you know for yourself that this state truly exists, this knowledge remains with you constantly as you continue to practise meditation and develop your parami. You are both certain of the goal and the most direct way to reach it.” (3)
Magga-nana: This is the path knowledge, the final goal where the meditator is about to enter the stage of fruition. It is the seventh and final level of purification before entering Nibbanna.
Phala-nana: This is the fruition knowledge, the final stage in the path of Noble predecessors. The duration of the three-fold knowledge of maturity, path and its fruition is not long. It lasts for a split of a second just like the duration of a single thought, which is under observation.
The experience of phala-nana is rarely expressed in detail in the literature. However, an account described by the late Ven. Ajahn Chah is remarkably similar to the description in the scriptures that it would have been nothing else than the phala experience. An excerpt of his experience is as follows:
“ On one occasion I was walking cankama (the method of practising meditation while walking to and fro) sometime after eleven o’clock at night. There was a festival going on in the village, which was about half a mile from the forest monastery where I was staying. I was feeling strange, and had been feeling like that since the middle of the day. I was feeling unusually calm and wasn’t thinking very much about anything. I was tired from walking meditation, so I went to sit in my small grass-roofed hut. Then just as I was sitting down, I found I had barely enough time to tuck my legs before my mind went into this deep place of calm. It happened just by itself. By the time I got myself into the sitting posture the mind was already deeply calm and I felt completely firm and stable in the meditation. It wasn’t that I couldn’t hear the sounds of people singing and dancing in the village; I could still hear them. But at the same time, I could turn my attention inwards so that I couldn’t hear the sounds as well. It was strange. When I paid no attention to the sounds there was silence, I couldn’t hear anything. But if I wanted to I could hear them and without feeling disturbed. It was as if inside my mind there were two different objects placed side by side, but not connected to one another. I could see that the mind and the object were separate and distinct, just like this water kettle and the spittoon here. As a result I understood that when the mind is calm in samadhi, if you direct your attention towards sounds, you can hear them, but if you remain with the mind, in its emptiness, it remains quiet. If a sound arises into consciousness and you watch what happens, you see that the knowing and the mind-object are quite separate. So I reflected: “If this isn’t it, then what else could be. This is the way it is- the two phenomena aren’t connected at all.”
I continue to contemplate until I realised the importance of this point: when santati (the continuity of things) was broken, the result was santi (peace of mind). Formally there was satati and now santi has emerged from it. The experience of this gave me energy to persist with my meditation. I put intense effort into the practice and was indifferent to everything else; the mind didn’t lose its mindfulness even for an instant. If I’d wanted to stop meditating, however, I could have easily done so. And once I did stop formal practice, was there any laziness, tiredness or irritation? None at all. The mind was completely free from such defilements. What was left was the sense of complete balance or “just-rightness” in the mind. If I was going to stop, it would have been to rest the body, not for anything else. Eventually I did take a break. I just stopped sitting so formally, but the mind didn’t stop. It remained in the same state and continued with the meditation as before. I pulled over my pillow and prepared to rest. As I lay down, my mind was still just as calm. As I was about to lay my head on the pillow, the mind inclined inwards- I didn’t know where it was headed, but it kept moving deeper and deeper within. It was as if someone had turned on a switch and sent an electric current along a cable. With a deafening bang, the body exploded from the inside. The awareness inside the mind at that moment was at its most refined. Having passed beyond a certain point, it was as if the mind was cut lose and had penetrated to the deepest, quietest spot inside. It settled there in a realm of complete emptiness. Absolutely nothing could penetrate it from outside. Nothing could reach it. Having stayed in there for a while, awareness then withdrew. I don’t mean to say that I made it withdraw; I was merely watching - just witnessing what going on. Having experienced these things, the mind gradually withdrew and returned to its normal state.
Once the mind had returned to normal, the question arose: “What happened?” The reply that came to it was, “These things are natural phenomena which occur according to causes and conditions; there’s no need to doubt about them.” I only needed to reflect a little like this and the mind accepted it. Having paused for a while, it inclined inwards again. I didn’t make any conscious effort to direct the mind, it went by itself. As I continued to move deeper and deeper inwards, it hit the same switch like before. This time the body shattered into the most minute and refined particles. Again the mind was cut lose and slipped deep inside itself. Silence. It was at an even deeper level of calm than before; nothing could penetrate it. Following its own momentum, the mind stayed like that sometime and then withdrew as it wished. Everything was happening automatically. There was no one influencing or directing events; I didn’t try to make things happen, to enter that state or withdraw from it in any particular way. I was simply keeping with the knowing and watching. Eventually the mind withdrew to a state of normality, without stimulating any more doubts.
I continued to contemplate and the mind inclined inwards again. The third time I had the experience of the whole world completely disintegrating. The earth, vegetation, trees, mountains, in fact the entire planet appeared as akasa-dhatu (the space element). There were no people or anything else left at all. At this last stage there was complete emptiness. The mind continued to dwell within on its own peacefully, without being forced. I don’t know how to explain how it happened like that, or why. It’s difficult to describe the experience or talk about it in a way that anyone else could understand. There’s nothing you can compare it with. The last time the mind stayed in that state far longer and then when its time was up, it withdrew. Saying that the mind withdrew doesn’t mean that I was controlling it and making it withdraw; it withdrew by itself. I simply watched as it returned to normal. Who could say what happen on these three occasions? Who could describe it? Maybe there’s no need to describe it?” (3)

How can we ascertain if a person has really become enlightened and has experienced Nibbana?

There are few people who claimed themselves to have been enlightened and are Arahats. This sort of self proclamation is usually from persons who did samatha meditation or vipassana with samatha and have experienced a trance like feeling while meditating deeply and thought they have witnessed Nibbana. Genuine arahats will never make themselves known what they have obtained as they have no ego left to show off and they do not require any material benefit. Moreover, they do follow a moral ethics which has been followed since the time of Buddha; ‘not to proclaim themselves of what they have achieved.’
A likely reason for someone to become deluded with the achievement of false Nibbana is the absence of any thoughts and feelings or sensations one is likely to experience when in deep samatha, or perhaps a short spell of sleep, which is not uncommon. The real experience of Nibbana goes in stages which have been formulated and at the final stage there is no perception and the physic goes to standstill.
There are lots of stories where a piccaka buddha or arahats who were in Magga nana have been mistaken for dead people and have nearly been accidentally cremated.

What sort of parameters can be used to ascertain those who claimed to have reached Nibbana?

Strictly speaking it is only possible with absolute certainty for only arahats to ascertain those claims. However, we can judge by using following parameters:
1. If the person has done any vipassana or not; if so how much ego does the person appears to have to roughly judge the person’s perception on ‘anatta.’
2. On the experience of the insight levels that the person has claimed which needs to be verified with the descriptions of vipassana insights published by authorised persons.(4)
3. To objectively ascertain the claims we can ask the person to undertake a battery of investigations to ensure there is no physical and mental activity during the magga nana since such persons who have already experienced Nibbana once may be able to undergo further experiences should the person proceeds into higher levels of enlightenment. This is quite unlikely for lesser levels of enlightenment as experiencing Nibbana may not be done voluntarily, but higher levels could easily go into magga nana if they wish. These tests may be useful to debunk claims that have been made by self-proclaimed and deluded so-called Arahats.
The investigations can include EEG to detect brain activity; ECG for heart electrical activities, etc. These tests will show if the physical and mental activities have really stopped or not.

REFERENCES
1) A discourse on Sallekha Sutta. Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma 1981 (Free distribution)
2) A discourse on Silavanta Sutta. Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma 1982 (Free distribution)
3) The Key to Liberation and The Path to Peace. Ven Ajahn Chah 1988. ISBN 974-7890-57-7
4) The Progress of Insight (Visuddhinana-katha). A Modern Treatise on Buddhist Satipatthana Meditation. Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw, translated by Nyanaponika Thera 1994. ISBN 955-24-0090-2
Sidney
 
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