"The Deathless" (amata)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Sun May 19, 2013 4:45 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Well, one "wakes up to" freedom from, which is an utter transformation. The arahant is one who is nibbana-ized, which is not an issue of negation or affirmation, and this can be be supported by the suttas, as this thread shows. Otherwise, if we are "waking up to" something, we can reasonably ask: "So, where is nibbana when there are no arahants?" -- a question that suggests nibbana is a self-existent thing that exists independently of awakened individuals, a thing we "awaken to."


Do lobha, dosa, and moha exist in the sense that tangible, concrete objects exist? I can not say where Nibbana is when there are no arahants, anymore than I can say where dosa goes when metta or khanti are cultivated and maintained. Nibbana seems to be an intangible state of being, so spatial (where) and temporal (when) concepts would not seem to apply. Nibbana is everywhere and nowhere.

My understanding is that Samma Sambuddhas and Paccekabuddhas attain Unbinding without Dhamma Instruction. Where do they get it?


tiltbillings wrote:

The most basic and clear definitions given in the suttas:


    "Bhikkhus, I will teach you freedom from the conditioned [asankhata] and the path leading to freedom from the conditioned. Listen to that....
    "And what, bhikkhus, is freedom from the conditioned [asankhata]? The destruction of greed, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this is called freedom from the conditioned.
    "And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to freedom from the conditioned? Mindfulness directed to the body: this is called the path leading to freedom from the conditioned."
    -- SN IV 359

    "That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is nibbana." -- S.N. IV 251 and IV 321


iirc, Lobha, Dosa, and Moha are given in the Suttas as the three root afflictions. It makes sense that they would be absent in the Unbinding, or the unbound state. The adjective asankhata suggests that Unbinding is unconditioned; free from all sankharas, not just afflictions. If all conditioned states are inconstant; then that might imply that Unbinding is constant. That could be taken to mean that Unbinding is atemporal and aspatial.
User avatar
male_robin
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Sun May 19, 2013 4:58 pm

Sylvester wrote:

I think I now see where the confusion might come in. Are the words in question denotations for concrete nouns or abstract nouns?

Duroiselle suggests that the -ta suffix is used in secondary derivation to indicate "state of, quality, abstract idea" (at para 585). So, yes, the existential quantifier explicitly affirms the existence of the state, but what I argue is that this is merely an abstraction, in which case it would be better to regard the words as adjectival, rather than nominal.

Interestingly, Warder (pp 252 - 253) gives examples of such abstract nouns that have a stem form ending with the niggahita. So, perhaps where existential propositions are framed as "atthi noun", the noun need not be in the nominative if it were an abstract noun.


I would tentatively say they are abstract nouns, but I would shy away from describing abstract concepts as mere. An abstract concept can describe a general quality, or an intangible quality. A general quality is know by specific, concrete examples. An intangible quality does not exist in the same way tangible objects exist. Intangibles lack any qualities that can be measured or perceived by the 5 senses; such as color, size, shape, and so on. However, they can be perceived by the mind.
User avatar
male_robin
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 6:25 pm

Vism. VII.75 wrote:Nibbána, whose individual essence is eternal, deathless, the refuge, the shelter,
etc., is well proclaimed too in being proclaimed to have an individual essence that
is eternal, and so on.
So the supramundane Dhamma is also “well proclaimed."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... on2011.pdf
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Nyana » Sun May 19, 2013 6:55 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Vism. VII.75 wrote:Nibbána, whose individual essence is eternal, deathless, the refuge, the shelter,
etc., is well proclaimed too in being proclaimed to have an individual essence that
is eternal, and so on.
So the supramundane Dhamma is also “well proclaimed."


Yes, that is one commentarial interpretation. Elsewhere in the Visuddhimagga Buddhaghosa is primarily arguing against the Sautrāntika interpretation, given, for example, in the Abhidharmakośabhāsya:

    The Sautrāntikas say that whatever is not-conditioned (asaṃskṛta) is not a substance, for it is not a distinct entity like form and feeling.

Thus, the reading of these relevant suttas that has been offered here by Tilt and others is not novel. It is supported by ancient commentators who were Sthaviras.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 8:56 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Yes, that is one commentarial interpretation. Elsewhere in the Visuddhimagga Buddhaghosa is primarily arguing against the Sautrāntika interpretation, given, for example, in the Abhidharmakośabhāsya:

    The Sautrāntikas say that whatever is not-conditioned (asaṃskṛta) is not a substance, for it is not a distinct entity like form and feeling.

Thus, the reading of these relevant suttas that has been offered here by Tilt and others is not novel. It is supported by ancient commentators who were Sthaviras.

Do those Sthavira commentators say anything about the question "where is nibbana if there are no arahants?" or say anything about whether it "exists independently of awakened individuals" ?
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 19, 2013 9:13 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Yes, that is one commentarial interpretation. Elsewhere in the Visuddhimagga Buddhaghosa is primarily arguing against the Sautrāntika interpretation, given, for example, in the Abhidharmakośabhāsya:

    The Sautrāntikas say that whatever is not-conditioned (asaṃskṛta) is not a substance, for it is not a distinct entity like form and feeling.

Thus, the reading of these relevant suttas that has been offered here by Tilt and others is not novel. It is supported by ancient commentators who were Sthaviras.

Do those Sthavira commentators say anything about the question "where is nibbana if there are no arahants?" or say anything about whether it "exists independently of awakened individuals" ?
I have never quite understood your opposition to what I am saying. Do you think I am, in fact, saying that nibbana exists if there is no arahant or that nibbana exists independently of an awakened individual?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19370
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 9:20 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I have never quite understood your opposition to what I am saying. Do you think I am, in fact, saying that nibbana exists if there is no arahant or that nibbana exists independently of an awakened individual?

I took it that you were denying that nibbana exists if there is no arahant, and nibbana does not exist independently of an awakened individual.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 19, 2013 9:23 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I have never quite understood your opposition to what I am saying. Do you think I am, in fact, saying that nibbana exists if there is no arahant or that nibbana exists independently of an awakened individual?

I took it that you were denying that nibbana exists if there is no arahant, and nibbana does not exist independently of an awakened individual.
And you, then are saying that even if there is no arahant, nibbana exist? And that it exists independently of the awakened individual?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19370
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 9:29 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I have never quite understood your opposition to what I am saying. Do you think I am, in fact, saying that nibbana exists if there is no arahant or that nibbana exists independently of an awakened individual?

I took it that you were denying that nibbana exists if there is no arahant, and nibbana does not exist independently of an awakened individual.
And you, then are saying that even if there is no arahant, nibbana exist? And that it exists independently of the awakened individual?

Can't you just answer your own question? In the time before the Buddha, there were no arahants, right? And you are saying it is meaningless to talk about nibbana at that time. It didn't exist, because there were no awakened individuals. Right?
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 19, 2013 9:35 pm

kirk5a wrote:Can't you just answer your own question? In the time before the Buddha, there were no arahants, right? And you are saying it is meaningless to talk about nibbana at that time. It didn't exist, because there were no awakened individuals. Right?
And what makes you think, in what I have said, that I would hold that it would hold such a position that it would be meaningless to talk about nibbana when there are no arahants? I have never held or posited such a position.

Now, you have reperatedly avoided answering my question.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19370
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 9:41 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Can't you just answer your own question? In the time before the Buddha, there were no arahants, right? And you are saying it is meaningless to talk about nibbana at that time. It didn't exist, because there were no awakened individuals. Right?
And what makes you think, in what I have said, that I would hold that it would hold such a position that it would be meaningless to talk about nibbana when there are no arahants? I have never held or posited such a position.

Now, you have reperatedly avoided answering my question.

Yeah, because I regard it as an entangling abstraction. But you keep asking it, without providing answer to it yourself. So it's a little difficult to discern exactly what you mean by asking it in the first place.

Your answer also appears to be a dodge. In the time before the Buddha, I take it you agree there were no arahants. At that time, nibbana did not exist, according to you.
Last edited by kirk5a on Sun May 19, 2013 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 19, 2013 9:47 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Can't you just answer your own question? In the time before the Buddha, there were no arahants, right? And you are saying it is meaningless to talk about nibbana at that time. It didn't exist, because there were no awakened individuals. Right?
And what makes you think, in what I have said, that I would hold that it would hold such a position that it would be meaningless to talk about nibbana when there are no arahants? I have never held or posited such a position.

Now, you have reperatedly avoided answering my question.

Yeah, because I regard it as an entangling abstraction. But you keep asking it, without providing answer to it yourself. So it's a little difficult to discern exactly what you mean by asking it in the first place.
I have provided an answer to the question repeatedly. And you have simply and repeatedly tried to side-step the issue (which is raised in my question to you) that your position raises.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19370
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 9:52 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I have provided an answer to the question repeatedly. And you have simply and repeatedly tried to side-step the issue (which is raised in my question to you) that your position raises.

So, let me try to be clear on what you are communicating. You disagree with Ven. Buddhaghosa, correct?
Nibbána, whose individual essence is eternal, deathless, the refuge, the shelter,
etc., is well proclaimed too in being proclaimed to have an individual essence that
is eternal, and so on.
So the supramundane Dhamma is also “well proclaimed."
Last edited by kirk5a on Sun May 19, 2013 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 10:03 pm

And, I take it you would disagree with Ven. Nagasena when he says this:
“What is it that is kamma-born, what cause-born, and what
season-born? What is it that is none of these?”
“All beings, O king are kamma-born. Fire, and all things
growing out of seeds are cause-born. The earth, water and
wind are season-born. Space and nibbàna exist independently of kamma, cause and season. Of nibbàna, O king, it cannot
be said that it is perceptible by the five senses, but it is perceptible by the mind. The disciple whose mind is pure, and
free from obstructions, can perceive nibbàna.

http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Pesala/Mil ... linda.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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Nyana » Sun May 19, 2013 10:59 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Yes, that is one commentarial interpretation. Elsewhere in the Visuddhimagga Buddhaghosa is primarily arguing against the Sautrāntika interpretation, given, for example, in the Abhidharmakośabhāsya:

    The Sautrāntikas say that whatever is not-conditioned (asaṃskṛta) is not a substance, for it is not a distinct entity like form and feeling.

Thus, the reading of these relevant suttas that has been offered here by Tilt and others is not novel. It is supported by ancient commentators who were Sthaviras.

Do those Sthavira commentators say anything about the question "where is nibbana if there are no arahants?" or say anything about whether it "exists independently of awakened individuals" ?

For Sarvāstivāda & Sautrāntika commentators nirvāṇa is considered to be an analytical cessation (pratisaṃkhyānirodha), which is a disjunction from impure dharmas that occurs through correct analysis, which is a specific type of prajñā. Thus, there are as many analytical cessations as there are defilements to be terminated in an individual mental continuum. In addition, sautrāntikas consider an analytical cessation to be just a conceptual designation (prajñapti) which doesn't refer to an entity that is substantially existent. It is a non-implicative negation (prasajyapratiṣedha), i.e. a negation that doesn't imply the presence of some other entity.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 19, 2013 11:21 pm

Greetings Geoff,

Ñāṇa wrote:For Sarvāstivāda & Sautrāntika commentators nirvāṇa is considered to be an analytical cessation (pratisaṃkhyānirodha), which is a disjunction from impure dharmas that occurs through correct analysis, which is a specific type of prajñā. Thus, there are as many analytical cessations as there are defilements to be terminated in an individual mental continuum. In addition, sautrāntikas consider an analytical cessation to be just a conceptual designation (prajñapti) which doesn't refer to an entity that is substantially existent. It is a non-implicative negation (prasajyapratiṣedha), i.e. a negation that doesn't imply the presence of some other entity.

Would you say these perspectives are consistent with the Sutta Pitaka?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14651
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 20, 2013 12:19 am

kirk wrote:So, let me try to be clear on what you are communicating. You disagree with Ven. Buddhaghosa, correct?


And, I take it you would disagree with Ven. Nagasena when he says this:
Both are already dealt with, but at this point, you do not answer my question, there is no reason to answer yours.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19370
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Nyana » Mon May 20, 2013 12:55 am

retrofuturist wrote:Would you say these perspectives are consistent with the Sutta Pitaka?

I think the sautrāntikas probably got it about right.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 20, 2013 12:58 am

Greetings Geoff,

Ñāṇa wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Would you say these perspectives are consistent with the Sutta Pitaka?

I think the sautrāntikas probably got it about right.

Thanks. That what I thought, but as always, I was interested to hear your opinion.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14651
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 20, 2013 6:11 am

male_robin wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Well, one "wakes up to" freedom from, which is an utter transformation. The arahant is one who is nibbana-ized, which is not an issue of negation or affirmation, and this can be be supported by the suttas, as this thread shows. Otherwise, if we are "waking up to" something, we can reasonably ask: "So, where is nibbana when there are no arahants?" -- a question that suggests nibbana is a self-existent thing that exists independently of awakened individuals, a thing we "awaken to."


Do lobha, dosa, and moha exist in the sense that tangible, concrete objects exist?
In terms of the Buddha’s teachings of awakening, this is, as is my question of where is nibbana?, a wrongly put question in that it assumes something is of importance in the framework of the Buddha’s teachings.

Recall that from the perspective of the Buddha’s teachings in the Pali, the ‘All’ {SN IV 15} is composed entirely of phassa, contact between sense base and sense object. We can only directly know phenomena within this ‘world of experience’, so from the Theravadin perspective, we cannot know whether there really exists a ‘brain’ or a ‘body’ apart from moments of intellectual consciousness, of seeing (the image of a brain), and so on. The discourses of the Pali describe an individual world of experience as composed of various mental and physical factors, nama and rupa. These two are not the separate, independent worlds that Rene Descartes envisioned.

"…the Buddha spoke of the human person as a psychophysical personality (namarupa). Yet the psychic and the physical were never discussed in isolation, nor were they viewed as self-subsistent entities. For him, there was neither a ‘material-stuff’ nor a ‘mental-stuff’, because both are results of reductive analyses that go beyond experience."53

The physical and mental aspects of human experience are continually arising together, intimately dependent on one another.

    53 Kalupahana 1976: 73, refers to D.15{II,62}, where the Buddha speaks of both
    physicality and mentality mutually dependent forms of contact (phassa).
    Physicality is described as contact with resistance (pat.ighasamphassa),
    mentality as contact with concepts (adhivacanasamphassa).

STRONG ROOTS by Jake Davis, page 190-1. http://www.bcbsdharma.org/wp-content/up ... gRoots.pdf
The issue here, in terms of the Buddha's teachings, is what is experienced, not something that is beyond what can be directly experienced.

I can not say where Nibbana is when there are no arahants, anymore than I can say where dosa goes when metta or khanti are cultivated and maintained. Nibbana seems to be an intangible state of being, so spatial (where) and temporal (when) concepts would not seem to apply. Nibbana is everywhere and nowhere.
The problem here is that you are positing nibbana as being something, which then does, in fact, open up the questions based upon the idea of existence, of being as opposed to non-being, and the whole catastrophe that goes right along with the idea of existence of something, rather than conditioned co-produced experience, which is what the Buddha taught.

My understanding is that Samma Sambuddhas and Paccekabuddhas attain Unbinding without Dhamma Instruction. Where do they get it?
From God? There is no thing -- "it" -- to get.

iirc, Lobha, Dosa, and Moha are given in the Suttas as the three root afflictions. It makes sense that they would be absent in the Unbinding, or the unbound state. The adjective asankhata suggests that Unbinding is unconditioned; free from all sankharas, not just afflictions. If all conditioned states are inconstant; then that might imply that Unbinding is constant. That could be taken to mean that Unbinding is atemporal and aspatial.
Asankhata and nibbana are defined in exactly the same way. I would say you are pushing the definitions beyond what these definitions, as I have shown above, clearly say and into a realm of something.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19370
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests