"visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

"visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby echalon » Tue May 04, 2010 9:19 pm

I was just reading the foreword to Nibbāna: Nibbāna as self or not self (linked at viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4265). In this foreword, Dr. Phra Rajyanvisith (not the author of the entire book), Abbot of Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram writes:

(viii-ix)
Thus, from the first viewpoint, Nirvana is a mental state—a state free from craving—which can be attained here and now on a temporary basis during meditation. Achieving this state is an important part of Lord Buddha's mental training. This perception of Nirvana is much more useful than the usual, fatalistic picture as something far off, incomprehensible and essentially unreachable.

This usual picture is the second viewpoint. Here, Nirvana is seen as a realm, far beyond Heaven, outside of time and space, where the enlightened disciples of Lord Buddha continue to be with him eternally, in supreme peaceful happiness. This is Ayatanā Nibbāna, Nirvana Residence. This viewpoint can also be very useful, providing us with a goal in life—the ultimate answer to the question "Where am I going?"

Yes, Ayatanā Nibbāna is far off; we had better set more immediately achievable sub-goals. But, this perspective says that eternal happiness, the ultimate goal in most religions, IS attainable. Being able to visit during meditation substantiates this conception and makes the seemingly interminable journey bearable. Realizing that we are reborn over and over anyway develops patience for the protracted mission.


(x)
Meditation-based positions reflect direct familiarity with Nirvana. Lord Buddha and his enlightened disciples can be seen there.


This perspective that Nibbana can be visited in meditation, and that Buddha and arahants can be "seen" there, strikes me as a bit too simplistic, and seemingly tied to (conditioned) meditative realms. But of course, as this is coming from an abbot, I can't simply write it off. Can someone point me towards some resources where Nibbana is portrayed in this light? Comments on this?
echalon
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:22 am

Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby Ben » Tue May 04, 2010 9:34 pm

Hi Echalon

From what you've quoted it would appear the author is engaging in some eternalist fantasy-making. I would encourage you to go back to the source document and see whether the author has cited any sources in the Tipitaka that support his contention that nibbana is some uber-heaven where the Buddha and arahants are still enjoying each other's company. If there are no citations then you can draw your own conclusion. If there are, I would be inclined to think that the author's contention may be linked to a peculiar translation.
Because the author is an abbot, it doesn't mean that we should suspend our critical faculties and not pbjectively evaluate his writings against the canon, the commentarial literature, and later scholastic literature, out of deference for his position.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16050
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 04, 2010 11:02 pm

Greetings Echalon,

The only extent to which this could said have any validity is in this sense...

"One who sees the Dhamma sees me. One who sees me sees the Dhamma."
(Yo dhammam passati so mam passati. Yo mam passati so dhammam passati).

But that clearly doesn't mean visiting Nibbana, having tea and biscuits with the Buddha, and then toodling back to Earth.

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: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby appicchato » Wed May 05, 2010 12:04 am

But of course, as this is coming from an abbot, I can't simply write it off.


Off topic but I'd like to chime in here to say that just because a monk is an abbot of a temple, his spiritual prowess/knowledge/attainment doesn't necessarily (and some may counter that it probably doesn't) have to have one single thing to do with that fact...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby BlackBird » Wed May 05, 2010 12:34 am

appicchato wrote:
But of course, as this is coming from an abbot, I can't simply write it off.


Off topic but I'd like to chime in here to say that just because a monk is an abbot of a temple, his spiritual prowess/knowledge/attainment doesn't necessarily (and some may counter that it probably doesn't) have to have one single thing to do with that fact...


Good point Bhante.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby Goofaholix » Wed May 05, 2010 1:48 am

appicchato wrote:
But of course, as this is coming from an abbot, I can't simply write it off.


Off topic but I'd like to chime in here to say that just because a monk is an abbot of a temple, his spiritual prowess/knowledge/attainment doesn't necessarily (and some may counter that it probably doesn't) have to have one single thing to do with that fact...


I think you can probably write it off because it's coming from Dhammakaya.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed May 05, 2010 2:41 am

its not just a dhammakaya POV its a pretty wide spread thai buddhist meme, there have been many modern thai buddhists (buddhadasa for one) who've had to argue agaisnt this, even one of the sangha rajas of late held this idea
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby Wind » Wed May 05, 2010 3:14 am

Sounds like wrong view to me.
User avatar
Wind
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

Postby Moggalana » Wed May 05, 2010 6:41 am

This may be related to the topic: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4265&p=63690#p63690
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.
Moggalana
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:31 am
Location: Germany


Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 9 guests