"visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

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"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?
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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

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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,
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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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...
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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.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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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.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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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
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Re: "visiting" nibbana and "seeing" buddha

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

Sounds like wrong view to me.
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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
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