Experience (of?) Nibbana

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Will » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:10 pm

Synonyms for Nibbana from pp. 30-1 of The Island compilation: [sorry about loss of diacriticals]

the End, (Anata)
the Taintless, (Anasava)
the Truth, (Sacca)
the Other Shore, (Para)
the Subtle, (Nipuna)
the Very Hard to See, (Sududdasa)
the Unweakening, (Ajajjara)
the Everlasting, (Dhuva)
the Undisintegrating, (Apalokita)
the Invisible, (Anidassana)
the Undiversified, (Nippapañca)
Peace, (Santa)
the Deathless, (Amata)
the Supreme Goal, (Panita)
the Blest, (Siva)
Safety, (Khema)
Exhaustion of Craving, (Tanhakkhaya)
the Wonderful, (Acchariya)
the Marvellous, (Abbhuta)
Non-distress, (Anitika)
the Naturally Non-distressed, (Anitika-dhamma)
Nibbana,
Non-affliction (Unhostility), (Abyapajjha)
Fading of Lust, (Viraga)
Purity, (Suddhi)
Freedom, (Mutti)
Independence of Reliance, (Analayo)
the Island, (Dipa)
the Shelter, (Lena)
the Harbour, (Tana)
the Refuge, (Sarana)
the Beyond, (Parayana).”
~ S 43.1-44 (edited, Ñanamoli Bhikkhu trans.)

In addition to these epithets, there are numerous others employed by the
Buddha throughout the Pali Canon, for example:
The Everlasting (Accanta)
The Unmade (Akata)
The Endless (Ananta)
The Cessation of Suffering (Dukkhakkhaya)
The Freedom from Longing (Annasa)
The Uncreated (Asankhara)
The Beyond (Para)
Deliverance (Mokkha)
Cessation (Nirodha)
The Absolute (Kevala)
The Law (Pada)
The Deathless (Accuta)
The Lasting (Akkhara)
Release (Vimutta)
Liberation (Vimutti)
Total Completion (Apavagga)
Freedom from Bondage (Yogakkhema)
Stillness (Santi)
Purity (Visuddhi)
Allayment (Nibbuti)
The Unborn (Ajata)
The Unoriginated (Abhuta)
Freedom From Lust (Vitaraga)
The Destruction of the Passions (Khinasava)
The Unconditioned Element (Asankhatadhatu)
The Standstill of the Cycle of Existence (Vivatta)
Last edited by Will on Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
User avatar
Will
 
Posts: 384
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:26 pm

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:54 am

Kenshou wrote:Rowyourboat-

If the experience of nibbana is the momentary cessation of all sensory phenomena, what they term "fruition", what is the difference between that and nirodha-samapatti?

Additionally, what is the difference between the "fruition" of the sotapanna vs sakadagami vs anagami vs arahant? My understanding of this scheme is that the stream entrant experiences a cessation/fruition, which breaks the first 3 fetters upon experiencing it, and so on for each of the stages of enlightenment. Clearly there must be a difference if one can attain a fruition again and again and yet not progress from one stage to the other upon having it.

What makes one experience of cessation cut off certain fetters while another experience of the same thing cut off other fetters? All consciousness zwoops on and off and then all of a sudden you no longer have any sense-craving or ill-will? I'm suspicious that such a thing can be done through anything but gradual practice. Or is it that you do need the gradual practice but the fruition is the "crescendo" which finally breaks the fetter? But then... why is that even necessary?



Hi Kenshou,

All good questions.

Please note that the magga-phala moment, phalasamapatti and nirodasamapatti are different.

Magga-phala moment (lasts just a moment) happens at the culmination of the samatha-vipassana path, the crescendo of insight knowledges along with the other elements of the five faculties.Phalasamapatti ('fruition attainment') is the advertance of the mind to the magga-phala moment (glimpse of nibbana) again and again to re-experience it. Usually happens naturally soon after a magga phala moment, but can be maintained and developed.

The difference between the 'fruition attainment' (phalasamapatti) and nirodhasamapatti, is mostly to do with what remains in terms of 'anusaya' very subtle remainders of defilements. The phalasamapatti of a sotapanna is a cessation of perception, but there is more pulling at the mind to take it out of it (ie- all the remaining fetters attempt to draw the mind back into the process of creating samsara. A bit like a stone skipping water. The mind skips into samsara ie- there can be shreds of perception but then it dips back again into the cool emptiness of nibbana. I understand that nirodhasamapatti (apart from appearing after the 8th jhana) is more of a total blackout, as there are fewer fetters. Experientially there is often a 'sinking' into phala. The one instance I have hear of Nirodhasamapatti maybe a 'closing of the doors' type entry into emptiness, but I wouldn't place too much emphasis as different practitioners may experience these preliminary stages differently.

As for your question as to why entry into sotapatti phalasamawatha doesnt make the person progress into a higher state of attainment (ie sakadagami- once returner) it is because the next higher fetters (craving and aversion) havent been sufficiently worked on. So the person who hasnt grappled with craving and aversion, but has penetrated the 3 lower fetters will always go into 'fruition attainment' or even the magga-phala moment of the stream entrant again and again, even though he might go through the vipassana knoweldges again and again (assuming that didnt have sufficient impact on his cravings and aversions). So it becomes essential to work on cravings and aversion with whatever tools the Buddha recommended with higher training (citta visuddhi) before attempting magga-phala again.

Then there is the idea that the magga-phala moment somehow shatters the fetter when it occurs. This can only happen if it has been weakened by the practice which came before it (sutta about the adze handle being worn away by the thumb of the craftsman, but the final breakthrough is like the chick breaking out from the shell). It is a gradual path.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta
:anjali:

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Kenshou » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:21 pm

Okay. Thank you for elaborating. It's good to know more about all the different approaches that're out there.

My only other question I suppose, and this may not have an answer other than "that's just how it happens", and maybe that is just how it works with vipassana (I would not know since don't do it), but I don't yet understand why the phala "experience" is necessary to break the fetters. Keyword being "necessary", since I can understand how such experiences could be powerful and useful. I guess this boils down to as has been gone over in the thread, that I am skeptical that "nibbanic experiences" require a lack of perception( or consciousness for some). Though I recognize that the thing exists, a la the animitto sutta. Perhaps vipassana just happens to usually lead to the "signless" liberation, for whatever reason. I'm also skeptical that such a thing needs to occur for each "path", but I guess this comes back to the question of why it is necessary for the elimination of fetters.

Forgive my incessant prodding. It's an interesting topic.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Nyana » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:29 am

Kenshou wrote:It's good to know more about all the different approaches that're out there.

My only other question I suppose, and this may not have an answer other than "that's just how it happens", and maybe that is just how it works with vipassana (I would not know since don't do it), but I don't yet understand why the phala "experience" is necessary to break the fetters. Keyword being "necessary", since I can understand how such experiences could be powerful and useful. I guess this boils down to as has been gone over in the thread, that I am skeptical that "nibbanic experiences" require a lack of perception( or consciousness for some). Though I recognize that the thing exists, a la the animitto sutta. Perhaps vipassana just happens to usually lead to the "signless" liberation, for whatever reason. I'm also skeptical that such a thing needs to occur for each "path", but I guess this comes back to the question of why it is necessary for the elimination of fetters.

Hi Kenshou,

There are numerous Theravāda teachers and practitioners who don't subscribe to the (rather late) commentarial interpretation of the paths and fruitions which rests on the theory of momentariness and the reification of nibbāna as a vacuum state (i.e. such as the attainment of cessation of apperception and feeling). I think you're probably already aware of this, but for the sake of presenting an alternate perspective there's the following....

Itivuttaka 43 (Iti 37):

    This said by the Blessed One, the Worthy One, was heard by me in this way: "Monks, there is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning. For, monks if there were not this freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning, then escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning, would not be known here. But, monks, because there is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning, therefore the escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning is known."

    [Here the Buddha, The Blessed One, offers his own verse commentary on his statement.]

    This meaning the Blessed One spoke, it is spoken here in this way:

    That which is born, become, arisen, made, conditioned,
    And thus unstable, put together of decay and death,
    The seat of disease, brittle,
    Caused and craving food,
    That is not fit to find pleasure in.

    Being freed of this, calmed beyond conjecture, stable,
    Freed from birth, freed from arising, freed from sorrow,
    Freed from passions, the elements of suffering stopped,
    The conditioning [of greed, hatred and delusion] appeased,
    This is ease [bliss].

This fruitional liberation is realized through discernment of dependent arising in reverse sequence giving rise to dispassion, etc., eventually culminating in gnosis of the complete elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion (i.e. nibbānañāṇa) . For example, Nettippakaraṇa 4.42:

    These same non-learner’s five faculties are knowledge (vijjā). With the arising of knowledge [there is] the cessation of ignorance; with the cessation of ignorance, cessation of volitional fabrications; with the cessation of volitional fabrications, cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of consciousness, cessation of name-and-form; with the cessation of name-and-form; cessation of the six sense spheres; with cessation of the six sense spheres, cessation of contact; with the cessation of contact, cessation of feeling; with the cessation of feeling, cessation of craving; with the cessation of craving, cessation of grasping; with the cessation of grasping, cessation of becoming; with the cessation of becoming, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, aging and death cease, and [also] sorrow, grieving, pain, unhappiness, and despair; that is how there is the cessation to this whole aggregate of unsatisfactoriness. This is the way of entry by the aspects of dependent arising.

Which for the non-learner (i.e. arahant) is experienced as unestablished consciousness (appatiṭṭha viññāṇa), as in SN 12.38 (S ii 65): Cetanāsutta:

    [W]hen one doesn't intend, arrange, or obsess [about anything], there is no support for the stationing of consciousness. There being no support, there is no establishing of consciousness. When that consciousness doesn't land & grow, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

Which elsewhere is designated as a "measureless mind" (appamāṇacetasa, cf. S iv 119, S iv 186, S iv 189, S iv 199, & M I 270), or "featureless consciousness" (anidassana viññāṇa), etc. DN 11 (D i 211) Kevaḍḍhasutta:

    Consciousness without feature,
    Without end, luminous all around:
    Here water, earth, fire,
    And wind have no footing.
    Here long & short
    Coarse & fine fair & foul
    Name & form
    Are all brought to an end.
    With the cessation of consciousness
    Each is here brought to an end.

That is, viññāṇassa nirodhena etth'etaṃ uparujjhati: With the cessation of the stationing of consciousness [i.e. viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā nirodhena] each is here brought to an end. Or as Ven. Ñāṇananda says:

    The vacant gaze [of an arahant] is, in fact, not established anywhere (appatiṭṭham). It has no existence (appavattaṃ) and it is objectless (anārammaṇaṃ).

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:06 am

Hi Geoff,

Perhaps you could clarify my understanding of what I quoted from Ven Nanananda above at the bottom of this post:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5339#p83074
(Or go directly to http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanananda/wheel183.html#passage-2.)
Footnotes 9 and 10 refer to a particular "very unusual kind of 'jhaana' or 'samaadhi'", which implies that it is not the "normal state of the Arahant", but happens only during the awakening experience (though it can be re-entered later).

Am I interpreting this correctly?

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10112
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby ground » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:36 am

bodom wrote:Here is an excellent book by Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Pasanno entitled:

The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbāna.

http://www.abhayagiri.org/main/book/1788/

:anjali:


Thank you very much for this!

:namaste:
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Nyana » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:28 am

mikenz66 wrote:Footnotes 9 and 10 refer to a particular "very unusual kind of 'jhaana' or 'samaadhi'", which implies that it is not the "normal state of the Arahant", but happens only during the awakening experience (though it can be re-entered later).

Am I interpreting this correctly?

Hi Mike,

I can't speak for Ven. Ñāṇananda, but yes, that is how I understand what he is saying. We can also look at what else he says on the subject. In Concept and Reality he equates the experience of featureless/non-manifestative consciousness (anidassana viññāṇa) with the fruition-gnosis samādhi (aññāphala samādhi) of an arahant, which after first attainment can be re-entered later as the arahant's meditation. AN 9.37 describes this samādhi as follows:

    Sister, the concentration whereby -- neither pressed down nor forced back, nor with fabrication kept blocked or suppressed -- still as a result of release, contented as a result of standing still, and as a result of contentment one is not agitated: This concentration is said by the Blessed One to be the fruit of gnosis.

On page 61 of Concept and Reality Ven. Ñāṇananda discusses this samādhi:

    The unique feature of this samādhi is its very fluxional character. In it there is no such fixity as to justify a statement that it 'depends on' (nissāya) some object (ārammaṇa) as its support -- hence the frustration of gods and men who seek out the basis of the Tathāgata's consciousness. Normally, the jhānas are characterized by an element of fixity on which consciousness finds a footing or a steadying point. It is on this very fixity that the illusion of the ego thrives. In the above jhāna of the emancipated one, however, the ego has melted away in the fire of wisdom which sees the cosmic process of arising and cessation. Not only has the concept "I" (papañca par excellence) undergone combustion, but it has also ignited the data of sensory experience in their entirety. Thus in this jhāna of the Arahant, the world of concepts melts away in the intuitional bonfire of universal impermanence.

And on p. 67:

    With his penetrative insight the Arahant sees through the concepts. Now, an object of perception (ārammaṇa) for the worldling is essentially something that is brought into focus -- something he is looking at. For the Arahant, however, all concepts have become transparent to such a degree in that all-encompassing vision, that their boundaries together with their umbra and penumbra have yielded to the radiance of wisdom. This, then, is the significance of the word ‘anantaṃ’ (endless, infinite). Thus the paradoxically detached gaze of the contemplative sage as he looks through concepts is one which has no object (ārammaṇa) as the point of focus for the worldling to identify it with.

The following excerpts from the Nibbāna Sermons help clarify these passages:

    What actually happens in the attainment to the fruit of arahant-hood? The worldling discerns the world around him with the help of six narrow beams of light, namely the six sense-bases. When the superior lustre of wisdom arises, those six sense-bases go down. This cessation of the six sense bases could also be referred to as the cessation of name-and-form, nāmarūpanirodha, or the cessation of consciousness, viññāṇanirodha.

    The cessation of the six sense-bases does not mean that one does not see anything. What one sees then is voidness. It is an in-‘sight’. He gives expression to it with the words suñño loko, “void is the world.” What it means is that all the sense objects, which the worldling grasps as real and truly existing, get penetrated through with wisdom and become non-manifest....

    With the dispelling of the perception of permanence, the tendency to grasp a sign or catch a theme is removed. It is due to the perception of permanence that one grasps a sign in accordance with perceptual data. When one neither takes a sign nor gets carried away by its details, there is no aspiration, expectation, or objective by way of craving. When there is no aspiration, one cannot see any purpose or essence to aim at.

    It is through the three deliverances, the signless, the desireless, and the void, that the drama of existence comes to an end. The perception of impermanence is the main contributory factor for the cessation of this drama....

    Why do we call the vision of the arahant a vacant gaze? At the highest point of the development of the three characteristics impermanence, suffering and not-self, that is, through the three deliverances animitta, appaṇihita and suññata, the "signess", the "undirected" and the "void", the arahant is now looking at the object with a penetrative gaze. That is why it is not possible to say what he is looking at. It is a gaze that sees the cessation of the object, a gaze that penetrates the object, as it were....

    Since the world is built up by the six sense-spheres, it has also to cease by the cessation of those six sense-spheres. That is why Nibbāna is defined as the cessation of the six sense-spheres, saḷāyatananirodho Nibbānaṃ. All those measuring rods and scales lose their applicability with the cessation of the six sense-spheres.

    How can there be an experience of cessation of the six sense-spheres? The cessation here meant is actually the cessation of the spheres of contact. A sphere of contact presupposes a duality. Contact is always between two things, between eye and forms, for instance. It is because of a contact between two things that one entertains a perception of permanence in those two things. Dependent on that contact, feelings and perceptions arise, creating a visual world. The visual world of the humans differs from that of animals. Some things that are visible to animals are not visible to humans. That is due to the constitution of the eye-faculty. It is the same with regard to the ear-faculty. These are the measuring rods and scales which build up a world. Now this world, which is a product of the spheres of sense-contact, is a world of papañca, or "proliferation". Nibbāna is called nippapañca because it transcends this proliferation, puts an end to proliferation. The end of proliferation is at the same time the end of the six sense-spheres....

    It is the substructure of this sense created world that the Buddha has revealed to us in this particular discourse on impermanence. The substructure, on analysis, reveals a duality, dvayaṃ, bhikkhave, paṭicca viññāṇaṃ sambhoti, "dependent on a dyad, monks, arises consciousness". Consciousness is not something substantial and absolute, like the so-called soul. That is precisely the point of divergence for Buddhism, when compared with those religious systems which rely on soul theories.

    In the Dhamma there is mention of six consciousnesses, as cakkhu-viññāṇa, sotaviññāṇa, ghānaviññāṇa, jivhāviññāṇa, kāyaviññāṇa and manoviññāṇa, eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body- and mind-consciousness. Everyone of these consciousnesses is based on a dyad. Just as in the case of eye-consciousness we are given the formula beginning with cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca, "dependent on eye and forms", so with regard to ear-consciousness we get sotañca paṭicca sadde ca, "dependent on ear and sounds", and so on. Even when we come to mind-consciousness, the theme is the same, manañca paṭicca dhamme ca, "dependent on mind and mind-objects". Mind also is vibrating, changing and transforming with extreme rapidity every moment. So are the objects of the mind.

    The entire world is structured on these vibrant, transient and evanescent basic elements. That is the burden of this powerful discourse of the Buddha. Therefore, if someone developed the contemplation of impermanence to the highest degree and brought his mind to the signless state, having started from the sign itself, it goes without saying that he has realized the cessation of the world. That is, the experience of Nibbāna.

    It is, at the same time, the cessation of proliferation, papañcanirodha. Prolific conceptualization is founded on the perception of permanence, whereby one comes under the sway of reckonings born of prolific perceptions, papañcasaññāsaṅkhā. Proliferation creates things, giving rise to the antinomian conflict. Duality masquerades behind it.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:39 am

Thanks Geoff,

So would it be correct to say that you (and presumably Ven Nanananda, judging from those passages) see the fruition attainments as somewhat similar to the commentary versions (as far as that they are particular meditative states that are attained at fruition and can be revisited), but you would differ on some of the details of the fruition itself?

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10112
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Kenshou » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:10 am

Oh, neat. Aññāphala samādhi is an idea that I completely forgot about.

So, correct me if I am wrong, there is said to be cessation of the sense-spheres because what is called contact is dependent upon the duality of the sense-faculty and it's object, a duality which is, though useful, ultimately papañca and conceptualization. This proliferation and conceptualization ends simultaneously with the culmination of the understanding of impermanence, at which point the mind ceases to get caught up with or grasp onto anything, that is, becomes unestablished and non-manifestive/non-proliferating, including the proliferation of self-identification and volitions of clinging and aversion (which might all be summed up under "non-fashioning). When the duality which supports the notion of contact is gone, there cannot really said to be contact, nor consciousness or the "loka" of the six sense spheres, though it isn't that they've literally vanished.

The scheme of dependent origination is itself a sort of "wholesome" papañca which, at the end of the path, also has to be released. And though the arahant can choose to interact with the world and make use of conventional conceptualizations, the yoke that would bind his mind to them are cut off. Am I wrong? My brain hurts.
Last edited by Kenshou on Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:12 am

.
Attachments
my-brain-hurts[1].jpg
my-brain-hurts[1].jpg (10.35 KiB) Viewed 2036 times
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: 19191
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: The Grasslands

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby IanAnd » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:20 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Geoff,

Perhaps you could clarify my understanding of what I quoted from Ven Nanananda above at the bottom of this post:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5339#p83074
(Or go directly to http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanananda/wheel183.html#passage-2.)
Footnotes 9 and 10 refer to a particular "very unusual kind of 'jhaana' or 'samaadhi'", which implies that it is not the "normal state of the Arahant", but happens only during the awakening experience (though it can be re-entered later).

Am I interpreting this correctly?

Yes, I know I'm not Geoff. (Presumably he'll chime in. I'd be interested to see his take.) But I'll take a shot at this because there is something that I'd like to discuss about these types of descriptions which (if I can get some consensus on it) may shed some light on how they come about. It's all those pointy-headed Theravadin monks out there trying to make life difficult for the rest of us worldlings striving to understand what in heck is going on. It gets tiresome after a while, seeing all these "pointy-heads" (to use one of Tilt's favorite designations) break everything down into its tiniest constituent parts in order to be EXACT! Sometimes it only serves to make things more difficult to understand, especially when we see it in writing because we cannot ask an immediate question (and get it almost-as-immediately answered) to seek clarification, as we would if we were sitting across a table talking to one another.

Whenever I see such questions as the one asked above, I immediately begin looking at my own experience to see if I can figure out what experience is being described. Since the above passage is based on a translation by Ven. K. Nanananda, I went immediately to my copy of Bhk. Bodhi's translation of the Samyutta to see how he rendered this same passage, wanting to see if there were any contrast. Although there are some differences in some of the key words used, the two passages read quite similarly. And although each translator decided to add unique footnotes to the passage, I think both were endeavoring to explain the same issues in different ways. It's actually quite interesting to see how they went about this. Ven. Nanananda talks about, as Mike has pointed out, "a very unusual kind of 'jhaana' or 'samaadhi'," while Ven. Bodhi has no mention of such. Ven. Nanananda is known to be a meditation master, while Ven. Bodhi's exploits with meditation and his chronic illness (headaches) are well documented.

Footnote 9 says: "This refers to the experience of the cessation of consciousness (vi~n~naa.nanirodha — D. I. 213) with the removal of its support name-and-form." Nama-rupa being a step on the twelve/eight step ladder of dependent co-arising, it seems to me that he is talking about the non-stimulation of the aggregate of consciousness by name-and-form (in whatever form it may at present take). Meaning that even if some thing (nama-rupa) were to impinge on consciousness, it would have no place to land, since consciousness is unestablished ("since it does not partake of any perceptual data"). I could be reading it wrong; but that's one take on it, using the eight step paticca samuppada formula. In this sense then, the mind state terms used by Ven. Nanananda (jhaana or samaadhi) might not be viewed as being strictly meditative in nature. And subsequently samaadhi/jhaana here may refer more to simple heightened "concentration" than to a high meditative state. This would account for its appearance in the eight step formula of dependent co-arising.

Footnote 10 says: "The cessation and appeasement of feelings, is yet another aspect of this experience. Thereby the Arahant realizes the extinction of all suffering[,] mental as well as physical (see Sakaiika S: SI, 27), which in effect is the bliss of Nibbaana as the deliverance from all Sa.msaaric suffering. What is most significant about this paradoxical jhaana is that, despite the extinction of all what[/that] constitutes our waking experience, the arahant is still said to be mindful and aware. It is sometimes referred to as 'the sphere' (aayatana) in which the six sense-spheres have totally ceased." Since volition (sankhara) is stimulated by not only consciousness (vinnana), but also perception (sanna) and feeling (vedana) along with form (rupa), this gives some meaning to the footnote in Ven. Bodhi's rendition which reads:

    "By the first method of explanation, delight in existence (nandibhava, or, following the gloss: "existence rooted in delight"), being the threefold activity of kammic formation (tividhakammabhisankhara— see 12:51) implies the aggregate of volitional formations (sankharakkandha); perception and consciousness implies the two aggregates associated therewith; and by mentioning this, the feeling associated with those three aggregates is included. Thus, by way of the nonoccurrence of the four kammically active mental aggregates (anupadinnaka-arupakkhandha) 'Nibbana with residue' (sa-upadisesa-nibbana) is indicated. By the phrase by the cessation and appeasement of feelings (vedanam nirodha upsama), the kammically acquired (upadinnaka) feeling is referred to, and by mentioning this the other three associated aggregates are implied; the aggregate of form is included as their physical base and object. Thus, by way of the nonoccurrence of the five kammically acquired aggregates, 'Nibbana without residue' (anupadi-sesa-nibbana) is indicated. By the second method (taking 'delight' and 'existence' as parallel terms), delight implies the aggregate of volitional formations; existence, the aggregate of form; and the other three aggregates are shown under their own names. Nibanna is indicated as the nonoccurrence of these five aggregates."

I don't think in terms of "fruition attainments" (meaning I don't mentally use that term when looking at my experience; I endeavor to describe the experience itself in all its simplicity) although obviously we are talking about the same thing. I don't recall having had this experience during meditation contemplation as I endeavored to experience these changes directly in waking consciousness.

After all this, I'm with Tilt: "My brain hurts!" (Note: I started my response before Geoff chimed in, but he beat me to the pass with his post.)
Last edited by IanAnd on Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
User avatar
IanAnd
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby IanAnd » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:33 am

Kenshou wrote:Oh, neat. Aññāphala samādhi is an idea that I completely forgot about.

So, correct me if I am wrong, there is said to be cessation of the sense-spheres because what is called contact is dependent upon the duality of the sense-faculty and it's object, a duality which is, though useful, ultimately papañca and conceptualization. This proliferation and conceptualization ends simultaneously with the culmination of the understanding of impermanence, at which point the mind ceases to get caught up with or grasp onto anything, that is, becomes unestablished and non-manifestive/non-proliferating, including the proliferation of self-identification and volitions of clinging and aversion (which might all be summed up under "non-fashioning). When the duality which supports the notion of contact is gone, there cannot really said to be contact, nor consciousness or the "loka" of the six sense spheres, though it isn't that they've literally vanished.

Am I wrong? My brain hurts.

Hey Kenshou,

If I read you correctly, your take seems to be the easiest of the three to understand. Congratulations! You're right on.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
User avatar
IanAnd
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Kenshou » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:20 am

Well thanks Ian, I hope so.

Additionally this dredged up some memories of Ñanavira. I believe that he takes roughly the same position as has been shown of Ñanananda, though there are some helpful additional details scattered throughout his dense commentary.

http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=76

On phassa:

Phassa, 'contact', is defined (Salāyatana Samy. iv,10 <S.iv,67-9>) as the coming together of the eye, forms, and eye-consciousness (and so with the ear and the rest). But it is probably wrong to suppose that we must therefore understand the word phassa, primarily at least, as contact between these three things.[a] So long as there is avijjā, all things (dhammā) are fundamentally as described in the earlier part of the Mūlapariyāyasutta (Majjhima i,1 <M.i,1>); that is to say, they are inherently in subjection, they are appropriated, they are mine (See ANICCA, MAMA, & A NOTE ON PATICCASAMUPPĀDA [f]). This is the foundation of the notion that I am and that things are in contact with me. This contact between me and things is phassa.

...

All normal experience is dual (dvayam—see NĀMA, final paragraph): there are present (i) one's conscious six-based body (saviññānaka salāyatanika kāya), and (ii) other phenomena (namely, whatever is not one's body); and reflexion will show that, though both are objective in the experience, the aroma of subjectivity that attaches to the experience will naturally tend to be attributed to the body.[c] In this way, phassa comes to be seen as contact between the conscious eye and forms—but mark that this is because contact is primarily between subject and object, and not between eye, forms, and eye-consciousness. This approach makes it possible to see in what sense, with the entire cessation of all illusion of 'I' and 'mine', there is phassanirodha in the arahat (where, though there are still, so long as he continues to live, both the conscious body and the other phenomena, there is no longer any appropriation). But when (as commonly) phassa is interpreted as 'contact between sense-organ and sense-object, resulting in consciousness'—and its translation as '(sense-)impression' implies this interpretation—then we are at once cut off from all possibility of understanding phassanirodha in the arahat;[d] for the question whether or not the eye is the subject is not even raised—we are concerned only with the eye as a sense-organ, and it is a sense-organ in puthujjana and arahat alike.


http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=81

Viññana:

With the arahat, there is just presence of the phenomenon ('This is present'), instead of the presence (or existence) of an apparent 'subject' to whom there is present an 'object' ('I am, and this is present to [or for] me', i.e. [what appears to be] the subject is present ['I am'], the object is present ['this is'], and the object concerns or 'belongs to' the subject [the object is 'for me' or 'mine']—see PHASSA & ATTĀ); and consciousness is then said to be anidassana, 'non-indicative' (i.e. not pointing to the presence of a 'subject'), or niruddha, 'ceased' (see A NOTE ON PATICCASAMUPPĀDA §22). Viññānanirodha (cessation of consciousness) refers indifferently to anidassana viññāna (saupādisesa nibbānadhātu, which refers to the living arahat: Itivuttaka II,ii,7 <Iti.38>[12]) and to cessation, at the arahat's death, of all consciousness whatsoever (anupādisesa nibbānadhātu). [b]Viññānanirodha, strictly speaking, is cessation of viññān'upādānakkhandha (consciousness as an object of clinging) as bhavanirodha (cessation of being) is cessation of pañc'upādānakkhandhā (5 aggregates as an object of clinging) (i.e. sakkāyanirodha), but it is extended to cover the final cessation of viññānakkhandha (and therefore of pañcakkhandhā) at the breaking up of the arahat's body.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby SamKR » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:13 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
What the heck does this mean? It is a variation of a bad translation. See:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4396#p66445


I am not a Pali expert, just a native speaker of another related language. But to me Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation is not incorrect.
The original words in Pali in Devanagari script is
‘‘अत्थि, भिक्खवे, अजातं अभूतं अकतं असङ्खतं। नो चेतं, भिक्खवे, अभविस्स अजातं अभूतं अकतं असङ्खतं, नयिध जातस्स भूतस्स कतस्स सङ्खतस्स निस्सरणं पञ्‍ञायेथ। यस्मा च खो, भिक्खवे, अत्थि अजातं अभूतं अकतं असङ्खतं, तस्मा जातस्स भूतस्स कतस्स सङ्खतस्स निस्सरणं पञ्‍ञायती’’ति।
Source: Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana (tipitaka.org)

The same in Roman script is
‘‘Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ. No cetaṃ, bhikkhave, abhavissa ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, nayidha jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyetha. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, tasmā jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyatī’’ti.
Source: Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana (tipitaka.org)
Tatiyanibbānapaṭisaṃyuttasuttaṃ, Pāṭaligāmiyavaggo, Udānapāḷi, Khuddakanikāya

So the following translation of Thanissaro Bhikkhu sounds more accurate to me:
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.
Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I would be happy to be corrected. Thanks.
:anjali:
SamKR
 
Posts: 758
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:19 pm

SamKR wrote:The same in Roman script is
‘‘Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ. No cetaṃ, bhikkhave, abhavissa ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, nayidha jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyetha. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, tasmā jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyatī’’ti.
Source: Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana (tipitaka.org)
Tatiyanibbānapaṭisaṃyuttasuttaṃ, Pāṭaligāmiyavaggo, Udānapāḷi, Khuddakanikāya

So the following translation of Thanissaro Bhikkhu sounds more accurate to me:
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.
Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I would be happy to be corrected. Thanks.
:anjali:
What does There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated mean? There is a reason why these "un" translations get pressed into service as a proof that there is a God notion in the suttas.

These words - ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ - are adjectives, not nouns, but everyone of these "un" translations treats them as nouns, which is very, very misaleading. "Atthi" - there is. The noun that follows this is implied. There is what?

The immediate context, the sutta opens:

Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying near Savatthi in the Jeta Wood at Anathapindika's monastery. On that occasion the Lord was instructing, rousing, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk connected with Nibbana, and those bhikkhus, being receptive and attentive and concentrating the whole mind, were intent on listening to Dhamma. Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance: There is, bhikkhus, ajaata....

What we see right off the top is that the subject is nibbana. There is what? Nibbana. The four adjective modify, describe nibbana. So in the forms we have them above or in variations these four words are used to describe or characterize nibbana or are synonyms of nibbana.

The most straightforward definition the Buddha gives of Nibbana is:

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

And we see:

That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is asankhata. -- S.N. IV 359 and S.N. 362

Clearly nibbana and asankhata are equivalent terms, synonyms. Nibbana is asankhata, “unconditioned,” because there is no further conditioning - sankhata - by hatred, greed and ignorance. The prefix "a" in asankhata is a cognate of the English (Latin/Greek) prefix a as in, for example, asexual, without sexual characteristics, free of sexual characteristics. (And before a vowel, just as in English the Pali/Sanskrit privative a becomes an as in anatta/anatama.)

The privative a in Sanskrit/Pali needs not be, as unfortunately it so often is, limited to being translated as "un," "not," or "non." Asankhata, unconditioned, can be translated as free from conditions (of hatred, greed, and ignorance), without conditions, or, conditionlessness.

One of things that is often said is that nibbana is "the Unborn." Let us look at that usage where ajaata and nibbana are clearly synonyms:

Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking the unborn [jaata.m], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won the unborn, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." -- from the PTS translation of the Majjhima Nikaya I 173

What is the "unborn?" What does it mean? Try this:

”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...."

Here there is a balance: being liable to birth and freedom from birth that actually tells us something useful and does not leave us with a mysterious - what the heck is it? - "unborn."

There is no philological reason that the four words in question must be translated as we generally see them translated: unborn, unconditioned, etc.

As was said above the line in Udana is a sentence without a noun but with a string of adjectives, which are essentially synonyms, or at least words with significant over lapping meanings that clearly define nibbana.

We might translate the "un" line so:

"There is [nibbana], free from birth, free from becoming, free from making, free from conditioning."

Translating ajaata.m etc, by "freedom from birth," etc. supplies the implied noun via the privative a as in asankhata.

We do not see in the Buddha's own commentary to this passage below (as found in the Itivuttaka, 37-8) any reference to a Nibbana that is some sort of "unborn" thing, but we do see that "being freed of this" is a state of ease -- the "the conditions appeased (sankharupasamo)," a variation of asankhata, nibbana -- is reached. If the Buddha had wanted to teach a deathless, unborn “it,” we would have seen a very different sort of expression of the Dhamma.

That which is born, become, arisen, made, conditioned,
And thus unstable, put together of decay and death,
The seat of disease, brittle,
Caused and craving food,
That is not fit to find pleasure in.

Being freed of this, calmed beyond conjecture, stable,
Freed from birth, freed from arising, freed from sorrow,
Freed from passions, the elements of suffering stopped,
The conditioning
[of greed, hatred and delusion]appeased,
This is ease
[bliss].
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: 19191
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: The Grasslands

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:23 pm

Kenshou wrote:Okay. Thank you for elaborating. It's good to know more about all the different approaches that're out there.

My only other question I suppose, and this may not have an answer other than "that's just how it happens", and maybe that is just how it works with vipassana (I would not know since don't do it), but I don't yet understand why the phala "experience" is necessary to break the fetters. Keyword being "necessary", since I can understand how such experiences could be powerful and useful. I guess this boils down to as has been gone over in the thread, that I am skeptical that "nibbanic experiences" require a lack of perception( or consciousness for some). Though I recognize that the thing exists, a la the animitto sutta. Perhaps vipassana just happens to usually lead to the "signless" liberation, for whatever reason. I'm also skeptical that such a thing needs to occur for each "path", but I guess this comes back to the question of why it is necessary for the elimination of fetters.

Forgive my incessant prodding. It's an interesting topic.


Hi Kenshou,
Here's one way of looking at it:
What do fetters bind us to? To Samsara.
What is samsara - phenomena which arise with the 6 sense bases
So it is fetters which give rise to phenomena at the 6 sense bases
When fetters are broken/severely weakened sense impressions stop arising momentarily due to power of a special type of samadhi (anantarika samadhi). This is the culmination point of saddha, viriya, sati, samadhi, panna.

When fetters are severely weakened by a non-returner (all of the lower 5 fetters) they can get into nirodhasamapatti just by pushing past the 8the jhana- a feat no one below can do. Again showing how fetters bind us to the arising of phenomena.

Here's another way of looking at it:
Why are things unsatisfactory/dukkha? Because they are impermanent ie arise and pass away
The cessation of unsatisfactoriness/dukkha is the cessation of arising and passing away. That is after the final passing away the process stops.
ie it is the ceasing of the entire paticcasamuppada, complete cessation of vinnana -nothing more is perceived. A (true) escape from the field of perception, from arising and passing away, (the cessation of dukkha as a characteristic, not just an emotion) is seen.
How can anyone have unshakeable confidence (Avecca-passada) in the buddha, dhamma without having seen the true end of dukkha? Especially when the Buddha said that every moment which arises is Dukkha, how can the cessation of dukkha be known otherwise? I feel anything less is just faith based. To see and understand the four noble truths in completion, to see the third noble truth, the truth of cessation (nirodha sacca) I think this must be perceived.

The Buddha also says that the arahanth still continues to perceive because the sense faculties are intact. He can shut them down by entering arahanth phala samapatti.

....but I might be wrong. Only the buddha can know for sure.

I think brains hurt when things get too theoretical. Keep it simple, but not stupid. :)

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:29 pm

rowyourboat wrote: What is samsara - phenomena [conditioned by greed, hatred, and delusion] which arise with the 6 sense bases.
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: 19191
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: The Grasslands

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Kenshou » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:07 pm

rowyourboat wrote:The cessation of unsatisfactoriness/dukkha is the cessation of arising and passing away.


I think this may be the primary underlying point of difference. If an individual has no clinging or aversion for, no investment in those impermanent unreliable things which arise and pass away, where is there a foothold for stress?

Though all conditioned things may be dukkha in that they are unsatisfactory, an unsatisfactory thing is not itself a source of suffering unless you're trying, foolishly, to squeeze satisfaction out of it. If you let it be and don't get involved with it, there won't be suffering, or so I think. You'll suffer if you pick up a burning log, but you don't need to make the log disappear, you just need to not touch it.

Coming to understand that "not picking up the log" is what is primarily needed to not suffer is enough knowledge for verified confidence in the dhamma, I think.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby SamKR » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:11 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:The same in Roman script is
‘‘Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ. No cetaṃ, bhikkhave, abhavissa ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, nayidha jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyetha. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, tasmā jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyatī’’ti.
Source: Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana (tipitaka.org)
Tatiyanibbānapaṭisaṃyuttasuttaṃ, Pāṭaligāmiyavaggo, Udānapāḷi, Khuddakanikāya

So the following translation of Thanissaro Bhikkhu sounds more accurate to me:
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.
Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I would be happy to be corrected. Thanks.
:anjali:
What does There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated mean? There is a reason why these "un" translations get pressed into service as a proof that there is a God notion in the suttas.

These words - ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ - are adjectives, not nouns, but everyone of these "un" translations treats them as nouns, which is very, very misaleading. "Atthi" - there is. The noun that follows this is implied. There is what?

The immediate context, the sutta opens:

Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying near Savatthi in the Jeta Wood at Anathapindika's monastery. On that occasion the Lord was instructing, rousing, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk connected with Nibbana, and those bhikkhus, being receptive and attentive and concentrating the whole mind, were intent on listening to Dhamma. Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance: There is, bhikkhus, ajaata....

What we see right off the top is that the subject is nibbana. There is what? Nibbana. The four adjective modify, describe nibbana. So in the forms we have them above or in variations these four words are used to describe or characterize nibbana or are synonyms of nibbana.

The most straightforward definition the Buddha gives of Nibbana is:

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

And we see:

That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is asankhata. -- S.N. IV 359 and S.N. 362

Clearly nibbana and asankhata are equivalent terms, synonyms. Nibbana is asankhata, “unconditioned,” because there is no further conditioning - sankhata - by hatred, greed and ignorance. The prefix "a" in asankhata is a cognate of the English (Latin/Greek) prefix a as in, for example, asexual, without sexual characteristics, free of sexual characteristics. (And before a vowel, just as in English the Pali/Sanskrit privative a becomes an as in anatta/anatama.)

The privative a in Sanskrit/Pali needs not be, as unfortunately it so often is, limited to being translated as "un," "not," or "non." Asankhata, unconditioned, can be translated as free from conditions (of hatred, greed, and ignorance), without conditions, or, conditionlessness.

One of things that is often said is that nibbana is "the Unborn." Let us look at that usage where ajaata and nibbana are clearly synonyms:

Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking the unborn [jaata.m], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won the unborn, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." -- from the PTS translation of the Majjhima Nikaya I 173

What is the "unborn?" What does it mean? Try this:

”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...."

Here there is a balance: being liable to birth and freedom from birth that actually tells us something useful and does not leave us with a mysterious - what the heck is it? - "unborn."

There is no philological reason that the four words in question must be translated as we generally see them translated: unborn, unconditioned, etc.

As was said above the line in Udana is a sentence without a noun but with a string of adjectives, which are essentially synonyms, or at least words with significant over lapping meanings that clearly define nibbana.

We might translate the "un" line so:

"There is [nibbana], free from birth, free from becoming, free from making, free from conditioning."

Translating ajaata.m etc, by "freedom from birth," etc. supplies the implied noun via the privative a as in asankhata.

We do not see in the Buddha's own commentary to this passage below (as found in the Itivuttaka, 37-8) any reference to a Nibbana that is some sort of "unborn" thing, but we do see that "being freed of this" is a state of ease -- the "the conditions appeased (sankharupasamo)," a variation of asankhata, nibbana -- is reached. If the Buddha had wanted to teach a deathless, unborn “it,” we would have seen a very different sort of expression of the Dhamma.

That which is born, become, arisen, made, conditioned,
And thus unstable, put together of decay and death,
The seat of disease, brittle,
Caused and craving food,
That is not fit to find pleasure in.

Being freed of this, calmed beyond conjecture, stable,
Freed from birth, freed from arising, freed from sorrow,
Freed from passions, the elements of suffering stopped,
The conditioning
[of greed, hatred and delusion]appeased,
This is ease
[bliss].


Thank you tilt for the clear and convincing explanation.
:twothumbsup:
SamKR
 
Posts: 758
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:25 pm

SamKR wrote: Thank you tilt for the clear and convincing explanation.
:twothumbsup:
You are, indeed, welcome.
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: 19191
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: The Grasslands

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 9 guests