Experience (of?) Nibbana

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Alex123 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:40 am

mikenz66 wrote:This poll: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 890#p82876

Raises some questions:

3. Does an arahant "experience" nibbana for a short time (like jhana etc) and then return to a more-or-less normal experience (this would be the Abhidhamma view), or does he/she "remain in nibbana"?
Mike


As I understand it, Arahant is always "in" nibbana with remainder until death where it becomes nibbana without remainder.

As for special state of samadhi with Nibbana it could be reached (samādhipaṭilābho - A V, 8) by an Arahant only (because Arahant Sariputta attained it only once, not 4 times which would correspond to 4 kinds of maggaphala).


"Once, friend Ananda, when I was staying right here in Savatthi in the Blind Man's Grove, I reached concentration in such a way that I was neither percipient of earth with regard to earth...nor of water with regard to water, nor of fire... wind... the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception... this world... nor of the next world with regard to the next world, and yet I was still percipient."

"But what, friend Sariputta, were you percipient of at that time?"

"'The cessation of becoming — Unbinding — the cessation of becoming — Unbinding': One perception arose in me, friend Ananda, as another perception ceased. Just as in a blazing woodchip fire, one flame arises as another flame ceases, even so, 'The cessation of becoming — Unbinding — the cessation of becoming — Unbinding': One perception arose in me as another one ceased. I was percipient at that time of 'The cessation of becoming — Unbinding.'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html




As for
1. Does a stream-enterer (and other ariya below arahant) "experience" nibbana, of just "glimpse" it?


As I understand it, the experience is of lesser quality than of an Arahant. It seems that one may skip full perception of nibbana until Arhatship (see AN10.7 with Ven. Sariputta, an Arahant, experiencing Nibbana fully only once).

Another note: Ven. Sariputta attained Arhatship (arahattaphala) near Rajagaha on Vulture's Peak Mountain, in the Boar's Cave.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

While his super samadhi percieving Nibbana was at:
"in Savatthi in the Blind Man's Grove" AN 10.7


This implies that even arahattaphala may be not a full experience of Nibbana as in
concentration in such a way that I was neither percipient of earth with regard to earth...nor of water with regard to water, nor of fire... wind... the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception... this world... nor of the next world with regard to the next world, and yet I was still percipient."


With metta,

Alex
Last edited by Alex123 on Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2840
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:44 am

Thanks for that useful quote Alex...

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Alex123 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:48 am

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks for that useful quote Alex...

Mike



Please check my edit.

It appears that full experience of Nibbana isn't even attained at arahattaphala even by Sariputta with 8 Jhanas (liberated both ways). I wonder what this means. Maybe maggaphala isn't instanteneous?


In any case it does appear that Arahant is in nibbana with remainder (being absence of all greed, anger, delusion, all taints) ALL time. As I understand it, " delusion of "Siddhartha" ceased (nibbinized) under the Bodhi tree, and what remainder was the tathagata (suchness).
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2840
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:53 am

mikenz66 wrote:Part of my "agenda" here is looking at which Abhidhamma/Commentary passages are easy to see from the Suttas, and which are not. Helpful for discussing things with some people...


No problem Mike. I wish I had the tiime and the material to add something substantial to the discussion as I've only just returned from the Valley for the weekend. I wish you the very best with the discussion, it is one that I will be reading with great interest.
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: 16049
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Kenshou » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:57 am

Mike-

About the AN 10.6 Samadhi Sutta, I was just thinking about this after my previous post. I could be wrong, but I believe that this sutta may be talking about the same thing as the Animitto sutta, or at least something pretty similar. That is, the withdrawal of attention and perception from all objects, what I believe is called the "signless liberation". Now, I do not know the pali underneath all this, but I would argue that there is significance in the use of the word "perception", that is, that consciousness aggregate is not necessarily suspended, though the perception aggregate is.

But on the other hand, since attention is not paying mind to any object at all, the state of consciousness might be irrelevant. I this might be the subtle difference between nirodha samapatti and this signless/non-percipient thing, in the former consciousness may be suspended but in the latter it is not, though no attention is given to it anyway. A fairly subtle difference.

Anyway this was a good thing to bring up. This is sufficiently close to being what you're talking about, despite a slight possible incongruency, that I can accept it as a method of reaching nibbana. Emphasis on the a though, one of several possibilities.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 2:38 am

HI Alex,
Alex123 wrote:As I understand it, Arahant is always "in" nibbana with remainder until death where it becomes nibbana without remainder.

As for special state of samadhi with Nibbana it could be reached (samādhipaṭilābho - A V, 8) by an Arahant only (because Arahant Sariputta attained it only once, not 4 times which would correspond to 4 kinds of maggaphala).

Perhaps it's a matter of terminology what is meant by "in nibbana". As I understand it, as in the books I've quoted, there is a special state of samadhi that occurs at each path that is not the normal state of an arahant. Whether the "normal" state of a walking, talking arahant is called "nibbana" is a matter of definition. Clearly it's different from a non-arahant.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Virgo » Sat Aug 14, 2010 2:55 am

Dear Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:1. Does a stream-enterer (and other ariya below arahant) "experience" nibbana, of just "glimpse" it?

It is experienced by the citta, accompanied by various cetasikas. Panna is the cetasika that does the job of understanding it, with help from the other cetasikas.

mikenz66 wrote:2. Is nibbana an object of consciousness (as in the Abhidhamma) or is it an absence of objects?

It is considered nama. It is a reality that is known. It is the reality that does not arise nor pass away. It is beyond the four elements and so on. It is unlike anything of the "world".

mikenz66 wrote:3. Does an arahant "experience" nibbana for a short time (like jhana etc) and then return to a more-or-less normal experience (this would be the Abhidhamma view), or does he/she "remain in nibbana"?

When nibbana is the object, nothing else can be the object. So an Arahant does not experience nibbana constantly; however, it is experienced during the moments of path and fruition attainments. At other times, cittas and cetasikas arise but the defilements are gone. I don't think any unwholesome cetasikas arise in an Arahant, but I would have to verify that with the texts to be sure.

After an Arahant dies, there is no more fuel for rebecoming. Therefore, nama never arises again because it has no base to arise at. That means the flame is extenguished completely. No subtle self or anything at all goes on experiencing nibbana after death. The flame is just put out. While still living, there are still conditions for nama to arise, so citta and cetasikas arise in the Arahant.

I hope this helps.

All the best,

Kevin
Virgo
 
Posts: 1209
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:24 am

Alex123 wrote:As I understand it, Arahant is always "in" nibbana with remainder until death where it becomes nibbana without remainder.
An arahant is not "in" nibbana. An arahant has become nibbanized, nibbuti. A useful essay is found here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... averb.html
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: 19309
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Vepacitta » Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:55 am

I just finished reading this thread and was about to also recommend Aj. Thanissaro's essay on "Nibbana as a Verb" (also samsara as a verb is discussed). Puts a new dimension on the whole thing and it just "feels" right. Yep - feel - and I stand by that - gotta go with your gut.

Ven. Bodhi also (in one or another of his commentaries as introduction - either to Majihima or Samyutta - sorry I just can't cite like you guys) - also talks about 'nibbanize' - but he didn't actually go so far as to use it in translation.

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura
User avatar
Vepacitta
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:58 pm
Location: Somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Meru

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:00 am

Well, yes, I that's why I have a verb in my thread title. I don't actually see how anyone could get quite so confused as to think of nibbana is a "place". Certainly noone I've read implies that.

What Ven Thanissaro is saying seems reasonably consistent with the other sources that I have been quoting.
Thanissaro wrote:However, these philosophers misunderstood two important points about the Buddha's teachings. The first was that neither samsara nor nirvana is a place. Samsara is a process of creating places, even whole worlds, (this is called becoming) and then wandering through them (this is called birth). Nirvana is the end of this process. You may be able to be in two places at once — or even develop a sense of self so infinite that you can occupy all places at once — but you can't feed a process and experience its end at the same time. You're either feeding samsara or you're not. If you feel the need to course freely through both samsara and nirvana, you're simply engaging in more samsara-ing and keeping yourself trapped.

The second point is that nirvana, from the very beginning, was realized through unestablished consciousness — one that doesn't come or go or stay in place. There's no way that anything unestablished can get stuck anywhere at all, for it's not only non-localized but also undefined.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:48 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:I don't actually see how anyone could get quite so confused as to think of nibbana is a "place". Certainly noone I've read implies that.

I've read the following...

Ud 9, Bāhiyasutta.
Yattha āpo ca paṭhavī,
tejo vāyo na gādhati,
na tattha sukkā jotanti,
ādicco nappakāsati,
na tattha candimā bhāti,
tamo tattha na vijjati.
Yadā ca attanāvedi,
muni monena brāhmaṇo,
atha rūpā arūpā ca,
sukhadukkhā pamuccati

Nanananda's Nibbana Sermons wrote:According to the commentary the verse is supposed to express
that there are no sun, moon or stars in that mysterious
place called anupādisesa Nibbānadhātu, which is incomprehensible
to worldlings. We may, however, point out that the
verbs used in the verse in this connection do not convey the
sense that the sun, the moon and the stars are simply non existent
there. They have something more to say.
For instance, with regard to the stars it is said that there the
stars do not shine, na tattha sukkā jotanti. If in truth and fact
stars are not there, some other verb like na dissanti, "are not
seen", or na vijjanti, "do not exist", could have been used.
With reference to the sun and the moon, also, similar verbs
could have been employed. But what we actually find here,
are verbs expressive of spreading light, shining, or appearing
beautiful: Na tattha sukkā jotanti, "there the stars do not shine";
ādicco nappakāsati, "the sun spreads not its lustre"; na tattha
candimā bhāti, "the moon does not appear resplendent there".
These are not mere prosaic statements. The verse in question
is a joyous utterance, Udānagāthā, of extraordinary depth.
There is nothing recondite about it.
In our earlier assessment of the commentarial interpretation
we happened to lay special stress on the words `even though'.
We are now going to explain the significance of that emphasis.
For the commentary, the line tamo tattha na vijjati, "no darkness
is to be found there", is a big riddle. The sun, the moon
and the stars are not there. Even though they are not there, presumably,
no darkness is to be found there.
However, when we consider the law of superseding, we
have already mentioned, we are compelled to give a totally
different interpretation. The sun, the moon and the stars
are not manifest, precisely because of the light of that nonmanifestative
consciousness. As it is lustrous on all sides, sabbato
pabha, there is no darkness there and luminaries like the
stars, the sun and the moon do not shine there.
This verse of uplift thus reveals a wealth of information relevant
to our topic. Not only the exhortation to Bāhiya, but this
verse also throws a flood of light on the subject of Nibbāna.
That extraordinary place, which the commentary often identifies
with the term anupādisesa Nibbānadhātu, is this mind of
ours. It is in order to indicate the luminosity of this mind that the
Buddha used those peculiar expressions in this verse of uplift.
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 sensebases
could also be referred to as the cessation of name-andform,
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 senseobjects,
which the worldling grasps as real and truly existing,
get penetrated through with wisdom and become non-manifest.
If we are to add something more to this interpretation of the
Bāhiyasutta by way of review, we may say that this discourse
illustrates the six qualities of the Dhamma, namely svākkhāto,
well proclaimed, sandiṭṭhiko, visible here and now, akāliko,
timeless, ehipassiko, inviting to come and see, opanayiko, leading
onward and paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhi, to be realized by
the wise each one by himself. These six qualities are wonderfully
exemplified by this discourse.


Dhp 92-93, Arahantavagga.
"Those who have no accumulations,
And understood fully the subject of food,
And whose feeding ground
Is the void and the signless,
Their track is hard to trace,
Like that of birds in the sky.
He whose influxes are extinct,
And is unattached to nutriment,
Whose range is the deliverance,
Of the void and the signless,
His path is hard to trace,
Like that of birds in the sky."

Nanananda - Nibbana Sermons wrote:The term gati, which we rendered by "track", has been differently
interpreted in the commentary. For the commentary
gati is the place where the arahant goes after death, his next
bourne, so to speak. (ref: Dhp-a II 172.)
But taken in conjunction with the simile
used, gati obviously means the "path", padaṃ, taken by the
birds in the sky. It is the path they take that cannot be traced,
not their destination.
Where the birds have gone could perhaps be traced, with
some difficulty. They may have gone to their nests. It is the
path they went by that is referred to as gati in this context. Just
as when birds fly through the sky they do not leave behind any
trace of a path, even so in this concentration of the arahant there
is no object or sign of any continuity.
The second verse gives almost the same idea. It is in singular
and speaks of an arahant whose influxes are extinct and
who is unattached to nutriment. Here, in the simile about the
birds in the sky, we find the word padaṃ, "path", used instead
of gati, which makes it clear enough that it is not the destiny of
the arahant that is spoken of.
The commentary, however, interprets both gati and padaṃ
as a reference to the arahant's destiny. There is a tacit assumption
of some mysterious anupādisesa Nibbānadhātu. But what
we have here is a metaphor of considerable depth. The reference
is to that unique samādhi.
The bird's flight through the air symbolizes the flight of the
mind. In the case of others, the path taken by the mind can be
traced through the object it takes, but not in this case. The key
word that highlights the metaphorical meaning of these verses

is gocaro. Gocara means "pasture". Now, in the case of cattle
roaming in their pasture one can trace them by their footsteps,
by the path trodden. What about the pasture of the arahants?
Of course, they too consume food to maintain their bodies,
but their true `pasture' is the arahattaphalasamādhi. As soon as
they get an opportunity, they take to this pasture. Once they are
well within this pasture, neither gods nor Brahmas nor Māra
can find them. That is why the path taken by the arahants in
the phalasamādhi cannot be traced, like the track of birds in the
sky.
We have yet to discuss the subject of sa-upādisesa and
anupādisesa Nibbānadhātu. But even at this point some clarity
of understanding might emerge. When the arahant passes
away, at the last moment of his life span, he brings his mind
to this arahattaphalasamādhi. Then not even Mara can trace
him. There is no possibility of a rebirth and that is the end of
all. It is this `extinction' that is referred to here.
This extinction is not something one gets in a world beyond.
It is a realization here and now, in this world. And the arahant,
by way of blissful dwelling here and now, enjoys in his every
day life the supreme bliss of Nibbāna that he had won through
the incomparable deliverances of the mind.


Ud 80, Paṭhamanibbānapaṭisaṃyuttasutta.
Atthi, bhikkhave, tad āyatanaṃ, yattha n'eva pathavī na
āpo na tejo na vāyo na ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ na viññāṇānañcāyatanaṃ
na ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ na nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṃ
na ayaṃ loko na paraloko na ubho candimasūriyā. Tatra
p'ahaṃ bhikkhave, n'eva āgatiṃ vadāmi na gatiṃ na ṭhitiṃ na
cutiṃ na upapattiṃ, appatiṭṭhaṃ appavattaṃ anārammaṇaṃ
eva taṃ. Es'ev'anto dukkhassā'ti

Nanananda - Nibbana Sermons wrote:Incidentally, this happens to be the most controversial passage
on Nibbāna. Scholars, both ancient and modern, have
put forward various interpretations of this much vexed passage.
Its riddle-like presentation has posed a challenge to many a
philosopher bent on determining what Nibbāna is.
This brief discourse comes in the Udāna as an inspired utterance
of the Buddha on the subject of Nibbāna, Nibbānapaṭisamyuttasutta.
To begin with, we shall try to give a somewhat
literal translation of the passage:
"Monks, there is that sphere, wherein there is neither earth,
nor water, nor fire, nor air; neither the sphere of infinite
space, nor the sphere of infinite consciousness, nor the sphere
of nothingness, nor the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-
perception; neither this world nor the world beyond, nor the sun
and the moon. There, monks, I say, is no coming, no going, no
staying, no passing away and no arising; it is not established,
it is not continuing, it has no object. This, itself, is the end of
suffering."
Instead of getting down to the commentarial interpretation
at the very outset, let us try to understand this discourse on the
lines of the interpretation we have so far developed. We have
already come across two references to Nibbāna as an āyatana
or a sphere. In the present context, too, the term āyatana is an
allusion to arahattaphalasamādhi. Its significance, therefore,
is psychological.
First of all we are told that earth, water, fire and air are not
there in that āyatana. This is understandable, since in a number
of discourses dealing with anidassana viññāṇa and arahattaphalasamādhi
we came across similar statements. It is said
that in anidassana viññāṇa, or non-manifestative consciousness,
earth, water, fire and air do not find a footing. Similarly,
when one is in arahattaphalasamādhi, one is said to be devoid
of the perception of earth in earth, for instance, because he does
not attend to it. So the peculiar negative formulation of the
above Udāna passage is suggestive of the fact that these elements
do not exercise any influence on the mind of one who is
in arahattaphalasamādhi.
The usual interpretation, however, is that it describes some
kind of a place or a world devoid of those elements. It is gener-
ally believed that the passage in question is a description of the
`sphere' into which the arahant passes away, that is, his after
death `state'. This facile explanation is often presented only as
a tacit assumption, for fear of being accused of heretical views.
But it must be pointed out that the allusion here is to a certain
level of experience of the living arahant, namely the realization,
here and now, of the cessation of existence, bhavanirodha.
The four elements have no part to play in that experience.
The sphere of infinite space, the sphere of infinite consciousness
etc. also do not come in, as we have already shown with
reference to a number of discourses. So it is free from both form
and formless.
The statement that there is neither this world nor a world
beyond could be understood in the light of the phrase, na idhaloke
idhalokasaññī, na paraloke paralokasaññī, "percipient
neither of a this world in this world, nor of a world beyond in a
world beyond" that came up in a passage discussed above.
The absence of the moon and the sun, na ubho candima
sūriyā, in this sphere, is taken as the strongest argument in
favour of concluding that Nibbāna is some kind of a place, a
place where there is no moon or sun.
But as we have explained in the course of our discussion of
the term anidassana viññāṇa, or non-manifestative consciousness,
with the cessation of the six sense-spheres, due to the
all lustrous nature of the mind, sun and moon lose their lustre,
though the senses are all intact. Their lustre is superseded
by the lustre of wisdom. They pale away and fade into insignificance
before it. It is in this sense that the moon and the sun are
said to be not there in that sphere.
Why there is no coming, no going, no staying, no passing
away and no arising, can be understood in the light of what
we have observed in earlier sermons on the question of relative
concepts. The verbal dichotomy characteristic of worldly concepts
is reflected in this reference to a coming and a going etc.
The arahant in arahattaphalasamādhi is free from the limitations
imposed by this verbal dichotomy.
The three terms appatiṭṭhaṃ, appavattaṃ and anārammaṇaṃ,
"not established", "not continuing" and "objectless",
are suggestive of the three doorways to deliverance. Appatiṭṭhaṃ
refers to appaṇihita vimokkha, "undirected deliverance",
which comes through the extirpation of craving. Appavattaṃ
stands for suññata vimokkha, the "void deliverance",
which is the negation of continuity. Anārammaṇaṃ is clearly
enough a reference to animitta vimokkha, the "signless deliverance".
Not to have an object is to be signless.
The concluding sentence "this itself is the end of suffering"
is therefore a clear indication that the end of suffering is reached
here and now. It does not mean that the arahant gets half of
Nibbāna here and the other half `there'.
Our line of interpretation leads to such a conclusion, but of
course, in case there are shortcomings in it, we could perhaps
improve on it by having recourse to the commentarial interpre-
tation.
Now as to the commentarial interpretation, this is how the
Udāna commentary explains the points we have discussed:591
It paraphrases the term āyatana by kāraṇa, observing that it
means reason in this context. Just as much as forms stand in
relation of an object to the eye, so the asaṅkhata dhātu, or the
"unprepared element", is said to be an object to the arahant's
mind, and here it is called āyatana.
Then the commentary raises the question, why earth, water,
fire and air are not there in that asaṅkhata dhātu. The four elements
are representative of things prepared, saṅkhata. There
cannot be any mingling or juxtaposition between the saṅkhata
and the asaṅkhata. That is why earth, water, fire and air are not
supposed to be there, in that āyatana.
The question why there are no formless states, like the
sphere of infinite space, the sphere of infinite consciousness,
the sphere of nothingness, the sphere of neither-perception-nornon-
perception, is similarly explained, while asserting that Nibbāna
is nevertheless formless.
Since in Nibbāna one has transcended the sensuous sphere,
kāmaloka, the concepts of a this world and a world beyond are
said to be irrelevant. As to why the sun and the moon are not
there, the commentary gives the following explanation:
In realms of form there is generally darkness, to dispel
which there must be a sun and a moon. But Nibbāna is not
591Ud-a 389.
a realm of form, so how could sun and moon come in?
Then what about the reference to a coming, a going, a staying,
a passing away and an arising? No one comes to Nibbāna
from anywhere and no one goes out from it, no one stays in it
or passes away or reappears in it.
Now all this is mystifying enough. But the commentary
goes on to interpret the three terms appatiṭṭhaṃ, appavattaṃ
and anārammaṇaṃ also in the same vein. Only that which has
form gets established and Nibbāna is formless, therefore it is
not established anywhere. Nibbāna does not continue, so it is
appavattaṃ, or non-continuing. Since Nibbāna takes no object,
it is objectless, anārammaṇaṃ. It is as good as saying that,
though one may take Nibbāna as an object, Nibbāna itself takes
no object.
So this is what the traditional interpretation amounts to. If
there are any shortcomings in our explanation, one is free to
go for the commentarial. But it is obvious that there is a lot of
confusion in this commentarial trend. Insufficient appreciation
of the deep concept of the cessation of existence seems to have
caused all this confusion.
More often than otherwise, commentarial interpretations of
Nibbāna leaves room for some subtle craving for existence,
bhavataṇhā. It gives a vague idea of a place or a sphere,
āyatana, which serves as a surrogate destination for the arahants
after their demise. Though not always explicitly asserted,
it is at least tacitly suggested. The description given above is
ample proof of this trend. It conjures up a place where there is
no sun and no moon, a place that is not a place. Such confounding
trends have crept in probably due to the very depth of this
Dhamma.


Well, you could read the entire Nibbana Sermons actually, as they're obviously related to the point of nibbana, but these are some extracts specifically with regards to the notion of nibbana as some kind of place that exists.

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: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:15 am

I too think anyone who wants to get a clearer impression of what Nibbana is will be helped greatly by reading the lecture series quoted by Retro above.

I would quote it but for some reason when I copy lines from my PDF I get gobbeldy goop. This has been frustrating me.

Oh well,

Take Care

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
User avatar
Prasadachitta
 
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:22 am

Thanks Retro,

Naturally, it agrees with the other quotes from Ven Nanananda regarding the first SN verse...

As I said, I don't see why anyone would be so confused as to consider it a place. That certainly not an impression I've got from reading any ancient or modern commentaries though some more or less logical or clear than others.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:29 am

mikenz66 wrote:
As I said, I don't see why anyone would be so confused as to consider it a place.
May be not a place, but a "thing."
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: 19309
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:38 am

tiltbillings wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
As I said, I don't see why anyone would be so confused as to consider it a place.
May be not a place, but a "thing."

Yes, that seems like a more likely confusion that would be difficult to actually get rid of...

Not that it's going to make much practical difference to me any time soon if I'm confused about nibbana, but it's interesting to read these various analyses.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Nyana » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:43 am

mikenz66 wrote:1. Does a stream-enterer (and other ariya below arahant) "experience" nibbana, of just "glimpse" it?
2. Is nibbana an object of consciousness (as in the Abhidhamma) or is it an absence of objects?
3. Does an arahant "experience" nibbana for a short time (like jhana etc) and then return to a more-or-less normal experience (this would be the Abhidhamma view), or does he/she "remain in nibbana"?

Hi Mike & all,

Nettippakaraṇa 4.42, which is the first of nine examples of “the mode of conveying ways of entry to the truths,” explains guidelines for how to comment upon the fruition attainments. A careful reading provides us with at least a conceptual map of the four fruition attainments, and some appropriate designations to use to describe them. First, the Netti cites the verse from Ud 7.1 Paṭhamalakuṇḍakabhaddiya Sutta, and then explains how this verse pertains to a non-learners liberation (asekhāvimutti), i.e. the arahant's fruition attainment, and then a learner’s liberation (sekhāvimutti), i.e. the first three fruition attainments, but specifically in terms of the fruition of stream entry:

    Above, below, everywhere released,
    He does not see that “I am this.”
    Thus liberated, he crosses the flood
    Not crossed before, for no further renewal of existence.



    [Non-learner’s liberation: Asekhāvimutti]

    Above is the form element and the formless element. Below is the sensual desire element. Everywhere released is the non-learner’s liberation (asekhāvimutti) from the triple element [of existence]. That itself is the non-learner’s five faculties (pañcindriyāni: i.e. faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment). This is the way of entry by faculties.

    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, the cessation of volitional fabrications; with the cessation of volitional fabrications, the cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of consciousness, the cessation of name-and-form; with the cessation of name-and-form; the cessation of the six sense spheres; with cessation of the six sense spheres, the cessation of contact; with the cessation of contact, the cessation of feeling; with the cessation of feeling, the cessation of craving; with the cessation of craving, the cessation of grasping; with the cessation of grasping, the cessation of becoming; with the cessation of becoming, the 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.

    Those same non-learner’s five faculties are comprised within the three aggregates, namely the aggregate of ethical conduct (sīlakkhandha), the aggregate of concentration (samādhikkhandha), and the aggregate of discernment (paññākkhandha). This is the way of entry by aggregates.

    Those same non-learner’s five faculties are included in fabrications. These fabrications, [which in this case are] free from mental outflows (āsavā) and are not factors of existence, are comprised within the dhamma element (dhammadhātu). This is the way of entry by elements.

    That dhamma element is included in the dhamma sphere (dhammāyatana), which [in this case] is free from mental outflows and not a factor of existence. This is the way of entry by spheres.


    [Learner’s liberation: Sekhāvimutti]

    He does not see that “I am this.” This is the eradication of identity-view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi). That is the learner’s liberation (sekhāvimutti). That itself is the learner's five faculties. This is the way of entry by faculties.

    Those same learner's five faculties are knowledge (vijjā). With the arising of knowledge [there is] the cessation of ignorance; with the cessation of ignorance, the cessation of volitional fabrications; thus the whole of dependent arising. This is the way of entry by the aspects of dependent arising.

    That same knowledge is the discernment aggregate (paññākkhandha). This is the way of entry by aggregates.

    That same knowledge is included in fabrications. These fabrications, [which in this case are] free from mental outflows and are not factors of existence, are comprised within the dhamma element (dhammadhātu). This is the way of entry by elements.

    That dhamma element is included in the dhamma sphere (dhammāyatana), which [in this case] is free from mental outflows and not a factor of existence. This is the way of entry by spheres.

    It is one liberated by means of the learner’s liberation and the non-learner’s liberation (sekkhāya ca vimuttiyā asekkhāya ca vimuttiyā) who crosses the flood not crossed before, for no further renewal of existence.

Also, in Nibbāna Sermon 15 Ven. Ñāṇananda states:

    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.

And from his Concept and Reality (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.

All the best,

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

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby bodom » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:44 am

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/

If you write to you Abhayagiri they will send you a free copy.

:anjali:
Last edited by bodom on Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4600
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:57 am

mikenz66 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
As I said, I don't see why anyone would be so confused as to consider it a place.
May be not a place, but a "thing."

Yes, that seems like a more likely confusion that would be difficult to actually get rid of...

Not that it's going to make much practical difference to me any time soon if I'm confused about nibbana, but it's interesting to read these various analyses.

Mike
I just cannot find any justification for characterizing nibbana as something other than the individual who is awake, freed from greed, hatred, and delusion.
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: 19309
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Experience (of?) Nibbana

Postby Will » Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:02 pm

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/

If you write to you Abhayagiri they will send you a free copy.

:anjali:


Maybe they are out of copies, they say sorry cannot respond now. But there is an online PDF copy of the 400pp book.
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 Alex123 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:As I understand it, Arahant is always "in" nibbana with remainder until death where it becomes nibbana without remainder.
An arahant is not "in" nibbana. An arahant has become nibbanized, nibbuti. A useful essay is found here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... averb.html


That is why I've put "in" with quotation marks. It is figurative. Of course nibbana is not a place. It is cessation which isn't something or somewhere. An extinguished flame doesn't exist and there is no place where it "goes". It is simply out. So alive Arahant doesn't experience akusala states or mental dukkha, there is no experience of "I" or "I have attained nibbana". Just a bare and wise process remains living its last "life" until nibbana without remainder.

With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2840
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests