the great Nibbana = annihilation, eternal, or something else thread

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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DAWN
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby DAWN » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:29 am

With pleasure :anjali:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

Scott1989
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Scott1989 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:38 pm

The Buddha would probably say that none of this is relevant. Trying to describe your true nature is identifying with an object (you feel that you are the one describing the thing that cannot be described instead of being the 'thing' that cannot be described) and stands in the way of liberation.

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DAWN
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby DAWN » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:50 pm

It's true..
If we wanna talk about The Dhamma, we shuld stay silent
So we can talk just about The Path

Anyway, we know that every living being seek for 3 things :
- Liberty (peoples want to be rich, and powerfull to have and do every that they want)
- Stability/Savety (peoples want to have good friends, good family, good job, to fill him self in security)
- Peace (peoples don't want to be disturbed, they want some calm, to be in peace)

and the same seeking for the animals, and I am sure for the rest of living creatures to.

The problem is that all this qualities are seeked in phenomenal world, that havn't Liberty, havn't Stability and havn't Peace.

Every living being are seeking for Nibbana,
inconciuosly they are all buddhists,
but who dont met The Dhamma

So I would like just to say that anyway we will stay on the Path, but one day, when we will wake up under a tree, where we spend our night, we must to be awere to be able to understand if before to go sleep we went from left to the right, or from right to the left, and to understand that we must be awere about the leaf of the tree, to be concentrate on dhammas, for understand where the wind lead us, where he lead everybody... But in this world, in society, we have a lot of turbulances that can deceive us, so a wise one go forth, out of the zone of turbulance, now he can take his Path, now he can direct his boath on the beach, without worring about a storm, without worring to break his mast of believe, the wise one will reach the ground in this very life.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

PeterHarvey
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby PeterHarvey » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:14 pm

Sylvester wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
suttametta wrote:Malcolm turned me on to Peter Harvey's "The Selfless Mind." It is an excellent treatment of just these issues.


I'm not familiar with that work, but by sheer coincidence I just happened to run across Bhikkhu Bodhi's reference to it, in note 314 to SN 4.23.

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:When the monk is said to attain final Nibbana with consciousness unestablished, this should not be understood to mean that after death consciousness survives in an "unestablished" condition (a thesis argued by Harvey, The Selfless Mind, pp. 208-210); for enough texts make it plain that with the passing away of the arahant consciousness too ceases and no longer exists (see, e.g., 12:51).


SN 12.51 wrote:"When there is utterly no consciousness, with the cessation of consciousness, would name-and-form be discerned?"
"No, venerable sir."


That's a very good observation. I'm happy to report (from hearsay of course) that Prof Harvey has since changed his mind considerably on the subject. I heard from my teacher that Prof Harvey is hoping to rework some of his earlier works, which he admits had been influenced too much by Ven T's "not-self" strategy.

:anjali:


This is news to me :-)
Peter Harvey

Sylvester
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:19 am

Dear Prof Harvey

Pls accept my apologies for any distress that my misreporting may have caused you.

:anjali:

xabir
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby xabir » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:53 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:Again, we can go into these issues if you like.

I've already pointed out to you where you are mistaken on a number of issues. Malcolm has patiently done so with regard to many issues. Yet you persist with your wild interpretations of the Budhadhamma.

suttametta wrote:Whereas, the Pali teachings about sati are uniquely different as to methodology, although not as different as one might think as to result, given the Buddha's statements about nibbana being an eternal radiant consciousness.

Given your penchant for reading Vedic views into the dhamma there's probably very little point in trying to clarify this issue. But here are a couple of contemporary Theravāda authors who refute your ideas about consciousness and nibbāna:

Nibbana is not Viññāṇa. Really, it just isn’t by Ven Sujato.

The Mind Stilled: 33 Sermons on Nibbāna by Ven. Ñāṇananda.

suttametta wrote:You are impugning my knowledge.

I reject your interpretation and understanding of the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna. It's really that simple.
Hi Geoff,

As I have learnt, there are a few interpretations of viññāṇāṁ anidassanaṁ. Some people interprete this in terms of eternalism - not unlike the Hindus that posit an unchanging consciousness which is the basis of their moksha/liberation.

Apart from this, I have heard of two interpretations which I think does not fall into eternalism but which I think is vastly different.

1) Ven. Nanananda interpretes viññāṇāṁ anidassanaṁ as the consciousness of an arahant, which is not established in terms of a self in name and form, so it is also considered the cessation of 'manifest' consciousness/name and form, but there is a non-manifestive or non-established consciousness that does not 'reflect' name and form, which is the consciousness of an arahant.

2) Ven. Sujato interpetes viññāṇāṁ anidassanaṁ as merely the attainment of formless jhanas (plane of infinite consciousness?), but often misread by a wrong syntax and thereby confused with nirvana which is the 'the cessation of consciousness' which is actually something altogether different from viññāṇāṁ anidassanaṁ. This interpretation would also bring into question: obviously, the arahant is conscious at some level, otherwise an arahant would become inert and insentient like a piece of wood after liberation. Or is Ven. Sujato implying an afterlife parinibbana as being devoid of consciousness?


What is your thoughts on this? What do you think is the correct interpretation? I think that if 1) is correct, then 2) can't be correct, and vice versa. Their explanations seem to be contradictory. Too bad I don't know Pali so can't make judgment on their interpretations. But I personally think Ven. Nanananda might be right.


Update: from the latest comment, Ven. Sujato indeed confirms that 'When the Buddha (or arahant) passes away, this is “an-upadisesa parinibbana”: the five aggregates end, including all vinnana, and there is no suffering.'

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:35 am

xabir wrote:What is your thoughts on this? What do you think is the correct interpretation? I think that if 1) is correct, then 2) can't be correct, and vice versa. Their explanations seem to be contradictory. Too bad I don't know Pali so can't make judgment on their interpretations. But I personally think Ven. Nanananda might be right.

I think there's no need to place too much emphasis on a phrase that only occurs twice in the entire Suttapiṭaka. According to the commentaries this phrase refers to a consciousness of nibbāna.

Ven. Ñāṇananda has probably explored this phrase in more detail than most, and I generally agree with his analysis. However, he misinterprets at least one of the two commentarial explanations and sets up a bit of a straw man argument against the commentary. Recourse to the sub-commentary would have prevented this misinterpretation.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby mogg » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:57 am

The title of this thread is entirely incorrect.

Ven. Nyantiloka's rendition of MN 109 (inc. notes):

And what, in brief, are the Five Groups of Existence? They are
corporeality, feeling, perception, (mental) formations, and
consciousness.
All corporeal phenomena, whether past, present or future, M. 109
one’s own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near,
all belong to the Group of Corporeality; all feelings belong to
the Group of Feeling; all perceptions belong to the Group of
Perception; all mental formations belong to the Group of Formations;
all consciousness belongs to the Group of
Consciousness.

(These Groups are a fivefold classification in which the Buddha
has summed up all the physical and mental phenomena of existence,
and in particular, those which appear to the ignorant man
as his ego or personality. Hence birth, decay, death, etc. are also
included in these five Groups which actually comprise the whole
world.
)

There is no consciousness that is exempt from the tilakkhana. This nibbana = 'universal consciousness' idea is wrong view.

MN 38: Hence I say: the arising of consciousness is dependent upon
conditions; and without these conditions, no consciousness
arises.


I also recommend reading SN 23.94. Categorical on this issue.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:25 pm

mogg wrote:The title of this thread is entirely incorrect.

This thread was split off from another discussion and titled by a moderator.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:38 pm

It looks like it's been a very interesting discussion, but at this point it would be bewildering to try and trace the argument back to its source. Wondering if someone could quickly clarify:

-- is it that some Mahayana schools posit a "permanent vinnana lighting the cosmos" aka universal consciousness, and Theravada doesn't teach such a thing/

-- Is it that no Buddhist school teaches such a thing, but some variants of Mahayana present nirvana in "positive" terms which seem to suggest it?

-- is it that Thanissario Bhikkhu seems at times to suggest such a concept?

-- None of the above/something else?

Just to make an uninformed layman's observation, what I see is that Mahayana sutras such as the Avatamsaka do seem to present Buddhahood as a sort of abiding transcendent consciousness -- but I've been advised that this is illusory and only appears that way from the standpoint of beings in samsara.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:44 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:It looks like it's been a very interesting discussion, but at this point it would be bewildering to try and trace the argument back to its source. Wondering if someone could quickly clarify:

-- is it that some Mahayana schools posit a "permanent vinnana lighting the cosmos" aka universal consciousness, and Theravada doesn't teach such a thing/

-- Is it that no Buddhist school teaches such a thing, but some variants of Mahayana present nirvana in "positive" terms which seem to suggest it?

-- is it that Thanissario Bhikkhu seems at times to suggest such a concept?

-- None of the above/something else?

Just to make an uninformed layman's observation, what I see is that Mahayana sutras such as the Avatamsaka do seem to present Buddhahood as a sort of abiding transcendent consciousness -- but I've been advised that this is illusory and only appears that way from the standpoint of beings in samsara.

Often the source of eternalist views entering into discussions of the Buddhadhamma in contemporary discourse is some sort of contact with notions of a perennial philosophy. As for Buddhist traditions, the Indian commentarial sources generally maintain that all consciousnesses are impermanent and there is no such thing as an eternal, universal consciousness. As for the different Buddhist commentarial traditions take on nibbāna, see here.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby mogg » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:01 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
mogg wrote:The title of this thread is entirely incorrect.

This thread was split off from another discussion and titled by a moderator.

It's positing the question "Is Nibbana the same as universal consciousness?" right? To which I am saying no, the premise implied by the title is incorrect. Nibbana is not the same as universal consciousness (as taught in the suttas).

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:53 am

mogg wrote:Nibbana is not the same as universal consciousness (as taught in the suttas).

No, it isn't. Which is what I've said throughout.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:11 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:It looks like it's been a very interesting discussion, but at this point it would be bewildering to try and trace the argument back to its source. Wondering if someone could quickly clarify:

-- is it that some Mahayana schools posit a "permanent vinnana lighting the cosmos" aka universal consciousness, and Theravada doesn't teach such a thing/

-- Is it that no Buddhist school teaches such a thing, but some variants of Mahayana present nirvana in "positive" terms which seem to suggest it?

-- is it that Thanissario Bhikkhu seems at times to suggest such a concept?

-- None of the above/something else?

Just to make an uninformed layman's observation, what I see is that Mahayana sutras such as the Avatamsaka do seem to present Buddhahood as a sort of abiding transcendent consciousness -- but I've been advised that this is illusory and only appears that way from the standpoint of beings in samsara.

Often the source of eternalist views entering into discussions of the Buddhadhamma in contemporary discourse is some sort of contact with notions of a perennial philosophy. As for Buddhist traditions, the Indian commentarial sources generally maintain that all consciousnesses are impermanent and there is no such thing as an eternal, universal consciousness. As for the different Buddhist commentarial traditions take on nibbāna, see here.


Any interesting relevant takes on Nirvana Sutra in this context?
_/|\_

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby mogg » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:20 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
mogg wrote:Nibbana is not the same as universal consciousness (as taught in the suttas).

No, it isn't. Which is what I've said throughout.

I wouldn't expect anything less Geoff. Your website is excellent btw.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:34 pm

Dan74 wrote:Any interesting relevant takes on Nirvana Sutra in this context?

Bhāviveka's Tarkajvālā addresses the notions of permanence, etc., contained in the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra:

    [T]he claim that Tathāgata is eternal (nitya) means that the Tathāgata's understanding (abhisamaya) is eternal, and that the Tathāgata is identical to this understanding. It does not mean, however, that [the Tathāgata] does not change. Someone who wants to understand [this point] in more detail, should consult the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. The word "eternal" can refer to something that functions as a continuum (santāna) but is dissolved at every moment, like a river that constantly flows or a fire that constantly burns. Thus [the teaching that the Buddha is eternal] does not contradict the statement that all conditioned states are impermanent (anitya).

And the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra is clear that the tathāgatagarbha is taught with the intention of bringing onto the path followers of ātmavāda philosophies who hold views of a self. Therefore, it's a provisional, not definitive, teaching:

    O Mahāmati, the tathāgatas thus teach the garbha in so far as they teach the tathāgatagarbha in order to attract those who are attached to the heterodox ātmavāda. How can people whose minds fall into the conceptual theory bearing on an unreal self (abhūtātmavikalpa) attain quickly the complete awakening in the supreme and exact sambodhi, possessing a mind comprised in the domain of the three gateways of emancipation? O Mahāmati, it is because of this that the tathāgatas teach the tathāgatagarbha. O Mahāmati, with a view to casting aside the heterodox theory, you must treat the tathāgatagarbha as not self.

There's no need to take the tathāgatagarbha teachings literally. After all, the term "tathāgatagarbha " is itself a metaphorical figure of speech.

Lazy_eye wrote:Just to make an uninformed layman's observation, what I see is that Mahayana sutras such as the Avatamsaka do seem to present Buddhahood as a sort of abiding transcendent consciousness -- but I've been advised that this is illusory and only appears that way from the standpoint of beings in samsara.

Bhāviveka's Tarkajvālā:

    To say that there is "pervasion by [the essence of] the Tathāgata" means that [the Tathāgata's] knowledge encompasses all objects of cognition, not that he is omnipresent like Viṣṇu.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:12 pm

    O Mahāmati, the tathāgatas thus teach the garbha in so far as they teach the tathāgatagarbha in order to attract those who are attached to the heterodox ātmavāda. How can people whose minds fall into the conceptual theory bearing on an unreal self (abhūtātmavikalpa) attain quickly the complete awakening in the supreme and exact sambodhi, possessing a mind comprised in the domain of the three gateways of emancipation? O Mahāmati, it is because of this that the tathāgatas teach the tathāgatagarbha. O Mahāmati, with a view to casting aside the heterodox theory, you must treat the tathāgatagarbha as not self.



Have read somewhere that this was explicitly a response to Hindu ascendancy during the Gupta Dynasty -- not so much an actual incorporation of Hindu belief, but rather an attempt to frame Buddhist teachings in Hindu-friendly terms. I.e. an Upaya.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby alan » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:53 pm

"Universal consciousness" is a western idea. We like the way it feels. But it has nothing to do with Buddhism!

Maybe the problem is books that attempt to bridge the gap and explain Buddhist or other ideas to the general public. They often pick words and concepts familiar to the reader. Unfortunately, this over-simplification is often taken as the absolute truth by those not thoughtful enough to enquire further.

Multiply that by a million books, and we have a lot of people with good intentions but poor understanding.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby EmptyShadow » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:22 am

The second level of unbinding, symbolized by a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold, is what the arahant experiences after this life. All input from the senses cools away and he/she is totally freed from even the subtlest stresses and limitations of existence in space and time.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bbana.html
So an arahat can experience the freedom of the cessation of nama/rupa after parinibbana? How he can experience anything without conciousnes?

Also in the suttas it's said that nibanna is pleasent yet it's not felt.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Also the state of nirodha-samapatti according to definition is the temporary suspension of all consciousness and mental activity.
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_ ... apatti.htm

Then if there is no feeling, perception or consciousness then how a state of cessation is experienced as pleasent and why for example when we lose consciousness and after regaining it we can't say that it was pleasent or unpleasent or something else.
Is the expirience of cessation known with the ordinary consciousness after we leave such state or is it expirienced with some other way?

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby BlackBird » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:28 am

I have an inkling that any response a Theravadin might make to concepts of Mahayanist eternalism would be thwarted in their minds with the catch all concept they have of emptiness. 'You can say whatever you like, but that's still a relative truth and is ultimately empty, as is everything. :sage: '

But I only have my own experience of days sitting in my kuti talking to a former Vajrayana monk in Sri Lanka to go on, and he was some what of an eccentric, so I have no clue whether he respresents the general point of view.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta


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