What is "the deathless"?

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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:41 pm

Greetings,

chownah wrote:All things that are born will die. When birth is abandoned the deathless arises.......I guess.....don't know for sure....

The deathless does not arise.

The deathless pertains to the absence of death/dissolution in that which does not arise/be born.

Hence, it is synonymous with nibbana.

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


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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:The deathless pertains to the absence of death/dissolution in that which does not arise/be born.
Hence, it is synonymous with nibbana.


Though with that description it could also be synonymous with pari-nibbbana?
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Aloka » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:23 am

In "The Island - An anthology of the Buddha's teachings of Nibbana " by Ajahn Passano and Ajahn Amaro, it says on p.293 :
"...seeing of the Deathless....is an essential aspect to the sotapatti experience. Insight into the nature of the goal gives one the confidence and clarity to practice correctly as one's vision is now unclouded "

link to e-book:

http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewAuthor.php?id=6

.
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:09 am

Greetings Porpoise,

porpoise wrote:Though with that description it could also be synonymous with pari-nibbbana?

I would say so. I've forgotten exactly where it's said (whether in sutta or commentary), but pari-nibbana is synonymous with nibbana. If nibbana is unconditioned, how could pari-nibbana be otherwise?

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


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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby equilibrium » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:46 am

m0rl0ck wrote:.....

The two crucial aspects of the Buddha's Awakening are the what and the how: what he awakened to and how he did it. His awakening is special in that the two aspects come together. He awakened to the fact that there is an undying happiness, and that it can be attained through human effort. The human effort involved in this process ultimately focuses on the question of understanding the nature of human effort itself.....what its powers and limitations are, and what kind of right effort (i.e., the Noble Path) can take one beyond its limitations and bring one to the threshold of the Deathless.

.....it made him realize the futility of the round of rebirth — that even the best efforts aimed at winning pleasure and fulfillment within the round could have only temporary effects. On the other hand, his realization of the importance of the mind in determining the round is what led him to focus directly on his own mind in the present to see how the processes in the mind that kept the round going could be disbanded. This was how he gained insight into the four noble truths and dependent co-arising — seeing how the aggregates that made up his "person" were also the impelling factors in the round of experience and the world at large, and how the whole show could be brought to cessation. With its cessation, there remained the experience of the unconditioned, which he also termed nibbana (Unbinding), consciousness without surface or feature, the Deathless.

.....All cultures are tied up in the limited, conditioned side of things, while the Buddha's Awakening points beyond all cultures. It offers the challenge of the Deathless that his contemporaries found liberating and that we, if we are willing to accept the challenge, may find liberating ourselves.
(source: The meaning of the Buddha's awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)


Thus partial Awakening occurs when one feels passion and delight for the deathless as a dhamma; full Awakening, when that passion and delight are fully abandoned. Thus the teaching that all dhammas are not-self applies directly to this stage of the path, to remind the meditator that he or she should not regard the deathless with any form of passion or clinging at all. Once there is no passion for the deathless as a dhamma, full Awakening can occur.

As we will see in a passage below, the Buddha states that the meditator attains full Awakening by seeing the limits of all things conditioned, by seeing what lies beyond them, and clinging to neither.

.....while the Buddha describes it as a removing or doing away of all dhammas — and thus it goes beyond "all dhammas" and any possible statement that could be made about them. Once the meditator has done this, no words — being, not-being, self, not-self — can apply.
(source: The not-self strategy by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)


The actual and final refuge, embedded within the Dhamma as refuge, is Nibbana, "the deathless element free from clinging, the sorrowless state that is void of stain" (Itiv. 51). The Dhamma as refuge comprises the final goal, the path that leads to that goal, and the body of teachings that explain the practice of the path. The Buddha as refuge has no capacity to grant us liberation by an act of will. He proclaims the path to be travelled and the principles to be understood. The actual work of walking the path is then left to us, his disciples.

The proper response to the Buddha as refuge is trust and confidence. Trust is required because the doctrine taught by the Buddha runs counter to our innate understanding of ourselves and our natural orientation toward the world. To accept this teaching thus tends to arouse an inner resistance, even to provoke a rebellion against the changes it requires us to make in the way we lead our lives......we are prepared to recognize that our inherent tendencies to self-affirmation and grasping are in truth the cause of our suffering. And we are ready to accept his counsel that to become free from suffering, these tendencies must be controlled and eliminated.
(source: Refuge in the Buddha by Bhikkhu Bodhi)


The last two verses in this series introduce the end toward which this training points, which is also the goal toward which our lives should be steered: "Better than to live a hundred years without seeing the Deathless is it to live a single day seeing the Deathless. Better than to live a hundred years without seeing the Supreme Truth is it to live a single day seeing the Supreme Truth." If human progress is not to be reduced to a mere pageant of technological stunts aimed at pushing back our natural limits, we require some polestar toward which to steer our lives, something which enables us to transcend the boundaries of both life and death. For Buddhism that is Nibbana, the Deathless, the Supreme Truth, the state beyond all limiting conditions. Without this transcendent element we might explore the distant galaxies and play cards with the genetic code, but our lives will remain vain and hollow. Fullness of meaning can come only from the source of meaning, from that which is transcendent and unconditioned. To strive for this goal is to find a depth of value and a peak of excellence that can never be equaled by brazen technological audacity. To realize this goal is to reach the end of suffering: to find deathlessness here and now, even in the midst of this imperfect world still subject, as always, to old age, illness, and death.
(source: Better than a hundred years by Bhikkhu Bodhi)


our minds bear testimony in the ongoing contest between the wholesome mental factors and the unwholesome ones, between the upward urge for purification and the downward pull of the defilements. That this duality is not trivial is seen by the consequences: the one leads to Nibbana, the state of deliverance, the Deathless, while the other leads back into the round of repeated birth, samsara, which is also the realm of Mara, the Lord of Death.

To practice heedfulness is to take full account of these dualities with their profound implications. The heedful person does not aim at a choiceless awareness open to existence in its totality, for to open oneself thus is to risk making oneself vulnerable to just those elements in oneself that keep one bound to the realm of Mara. The awareness developed through heedfulness is built upon a choice — a well-considered choice to abandon those qualities one understands to be detrimental and to develop in their place those qualities one understands to be beneficial, the states that lead to purity and peace.

Both in our outer involvements in the world and in the mind's internal procession of thought, imagination and emotion, there continually spreads before us a forked road. One branch of this fork beckons with the promise of pleasure and satisfaction but in the end leads to pain and bondage; the other, steep and difficult to climb, leads upward to enlightenment and liberation. To discard discrimination and judgement for an easy-going openness to the world is to blur the important distinction between these two quite different paths. To be heedful is to be aware of the dichotomy, and to strive to avoid the one and pursue the other. As the Buddha reminds us, heedfulness is the path to the Deathless, heedlessness is the path of Death.
(source: A note on openness by Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:17 pm

Some from the Theravada perspective might have some issues with Ajahn Lee equating "the mind" (at the final level of purification) with the deathless. Whereas some from the Mahayana perspective might find themselves in enthusiastic agreement. The important thing in my view is to retain a hearty sense of sincerity and caution about doggedly hanging on to views that might block our own progress or mislead others. For all but arahants have to admit - we ain't there yet. So we're certainly in a dodgy position to say much about that for certain.
The tasks of virtue, concentration, and discernment are completed, the
teachings of the Lord Buddha fulfilled. There is no longer any attachment to the
paths or their fruitions, nor is there any attachment to the Unconditioned. All
that remains is what is there on its own: disbanding. That is to say, mental states
involved with the five aggregates have disbanded; mental states involved with
virtue, concentration, and discernment have disbanded—because when virtue,
concentration, and discernment converge on the level of physical and mental
phenomena the first time, the first noble attainment is reached; the second time,
the second attainment is reached; the third time, the third; and the fourth time,
the fourth. When the qualities of virtue, concentration, and discernment are
brought together in fully mature form, the mind is released from physical and
mental phenomena through the power of discernment, in line with the teaching,
paññāya paribhāvitam cittam
sammadeva āsavehi vimuccati:
“When the mind has been matured through discernment, it gains complete
release from all mental effluents.” The mind is able to let go of physical and
mental phenomena. Physical and mental phenomena are not the mind; the mind
isn’t physical and mental phenomena. The mind isn’t virtue, concentration, and
discernment.
sabbe dhammā anattā:
The mind doesn’t identify any quality as itself, or itself as any of these
qualities. It simply is—deathlessness. This is called disbanding because passion,
aversion, and delusion have disbanded completely. There is no more becoming
for the mind, no more birth, no more involvement with the elements,
aggregates, and sense media, and—unlike ordinary run-of-the-mill people—no
longer any intoxication with any of these things.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/craft.pdf
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby mogg » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:25 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

chownah wrote:All things that are born will die. When birth is abandoned the deathless arises.......I guess.....don't know for sure....

The deathless does not arise.

The deathless pertains to the absence of death/dissolution in that which does not arise/be born.

Hence, it is synonymous with nibbana.

Metta,
Retro. :)

:goodpost:
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby daverupa » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:54 pm

retrofuturist wrote:I've forgotten exactly where it's said (whether in sutta or commentary), but pari-nibbana is synonymous with nibbana.


I thought parinibbana was the verb describing the attainment of nibbana; "nibbanization". Coming to mean "final aggregate breakup" is a development from this.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:38 am

daverupa wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:I've forgotten exactly where it's said (whether in sutta or commentary), but pari-nibbana is synonymous with nibbana.


I thought parinibbana was the verb describing the attainment of nibbana; "nibbanization". Coming to mean "final aggregate breakup" is a development from this.


I understand pari-nibbana to mean "complete" nibbana, which corresponds to the death of an Arahant. For example, see DN16 3.63:

"63. Then the Blessed One said to the bhikkhus: "So, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness. The time of the Tathagata's Parinibbana is near. Three months hence the Tathagata will utterly pass away."
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby chownah » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:22 pm

I just saw in another thread that all beings are born of their actions....so....to the extent that the deathless is facilitated by non-birth then it should be understood that we are born of our actions.....and that the Buddha taught that as we intend so do we act.... And also he taught that kamma is intention.........so, I guess that absence of intention (aka "kamma") is pretty directly related to the deathless.....I guess but don't know for sure........
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:38 pm

chownah wrote:.to the extent that the deathless is facilitated by non-birth then it should be understood that we are born of our actions.....


I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. Dependent origination says that cessation of birth means cessation of death, with birth and death being described in straightforward physical terms.
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:00 am

Greetings,

chownah wrote:......so, I guess that absence of intention (aka "kamma") is pretty directly related to the deathless.....

Yes. Or more specifically, sankharas.

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


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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby xabir » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:39 am

Buddha: "And what, monks, is the death-free (amata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the death-free." - SN 43 Asaṅkhata Saṃyutta

tiltbillings: "There is no "deathless." That is a bad translation leading to an objectification/reification of the idea of awakening. With awakening, there is no more rebirth, one is free from death. (31 words.)""

Nana/Geoff: "One has to be careful with such descriptions which may seem to be pointing to some sort of truly existent "unconditioned ground." Nibbāna is the extinguishment of the mental outflows (āsavā). The liberated mind is measureless (appamāṇa). This is not a "state of oneness with all of existence." It's an absence of identification (anattatā). It's non-indicative (anidassana), unestablished (appatiṭṭha), and not-dependent (anissita). None of these adjectives entail any sort of metaphysical "ground of being" or "unconditioned absolute." They are all negations. An arahant has simply "gone out."

Nana/Geoff: "“Firstly, while the translation of asaṃskṛta as “the unconditioned” is fairly common, it’s a rather poor translation that all too easily leads to reification. The term asaṃskṛta refers to a negation of conditioned factors, and the meaning is better conveyed by “not-conditioned.” Secondly, for Sautrāntika commentators, and many mahāyānika commentators as well, an analytical cessation (pratisaṃkhyānirodha) is a non-implicative negation (prasajyapratiṣedha), i.e. a negation that doesn’t imply the presence of some other entity, and therefore nirvāṇa simply refers to a cessation that terminates the defilements and fetters that are abandoned by the correct practice of the noble path. It doesn’t refer to an entity or state that is substantially existent (dravyasat).” "
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:54 am

porpoise wrote:
chownah wrote:.to the extent that the deathless is facilitated by non-birth then it should be understood that we are born of our actions.....


I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. Dependent origination says that cessation of birth means cessation of death, with birth and death being described in straightforward physical terms.

I'm just pointing out that to understand the deathless it may be helpful to look at birth because cessation of birth is the "precursor" of the deathless....and it seems that the Buddha taught that we are born of our actions so understanding our actions will help in understanding our birth....and it seems that the Buddha taught that as we intend so do we act so to understand our actions we might do well to understand our intentions.....Putting this in order it looks like
Intention(kamma) leads to action
Action(also often called kamma) leads to birth
Birth leads to death.....NOT the deathless.

Seems that intention makes the difference between death and deathless I guess but don't know for sure.....
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