Ontology of Nibbana

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Ontology of Nibbana

Postby convivium » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:55 am

Are there grounds in the tipitaka to attribute to nibbana some transcendental (non-immanent) status?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby Kusala » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:41 am

convivium wrote:Are there grounds in the tipitaka to attribute to nibbana some transcendental (non-immanent) status?


I believe so... see ------> http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... tream.html
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby Kusala » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:07 am

Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby cooran » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:08 am

Hello Convivium,

I asked this question myself on Dhammastudygroup ten years ago.
This is the link:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... 7295?var=1

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby convivium » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:11 am

Thanks for the links. Chris, I can't read the responses if there are any.
I know Thanissaro maintains that non-dual positions, regarding the distinction between samsara and nibbana, are unfounded in the tipitaka. Of course, there is no positive articulation of this sort of non-dualism in the canon. However, to my knowledge, there is also no positive statement that samsara and nibbana have mutually exclusive ontologies (that samsara and nibbana are metaphysically distinct & in no way correlated). If I am right, then what grounds do we have to make this assertion?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby cooran » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:23 am

Anything helpful in this previous thread? Maybe the link in the last post to Bhikku Bodhi's Transcendental Dependent Arising?
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4228&start=0

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby Kusala » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:27 am

Sorry, Convivium, I misread your post. My brain is not working properly...must be the lack of sleep. :(
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:02 am

convivium wrote:Thanks for the links. Chris, I can't read the responses if there are any.
I know Thanissaro maintains that non-dual positions, regarding the distinction between samsara and nibbana, are unfounded in the tipitaka. Of course, there is no positive articulation of this sort of non-dualism in the canon. However, to my knowledge, there is also no positive statement that samsara and nibbana have mutually exclusive ontologies (that samsara and nibbana are metaphysically distinct & in no way correlated). If I am right, then what grounds do we have to make this assertion?
What would an "ontology of nibbana" look like?
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
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby Dan74 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:40 am

The topic title seems to me very misleading in the context of Buddhist practice, because nibbana is not an experience, a state or anything we can get "our minds around" so classifying it in a Western-style hierarchy of "realities" is setting up more papanca, more fallacious concepts.

Also the well-known Mayahana dictum "Samsara is Nibbana" is actually a misquote and a misunderstanding. This is what Zen teacher David Loy says about it:

Nagarjuna never actually claims, as is sometimes thought, that "samsara is nirvana." Instead, he says that no difference can be found between them. The koti (limit, boundary) of nirvana is the koti of samsara. They are two different ways of experiencing this world. Nirvana is not another realm or dimension but rather the clarity and peace that arise when our mental turmoil ends, because the objects with which we have been identifying are realized to be shunya. Things have no reality of their own that we can cling to, since they arise and pass away according to conditions. Nor can we cling to this truth. The most famous verse in the Karikas (25:24) sums this up magnificently: "Ultimate serenity is the coming-to-rest of all ways of 'taking' things, the repose of named things. No truth has been taught by a Buddha for anyone anywhere."


I guess from a conventional perspective they are worlds apart but from the ultimate view there is no essential difference because what obscures nirvana, ie ignorance and defilements are just empty and illusory habits, there is nothing substantial to them.
_/|\_
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby convivium » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:39 am

Dan, I think it's a reasonable guess and I'd tend to agree with that interpretation. I think people like Ajahn Chah and Buddhadasa would too. I'm not sure you have the consensus of other Theravada authorities; in the western world, which is all I can recall off the top of my head, e.g. Bodhi and Thanissaro might disagree. We can always ask them I suppose.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:45 am

convivium wrote:Dan, I think it's a reasonable guess and I'd tend to agree with that interpretation.
It find support in the suttas.
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
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby convivium » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:49 am

It find support in the suttas.
Did you have something specific in mind?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby reflection » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:56 am

I agree with Dan. Nibbana is not a state, nibbana is not defined by what it is, but by what it is not. It is about what cessates rather than what stays. (also don't forget the difference between nibbana-while-alive and nibbana-after-death)

In the tipitaka you can read almost whatever you want, if you are willing to have far-fetched interpretations or even skew translations. I think wrong interpretations mainly happen if one puts too much emphasis on rare quotes, ignoring what the rest of the suttas are saying. But even if you don't, in the end the texts are conceptual, they are just a guide. So you will still be wrong about things if you just look at the guide and don't travel where it is pointing to.
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby convivium » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:22 am

also don't forget the difference between nibbana-while-alive and nibbana-after-death

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
...
And yet, "(s)he will not be born again"; in what sense exactly?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby reflection » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:33 pm

convivium wrote:
also don't forget the difference between nibbana-while-alive and nibbana-after-death

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
...
And yet, "(s)he will not be born again"; in what sense exactly?

Please clarify how you think this sutta adresses what I said. Now I can only sort of guess.

The first part of the sutta is not really making a statement about what nibbana is or isn't, it is mainly making a statement about no self. That's also why it continues with the five aggregates. It is understanding those five aggregates in light of no self that you can understand the first part.
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby convivium » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:55 pm

To say "one is not reborn again" entails what exactly, in reference to the five aggregates?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby reflection » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:58 pm

convivium wrote:To say "one is not reborn again" entails what exactly, in reference to the five aggregates?

That they cease and don't reappear in a next life.
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby convivium » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:00 pm

If the five aggregates cease and don't reappear in a next life, then parinibbana must be effectively transcendental.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby reflection » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:07 pm

In my eyes transcendental implies some sort of existence. But final nibbana is the end of existence, so it also doesn't make too much sense to call it transcendental. Then again the term transcendental is quite wide. I would say it is transcendental because it transcends suffering, but not much more than that.

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Re: Ontology of Nibbana

Postby convivium » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:15 pm

In my eyes transcendental implies some sort of existence
That's why I called it "effectively transcendental".
The only possible sense in which the world of becoming could stop becoming, as it were, is if somehow consciousness (first person, qualitative, subjective experience) does not arise to experience it.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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