kmath wrote:I think my issue is this: if Nibbana is not a dreamless sleep, I'm just not sure what it is.
When the arahant dies, what does he or she experience? Is it something or is it nothing? If it's nothing, then we are in the dreamless sleep scenario. If it's something, then what is it?
I completely understand that this question has been asked and answered, but I've just never heard it answered well.
The Buddha says you can't think of Nibbana as existence or as non-existence. But then -- is it some third state? Like, existence but not in the way we typically think of it? Maybe existence without grasping? But I mean, I don't think there's another rebirth, is there? Maybe you're some kind of omnipresence? That's what some people seem to think. But I don't see any basis for that in the suttas.
This thing about not existence and not non-existence is absurd. For you logicians out there, it's like we're being asked to believe in the negation of a tautology.
Can someone please set me straight?
*** One more thing: some people suggest basically "don't think about it -- just keep practicing." But that's not good advice. If I don't want to go to Iowa, I'm not going to get on the highway and start driving there.
This has exactly been my contention...there is no greater bliss than deep dreamless slep eventhough you donot really "experience" that bliss as you do in the walking state...there is no heart racing,head buzzing bliss in deep dreamless sleep..and when you are in deep dreamless sleep, there is neither existence nor non existence and NONE of the khandas exist.....It is natural that budding Buddhists want to have an inkling about what it is "like"---and deep dreamless sleep is the biggest metaphor that we are ever going to have....you know a Muslim girlfriend of mine once noted to me, Buddhism tries to answer the problem by blotting out the question....and all straight cut answers regarding Nibbana is like chopping off the head to cure the headache........why there is so much reluctance even to give an inkling of a definition of Nibbana regarding what it "feels" like? for years and years I went through many definitions and this is the only conclusion I can come to--Deep Dreamless Sleep
Only way you can understand this (Nirvana) by understanding Anatta.
But according to Ajahan Sumedho in the article you cannot "get" Anatta even after decades of meditation , and that too even as an ascetic..why? because you started the meditation practice with the thought that:"I have to stop clinging"......So he recommends an "attitude" change in the non-meditative normal state----So what meditation could not cure a certain "attitude" change can!! which is basically forcing your mind to believe something by repeating it over and over again....It seems we are locked in a vicious cycle
robertk wrote:In dreamless sleep the khandas are still arising and passing away.
After the death of the arhats the khandhas no more arise. All that remains is the bone relics, if that.
really in the "duration" of dreamless sleep khandas are arising and passing away? Nope it doesnot Just take the duration of dreamless sleep without the arising of dreams and without being distracted by external disturbances...of course dreamless sleep IS NOT Nibbana...BUT it s pretty Darn close!!!
Sanjay PS wrote:A good way of gauging the truth is the strength of our clinging to an i , me and mine . So long as this feeling persists , we have our fair size of work cut out , and should skillfully avoid being distracted by the internal and external doubts which will very naturally keep arising , trying to sway us from time to time .
The realization that all things are just a conditioned changeable process , inevitably will become crystal clear , should we diligently walk on the Noble Eight Fold Path, striving on in becoming a pure hearted person.
Of course, " smart people " will continue to harp there is this self that gets to realize the crystal clarity , hence , the self does exist , adding on that there is a beginning and end to everything , thus trying a desperate attempt to prove the superiority of a religion or intellect .
Buddhas always go beyond the intellect and in guiding us with great compassion in showing the way out of all kinds of superiority and inferiority complex. We have only ourselves to question, should we not drink up the medicine , but go at great lengths to argue about the doctor and the efficacy of the medication.
as I have said earlier in the post , Ajahn Sumedho is saying if decades of meditation and even ascetic practices cannot solve your clinging to "I" then an "attitude" change can---which in my mind is forcing oneself to believe in Anatta ......and regarding all these core teachings of Buddhism which seem to be difficult to grasp , do ordinary Sri Lankans, Burmese , Thai really fret over this? Try explaining an Indian Housewife the concept of Anatta.....I bet 99 cents that it will come a cropper...she might give a dazed look at you then dismiss it and carry on with her life...Have you ever seen the doctrinal soundness of lay Ambedkarite Buddhists?? that is the state of modern Buddhism today! Most Buddhists are mainly concerned with merit making...It seems Buddhism as practiced in the West is mainly the interest of atomized men and some divorced/widowed atomized women.....which is not a bad thing....most Budhist practitioners or meditation practitioners of any sort (the serious ones) have meagre to very little social life...I know I am because of a lot of deaths in the family and being in a foreign country there is little to no bonding with people----which is all okay ..Why is it all okay? Because the main point of Vipassana meditation was always to aid you greatly and critically in Renunciation! Now the million dollar question----Is it okay to keep on practicing a meditation technique whose aim is to help you in renunciation when you have no goal similiar to that? How many are ready to give up music, movies, internet or even sex in a Western Buddhist context even though they might be into Vipassana??
Isn't this the reason that the lay people in Theravada Buddhist countries eschew meditation in favour of merit making? Meditation is solely there to help you in renunciation and lay people are not that much interested in it because they still want to pursue cars, jobs,houses, marriage, sex,children,grandchildren
The only lay people in India and SL who seriously pursue the cultivation of a spiritual life are over 65 middle class people who have accomplished all the things they wanted job, house, family, children and even grandchildren
Lay people want to know what is in the immediate after life and want to have some assurance!! they donot either have the time or motivation to pursue serious Dhamma...and this is where Buddhism has been seriously lacking in the onslaught of Globalization....Christian missioanries armed with billion of dollars are selling such a simple message of hope (not necessarily true) that SL people are falling wholesale over it..I interact heavily with both the Sinhalese and the Tamil community in Germany and you wouldnot imagine how many have become converted Christians!!
They give people with families the hope that all of them are going to spend eternity together in Heaven!! if this is not the most seductive message for a loving contented father or mother then I donot know what is!! You know how evangelists seduce people to Christianity in South Asia and especially vulnerable people who may be have lost a child? They say okay I accept according to your religious system your child might verily be in heaven now! and that you might also go to heaven after death! But what guarantee is there that you will meet him there? He might well have checked out of heaven into the next rebirth and LOST TO YOU FOR ALL ETERNITY!! There is no guarantee that you will ever find your child in the form you knew him ever again!! the next time you might not recognize him because of a different rebirth!!---------------Do you want to be happy with your child for all eternity the way you used to be when you took him out for his sunday cricket camp?? Now if thats not a very powerful message and very sinister way of convincing people then what is?? See the Christians are providing HOPE...eventhough it might be False Hope....and the rate of evangelization in SL there might not be a Buddhist SL to draw inspiration from and to send western monks to in 50-60 years time....
We all know the Dhamma is intellectually and scientifically much much superior to Christianity but is it Emotionally superior the way it is being presented today?
Can the Dhamma bring people to tears today the way it brought the lay people to tears when Buddha spoke to them? Is this emotional vigour of Christianity that led Paul Williams , the Buddhist scholar, to revert back to Catholicism eventhough he singlehandedly built Buddhism in a Major Western City for over 20 years?
See where I am getting at? The woeful lack of teachers who not only teach meditation but also the metaphysics and cosmology of Dhamma so that lay people are not led astray by predatory evangelists?? Ven. S. Dhammika has written extensively over it...He contented that Buddhist monks being so self-absorbed in their own attainment and practice and no proactive contact with the community is what led to the extinction of Buddhism in India as it gradually merged and got subsumed into Hinduism..On the contrary Jain monkhood's main focus was always to teach the lay people and extensive development of guide books and texts for lay practice....that's why Jains survived as a DISTINCT community in India inspite of being much much smaller and much older than Buddhism
So why there is so much reluctance on part of Buddhist teachers on giving an inkling of simile of how Nibbana is like to "feel"? I gave the simile of deep dreamless sleep which in the absence of better similes is an adequate answer
and should skillfully avoid being distracted by the internal and external doubts which will very naturally keep arising , trying to sway us from time to time .
Again this sounds suspiciously like what a Pastor would say to a teenager when he is having doubts about God and Jesus...The answer would be "avoid being distracted by external and internal doubts" and keep on Praying and you will eventually come to know the truth
Again Deep Dreamless Sleep is freedom from ALL Views..isn't it called ditthi/drishti mukti in Buddhism?