the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:17 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:"And what is the cessation of dukkha? From the cessation of craving is the cessation of dukkha; and just this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the path of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha."

Spiny

That passage does not mean the dukkha of the senses in and of themselves, ceases right then and there with the cessation of craving.

This is found in the "Release" section of MN 121:

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the effluent of sensuality... the effluent of becoming... the effluent of ignorance, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' '
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:10 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:. Though this passage from AN 6.63 seems to suggest that the cessation of craving is synonymous with the cessation of dukkha - the next question is of course how we define craving ( tanha ).... ;)

The other important question is when dukkha finally ends. The expressions such as "in this very life" do not necessarily mean immediately.

Does dukkha end at the point of nibbana or at the expiration of the body? One interpretation is that an arahant who has attained "nibbana with fuel remaining" http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/iti/iti.2.028-049.than.html#iti-044 still experience the dukkha from past kamma (e.g. bodily pains), until the final expiration of the body ("nibbana without fuel remaining").

These issues have been argued about for millennia and in my view it would be silly for anyone to claim that the correct interpretation is obvious. If it was , Ven Nanananda wouldn't need a couple of dozen Nibbana Sermons to discuss such issues! http://lirs.ru/do/sutra/Nibbana_Sermons,Nanananda.pdf

On the other hand, I'm not really sure what difference the interpretations would make to my practise... :thinking:

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10269
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:18 pm

If the senses in themselves are not dukkha, only the clinging is dukkha, then why not undergo rebirth another thousand billion times? Just clear up the craving bit, and then, as I have seen it said here - "rebirth is no problem." :smile:

I don't see it that way. And I don't see the Buddha saying it that way. At all. Very much not saying that. In very strong graphic language like filling up the graveyards and so on.

As far as practice goes, well, if the dukkha of the senses is not seen, how we gonna let go? Is it realistic to suppose that the senses can be viewed as non-dukkha.. but we'll still let go of all that? I don't think so.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:32 pm

Hi Kirk,
kirk5a wrote:If the senses in themselves are not dukkha, only the clinging is dukkha, then why not undergo rebirth another thousand billion times? ...

You've hit on the reason why the question of rebirth and the question of the cessation of dukkha are realated.

If there is only one life then if the complete cessation of dukkha does not happen instantaneously on attaining nibbana then the path would not appear to be particularly useful...

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10269
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Kenshou » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:43 pm

If the senses in themselves are not dukkha, only the clinging is dukkha, then why not undergo rebirth another thousand billion times?

To be the devil's advocate a little bit, if there's no craving for sense experience, what motivation is there for being reborn, either?
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:02 pm

Kenshou wrote:
If the senses in themselves are not dukkha, only the clinging is dukkha, then why not undergo rebirth another thousand billion times?

To be the devil's advocate a little bit, if there's no craving for sense experience, what motivation is there for being reborn, either?

I would think that would result in the Buddha having given a very different teaching. One where being reborn or not, were talked about in equal terms with regard to suffering for one who ended craving. But where do we see such a teaching?
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Kenshou » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:16 pm

Well, since without craving rebirth is presumably impossible (or rather, naturally ends), we don't see that option considered.

(or so has been my impression)
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:01 am

mikenz66 wrote:Does dukkha end at the point of nibbana or at the expiration of the body?


It depends what kind of dukkha do we mean in that case. An Arahant doesn't feel mental pain (grief, anger, sadness, fear, etc). But even the Buddha can feel unpleasant bodily feeling. Even the Buddha is not exempt from dukkha due to change and dukkha inherent in formation.

"Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a feeling of pain (dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho), does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, did not shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pain of only one arrow. In the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. He feels one pain: physical, but not mental.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#pts.207

"Whatever is felt is included in suffering." yaṃ kiñci vedayitaṃ taṃ dukkhasmi’nti - SN 36.11(1)
"All formations are stressful". Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā’’ti - Dhp 278


With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby darvki » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:57 am

mikenz66 wrote:If there is only one life then if the complete cessation of dukkha does not happen instantaneously on attaining nibbana then the path would not appear to be particularly useful...


I'm uncomfortable with how much of an oversimplification that is. If you can all but destroy dukkha, leaving a scrap here and there, I'd say the path is still damn useful. Easing the pain before the final release (parinibbana, or death when there is only one life) still has merit even in a thought-system where easing the pain doesn't cause the final release.

Also, in a one-life viewpoint, death doesn't necessarily mean the end of suffering and the acquisition of peace. It could be viewed that the death of an individual is just the end of that individual, and their suffering and/or peace. There is continuation though. Suffering can keep going on in others, and the same goes for peace. Meanwhile the dhamma can be there for whatever so-called individuals are alive at the time, available to cultivate peace and combat suffering.
darvki
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:20 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:13 am

Hi darvki,
darvki wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:If there is only one life then if the complete cessation of dukkha does not happen instantaneously on attaining nibbana then the path would not appear to be particularly useful...


I'm uncomfortable with how much of an oversimplification that is. If you can all but destroy dukkha, leaving a scrap here and there, I'd say the path is still damn useful. Easing the pain before the final release (parinibbana, or death when there is only one life) still has merit even in a thought-system where easing the pain doesn't cause the final release.

Of course, you're right. It's oversimplified. And not very well expressed. But I thought it was enough to illustrate how the two views can tend to be connected.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10269
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby darvki » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:32 am

You're right, they are related and I'm glad you brought light to that fact. One might call this new chapter in the thread "The Great Cessation of Dukkha Debate". Or maybe just "The Great Dukkha Debate" since it's ultimately about the nature of dukkha.

I think Alex123 addressed the crux of the topic a few posts back.

So: Did the Buddha suffer (to an extent)? Any canonical evidence? Does that idea strike anyone as a bizarre contradiction?
darvki
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:20 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:43 am

In his final illness the Buddha made it clear that he was experiencing pain...there then could follow ( probably will) an exercise in speculation about whether he "suffered" from that pain......what we know is that he described himself as experiencing bodily distress. Personally i think a respectful curtain could well be drawn over the scene rather thank speculate.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:53 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:In his final illness the Buddha made it clear that he was experiencing pain...there then could follow ( probably will) an exercise in speculation about whether he "suffered" from that pain.......


What do you think? Was it dukkha, or just unpleasant bodily feeling?

Spiny
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
 
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:14 pm

I dont know Spiny. I suspect that no one else does either...which does not modify the need to tell us. :tongue:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:08 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:What do you think? Was it dukkha, or just unpleasant bodily feeling?

Spiny

Is there anything satisfactory in unpleasant bodily feeling? Of course not. So then, that is the dukkha aspect of unpleasant feelings. Craving for the feelings to stop is additional dukkha, double dukkha. Mental dukkha on top of physical dukkha.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1753
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:23 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:In his final illness the Buddha made it clear that he was experiencing pain...there then could follow ( probably will) an exercise in speculation about whether he "suffered" from that pain.......


What do you think? Was it dukkha, or just unpleasant bodily feeling?

Spiny



Unpleasant bodily feeling IS included in Dukkha. Also, please remember that 5 aggregates have 3 characteristics: anicca, DUKKHA and anatta.


Results of past unwholesome kamma, called akusala kammavipāka, can happen to an Arahant who no longer has craving. In fact the body of the Arahant (that could be sickly) did occur due to past craving, and painful things that an Arahant experiences is due to bad kamma being made previously (in this life or up to many aeons ago).

So just because one no longer has craving, it doesn't mean that painful physical vipāka cannot occur, and it doesn't mean that there aren't any aggregates remaining that were due to past craving & kamma. Ex: Angulimala, Ven. Mahamoggallana's story, and even the Buddha did experience death like pains due to illness. Even the huge potential of paramis that the Buddha had didn't stop Him from experiencing excruciating sickness (DN16) or from attempt on his life by Devadatta (who managed to hurt Buddha's foot causing blood), or even from all the bodily discomforts of aging.

Ultimately when all 5 aggregates, including "aggregates devoid of clinging" cease, only then there cannot be anything to ever experience dukkhavedanā or akusala kammavipāka. Even if dukkha is due to clinging aggregates, the aggregates (especially the body) that an Arahant has now were due to clinging done prior to Arahatship. An arahant just doesn't do any new kamma. But results of past kamma can and do still occur.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:41 pm

Alex123 wrote:Also, please remember that 5 aggregates have 3 characteristics: anicca, DUKKHA and anatta.


Yes, but we can't seem to reach a concensus on the nature of dukkha.

Spiny
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
 
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:00 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Also, please remember that 5 aggregates have 3 characteristics: anicca, DUKKHA and anatta.


Yes, but we can't seem to reach a concensus on the nature of dukkha.

Spiny



the nature of dukkha is dukkha!

Also what is anicca is dukkha.
Since aggregates even of an arahant are anicca,
Therefore they are also dukkha.


As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "What do you think, Rahula — is the eye constant or inconstant?"
"Inconstant, lord."
"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"
"Stressful, lord."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
[the sutta goes through 18 elements. There are also suttas that go in this way for 5 aggregates]
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Kenshou » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:13 pm

the nature of dukkha is dukkha!

Also what is anicca is dukkha.
Since aggregates even of an arahant are anicca,
Therefore they are also dukkha.


I believe that analysis is too simplistic, ignoring the multi-faceted nature of the word dukkha.

Does the fact that the arahant is aware of the dukkha nature of what is anicca, that is, that it is unsatisfactory because of it's unreliability, mean that he also experiences dukkha on that account? Just 'cos he does, weather there's upadana in the equation or not?

It's true that in many suttas we have the simple progression of "what is anicca is dukkha and what is anicca and dukkha is anatta) etc., which is perfectly fine as short expression of the gist of it all, but the reason that I am unconvinced that the fact of anicca causes dukkha even without the help of upadana is that, in more precise teachings on the nature of dukkha and its origination (and cessation), craving/tanha/upadana/whatever-term-you-prefer is always part of the equation, as far as I have seen. For this reason it seems to me as if, when the shorter teachings are taken in context with the longer ones, it is not being said that impermanence itself causes dukkha regardless of weather attachment is involved, just because it does.

Mahasatipatthanasutta, Thanissaro's translation wrote:Now what is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful; separation from the loved is stressful; not getting what one wants is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

Five clinging aggregates, that is, pañcupādānakkhandhā, not pañcakkhandhā.

(This is ignoring the exception of dukkha as simple bodily pain, that of course just happens inevitably whenever bodies are involved.)

But then, if impermanence itself leaves an inherent scrap of suffering somehow, it doesn't seem like a huge deal in the end. We still have a picture of arahants dwelling happily, equanimously, at ease, even with that residue. So if it's there it mustn't be so terrible, I suppose. Sounds pretty good to me.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Skaffen » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:51 am

'Rebirth' has no context here. - Dismissal of the Ego makes the implication farcical - http://www.abhayagiri.org/main/book/1788/
Skaffen
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:58 am

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: altar, Feathers and 7 guests