Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby Dhammakid » Mon May 05, 2014 10:12 pm

There are some really good responses here. I'd like to offer this text by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, a comprehensive exploration of the concept of nibbana.

Mind Like Fire Unbound
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html

Even just reading the abstract greatly helped me understand this concept, and diving into the more involved parts gave me a deep appreciation for practice towards liberation.

Here are some key excerpts from the abstract:

"Any discussion of the way the Buddha used the term nibbāna must begin with the distinction that there are two levels of nibbāna (or, to use the original terminology, two nibbāna properties). The first is the nibbāna experienced by a person who has attained the goal and is still alive. This is described metaphorically as the extinguishing of passion, aversion, & delusion. The second is the nibbāna after death. The simile for these two states is the distinction between a fire that has gone out but whose embers are still warm, and one so totally out that its embers are cold. The Buddha used the views of fire current in his day in somewhat different ways when discussing these two levels of nibbāna, and so we must consider them separately.

"To understand the implications of nibbāna in the present life, it is necessary to know something of the way in which fire is described in the Pali Canon. There, fire is said to be caused by the excitation or agitation of the heat property. To continue burning, it must have sustenance(upādāna). Its relationship to its sustenance is one of clinging, dependence, & entrapment. When it goes out, the heat property is no longer agitated, and the fire is said to be freed. Thus the metaphor of nibbāna in this case would have implications of calming together with release from dependencies, attachments, & bondage. This in turn suggests that of all the attempts to describe the etymology of the word nibbāna, the closest is the one Buddhaghosa proposed in The Path of Purification: Un- (nir) + binding (vāna): Unbinding.

"To understand further what is meant by the unbinding of the mind, it is also important to know that the word upādāna — the sustenance for the fire — also means clinging, and that according to the Buddha the mind has four forms of clinging that keep it in bondage: clinging to sensuality, to views, to precepts & practices, and to doctrines of the self. In each case, the clinging is the passion & desire the mind feels for these things. To overcome this clinging, then, the mind must see not only the drawbacks of these four objects of clinging, but, more importantly, the drawbacks of the act of passion & desire itself."
.....

"The mind at this point attains Deathlessness, although there is no sense of 'I' in the attainment. There is simply the realization, 'There is this.' From this point onward the mind experiences mental & physical phenomena with a sense of being dissociated from them. One simile for this state is that of a hide removed from the carcass of a cow: Even if the hide is then placed back on the cow, one cannot say that it is attached as before, because the connective tissues that once held the hide to the carcass — in other words, passion & desire — have all been cut (by the knife of discernment). The person who has attained the goal — called a Tathāgata in some contexts, an arahant in others — thus lives out the remainder of his/her life in the world, but independent of it.

"Death as experienced by a Tathāgata is described simply as, 'All this, no longer being relished, grows cold right here.' All attempts to describe the experience of nibbāna or the state of the Tathāgata after death — as existing, not existing, both, or neither — are refuted by the Buddha. To explain his point, he again makes use of the metaphor of the extinguished fire, although here he draws on the Vedic view of latent fire as modified by Buddhist notions of what does and does not lie within the realm of valid description."
.......

"The Buddha borrows two points from the Vedic notion of fire to illustrate this point. Even if one wants to assume that fire still exists after being extinguished, it is (1) so subtle that it cannot be perceived, and (2) so diffuse that it cannot be said to go to any one place or in any particular direction. Just as notions of going east, west, north, or south do not apply to an extinguished fire, notions of existing and so forth do not apply to the Tathāgata after death.

"As for the question of how nibbāna is experienced after death, the Buddha says that there is no limit in that experience by which it could be described. The word 'limit' here is the important one. In one of the ancient Vedic myths of creation, the universe starts when a limit appears that separates male from female, sky from earth. Thus the implication of the Buddha's statement is that the experience of nibbāna is so free from even the most basic notions making up the universe that it lies beyond description. This implication is borne out by other passages stating that there is nothing in that experience of the known universe — earth, water, wind, fire, sun, moon, darkness, coming, going, or stasis — at all.

"Thus, when viewed in light of the way the Pali Canon describes the workings of fire and uses fire imagery to describe the workings of the mind, it is clear that the word nibbāna is primarily meant to convey notions of freedom: freedom in the present life from agitation, dependency, & clinging; and freedom after death from even the most basic concepts or limitations — such as existence, non-existence, both, or neither — that make up the describable universe."
.....

:anjali:
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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby Kwaingo » Thu May 15, 2014 3:48 am

Indian Buddhist wrote: "It is easy for Western people to follow Buddhism because they live in comforts of life. Here in India, there are poor people who do daily Physical labour for 12-14 hours per day lifting weights of 100 kgs behind their back for an earning of 100 Rs(2 Dollar) per day."

Hmmm....just curious, why this quote about "western people" (whatever country they come from, people of European descent I presume, or Farang as we call them...) Just a clue, most Buddhists are not westerners. Most are Asian, and most are poor(as are most people in the world btw, at least in terms of money). I am Lao. In Laos, people are poor, even more poor than what you describe. Some make LESS than the equivalent of $1 a day, so the amount you quote would be quite fantastic to most Lao people, $60 a month could be considered middle class! And we work just as hard. Do you assume that most posters on this forum are a bunch of privileged white folks living in America or Europe? Most Buddhists are poor, whether it be Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, etc. Yet many of us try to follow Dhamma. And many follow Dhamma devoutly. Many ordain as monks or as precept-keeping laypeople. How does "comfort" make it easier to follow Buddhism? I can see how it could also be a hindrance. Many poor people in southeast Asia ordain as monks to escape poverty, to have more opportunities to study, etc. The level of devotion to Buddhism in a country like Myanmar is humbling, no, their poverty, nor the poverty of Lao, Thai, Cambodian, Sri Lankan, etc. does prevents them from being Buddhist or following the teachings of Buddha, meditating, going to the monastery, doing other Buddhist things. If anything, it makes them try harder, to seek a better rebirth or even Nibbana. So I am not totally clear what your point is, and I think you are making some serious assumptions.
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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby seeker242 » Thu May 15, 2014 11:09 am

indian_buddhist wrote:Again and Again the Buddha talks about Noble ones seek the Deathless - One which is not subject to Rebirth.

So Nibbana has to be Permanent right?.



Conventionally speaking, yes. The Buddha could not stop being a Buddha and go back to being an ordinary person again, that would be impossible. It's a final end of suffering and rebirth.

But to ask "where does one go after?" is a misguided question to begin with because the concept of "one", it fails to take into account "Anatta".

I like this little story.:)

Once there was a layman who came to Ajahn Chah and asked him who Ajahn Chah was. Ajahn Chah, seeing that the spiritual development of the individual was not very advanced, pointed to himself and said, "This, this is Ajahn Chah."

On another occasion, Ajahn Chah was asked the same question by someone else. This time, however, seeing that the questioner's capacity to understand the Dhamma was higher, Ajahn Chah answered by saying, "Ajahn Chah? There is NO Ajahn Chah."


If there is "no Ajahn Chah", then how can Ajahn Chah go anywhere? If there is no Ajahn Chah, the whole question becomes not applicable.

What is the Motivation for him to follow Buddhism if all he can gain from it is UNKNOWN?


Faith that what the Buddha says is true. Faith that you can realize what the Buddha realized and find freedom, where the unknown becomes known. :smile:

I like this explanation. :)

If we follow through the comparison of the Buddhist discipline to a tree, faith (saddha) would be the seed, for it is faith that provides the initial impulse through which the training is taken up, and faith again that nourishes the training through every phase of its development. Virtue would be the roots, for it is virtue that gives grounding to our spiritual endeavors just as the roots give grounding to a tree. Concentration would be the trunk, the symbol of strength, non-vacillation, and stability. And wisdom would be the branches, which yield the flowers of enlightenment and the fruits of deliverance. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#roots
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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby Lostegasa » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:48 pm

Dhammakid wrote:The first is the nibbāna experienced by a person who has attained the goal and is still alive. This is described metaphorically as the extinguishing of passion, aversion, & delusion. The second is the nibbāna after death. The simile for these two states is the distinction between a fire that has gone out but whose embers are still warm, and one so totally out that its embers are cold. The Buddha used the views of fire current in his day in somewhat different ways when discussing these two levels of nibbāna, and so we must consider them separately.


Hello Dhammakid and all, I loved this topic and the post of Dhammakid also about Nibbana and this quote.
The Fire from my experience is this power and energy of life and any effort of doing, acting, breathing, living, digging, lasting, feeling, joking (hope you got it) and this power goes upward towards Nibbana through great effort and discernment. What left is nothing of your concern and death will take it.
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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby silver surfer » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:03 pm

Reductor wrote:
1. Once you've attained nibbana, you no longer have a fixed conception of you and no longer place any importance on whether you continue or cease, or change or whatever. But, to the point, Nibbana is not a place and no one can 'go there'. You simply cease to cling to your own existence and no longer think of yourself as eternal and unchanging, and what it is more, you have no desire for an eternal, unchanging self.

2. Nibbana has no feeling. It is not something that exists, but is lack greed, hate and delusion and all the mental states, and mental turmoil, that arise because of them. But, when an arahant reflects on the cessation of greed, hate, delusion, and all the mental turmoil, they feel pleasure. But they don't try to keep that pleasure for ever, and don't morn when it fades away.

3. No one stays in nibbana for ever. But once greed, hate and delusion have been existinguished in a human being, they don't return. So, this non-returning of greed, hate and delusion could be seen as eternal nibbana.


Hi, but I should inform you that you're knowledge about Nibbana is not really accurate. Nibbana has nothing to do with annihilation. It can't be described using conventional words, that's all. It's not a state of being or non-being - totally different than all sorts temporal individual experiences.

indian_buddhist wrote:My questions are :-

On attaining Nibbana:-
1. Where does one go?.
2. What are the qualities of attaining Nibbana. Is it pure happiness and bliss?.
3. Does one stay in Nibbana state permanently for infinite eons?.


1. It's true that Nibbana has its unique sphere, which is beyond all samsaric and formless existence.
2. I haven't experienced it. But i know a few things about it, talked to many people and i have my knowledge on idea level still. But if you wanna hear, i'd say that Nibbana is beyond joy and pain. It's calm, cool, the point where there is no need to go any further. The point which allows you to be still and restful outside of all sorts of time/movement zones. The ultimate thing.
3. No, there is no "staying" in Nibbana. Once Nibbana is seen, the next is to experience it, and after that - you are Nibbana. Infinite eons - it's nothing compared to what is "unconditional", see?

Hope it helped.
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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby Aloka » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:35 am

This free book " The Island - teachings on Nibanna " by Ajahn Amaro & Ajahn Pasanno might be helpful.

http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=10&ref=deb


7) “And what, Ānanda, is the perception of cessation? Here, having gone to the forest, to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, a bhikkhu reflects thus: ‘This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, cessation, nibbāna.’ This is called the perception of cessation."

http://suttacentral.net/en/an10.60



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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby Kusala » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:37 am

indian_buddhist wrote:Nibbana - from my understanding is the deathless stage.

It signifies the following:-

1. Complete destruction of Greed, Hatred and Delusion.
2. No more rebirths in any realm of existence.
3. It is a deathless stage.

My questions are :-
On attaining Nibbana:-
1. Where does one go?.
2. What are the qualities of attaining Nibbana. Is it pure happiness and bliss?.
3. Does one stay in Nibbana state permanently for infinite eons?.


The Nature of Nirvana

King Milinda said: "I will grant you, Nagasena, that Nirvana is absolute ease, and that nevertheless one cannot point to its form or shape, its duration or size, either by simile or explanation, by reason or by argument. But is there perhaps some quality of Nirvana which it shares with other things, and which lends itself to a metaphorical explanation?"

"Its form, O King, cannot be elucidated by similes, but its qualities can."

"How good to hear that, Nagasena! Speak then, quickly, so that I may have an explanation of even one of the aspects of Nirvana! Appease the fever of my heart! Allay it with the cool sweet breezes of your words!"


"Nirvana shares one quality with the lotus, two with water, three with medicine, ten with space, three with the wishing jewel, and five with a mountain peak. As the lotus is unstained by water, so is Nirvana unstained by all the defilements. As cool water allays feverish heat, so also Nirvana is cool and allays the fever of all the passions. Moreover, as water removes the thirst of men and beasts who are exhausted, parched, and thirsty, and overpowered by heat, so also Nirvana removes the craving for sensuous enjoyments, the craving for further becoming, the craving for the cessation of becoming. As medicine protects from the torments of poisons, so Nirvana protects from the torments of the poisonous passions.

Moreover, as medicine puts an end to sickness, so Nirvana puts an end to all sufferings. Finally, Nirvana and medicine both give security. And these are the ten qualities which Nirvana shares with space. Neither is born, grows old, dies, passes away, or is reborn; both are unconquerable, cannot be stolen, are unsupported, are roads respectively for birds and Arhats to journey on, are unobstructed and infinite. Like the wishing jewel, Nirvana grants all one can desire, brings joy, and sheds light. As a mountain peak is lofty and exalted, so is Nirvana. As a mountain peak is unshakeable, so is Nirvana. As a mountain is inaccessible, so is Nirvana inaccessible to all the passions. As no seeds can grow on a mountain peak, so the seeds of all the passions cannot grow in Nirvana. And finally, as a mountain peak is free from all desire to please or displease, so is Nirvana!"


"Well said, Nagasena! So it is, and as much I accept it."


Image
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: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby Mkoll » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:50 pm

From K.R. Norman's translation of Sn 5.7, lines 1075-1076:
1075. 'He who has gone out, does he not exist, or does he remain unimpaired for ever? Explain this to me well, sage, for thus is this doctrine known to you.'

1076. 'There is no measuring of one who has gone out, Upasīva,' said the Blessed One. 'That no longer exists for him by which they might speak of him. When all phenomena have been removed, then all ways of speaking are also removed.'


Ven. Thanissaro's translation of the same:
[Upasiva:]
He who has reached the end: Does he not exist, or is he for eternity free from dis-ease? Please, sage, declare this to me as this phenomenon has been known by you.

[The Buddha:]
One who has reached the end has no criterion [3] by which anyone would say that — for him it doesn't exist. When all phenomena are done away with,[4] all means of speaking are done away with as well.


3.
For a discussion of the meaning of "criterion" in this passage, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, Chapter 1.
4.
Although Upasiva refers to the goal as a phenomenon (dhamma), the Buddha describes it as the transcending of all phenomena. For some of the implications of this statement, see AN 3.134.


~~~

I think Wittgenstein's famous quote sums up how the Buddha is teaching us to regard the question.

Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote:Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Peace,
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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby Reductor » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:31 pm

silver surfer wrote:
Reductor wrote:
1. Once you've attained nibbana, you no longer have a fixed conception of you and no longer place any importance on whether you continue or cease, or change or whatever. But, to the point, Nibbana is not a place and no one can 'go there'. You simply cease to cling to your own existence and no longer think of yourself as eternal and unchanging, and what it is more, you have no desire for an eternal, unchanging self.

2. Nibbana has no feeling. It is not something that exists, but is lack greed, hate and delusion and all the mental states, and mental turmoil, that arise because of them. But, when an arahant reflects on the cessation of greed, hate, delusion, and all the mental turmoil, they feel pleasure. But they don't try to keep that pleasure for ever, and don't morn when it fades away.

3. No one stays in nibbana for ever. But once greed, hate and delusion have been existinguished in a human being, they don't return. So, this non-returning of greed, hate and delusion could be seen as eternal nibbana.


Hi, but I should inform you that you're knowledge about Nibbana is not really accurate. Nibbana has nothing to do with annihilation. It can't be described using conventional words, that's all. It's not a state of being or non-being - totally different than all sorts temporal individual experiences.



I didn't assert annilhation, nor do I assert eternalism. If you don't understand my point, or don't agree with me, that's fine. But if I am mistaken, I'd bet you are too. Consider that.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Where does one go on attaining Nibbana

Postby daverupa » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:50 pm

I am sorry about letting these off-topic comments through, folks. I may clean a bit up later on, given that this is the Discovering forum; let's get back to answering the OP and stay away from these asides.

:heart:
    "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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