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 MaitreyaLife » 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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