The value of nibbana

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The value of nibbana

Postby char101 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:41 am

Hi, I have this confusing thought in mind, could anyone please shed some light :smile:

If there is no "I" then how does nibbana matters more than suffering since there is no "one" to save?

Like it does not matter whethere there is a broken car or no car at all if there is no one to drive.
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:48 am

char101 wrote:Hi, I have this confusing thought in mind, could anyone please shed some light :smile:

If there is no "I" then how does nibbana matters more than suffering since there is no "one" to save?

Like it does not matter whethere there is a broken car or no car at all if there is no one to drive.


Do you feel as if there is a "I" or not? Probably you do. If so, that is what counts. ;)
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:59 am

char101 wrote:Hi, I have this confusing thought in mind, could anyone please shed some light :smile:

If there is no "I" then how does nibbana matters more than suffering since there is no "one" to save?

Like it does not matter whethere there is a broken car or no car at all if there is no one to drive.


A human being is not like a car, a human being does not require a driver, as is the case with all sentient beings.

The value of nibbana among other things is that the "sense of self" ceases to cause problems, cease to cause suffering.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby char101 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:05 am

I feel that myself as a being have an identity that separates myself from other being and that need to be preseved but nibbana does not seem as a way to preservation other than self-destruction so I am having a difficult time getting motivated towards nibbana. Probably I have too much kilesa to see nibbana as the way out.
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby char101 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:12 am

Hi,

Goofaholix wrote:A human being is not like a car, a human being does not require a driver, as is the case with all sentient beings.


That's not actually the point of my analogy :smile:

The value of nibbana among other things is that the "sense of self" ceases to cause problems, cease to cause suffering.


Suffering only matters (to be eliminated) if there is something that suffers, when nibbana (parinibbana) is reached, there will be no more suffering because there is just no-thing that can suffer. I think normally human nature is to eliminate suffering but that does not include eliminating theirselves.
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby Guy » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:16 am

Hi Char,

Nibbana is not destruction of self because there is no self to begin with. There is only the habitual tendency to grasp at a self. Usually one of the 5 khandhas (body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, consciousness) is what we take to be a self or belonging to a self. When we see that all these things are impermanent then what is there that is worth grasping at or clinging to which we can safely identify as a self?

It is this grasping at a sense of self through the lack of knowledge that there is no self (and taking that which is impermanent to be permanent) which causes suffering.

With Metta,

Guy
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1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby char101 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:48 am

Guy wrote:Hi Char,


Hi,

Nibbana is not destruction of self because there is no self to begin with.


But nibbana is the destruction of sankara which are body and mind which are what makes a being. So it's the destruction of a being, isn't it?

I do accept that self is a wrong view but what is the point of the hard practice to achieve nibbana if the end is the annihilation of the being (i.e. the mind and body and the cycle of samsara). People want to achieve nibbana because there is a lot of suffering risk in this cycle of existence. Beings do not life suffering. That is just their (our) nature. But although nibbana is the end of suffering, it is more than that, it also means the end of all (of a being, i.e. their mind and body). It just does not seem to be the solution of suffering to me. Probably if we can say that nibbana is a way of transformation from current dependently arising form (the mind and body in samsara) to some kind of existence which existence does not dependend on other thing and that does not ill, age, or die, and know that at least the previous state of samsara has been eliminated, nibbana can be seen a better way of this suffering in samsara.

There is only the habitual tendency to grasp at a self, usually one of the 5 khandas (body, feeling, perceptions, mental formations, consciousness) is what we take to be a self or belonging to a self. When we see that all these things are impermanent then what is there that is worth grasping at or clinging to which we can safely identify as a self?


So the [englightment] flow goes from [an impermanent-suffering-not I formation (5 khandhas)] -> [complete destruction of the 5 khandhas and the stopping of the cycle] which seems to me that anything is this world is so pointless?

It's like I'm having this conversation with myself
A: what's the point of life?
B: there is no point of life, it's just an impermanent, suffering state with nothing to be called I or mine or myself
A: then is there a better state?
B: yes there is this complete destruction of ourselves both of our wrong view of self and the mind and the body and the cycle of existence
A: how is that any better that the previous?
B: ... ?
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby char101 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:52 am

Between this life and nibbana, it feels like having to choose between a rotten apple or no apple to me :?
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:56 am

Greetings char101,

If you really wish to investigate the subtleties of what nibbana is and isn't, I highly recommend...

Bhikkhu Nanananda's Nibbana Sermons
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... rmon_8.htm

Nibbana is a tricky subject, and hard to do just to in a "Discovering Theravada" environment. Many seasoned campaigners have differing views on nibbana so giving a stock standard clear and succint Theravadin perspective that will be easily understood by the reader is not going to be an easy task.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby Guy » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:20 am

Hi Char,

char101 wrote:
It's like I'm having this conversation with myself
A: what's the point of life?
B: there is no point of life, it's just an impermanent, suffering state with nothing to be called I or mine or myself
A: then is there a better state?
B: yes there is this complete destruction of ourselves both of our wrong view of self and the mind and the body and the cycle of existence
A: how is that any better that the previous?
B: ... ?


This seems to reveal to me that you still take the mind and/or body to be a self or belonging to a self (...or containing a self or that the self contains these aggregates). In other words:- As long as you continue to identify with the body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, consciousness as "me", "mine" or "myself" then it will be impossible to see how Nibbana is not the destruction of a self.

Maybe I misread what you said, if so please correct me.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby Kenshou » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:40 am

char101 wrote:Between this life and nibbana, it feels like having to choose between a rotten apple or no apple to me :?


Perhaps the point is then to realize that you don't need any apples (nor non-apples) in the first place?
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby Reductor » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:45 am

char101 wrote:Between this life and nibbana, it feels like having to choose between a rotten apple or no apple to me :?


:smile:

My friend, I understand your trouble with this. Once was a time when Nibbana was viewed by myself as 'nice to visit', but not a place I would like to stay. After all, what is the point of something that 'I' couldn't experience? Wasn't it the destruction of everything I was?

I have often thought that the best approach to Nibbana is not by thinking of what Nibbana 'is', because thinking of what it is will throw you into vexation: no matter how you think it out, you will be wrong. The best approach is to look long and hard at what you have right here. What is this? Where from, where to, and did it leaving me feeling or being better, worse or unchanged. Am I satisfied? How long does that satisfaction last?

Only when you have done that for a time with complete honesty will you start to understand deep down that everything you have is indeed not worth having, but that you cannot get away from it completely. You will find that there are so many things you are obliged to do just to survive, to be comfortable. The dependencies that exist are so many and you have very little choice.

When you understand that well, then the escape into Nibbana will lose its unsavory quality.

But if you never find that your heart turns toward Nibbana, at least Buddhism has so many other benefits in making life happier and easier.

And don't forget. Even the higher beings pass away and even their existence has its own requisite conditions to arise to be maintained.
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: The value of nibbana

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:28 am

char101 wrote:Between this life and nibbana, it feels like having to choose between a rotten apple or no apple to me :?

how about suffering and no suffering? it's your choice though, and many of us choose to suffer, we want something a little bit more than we want nibbana whether it be a wife, or kids to go to college or whatever. no one says you have to realize nibbana, just like no one says just because it exists you have to go to Norway, it's your choice.
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby salmon » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:02 am

char101 wrote:But nibbana is the destruction of sankara which are body and mind which are what makes a being. So it's the destruction of a being, isn't it?


Let's say you are given a $1,000,000 cash cheque to hold on to. For all the while that you are holding onto that cheque, you will worry about dropping the cheque or getting mugged and losing it. But when you give that cheque to the bank teller, you no longer feel the worry of losing it. That cash cheque is like your being. Giving the cheque to the bank teller is like the attainment of nibbana coz you are free from the worries of when you had the cheque in your hands.

Do you (or anyone else reading this) see the cheque as a source of suffering? Chances are, most don't. Most people see it as a valuable item because it represents money. That's the nature of the human mind. :broke:

I do accept that self is a wrong view but what is the point of the hard practice to achieve nibbana if the end is the annihilation of the being (i.e. the mind and body and the cycle of samsara). People want to achieve nibbana because there is a lot of suffering risk in this cycle of existence. Beings do not life suffering. That is just their (our) nature. But although nibbana is the end of suffering, it is more than that, it also means the end of all (of a being, i.e. their mind and body). It just does not seem to be the solution of suffering to me. Probably if we can say that nibbana is a way of transformation from current dependently arising form (the mind and body in samsara) to some kind of existence which existence does not dependend on other thing and that does not ill, age, or die, and know that at least the previous state of samsara has been eliminated, nibbana can be seen a better way of this suffering in samsara.

I suggest you start to practise meditation (if you haven't already). At this point in time, it is clear that you have not fully understood the types of suffering that sankharas bring. When you see that wearing a winter jacket in summer is suffering, you'll naturally take it off. Don't try to force it now. If you do that, you will only scare yourself away from practise. Borrowing a quote from Ajahn Brahm...when you know the bliss of meditation, an orgasm doesn't even come close. And personally, I agree!!

Good luck.
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby ground » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:08 am

char101 wrote:If there is no "I" then how does nibbana matters more than suffering since there is no "one" to save?

That is the reason why nibbana and samsara may be seen as being equal and why "just stopping" amounts to "practice". It seems to require "skillful stopping" however. This "stopping" may be considered synonym for "renunciation".
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:20 am

char101 wrote:That's not actually the point of my analogy :smile:


It's not a very good analogy.

Neither is this one...
char101 wrote:Between this life and nibbana, it feels like having to choose between a rotten apple or no apple to me


I would say between this life and Nibbana it feels like having to choose between a diseased apple and a healthy one.

It's not a matter of you having an apple and exterminating it, it's a matter of self view being a disease that corrupts the reality of what the apple truly is. The disease thinks it's the real apple but it's not.

This article might help give you a different way of looking at the issue of self http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tself.html
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby Guy » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:07 am

Hello again Char,

Guy wrote:Hi Char,

Nibbana is not destruction of self because there is no self [to be found in the 5 khandhas, nor can we conceive of a self beyond the range of the 5 khandhas] to begin with. There is only the habitual tendency to grasp at a self. Usually one of the 5 khandhas (body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, consciousness) is what we take to be a self or belonging to a self [if there is a self beyond the 5 khandhas then how is it that we can identify it as a self?]. When we see that all these things are impermanent then what is there that is worth grasping at or clinging to which we can safely identify as a self?

It is this grasping at a sense of self through the lack of knowledge that there is no self [to be found in the 5 khandhas, nor can we conceive of a self beyond the range of the 5 khandhas] (and taking that which is impermanent to be permanent) which causes suffering.

With Metta,

Guy


I just thought I should make some clarifications since I realize that what I wrote was not as accurate as it could be and potentially misleading. I hope this makes things more clear.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:04 pm

in this type of situation I think it is better to look at the positive outcome of attaining nibbana, rather than debating the metaphysics. This is simply the ending of all forms of mental suffering brought on by whatever the world throws at us. The result is clarity, mindfulness, joy and peace. Surely that is worthwhile?
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby char101 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:30 pm

Thanks for your opinions, I totally agree with them.

Probaly to restate my view: in buddhism, life is suffering and the freedom is nibbana, which is the stopping of sankhara. And since a being is essentially just sankara (mind and body), achieving nibbana also means the that there will be "nothing" left after the being (note that what I refers to a being is just a formation of body and mind and nothing else) dies.

Which renders life and existence as meaningless and the solution is essentially the annihilantion of it (note that I am not saying annihilation of self since there is no self to being with but annihilation of sankhara).

I am not arguing about nibbana as the way out of suffering, it just that the fact about life ( = suffering) and the fact about nibbana ( = end of suffering = end of sankhara = end of existence = nothing left) seems so... meaningless
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Re: The value of nibbana

Postby char101 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:47 pm

rowyourboat wrote:in this type of situation I think it is better to look at the positive outcome of attaining nibbana, rather than debating the metaphysics. This is simply the ending of all forms of mental suffering brought on by whatever the world throws at us. The result is clarity, mindfulness, joy and peace. Surely that is worthwhile?


Hi rowyourboat,

They are very worthwhile, but they also can be experienced without reaching nibbana, e.g. by achieving jhana. Also clarity, mindfulness, joy, and peace are experiences, experiences are conditioned and not satisfying.

When nibbana is taken as the end of suffering, I see the meaning of suffering as sankhara, all which are conditioned, i.e. the mind and body, so the end of suffering can be read as the end of mind and body not just common suffering.
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