Confusion about eternally of "soul"

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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Zom » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:57 pm

Because permanence of any sort isn't a factual reality. The Suttas, time and again, hammer this point home, and consciousness is no exception.


Yes, but this doesn't "touch" this out-of-world consciousness which will be ever after arahant's death.
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby pegembara » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:17 pm

Zom wrote:
Because permanence of any sort isn't a factual reality. The Suttas, time and again, hammer this point home, and consciousness is no exception.


Yes, but this doesn't "touch" this out-of-world consciousness which will be ever after arahant's death.



This would appear more to be Advaita than Buddhism.

According to Adi Shankara, God, the Supreme Cosmic Spirit or Brahman (pronounced [ˈbrəh.mən]; nominative singular Brahma, [ˈbrəh.mə]) is the One, the whole and the only reality. Other than Brahman, everything else, including the universe, material objects and individuals, are false. Brahman is at best described as that infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, incorporeal, impersonal, transcendent reality that is the divine ground of all Being. Brahman is often described as neti neti meaning "not this, not this" because Brahman cannot be correctly described as this or that. 'It' (grammatically neutral, but exceptionally treated as masculine)is the origin of this and that, the origin of forces, substances, all of existence, the undefined, the basis of all, unborn, the essential truth, unchanging, eternal, the absolute. How can it be properly described as something in the material world when itself is the basis of reality? Brahman is also beyond the senses, it would be akin a blind man trying to correctly describe color. It, though not necessarily a form of physical matter, is the substrate of the material world, which in turn is its illusory transformation. Brahman is not the effect of the world. Brahman is said to be the purest knowledge itself, and is illuminant like a source of infinite light.
Due to ignorance (avidyā), the Brahman is visible as the material world and its objects. The actual Brahman is attributeless and formless (see Nirguna Brahman). It is the Self-existent, the Absolute and the Imperishable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Ve ... s_of_truth
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Nosta » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:17 pm

I am (still) doing some homework, and reading the links someone gave here.
From what i understand, "we"/"i" is just the 5 skhandas. "we" are just sensations, volitions, toughts. Nibbana is reached when these cease to exist. So, can i conclude (and i know that i wrong, but i dont get where) that:
1) A rock is closer to nibbana than any person, since the rock has no aggregates.
2) After reaching nibbana, the 5 aggregates cease to exist, so the "i" is completly anihilated...and that is nihilism...???!! It like, at an higher level, buddhism speaks on nihilism. Where are my mistakes??
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby bodom » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:27 pm

Nosta wrote:1) A rock is closer to nibbana than any person, since the rock has no aggregates.
2) After reaching nibbana, the 5 aggregates cease to exist, so the "i" is completly anihilated...and that is nihilism...???!!


1) A rock has the aggregate of form but not the four mental aggregate's.

2) There is no "I" to be found within or apart from the five aggregate's so who then is annihilated?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Nosta » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:53 pm

But still, nihilism is there: if 5 aggregates disapear with Nibbana (is that so, do they disapear?), isnt that total desintegration of something?
By the way, there are some aspects of nibbana that i still dont get: when a person (5 aggregates) reaches paranirvana (in a rude way: when reaches death of body and nibbana), when such 5 aggregates come to an end, what is there to exist? Nothing? Is the state of nibbana, some state imbued with some kind of inteligence? I suppose not. And if i am correct, that means that after nibbana, the "thing", the 5 aggregates, the "i", etc ceases to exist and as consequence, ceases to have compassion and be aware of beings suffering?

This is really confusing lol.

I remember reading sonething about how things come to become 5 aggregates. It was a great explanation of a master (dont remember the name) that usded a kind of analogy: first there is an empty space, a free, immense and fresh space. Then, something starts to swirl on that space. A kind of win, lets say. Thw wind sees itself as another entity, different from the immense space. Thats the first appearance of the "i". From here, that wind starts to develop even more illusions. For example, wth win will call to other winds "others" or "not me"; it will get attracted to a color or feel fear for a given sound...and so on until we have the "i" completly created. I dont know if i was very clear on this explanation (not mine), but using it, can we compare our "initial state" (the immense space) to nibbana? Can we say that nibbana is (this is an analogy! be aware of that) like a never ending space and that people (or "5 aggregates" beings/"i"/whatever) are just winds? Reaching nibbana would be like ceasing the wind i suppose...

What i dont get here is this: if our Original Nature is Nibbana, why there still exist 5 aggregates and how do "i" exist? If the original nature is nibbana, that nature could never (i think) get to create "lower" states of existence.

My mind is in big mess lol, but that is good, it means i am learning :-P
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:57 pm

Greetings Nosta,

Nosta wrote:What i dont get here is this: if our Original Nature is Nibbana, why there still exist 5 aggregates and how do "i" exist? If the original nature is nibbana, that nature could never (i think) get to create "lower" states of existence.


Thankfully, this isn't the Theravada point of view, quite possibly for the reasons you specify here.

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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Kenshou » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:06 pm

Nosta wrote:But still, nihilism is there: if 5 aggregates disapear with Nibbana (is that so, do they disapear?), isnt that total desintegration of something?


Maybe "disappear" isn't the right word. Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, as far as we know, but they can be redistributed. When an Arahant dies, the aggregates no longer work together to support the continual becoming of the being, but, the matter that the body was made up of, for example, doesn't disappear, it rots like any other living matter.


By the way, there are some aspects of nibbana that i still dont get: when a person (5 aggregates) reaches paranirvana (in a rude way: when reaches death of body and nibbana), when such 5 aggregates come to an end, what is there to exist? Nothing? Is the state of nibbana, some state imbued with some kind of inteligence? I suppose not. And if i am correct, that means that after nibbana, the "thing", the 5 aggregates, the "i", etc ceases to exist and as consequence, ceases to have compassion and be aware of beings suffering?


You can't really say much about it directly. Look here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... bbana.html

However, since the aggregates have been dispersed and the processes of a being have ceased, I don't believe you could say that there is any sort of cognizance. Consciousness is one of the aggregates, and upon parinibbana, the conditions for consciousness end.

I remember reading sonething about how things come to become 5 aggregates....


I think this is getting into the realm of things that, so to say, Buddhism doesn't bother speculating about. To paraphrase from a sutta which I don't have in hand at the moment, "Though an origin is not discernible, beings are transmigrating onward..."

What i dont get here is this: if our Original Nature is Nibbana, why there still exist 5 aggregates and how do "i" exist? If the original nature is nibbana, that nature could never (i think) get to create "lower" states of existence.


This original nature thing isn't part of the Theravada, it's more of a Mahayana-and-friends thing.
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:27 pm

This seems to be a philosophical debate and I am not good at those but since the OP asked for a Mahayana view and none has been given yet, I will venture one.

(of course this is only my imperfect understanding)

Original Nature in Mahayana is nor a self, but simply reality when all delusion is removed. So in that sense it is original because it is unborn, unconditioned, not subject to arising and passing away. The aggregates in their usual deluded functioning serve to reify (perceive as consisting of objects) reality, conceptualise and discriminate thereby perpetuating the delusion. In practice "objects" are seen as ever-changing and without intrinsic nature - i.e. empty, and the aggregates are likewise seen as empty and arising due to causes and conditions. Through this insight they are also "dissolved" into the Original Nature where reality is originally undivided and not subject to discrimination either by the senses or by the mind. Of course conceptual thought can still take place whenever necessary but it is a tool, a servant rather than the master.

So Original Nature is neither eternal nor not - it is not an object and there is no one perceiving it. All dualism is a product of conceptual proliferation and discrimination and basically ignorance.
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby pegembara » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:59 am

Nosta wrote:I am (still) doing some homework, and reading the links someone gave here.
From what i understand, "we"/"i" is just the 5 skhandas. "we" are just sensations, volitions, toughts. Nibbana is reached when these cease to exist. So, can i conclude (and i know that i wrong, but i dont get where) that:
1) A rock is closer to nibbana than any person, since the rock has no aggregates.
2) After reaching nibbana, the 5 aggregates cease to exist, so the "i" is completly anihilated...and that is nihilism...???!! It like, at an higher level, buddhism speaks on nihilism. Where are my mistakes??



The 5 aggregates are still there after enlightenment. The Buddha still had bodily pains, he certainly had thoughts, feelings and memories. He also had to deal with enemies who tried to harm him.

But he no longer had dukkha by not identifying the aggregates as me or mine. The mind is free, only bodily pains remained.
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby pegembara » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:10 am

Nosta,

Hope this helps

Rupa = Form

Nama = Feelings/ Memories/ Thoughts/ Consciousness ie. vedana/ sanna/ sankhara/vinnana

According to the Buddha, rupa not only refers to the physical body but also includes everything in the universe as one entity! Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch are received through the 5 sense organs. No matter how much we know about this cosmos, our solar system and earth including everything that is happening on the surface of this planet from domestic to global affairs – this entirety is referred to as a singular noun and is swept under the first grouping of rupa!

Hence, it isn’t wrong to see yourself as the centre of the universe because without your senses, the cosmos does not exist to you. When you are in any of those events, sleeping, unconscious, in a coma, your senses cease to function due to the absence of your mental self. At that moment, your very own private universe disappears too although it very much exists for other people who are fully conscious.

Once these vast diversities of sense objects walk over the bridges of perception and enter your inner world (mental world), the 5 sense objects have no choice but to abandon their material forms and turn into non-material entity (energy): memories, thoughts and feelings. In other words, sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tangible sensations carry exactly the same information and details but in different forms, that’s all.

Say you are watching a football match. Those exciting events on the football field begin their journey into your inner world as sights, sounds, smell, tastes and touch. For clearer image, let’s turn these five sense objects into 5 young men. These 5 strong men would then sprint through the five bridges (eyes, ears), and instantaneously transform into the formless energy (memories, thoughts and feelings) who is greeted by your mental self. Only then, will the whole experience of the football match be completed.

By using the five grouping approach, the Buddha has placed consciousness as an additional sense, the 6th sense! The Buddha always classes human as a life form with six senses, whereas intellectuals view it with five senses only. The 6th sense is indeed the mental eyes belonging to your mental self. If so, what then are the sense objects to our 6th sense? Memories, thoughts and feelings.

Every sense must correspond to its own sense object or every metaphoric man crosses his own bridge. They cannot cross perceive. You cannot use eyes to perceive smells; neither can you use ears to perceive thoughts, memories and feelings. They must work together in pairs:
• Eyes perceive sights
• Ears perceive sounds
• Nose perceives smells
• Tongue perceives tastes
• Body perceives physical sensations
• Mental eye perceives thoughts, memories and feelings

Consciousness is the key factor of the mind. It is the basic awareness of the object, the light of awareness which makes all experience possible ie. eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind consciousness.

• Physical self relates to the external world of sight, sounds, smells, tastes and
touch (rupa)
• Mental self relates to the inner world of thoughts, memories and
feelings (nama)
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:38 am

pegembara wrote:According to the Buddha, rupa not only refers to the physical body but also includes everything in the universe as one entity!
One entity? Please elaborate.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Zom » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:05 am

When you are in any of those events, sleeping, unconscious, in a coma, your senses cease to function due to the absence of your mental self.


Good example. Does that mean that the state of coma or deep sleep as any unconscious state equals to nibbana (to be more exact - parinibbana)? =)

One one hand we can say yes - sinse in deep sleep we have no suffering at all. Since actually.. we have nothing there, and that includes suffering too. If this state would be eternal - there would be no suffering, never, without any possibility to wake up and get a full dose )))) What is more - if we say "no self", then there is in reality no one, who "annihilates", that's why there is nothing to fear - fear is a delusion that "I do exist". If no such fear, why worry about endless coma? =)

On the other hand here stands the discription that nibbana is the highest sukha, it is pleasant (and so here we have that "endless mind" theory of Ven. Thanissaro and some other teachers, and critisism of "no self" as wrong opinion, since Buddha didn't say that there is no self =).


Those who don't agree with endless mind as parinibbana, say that this theory is still a clining to some kind of transcendent existence.
Those who agree - say that "total emptiness" as parinibbana is wrong view of annihilationism.

Quite interesting, eh.. ? ))
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Wind » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:11 am

Read this Sutta, the Buddha was asked if there is a "self".

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby pegembara » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:00 am

tiltbillings wrote:
pegembara wrote:According to the Buddha, rupa not only refers to the physical body but also includes everything in the universe as one entity!
One entity? Please elaborate.


The external world exists in dependence on the 5 senses represented by rupa. No eyes, no color; no ears, no sound, no body no temperature. We use instruments to extend our "senses" eg. microscopes, telescopes etc. No senses no external world.
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:07 pm

pegembara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
pegembara wrote:According to the Buddha, rupa not only refers to the physical body but also includes everything in the universe as one entity!
One entity? Please elaborate.


The external world exists in dependence on the 5 senses represented by rupa. No eyes, no color; no ears, no sound, no body no temperature. We use instruments to extend our "senses" eg. microscopes, telescopes etc. No senses no external world.

Does not quite point to "the universe as one entity."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby bodom » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:27 pm

Dependently arisen (paticcasamupaddha) does not imply that "all is one" but that things only exist due to many causes and conditions.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:02 pm

I'm reminded of the ignoble vs the noble search. To say that deep sleep is nibbana (or parinibbana) I think is totally wrong. Sleep is subject to at least one of the list: birth, aging, sickness, death, sorrow and defilement. Deep sleep of any kind (unconsciousness, coma, etc) is impermanent and, therefore, not possibly nibbana. The most 'permanent' sleep I can think of is death, and even that is taught to be impermanent (punabbhava) and therefore not nibbana.
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby pegembara » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:42 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:I'm reminded of the ignoble vs the noble search. To say that deep sleep is nibbana (or parinibbana) I think is totally wrong. Sleep is subject to at least one of the list: birth, aging, sickness, death, sorrow and defilement. Deep sleep of any kind (unconsciousness, coma, etc) is impermanent and, therefore, not possibly nibbana. The most 'permanent' sleep I can think of is death, and even that is taught to be impermanent (punabbhava) and therefore not nibbana.


Deep sleep is not nibbana. Is normal death same as parinibbana? If not why not? Hoping for some answers here.
Some believe the difference between "permanent sleep" and parinibbana is the bhavanga state. Is bhavanga canonical?

When a person is fast asleep and is in a dreamless state, he experiences a kind of consciousness which is more or less passive than active. It is similar to the consciousness one experiences at the moment of conception and at the moment of death (cuti). The Buddhist philosophical term for this type of consciousness is Bhavanga which means factor of life, or indispensable cause or condition of existence.

Bhavanga is so called because it is an essential condition for continued existence. Life-continuum has been suggested as the closest English equivalent for Bhavanga.

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/bu ... each20.htm



“There are, bhikkhus, two elements of Nibbana with basis still remaining. Here,
bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is an Arahant, one who has destroyed the defilements who has lived
the life, done what was to be done, laid aside the burden, who has attained his goal, who
has destroyed the fetters of existence, who has rightly understood, is delivered. His five
sense organs still remain and as he is not devoid of them he undergoes the pleasant and
the unpleasant experiences. That destruction of his attachment, hatred and delusion is
called the element of Nibbana with the basis still remaining.

“What, bhikkhus, is the element of Nibbana without the basis?

Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is an arahant…is delivered. In this very life, all
sensations will have no delight for him…(after his death when the body and all senses
cease) (Udana)


:namaste:
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby PeterB » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:53 pm

bodom wrote:Dependently arisen (paticcasamupaddha) does not imply that "all is one" but that things only exist due to many causes and conditions.

:anjali:

I think that we can saftely say that Dependant Origination and the idea that " all is one" are mutually incompatible.
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Re: Confusion about eternally of "soul"

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:07 pm

pegembara wrote:Some believe the difference between "permanent sleep" and parinibbana is the bhavanga state.

My point (although poorly made) was that there is no 'permanent sleep'. My understanding is that even death is impermanent. If it wasn't, we wouldn't have to bother practicing, we could end our suffering really quickly via self-euthanasia. It's a good thing the Buddha didn't teach that, or the Pali Canon would be much much shorter!

Edit: Nibbana is clearly defined as the unborn, the unaging, unsusceptible to sickness, the undying, the non-sorrowful, the undefiled supreme liberation from bondage, unbinding etc. I don't think that means one who has attained nibbana is unaging, unsusceptible to sickness etc but that the state of nibbana is the one permanent thing. Maybe that's why it sits outside the dhamma seals (or I've also seen it listed as a fourth dhamma seal). You can wake up from being asleep, hence sleep is subject to 'death'. From this, my understanding is that nibbana is not something you can 'lose'.

Of course, my understand may be completely wrong :) it wouldn't be the first time.
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