Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby Akuma » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:00 pm

starter wrote:As my comprehension of anatta and the essence of the mind (pure mind) increases, I find it "silly" now to contemplate the uncertainty of life and certainty of death -- both are anatta anyway, and the mind essence has no real change (no birth no death)


You are mixing up nature of mind with the nature of the nature of mind.
For example the emptiness of a apple-seed is not the same as the emptiness of the apple-tree. They are different absences altho both absences are characterized by their "absenceness". This is true for all the cittas and all the rupas which are momentary so their emptiness is also momentary and is therefore subject to birth and death.
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:18 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:So if the teaching of the Buddhas is "purify the mind" - we shouldn't conclude that Nibbana is the purified mind?
Maybe, but what would you do with the word "essence."

What I would do with the word "essence" is first, try to see if the person using it has explained that in more detail. The word itself doesn't mean much to me. What is the "essence" of anything? But never mind "essence" what does someone mean when they use the word "mind"? That's another question I'd have. I'd hope to get an explanation of what was being referred to. But if some reasonably clear explanation was available, then I would examine my own experience (perhaps there is a method suggested) to see if I can see for myself whatever is being discussed by this phrase "mind essence."

For example. I've been reading "Small Boat, Great Mountain" by Ajahn Amaro. This appears in the preface by Guy Armstrong:

The Mahayana doctrine of Buddha-nature, for instance, tells us that our very essence is an unborn and undying awareness."


Hm. Ok well I dunno about "essence" or "unborn" or "undying" but I can experience "awareness" or maybe more precisely just "be aware" so that's something.

Then Ajahn Amaro uses the expression "mind-essence" six times in the text. I'll quote all six sections here so we have something to talk about. (Side note: lest someone accuse me of "doing damage" to the meaning-in-context or whatever, by all means go read the full text. And even better, if you find the context changes the meaning or understanding of the quotes, please come back and say whatever it is you found. http://abhayagiri.ehclients.com/pdf/books/SmallBoat.pdf)

The natural ability to separate mind (or mind-essence, to use Dzogchen terminology) and mind objects is clearly reflected in the Pali language.

At this point, we can truly can see that the mind is one thing
and the mind-objects are another. We can see the true nature of
mind, mind-essence, which knows experience and in which all
of life happens; and we can see that that transcendent quality is
devoid of relationship to individuality, space, time, and movement. All of the objects of the world—its people, our routines
and mind states—appear and disappear within that space.

When we ask “who” or “what,” for a moment the thinking mind trips over its own feet. It fumbles. In that space, before it can piece together an answer or an identity, there is timeless peace and freedom. Through that peaceful space the innate quality of mind, mind-essence, appears.

I mentioned the insight that Ajahn Chah had in studying with
Ajahn Mun when he spent a few days with him: there is the mind
and there are its objects, and the two are intrinsically separate
from each other. In Theravada phraseology, this is the way it’s put:
mind with a big “m,” Mind, and mind-objects. The Dzogchen tradition has a similar way of addressing this same insight: there is
mind (small “m”) and there is mind-essence. The word “mind”
is used here as meaning the conditioned mind, the dualistic mind,
and the term “mind-essence” is used for the unconditioned
mind. There is the conditioned and the unconditioned. As you
can see, a powerful resonance exists between the two practices
even though they might use the same words in different ways.
Another way that Ajahn Mun phrased it, in his enlightenment verses called “The Ballad of Liberation from the
Khandhas,” is with this show stopper:
'The Dhamma stays as the Dhamma,
the khandhas stay as the khandhas.
That’s all.'
In the Sanskrit that would be skandhas: the body, feelings,
perceptions, mental formations, consciousness. So the Dharma is
the Dharma and the skandhas are the skandhas. There is the conditioned; there is the unconditioned. There is mind; there is
mind-essence. That’s it. This is all we need to know.
Ajahn Chah had heard that from Ajahn Mun and was profoundly affected by it.

So. I'd say that's "workable." Meaning, I can see what is being talked about. Especially the part about when "the mind trips over its own feet." (And I don't stop and yell, "the mind doesn't have feet! :lol: ) That experience is something I can observe for myself and if that's what's meant by "mind-essence" then yeah, that experience happens, it's real. Now I would say it still leaves as an open question, for me - "is this really unborn and undying? Is this really unconditioned?" And on that point, rather than taking a position, I'll take the advice to explore that "space" and try to see for myself whether it is unborn and undying or not.
"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
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby starter » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:31 pm

rowyourboat wrote:The second you think of a conscious nibbana it is eternalism all the way!

With metta

Matheesha


Hello Matheesha,

Because of the importance to understand nibbana correctly to eliminate the ignorance of the third noble truth, I'd like to continue this discussion.

To my understanding of the Buddha's teaching, indeed there's no five aggregate consciousness in nibbana. But whether or not the unconditioned, "luminous all-around" transcendental "consciousness" of arahants disappears or not when they enter final nibbana is a question. Even when Ven Sariputta enters the sphere of cessation of perception and feeling, he was still conscious of nothingness/emptiness there, not without consciousness of the state. The Buddha indicated that FREED FROM THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE FIVE AGGREGATES, "THE TATHAGATA (THE UNCONDITIONED) IS DEEP, BOUNDLESS, HARD TO FATHOM, LIKE THE SEA -- so he was "conscious" (transcendental consciousness) of such a state of nibbana, not without any "consciousness" (transcendental consciousness).

In Bikkhu Bodhi's NIBBANA (http://hkims.org/documents/Nibbana%20by ... 0Bodhi.pdf), he explains nibbana based upon the Buddha's teachings:

"By practising the path one doesn't bring Nibbana into existence but rather discovers something already existing, something always present.
it is an actuality and the Buddha refers to Nibbana as an unconditioned Dhamma.

The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as an 'ayatana'. This means realm, plane or sphere. It is a sphere where there is nothing [conditioned things] at all that corresponds to our mundane experience.

The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'dhatu,' an element, the 'deathless element' (amata-dhatu). He compares the element of Nibbana to an ocean. He says that just as the great ocean remains at the same level no matter how much water pours into it from the rivers, without increase or decrease, so the Nibbana element remains the same, no matter whether many or few people attain Nibbana. [because it’s pure emptiness].

He also speaks of Nibbana as something that can be experienced by the body, an experience that is so vivid, so powerful, that it can be described as "touching the deathless element with one's own body."

The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'state' (pada), as 'amatapada' - the deathless state - or ‘accutapada’, the imperishable state.
Another word used by the Buddha to refer to Nibbana is 'sacca', which means 'truth', an existing reality. This refers to Nibbana as the truth, a reality that the Noble Ones have known through direct experience.

So all these terms, considered as a whole, clearly establish that Nibbana is an actual reality and not the mere destruction of defilements or the cessation of existence. Nibbana is unconditioned, without any origination and is timeless.

The story of the Turtle and the Fish

To illustrate this error of regarding Nibbana as sheer nothingness [emptiness doesn't equal to (transcendental) nothingness], the Buddhists relate the story of the turtle and the fish. There was once a turtle who lived in a lake with a group of fish. One day the turtle went for a walk on dry land. He was away from the lake for a few weeks. When he returned he met some of the fish. The fish asked him, "Mister turtle, hello! How are you? We have not seen you for a few weeks. Where have you been? The turtle said, "I was up on the land, I have been spending some time on dry land." The fish were a little puzzled and they said, "Up on dry land? What are you talking about? What is this dry land? Is it wet?" The turtle said "No, it is not," "Is it cool and refreshing?" "No, it is not", "Does it have waves and ripples?" "No, it does not have waves and ripples." "Can you swim in it?" "No you can't" So the fish said, "it is not wet, it is not cool, there are no waves, you can’t swim in it. So this dry land of yours must be completely non-existent, just an imaginary thing, nothing real at all." The turtle said that "Well, may be so" and he left the fish and went for another walk on dry land.

Metta to all,

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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:38 pm

starter wrote:"THE TATHAGATA (THE UNCONDITIONED)
A tathagata is, by definition in the suttas, unconditioned only in as much as she is free of the conditioning of greed, hatred, and delusion.

There is no "The Unconditioned" outside of one being free of greed, hatred, and delusion.
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: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:31 pm

Starter,

Whatever labels are used to describe nibbana, we know that we will not be able to define it accurately - including the statement 'Nibbana exists'. So the first thing to do is to stop trying to pin down nibbana.. whatever the suttas say about it in positive terms, it runs a serious risk of misleading our minds, which are used to think in terms of existing and not existing.

The next thing I want to say is -there really isn't a self- even one which merges with 'the great ocean'. When we objectify (reify?) nibbana as an 'ocean' we get into all kinds of trouble.

The only thing we can do safely with nibbana, is to say what it doesnt have. Now, I believe great harm has been done to the dhamma by 'anidassana vinnana' and the 'one which knows' being used inaccurately. There is no consciousness in nibbana, of any kind. People have gone so far as to come up with a brand new consciousness called abhisankhatha vinnana which is apparently supposed to see nibbana- but this is all post-Buddha fabrications. People simply trying to get their handles on nibbana- especially academics, who need such handles badly, fall into this trap.

"The Dhamma thus well-proclaimed by me is clear, open, evident, stripped of rags. In the Dhamma thus well-proclaimed by me — clear, open, evident, stripped of rags — there is for those monks who are arahants — whose mental effluents are ended, who have reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who are released through right gnosis — no (future) cycle for manifestation. This is how the Dhamma well-proclaimed by me is clear, open, evident, stripped of rags. [17]


I think we can agree as far as aggregates go, nibbana is DEATH -the ending of rebirth.

37. "So teaching, so proclaiming, O monks, I have been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans: 'A nihilist[38] is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'[39]
"As I am not as I do not teach, so have I been baselessly, vainly, falsely and wrongly accused by some ascetics and brahmans thus: 'A nihilist is the ascetic Gotama; He teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the non-being of an existing individual.'
"What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html


There is no existing individual. All there exists is aggregates, which get destroyed. Hence it would be correct to 'blame' the Buddha re destroying aggregates, but not existing individuals (because, even now, none exist). He only teaches cessation of suffering- Dukkha is of three levels- dukkhe dukkha (general sadness/suffering/pain), viparinama dukka (sadness arising from change/clinging), sankhara dukkha (unsatisfactoriness of fabrications, due to impermanence). Now to understand that this samsara is made up of aggregates (and nothing else), and that all that arises is suffering is extremely important. Nibbana is the complete cessation of all that arises...all that suffering. If we simply remove the defilements we have a state where experiences keep happening- things keep changing- viparinama dukkha and sankhara dukkha have not been erradicated. The solution the Buddha offers is far deeper than that! The question is are we ready for that.

"He assumes about the view-position — 'This cosmos is the self. [8] After death this I will be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change. I will stay just like that for an eternity': 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'
"Monks, where a self or what belongs to self are not pinned down as a truth or reality, then the view-position — 'This cosmos is the self. After death this I will be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change. I will stay just like that for an eternity' — Isn't it utterly & completely a fool's teaching?"

"What else could it be, lord? It's utterly & completely a fool's teaching."


Even without a self, this idea of somehow 'continuing' is non-sense, it is hinduism, it is every other religion you care to think of (no disrespect to those religions but..)

"There might, monk," the Blessed One said. "There is the case where someone doesn't have this view: 'This cosmos is the self. After death this I will be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change. I will stay just like that for an eternity.' He hears a Tathagata or a Tathagata's disciple teaching the Dhamma for the elimination of all view-positions, determinations, biases, inclinations, & obsessions; for the stilling of all fabrications; for the relinquishing of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. The thought doesn't occur to him, 'So it might be that I will be annihilated! So it might be that I will perish! So it might be that I will not exist!' He doesn't grieve, isn't tormented, doesn't weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. It's thus that there is non-agitation over what is internally not present."


Give up making views about personal bliss/luminosity/continuity beyond the death of an arahanth. Just experience the Truth through vipassana. That is beyond all views- you can experience the indescribable... or even 'not experience' it.

"Monks, you would do well to possess that possession, the possession of which would be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, that would stay just like that for an eternity. But do you see that possession, the possession of which would be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, that would stay just like that for an eternity?"
"No, lord."
"Very good, monks. I, too, do not envision a possession, the possession of which would be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, that would stay just like that for an eternity.


Let go of trying grasp (intellectually) what nibbana is.

There is no other consciousness, other than the consciousness mentioned in the five aggregates.

"Therefore, monks, whatever isn't yours: Let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term welfare & happiness. And what isn't yours? Form (body) isn't yours: Let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term welfare & happiness. Feeling isn't yours... Perception... Thought fabrications... Consciousness isn't yours: Let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term welfare & happiness.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#dukkha



Why should we let go of consciousness?

"And how is the nutriment of consciousness to be regarded? Suppose that, having arrested a thief, a criminal, they were to show him to the king: 'This is a thief, a criminal for you, your majesty. Impose on him whatever punishment you like.' So the king would say, 'Go, men, and shoot him in the morning with a hundred spears.' So they would shoot him in the morning with a hundred spears. Then the king would say at noon, 'Men, how is that man?' 'Still alive, your majesty.' So the king would say, 'Go, men, and shoot him at noon with a hundred spears.' So they would shoot him at noon with a hundred spears. Then the king would say in the evening, 'Men, how is that man?' 'Still alive, your majesty.' So the king would say, 'Go, men, and shoot him in the evening with a hundred spears.' So they would shoot him in the evening with a hundred spears. Now what do you think, monks: Would that man, being shot with three hundred spears a day, experience pain & distress from that cause?"
"Even if he were to be shot with only one spear, lord, he would experience pain & distress from that cause, to say nothing of three hundred spears."
"In the same say, I tell you, monks, is the nutriment of consciousness to be regarded. When the nutriment of consciousness is comprehended, name & form are comprehended. When name & form are comprehended, I tell you, there is nothing further for a disciple of the noble ones to do."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta

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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:32 am

rowyourboat wrote:I think we can agree as far as aggregates go, nibbana is DEATH -the ending of rebirth.
Where does the Buddha say directly in the suttas that nibbana is death? Nibbana is referred to as amata - no more rebirth, thus freedom from death, but that is considerably different from saying nibbana is death.

There is no other consciousness, other than the consciousness mentioned in the five aggregates.
Not quite true, given that viññāna shows up in other doctrinal formulation than just the khandhas.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:13 pm

Hi Tilt,

Yes, I think you are right. I meant death of the aggregates, to hopefully prove a point- people are attached to aggregates as much as they are to 'people'.

But I am mixing up conventional with the ultimate- not good enough in this type of discussion. Death is conventional. Passing away or non- arising/complete cessation maybe better terms when referring to aggregates. While that would be more accurate it doesn't quite drive home my point.

If I said that Buddhist practice leads to death of the arahanth at the end of this life (having wiped out rebirth) I wonder how people would feel about that.

57. "When, friends, a noble disciple understands consciousness, the origin of consciousness, the cessation of consciousness, and the way leading to the cessation of consciousness, in that way he is one of right view... and has arrived at this true Dhamma.

58. "And what is consciousness, what is the origin of consciousness, what is the cessation of consciousness, what is the way leading to the cessation of consciousness? There are these six classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness. With the arising of formations there is the arising of consciousness. With the cessation of formations there is the cessation of consciousness. The way leading to the cessation of consciousness is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view... right concentration.

59. "When a noble disciple has thus understood consciousness, the origin of consciousness, the cessation of consciousness, and the way leading to the cessation of consciousness... he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view... and has arrived at this true Dhamma."

-Sammaditti sutta/MN


There is this and anidassana vinnana, which in my opinion refers to phala states, where no Nama- rupa manifest. That particular sutta itself goes on to talk about the ceasing of consciousness. This is an 'ending' to stop/top all endings. Often that comes before the phala state and is instantaneous. Phala states are more prolonged absorption into a type of 'nibbana' or stilling or 'going out' (as in a flame), yet with some degree of awareness, which itself can be stilled. These are well known in Mahasi meditative circles and tradition which follows a visuddhimagga approach. Well, no other types of consciousness are mentioned in the suttas. This may not be a very satisfactory answer, but when I line up suttas with experience and the teachings of a living tradition it all falls satisfactorily into place. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I personally see nothing but dukkha arising, and have no wish to live an eternal samsara as some form of consciousness. - because that would not be a compete end to suffering.

With metta

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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby pegembara » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:19 pm

I think one must be careful not to go too far in defining/reifying what is nibbana.

"Now what, lady, lies on the other side of pleasant feeling?"

"Passion[greed] lies on the other side of pleasant feeling."

"And what lies on the other side of painful feeling?"

"Resistance[hatred] lies on the other side of painful feeling." [7]

"What lies on the other side of neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling?"

"Ignorance[delusion] lies on the other side of neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling."

"What lies on the other side of ignorance?"

"Clear knowing lies on the other side of ignorance."

"What lies on the other side of clear knowing?"

"Release lies on the other side of clear knowing."

"What lies on the other side of release?"

"Unbinding lies on the other side of release."

"What lies on the other side of Unbinding?"

"You've gone too far, friend Visakha. You can't keep holding on up to the limit of questions. For the holy life gains a footing in Unbinding, culminates in Unbinding, has Unbinding as its final end. If you wish, go to the Blessed One and ask him the meaning of these things. Whatever he says, that's how you should remember it."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:59 pm

pegembara wrote:I think one must be careful not to go too far in defining/reifying what is nibbana.
Which is a point I have tried to make here more than once.
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: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby Kenshou » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:40 pm

rowyourboat wrote:and have no wish to live an eternal samsara as some form of consciousness

Just because one does not hold the same view as yourself, does not necessarily mean that they regard nibbana as some kind of eternal consciousness, or the arising of consciousness as good and pleasurable. It is my impression that you are prone to that notion, but there is another option.

Relatedly, "abhisankhata viññana", which you mentioned and which came up in the previous discussion of Ven. Ñanananda, is not some kind of consciousness that "sees" nibbana as you have said. Abhisankhata viññana is consciousness which is bound up in craving, aversion, and delusion and which ceases when those cease. It is SN 12.38's "supported consciousness". The cessation of craving/aversion/delusion is certainly a concept found in the suttas, even though that certain term which ven. Ñ has used in his writings may not be. Same underlying idea. And when that "abhisankhata viññana" (or alternatively craving/aversion/delusion) breaks down, what's in it's place is clear knowledge of the nature of things, which is merely the consummate understanding of the impermanence of phenomena which leads to dispassion and release. No eternal consciousness or anything else required.
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:10 pm

"There is, there isn't. There isn't, yet there is.

"Here I'm totally stymied
and can't figure it out.
Please explain what it means.

"There is birth of various causes & effects,
but they are not beings,
they all pass away.
This is clear,
the meaning of the first point:
There is, there isn't.
The second point, there isn't, yet there is:
This refers to the deep Dhamma,
the end of all three levels of existence,
where there are no sankharas,
and yet there is the stable Dhamma.
This is the Singular Dhamma, truly solitary.
The Dhamma is One & unchanging.
excelling all being, extremely still.
The object of the unmoving heart,
still & at respite,
quiet & clear.
No longer intoxicated,
no longer feverish,
its desires all uprooted,
its uncertainties shed,
its entanglement with the khandhas
all ended & appeased,
the gears of the three levels of the cosmos all broken,
overweening desire thrown away,
its loves brought to an end,
with no more possessiveness,
all troubles cured
as the heart had aspired.


~Phra Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera

http://www.wat-lao.org/PDFs/Bibliothek/ ... andhas.pdf
"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
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:19 pm

Yes, yes, but what does it mean?

kirk5a wrote:
"There is, there isn't. There isn't, yet there is.

"Here I'm totally stymied
and can't figure it out.
Please explain what it means.

"There is birth of various causes & effects,
but they are not beings,
they all pass away.
This is clear,
the meaning of the first point:
There is, there isn't.
The second point, there isn't, yet there is:
This refers to the deep Dhamma,
the end of all three levels of existence,
where there are no sankharas,
and yet there is the stable Dhamma.
This is the Singular Dhamma, truly solitary.
The Dhamma is One & unchanging.
excelling all being, extremely still.
The object of the unmoving heart,
still & at respite,
quiet & clear.
No longer intoxicated,
no longer feverish,
its desires all uprooted,
its uncertainties shed,
its entanglement with the khandhas
all ended & appeased,
the gears of the three levels of the cosmos all broken,
overweening desire thrown away,
its loves brought to an end,
with no more possessiveness,
all troubles cured
as the heart had aspired.


~Phra Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera

http://www.wat-lao.org/PDFs/Bibliothek/ ... andhas.pdf
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Yes, yes, but what does it mean?

lol... don't expect me to come up with something better.

But for me it really means what he says in the last line of the "Ballad of Liberation" - "Right or wrong, please ponder with discernment till you know."
"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
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:35 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Yes, yes, but what does it mean?

lol... don't expect me to come up with something better.

But for me it really means what he says in the last line of the "Ballad of Liberation" - "Right or wrong, please ponder with discernment till you know."
I can only shrug my shoulders.


This refers to the deep Dhamma,
the end of all three levels of existence,
where there are no sankharas,
and yet there is the stable Dhamma.
This is the Singular Dhamma, truly solitary.
The Dhamma is One & unchanging.
excelling all being, extremely still.
Looking at words such as this, they apparently mean something. Now, the assumption the Ven Mun was an arahant, so what he speaks must be the truth and must accurately reflect the Dhamma, the Buddha's teachings. Or . . . .
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby starter » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:59 pm

"There is, there isn't [conditioned phenomena]. There isn't , yet there is [unconditioned nibbana].

"Here I'm totally stymied
and can't figure it out.
Please explain what it means.

"There is birth of various causes & effects,
but they are not beings,
they all pass away.
This is clear,
the meaning of the first point:
There is, there isn't. -- [conditioned phenomena].

The second point, there isn't, yet there is:
This refers to the deep [unconditioned] Dhamma,
the end of all three levels of existence,
where there are no sankharas,
and yet there is the stable Dhamma.
This is the Singular Dhamma, truly solitary.
The Dhamma is One & unchanging.
excelling all being, extremely still.
The object of the unmoving heart,
still & at respite,
quiet & clear.
No longer intoxicated,
no longer feverish,
its desires all uprooted,
its uncertainties shed,
its entanglement with the khandhas
all ended & appeased,
the gears of the three levels of the cosmos all broken,
overweening desire thrown away,
its loves brought to an end,
with no more possessiveness,
all troubles cured
as the heart had aspired. -- [unconditioned nibbana].

~Phra Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera

http://www.wat-lao.org/PDFs/Bibliothek/ ... andhas.pdf
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:01 pm

unconditioned nibbana
And let us not forget that by definition in the suttas that "unconditioned nibbana" to arahant no longer being conditioned by greed, hatred, and delusion.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby starter » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:21 pm

Hi some food for thought:

Passages from suttas:

"Whatever states there are, whether conditioned or unconditioned, of these detachment is reckoned foremost, that is, the subduing of vanity, the elimination of thirst, the removal of reliance, the termination of the round (of rebirths), the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, Nibbana. Those who have faith in the Dhamma of detachment have faith in the foremost, and for those with faith in the foremost the result will be foremost." -- The Buddha

"These, bhikkhus, are the two Nibbana-elements.

These two Nibbana-elements were made known By the Seeing One, stable and unattached:

One is the element seen here and now With residue,
but with the cord of being destroyed;
The other, having no residue for the future,
Is that wherein all modes of being utterly cease.

Having understood the unconditioned state,
Released in mind with the cord of being destroyed,
They have attained to the Dhamma-essence.
Delighting in the destruction (of craving),
Those stable ones have abandoned all being."

-- § 44. The Nibbana-element {Iti 2.17; Iti 38}

""What, sire, is the Blessed One's jewel of the analytical knowledges? ... Whoever shall ask me a question on the analytical knowledge of Dhamma, to him I shall speak comparing doctrine with doctrine, the deathless with the deathless, the unconditioned with the unconditioned, Nibbana with Nibbana, emptiness with emptiness, the signless with the signless [non-manifestive], the undirected with the undirected, the imperturbable with the imperturbable." -- A Question (Solved by) Inference [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/miln/miln.5x.horn.html]

"When I had learnt of the undying state (nibbana), the unconditioned, through the instruction of the Tathagata, the Unrivalled One, I was highly and well restrained in the precepts and established in the Dhamma taught by the most excellent of men, the Awakened One." ... When I knew the undefiled place, the unconditioned, taught by the Tathagata, the Unrivalled One, I then and there experienced the calm concentration (of the noble path). That supreme certainty of release was mine." -- Sirima: Sirima's Mansion [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/vv/vv.1.16.irel.html]


Passages from other sources:

A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms: [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/glossary.html]

nibbida [nibbidaa]:
Disenchantment; aversion; disgust; weariness. The skillful turning-away of the mind from the conditioned samsaric world towards the unconditioned, the transcendent — nibbana



"Dhammaa can be applied to both conditioned and unconditioned things and states. It embraces both conditioned and unconditioned things including Nibbana." -- Ven. Narada Thera

"Nibbana, the Deathless, the unconditioned state [instead of a place] where there is no more birth, aging and death, and no more suffering".

"The highest fruition of merit is identical with the culmination of the Buddhist holy life itself — that is, emancipation from the shackles of samsaric existence and the realization of Nibbana, the unconditioned state beyond the insubstantial phenomena of the world." -- Bikkhu Bodhi

"Ultimate truth, in the Buddha's Teaching, is Nibbana, the unconditioned element (asankhata dhatu), and realization of ultimate truth the realization of Nibbana. Nibbana is the perfection of purity: the destruction of all passions, the eradication of clinging, the abolition of every impulse towards self-affirmation. The final thrust to the realization of Nibbana is the special province of wisdom, since wisdom alone is adequate to the task of comprehending all conditioned phenomena in their essential nature as impermanent, suffering and not-self, and of turning away from them to penetrate the unconditioned, where alone permanent freedom from suffering is to be found. But that this penetration may take place, our interior must be made commensurate in purity with the truth it would grasp, and this requires in the first instance that it be purged of all those elements obstructive to the florescence of a higher light and knowledge. The apprehension of Nibbana, this perfect purity secluded from the dust of passion, is only possible when a corresponding purity has been set up within ourselves. For only a pure mind can discern, through the dark mist of ignorance and defilement, the spotless purity of Nibbana, abiding in absolute solitude beyond the turmoil of the phenomenal procession. -- Bikkhu Bodhi

"With its cessation [of the five aggregates], there remained the experience of the unconditioned, which he also termed nibbana (Unbinding), consciousness without surface or feature, the Deathless [if not this transcendental consciousness, then what is deathless?]" -- The Meaning of the Buddha's Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/awakening.html]

Metta to all!
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:58 pm

starter wrote:Hi some food for thought:. . . .
And what is an "element" in this context; how is "element" used in other contexts in the suttas? One needs to be very careful about what one reads into these words. The interesting thing is that there is no sutta that states that there is a nibbana thing outside and other than the nibbanized arahant.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
This refers to the deep Dhamma,
the end of all three levels of existence,
where there are no sankharas,
and yet there is the stable Dhamma.
This is the Singular Dhamma, truly solitary.
The Dhamma is One & unchanging.
excelling all being, extremely still.
Looking at words such as this, they apparently mean something.

I'd say they suggest something, they point to something that can be known experientially. Ajahn Amaro took a stab at recasting that, in words:

In the Sanskrit that would be skandhas: the body, feelings,
perceptions, mental formations, consciousness. So the Dharma is
the Dharma and the skandhas are the skandhas. There is the conditioned; there is the unconditioned. There is mind; there is
mind-essence. That’s it. This is all we need to know.


Tilt:
Now, the assumption the Ven Mun was an arahant, so what he speaks must be the truth and must accurately reflect the Dhamma, the Buddha's teachings. Or . . . .

I'm fine with assuming he was an arahant. I can't know that for sure though. So, I'm not taking up as a position that he definitely was and his words must accurately reflect the Dhamma. Why would I do that, and how could I do that, not having that depth of experience where I can speak at that level and say, yep, that's how it is folks.

That is why, I think, Ajahn Mun concluded with this:
With that, the tale is ended. Right or wrong,
please ponder with discernment till you know.


In other words, even he didn't try to defend what he said and justify it in terms of the Buddha's teachings as found in the suttas. He just said (as I read it) "If i'm right or wrong, now you go see for yourself." What else are we really left to do? We could go rummaging around in the suttas until our heads explode trying to defend or deny those words. If even we reach a conclusion, either way, whether they are an accurate reflection of the Dhamma, or not, here we are again. Then what.

That said, I personally feel Ajahn Mun's telling is closer to what the Buddha was talking about than this "total cessation" business, and is certainly, at least, a weighty counterpoint to that notion. But hey, I'll keep on the lookout for whatever is of the nature to cease, to cease. :smile:
"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
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Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:35 pm

kirk5a wrote: Ajahn Amaro took a stab at recasting that, in words:

In the Sanskrit that would be skandhas: the body, feelings,
perceptions, mental formations, consciousness. So the Dharma is
the Dharma and the skandhas are the skandhas. There is the conditioned; there is the unconditioned. There is mind; there is
mind-essence. That’s it. This is all we need to know.
Is that all we need to know. There is "the uncondituioned" what? If one takes a look at how "asankhata" is used in the suttas, (not just one or two texts) one is very hard pressed to find a "the unconditioned" that is other than the nibbanized arahant free of greed, hatred, and delusion.

That said, I personally feel Ajahn Mun's telling is closer to what the Buddha was talking about than this "total cessation" business, and is certainly, at least, a weighty counterpoint to that notion. But hey, I'll keep on the lookout for whatever is of the nature to cease, to cease. :smile:
Am I advocating "total cessation?" "Total cessation" of what?
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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