"The Deathless" (amata)

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"The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:58 am

Greetings all,

Spawned from this post: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=10553#p160834" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - I decided to start a new topic rather than send that one off-topic...

tiltbillings wrote:Of course there is no “the deathless.”

Tilt ~ And since the deathless (amata) is an epithet for nibbana, you have effectively claimed that of course there is no nibbana – a rather bold statement on a Buddhist forum.

Your use of quotation marks however suggest your perspective on “the deathless” is a tad more nuanced than this... would you care to elaborate on what is so objectionable about "the deathless"?

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 Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings all,

Spawned from this post: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 53#p160834 - I decided to start a new topic rather than send that one off-topic...

tiltbillings wrote:Of course there is no “the deathless.”

Tilt ~ And since the the deathless (amata) is an epithet for nibbana, you have effectively claimed that of course there is no nibbana – a rather bold statement on a Buddhist forum.

Your use of quotation marks however suggest your perspective on “the deathless” is a tad more nuanced than this... would you care to elaborate on what is so objectionable able "the deathless"?

Metta,
Retro. :)
There is freedom from death because one is free from greed, hatred, and delusion, thusly free from birth, but there is no thing called "the deathless." This is a point I have made repeatedly over the years here and on e-sandbox.

"The deathless" is a clumsy translation which tends imply there is some "thing."

See:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10378&p=159172&#p159172
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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:39 am

Nibbana defined as simply being a state free from 'Greed, Hatred and Delusion' is selling it short. The language used to describe it in the suttas, especially in the Udana, seems to point at something more significant than that.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:There is freedom from death because one is free from greed, hatred, and delusion, thusly free from birth, but there is no thing called "the deathless." This is a point I have made repeatedly over the years here and on e-sandbox.


Just as a point of information: what is your response to a translation which renders "amata" as "birthlessness" ("deathlessness" is meant, but I wonder if birthlessness provides a more implicit reference to anatta when rendered in English).
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:16 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:"The deathless" is a clumsy translation which tends imply there is some "thing."

To me, however, though the [thing]less syntax tends only to indicate the absence of a certain thing - not the presence of an alternative thing.

Tilt wrote:See: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10378&p=159172&#p159172

Ah, it's a counter-theistic thing... no wonder it went right over my head.

Metta,
Retro, son of two atheists :)
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 Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:17 am

Viscid wrote:Nibbana defined as simply being a state free from 'Greed, Hatred and Delusion' is selling it short. The language used to describe it in the suttas, especially in the Udana, seems to point at something more significant than that.
Yes, the Atman, I am sure.
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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:"The deathless" is a clumsy translation which tends imply there is some "thing."

To me, however, though the [thing]less syntax tends only to indicate the absence of a certain thing - not the presence of an alternative thing.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Maybe, but it could indicate the presence of something -- the deathless, the unborn, the unmade, the unconditioned. What I find surprising, in light of your continual appeal to phenomenology, is the use of such non-process terminology.
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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:22 am

daverupa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:There is freedom from death because one is free from greed, hatred, and delusion, thusly free from birth, but there is no thing called "the deathless." This is a point I have made repeatedly over the years here and on e-sandbox.


Just as a point of information: what is your response to a translation which renders "amata" as "birthlessness" ("deathlessness" is meant, but I wonder if birthlessness provides a more implicit reference to anatta when rendered in English).
I have addressed this directly in the above linked msg, which I'll link again for you:


viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10378&p=159172&#p159172
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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:22 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:What I find surprising, in light of your continual appeal to phenomenology, is the use of such no process terminology.

I'd be happy to respond if I understood quite what you were getting at... (though I suspect the answer may lay in the differentation between sankhata dhamma and asankhata dhamma, and the inapplicability of the dependent origination to that which is not formed by avijja)

As for these objections to "the deathless", I suspect though that being the son of two atheists, many of these issues are non-issues for me... but then, that's precisely why I'm asking this question - so that I understand the basis or context of these objections/comments when they rise in conversation.

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 Deathless" (amata)

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Viscid wrote:Nibbana defined as simply being a state free from 'Greed, Hatred and Delusion' is selling it short. The language used to describe it in the suttas, especially in the Udana, seems to point at something more significant than that.
Yes, the Atman, I am sure.


Having never experienced Nibbana, I can't say what it is. I don't think it's something which has its own independent existence.. but if The Buddha wanted to convey that Nibbana was simply a state free from greed, hatred and delusion he'd have not used such confusing superfluous terminology to describe it.

Is Nibbana freedom from greed, hated and delusion? Yes, of course, but is it simply that and nothing else?


Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The state that supervenes when ignorance and craving have been uprooted is called Nibbana, and no conception in the Buddha’s teaching has proved so refractory to conceptual pinning down as this one. In a way such elusiveness is only to be expected, since Nibbana is described precisely as “profound, hard to see and hard to understand, ... unattainable by mere reasoning” (M 26.19). Yet in this same passage the Buddha also says that Nibbana is to be experienced by the wise and in the suttas he gives enough indications of its nature to convey some idea of its desirability. The Pali Canon offers sufficient evidence to dispense with the opinion of some interpreters that Nibbana is sheer annihilation; even the more sophisticated view that Nibbana is merely the destruction of defilements and the extinction of existence cannot stand up under scrutiny. Probably the most compelling testimony against that view is the well-known passage from the Udana that declares with reference to Nibbana that “there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned,” the existence of which makes possible “escape from the born, become, made and conditioned” (Ud 8.3). The Majjhima Nikaya characterises Nibbana in similar ways. It is “the unborn, unageing, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, undefiled supreme security from bondage,” which the Buddha attained to on the night of his enlightenment (M 26.18). Its pre-eminent reality is affirmed by the Buddha when he calls Nibbana the supreme foundation of truth, whose nature is undeceptive and which ranks as the supreme noble truth (M 140.26). Nibbana cannot be perceived by those who live in lust and hate, but it can be seen with the arising of spiritual vision, and by fixing the mind upon it in the depths of meditation, the disciple can attain the destruction of the taints [asava – also variously translated as ‘outflows’ or ‘corruptions’] (M 26.19, M 75.24, M 64.9).

The Buddha does not devote many words to a philosophical definition of Nibbana. One reason is that Nibbana, being unconditioned, transcendent, and supramundane, does not easily lend itself to definition in terms of concepts that are inescapably tied to the conditioned, manifest, and mundane. Another is that the Buddha’s objective is the practical one of leading beings to release from suffering, and thus his principal approach to the characterisation of Nibbana is to inspire the incentive to attain it and to show what must be done to accomplish this. To show Nibbana as desirable, as the aim of striving, he describes it as the highest bliss, as the supreme state of sublime peace, as the ageless, deathless, and sorrowless, as the supreme security from bondage. To show what must be done to attain Nibbana, to indicate that the goal implies a definite task, he describes it as the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion (M 26.19). Above all, Nibbana is the cessation of suffering, and for those who seek an end to suffering such a designation is enough to beckon them towards the path.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:09 am

Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Viscid wrote:Nibbana defined as simply being a state free from 'Greed, Hatred and Delusion' is selling it short. The language used to describe it in the suttas, especially in the Udana, seems to point at something more significant than that.
Yes, the Atman, I am sure.


Having never experienced Nibbana, I can't say what it is. I don't think it's something which has its own independent existence.. but if The Buddha wanted to convey that Nibbana was simply a state free from greed, hatred and delusion he'd have not used such confusing superfluous terminology to describe it.

Is Nibbana freedom from greed, hated and delusion? Yes, of course, but is it simply that and nothing else?
What do you want it to be? Actually, for the most part, the language clear, in that it refers to a person freed from greed, hatred, and delusion. Of that person what can you say? In wanting it be more, is to undersell what it is that the Buddha taught.

Nibbana outside the the one nibbaized -- cooled -- is meaningless. The Buddha did not teach it. As for Ven Bodhi's remarks, I'll stand by my translation of the Udana, that it takes a mysterious concatenation of words, and makes them quite clear, and makes them clear in terms of the process of conditioned arising and falling, paticcasamuppada.
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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:
daverupa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:There is freedom from death because one is free from greed, hatred, and delusion, thusly free from birth, but there is no thing called "the deathless." This is a point I have made repeatedly over the years here and on e-sandbox.


Just as a point of information: what is your response to a translation which renders "amata" as "birthlessness" ("deathlessness" is meant, but I wonder if birthlessness provides a more implicit reference to anatta when rendered in English).
I have addressed this directly in the above linked msg, which I'll link again for you:


http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 2&#p159172


:anjali:

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:What I find surprising, in light of your continual appeal to phenomenology, is the use of such no process terminology.

I'd be happy to respond if I understood quite what you were getting at... (though I suspect the answer may lay in the differentation between sankhata dhamma and asankhata dhamma, and the inapplicability of the dependent origination to that which is not formed by avijja).
The whole point of a phenomenological understanding is to see the mind/body process as an experiential process, and in terms of the Dhamma, it is to see that process fully, without filtering it through the anticipations of grasping after, pushing away, and that there is some thing -- "the self" -- as an agent behind it all. To replace "the self" with "the deathless" makes no sense in this context, when the goal is to be free of the limitations that binds and blind us, to become tathagata.
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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:28 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The whole point of a phenomenological understanding is to see the mind/body process as an experiential process, and in terms of the Dhamma, it is to see that process fully, without filtering it through the anticipations of grasping after, pushing away, and that there is some thing -- "the self" -- as an agent behind it all. To replace "the self" with "the deathless" makes no sense in this context, when the goal is to be free of the limitations that bind and blind us, to become tathagata.

All well and good, but I'm still thoroughly confused as to why you think "the deathless" is serving as a replacement for "the self".

Is this some kind of "union with Brahma" type of thing you're warning against?

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 Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:37 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The whole point of a phenomenological understanding is to see the mind/body process as an experiential process, and in terms of the Dhamma, it is to see that process fully, without filtering it through the anticipations of grasping after, pushing away, and that there is some thing -- "the self" -- as an agent behind it all. To replace "the self" with "the deathless" makes no sense in this context, when the goal is to be free of the limitations that bind and blind us, to become tathagata.

All well and good, but I'm still thoroughly confused as to why you think "the deathless" is serving as a replacement for "the self".

Is this some kind of "union with Brahma" type of thing you're warning against?

Metta,
Retro. :)
The self, the unconditioned, the deathless, the wiener, the dog, the vote, the idea, the feeling. The locution "the X" suggests that there is some thing to which it is referring. You may understand that it doesn't, but then why not use language that better reflects that?
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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:57 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The self, the unconditioned, the deathless, the wiener, the dog, the vote, the idea, the feeling. The locution "the X" suggests that there is some thing to which it referring. You may understand that it doesn't, but then why not use language that better reflects that?

What alternative would you suggest? Deathlessness?

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 Deathless" (amata)

Postby ground » Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:09 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The self, the unconditioned, the deathless, the wiener, the dog, the vote, the idea, the feeling. The locution "the X" suggests that there is some thing to which it referring. You may understand that it doesn't, but then why not use language that better reflects that?

What alternative would you suggest? Deathlessness?

Metta,
Retro. :)


I would suggest "no-self" defined as "mere non-affirming negation" of the idea "self". "non-affirming" here meaning that nothing is put in the locus of the idea "self" (metaphorically speaking) upon negation of it, not even (an affirmative reified) "no-self".

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby cooran » Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:29 am

Hello all,

This might be of interest:

As Narada Thera says:
’One cannot say that an arahat is reborn as all passions that condition rebirth are eradicated; nor can one say that the arahat is annihilated for there is nothing to annihilate.’’
http://namo84000en.wordpress.com/2011/0 ... 0-nibbana/

What is Nibbana – Bhikkhu Pesala
http://www.yellowrobe.com/teachings/nib ... bbana.html

with metta
Chris
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:29 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The self, the unconditioned, the deathless, the wiener, the dog, the vote, the idea, the feeling. The locution "the X" suggests that there is some thing to which it referring. You may understand that it doesn't, but then why not use language that better reflects that?

What alternative would you suggest? Deathlessness?

Metta,
Retro. :)
Here is your sentence to which I responded that gave rise to this thread:

Therefore, if there is no becoming something, there is no establishing an identity, so in turn, there is no experience of aging-and-decay... there is instead, only the deathless.What locution instead? Well, I probably would not have written this sentence. "Deathlessness," for its clumsiness, is better in that it does not suggest some non-dying (immortal) thing.
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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:31 am

cooran wrote:Hello all,

This might be of interest:

As Narada Thera says:
’One cannot say that an arahat is reborn as all passions that condition rebirth are eradicated; nor can one say that the arahat is annihilated for there is nothing to annihilate.’’
In not being reborn there is freedom from death.
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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