Ron Crouch wrote:I know Nibs isn't a big fan of the VM, but I still root for Buddhaghosa, so I went and took a look at this passage in context, and it looks as if Nibs is right, there is some Abhidhamma stuff popping up there.
Of course there is Abhidhamma stuff in there. The Vism. relies heavily upon the Abhidhammapiṭaka.
Ron Crouch wrote:Essentially, those writing the VM were trying to sort out three distinct theories describing how the path-consiousness could be different for different people.
Buddhaghosa is relying on the path structure found in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī and the Paṭisambhidāmagga.
Ron Crouch wrote:The idea that the path moment itself is a kind of super-jhana is one that I'm not that familiar with, but has some merits.
It's standard Theravāda exegesis.
Ron Crouch wrote:One issue may be how we are using the term "path." I'm assuming that when you are talking about "path" you are not referring to the moment when one directly apprehends Nibbana - right?
Actually, that is precisely what I'm referring to.
Ron Crouch wrote:Because that is nothing on top of nothing and there really can't be any factors of anything in Nibbana. However, I think Nib is talking about a direct apprehension of Nibbana. Which might help distinguish why there is a disagreement...
Nibbāna is probably one of the most misunderstood terms in contemporary Buddhism. The noble paths and fruitions are always
cognitions arising with concomitant mental factors. Attaining a noble path entails the arising
of these supramundane saṅkhāras and the non-arising
(nirodha), and extinguishment
(nibbāna) of fetters, mental outflows, and underlying tendencies which are terminated by that particular path. And attaining the fruition of that path entails the full extinguishment (parinibbāna) of those same fetters, etc.
For example, when one attains the fruition of stream-entry then any saṅkhāras which would arise in the future for a worldling are completely terminated and cease forever. When one attains the fruition of a once-returner then any saṅkhāras which would arise in the future for a stream-entrant are completely terminated and cease forever. When one attains the fruition of a non-returner then any saṅkhāras which would arise in the future for a once-returner are completely terminated and cease forever. And finally, when one attains the arahant fruition then any saṅkhāras which would arise in the future for a non-returner are completely terminated and cease forever.
Why is this so? Because in each case the causes and conditions for future arising are eliminated with the fruition of each noble path. This is the whole point of conditioned arising (paṭiccasamuppāda) -- it occurs and ceases to occur due to specific conditionality (idappaccayatā). Phenomena arise according to specific conditionality:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
And phenomena cease according to specific conditionality:
When this isn’t, that isn’t.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.