"The Deathless" (amata)

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:33 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:"A monk?" Is that like "a person?" Actually, thanks for the quote; it supports my point.

Nibbana does not refer to the five intact sense faculties (what we could point to as the monk, the person.) Those are the fuel remaining.
Nibbana/amata/buddha/arahant/bodhi refers to freedom from greed hatred, and delusion.

I can't really tell what your point is. Is it that nibbana is a property of a person like muteness?
This is the problem with words. You are the one who introduced "property" into this discussion and then you willfully refuse to discuss what it means. Nibbana is no thing.

Someone who cannot/does not speak is "mute." It would be silly to think of "muteness" as a self-existent property - it is simply a person who does not speak. Similarly, one could suppose that nibbana simply refers to a person who has no greed, hatred and delusion. Therefore it would be silly to suppose that nibbana was any kind of independent property, when it really is just a description of a person lacking certain psychological conditions. Is that your view?
Well, before I answer this question, you need to answer mine:

    If "nibbana does exist" and there is at this time no ariyas, there is still a nibbana existing out there somewhere in some way? Where? What is its property? And what does it mean "nibbana does exist?"
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 Nyana » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:14 am

kirk5a wrote:Clinging to (having consciousness be dependent upon) mental and physical phenomena is a problem.

Yes, it is.

kirk5a wrote:Perhaps the two forms of the Nibbana element (nibbana dhatu) are helpful here.

Which are nicely elaborated upon in the Paṭisambhidāmagga Suññatākathā:

    Through the stream-entry path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of defilements associated with wrong view; through the once-returner path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of gross defilements; through the non-returner path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of secondary defilements; through the arahant path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of all defilements [i.e. ignorance].

    Or through the nibbāna component (nibbānadhātu) without any fuel remaining for one who is fully aware this occurrence of eye ends and no further occurrence of eye arises; this occurrence of ear ends and no further occurrence of ear arises; this occurrence of nose ends and no further occurrence of nose arises; this occurrence of tongue ends and no further occurrence of tongue arises; this occurrence of body ends and no further occurrence of body arises; this occurrence of mind ends and no further occurrence of mind arises.

    This is the ultimate meaning of emptiness [as it relates to] all kinds of emptiness, which is the terminating of occurrence in one who is fully aware.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
    If "nibbana does exist" and there is at this time no ariyas, there is still a nibbana existing out there somewhere in some way? Where? What is its property? And what does it mean "nibbana does exist?"

I think your question is an attempt to "objectify the non-objectified." Therefore it is one to be set aside.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:20 pm

Paṭisambhidāmagga Suññatākathā wrote:This is the ultimate meaning of emptiness [as it relates to] all kinds of emptiness, which is the terminating of occurrence in one who is fully aware.

Cool. Which is the deathless.
"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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:30 pm

I personally do not like this translation of deathless. It is too easy to be misunderstood as permanent self.

This is another perspective to the discussion of amatta as the consequence of dependent arising.

I prostrate to the Perfect Buddha,
The best of teachers, who taught that
Whatever is dependently arisen is
Unceasing, unborn, Unannihilated, not permanent, Not coming, not going,
Without distinction, without identity,
And free from conceptual construction.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:00 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:I prostrate to the Perfect Buddha,
The best of teachers, who taught that
Whatever is dependently arisen is
Unceasing, unborn, Unannihilated, not permanent, Not coming, not going,

Show us where the Buddha taught that.
"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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:36 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
    If "nibbana does exist" and there is at this time no ariyas, there is still a nibbana existing out there somewhere in some way? Where? What is its property? And what does it mean "nibbana does exist?"

I think your question is an attempt to "objectify the non-objectified." Therefore it is one to be set aside.
I am not the one who is saying that "nibbana does exist," which, if anything, suggests an objectifying the nibbana, as the locution "the Deathless." tends to do. You quoted this" Nibbana exists"; not me. I am simply trying to get at what you think it means. So, explain to us what "nibbana does exist" means.
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 DarwidHalim » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:46 pm

If I say "the deathless", no matter how I want to avoid, I will definitely trap myself into existence of self.

No matter how good we say there is no self, but this statement the deathless just confirm the existence of what we have denied before.

We are trying to say there is no fire, but there is burning.

You will just contradict your own self without the way to get out.

The deathless is a very poor translation.
Last edited by DarwidHalim on Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:46 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Paṭisambhidāmagga Suññatākathā wrote:This is the ultimate meaning of emptiness [as it relates to] all kinds of emptiness, which is the terminating of occurrence in one who is fully aware.

Cool. Which is the deathless.
Sure. No longer liable to birth, and if one is no longer liable to birth one is longer liable to death, there is freedom from death, there is no longer a defining by death. The problem, however, with the unfortunate locution "the Deathless," is very neatly spelled by our new member who clearly gets it:


    There is an interesting passage in Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols that says "I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar."

    Now obviously Nietzsche's worldview and that of Buddhism are quite different, but I think this is an instructive passage, and especially so for Buddhists. This becomes more apparent if we substitute 'self' for 'God' in Nietzsche's quote, or if we see the two concepts as somewhat co-extensive. The point of the quote is that our everyday patterns of thought, language and "common sense" themselves are all structured around the idea of permanent, separate entities; that there is some enduring substratum that constitutes my "self" and other substrata underlying the various "objects" that my "self" comes into contact with (the idea of God can be understood as the idea that there is some permanent ground to the whole of being itself). As such, these cognitive-linguistic structures can and often do subtly reinforce the illusion of self and all of its attendant suffering.

    Seen in this context, I think tilt's point about how the translation as "the deathless" implies that there is some 'thing' or object that is described by this locution is more than just grammatical hairsplitting. It's basically identifying how the very language we use to describe nibbana actually reinforces the kind of grasping habits of thought that we are trying to liberate ourselves from. English in particular seems prone to reinforcing these habits through the use of the copula, its requirement of grammatical subjects, and its tendency to reify concepts as nouns (rather than rendering them as processes or verbs). Thus speaking as somebody without anything but a very basic familiarity with Pali, I think there is a lot of merit to what tilt is suggesting and that for these reasons alone it's worth considering his perspective.
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 kirk5a » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:59 pm

tiltbillings wrote:So, explain to us what "nibbana does exist" means.

No.

I am going to return to the open air of heedfulness, the path to the deathless.

Have a good day.
"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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:03 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:So, explain to us what "nibbana does exist" means.

No.

I am going to return to the open air of heedfulness, the path to the deathless.

Have a good day.
This is not a surprise. You have dodged the hard questions in this discussion from the very beginning. Then just be careful with the locution "the Deathless" when using translations that use it, understanding it is not referring to some objective thing that exists.
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 Spiny Norman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:16 am

Have we reached any concensus on what "the deathless" actually means? Just checking!
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:40 am

porpoise wrote:Have we reached any concensus on what "the deathless" actually means? Just checking!
If one follows the suttas, amata, which is defined as the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion refers to the fact that there is no longer any rebirth and with no rebirth, no death -- which is to say: freedom from death.
    MN 26:

    "Then, monks, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking freedom from birth, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding/nibbana, I reached freedom from birth, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeking freedom from aging, freedom from illness, freedom from death, freedom from sorrow, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the freedom from aging, freedom from illness, freedom from death, freedom from sorrow, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'

    Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' MN (140) III 246

    Gone to the beyond of becoming,
    you let go of in front,
    let go of behind,
    let go of between.
    With a heart everywhere let-go,
    you don't come again to birth
    & aging.
    (Ven Thanisssaro) Dhp 348

    Through not seeing the Four Noble Truths,
    Long was the weary path from birth to birth.
    When these are known, removed is rebirth's cause,
    The root of sorrow plucked; then ends rebirth.
    DN ii 91

    "Destroyed is birth; the higher life is fulfilled; nothing more is to
    be done, and beyond this life nothing more remains."
    DN ii 153

    Then Mara the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her & said, "What is it that you don't approve of, nun?"

    [Sister Cala:]
    "I don't approve of birth, my friend."

    [Mara:]
    Why don't you approve of birth?
    One who is born
    enjoys sensual pleasures.
    Who on earth
    ever persuaded you:
    'Nun, don't approve of birth'?

    [Sister Cala:]
    For one who is born
    there's death.

    One who is born
    sees pain.
    It's a binding, a flogging, a torment.
    That's why one shouldn't approve
    of birth.

    The Awakened One taught me the Dhamma
    — the overcoming of birth —
    for the abandoning of all pain,
    he established me in
    the truth.
    But beings who have come to form
    & those with a share in the formless,
    if they don't discern cessation,
    return to becoming-again.
    S i 132
It is not some sort of "the unborn" or "the Deathless" we are striving for here. It is freedom from birth and death. There is no grammartical or phiological reason why the translations of the texts in question cannot accurately reflect that.

    At Savatthi. "Monks, remain with your minds well-established in the four establishings of mindfulness. Don't let freedom from death be lost to you. -- SN 47.41

    "Sariputta, do you take it on conviction that the faculty of conviction, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in freedom from death, has freedom from death as its goal & consummation? -- SN v 220

    "Monks, these seven perceptions, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit, of great benefit. They gain a footing in freedom from death, have freedom from death as their final end. -- AN iv 46

    For knowing, the Blessed One knows; seeing, he sees. He is the Eye, he is Knowledge, he is Dhamma, he is Brahma. He is the speaker, the proclaimer, the elucidator of meaning, the giver of feedom from death, the lord of the Dhamma, the Tathagata. -- MN i 108

    "There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. For him, remaining focused on the body in and of itself, any desire for the body is abandoned. From the abandoning of desire, freedom from death is realized. -- SN v 181

    "There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. For him, remaining focused on the body in and of itself, the body is comprehended. From the comprehension of the body, freedom from death is realized. -- SN v 182

    Throw open the door to freedom from death!
    Let them hear the Dhamma
    realized by the Stainless One!
    -- SN i 136
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 kirk5a » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:53 pm

Upasika Kee Nanayon wrote:The Lord Buddha resolved Mogharaja's Problem,[8] by advising him to see the world as empty, as not-self, as being composed of elements and aggregates. The aggregates (and so on) must be stripped away, and concepts and assumptions such as 'person' or 'animal' (and so on) must be disestablished. The elements, aggregates, sense bases and concepts, need to be all exposed so that there's no more grasping at them. What remains is the Deathless Dhamma. This is without birth or death, and is also called the World-Transcending Dhamma or Nibbaana.

There are many names, but they all essentially refer to the same thing. When mundane things are spurned, the result is the Transcendent Dhamma, the Non-Determined Dhamma, Pure Dhamma. Just consider the running-on, the coursing-on from birth to death, from death to birth in the different realms of existence. Then decide if Nibbana is really worth attaining. On that farther shore, there's no suffering, no birth or death, because the 'King of Death' can't reach there. Yet because we can't fathom this out, we persist in repeatedly choosing to be born on this nether shore, amidst its endless suffering.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... .html#chb5
"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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:41 pm

Thank you for quoting this.

kirk5a wrote:
Upasika Kee Nanayon wrote:The Lord Buddha resolved Mogharaja's Problem,[8] by advising him to see the world as empty, as not-self, as being composed of elements and aggregates. The aggregates (and so on) must be stripped away, and concepts and assumptions such as 'person' or 'animal' (and so on) must be disestablished. The elements, aggregates, sense bases and concepts, need to be all exposed so that there's no more grasping at them. What remains is the Deathless Dhamma. This is without birth or death, and is also called the World-Transcending Dhamma or Nibbaana.
And that is the problem: "The Deathless Dhamma." What does it actually mean? Is it referring to some sort objective thing outside the the experiences/dhammas of the individual within whom greed, hatred, and delusion has been destroyed? If so, that would certainly imply that nibbana would exist even if there were no ariyas.

There are many names, but they all essentially refer to the same thing. When mundane things are spurned, the result is the Transcendent Dhamma, the Non-Determined Dhamma, Pure Dhamma. Just consider the running-on, the coursing-on from birth to death, from death to birth in the different realms of existence. Then decide if Nibbana is really worth attaining. On that farther shore, there's no suffering, no birth or death, because the 'King of Death' can't reach there. Yet because we can't fathom this out, we persist in repeatedly choosing to be born on this nether shore, amidst its endless suffering.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... .html#chb5
Interestingly, the "transcendent dhamma" would be any dhamma that is completely free of the conditioning of greed, hatred, and delusion. Truth/Dhamma are cognitions/dhammas free of greed, hatred, and delusion; it is not an objective, independently existing thing. We must be careful not to objectify Dhamma/nibbana, lest we turn it into some sort of existent thing that exists independently of any ariya.
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 kirk5a » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:23 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Truth/Dhamma are cognitions/dhammas free of greed, hatred, and delusion

Are these cognitions constant or inconstant?
"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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:02 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Truth/Dhamma are cognitions/dhammas free of greed, hatred, and delusion

Are these cognitions constant or inconstant?
Cognitions rise and fall. What is constant is that the cognitions are free of the conditions of -- they are asankhata, no longer 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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:28 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Cognitions rise and fall. What is constant is that the cognitions are free of the conditions of -- they are asankhata, no longer conditioned by -- greed, hatred, and delusion.

We know the Buddha taught that what is inconstant is dukkha. So even these cognitions are dukkha.
"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: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:34 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Cognitions rise and fall. What is constant is that the cognitions are free of the conditions of -- they are asankhata, no longer conditioned by -- greed, hatred, and delusion.

We know the Buddha taught that what is inconstant is dukkha. So even these cognitions are dukkha.
So, arahants either do not have cognitions -- that is, they do not see, hear, taste, touch, smell, or have thoughts --, or they they are just big piles of dukkha like the rest of us.
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 kirk5a » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:44 pm

tiltbillings wrote:So, arahants either do not have cognitions -- that is, they do not see, hear, taste, touch, smell, or have thoughts --,

Not true, obviously.

or they they are just big piles of dukkha like the rest of us.

What are you identifying the arahant as? The body? Cognitions?

And what do arahants say? Is there any arahant who has said that what rises and falls is not dukkha?
"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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