Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

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Sacha G
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Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby Sacha G » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:07 pm

Hi
The question "Does the arhat survive after death" seems at first a legitimate question. The Buddha, as many may know, didn't anwer simply yes or no but pointed to the fact that the arhat is not even found in the present, so how could he survived or be annihilated. Ultimately that is true.
BUT
If now I say: "will you come to my dinner tomorrow?" and you would answer "since I'm not found even in the present, how could I come to your dinner", you would understand that I'm not very satisfied.
In the same way, the arhat is annihilated after death, when one speaks according to the convention of the world seems a good way of saying. In the same way that you say "he left the room", meaning "the five aggregates of X left the room", you might say "the arhat got annihilated at death" meaning "the 5 aggregates were annihilated" (apart from form, which stays some time, I agree).
I kind of feel there's a mixing of plans (ultimate and conventional) which troubles me.
Of course the Buddha had specific reasons to answer as he did, but to me, it is less clear than generally agreed.
Hope this was not too confused. :juggling:
So what do you think? :group:
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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby nathan » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:02 pm

Sacha G wrote:So what do you think? :group:


If your simply soliciting opinion then I would reply that this type of question and all similar questions such as, 'could a Buddha be Swedish', etc. are properly viewed in light of the Buddha's arrow metaphor wherein someone struck by an arrow refuses to have it pulled out before first ascertaining what sort of arrow it is, where it was made, what it was made from, who sent it and so on. To be honest, any truly satisfactory potential answers to such questions, even this one specifically, can only be had by realizing the fruit of arahatta for oneself, in the interim the best practice is to set these kinds of concerns aside.

:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:22 pm

Imagine you have moved to a country where a certain drink is highly valued, but you know it to be a deadly poison. If you denounce it outright, you will only get rejection for your efforts. It will only work if you approach the matter softly.. The Buddha cared only to end your suffering.. despite your best efforts to evade him :tongue:
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:29 pm

nathan wrote:
Sacha G wrote:So what do you think? :group:


If your simply soliciting opinion then I would reply that this type of question and all similar questions such as, 'could a Buddha be Swedish', etc. are properly viewed in light of the Buddha's arrow metaphor wherein someone struck by an arrow refuses to have it pulled out before first ascertaining what sort of arrow it is, where it was made, what it was made from, who sent it and so on. To be honest, any truly satisfactory potential answers to such questions, even this one specifically, can only be had by realizing the fruit of arahatta for oneself, in the interim the best practice is to set these kinds of concerns aside.

:anjali:



What he said
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby Uilium » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:45 am

Sacha G wrote:Hi
The question "Does the arhat survive after death" seems at first a legitimate question. The Buddha, as many may know, didn't anwer simply yes or no but pointed to the fact that the arhat is not even found in the present, so how could he survived or be annihilated. Ultimately that is true.
BUT
If now I say: "will you come to my dinner tomorrow?" and you would answer "since I'm not found even in the present, how could I come to your dinner", you would understand that I'm not very satisfied.
In the same way, the arhat is annihilated after death, when one speaks according to the convention of the world seems a good way of saying. In the same way that you say "he left the room", meaning "the five aggregates of X left the room", you might say "the arhat got annihilated at death" meaning "the 5 aggregates were annihilated" (apart from form, which stays some time, I agree).
I kind of feel there's a mixing of plans (ultimate and conventional) which troubles me.
Of course the Buddha had specific reasons to answer as he did, but to me, it is less clear than generally agreed.
Hope this was not too confused. :juggling:
So what do you think? :group:


The Buddha is trying to get students to think as a mediator would experience ultimate reality... I think. It seems lots of meditation teachers will say something that is a mix of ultimate and conventional truth like, "it is what it is". Beginners will say what do you mean it is what it is? of course it is what it is! Hopefully if the teacher is good s/he would explain what they mean so as not to drive students away. I cant come over tommorow cuz I have no self so how can I come over? I never thought that people would ever speak to each other with the perspective of ultimate reality, I always thought of ultimate reality as more of a utility to see the truth that way I can accept anything :)

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby DAWN » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:05 am

An Arahant will survive after his death, if his ego will survive before his death
But if his ego still here when he die, why he's called an Arahant?
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby reflection » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:28 am

From a 'conventional' point of view, the arahant is annihilated, but in reality the five aggregates are cessated. Cessation isn't the same as annihilation, because, just like 'the arahant', the five aggregates are not solid things, they are processes.

At Savatthi. Then the Venerable Ananda approached the Blessed One,
paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: "Venerable sir,
it is said, 'cessation, cessation.' Through the cessation of what things is
cessation spoken of?" "Form, etc, consciousness, Ananda, is impermanent,
conditioned, dependently arisen, subject to destruction, to vanishing, to
fading away, to cessation. Through its cessation, cessation is spoken of.


I think this is actually a very good question, because we should know what we are practicing for. And we should know where the arrow is located before we can pull it out.
Last edited by reflection on Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby DAWN » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:38 am

Completely ! Just some anatta processes

:namaste:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby pegembara » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:43 am

Image

Is the one born the same as that which dies?


Mara:

By whom was this living being created?
Where is the living being's maker?
Where has the living being originated?
Where does the living being
cease?

Sister Vajira:

What? Do you assume a 'living being,' Mara?
Do you take a position?
This is purely a pile of fabrications.
Here no living being
can be pinned down.


Just as when, with an assemblage of parts,
there's the word,
chariot,
even so when aggregates are present,
there's the convention of
living being.

For only stress is what comes to be;
stress, what remains & falls away.
Nothing but stress comes to be.
Nothing ceases but stress.
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: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby coreycook950 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:17 pm

Answer:

When an Arhat dies, he/she enters into a Parinibbana, a blissful unconditioned state of total Unbinding. It could best be described as the final freedom and liberation from the cycle of Samsara; an awe-inspiring liberation of cosmic awareness not subject to birth and death.

It's hard to describe. Even the great Blessed One himself, The Buddha, didn't go into much detail because the scope of parinibbana escapes worldly language.

(Source: "Parinibbana Sutra: Total Unbinding", Access to Insight)

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby culaavuso » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:06 pm

coreycook950 wrote:Answer:

When an Arhat dies, he/she enters into a Parinibbana, a blissful unconditioned state of total Unbinding. It could best be described as the final freedom and liberation from the cycle of Samsara; an awe-inspiring liberation of cosmic awareness not subject to birth and death.

It's hard to describe. Even the great Blessed One himself, The Buddha, didn't go into much detail because the scope of parinibbana escapes worldly language.

(Source: "Parinibbana Sutra: Total Unbinding", Access to Insight)


The source listed appears to refer to SN 6.15's translation on Access to Insight, but the phrase "an awe-inspiring liberation of cosmic awareness not subject to birth and death" does not seem to be present in that translation or in the associated comments. A discussion of a similar concept can be found in the writings of Ven. Ajahn Sujato however:

Nibbana remains not Vinnana by Ven. Ajahn Sujato wrote:When passages such as the ‘anidassana vinnana’ or the ‘pabhassara citta’ are invoked to lend support for the notion that Nibbana is an eternal cosmic awareness that survives the death of an arahant, the first question we should ask is, ‘Do these phrases actually refer clearly to the state of an arahant after death?’ If they don’t, they are irrelevant to the problem. We all agree that an arahant is conscious before their death.

Arguments for the ‘eternal-consciousness Nibbana’ almost invariably tend to slip from talking about the citta or vinnana in this life to the state after death. It is a subtle sleight of hand, which pivots on the ambiguity of the term Nibbana, and is hidden by the conceptual fog that mere mention of the term evokes. Read the Wikipedia article for a good example of how this works.

Nibbana is an enigma, elusive, threatening, uncompromising. It will never be tamed, no matter how hard we try to pretend that it’s something like something. It’s not. It’s nothing like anything.

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby coreycook950 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:24 pm

It was awe-inspiring.
It was hair-raising
when, displaying the foremost
accomplishment in all things,
the Rightly Self-Awakened One
was totally Unbound.
When the Blessed One was totally Unbound, simultaneously with the total Unbinding, Ven. Anuruddha uttered this verse:


He had no in-&-out breathing,
the one who was Such, the firm-minded one,
imperturbable
& bent on peace:
the sage completing his span.

With heart unbowed
he endured the pain.
Like a flame's unbinding
was the liberation
of awareness.


(Source: Paribnibbana Sutra)

..So I say "awe-inspiring liberation of awareness"....
I say "Not subject to birth & death" because an Arhat, after death, is no longer subject to any more birth and death.

Do you see why I say this?

Thank you culvasso for your wise knowledge of the Canon & the teachings of the Sangha.

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby SarathW » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:15 pm

Try to land in the Moon before try to land on the Mars.
Try to attain Arahant before death so the rest will taken care of itself.
:shrug:

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby culaavuso » Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:37 pm

coreycook950 wrote:..So I say "awe-inspiring liberation of awareness"....
I say "Not subject to birth & death" because an Arhat, after death, is no longer subject to any more birth and death.

Do you see why I say this?


Is it the arahant or the awareness that is no longer subject to any more birth and death?

What does "cosmic" mean in this context?

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby coreycook950 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:58 pm

The Arhat is no longer subject to birth and death; he/she has transcended the cycle of Samsara.
When I used the word "cosmic" I was referring in a general sense...in the Sutta it says "Like a flame's unbinding was the liberation of awareness." This awareness must be awareness of the cosmos or universe, what else would it be referring to? It must be referring to the awareness of some complex reality which, admittedly, as Buddha said, is impossible to describe in words.

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby Coyote » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:14 pm

coreycook950 wrote:Like a flame's unbinding
was the liberation
of awareness.



Another translation:

By mortal pangs unshaken, His mind, like a flame extinguished, finds release. (Vajira and Story) (sorry can't seem to post urls at the moment).

"like a fire cooled is the liberation of his mind (cetaso)" would be my basic translation. No cosmic awareness in the Pali as far as I can see.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby freedom » Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:28 pm

My English is very bad. Writing a story in English is really a nightmare for me. Please do not take this literally. Hope that someone may understand what I am trying to say. Of course, this is just a view, and there will be people who will have different views.

Annihilation will never make sense to many of us. However, let try to find something that we at least see some reasons for it.
Of course, it is impossible for us to know the truth because we are not “free” yet. However, we see that the first noble truth states that the five aggregates are dukkha. To end dukkha, we will need to end the five aggregates, so we can see the need for the annihilation of the five aggregates.

Let see if we can make up a “crazy” story to support this annihilation idea?
Assume that there is an “unknowable, indescribable” whatever. This is not an individual so we cannot call it anything (Just like photon/electron before any observation). For the sake of this story, we call that “unknowable, indescribable” whatever as “It”.
By some unknown reason (ignorance?), “It” has fallen into a forever “dream/hallucination”. In this “dream world”, “It” becomes a frog. “It” sees itself as a frog. “It” totally forgets itself. The frog lives in the dream world then “dies”. This time, “It” becomes a cow. The cow lives and dies. “It” then becomes a man… It has lived in a cycle like that forever from an unknowable beginning (samsara). Because “It” sees itself as a frog, a cow, a man, a deva … it never see the need to end the “dream”. As long as “It” sees itself as something, “it” will never know itself.

To the frog, the cow, the man, the dream world that they live in is as “real” as they can feel and see. They do not know that it is not “real” (Just like when we are in a dream).When “It” is in the dream, “It” lost its control over the dream. The frog becomes the cow because of the frog’s karma in the dream. The cow becomes the man because of the cow’s karma … This becoming is controlled by dependent origination. “It” does not have any control over this “becoming” process.

“It” cannot end the dream because “it” does not know “It” is in a dream, and it has no control over the dream. However, the “man” in the dream is the one who can end the dream if he knows the way to do so. To end the dream, he will need to end himself forever and not becoming anything else (annihilation! Of course, none of us want to end ourselves forever! We all want to become something). When the dream ended, “It” will wake up. (Is this why the Buddha is the “awakened one”?)
The frog, the cow, the man are not “real”. They are “creation, dependent arisen”. They are not “It” but they are “It”. “It” is the “real, unborn, uncreated” in the ultimate sense. “It” is NOT an individual, not a self! However, when “It” sees itself in the “dream worlds”, “It” becomes a self, an individual.

Even if the “man” can kill himself in the dream, he cannot annihilate himself because of craving: craving for sense desires, craving for existence, and craving for non-existence. With these cravings, he will become something else to experience that craving and the dream will continue (Dependent Origination).

If the man tries to become “It”, he cannot do so with craving. The only way is to let go of himself and not thinking about “It”.
So, when the frog, the cow, the man are dead then “who” is dead? When the dream is over, then who enters where?
We see that annihilation is not that bad. In fact, it is the most difficult thing (if not impossible) that we could do! We cannot annihilate ourselves even if we really want to do so! If we try to kill ourselves because of cravings, it will getting worse!

A man is an “arahant” when he is no longer see himself (the five aggregates) as “a man, I, or anything else”. He lives as if the five aggregates do not belong to him.

If this “crazy story” makes little sense, then annihilation may make sense. Therefore, there is still room for the reason of the annihilation.
This is just a view trying to make some sense for the annihilation of the self (the five aggregates). You may create better story than mine!
Last edited by freedom on Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:03 am

Hi Corey,

You quote Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation of SN 6.15 here:
coreycook950 wrote:It was awe-inspiring.
It was hair-raising
when, displaying the foremost
accomplishment in all things,
the Rightly Self-Awakened One
was totally Unbound.

Translation of verse can be tricky. Bhikkhu Bodhi translates the verse as:
"Then there was terror,
Then there was trepidation,
When the one perfect in all excellent qualities,
The Buddha, attained final Nibbana."

And here is the translation by Bhikkhuni Uppalavanna from mettanet:
At the final extinction of the rightfully Enlightened One,
All kinds of noble things happened which inspired awe,
And my hairs stood on end.


As you can see, the different translations give quite a different impression, and I would not read too much into any of them without a careful study of the Pali original.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby lonewolf » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:37 am

What I think is that time is limited. I think it comes down to priorities. This issue doesn't register on my radar. Not worried about it in the least.

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Re: Survival of the Arhat: mixing ultimate and conventional.

Postby coreycook950 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:25 pm

Thanks Mike.


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