Nibbana = universal consciousness?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:00 pm

suttametta wrote:Again, we can go into these issues if you like.

I've already pointed out to you where you are mistaken on a number of issues. Malcolm has patiently done so with regard to many issues. Yet you persist with your wild interpretations of the Budhadhamma.

suttametta wrote:Whereas, the Pali teachings about sati are uniquely different as to methodology, although not as different as one might think as to result, given the Buddha's statements about nibbana being an eternal radiant consciousness.

Given your penchant for reading Vedic views into the dhamma there's probably very little point in trying to clarify this issue. But here are a couple of contemporary Theravāda authors who refute your ideas about consciousness and nibbāna:

Nibbana is not Viññāṇa. Really, it just isn’t by Ven Sujato.

The Mind Stilled: 33 Sermons on Nibbāna by Ven. Ñāṇananda.

suttametta wrote:You are impugning my knowledge.

I reject your interpretation and understanding of the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna. It's really that simple.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby suttametta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:09 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:Again, we can go into these issues if you like.

I've already pointed out to you where you where you are mistaken on a number of issues. Malcolm has patiently done so with regard to many issues. Yet you persist with your wild interpretations of the Budhadhamma.


I do thank you for your kind input. I beg to differ. I hardly see why I should acquiesce under the circumstances you mention. I have patiently pointed out the faults in the reasoning belonging to both you and Malcolm. I am under no obligation to cede to your authorities.

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:Whereas, the Pali teachings about sati are uniquely different as to methodology, although not as different as one might think as to result, given the Buddha's statements about nibbana being an eternal radiant consciousness.

Given your penchant for reading Vedic views into the dhamma there's probably very little point in trying to clarify this issue. But here are a couple of contemporary Theravāda authors who refute your ideas about consciousness and nibbāna:

Nibbana is not Viññāṇa. Really, it just isn’t by Ven Sujato.


Curious title given the statements in the suttas.

Ñāṇa wrote:The Mind Stilled: 33 Sermons on Nibbāna by Ven. Ñāṇananda.


Obviously not all bhikkus agree.

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:You are impugning my knowledge.

I reject your interpretation and understanding of the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna. It's really that simple.


It's good to clear the air. I don't know why you feel the need to make this statement. It's rather self-serving.
suttametta
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 2:55 pm

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby daverupa » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:24 pm

suttametta wrote:You are entitled to your opinion.


And you are entitled to conceive in, from, through, and around nibbana by considering the arahant to be identifiable with a permanent vinnana lighting the cosmos.

:rolleye:
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4096
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:28 pm

suttametta wrote:The absence of all things dukkha reveals the "pabham" shining vinnana of nibbana.


Ven. Punnaji would not agree with this view.

Punnaji also calls it "immortality."


I think the only place you will find that is on one of the websites some of his Chinese-Malaysian students have made; which they are just trying to convey a permanent nibbana, not a place or existence.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8008
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:02 am

suttametta wrote:Malcolm turned me on to Peter Harvey's "The Selfless Mind." It is an excellent treatment of just these issues.

I'm not familiar with that work, but by sheer coincidence I just happened to run across Bhikkhu Bodhi's reference to it, in note 314 to SN 4.23.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:When the monk is said to attain final Nibbana with consciousness unestablished, this should not be understood to mean that after death consciousness survives in an "unestablished" condition (a thesis argued by Harvey, The Selfless Mind, pp. 208-210); for enough texts make it plain that with the passing away of the arahant consciousness too ceases and no longer exists (see, e.g., 12:51).

SN 12.51 wrote:"When there is utterly no consciousness, with the cessation of consciousness, would name-and-form be discerned?"
"No, venerable sir."
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby manas » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:14 am

mfesmith wrote:Considering all the hand-wringing and angst that goes on over the term "hīnayāna" on Dharmawheel, I was suprised to see a great deal of unfettered sectarian remarks concerning Mahāyāna Buddhism and so on over here.
...
They can call us hinayana or bananayana or whatever they darn well like, it doesn't make a jot of difference and we are not supposed to get upset about it. And the same goes for the other camp. There was a sutta, can't recall the name, where the Buddha instructed that 'if people speak badly of you, to then get upset over it would be a hindrance for you', or words to that effect. We are supposed to just say, "This is how we practice here. That is how they practice there." Or words to that effect.

:anjali:
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2104
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby plwk » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:32 am

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html
"If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should not give way to resentment, displeasure, or animosity against them in your heart. For if you were to become angry or upset in such a situation, you would only be creating an obstacle for yourselves.

If you were to become angry or upset when others speak in dispraise of us, would you be able to recognize whether their statements are rightly or wrongly spoken?"
"Certainly not, Lord."

"If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should unravel what is false and point it out as false, saying: 'For such and such a reason this is false, this is untrue, there is no such thing in us, this is not found among us.'

"And if, bhikkhus, others speak in praise of me, or in praise of the Dhamma, or in praise of the Sangha, you should not give way to jubilation, joy, and exultation in your heart. For if you were to become jubilant, joyful, and exultant in such a situation, you would only be creating an obstacle for yourselves.

If others speak in praise of me, or in praise of the Dhamma, or in praise of the Sangha, you should acknowledge what is fact as fact, saying:
'For such and such a reason this is a fact, this is true, there is such a thing in us, this is found among us.'

There's also this...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"In this way, householder, you have answered yourself:
'Those who teach a Dhamma for the abandoning of passion, for the abandoning of aversion, for the abandoning of delusion — their Dhamma is well-taught.
Those who have practiced for the abandoning of passion, for the abandoning of aversion, for the abandoning of delusion — they have practiced well in this world.
Those whose passion... aversion... delusion is abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising: they, in this world, are well-gone.'"

"How amazing, sir. How astounding, that there is neither extolling of one's own Dhamma nor deprecation of another's, but just the teaching of the Dhamma in its proper sphere, speaking to the point without mentioning oneself.

And this and this and this and...
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
VSM VMM WBB TBHT WTBT My Page
plwk
 
Posts: 1134
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:14 am

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:05 pm

mfesmith wrote:total cessation of consciousness


...conditioned by greed, hatred, and/or delusion.

:anjali:

SN 22.55: "When that consciousness is unestablished, not coming to growth, nongenerative, it is liberated. By being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, he is not agitated. Being unagitated, he personally attains nibbana." (This is Ven. Bodhi's translation; link goes to Ven. Thanissaro's.)
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4096
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby suttametta » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:17 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
suttametta wrote:The absence of all things dukkha reveals the "pabham" shining vinnana of nibbana.


Ven. Punnaji would not agree with this view.


He can disagree with the sutta.

David N. Snyder wrote:
Punnaji also calls it "immortality."


I think the only place you will find that is on one of the websites some of his Chinese-Malaysian students have made; which they are just trying to convey a permanent nibbana, not a place or existence.


No. You have to see his video lectures. He explicitly describes nibbana as "immortality," and Buddha as "brahma bhuto," meaning, in his words, become God.
suttametta
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 2:55 pm

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby suttametta » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:22 pm

kirk5a wrote:
suttametta wrote:Malcolm turned me on to Peter Harvey's "The Selfless Mind." It is an excellent treatment of just these issues.

I'm not familiar with that work, but by sheer coincidence I just happened to run across Bhikkhu Bodhi's reference to it, in note 314 to SN 4.23.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:When the monk is said to attain final Nibbana with consciousness unestablished, this should not be understood to mean that after death consciousness survives in an "unestablished" condition (a thesis argued by Harvey, The Selfless Mind, pp. 208-210); for enough texts make it plain that with the passing away of the arahant consciousness too ceases and no longer exists (see, e.g., 12:51).

SN 12.51 wrote:"When there is utterly no consciousness, with the cessation of consciousness, would name-and-form be discerned?"
"No, venerable sir."


Now, you are changing the issue. I'm not talking about something surviving after death. The suttas do make clear that one cannot classify an Arahant or Tathagata as surviving death. What I have been pointing out is that Buddha is talking about a vinnana that is conditioned by the aggregates, on the one hand, and a vinnana that is not, on the other. Buddha uses the word "vinnana" to describe both the vinnana in the 12-links and the vinnana in nibbana. That does not mean it "survives" after death.
suttametta
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 2:55 pm

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby suttametta » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:25 pm

mfesmith wrote:
suttametta wrote: I have patiently pointed out the faults in the reasoning belonging to both you and Malcolm.


No, actually, all you did was proffer a non-standard interpretation of a couple of passages in the Nikayas trying to prove that Buddha's experience of Nirvana was in line with Vedantic speculations about brahman while castigating Mahāyāna and Vajrāyāna for being adaptations of Vedism. As well as making a couple of grossly inaccurate statements, for example comparing the body of light with the realm of Abhassara devas; and asserting that Dzogchen was based on the principle of sabda brahma ala Bhartrihari, etc.

As for Peter Harvey's book, it is interesting in so far as it is gives support to an textual origin in the Nikayas concerning the Mahāyāna notion of Buddhahood being an unconditioned wisdom that is does not perish at the breakup of a buddha or an arhat's body. But as we see, there is plenty of room for disagreement and we see most Nikaya Buddhists asserting that nirvana is a total cessation of consciousness.

So, you on the one hand excorciate Mahāyāna, and on the other hand are not able to break free of your Mahāyāna imbued views of Buddhahood.

Ironic that.


My excoriation of Mahayana at this point is limited to its derision of the Arahant. I would have to concede our previous debate about the dharmakaya and permanance. It appears you were correct. Permanence is what the Pali texts seem to support. So it makes sense, as you mentioned, the Mahayana Parinirvana Sutra describes the dharmakaya to be permanent.
suttametta
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 2:55 pm

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:35 pm

suttametta wrote:He can disagree with the sutta.


Ven. Punnaji does not disagree with the sutta. You are taking a view not in accordance with the sutta or Theravada, but rather providing your own interpretation.

No. You have to see his video lectures. He explicitly describes nibbana as "immortality," and Buddha as "brahma bhuto," meaning, in his words, become God.


He sometimes uses terms for the Western student, using language they are familiar with, but in no place will you see him refer to nibbana as a universal consciousness or a permanent soul.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8008
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Sylvester » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:14 am

kirk5a wrote:
suttametta wrote:Malcolm turned me on to Peter Harvey's "The Selfless Mind." It is an excellent treatment of just these issues.


I'm not familiar with that work, but by sheer coincidence I just happened to run across Bhikkhu Bodhi's reference to it, in note 314 to SN 4.23.

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:When the monk is said to attain final Nibbana with consciousness unestablished, this should not be understood to mean that after death consciousness survives in an "unestablished" condition (a thesis argued by Harvey, The Selfless Mind, pp. 208-210); for enough texts make it plain that with the passing away of the arahant consciousness too ceases and no longer exists (see, e.g., 12:51).


SN 12.51 wrote:"When there is utterly no consciousness, with the cessation of consciousness, would name-and-form be discerned?"
"No, venerable sir."


That's a very good observation. I'm happy to report (from hearsay of course) that Prof Harvey has since changed his mind considerably on the subject. I heard from my teacher that Prof Harvey is hoping to rework some of his earlier works, which he admits had been influenced too much by Ven T's "not-self" strategy.

:anjali:
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1503
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby SDC » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:29 am

David N. Snyder wrote:He sometimes uses terms for the Western student, using language they are familiar with, but in no place will you see him refer to nibbana as a universal consciousness or a permanent soul.


Exactly, David.

suttametta, I have been studying Ven. Punnaji's work for several years and I have heard him use the word immortality once or twice in some recent talks he conducted in Malaysia. Personally I think it was risky and unnecessary, however it was quite obvious what he meant when he did. In literally all other instances, for years, he has been translating nibbana as "no shaking", "no motion" or "imperturbable serenity" with excellent explanations of what those translations mean. Perhaps we could delve deeper in another discussion.

EDIT

suttametta wrote:No. You have to see his video lectures. He explicitly describes nibbana as "immortality," and Buddha as "brahma bhuto," meaning, in his words, become God.


He translates Brahma bhuto as "God become"; further he defines "God" as the ideal of human perfection. He explains that the Buddha's reason for using this phrase was to emphasize that upon awakening he had reached the ideal of perfection, plain and simple. Once again this has been thoroughly explained by him over the years.
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1009
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:45 am

suttametta wrote:Now, you are changing the issue. I'm not talking about something surviving after death. The suttas do make clear that one cannot classify an Arahant or Tathagata as surviving death. What I have been pointing out is that Buddha is talking about a vinnana that is conditioned by the aggregates, on the one hand, and a vinnana that is not, on the other. Buddha uses the word "vinnana" to describe both the vinnana in the 12-links and the vinnana in nibbana. That does not mean it "survives" after death.

Whatever trophy anyone feels inclined to put upon their mental shelf, whether yea or nay, gets snatched away like this:
[Upasiva:]
He who has reached the end:
Does he not exist,
or is he for eternity
free from dis-ease?
Please, sage, declare this to me
as this phenomenon has been known by you.

[The Buddha:]
One who has reached the end
has no criterion [3]
by which anyone would say that —
for him it doesn't exist.
When all phenomena are done away with,[4]
all means of speaking
are done away with as well.

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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:02 am

SDC wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:He sometimes uses terms for the Western student, using language they are familiar with, but in no place will you see him refer to nibbana as a universal consciousness or a permanent soul.


Exactly, David.

suttametta, I have been studying Ven. Punnaji's work for several years and I have heard him use the word immortality once or twice in some recent talks he conducted in Malaysia. Personally I think it was risky and unnecessary, however it was quite obvious what he meant when he did. In literally all other instances, for years, he has been translating nibbana as "no shaking", "no motion" or "imperturbable serenity" with excellent explanations of what those translations mean. Perhaps we could delve deeper in another discussion.

EDIT

suttametta wrote:No. You have to see his video lectures. He explicitly describes nibbana as "immortality," and Buddha as "brahma bhuto," meaning, in his words, become God.


He translates Brahma bhuto as "God become"; further he defines "God" as the ideal of human perfection. He explains that the Buddha's reason for using this phrase was to emphasize that upon awakening he had reached the ideal of perfection, plain and simple. Once again this has been thoroughly explained by him over the years.

Hi David, SDC
I am assuming the Imortality is refering to Amata = deathless?

on the Brahma Bhuto; is Venerable influenced by the Brahmavihara or a specific explanation here?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5736
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby SDC » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:14 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Hi David, SDC

I am assuming the Imortality is refering to Amata = deathless?


Yes.

However it is a word he rarely uses. Like David said he uses certain words in certain settings and I think he is willing to take this risk to get the point across. In this particular case I do not believe it was necessary, but like I said he explains the concept of nibbana so well apart from the word “immortality” that the listener will not be at risk of misinterpreting it as some eternalist viewpoint. I will personally attest to this, having studied his work quite extensively.



Cittasanto wrote:on the Brahma Bhuto; is Venerable influenced by the Brahmavihara or a specific explanation here?

From the Aggañña Sutta - DN27

“Vasettha, all of you, through of different birth, name, clan and family, who have gone forth from the household life into homelessness, if you are asked who you are, should reply: ‘We are ascetics, followers of the Sakyan.’ He whose faith in the Tathagata is settled, rooted, established, solid, unshakeable by any ascetic or Brahmin, any deva or mara or Brahma or anyone in the world, can truly say: ‘I am a true son of Blessed Lord, born of his mouth, born of Dhamma, created by Dhamma, an heir of Dhamma.’ Why is that? Because, Vasettha, this designates the Tathagata: ‘The body of Dhamma’, that is, ‘The body of Brahma’, or ‘Become Dhamma’, that is, ‘Become Brahma’.


Meaning dhamma is the ideal and the Buddha became that ideal. I have never seen the Venerable explain this to mean anything more than that.
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1009
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:25 pm

:thumbsup: Well said.



Moderator note: the posts dealing with universal consciousness, permanent soul, have been split off the Theravada sectarian thread into this thread.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8008
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby SDC » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:51 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Well said.


Thank you, David.
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1009
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:18 am

I suppose if there is universal consciousness then the end of the path would necessiarly entail awareness of it.
The problem tho with asking such questions is that you have to agree on definitions and reference points. Universal Consciousness being either the great self or the great other (depending on your reference point, for the moment leaving the existence of such entities an open question) one must at least define self and other. I suppose for a materialist that would probably be easy enough, for them the self is the brain and other is everything else, for buddhsts however it seems a tough nut to crack.
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Next

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alex123 and 7 guests