tiltbillings wrote:Then what is the point of it? What doers it do? What is its function?
Let us keep nibbana out of this discussion, given that nibbana "exist" -- according to the suttas -- in as much as there are individuals who have destroyed greed, hatred, and delusion -- which is to say, they are no longer conditioned by greed, hatred, and delusion. But what do the suttas say about a self that feels nothing, perceives nothing, and does not act?
tilblillings, you read pali, so you can confirm there is a message by the Buddha that, if there isn't anything permanent, unconditioned then there would be no release from suffering and death, and because there is thing permanent, unconditioned so there is release from suffering. There is a statement similar to this, right? That statement clearly indicated that there is thing exists but has no beginning, and is permanent.
A permanent, unconditioned thing that exists -- that is what you are saying that the Buddha taught. The problem with that, however, is that if there is some self-existing thing that is unconditioned -- which would mean that it is also unchanging -- there could be no possible connexion between that and what is conditioned, which puts the supposed unconditioned, unchanging thing out of reach, out knowledge, out of experience to the conditioned thing. If the unconditioned thing were in some sort of relationship to what is conditioned, the unconditioned thing would be in a relative -- that is, conditioned -- relationship with the conditioned, which would mean that the unconditioned is in fact conditioned by virtue of its relationship. This is a problem for theism. God is an unconditioned, absolute, and unchanging existence, which would mean that I could not pray to that god. If I could pray to that god, it heard and answered my prayer, the god would not be absolute, unconditioned, and unchanging.
The Buddha, in the Kaccaayanagotto Sutta (SN 12.15 PTS: S ii 16 CDB i 544
), made it quite clear that the idea of existence is not reality. One needs to keep in mind that the Buddha never posited that nibbana was a self-existing thing. The Buddha did, however, state that nibbana is being free of the conditioning of greed, hatred, and delusion -- that is, one, who is nibbana-ized, is unconditioned by greed, hatred, and delusion.
Now, as for the "self," the Buddha clearly stated:
Bhikkhus, what exists by clinging to what, by adhering to what does view of self arise? … When there is form, bhikkhus, by clinging to form, by adhering to form, view of self arises. When there is feeling…perception…voltional formations…consciousness, by clinging to consciousness, view of self arises. … Seeing thus… He understands: …there is no more for this state of being. – SN III 185-6.
Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. SN III 46
It is impossible, it cannot come to pass that a man possessed of (right) view would treat any dhamma as self - this situation does not occur. MN iii 64
‘”I am’ is derivative upon form … perception … feelings … volitional formation … consciousness’ – S XXII 83/iii 105
In other words, there is no self to be found that is not a conditioned product of our experience. An unconditioned self would be meaningless because it could not feel, see, hear, or act. There would be no way to experience it, given that it could have no relationship to experience in any way.
The problem, it seems, with your assumptions about nibbana, and the idea of an (to use your words) "absolute self, the true self," is that you are still stuck of thinking these things in terms existence and non-existence, which the Buddha stated is the wrong way to approach experience.