Nibbana used for evil

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Nibbana used for evil

Postby martian » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:10 pm

Once a person is able to understand and unbind the workings of perceived reality and karma.
Once enlightenment is attained and one is liberated from the hold of kamma, can this ability be used for evil?
I mean can one act upon the thought that "Now karma cannot touch me. I can now do anything without karmic consequence."
Last edited by martian on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:42 pm

No, just no.

Once enlightenment is attained there would be no interest in "doing evil".
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby Coyote » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:08 pm

Also, I don't think the thought "I can now do anything without karmic consequence" would arise in an arahant, since it is based on wrong view.
Enlightenment is freedom from, not freedom to. Specifically freedom from suffering which includes unwholesome/"evil" intentions.
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby martian » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:13 am

The regularity of the Dhamma, here, denotes the causal principle that underlies all "fabricated" (saṅkhata) experience, i.e., experience made up of causal conditions and influences. Knowing this principle means mastering it: one can not only trace the course of causal processes but also escape from them by skillfully letting them disband. The knowledge of Unbinding is the realization of total freedom that comes when one has disbanded the causal processes of the realm of fabrication, leaving the freedom from causal influences that is termed the "Unfabricated." -Thanissaro Bhikkhu/Wings to Awakening

From what I can understand, in Nibbana, one has the capability to unbind and hence manipulate the processes that leads to what we see as delusions. Nibbana is achieved by training the mind to really see these processes and to have the capability to unbind them. The capability to unbind prevents kamma from taking fruit, leading to liberation from it.
Let me illustrate. Let's say the number 6 represent a delusion. The underlying process would be 1+2+3 = 6. If we have the capability to unbind, we can manipulate this process to be 1+2 by taking away 3 thus preventing the process's fruition into 6.
Now, do we need total adherence to sila to be able to attain this capability? If yes, where does total adherence to sila (being good) sit in this description of Nibbana. I think one only has to be just morally good enough to be less distracted enough by delusions to be able to train the mind to unbind the processes behind these delusions. Being just morally good enough though means there is still some "evil" in there.
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:34 am

You refer to "evil in there", which would be at least underlying tendencies. These have been fully extirpated in the nibbanized individual.

There is no mastery of nibbana, because nibbana is not a thing, it is a description of an individual who has fully extirpated greed, lust, ill-will, hatred, & delusion.

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    "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]
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:22 am

Do you suppose that the law of kamma does not apply to an arahat? So if he/she steps in front of a car, nothing happens?

Also the very definition of an arahat is someone who is free of attachment and aversion, free of delusion, liberated. How could one like that give rise to unwholesome thoughts, let alone actions?
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby martian » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:28 am

But being "100% ethical" is not a prerequisite for Nirvana. Its the ability to see through delusions and unbind them, that is the prerequisite, that is Nirvana.
The state of being 100% ethical is impossible until one sees through delusions and gain understanding how to unbind them. So our attempts to be ethical is just a means of training.
Following the precepts is just an exercise for the mind to strengthen it as it goes through the path to gain the knowledge of the Unbinding.

I guess to answer my original question "Can the knowledge of the Unbinding, the attainment of Nirvana be used for evil?",
It is possible theoretically I think but it will be unimaginable and will not make sense for a liberated person to do so.
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby cooran » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:06 am

Hello martian,

If you have time, it might be worth your while to read:
Nibbana - The Mind Stilled
http://books.nibbanam.com/epubs/nibbana ... tilled.pdf

with metta
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby jackson » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:32 pm

Greetings martian,
This is actually a very interesting question and I think what you may taking about is called "crazy wisdom" as referred to by Bhikkhu Bodhi in this quote from an essay on non-duality:
In this sequel to the previous essay, I intend to discuss three major areas of difference between the Buddha's Teaching, which we may refer to here as "the Ariyan Dhamma," and the philosophies of non-duality. These areas correspond to the three divisions of the Buddhist path — virtue, concentration, and wisdom.

In regard to virtue the distinction between the two teachings is not immediately evident, as both generally affirm the importance of virtuous conduct at the start of training. The essential difference between them emerges, not at the outset, but only later, in the way they evaluate the role of morality in the advanced stages of the path. For the non-dual systems, all dualities are finally transcended in the realization of the non-dual reality, the Absolute or fundamental ground. As the Absolute encompasses and transcends all diversity, for one who has realized it the distinctions between good and evil, virtue and non-virtue, lose their ultimate validity. Such distinctions, it is said, are valid only at the conventional level, not at the level of final realization; they are binding on the trainee, not on the adept. Thus we find that in their historical forms (particularly in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra), philosophies of non-duality hold that the conduct of the enlightened sage cannot be circumscribed by moral rules. The sage has transcended all conventional distinctions of good and evil. He acts spontaneously from his intuition of the Ultimate and therefore is no longer bound by the rules of morality valid for those still struggling toward the light. His behavior is an elusive, incomprehensible outflow of what has been called "crazy wisdom."

For the Ariyan Dhamma, the distinction between the two types of conduct, moral and immoral, is sharp and clear, and this distinction persists all the way through to the consummation of the path: "Bodily conduct is twofold, I say, to be cultivated and not to be cultivated, and such conduct is either the one or the other" (MN 114). The conduct of the ideal Buddhist sage, the arahant, necessarily embodies the highest standards of moral rectitude both in the spirit and in the letter, and for him conformity to the letter is spontaneous and natural. The Buddha says that the liberated one lives restrained by the rules of the Vinaya, seeing danger in the slightest faults. He cannot intentionally commit any breach of the moral precepts, nor would he ever pursue any course of action motivated by desire, hatred, delusion, or fear.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_27.html

What I have trouble understanding is what makes even the stream-winner so steadfast to the precepts. In another thread a while back someone mentioned the scenario of a stream-winner being held at gunpoint and given the choice between eating a cupcake that is not rightfully his or facing death. It's far-fetched as most hypothetical situations are but makes the point that rigid adherence to the precepts seems a little bizarre. There are times when there is a choice between two evils and I have to wonder how an enlightened being would handle such a situation. One example off the top of my head would be with a parasite like a tape worm, what choice would an Arahant make? :shrug:
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby martian » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:11 pm

From what I can understand from what Thanissaro Bhikkhu is saying about unbinding, the process of kamma is a mental one. Nirvana is really about the status of the mind and how it relates to these karmic processes.
If an Arhant is able to unbind these kammic processes into dis-fruition, the benefits and consequences of adherence or dis-adherence to precepts will not matter. Everything outside the unliberated mind is delusions. This might mean that the act of killing is a delusion also. Once an Arhant is able to unbind the processes behind the act of killing there are two possibilities. One, even if the act is consummated the karmic consequence will not bear fruit. Second, the actual act of killing will not be consummated at all thus there would be not need for any kammic consequence relative to that act. It might be that an Arhant is like Neo from the movie Matrix. When Neo became awakened to the true nature of things (the Matrix) he was about to bend and manipulate that reality to his own will. That ability though would be dangerous in the wrong hands, I mean mind :D
It might be though that the Mahayanists are right in their belief that once the mind is liberated, a felling of limitless compassion is also awaken. This makes an evil liberated mind an impossibility.
This might then explain how the Arhant ideal and Bodhisattva ideal might really be just one vehicle.
Hopefully I am not breaking any forum rules here.
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby Jason » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:32 pm

martian wrote:I guess to answer my original question "Can the knowledge of the Unbinding, the attainment of Nirvana be used for evil?",
It is possible theoretically I think but it will be unimaginable and will not make sense for a liberated person to do so.


No, not according to the suttas at any rate, e.g., AN 9.7:

"Yes, Sutavan, you heard it rightly, learned it rightly, attended to it rightly, & understood it rightly. Both before & now I say to you that an arahant monk whose mental fermentations are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis, cannot possibly transgress these nine principles.

"[1] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to intentionally deprive a living being of life. [2] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to take, in the manner of stealing, what is not given. [3] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to engage in sexual intercourse. [4] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to tell a conscious lie. [5] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to consume stored-up sensual things as he did before, when he was a householder.

"[6] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on desire. [7] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on aversion. [8] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on fear. [9] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on delusion.

"Both before and now I say to you that an arahant monk whose mental fermentations are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis, cannot possibly transgress these nine principles."
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby Francis Pope » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:46 am

martian wrote:Once enlightenment is attained and one is liberated from the hold of kamma, can this ability be used for evil?

This view is inherently & extremely dangerous. Its danger does not lie in whether it is true or not. Instead, its danger lies in the believer empowering the evil doer by believing an evil doer may be an arahant. Such beliefs justify evil. Such beliefs are the basis of most evil that occurs in religion, where the believer believes the evil doer is a holy being. Such beliefs can destroy the mind of a person that may be the recipient of such evil deeds. Where as the removal of such belief will save.



The concept of the arahant is based in the perfection of both wisdom & conduct. An evil doer cannot be an arahant. Even if a mind has attained imperturability & various powers, if it continues to do evil it cannot be arahant. This forms the proper foundation of belief about arahants. Regardless of attainments, an evil doer cannot be an arahant in Buddhism. This distinguishes the arahant from godly beings that continue to practise forms of evil. Buddha taught to all of his arahants on the 3rd Buddhist Holy Day:

183. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

184. Enduring patience is the highest austerity. "Nibbana is supreme," say the Buddhas. He is not a true monk who harms another, nor a true renunciate who oppresses others.

185. Not despising, not harming, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline, moderation in food, dwelling in solitude, devotion to meditation — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby Nyorai » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:23 am

Loving others is loving yourself
ImageTo become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.Image
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby SDC » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:34 am

martian wrote:Hopefully I am not breaking any forum rules here.


Love it... :D
Through many of samsara’s births I hasten seeking, finding not the builder of this house - pain is birth again, again. O builder of this house you’re seen, you shall not build a house again, all your beams have given away, rafters of the ridge decayed, mind to the unconditioned gone, exhaustion of craving has it reached.(Dhp - 153, 154)
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby Sylvester » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:42 am

Jason wrote:
martian wrote:I guess to answer my original question "Can the knowledge of the Unbinding, the attainment of Nirvana be used for evil?",
It is possible theoretically I think but it will be unimaginable and will not make sense for a liberated person to do so.


No, not according to the suttas at any rate, e.g., AN 9.7:

"Yes, Sutavan, you heard it rightly, learned it rightly, attended to it rightly, & understood it rightly. Both before & now I say to you that an arahant monk whose mental fermentations are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis, cannot possibly transgress these nine principles.

"[1] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to intentionally deprive a living being of life. [2] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to take, in the manner of stealing, what is not given. [3] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to engage in sexual intercourse. [4] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to tell a conscious lie. [5] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to consume stored-up sensual things as he did before, when he was a householder.

"[6] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on desire. [7] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on aversion. [8] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on fear. [9] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on delusion.

"Both before and now I say to you that an arahant monk whose mental fermentations are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis, cannot possibly transgress these nine principles."



Besides these 9 Impossibilities, SN 12.25 and SN 12.51 are even more radical about what is impossible in an Arahant. Spooky!

I'm not a big fan of the Abhidhamma, but this is one occassion where I think the Abhidhammic explanation of such volitions as mere vipāka is the only sensible way to understand this spookiness.
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby alan... » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:11 am

martian wrote:Once a person is able to understand and unbind the workings of perceived reality and karma.
Once enlightenment is attained and one is liberated from the hold of kamma, can this ability be used for evil?
I mean can one act upon the thought that "Now karma cannot touch me. I can now do anything without karmic consequence."


there's actually a list of things an arahant is physically incapable of doing and it certainly rules out anything "evil". so, definitely not.

EDIT: oops, i see now the guy above me beat me to it!
Last edited by alan... on Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby santa100 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:01 pm

martian wrote:
I mean can one act upon the thought that "Now karma cannot touch me. I can now do anything without karmic consequence."


Check out that famous Zen story "Pai Chang's fox" if you haven't read it.. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_fox_koan )
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby male_robin » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:56 pm

How does Kamma is cetana apply to the question posed?
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Re: Nibbana used for evil

Postby whynotme » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:47 pm

Very well said

Francis Pope wrote:
martian wrote:Once enlightenment is attained and one is liberated from the hold of kamma, can this ability be used for evil?

This view is inherently & extremely dangerous. Its danger does not lie in whether it is true or not. Instead, its danger lies in the believer empowering the evil doer by believing an evil doer may be an arahant. Such beliefs justify evil. Such beliefs are the basis of most evil that occurs in religion, where the believer believes the evil doer is a holy being. Such beliefs can destroy the mind of a person that may be the recipient of such evil deeds. Where as the removal of such belief will save.



The concept of the arahant is based in the perfection of both wisdom & conduct. An evil doer cannot be an arahant. Even if a mind has attained imperturability & various powers, if it continues to do evil it cannot be arahant. This forms the proper foundation of belief about arahants. Regardless of attainments, an evil doer cannot be an arahant in Buddhism. This distinguishes the arahant from godly beings that continue to practise forms of evil. Buddha taught to all of his arahants on the 3rd Buddhist Holy Day:

183. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

184. Enduring patience is the highest austerity. "Nibbana is supreme," say the Buddhas. He is not a true monk who harms another, nor a true renunciate who oppresses others.

185. Not despising, not harming, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline, moderation in food, dwelling in solitude, devotion to meditation — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Dhammapada
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