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What is "the deathless"? - Dhamma Wheel

What is "the deathless"?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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m0rl0ck
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What is "the deathless"?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:38 pm

I see this term used in ways that make me think that its definition is similiar to "awareness" the way the tibetans use it, or "true nature" or "Mind" the way the zennies use it, or "emptiness" the way it used in mahayana, that is as a positive something that might be better called everythingness.
Then again, i see most of the concepts above refuted and picked apart. So what do theravadans mean when they refer to "the deathless".
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

Samma
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Samma » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:49 pm

Its one of many synonyms for nibanna. I'd guess that it comes from description of death as experienced by a tathagata:

Death as experienced by a Tathagata is described simply as, ‘All this, no longer
being relished, grows cold right here.’ All attempts to describe the experience of
nibbana or the state of the Tathagata after death—as existing, not existing, both,
or neither—are refuted by the Buddha (Thanissaro, Mind life fire)

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m0rl0ck
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:02 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Aloka
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Aloka » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:03 pm

In his book "The Sound of Silence" Ajahn Sumedho described "the Deathless" as "the unconditioned". It doesn't mean anything to do with physical death. I think it was also called "'Unconditioned awareness"

Its also described in more detail with quotes from the suttas in "The Island - An anthology of the Buddha's teachings on Nibanna " by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro.



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Last edited by Aloka on Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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manas
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby manas » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:05 pm

Last edited by manas on Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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m0rl0ck
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:06 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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tiltbillings
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:07 pm


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m0rl0ck
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:08 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

Samma
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Samma » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:16 pm

Last edited by Samma on Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Aloka
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Aloka » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:29 pm


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ancientbuddhism
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:26 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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reflection
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby reflection » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:35 pm

Good replies already.

As (if I remember correctly) Tilt quite well explained in the topic he posted, the Deathless is not a thing or a state or something like that, but just to describe the "no more dying", freedom from death. It's a simile for parinibbana. Although in the suttas it may also be used as a simile for nibbana with life remaining, I'm not sure. Still, it would refer to the same.

It does describe the absence of something rather than the presence. Like we could say going on pension is 'the jobless'.

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manas
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby manas » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:57 pm

Last edited by manas on Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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reflection
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby reflection » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:01 pm

Dang, left a loophole ;)

Hope you find your way out of the jobless soon!

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kirk5a
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby kirk5a » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 pm

"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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m0rl0ck
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:43 am

Well i know this isnt going to sit well with a lot of you guys who think thervada has a superior understanding of such things, but what you say is about what i get from the chan/zen concepts.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Spiny Norman
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:55 pm

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

alan
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby alan » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:19 pm

Thanissaro uses it as a definition of Nibbana.

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IanAnd
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby IanAnd » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:37 pm

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

chownah
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Re: What is "the deathless"?

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:51 pm

All things that are born will die. When birth is abandoned the deathless arises.......I guess.....don't know for sure....
chownah


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