the great Nibbana = annihilation, eternal, or something else thread

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
mogg
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:47 am

BlackBird wrote:I have an inkling that any response a Theravadin might make to concepts of Mahayanist eternalism would be thwarted in their minds with the catch all concept they have of emptiness. 'You can say whatever you like, but that's still a relative truth and is ultimately empty, as is everything. :sage: '

But I only have my own experience of days sitting in my kuti talking to a former Vajrayana monk in Sri Lanka to go on, and he was some what of an eccentric, so I have no clue whether he respresents the general point of view.

To me, the word 'emptiness' implies perception. You 'perceive' emptiness. At the end of the day, language breaks down when discussing this issue.

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BlackBird
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby BlackBird » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:02 am

mogg wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I have an inkling that any response a Theravadin might make to concepts of Mahayanist eternalism would be thwarted in their minds with the catch all concept they have of emptiness. 'You can say whatever you like, but that's still a relative truth and is ultimately empty, as is everything. :sage: '

But I only have my own experience of days sitting in my kuti talking to a former Vajrayana monk in Sri Lanka to go on, and he was some what of an eccentric, so I have no clue whether he respresents the general point of view.

To me, the word 'emptiness' implies perception. You 'perceive' emptiness. At the end of the day, language breaks down when discussing this issue.


Aha but you see my dear confused Theravadin, that 'implies' is empty, 'perception' is empty, and 'language breaking down' is also empty!
:rofl: ;)

metta
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

mogg
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:13 am

BlackBird wrote:
mogg wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I have an inkling that any response a Theravadin might make to concepts of Mahayanist eternalism would be thwarted in their minds with the catch all concept they have of emptiness. 'You can say whatever you like, but that's still a relative truth and is ultimately empty, as is everything. :sage: '

But I only have my own experience of days sitting in my kuti talking to a former Vajrayana monk in Sri Lanka to go on, and he was some what of an eccentric, so I have no clue whether he respresents the general point of view.

To me, the word 'emptiness' implies perception. You 'perceive' emptiness. At the end of the day, language breaks down when discussing this issue.


Aha but you see my dear confused Theravadin, that 'implies' is empty, 'perception' is empty, and 'language breaking down' is also empty!
:rofl: ;)

metta
Jack

There's no head-exploding gif unfortunately :)

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:15 pm

EmptyShadow wrote:
The second level of unbinding, symbolized by a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold, is what the arahant experiences after this life. All input from the senses cools away and he/she is totally freed from even the subtlest stresses and limitations of existence in space and time.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bbana.html
So an arahat can experience the freedom of the cessation of nama/rupa after parinibbana?

That seems to be Ven. Ṭhānissaro's opinion. Other people consider such an opinion a view of partial eternalism.

EmptyShadow wrote:Also in the suttas it's said that nibanna is pleasent yet it's not felt.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The sutta in question is subject to interpretation.

EmptyShadow wrote:Then if there is no feeling, perception or consciousness then how a state of cessation is experienced as pleasent and why for example when we lose consciousness and after regaining it we can't say that it was pleasent or unpleasent or something else.
Is the expirience of cessation known with the ordinary consciousness after we leave such state or is it expirienced with some other way?

Nibbāna is not the same as the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling. The four paths and fruitions are always conscious and percipient attainments.

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piotr
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby piotr » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:15 pm

Hi,

Ñāṇa wrote:Nibbāna is not the same as the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling.


Yet it is called this way by the Buddha.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:44 pm

BlackBird wrote:I have an inkling that any response a Theravadin might make to concepts of Mahayanist eternalism would be thwarted in their minds with the catch all concept they have of emptiness. 'You can say whatever you like, but that's still a relative truth and is ultimately empty, as is everything. :sage: '

But I only have my own experience of days sitting in my kuti talking to a former Vajrayana monk in Sri Lanka to go on, and he was some what of an eccentric, so I have no clue whether he respresents the general point of view.

Emptiness doesn't mean anything goes. Functional things still function according to causes and conditions. Therefore, there is no negation of causal efficacy in terms of correct conventions. This is why it's possible to differentiate between correct conventions (tathyasaṃvṛti) based on appearances apprehended by clear sense faculties, on the one hand, and false conventions (mithyāsaṃvṛti) which occur due to impaired sense faculties or false philosophical speculation, on the other. Examples of the latter would include an experience of double vision due to impaired faculties, or positing an omnipotent creator god due to upholding a wrong view.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:46 pm

piotr wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Nibbāna is not the same as the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling.


Yet it is called this way by the Buddha.

Not all arahants are liberated both ways. Arahants liberated through discernment do not attain the formless attainments, and therefore do not attain the cessation of perception and feeling. Nevertheless, they have realized nibbāna and are fully liberated.

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piotr
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby piotr » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:53 pm

Hi,

Ñāṇa wrote:Not all arahants are liberated both ways. Arahants liberated through discernment do not attain the formless attainments, and therefore do not attain the cessation of perception and feeling. Nevertheless, they have realized nibbāna and are fully liberated.


Do you know where from comes an idea that in order to attain cessation of perceptions and feelings one has to master formless attainments?
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:04 pm

piotr wrote:Do you know where from comes an idea that in order to attain cessation of perceptions and feelings one has to master formless attainments?

The sequential progression of meditative attainments is implicit in the suttas, and explicit in Theravāda exegesis.

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piotr
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby piotr » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:52 pm

Hi,

Ñāṇa wrote:
piotr wrote:Do you know where from comes an idea that in order to attain cessation of perceptions and feelings one has to master formless attainments?

The sequential progression of meditative attainments is implicit in the suttas, and explicit in Theravāda exegesis.


Yes but the matter is bit different here.

In The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation by Bhante Gunaratana we find an interesting passage:

    Once the fourth jhana is reached the jhana factors remain constant, and in higher ascent to the immaterial attainments there is no further elimination of jhana factors. For this reason the formless jhanas, when classified from the perspective of their factorial constitution as is done in the Abhidhamma, are considered modes of the fourth jhana. They are all two-factored jhanas, constituted by one-pointedness and equanimous feeling.

In other words, formless attainments are attainments of a mind which is absorbed in fourth jhāna. Fourth jhāna has two factos: (1) equanimity which is a type of feeling and (2) one-pointedness which is a mode of perception. This factors are constant while meditator masters formless attainments. What changes are objects of consciousness. Now the question is do meditator has to attain all these different objects which constitute formless attainments in order to stop perception and feeling or he/she can stop them right after he/she attained fourth jhāna. It seems to me that it's plausible to think that one can reach cessation of perceptions and feelings right after attainment of fourth jhāna. For me cessation looks like further step from fourth jhāna.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby daverupa » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:02 pm

piotr wrote:For me cessation looks like further step from fourth jhāna.


And yet, first jhana can be enough for the ending of the asavas. The point isn't whether cessation-attainment is beyond fourth jhana or not; it is factually different, in meaning and phrasing, from nibbana, and this is the important distinction.
    "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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piotr
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby piotr » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:14 pm

daverupa wrote:And yet, first jhana can be enough for the ending of the asavas.


Are you refering to this sutta?
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:16 pm

piotr wrote:It seems to me that it's plausible to think that one can reach cessation of perceptions and feelings right after attainment of fourth jhāna. For me cessation looks like further step from fourth jhāna.

According to the Theravāda commentators, it's possible for even commoners to enter into a non-percipient attainment (asaññasamāpatti) from the fourth jhāna, but such an attainment is not sammāsamādhi.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby piotr » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:18 pm

Hi,

Ñāṇa wrote:According to the Theravāda commentators, it's possible for even commoners to enter into a non-percipient attainment (asaññasamāpatti) from the fourth jhāna, but such an attainment is not sammāsamādhi.


Sorry, but was this my point? I don't understand why you mention this.
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daverupa
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby daverupa » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:20 pm

piotr wrote:
daverupa wrote:And yet, first jhana can be enough for the ending of the asavas.


Are you refering to this sutta?


Probably, or one like it. Shall we say it's suspect, or that it's being misunderstood? Because since that sutta reports:

I tell you that they are to be rightly explained by those monks who are meditators, skilled in attaining, skilled in attaining & emerging, who have attained & emerged in dependence on them."


...I'm hoping that people talk about their experiences with these states, rather than going whole-hog with citation battles.

Probably off-topic in either case.
    "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 = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:27 pm

piotr wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:According to the Theravāda commentators, it's possible for even commoners to enter into a non-percipient attainment (asaññasamāpatti) from the fourth jhāna, but such an attainment is not sammāsamādhi.


Sorry, but was this my point? I don't understand why you mention this.

I mention it because non-percipient attainments don't terminate fetters. Therefore, there's no reason to equate a non-percipient attainment or the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling with nibbāna.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby piotr » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:32 pm

daverupa wrote:Probably, or one like it. Shall we say it's suspect, or that it's being misunderstood?


Well I don't think it's saying that "first jhana can be enough for the ending of the asavas". Rather — as I see it — it says that in order to see how things are and in order to be disenchanted and disspasionate about them either stage of samādhi is fine. After disechantment mind can incline towards nibbāna and reach cessation.

I don't think that "right there" in "staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations" means either stage of samādhi, but rather cessation itself.
Last edited by piotr on Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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piotr
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby piotr » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:34 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:I mention it because non-percipient attainments don't terminate fetters. Therefore, there's no reason to equate a non-percipient attainment or the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling with nibbāna.


But why to equate non-percipient attainment with cessation of perception and feeling in the first place? They are radically different.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:42 pm

piotr wrote:But why to equate non-percipient attainment with cessation of perception and feeling in the first place?

I haven't equated the two. According to Theravāda commentary, they are different attainments. A non-percipient attainment can be entered from a jhāna, the cessation of perception & feeling can be entered from the fourth formless attainment.

At any rate, there are a number of suttas which give a complete explanation of the path and awakening without ever mentioning the formless attainments or the attainment of the cessation of perception & feeling. Moreover, even when the nine meditative attainments are given, such as the the sequence from AN 9.47 to AN 9.51, the cessation of perception & feeling isn't equated with nibbāna. The relevant phrase in this case being "and having seen with wisdom, his taints are utterly destroyed." This seeing with wisdom and elimination of āsavas occurs after one has emerged from the attainment of the cessation of perception & feeling.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:38 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
EmptyShadow wrote:
The second level of unbinding, symbolized by a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold, is what the arahant experiences after this life. All input from the senses cools away and he/she is totally freed from even the subtlest stresses and limitations of existence in space and time.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bbana.html
So an arahat can experience the freedom of the cessation of nama/rupa after parinibbana?

That seems to be Ven. Ṭhānissaro's opinion.


Hi, Nana,
Where does Venerable say that? The only things I have read are that the consciousness of an arahant is outside the realm of time, so any statement for experience after parinibbana would be rendered meaningless due to it's dependence on time.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.


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