Nibbana = universal consciousness?

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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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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?
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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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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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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.
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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.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:57 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Where does Venerable say that?

In the passage provided by EmptyShadow: "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."

Buckwheat wrote: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.

I would suggest that the notion of consciousness existing outside the realm of time is itself meaningless. Consciousness is designated according to the particular condition dependent upon which it arises. If there are no such conditions, there is no basis for designating the existence of any consciousness whatsoever. MN 38 Mahātaṇhāsankhaya Sutta:

    Bhikkhus, consciousness is reckoned by the particular condition dependent upon which it arises. When consciousness arises dependent on the eye and forms, it is reckoned as eye-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on the ear and sounds, it is reckoned as ear-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on the nose and odors, it is reckoned as nose-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on tongue and flavors, it is reckoned as tongue-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on body and tangibles, it is reckoned as body consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on the mind and mind-objects, it is reckoned as mind-consciousness.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:22 am

Ñāṇa 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.

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.


As I suspected either my monk source or myself were somewhat misled. Thank you Nyana.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:42 am

Buckwheat wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote: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.


Hi, Ñāṇa,

The great Mahayana Buddhas -- Amitabha, Vairocana and so on -- have not reached parinirvana, correct? Could you say something about their ontological status?

When do they enter paranirvana and what causes them to arrive at that (non)state? What keeps them in the universe to teach beings?
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:57 am

Lazy_eye wrote:The great Mahayana Buddhas -- Amitabha, Vairocana and so on -- have not reached parinirvana, correct? Could you say something about their ontological status?

When do they enter paranirvana and what causes them to arrive at that (non)state? What keeps them in the universe to teach beings?

According to Mahāyāna sūtras such as the Sūtra of the Prophecy Bestowed upon Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, even though these buddhas have extremely long lives, they do eventually enter parinirvāṇa:

    Good man, although Amitābha Buddha’s lifespan will last innumerable hundreds, thousands, and koṭis of kalpas, it will finally come to an end. Good man, after incalculable distant kalpas to come, Amitābha Buddha will enter parinirvāṇa.

According to commentators such as Bhāviveka, buddhas display parinirvāṇa so that beings will become disgusted with saṃsāra and decide to take up the noble eightfold path. Related to this is the story, common to all schools, that Śākyamuni Buddha could have extended his life, but Ānanda failed to make the request in time.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby EmptyShadow » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:36 am

Hi Nana,

Ñāṇa wrote: 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.

Could you please prvide a link for this suttas? I cant find them in access to insight.

Also how can you comment this definition of the Buddha in Brahma-nimantanika Sutta and the following commentary:
"'Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around,

has not been experienced through the earthness of earth ... the liquidity of liquid ... the fieriness of fire ... the windiness of wind ... the allness of the all.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-9

Consciousness without surface (viññanam anidassanam): This term appears to be related to the following image from SN 12.64:

"Just as if there were a roofed house or a roofed hall having windows on the north, the south, or the east. When the sun rises, and a ray has entered by way of the window, where does it land?"

"On the western wall, lord."

"And if there is no western wall, where does it land?"

"On the ground, lord."

"And if there is no ground, where does it land?"

"On the water, lord."

"And if there is no water, where does it land?"

"It does not land, lord."

"In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food ... contact ... intellectual intention ... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or grow. Where consciousness does not land or grow, name-&-form does not alight. Where name-&-form does not alight, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair."

In other words, normal sensory consciousness is experienced because it has a "surface" against which it lands: the sense organs and their objects, which constitute the "all." For instance, we experience visual consciousness because of the eye and forms of which we are conscious. Consciousness without surface, however, is directly known, without intermediary, free from any dependence on conditions at all.

This consciousness thus differs from the consciousness factor in dependent co-arising, which is defined in terms of the six sense media. Lying outside of time and space, it would also not come under the consciousness-aggregate, which covers all consciousness near and far; past, present, and future. And, as SN 35.23 notes, the word "all" in the Buddha's teaching covers only the six sense media, which is another reason for not including this consciousness under the aggregates. However, the fact that it is outside of time and space — in a dimension where there is no here, there, or in between (Ud I.10), no coming, no going, or staying (Ud VIII.1) — means that it cannot be described as permanent or omnipresent, terms that have meaning only within space and time.

Some have objected to the equation of this consciousness with nibbana, on the grounds that nibbana is no where else in the Canon described as a form of consciousness. Thus they have proposed that consciousness without surface be regarded as an arahant's consciousness of nibbana in meditative experience, and not nibbana itself. This argument, however, contains two flaws: (1) The term viññanam anidassanam also occurs in DN 11, where it is described as where name & form are brought to an end: surely a synonym for nibbana. (2) If nibbana is an object of mental consciousness (as a dhamma), it would come under the all, as an object of the intellect. There are passages in the Canon (such as AN 9.36) that describe meditators experiencing nibbana as a dhamma, but these passages seem to indicate that this description applies up through the level of non-returning. Other passages, however, describe nibbana as the ending of all dhammas. For instance, Sn V.6 quotes the Buddha as calling the attainment of the goal the transcending of all dhammas. Sn IV.6 and Sn IV.10 state that the arahant has transcended dispassion, said to be the highest dhamma. Thus, for the arahant, nibbana is not an object of consciousness. Instead it is directly known without mediation. Because consciousness without feature is directly known without mediation, there seems good reason to equate the two.


Also if after parinibbana abolutly nothing remains that would otherwise go beyond time, space, existence, the conditioned and so on why wouldnt it be called annihilation? Why the realisation of nibbana is not equated with annihilation of what we percieve as self.
And how such suttas can be explaned in this connection:
The born, become, produced, made, fabricated, impermanent, composed of aging & death, a nest of illnesses, perishing, come from nourishment and the guide [that is craving] — is unfit for delight. The escape from that is calm, permanent, beyond inference, unborn, unproduced, the sorrowless, stainless state, the cessation of stressful qualities, the stilling of fabrications, bliss.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-043
How can annihilation itself be percieved as calm, permanent, bliss..

Edit:
---------------
Now let us consider the last moments of an arahant. As an arahant has no fear whatsoever from any source (akutobhaya), he would not be agitated (na paritassati) as he has no craving for life.[107] He will watch the process of death with perfect equanimity and crystal-clear mindfulness.[108] Further, the Mahaaparinibbaana Sutta, which explains the final moments of the Buddha, states that the Buddha passed away immediately after rising from the fourth jhaana.[109] The fourth jhaana is characterized by purity of equanimity and mindfulness.[110] It is not known whether all arahants attain parinibbaana after the fourth jhaana, but certainly they cannot have a deluded death.[111] As they do not grasp another birth the state they attain after final passing away has to be described as unborn (ajaata) . Similarly it is uncaused (asa"nkhata).[112] As it is no ordinary death it is called the deathless state.[113] It is beyond elemental existence, beyond brahmalokas, neither in this world nor the next, beyond the radiance of the sun and moon.[114] It is beyond what we know of in the three worlds of kaama, ruupa, and aruupa . Therefore, as it is beyond the ken of ordinary human understanding, any attempt to define the state is bound to end in failure. The course of liberated ones cannot be traced like that of birds in the air.[115]

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #fnt-1-113

Also why in so many places nibbana is describes as a state, or sphere, or dimension(beyond time, space and the conditioned nama/rupa).
If it's mere annihilation then it wouldnt be called a state beyond all that, it wouldnt be a state at all.
"The course of liberated ones cannot be traced like that of birds in the air." Here is the same, if a noble one is just annihilated after parinibbana and nothing of 'him' go beyond time/space then there wouldnt be any course for him.
Also the metaphor is "like birds in the air", now birds may not leave any trace during a flight but not leaving a trace doesnt mean you perish completely.
Also that metaphor of the fire that extinguish it's fuel from the article of Thanissaro bhikkhu.
According to the ancient Brahmans, when a fire was extinguished it went into a state of latency. Rather than ceasing to exist, it became dormant and in that state — unbound from any particular fuel — it became diffused throughout the cosmos. When the Buddha used the image to explain nibbana to the Indian Brahmans of his day, he bypassed the question of whether an extinguished fire continues to exist or not, and focused instead on the impossibility of defining a fire that doesn't burn: thus his statement that the person who has gone totally "out" can't be described.

If this is really correct then, since the comparison of extinguished fire and nibbana is very popular among modern world, it could be one of the causes that we believe that nibbana is annihilation and in reality with this metaphore the Buddha could have ment something very different then annihilation.
Can anyone comment if such view about the fire really existed among ancient brahmans?
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:25 am

EmptyShadow wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote: 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.

Could you please prvide a link for this suttas? I cant find them in access to insight.


Unfortunately, Access to Insight isn't a comprehensive source of translations.

If you go to this page:
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html
the suttas Nana is referring to are labelled 6-10.

The translation there is not that easy to read. Here is Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:
http://www.wisdompubs.org/pages/display ... n=&image=1
http://books.google.co.nz/books/wisdomp ... &q&f=false
AN 9:51 wrote: In This Very Life
“It is said, friend, ‘nibbāna in this very life, nibbāna in this very life.’ In what way, friend, has the Blessed One spoken of nibbāna in this very life?”
(1)–(8) “Here, friend, secluded from sensual pleasures … a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhāna …. [other jhana's and immaterial attainments] ...
To this extent, too, the Blessed One has spoken of nibbāna in this very life in a provisional sense ….
(9) “Again, friend, by completely surmounting the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the cessation of perception and feeling, and having seen with wisdom, his taints are utterly destroyed. To this extent, friend, the Blessed One has spoken of nibbāna in this very life in a non-provisional sense.

:anjali:
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby piotr » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:20 am

Ñāṇa wrote: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.


But this passage suggests that seeing with wisdom (i.e. seeing noble truths) and elimination of taints happen because of cessation of perception and feeling. In other words I disagree that in this passage what is refered to as ‘nibbāna’ is only seeing with wisdom and destruction of taints.

There's another point which comes to my mind in relation to this passage. It's said that cessation of perception and feeling is attainable only by arahants as a special meditative attainment. But if, as it seems to be, taints are destroyed (arahantship is attained) only after emergence from cessation of perception and feeling, then this attainment must be achieved by non-arahants.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:22 pm

EmptyShadow wrote:Also how can you comment this definition of the Buddha in Brahma-nimantanika Sutta and the following commentary:
"'Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around,

has not been experienced through the earthness of earth ... the liquidity of liquid ... the fieriness of fire ... the windiness of wind ... the allness of the all.


Those passages are referring to experiences of living arahants. As for your line of questioning, it's addressed in the suttas. For example, Suttanipāta 5.6:

    [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 by which anyone would say that — for him it doesn't exist. When all phenomena are done away with, all means of speaking are done away with as well.

There is nothing whatsoever that can be posited about the postmortem arahant. Language and logical inference don't apply to that which cannot be qualified or measured. There is no criteria for measurement.

EmptyShadow wrote:Also that metaphor of the fire that extinguish it's fuel from the article of Thanissaro bhikkhu.
According to the ancient Brahmans, when a fire was extinguished it went into a state of latency. Rather than ceasing to exist, it became dormant and in that state — unbound from any particular fuel — it became diffused throughout the cosmos. When the Buddha used the image to explain nibbana to the Indian Brahmans of his day, he bypassed the question of whether an extinguished fire continues to exist or not, and focused instead on the impossibility of defining a fire that doesn't burn: thus his statement that the person who has gone totally "out" can't be described.

If this is really correct then, since the comparison of extinguished fire and nibbana is very popular among modern world, it could be one of the causes that we believe that nibbana is annihilation and in reality with this metaphore the Buddha could have ment something very different then annihilation.
Can anyone comment if such view about the fire really existed among ancient brahmans?

The fire metaphor most commonly refers to the three fires of passion, aggression, and delusion. If the Indian Buddhist understanding of fire was really that an extinguished fire goes into a "latent state," then these three fires could re-combust within an arahant's mind as long as there is fuel remaining (i.e. saupādisesa nibbānadhātu: nibbāna element with fuel remaining). Of course, this would render nibbāna quite meaningless.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:40 pm

piotr wrote:But this passage suggests that seeing with wisdom (i.e. seeing noble truths) and elimination of taints happen because of cessation of perception and feeling. In other words I disagree that in this passage what is refered to as ‘nibbāna’ is only seeing with wisdom and destruction of taints.

There are other pathways to arahantship given in the suttas which don't involve attaining the cessation of perception and feeling. The Theravāda has never accepted that the cessation of perception and feeling is not-conditioned (asaṅkhata) because that would mean that there are two not-conditioned dhammas, and that a produced meditative state is not-conditioned, and that the cessation of perception and feeling would have the same liberating role as the supramundane paths and fruitions, and so on. This is a specific point of controversy in the Kathāvatthu, where all of these alternatives are rejected (see Points of Controversy, pp. 190-91).

In keeping with the Kathāvatthu, the Visuddhimagga maintains that the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling (a.k.a. nirodhasamāpatti), is neither supramundane nor not-conditioned (asaṅkhata). Visuddhimagga 23.52:

    As to the question: Is the attainment of cessation formed or unformed, etc.? It is not classifiable as formed or unformed, mundane or supramundane. Why? Because it has no individual essence. But since it comes to be attained by one who attains it, it is therefore permissible to say that it is produced, not unproduced.

The arahant path and fruition can occur after emerging from the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling, provided that one is first able to attain the cessation of perception and feeling. When one emerges from the cessation attainment the mind inclines towards nibbāna. MN 44:

    "When a monk has emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling, lady, how many contacts make contact?"

    "When a monk has emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling, friend Visakha, three contacts make contact: contact with emptiness, contact with the signless, & contact with the undirected."

    "When a monk has emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling, lady, to what does his mind lean, to what does it tend, to what does it incline?"

    "When a monk has emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling, friend Visakha, his mind leans to seclusion, tends to seclusion, inclines to seclusion."

Visuddhimagga 23.50 comments as follows:

    Towards what does the mind of one who has emerged tend? It tends towards nibbāna. For this is said: 'When a bhikkhu has emerged from the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling, friend Visakha, his consciousness inclines to seclusion, leans to seclusion, tends to seclusion.'

piotr wrote:There's another point which comes to my mind in relation to this passage. It's said that cessation of perception and feeling is attainable only by arahants as a special meditative attainment. But if, as it seems to be, taints are destroyed (arahantship is attained) only after emergence from cessation of perception and feeling, then this attainment must be achieved by non-arahants.

Yes, it's also attainable by non-returners who have developed the formless attainments.
Nyana
 
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