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

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

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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.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:02 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
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."

Oops. I didn't realize that was the writing of Ven Thanissaro.

Ñāṇa wrote:
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.

Doesn't this view completely disregard viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ (consciousness without feature)?
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:42 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote: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.

Doesn't this view completely disregard viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ (consciousness without feature)?

Not at all. Conventionally speaking, nibbāna is considered an object of mental perception. AN 10.6:

    "Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that (1) he would not be percipient of earth in relation to earth; (2) of water in relation to water; (3) of fire in relation to fire; (4) of air in relation to air; (5) of the base of infinity of space in relation to the base of the infinity of space; (6) of the base of infinity of consciousness in relation to the base of the infinity of consciousness; (7) of the base of nothingness in relation to the base of nothingness; (8) of the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception in relation to the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (9) of this world in relation to this world; (10) of the other world in relation to the other world, but he would still be percipient?"

    "He could, Ānanda."

    "But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?"

    "Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu is percipient thus: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.' It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu could obtain such a state of concentration...."

This same meditative state is called the perception of cessation (nirodhasaññā) in AN 10.60. There's no need to posit some sort of dimension existing outside time and space to account for viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ or Buddhist liberation. The very assertion of such things is contrary to the answer given in SN 48.42 (and elsewhere):

    "But master Gotama, what is it that nibbāna takes recourse in?"

    "You have gone beyond the range of questioning, brāhmaṇa. You were unable to grasp the limit of questioning. For, brāhmaṇa, the holy life is lived with nibbāna as its ground, nibbāna as its destination, nibbāna as its final goal."

Any view regarding the postmortem existence or non-existence of an awakened arahant is not conducive to actually attaining the goal. It does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calmness, direct gnosis, full awakening, nibbāna. It's considered a fetter of view (diṭṭhisaṃyojana).

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:59 pm

Ñāṇa wrote: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.

And yet... (link)
Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around, has not been experienced through the allness of the all.

My understanding is that the consciousness associated with nibbana is without feature, radiant, timeless, dimensionless, and not based on the six senses. I don't see this as some Sci-Fi or mystical realm, but simply to speak in terms of time or space would be meaningless in reference to nibbana. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Ñāṇa wrote:Any view regarding the postmortem existence or non-existence of an awakened arahant is not conducive to actually attaining the goal. It does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calmness, direct gnosis, full awakening, nibbāna. It's considered a fetter of view (diṭṭhisaṃyojana).

Agreed.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby reflection » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:13 pm

How many confusion can arise because of some quotes in a 2500 old text? Buddhism is not a religion that should base its view on texts. Some suttas even explicitly say we shouldn't. Because who's to say these words "consciousness without feature" were ever spoken by the Buddha? It's clear the suttas have been modified quite a lot over the years, so to base our views on such a line is silly. I personally think the Buddha never said these words. They don't fit in the big part of the teachings at all. The gross of the suttas never hints at a consciousness outside of the six senses or outside of the five khandas, outside of body and mind. Neither have I ever experienced it, and I suggest those who support such a view to reconsider if they ever have. Why go by ancient text if you can go by experience?

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby polarbear101 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:42 pm

reflection wrote:Why go by ancient text if you can go by experience?


Why call yourself a buddhist if you don't use the suttas to understand your experience? The whole of buddhism is based on texts, the Sangha wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the memorization of oral 'texts' like the vinaya and the sutta-pitaka. If you want to posit that one or two suttas seem to be additions and should be disregarded that's one thing but to disregard the texts is to not be a buddhist. Also, people can be led astray by their personal views.

But certainly I don't think the suttas are pointing to any transcendental consciousness outside space and time, as if that even has meaning.

"'Consciousness, consciousness': Thus is it said. To what extent, friend, is it said to be 'consciousness'?"

"'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus, friend, it is said to be 'consciousness.' And what does it cognize? It cognizes 'pleasant.' It cognizes 'painful.' It cognizes 'neither painful nor pleasant.' 'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus it is said to be 'consciousness.'"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Cognizing doesn't occur outside of time, because it takes time to cognize data, and hence the term consciousness doesn't apply outside of time.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

SamKR
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby SamKR » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:55 pm

reflection wrote:Why go by ancient text if you can go by experience?
:anjali:

We need texts (also) to verify our experiences, and to make sure we are in line with the Buddha's original teachings. Otherwise we could be lost in the jungle of experiences.
Nevertheless, it is quite possible that a few suttas may not be precisely in line with the Buddha's teachings, or we may have not understood them deeply enough.
Last edited by SamKR on Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

Buckwheat
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:51 am

reflection wrote:How many confusion can arise because of some quotes in a 2500 old text? Buddhism is not a religion that should base its view on texts. Some suttas even explicitly say we shouldn't. Because who's to say these words "consciousness without feature" were ever spoken by the Buddha? It's clear the suttas have been modified quite a lot over the years, so to base our views on such a line is silly. I personally think the Buddha never said these words. They don't fit in the big part of the teachings at all. The gross of the suttas never hints at a consciousness outside of the six senses or outside of the five khandas, outside of body and mind. Neither have I ever experienced it, and I suggest those who support such a view to reconsider if they ever have. Why go by ancient text if you can go by experience?

With kindness,
:anjali:


I can not, at this time, through personal experience, examine the consciousness of an arahant. That is why I rely on the text.

I am not qualified to assert that this text is corrupt, and have never heard anybody suggest it was. What is wrong with saying that the arahant remains conscious while experiencing nibbana, and that this consciousness is not dependent on the sense-bases?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
There is that dimension, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished,[1] unevolving, without support [mental object].[2] This, just this, is the end of stress.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Buckwheat
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:57 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
reflection wrote:... it takes time to cognize data ...


This seems like a bit of an assumption here. Obviously, most cognizing does indeed happen over time, but is it actually necessary? When I have a lucid moment, simply aware of the breath, time does not seem to be a necessary component, but I could be wrong.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Nyana
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:53 am

Buckwheat wrote:My understanding is that the consciousness associated with nibbana is without feature, radiant, timeless, dimensionless, and not based on the six senses.

Where does this consciousness that is independent of the six senses originate from? Surely it doesn't emerge ex nihilo?

Buckwheat wrote:I don't see this as some Sci-Fi or mystical realm, but simply to speak in terms of time or space would be meaningless in reference to nibbana.

To say that Sāriputta realized nibbāna at a certain time and place isn't meaningless at all.

Sylvester
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:06 am

piotr 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. 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.


Good point, piotr.

I think the phrase "and having seen with wisdom" is predictive, given that the optative cassa is used. Some thoughts here -

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16141&start=20#p230895

If the optative were fully rendered into English, the phrase would probably look like "and [it would be] having seen with wisdom", the phrase in parenthesis being the optative of the silent copula hoti. I suppose this might suggest that the attainment of cessation guarantees awakening, whereas the preceding 8 attainments could go either way.

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mikenz66
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:56 am

Buckwheat wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote: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.

And yet... (link)
Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around, has not been experienced through the allness of the all.

Are the couple of mentions in the suttas of viññanam anidassanam really a compelling basis for a "nibbana is outside space and time" interpretation? They sound to me like an attempt to describe an experience for which normal concepts don't apply.

See Bhikku Bodhi's translation and discussion here:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=12510#p189583

I'm sure Ven Nananada must discuss it in the Nibbana Sermons, but I can't find it right now...

:anjali:
Mike


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