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

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Sylvester
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:27 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.

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.




Hi

You might find a helpful alternative to Ven T's interpretation of MN 49 if, instead of reading the "sabbam" as a reference to the Buddhist "sabba" (ie the 6 pairs of internal and external bases, given in footnote 8), we actually consider the possibility that this sutta was criticising the Upanishadic concept of "sarvam". In the Upanishads, "sarvam" also functions as the name for the ground of Existence/Sat, and sarvam is directly equated with Brahman (see Upanisads, ed P Olivelle, p 297). Sarvam as "the ALL" would thus be whatever metaphysical principle that underlies Brahman in Upanishadic theory, and the Buddha refuses to affirm this metaphysical notion as the base for "self" (since He was aware that the Upanishads also made the equation between Brahman and Atman).

I personally prefer this reading, as the Upanishad thinkers were not known to have been much interested in the 6 sense bases and their objects as the seats of Atman. Most of their musings were directed to either Brahman or Sarvam. MN 49 as an allegorical critique of a brahma's misconceptions would likely have been directed to this mode of thinking. I think the ayatana approach would have been wasted on the Upanishadic thinkers, since they did not make a great fuss over these 12 elements.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:37 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
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?

Where does nibbana originate?


Sylvester, that seems like a reasonable interpretation.

Mike, thanks for that link.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:55 am

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.

This conclusion seems to miss the entire point of this article.
The Buddha insists that this level is indescribable, even in terms of existence or nonexistence, because words work only for things that have limits. All he really says about it — apart from images and metaphors — is that one can have foretastes of the experience in this lifetime, and that it's the ultimate happiness, something truly worth knowing.

When TB says "experience after this lifetime" he is describing something that could almost be called "non-experience" based on the description in this essay. Symbolized by a fire gone completely cold, it would be contrasted with the non-arahants experience after this lifetime, which can be summarized as craving leading to rebirth. The arahant is free from craving, free from rebirth.

One thing is for sure: this essay is not espousing an eternal consciousness ala Brahmanism. Ven Thanissaro is known for his blunt speech, not his subtlety. If he wanted to postulate eternal consciousness, he would do it without veil.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:23 am

Buckwheat wrote:This conclusion seems to miss the entire point of this article.
The Buddha insists that this level is indescribable, even in terms of existence or nonexistence, because words work only for things that have limits. All he really says about it — apart from images and metaphors — is that one can have foretastes of the experience in this lifetime, and that it's the ultimate happiness, something truly worth knowing.


When TB says "experience after this lifetime" he is describing something that could almost be called "non-experience" based on the description in this essay. Symbolized by a fire gone completely cold, it would be contrasted with the non-arahants experience after this lifetime, which can be summarized as craving leading to rebirth. The arahant is free from craving, free from rebirth.

One thing is for sure: this essay is not espousing an eternal consciousness ala Brahmanism. Ven Thanissaro is known for his blunt speech, not his subtlety. If he wanted to postulate eternal consciousness, he would do it without veil.



Hi again.

What if for a moment we question the conventional wisdom about how SN 12.15 should be interpreted? That reading posits that the Buddha was presenting a Universalisable anti-ontology.

However, it's also possible, if not more probable, that the Buddha was not setting up a Universalisable analytical framework but a very specific response to the Chandogya Upanisad. What is presented in SN 12.15 as atthita (existence) and natthita (non-existence) finds its clearest expression in the debate recorded in the Chandogya concerning Sat and Asat (the Vedic analogs of atthita and natthita). There the debate did not wander into the existential status of things out there, but focused on whether Sat or Asat was the source of Brahman. It was a Genesis, not an ontology.

Quite different from the issue of the status of an arahant post mortem, or of anything else for that matter.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Zom » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:11 pm

When TB says "experience after this lifetime" he is describing something that could almost be called "non-experience" based on the description in this essay. Symbolized by a fire gone completely cold, it would be contrasted with the non-arahants experience after this lifetime, which can be summarized as craving leading to rebirth.


I see this as a clinging to a subtle "self-idea". There is some "fire", that "extinguishes, but still exists somehow out of space and time :quote: ". To put it bluntly: "And this is mine, this is what I am, this is my Self". 8-)

Ven Thanissaro is known for his blunt speech, not his subtlety.


Indeed. But not when he is speaking about nibbana, consciousness out of space and time, eternal fire, etс, etс, etс. ,)

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:32 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
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?

Where does nibbana originate?

Nibbāna is a cessation.

Now please answer my question: Where does this consciousness that is independent of the six senses originate from?

Buckwheat wrote:When TB says "experience after this lifetime" he is describing something....

And that is precisely where he is off into conceptual proliferation (papañca) about non-proliferation (nippapañca = nibbāna). By describing something.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby EmptyShadow » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:59 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Now please answer my question: Where does this consciousness that is independent of the six senses originate from?


May be it's just like nibanna - unconditioned, that doesnt depend on anything conventional.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:17 pm

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

Where does nibbana originate?

Nibbāna is a cessation.

Now please answer my question: Where does this consciousness that is independent of the six senses originate from?

Buckwheat wrote:When TB says "experience after this lifetime" he is describing something....

And that is precisely where he is off into conceptual proliferation (papañca) about non-proliferation (nippapañca = nibbāna). By describing something.

The "something" he describes has exactly the same properties as nibbana: cessation, peace, non-clinging, not dependent on anything in the world. That was the point of my rhetorical question about nibbana.
Last edited by Buckwheat on Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:18 pm

Zom wrote:
When TB says "experience after this lifetime" he is describing something that could almost be called "non-experience" based on the description in this essay. Symbolized by a fire gone completely cold, it would be contrasted with the non-arahants experience after this lifetime, which can be summarized as craving leading to rebirth.


I see this as a clinging to a subtle "self-idea". There is some "fire", that "extinguishes, but still exists somehow out of space and time :quote: ".

Again, he says, in sililar terms to what the Buddha says repeatedly, that the arahant neither exists nore does not exist after death, so you are accusing him of saying something that he did not say.

In several talks, TB makes clear that there is a difference between the fire analogy and what happens with an arahant. In the fire analogy, there is always to potential to respark, and that is why it always exists. But the arahant is finally liberated, never to be reborn. There is no way to rekindle the suffering. He explains this as why the term pari-nibbana is used, which goes a step beyond the fire analogy.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Nyana » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:30 pm

Buckwheat wrote:The "something" he describes has exactly the same properties as nibbana: cessation, peace, non-clinging, not dependent on anything in the world.

The something he describes refers to the postmortem arahant. As such, it is conceptual proliferation maintaining a view of partial eternalism.

Buckwheat wrote:Again, he says, in sililar terms to what the Buddha says repeatedly, that the arahant neither exists nore does not exist after death, so you are accusing him of saying something that he did not say.

By saying that "the arahant experiences after this life" he is asserting existence.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:41 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:By saying that "the arahant experiences after this life" he is asserting existence.

That was not the main point of that sentence, and it was followed by an entire paragraph on how it would be inaccurate to say the arahant exists or does not exist after death. TB critics are reading way to much into a simple explanation of parinibbana, where the salient image is "a fire so totally out that it's embers have grown cold".

The main point of the article under consideration is:
So the next time you watch a fire going out, see it not as a case of annihilation, but as a lesson in how freedom is to be found in letting go.

It is not an argument for eternalism.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Zom » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:50 pm

So the next time you watch a fire going out, see it not as a case of annihilation, but as a lesson in how freedom is to be found in letting go.


It is not an argument for eternalism.


The thing is that he views fire either as "annihilation" or as "existing": "Real-Self-Fire-Essence can either be annihilated or - it can become "free" and "indescribable". This is just those 2 extremes of annihilationism and eternalism. No Right-Middle-Way view, where there is actually nothing that can be annihilated or become free.

Btw, Buddha said that annihilationism is better than eternalism. So for one who doesn't understand middle-way approach it is better to assert that "real-fire-essence" is completely annihilated and destroyed, rather than to say that it "becomes free".

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:48 pm

EmptyShadow wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Now please answer my question: Where does this consciousness that is independent of the six senses originate from?


May be it's just like nibanna - unconditioned, that doesnt depend on anything conventional.


Unconditioned means that it is not conditioned by greed, anger, and delusion. It doesn't mean unconditioned from sense bases, their objects, etc.


Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:“The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this, friend, is called Nibbåna - SN38.1

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:“And what, bhikkhus, is the unconstructed? The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this is called the unconstructed. SN43.1
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:24 pm

For another take on the same topic, this is from Bhikkhu Nanananda's "Nibbana and the Fire Simile". I suggest reading the whole article to get the whole context of this passage, but the most relevant bit is:
There is a particular term in the Dhamma to indicate the consciousness which lacks germinating power – namely 'Anidassana viññāõa' – non-manifestative consciousness. There is nothing in that consciousness that can manifest itself or show up. This is the state that the Buddha made known to the world as an extraordinary sphere (āyatana). The world is familiar with only the six sense spheres – eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. They become spheres when they are involved in activity with their respective sense objects. That activity is similar to what is going on in the whirlpool mentioned above. According to the Buddha it is in these six sense spheres where this activity is going on, that the whole world is to be found. Whatever modern science may say, the Buddha has proclaimed that the world is something that arises and ceases in the six sense spheres. That is why the Buddha declared that within this fathom-long physical frame with its perception and mind he would point out the world, the arising of the world, the cessation of the world and the path leading to the cessation of
the world.

Sometimes the Buddha preached about a state wherein the six sense spheres cease. That cessation of sense spheres itself is called a sphere – a sphere one can realize. He even gives a description of it. “Monks, there is that sphere” – what sort of sphere ? In that sphere the Buddha has described, there is
nothing of those elements like earth, water, fire and air with which we associate matter or form, none of the formless realms like the realm of infinity of space, no this world, no other world, no sun, no moon, no coming, no going, no standing, no passing away, no being born. In short, as the Buddha sums it up, that state is unestablished (appatiññha§), non-continuing (appavatta§) and objectless (anārammana§). The long list of negations is suggestive of the absence of all Sa§sāric bonds – everything that mattered including 'matter' itself. It is this non-manifestative consciousness that the arahants experience in the attainment of the Fruit of Arahanthood.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:36 pm

Thanks Buckwheat,

And on Page 19 of the PDF Ven Nanananda notes:
Though there are several instances of arahants in arahattaphalsamadhi mentioned in the discourses, those who believe in a "Mr. Sovanso's Nibbana" [ :) ] interpret them as referring to some mysterious non-descript realm. According to them, that is the final destination or arahants. The majority of Buddhists today are imprisoned in this pernicious view. We have to emphasize that this view only reasserts the personality view, encourages the craving for existence, and reaffirms the brahmin prejudices.


:anjali:
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:10 pm

Thanks, Mike. That is an excellent passage reinforcing anatta. I also really like this vortex analogy which is intended to counter the view that the arahant "goes to nibbana after death".
Let us suppose that there are whirlpools in the great ocean. If for some reason or other they cease and disappear, there is no consequent decrease or increase in the waters of the great ocean. As a matter of fact, there is a very deep concept in the Dhamma – namely that existence is a perversion. 'What the worldlings take as the truth, that for the noble-ones is an untruth.' The Buddha has declared this fact on a certain occasion. Though the world attributes so much importance to existence, the Buddha points out that it is only a pervert state of affairs. According to him all concepts of birth, death, and existence are traceable to a vortex or a whirlpool which is called 'vañña'. As he puts it: 'ettāvatā vañña§ vaññati itthatta§ paññāpanāya' – in so far does a whirlpool whirl, for the designation of a 'thisness' (i.e. this state of existence). It is as if to indicate some spot that a whirlpool whirls. In the great ocean there is a possibility of pointing out a 'this spot' and a 'that spot' only when there are whirlpools. But a whirlpool is a manifestation of some pervert activity. It is when some runaway current of water tries to go against the mainstream and is foiled in its attempt that it turns round only to get pushed back to come round again. When it cannot progress, it spirals downwards to form a vortex or an eddy with its abyss.

In the same way, beings 'ignore' the true state of affairs in the world. Impelled by ignorance and craving, their consciousness goes in search of permanence in a world of impermanence, beauty in a world of ugliness, pleasure in a world of suffering, and a self in a world of not-self. It is due to this perversion that this whirlpool or eddy of a person comes to be. Even the Buddha as a Bodhisatta has been a whirlpool in Sa§sāra. So also are Pacceka Buddhas and arahants. In the end, by wisdom, they see the futility of this whirling round. It is when the vanity of this whirling round between consciousness and name-and-form is understood, and the mind is weaned away from it, that the whirlpool ceases. However many whirlpools cease in the ocean, there is no decrease or increase in the water. It is this simile of the whirlpool that holds the answer to the question about the after-death state of the arahant.

The answer is aleady implicit in the statement: 'The fire has gone out.' How ridiculous it is to conclude that the fire goes somewhere when it goes out. If one asks whether the extinguished fire has gone to the East or West or North or South, it is a foolish question. If something exists depending on causes and conditions, when those causes and conditions are removed, it has to cease. This truth is implicit in the dictum 'bhavanirodho nibbāna§'. 'Cessation of existence is extinction (or Nibbāna).' The cessation of existence itself is Nibbāna. Apart from this there is no other Nibbāna. What the Buddha points out to us is the fact that this Nibbāna is to be realized here and now.
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby EmptyShadow » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:44 am

Alex123 wrote:
EmptyShadow wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Now please answer my question: Where does this consciousness that is independent of the six senses originate from?


May be it's just like nibanna - unconditioned, that doesnt depend on anything conventional.


Unconditioned means that it is not conditioned by greed, anger, and delusion. It doesn't mean unconditioned from sense bases, their objects, etc.


Sense bases, their objects, consciousness, nama/rupa and all that are connditioned by ignorance. When saying that something is not conditioned by ignorance then it's not conditioned by evrything that follows out of ignorance.

"Fabrications have ignorance as their prerequisite, consciousness has fabrications as its prerequisite, name-&-form has consciousness as their prerequisite, the six sense media have name-&-form as their prerequisite, contact has the six sense media as its prerequisite, feeling has contact as its prerequisite, craving has feeling as its prerequisite, clinging has craving as its prerequisite, becoming has clinging as its prerequisite, birth has becoming as its prerequisite, stress & suffering have birth as their prerequisite, conviction has stress & suffering as its prerequisite, joy has conviction as its prerequisite, rapture has joy as its prerequisite, serenity has rapture as its prerequisite, pleasure has serenity as its prerequisite, concentration has pleasure as its prerequisite, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are present has concentration as its prerequisite, disenchantment has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are present as its prerequisite, dispassion has disenchantment as its prerequisite, release has dispassion as its prerequisite, knowledge of ending has release as its prerequisite."

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

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby Alex123 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:28 am

EmptyShadow wrote:Sense bases, their objects, consciousness, nama/rupa and all that are connditioned by ignorance. When saying that something is not conditioned by ignorance then it's not conditioned by evrything that follows out of ignorance.



What about Buddha and Arahants? They have consciousness, nama, rupa...Is that conditioned by ignorance as well?
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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby reflection » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:20 pm

Yes. This is how I understand it. Conditioning doesn't have to work instantly. If we say birth is a condition for death, that doesn't mean, when you are born, you immediately die. Neither does it mean, once an enlightened being dies, (s)he needs to be born at that same moment.. It's conditioned by his/her past birth years ago. Likewise, with past ignorance. Past ignorance did condition consciousness at birth, not now, necessarily. If there is no ignorance, but still vitality, this keeps consciousness going, but it is not refueled by ignorance any longer at the moment of death.

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Re: Nibbana = universal consciousness?

Postby EmptyShadow » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:41 pm

Alex123 wrote:
EmptyShadow wrote:Sense bases, their objects, consciousness, nama/rupa and all that are connditioned by ignorance. When saying that something is not conditioned by ignorance then it's not conditioned by evrything that follows out of ignorance.



What about Buddha and Arahants? They have consciousness, nama, rupa...Is that conditioned by ignorance as well?


Well the quote is from the Buddha, i didnt made it up.
As i understand it, Arahants got the consciousness and the body before enlightenment because of ignorance of view that there is self. And with nibbana transcedenting that ignorence and after parinibbana because there's no more ignorence in them thay dont get another consciousness or body and hence thay stop the endless rebirth cycle.
If I remember correctly the reason why thay keep the conditioned things nama/rupa after transcedenting ignorence is because of the force of kamma that is completely exhausted only after parinibbana.

Also with transcedenting of ignorence thay stop holding the idea of their body or consciousness as self. So whether it is conditioned by ignorence in first place doesnt matter for them because thay dont associate with it.


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