Everlasting Happiness ... not?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Everlasting Happiness ... not?

Postby Mindstar » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:24 pm

The buddha pointed out very well that we are able to realise nonself through the jhanic meditation experience.
But there is another important point in the buddhist philosophy that i have never heard anyone formulate a question on.
He also said there is no place/reality in the universe where everlasting happiness can be experienced.
As far as i have understood it he had a twofold conclusion on this topic:
1. He has already experinced all levels of reality and couldn`t find one that was not impermanent.
2. Through his statement of how the mind works he excluded that such a place can exist and can ever be created.

Is it also possible to realise both of these statements through the jhanic experience?
Or did he realise these because he was a special beeing with an extraordinary experience of samsara?
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
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Re: Everlasting Happiness ... not?

Postby reflection » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:52 pm

Hi Mindstar,

This is my understanding.

Although I think it's good to say one probably needs some level of samadhi before having insights, it seems to me you are still trying to answer this question on a level of intellect. But it's not like that. Seeing not-self and impermanence is not by intellectually excluding options or investigating all kinds of options. It's a result of seeing things directly as being impermanent, not sustainable.

Tastes in the mouth don't last forever. Everybody knows this. You may eat something nice, but very soon all taste is gone or replaced by something else. So this taste was impermanent. You don't have to taste all foods in the world to see this, or have to understand how taste buds work. It's right there in your own experience. As a result, you don't expect any eternal happiness in food.

But it's a bit deeper because not a single taste can disappear, but the entire consciousness of taste. Often we are not aware of taste at all, there is no contact with this sense and thus no consciousness of it. So if this consciousness itself doesn't sustain, why expect anything eternal in it?

Now extrapolate this to the six senses. Do you get the idea? You don't have to investigate anywhere outside of the present moment. The problem, of course, is not so much taste consciousness. People can let this go quite easily. However, most people find it hard letting go of mind consciousness mainly. As a result, they have a sense of continuity in it and that's where a lot of people try to find a :quote: heaven :quote: .

With metta,
Reflection
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Re: Everlasting Happiness ... not?

Postby Mindstar » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:15 pm

Hello reflection

reflection wrote:Hi Mindstar,

This is my understanding.

Although I think it's good to say one probably needs some level of samadhi before having insights, it seems to me you are still trying to answer this question on a level of intellect. But it's not like that. Seeing not-self and impermanence is not by intellectually excluding options or investigating all kinds of options. It's a result of seeing things directly as being impermanent, not sustainable.


Yes i agree its not something to think about but needs to be experienced. The frog out of the water similie comes to my mind. But i wonder how the Buddha did experience it especially because he made statements about all levels of reality and even argued with brahmas about it (according to the suttas). So he must have gotten a perfect confidence in these views.

reflection wrote:Tastes in the mouth don't last forever. Everybody knows this. You may eat something nice, but very soon all taste is gone or replaced by something else. So this taste was impermanent. You don't have to taste all foods in the world to see this, or have to understand how taste buds work. It's right there in your own experience. As a result, you don't expect any eternal happiness in food.

But it's a bit deeper because not a single taste can disappear, but the entire consciousness of taste. Often we are not aware of taste at all, there is no contact with this sense and thus no consciousness of it. So if this consciousness itself doesn't sustain, why expect anything eternal in it?

Now extrapolate this to the six senses. Do you get the idea? You don't have to investigate anywhere outside of the present moment. The problem, of course, is not so much taste consciousness. People can let this go quite easily. However, most people find it hard letting go of mind consciousness mainly. As a result, they have a sense of continuity in it and that's where a lot of people try to find a :quote: heaven :quote: .

With metta,
Reflection


The most profound experience must be to see that the 6th sense is impermanent even in mind made realms where outer things must appear to be quite stable and you can get easily diluted. I guess once you have some jhanic attainments you will take on the things you havent fully seen for yourself on faith value anyway because you will realise that 100% insight is impossible (for a non buddha) but 90% is still good enough 8-)
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
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Re: Everlasting Happiness ... not?

Postby reflection » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:55 am

Hi, Good thoughts. I like this topic and wonder why nobody else partakes. But here is my understanding:

It's not like science where you have to take many courses on different subjects. You don't have to put lots of things together and understand them all to get a picture of how the universe works. All teachings of the Buddha are just entry doors to the truth. When teaching, the Buddha extrapolated those doors from knowing what's behind these doors. This thing behind, that's where he had confidence in.

Say you try to explain me what you look like. Red hair? Small nose? Or whatever. ;) Based on your information, I create a picture in my head - this is me trying to put it all together. But if afterward I simply saw you, I wouldn't have that need of putting it all together anymore, because the perspective has been totally shifted. One doesn't talk about 90% or 100% right.. neither is it based on faith - it's just seeing.

What is this picture if we are not talking about you, but about the way things are? The picture is nibbana. Saying heaven realms are impermanent is like saying your hear is red, it's only descriptive. But those who see nibbana directly understand nothing lasts, without needing to see a heaven realm. The problem is, one can't take a picture of nibbana.. sadly. Otherwise the Buddha would have showed it to anybody and there would be no doubt. We need to see it directly - jhanas can be useful there to see more clearly.

Anjali! :anjali:
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Re: Everlasting Happiness ... not?

Postby Mindstar » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:01 pm

Hey reflection i like this topic too thanks for your interesting input :popcorn:

The recipe for nibbana is a mix of jhana and dhamma. If someone had only one of these he wouldn`t be able to progress.
I have heard if an ordinary person had a jhanic experience he would most likely just delight in this form of bliss endlessly.
It is only when he meets a buddha on the way that he gets awakened through the teachings of the dhamma.
Or in other word the jhanic experience in itself does not reveal the truth entirely , nibanna remains hidden.

Its the magical dhamma that puts things right and gives clear vision on the path. In essence its a set of views called "right view".
These views seem not to be easy to come by, Buddhas are extraordinarily rare according to the suttas.
Maybe its better to ask: How can i realise right view for my self?

With Metta
Mindstar
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
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Re: Everlasting Happiness ... not?

Postby 5heaps » Wed May 01, 2013 6:17 am

Mindstar wrote:Is it also possible to realise both of these statements through the jhanic experience?
Or did he realise these because he was a special beeing with an extraordinary experience of samsara?

both. the highest samsaric formless realm meditation gets you to the level called 'peak of samsara' where all of your mental afflictions (except for one, ignorance) temporarily cease. for all intents and purpose you appear to be fully enlightened and completely beyond suffering. buddha then comes along and explains that, no, such persons merely spend a very long time in this state which they call unconditioned but it is not actually unconditioned. they have not managed to remove their innate tendency to grasp to self and so due to causes and conditions they will eventually fall from that peak and learn directly that they had not in fact left samsara. their state was simply a highly evolved temporary cessation mistaken for a permanent cessation, because they still observed an essential self independent of their parts.

a buddha or arhat uses their jhana to develop not just the mundance vipassana required to move between jhanas but rather supermundane vipassana to cut the root of ignorance in the mind. a nonbuddhist may have greater concentration but will possess less lucidity and freedom from suffering than something who has realized noself and is merely at for example shamata. a nonbuddhist in the formless realm may be able to get extremely in depth and try to confuse a buddhist arya who is merely at shamata, but if that buddhist is well versed at communicating and thought they will be able to counter the nonbuddhists experiences of high jhanas even if the buddhist has never experienced it themselves.
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Re: Everlasting Happiness ... not?

Postby reflection » Wed May 01, 2013 3:35 pm

Mindstar wrote:Hey reflection i like this topic too thanks for your interesting input :popcorn:

The recipe for nibbana is a mix of jhana and dhamma. If someone had only one of these he wouldn`t be able to progress.
I have heard if an ordinary person had a jhanic experience he would most likely just delight in this form of bliss endlessly.
It is only when he meets a buddha on the way that he gets awakened through the teachings of the dhamma.
Or in other word the jhanic experience in itself does not reveal the truth entirely , nibanna remains hidden.

Its the magical dhamma that puts things right and gives clear vision on the path. In essence its a set of views called "right view".
These views seem not to be easy to come by, Buddhas are extraordinarily rare according to the suttas.
Maybe its better to ask: How can i realise right view for my self?

With Metta
Mindstar

Hi,

Jhana itself won't be enough, I agree. Without reflection, the mind won't make the jump. But I don't think jhana and wisdom are very far apart. I would find it very surprising if anybody can go through these deep states of mind without wondering what happened and what it means, one day or the other. The stories tell us Siddharta went on his search because of seeing old age, sickness and death, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was also because of his jhana experience as a child.

Finding out what it means is what gives rise to the insights that create right view. Which is not a set of views, but comparable to seeing the picture in the analogy I gave before. It's just seeing things from the right perspective. This doesn't come from a change of faith, from a decision or a thought construct. It comes when time is right.

How to go there is of course to follow the 8-fold path. We don't need a Buddha around. Yes, he is the foremost teaching, but other beings that since then have had right view can point in the right direction also.
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Re: Everlasting Happiness ... not?

Postby hopedhamma » Thu May 02, 2013 2:40 pm

Mindstar wrote:The buddha pointed out very well that we are able to realise nonself through the jhanic meditation experience.
But there is another important point in the buddhist philosophy that i have never heard anyone formulate a question on.
He also said there is no place/reality in the universe where everlasting happiness can be experienced.
As far as i have understood it he had a twofold conclusion on this topic:
1. He has already experinced all levels of reality and couldn`t find one that was not impermanent.
2. Through his statement of how the mind works he excluded that such a place can exist and can ever be created.

Is it also possible to realise both of these statements through the jhanic experience?
Or did he realise these because he was a special beeing with an extraordinary experience of samsara?


jhana means intellect or wisdom. Jhana is a type of Cetasikas that arises at the same time when citta arises, knowing the same temperament as citta, and defunct with citta. Jhana will only arise with the Kusala Citta only and not with non-kusala citta. When a person wanting to be peaceful, the wanting is non-kusala and it is thus Lopa. Jhana can't arise with citta with lopa.

Jhanic meditation cannot help to realize nonself, but Jhanic meditation can only help to stop the passion for a certain period of time depending on how fluent one is. What can really be accumulated to become realized of nonself is Satipattana in daily life. Sati is Cetasika and its role is to commemorate the dhamma condition by reality ( what appears through the eyes, appears through ears, appears through nose, appears through tongue, appears through touch (cold/hot,soft/strong,tense/mild).

From this statement "He also said there is no place/reality in the universe where everlasting happiness can be experienced."


Nothing in the universe, whether it is heaven, above the heaven brahma, hell, earth, jinn, and everything is not for certain and in this case even happiness. The good taste of a nice lunch that we had recently is no longer appearing right now, The good air that touched our body this morning is also no longer existed, The nice word that we used to hear is also no longer existed. Even the seeing before turning the laptop on and even the previous moment is no longer existed. No matter how hard we try to think about the good taste of the food that we had and it can't be as real as it should be because it has already passed. Dhamma is everything real, and everything real arises, stays there for a while, and defunct in the end. There's no coming back and that's the meaning of "there is no place/reality in the universe where everlasting happiness can be experienced" that Buddha had enlightened.
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