Parinibbana, and doubts.

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Dhammakid
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Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby Dhammakid » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:09 am

Hello All,
I've been struggling with some recurring thoughts around the concept of Parinibbana.

I thought I had a basic understanding of what it is, and I never thought I would fall into the trap of thinking of it as nihilism or non-existence. But recently some of my previous doubts have resurfaced. I can't help but see traces of non-existence in the idea.

If karma keeps us in manifest form along the 32 planes of existence, and if parinibbana is the removing of all conditions for future manifestation in those realms, then how is that not non-existence?

Where do we go/what are we once parinibbana is realized? I know I know - these are irrelevant questions according to the suttas. But my mind keeps asking them.

Thinking of Nibbana this way scares me, and my former fear of death returns. I don't like to think about what it's like to not exist, to not be able to sense and feel and be.

So I'm guessing this is my deeply rooted "craving for becoming." I know that as a beginner I can't hope to overcome this fetter anytime soon, but because I am a practicing Buddhist and I do read suttas and meditate, I have some knowledge of the teachings. So I can't help but think about this stuff, and that's when fear and dread sets in real heavy.

What can a beginner like me do to combat this?

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

:anjali:
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retrofuturist
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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:48 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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acinteyyo
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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:18 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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appicchato
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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby appicchato » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:56 am

Most excellent reply Paul... :thumbsup:

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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby kannada » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:23 am

Just a view - nothing more...

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:45 pm

Image




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retrofuturist
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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:05 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Jechbi
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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby Jechbi » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:41 am

to this discussion ...

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Guy
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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby Guy » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:57 am

Hi Dhammakid,

I am a beginner too, so my advice is probably overly simplistic and possibly not even the right approach. I sometimes have the same kind of doubts as you have described and I think there's nothing wrong with thinking about these things unless the doubt stops us from practicing. What I try to do when I catch myself speculating about what is nibbana, what is pari-nibbana, what will be if/when "I" arrive at such states, etc. etc... is to bring my mind back to the present moment. If these doubts arise during meditation I just give my mind the gentle reminder "I am doubting, this is a hindrance, just watching the breath is good enough". If the thoughts arise at other times whenI am not meditating then I try to take a pragmatic approach - are the thoughts I am having going to lead to a better understanding of the Dhamma and enhance my practice or will they serve as a distraction? Maybe thinking about nibbana and pari-nibbana every now and then is a nice reminder that there is a way out of suffering which serves to encourage us to bring some focus and a sense of purpose to our practice in the here and now - then it's probably not such a bad thing. On the other hand if we start to become obsessed by thinking about what the states of nibbana and pari-nibbana are or might be before we get there then that will probably be a big roadblock for us.

If this approach is wrong in any way, I would appreciate any feedback from some of the more experienced practitioners.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:54 am

we cannot know as beginners what nibbana is. Atleast if we know the successive bliss of arupa jhanas we might get a sense of what lies beyond the 8th jhana and why that is desirable. So leaving aside what happens after death (since we dont know for sure anyway) we might consider what happens if we were enlightened and alive:

"I teach the Dhamma for the abandoning of the gross acquisition of a self, such that, when you practice it, defiling mental qualities will be abandoned, bright mental qualities will grow, and you will enter & remain in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for yourself in the here & now. If the thought should occur to you that, when defiling mental qualities are abandoned and bright mental qualities have grown, and one enters & remains in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for oneself in the here & now, one's abiding is stressful/painful, you should not see it in that way. When defiling mental qualities are abandoned and bright mental qualities have grown, and one enters & remains in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for oneself in the here & now, there is joy, rapture, serenity, mindfulness, alertness, and a pleasant/happy abiding.

Not a bad place to be is it?

As you grow in the dhamma, as you explore more understand more all these doubts will fall away. Have you not yet seen how unsatisfactory and meaningless life is? Why do you want to prolong it and have it repeatedly millions and billions of times doing the same thing over and over again?

with metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Dhammakid
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Re: Parinibbana, and doubts.

Postby Dhammakid » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:01 pm

Some really great stuff here. Thanks everyone. The links and suttas are very helpful and it has put my mind at ease, at least for now.

I think what helps me a lot is realizing that NIbbana is unconditioned, meaning it couldn't be nihilism or annihilation because only conditioned things can be annihilated. That makes a lot of sense to me.

This clinging to a self and craving for becoming is so deeply rooted. Maybe i underestimated it. Back to the cushion!

:anjali:
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