Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby Coyote » Sat May 10, 2014 9:24 am

In a recent talk Ven. Sujato references the fact that the Theravadin school is the only early Buddhist school that recognised only one unconditioned element, nibbana. Other schools apparently had lists of other phenomena they considered unconditioned, besides nibbana. You can listen to the talk here, the reference is about 15mins in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al5QE6LcLX0

I would like to know more. What were these other unconditioned elements?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 10, 2014 9:26 am

Coyote wrote:In a recent talk Ven. Sujato references the fact that the Theravadin school is the only early Buddhist school that recognised only one unconditioned element, nibbana. Other schools apparently had lists of other phenomena they considered unconditioned, besides nibbana. You can listen to the talk here, the reference is about 15mins in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al5QE6LcLX0

I would like to know more. What were these other unconditioned elements?
Space.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 10, 2014 9:29 am

That is very interesting. I wonder what the source is of these lists.
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby Coyote » Sat May 10, 2014 9:52 am

Should have listened to the entire talk before posting. He mentioned at around 40:00 the formless attainments, cessation attainment.
Still, I would like to know more if anybody knows anything.

tiltbillings wrote:Space.


That's interesting, as the difference between space and nibbana comes up in the Milinda Panha.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby SarathW » Sat May 10, 2014 11:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Coyote wrote:In a recent talk Ven. Sujato references the fact that the Theravadin school is the only early Buddhist school that recognised only one unconditioned element, nibbana. Other schools apparently had lists of other phenomena they considered unconditioned, besides nibbana. You can listen to the talk here, the reference is about 15mins in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al5QE6LcLX0

I would like to know more. What were these other unconditioned elements?
Space.


I think space is conditioned.
eg: Infinity of space Jhana

see also:
Buddha said Nibbana is, space is not.

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=16160

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby bharadwaja » Mon May 12, 2014 5:28 pm

Is there a source for the belief that unconditioned refers to nibbana rather than something else?

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby daverupa » Mon May 12, 2014 7:23 pm

arhat wrote:Is there a source for the belief that unconditioned refers to nibbana rather than something else?


For example, Udana 8.3. The footnotes offer a quick and helpful discussion of this point.
    "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: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby bharadwaja » Tue May 13, 2014 7:51 am

If a movement is possible from Samsara to Nibbana (imagining that it is the movement from a conditioned to an unconditioned state of being), why would the reverse also not be possible? Is it a mental state that one can change as frequently as one wants (now I am in nibbana, tomorrow I will be in samsara)? Is this why there is a distinction between temporary nibbana and parinibbana?

Or does the unconditioned refer to something else rather than nibbana?

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby beeblebrox » Tue May 13, 2014 6:29 pm

arhat wrote:If a movement is possible from Samsara to Nibbana (imagining that it is the movement from a conditioned to an unconditioned state of being), why would the reverse also not be possible?


Hi Arhat,

I don't think the conditions move to non-condition... it's through their falling away that non-condition (or freedom from conditions) can be discerned. When you're aware of this non-condition, you find peace. (I.e., nibbana.) It also doesn't make sense to try make conditions out of non-condition.

Is it a mental state that one can change as frequently as one wants (now I am in nibbana, tomorrow I will be in samsara)? Is this why there is a distinction between temporary nibbana and parinibbana?


I don't think nibbana is considered temporary. It's ignorance that makes it seem temporary (and also to try view it as something that is eternal). Parinibbana is just the final extinguishment of the five khandas.

Or does the unconditioned refer to something else rather than nibbana?


"The unconditioned" is an English translation of asankhata. I don't think that this word refers to "something" or a "place" which is "the unconditioned."

:anjali:

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby bharadwaja » Tue May 13, 2014 6:50 pm

"The unconditioned" is an English translation of asankhata. I don't think that this word refers to "something" or a "place" which is "the unconditioned."

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

"Atthi bhikkave -- ajaata, abhuuta, akata, asankhata"

My translation: "(There) exists, bhikkus -- an unborn, an unbecome, an unmade, an unassembled."

4 adjectives that qualify the same thing, and you are saying these adjectives do not describe a noun i.e. thing? That's strange.

He is talking of the existence of a thing which he then qualifies with adjectives.

If you say nibbana is not a noun/thing, I would tend to agree. That's why I've raised the question whether he was talking about nibbana at all.
Last edited by bharadwaja on Tue May 13, 2014 7:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby beeblebrox » Tue May 13, 2014 7:01 pm

arhat wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.than.html

"Atthi bhikkave -- ajaata, abhuuta, akata, asankhata"

4 adjectives that qualify the same thing, and you are saying these adjectives do not describe a noun i.e. thing? That's strange.

If you say nibbana is not a noun/thing, I would tend to agree. That's why I've raised the question whether he was talking about nibbana at all.


I think you make a good point. It seems possible that he didn't use these words as descriptions for nibbana, but to point out how the escape from "born, become, made and fabricated" could be discerned.

I didn't catch that the first time around. Thanks for bringing it up.

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby bharadwaja » Tue May 13, 2014 7:06 pm

Parinibbana is just the final extinguishment of the five khandas

So when you say parinibbana is not permanent nibbana (since there is no such thing as a temp nibbana according to you), you mean what is called Parinibbana does not really mean a kind of nibbana at all, since it is already attained before?

Then why should it be (misleadingly, according to you) named pari-nibbana?
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby beeblebrox » Tue May 13, 2014 7:15 pm

arhat wrote:
Parinibbana is just the final extinguishment of the five khandas

So you mean what is called Parinibbana does not really mean a kind of nibbana at all, since it is already attained before?

Then why should it be (misleadingly, according to you) named pari-nibbana?


Hi Arhat,

It is mystifying to me how you read that into my post.

Parinibbana is a full, complete nibbana... which involves "just" the final extinguishment of the five khandhas.

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby Coyote » Tue May 13, 2014 7:20 pm

Nibbana means extinction, doesn't it?

Kilesa-parinibbana being the extiction of defilement, khanda-parinibbana being the extinction of the aggregates.
Such a state (if it can be called that) is asankhata because there is no falling back from it. The extinction (of kilesa/khandha) is final.

Space, and other elements are conditioned because it is possible to attain them, as meditative states, and yet fall back from them. They are supported by conditions and so change accordingly. Nibbana is not a state of becoming, but the end of them. Not something built up, but an ending of the process of becoming, fabrication ect. based on ignorance.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby bharadwaja » Tue May 13, 2014 7:28 pm

Parinibbana is a full, complete nibbana... which involves "just" the final extinguishment of the five khandhas

OK sorry I misunderstood your interpretation. So death is necesary for completion of nibbana, until then it would not be full/complete? So the ordinary nibbana depends on conditions to become parinibbana?

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby beeblebrox » Tue May 13, 2014 7:40 pm

arhat wrote:OK sorry I misunderstood your interpretation. So death is necesary for completion of nibbana, until then it would not be full/complete? So the ordinary nibbana depends on conditions to become parinibbana?


It's not nibbana that becomes parinibbana, but the extinguishment of the five khandhas (which recognized the nibbana) that is called parinibbana.

There also is no death that would happen, nor non-death (not even both, nor neither). It would be ignorance to try to view it to mean that there is an arahant that would die, or continue to live.

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 13, 2014 7:50 pm

If we are going to discuss such details, I would point out that according to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the use of the term parinibbana as what happens at death is not correct. See his introduction to the SN, quoted here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p209545

I gather that what people here are calling parinibbana, should be called nibbana without remainder.

:anjali:
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby culaavuso » Tue May 13, 2014 7:54 pm

arhat wrote:Is there a source for the belief that unconditioned refers to nibbana rather than something else?


SN 43.12: Asaṅkhata Sutta wrote:Katamañca, bhikkhave, asaṅkhataṃ? Yo, bhikkhave, rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayo– idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, asaṅkhataṃ.

And what, bhikkhus, is the unconditioned? The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this is called the unconditioned.


SN 38.1: Nibbāna Sutta wrote:“‘Nibbānaṃ, nibbānan’ti, āvuso sāriputta, vuccati. Katamaṃ nu kho, āvuso, nibbānan”ti?
“Yo kho, āvuso, rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayo– idaṃ vuccati nibbānan”ti.

"Nibbāna, nibbāna" it is said, friend Sāriputta. What, friend, is nibbāna?
The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this is called nibbāna


SN 43.12: Asaṅkhata Sutta wrote:Katamo ca, bhikkhave, asaṅ­kha­ta­gāmi­maggo? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sammādiṭṭhiṃ bhāveti vivekanissitaṃ virāganissitaṃ nirodha­nissitaṃ vos­sagga­pari­ṇāmiṃ. Ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, asaṅ­kha­ta­gāmi­maggo … pe … katamo ca, bhikkhave, asaṅ­kha­ta­gāmi­maggo? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sammāsaṅkappaṃ bhāveti … pe … sammāvācaṃ bhāveti … pe … sammākammantaṃ bhāveti … pe … sammāājīvaṃ bhāveti … pe … sammāvāyāmaṃ bhāveti … pe … sammāsatiṃ bhāveti … pe … asaṅkhatañca vo, bhikkhave, desessāmi asaṅ­kha­ta­gāmiñca maggaṃ.

… “And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops right view, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release: this is called the path leading to the unconditioned….”

… “And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops right intention … right speech … right action … right livelihood … right effort … right mindfulness … right concentration, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release: this is called the path leading to the unconditioned.

“Thus, bhikkhus, I have taught you the unconditioned and the path leading to the unconditioned.

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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 13, 2014 7:59 pm

See also this discussion, which perhaps has some relevance:
Arahants in Early Buddhism
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=11630&start=0
Parts of MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile may have been added later to bolster the Theravada point of view that an Arahant cannot "fall away", an opinion not shared by all of the early schools.

Ven Sujato notes that the Chinese Agama version of the sutta does not have the line:

And it is impossible for that bhikkhu to fall away from that perpetual deliverance.

and the known Sarvastivada nikayas do not have this sutta at all.
Whether liberation is permanent or not was a point of disagreement between sects, so this line may be a late addition to the Theravada version.

:anjali:
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Re: Asankhata apart from nibbana in early buddhist schools

Postby pegembara » Wed May 14, 2014 5:03 am

1. Isn't space conditioned? It is dependent on non-space elements. Form and emptiness are dependently co-arisen and lean on each other. Hence they do not differ.

2. Nibbana is extinction of greed, hatred and delusion, not the extinction of an existent "thing" which is a delusion. For example when a caterpillar transform into a butterfly, where did the caterpillar go? To the North? South? East? West?


"And suppose someone were to ask you, Vaccha, 'This fire burning in front of you, dependent on what is it burning?' Thus asked, how would you reply?"

"...I would reply, 'This fire burning in front of me is burning dependent on grass & timber as its sustenance.'"

"If the fire burning in front of you were to go out, would you know that, 'This fire burning in front of me has gone out'?"

"...yes..."

"And suppose someone were to ask you, 'This fire that has gone out in front of you, in which direction from here has it gone? East? West? North? Or south?' Thus asked, how would you reply?"

"That doesn't apply, Master Gotama. Any fire burning dependent on a sustenance of grass and timber, being unnourished — from having consumed that sustenance and not being offered any other — is classified simply as 'out' (unbound)."

"Even so, Vaccha, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply.

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



When we start to identify with our bodied and minds and think of this life as ours, then we are similar to traveler who doesn’t want to leave the hotel. We have a wrong idea about this temporary stopping place, and we find ourselves always in struggle and conflict. Children of the same parents end up fighting, people in the same village cannot get along, citizens of the same country are at odds with each other, all because of this attachment to what they think is a self and things belonging to the self.

So the Buddha said to come back and look at the body. That is one Dharma to study. There is nothing we should undo or change. We say,”One who sees sankhara and purged of attachment has happiness.” Mind is sankhara. Body is sankhara. Sankhara are not us or ours. Thus, those who see sankhara are at peace. They see the mind and body not as self, but only as sankhara.

If something arise into existence, it is just sankhara. There is no being or person, no one who is happy or suffering. It is only sankhara. It is purged of happiness or suffering. There is nobody who is affected. If you see sankhara like this, you see Dharma. Nobody is any sort of entity, not a person, an individual, or a being. There is no one who is elated or miserable, no one who get angry or attached, no one who dies. Things arise. Sankhara are like that. Seeing Dharma is like that. Whatever arises in the minds of yogins, they will know the Dharma to that extent. If your view is like this, it is called merit. All merits come together here at the point of peace.

http://kellylps.blogspot.com/2008/05/be ... -chah.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.


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