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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - About nibbana

About nibbana

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: About nibbana

Postby Sunrise » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:50 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
Even in the Visuddhimagga the cessation attainment (nirodhasamāpatti), a.k.a. the cessation of apperception and feeling (saññāvedayitanirodha), while nominally mentioned as similar to nibbāna in a couple of passages, nevertheless is not the same as nibbāna. 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.

It also can't be designated as the same as nibbāna because, as the Visuddhimagga points out, the cessation attainment requires mastery of the four formless attainments before it can be entered. Since there are arahants who haven't developed the formless attainments, they are incapable of attaining the cessation of apperception and feeling. Nevertheless, they are fully liberated through discernment.

All the best,

Geoff


This is good stuff. Thanks again.

One more thing, is it possible that dwelling in this state after mastering the four formless attainments does help in Nibbana or experiencing/direct insight of not-self although not a necessary pre-requisite? Or is it not relevant to Nibbana at all ?
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Re: About nibbana

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:08 pm

Since there are arahants who haven't developed the formless attainments, they are incapable of attaining the cessation of apperception and feeling. Nevertheless, they are fully liberated through discernment.


I think that nirodha-samapatti is the same as nibbana after arhat's death, or in life, but when you "touch it with the body" entering nirodha. And those arahats with 4 jhanas - I think they can see nibbana directly in "emptiness" or "signless" concentration (that is - they have it as an object of mind), but they don't "dwell in it", because in this last case there is no consciousness (in particular - perception) to observe, to look at, to cognize. Suttas support these both variants of "experiencing nibbana".
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Re: About nibbana

Postby Nyana » Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:52 pm

Sunrise wrote:One more thing, is it possible that dwelling in this state after mastering the four formless attainments does help in Nibbana or experiencing/direct insight of not-self although not a necessary pre-requisite?

It can't hurt. (Pun intended.) :juggling:

Zom wrote:And those arahats with 4 jhanas - I think they can see nibbana directly in "emptiness" or "signless" concentration (that is - they have it as an object of mind), but they don't "dwell in it", because in this last case there is no consciousness (in particular - perception) to observe, to look at, to cognize. Suttas support these both variants of "experiencing nibbana".

The Nikāya-s and the Abhidhammapiṭaka are both in agreement that there can be no gnosis (ñāṇa) without simultaneous concomitant perception (saññā).

All the best,

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Re: About nibbana

Postby IanAnd » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:02 pm

Zom wrote:
Anyway not sure how this can probably make a being enlightened

It can make you enlightened, because when you come out of nirodha samapatti, you reflect, that "everything ended there", and because of that you see directly that there is no "me" at all. If everything disappears and nothing is left, then this is the direct realization of anatta. That is why nirodha-samapatti is so useful.

I agree. That was almost my exact experience. By "almost" I mean that I was already cognizant that there is "no me" before entering the state. So that wasn't new. What was new was the realization that the mind could shut down completely, so that there was no experience (feeling or perception) of anything at all. Upon reflection, this told me that it was possible to bring the mind to utter cessation, which though not quite being equivalent to the awareness of nibbana in the present moment, nevertheless on reflection confirmed that this is possible.

It also helps one to be able to define nibbana beyond such mere meditative experiences. Whenever the mind is able to pay attention to phenomena without the distraction of papanca (proliferation of thought) or other pre-conditioned biases in order to see the phenomenon as it actually is, and in complete dispassion, then this, too, is a viable demonstration of the effectiveness of nibbanic experience.

This discussion has helped clarify, in my mind at least, what difference is meant by the designations cetovimutti (freedom by the mind) and pannavimutti (freedom by wisdom). The latter is a direct experience, its realization being directly communicated within the affective mind having a direct effect on the destruction of passion, while the former seems more of a conceptual realization based upon the direct comprehension of the destruction of ignorance about the way things are, as is explained by Ven. Analayo in his book Satipattana (pg. 89).

Zom wrote:By the way, I think that nirodha samapatti and "dwelling in nibbana" (like Buddha did sometimes for 7 days) these are the same things. Visuddhimagga and some suttas also point on that.

There's a bit of speculation here regarding what the Buddha might or might not have done for 7 days (if it's even true that that occurred, since we really do not know). I'd have to agree with Nana's (Geoff) explanation on this: "...nevertheless is not the same as nibbāna. . . .Since there are arahants who haven't developed the formless attainments, [and] are incapable of attaining the cessation of apperception and feeling. [They] nevertheless,...are fully liberated through discernment."
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: About nibbana

Postby 5heaps » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:43 pm

Zom wrote:you reflect, that "evertyhing ended there", and because of that you see directly that there is no "me" at all.

anatta is linked to not existing at all?
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Re: About nibbana

Postby Sunrise » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:10 pm

IanAnd wrote: What was new was the realization that the mind could shut down completely, so that there was no experience (feeling or perception) of anything at all. Upon reflection, this told me that it was possible to bring the mind to utter cessation...


How is deep sleep different to this experience?

IanAnd wrote:... though not quite being equivalent to the awareness of nibbana in the present moment, nevertheless on reflection confirmed that this is possible.


What did you confirm on reflection pls?
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Re: About nibbana

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:21 pm

The Nikāya-s and the Abhidhammapiṭaka are both in agreement that there can be no gnosis (ñāṇa) without simultaneous concomitant perception (saññā).


Yes, because to have knowledge, you need perception and consciousness. So, you get them after quitting from nirodha-samapatti. But inside you have none.

anatta is linked to not existing at all?


And do you want to "leave something for yourself" in nibbana? What for? Do you really need this "something"? ;) Is there someone or something that must not cease. Is there someone, who is always there, at the very core of being? All these questions are about your "self" that, as you may suppose, annihilates in nibbana.

He hears a Tathagata or a Tathagata's disciple teaching the Dhamma for the elimination of all view-positions, determinations, biases, inclinations, & obsessions; for the stilling of all fabrications; for the relinquishing of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. The thought occurs to him, 'So it might be that I will be annihilated! So it might be that I will perish! So it might be that I will not exist!' He grieves & is tormented, weeps, beats his breast, & grows delirious. It's thus that there is agitation over what is internally not present." (MN 22)
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Re: About nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:42 pm

Sunrise wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Sunrise, could you give us a page reference or a short quote, since I can't find what you are referring to in Ajahn Brahm's book...

Mike


Hey Mike. I don't have the book with me right now as I gave it to a friend. But it is there when he is describing Nibbana after describing in detail all the formless jhanas one after the other. I looked at the table of contents in the PDF and if I am not mistaken it should be in chapter "Onward to Full Enlightenment". It comes right after the description of the jhana "neither perception nor non-perception"

OK, I"ll take a look at it tonight. That narrows it down a bit... :reading:

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Re: About nibbana

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:03 pm

Zom wrote:It can make you enlightened, because when you come out of nirodha samapatti, you reflect, that "evertyhing ended there", and because of that you see directly that there is no "me" at all. If everything disappears and nothing is left, then this is the direct realization of anatta. That is why nirodha-samapatti is so useful.


This sounds like it was based on a wrong view of anatta. If there was nothing that we should view as a "self," then there would be no "self" for us to end when we do the nirodha samapatti... right? So, why would this (necessarily) give someone a more direct realization about anatta?

The right understanding of anatta does not come from seeing the self disappear. This is annihilationism. It comes from seeing right through it.
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Re: About nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:15 pm

beeblebrox wrote:It comes from seeing right through what's been there all along.
It comes from seeing the conditioned/conditioning rise and fall of all that we experience, which is all that we are: Who sees paticcasamuppada sees Dhamma, who sees Dhamma sees paticcasamuppda. - MN 1 190-1.
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

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Re: About nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:17 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
The right understanding of anatta does not come from seeing the self disappear.
There are a number of ways to make the "self disappear" that have not a thing to do with insight.
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

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Re: About nibbana

Postby IanAnd » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:41 pm

Sunrise wrote:
IanAnd wrote: What was new was the realization that the mind could shut down completely, so that there was no experience (feeling or perception) of anything at all. Upon reflection, this told me that it was possible to bring the mind to utter cessation...

How is deep sleep different to this experience?

It's not done in light of the Dhamma, for one thing. Also, it occurs during a meditative contemplation, which begins in full awareness of one's surroundings, whereas deep sleep occurs while one is unconscious. This is not to say that it might not be a similar experience. Only that context matters.

Sunrise wrote:
IanAnd wrote:... though not quite being equivalent to the awareness of nibbana in the present moment, nevertheless on reflection confirmed that this is possible.

What did you confirm on reflection pls?

Did you read the whole sentence?
"Upon reflection, this told me that it was possible to bring the mind to utter cessation, which though not quite being equivalent to the awareness of nibbana in the present moment, nevertheless on reflection confirmed that this is possible."
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: About nibbana

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:19 pm

This sounds like it was based on a wrong view of anatta. If there was nothing that we should view as a "self," then there would be no "self" for us to end when we do the nirodha samapatti... right? So, why would this (necessarily) give someone a more direct realization about anatta?


Because nirodha samapatti is direct realization of maximum possible cessation, that is nibbana. There is nothing "further" than this cessation. Nibbana is the end. In nibbana there can't be anything, because it is the cessation of everything. Seeing this, you see total anatta.

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, Sariputta entered & remained in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.[4]

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, Sariputta entered & remained in the cessation of feeling & perception. Seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is no further escape,' and pursuing it there really wasn't for him.


(MN 111 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)
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Re: About nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:31 pm

Zom wrote:
Because nirodha samapatti is direct realization of maximum possible cessation, that is nibbana. There is nothing "further" than this cessation. Nibbana is the end. In nibbana there can't be anything, because it is the cessation of everything. Seeing this, you see total anatta.
Given that nibbana is quite possible without ever experiencing nirodha samapatti, it might not be appropriate to define nibbana as nirodha samapatti.
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

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Re: About nibbana

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:02 pm

Zom wrote:Because nirodha samapatti is direct realization of maximum possible cessation, that is nibbana. There is nothing "further" than this cessation. Nibbana is the end. In nibbana there can't be anything, because it is the cessation of everything. Seeing this, you see total anatta.


Maximum possible cessation of what?

The anatta after the nirodha samapatti would be the same as the anatta before it. A view of anatta can't become more "total," because there's no (distinct) atta to begin with. That is why annihilationism doesn't work. You're trying to chase something that just isn't there.
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Re: About nibbana

Postby 5heaps » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:38 am

Zom wrote:
anatta is linked to not existing at all?

And do you want to "leave something for yourself" in nibbana? What for? Do you really need this "something"? ;) Is there someone or something that must not cease. Is there someone, who is always there, at the very core of being? All these questions are about your "self" that, as you may suppose, annihilates in nibbana.

what youre talking about is bringing down all of cause and effect. the very thing upon which anatta itself rests on at this very moment. and its true and its possible, but we lose the fact that it is also the case that this normal anatta can do just fine without absorbing yourself in an utter cessation, though it is obvious why one would want to

i think this cessation is a metaphysical extreme and that there are subtler metaphysics found upon even further scrutiny of the four arya truths
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Re: About nibbana

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:09 am

Given that nibbana is quite possible without ever experiencing nirodha samapatti, it might not be appropriate to define nibbana as nirodha samapatti.


Why not, if no difference? Plus there is Pancakanga sutta where Buddha himself defines "the highest possible happiness" as nirodha samapatti. And there are also many suttas where it is said that after 8th jhana a monk goes on to nirodha-samapatti. But at least in one sutta - MN 105 - it is said that after 8th jhana a monk goes on to nibbana:

"In the same way, when a person is intent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, he has vomited up the fetter of the dimension of nothingness. This is how it can be known that 'This person, disjoined from the fetter of the dimension of nothingness, is intent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.'
..
Just as a palm tree with its top cut off is incapable of further growth, in the same way, when a person is rightly intent on Unbinding, he has destroyed the fetter of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, has destroyed it by the root, made like a palmyra stump deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. This is how it can be known that 'This person, disjoined from the fetter of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, is intent on Unbinding.'


So we see from here, that nibbana and nirodha-samapatti are synonyms.
And about 4-jhanas-only arahants - I wrote about it here (just a bit above).
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Re: About nibbana

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:20 am

Maximum possible cessation of what? You're trying to chase something that just isn't there.


Maximum possible cessation of nama-rupa, bodily and mental processes.
"Feeling of self" is one's latent tendency, rooted deep in mind, that is destroyed only on arhat level. So if you cease all layers of mind, this latent tendency will be destroyed by direct knowledge and direct experience that nothing permanent hides inside the mind.
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Re: About nibbana

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:36 pm

Zom wrote:Maximum possible cessation of nama-rupa, bodily and mental processes.
"Feeling of self" is one's latent tendency, rooted deep in mind, that is destroyed only on arhat level. So if you cease all layers of mind, this latent tendency will be destroyed by direct knowledge and direct experience that nothing permanent hides inside the mind.


I still don't see how that would imply that the nirodha samapatti would lead to a more direct realization of anatta. To make this more clear, let me tell you a story about a fire:

Once upon a time there was a really hot fire. It was actually very handsome. It had beautiful, luxurious flames of orange, streaked with white and yellow. They were always nicely conditioned with the finest woods.

It had a boisterous, lively personality. It was very popular. The fire (if it still existed today) would've said that you won't be able to deny any of this. Why? Because there were always people sitting around it. They couldn't stop themselves from looking at it, to appreciate its undeniable beauty. They obviously also enjoyed its company.

Eventually, the fire started to mellow out. It's a cool fire now. It became confident, and more asserted with its own fire-ness. It didn't feel like it had to prove anything anymore. It didn't have to eat anything fancy anymore, like cedar or sandalwood... it was humble enough to eat the sticks. (It really didn't know that it was because the sticks were the only thing we had left for it, in the end.)

At the very least, it was happy because someone already took a picture of it earlier on, while it was still handsome and burning strongly. Then... the fire started to realize that it was dying out. So, it thought it would do something nice for us one last time, like leaving behind some embers for us to remember it by. It then died happy, knowing that we'll always have it in our memories. The end.


That fire was pretty deluded with self, wasn't it? Do you think that it would've been easier for us to see its anatta-ness if we took away the "self"? I think not. In both cases, the anatta-ness are still the same.

In fact, I think the anatta became really obvious when the fire had a "self." This is because we generally don't anthropomorphize the fire. It might be harder for some other cultures though, where they practice some type of animism... but the anatta-ness would remain the same. It has nothing to do with taking away what isn't there (or "is" there) in the first place.
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Re: About nibbana

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:55 pm

Mmm. I didn't mean there is some self inside that must be perished to see that there is none -)
I said that we have a feeling that this self do exist. Like you know, you see a rope in darkness and you are sure that this is a snake.
Same here. So what you do? You turn on light and see - ah... no snake here at all. So same with nama-rupa. We have a feeling (not an intellectual understanding) that there is a self "in" this mind-body. This is just like a rope in darkness. So to see the truth, you either use jhana and vipassana to look through and examine carefully all this namarupa - or - you can reach nirodha, where all layers of what is namarupa disappear. In both cases this feeling of self will perish. Just two different methods with the same result to see the emptiness.

Imagine a basket filled with sand. And imagine that you have a feeling that there is some.. lets say.. iron ball inside this sand in the basket. So you can either carefully stir up all this sand and see for yourself that there is no iron ball inside, or you can start scooping out all this sand from the basket. When all sand will be taken out, you will also see that there is no iron ball inside. Two methods, result is the same.
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