SarathW wrote: ↑Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:50 am
Is it possible for Nibbana to exist without Samsara?
Yes. Nāgārjuna is demonstrably wrong. The Buddha was criticising the "sarvaṃ asti" of the Upanishads, not all notions of existence and non-existence in of themselves:
“1.4.10. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahman. It knew only itself
(atmanam): "I am Brahman!" Therefore it became the All. Whoever of
the gods became awakened to this, he indeed became it; likewise in the
case of seers (rsi), likewise in the case of men. Seeing this, indeed, the
seer Vamadeva began:-
I was Manu and the sun (surya)!
This is so now also. Whoever thus knows "I am Brahman!" becomes this
All; even the gods have not power to prevent his becoming thus, for he
becomes their self (atman).
So whoever worships another divinity [than his Self], thinking "He is
one and I another," he knows not. He is like a sacrificial animal for the
gods. Verily, indeed, as many animals would be of service to a man,
even so each single person is of service to the gods. If even one animal
is taken away, it is not pleasant. What, then, if many? Therefore it is
not pleasing to those [gods] that men should know this.
1.4.11. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahman, one only.”
“This world, Kaccana, is for the most part shackled by engagement, clinging, and adherence. But this one with right view does not become engaged and cling through that engagement and clinging, mental standpoint, adherence, underlying tendency; he does not take a stand about ‘my self.’ He has no perplexity or doubt that what arises is only suffering arising, what ceases is only suffering ceasing. His knowledge about this is independent of others. It is in this way, Kaccana, that there is right view. ‘All exists’: Kaccana, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme”
Nibbāna is the cessation of all conditioned phenomena. It exists as an unchanging, permanent and absolutely endless dhamma. It is not samsara correctly cognised. It is
cognised when the 6 sense bases and nāmarūpa fade away, thus revealing the one unconditioned dhamma that is separate from samsara. It exists right now, we just can't "see" it. Unlike the Upanishads there is no Brahman/Atman/Universal consciousness left when nāmarūpa fades away. There is only nibbāna.
You ask if duality is a necessary evil? Fundamentally a duality is the very basis of our salvation.
"If, monks there were not that unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, you could not know an escape here from the born, become, made, and conditioned. But because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, therefore you do know an escape from the born, become, made, and conditioned.”