A Manual of the Excellent Man (bodhisatta path)

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Dhammanando
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by Dhammanando »

Hi Will,
Will wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Somewhere I picked up the notion that all four stages from stream-entrants up were Arahants. But no - only the 5th stage is an Arahant?
I think referring to stream-enterers as "first stage arahants", once-returners as "second stage arahants" etc. may be a Chinese usage. On another forum I recall Bhikshu Dharmamitra talking in this way, to the puzzlement of his Theravadin fellow discussants.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Will,
Will wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Somewhere I picked up the notion that all four stages from stream-entrants up were Arahants. But no - only the 5th stage is an Arahant?
I think referring to stream-enterers as "first stage arahants", once-returners as "second stage arahants" etc. may be a Chinese usage. On another forum I recall Bhikshu Dharmamitra talking in this way, to the puzzlement of his Theravadin fellow discussants.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Yep, that is where I heard it used.

When (or if) you find time I do hope you will address the "15 catechisms" question I posed some posts back.
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Will,
Will wrote: What is the "ultimate sense" and what is the "collective concept"?
The translation seems a little clumsy to me, but if you look at this paragraph it should be clear:
Due to the collective concept people usually conceive the four primary elements as a composite whole rather than in their ultimate sense, which can only be discerned through insight knowledge. When insight arises, one sees that not the tiniest atom remains that is compact or solid.
The idea is to be able to perceive things in terms of the elements ("ultimate sense"), e.g. hardness or heat in the leg, rather than in terms of a concept ("my leg", "leg", "pain in the leg", or even "pain").

The use of the work "ultimate" is perhaps unfortunate, since it can lead to all sorts of philosophical arguments...

Metta
Mike
Thanks Mike, but it is still unclear. Is the "ultimate" aim of insight, impermanence or emptiness then?
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by mikenz66 »

Will wrote: Thanks Mike, but it is still unclear. Is the "ultimate" aim of insight, impermanence or emptiness then?
That's why I don't like the word "ultimate". He's not talking about the "ultimate aim" of the meditation, he's talking about how we "see" our experience, in terms of the most basic things (the elements in this case).
I think he is trying to say something like:

We usually conceptualise our experience. So we are aware of "my leg" or "leg". With a bit of practise we are aware that in the leg there is "pain" or "tension", but those are still concepts. One way the Buddha offered for us to classify the physical part of our experience is in terms of the Elements (hard/soft, hot/cold, motion/support, fluidity/cohesion). So with a bit more practise we are just aware that there is some hardness, or some hot, or some cold, or motion in the body. Percieving just those basic elements are what is being translated as "ultimate".

Of course "hard" or "soft" are also concepts, so we have a bit of work to do to REALLY get this experientially.

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... dh%C4%81tu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Dhātu: 'elements', are the ultimate constituents of a whole.

I The 4 physical elements dhātu or mahā-bhūta popularly called earth, water, fire and wind, are to be understood as the primary qualities of matter. They are named in Pāli: pathavī-dhātu, āpo-dhātu, tejo-dhātu, and vāyo-dhātu In Vis.M XI, 2 the four elements are defined thus:,Whatever is characterized by hardness thaddha-lakkkhana is the earth or solid-element; by cohesion ābandhana or fluidity, the water-element; by heating paripācana the fire or heat-element; by strengthening or supporting vitthambhana the wind or motion-element. All four are present in every material object, though in varying degrees of strength. If, for instance, the earth element predominates, the material object is called 'solid', etc. - For the analysis of the 4 elements, see: dhātu-vavatthāna


Metta
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

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mikenz66 wrote:
Will wrote: Thanks Mike, but it is still unclear. Is the "ultimate" aim of insight, impermanence or emptiness then?
That's why I don't like the word "ultimate". He's not talking about the "ultimate aim" of the meditation, he's talking about how we "see" our experience, in terms of the most basic things (the elements in this case).
I think he is trying to say something like:

We usually conceptualise our experience. So we are aware of "my leg" or "leg". With a bit of practise we are aware that in the leg there is "pain" or "tension", but those are still concepts. One way the Buddha offered for us to classify the physical part of our experience is in terms of the Elements (hard/soft, hot/cold, motion/support, fluidity/cohesion). So with a bit more practise we are just aware that there is some hardness, or some hot, or some cold, or motion in the body. Percieving just those basic elements are what is being translated as "ultimate".

Of course "hard" or "soft" are also concepts, so we have a bit of work to do to REALLY get this experientially.
I do get your point now Mike, but do not think it is correct. Sayadaw says:
The three elements of extension, motion, and heat can be felt by touch. Even children know whether a thing is soft or hard. However, they are not able to discern the ultimate sense of what they only superficially recognize as the earth element. They know whether a thing is cold or hot, but they cannot discern the ultimate sense of what they only recognize as the fire element. Similarly they know that something moves, or supports, or is pressed, or swells. However, they do not discern the element of motion there.
When he uses "insight knowledge" it is a much deeper awareness than that of a child.
Due to the collective concept people usually conceive the four primary elements as a composite whole rather than in their ultimate sense, which can only be discerned through insight knowledge. When insight arises, one sees that not the tiniest atom remains that is compact or solid.
Ledi Sayadaw uses not "compact or solid" - so I will go with that for now. We will see what the rest of the teaching says.
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Will,

I agree. That's why I said:
Of course "hard" or "soft" are also concepts, so we have a bit of work to do to REALLY get this experientially.
Metta
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by Dhammanando »

Hi Will,
Will wrote:This verse is quoted by the Sayadaw: “Virtue observed out of craving for glorious existences and material well-being is inferior; virtue observed for one’s own release is moderate; virtue observed to liberate all beings, which is the perfection of virtue, is superior.” (Visuddhimagga)

Now without the context this passage is an exact match for (and precursor by 500 years) the three stages of the path that Atisha & Je Tsongkhapa made famous. But my query is about "all" beings in the quote - is that word in Buddhagosha's original?
Yes: sabbasattānaṃ vimokkhatthāya, "for the sake of the liberation of all beings." That is what a would be Bodhisatta needs to wish for in order to make the aspiration for Buddhahood and to commence developing the perfections. But there's no suggestion in the texts that wish will ever be fulfilled, any more than my practising mettābhāvanā will cause all beings to be well and happy.
  • The aspiration, made by one endowed with these eight factors, is in denotation the act of consciousness (cittuppada) occurring together with the collection of these eight factors. Its characteristic is rightly resolving to attain the supreme enlightenment. Its function is to yearn, "Oh, may I awaken to the supreme perfect enlightenment, and bring well-being and happiness to all beings!" It is manifest as the root-cause for the requisites of enlightenment. Its proximate cause is great compassion, or the achievement of the necessary supporting conditions. Since it has as its object the inconceivable plane of the Buddhas and the welfare of the whole immeasurable world of beings, it should be seen as the loftiest, most sublime and exalted distinction of merit, endowed with immeasurable potency, the root-cause of all the qualities issuing in Buddhahood. Simultaneous with its arising, the Great Man enters upon the practice of the vehicle to great enlightenment. He becomes fixed in his destiny, irreversible, and therefore properly gains the designation "bodhisattva."
    (Dhammapāla, Cariyāpiṭaka. Bodhi trans.)
Because, later in this chapter, when the Sayadaw is explaining the Noblest Aspiration, "all beings" are not mentioned.

Here is what Ledi Sayadaw writes:

What is meant by “the Noblest Aspiration”? It is the verbal and mental undertaking that the bodhisatta had made at some point of time aeons before taking up the perfections.

It was made in these terms:

“As a man who knows his own strength, what use is there to get to ‘the yonder shore’ (nibbāna) alone? I will attain to Supreme Knowledge and then convey men and devas to the yonder shore.”

That was the pledge that sent the ten thousand universes reeling and echoing in applause. That was the bodhisatta’s earnest wish. For he intensely aspired to Supreme Self-Enlightenment thus:

“Knowing the Truth, I will let others know it. Freeing myself from the world, I will free others. Having crossed over, I will enable others to cross.”

This fervent and most daring aspiration is called “the Noblest Aspiration.”
So here the aspiration is phrased is a more realistic manner, with the word "all" omitted.
That sure sounds like a Mahayana motivation.
Given the absence of the word "all" it sounds like the aspiration of a Theravada Bodhisatta to me. :smile:
Later on in chapter one is this: The detailed process of laying the foundation for the aspiration to, and the fulfilment of, Perfect Enlightenment is dealt with in the scriptures in fifteen catechisms.

What are the 15 catechisms?
As I recall we had a bit of a problem with this one. In the references the sayādaw gives (Cariyāpiṭaka & Dīgha Nikāya sub-commentary) there are three sets of fifteen things, but I don't know which one he means. None of them is a "catechism".

The first comprises restraint by the precepts, having the sense-doors guarded, moderation in food, devotion to wakefulness, the seven good dhammas (faith, sense of shame, fear of wrong-doing, much learning, being energetic, mindful and possessed of wisdom), and the four jhānas.


The second is this:
  • These six paramis fall into at least fifteen pairs (yugala) of complementary qualities which perfect fifteen other pairs of qualities. How?

    1. assaddhe puggale parivajjayato
    2. saddhe puggale sevato bhajato payirupāsato
    3. pasādanīye suttante paccavekkhato
    imehi tīhākārehi saddhindriyaṃ visujjhati.

    “When he avoids faithless persons, cultivates, frequents and honours faithful persons, and reviews discourses (sutta) that inspire confidence, the faith faculty is purified in him in these three aspects.”

    4. kusīte puggale parivajjayato
    5. āraddhavīriye puggale sevato bhajato payirupāsato
    6. sammappadhāne paccavekkhato
    imehi tīhākārehi vīriyindriyaṃ visujjhati.

    “When he avoids lazy persons, cultivates, frequents and honours energetic persons, and reviews the right endeavours, the energy faculty is purified in him in these three aspects.”

    7. muṭṭhassatī puggale parivajjayato
    8. upaṭṭhitassatī puggale sevato bhajato payirupāsato
    9. satipaṭṭhāne paccavekkhato
    imehi tīhākārehi satindriyaṃ visujjhati.

    “When he avoids forgetful persons, cultivates, frequents and honours mindful persons, and reviews the foundations of mindfulness, the mindfulness faculty is purified in him in these three aspects.”

    10. asamāhite puggale parivajjayato
    11. samāhite puggale sevato bhajato payirupāsato
    12. jhānavimokkhe paccavekkhato
    imehi tīhākārehi samādhindriyaṃ visujjhati.

    “When he avoids unconcentrated persons, cultivates, frequents and honours concentrated persons, and reviews the jhānas and liberations, the concentration faculty is purified in him in these three aspects.”

    13. duppaññe puggale parivajjayato
    14. paññavante puggale sevato bhajato payirupāsato
    15. gambhīrañāṇacariyaṃ paccavekkhato
    imehi tīhākārehi paññindriyaṃ visujjhati.

    “When he avoids persons with no wisdom, cultivates, frequents and honours persons possessed of wisdom, and reviews the behaviour of profound knowledge, the wisdom faculty is purified in him in these three aspects.”

    iti ime pañca puggale parivajjayato pañca puggale sevato bhajato payirupāsato pañca suttantakkhandhe paccavekkhato imehi pannarasahi ākārehi imāni pañcindriyāni visujjhantī ti

    “So when he avoids these five kinds of persons, cultivates, frequents and honours these five kinds of persons, and reviews these five sorts of suttas, these five faculties are purified in him in these fifteen aspects.”
    (Paṭis I 185).

And the third is this:
  • These six paramis fall into at least fifteen pairs (yugala) of complementary qualities which perfect fifteen other pairs of qualities. How?

    1. The pair – giving and virtue – perfects the pair of doing what is beneficial for others and abstaining from what is harmful to them.

    2. The pair – giving and patience – perfects the pair of non-greed and non-hatred.

    3. The pair – giving and energy – perfects the pair of sacrifice and learning.

    4. The pair – giving and jhāna – perfects the abandoning of sensual desire and hatred;

    5. the pair giving and wisdom, perfects the noble vehicle and burden;

    6. the pair of virtue and patience, perfects the purification of means and the purification of the end;

    7. the pair of virtue and energy, perfects the pair of meditative development (i.e., samatha & vipassanā);

    8. the pair of virtue and jhāna, perfects the abandoning of moral depravity and of mental obsession;

    9. the pair of virtue and wisdom, perfects the pair of giving;

    10. the pair of patience and energy, perfects the pair of acceptance and austerity;

    11. the pair of patience and jhāna, perfects the abandoning of opposing and favouring;

    12. the pair of patience and wisdom, perfects the acceptance and penetration of emptiness;

    13. the pair of energy and jhāna, perfects the pair of exertion and non-distraction;

    14. the pair of energy and wisdom, perfects the pair of refuges;

    15. and the pair of jhāna and wisdom perfects the pair of vehicles (i.e. the vehicles of serenity and insight).
Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

That last one was a huge amount of research Bhante. :bow: :bow: :bow:

Webster's online re: catechism:
a summary of religious doctrine often in the form of questions and answers b: something resembling a catechism especially in being a rote response or formulaic statement
So the Q & A part is not always needed. But which of the three 15s (if one does) best fulfills "detailed process of laying the foundation for...??? " Too bad Bhikkhu Pesala has not dropped in, he may know what was meant.

As for the Noblest Aspiration needing the "all" - Nagarjuna says it does not mean literally all beings who ever will exist; but the quote is little known because it was in his big Prajnaparamita Shastra, which I do not think the Indo-Tibetans had. I will try to find it among my "files" :roll: The gist is that bodhisattas can only help "all" those with whom they have developed karmic connections; so it means "all beings one is connected with". Of course that can be a big number, but not literally "countless beings".

So I am pleased to find and give credit to the Southern schools for this most Noble Vow. :buddha2:
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

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This is just an appreciative post; Ledi Sayadaw was a magnificent teacher. :bow: :bow: :bow:

For example:
“When nutrition arises, materiality arises.When nutrition is exhausted, materiality ceases.”

This is the explanation of the second meaning of samudaya, the incessant rebirth of new aggregates of materiality. Similarly with nirodha, the cessation of rebirth, the total release from the cycle of rebirths. This second sense of arising and cessation is obvious. This is not vital for the development of insight. What is relevant here is to know the constant arising and cessation taking place every moment throughout one’s life.

Here is a simile:

Let us say a man-size flame is set alight and is meant to last a hundred years. Imagine how much fuel must be supplied every day and night. The life of the flame depends on the fuel. The flame can remain the size of a man only when the lamp is full. It becomes smaller as the fuel level falls. When the oil is used up, the flame goes out. Imagine how much fuel is consumed by the lamp each day from the first day it is lit. Visualize the daily refuelling. Then consider how the flame gets renewed because the fuel is replenished. See how the flame exhausts itself due to the exhaustion of the fuel that has kept it alight. Try to distinguish the rejuvenated flame, after refuelling, from the flame that has exhausted itself, having consumed all the fuel. Suppose that the new fuel is coloured, and that the flame takes on the same colour as the fuel. For a while, white fuel will produce a white flame. Then as the white fuel is used up, and red fuel is fed into the lamp, the colour of the flame will turn from white to red. Again, with yellow fuel, the flame turns yellow, and so on. Thus, compare the old and the new in the same flame.

Preconceived notions about what the eye sees obstruct perception. Expel these preconceptions with insight. Even in an ordinary flame (not distinguished by colour) constant change is observable if one looks closely. Every motion represents change — change from the old to the new. As the new arises, the old vanishes. The arising of the new must be understood as samudaya — the vanishing of the old is nirodha.

The temperature-originated materiality that is the body, which will remain when a person dies, is just like the lamp and the wick in our simile. The kamma-originated materiality, the consciousness-originated materiality, and the nutriment-originated materiality, which combine to give the illusion of a person, are like the man-size flame. The daily food intake is like the daily refuelling.
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: this journey

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This journey is the close observation of phenomena taking place within one’s body, from head to foot. Then, concept will gradually yield to perception. By doggedly pursuing this perception, one can, with sufficient diligence, knock at the door of nibbāna in seven days’ time. If not in seven days, it might take one month, or one year, or two, three, or up to seven years. This is explicitly mentioned at various places in the texts. Remember nirodha in its second meaning, i.e. the total cessation of the five aggregates and rebirth is nirodha, which is nibbāna. This is the supramundane nirodha.
I suppose the Sayadaw does not mean this nibbāna of 7 days or 7 years makes one a full Buddha? If not, what is the difference (if there is one) between this sort of nibbāna and that of a Buddha? If there is no difference in the experience of nibbāna, what is difference between an Arahant and a full Buddha?
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Will,

Those comments are in reference to the conclusion of...

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"Now, if anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven years, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging/sustenance — non-return.

"Let alone seven years. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for six years... five... four... three... two years... one year... seven months... six months... five... four... three... two months... one month... half a month, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging/sustenance — non-return.

"Let alone half a month. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven days, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging/sustenance — non-return.

"'This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.
Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

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Thanks Retro, but is "gnosis" or as Bhikkhu Bodhi puts it, "final knowlege" (ānna) identical in every way to nibbāna?
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Will,

I would treat gnosis as synonymous to liberation or even arahantship, which infers nibbana but best to get venerable Dhammanando's clarification on that if you're looking at a really precise definition.

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

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by Dhammanando »

Hi Will,
Will wrote:Thanks Retro, but is "gnosis" or as Bhikkhu Bodhi puts it, "final knowlege" (ānna) identical in every way to nibbāna?
Aññā is synonymous with arahantship (arahatta), the liberation of arahantship (arahatta-vimokkha), and the noble fruition consciousness of arahantship (arahatta-ariyaphala-citta).

The first of these can be used in place of 'Nibbāna' when speaking conventionally (i.e. when talking about the ongoing state of cooledness or extinguishedness in those persons called arahants).

The last two refer to the citta that cognizes Nibbāna, but not to Nibbāna itself.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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Re: A Manual of the Excellent Man

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Will,
Will wrote:Thanks Retro, but is "gnosis" or as Bhikkhu Bodhi puts it, "final knowlege" (ānna) identical in every way to nibbāna?
Aññā is synonymous with arahantship (arahatta), the liberation of arahantship (arahatta-vimokkha), and the noble fruition consciousness of arahantship (arahatta-ariyaphala-citta).

The first of these can be used in place of 'Nibbāna' when speaking conventionally (i.e. when talking about the ongoing state of cooledness or extinguishedness in those persons called arahants).

The last two refer to the citta that cognizes Nibbāna, but not to Nibbāna itself.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Thank you Bhante.

But this line of yours - "The last two refer to the citta that cognizes Nibbāna, but not to Nibbāna itself" is a puzzle to me. I thought knowing Nibbana was nibbana? "Nibbana itself" sounds like an object that is apart from thought or awareness??

But at least I think I understand that this sort of nibbana is not that of a Buddha - right?
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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