A discussion of bodhi

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Assaji
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by Assaji »

Hi Cittaanurakkho,
cittaanurakkho wrote:Is the sanna refer to the sanna of the khandas?
Yes.
If I understand you correctly this is like intentionally developing the perception of impermanance, ... ,... , in stages/progressively during the practice?
Indeed. Here's another detailed description:

Anguttara Nikaya 7.95-622

Āhuneyyavaggo

Persons worthy of offerings

Translated by E. M. Hare

“Monks, there are these seven persons, worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit. What seven?

Monks, herein a monk abides seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom; and destroying the cankers, he enters and abides in the cankerless mind-emancipation … ; this, monks, is the first person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one who likewise abides seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom; and for him the cankers’ ending and life’s ending are at the same time, not one before and one after; this, monks, is the second person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, after an interval becomes completely cool [Non-returner -- antarāparinibbāyin]; this, monks, is the third person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, after lessening his period, becomes completely cool [Non-returner -- upahaccaparinibbāyin]; this, monks, is the fourth person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, without (karmic) residue becomes completely cool [Non-returner -- asankhāraparinibbāyin]; this, monks, is the fifth person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, with some residue becomes completely cool [Non-returner -- sasankhāraparinibbāyin]; this, monks, is the sixth person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, becomes part of the upward stream, bound for the highest (Akanitฺtฺha); this, monks, is the seventh person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Verily, monks, these seven persons are worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.”

(Other worthy persons)

“Monks, there are these (other) persons, worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Herein a monk abides seeing the impermanence … ill … no self … destruction … decay … dispassion … ending … renunciation (each in seven degrees of perfection) in respect of:

a)
The eye _ shapes _ visual consciousness _ visual contact
The ear _ sounds _ auditory consciousness _ auditory contact
The nose _ odours _ olfactory consciousness _ olfactory contact
The tongue _ tastes _ gustatory consciousness _ gustatory contact
The touch _ tangibles _ tactile consciousness _ tactile contact
The mind _ mental states _ representative cognition _ mental contact

b)
He abides, seeing impermanence … ill … no self … destruction … decay … dispassion … ending … renunciation (each in seven degrees of perfection) in respect of:

{ Feelings; Perceptions; Intentions; Cravings; Reflections; Deliberations }

sprung from

{ Visual contact; Auditory contact; Olfactory contact; Gustatory contact; Tactile contact; Mental contact. }

He abides, seeing impermanence … ill … no self … destruction … decay … dispassion … ending … renunciation (each in seven degrees of perfection) in respect of:

The body aggregate;
The feelings aggregate;
The perceptions aggregate;
The syntheses aggregate;
The consciousness aggregate.

(The Burmese MS. M. adds an Uddāna and observes that this chapter consists of 528 suttas. There appear, however, to be 8 x 6 x 10 suttas in respect of the six senses and their derivatives, and 8 x 5 suttas in respect of the five aggregates, therefore 520 in all. So 3,640 different persons, worthy of offerings, are stated. These recur in many places in the Pitฺakas. See Stcherbatsky’s “The Central Conception of Buddhism”.)
vinasp
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by vinasp »

Hi cittaanurakkho,

Quote 1: "If one complete the (Sam)bodhi then one have Nibbana."

Quote 2: "One can have Nibbana without having (Sam)bodhi. The proof is ...[DN 16]"

Quote DN 16: "...Emerging from the fourth jhana, he immediately was totally Unbound."

Quote 3: "The Buddha enter nibbana immediately after he emerges from the fourth Jhana without going through (Sam)bodhi. However, Buddha had to go through (Sam)bodhi first when he for the first time enter Nibbana during the night of his awakening. If Buddha can enter Nibbana without going through (Sam)bodhi all the time then (Sam)bodhi is not Nibbana."

So (sam)bodhi [awakening] is only a temporary experience?

And (sam)bodhi leads to a temporary experience of nibbana?

Is cessation also only temporary?

How do you understand the distinction between nibbana and parinibbana?

How do you understand the distinction between nibbana with residue, and nibbana without
residue?

Walpola Rahula, in 'What the Buddha Taught', page 41, says:

"There is no such thing as 'entering into Nirvana after death.'"

What do you think about this statement?

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

This passage from MN 31 can be read as a description of 'temporary liberation',
the temporary experience of 'nibbana'.

"Good, good Anuruddha. But is there any other superhuman state, a
distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones, a
comfortable abiding, which you have attained by surmounting that
abiding, by making that abiding subside?"

"Why not, venerable sir? Here, venerable sir, whenever we want, by
completely surmounting the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception,
we enter upon and abide in the cessation of perception and feeling.
And our taints are destroyed by our seeing with wisdom. .......
And, venerable sir, we do not see any other comfortable abiding higher
or more sublime than this one."

"Good, good Anuruddha. There is no other comfortable abiding higher
or more sublime than this one."

[ Bhikkhu Bodhi, Middle Length Discourses, page 304, MN 31.18 ]

The phrase 'whenever we want' implies repeated experience. Is the 'destruction
of the taints' included in this temporary experience?

If so, then the cessation of perception and feeling, is understood by some monks
to be a temporary experience of nibbana. Since they cannot imagine any other kind
of liberation, they declare themselves to be Arahants.

[ See: the distinction between 'temporary' and 'non-temporary' liberation in
MN 29.6-7 and MN 122.4]

Regards, Vincent.
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Assaji
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by Assaji »

Hi Vicent,
vinasp wrote:So (sam)bodhi [awakening] is only a temporary experience?
Buddhist Hybrid English can sometimes hinder understanding.

"Sambodhi", in this context, means "comprehension", connected with the verb "sambujjhati". It describes a process when someone has comprehended the Four Actualities for the Noble Ones.

In the case of Samma-sambodhi, as explained in Pasadika sutta (DN 29):

Yañca kho, cunda, sadevakassa lokassa samārakassa sabrahmakassa sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiyā pajāya sadevamanussāya diṭṭhaṃ sutaṃ mutaṃ viññātaṃ pattaṃ pariyesitaṃ anuvicaritaṃ manasā, sabbaṃ tathāgatena abhisambuddhaṃ, tasmā ‘tathāgato’ti vuccati. Yañca, cunda, rattiṃ tathāgato anuttaraṃ sammāsambodhiṃ abhisambujjhati, yañca rattiṃ anupādisesāya nibbānadhātuyā parinibbāyati, yaṃ etasmiṃ antare bhāsati lapati niddisati.

'Cunda, whatever in this world with its devas and maras and Brahmas, with its ascetics and Brahmins, its princes and people, is seen by people, heard, sensed, cognized, whatever was ever achieved, sought after or mentally pondered upon -- all that has been fully comprehended [abhisambuddham] by the Tathagata. That is why he is called Tathagata. Between the night in which the Tathagata comprehends [abhisambujjhati] the unequalled Perfect Comprehension (samma-sambodhi), Cunda, and the night in which he attains the Nibbana-element without remainder, whatever he proclaims, says or explains is so and not otherwise.'


'Sambodhi' is not some kind of place or state in which one abides.
cittaanurakkho
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by cittaanurakkho »

Hi Vincent,

Here is my understanding with regard to your questions. Please do offer your understanding if you think I am wrong.
"So (sam)bodhi [awakening] is only a temporary experience?"
"Is cessation also only temporary? "
As I understand it, yes a one time experience.

Below is quote from Dvedhavitakka Sutta (MN 19, PTS: M i 114)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

which describe the event on the night of his awakening. I pick this sutta because it is quite chronological from the beginning to the end. I am quoting below the event on the last watch of the night.
"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I discerned, as it had come to be, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.' My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'
Other sutta (SN v 433) mentioned that the knowledge of Four Noble Truths is the marker of awakening (sambodhi). But here, even after the knowledge of Four Noble Truths (which include nirodha/cessation), there were still other knowledge arising: knowledge of fermentations, …, the way leading to fermentations, which I understand to indicate the knowledge of dependent origination. And finally he said knowing that, his heart was released (vimutti) from fermentations of sensuality, released from becoming, and released from ignorance. Along with the release there was the knowledge: “Released”, which I understand is vimutti, the marker of the beginning of Nibbana.

I don’t know where is the marker for sambodhi, but cessation occurred before vimutti. So, to me, awakening/sambodhi seems to be a process with one knowledge appears after another ending with the achievement of Nibbana. The whole process lasted for about 4 hours (1 watch = 4 hours) for the Buddha.
"And (sam)bodhi leads to a temporary experience of nibbana?"
No, not temporary. Once one go through (sam)bodhi one attained nibbana.
"How do you understand the distinction between nibbana and parinibbana?"
Nibbana refer to the unconditioned.

Parinibbana refer to the event where an arahant all sense faculties ceased without remainder, i.e. the passing away of an arahant. Some refer the event to the cessation of the 5 aggregates. But Sue Hamilton seems to suggest that living arahant have only 4 aggregates with the aggregate of shankhara ceased during the awakening.

How do you think anagamis (the non returner) attained Nibbana? How many aggregates they have? Do they go though Parinibbana?
"How do you understand the distinction between nibbana with residue, and nibbana without residue? "
As I understand it, there is no Nibbana with residue or Nibbana without residue. Nibbana is just Nibbana. Perhaps you are referring to Iti 44, Iti 38
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-044" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

To me, nibbānadhātu is not referring directly to Nibbana. But it is referring to two properties of Nibbana.

“Nibbana-property with residue” refer to the ending of passion, aversion, delusion of an arahant with 5 sense faculty intact. This property manifest itself during the time of awakening. The ending of passion/aversion/delusion seems to be treated as “property” of Nibbana rather than Nibbana itself. And the 5 sense faculty are treated as residue.

“Nibbana-property without residue” refer to the ending of all that is sensed of an arahant. This property manifest itself at the time of his death.
Walpola Rahula, in 'What the Buddha Taught', page 41, says:
"There is no such thing as 'entering into Nirvana after death.'"
What do you think about this statement?
Ven. Walpola is correct, one does not enter into Nibbana after death.
cittaanurakkho
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by cittaanurakkho »

daverupa wrote:
cittaanurakkho wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote: This is a muddle of the parinibbāna of the Buddha with the liberation from greed, antipathy and delusion – Nibbāna - of the arahant.
Really? Are you saying he enter a different Nibbana?
I think he is saying that the final breakup of the aggregates is different than the nibbana which arahants experience in this very life, and quoting from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta is confusing this distinction.
Ok, point taken. I am retracting my muddling of parinibbana of the Buddha with Awakening.
cittaanurakkho
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by cittaanurakkho »

Hi Dmytro,
Dmytro wrote:
"Monks, there are these seven persons, worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit. What seven?
....
Again, consider one who likewise abides seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom; and for him the cankers’ ending and life’s ending are at the same time, not one before and one after; this, monks, is the second person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.
...
It seems like this practicioner never went thorugh Jhana at all during his practice and yet achieved liberation at death. His perception is so tune to the the impermanence it becomes embedded into his him that at the time of death all he sees is impermanence and liberated thus, no Jhana needed. Is it right?

Overall, how do you see this selective perception practice fit in with satipathana? I can see the asubha practice, etc...but I don't see how one practice perception of cessation.

Thanks.
cittaanurakkho
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by cittaanurakkho »

daverupa wrote:
I guess I don't follow the argument that
If Noble Eightfold Paths is conditioned then the Four Noble Truths is also conditioned. As Nirodha is in Four Noble Truths, this will make Nirodha conditioned. However, Nibbana is unconditioned so I think this will rule out that Nirodha is equal to Nibbana.
because nirodha and nibbana, as I see it, are synonymous. dukkhanirodha is descriptive; nibbana is one among many metaphors for this, not a separate 'thing', as I understand it.

The Path is conditioned; the result is not. It is a conditioned path which 'puts out', nibbanizes, greed & hatred & delusion. These are at the root of dukkha, so dukkhanirodha is raga-dosa-moha-nirodha, which is nibbana. Just as "no-fire" isn't a thing, but a lack of a particular thing, so "nibbana" isn't a thing to be differentiated from other things, but a lack which can be described in many ways.
Well, if you see nirodha as synonymous with nibbana, then you will not see the argument. Let's put aside that nirodha is synonymous with nibbana for a moment and just applied "This and That" conditionality (AN 10:92) in the following way.

1. Eight Noble Paths is conditioned and Nibbana is unconditioned as you stated.
2. The knowledges of each Truths in the Four Noble Truths is conditional upon practicing the Eight Noble Paths. If one practice the Eight Noble Path, then the whole 12 knowledges quoted below arises. Note that the 12 knowledges includes the knowlege that the cessation of stress (Nirodha) has been directly experienced.
3. Therefore Nirodha is conditional upon the practice of the Eight Noble Paths.
4. If Nirodha is conditioned this way, then Nirodha is not Nibbana because Nibbana is unconditioned.
"Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:
'This is the noble truth of stress.'…
'This noble truth of stress is to be comprehended.' …
'This noble truth of stress has been comprehended.' …

'This is the noble truth of the origination of stress'...
'This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned' ...
'This noble truth of the origination of stress has been abandoned.'

'This is the noble truth of the cessation of stress'...
'This noble truth of the cessation of stress is to be directly experienced'...
'This noble truth of the cessation of stress has been directly experienced.'

'This is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress'...
'This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress is to be developed'...
'This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress has been developed.'
vinasp
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by vinasp »

Hi Dmytro,

Quote: "Sambodhi", in this context, means "comprehension"..."

Quote: "'Sambodhi' is not some kind of place or state in which one abides."

Thank you, that is helpful. Can you please explain further.

Do you mean that sambodhi is the action or events that occur when one first
understands something. And it cannot mean 'one who has understood'?

Is it wrong to say that 'sambodhi' is something that an Arahant has, at any time
after the time when he first understood?

On another point, regarding this section:

" Between the night in which the Tathagata comprehends [abhisambujjhati] the unequalled Perfect Comprehension (samma-sambodhi), Cunda, and the night in which he attains the Nibbana-element without remainder, whatever he proclaims, says or explains is so and not otherwise.'"

It seems to me, to be two descriptions of the same event, on the same night. So the
time between these 'two' events, is no time at all.

[Where is the 'parinibbāyati' in the English translation?]

Regards, Vincent.
daverupa
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by daverupa »

Nirodha isn't a thing which is conditioned; it refers to the cessation of stress, as you've mentioned. So "cessation of stress", as an experience, is a conditioned one, requiring the Eightfold Path. So far so good.

Now, nibbana isn't conditioned, just as nirodha isn't conditioned, because those aren't things. But the experience being referred to is conditioned, via the Path, ultimately due to the arising of a tathagata. Lack of greed, hatred, delusion is described as nibbana; the cessation (nirodha) of them is an experience of nibbana. It's all talking about the same thing.

(The translation quoted is a little off; 'This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned' is probably better rendered 'This ennobling truth of the origination of stress, which is to be abandoned.' The origination - tanha - is to be abandoned, not the truth.)
  • "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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Assaji
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by Assaji »

Hi Vincent,
vinasp wrote: Do you mean that sambodhi is the action or events that occur when one first
understands something. And it cannot mean 'one who has understood'?
Yes, "sambodhi" is 'comprehension' as an event. 'One who has comprehended (on his own)' would be called "Buddha" (reflexive voice past participle from the same verb 'bujjhati').
Is it wrong to say that 'sambodhi' is something that an Arahant has, at any time
after the time when he first understood?
Arahant has it in the sense that he comprehends experientially the Four Actualities for the Noble Ones.
" Between the night in which the Tathagata comprehends [abhisambujjhati] the unequalled Perfect Comprehension (samma-sambodhi), Cunda, and the night in which he attains the Nibbana-element without remainder, whatever he proclaims, says or explains is so and not otherwise.'"

It seems to me, to be two descriptions of the same event, on the same night. So the
time between these 'two' events, is no time at all.
The attainment of Nibbana without remainder happened many years later, it is described in Mahaparinibbana sutta.
[Where is the 'parinibbāyati' in the English translation?]
It's hard to translate this in English. See Ven. Thanissaro's article "A Verb for Nirvana":

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... averb.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
vinasp
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by vinasp »

Hi Dmytro,

What is wrong with something like this:

"Between the night in which the Tathagata comprehends [abhisambujjhati] the unequalled Perfect Comprehension (samma-sambodhi), Cunda, and the night in which he attains the Nibbana-element without remainder, and is completely extinguished, whatever he proclaims, says or explains is so and not otherwise.'"

[I see that Walshe (1987 p.436) also omits the parinibbaayati.]

Regards, Vincent.
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Assaji
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by Assaji »

Hi Cittaanurakkho,
cittaanurakkho wrote:It seems like this practicioner never went thorugh Jhana http://bps.lk/olib/bp/bp502s.pdfat" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; all during his practice and yet achieved liberation at death. His perception is so tune to the the impermanence it becomes embedded into his him that at the time of death all he sees is impermanence and liberated thus, no Jhana needed. Is it right?
This sutta has a form of an oral table. Buddha's disciple practiced a wide scope of things to arrive at Arahantship. This sutta describes a typology of essential wisdom development.

According to my experience and to the words of Buddha (Dutiya-Agarava sutta), it's impossible to get far in wisdom development without Jhana.
Why?
Because one has to develop these selective recognitions (sanna) toward all types of things in past, present and future, e.g:

"Here, Aggivessana, my disciples see whatever matter, in the past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, unexalted or exalted, far or near, all that matter is not mine. I'm not that, it is not my self. This is seen with right wisdom, as it really is. Whatever feelings, whatever perceptions, whatever determinations, whatever consciousness, in the past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, un -exalted or exalted, far or near, all consciousness is not mine. I'm not that, it is not my self. This is seen with right wisdom as it really is."

http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... ta-e1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

To encompass such a wide scope of things, Jhana is necessary.
Overall, how do you see this selective perception practice fit in with satipathana? I can see the asubha practice, etc...but I don't see how one practice perception of cessation.
A shortened version of "seven selective recognition" is given in the fourth tetrad of Anapanasati sutta, i.e. in the fourth way of establishing remembrance (satipatthana).

The earliest and most reliable description of "selective recognition of cessation" is given in the Anapanasati chapter of Patisambhidamagga:

(xv)

540. How is it that (29) he trains thus 'I shall breathe in contemplating cessation'; (30) he trains thus 'I shall breathe out contemplating cessation'?

[Analysis of the Object of Contemplation]

541. Seeing danger in materiality, he has zeal for the cessation of materiality, he is resolute in faith and his cognizance is well steadied thereon; he trains thus 'I shall breathe in contemplating the cessation of materiality', he trains thus 'I shall breathe out contemplating the cessation of materiality'. Seeing danger in feeling, ... [and so on with other aggregates, etc.]

http://bps.lk/olib/bp/bp502s.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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mikenz66
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by mikenz66 »

Perhaps this is going off topic, but Bhikkhu Bodhi's analysis in the Introduction to his SN translation assigns a different meaning to parinibbana that what seems to be used here, and offers some other useful perspectives.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:
NIBBĀNA, PARINIBBĀNA

As is well known, nibbāna literally means the extinction of a fire. In popular works on Buddhism, nibbāna plain and simple is often taken to signify Nibbāna as experienced in life, parinibbāna Nibbāna attained at death. This is a misinterpretation. Long ago E.J. Thomas pointed out (possibly on the basis of a suggestion by E. Kuhn) that the prefix pari- converts a verb from the expression of a state into the expression of the achievement of an action, so that the corresponding noun nibbāna becomes the state of release, parinibbāna the attaining of that state. [History of Buddhist Thought, p. 121, n. 4.] The distinction does not really work very well for the verb, as we find both parinibbāyati and nibbāyati used to designate the act of attaining release, but it appears to be fairly tenable in regard to the nouns. (In verse, however, we do sometimes find nibbāna used to denote the event, for example in the line pajjotass’ eva nibbānaṃ at v. 612c.) Words related to both nibbāna and parinibbāna designate both the attaining of release during life through the experience of full enlightenment, and the attaining of final release from conditioned existence through the breakup of the physical body of death. Thus, for instance, the verb parinibbāyati is commonly used to describe how a bhikkhu achieves release while alive (e.g., at II 82,20; III 54,3; IV 23,8–9, etc.) and also to indicate the passing away of the Buddha or an arahant (e.g., at I 158,23; V 161,25).

The past participle forms, nibbuta and parinibbuta, are from a different verbal root than the nouns nibbāna and parinibbāna. The former is from nir + vṛ, the latter from nir + vā. The noun appropriate to the participles is nibbuti, which occasionally occurs in the texts as a synonym for nibbāna but with a function that is more evocative (of tranquillity, complete rest, utter peace) than systematic. (It seems no prefixed noun parinibbuti is attested to in Pāli.) At an early time the two verb forms were conflated, so that the participle parinibbuta became the standard adjective used to denote one who has undergone parinibbāna. Like the verb, the participle is used in apposition to both the living Buddha or arahant (I 1,21, 187,8) and the deceased one (I 122,13, 158,24). Possibly, however, parinibbuta is used in relation to the living arahant only in verse, while in prose its technical use is confined to one who has expired. In sutta usage, even when the noun parinibbāna denotes the passing away of an arahant (particularly of the Buddha), it does not mean “Nibbāna after death.” It is, rather, the event of passing away undergone by one who has already attained Nibbāna during life.

The suttas distinguish between two elements of Nibbāna: the Nibbāna element with residue (sa-upādisesa-nibbānadhātu) and the Nibbāna element without residue (anupādisesanibbānadhātu )—the residue (upādisesa) being the compound of the five aggregates produced by prior craving and kamma (It 38–39). The former is the extinction of lust, hatred, and delusion attained by the arahant while alive; the latter is the remainderless cessation of all conditioned existence that occurs with the arahant’s death. In the commentaries the two elements of Nibbāna are respectively called kilesaparinibbāna, the quenching of defilements at the attainment of arahantship, and khandhaparinibbāna , the quenching of the continuum of aggregates with the arahant’s demise. Though the commentaries treat the two Nibbāna elements and the two kinds of parinibbāna as interchangeable and synonymous, in sutta usage it may be preferable to see the two kinds of parinibbāna as the events which give access to the two corresponding Nibbāna elements. Parinibbāna, then, is the act of quenching; nibbāna, the state of quenchedness.

To explain the philology of a term is not to settle the question of its interpretation. What exactly is to be made of the various explanations of Nibbāna given in the Nikāyas has been a subject of debate since the early days of Buddhism, with the ground divided between those who regard it as the mere extinction of defilements and cessation of existence and those who understand it as a transcendental (lokuttara) ontological reality. In SN some suttas explain Nibbāna as the destruction of lust, hatred, and delusion, which emphasizes the experiential psychological dimension; elsewhere it is called the unconditioned, which seems to place the stress on ontological transcendence. The Theravāda commentators regard Nibbāna as an unconditioned element. [This is clearly maintained in the debate on Nibbāna recorded at Vism 507–9 (Ppn 16:67–74). See too the long extract from the Paramatthamañjūsā, Dhammapāla’s commentary on Vism, translated by Ñāṇamoli at Ppn pp. 825–26, n. 18.] They hold that when Nibbāna is called the destruction of the defilements (of lust, hatred, and delusion, etc.) and the cessation of the five aggregates, this requires interpretation. Nibbāna itself, as an existent, is unborn, unmade, unbecome, unconditioned (see Ud 80–81). It is in dependence on this element (taṃ āgamma), by arriving at it, that there takes place the destruction of the defilements and release from conditioned existence. Nibbāna itself, however, is not reducible to these two events, which are, in their actual occurrence, conditioned events happening in time. On this interpretation, the two Nibbāna elements are seen as stages in the full actualization of the unconditioned Nibbāna, not simply as two discrete events.

In the present work I leave nibbāna untranslated, for the term is too rich in evocative meaning and too defiant of conceptual specification to be satisfactorily captured by any proposed English equivalent. I translate parinibbāna as “final Nibbāna,” since the noun form usually means the passing away of an arahant (or the Buddha), final release from conditioned existence; sometimes, however, its meaning is ambiguous, as in the statement “the Dhamma [is] taught by the Blessed One for the sake of final Nibbāna without clinging (anupādāparinibbānatthaṃ)” (IV 48,78), which can mean either Nibbāna during life or the full cessation of existence.

The verb parinibbāyati perhaps could have been incorporated into English with “nibbanize,” which would be truest to the Pāli, but this would be too much at variance with current conventions. Thus when the verb refers to the demise of the Buddha or an arahant, I render it “attains final Nibbāna,” but when it designates the extinguishing of defilements by one who attains enlightenment, I render it simply “attains Nibbāna.” We also find a personal noun form, parinibbāyī, which I render “an attainer of Nibbāna,” as it can be construed in either sense. In prose the past participle parinibbuta, used as a doctrinal term, always occurs with reference to a deceased arahant and so it is translated “has attained final Nibbāna.” In verse, it can take on either meaning; when it describes a living arahant (or the Buddha) I translate it more freely as “fully quenched.” The unprefixed form nibbuta does not always carry the same technical implications as parinibbuta, but can mean simply “peaceful, satisfied, at ease,” without necessarily establishing that the one so described has attained Nibbāna. [For a play on the two senses of nibbuta, see the Bodhisatta’s reflections before his great renunciation at Ja I 60–61.] At I 24,11 and II 279,8 it has this implication; at I 236,21 it seems to mean simply peaceful; at III 43, in the compound tadaṅganibbuta, it definitely does not imply Nibbāna, for the point there is that the monk has only approximated to the real attainment of the goal. Cognates of parinibbāna appear in colloquial speech with a nondoctrinal sense; for example, both parinibbāyati and parinibbuta are used to describe the taming of a horse (at MN I 446,8–10). But even here they seem to be used with a “loaded meaning,” since the horse simile is introduced to draw a comparison with a monk who attains arahantship.
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Mike
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Re: A discussion of bodhi

Post by Assaji »

Hi Vincent,
vinasp wrote:What is wrong with something like this:

"Between the night in which the Tathagata comprehends [abhisambujjhati] the unequalled Perfect Comprehension (samma-sambodhi), Cunda, and the night in which he attains the Nibbana-element without remainder, and is completely extinguished, whatever he proclaims, says or explains is so and not otherwise.'"
This has an old problem - a tinge of annihilation.

"He goes out without remainder into the Beyond" :-)

Regards, Dmytro
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