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The Puzzle of Nibbaana


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#1 Christine

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 07:26 AM

Hello all,

Often on discussion lists people talk about Nibbaana as if it is similar to the Christian heaven, or a sort of Ground of all Being. They ask: Is Nibbana a place or a feeling or annihilation/extinction or something else? If it is not annihilation (because there never was a self to be annihilated in the first place) ~ does this mean 'we' go through all these millions of life-times of hard work to simply 'stop'? Why bother? ... why not aim for making merit and obtaining supremely happy rebirths?

I went back to the Abhidhamma teachings to try to sort this out for myself. What do others think?

Excerpt:
In '"A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma" The Abhidhammattha Sangaha Pali Text, Translation and Explanatory Guide ~ Bhikkhu Bodhi General Editor of this revision of Mahaathera Naarada previous translation; Introduction and explanatory guide by U Rewata Dhamma & Bhikkhu Bodhi; Abhidhamma tables by U Siilaananda. BPS 1999:

p. 258-260
"Nibbānam

Nibbānam pana lokuttara-sankhātam catumaggańānena sacchikātabbam magga-phalānam ālambanabhūtam vāna-sankhātāya tanhāya nikkhantattā nibbānanti pavuccati.

# 30 Definition

Nibbaana is termed supramundane, and is to be realized by the knowledge of the four paths. It becomes an object to the paths and fruits, and is called Nibbaana because it is a departure from craving, which is an entanglement.

Guide to # 30

Nibbaana is termed supramundane: The concluding section of this chapter deals briefly with the fourth ultimate reality, Nibbaana. Etymologically, the word nibbaana - the Pali form of the better known Sanskrit nirvaa.na - is derived from a verb Nibbaati meaning "to be blown out" or "to be extinguished". It thus signifies the extinguishing of the worldly "fires" of greed, hatred, and delusion. But the Pali commentators prefer to treat it as the negation of, or "departure from" (nikkhantatta), the entanglement (vaana) of craving, the derivation which is offered here. For as long as one is entangled by craving, one remains bound in sa.msaara, the cycle of birth and death; but when all craving has been extirpated, one attains Nibbaana, deliverance from the cycle of birth and death.

#31 Analysis

Tad'etam sabhāvato ekavidham pi; saupādisesanibbānadhātu anupādisesa-nibbānadhātu c'āti duvidham hoti kāranapariyāyena. Tathā suńńatam animittam appanihitam c'āti tividham hoti ākārabhedena.

Though Nibbaana is onefold according to its intrinsic nature, by reference to a basis (for distinction), it is twofold, namely, the element of Nibbaana with the residue remaining, and the element of Nibbaana without the residue remaining. It is threefold according to its different aspects, namely, void, signless,and desireless.

Guide to #31

Though Nibbaana is onefold according to its intrinsic nature, etc.:
Nibbaana is a single undifferentiated ultimate reality. It is exclusively supramundane, and has one intrinsic nature (sabhaava), which is that of being the unconditioned deathless element totally transcendent to the conditioned world. Nevertheless, by reference to a basis for distinction, Nibbaana is said to be twofold. The basis for distinction is the presence or absence of the five aggregates. The element of Nibbaana as experienced by Arahants is called "with the residue remaining" (sa-upaadisesa) because, though the defilements have all been extinguished, the "residue" of aggregates acquired by past clinging remains through the duration of the Arahant's life. The element of Nibbaana attained with the Arahant's demise is called that "without the residue remaining" (anupaadisesa), because the five aggregates are discarded and are never acquired again. The two elements of Nibbaana are also called, in the Commentaries, the extinguishment of the defilements (kilesa-parinibbaana) and the extinguishment of the aggregates (khandha-parinibbaana).

It is threefold according to its different aspects: Nibbaana is called the void (su~n~nata) because it is devoid of greed, hatred, and delusion, and because it is devoid of all that is conditioned. It is called signless (animitta) because it is free from the signs of greed, etc., and free from the signs of all conditioned things. It is called desireless (appa.nihita) because it is free from the hankering of greed, etc., and because it is not desired by craving.

#32 Summary

Padamaccutamaccantam asankhātamanuttaram
Nibbānam iti bhāsanti vānamuttā mahesayo.
Iti cittam cetasikām rūpam nibbānam iccapi
Paramattham pakāsenti catudhā va tathāgatā.


Great seers who are free from craving declare that Nibbaana is an objective state which is deathless, absolutely endless, unconditioned, and unsurpassed.
Thus as fourfold the Tathaagatas reveal the ultimate realities - consciousness, mental factors, matter, and Nibbaana.

Iti Abhidhammatthasangahe rūpa-sangahavibhāgo nāma Chattho Paricchedo

Thus ends the sixth chapter in the Manual of Abhidhamma entitled the Compendium of Matter."

metta
Christine
---The trouble is that you think you have time---

#2 RobertK

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 11:46 AM

Excellent definitions Christine. WE can use this thread for adding more Theravada quotes and explanations of Nibbana.

A. III. 32
This, truly, is Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of
all Karma formations, the forsaking of every substratum of
rebirth, the fading away of craving. detachment, extinction,
Nibbaana.

A. I. 15
And it is impossible that a being possessed of right
understanding should regard anything as the Self.


Ud. VIII. 1
Truly, there is a realm, where there is neither the solid, nor
the fluid, neither heat, nor motion, neither this world, nor any
other world, neither sun nor moon.
This I call neither arising, nor passing away, neither standing
still, nor being born, nor dying. There is neither foothold, nor
development, nor any basis. This is the end of suffering.

S. XXII. 30
Hence the annihilation, cessation and overcoming of
corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, and
consciousness: this is the extinction of suffering, the end of
disease, the overcoming of old age and death. (endsutta)


robert


#3 RobertK

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 12:18 PM

There are two types of nibbana. The
first saupaadisesa-nibbaana,(`Nibbaana with the khandas still
remaining')which pertains while an arahant is still alive. In
this case there is absolute eradication of all kilesa
(defilements) upon attainment of arahantship (kilesa
-parinibbana). Thus the round of kilesa and the round of kamma
is brought to an end. There is, however ,still the round of
vipaka (vipaka-vatthu) which doesn't cease until
khandha-parinibbaana which takes place at the death of the
Arahat, called in the Suttas: `an-upaadisesa-nibbaana' i.e.
`(Nibbaana without the khandas remaining)

The simile of the fire:
The fuel is craving
and ignorance. The fire is nama and rupa (ie the khandas). Once
that fuel is no longer being added (upon attainment of arahant)
the fire will soon die out(parinibbana)
Arahant is a term useful to designate a stream of nama and rupa
(past, present or future) that no longer has avijja (and hence
no other defilements).
Before cuti citta(death moment) arises this stream is like a
fire where no
more fuel is added; at cuti citta the fire is finally
extinguished.

It is different for a non-arahant. The term non-arahant helps
to designate a stream of nama and rupa where avijja and other
defilements keep arising. These are the fuel and it is
continually being added to (moments of insight excepted). When
cuti citta arise for this stream the fire is simply passed to
another place and the process continues.
robert





#4 RobertK

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 12:41 PM

Buddha and Arahant are conventional terms to designate streams of
nama and rupa that have erased avijja- ignorance. In the ultimate
sense there are only the khandhas (aggregates) .i.e. citta, cetasika
and rupa, arising and passing away.
Uopn the khandha parinibbana of the Buddha or arahant then citta and
cetasika ceases to arise and the only rupa left is that of the
physical remains (relics), bits of bone and teeth etc which
gradually wear away.
One difference between before khandha paribbinana and after, is that
before it is possible to speak, see and listen to the arahant and
Buddha - if one is born in a time where they still live. However
after the passing away no god or man can ever percieve the Buddha or
arahant again.

Brahmajala sutta:
""Monks, the body of the Tathágata stands with the link that bound
it to becoming cut. As long as the body subsists, Devas and humans
will see him. But at the breaking-up of the body and the exhaustion
of the life-span, Devas and humans will see him no more. Monks,
just as when the stalk of a bunch of mangoes has been cut, all the
mangoes on it go with it, just so the Tathágata's link with becoming
has been cut. As long as the body subsists, Devas and humans will
see him. But at the breaking-up of the body and the exhaustion of
the life-span, Devas and humans will see him no more."

RobertK


#5 andyR

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 06:19 AM

QUOTE(Christine @ May 8 2006, 07:26 AM) View Post


...Is Nibbana a place or a feeling or annihilation/extinction or something else?....



According to the following text nobody really knows.

andyR biggrin.gif


QUOTE
The Status of the Individual in Theravada Buddhism
By G. P. Malalasekera
link


What happens to the individual who has attained nibbaana when he dies and his body is cremated? He is described as having gone into parinibbaana, i.e., nibbaana without any residue whatsoever of the khandhaa, the aggregates. Parinibbaana is nibbaana without corporeality, the transition of sorrowlessness into timelessness, changelessness, perfect peace. While nibbaana is still colored by the last dregs of individuality, parinibbaana is not so besmirched. It is a condition "where there is neither arising, nor passing away, nor dying; neither cause nor effect; neither change nor standing still."[10] And yet, it is not complete annihilation. When the Buddha was charged with being a nihilist, he said that nihilism was one of the extremes which he emphatically condemned. Even to the man of knowledge it has never been raised--the curtain that conceals the "other side." It is revealed only to him who has gone there. By no stretch of thinking can it be reached, because it lies beyond all thought.

According to the teaching of the Buddha, every man makes his own nibbaana and his own parinibbaana. All indeed lies in us: the entire world, with its arising and its passing away. As the beginning of the world is individual, so also is its ending.


#6 RobertK

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 10:56 AM

From christine
http://groups.yahoo....p/message/68734
Bhikkhu Bodhi's Anthology of Discourses from the Paali Canon "In the
Buddha's Words' p. 317/8/9 (ISBN 0-86171-491-1) I hope it can be a
reference for continuing the discussion.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
QUOTE
IX,5 The Goal of Wisdom.
The Four Noble Truths not only serve as the objective domain of
wisdom but also define its purpose, which is enshrined in the third
noble truth, the cessation of suffering. The cessation of suffering
is Nibbaana, and thus the goal of wisdom, the end toward which the
cultivation of wisdom moves, is the attainment of Nibbaana. But what
exactly is meant by Nibbaana? The suttas explain Nibbaana in a number
of ways. Some, such as Text, 5 (1), define Nibbaana simply as the
destruction of lust, hatred, and delusion. Others, such as the series
comprised in Text IX, 5 (2), employ metaphors and images to convey a
more concrete idea of the ultimate goal. Nibbaana is still the
destruction of lust, hatred, and delusion, but as such it is, among
other things, peaceful, deathless, sublime, wonderful, and amazing.
Such descriptions indicate that Nibbaana is a state of supreme
happiness, peace, and freedom to be experienced in this present life.
"A few suttas, most notably a pair in the Udana - included here as
Texts IX, 5 (3) and IX,m 5 (4) - suggest that Nibbaana is not simply
the destruction of defilements and an exalted feeling of
psychological well-being. They speak of Nibbaana almost as if it were
a transcendent state or dimension of being. Text IX, 5 (3) refers to
Nibbaana as a "base" (aayatana) beyond the world of common experience
where none of the physical elements or even the subtle formless
dimensions of experience are present; it is a state completely
quiescent, without arising, perishing, or change. Text IX, 5 (4)
calls it the state that is "unborn, unmade, unbecome, [and]
unconditioned: (ajaata.m, akata.m, abhuuta.m, asankhata.m), the
existence of which makes possible deliverance from all that is born,
made, come-to-be, and conditioned.
How are we to correlate these two perspectives on Nibbaana found in
the Nikaayas, one treating it as an experiential state of inward
purity and sublime bliss, the other as an unconditioned state
transcending the empirical world? Commentators, both Buddhists and
outsiders, have tried to connect these two aspects of Nibbaana in
different ways. Their interpretations generally reflect the
proclivity of the interpreter as much as they do the texts
themselves. The way that seems most faithful to both aspects of
Nibbaana delineated in the texts is to regard the attainment of
Nibbaana as a state of freedom and happiness attained by realizing,
with profound wisdom, the unconditioned and transcendent element the
state that is intrinsically tranquil and forever beyond suffering.
The penetration of this element brings the destruction of
defilements, culminating in complete purification of mind. Such
purification is accompanied by the experience of perfect peace and
happiness in this present life. With the breakup of the body at
physical death, it brings irreversible release from the beginningless
round of rebirths.
The suttas speak of two "elements of Nibbaana," the Nibbaana element
with residue remaining (sa-upaadisesa-nibbaanadhaatu) and the
Nibbaana element without residue remaining (anupaadisesa-nibbaana-
dhaatu). Text IX, 5 (5) explains the Nibbaana element with residue
remaining to be the destruction of lust, hatred, and delusion
attained by an arahant while still alive. The "residue" that remains
is the composite of the five aggregates that was brought into being
by the ignorance and craving of the past life and that must continue
on until the end of the lifespan. As to the Nibbaana element without
residue remaining, the same text says only that when the arahant
passes away, all that is felt, not being delighted in, will become
cool right here. Since there is no more clinging to the five
aggregates, and no more craving for fresh experience through a new
set of aggregates, the occurrence of the aggregates comes to an end
and cannot continue. The process of the five aggregates
is "extinguished" (the literal meaning of Nibbaana).
The Buddha says nothing at all, however, in terms either of existence
or nonexistence, about the condition of the arahant after death. It
might seem logical to suppose that since the five aggregates that
constitute experience completely cease with the attainment of the
Nibbaana element without residue, this element must itself be a state
of complete nonexistence, a state of nothingness. Yet no text in the
Nikaayas ever states this. To the contrary, the Nikaayas consistently
refer to Nibbaana by terms that refer to actualities. It is an
element (dhaatu), a base (aayatana), a reality (dhamma), a state
(pada), and so on. However, though so designated, it is qualified in
ways that indicate this state ultimately lies beyond all familiar
categories and concepts.

In Text IX, 5 (6), the wanderer Vacchagotta asks the Buddha whether
the Tathaagata - here signifying one who has attained the supreme
goal - is reborn (upapajjati) or not after death. The Buddha refuses
to concede any of the four alternatives. To say that the Tathaagata
is reborn, is not reborn, both is and is not reborn, neither is nor
is not reborn - none of these is acceptable, for all accept the term
Tathaagata as indicative of a real being, while from an internal
point of view a Tathaagata has given up all clinging to notions of a
real being. The Buddha illustrates this point with the simile of an
extinguished fire. Just as a fire that has been extinguished cannot
be said to have gone anywhere but must simply be said to have "gone
out", so with the breakup of the body the Tathaagata does not go
anywhere but has simply "gone out". The past participle nibbuta, used
to describe a fire that has been extinguished, is related to the noun
nibbaana, which literally means "extinguishing".
Yet, if this simile suggests a Buddhist version of
the "annihilationist" view of the arahant's fate after his demise,
this impression would rest on a misunderstanding, on a wrong
perception of the arahant as a "self" or "person" that is
annihilated. Our problem is understanding the state of the Tathaagata
after death is c compounded by our difficulty in understanding the
state of the Tathaagata even while alive. The simile of the great
ocean underscores this difficulty. Since the Tathaaata no longer
identifies with the five aggregates that constitute individual
identity, he cannot be reckoned in terms of them, whether
individually or collectively. Freed from reckoning in terms of the
five aggregates, the Tathaagata transcends our understanding. Like
the great ocean, he is "deep, immeasurable, [and] hard to fathom."

5. THE GOAL OF WISDOM
(1) What is Nibbaana?
On one occasion the Venerable Saariputta was dwelling in Magadha at
Naalakagaama. The wanderer Jambukhaadaka approached the Venerable
Saariputta and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded
their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to
the Venerable Saariputta:
"Friend Saariputta, it is said, 'Nibbaana, Nibbaana.' What now is
Nibbaana?"
"The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction
of delusion: this, friend, is called Nibbaana.
"But, friend, is that a path, is there a way for the realization of
this Nibbaana?"
"There is a path, friend, there is a way for the realization of this
Nibbaana."
"And what, friend, is that path, what is that way for the realization
of this Nibbaana?"
"It is, friend, this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right
intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right
effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the path,
friend, this is the way for the realization of this Nibbaana."
"Excellent is the path, friend, excellent is the way for the
realization of this Nibbaana. And it is enough, friend Saariputta,
for diligence." (SN 38:1, IV 251-52)

(2) Thirty-Three Synonyms for Nibbaana
"Monks, I will teach you the unconditioned and the path leading to
the unconditioned. Listen...
"And what, monks, is the unconditioned? The destruction of lust, the
destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this is called
the unconditioned.
"Monks, I will teach you the uninclined...the taintless...the
truth...the far shore...the subtle...the very difficult to see...the
unaging...the stable...the undisintegrating...the unmanifest...the
unproliferated...the peaceful...the deathless...the sublime...the
auspicious...the secure...the destruction of craving...the
wonderful...the amazing...the unailing...the unailing
state...Nibbaana...the
unafflicted...dispassion...purity...freedom...nonattachment...the
island...the shelter...the asylum...the refuge...the destination and
the path leading to the destination. Listen....
'And what, monks, is the destination? The destruction of lust, the
destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this is called
the destination.
"And what , monks, is the path leading to the destination?
Mindfulness directed to the body: this is called the path leading to
the destination.
"Thus, monks, I have taught you the unconditioned...the destination
and the path leading to the destination. Whatever should be done,
monks, by a compassionate teacher out of compassion for his
disciples, desiring their welfare, that I have done for you. These
are the roots of trees, monks, these are empty huts. Meditate, monks,
do not be negligent, lest you regret it later. This is my instruction
to you." (SN 43:1-44, combined; IV 359-73)

(3) There is That Base
Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was dwelling at
Saavatthii in Jeta's Grove, Anaathapi.n.dika's Park. Now on that
occasion the Blessed One was instructing, rousing, inspiring, and
gladdening the monks with a Dhamma talk connected with Nibbaana, and
those monks were receptive and attentive, concentrating their whole
mind, intent on listening to the Dhamma.
Then, on realizing its significance, the Blessed One on that occasion
uttered this inspired utterance:
"There is, monks, that base where there is neither earth, nor water,
nor heat, nor air; neither the base of the infinity of space, nor the
base of the infinity of consciousness, nor the base of nothingness,
nor the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this
world nor another world; neither sun nor moon. Here, monks, I say
there is no coming, no going, no standing still; no passing away and
no being reborn. It is not established, not moving, without support.
Just this is the end of suffering."
(Ud 8:1;80)

(4) The Unborn
Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was dwelling at
Saavatthii in Jeta's Grove, Anaathapi.n.dika's Park. Now on that
occasion the Blessed One was instructing...the monks with a Dhamma
talk connected with Nibbaana, and those monks were receptive...
intent on listening to the Dhamma.
Then, on realizing its significance, the Blessed One on that occasion
uttered this inspired utterance:
"There is, monks, an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned. If,
monks, there were no unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, no
escape would be discerned from what is born, become, made,
conditioned. But because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade,
unconditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born,
become, made, conditioned." (Ud 8:3; 80-81)

(5) The Two Nibbaana Elements
"There are, monks, these two Nibbaana elements. What are the two? The
Nibbaana element with residue remaining and the Nibbaana element
without residue remaining.
"And what, monks, is the Nibbaana element with residue remaining?
Here, a monk is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, who has
lived the holy life, done what had to be done, aid down the burden,
reached his own goal, utterly destroyed the fetters of existence, one
completely liberated through final knowledge. However, his five sense
faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is
agreeable and disagreeable, still feels pleasure and pain. It is the
destruction of lust, hatred, and delusion in him that is called the
Nibbaana element with residue remaining.
"And what, monks, is the Nibbaana element without residue remaining?
Here, a monk is an arahant, ...one completely liberated through final
knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is felt, not
being delighted in, will become cool right here. That, monks, is
called the Nibbaana element without residue remaining.
"These, monks, are the two Nibbaana elements." (It 44;38)

(6) The Fire and the Ocean
15. [The wanderer Vacchagotta asked the Blessed One:] "Then does
Master Gotama hold any speculative view at all?"
"Vaccha, 'speculative view' is something that the Tathaagata has put
away. For the Tathaagata, Vaccha, has seen this: 'Such is form, such
its origin, such its passing away; such is feeling, such its origin,
such its passing away; such is perception, such its origin, such its
passing away; such are volitional formations, such their origin, such
their passing away; such is consciousness, such its origin, such its
passing away; Therefore, I say, with the destruction, fading away,
cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of all conceiving, all
rumination, all I-making, mine-making, and the underlying tendency to
conceit, the Tathaagata is liberated through not clinging.
16. "When a monk's mind is liberated thus, Master Gotama, where is he
reborn [after death]?"
"'Is reborn' does not apply, Vaccha."
"Then he is not reborn, Master Gotama?"
"'Is not reborn' does not apply, Vaccha."
"Then he both is reborn and is not reborn, Master Gotama?"
"'Both is reborn and is not reborn' does not apply, Vaccha."
"Then he neither is reborn nor is not reborn, Master Gotama?'
"'Neither is reborn nor is not reborn' does not apply, Vaccha.
17. "When Master Gotama is asked these four questions, he replies:
"'Is reborn" does not apply, Vaccha; "is not reborn" does not apply,
Vaccha; "both is reborn and is not reborn" does not apply,
Vaccha; "neither is reborn nor is not reborn: does not apply Vaccha.'
Here I have fallen into bewilderment, Master Gotama, here I have
fallen into confusion, and the measure of confidence I had gained
through previous conversation with Master Gotama has now
disappeared."
18. "It is enough to cause you bewilderment, Vaccha, enough to cause
you confusion. For the Dhamma, Vaccha, is profound, hard to see and
hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere
reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise, It is hard for you
to understand it when you hold another view, accept another teaching,
approve of another teaching, pursue a different training, and follow
a different teacher. So I shall question you about this in return,
Vaccha. Answer as you choose.
19. "What do you think, Vaccha? Suppose a fire were burning b before
you. Would you know: "This fire is burning before me?"
"I would, Master Gotama."
If someone were to ask you, Vaccha: 'What does this fire burning
before you burn in dependence on?' - being asked thus, what would you
answer?
"Being asked thus, Master Gotama, I would answer: 'This fire burning
before me burns in dependence on grass and sticks.'"
"If that fire before you were extinguished, would you know; 'This
fire before me has been extinguished'?"
"I would, Master Gotama."
"If someone were to ask you, Vaccha: 'When that fire before you was
extinguished, to which direction did it go: to the east, the west,
the north, or the south?' - being asked thus, what would you answer?"
"That does not apply, Master Gotama. The fire burned in dependence on
its fuel of grass and sticks. When that is used up, if it does not
get any more fuel, being without fuel, it is reckoned as
extinguished."
20. "So too, Vaccha, the Tathaagata has abandoned that form by which
one describing the Tathaagata might describe him; he has cut it off
at the root, made it like a palm stump, done away with it so that it
is no longer subject to future arising. Liberated from reckoning in
terms of form, the Tathaagatga is deep, immeasurable, hard to fathom
like the ocean. 'Is reborn' does not apply; 'Is not reborn' does not
apply; 'both is reborn and is not reborn; does not apply; 'neither is
reborn nor is not reborn' does not apply. The Tathaagata has
abandoned that feeling by which one describing the Tathaagata might
describe him... has abandoned that perception by which one describing
the Tathaagata might describe him...has abandoned those volitional
formations by which one describing the Tathaagata might describe
him...has abandoned that consciousness by which one describing the
Tathaagata might describe him; he has cut it off at the root, made it
like a palm stump, done away with it so that it is no longer subject
to future arising. Liberated from reckoning in terms of
consciousness, the Tathaagata is deep, immeasurable, hard to fathom
like the ocean. 'Is reborn' does not apply; 'is not reborn' does not
apply; 'both is reborn and is not reborn' does not apply; 'neither is
reborn nor is not reborn' does not apply".
(from MN 72: Aggivacchagotta Sutta; I 386-88)


metta
Chris

#7 RobertK

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 03:45 AM



Nibbana
by robertk » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:05 am

The writer of the above post cites several suttas. I thought members might be interested in what the ancient Commentary says on those:

From the Sammohavinodanii (pp.61-64):

251. "('Herein, which is the unformed element? It is the destruction
of greed, the destruction of hate and the destruction of
delusion')...
the unformed element is nibbaana, whose nature (sabhaava)
is unformed. But because greed and so on are destroyed on coming to
this (eta.m aagamma), it is therefore called 'the destruction of
greed, the destruction of hate, and the destruction of delusion'.
This is the agreed commentary of the Teachers.

252. "But a contraversialist (vita.n.davaadin)[a vitandavaadin is one who is opposed to the right understanding, usually from an outside sect] said:

'There is no
independent nibbaana; nibbaana is just the destruction of the
defilements.' He said: 'Quote a sutta.' The Jambukhaadaka-sutta was
quoted thus: "'Nibbaana' is said, friend Saariputta; what, friend, is
nibbaana? That which is the destruction of greed, the destruction of
hate, and the destruction of delusion - that is called nibbaana' (S iv
251).
[Then] he said: 'By this sutta it should be understood that
there is no independent nibbaana; nibbaana is just the destruction of
the defilements.'
He should be asked: 'But how? Is the meaning
according to this sutta [literally] so? Surely he will say: 'Yes,
there is no meaning apart from the sutta.'

253. "Then he should be told: 'Now this sutta has been quoted by you;
quote the next one to that.' The next sutta to that [says:]
"'Arahatship' is said, friend Saariputta, what, friend, is Arahatship?
That which is the destruction of greed, the destruction of hate, and
the destruction of delusion - that is called Arahatship (S iv 251).
This is the sutta quoted next to that. But on this being quoted, they
said to him: 'Nibbaana is a mental datum included in the mental data
base; Arahatship is the four [immaterial] aggregates. The General of
the Norm [i.e. Saariputta] who had realised nibbaana and on being
asked about Arahatship, said it was just the destruction of the
defilements. But how? What, then, are nibbaana and Arahatship, one
or multiple? Whether they are one or multiple, what according to you
who make excessively fine distinctions is the meaning here? You do
not know what is one and what is multiple. Surely when that is known,
it is good?' Being thus questioned again and again, being unable to
deceive, he said: 'It is because of its being arisen in one who has
destroyed greed, etc. that Arahatship is called the destruction of
greed, hate, and delusion.'

254. "Then they said to him: 'A great work has been done by you! And
even one getting you to say that by giving a reward, would have got
you to say just that. And just as this [sutta] has been explained to
you, so to [you should] discern that. For it is on coming to nibbaana
that greed, etc. are destroyed, and so nibbaana is called the
destruction of greed, the destruction of hate, and the destruction of
delusion. And these are just three terms for nibbaana.'"
robertk wrote:
There is, monks, an unborn (aj.ta), — unbecome (abh.ta), — unmade (akata),— unfabricated(asa.khata). . If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned."

— Ud 8.3

words like uborn, asankhata, amata can also be synonyms (rather than adjectives) of Nibbana.
As the Commentary states:\
Sammohavinodani, (Dispeller of Delusion), classification of the Truths,532:

"Asesaviraaganirodho (“fading away without remainder and cesation”) and so
on are all merely synonyms for nibbana. For on coming to nibbana, craving
fades away without remainder and ceases, therefore it is called “the
fading away without remainder” and cessation of that same craving. And on
coming to nibbana, craving is given up, relinquished, let go of, is not
adhered to, therefore nibbana is called caago pa.tinissaggo mutti anaalayo
(“giving up, relinquishment, letting go, non-adherence”).

'For nibbana is only one. But the names for it are merely so many
synonyms for nibbana as names which are all the opposite of the names of
formed things, that is to say, fading away without remainder and
cessation, giving up, relinquishment, letting go, non-adherence,
destruction of greed, destruction of hate, destruction of delusion,
destruction of craving, non-arising, non-process, the signless, the
desireless, the effortless, non-rebirth, non-appearance, no-destiny, the
unborn, the unageing, the unaliling, the deathless, the sorrowless,
non-lamentation, non-woe, the undefiled, and so on.