Ajahn Sumedho's quote about the Unconditioned

So all things arise from the destruction from greed, hatred, and delusion and return into the destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion? I am sorry, that does not sound very coherent.

The majority of people when asked what they understood or what feeling they had before birth would answer I had no feelings, no hatred no greed no delusions or vanity.

Humans are conditioned in the human realm from birth via education, A pig is conditioned in the pig realm, this not=self can’t speak for the pigs or any other realm.

In a Dhamma talk one might get tired or momentarily distracted and ends up confounding expressions without noticing. I’m not saying this is the case here and I haven’t an idea why the Venerable Sumedho chose that particular expression (“unconditioned”). But it is very clear to me from the context (provided by friend @Javier) that it is not meant to be a reference to “nibbana” here.

If it is not unconditioned then we would understand the possible or not destination (re-birth) what did he say wrong

I don’t believe that Ajahn Sumedho writes books.

Erm… So the rebirth is not conditioned by our kamma, this is what you are saying, right?

If someone has something to offer showing how “The things arise out of the Unconditioned, and they go back to the Unconditioned.” is out of agreement (contradicts) the EBT’s. I think it would be useful to the discussion.

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My impression of Ajahn Sumedho is that he sometimes uses language in a rather loose way. In this quote from “Now is the knowing” ( page 57 ) he seems to equate the unconditioned with emptiness:

“So when we abide in the emptiness of our mind we’re moving away, not getting rid of things but no longer absorbing into conditions…This is the Buddhist way to enlightenment; going towards Nibbana, inclining towards the spaciousness or emptiness of mind rather than being born and caught up in conditions.”

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Ajahn Sumedho can only speculate like believers in reincarnation can only speculate, the Buddha said something similar somewhere about speculation, not all Ajahns agree you know, they are not yet enlightened

Kamma means action or intentions, not reincarnation, I would say more mental results than next life results in myself but I much respect the other view and understands its place in moral outlook, but believe it myself to be speculation.

In the suttas the unconditioned is the “escape” from the conditioned, implying that it is separate from the conditioned, and not the source of the conditioned.

For example:

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."


Hi @TheThinker
Your point seems unrelated to what I wrote.

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Thanks for that @Martin. I’m not sure if that text actually negates what Ajahn Sumedho said. Doesn’t it imply a relationship?

Erm… Yes, kamma means action or intentions, sankhara means intentions, sankhara causes birth in the paticca sammuppada sequence that was repeated by the Buddha thousands of times. I mean, this is something that all Ajahns agree about. If you ask Ven. Sumedho whether kamma causes our station inlife in the next rebirth, or any other Ajahn, I am pretty sure you will hear the same answer.

A great talk this!:grin:

I think this is referring to ‘arising and passing’ (udaya - vaya, udayattagamini?)away, as seen in ‘insight’ meditation. This is as someone correctly said, IMO, things arising from emptiness (not Nibbana) and falling back into emptiness. Phenomenologically that fits the bill, very well. There is a important difference between that and co-dependant arising (samudaya) and cessation (nirodha). That is cessation in the former instance doesn’t mean Nibbana, while in the latter (nirodha), it does (the different pali term makes a big difference, here). Nothing arises from Nibbana. Phenomena cease - and that is when Nibbana is revealed.

with metta


Interesting stuff, but can Nibbana be permanent if all things are in constant change?

perhaps many questions can’t be answered? Therefore the four truths and the path become invaluable to use this moment of now to find that peace!

A question is a form of craving is it not? maybe a new topic on this subject is desirable?

Sariputta explains this clearly in terms of perception arising and ceasing (the Pali is bhavanirodho).

One perception arose and another perception ceased in me: ‘The cessation of existence is nibbāna; the cessation of existence is nibbāna.’ Just as, when a fire of twigs is burning, one flame arises and another flame ceases, so one perception arose and another perception ceased in me: ‘The cessation of existence is nibbāna; the cessation of existence is nibbāna.’ On that occasion, friend, I was percipient: ‘The cessation of existence is nibbāna.

From AN 10.7

With the quote and in context this is more understandable. I highly respect Luang Por and he has been a big influence on my life and understanding of dhamma, and I do believe he has completed the path (I can’t explain this,but he is one of the few people I have a strong feeling about this). So while not everything he says may be orthodox, that isn’t really what I look to get from him. From his perspective on things, which is certainly far and away superior to mine, things look differently. I wouldn’t judge anything he says because its more likely I just don’t understand it. Just being in his presence or hearing his voice, seeing him is very powerful.


So this is another translation issues?
Don’t we have anyone here who closes to Ajahn Sumdho to clarify this with him?

It does not matter whether it is an article.
See how careful Bhante Sujato about his writing.
He continuously seeks feedback before publishing important writings.