Arahants and saññāvedayitanirodha

Then how would you explain saññāvedayitanirodha (the cessation of perception and feeling) which, after seeing this wisdom, defilements end? Are arahants existing always with this nirodha (and it refers to only some perfection and feelings) or do they only have it when they want to (by meditation)?

The simplest explanation is that saññāvedayitanirodha is a late addition to the canon and has more or less nothing to do with the original teaching.

The term first appears appended to the very end of DN15/DA13 as an exegesis of the formless attainments.

DN16 is universally acknowledged to have been olpen to editing late.

DN33 and DN34 are late matika style productions.

It next appears at MN25 where again it is appended to the end, and MA178 omits it and instead claims that the 4th jhana is free of mara, and the 4 immensurables and the meditation of neither perception nor non perception.

Here it seems clear that the agama source does not count a meditative experience of cessation of perception and feeling as being amongst the liberating attainments.

next up is MN26 again MA 204 omits the state.

MN30 has no parallel in MA, again, the state is listed at the very end of the sutta.

MN31 is paralleld at MA185 which again omits saññāvedayitanirodha.

MN43 is a Sariputta sutta, paralleled at MA211, again I am unable to find the saññāvedayitanirodha

perhaps @cdpatton can help me with: 賢者拘絺羅

MN44 is late.
MN50 is late and ridiculous.

I shall not attempt a complete listing but leave that for others.

I will just say as explicitly as I can:

the first formulatino discernable in the canon goes from hinderences- 4jhana - psychic powers - 3 knowleges - awakening.

The formless attainments are a later development,

saññāvedayitanirodha is later still.

Finally, EVEN IF they are early, it is still EXPLICITLY stated in the ebt that one can experience ANY of the attainments INCLUDING jhanas or saññāvedayitanirodha, and if they are MISSUNDERSTTOD, then the practitioner is NOT AWAKENED.

therefore it is LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE that any meditative attainment IS nibanna.

those people practicing in the misguided belief that a meditative experience can CONSTITUTE enlightenment are mistaken.

Good luck.

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@josephzizys Seems like very strong words and pretty fixed views… Are you certain you completely understand what the Buddha taught about the end of the Path?

Some general Dhamma comments - Personally I take the Buddhas advice to hold Views lightly as very helpful, from a practice perspective. The Buddha Dhamma is to be experienced and understood, each for themselves, as a result of the conditioning process of the Noble 8 fold Path (ie the gradual training). Up until that point it is degrees of faith, or speculation, opinions, textual analysis and educated guesses. It is these speculations and Views that are to be held lightly so that they are, among other things, easier to discard as one moves along the path and perception and understanding changes… Right View keeps getting refined. The Buddhas teachings are a guide to practice, not a philosophical or academic work arguing a hypothesis.

No amount of textual knowledge is sufficient. In practice it always turns out other than what is anticipated :smile: The words are just pointing - the raft

Enjoy the journey, live the Dhamma and don’t get lost and tangled in the words :slightly_smiling_face::pray:t2::sunflower:


All good advice!


I am less sure of this, my current understanding is that the abayakata/conditionality idea has logical consequences that can be understood, in a way analogous to understanding the Pythagorean theorum.

This sort of knowledge is legitimate, being the application of a legitimate form of reasoning (conditionality) on our lived experience of phenomena, including practice of the path, and although i do not claim to at this point truly understand the consequences of the abayakata/conditionality idea, i do think its a thus far very fruitful hypothesis

Here again we have to disagree, it is not on its face abvious what the purpose of the corpus was, and there is definitely philosophical argumentation preserved in the very core of the discourses, especially in D.

Yes of course from the perspective of the corpus read primarily as a guide to the way of life that is the path, that makes sense, but from the perspective of taking the texts to be themselves interesting, as evidence of something that existed before there was a textbook: the actual historical and political and philosophical, (and linguistic, and sociological, and…) world of the buddha and thier ideas and practices.

I am not sure this is really very good advice to a person who is literally only on this board because they study early buddhist texts running into millions of words long in Pali and Chinese, and in thier spare time away from that runs a bookshop full time :slight_smile:

I do think its an interesting discussion, that of the place and importance of the written word in pur contemporary lives but im too busy discussing buddhist philosophy to say mich about it :slight_smile:

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Thread closed pending moderator deliberation.


Just a reminder from the moderators to keep the tone civil. From the FAQ:

[Emphasis added.]


apologies to all for any offence.


Is it appropriate to continue talking about this topic (if we use Right Speech, of course)? I still have comments on the direct topic of nirodha.

In one of the hidden replies, they made an unoffensive argument that my question was unanswerable and sited this:

“Reverend, when these six fields of contact have faded away and ceased with nothing left over, does anything else exist? …does nothing else exist? …do both something else and nothing exist? …do neither something else and nothing else exist?”

“Don’t put it like that, reverend.”

I’m familiar with the questioning pattern of that text. I’m not sure if that is referencing “cessation of perception and feeling” though (it doesn’t use the same pali word). Assuming that it is talking about the same thing as I was, I did not ask if everything exists or not in that state, just where or when this state happens to arahants. You can’t just say “it’s beyond logic” and hope for the best, even if in many cases, such as the experience itself of how this state works, that would apply. This is because, given a being can be in nirodha, there’s only two main options here: whether aratants have it permanently or whenever they want.

The question is still not really answered. Even if it were a later addition like @josephzizys claims, that doesn’t mean practitioners didn’t discover that it exists after/that it doesn’t exist. I have seen personal accounts online that it has happened to people, but, of course anecdotes aren’t easy to prove. If the Buddha didn’t actually teach it, that could mean it’s useless for the practice however, unfortunately. But, entailing from the other answers that “they can feel pain and pleasure”, it’s easy to say that arahants aren’t necessarily in nirodha of perception and feelings (unless nirodha is permanent and refers to some other, separate process about feelings/perceptions itself that has gone away. Or, if it works similarly to nothingness, and we are all “technically already in nirodha, and we haven’t realized it yet”)

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Absolutely, please continue :slightly_smiling_face:

As elisabetta has mentioned in the reminder, the responses and discussion need to be in a civil manner.

It’s a shame that we need to emphasise this since this is a Buddhist forum and everyone (old or new) who joined would have read the guidelines.

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to have words in CAPS, it gives the impression that the words are being ‘shouted’ at you. if emphasis is required, then a you can always use:



My way of understanding it is to bear in mind how the meditative states from the jhanas up to the last of the formless samadhis were considered to be the cultivation of rebirth in increasingly purified heavens, and perhaps were conceived as direct access to those heavens during meditation. The formless samadhis may have been included later to account for non-Buddhist attainments since we can find ideas about the cessation of perception in brahmanical texts. Early Buddhists seem to have been more focused on the cessation of desire and attachment, but theories about perception and consciousness entered Buddhist discourse, too. They didn’t exist in a cultural vacuum, after all.

The Buddhist addition of a ninth meditative attainment that corresponds to cessation would be, I think, intended to be an attainment that completely transcends rebirth, meaning that the person who attains it is destined for Nirvana. The result was a model of nine meditative attainments that corresponded to higher rebirths that culminates in the Buddhist goal of cessation of rebirth. Other Indian religions usually stopped at rebirth in a transcendent heaven, so this was the Buddhist way of putting their own stamp on the whole topic. Though the Pure Abodes where non-returners are reborn would appear to have served the same purpose for Buddhists as a heavenly destination, but it was still one step away from the ultimate destination of Nirvana.


It looks like this Theravadin Point of Controversy may be pointing to this question?

22.3 Of Imperturbable (Fourth Jhāna) Consciousness

Controverted Point: That the Arahant completes existence in imperturbable absorption (āneñje).

Theravādin: But does he not complete existence with ordinary (or normal) consciousness? You agree. How, then, do you reconcile this with your proposition?

You are implying that he passes away with an ethically inoperative consciousness. Is it not rather with a consciousness that is pure “result”? Whereas according to you he passes away with a consciousness that is unmoral and purely inoperative, I suggest that it is with a consciousness that is unmoral and purely resultant.

And did not the Exalted One emerge from Fourth Jhāna before he passed utterly away immediately after?

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Hi , it seems in the noble eight fold path , saññāvedayitanirodha isnt relevant to samma samadhi ? What suppose to constitute samma samadhi are the preceding 7 path factors .

when sammā-samādhi is defined in the pāli canon, many times it is just the jhānas. It’s said that enlightened ones have full acquiring of the 8 fold path, so my original assumption was that it should follow that, assuming nirodha is part of jhāna, enlightened people must be in nirodha. It’s been a few months since I posted that and I don’t think it makes any sense to say that because, for example, there is also Right Intention: fulfilling this completely could not possibly mean that one non-stop has right intention itself, because intention arises and goes away, so Right Intention is only referring to the very moments that intention happens. Similarly, samma samadhi could just be referring to the ability for one to enter nirodha or that they have entered it before.

Hi again , yes right intention should be referring to thought of aspiration that aroses after attaining right view where one aspire to continue practice inclining on the right path . But no , right samadhi should be referring to a state of right balancing of jhana after preceding 7 path factors already being cultivated and fulfilled . Thanks .