Bhikkhu Bodhi on Nibbāna

Yes, this makes sense. Also, it seems quite unclear whether it is the Tathagata speaking or Brahma in that verse; I tend to think it was the latter, but what do I know anyway. The Teacher instructed again and again that it is inappropriate to appropriate the mind or consciousness as the self :joy: :pray:

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Exactly this post which prompted my attempts to guide you to see that the logic used for the conventionally designated person or self or Buddha is not the same logic to be used for the 5 aggregates or 6 sense contacts.

The Buddha or self cannot be found, cannot apply conditionality as well as they are just concepts. But the 6 sense contacts are vividly appearing and conditioned, thus can be said to completely cease.

You in the quoted post above tried with the logic that since 6 sense contact are empty, they cannot be found and thus cannot be described as arising or ceasing, thus denying that total cessation is possible. That is what I spend a lot of post refuting and at least you admitted that the 6 sense contacts are arising and ceasing.

You conflate self with 6 sense contacts with the vague usage of emptiness, empty of what? empty of self. And since self is the concept which is not existent, it is not at the same level as the 6 sense contacts.

As quoted above, the nature of parinibbāna is total cessation. No 6 sense contacts, no rebirth, no 5 aggregates, nothing outside of 5 aggregates or 6 sense contacts, no eternal self, no special consciousness, no dhammakaya. That’s what many monastics here agree upon. I think this is very clear given our history of interaction. Also, you know what I mean by parinibbāna as death of arahant or break of the 5 aggregates of the arahant, we went there, don’t restart this.

Your logic would imply that nibbana is a form of final rebirth into an eternal heaven. When it’s supposed to be end of rebirth.

Hi :slight_smile:

Well, the word ‘world’ has different meanings in the corpus. It doesn’t have a single meaning throughout.

Either way, it doesn’t matter for this discussion, because the word ‘world’ (loka) isn’t in the Pali of the Udana passage. It’s in Sujato’s translation but that translates different Pali words that here more directly mean a life in this realm or another. So the AN9.38 passage you are quoting is unrelated to this for multiple reasons.

Anyway, I’ll respectfully step out of this conversation because it has nothing to do with Bodhi’s views on nibbana. From what I remember, I think he agrees that there is suffering after enlightenment.


If there is still debate after 200+ posts on whether there was still suffering for the Buddha after Enlightenment, one only need to look at the Mahaparinibbana Sutta , Digha Nikaya.

Perhaps this has been mentioned before.


Hello Venerable!

Are you saying that the Teacher did not appear vividly or that Ananda couldn’t recognize the Buddha? Are you saying the Buddha was unconditioned? Are you saying chariots don’t appear vividly or that chariots are unconditioned? Beings appear vividly just like the six sense contacts appear vividly. Beings, chariots, and the six sense contacts are all nonetheless void, hollow and insubstantial; they cannot be found when looked for with analysis.

I don’t think I ever said that the six sense contacts never arise nor cease. Do you see where I said that? Please point it out so I can correct that error.

The six sense contacts arise and cease and yet are completely void, hollow and insubstantial when looked for with analysis. In exactly the same way persons are born and die and yet they can’t be found when looked for with analysis.

Yes! I admit, I admit! I don’t think I’ve ever not admitted this :joy:

No, I quoted sutta in the Pali canon where the six sense contacts are described as void, hollow and completely insubstantial when looked for with analysis. Just like when you go looking for the heartwood of a banana tree you can’t find it no matter how many layers you peel back. In just that way I think the six sense contacts are void, hollow and completely insubstantial just as the Teacher described.

Yes, the six sense contacts and the self and persons and chariots all have this same thing in common: they appear vividly, but when looked for with analysis they nonetheless cannot be found. This is all explained by the Teacher in the Pali canon and can be verified in the here and now.

The various abhidhammas were created precisely to refute this claim. How? By supposing ontologically fundamental and substantial parts of all things that allow the aggregates to exist in a substantial manner unlike the self which was regarded as non-existent precisely as I understand you to be saying. They concocted huge portions of metaphysical speculation to make concrete this claim of real and substantial aggregates in contrast to the non-existent self. To my mind the distinction you are making is of the same cloth.


Who is this Buddha after enlightenment? Does he appear? :joy: :pray:

This almost sounds like a perfection of wisdom sutra to my mind! :joy: :pray:

Maybe I stopped too soon, I meant this then.

Here you used the notion of cannot be found, because empty, therefore cannot truly cease, yet just now you said can arise and cease.

Also, you’re still conflating self with 6 sense contacts.

Self is a concept, if we use conventional self, we are using it as a short hand for the 5 aggregates. When it cannot be found if looked for, it refers to the ultimate self cannot be found in the 5 aggregates. Because ultimately self doesn’t exist.

Since what is conditioned can cease when conditions are gone, same too for the 6 sense contacts, 5 aggregates, when conditions for rebirth is no more, they totally cease without arising again, at latest at the death of an arahant, because before that the consciousness and name and form reinforce each other, to continue the existence of an arahant. Or else at enlightenment, the enlightened person would go poof, disappear or die immediately.

I can’t believe I had to repeat the above so many times.

Perhaps I should switch tactics and ask for exactly the sutta which supports the claim that hollow means cannot be found under analysis, applied to the 6 sense bases, not to the self concept. I think this is where you slip in mahayana without realizing it.

Definitely have a look at the sutta- it describes the Buddha’s final time before parinibbana.

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Yes, in just this way the Teacher said “does not exist” after nibbana is not appropriate to declare of the Tathagata. What cannot truly be found under analysis in life; it isn’t appropriate to say that such truly ceases. However, this doesn’t negate mere arising and ceasing. The aggregates, chariots, people, when not subject to analysis all appear as arising and ceasing. Nonetheless, when subject to analysis they cannot be found and thus cannot be said to truly cease. Hope that is clear now. :joy: :pray"

Agreed! Just so for the aggregates themselves. They are concepts; the aggregate of form cannot be found when looked for; ultimately the aggregate of form doesn’t exist. What does that mean? It means when looked for you can’t find it.

I apologize for my dull wittedness and inability to understand Venerable.


I’m not slipping in Mahayana to my mind Venerable. You seem quite averse to Mahayana, but I don’t think this has much of all to do with the bodhisattva path. I’m sorry if my name and the fact that I’ve studied Mahayana as well as the Pali canon makes you think less of me or brings up any averse feelings. It is always perfectly understandable and maybe advisable to ignore me as I admit not knowing much of anything at all.

This is about the five aggregates, but the same is said of the six sense contacts if you want that as well let me know.

However you contemplate them,
examining them carefully,
they’re void and hollow
when you look at them closely.
SN 22.95

Examining and looking at them closely I take to be analysis.


Perhaps I should clarify what does truly cease means to you and find the sutta which says void and hollow means cannot truly cease.

For normal temporary arising and ceasing, do you admit the possibility of ceasing without arising again forever?

Yes. In fact, I think nothing at all can ever truly arise again. When any single moment passes it does not arise again. Maybe some other moment arises that we can find some similarity with something in the past, but it isn’t truly the same. :pray:

Define truly cease, and find that sutta which supports your claim.

I mean ceasing without arising again as in no more 6 sense contacts forever. No more 5 aggregates forever, no new 6 sense contacts or 5 aggregates arising.

Sure Venerable, I can try.

For something to truly cease it would first depend upon it truly existing first. For something to truly exist it would have to hold up under analysis. You’d have to be able to find it as something other than void and hollow after examining it and looking closely.

The problem with giving you an example is I’ve not found anything that isn’t void and hollow when examined carefully and looked at closely with my feeble attempts at conceptual analysis. I can’t preclude that something might be able to hold up under analysis, but I haven’t been able to find it.

For sutta support I can give you SN 22.86. The Tathagata himself advised Anuradha to look carefully and examine closely the Realized One. He guided him through the analysis:

“What do you think, Anuradha, do you regard the Tathagata as in form?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Do you regard the Tathagata as apart from form?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Do you regard the Tathagata as in feeling? As apart from feeling? As in perception? As apart from perception? As in volitional formations? As apart from volitional formations? As in consciousness? As apart from consciousness?”—“No, venerable sir.”

When Anuradha admitted he could not find the Tathagata at all under this analysis the Teacher declared:

“But, Anuradha, when the Tathagata is not apprehended by you as real and actual here in this very life, is it fitting for you to declare: ‘Friends, when a Tathagata is describing a Tathagata—the highest type of person, the supreme person, the attainer of the supreme attainment—he describes him apart from these four cases: ‘The Tathagata exists after death,’ or … ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death’?”

Truly ceasing is equivalent to saying: “The Tathagata does not exist after death” which was rejected as inappropriate by the Teacher himself. In just that same way I say it is inappropriate to declare the five aggregates - which also can not be found under analysis - as not truly existing after death. ie, they have “truly ceased.” In the Yamaka sutta (SN 22.85) we something very close to the same.

Have they ceased? Yes. Have they truly ceased? No, that is not appropriate to say.


The sutta just said that Buddha is not the five aggregates and here you’re conflating them together. as if What is applied to the Buddha can be applied to the 5 aggregates.

Also, the 5 aggregates are hollow, but there’s no sutta which says Buddha is hollow, or self is hollow, because that’s the concept which is being refuted. Empty of self, empty of Buddha. Find that sutta which says Buddha is hollow.

What is applied to the Teacher is analysis to see if he can be found. That’s what applied to a chariot as well by Vajira. That is what the Teacher applied to the aggregates and advised his disciples to do as well. To subject the aggregates to analysis and investigate if they can be found under analysis. Void and hollow just refers to the fact that they cannot be found.

I’m not conflating the aggregates with the Teacher by saying that chariots, aggregates, any phenomena really can be subject to analysis.


I don’t think in the sutta you can find the same thing of the 4 options of exist or not or both or neither applied to the aggregates. And that hollow applied to self. You’re just conflating these two different applications together. Show the exact sutta which says otherwise.

No Venerable, I will rest and take any errors as my own. You win. :pray: