Cessationists mistake Asaññasattāvāso for Nibbāna

Thank you dhamma friend! I rejoice that we can converse with sincerity and respect for our differences and also welcome our agreements where they can be found! But rebirth isn’t really the point of this thread so I think I’ll leave it at that for now :slight_smile: :pray:


The question if there is something remaing after the death of an arahant ans Buddha comes down to the question if the EBT really teach that, here and now, there are only formation and only tempory constructed states. Only sankhata.

Well, one must certainly use all intellectual power to defend this idea, because the EBT really postulate asankhata, an unborn, unmade, a dimension that is unsupported, unestablised, the non-manifesting, the stable, the not-desintegrating…and this is all empty hollow chatter if there are really only formations and temporary conditioned states or this would describe a mere cessation?

I saw this thread just now and interested about this controversy for a long time. What are the suttas that talk about asaññasattāvāso? I haven’t encountered them myself.

Does Parinibbana = Eternal panna (rebirth with Panna)
Does the Buddha not get reborn and is utterly extinguished, not even Panna?
Does the Buddha get reborn with Vinnana?

This is a good and challenging question. In the five aggregate, there are normally two types of wrong view a permanent five aggregates (eternalist) or the five aggregates complete destroyed (annihilatist) once a being dies. Buddha will never declare Nibbana as permanent or eternal as there would be eternalist view.

Buddha will never get reborn in the five aggregates anymore. Therefore he will not have Panna and vinnana.

What kind of existence is Nibbana?. It is beyond fathom. Parinibbana is also beyond the five aggregates. In a way Nibbana is beyond eternal and annihilation. What it is then? It is a state that cannot be described or define.

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If we take the undeclared seriously, the answer is not in the canon.

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I do not know but if it would be an utterly extinguishment, i feel, Buddha’s message to the world would come down to: “Dear friends, it is better not to exist then to exist. Please be aware! Existence comes with so much drama, suffering, misery, that it is really better to stop to exist. Friends, we all exist as lifestreams from a time without beginning. we have perceived, felt so much misery. A first appearance cannot even be seen. But, Friends, this lifestream is mere suffering. Friends, if the lifestream is like a fire, i teach you the Path to its total extinguishment. This is the moment Friends. Do not let this moment pass. Make use of my Dhamma to stop to exist as lifestream, as stream of vinnana. It is better not to exist then to exist. It is better not to feel, not to perceive, Feeling and perceiving is painful Friends. So Friends, what more can a compassionate teacher do? Now it is up to you. Strive dilgently to cease, to vanish, to stop to exist, extinguish”…

“Yes Blessed One”, agreed the monks. We will do that".

And so they diligently strived to cease without anything remaining. Delighting in the prospect not to exist anymore as lifestream, feel nothing, perceive nothing. Finally.

Except one. A Don Quichotte type. The poor guy was so attached to life, to body and mind, to self, that he was not able to see the greatness of utterly extinguishment.

Am i talking about myself? Euhhh :innocent:

The cessation is for the five aggregate after an Arahant dies
“Bhikkhus, there are these three characteristics that define the conditioned.405 What three? An arising is seen, a vanishing is seen, and its alteration while it persists is seen. These are the three characteristics that define the conditioned.

“Bhikkhus, there are these three characteristics that define the unconditioned. What three? No arising is seen, no vanishing is seen, and no alteration while it persists is seen. These are the three characteristics that define the unconditioned.”

It is not a cessation of everything that would be nihilistic. Nibbana does exist. Because it exists, that is why we have a way out from suffering

Nibbāna exist means it’s possible to end suffering. Doesn’t mean it’s not total cessation of everything.

It’s not annihilation because the concept of annihilation is defined with self in it, without the concept of self, and seeing that self is a false concept, a non-existent thing, then the notion of annihilation is debunked.

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I agree, for what its worth. What you say is also consistent with the message of Ud8.3
It is also consistent with MN26 and other sutta’s that describe that Buddha was surely not, like every person, seeking something that is constructed and is liable to arise, cease and change. Even with his teachers he understood that this cannot be considered home, refuge, because it stops.
It is also consistent with the Canonical message that the Buddha taught a Path to the uncondioned, to what is stable, constant, not-desintegrating (SN43)

I believe Buddha found the unconstructed, that what is not build up, Nibbana. What is build up? All mental states and all corresponding realms of existence. The totallity of samsara is a build up reality, constructed, and therefor liable to cease too. It is based upon aggregation of matter and mental formations. This aggregation situation is always inconstant, liable to cease. What is constructed will fall apart. We see this around us in the aggregation of matter but mentally this is the same. What is mentallity build up or constructed will also fall apart. That is why Buddha did not accept formless jhana’s as refuge, home, the goal of the holy life. Because that goal is the unconstructed, the deathless, not desintegrating.

The build up reality, the constructed, the made is called house in Dhammapada. Buddha has made an end to the building of a new house. Some believe this means a mere cessation, others believe that Buddha in this very life realised the unmade, unconstructed, that what is not seen arising and ceasing, the stable, constant, not desintegrating. That was the end of his search. He found the home he sought, the refuge, the stable, the island, the protection he sought (Snp4.15)

This is also the end of rebirth and at death the khandha’s do not arise again but it cannot be considered as a mere cessation. It is also not considered as some eternal personal existence after death of an arahant. It is more like the absence of any aggregation situation, constructing forces. This is called the final end of suffering.

“So too, brahmin, Nibbāna exists and the path leading to Nibbāna exists and I am present as the guide. Yet when my disciples have been thus advised and instructed by me, some of them attain Nibbāna, the ultimate goal, and some do not attain it. What can I do about that, brahmin? The Tathāgata is one who shows the way.”

Self concept only arises with lobha, ditthi and mana. It does not arises with moha. Arahant get rids of the five higher fetters.
“Bhikkhus, there are these five higher fetters. What five? Lust for form, lust for the formless, conceit, restlessness, and ignorance. These are the five higher fetters:… These four establishments of mindfulness are to be developed for abandoning these five higher fetters.”

Self arises with lust for form, lust for formless and conceit. It does not arise with restlessness and ignorance itself.

Nibbana is a total cessation of aggregates and not total cessation of everything.

What then is left over after 5 aggregates ceases?

Nibbana. An existence that does not have any aggregates. If there are aggregates mean it is conditioned.

it is a bit nitpicking but i do think it is even better to speak of aggregation then aggregates. Speaking about aggregates it gives the impression that, for example, vinnana is constant present of sanna or vedana. But that does not seem to be true. What can be present and not present is probably more an aggregation proces in the mind. The heaping up. That heaping up is more like a proces then something substantially present all the time in the mind.

A simile, if one would see mind as a field of thin rubber, for example between 4 points, 1m2. When heaping up takes place, a weight on this rubber arises. Like one puts an object on this rubber.
It is felt. A certain tension arises.

I think the EBT teach that mere the fact of heaping up represents a burden on the mind but it becomes even worse with grasping yet in the mind. That is like a over-stretching of this thin rubber.

Aggregates accumulates. Nibbana is known as dispersion of accumulation.

Expositor (Abhidhamma Commentary) pp 57 and 58
In the triplet of ‘leading to accumulation,’ 4 ‘accumulation ’ means ’ that which is accumulated by kamma and corruptions. It is a name for the processes of rebirth and decease. ’ Leading to accumulation ’ are ’ those causes which by being accomplished go to, or lead a man, in whom they arise, to-that round of rebirth.’ It is name for co-intoxicant moral or immoral states. Nibbina being free from cumulation, which is another word for accumulation, is called dispersion. Leading to dispersion is going towards that dispersion which he has made his object. It is a name for the Ariyan Paths. Or ‘leading to accumulation ’ are those state which go about severally arranging (births and deaths in) a round of destiny like a bricklayer who arranging bricks, layer by layer, in a wall.’ ’ Leading to dispersion ’ are those states which go about destroying that very round, like man who continually removes the bricks as they are laid by the mason.

So you do not agree with the description that khandha’s must not be understood as present in some substantial way but as aggregation processes in the mind, forming a heap, structures, that are felt.

What aggregates? I don’t have any aggregates. Then again “I” don’t exist so… Now if only I could find that door to nibbana; I’m sure it is around here somewhere. :joy: :pray:

There are aggregates. If there are no aggregate, then there will not be any kamma, then there would not be any samsara and then there would not be a need for Buddhism. There is no I but there are aggregates.

Has anyone encounter a sutta that describe this special state known as Asaññasattā ? I appreciate if someone can give a clue since I never encountered this in a sutta so far, even if they are could be rare

If you don’t have aggregates, you can’t talk or write anymore. :joy:

However most people forget, an arahant doesn’t hold on (or attach to) to the aggregates anymore. These aggregates have been Stilled or Cooled. Yet they can still talk, write due to wisdom.

Death or alive doesn’t matter for an arahant. Just wait for their time collecting the wage.

mentioned in DN15

There are beings who, having transcended the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness, thinking: “There is no thing”, have attained to the Sphere of No-ningness. That is the seventh station of consciousness. [The two realms are:] The Realm of Unconscious Beings and, secondly, the Realm of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception. (Bodhi)

In DN24 there is some more info:

2.20. 'There are, Bhaggava, some ascetics and Brahmins who declare that the beginning of things was due to chance. I went to them and asked them if this was their view. “Yes”, they replied. I asked them how this came about, and when they could not explain, I said: "There are, friends, certain devas
called Unconscious. As soon as a perception arises in them, those devas fall from that realm. . .remembering nothing (Sutta, I , verse 2.31) they think: 'Now from non-being I have been
brought to being.’ That, Reverend Sirs, is how it comes about that you teach that the beginning of things was due to chance."

DN33 also mentions them §3.2

(3) 'Nine abodes of beings (a) Beings different in body and different in percep&ion, (b) beings different in body and alike in perception, (c) beings alike in body and different in perception, (d) beings alike in body and alike in perception, (e) the Realm of Unconscious Beings, (f) the Realm of Neither-Perception-
Nor-Non-Perception, (g) beings who have attained to the Sphere of Infinite Space, (h) beings who have attained to the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness, (i) beings who have attained to the Sphere of No-Thingness (as Sutta 15, verse 33).