How do YOU know its Sentient?

In a way I agree. But was it “the benefit of the doubt … out of compassion” or was it through the recognition that all samsara-ing generates suffering and so the only compassionate thing to do for the sake of all existence is to stop the rebirth process, and bring as much of existence with them as they could? And of course the best way of doing that would be the 8 fold path.

Ah well indeed… But we might just as well ask … can a human differentiate it’s home from another or is it just a conditioned response?:rofl:

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Yes. That sounds right and in line with how I understand it.

Edit. Oh sorry. I see. There was a mistake in my previous post. Corrected now.


So powerful! :pray:


It’s delusion to think that you are not creating suffering all the time. The cessation of suffering is the cessation of experience which comes at parinibbana. This is a nice sutta. Snp3.12

Nibbana is cessation of the taints, which means that tanha (craving) has ceased, which means that dukkha (suffering) has ceased. That’s what the Second and Third Noble Truths say.

So your understanding is that dukkha ceases immediately that tanha ceases? There is no old kamma (vipaka) being played out post nibbana, but pre parinibbana? I’ve always understood there to be a time lag, but maybe you’re right? I don’t suppose you know a sutta that makes your understanding clear? I wonder why the suttas differentiate these two terms nibbana and parinibbana?

So, my obvious question now is: is it that Arahants don’t feel physical pain? Or is it that physical pain is not dukkha by definition? Or is there another explanation?

The Arrow Sutta is relevant here. I assume that the first arrow (bodily pain) is not dukkha for the Arahant, since there is no resistance to it - it is felt “detached”. And the second arrow (mental anguish) has ceased for the Arahant.
Also, I imagine that bodily pain is felt quite differently when self-view has ceased. It’s no longer experienced as “my pain”, it’s just an impersonal sensation. It’s no longer something unpleasant happening to “my body”.

Anyway, the Second and Third Noble Truths do say that dukkha ceases when tanha ceases, and craving has ceased for the Arahant. This appears to be a straightforward and unqualified statement of what Nibbana entails.

Maybe that is true, but i feel this is not a good motivation, drive. Searching for the cessation of all experiences in stead of all bondages. Not wanting to feel and perceive anything anymore is also common to a dark and depressed mind.

In MN26 i see the Buddha searched for something stable, unborn, not coming and going, not anicca, not dukkha and not anatta, not dependend, not unsafe, reliable, undefiled, an island. He found it in the total absence of any need and search for grip in the world. In the total lack of any inner and outer bondage he found his island, safety, protection, Nibbana.

It is hard to imagine the world of a Buddha and arahant, right? What do we know about this? I think sutta’s can also not be decisive.

Maha Boowa says about his real time investigation into intense pains he had: “I saw clearly that it was the citta that defined feeling as being painful and unpleasant. Otherwise, pain was merely a natural phenomenon that occurred.” (arhattamagga/phala, page 20).

The problem seems to be that mind cannot totally relax in pain, let go of all resistance, like a burning coal in the hand. And there is constant the perception:I am in pains, or I have pain.
But what if this is gone?

Yes, the Arrow Sutta describes how resistance to pain is the problem.
There is aversion to unpleasant sensation, and craving for pleasant sensation as an “escape”.
This cycle is broken with the cessation of craving and aversion, with cessation of the taints.

One analogy that I have heard is that it’s like taking your foot off the accelerator. You’re no longer supplying any fuel (tanha has ceased), and then the car eventually grinds to a halt (dukkha ceases). I guess different teachers with different interpretations.

I feel the crux of that sutta is: “Knowing the stainless, sorrowless state…”
Knowing the escape.

Yes, and at the same time the enlightend Buddha imagined that teaching Dhamma would be troublesome for him. Does that really refer to the total cessation of the causes for Dukkha for the Buddha? Isn’t it strange?

I think you could say that liberation is the end of wanting (craving), and the end of not wanting (aversion). This implies a deep acceptance of circumstances as they currently are. Complete equanimity.

Yes, and in the suttas, Nibbana (the unconditioned) is portrayed as the escape from the conditioned.

What motivates you possibly doesn’t motivate others. But I don’t think it’s about “searching” and “wanting” at all. For me it’s about letting go of both “searching” and “wanting”.

That letting go (I think we can both agree) is really good fun, full of joy and happiness and leads to quite the opposite of darkness and depression. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Just by way of where I’ve got these ideas from, here’s a bit from Ajahn Brahms essay on DO

Even arahants, enlightened monks and nuns, experience suffering. They are not released from suffering, they are still in the world, in jail. The main difference between an ordinary “prisoner” and an arahant is that the latter is certain to leave soon. Using the simile from the Theragātha (Thag.17.2), an arahant is like a workman having completed the job and now calmly waiting for his wages. In the sutta called “The Dart” (SN36.6) suffering is compared to being stabbed with two darts. An arahant is only stabbed with one dart. The two “darts” refer to bodily suffering and mental suffering. The arahant, alone of this world, only experiences bodily suffering. But it is still enough to say that an arahant in this life still experiences suffering. As the enlightened nun Vajirā explained (SN5.10), what it feels like to be an arahant is just experiencing suffering arising and suffering passing away, and this was confirmed by the Buddha in the Kaccānagotta Sutta (SN12.15), already mentioned above. Arahants experience suffering because all existence (bhava ) or birth (jāti ) is suffering. Only when they pass away, or parinibbāna , when existence ceases, does suffering end once and for all.

From SN5.10

This is the problem with quoting poetry as if it’s function is philosophy, The poem does not intend to make the claim that everything is always only suffering, it is just saying that things, even pleasurable things, entail imperfection or ill and that we should therefore let them go, and that what we are letting go is ultimately suffering and not a self or being, otherwise Vajira would just be completely contradicting the Buddha in SN22.60;

“Mahāli, if form were exclusively painful—soaked and steeped in pain and not steeped in pleasure—sentient beings wouldn’t lust after it.
“Rūpañca hidaṁ, mahāli, ekantadukkhaṁ abhavissa dukkhānupatitaṁ dukkhāvakkantaṁ anavakkantaṁ sukhena, nayidaṁ sattā rūpasmiṁ sārajjeyyuṁ.
But because form is pleasurable—soaked and steeped in pleasure and not steeped in pain—sentient beings do lust after it.
Yasmā ca kho, mahāli, rūpaṁ sukhaṁ sukhānupatitaṁ sukhāvakkantaṁ anavakkantaṁ dukkhena, tasmā sattā rūpasmiṁ sārajjanti;
Since they lust after it, they’re caught up in it, and so they become corrupted.
sārāgā saṁyujjanti; saṁyogā saṅkilissanti.
This is a cause and condition for the corruption of sentient beings.
Ayaṁ kho, mahāli, hetu, ayaṁ paccayo sattānaṁ saṅkilesāya;
This is how sentient beings are corrupted with cause and reason.
evaṁ sahetū sappaccayā sattā saṅkilissanti.

If feeling …

The sutta goes on to say the same of all 5 aggregates and then repeats with pleasure and pain reversed, showing how phenomena are both pleasurable and painful (it skips neutral feelings but they are certainly part of Early Buddhism as well)

The above makes perfect sense and is a nice, straightforward and reasonable explanation of why we are here, engaged in the world, trying to have friends and dates and good food, etc, because all that stuff is NICE! So when we read phrases like “I have taught only suffering” or “Naught but suffering ceases” it should always be in the context in which it is meant, in both these cases, as a refutation of the idea that a “self” or agent is destroyed or ceases, not as an assertion that everything is always just suffering pure and simple, if it were then we wouldn’t be here and the whole Buddhist system would fall down since there is nothing to crave.



I’m not sure I agree with Bikkhu Bodhi’s interpretation of the Arrow Sutta. It’s true that the Arahant only experiences bodily pain, but she feels it detached. It’s a “modicum of stress”, according to MN121.
Given that, it doesn’t make sense to interpret the final verse as saying the Arahant only experiences suffering. What the The Arahant actually experiences is the bliss of Nibbana.

Yes. Obviously what is being talked about here is the actual nature of everything.

Here’s the prose version by the Buddha

But if—when it comes to this attraction, grasping, mental fixation, insistence, and underlying tendency—you don’t get attracted, grasp, and commit to the notion ‘my self’, you’ll have no doubt or uncertainty that what arises is just suffering arising, and what ceases is just suffering ceasing. Your knowledge about this is independent of others.

This is how right view is defined.

That’s kinda the point, ultimately there is nothing worth craving. We crave because of delusion; because we haven’t got right view; because we take what is suffering to be happiness and what is happiness to be suffering.

It’s actually Ajahn Brahm, but fair enough, we’ll all have our own interpretations of these things.