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How to interpret "cessation"?

ignorance
sutta
cessation
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#1

Throughout the suttas, we find the following stock passage:

“Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering.”

On that text, I interprete the word " cessation " in " cessation of that very ignorance " as indicating a complete cessation of such ignorance. Is this interpretation of the cessation also applied to the other processes indicated next in the stock passage?

For instance, if the passage says “cessation of fabrications”, is this implying a complete cessation of fabrications, just like in the last example?

Also, what is this " remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance "? Is this referring to Nibbāna or to Parinibbāna?

If it’s indicating what happens after Nibbāna, then does this mean that fabrications (and all the posterior nidanas) cease to arise after Nibbāna as well?

If not, then should we read cessation in all the other nidanas (i.e., in all except in ignorance ) as the " cessation of X nidana tainted with ignorance "?

But if, on the other, it’s indicating at what happens at Parinibbāna, then Nibbāna is not the " remainderless fading & cessation of ignorance "

In sum, is the interpretion and implications of the word " cessation " dependent on the phenomenon which is ceasing?

Thanks in advance for your time!

Kind regards!


#2

Picture 1: Ignorant thoughts (sankhara), ignorant consciousness, ignorant mind-body, ignorant feelings, ignorant desires, ignorant attachment, ignorant becoming, unhappiness, dukkha
Happy%20person

Picture 2: Ignorance ceases; happy thoughts, happy consciousness, happy mind-body, happy feelings, no cravings, no attachments, happiness

Sad%20person

When an uneducated ordinary person is struck by feelings born of contact with ignorance, craving arises.

Avijjāsamphassajena, bhikkhave, vedayitena phuṭṭhassa assutavato puthujjanassa uppannā taṇhā;

So that conditioned phenomenon is impermanent, conditioned, and dependently originated.

Iti kho, bhikkhave, sopi saṅkhāro anicco saṅkhato paṭiccasamuppanno.

SN 22.81


#3

Ajahn @brahmali has written two very nice essays on the two key aspects of dependent origination:

Dependent Origination by Bhikkhu Brahmali: do.pdf (181.4 KB)

Dependent Liberation by Bhikkhu Brahmali:dl.pdf (171.8 KB)

Here is a recent dhamma talk given by him on the topic:

Another key resource on the same subject is the exposition of the Upanisa Sutta (SN12.23) by Bhikku Boddhi:

Transcendental Dependent Arising by Bhikkhu Bodhi: upanisa_sutta.pdf (503.3 KB)

Hope you like it!
:anjal:


(sn12.70) - What does the "knowledge of the stability of natural principles" mean?
#4

@Deeele, vijja or insight might be causative of intentions but not if sankhara means rebirth causing kamma.

With metta,


#5

Your interpretation of nidanas continuing without ignorance doesn’t work beyond feeling (vedana). Clearly there is no such thing as non-ignorant craving and clinging, etc.
DO in cessation mode seems to describe a straightforward and progressive cessation of all the nidanas, not some kind of modification of nidanas, as you suggest.
The suttas in SN12 simply don’t support your interpretation, which looks like a Buddhadasa variant.


#6

Thank you Martin. However, I do not recall ever posting or inferring the above. I recall I posted:

no cravings, no attachments, happiness

:boom:

There are many suttas (posted below) that support my offering, which show consciousness & contact, for example, do not cease when ignorance had ceased in an Arahant. Also, my offering is unrelated to Buddhadasa. It appears it is your comments that are both “interpretations” and (literally) “unsupported”. Naturally, you are welcome to post some suttas that literally support your “interpretation”.

Regards :slightly_smiling_face:

“Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu has abandoned lust for the form element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing (patiṭṭhā) of consciousness. If he has abandoned lust for the feeling element … for the perception element … for the volitional formations element … for the consciousness element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing of consciousness.

When that consciousness is unestablished (appatiṭṭhita), not coming to growth, nongenerative, it is liberated. By being liberated, it (consciousness) is steady; by being steady, it (consciousness) is content; by being content, he is not agitated. Being unagitated, he personally attains Nibbāna. He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’”

SN 22.53

SN 22.53 above literally says unestablished (appatiṭṭhita) consciousness does not “cease” but only established (patiṭṭhā) consciousness ceases. The same terminology is found in SN 12.38:

But, bhikkhus, when one does not intend, and one does not plan, and one does not have a tendency towards anything, no basis exists for the maintenance of consciousness. When there is no basis, there is no support for the establishing of consciousness. When consciousness is unestablished and does not come to growth, there is no production of future renewed existence. When there is no production of future renewed existence, future birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

SN 12.38

More suttas below:

What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbāna-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbāna-element with residue left.

Iti 44


On seeing a form with the eye, he does not lust after it if it is pleasing; he does not dislike it if it is unpleasing. He abides with mindfulness of the body established, with an immeasurable mind, and he understands as it actually is the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having thus abandoned favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it, or remain holding to it. As he does not do so, delight in feelings ceases in him. With the cessation of his delight comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of being; with the cessation of being, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

MN 38


For it is in this fathom-long carcass with its perception and mind that I describe the world, its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation.

AN 4.45


Thus, bhikkhus, with ignorance as proximate cause, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as proximate cause, consciousness; with consciousness as proximate cause, name-and-form; with name-and-form as proximate cause, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as proximate cause, contact; with contact as proximate cause, feeling; with feeling as proximate cause, craving; with craving as proximate cause, clinging; with clinging as proximate cause, existence; with existence as proximate cause, birth; with birth as proximate cause, suffering; with suffering as proximate cause, faith; with faith as proximate cause, gladness; with gladness as proximate cause, rapture; with rapture as proximate cause, tranquillity; with tranquillity as proximate cause, happiness; with happiness as proximate cause, concentration; with concentration as proximate cause, the knowledge and vision of things as they really are; with the knowledge and vision of things as they really are as proximate cause, revulsion; with revulsion as proximate cause, dispassion; with dispassion as proximate cause, liberation; with liberation as proximate cause, the knowledge of destruction.

SN 12.23


And what, bhikkhus, is the passing away of suffering? In dependence on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, feeling comes to be; with feeling as condition, craving. But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of existence; with the cessation of existence, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering. This is the passing away of suffering.

SN 12.43


And what, bhikkhus, is the passing away of the world? In dependence on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, feeling comes to be; with feeling as condition, craving. But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of existence; with the cessation of existence, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering. This, bhikkhus, is the passing away of the world.

SN 12.44


Bhikkhus, when one dwells contemplating danger in things that can be clung to, craving ceases. With the cessation of craving comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of existence … cessation of birth … aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

SN 12.52


When, bhikkhus, one dwells contemplating danger in things that can fetter, there is no descent (avakkanti) of name-and-form. With the cessation of name-and-form comes cessation of the six sense bases…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

SN 12.58


There are things that are prone to being fettered. When you concentrate on the gratification provided by these things, consciousness is conceived (avakkanti).

There are things that are prone to being fettered. When you concentrate on the drawbacks of these things, consciousness is not conceived (avakkanti na).

SN 12.59


#7

Thamks Deele/Element/Dhammadhatu/Doo Doot/Visshuddiraptor/etc.
Unfortunately your long-winded post doesn’t address my central point, ie the modification of nidanas beyond vedana doesn’t make sense in the context of DO in cessation mode.
Here and on other forums you seem very attached to your Buddhadasa-inspired interpretation, but that doesn’t make it correct.


#8

Hi Martin. The suttas in SN12 simply don’t support your interpretation. When ignorance ceases, all other unskilful qualities (such as craving, attachment, becoming, birth, aging-&-death and suffering) also cease. SN 45.1, translated by Bhikkhu Sujato, says:

“Mendicants, ignorance precedes the attainment of unskillful qualities, with lack of conscience and prudence following along.

“Avijjā, bhikkhave, pubbaṅgamā akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ samāpattiyā, anvadeva ahirikaṃ anottappaṃ.

An ignoramus, sunk in ignorance, gives rise to wrong view.

Avijjāgatassa, bhikkhave, aviddasuno micchādiṭṭhi pahoti;

Wrong view gives rise to wrong thought.

micchādiṭṭhissa micchāsaṅkappo pahoti;… etc

Knowledge precedes the attainment of skillful qualities, with conscience and prudence following along.

Vijjā ca kho, bhikkhave, pubbaṅgamā kusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ samāpattiyā, anvadeva hirottappaṃ.

A sage, firm in knowledge, gives rise to right view.

Vijjāgatassa, bhikkhave, viddasuno sammādiṭṭhi pahoti;

Right view gives rise to right thought.

sammādiṭṭhissa sammāsaṅkappo pahoti;

SN 45.1 appears to say when ignorance ceases, knowledge arises, wrong thought ceases, right thought arises. SN 45.1 does not appear to say all thought (all choices; all sankhara) ceases when ignorance ceases.

Regards :poop:


#9

Please don’t obfuscate. You’re claiming that the early nidanas are somehow converted to “non-ignorant” nidanas, while the later nidanas just cease to be. This is not what the DO suttas in SN12 say.
Buddhadasa is just wrong. Get over it.


#10

No Martin. The suttas say this. SN 12 says it. For example in the sutta below, there is sense bases, there is consciousness, there is contact, there is feeling but there is no craving and the later nidanas.

And what, bhikkhus, is the passing away of suffering? In dependence on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, feeling comes to be; with feeling as condition, craving. But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of existence; with the cessation of existence, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering. This is the passing away of suffering.

SN 12.43


closed #11

#12

Hi bradif1,

If I may offer a brief suggestion, cessation means both that everything completely ceases, and that things partly cease.

A paradox? Not really! It’s just a matter of time.

When someone attains arahantship, certain of the aspects of dependent origination cease immediately, such as ignorance, craving, and grasping. Things such as rebirth in a new life also “cease” immediately, although in a somewhat different sense, because here what is meant is the potential for rebirth.

Other things, like feelings, six senses, and so on, do not cease immediately. But since the cause for them is no longer present, they will inevitably cease in the future, i.e. when the person dies.

This distinction stems from the nature of the conditions in the series. The nature of the conditional link between members of the series varies in complex ways. However they have one thing in common: they are a necessary condition.

So when the causal link is broken, the exact manner in which that manifests will vary. However, there is one thing they all have in common: when their necessary condition is gone, the thing itself will cease.

tl;dr: in dependent origination, when ignorance ceases, everything else ceases, but some things take some time.