Instead of nihilism, Nibbana is the only thing that exists

These statements are incorrect

  • An Arahat exists after parinibbana
  • An Arahat does not exists after parinibbana
  • ‎An Arahat is neither exists or not exists after parinibbana

Because they are based on a wrong premise: “The Arahat exists before parinibbana”. The person we refer does not exists because he or she is nothing more than a shadow of continuity of the constantly appearing and disappearing khandhas. One analogy we have in the modern world is watching a movie. A movie is a series of pictures presented in 25 frames or more per second. The frames appear and disappear very fast. Because we cannot perceive their appearance and disappearance, to us it looks like a character in the movie exists constantly throughout the story. If someone ask us where is the character is in the real world, we would reply with a confused look saying, “what do you mean, it is only a movie, the character does not really exists”. Even the frames that build the character image have appeared and disappeared a thousand times.

In the contrary, Nibbana is like something that exists in the real world, it is not based on something that constantly appear and disappear like the khandhas.

So to call Nibbana nihilism cannot be further than the truth. Instead, when realizing Nibbana, we are migrating from a fake existence to real existence.

If we don’t exist in the first place, how can we migrate from one kind of existence to another?

Anyway, your view seems to be that nibbana is the same thing as the “One” of Parmenides and later neoplanotic philosophers of the West. There are a few passages in the suttas that lend themselves to that interpretation, but I think the majority do not.

From abhidhamma point of view, never mind the rebirth process, even here and now the rupa and nama that constitute a being gets created and destroyed constantly. The future, present, and past nama rupa are connected by cause and effect relation. Take one meter of rope and cut it into 100 parts, now the rope is no more. The same with the concept of being, develop strong enough concentration and wisdom to be able to see the arising and destruction of nama rupa and the continuous view of a being will be no more.

I am not familiar with Parmenides philosophy.

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Yes, I understand the canonical process conception of our existence as just a sequence of conditioned skandhas. But that conception doesn’t leave much room for the arahant “entering” something or “migrating” to something. The idea that nibbana is a kind of ultimate reality that the arahant attains or enters is interesting, and may even be true, but I don’t think its the dominant conception of nibbana in the suttas.

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There is no person/being that is refered as the Arahat in the first place, so we cannot say that the Arahat migrate to Nibbana.

What we know is that Nibbana exists, it is unchanging and does not bring suffering. So it seems like an ideal existence compared to the continuous cycle of birth and destruction of samsara.

One problem is that our question of “what is the nature of nibbana?” is a kind of philosophical question that the suttas (and the Buddha afaics) are simply not interested in. We will never squeeze a satisfying answer out of the suttas, they are not consistently ontological. I’d call them ‘pragmatic pseudo-ontology’ - because at many places they actually pretend to make ontological assertions, but rather like disposable cameras, not caring much about sticking to them and making them ultra-consistent (i.e. abdhidhammic)

Well, once upon a time this was discussed a little, here on the site:

There, Vstakan talked about it the way I think about it; here is their example:

There is, firefighters, a not-hot — not-blazing — not-kindled — not-scorching [extinguishment of fire]. If there were not that not-hot — not-blazing — not-kindled — not-scorching, there would not be the case that escape from the hot — blazing — kindled — scorching [fire] would be discerned. But precisely because there is an not-hot — not-blazing — not-kindled — not-scorching, escape from the hot — blazing — kindled — scorching is discerned".

Nibbana doesn’t exist just as “not-fire” doesn’t exist.

(Just for kicks, here’s an article similar to the OP:

I think both are …off-target.)

But we also have positive notions, not just negations. ‘sambodhi’ for example…

Just looking in very briefly to say that I recommend reading “The Island - An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana” by Ajahn Passano and Ajahn Amaro .



The problem is reification.

For example, I no longer have a large intestine because it was surgically removed long ago. I know it’s missing, and we could say that this knowledge exists (if you really want to). But, that still doesn’t mean “no-intestine” is a thing.

So if you want, I guess you can say that “knowing” exists, but the “lack” which is known can’t be said to exist at all.

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Assume that we have a lovely little daughter whom we love so much. What will happen to us if she is in trouble? Can we guarantee that she will never be in trouble under any condition?

Assume that we love our reputation/status so much: I am a senior monk, I am a sotapana, I am an expert, I am righteous, I am a venerable one, I am rich, I am powerful… What will happen to us if someone said or confirmed that we are stupid, wrong, unworthy, evil? Can we guarantee that will never happen to us?

Assume that we love our body so much. “It is beautiful and charming”. What will happen to us if that body is developing stinky ulcers? Can we guarantee that there will never be anything wrong with our body ever?

Assume that we have spent all our life to build and care for our lovely house so we can live comfortably. What will happen to us if someone came to our house and trashed the whole place for no reason, or if it is burnt out? Can we guarantee that there will never be anything wrong with our lovely house?

Assume that we do not like those people, but anytime we open the news or go somewhere, we’ll see them doing or saying something that is very offensive to us. What will happen to us? Will we suffer?

Assume that we just have the first nice car. Can we guarantee that the car will never give birth to anything else (such as insurance, maintenance, gas,…which we never have to deal with before)? If the car gave birth to those, will we be in trouble if we have no money by some reason? Why do we need to deal with maintenance, gas, insurance,…? Can we also guarantee that “maintenance” will never give another birth to something else like replacing battery, tires,…? Do we see why birth is in the list of dukkha?

What should we do so all of those sufferings will never happen to us under any condition? Why do we get into those troubles?

When there is no condition that can ever cause those kinds of suffering to us, we have a glimpse into the non-condition.

What is that non-condition?

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A quiz !

I know the answer. :slight_smile:

No sufferings torment one who has nothing,
Who does not adhere to name-and-form.

From SN 1.34


Thats nice char101! I think Dan helped a little and it is sometimes difficult to say what we mean - especially when some of us may not have english as a first language - this is sometimes the case. So, no-migration - correct? Tat would mean no change in the ontological status of an Arahant before and after final release. The problem with the use of the term ‘ontology’ is it belongs to another era - it is a branch of western philosophy. There are many ontology-type postulates in other eastern religious traditions but I don’t believe it is a useful tool in helping us to understand the Buddha-Dhamma in the right way. Does Nibbana exist or not exist? Both the conditioned and the not-conditioned are not-self. Does not-self (emptiness) exist o not-exist? What is existence and what is non-existence? Is existence the appearance of phenomena that arise and cease and is non-existence the non-appearance - permanently - of particular phenomenon (sequential or otherwise)? We have to establish what it is you mean by existence in the sense in which you wish to use it?

Not a quiz ! It is an inquiry, a suggestion for contemplation if we may consider that as nibbana or nibbana is something else more than or different than that…

Yes, I personally prefer seeing nibbana as ‘quenching’ and as something that is attainable here.

the knowing is a mortally-wounded chitta

Having read the various definitions of Nibbana I feel that it is not something that I desire or want. And that is actually good :exploding_head: because that means Nibbana is not an object of desire, since it is really what it meant for, that is the elimination of kilesa. Like a teflon pan where oil cannot stick.

Also I think my argument that Nibbana exists is just my defilements trying to find a desirable quality of Nibbana where it can stick itself to. Fortunately so far I have failed to find a desirable quality of Nibbana. Of course it is the freedom from the suffering of samsara, but normally we don’t take complete cessation as the solution of suffering.

So is Nibbana just a different state of mind? One that is free from the taints?

Only when dukkha has been seen comphrehensively, will complete cessation will be seen to be the final answer… before that the seeker will only search for partial solutions to match a partial comprehension.

with metta

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