Nibanna, the Deathless, and Self


Thank you, Tara.


Physical pain as dukkha seems quite important to me, particularly in the context of aging and death which are also examples of “ordinary” suffering.
Some argue that these experiences are no longer dukkha for an Arahant, but is that really correct?


The Buddha said that in his last days, when he was elderly and unwell, he would go to signless (animitta) concentration to escape the pain.


About the arahats suicides, but probably you know this:


“Absolutely, sir. As I understand the Buddha’s teachings, it is this very same consciousness that roams and transmigrates, not another.”
5.10“Sāti, what is that consciousness?”
5.11“Sir, it is he who speaks and feels and experiences the results of good and bad deeds in all the different realms.”
5.12“Foolish man, who on earth have you ever known me to teach in that way?
5.13Haven’t I said in many ways that consciousness is dependently originated, since consciousness does not arise without a cause? mn.038


[…]who is it, pray, who gives to you members of the Order your robes and food and lodging and necessaries for the sick? Who is it who enjoys such things when given? Who is it who lives a life of righteousness? Who is it who devotes himself to meditation? Who is it who attains to the goal of the Excellent Way, to the Nirvāṇa of Arahatship? And who is it who destroys living creatures? who is it who takes what is not his own? who is it who lives an evil life of worldly lusts, who speaks lies, who drinks strong drink, who (in a word) commits any one of the five sins which work out their bitter fruit even in this life ?
The questions of King Milinda - 3.1.1. Individuality and name; the chariot simile


It seems to me that the view most compatible with the suttas is that there is a specific dukkha that is responsible for the cycle of rebirth, mostly mental dukkha which is ended with arahantship. Physical pain still exists and may be transcended in meditation but may still persist outside of meditation for an arahant. Still, the physical dimension should be represented in a very different way for an arahant - even ‘normal’ meditators know how your relationship with pain changes.


So how do you think this mental-physical categorisation relates to the three types of dukkha in the suttas?

a) dukkha-dukkha: ordinary suffering;
b) viparinama-dukkha: suffering due to change;
c) sankhara-dukkha: suffering due to formations;


I don’t think there is a nice and all-encompassing answer. Maybe there were even different transmission lines, some for all-dukkha-is-gone and some for physical-dukkha-is-left.

If there was coherence in these topics there would have been less reason for commentaries and abhidhamma. In short: There is some inconsistence. For me the most plausible version is that of SN 36.6 with the two arrows:

When an educated noble disciple experiences painful feelings (dukkha vedanā) they don’t sorrow or pine or lament, beating their breast and falling into confusion. They experience one feeling: physical (kāya), not mental (citta).

The interpretation is up to us. Right now I would say: There is dukkha and it’s painful quality, but there is no complaint, no wish for it to be different, just a sober and reality based understanding of it. But of course with the mental component gone, who knows how strong the physical pain needs to be ‘to get’ to an arahant?


Sure, this seems to say that “physical” dukkha continues, but the associated “mental” dukkha ceases. But does this cessation apply to mental dukkha generally, ie dukkha which isn’t associated with bodily pain?


Hm,the suttas probably don’t go into such depth.


I see mixed messages in the suttas on the nature of dukkha and it’s cessation.


May I ask, is it for you a matter of practice and/or conceptual clarity?


Great question! It is really for both. It would be nice to have as much clarity as possible regarding what the potential rewards of practice might be as opposed to just taking things on “blind faith.” I do know faith has a role in the practice and I happily accept that fact, but obviously I’d like to have as much clarity as possible regarding the nature of the ultimate goal of a true, deathless happiness.


What is the difference between these two? And that is the function of your “and/or”? If you do not mind me asking.


In conceptual clarity I relate terms to each other. In practice I relate terms to my experience


Its already there,
Try to grab it will slip out of our fingers.
let go of everything, we will know for our selves.


For me conceptual clarity is important in understanding the goal of practice. If the goal is cessation of dukkha, then clarity about what dukkha really is seems important.



The supreme Real Life has no duality and opposite.
Death, the word itself explains, is death, and death can never live nor will it ever live in any time, space or no-time.
If you become a friend of the Gotama Buddha,
If you enter 3 times in the Brahman Immortal One (3 times minimum),
Then you will see who you are,
Then you’ll know EVERYTHING,
and death you will see that it NEVER EXISTED.
All eternal life has always existed
Ahhh scent of incense and roses is in this,
because This is actually That, the one that lives and lives, eternal!