Non-existence is impermanent, suffering and not-self

If we take into account all the countless lives/experiences we have had of non-awareness intervoven with awareness it shows that we already have a vast experience of both ”existence” and ”non-existence”.

Just take the first few months as a newborn with
no ”proper” awareness or even any clear memories.

Now multiply those few months over the span of countless hundred of thousands of lives as a newborn + all countless moments of dreamless sleep and all the moments of being unconscious, for whatever reason.

Also not being able to remember something
despite ”being there”.

Bottom line, the reality of ”non-existence - no awareness” & ”existence - awareness” is already hardwired into our very experience and nothing unique and requires no effort at all to achieve. We go between these two states of being and not-being all the time.

Even universes expand and contract…

So in that very sense non-existence, just like existence, is also anicca, dukkha, anatta since: ”separation from what is pleasing is suffering”, ”not to get what one wants is suffering”

Vibhava-taṇhā (craving for non-existence)
Bhava-taṇhā (craving for existence)

The path leads beyond existence & non-existence, beyond being and not-being which despite whatever preference one happens to have never becomes a permanent reality in Samsara; which is a endless wandering between existence and non-existence.

What non-existence is and implies is already something firmly established and have been experienced by pretty much all beings already, just like existence.

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Perhaps existence is not a binary concept, but a continuum?

I read a sutta (here it is Perceiving Nibbana, (AN 10.7)) saying the cessation of existence (bhava-nirodha) is Nirvana. If the cessation of existence is Nirvana, it cannot be impermanent and suffering.

Vibhava does not read as though it is the same as bhava-nirodha. Vibhava reads like it is a conceptual idea rather than an actual state of non-awareness. You wish to not exist; this is vibhava. Whether you really do not or will not exist you cannot know. If there is rebirth at the moment of death, how can there be non-existence? Your post sounds mixed up about Indian language.

But there are actual states of non-awareness that all beings have experience of already and all these states of non-awareness are impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self. That is my whole point.

But in AN 10.7 Sāriputta still perceived while beyond all planes of existence(!): ”nor non-perception in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. And I didn’t perceive this world in this world, or the other world in the other world. And yet I still perceived.

So it looks like the type of ”non-existence” with no awareness at all (exterminated & unconscious) is not something worth striving for and existence with an awareness craving, grasping and relishing is something to be given up.

It shows that Nibbāna is beyond these two states of being and not-being that are both impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self.

Obviuosly some also read bhava-nirodha like it is a conceptual idea, imagining they fully understand what it means and what its result is, rather than an actual state where Sāriputta still perceived…

Cessation of existence (bhava-nirodha) & cessation of non-existence (vibhava-nirodha) is Nirvana. :smiling_face:

I don’t see how I’m wrong or mixing up things:

You can’t argue against the reality of non-awareness/unconscioussness, that all beings already have a lot of experience of, as somehow being satisfactory(?) - Or even as some hint or precursor as to what Nibbāna ”actually” implies. - All that is just a personal preference based on craving.

Whatever we try to say about the unconditioned turns out to be a preconcieved notion of what annihilation/eternalism or existence/non-existence implies from a conditional point of view (WE HAVE NO OTHER EXPERIENCE) - So these conceptual ideas are nothing more than just conditioned phenomenas and can’t really be anything else.

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I didn’t know newborns don’t have proper awareness, can you elaborate? How is it different from mine or a toddler’s?

Then just apply all the moments of sleep as a newborn instead, can you recollect what happened when you slept as a 3 week old infant in this life?

What about all previous existences prior to this one then? :wink:

I have no memories of many experiences I had. Does that mean I had no awareness of them?

You are aware of not being aware, so you know what not being aware is like. You have the experiences of non-awareness already, like every other being in Samsara.

But those claiming this lack of awareness is satisfactory and even something to strive for is only doing this because of a personal preference based on craving.

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I do not see how now being aware of the times I was not aware, means that the awareness of a newborn is different. The reason I pick up on this is because memory and awareness are different functions of the mind, and not laying down a memory of an event does not prove that you were unaware during it.

What does awareness mean in this case? If I follow your description it now seems to me I could do anything to a newborn because it doesn’t exist anyway.

But dreamless sleep has no awareness even during its phase.

When someone wants to end their existence it is this deep dreamless state they crave to enter.

Trying to apply the conditioned samsaric experiences of ”annihilation” (unconsciousness) and ”eternalism” (greedily relishing) to the unconditioned - and imagining that somehow any of these anicca/dukkha/anatta experiences of ”being and not-being” apply to cooling down until nothing is felt in perfect stillness, is a waste of time.

Better to refrain from applying any samsaric phenomena (like annihilation and eternalism) which are both rooted in greed, hate or delusion as somehow indicating what Nibbāna ”must” be.

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??? ”Do anything?”, no no no I’m saying ALL beings in Samsara already know what states of non-awareness are like, because we have all had them.

You are not following my description at all.
All beings already know what non-awareness/unconscioussness is like via their own experiences. You even admitted yourself having had these experiences.

That is what my description is.

What I’m saying is that I do not see how (the remembered experience of) non-awareness is the same as (the actual experience* of) non-existence. So it’s the relation of awareness to existence that I question as you say they are the same. Would you agree that awareness falls under the khanda of consciousness, and existence under the khanda of rupa (materiality)? I do not see how these are the same. Or perhaps you see it differently, can you explain in terms of the khandas?

*which is a paradox

The reality of non-awareness/unconscioussness that we have all experienced:

  1. Is not somehow a satisfactory experience.
  2. Is not some hint or precursor to Nibbāna.
  3. The personal preference for non-awareness (contrary to awareness) as satisfactory is based on craving. Just like greedily relishing with awareness is based on craving.

Whatever we try to say about the unconditioned turns out to be a preconcieved notion of what annihilation/eternalism or existence/non-existence implies - all from a conditional point of view.

These views are all based on greed, hatred and delusion.

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Namo Buddhaya!

Suppose that you have a dream of getting a surgery. Therein you get anesthesia and “lose consciousness” before coming to senses after the surgery. Were you actually unconscious or were you just dreaming?

The answer is that losing consciousness in a dream doesn’t interrupt the dream, the dream merely changes as it persists in such a way.

Likewise if you were to become unconscious, during the waking state, that would merely be a change in the constructed percipience for you.

It’s not an actual cessation of consciousness nor a “non-existence”, existence just changes as it persists in such a way.

I don’t understand what point you are trying to make here? It sounds to me like you are stating that nothing anywhere has ever experienced or perceived true non-existence, because to experience or perceive requires an existent thing? Is that indeed the point you’re trying to make?

Assuming that is the case, if nothing, anywhere, at any time has experienced or perceived - or even can experience or perceive - true non-existence, then so much the worse for true non-existence, yes? If that is a fact you are assuming, then what do you wish to infer based upon this fact? It seems you are trying to rebut something with this fact, but I don’t understand what work you wish to perform from assuming this stated fact?



My point is that states like being put under with anesthesia are neither a cessation of existence nor a non-existence…

It is not because ‘to experience or perceive requires an existent thing’. Nevermind this.

The logic is the same as in talking about ‘losing consciousness’ in dream, like this

Unconsciousness in the dream is not not a dream.

If unconsciousness there was not a dream then the dream would’ve ceased in dependence on that which is not a dream.

Therefore can’t say ‘at that time i wasn’t dreaming’ because he was dreaming and such was his dream.

True non-existence can’t be discerned in dependence on ‘nothing’ because nothing can’t come into play because it is not an element among elements.

If we assert that there is A and B where
A is ‘existence’
B is not A

Then B is something other that A, but B can’t be nothing. If B was nothing then our initial premise ‘there is A and B’ would be falsified.

Therefore if we talk about a true ‘non-existence’ then

  1. it must be something other than existence
  2. it can’t be nothing.

It follows from all this this that losing consciousness due to anesthesia is an experience pertaining to existence rather than the coming into play of non-existence.

If i was to ask ‘what did you experience at that time?’ A person would say ‘i experienced nothing’ and this would negate the coming into play of not-existence because not-existence, if true, can not be nothing.

I’ll give another analogy

Losing consciousness in this sense ought to be thought of similarly as one would be thinking about watching a video where a section has been cut out.

Did you see the missing frames?
Did the video end where the missing frames would be?
But what did you see of the missing frames?
I saw nothing

At no point did watching of the video end due to the missing of frames.
This is analogical to losing consciousness in a dream, at no point did the dream end.

And the logic is the same when speaking about losing consciousness due to anesthesia or fainting in general. At no point is there a cessation of existence as a coming into play of non-existence.

Ok, I will try to nevermind it. What’s still unclear to me is if - neverminding this - you are assuming a true non-existence? Is that what you are assuming? To what purpose are you assuming a true non-existence? What work do you wish to make of assuming this true non-existence? The rest of your comment reads to me as a fleshing out, an elaboration on a true non-existence and how it might differ from a mere non-existence described as impermanent?

It seems to me you wish to assume a true non-existence in order to contrast it with the mere non-existence that the OP is talking about as impermanent etc. Is this the case? If it is the case, then what work does this assumption do?

It seems you wish to talk about the discernment of true non-existence with this statement. In describing what true non-existence cannot be discerned from are you also wishing to imply that there is something upon which it can be discerned? If so, then in dependence upon what can true existence be discerned? If it can’t be discerned depending upon anything at all, then what are we even talking about??

How can a true non-existence be “a something”?? Based upon what can you discern this true non-existence?? It seems this is a mass of contradiction to my lowly mind.

Forgive me, but I’m at a loss to understand what you are trying to get at…


These states of ‘losing consciousness’ are therefore constructed impermanent dukkha and not a cessation occuring in dependence on the not-constructed.

When you say ‘cessation’ here do you mean ‘true non-existence’? Are you saying that ‘true non-existence’ occurs in dependence on the ‘not-constructed’ aka ‘nibbana’?


Now keep in mind that i do not describe as ‘something’ only what pertains to existence. My use is unlike the normative usage of the term something meaning an ‘existant something’. Rather i use the term ‘something’ to describe whatever and in whatever terms something is discerned.

One must do this to understand what Buddha was teaching, here the same logic

Now it’s possible, Ananda, that some wanderers of other persuasions might say, ‘Gotama the contemplative speaks of the cessation of perception & feeling and yet describes it as pleasure. What is this? How can this be?’ When they say that, they are to be told, ‘It’s not the case, friends, that the Blessed One describes only pleasant feeling as included under pleasure. Wherever pleasure is found, in whatever terms, the Blessed One describes it as pleasure.’"

i rely on the same logic

Having asserted that there is a and b. Then both a & b are true and to that extent something.
If a is existence, and b is not a, then not-existence is something other than existence but equally true.

I assert that there are two elements

The constructed and the unconstructed

The constructed pertains to the scope of existence and the unconstructed is not-existence but nevertheless a truth.

There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.

If one would want to, one could assert that there exist two elements; existence in various realms and the cessation of existence.

Then one has to say that i describe as existing not only that which pertains to the constructed existence but whatever is found to exist, in whatever terms, that one describes as existing.