Questions about Happiness, Suffering and Neutrality

I have questions about some things that I don’t really understand.

It is said that there are three kinds of feelings: pleasant, painful, neither pleasant nor painful (or neutral).
And in one sutta the Buddha says neither pleasant nor painful feelings are included in pleasant feelings. (MN 59)

There are the four jhanas. There is Nibbana after death.

As far as I know, Venerable Brahm, Venerable @sujato , and Venerable @Brahmali teach that there is no experience in Nibbana after death but it is still the highest happiness.

In one Sutta Sariputta says that because there is nothing felt it is happiness. (AN 9.34)

In many Suttas the Buddha teaches that the fourth jhana is more pleasant than the jhanas before even though there is no pleasure or pain.

The Buddha also teaches that cessation of feeling and perception is the highest happiness.

As far as I know it is also said that every experience is dukkha, not only because it doesn’t last it is also dukkha in the moment it is experienced, is that correct?
(I don’t know the sutta)

So my questions are:

How can there be pleasure in fourth jhana when it is said there is no more pleasure or pain?

When it is said that neutral feeling is more pleasant than pleasant feeling, then either pleasant feeling cannot truly be called pleasant because it is worse than neutral feeling or neutral feeling is not truly neutral because there is still some form of pleasure. (even though it might be a different, better kind than that of pleasant feeling)

When Nibbana is the cessation of experience then there is either something ineffable going on here which explains why it is still pleasant. Or there is really nothing in the ordinary sense, which means that every experience is in fact suffering and there is no
real happiness that is more then the mere absence of suffering and there never was any.

So as far as I know there are two possible explanations.

1.:There is suffering and there is happiness and what is called neutral is a finer form of happiness and final nibbana is the finest form of happiness but it is different than nothing in the sense that atheists understand nothing which happens after death, because happiness remains.

2.:There is only suffering and everything we call happiness is also suffering and final nibbana is nothing in the sense that atheists understand nothing which happens after death. So it seems there either never was any true happiness to begin with or happiness is simply a word for the absence of suffering but there is no happiness in the sense that it is truly pleasant and more than the absence of suffering instead of simply nothing.

I hope I don’t annoy anyone with these kinds of questions but I truly want to understand the teaching.

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These kind of questions about the upper limits of practice can only be answered through actual experience, not through theoretical explanation.

"There is the case where a monk considers, ‘O when will I enter & remain in the dimension that those who are noble now enter & remain in?’ And as he thus nurses this yearning for the unexcelled liberations, there arises within him sorrow based on that yearning. With that he abandons resistance. No resistance-obsession gets obsessed there.[5]—MN 44

At their stage of the practice, the practitioner must be content to nurse a yearning to experience the higher states. This is a legitimate painful feeling not-of-the flesh. They should work on the removal of attachment and resistance at their current level.

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I don’t agree, relying on your own experience instead of knowing the teaching leads most likely to stuff like believing in an eternal Citta and so on for example, that’s why the buddha taught in the first place.

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The Brahmavihara of Metta, which is conductive to liberation, as well as the Brahmaviharas of Karuna, Mudita (Joy) and Upekkha (Equanimity) are integral to Buddhist Awakening and are superior to states of emotional neutrality. Compassion is more important than psychological withdrawal.

Thanks, but where is the connection to my question here?

You are concerned with pleasant feelings, neutral feelings, when I am pointing you to the Brahmaviharas which constitute the prime motives of the Buddha-mind. Compassion, Love, Joy, and Equanimity will bring you closer to Awakening.

Thanks, but it still doesn’t answer my question.

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Well, people consider Nirvana pleasant because they are finally free from craving and lust. The pleasant feeling comes from the Brahmaviharas experienced by the Awakened One, and people are happier that way.

So your opinion is:
1.:There is suffering and there is happiness and what is called neutral is a finer form of happiness and final nibbana is the finest form of happiness but it is different than nothing in the sense that atheists understand nothing which happens after death, because happiness remains.
Is that correct?

Nirvana, and Sunyata (Emptiness) constitute a change in perception and thinking, it is not that your Realization of Emptiness makes you disappear into nothingness. The purpose of Buddhism is for a better life, outlined in the Noble Eightfold Path, and one who’s disposition is that of the Brahmaviharas and Buddhadhamma will certainly reach the stage of Emancipation outlined by Gautama.

@UpasakaMalavaro

Sir I will try to answer.

I will give you simile. Consider a person having a wound which is so painful.

Now if we give that person tasty food to eat will he be happy? Yes he will as tasty food will cause him to forget his painful wound temporarily.

Now if we give that person medication which will reduce his pain, will that person be happy? Yes he will… But only till the effect of medication lasts and after effect of medication ends he will start to feel severe pain again.

Now tell me if you give him painkiller will that person be happy? Yes he will, because painkiller is like anaesthesia… but still it will end someday and he will again start feeling pain.

Now tell me if you give him cure which cures his wound forever, will that person be happy? Yes… actually this absense of wound will be highest happiness for that person. He never imagined or never thought that this wound could be cured. Now he has permanent happiness.

So now all the pain we have in our life… whether it is not getting what we want or getting what we don’t want or not being successful or not getting importance or not getting loving people around us or sickness or old age and lastly death. All of this pain is like the wound that person is having.

Tasty food is like sense pleasure for us.

Medication to reduce pain is like having stable life and little bit of wishes being fulfilled.

Painkiller or anaesthesia is like bliss of jhanas which will make us forget the pain but still someday it will end even if after aeons…but it will end.

And finally the cure to cure that wound forever and ending it permanently is like path to attain nirvana. And when that person cures his wound (all kind of pain till death) completely we say he has become ‘arhat’. Freed from pain forever.

I hope this answers your question. Thank you.

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Thanks, I understand that, but it doesn’t answer my question.

Nirvana, and Sunyata (Emptiness) constitute a change in perception and thinking, it is not that your Realization of Emptiness makes you disappear into nothingness. The purpose of Buddhism is for a better life, outlined in the Noble Eightfold Path, and the need understood in the Four Noble Truths, and one who’s disposition is that of the Brahmaviharas and Buddhadhamma will certainly reach the stage of Emancipation outlined by Gautama.

How does your post have anything to do with my question?

Which question sir? I believe I answered your question. If not will you kindly elaborate your question for me?

OK

Is the following correct or wrong?

Which of the following is true?

Well it seems to me like you are asking how is there still pleasure of some sort in the fourth Jhana after it is states that in the fourth Jhana there is no material pleasure.

Look here in this quotation from Lion’s Roar:

In the fourth jhana you go deeper still. You turn away from all mental states that would counter total stillness, even happiness. The turning away happens by itself; no effort is required. Equanimity and one-pointedness get even stronger. Feelings of pain went away at the first jhana. In the fourth jhana, feelings of bodily pleasure go away, too. There is not a single thought. You feel sensation that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant. You rest in one-pointedness and equanimity.

-The Taste of Liberation: The Jhanas, Lion’s Roar.

The Brahmavihara of Equanimity is still experienced there, as well as the others, this can constitute a Spiritual pleasure that is not a ‘bodily’ pleasure, and can be considered a type of happiness [that is different from the happiness mentioned one Transcends in this Meditation, the happiness Transcended being based on craving being appeased by an object one craves for.]

Thanks, as far as I know nowhere it is said that only material pleasure ceases in fourth jhana, it rather says generally pleasure ceases.

How can there either be pleasure, when there is only sensation that is not pleasant. Or how can it be said there is sensation that is not pleasant when there still is some form of pleasure. It’s a contradiction.

The pleasure is referred to as material pleasure, specifically bodily pleasure, pleasure based on the senses. Remember, these are just words that are meant to bring you to the truth, and these words are an Expedient Means. You can call that type of Spiritual happiness pleasurable, or based on renunciation, not pleasurable, or based on Transcendence not even happiness at all. If you don’t latch onto the words expecting them to carry a solid meaning, they can in turn become a vehicle that can carry you to the truth instead of being the object of your thoughts themselves.

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Can you show me a sutta, where it is said that only material, bodily pleasure ceases?

What do you mean with that part?