Spin-Off from Bhante Sujato’s Essay: Self, no self, not-self…

Well done @Green. You are one of only a few on these threads that gets this.

The whole of Lokadhatu is mind made. All sankhara. Luang Poo Maha Boowa taught that there is no self in any of this, only the illusion of self driven by ignorance, desire and attachment. That being the case, how can anyone take the view that he taught that there is a self in Nibbana? So much misunderstanding.

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I don’t know what precisely are views of Venerables Maha Bua, and Thanissaro, but according to the Dhamma, the Tathagata is not to be found even now and here. This is so, because it is an ignorance which supports the state of bhava. And in this sense it is not proper to speak even about arahat’s death, since only one who was born can die.

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If citta never born and never dies, that would mean citta will be never change and permanent.

(1) “Bhikkhus, whether Tathāgatas arise or not, there persists that law, that stableness of the Dhamma, that fixed course of the Dhamma: ‘All conditioned phenomena are impermanent.’ A Tathāgata awakens to this and breaks through to it, and then he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyzes it, and elucidates it thus: ‘All conditioned phenomena are impermanent.’


Are you describing one citta or many? You’ve mentioned elsewhere that the conception of individuals is adventitious to such a citta so the question naturally arises, are you describing one citta or many? Also, can I find this citta as something other than void, hollow, and completely insubstantial? :pray:

Is it even correct to conceive and reify the nature of mind without limits?
Do we not immediately distort it and delimit it while we make it an object of conceiving?

Is that the start of all mistaken notions of this mind without limits?
I believe so.

I think all these words spent on the nature of the mind without limits are only a kind of pointers.

Buddha gave these words to this mind without limits:

“Mendicants, I will teach you the uninclined, undefiled, the truth, the far shore …the subtle …
the very hard to see …the freedom from old age …the constant …the not falling apart …that in which nothing appears …the unproliferated …the peaceful …the freedom from death …the sublime …
the state of grace …the sanctuary …the ending of craving …the incredible …the amazing …the untroubled …the not liable to trouble …extinguishment …the unafflicted …dispassion …
purity …freedom …not clinging …the island …the protection …the shelter …the refuge …”

For me it is very clear Buddha speaks here about here and now, and not about a mere cessation at death.

It was this refuge that the Buddha sought. He found it, and this was the end of his search, i believe.
He has never ever sought for a mere cessation without anything remaining, a path to non-existence.
He did never search for a mere cessation. No he sought the deathless, that what does not desintegrate.
Also not when the body of the Buddha decays, feelings and perceptions stop. That he found. And i believe, like the sutta’s say…this is hard to see. This mind is so subtle when it is not involved anymore in khandha’s. Hard to see.

For me the clue is…Buddha sought a home for himself and he found it. Not in a mere cessation without anything remaining, but in the mind without limits, the constant, the not desintegrating.

The rest is philosophy. Trying to conceive the unconceivable. Proliferating the non-proliferated. AN4.174

For me, that is what we do here. We constantly form thought, images, of this mind without limits, and demand that it is or impermanent or permanent, debate all this endlessly, but meanwhile we are lost in the coarseness of thinking, reasoning and conceiving and the very hard to see even escapes more and more our attention.

You are also refering to something Maha Boowa said, not me. In an earlier post is shared the view of Maha Boowa:

“The basis of death exists precisely in the citta, as death and birth are both present within it. The citta itself is never born and never dies. Rather, the defiling influences that infiltrate and permeate the citta keep us in a repetitious cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Do you understand?”

These are not my words. Now it looks it are my words. But oke.

Ideas about the citta as one or many will fail, i believe. Such ideas cannot be applied, i believe.
All these categories of thinking…in terms of one or many…that will not work.
What does it even mean…one mind? If you think about it, one mind would mean that one delimits the mind. One thinks in terms of boundaries. Because if something has no boundaries one cannot call it one.

I believe later buddhism started to talk about the nature of the mind in a nice way: its essence is emptiness. It cannot be found as this and that, it has no shape, location, colour etc. It is never an object of the senses. But the nature of mind is not only empty it also has a potential to know, an element of light, clarity. The nature of mind (undefiled) is also unhindered. Things can freely manifest.

Besides i have some feeling for all this, this does not mean that i have, like Maha Boowa and others teachers, a direct, non-conceived, true knowledge of the nature of the mind without limits.

As far as I’ve seen no one here has specifically said Ajahn Boowa taught “there is a self in nibbāna.”

Rather, the issue has been that with descriptions like “timeless citta” and statements like “the citta does not die” he was pointing to final nibbāna as a kind of eternal, ineffable, “something”, whether it’s labeled a “self” or not.

This differs from those who view final nibbāna as cessation.

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By analogy:
Suppose you have never in your life experienced silence.
Then at one moment, for whatever reason, there is a brief moment of complete silence.

You know at that moment there is consciousness of sound which is distinct from knowing silence.
At the same time you know that the experience of silence cannot in any way be described in terms of sound, except for the experience of lack of sound.

Up to this point we can describe the experience in terms of sound, either its presence in whatever way, or the absence of sound.
Yet the experience carries two more aspects. One is that the experience is caused by non-perception. For example temporary deafness. There is sound, but it’s not perceived.
The other is where the sound is so faint that one is unsure there is or is no sound. In this case the mind is actively seeking out, moving, to find sound, but unable to hear it. It’s tense, not relaxed. Yet in absence of sound the mind relaxes, so to speak.

About this “condition” I can say that wherever there is no sound, silence is experienced.
And when the mind is not tense, not seeking sound, it will relax in this silence.
Yet this experience of sound, or silence, is depending on the functioning ear, and sound outside, and being aware of the sound. And silence: functioning ear, no sound outside, and being aware of absence of sound.

Yet what is beyond, when the functioning ear is gone, as well as the awareness of presence of absence of sound, it’s not appropriate to talk about as sound or silence. We call it death, where there is no experience at all. Yet once we experienced silence, we will know that (if we don’t crave sound) the experience of death is as pleasant as the experience of silence.

The mind detached from vinnana is nothing more than the mind relaxing in silence. And afterwards aware of that (not during, that’s a mental movement causing disturbance of silence).
It still requires something to function: life (name and form).
Silence is the condition which persists, even without a listener. But we don’t confuse the awareness of (temporary) no-sound (silence) with the silence itself. And in talks about nibbana I see this confusion all to often.

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If final Nibbana was not eternal, it would not be deathless. Eternal kind of means deathless.

Thanks, Maybe i do not understand you correct. For me the detached mind is not merely a silent mind, but more like a secluded mind. Perceptions/feelings/vinnana’s (noise) still come and go but there is no getting involved in them. No building up. No constructing, no mentallity arising towards what is perceived and felt. Vinnana’s still come and go for the arahant but the mind is detached from these perceptions.

Indeed, the awareness of silence is just a moment of arising mental vinnana, meaning silence is at that moment the object of the mental awareness. Great teachers always emphasize that this must never be mistaken with real calm, real peace, Nibbana, emptiness because that is never an object of the mental sense but more a quality of that in which all vinnana’s/perceptions arise.

The mental sense in the head can become aware of stillness, of calm, of peace, of emptiness, take that as object, but this is never any real understanding of what the Buddha called peace, Nibbana, dispassion, at best it can be a kind of foretaste of it. Real understanding comes from an empty peaceful heart. Very different from having no thoughts and an empty head. Great masters always emphasize that one must not practice empty-headedness. One will meet all kinds of problems. In fact one must come out of the head and make contact with the heart and start to notice the difference between mind and the 6th mental domain.

You are right on this

Nibbana has no mind thus the mind without limit cannot be refer to it. The idea the mind without limit is having an eternalist view. It is like the undeclared question which say the world is infinite.

The mind arises, present and dies. I believe if the mind is without limit, it will have been stated in the sutta and described a few times in the sutta or in different Nikayas.

It is, for example in AN10.81

It can also be understood by way of the special abilities of a Buddha. If the mind is fixed in some location how can the Buddha travel to deva realms?

This is an interpretation.

“The deathless” can tend to be objectified, whereas the Pāli is a privative. So amata, for example, and as per KR Norman and others, is translated as “without death” or “freedom from death.”
Cessation is unending and “eternal” in the sense of not being a “thing” but simply complete cessation – free of, and without, death and everything else.

Yes, this is an interpretation too. You know, we all know.

It is also very clear to me that translators translate Pali words under influence of what they believe the Buddha taught. Someone like Thanissaro will probably translate words differently then Sujato and others etc. It is not that simple anymore that we can say that translators, by translating Pali words are completely objective. This is not possible, i think. Their understanding of Dhamma shows too.

So, what can one do with all these different translations? I even have seen a lay teacher who suggests that one must not translate sutta’s word by words, but only what is globally meant…and ofcourse…he would dictate what is meant…(madness).
Then i prefer reading different translations, different choices of translators.

Still i feel it somewhat ‘problematic’ that a translator has first some understanding of Dhamma (for example that Dhamma leads to a mere cessation) and then starts to translate the sutta’s matching this view on Dhamma. I feel, this is not really sincere rtranslating but i also do not see how to avoid this.
Probably it cannot be avoided.

Deathless …oke…but what to think about the not-desintegrating, the constant, the stable…the refuge etc. It becomes very weird if these are names for a mere cessation. That becomes nonsense.
If a flame goes out one does not talk about that situation as not-desintegrating, constant, stable.
One cannot talk that way about non-existent.

One side: you gotta die to be free of death.
Another side: you gotta be reborn to be free of rebirth.

If only there was a middle way… who is ‘you’ who is ‘me’ who is ‘I’? :joy: :pray:

middle way? euh…i am more of extremes :blush:

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The mind arises by heart base. When we look at the sutta that AN10.81 is refering free from the limits of defilements. But it is still bound by wholesome aggregates. There is no mind after pariNibbana. Thus we cannot say Nibbana is a mind without limits or an unconditioned mind.

Fixed this word for mind, depends on how one look at it. The mind is fixed on an object through concentration to attain Jhanas. Or when the mind attends to a beautiful object, it can be fixated at it and craving arising. So fixed can be good or bad. Th

It is interesting to note that though Buddha says it is not self in aggregates, then when speaking to others, he will say at times “I”. Isn’t that a self.

53. ‘So too, whenever the gross acquired self is present, we do not speak of the mind-made or formless acquired self; whenever the mind-made acquired self is present, we do not speak of the gross or formless acquired self; whenever the formless acquired self is present, we do not speak of the gross acquired self or the mind-made acquired self, we speak of the formless acquired self. But, Citta, these are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Tathāgata uses without misapprehending them.’

Yes, i can see you rely on theory. No offence meant. But i know these Abhdidhamma theories but no one has ever seen a heart base. Such concepts are invented to explain things, like also concepts of alaya etc. You treat them as true, as absolute, as how it is. I do not.

I feel one must rely on experience and then ask…do i really know that mind arises by heart-base? What do i even mean by heart-base (not relying on theory). To present:

as something what one really knows, i feel is like leaving the Path.

I read AN10.81 differently, but i think it will not make sense to discuss this.

There is nothing vague about this, i feel:

That wise mendicant here
rid of desire and lust,
has found the peace free of death,
extinguishment, the imperishable state. (Snp1.11)

Or what is vague about this?

Better to live a single day
seeing the state free of death
than to live a hundred years
blind to the state free of death.

That people come to the conclusion that Dhamma does not lead to some mere cessation without anything remaining is not irrational.