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The Far Shore

nibbāna
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#21

Interesting. I think the problem now and during the time of the Buddha was that people wanted something, even in Nibbana. For example, if it is said Nibbana is nothing, the people get disappointed saying “then what is the whole purpose of this practice if there is nothing to gain”.
On the other hand if it is said Nibbana is something, then those who understand Nibbana would disagree. Therefore, a middle approach may have been reached. Of course this is a hypothesis.

But if we approach this issue from the basics I think we can make a lot of progress. The Buddha said that craving is the cause of suffering. Craving arises because we do not understand the phenomenal nature of the six senses, external stimuli and dependent nature of the arising of craving. Said simply, craving is consciousness becoming stationed on sense stimuli in dependence on their enticing features. The N8FP is about freeing the consciousness from that stationing. So the way I understand it is that if consciousness which originates dependently, does not originate anymore because the practitioner has understood the true nature of stimuli, there is no more of any consciousness. That is the end of suffering.

Godhika Sutta SN 4.23 supports my above understanding.

"Mendicants, do you see that cloud of black smoke moving east, west, north, south, above, below, and in-between?”
Yes, sir.”
That’s Māra the Wicked searching for Godhika’s consciousness, wondering:
Where is Godhika’s consciousness established?’
But since his consciousness is not established, Godhika is extinguished.”
With Metta


#22

Sounds like we’re in agreement that given the above “Godhika” is extinguished. That said, “Godhika” is presumably a sense and presentation of “self.” So, it sounds like that sense of self called “Godhika” and the defilements are what are extinguished. Until parinibbana, a being still remains; awareness still remains; compassion still remains. What happens to that awareness, compassion and wisdom at the time of parinibbana?

Again, though, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that a separate-self exists and persists after parinibbana, or that any of the five aggregrates exist after parinibbana. That said, the universe remains. Awareness seems to remain. Apparently, the deathless element and the unconditioned remains, and it seems like they cannot be fully described and defined by words and reason.

On a different note, I appreciate your description of dependent origination above and find it helpful. However, I don’t find it contrary to my statement that Nibbana is neither something nor nothing, but beyond words and mental proliferation.


#23

Awareness, compassion and wisdom IMO are different labels to consciousness. If I say “I am aware” it is same as saying “I am conscious”. But the key is whether there is any attachment there. Even the Buddha had all these and he even used the word “I”, “I am” etc in communicating. But there was no attachment. Therefore after Parinibbana consciousness does not station anywhere or on anything because it has no footing.

This reminds me of the fire simile. When the fire is extinguished it cannot be said to have gone to the east, west, south or north. It is just extinguished.
With Metta


#24

Awareness remains only long enough to see its own cessation. ‘All phenomena have Unbinding as their final end.’ Ud8.3. Even Unestablished consciousness or non-manifestatitve consciousness ceases.


#25

I’m not seeing this quote within Ud 8.3. However, that sutta does seem relevant:
“There is, monks, an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned. If, monks there were not that unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, you could not know an escape here from the born, become, made, and conditioned."

Sounds like the Buddha is referring to the deathless element, the unconditioned, which of course is beyond words.

with metta,


#26

If Nibbana is simply and only the extinguishment of the defilements and five aggregates, why would the Buddha teach something like?

"Gods, fairies, and humans don’t know their destiny;

the perfected ones with defilements ended:

that’s who I call a brahmin."
-MN 98


#27

That was a mistake. Try: SuttaCentral


#28

No problem. Thanks for both references. Can’t get too much of the Dhamma:-)


#29

In which case :wink::

“Consciousness that’s invisible,
infinite, radiant all round.
Here’s where water and earth,
fire and air find no footing;
here’s where long and short,
fine and coarse, beautiful and ugly;
here’s where name and form
cease with nothing left over—
with the cessation of consciousness
that’s where this ceases.”
SuttaCentral