The idea that final Nibbāna is nothing apart from the cessation of the khandhas
might seem bleak. If it seems bleak, it is only due to the false sense of having
a permanent self, or more precisely, because of the view of personal identity,
The sense that one has a permanent core — a distortion of perception that is unavoidable for all puthujjanas — makes cessation appear like annihilation and the successful practice of the path like a form of suicide. If cessation
seems undesirable, it is only due to this distorted outlook.
This got me thinking, that if this is really the case then there is another path to Nibbāna taught in the suttas. But it is not really a explicit teaching - more implicit:
We have to use the suttas in a different light to come to this conclusion, but the goal is identical.
It goes a little something like this:
Immoral behaviour leads to rebirth in lower realms like hell, as an animal or ghost.
The amount time one has to spend in these lower states are immense.
There is no possibility to practice the Buddha’s dhamma (or any other spiritual teaching for that matter) in these states.
To be a human is a rare thing said the Buddha.
(We humans only make up 0.01% of life on Earth.)
When a universe contracts MOST are heading to the luminous form realms according to the suttas.
Not ALL, but most…
Most of who?
Most of those that have practiced morality, generousity and meditation.
But these other life forms have no way of doing this when a universe (kama loka) finally contracts. So those who went against all the principles of virtue and wisdom also get to enjoy final Nibbāna when their khandhas cease in the destruction of a universe, since they have nothing to cling to in either kama loka or rupa loka.
Unless someone wants to argue that the material residue of these annihilated beings during the destruction of kama loka will eventually somehow reappear as these very beings again when a new kama loka is formed?
As in the craving of these beings staying latent and when the conditions are right they can come back?
The problem with this is of course that in the the suttas, it is always from the top to the bottom.
Never from the bottom to the top.
Apparently the path of virtue and wisdom is still better with less overall pain/sorrow before reaching the goal. Then again the immoral with no wisdom get to enjoy the same type of cessation faster and more frequently than someone on the path - so it looks like there is a split between which path is actually the best.
To each their own.