What do you think about Ven Thanissaro’s view on Nibbāna?

I see. Thank you so much, Bhante! That’s very helpful :blush: :pray:


Also anupubbanirodhā, ‘progressive cessation’, as in AN9.31, suggests pīti and sukha cease in the jhanas and don’t come back again in the formless states.


Another thing is that the three jhānas are called ‘perturbable’ whereas the fourth jhāna is called ‘imperturbable’ (see MN 66). The pīti/sukha are said to be what is ‘perturbable’ there, as opposed to pure equanimity. More often, just the formless states are called ‘imperturbable’ (c.f. AN 3.116, AN 4.190, etc.) and this seems to refer to upekkhā specifically — as the phrase is a standard for the fourth jhāna. Three types of sankhārā are ‘puñña, apuñña, and āneñja (imperturbable).’ These correspond to the resulting contact/sensations one experiences dependent on the activity. Meritorious intentions generate contacts to be experienced as pleasant (sukhavedanīya), demeritorious ones create contact to be experienced as painful (dukkhavedanīya), and ‘imperturbable’ ones correspond to rebirth in the realms of pure upekkhā.

You see examples of this same principle in many places. MN 140 for example describes how purified equanimity (of the fourth jhāna) can extend itself to the four arūpa-samāpattis.


If the Dhamma is only meant to make an end to all lifeforms, some called humans, some called animals, some called deva’s, etc., with nothing remaining, i feel that is a Dhamma to be feared. Not because a self gets lost, but this Dhamma just wants to end all lifeforms for good with nothing remaining. For me this feels like this Dhamma hates life. It says: it is better that no beings exist then beings exist. I feel that is an evil and harmful view.

I choose: Dhamma aims at making you alive. Give you a sense of wonder and the mystery of life. It want to liberate us from the prison of being death while alive.


Namo Buddhaya!

As i see it,

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the atheist conceives of final-extinguishment in the same way as the ‘nothing-after-parinibbana-buddhist’ but there is disagreement on the path leading to extinguishment.

In other words the ordinary atheist sees the 3rd noble truth in the same way as the “nothing-after-parinibbana-buddhist” but the latter assumes the view of a conditional extinguishment whereas the former of an unconditional extinguishment.

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It is a very good question, Venerable Brahmali, and it is often, in my opinion, not satisfactorily answered by those say Jhāna can occur with the senses still intact. There are a few possible answers given:

  1. These states are just irrelevant and not mentioned in the Suttas
  2. These states are in fact “dangerous” (I find this one a little implausible)
  3. These states correspond to the 8 liberations/8 domains of mastery
  4. These states are sort of an alternate route to the formless realms, where perception of the body is dropped earlier than it would be through the jhana route (similar to #3 above). Or, they are sort of a mix between the formless and formJhānas.
  5. Jhāna has two different dimensions: a “Jhāna factor” dimension, and a “concentration dimension”. So these states are just highly concentrated types of Jhāna, but other states where the senses are still present, albeit in the background, can still qualify as Jhāna.
  6. These states are in fact Jhāna, and everything else is a lesser attainment.

I tend to lean towards 5 or 6.

Alternatively, the below

“Pāmojjaṁ pana, bhante, kimatthiyaṁ kimānisaṁsan”ti?

“Rapture …” “Pāmojjaṁ kho, ānanda, pītatthaṁ pītānisaṁsan”ti.

“But what is the purpose and benefit of rapture?” “Pīti pana, bhante, kimatthiyā kimānisaṁsā”ti?

“Tranquility …” “Pīti kho, ānanda, passaddhatthā passaddhānisaṁsā”ti.

“But what is the purpose and benefit of tranquility?” “Passaddhi pana, bhante, kimatthiyā kimānisaṁsā”ti?

“Bliss …” “Passaddhi kho, ānanda, sukhatthā sukhānisaṁsā”ti.

“But what is the purpose and benefit of bliss?” “Sukhaṁ pana, bhante, kimatthiyaṁ kimānisaṁsan”ti?

Concentration …” “Sukhaṁ kho, ānanda, samādhatthaṁ samādhānisaṁsan”ti.

“But what is the purpose and benefit of concentration?” “Samādhi pana, bhante, kimatthiyo kimānisaṁso”ti?

“Truly knowing and seeing …” “Samādhi kho, ānanda, yathābhūtañāṇadassanattho yathābhūtañāṇadassanānisaṁso”ti.

“But what is the purpose and benefit of truly knowing and seeing?” “Yathābhūtañāṇadassanaṁ pana, bhante, kimatthiyaṁ kimānisaṁsan”ti?

“Disillusionment and dispassion …” “Yathābhūtañāṇadassanaṁ kho, ānanda, nibbidāvirāgatthaṁ nibbidāvirāgānisaṁsan”ti.

“But what is the purpose and benefit of disillusionment and dispassion?” “Nibbidāvirāgo pana, bhante, kimatthiyo kimānisaṁso”ti?

“Knowledge and vision of freedom is the purpose and benefit of disillusionment and dispassion. “Nibbidāvirāgo kho, ānanda, vimuttiñāṇadassanattho vimuttiñāṇadassanānisaṁso.

could easily be read as a description of the 1st-4th Jhānas followed by knowledge & vision/ truly knowing and seeing, with the final reference to concentration meaning the 4 Jhāna. This would tie in nicely with the fact that the 4th Jhāna is often described as the culmination of concentration, and from that standpoint one can end the defilments, attain the supernormal knowledges, etc.

“Monks, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the prior disappearance of elation and depression, a monk attains and remains in the fourth Jhāna, which is neither painful nor pleasant and has purity of mindfulness and equanimity. He sits suffusing this very body with a completely pure and clean mind; there is nowhere in his entire body that is not suffused with his completely pure and clean mind. Monks, it is like a man who sits with his entire body covered with a white cloth, including his head; there is nowhere on his body that is not covered by the white cloth. Monks, in the same way, a monk sits suffusing this very body with a completely pure and clean mind; there is nowhere in his entire body that is not suffused with his completely pure and clean mind.

“When the mind is concentrated in this way – completely pure, completely clean, flawless, without defilement, malleable, workable, stable, and imperturbable…

Maybe best not to derail this thread though. There is another thread about this question right now: Question On Sammā Samādhi (One samādhi, blue samādhi, we samādhi, who’s samādhi?)

I wonder if Ven. Thanissaro in regards to this

The first is that it’s not a blank of nothingness. Instead, it’s a type of consciousness. But unlike ordinary consciousness, it’s not known through the six senses, and it doesn’t engage in fabricating any experience at all—unlike, for example, the non-dual consciousness found in formless levels of concentration.

If he holds that there is only one & same extraordinary consciousness coming into play for different people or if each person realizes a unique extraordinary consciousness.

Either way i think he got some terminology mixed up and maybe read too much into the similes but idk if he got the principal meaning wrong.

He mixes up sutta references and weaves in paraphrases of various texts, it is confusing and messy. I think that he ought to use exact references and quotations instead.

Fortunately I don’t think anyone is suggesting that this is Dhamma :slight_smile: :pray:

Have to be careful not to praise what people call death🙏

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unlike, for example, the non-dual consciousness found in formless levels of concentration.

Is he saying that an ordinary Mystic isn’t quite “there” yet?

Very interesting question. Somebody should really submit it to him.


When the word samādhi is used on its own, it normally refers to sammāsamādhi, simply because this is the samādhi of the path. So I would say that samādhi here is a reference to the four jhānas. Also, to me the point of this sutta is to show that samādhi only arises at this point, not earlier.

Understandable, this is craving for existence, an useful thing as to counter the suicidal idea for those whose faith in rebirth is not very strong.

For those who reflects a lot on SN 15.1-20 suttas, one hopefully eventually see that there’s nothing in samsara is worth clinging onto, nothing in samsara worth existing for. There’s no point in letting rebirth continue in any form, in any existence. We are all immortals who switches bodies, have periodic amnesia, and most of the bodies in samsara are of very suffering states. Whatever happiness we can imagine (other than nibbāna) we have experienced them countless times, whatever suffering we can imagine, that too we have suffered countless times. It’s enough to produce revulsion to samsara.

Only one can liberate oneself, for all other beings, they have to liberate their own self.

As mentioned before on rebirth, killing the whole universe with some sci fi doomsday device is not going to cut it, new universes spawn, higher realms like brahma realms are unaffected etc. So the Buddhist goal is not the same as a typical evil supervillain plot. One has to integrate the background knowledge of rebirth deeply to see the point of view of the dhamma.

I would imagine his use of the word “consciousness” implies a faculty of knowledge which is in touch with the “unborn”; “unmade”; “unfabricated”; “unconditioned”.

It would saturate one’s being and environment. There wouldn’t be any bounds to it. In that sense, one could view it internally as “this consciousness” or externally as “consciousness of that”. It would all be much the same either way.

Does one enter the “unborn” state of Nibbana through “birth” or through “death”?

There’s no one to enter nothing.

There’s just the end of rebirth for the Arahant, final death, no more rebirth.

Ajahn Brahm likes to use the natthi (there isn’t) cake story. Don’t mistaken there isn’t cake as an entity, a thing.

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Yes, many people seem to think that this is implicit in his teachings, but I don’t think it is. He is far away from affirming a Self or anything like it. If I understand him correctly, Nibbana is more like a mystical state to him (very similar to that of the ancient Mystics), where the principle of contradiction and all categories of thought are somehow transcended. So he neither affirms nor denies a Self, just a state of “unbinding”.

So @Notez ’ question would be, if I’m not wrong, what is the foundation for this state, and is it impersonal.

I feel, Dhamma wants to make us alive, meaning, come out of the prison of conditioning patterns, habits, tendencies, inclinations, bagage with us. It wants to free the mind. Liberate it from all its oppressing and limiting forces.

A Buddha shows us, as it were, what it really means to be oneself. Not being ruled by bagage. A Buddha is revealing the truth about ourselves.
Dukkha refers to this imprisoned existence. The strange thing is, we also like the safety of the caged life.

I also believe that samsara is not really a place. Like Nibbana is also not a place. Samsara is more like a mode of existence, an imprisoned existence. It is not that we are now humans. That is only conventional truth fabricated by identifying ourselves with 5 khandha’s. But this constructed idea of being a human now, is not some absolute truth about ourselves. A Buddha reveals what or who we really are.

Thinking we are now humans is just a wrong start. To assume one is now a human is merely the perspective of attachment and defilement. Seeing samsara as place is also mere a convention. The perspective of attachment and defilement.

I have my doubts on rebirth. IF we have really experienced so much suffering, countless lives, how is it possible that after countless lives we have no clue about suffering yet and still can be shocked, surprised. That not alone, even a Buddha to be can be fully shocked about suffering while we would have encounterd suffering in endless lifes? How is this possible?

It clearly shows that we do not learn a thing from our former lives. All generation again, all individuals again, make the same mistakes, must ripen, must learn gradually while making choices, and are born naieve. How? We do not show any learning from former lives. Even a Buddha to be can be totally naive about the truth of suffering! That says a lot. Why is he not wiser? Yes, the legend is fabricated that all suffering was hidden for him. I feel that is also mere a story. Probably to tackle the fact that even a Buddha to be is clueless about the truth of suffering. We all seem to be. Why are we not wiser at birth while we have encountered suffering endless times?

It would be only rational that if rebirth is true we would be fully attuned to the truth of suffering we so many times experienced. But it is not like this. It is like we never ever experienced suffering. It is like we never ever lost children, had pains, lost parents, became sick, decayed because we always are more or less overwhelmed and shocked when this happens. I was really shocked. So much i entered a deep crises.

I feel when rebirth would be true and we have experienced suffering in endless lives, then, somehow, that truth of suffering must have been implemented, ingrained in our minds, like a dear fears lions immediately when born. I feel, our naievity about suffering is a sign that these stories about endless lives are probably mythical and only function to let go of our self-will.

I also do not believe that those stories about a wandering individual mindstream seeking rebirth in an egg, are right. I feel they are probably mythical ideas. People just did not know anything about evolution and about birth. The sutta’s even mention birth from moisture, but this does not exist, but they just did not know how this works.

We have always suggested that there must be something that vitalizes matter. It seems we cannot understand how an egg and sperm can lead to a self-conscious human being and so they postulate a third element. I do not know if this is right but it feels primitive to introduce some vitalizing third element. I believe it might be more true that this third element of mind is never absent because it is the ground of all that exist.

I also feel it is just a weird idea that there have been always socalled lifestreams wandering around from birth to birth. That cannot be true, i feel. Buddha also does not say this literally.

I feel, revulsion towards samsara is not the same as revulsion to life but to being a machine, leading a machine like life, governed by habits, ideas, tendencies. I worked in a hospital for birds and i have seen this life a lot, because birds react impulsive, according always the same patterns. Sometimes i was really disgusted seeing these same patterns over and over again. I felt pain to see this slavery, this existence being trapped in such forceful conditioning. A Buddha comes in the world to free the mind from this slavery existence, i believe. That is the meaning of samsara for me. Samsara is slavery existence. I believe, feeling revulsion towards slavery, the imprisonment of being ruled by bagage, is oke, but feeling revulsion to life and existence, i feel, goes towards the desire not to exist anymore, vibhava tanha.

I am probably not a buddhist.


I recommend you to read up many research papers, cases of rebirth evidences out there.

Well, it’s because we have suffered since infinite past and to avoid infinite future suffering that we take on this path with strong faith. I don’t think it’s helpful to reject scripture, evidences just for an idea that everyone should feel samvega due to having suffered since infinite past. Amnesia across life does explains a lot. And you might see in many rebirth cases, just rememering a few past lives still doesn’t make the craving for existence to turn to disgust about samsara.

Do you take refuge in the Buddhas, the Dhamma, the Sangha? If so, you are a Buddhist. You don’t have to believe what other Buddhists believe to be a Buddhist. You are free to self identify as you wish. :pray:

Hello Venerable!

The converse, “Dhamma aims at making you utterly cease” is the craving for non-existence. This is a useful practice for some to counter the grasping after the world’s pretty things, but it should still be seen as just a useful practice. It is not the destination.

Revulsion is just another word for craving. For craving after suchness to be different from suchness. Aversion towards samsara can only take you so far. This too has to be given up.

This is replete with “I” and “mine” making. Only “I” can liberate “myself” and all “others” have to liberate their own “self.” On what grounds can such a distinction between individuals be made? It is not appropriate to grasp the mere aggregates as “I” or as embodying “myself.” This too has to be given up.


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