Why don't we realise space instead Nibbana?





I always have been challenged by discussions about what Nibbana is or is not.
If, as I believe, Nibbana is the cessation of the DADs (Desires, Aversions, Delusions) then there is not a thing left that can be defined and argue about.


Okay so I am not disagreeing whatsoever, but how is “space” conditioned? And by space, I’m assuming they mean a vacuum or emptiness in the physical sense. If not, please correct me.


I think Nibbana is the cessation of perception and feeling.


Definition of Space.ākāśa


In the suttas, space is considered to be a property that is conditioned by matter. MN 28:

When a space is enclosed by sticks, creepers, grass, and mud it becomes known as a ‘building’. In the same way, when a space is enclosed by bones, sinews, flesh, and skin it becomes known as a ‘form’.

Thus the structures and shapes of matter define what is included or delineated outside that matter, which is what we call space. The concrete examples given above are presented in a more general form at SN 14.11:

The element of the dimension of infinite space appears due to the element of form.

This understanding of space agrees with the modern cosmology. Before the Big Bang, the universe is folded up at one point. That point doesn’t exist in space; space only comes into being as the cosmos expands, as the distance between particles. Thus space is conditioned by rūpa, just as in the EBTs.


I think space come into being when the ignorance come to existence beginning of which is un-known.


Ahh I see, so it’s relative. Just as motion is conditioned by form as you need a reference point to which you’re moving towards or away from. So that’s interesting, that means that even space itself, is sunyata just like everything else. In the sense that it has no intrinsic quality or even existence, without form to define it.


Yes space is empty of form.
But it is not empty of consciousness.


I’m sorry, but that’s nonsense, and also not what I was getting at.


Space is a mental construct.
So when you aware of space there is consciousness.
So it is not empty.


You will get use to it if you hang around in this forum for a while.


Okay… but that’s not right. I mean, that’s not how it was meant to be taught or understood. At least it certainly doesn’t seem that way. I’m not trying to attack your view or anything, I’m just fairly certain that you’re misunderstanding it.


Please feel free to express your view.


"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of earth are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness.


No I know, I understand, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.


What I am saying is space can’t be empty if you are aware of it.
If it is empty you can’t be aware of it.


That’s just not true.


The way I make sense of this is that Buddha’s teaching has not much to say about the realization of space, its origin or end. In other words, it does not offer much in terms of solving any ontological problem related to the physical world space and time takes place.

At the same time, Buddha’s teaching is mostly focused on the problem of suffering, its origination and cessation. The idea and possibility of nibbana is all about the cessation of suffering.

You see, the third ennobling task makes clear that the realization of nibbana is to be eventuated at the individual level. Hence, nibbana is not about an ontological problem because it is a possibility to experience and existence and does not require any change in the reality of things outside an individual stream of experience.

Hence, answering the topic’s opening question, while I can’t tell whether or not realizing space is a possibility I can affirm that the Buddha’s teaching has nothing to say about that. This is for its focus is to enable through the gradual internalization of four noble truths for the experience of no-suffering (i.e. nibbana) to come about in oneself. The way this occurs is impersonal and natural, and a brief but powerful description of it is found in EBTs focused on the dependent origination of liberation such as AN10.2, AN11.2 and SN12.23


Yes, exactly. And this is why it became a problem for the later Abhidhamma theorists: they wanted to say that the things mentioned by the Buddha as dhātu were sabhāvadhamma, essentially existing phenomena, and space is obviously problematic to treat in this way. So some tried to escape the problem by claiming it was unconditioned. But both the understanding of space as inherently existing and as unconditioned contradict the relational perspective of the EBTs. In this respect, I think Nagarjuna got it right.


Yes, this is correct. If sabhāvadhamma was true, and not it wasn’t relational, phenomena wouldn’t cease because of their causes ceasing as they would be self existent. This would be materialism. The death of the organism would be the end of samsara!

with metta