- January 19, 2018 at 7:41 am #13742
May the blessings of the Triple Gem be with you always !
I have few questions.
(1) Pabhassara citta is called a pure (uncontaminated) citta.
All cittas have the 7 universal chetasikas with it.
So does it mean that the pabhassara citta also have the universal chetasikas of phassa, vedana, sanna, chetana, ekaggata, jivitindriya, manasikara ?
If yes, then what does this pabhassara citta makes contact (phassa) with ? In other words, what does the pure mind (pabhassara citta) takes as its object ? Does the pabhassara citta takes Nibbana as its object ?
Similarly, what is the function of sanna and chetana (chetasikas) of a pabhassara citta ? What does it cognize or perceive ? Does a pabhassara citta cognize or perceive Nibbana ?
(2) What is the difference between jhana samapatti and Nirodha samapatti ?
(3) What is the difference between Arahant phala samapatti and Nirodha samapatti ?
(4) What is the difference between the state of Nirodha samapatti and Parinibbana ?
(5) I have read that – all the 5 khandhas have to be together.
If rupa khandha do not arise then all the other 4 khandhas also do not arise.
So after death of an Arahant, he/she does not hold on to any trace of rupa anywhere in the 31 realms.
Hence the other 4 khandhas also do not arise after the death of an Arahant. And he/she attains Parinibbana.
In nirodha samapatti, there is no cittas flowing. So there is no vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana.
But the gandhabba is still present inside the physical body (it does not vanish when an Arahant is in nirodha samapatti). So rupakhandha is still present, but the other 4 khandhas do not arise in nirodha samapatti. How can it be ?
If life in the physical body is maintained by the kammic energy than what is the ahara (food) for the gandhabba during this period (during nirodha samapatti) ? How does the gandhabba is alive ?
(6) What happens in Asanna brahma realms ? How is it different from nirodha samapatti ?
- January 19, 2018 at 8:07 am #13743
One more question :
(7) Is there any difference between Anariya jhana samapatti and Ariya jhana samapatti ?
- January 19, 2018 at 8:46 am #13744
Here is a summary of various entities mentioned by C. Saket in the above question:
No citta vithi run in nirodha samapatti. Life in the body is maintained with kammic energy. No vedana, sanna, etc. Maximum time in nirodha samapatti is 7 days.
Parinibbana state is just like nirodha samapatti. The only difference is that there is no “coming back”.
Samapatti basically mean manodvara citta vithi will flow continuously. There is no falling to bhavanga or to take an external object with a pancadvara citta vithi. Thus one cannot see, hear, etc. Normally, samapatti will eventually break on its own or (when one gets good at it) one can pre-set the time to be in samapatti (in one’s mind).
Arahant phala samapatti is where an Arahant experiences the pabhassara citta, a pure citta with just the universal cetasika. Nibbana is the object made contact with phassa cetasika and vedana are sanna are based on that (we have no idea about that). There, one does not hear, see, anything either, just like in jhana samapatti.
In jhana samapatti, jhanic citta flow continuously at the monodvara, and there is no opportunity for pancadvara citta vithi to arise. That is why one does not hear, see, etc in jhana samapatti. A different mechanism.
In jhanas (not jhana samapatti), jhanic (manodvara) citta vithi are intermingled with pancadvara citta vithi. Thus one can hear, see, etc in jhanas.
So, I think answers to questions (1)-(4) are given above.
(5). Gandhabba is not to be taken as an entity that “exists”. As with everything, the Buddha rejected “something exists” AND “something does not exist”. Something is in existence at a given moment due to a cause. If the cause is not there, the “thing” or the “entity” is not there. So, during nirodha samapatti, the causes for a gandhabba to exist are not there. So, we cannot talk about a gandhabba during nirodha samapatti, during which time the life is maintained by kammic energy.
Another somewhat similar case applies to a being in the asanna realm. There is no gandhabba there, no citta. Just a fine body is maintained by the kammic energy. When that kammic energy expires, citta start flowing and a new bhava will be grasped.
Also, it is important to remember what the Buddha said: “there is no movement of the vinnanakkhandha without the other four khandhas”. We have discussed the sutta references in another discussion or a post; if someone remembers, please give the reference to the post or the disussion. So, there can be rupakkhandha without the other four, like in norodha samaptti or in the asanna realm.
(6). One has not removed avijja when in the asanna plane, and thus will first come back to the human realm and is likely even to go to apayas, unless attaining Sotapanna stage while in the human realm.
One gets to nirodha samapatti by taking Nibbana as the object. Thus one had removed avijja completely.
(7). The only similarity is that one would not see, hear, etc while in either Ariya or anariya jhana samapatti. The differences are due to none of anusaya being removed in anariya jhanas. For example, kama raga anusaya is removed at the first Ariya jhana, and avijja anusaya is removed at the fourth Ariya jhana.
- January 19, 2018 at 10:51 am #13746
Ven. Lal Sir,
Thank you so much for the explanations.
I am having problem in understanding the difference between a being in the Asanna brahma realm and an Arahant in Nirodha samapatti.
You said: “Another somewhat similar case applies to a being in the asanna realm. There is no gandhabba there, no citta. Just a fine body is maintained by the kammic energy…”
“…So, there can be rupakkhandha without the other four, like in nirodha samapatti or in the asanna realm.”
It seems that there is similarity between an Asanna brahma and an Arahant in Nirodha samapatti ?
In both the cases, the rupa-khandha is there, but the other 4 khandhas do not arise. And the body is maintained by kammic energy.
In both Asanna brahma and an Arahant in Nirodha samapatti, there is no chitta flowing, means no vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana.
But I think both the cases are different.
I think, one gets to Asanna brahma realm by deliberately suppressing the vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana. So in Asanna brahma realms, cittas do not arise. But the causes for them to re-arise are still there (not removed). So there is no Nibbana.
But an Arahant achieves nirodha samapatti by focusing on Nibbana.
So the cittas and chetasikas (vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana) ceases automatically because all the causes and conditions that lead cittas and chetasikas to arise are removed. So when all the causes and conditions are removed then the only thing left is Nibbana, because Nibbana is the uncaused and unconditioned.
- January 19, 2018 at 11:11 am #13747
C. Saket said: “In both Asanna brahma and an Arahant in Nirodha samapatti, there is no chitta flowing, means no vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana.
But I think both the cases are different…” and so on.
All that is true. Did I say anything otherwise? You just explained it in more detail, for example, as to how to get a birth in the asanna realm.
- January 19, 2018 at 11:31 am #13748sybe07Spectator
Interesting to read. I do not know this state.
Is it correct that in nirodha samapatti there is no sense or perception of a body too?
Is being in nirodha samapatti not the ultimate proof that we are not the body we experience, not the experienced feelings, the perceptions, mental formations and consciousnesses? Does one, who knows nirodha samapatti, not be without any doubt he/she is not the khandha’s?
- February 13, 2018 at 11:04 am #14105
I just published a new post “Nirōdha Samāpatti, Phala Samāpatti, Jhāna, and Jhāna Samāpatti“, that would hopefully address more remaining questions.
This post should cover the questions raised in the discussion forum under the topics:” Nirōdha Samāpatti”, “Difference between “Arahant phala samāpatti” and “Nirōdha samāpatti” ?”, and “Nirōdha Samāpatti and Amoha”.
If there are more questions on this and related issues, please ask them here. I am going to close the other two topics, in order to not have too many parallel and related discussions.
- February 14, 2018 at 5:40 am #14110Johnny_LimParticipant
In point #2…
“In the same way, it is hard to imagine for a normal human how nirōdha samāpatti (where all thoughts are stopped) can provide happiness.”
I came across 2 Pali words: Vedayita-sukha (happiness based on feeling); Avedayita-sukha (happiness without feeling);
I would think Avedayita-sukha is the happiness associated with Parinibbana and nirōdha samāpatti. Is there any mention in the Tipitaka on these 2 words?
In point #9…
“Life is maintained by the kammaja kaya via an active rūpa jivitindriya (not the jivitindriya cētasika).”
Thanks for clarifying this point. I have found a source that talks about this rūpa jivitindriya too.
I shall quote from this source…“Both nāma-jīvitindriya and rūpa-jīvitindriya arise at the moment of conception. They simultaneously perish at the moment of decease. Hence death is regarded as the perishing of this jīvitindriya. Immediately after, due to the power of Kamma, another nāma-jīvitindriya arises in the subsequent birth at the moment of conception. Simultaneous with the arising of the one nāma-jīvitindriya there arise three rūpa-jīvitindriyas in the case of a human being.*
Just as a boatman depends on the boat and the boat depends on the boatman, even so jīvitindriya depends on mind and matter, and mind and matter depend on jīvitindriya.”
*[They are the Rūpa-Jīvtindriyas of tho ‘body decad’ (kāyadasaka) ‘sex-decad’ (bhāvadasaka) and ‘seat-decad’ (vatthudasaka). See ch. VI.]
I recalled you have mentioned kāyadasaka, bhāvadasaka, and vatthudasaka in one of your posts before.
In point #12…
“Not all Arahants can get into nirōdha samāpatti. Access to nirōdha samāpatti is NOT by taking Nibbānā as the thought object, but via the 8th jhānā.”
In MN 121 a type of concentration called the theme-less concentration is mentioned. Seems like this theme-less concentration is a prelude to nirōdha samāpatti.
- February 15, 2018 at 8:05 am #14114
Hi Johnny. You said: “I came across 2 Pali words: Vedayita-sukha (happiness based on feeling); Avedayita-sukha (happiness without feeling)”
I just revised the post to include two Tipitaka references.
Under new #12, “This also clarifies that saññāvedayita means without any saññā or vedana.” Also, #13 is revised.
So, it is possible that avedayita sukha means with saññā or vedana.
Can you provide a reference where those two words are described/mentioned?
- February 15, 2018 at 8:19 am #14115Johnny_LimParticipant
I first learned about these 2 words from a bhante (based on his own course material). So, I’m not sure about the original source. Then, I googled them and found some info.
“There is no vedayita sukha bliss in Nibbána – there is only Santisukha.”
“The state of Cessation of Perception and Feeling is a ‘pleasure, not being felt’ (avedayita-sukha).”
- February 15, 2018 at 9:09 am #14118
Your second reference is good, and I have just revised the post again to include that with another bullet added.
I normally do not give references to English translations of a sutta, but this one good. So, here is the second reference from Johnny: “Pañcakanga Sutta“.
Nibbanic bliss (and the bliss in saññāvedayita nirōdha samāpatti) is not a cetasika vedana, which would belong to this world. I have compared it to the relief one feels when a long-experienced migraine headache finally goes away (in the “Nibbana” subsetion). The above sutta explains too that it is not a cetasika vedana.
However, the first reference does not give a Tipitaka reference. It just makes a statement, which seems to be incorrect based on the Mahāvedalla Sutta (MN 43) as I described in the revised post.
- June 12, 2019 at 2:35 pm #23587
I came across this forum recently. Like the rest of the site, it is greatly educational and particularly timely for me since I recently had a discussion about nibbana with someone, and I’ll call him or her X. I have a few questions, and will phrase them based on a couple of points of discussion I had with X.
1) X said that for a person “in nibbana”, the mind “stops” or “ceases”. Asked to elaborate, X said that for that duration all desires for the mind to grasp at anything in this world are gone, so there is no reason for the mind to exist. I suppose that X meant that there was no citta vithi flowing, but X doesn’t know abhidhamma.
Per our discussion here, I think X must have meant nirodha samapatti, although X doesn’t know these Pali terms, and I now see that this explanation is not adequate: the mind “stops” not just in nirodha samapatti but also in the asanna realm. Thus, the mind “stopping” may nor may not have relationship to nibbana, correct?
2) To X, nibbana is an either/or phenomenon; one is either “in nibbana” or in this world. Again, per our dicussion here, there is a connection between nibbana and this world, in the case of Arahant phala samapatti, i.e. the pabhassara citta (still “this world”) is in contact with nibbana. Is this correct?
Also, elsewhere I have heard of the terms nibbana dhatu. Is nibbana dhatu what is in contact with pabhassara citta during Arahant phala samapatti?
I appreciate any elucidation on these, and I greatly appreciate this forum, since prior to this my view on the nibbana experience was pretty much the same as X’s.
- June 12, 2019 at 4:43 pm #23588
Yes. Nibbana is a difficult to understand for many. The reason for that is that one needs to have knowledge/belief in rebirth and the wider world view of 31 realms in order to understand Nibbana.
Contrary to what most people believe, repeated rebirth in this world of 31 realms has much more suffering than any short periods of happiness, in the long run.
For most of us in the human realm happiness seems to be more frequent than any suffering. There is even more happiness in deva and brahma realms.
However, living being spend much more time in the four lowest realms compared to time they gte to spend in human and higher realms. This may be hard to believe, but the Buddha said that it is indeed the case; see, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“.
– That is because most beings do immoral things to enjoy life, and anyone who has not attained a magga phala CAN BE tempted to immoral things if the temptation is high enough.
Now, Nibbana and “this world of 31 realms” are totally detached. The Buddha said that Nibbana exists, but it cannot be described by the terminology of “this world”. Furthermore, and most importantly, there is no a trace of suffering in Nibbana.
When one attains Parinibbana, one will be totally removed from this suffering-filled world and one will be in Nibbana. More details at, “Nibbana“.
This is a bit easier to understand in terms of the four ultimate entities: rupa, citta, cetasika, and Nibbana.
– The first three belong to “this world” and Nibbana is totally detached from “this world”. In other words, Nibbana and “this world’ are mutually exclusive. One can be either in “this world” or in Nibbana.
– So, it is true that citta, cetasika, and rupa do not exist in Nibbana.
But other than the fact that there is no suffering in Nibbana, we do not know what would be the “experience of Nibbana”. Only those who can get to Nirodha Samapatti can “experience” Nibbana while in this world (only up to 7 days).
– Even though beings in the asanna realm do not experience citta vithi as you mentioned, they “come back to this world” when their lifetime expires. Thus even though suffering stops for the duration of that lifetime, their suffering does not end.
On the other hand, when one merges with Nibbana (at Parinibbana), there is no coming to “this world” that is filled with suffering. Suffering is stopped permanently.
- June 12, 2019 at 5:51 pm #23589
Thank you, Lal, and I just read the post “Nirōdha Samāpatti, Phala Samāpatti, Jhāna, and Jhāna Samāpatti”, which clarifies some more.
So, is it correct to say the following:
1) Nibbana means either Parinibbana or Nirodha Samapatti.
2) Phala Samāpatti, including Arahant phala samāpatti, are still “this world” because there are citta running.
- June 12, 2019 at 6:51 pm #23590
Yes. That is correct.
The post you referred to is a good one: “Nirōdha Samāpatti, Phala Samāpatti, Jhāna, and Jhāna Samāpatti”
- June 14, 2019 at 10:27 am #23603
“Something is in existence at a given moment due to a cause. If the cause is not there, the “thing” or the “entity” is not there. So, during nirodha samapatti, the causes for a gandhabba to exist are not there.”
So nibbana (nirodha samapatti or parinibbana) “happens” when all causes cease, correct?
On the other hand, arahant magga phala comes from causes (eg a person’s cultivation of panna), right?
- June 14, 2019 at 12:56 pm #23604
“Things” or “events” in this world arise due to six root causes (lobha, dosa, moha, alobha, adosa, amoha).
– Lobha, dosa, moha lead to rebirths in the apayas (four lowest realms).
– Alobha, adosa, amoha lead to rebirths in human and higher realms.
– All those perpetuate sansaric journey (rebirth process), and thus binds one to suffering filled “this world of 31 realms”.
Those are the causes. When those causes are removed nothing in this can arise, and one attains Nibbana.
There are no causes for Nibbana. That is why it is called asankata.
– Nibbana RESULTS when all six causes are removed by cultivating panna, i.e., by comprehending the true nature of this world.
Cultivation of panna is not a cause. It is the Path to Nibbaba (via removing all six root causes).
- May 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm #29636
The following post is from cubiboi (Lang):
I have some follow-up questions/thoughts from the thread in
… but I thought it would be more relevant here.
In the other thread, the words asankata dhātu caught my attention since they made nibbana a little more “concrete”. I went back to this thread to review, and I also reread this post:
I then couldn’t resist churning those abstract concepts in my mind and wished to have them clarified.
… we have:
“Arahant phala samāpatti is where an Arahant experiences the pabhassara citta, a pure citta with just the universal cētasika, where the saññā cētasika is not contaminated. Nibbānā is the thought object made contact with phassa cētasika and vēdana and saññā are based on that (we have no idea about that).”
So the asankata dhātu makes contact with the phassa cētasika in the pabhassara citta, and thus here is the “interface” between “this world” and Nibbānā.
Can we also say that the asankata dhātu is “everywhere”, and when the citta is purified to the pabhassara stage then it is “seen”?
Proceeding to nirōdha samāpatti, even the phassa cētasika (plus the other 6 universals) also drop, and it’s almost “all” asankata dhātu (plus the jivitindriya rūpa). Then at parinibbana, it’s “total” asankata dhātu. The path to parinibbāna is one of dropping cētasikā (from asobhana to sobhana to the universals) and all rūpa. Looked at in this way, the asankata dhātu is then the only “real thing” (the only thing “left standing”) at the end of it all.
Also under #16:
“When an Arahant is not in nirōdha samāpatti or Arahant phala samāpatti, his/her citta get only to the “manō” state, in the sequence that normally ends up in the viññānkkhandha state for a normal human”
This means that the ordinary experience of an arahant is NOT viññānkkhandha like the rest of us, since viññānkkhandha is already defiled. If we were to make up a word to describe an arahant’s daily experience, perhaps it could be “manōcittākkhanda”?
Going “down” to the other magga phala stages. I often hear descriptions such as “One becomes a Sōtapanna at the first glimpse/taste/realization of Nibbāna. And the experience of Nibbāna gets “deeper” at subsequent stages.”
Here, the “experience of Nibbāna” has to be the cooling down (“niveema”) that Lal told us numerous times. It can’t be the contact with the asankata dhātu since the citta of a Sōtapanna, Sakadagami, and Anāgami is not the pabhassara citta.
Again, just some thoughts I couldn’t help after seeing the words asankata dhātu. I appreciate any clarification or feedback of anything erroneous.
P.S. Finally, I now realize that all description of Nibbāna I read elsewhere has been nirōdha samāpatti (without the author using these words). Nibbāna was an either/or thing, and it sounded so “unattainable”. Here, learning about the different levels of “cooling down” gives one more hope that the Sōtapanna stage is attainable.
- May 16, 2020 at 1:52 pm #29640
Regarding Lang’s questions above:
Yes. There is a difference between “Arahant phala samāpatti” and “nirōdha samāpatti“.
– In “Arahant phala samāpatti” citta can flow, but they are TOTALLY uncontaminated. Thoughts are in the first stage of the nine-stage evolution of “citta, manō, mānasan, hadayaṃ, pandaran, manō manāyatanam, mana indriyam (or manindriyam), viññāna, viññānakkhandha“.
See, “Amazingly Fast Time Evolution of a Thought (Citta)”
– On the other hand “nirōdha samāpatti” is like what happens AFTER Parinibbana. Absolutely no citta.
To complete the story, a living Arahant’s citta gets to the third stage of citta evolution, the “mānasan” stage. That is why a living Arahant can RECOGNIZE a person as mother, father, a beautiful woman, etc.
– But since it does not get to the “hadayaṃ” stage, the Arahant would have no special attention for mother or ANY attraction to a beautiful woman versus an ugly woman.
– So, the citta of a living Arahant does not even get to the “hadayaṃ” stage let alone to the viññāna stage.
– An Arahant in Arahant phala samāpatti is just AWARE that he/she is alive. He/she will not even experience ANY external arammana. He/she will not see, hear, anything. There is a sutta that describes the following situation. The Buddha was in Arahant phala samāpatti once, and lightning struck and killed a couple of people closeby. A large crowd of people came to see that and the Buddha was not aware of it until he came out of Arahant phala samāpatti.
– I recommend reading the post referred above.
The NON-REVERSIBLE cooling down (“niveema”) happens in stages. First is at the “Sotapanna Anugami” stage when one starts comprehending Tilakkhana. Then it is completed at the Arahant stage.
– Of course, there is “cooling down” or ‘niramisa sukha” even before the “Sotapanna Anugami” stage, but that is reversible. If one, later on, starts moving away from the path (mostly due to external influences), then it may be lost.
Yes. Nirōdha samāpatti is the closest to the state of an Arahant after Parinibbāna. No flow of cittā.
- May 17, 2020 at 7:08 am #29647
The above discussion may be unsettling for some because it may give the impression that “one would be annihilated” at Parinibbana.
The deeper point is that the perception of a “self” is an illusion. However, until one attains Arahanthood, it is not correct to say that there is “no-self.”
– That is why it is not a good idea to spend too much time contemplating this issue at the beginning.
One MUST follow the path in a step-by-step manner. See, “Is It Necessary for a Buddhist to Eliminate Sensual Desires?”
The Buddha never promised a “happiness” in the sense of a “kama assada” or “sensual pleasures.”
– In fact, he showed it is our tendency for upadana for sensual pleasures that keep us bound to the rebirth process (samsara.)
For an average human “happiness” is the ability to enjoy sensual pleasures.
– In Buddha Dhamma, “permanent happiness” means just stopping ALL future suffering.
– There is no “vedana” cetasika in Nibbana to “feel” happiness in the mundane sense.
It is not easy to comprehend this deeper truth. That is the message embedded in Tilakkhana. That it is unfruitful, and dangerous to stay in the rebirth process HOPING for sensual pleasures.
– Those sensual pleasures come at a big prize. One would be subjected to MUCH MORE suffering than any pleasures enjoyed on a temporary basis.
The following video gives the idea of that predicament. The monkey WOULD NOT let go of the grains in the hand even though it is quite clear that it will be captured if it would not. The hunter could have killed the monkey if it wanted.
“How to Catch a monkey”
We also WILL become helpless if we do not gradually lose our upadana for sensual pleasures. But that loss of cravings comes ONLY with the comprehension of the “real nature” or the yathabhuta nana.
– See, “Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85) – Arahanthood Is Not Annihilation but End of Suffering”
P.S. When one becomes a Sotapanna Anugami, one will “SEE” the truth of what I described above. That it is unfruitful and DANGEROUS to consider “there is a “self” or “me” in the ultimate sense.
– However, the DESIRE for sensual pleasures goes away only at the Anagami stage.
– Therefore, it is critical to see the difference between “seeing the true nature” and actually abandoning the fruitless process of “pursuing sensual pleasures.”
– The PERCEPTION of a “self” or “me” goes away only at the Arahant stage. One needs to get there step-by-step.
- May 17, 2020 at 10:49 am #29659
“– But since it does not get to the “hadayaṃ” stage, the Arahant would have no special attention for mother or ANY attraction to a beautiful woman versus an ugly woman.”
It sounds like the arahant has gone beyond attachment to mother (and I suppose father too), and that micca ditthi #7,8 of the ten types of micca ditthi no longer “apply” to an arahant.
I once heard a desana from a thero about going beyond attachment to parents and children. To paraphrase: “In samsara we have had countless parents, and have been parents to countless children, so why are the current pair of parents and the current children more special.”
I’m wonderding now if the thero was speaking from the vantage point of an arahant, that an arahant looks at all beings as their parents and children at some point.
“– Therefore, it is critical to see the difference between “seeing the true nature” and actually abandoning the fruitless process of “pursuing sensual pleasures.”
In my own bhavana, I am beginning to turn more attention to kama raga (the not immoral but more intense ones), since I feel I have been making steady progress on micca ditthi. In fact, removing micca ditthi does curb kama raga to some extent.
In that effort, I started listening to the Dharmayai Obai sermons in addition to learning Dhamma here, and there was one that compared sensual pleasure to a mirage. If you search for “Pleasure Mirage dharmayai obai” on Youtube you will find it.
The mirage analogy is quite apt, since the vision of water is real (there is light hitting the eyes and there is a real vision”). Likewise, sensual pleasure appears real and substantial, so keeping the mirage analogy in mind helps somewhat.
- May 17, 2020 at 11:13 am #29661
“The Buddha never promised a “happiness” in the sense of a “kama assada” or “sensual pleasures.”
– In fact, he showed it is our tendency for upadana for sensual pleasures that keep us bound to the rebirth process (samsara.)”.
This is what one must in the end come to see.
It is impossible for us to contemplate a ‘good state’, however sublime, where feeling does not figure. Everything that we treasure inwardly is intimately connected with a deep-seated emotion. The trouble is that emotions are not constant.
If I were to say: ‘I will have a deva existence one after another, times without number. That way I will forever experience pleasant feelings, one life after another without end. The ‘only’ price I will have to pay is the ‘limited anguish’ each time I am approaching death. That is insignificant compared with the millions, perhaps billions of years spent there. I am willing to pay such a small price’. Now this is an impossible dream (besides being a wrong view) because there can be no guarantee of a next ‘happy’ existence if one is not on the Path (in fact, most will be in the apayas); and if one is ON the Path, those ‘happy existences’ will come to an end as a matter of course.
Not having EXPERIENCED Nibbana is the problem. When it is said that kama assada is not there, we equate that State with a ‘neutral one’, one of neither pleasure nor pain. That will simply not do. We do not crave a ‘neutral’ existence, one merely ‘free of suffering’, we crave a positive, a pleasant existence. It is like this: some one is feeling pain, another is enjoying, and a third is just sitting doing nothing. Not knowing what Nibbana is, we automatically equate Nibbana with the third state. Certainly not as anything positive and therefore ‘worth to be experienced’.
In life we see that we can enjoy the pleasant, but have to pay for that by experiencing the unpleasant as well. It is the two sides of a coin. You must accept the unpleasant in order to have the pleasant. Nibbana would here equate with rejecting both – throwing away the coin. Free of the unpleasant, yes, but at the price of giving up on the pleasant.
I remember an instance when I was a boy, about 9 or 10 years old. This thought occurred: ‘What if some supreme being appeared now and told me : You have a choice! You see what trouble grow-ups have to go through. You will be free of all that, but you will not experience one happy moment either. That or the same as it is with everyone else. Choose” I was unable to choose. When I related this to others later on in life, no one seemed to know what I meant. “SO? That is how it is. Enjoy as much as you can. What’s the problem?” Now I find myself pondering the question again.
Now this is where aveccappasada in the Buddha comes in. I have no doubt that Nibbana exists … there MUST be such a state as Nibbana, there MUST be a state that excels any known ‘in this world’. It is only that I know nothing ABOUT it, I only know OF it, and that because of confidence in the Buddha. What?…all those Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas, Arahants, an infinite number of them, the Ones who made it to the Highest Goal, were they….?
What Nibbana IS NOT, that it is NOT suffering, that I can see. What it IS I cannot know until I get there.
- May 17, 2020 at 11:19 am #29663
Cubiboi wrote: “It sounds like the arahant has gone beyond attachment to mother (and I suppose father too), and that micca ditthi #7,8 of the ten types of micca ditthi no longer “apply” to an arahant.’
Yes. That is correct. We have to go in steps. One must first live a moral life respecting one’s parents.
– The Arahant stage is not even comprehensible to most of us.
You wrote: “I once heard a desana from a thero about going beyond attachment to parents and children. To paraphrase: “In samsara we have had countless parents, and have been parents to countless children, so why are the current pair of parents and the current children more special.”
I’m wonderding now if the thero was speaking from the vantage point of an arahant, that an arahant looks at all beings as their parents and children at some point.”
Yes. That is the perspective of an Arahant. But it is fine to see that point, as long as one does not stop taking care of one’s parents.
– Before we get to the Arahant stage, we need to “settle some of our debts” too. We must be grateful to our parents for giving us the opportunity to get a human body. There are numerous gandhabbas anxiously awaiting that opportunity.
The other point is that sensual pleasures come at a big price, and that is hard for us to see. I will try to explain that in the next post to some extent.
- May 18, 2020 at 9:10 am #29668
I had missed the comment by y not because he had posted while I was replying to the comment by cubibobi.
Y not wrote: “In life we see that we can enjoy the pleasant, but have to pay for that by experiencing the unpleasant as well. It is the two sides of a coin. You must accept the unpleasant in order to have the pleasant. Nibbana would here equate with rejecting both – throwing away the coin. Free of the unpleasant, yes, but at the price of giving up on the pleasant.”
Mostly correct. But samsaric suffering and any trace of happiness (even if in a Brahma realm for millions of years) cannot be equated as “two sides of a coin“. This is the point to contemplate on. That Brahma will come down to the human realm and will succumb to temptations and WILL BE born in an apaya at some point. Even a few days of suffering in some apayas will be unbearable.
There are many suttas in Samyutta Nikaya 56 that describe the dangers for living-beings trapped in the rebirth process. See, for example, suttas starting with “SN 56.35 A Hundred Spears”
Here is a brief summary of the sutta SN 56.35 in my words:
“Bhikkhus, suppose there is a man with a life span of a hundred years. Someone would say to him: “You will be guaranteed of getting to the Arahanthood if you agree to be pierced by a spear three times a day for the hundred years of your life.”
Bhikkhus, he should accept the offer. For what reason? Because this rebirth process is filled with unimaginable suffering.
Even though that may be so, bhikkhus, I do not say that path to the Arahanthood is filled with suffering or displeasure. Rather, the Noble Path is accompanied only by happiness and joy.
Bhikkhus, you need to understand: ‘This rebirth process is filled with unimaginable suffering. The Noble Path is the way leading to the cessation of all that suffering.’
Many people are misled by the term “Nibbanic bliss” thinking that it is a vedana to be FELT. As I have explained in the post on Nibbana in my earlier post, we CANNOT express what Nibbana is like (after the Parinibbana of an Arahant). Because NOTHING of this world (including feelings, perceptions, thoughts, etc) are in Nibbana.
– However, there are instances in the Tipitaka where new Arahants utter joyous verses expressing the “bliss.”
– That can be compared to what one feels when one had just gotten rid of a chronic headache that one had for the whole lifetime. Imagine the relief! That is not a “sukha vedana” but just the absence of a piercing dukkha vedana.
– But no one can express the status of an Arahant AFTER the death of his/her physical body.
– But that lifestream WILL NOT be subjected to even a trace of suffering FOREVER. That is all we can say.
- May 18, 2020 at 11:24 am #29673
- May 19, 2020 at 10:02 am #29685Tobias GParticipant
The sutta SN 56.35 says in the english translation: 100 spears and 3 times a day. That makes 300 spears a day.
- May 19, 2020 at 10:32 am #29686
Thanks, Tobias. I did not pay much attention to the numbers.
Even that does not fully convey the dangers of continuing in the rebirth process.
- May 27, 2020 at 7:25 am #29776
Further to what Lal says above (May 18, 2020 at 9:10 am) :
(Many people are misled by the term “Nibbanic bliss” thinking that it is a vedana to be FELT.)
MN 59 ‘The Many Kinds of Feelings – Bahuvedaniyasutta’ is relevant here.
There is this debate between Pancakanga and Upali on whether the Buddha has spoken of two or of three feelings (pleasant, unpleasant, and including or excluding neutral feeling) After saying that both are actually right, the Buddha then stated that he ‘on one explanation I’ve spoken of two feelings. In another explanation I’ve spoken of three feelings, or five, six, eighteen, thirty-six, or a hundred and eight feelings’
“There are those who would say that the pleasure (arising from pañca kāmaguṇā) is the highest pleasure and happiness that sentient beings experience. But I don’t grant them that.” The Buddha then lists eight other pleasures higher than the sensual pleasures: those arising from the four jhanas, and the 4 inherent in the four arupa realms.
‘The ascetic Gotama spoke of the CESSATION of perception and feeling, and he INCLUDES it in happiness. What’s up with that?’
‘When wanderers who follow other paths say this, you should say to them, ‘Reverends, when the Buddha describes what’s included in happiness, he’s not just referring to pleasant feeling. THE REALIZED ONE DESCRIBES PLEASURE AS INCLUDED IN HAPPINESS WHEREVER IT’S FOUND , AND IN WHATEVER CONTEXT.’”
‘wherever it’s found, and in whatever context.’ would here include Nibbana. Is that correct?
- May 27, 2020 at 9:28 am #29777
Thank you, y not.
Yes. It is a good sutta to read: “Bahuvedanīya Sutta (mn 59)”
y not asked: “‘wherever it’s found, and in whatever context.’ would here include Nibbana. Is that correct?”
– Buddha’s definition of happiness is to remove ANY TRACE of suffering.
– It is good to read as many suttas as possible and to verify that.
– “Real happiness” is to be free from ANY type of suffering. That cannot be attained ANYWHERE in the 31 realms.
– P. S. Two English translations are available there. If anyone does not know how to see the translations, please ask. There are translations in other languages as well. Of course, in some cases, the translations may not be fully correct.
I am trying to get the new post out. After that, I will read the sutta and see whether I can add anything more.
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by Lal.
- May 27, 2020 at 10:31 am #29780
I am now not trying to get in the way of your getting your new post out, but when you have time to get into this, DN 15 Chapter 4. Attasamanupassanā (despite that sub-title) is largely about Feelings (and its connection or otherwise to ‘a self’)
Taking also other sutta and the posts into account, it is taking the feelings to be the self (I am ‘this’ or ‘that’ feeling’) that is not acceptable. Because feelings are fleeting, impermanent.
Towards the very end we find in this (DN 15) sutta:
“Now, as to those who say:
‘Feeling is definitely not my self. But it’s not that my self does not experience feeling. My self feels, for my self is liable to feel.’
You should say this to them,
‘Suppose feelings were to totally and utterly cease without anything left over.
When there’s no feeling at all, with the cessation of feeling, would the thought “I am this” occur there?’”
“That’s why it’s not acceptable to regard self as that which is liable to feel”.
Yet, going by MN 59, there appears nothing wrong with holding that feeling is there, as a factor of or ‘accompanying’ happiness, ‘wherever it’s found, and in whatever context’,as long as it is not taken as one’s Self. And as with an Arahant the sense of self (asmi mana) is not there anymore to start with, there cannot be taking it (feeling) to be ‘his’ self… where there is no self in the first place, that is. All others below the Arahant will have a sense of self and may therefore ‘attach’, feeling or sanna or vinnana or sankahara, to that self.
That is what I have been able to make out this far.
- May 27, 2020 at 2:22 pm #29794
I do not have any more comments, other than the following.
y not wrote: “Taking also other sutta and the posts into account, it is taking the feelings to be the self (I am ‘this’ or ‘that’ feeling’) that is not acceptable. Because feelings are fleeting, impermanent.”
I think anicca is translated as “impermanent.” That is wrong, as I pointed out even in today’s post: “Five Aggregates and Tilakkhaṇa – Introduction”
I specifically mentioned in my previous comment above that we need to be careful in reading those translations at Sutta Central. Some words like anicca, anatta, vinnana, sankhara, phassa, etc are NOT translated correctly at Sutta Central (or at most other sites/books)
– Just replace those words with the original Plai word and it will be fine in most cases.
– Of course, the other problem is that they do word-by-word translations and the real meaning MAY NOT be conveyed in some cases.
If anyone has specific questions, please ask specific questions.
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