Author Topic: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?  (Read 4233 times)

Offline Spiny Norman

  • Member
  • Posts: 5081
  • Cool baby yeah!
    • View Profile
Is Nirvana an existing reality or just a state of mind?

What do you think?   :gawrsh:
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 11:15:37 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline zafrogzen

  • Member
  • Posts: 278
  • I've been practicing and studying meditation since
    • View Profile
    • zafrogzen
I don't see "mind" and "reality" as separate.

"State of mind" implies an individual consciousness, which is transitory and impermanent and creates the illusion of separation, but is still able to experience Nirvana. So it can be said that it is a state of mind, but it also goes beyond that individual consciousness, so it is said to be "self-existent."

Nirvana is a reality, but the term "existing" is not applicable, because it is beyond such dualistic concepts, which is why such questions can only be answered through direct experience, rather than by verbal reasoning.

Hope this helps.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 349
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Something to be understood during a particular state of consciousness, usually attained through insight meditation
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline rafaelpompa

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2016, 03:46:47 pm »
I would say that Nirvana appears at the very moment in which we stop identifying with thoughts and with the illusion of a separated self. In that moment there is an instantaneous recognition of our true nature and the nature of mind beyond any doubt, and nirvana and samsara are seen as they always have been: two labels of the same experience.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 175
    • View Profile
My understanding of Nirvana would be a state of awareness without our usual thoughts, opinions and associations which are always biased and conditioned by previous experiences, our cultural background and our education and upbringing.

It is essentially an awareness without thought.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4475
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2016, 07:26:01 am »
My understanding, or lack of understanding is that nibanna cannot be described, especially to the uninitiated (those who have not attained it), but can only be understood through personal experience.

So, what is the point of the discussion?

Quote

AN 9.34 PTS: A iv 414 

Nibbana Sutta: Unbinding


translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

© 1997

   

 

I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Sanctuary. There he said to the monks, "This Unbinding is pleasant, friends. This Unbinding is pleasant."

When this was said, Ven. Udayin said to Ven. Sariputta, "But what is the pleasure here, my friend, where there is nothing felt?"

"Just that is the pleasure here, my friend: where there is nothing felt. There are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing; sounds cognizable via the ear... smells cognizable via the nose... tastes cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Whatever pleasure or joy arises in dependence on these five strings of sensuality, that is sensual pleasure.

"Now there is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality, that is an affliction for him. Just as pain arises as an affliction in a healthy person for his affliction, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset the monk is an affliction for him. Now, the Blessed One has said that whatever is an affliction is stress. So by this line of reasoning it may be known how Unbinding is pleasant.

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with directed thought, that is an affliction for him...

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with rapture, that is an affliction for him...

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with equanimity, that is an affliction for him...

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space,' enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with form, that is an affliction for him...

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] 'Infinite consciousness,' enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of space, that is an affliction for him...

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [perceiving,] 'There is nothing,' enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, that is an affliction for him...

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, enters & remains in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of nothingness, that is an affliction for him. Now, the Blessed One has said that whatever is an affliction is stress. So by this line of reasoning it may be known how pleasant Unbinding is.

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters & remains in the cessation of perception & feeling. And, having seen [that] with discernment, his mental fermentations are completely ended. So by this line of reasoning it may be known how Unbinding is pleasant."


See also: AN 9.42
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 175
    • View Profile
Re: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2016, 02:41:41 pm »
My understanding, or lack of understanding is that nibanna cannot be described, especially to the uninitiated (those who have not attained it), but can only be understood through personal experience.

So, what is the point of the discussion?

Quote


Aren't you contradicting yourself, Ron? You begin by stating that Nibanna cannot be described, then in the next phrase describe it as something that can only be understood through personal experience. Isn't that a type of description? Nibbana is a personal experience.  :ishift:

Offline rafaelpompa

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2016, 09:38:07 pm »
I agree with Ron about the fact that Nibbana is an experience and it can only be fully understood through personal experience. However I think it's rather important to demystify and even debunk the topic otherwise we will keep creating a mist around it.
Nibbana is not something far away from our most immediate and day-by-day experience, or just deserved for the few ones who have been practising meditation or some other traditional techniques throughout hundreds of lifetimes, but it's actually something that anyone can 'attain' because it is as simple as life itself, and is exactly there where the whole mystery resides.
In my experience, the idea of Nibbana or Enlightenment as something far beyond our simple and ordinary human experience is a myth created by traditions and institutions who think that they are the only ones who keep the keys of the golden castle's door.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 10:09:01 pm by rafaelpompa »

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 349
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2016, 08:10:38 am »
My understanding is that Nirvana can be understood from a particular state of mind. Insight meditation gradually develops the mind so that you can 'suddenly' understand nirvana, and understand why it shouldn't be described to anyone who has not had the experience of enlightenment. Not that it is impossible to describe, but impossible to describe with compassion. Unless you have the emotional  impact that comes with true insight, any description would be too upsetting to the uninitiated. Nirvana is seeing things as they really are- a dangerous thing to do unless you are properly prepared.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline tharpa

  • Member
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2016, 10:01:28 am »
Is Nirvana an existing reality or just a state of mind?

What do you think?   :gawrsh:

There are slightly different senses to the word nibbana (Sanskrit:  nirvana) depending on the sentence.  Nibbana is an attainment.  Once one attains nibbana, (s)he will forever be free of the defilements of mind and free of suffering.  Rebirth will never happen again.  The abhidhamma-pitaka also defines nibbana mostly by what it is not, e.g. it has no color, no suffering, no taste, etc.  So I think one can make a case that it is both of these, depending on the sentence.

Offline rafaelpompa

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2016, 12:46:55 pm »
'You' will never be prepared for Nibbana as Nibbana is the complete absence of 'you'. The only thing that it's necessary in order to realise Nibbana is wanting to see it. Direct Pointing is one of the most effective methods to realise our true nature in an instant, without any preparation whatsoever. No Buddhism, yoga or any other traditions are really necessary. Pointing towards Nibbana is actually compassion in action. Wisdom cannot arise without compassion.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 175
    • View Profile
Re: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2016, 05:12:17 pm »
I would say the inquisitive person tends to be skeptical of things which are claimed to be beyond description. I think Albert Einstein gave the general advice that one shouldn't accept a scientific theory as true if it cannot be explained at a level which can be understood by the non-specialist.

His own theory of relativity is in this category. To understand the precise details, one has to be a mathematician and physicist, but the general concepts can be explained in ordinary language, and understood by anyone with a basic education in general science.

My general understanding of the state of Nirvana is that it is a state of awareness without any thought. All the practices of Buddhist meditation seem to have the purpose of stilling the mind. A still mind is a mind without thoughts of any description, whether gross or subtle. There are degrees of stillness, of course. One imagines as a person progresses with his meditation practices, he gradually increases his ability to still the mind. Eventually a state of complete stillness might result, in respect of all thoughts, but not in respect of all neuronal activity of course. To continue to be alive requires continuous activity of certain parts of the brain, for the functioning of the physical processes of the body. It's only the parts of the brain involved in thought, which become completely still during the state of Nirvana.

I imagine a partial state which is similar to this state of 'awareness without thought', is a state of 'unawareness without thought', experienced when people are asleep without dreaming, known as 'non-rapid eye movement' sleep, or NREM.

Thoughts are always an expression of some degree of bias, a like or dislike, a yearning or repulsion, an amusement or a worry, a pleasure or a pain, and so on. The human being is a biased creature, as are all creatures.

Even research scientists who are  trained to be unbiased and impartial, tend not to be so unbiased at a personal level. They might strive for the glory of a Nobel Prize, might feel very disappointed when their own pet theory is disproved, or when they don't get a promotion and an increase in salary that they think they deserve, and so on.

A state of awareness without thought is an awareness without bias. That's my definition of Nirvana.

Offline rafaelpompa

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2016, 06:25:42 pm »
I agree with VincentRJ.
Maybe I would just add that instead of being completely free of thoughts, Nirvana is recognised when the 'engagement' with thoughts ends. I think that's why the concept of "non-clinging" and "renunciation" are used so often in Buddhism.
Thoughts still appear in the boundless space of being, as well as emotions, volitions and the other samskaras, but they're not seen as "true" anymore.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 175
    • View Profile
Re: Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2016, 08:19:40 pm »
Thanks for your agreement, Rafaelpompa, however there is one point you make which I find a bit puzzling.

How can one have a thought without 'engagement' with the thought? Surely there has to be some degree of engagement in order to be aware of the thought. That's what thoughts are, an engagement in a description of a perception of something in the present, or of a recollection of a past event.

That engagement may be reduced in intensity, with regards to emotional associations, but as long as there is a thought, there is some degree of an engagement, surely.

Offline rafaelpompa

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Is Nirvana a different dimension or just a different state of mind?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2016, 08:58:20 pm »
Good point Vincent.
What I have seen is that the flux of thoughts doesn't stop when there is a full recognition of the boundless awareness that you were talking about in your previous comment. The same happens with emotions, volitions, sensations. They still happening but there is no clinging or engagement on to them anymore. Or at least there is less energy invested on them.
I find the cinema experience as a good example to explain what I'm trying to say.
When we watch a movie we are engaged with the story, the characters, the drama, but we normally don't notice the screen in which the movie is projected. Similarly, in our day by day experience we are normally engaged with the story  (the story of me, builded upon series of thoughts mixed with physical sensations) but we don't notice the boundless awareness in which the story takes place. In this sense stories still happen, as well as emotions, volitions, thoughts or any other samskara, but now the attention is focused on the boundless awareness in which everything take place. In this sense we don't need to get rid of the thoughts or make an effort to reduce their presence but just see them as clouds on a clear and infinite blue sky.

In my experience, when we see that thoughts are empty of any inherent substance or essence it's easy to let them pass or even see through them and realise it's void nature.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 09:02:39 pm by rafaelpompa »

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal