Author Topic: Nibbana Sutta  (Read 4854 times)

Offline Spiny Norman

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Nibbana Sutta
« on: September 16, 2013, 01:16:49 am »
This passage came up recently in another thread and I thought it might be interesting to discuss it in more detail.  It appears to be describing the experience of enlightenment, but does it mean?

"There is that dimension, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished,[1] unevolving, without support [mental object].[2] This, just this, is the end of stress."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.01.than.html
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 01:28:15 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 01:27:27 am »
"....And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising..."

The section above seems similar to this passage from the Heart Sutra:
"Sariputra, the Characteristics of the voidness of All Dharmas are Non-Arising, Non-Ceasing, Non-Defiled,
Non-Pure, Non-Increasing, Non-Decreasing."

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 02:03:39 am »
Nanananda made some interesting comments on this passage in "Concept and Reality".

See the discussion on pages 69/70:
http://www.seeingthroughthenet.net/files/eng/books/other/concept_and_reality.pdf

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 02:10:56 am »
Im confused on what the OP is?

Is it just general convo on the sutta or is it comparison based study.......is it looking for links  to establish a view or meaning?

I love the sutta

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 04:34:19 am »
Im confused on what the OP is?


Basically to discuss the meaning of the OP passage.
Here are some initial thoughts:

"There is that dimension, monks,"..........What does "dimension" mean here?  Probably we need to check the Pali.


"....where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind;".......Does this mean the elements are not physically not present, or does it mean there is no perception of them as such?  The former seems unlikely given that Nibbana is a living experience for the Arahant.  But what does it mean to say there is no perception of them?


"...neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception;".....These are the 4 arupa jhanas, so presumably this section means that these refined states have been transcended?  Note there are a number of suttas which describe a progression through the rupa and arupa jhanas, culminating in Nibbana.


"..neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon."....Again, does this means these things are physically not present, or is it that there is no perception of them as such?   Again, the former seems unlikely given that Nibbana is a living experience for the Arahant.  But again, what does it mean to say there is no perception of them?


"And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising"....Is this a reference to the experience of sunnata / sunyata, similar to the Heart Sutra?

": unestablished,[1] unevolving, without support [mental object].[2]"....this needs unpacking, we need to refer to the Pali here.  Note [2] refers to this sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.053.than.html

" This, just this, is the end of stress."........ie Nibbbana
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 05:05:37 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 08:50:45 am »
Quote
"There is that dimension, monks,"..........What does "dimension" mean here?  Probably we need to check the Pali.

generally a "state" or and "abiding place"
I take it to mean Enlightenment is REAL and TRUE it is not nhilism so it is "SOMETHING" but.......its not something in any realm of worldly preception it is beyond this world and cannot be described in ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER.....so it seems Buddha was using the best word he could use to describe "this"

"When a monk's mind is thus freed, O monks, neither the gods with Indra, nor the gods with Brahma, nor the gods with the Lord of Creatures (Pajaapati), when searching will find[36] on what the consciousness of one thus gone (tathaagata) is based. Why is that? One who has thus gone is no longer traceable here and now, so I say."



Quote
"....where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind;".......Does this mean the elements are not physically not present, or does it mean there is no perception of them as such?  The former seems unlikely given that Nibbana is a living experience for the Arahant.  But what does it mean to say there is no perception of them?

well I always took that to say the Buddha doesn't preceive anything cause he already knows everything there is.
hard to explain that one........there is nothing new to precieve if I already know everything.........

Quote
"...neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception;".....These are the 4 arupa jhanas, so presumably this section means that these refined states have been transcended?  Note there are a number of suttas which describe a progression through the rupa and arupa jhanas, culminating in Nibbana.

I agree with that.

Quote
"..neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon."....Again, does this means these things are physically not present, or is it that there is no perception of them as such?   Again, the former seems unlikely given that Nibbana is a living experience for the Arahant.  But again, what does it mean to say there is no perception of them?

have to debate the definition of preception.....also I get the feeling that many places in the suttas Preception should be used instead of Consciousness(like what they were trying to say was preception but the term that was used was consciousness)

in this sentence  I would say the Arhats mind is not tracable in this realm of existence even though he is here........yea I know thats like  :eek:

but again refer to "When a monk's mind is thus freed, O monks, neither the gods with Indra, nor the gods with Brahma, nor the gods with the Lord of Creatures (Pajaapati), when searching will find[36] on what the consciousness of one thus gone (tathaagata) is based. Why is that? One who has thus gone is no longer traceable here and now, so I say."



Quote
"And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising"....Is this a reference to the experience of sunnata / sunyata, similar to the Heart Sutra?

reference to the Udana also many other suttas in the pali canon give descriptions of Enlightenement as such.

Quote
": unestablished,[1] unevolving, without support [mental object].[2]"....this needs unpacking, we need to refer to the Pali here.  Note [2] refers to this sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.053.than.html

" This, just this, is the end of stress."........ie Nibbbana


have to look into that later when time is more premitting.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 01:16:57 am »
Here's an alternative translation of the passage by Ireland:

"There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.01.irel.html

I'll see if I can find the Pali text.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 01:21:25 am »
Quote
"....where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind;".......Does this mean the elements are not physically not present, or does it mean there is no perception of them as such?  The former seems unlikely given that Nibbana is a living experience for the Arahant.  But what does it mean to say there is no perception of them?


well I always took that to say the Buddha doesn't preceive anything cause he already knows everything there is.
hard to explain that one........there is nothing new to precieve if I already know everything.........


The distinction between consciousness and perception is tricky, and in the suttas very little is said about perception. 
See discussion here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18598

Possibly this section is actually another reference to the experience of emptiness.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 01:35:33 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 05:32:19 am »
Nanananda made some interesting comments on this passage in "Concept and Reality".

See the discussion on pages 69/70:
http://www.seeingthroughthenet.net/files/eng/books/other/concept_and_reality.pdf


Here is the relevant section:

"The former passage speaks, first of all, of an âyatana (sphere) in which the four material elements, the four formless realms, this world, the world beyond, and the sun and moon are not found. We are now sufficiently familiar with such formulations to
be able to identify them as referring to concepts and to resist the temptation to read into them any gross physical sense.
It is further said that in this sphere there is neither coming nor going nor staying, neither dying nor being born. Here again we have a reference to abstract notions and not to actual facts implied by them. These notions are part and parcel of our phenomenal world of relative concepts, and come under the standard formula — 'whatever is seen, heard, sensed,
cognised, attained, sought after and traversed by the mind.' The last three significant terms in the passage, viz, 'not established', 'not continuing', 'not having an object', are obvious allusions to the 'paradoxical gaze' or the transcendental consciousness of the Arahant. These three terms (viz., appatiññha, appavatta, anârammaõa ) correspond respectively to his threefold deliverance (vimokkho) — suññato (void), appaõihito (free from longing) and animitto (signless).
Due to the penetrative vision of paññâ (wisdom), concepts become transparent (animitta - `signless') giving rise to utter detachment (appaõihito) and the sage realises the voidness of the world (suññatâ.) It is in the 'light' of this transcendental vision that he declares — as the Buddha did —"Void is this world of anything that is self or of anything that belongs to self" (suññam ida§ attena vâattaniyena vâ — S. N.IV. 54)."
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 05:35:41 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 06:18:31 am »
Nanananda made some interesting comments on this passage in "Concept and Reality".

See the discussion on pages 69/70:
http://www.seeingthroughthenet.net/files/eng/books/other/concept_and_reality.pdf


Here is the relevant section:

"The former passage speaks, first of all, of an âyatana (sphere) in which the four material elements, the four formless realms, this world, the world beyond, and the sun and moon are not found. We are now sufficiently familiar with such formulations to
be able to identify them as referring to concepts and to resist the temptation to read into them any gross physical sense.
It is further said that in this sphere there is neither coming nor going nor staying, neither dying nor being born. Here again we have a reference to abstract notions and not to actual facts implied by them. These notions are part and parcel of our phenomenal world of relative concepts, and come under the standard formula — 'whatever is seen, heard, sensed,
cognised, attained, sought after and traversed by the mind.' The last three significant terms in the passage, viz, 'not established', 'not continuing', 'not having an object', are obvious allusions to the 'paradoxical gaze' or the transcendental consciousness of the Arahant. These three terms (viz., appatiññha, appavatta, anârammaõa ) correspond respectively to his threefold deliverance (vimokkho) — suññato (void), appaõihito (free from longing) and animitto (signless).
Due to the penetrative vision of paññâ (wisdom), concepts become transparent (animitta - `signless') giving rise to utter detachment (appaõihito) and the sage realises the voidness of the world (suññatâ.) It is in the 'light' of this transcendental vision that he declares — as the Buddha did —"Void is this world of anything that is self or of anything that belongs to self" (suññam ida§ attena vâattaniyena vâ — S. N.IV. 54)."


It basically means that Nirvana is beyond time and space:
- Time has passed when there is flow and change, i.e., impermanence.  Nirvana is not subject to impermanence because it is beyond time.
- Space refers to location - where there is up and down, coming and going.
You combine the interactions of space and time - we get our everyday world.  Nirvana is beyond this.  It transcends this.

Offline Dmytro

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2013, 11:36:29 am »
Here is the relevant section:

With corrected diacritics:

"The former passage speaks, first of all, of an āyatana (sphere) in which the four material elements, the four formless realms, this world, the world beyond, and the sun and moon are not found. We are now sufficiently familiar with such formulations to be able to identify them as referring to concepts and to resist the temptation to read into them any gross physical sense.
It is further said that in this sphere there is neither coming nor going nor staying, neither dying nor being born. Here again we have a reference to abstract notions and not to actual facts implied by them. These notions are part and parcel of our phenomenal world of relative concepts, and come under the standard formula — 'whatever is seen, heard, sensed, cognised, attained, sought after and traversed by the mind.' The last three significant terms in the passage, viz, 'not established', 'not continuing', 'not having an object', are obvious allusions to the 'paradoxical gaze' or the transcendental consciousness of the Arahant. These three terms (viz., appatiṭṭha, appavatta, anārammaṇa ) correspond respectively to his threefold deliverance (vimokkho) — suññato (void), appaṇihito (free from longing) and animitto (signless).
Due to the penetrative vision of paññâ (wisdom), concepts become transparent (animitta - `signless') giving rise to utter detachment (appaṇihito) and the sage realises the voidness of the world (suññatâ.) It is in the 'light' of this transcendental vision that he declares — as the Buddha did —"Void is this world of anything that is self or of anything that belongs to self" (suññam idaṃ attena vā attaniyena vā — S. N.IV. 54)."

Offline Dmytro

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 11:48:48 am »
Here are some initial thoughts:

"There is that dimension, monks,"..........What does "dimension" mean here?  Probably we need to check the Pali.


"Sphere", - āyatana.

Quote
"....where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind;".......Does this mean the elements are not physically not present, or does it mean there is no perception of them as such?  The former seems unlikely given that Nibbana is a living experience for the Arahant.  But what does it mean to say there is no perception of them?


It's just that this sphere does not partake of anything physical.
One 'touches' it.

Quote
"...neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception;".....These are the 4 arupa jhanas, so presumably this section means that these refined states have been transcended?  Note there are a number of suttas which describe a progression through the rupa and arupa jhanas, culminating in Nibbana.


This sphere is beyond arupa jhanas. One may 'touch' it, even without the mastery of arupa attainments.

Quote
"..neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon."....Again, does this means these things are physically not present, or is it that there is no perception of them as such?   Again, the former seems unlikely given that Nibbana is a living experience for the Arahant.  But again, what does it mean to say there is no perception of them?


Neither, this phrase is not about perception, - it is about the sphere.

Quote
"And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising"....Is this a reference to the experience of sunnata / sunyata, similar to the Heart Sutra?


No. This phrase is not about experience, - it is about the sphere.

Quote
": unestablished,[1] unevolving, without support [mental object].[2]"

....this needs unpacking, we need to refer to the Pali here.  Note [2] refers to this sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.053.than.html

" This, just this, is the end of stress."........ie Nibbbana


With consciousness being unestablished (appatiṭṭha) on any object-support (ārammaṇa), it doesn't evolve (appavatta), and there's no further rebirth, as explained in Mahanidana sutta:

‘‘‘Nāmarūpapaccayā viññāṇa’nti iti kho panetaṃ vuttaṃ, tadānanda, imināpetaṃ pariyāyena veditabbaṃ, yathā nāmarūpapaccayā viññāṇaṃ. Viññāṇañca hi, ānanda, nāmarūpe patiṭṭhaṃ na labhissatha, api nu kho āyatiṃ jātijarāmaraṇaṃ dukkhasamudayasambhavo paññāyethā’’ti? ‘‘No hetaṃ, bhante’’.

"'From name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness. If consciousness were not to gain a foothold in name-and-form, would a coming-into-play of the origination of birth, aging, death, and stress in the future be discerned?

"No, lord."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.15.0.than.html
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=12515

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 02:05:39 pm »
This passage came up recently in another thread and I thought it might be interesting to discuss it in more detail.  It appears to be describing the experience of enlightenment, but does it mean?

"There is that dimension, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished,[1] unevolving, without support [mental object].[2] This, just this, is the end of stress."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.01.than.html


It may not have to do with common enlightenment but instead is about how mind and consciousness function.
 
ie. common elements with no form. 
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 02:08:17 pm by Wesley1982 »

Offline BlueSky

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2013, 07:24:16 pm »
This is Theravada forum, and if you want to understand the teaching in nibbana sutta with discussion, I can say, you can only dream about it.

What is stated in Nibbana sutta, like below, is very rare.
Quote
There is that dimension, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon......

This is the sutta that touch the absolute truth. And this kind of sutta is very rare in Pali Canon.

However, when you compare this type of sutta within Mahayana or Vajrayana, this kind of sutta is plenty. Indeed, this type of sutta is the backbone.

So, the discussion is very very extensive in Mahayana, not to mention Vajrayana.

With this limited passage in Pali Canon, you won't be able to fathom the meaning.

The only way in Theravada is by doing a meditation. And you must reach the state of Jhana 4: Neither perception nor non-perception.

This state itself is already a mystery for normal ordinary people to understand.

Because as long as you are still alive, how can you be free from perception or do not have perception?

And to fathom the meaning of the no birth, no death, this will be far more difficult, if we can't even understand neither perception nor non-perception.

We jump the step too far.

As long as you do not have the meditation experience of neither perception nor non-perception, any statement coming purely from your intellectual thinking is very dangerous.

Because you think about what you never experience. How can it be correct?

You then need to study extensively from other buddhist master that ever experience that state, like Nagarjuna, Asanga, Padmashambava, and so on.

From their extensive explanation, then you can have some glimpse about that Nibbana sutta, where the content in very rare in Pali Canon.



Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Nibbana Sutta
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2013, 01:58:08 am »
Here is the relevant section:

With corrected diacritics:

"The former passage speaks, first of all, of an āyatana (sphere) in which the four material elements, the four formless realms, this world, the world beyond, and the sun and moon are not found. We are now sufficiently familiar with such formulations to be able to identify them as referring to concepts and to resist the temptation to read into them any gross physical sense. It is further said that in this sphere there is neither coming nor going nor staying, neither dying nor being born. Here again we have a reference to abstract notions and not to actual facts implied by them. These notions are part and parcel of our phenomenal world of relative concepts, and come under the standard formula — 'whatever is seen, heard, sensed, cognised, attained, sought after and traversed by the mind.' The last three significant terms in the passage, viz, 'not established', 'not continuing', 'not having an object', are obvious allusions to the 'paradoxical gaze' or the transcendental consciousness of the Arahant. These three terms (viz., appatiṭṭha, appavatta, anārammaṇa ) correspond respectively to his threefold deliverance (vimokkho) — suññato (void), appaṇihito (free from longing) and animitto (signless).
Due to the penetrative vision of paññâ (wisdom), concepts become transparent (animitta - `signless') giving rise to utter detachment (appaṇihito) and the sage realises the voidness of the world (suññatâ.) It is in the 'light' of this transcendental vision that he declares — as the Buddha did —"Void is this world of anything that is self or of anything that belongs to self" (suññam idaṃ attena vā attaniyena vā — S. N.IV. 54)."

Thanks.  So do you agree with Nanananda's analysis here?  What I struggle with is the idea that sun and moon etc are merely abstract notions or concepts.  To me they seem more like perceptions, and as such not automatically a cause for suffering. 
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 02:40:11 am by Spiny Norman »

 


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