shake your nibutti

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Supramundane
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shake your nibutti

Post by Supramundane » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:15 am

Nirvana cannot be divorced from samsara. They are two sides of the same coin. Nirvana is a noun meaning ‘snuffing out” while samsara is a verb meaning “to wander”. To make them parallel, perhaps we should change Nirvana to nibutti --- the verb. Without suffering and samsara, we cannot achieve the bliss of nibutti; nirvana in a way is not a positive type of bliss but a negative in that it is relief from suffering. In the Abhidharma Sutra, we see that nirvana is the fourth element. When consciousness does not cling to the aggregates, it will adhere to the fourth element: nirvana (“§ 2. In an ultimate sense the categories of Abhidhamma, mentioned therein, are fourfold in all:—
i.consciousness, ii. mental states, iii. matter, and iv. Nibbàna.”)

Nirvana is not estranged from samsara meaning in my mind that nirvana is nothing more and nothing less than the phenomenological world. But hold on, how can that be since the phenomenological world is marked by anicca and pratitya-samutpada? Nirvana by contrast is that which is immutable and unconditioned (the Lokuttara consciousness) ---- so can it be synonymous with the world of anicca?

Unless the very fact of impermanence is its unchanging nature --- impermanence itself.

That would be an unfortunate conclusion because Nagarjuna himself stipulated that such a view would be adharma --- because sunyata itself is sunya.

How to go forward from here
So where does that leave me? in my mind, the only way forward is to posit that non-duality apprehends the world as a unity, and this unity is never-changing, thus encompassing samsara yet being free from anicca in its wholeness and unity.

Just as the ocean is the ocean, a vast unity which is not impinged upon by the every changing vista of waves.

Am I on the right track? Or have I fallen into the trap of sunya again, as Nagarjuna warned?

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:35 am

I think the important point is the perspective from which the equation of Nirvāṇa and Samsara is made. To say there is simply no difference might be mistaken.

I take this to be the reason for the 'Two Truths' which Nāgārjuna gives as a major part of his teaching. The non-difference of Nirvāṇa and Samsara is the ultimate reality, but from the viewpoint of samsaric existence, they are 'chalk and cheese'. And the Two Truths doctrine itself is also like that: from the conventional perspective, there are 'two levels of truth'; but ultimately, such talk is only 'upaya', because in reality there is only one domain. But we can't speak from the ultimate perspective if we're not actually there! That is why the two truths doctrine is needed in the first place. (I sometimes think it should be labelled 'burn after realising' :smile: )

This is the meaning of the koan: first there is a mountain. 'First' means, at first, from the viewpoint of the uneducated worlding - the mountain is simply there. Then, realisation of emptiness! Aha, mountain has no intrinsic reality! That is 'no mountain'. Then, the 'completion' stage - mountain is mountain! Now seen truly. Easy to say, but very hard to realise.

The other key point is: not wanting something. If we form the idea that Nirvāṇa is some great and remote realm, then we're always going to be chasing. We are already 'endowed with the true nature', but we continually forget to be grateful for that, or to realise what we actually have, and then we go seeking something distant or "other", that we imagine will be Nirvāṇa.
No wisdom can we get hold of
No highest perfection
No Bodhisattva, no thought of enlightenment either
When told of this, if not bewildered and in no way anxious
A Bodhisattva courses in the Tathagatha’s wisdom.

In form, in feeling, will, perception and awareness
Nowhere in them do they find a place to rest on.
Without home they wander, dharmas never hold them
Nor do they grasp at them - the Jina’s Bodhi they are bound to gain.
Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, trs. Conze.

:namaste:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Supramundane » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:36 am

What is never cast off, seized, interrupted, constant, extinguished, and produced--this is called Nirvana.
Indeed, Nirvana is not strictly in the nature of ordinary existence for, if it were, there would wrongly follow the characteristics of old age and death. For, such an existence cannot be without those characteristics.
If Nirvana is strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, it would be of the created realm. For, no ordinary existence of the uncreated realm ever exists anywhere at all.
If Nirvana is strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, why is it non-appropriating? For, no ordinary existence that is non-appropriating ever exists.
If Nirvana is not strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, how could what is in the nature of non-existence be Nirvana? Where there is no existence, equally so, there can be no non-existence.
If Nirvana is in the nature of non-existence, why is it non-appropriating? For, indeed, a non-appropriating non-existence does not prevail.
The status of the birth-death cycle is due to existential grasping [of the skandhas] and relational condition [of the being]. That which is non-grasping and non-relational is taught as Nirvana.
The Teacher has taught the abandonment of the concepts of being and non-being. Therefore, Nirvana is properly neither [in the realm of] existence nor non-existence.
If Nirvana is [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence, then liberation will also be both. But that is not proper.
If Nirvana is [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence, it will not be non-appropriating. For, both realms are always in the process of appropriating.
How could Nirvana be [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence? Nirvana is of the uncreated realm while existence and non-existence are of the created realm.
How could Nirvana be [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence? Both cannot be together in one place just as the situation is with light and darkness.
The proposition that Nirvana is neither existence nor non-existence could only be valid if and when the realms of existence and non-existence are established.
If indeed Nirvana is asserted to be neither existence nor non-existence, then by what means are the assertions to be known?
It cannot be said that the Blessed One exists after nirodha (release from worldly desires). Nor can it be said that He does not exist after nirodha, or both, or neither.
It cannot be said that the Blessed One even exists in the present living process. Nor can it be said that He does not exist in the present living process, or both, or neither.
Samsara (the empirical life-death cycle) is nothing essentially different from Nirvana. Nirvana is nothing essentially different from Samsara.
The limits of Nirvana are the limits of Samsara. Between the two, also, there is not the slightest difference whatsoever.
The various views concerning the status of life after nirodha, the limits of the world, the concept of permanence, etc., are all based on [such concepts as] Nirvana, posterior and anterior states of existence.
Since all factors of existence are in the nature of Emptiness (sunya), why assert the finite, the infinite, both finite and Infinite, and neither finite nor infinite?
Why assert the identity, difference, permanence, impermanence, both permanence and impermanence, or neither permanence nor impermanence?
All acquisitions [i.e., grasping] as well as play of concepts [i.e., symbolic representation] are basically in the nature of cessation and quiescence. Any factor of experience with regards to anyone at any place was never taught by the Buddha.
---Nagarjuna

Yes, Wayfarer you are right to bring up the Two Truths. Nagarjuna states that Nirvana does not exist and it does not not exist.
Nirvana is squarely in the Middle Way.

but that doesn't mean that i'm going to give up on trying to apprehend it lol.

Tell me one thing: is annica inalienably inherent to the phenomenological world or is it a result of our consciousness positing time, space and other attributes onto it via the skhandas?

this would be very helpful.

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:48 am

Samsara means cycle.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Supramundane » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:44 am

oh gotcha
thanks

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Simon E. » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:03 am

It's just words..
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Supramundane » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:57 am

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:03 am
It's just words..
Bee Gees allusion?

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:13 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:03 am
It's just words..
Samsara means ground chuck. It’s just words. Buddha means mustard. It’s just words.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:18 pm

How do the meanings of these words help us practice? Because we are trying to notice these facts within us. Emotions cycle. It’s liie being on a merry-go-round. The cycle never stops and it escalates. As a practical matter, for example, domestic violence counselors talk about the cycle of violence. Knowing that this can only get worse forces us to confront the problem before it gets worse.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:20 pm

Another crucial point is buddha manifests as body, speech and mind. For us, speech is the most important quality. This is why Amitabha and lotus family deities are so prominent in dharma. Teaching the Dharma is the greatest blessing Buddha can give
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Supramundane » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:45 am

When I am confused about a new concept in Buddhism, I usually apply the Middle Way mode of thinking: this means that the answer is invariably a negation: not a negative but a negating action, such as ‘not-self’ in opposition to the two extremes, 'self' and 'no self'. It shies away from nihilism and eternalism. Let’s try the same logic on the concept of nirvana.

1. Is it a place?
The Buddha refers to nirvana as ayatana. This means realm but does that mean it is a place. It is not a geographic place, but that does not mean that it does not exist. It is not an eternal realm either, as in a heaven. This would be the extreme of eternalism.

I believe that the Buddha always defined nirvana in negative terms to accentuate the fact that it is not a physical place. We can travel the earth looking for a portal or magic door to another realm in vain. There is none. As for nirvana as a mystical heaven where we can ride unicorns and eat pink candy floss with the Buddha, he does not encourage such views either. in fact, in the Culamalunkya Sutta, the Buddha refuses to comment on ten 'speculative views' about the cosmos, the soul, etc. Heaven is one of those views.

2. Is it an element?
Nirvana is the 'deathless element' (dhatu). 'Dhatu' is an element but this does not necessarily mean that it has physical qualities, but it IS something that we can experience, he says. So how is that possible?

3. Is it a state?
The Buddha also calls it a pada/amatapada the ‘deathless state’ or accutapada, the eternal state. Pada means path or way.
Again, a path in the figurative meaning does not designate a physical one. the Eightfold Path is not physical, n’est-ce pas (pardon my French).

4. What is left after all this negating?
The self creates fabrications (sankhara or if you will, karma). We fabricate the world, as biocentrists point out, by projecting our self upon it in myriad forms and ways. A thing ‘exists’ when our consciousness fabricates it, and every fabricated thing must come to an end, which results in dukkha. Nirvana is eternal and free of dukkha. It flies the flag of sukkha over its lands.

As the Buddha says in the Nikaya:

To this extent only, Ananda,
is there birth,
aging,
death,
disappearance and reappearance —
to this extent is there verbal expression —
to this extent is there getting to the root —
to this extent is there knowing —
to this extent is there scope
for discriminating and drawing distinctions —
to this extent is there this run'n-round
showing up as some sort of being 'this'
at some place of being 'at' —
that is to say:
only just as far as named-form with consciousness.


By following the Eight-Fold Path, we can become conscious of the consciousness creating fabrications; this consciousness is freedom from samsara, and this consciousness therefore cannot pass out of existence or come to an end.

This detachment is nirvana. One example of Nirvana described as 'bliss' is Dhammapada verse 203, but I don’t think it’s the bliss of pleasure but rather the bliss of release. Freedom (again ---my friends--- a negating).

Nirvana is permanent: (Lankavatara Sutra): "This Truth-essence which is discoverable in the enlightenment of all who are enlightened, is realizable as the regulative and sustaining principle of Reality, which forever abides … -- in this sense the Tathagatas are permanent. The eternal-unthinkable of the Tathagatas is the "suchness" of noble Wisdom realized within themselves.”

Nirvana is not a thing or a place but a negation of the ‘fabrication factory’ that creates karma.
Every consciousness of an existing object must come to an end, resulting in dukkha. The birth-death cycle is a result of existential projection of the self

The negation of this cycle is nirvana.

So I’m back where I started: nirvana is thus best seen as a negating verb: nibutti.

It is not the phenomenological world because the phenomenological world is marked by anicca; rather, it is the action of rejecting the karmic interaction with the phenomenological world.

That’s the best I can come up with so far.

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Re: conceptual mind

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:16 am

I don't think there's anything much mistaken about all of the above. Maybe one point is that 'realisation of the truth of cessation' is not a verbal process. It doesn't take place in the word-processing department. That is why there is such an emphasis in Buddhism on meditation. Through meditation, you're learning on a level that you can't even necessarily be discursively aware of. There is work being done 'underneath' and 'behind' and 'below' the level of discursive analysis. That is why it leads to what is called 'non-conceptual wisdom'.

As you say, Nirvāṇa is not a place. Nirvāṇa is the extinction of the sense of self, I am told. I understand it to mean 'dying to the self' (an expression I have read in various spiritual texts.) But plainly that leads to a profoundly different way of seeing~being.
conscious of the consciousness creating fabrications...
That is the meaning of the term paravritti परावृत्ति which is similar in meaning to 'metanoia' in Greek/English. Basically it refers to 'meta-cognition' i.e. 'understanding the understanding'. It is an insight which sees through the delusive characteristics of ordinary thinking which normally leaps unconsciously from one idea to another and so builds 'castles in the sky'. So 'negation' is the seeing-through of discursive ideation (prapañca) - which you're practising when 'watching the breath', because there you start to actually see how the neural activities simply form and then start to run away. Noticing that and returning to the breath, is negation. (This is also symbolised by 'the sword', i.e. 'sword of wisdom' is that which cuts off delusions.)

But the point about all of this is simply to put it to work, to build a daily sadhana and give it time to manifest and percolate through your life and mind, which it surely does, given the chance.

:namaste:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Supramundane » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:55 am

great comments, WF!
your writing communicates a lot of wisdom, even if, as you contend, the truth is greatly non-verbal.

i like your neologism "meta-cognition" which is a surprisingly illuminating double entendre, which you have made either consciously or unconsciously.

almost like the sound of one hand clapping in my head when i read it hahah

hope you follow!

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Re: shake your nibutti

Post by Supramundane » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:46 am

The next step in the discussion of Nirvana must be Collective Liberation.
I note that before we are alive, while we live and after we die, THE MIND will still be there.
Even though we believe we possess a mind, we cannot determine its qualities or limits.
When we meet another person, we lock eyes and we enter into communication, thanks to shared parameters and concepts of the mind.
Language is a good example of one of the realms of the mind; although we possess it, it is something beyond ourselves. When we die there will still be language. We simply use it and access it, and our ‘ownership’ of it is temporary at best. Languages change but language itself seems immutable. or is it?

Nevertheless, we must have some sort of influence on THE MIND, however slight that may be. Is it possible that we can change it? it determines us but can we determine it?

Perhaps this is the next stage in the evolution of man, when THE MIND is transformed from self grasping and own-creation/fabrication: when the mind is in nirvana and has rejected the notion of self.
Each person is born enlightened, and there is no need to seek enlightenment or follow the Eight Fold Path. Magga will be the default, not the exception.

Such a revolution sounds near impossible but intellectually, it can be conceived. Why not? During the course of evolution, the MIND has been tweaked many times to allow us to reach the level of abstract thought and language, Why not make the next leap in evolution?

Is this the collective liberation that we speak of in the Mahayana?

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