Cessation of dukkha

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
Thundering Cloud
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:06 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Thundering Cloud » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:21 am

Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
[...]
But isn't it impossible to stop consciousness? Focusing on one object is still a conscious thought. Consciousness does not stop. Or should we not try to stop consciousness but only those conscious thoughts that lead to dukkha?

The theme of "stopping consciousness" also arises in discussions of nirvana. When conscious-engendered dukkha is dispelled, nirvana will take its place.
Is stopping consciousness really possible?
Good question…

I think the current difficulty that scientists and philosophers are having with defining precisely what constitutes "consciousness" is quite relevant. It seems like the harder we try to pin it down, the more elusive the idea becomes… which is a big red flag that it just isn't a very useful idea, beyond a certain point. As I understand it, consciousness can at present only be defined in purely experiential terms (not in objective, measurable, or functional terms). There is no definitive way to tell whether e.g. insects, plants, artificial neural networks, etc, are actually conscious or not; no way to infer as much from their behavior. (See the Turing Test and related subjects.) And given that, "stopping consciousness" is tantamount only to stopping the experience of (at least individuated?) consciousness. Any notion of individuated consciousness must be built upon the view of a self, so if this view is abandoned at a visceral level, one may conceivably no longer experience existence in the same way despite still having a perfectly well-functioning brain… directly perceiving the illusory nature of one's consciousness, and thus being liberated from its constant misdirection, while still operating (more or less) as if it is simply there. Maybe that is what is meant?

SteRo
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:55 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
In single pointed concentration meditation, we seek to arrest the wandering samsaric thoughts; in insight meditation, we seek to deconstruct mental formations to apprehend their emptiness: two means to the same end.
Not the same end. There is a difference between stopping the wandering of thoughts intentionally and thought formations collapsing as a by-product of appropriate insight.
Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
But isn't it impossible to stop consciousness? Focusing on one object is still a conscious thought. Consciousness does not stop. Or should we not try to stop consciousness but only those conscious thoughts that lead to dukkha?
You are completely right. Conventional concentration meditation still is based on intentional thought (vitakka, vicara). As long as the basis of consciousness is not removed there is consciousness.
Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
The theme of "stopping consciousness" also arises in discussions of nirvana. When conscious-engendered dukkha is dispelled, nirvana will take its place.
Is stopping consciousness really possible?
In the signless consciousness ceases. There are neither push- nor pull-factors as to the arising of consciousness. Therefore it is called 'cessation'. What are push-factors? Push-factors are basic innate ignorance and formations (1st and 2nd limb of DO, see sutta quoted above). What are pull-factors? Name-&-form (limb 4) which are feeling, perception, intention, contact, attention & form. When name-&-form cease there is no basis for conventional delusive functioning of six sense media, and no basis for craving, clinging/sustenance and becoming (limbs 8 to 10 of DO), no basis for the self-experience of 'having been born' (limbs 11) and dukkha, old age and death (limb 12). Through that when name-&-form cease the pull as to formations generating further consciousnesses also ceases.
If you go about it with intention then deceptive self is involved and you are trapped in concentration meditation. If it's realization of emptiness then push- and pull-factors collapse by themselves.

SteRo
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:13 pm

Having said that you might have understood what I have said but wonder "How can I realize emptiness?" and/or "What does 'realization of emptiness' mean at all?" and looking for an answer, openly, without any preoccupation, we would arrive at a thicket of possible views. That's why your lineage is of utmost importance. Only an explanation, a meditation instruction, that accords with your lineage can be of help for you. I don't know your lineage since I am not a Buddha.

User avatar
takso
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:08 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by takso » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:33 am

Consciousness-In-Individuality (Mind)

All realities and fallacies are in the mind,
All observations and perceptions are in the mind,
All labeling and stereotyping are in the mind,
What else is not in the mind?
You have a mind, I have a mind, and we all have respective minds, even a rock.

A mind is nothing but vibrational frequencies,
Vibrational frequencies are nothing but energy,
Energy is nothing but a notion being conjured up by the mind.
But still, all arguments are trivial because the true culprit is the mind.

Ignorance is in the mind,
Enlightenment is in the mind,
If one could neuter the mind, all things will fizzle out and cease to exist or be,
This is the arising of a new paradigm that is a fully neutralised state of affairs,
In Buddhism, this is known as nibbāna.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Supramundane » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:06 am

SteRo wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:13 pm
. I don't know your lineage since I am not a Buddha.
not yet
but maybe not far off:)

i follow the Gelug school.

i am intrigued by a term you used a couple times, SR: "signless".

what do you mean by that?
thanks for your comments, btw, really appreciate them.
SM

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Supramundane » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:08 am

takso wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:33 am
Consciousness-In-Individuality (Mind)

All realities and fallacies are in the mind,
All observations and perceptions are in the mind,
All labeling and stereotyping are in the mind,
What else is not in the mind?
You have a mind, I have a mind, and we all have respective minds, even a rock.

A mind is nothing but vibrational frequencies,
Vibrational frequencies are nothing but energy,
Energy is nothing but a notion being conjured up by the mind.
But still, all arguments are trivial because the true culprit is the mind.

Ignorance is in the mind,
Enlightenment is in the mind,
If one could neuter the mind, all things will fizzle out and cease to exist or be,
This is the arising of a new paradigm that is a fully neutralised state of affairs,
In Buddhism, this is known as nibbāna.
Takso, you have just effortlessly summed up everything i have been trying to say in my clumsy posts.
so is the conclusion from the above that the purpose of single-pointed meditation the elimination/collapse of mental fabrications?

or is my framing of the problem too simplistic?

SteRo
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:20 am

Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:06 am
i follow the Gelug school.
That does not specify your lineage. 'Lineage' here means a particular set of elements that determine your experience. Even within the Gelug school there is a multitude of lineages. But lineages are not stable since they are impermanent. Nevertheless given a certain time and location a teacher and a student must be of the same lineage otherwise the student cannot appropriately understand what is being taught.
Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:06 am
...
i am intrigued by a term you used a couple times, SR: "signless".

what do you mean by that?
'The signless' refers to 'the signless door to liberation', see here.

When 'cessation of consciousness' refers to 'cessation of the subject' then 'the signless' denotes the corresponding (non-)object. But there being neither subject nor object this is just a conceptual figure of speech to enable communication. Some might come up with the term 'non-duality' but that is equally misleading since when 'duality' does not apply 'non-duality' does not apply either. No object, no subject, no duality, no non-duality, neither oneness nor manyness, neither something nor nothing, neither time nor place ... that is 'the signless'.
Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:08 am
...
so is the conclusion from the above that the purpose of single-pointed meditation the elimination/collapse of mental fabrications?
Since concentration has an object how could it ever eliminate fabrications? It focuses fabrication and excludes distractive fabrications.

Lazy Lubber
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:43 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Lazy Lubber » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:52 am

Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
However, it can be argued that cessation of dukkha will only come about by breaking the chain that leads to dukkha, consciousness itself.
Was the Buddha unconsciousness?
Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
The theme of "stopping consciousness" also arises in discussions of nirvana.
Where?
Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
When conscious-engendered dukkha is dispelled, nirvana will take its place. Is stopping consciousness really possible?
When ignorance-engendered consciousness is dispelled, nirvana will take its place. What will remain is wisdom-engendered consciousness.

muni
Posts: 4872
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by muni » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:04 am

Some might come up with the term 'non-duality' but that is equally misleading since when 'duality' does not apply 'non-duality' does not apply either. No object, no subject, no duality, no non-duality, neither oneness nor manyness, neither something nor nothing, neither time nor place ... that is 'the signless'.
Opposites indeed.

Such words are used, because they are helpful to see nothing on itself or separate from dependence-emptiness, no samsara here and nirvana there, no my mind here and phenomenal world there...

If these words seems not useful for liberation, skip. But they can as well be useful methods. No need for acceptation nor rejection, signless.

With the wish all to be free.

Clinging is to recognize in mind, clinging is always misleading.
The fortress of the spacious and timeless expanse has no division into
higher or lower or in between.

User avatar
takso
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:08 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by takso » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:31 am

What is dukkha? In English, dukkha is translated as suffering. And suffering is defined as the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. However, suffering is a word translation from the Latin – sufferre that means to bear, undergo, endure, carry or put under. The word suffering seems to appear in every corner of Buddhism. And generally, one would tend to associate suffering with pain, anxiety, agony, sadness, dissatisfaction and all sorts of negativity in one’s lifetime. Unfortunately, this is not precisely the case in the eyes of the Buddha.

The First Noble Truth says that the suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death is inescapable. The Buddha has revealed that suffering is part of life and that it cannot be evaded. He also taught that suffering does not only come from the body but also from the mental attributes. In a Buddhist context, the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means continuous flow - referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. When there is samsāra arising, the dukkha would arise concurrently and it means to continue with; to persevere with; to soldier on with; to carry on with; to undertake with; and to go through with.

In fact, one should let go the ill-perceived phenomena of pain, anxiety, agony, dissatisfaction, joyfulness or happiness - for they are merely the consequences of dukkha arising. The antonym of suffering is letting go. By not submitting oneself to any conditional circumstances, one would be liberated and neutralised. At the end of the day, one should only cure the cause, but not the symptoms.

Meanwhile, cessation literally means discontinuance, ending, suspension, etc. And cessation can be temporary or complete stopping. In Buddhism, does cessation mean an annihilation altogether? The answer is Negative. In the scientific world, everything that exists would involve with energy, without exception. In a way, the so-called consciousness is also deemed to be under the ambit of energy. But can one obliterate the elements of energy? The answer is Negative, as well.

As mentioned earlier, in samsāra, there is an element of suffering. In a Buddhist context, suffering means bearing with and letting go is the antonym of it. Literally, there are no elements of grasping when one practises letting go in meditation. When no grasping arises, the becoming process would also slow down. This is because everything in the dependent nature is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but mere vibration. When the becoming process slows down, it means energy expands away from the centre point of the source at a slower rate. When the becoming process ceases, energy literally stops vibrating. Literally, energy just got frozen - just like a black hole is also known as a frozen star. (In Tibetan Buddhism, the innate condition of the mind is luminous a.k.a. clear light that also reveals a similar characteristics of a black hole).

Zero vibration means zero becoming. Zero becoming means an absolute cessation of any changing activities. Thus, an absolute stage of absence is realised. Absence means a perfect state of balance. Therefore, absence is not about nothingness but instead, no-thing-ness (just like +2-2 = 0, +154-154=0). No thing means no becoming or no changing. No changing means no suffering. No suffering means no mind (no consciousness in individuality). In Buddhism, mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs - that is nibbāna. The state of nibbāna is inexplicable in conventional terms but still, it can be tasted by the enlightened ones during deep meditation.

The principle-in-effect: -

Upon entering a single-pointed concentration, the prevailing mind consciousness would be separated from the subtle mind consciousness (just like a joint dislocation). The main reason for engaging samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the wilderness of the subtle mind consciousness. Thereafter, the prevailing mind consciousness enters a state of pure observation (mindful) without identification on the flow of thoughts conjured up by the subtle mind consciousness until pure awareness is attained.

When one has gained enlightenment while sustaining with a living body, the mind (consciousness in individuality) would still exist. However, it would merely perceive all things or happenings from the ultimate perspectives without delusion or hesitation. The mind has not gained with a full liberation yet and this circumstance is also known as cessation with remainder. The ultimate liberation or cessation without remainder can only be achieved without sustaining a living body i.e. with the passing into parinibbāna.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

muni
Posts: 4872
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by muni » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:47 pm

All compassionate inspirations here. Thank you all!
“The teachings and activities of Buddha Shakyamuni demonstrate that the nature of reality is generally playful, in a way. It is flexible and changing. Nevertheless, dualistic conceptions do not recognize it as such. When we are overwhelmed by duality, we tend to grasp and hold on to changing phenomena in a regimented way that only results in more challenges for us. Otherwise, everything is playful, everything is a display, and everything is an emanation—nothing is truly changing or happening, since all is the movement of the nature. This is just the way things are.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
Upon entering a single-pointed concentration, the prevailing mind consciousness would be separated from the subtle mind consciousness (just like a joint dislocation). The main reason for engaging samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the wilderness of the subtle mind consciousness. Thereafter, the prevailing mind consciousness enters a state of pure observation (mindful) without identification on the flow of thoughts conjured up by the subtle mind consciousness until pure awareness is attained. Takso
The core of self-sprung awareness,
imperturbable, unchanging, unelaborated
this is the ambrosia of timeless consumation
that vanquishes the pain of any extertion:
every ambition fulfilled, rest in the here and now.

Hey Magnificent Being, listen!
All and everything in experience
has the nature of pure mind
it is the seminal nucleus;
incapable of elaboration or concentration,
expansion or contraction,
origination or cessation,
unconfined, it is simply being.
This inconcievable essence, timelessly present like the sky,
ubiquitous like space,
transcends ideas and speech.
Vairotsana.
The fortress of the spacious and timeless expanse has no division into
higher or lower or in between.

SteRo
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:03 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:06 am
... the Gelug school.
Lama Tsongkhapa gives a nice instruction in his Lamrim Chenmo:
The reality that you seek to attain—the embodiment of truth—is the total extinction of conceptions of both the self and that which belongs to the self, specifically by stopping all the various internal and external phenomena from appearing as though they were reality itself—which they are not—along with the latent predispositions for such false appearances.

The stages by which you enter that reality are as follows:

First, having contemplated in dismay the faults and disadvantages of cyclic existence, you should develop a wish to be done with it.

Then, understanding that you will not overcome it unless you overcome its cause, you research its roots, considering what might be the root cause of cyclic existence. You will thereby become certain from the depths of your heart that the reifying view of the perishing aggregates, or ignorance, acts as the root of cyclic existence.

You then need to develop a sincere wish to eliminate that.

Next, see that overcoming the reifying view of the perishing aggregates depends upon developing the wisdom that knows that the self, as thus conceived, does not exist. You will then see that you have to refute that self.

Be certain in that refutation, relying upon scriptures and lines of reasoning that contradict its existence and prove its nonexistence. This is an indispensable technique for anyone who seeks liberation.

After you have thus arrived at the philosophical view that discerns that the self and that which belongs to the self lack even a shred of intrinsic nature, you should accustom yourself to that; this will lead to the attainment of the embodiment of truth.

Lazy Lubber
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:43 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Lazy Lubber » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:41 am

takso wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:31 am
The First Noble Truth says that the suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death is inescapable. The Buddha has revealed that suffering is part of life and that it cannot be evaded.
Interesting idea however it appears unsubtantiated. At least the Hinayana Pali suttas say in many places the Buddha escaped from the suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death.
And what may be said to be subject to birth? Spouses & children are subject to birth. Men & women slaves... goats & sheep... fowl & pigs... elephants, cattle, horses, & mares... gold & silver are subject to birth. Subject to birth are these acquisitions, and one who is tied to them, infatuated with them, who has totally fallen for them, being subject to birth, seeks what is likewise subject to birth.

And what may be said to be subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement? Spouses & children... men & women slaves... goats & sheep... fowl & pigs... elephants, cattle, horses, & mares... gold & silver are subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement. Subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement are these acquisitions, and one who is tied to them, infatuated with them, who has totally fallen for them, being subject to birth, seeks what is likewise subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement.

Then, monks, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeking the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke:

MN 26
He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' Thus was it said. With reference to what was it said? 'I am' is a construing. 'I am this' is a construing. 'I shall be' is a construing. 'I shall not be'... 'I shall be possessed of form'... 'I shall not be possessed of form'... 'I shall be percipient'... 'I shall not be percipient'... 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' is a construing. Construing is a disease, construing is a cancer, construing is an arrow. By going beyond all construing, he is said to be a sage at peace. A sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die?

MN 141

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Supramundane » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:47 am

these are very stimulating posts and i am still assimilating them. so sorry if i do not reply quuickly sometimes.
it takes me a while to mull over these abstruse matters and to top it off, i am in a different time zone from everyone else, i think.

I recall for the moment the Buddha's last words:

vayadhammā sankhārā
appamādena saṃpadethā

Conditioned things are perishable;
with vigilance strive to succeed.

this is a reference indeed to the very matter we are discussing. conditioned fabrications are what lead to dukkha; in single-pointed meditation, although we cannot cause a total cessation of conditioned fabrications, we can strive for a state of pure awareness and equanimity in which such conditioned fabrications melt away like snowflakes.

this may not end dukkha, but it is an exercise that trains the mind to end the process of fabrication...
SM

SteRo
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:50 am

Single-pointed meditation as 'right concentration' taught by the Buddha is only possible when the hindrances are absent. The hindrances are: sensual desire, ill-will/aversion, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness and worry and doubt. That can be achieved only based on pure ethical conduct. It is in that context only that one may speak of 'pure awareness'. So 'pure awareness' is the prerequisite for right concentration but not its effect.

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Supramundane » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:06 am

SteRo wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:50 am
Single-pointed meditation as 'right concentration' taught by the Buddha is only possible when the hindrances are absent. The hindrances are: sensual desire, ill-will/aversion, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness and worry and doubt. That can be achieved only based on pure ethical conduct. It is in that context only that one may speak of 'pure awareness'. So 'pure awareness' is the prerequisite for right concentration but not its effect.
understood. but isn't the purpose of single-pointed concentration to achieve pure awareness? to experience consciousness itself by negating or 'disregarding' fabrications?

SteRo
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:58 am

Supramundane wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:06 am
but isn't the purpose of single-pointed concentration to achieve pure awareness? to experience consciousness itself by negating or 'disregarding' fabrications?
I don't know what teaching this is from. Consciousness is an aggregate and thus is impermanent and dukkha, contaminated from the outset.

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Supramundane » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:30 am

in the Abhidharma, i believe consciousness is defined as discrete moments when consciousness clings to stimuli.
the Buddhist definition of 'existence', if i am not mistaken, is when this occurs.
something does not exist until consciousness clings to it, at which point it arises.

the purpose of single-pointed concentration is thus to ---as much as it is possible--- stop this process of mental fabrication or ---if it is impossible--- then to develop equanimity, as fabrications arise then fade.

consciousness is not dukkha; however it is part of the dynamic that leads to dukkha.

SteRo
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:53 am

From my perspective your view of single-pointed meditation isn't appropriate. Also your view of consciousness isn't appropriate since it will necessarily foster the wrong view of self. Any settling on any aggregate will necessarily foster the wrong view of self.
But it is completely up to you to decide what kind of thoughts you are cultivating and/or what kind of teachings you are following.

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Supramundane » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:08 am

SteRo wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:53 am
From my perspective your view of single-pointed meditation isn't appropriate. Also your view of consciousness isn't appropriate since it will necessarily foster the wrong view of self. Any settling on any aggregate will necessarily foster the wrong view of self.
But it is completely up to you to decide what kind of thoughts you are cultivating and/or what kind of teachings you are following.
my opinion is not fixed actually, ST. i welcome your input to help me understand.
i have never heard anyone clearly explain to me what the purpose of single-pointed meditation is; thus, i am trying to understand... my understanding is still developing and so any input you have is greatly welcomed. thank you for your patience btw.

Locked

Return to “Meditation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests