proof of nirvana?

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Supramundane
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proof of nirvana?

Post by Supramundane » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:24 am

A friend of mine naively asked me the other day, "is there any proof of Nirvana? can you show it to me?"

Before i tell you how i answered, i am curious to know your answers.
Can we prove the existence of Nirvana, either through logic or sutras?

it is a fair question after all.




Btw, I answered in the affirmative:)

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takso
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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by takso » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:27 am

One could only catch a glimpse of nirvana when the dust settles after the mind is neutered.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by seeker242 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:48 pm

No, Nirvana is not a thing that can be shown. It's an absence of defilement. How are you going to prove the absence of greed or hate in someones mind? Although, it's quite logical to conclude that if hate can be reduced some, then it can be reduced more. If it can be reduced more, then it can be reduced even more than that. If it can be reduced even more than that, then there's no reason why it can't be reduced down to none. When all defilements are reduced to none, then Nirvana. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Supramundane » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:58 am

seeker242 wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:48 pm
No, Nirvana is not a thing that can be shown. It's an absence of defilement. How are you going to prove the absence of greed or hate in someones mind? Although, it's quite logical to conclude that if hate can be reduced some, then it can be reduced more. If it can be reduced more, then it can be reduced even more than that. If it can be reduced even more than that, then there's no reason why it can't be reduced down to none. When all defilements are reduced to none, then Nirvana. :smile:
“Everything is on fire; the eyes are on fire; sights are on fire; visual perception is on fire. . . ; the ears are on fire. . . ; the nose is on fire. . . ; the tongue is on fire. . . ; the body is on fire. . . ; the mind is on fire. . . . They are on fire with greed, hate, and delusion” (from the Mahavagga of the Theravada Vinaya).

i think you have understood the sutras well; nirvana is a verb not a noun. it is not a place, not a state, not a 'heaven'.

perhaps it is a dimension of the mind and with the readiness of time we can drink from its spring.

if nirvana is nibuti, it is as you say a scalpel, a paring away. the self is not there to experience nirvana but a casing to be ejected and to be pared away. it is in our way to the apprehension of nirvana. i see nirvana in this light as a possibility; the noblest thing we can do as human beings.

perhaps this is why the buddha purportedly did not like to speak of nirvana but fell silent; it is more of a revealing than an actual existing thing. this is why concepts like Buddhamind, True Nature, etc. are controversial in buddhism. the real impulse of the buddha seems to be to pare away, to pull back layers of delusion. his intellect was an instrument as precise as dental tools and cut away rather than built and thus couching concepts in positive language such as True Self were anathema to him.

could the penchant for couching nirvana in negative terms thus be the same? perhaps this is why he was reticent to speak about it. 'a cleaning of defilements' as you rightly point out is not a noun --- place --- state, etc.

Nirvana would thus be a negating force.

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Supramundane
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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Supramundane » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:06 am

takso wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:27 am
One could only catch a glimpse of nirvana when the dust settles after the mind is neutered.
i like your take on the question.

i once spoke to someone who told me that the goal of buddhism is to glimpse nirvana, if even for a moment. once we did that, all our cares would fall away.

once we realize the true nature of reality, if only for a heartbeat, we would in a flash comprehend that all of our samsaric worries were puny and inconsequential. (he perhaps subscribed to the Zen school of thought come to think of it)

if we can train the six consciousnesses, eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness, the momentary consciousnesses of the six senses, to not latch onto the phenomenological world, then at that point, some say, we can apprehend nirvana (Mahayana Sutra of Consciousness).

thus we can state that nirvana does not exist because existence in buddhism occurs, technically speaking, when the sense-consciousnesses cling onto an object. and nirvana does not do that.

Nagarjuna would add that it does not exist but it doesn't not exist either.

does this mean it is the negating force i alluded to earlier in the post above?

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Supramundane
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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:27 am

my answer to the question about proof of nirvana was as follows:


Yes, i can provide proof of nirvana.

I will provide it when you provide me proof of samsara.

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Drenpa » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:57 pm

i think you have understood the sutras well; nirvana is a verb not a noun. it is not a place, not a state, not a 'heaven'. perhaps it is a dimension of the mind and with the readiness of time we can drink from its spring.
A verb describes an action, state or occurrence - so if you're saying Nirvana is a verb you'll have to reformulate ur idea that it's a dimension of the mind that at some point in time, when ur ready, you can drink from.

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Supramundane » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:42 am

Drenpa wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:57 pm
i think you have understood the sutras well; nirvana is a verb not a noun. it is not a place, not a state, not a 'heaven'. perhaps it is a dimension of the mind and with the readiness of time we can drink from its spring.
A verb describes an action, state or occurrence - so if you're saying Nirvana is a verb you'll have to reformulate ur idea that it's a dimension of the mind that at some point in time, when ur ready, you can drink from.
oops! thanks for the head's-up, Drenpa; mixing metaphors is not rocket surgery but i seem to have done it.

Let me change dimension of mind to 'potential of mind'. Dimension suggests a topology which i do not subscribe to.

The Buddha characterized dukkha as a fire; i think this means nirvana can be seen as drinking from a cool spring, if i am to align my metaphors.

metta

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Thundering Cloud » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:42 pm

I think my answer to your friend would be something like:

There can never be absolute proof of anything. Scientific theories can be tested and validated but never known for sure to be true. Mathematical theorems and proofs rely on the blind acceptance of a specified set of axioms; what they are proving is that the theorem is true if the axioms are true. The axioms themselves are, by definition, never proven. So the short answer is no. Nothing can be proven absolutely.

But it's important to examine why they feel they need such proof. Would they live their lives differently if you could give it to them? What significance, precisely, would having such a proof hold for them?

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by stevie » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:59 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:24 am
A friend of mine naively asked me the other day, "is there any proof of Nirvana? can you show it to me?"

Before i tell you how i answered, i am curious to know your answers.
Can we prove the existence of Nirvana, either through logic or sutras?
Of course through sutras because there are many sutras that mention Nirvana in the affirmative. But will your friend accept these sutras as valid ?
But logic will fail because there isn't an appropriate syllogism of the kind '{This or that} is Nirvana because of {the sign}.' Why? Because Nirvana is signless.

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by ford_truckin » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:23 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:24 am
A friend of mine naively asked me the other day, "is there any proof of Nirvana? can you show it to me?"

Before i tell you how i answered, i am curious to know your answers.
Can we prove the existence of Nirvana, either through logic or sutras?

it is a fair question after all.




Btw, I answered in the affirmative:)
only by practice. 8fold path.
"We should not express outwardly signs of wisdom, goodness, or diligence, for inwardly we are filled with falsity."
- Shinran Shonin

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:17 am

seeker242 wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:48 pm
No, Nirvana is not a thing that can be shown. It's an absence of defilement. How are you going to prove the absence of greed or hate in someones mind? Although, it's quite logical to conclude that if hate can be reduced some, then it can be reduced more. If it can be reduced more, then it can be reduced even more than that. If it can be reduced even more than that, then there's no reason why it can't be reduced down to none. When all defilements are reduced to none, then Nirvana. :smile:
I don't know if there is a gradual reduction of hatred that ever reaches nirvana. If we were to graph it:

y=hatred
x=mental training

y=1/x

y never reaches 0, hatred never reaches nirvana.

That's why I think the sudden is the only viable path. Nirvana: Just do it.

:sage: :rolling:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by steveb1 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:54 am

Supramundane wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:24 am
A friend of mine naively asked me the other day, "is there any proof of Nirvana? can you show it to me?"

Before i tell you how i answered, i am curious to know your answers.
Can we prove the existence of Nirvana, either through logic or sutras?

it is a fair question after all.

Btw, I answered in the affirmative:)
I don't see how proof is possible - it's like the inept demand to theists, "Show me your God!"
Inept because mystical experience is non-material and utterly subjective, so it cannot be drawn out of the private sphere of the "qualia" for physical and public demonstration. And unrealistic inasmuch as it attempts to apply quantitative processes to a qualitative category.

At best, evidence for God can only be invitational: that is, the experiencer invites the seeker or questioner to undergo whatever methods the experiencer has employed in order to attain the divine experience.

Similarly in Buddhism - with Bodhi and Nirvana - evidence of one's experience of living within the Unborn and the Unconditioned can only be a matter of invitation - as is classically attributed to the Buddha, i.e., (in words to the effect) "Don't have faith in me, and by all means test my teachings and methods for yourselves". One can only tell a questioner, "Well, it seems to work this way for me"...and mention various meditation methods by which one might at least experience a first glimpse of satori or some other state of compassionate non-attachment.

Honey is said to be sweet. One can know all the physical and chemical data about honey, but will only realize its sweetness by tasting. No one can taste it for you. Only you, by yourself, can do it.

Enlightenment is said to be radiant, blissful and any number of other beneficent categories.
One one can ingest all the scholarly and anecdotal data about Enlightenment, but will only realize it by "tasting" it via personal seeking and the potential inner transformation that may ensue. No one can do it for you. Hence, it remains unprovable, private, and subjective for all others but the practitioner him-or-herself.

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by siyavarma » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:54 am

Thundering Cloud wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:42 pm
I think my answer to your friend would be something like:

There can never be absolute proof of anything. Scientific theories can be tested and validated but never known for sure to be true. Mathematical theorems and proofs rely on the blind acceptance of a specified set of axioms; what they are proving is that the theorem is true if the axioms are true. The axioms themselves are, by definition, never proven. So the short answer is no. Nothing can be proven absolutely.

But it's important to examine why they feel they need such proof. Would they live their lives differently if you could give it to them? What significance, precisely, would having such a proof hold for them?
Great.Thanks for sharing this valuable post great work :twothumbsup:

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:22 pm

Like proof of falling in love.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:44 pm

Is nirvana a phenomenon? If not it can't even be demonstrated let along proven.

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:50 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:44 pm
Is nirvana a phenomenon? If not it can't even be demonstrated let along proven.
Yep, it can only be inferred, and places where it's 'proved' scripturally are just inferences.

One notion I remember from Tathgatagarbha sutra is this 'proof' of Buddhanature:

What is it that recognizes the afflictions as afflictions?
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Bundokji » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:14 pm

The concept of "proof" belongs to worldly knowledge. For something to be proven, it should be defined. For it to be defined, it should have an independent existence. Things have independent existence only in the worlds of conditions.
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:28 pm

Nagarjuna remarks in Tazhitulun (Commentary on the Prajnaparamita Sutra) that faith is the only gate to the ocean of awakening.

This is a principle that I think is little understood. And probably unpalatable to many of us who have been trained to believe that positive proof is the only acceptable standard for any view. (This approach is claimed to be objective, but its actually anchored in relativity based on some idealized subject).

We can't offer proof of nirvana to someone approaching from the relative view. Full stop.

This is so for the reasons discussed above and more. Proof is about discernible relative evidence - and nirvana is not relative. To see nirvana, the only option is to enter the path that leads to it. As I am inclined to say, "Just do it." The initial step is a leap of faith - its a matter of setting aside the ordinary samsaric logic of relativity and immersing into the "ocean of awakening" that takes Nirvana as True. From the outside, the best we can do is establish an inference of Nirvana, which Nagarjuna demonstrates in the Mulamadhyamakakarika.

What can be confusing is that from within the "ocean of awakening" there is(are) order(s) with its(their) own relativity, and what creates confusion is that this relativity (upaya) is often confused with the ordinary world of conditioned dharmas rooted in ignorance. In fact, compounding the confusion is that upaya actually take into account this confusion and apply it to have certain intended affects on samsaric beings. The liberators see the upaya for the effect they actually have, while the samsaric beings are led along in various ways but don't generally see how they are being manipulated toward awakening. (See the Lotus Sutra - particularly the Upaya Chapter)

We could probably discuss the various means through which faith is acted out. May not be appropriate for this particular sub-forum. May not be a widely appreciated discussion in general.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Supramundane
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Re: proof of nirvana?

Post by Supramundane » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:38 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:44 pm
Is nirvana a phenomenon? If not it can't even be demonstrated let along proven.
Samsara cannot be proven and yet we assume every second of our lives that it exists.
If ignorance exists then it follows that enlightenment exists.....

Your question is intriguing. Is nirvana a phenomenon?
I suspect that it may be. It may be nore more no less than the very phenomenological world we live in, closer to us than anything, closer to us than our own name...
But it is the deathless element

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