What does Buddha say about Nirvana?

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by tatvamasi, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. tatvamasi

    tatvamasi idol worshipping advaitin

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    Does he say "It is undescribable" or does he categorically say "it is 'Emptiness' or 'Sunyata' " ?
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste tatvamasi,
    thank you for the post.​
    Sunyata is different than Nirvana in the tradition exegis.​
    The historical Buddha defined Nirvana in two ways, what it is and what it is not. without further ado:​
    What it is:​
    "This is peace, this is exquisite -- the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving (tanha); dispassion; cessation; Nibbana."
    -- AN III.32




    There's no fire like passion,
    no loss like anger,
    no pain like the aggregates,
    no ease other than peace.
    Hunger: the foremost illness.
    Fabrications: the foremost pain.
    For one knowing this truth
    as it actually is,
    Unbinding
    is the foremost ease.
    Freedom from illness: the foremost good fortune.
    Contentment: the foremost wealth.
    Trust: the foremost kinship.
    Unbinding: the foremost ease.




    The enlightened, constantly
    absorbed in jhana,
    persevering,
    firm in their effort:
    they touch Unbinding,
    the unexcelled safety
    from bondage.

    -- Dhp 23
    What it is Not:​
    "There is that dimension 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 stasis; neither passing away nor arising: without stance, without foundation, without support [mental object]. This, just this, is the end of craving (tanha)."
    -- Ud VIII.1




    "There is, monks, an unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated. If there were not that unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born -- become -- made -- fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated, emancipation from the born -- become -- made -- fabricated is discerned."
    -- Ud VIII.3




    Where water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing:
    There the stars do not shine,
    the sun is not visible,
    the moon does not appear,
    darkness is not found.
    And when a sage,
    a brahman through sagacity,
    has known [this] for himself,
    then from form & formless,
    from bliss & pain,
    he is freed.
    -- Ud I.10
    the First Breakthrough into Nirvana is described like this:​
    Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?" ​


    "The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth -- this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail -- when compared with the great earth."

    "In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering & stress that is totally ended & extinguished is far greater. That which remains in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye."
    -- SN XIII.1
    the interested reader is directed to this site for more information:​
     
  3. Hyozan

    Hyozan Shinjin Datsuraku!

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    Dear Tatvamasi,

    The historical Buddha would not have called Nirvana "Shunyata", as this is a later evolution by Nagarjuna.

    Also, in most modern-day Mahayana schools, the seeing of Shunyata would not yet be considered enlightenment (ref. Avatamsaka Sutra & San Do Kai)

    In other words: knowing the path (Tatvamasi, so to speak) is not walking the path (in Japanese this supreme state of realization of emptiness is called Ji ji mu ge).

    A useful link: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/gbf/gbf10.htm

    hope this helps,

    Bob
     
  4. tatvamasi

    tatvamasi idol worshipping advaitin

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    Thanks for your replies Vajradhara and Hyozan.


    It seems like Buddha peeled off all the outer layers of Hinduism and propagated its essential truth.

    My post would seem like trying to say "Afterall, Buddhism derives from Hinduism", but it is my intention that "Nrvanic" thoughts were not introduced to India by the Buddha but were there all along.
     
  5. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Tatvamasi,


    it's true enough that the idea of Nirvana was already established in India prior to the arising of the Buddha Shakyamuni.

    Nibbana/Nirvana was taught as the "destination" or "goal", so to speak, for the Shravaka/Arhant whereas for the Bodhisattva, the "destination" is Buddhahood.

    within the traditional exegis of the Mahayana, Nibbana/Nirvana is seen as a resting point, if you will. when the Arhant is in Nirvana, they will be roused by a Buddha to return and take up the Bodhisattva path to help sentient beings become liberated.

    the context of my initial post in this thread is from the Hinyana/Theravedan view, as such, the Mahayana view is somewhat more obtuse in this regard. within the formulations of the Mahayana, especially those schools influenced by Sri Nagarjuna, Nirvana and Samsara are held to be one and the same. it's an internal mental state, not a different physical place, as it were.
     
  6. sangam

    sangam Member

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    dear vaj, beautiful post, i have taken printouts of some of the verses to stick on my board. could you please give examples of what buddha said to encourage monks to practice meditation, i am finding my determination and dicipline wavering under pressure of the demands of life.
     
  7. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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  8. sangam

    sangam Member

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    thanks a lot vaj, it was indeed helpful,
    would you have acess to anything more condensed. i.e. in the form of a verse, like in your earlier post in this thread.
    apologies for troubling you,
     
  9. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Sangam,


    thank you for the post.

    are you interested in canonical teachings or commentary?

    in the Samanaphala Sutta, which is a fairly long Sutta on the fruits of practice, it says:

    "Quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder -- saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without -- would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates...this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

    "This is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime. "

    it continues....

    "
    "Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, one-pointedness of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation -- internal assurance. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure. Just like a lake with spring-water welling up from within, having no inflow from the east, west, north, or south, and with the skies supplying abundant showers time and again, so that the cool fount of water welling up from within the lake would permeate and pervade, suffuse and fill it with cool waters, there being no part of the lake unpervaded by the cool waters; even so, the monk permeates...this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of composure.

    "This, too, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime. "

    http://hjem.get2net.dk/civet-cat/theravada-writings/samannaphala-sutta.html

    in the Anapanasati Sutta, the Buddha explains the benefit of meditation thusly:

    "Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, brings the four frames of reference to their culmination. The four frames of reference, when developed & pursued, bring the seven factors of awakening to their culmination. The seven factors of awakening, when developed & pursued, bring clear knowing & release to their culmination. "

    further along in the same Sutta;


    "And how are the seven factors of awakening developed & pursued so as to bring clear knowing & release to their culmination? There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor of awakening dependent on seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops analysis of qualities as a factor of awakening...persistence as a factor of awakening...rapture as a factor of awakening...serenity as a factor of awakening...concentration as a factor of awakening...equanimity as a factor of awakening dependent on seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in relinquishment."

    http://hjem.get2net.dk/civet-cat/theravada-writings/anapanasati-sutta.htm
     

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