Thread: Confusion over nibbana

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    Confusion over nibbana

    Greetings,

    Somewhat confused about nibbana. As I understand it, that is what we all attain to. What isn't understood is that once one achieves that state, is there no returning and further, where exactly is one at that state? We don't return to a physical body or any other such thing?

    Please forgive this elementary query. Haven't run across and answer yet as am still in "In the Buddha's Words" and have completed a few other books on the basics. If there is a somewhat simple explanation, it would be appreciated. If not, the result is welcome too.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Somewhat confused about nibbana. As I understand it, that is what we all attain to. What isn't understood is that once one achieves that state, is there no returning and further, where exactly is one at that state? We don't return to a physical body or any other such thing?
    Hi mcsfa1,

    Nibbana isn't somewhere else, it's sometimes said to be the cessation of greed, hatred and delusion.

    This article by Ajahn Sumedho might help. (Its also the introduction to the book "The Island - An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana" by Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Passano.)


    The Island That You Cannot Go Beyond

    ~Ajahn Sumedho~


    A difficulty with the word Nibbana is that its meaning is beyond the power of words to describe. It is, essentially, undefinable.

    Another difficulty is that many Buddhists see Nibbana as something unobtainable—as so high and so remote that we’re not worthy enough to try for it. Or we see Nibbana as a goal, as an unknown, undefined something that we should somehow try to attain.

    Most of us are conditioned in this way. We want to achieve or attain something that we don’t have now. So Nibbana is looked at as something that, if you work hard, keep the sila, meditate diligently, become a monastic, devote your life to practice, then your reward might be that eventually you attain Nibbana—even though you’re not sure what it is.


    Continued Here:http://www.abhayagiri.org/reflection...nnot-go-beyond


    Link to the book: http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/the-island/



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    Nibbana is the here-&-now end of suffering, which is described as the end of craving or the end of greed, hatred & delusion.

    This, bhikkhu, is a designation for the element of Nibbāna: the removal (vinayo) of lust, the removal of hatred, the removal of delusion. The destruction of the taints is spoken of in that way.

    SN 45.7
    When a bhikkhu has heard that nothing is worth adhering to, he directly knows everything; having directly known everything, he fully understands everything; having directly known everything, he fully understood everything, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant or painful or neither pleasant or painful, he abides contemplating (observing) impermanence in those feelings, contemplating (observing) fading away, contemplating (observing) cessation, contemplating (observing) relinquishment (letting go). Contemplating (observing) thus, he does not cling to anything in the world. When he does not cling, he is not agitated, he personally attains Nibbana....Briefly, it is in this way, ruler of gods, that a bhikkhu is liberated in the destruction of craving...

    MN 37
    Having understood the unconditioned state,
    Released in mind with the cord of (self) becoming (bhavā) destroyed,
    They have attained to the Dhamma-essence.
    Delighting in the destruction (of craving),
    Those stable ones have abandoned all (self) becoming (bhavā).

    Iti 44
    When Nibbana is reached, there is no more returning to mental defilements, which includes self-conceit.

    Being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion his mind is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It is liberated.’ He understands: ‘Birth [self-identity] is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.’

    Here the bhikkhu has abandoned ignorance, has cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, done away with it, so that it is no longer subject to future arising.

    Here the bhikkhu has abandoned the round of [self-identity] births that brings new becoming, has cut it off at the root…so that it is no longer subject to future arising.

    Here the bhikkhu has abandoned craving, has cut it off at the root…so that it is no longer subject to future arising.

    Here a bhikkhu has abandoned the conceit ‘I am,’ has cut it off at the root…so that it is no longer subject to future arising.

    MN 22
    However, the five aggregates, including the physical body, remain (until the termination of life).

    Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbāna-element...

    Iti 44
    The Buddha attained Nibbana when he was 35 years old & abided in Nibbana until he was 80 years old.

    153. Through many a [ego] birth in samsara have I wandered in vain, seeking the builder of this house. Repeated [ego] birth is indeed suffering!

    154. O house-builder [craving], you are seen! You will not build this house [of ego] again. For your rafters are broken and your ridgepole shattered. My mind has reached the Unconditioned; I have attained the destruction of craving [Nibbana].

    Dhammapada: First Words of the Buddha

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    from Ajahn Sumedho's article referenced by Aloka in this thread:

    "and the reality of non attachment, of non-grasping, reveals itself in what we can say is Nibbana. If we look at it in this way, Nibbana is here and now. It’s not an attainment in the future. The reality is here and now. It is so very simple, but beyond description. It can’t be bestowed or even conveyed, it can only be known by each person for themselves."

    Perhaps a good example is having sexual attraction feelings come up toward someone and not grasping at them, letting them go, watching them mindfully. In that case there is a desire that you don't grasp onto in the here and now but just are mindful of in the here and now. Then both desire and nibbana exist simultaneously, you could say, right in the now moment. Same with hatred, it arises, but through being aware of it as a function of the body-mind, natural state, in this case, hatred, that is just built into the human being, and which comes and goes, is there inside one but you don't grasp at it. Once grasping onto hatred we might then speak or act and create karma. But Nibbana and hatred perhaps coexist peacefully through mindfulness, and through Meditation and Right View.

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    Element, you answered my query fully and completely. I have no doubts now. Thank-you!

    Aloka's article brought a question to mind. Is grasping a result of anxiety, one of the defilements? Just curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Is grasping a result of anxiety, one of the defilements? Just curious.
    All of the many forms of defilements (summarised as greed, hatred & delusion), including anxiety, can give rise to grasping.

    Anxiety (a form of delusion/ignorance/not-knowing) is a mood that flows out of the mind, which the mind will grasp at, i.e., think & obsess about.

    Or the suttas state the mind can be anxious about change & grasp to that:

    Change occurs to this man's body and it becomes different. Because of this change and alteration in his body, his consciousness is preoccupied with bodily change. Due to this preoccupation with bodily change, worried thoughts arise and persist, laying a firm hold on his mind. Through this mental obsession he becomes fearful and distressed, and being full of desire and attachment he is worried. He regards feeling as the self,... change occurs to his feeling... he is worried. [Similarly with 'perception,' 'the mental formations' and 'consciousness']. In this way, monks, grasping and worrying arise.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....007.wlsh.html
    The suttas state anxiety is nurtured by giving careless attention to it & dispelled by practising calmness meditation:

    And what is the food for the arising of unarisen restlessness & anxiety, or for the growth & increase of restlessness & anxiety once it has arisen? There is non-stillness of awareness. To foster inappropriate attention to that: This is the food for the arising of unarisen restlessness & anxiety, or for the growth & increase of restlessness & anxiety once it has arisen.

    And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen restlessness & anxiety, or for the growth & increase of restlessness & anxiety once it has arisen? There is the stilling of awareness. To foster appropriate attention to that: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen restlessness & anxiety, or for the growth & increase of restlessness & anxiety once it has arisen.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....051.than.html

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