26Re: [SanghaOnline] Some Questions
- Feb 4, 2002Dear Al C.
<<( Dear Venerable Sayadaws; My first question is: As it applies to Buddhism, what is omniscience?
If I had a time machine and went back to talk to the Buddha and asked
him what is the gravitational constant, Planck length or Avogadro's
number, would the Buddha be able to answer?)>>
*The answer of your first question is that omniscience means to
understand and know everything where it is good or bad for human beings
and for heavenly beings. The Buddha knows the suffering, the cause of
suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path leads to the cessation
of suffering which are very different teachings from other religion that
we also called the Four Noble Truths. These four noble truths are
discovered by the Buddha himself. The Buddha has taught us everything
through His experience.
Once king Milinda asked Venerable Nagasena whether the Buddha was omniscient?
Venerable Nagasena said Yes, the Blessed One was omniscient but His
omniscient knowledge was dependent on adverting his mind and he knew
whatever it pleased him to know.
I am sure if you met the Buddha at that time, you could ask him anything
regarding the gravitational constant and other phenomena which you have
doubt. He could answer all. You may know during his time there were many
ascetics, religious leaders, monks, kings, ministers, merchants, house
holders and even gods asking him countless questions. He not only taught
about human world but also explained about heaven beings and hell beings.
<<(My second question is: Is Pari-Nibbanna complete annhilation? If not,
then what is it.)>>
*The word Nibbana cannot be regarded as nothingness or annihilation.
It can mean blowing out as of a candle-flame being snuffed out. Once the
sage Upasiva asked about the condition of one who attained Nibbana( Nirvana)
Does he not exist who's reached the goal ? (Annihilation)
Or does he dwell forever free from ill ? ( Eternalism)
The Lord Buddha replied :
Of him who's reached the goal no measure's found,
there is not that by which he could be named,
when Dhammas all for him have been destroyed,
destroyed are all the ways of telling too.
<<(My third question is: Similarly, what is Nibbanna?)>>
*Nibbana is two words: Ni+bana (or Ni+ Vana); Ni means nothing or negative
and Vana means attachment. The whole word Nibbana means no attachment.
Attachment can produce anger, delusion for the root of unwholesomeness. Due
to attachment we still suffer. We have to reduce attachment as much as possible.
We have no words to describe Nibbana as Nibbana is not the past,
future and present or place. As the space is not born, it does not age,
does not decay. How can we describe 'Peace' without giving an example? In
the same way Nibbana is peaceful, joyful, happy, cool, excellent, calm,
serene, blissful, emancipation, passionless and pure. We cannot go to
Nibbana by car, by train or by plane but we can attain Nibbana by our
generosity, morality and meditation.(If you want to read more about Nibbana, you can visit http://www.nibbana.com )
<<( My fourth question is: How long can it take for an average person to
achieve First Insight? How does one achieve this?)>>
* It depends on a person's mature knowledge and perfection to achieve
First Insight and there are different ways to achieve it.
But your question seems to ask about First state of deep meditative
concentration ( Pathama Jhana) or stream-entry ( Sotapatti) since we
don't have First Insight. Whoever wants to achieve it, he or she must
understand the eight fold path:
Right Understanding, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action, Right
Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Then
take Mindfulness meditation.
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