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Sanna Is Okay With Imageless Nibbana: Full Message Re: Nibbana Annihilation? !

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  • Kom Tukovinit
    Dear Robert E, Thanks for taking the time reply. I will be augmenting what you said only and won t be arguing because the scope of the topic is beyond my
    Message 1 of 111 , Jul 31, 2001
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      Dear Robert E,

      Thanks for taking the time reply. I will be augmenting what you said only
      and won't be arguing because the scope of the topic is beyond my

      --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., Robert Epstein <epsteinrob@Y...> wrote:
      > Well, let's say this: even though seen objects are not conditioned by
      > consciousness,

      Whew! At least we agree on this point!

      > the seen objects are limited insofar as they are taken in by seeing
      > consciousness via the form of the seeing consciousness.

      You are saying here that the inherent characteristic of what is seen is not
      conditioned by the seeing consciousness. On the other hand, the
      characteristic as seen by the seeing consciousness is conditioned because
      the seeing consciousness itself is conditioned. Although I haven't seen
      this point explicitly mentioned in the text, it is certainly logical. Each
      individiual, depending on the eyesights, definitely sees differently.

      > If a conditioned [limited and particularly structured] consciousness is
      able to
      > apprehend Nibbana, it will likewise be apprehending Nibbana according
      to its form
      > and limitations, ie, its conditioning. Therefore, while Nibbana may be an
      > for this conditioned consciousness, the view of Nibbana that the limited
      > consciousness apprehends will be a limited [untrue] version of Nibbana,
      > Nibbana itself.

      On the other hand, then none of the true nature of the dhammas (besides
      nibbana) can ever be penetrated (except maybe at some special
      moment), as it is always conditioned. By this logic, even the Buddha
      (unless you take his consciousness as being nibbana and is not
      conditioned) cannot penetrate the true nature of the dhamma fully.

      > Since Nibbana is the only unlimited, unconditioned state, only Nibbana
      itself can
      > apprehend Nibbana as it truly is, but if it were to theoretically split itself
      > order to be able to apprehend itself, it would instantly decline into a
      > divided consciousness of subject-object, with a limited, conditioned
      version of
      > Nibbana apprehending itself as a limited, objectified version of itself.

      I certainly only have heard about this explanation for the first time!

      > This is the logic by which I feel that Nibbana cannot possibly be
      apprehended by
      > consciousness without objectifying, limiting and dividing it into a
      > object or concept, which is to say, not Nibbana itself, but an
      > version of itself.
      > I don't see how this logic can be refuted, but I'm sure if it has been
      refuted in
      > the suttas themselves, then there is good reason why I am not
      understanding the
      > dynamic of the advanced consciousnesses and their relation to
      Nibbana. This is
      > very possible, since my education in Buddhism is somewhat limited itself.

      Thanks again for the explanation. I think the logics is workable. I haven't
      seen any texts (except commentaries) that explicitly refutes or supports
      this explanation.

      > But in the case of thinking of concepts, I don't see how the form of the
      > consciousness would not condition the concepts, since thoughts, unlike
      > objects, are influenced by consciousness. If my consciousness is unable
      > understand the color red, the concept of the color red will not show up
      as the
      > color red for that consciousness. Now maybe once again I am not
      understanding the
      > use of 'consciousness' here. If it is merely a passive recorder of
      > concepts/objects happen to land on it, then your formulation would
      make sense to
      > me, and objects and concepts would have the same status, in
      conditioning the
      > consciousness that apprehends them, while not being conditioned by it

      The explanation that I have heard is that since concepts don't have actual
      characteristics. They don't rise, don't fall, and therefore, has no
      condition. I personally don't understand this explanation fully, as you have
      pointed, that it seems to be against logics...

    • Robert Epstein
      ... Thanks, Jon, for your helpful explanations. I appreciate it. Best, Robert E. ===== Robert Epstein, Program Director / Acting Instructor THE COMPLETE
      Message 111 of 111 , Aug 21, 2001
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        --- Jonothan Abbott <jonoabb@...> wrote:
        > Rob. E
        > --- Robert Epstein <epsteinrob@...> wrote: >
        > > Dear Jon,
        > > When you say that the citta that experiences nibbana is 'supramundane',
        > > this means
        > > to me that it is a consciousness transcendent to worldy conditions. In
        > > other
        > > words, would supernatural be an equivalent term?
        > Well I'm not aware of the term 'supernatural' being used to describe the
        > citta that experiences nibbana. And it is nibbana, not the citta that
        > experiences it, that is said to be the transcendent reality.
        > The best I can do is give you following from the summarised commentary of
        > the Abhidhammattha-Sangaha (from the Bhikkhu Bodhi/Narada translation).
        > It describes at p. 66 supramundane consciousness (lokuttaracitta) as the
        > consciousness that "pertains to the process of transcending (uttara) the
        > world (loka)". (This doesn't seem to me to be quite the same as saying
        > that the consciousness itself transcends the world.)
        > It also explains (p. 31) that "world" in this context means not the world
        > of beings or the physical universe but rather "the world of formations
        > (sankharaloka), that is, all mundane phenomena included within the five
        > aggregates of clinging". It is because the consciousness directly
        > accomplishes the realisation of nibbana, which itself "transcends the
        > world of conditioned things" that it is called lokkutaracitta,
        > supramundane consciousness.
        > > If the consciousness is beyond earthly conditions, it would certainly
        > > get me
        > > closer to understanding how it could apprehend Nibbana.
        > Well it depends what you mean here by "earthly conditions". It really has
        > nothing to do with this world, except of course to the extent that it
        > arises in a being who inhabits this world. To borrow from another
        > context, in this world but not of it!
        > Jon

        Thanks, Jon, for your helpful explanations. I appreciate it.

        Robert E.

        Robert Epstein, Program Director / Acting Instructor
        homepage: http://homepage.mac.com/epsteinrob1/
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