Three comments on Nibbana is said to be totally uncaused/2009/08/21/three-comments-on-nibbana-is-said-to-be-totally-uncaused/

Three comments on Nibbana is said to be totally uncaused

3 comments from James on Nibbana is said to be totally uncaused

James said,
21.08.09 at 8:42 am ·
“However, I would no longer really endorse the tie in with chaos theory. The fad of chaos theory explanations gets to be a form of abuse (as is obvious from following the Chaos listserve). (Deterministic chaos is not likely to explain uncaused events)> ”

I’m not a defender of the author, but he doesn’t support them either (i.e. he admits that it is an imperfect analogy). The point is that nirvana isn’t an “uncaused event” but the the end of “events.”


James said,
21.08.09 at 8:47 am ·
Also, one of the problems with “uncaused events” theories is that they are suspiciously similar to the “ground of being” theories. The early sutras are clearly not referring to it as an “uncaused event:”

“…there has long been — and still is — a common tendency to create a “Buddhist” metaphysics in which the experience of emptiness, the Unconditioned, the Dharma-body, Buddha-nature, rigpa, etc., is said to function as the ground of being from which the “All” — the entirety of our sensory & mental experience — is said to spring and to which we return when we meditate. Some people think that these theories are the inventions of scholars without any direct meditative experience, but actually they have most often originated among meditators, who label (or in the words of the discourse, “perceive”) a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, identify with it in a subtle way (as when we are told that “we are the knowing”), and then view that level of experience as the ground of being out of which all other experience comes.”


James said,
21.08.09 at 8:53 am ·
More information:

“Nibbana is the end of samsara. Contrary to a popular misunderstanding, neither nibbana nor samsara is a place. In attaining nibbana we don’t escape from one location to another. For the Buddha, samsara is the process by which clinging gives rise to suffering which, in turn, gives rise to further clinging. He understood that this self-perpetuating process continues over lifetimes as the “fuel” for rebirth, just as the fire from one burning house is carried to a neighboring house by the wind. Nibbana is what is realized when the clinging of greed, hate, and delusion is brought to an end. Some later Buddhist traditions equate nirvana and samsara. However, they likely attribute very different meanings to these words than those understood by the earliest Buddhist tradition. In Theravada teachings, samsara cannot be nibbana any more than a clenched fist can be an open hand, any more than burning ember in your fist can be the same as letting it go. For the Buddha, nibbana had quite positive associations – after all, it is a simile for ultimate freedom and awakening. At times he used other similes to describe this state: “the blissful, the secure, the pure, the island, the shelter, the harbor, the refuge, the ultimate.”

Other, more perplexing, synonyms include “the unconstructed, the ageless, the deathless, the featureless.” These refer to the idea that nibbana does not exist as something that can be made, shaped, or willed. It is not a “ground of being” from which anything subject to death can arise. Although there is a consciousness, “featureless, infinite, and luminous all around,” that is associated with nibbana, it is not dependent on the conditioned world. Nor does it produce the conditioned world. Rather, it is a dimension of consciousness totally independent of circumstances in the world or in one’s personal life. Because nibbana is independent, people who fully realize it are said to be “unestablished” – in other words, free from any clinging that would confine their consciousness to any point in space or time. ”

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