Acchantika wrote:However, the Buddha said,
"There is, O monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, O monks, this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed."
- Udana 80-81
Does this not refer to an ultimate reality? While something unborn cannot have affirmative attributes and so cannot be said to be 'real' and 'findable', surely it cannot be said to be 'unfindable' and 'unreal' either, being beyond both extremes. I believe taking an extreme view is something the Buddha avoided.
Nibbana, the name of the sutta - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
, means cessation.
There are only two types of cessation:
“Bhikkhus, there are these two Nibbana-elements. What are the two? The Nibbana-element with residue left and the Nibbana-element with no residue left.
“What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with residue left? 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 Nibbana-element with residue left.
“Now what, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with no residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant… completely released through final knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is experienced, not being delighted in, will be extinguished. That, bhikkhus, is called the Nibbana-element with no residue left."
The cessation-element is what is being talked. It is not however a true self, a ground of being, and it is also empty of inherent existence. Nowhere will you see in the pali suttas which you quote from, that the Buddha equates nirvana with a ground of being. The Buddha has also at other instances explicitly rejected the view of a ground of being, or the view that nirvana is an unconditioned ground of being: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/ ... ha-on.html
The Prajnaparamita sutra makes it clear: "Nirvāṇa is an illusion. Even if there is anything greater than Nirvāṇa, that too will be only an illusion."
Although I appreciate the link, I feel it is difficult to comment further on it without derailing the topic as I feel the author wildly misrepresents Buddhism, Hinduism and Advaita philosophy, which are the three main topics of the post, resulting in a lot of confusion and eliminating any meaningful credibility, in my opinion.
Actually it represents it well. (And I have studied Advaita before)
However, in the sample you quoted, Dzogchen is mentioned - this tradition seems to be quite open in its affirmation of awareness as the ultimate nature of the mind, for example, in a text attributed to its founder:
"This self-originated primordial awareness has not been created by anything--amazing!
It does not experience birth nor does there exist a cause for its death--amazing!
Although it is evidently visible, yet there is no one there who sees it--amazing!"
"This immediate intrinsic awareness is insubstantial and lucidly clear:
Just this is the highest pinnacle of all views.
It is all encompassing, free of everything, and without any conceptions whatsoever:
Just this is the highest pinnacle among all meditations.
It is un-fabricated and inexpressible in worldly terms:"
- Self-Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness
This description seems to correlate with the Buddha's above notion of the Unborn.
If awareness is the intrinsic, ultimate nature of mind, how can the ultimate nature of mind be both awareness and emptiness, or are they simply the same? If they are the same, then does that not imply that the intrinsic nature of reality is, therefore, awareness? If not, how is this duality amended? Or is this perspective unique to Dzogchen and not present throughout Buddhism? This is were my confusion lies.
Because awareness is empty, it is unborn. It is not unborn due to having an independent and unchanging existence. You should read my post on the different perspectives on Unborn: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/ ... harma.html
Luminosity is utterly unestablished in Dzogchen. You should post Dzogchen questions in the Dzogchen forum as they are much more well equipped to reply you on that. But here is a start, by our forummer Namdrol: http://www.atikosha.org/2010/11/rigpa-ii.html