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If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it? - Dhamma Wheel

If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Wind
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If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Wind » Sun May 16, 2010 2:04 am

I was just thinking if Nibbana doesn't exist but everything else is still true, would Buddhism still be worth practicing for you?

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retrofuturist
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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 16, 2010 2:13 am

Greetings Wind,

For a while I doubted whether nibbana was actually possible.

Even when I was unsure about this I still knew Buddhism was worthwhile for the benefits it brings here and now.

At Dharma Wheel, m0rl0ck recently posted this little animated Dharma comic... http://www.buddhanet.net/flash/toc/index.html ... which concludes with the following words...

"Truth is subject to practice and testing. If it is proper Truth, we definitely should be able to acquire sweet fruits through practice right away. If it only abstractly promises a reward in the next life, this may be an irresponsible trick to delude the Ignorant."

I agree with the sentiment of this. If Buddhism did nothing for me here and now, on what basis would there be for regarding it any more highly than any other religion which promised fruits in the afterlife? If that's all Buddhism offered, I would never have bothered with it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Kenshou » Sun May 16, 2010 2:37 am

Depends on the extent that the eightfold path retains it's usefulness in ending suffering, under these hypothetical conditions. If it's just that arahantship proper/completion of the path is impossible for whatever reason (dharma ending age oh no!), I think it would still be useful. Not-quite-nibbana still cuts out a lot of dukkha.

However, in the context of the entire doctrine, if there's no nibbana then there's no ending of rebirths, so if one wants to really end becoming, then we've got a problem. In that situation the effectiveness of buddhism in the long term is basically nonexistent.

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Wind
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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Wind » Sun May 16, 2010 2:40 am

Good response there retro. I agree. Buddhism has bear many good fruits for me here and now. I have overcome my anger, greed, and self-delusion to some extent ever since I started learning and practicing. I have a much more serene mind. I accept change in my life whether it's good or bad with equanimity. I used to suffer so much because of my desires for this or that life... not knowing the true way out of it, I kept pursuing sensual pleasure that gave me no more than just brief moments of joy. Buddhism has gave me the way out here and now. I feel much more free. And I find myself becoming a better person, a more honest person. These are the positive changes I received through Buddhism.

By the way Retro, how did you overcome the doubt that nibbana was possible?

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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby bodom » Sun May 16, 2010 3:01 am

"The disciple of the Noble Ones, Kalamas, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom four solaces are found here and now."'Suppose there is a hereafter and there is a fruit, result, of deeds done well or ill. Then it is possible that at the dissolution of the body after death, I shall arise in the heavenly world, which is possessed of the state of bliss.' This is the first solace found by him."'Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit, no result, of deeds done well or ill. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hatred, free from malice, safe and sound, and happy, I keep myself.' This is the second solace found by him."'Suppose evil (results) befall an evil-doer. I, however, think of doing evil to no one. Then, how can ill (results) affect me who do no evil deed?' This is the third solace found by him."'Suppose evil (results) do not befall an evil-doer. Then I see myself purified in any case.' This is the fourth solace
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Anicca » Sun May 16, 2010 3:40 am


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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 16, 2010 4:08 am

I guess many of our answers are a Buddhist version of this cartoon: "What if there is no Nibbanna and we liberate our minds for nothing...? "

Image

Mike

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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Anicca » Sun May 16, 2010 4:22 am


Shonin
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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Shonin » Sun May 16, 2010 6:54 am

There is no need to rely on faith and hope. Nibbana is the extinction of greed, hatred, and delusion. We can all taste that here and now for periods in our lives. As for final Nibbana, the permanent cessation of these three fires, we may or may not get there, but if we're practicing then we're moving in that direction, the fruits of which can be experienced here and now.

If I was not experiencing this tendency in my own life through Buddhist practice I would probably have lost interest to be honest.

But thanks to Lord Buddha it does what it says on the tin. :jumping:

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retrofuturist
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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 16, 2010 7:50 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Pannapetar » Sun May 16, 2010 9:17 am


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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun May 16, 2010 12:01 pm

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun May 16, 2010 3:30 pm

Paññāsikhara succinctly summed it up.

I will only add comment because Wind has asked "would Buddhism still be worth practicing for you?"

There are those activities which are no doubt a manifestation of my "practicing" Buddhism. Whether or not some of these activities turn out not to be an adequate manifestation of the way to end all stress they are still done for this purpose. And since stress here represents all that is unsatisfactory in existence what else is there to do but strive to bring it to an end. In my opinion such an effort is in itself "worth it" regardless what we call it as long as we reassess and refine it.

So that is my objective assessment in the abstract.

My subjective assessment involves my particular understanding and practice of Buddhism and is therefore anecdotal. That being said its value has no adequate way of being measured. It instantly surpasses any attempt to bring it into comparison with my other objects of value. I don't even have the ability to imagine something of greater value because my imagination becomes subsumed by the goal of the practice. And so you see regardless of where the practice leads me it is already "worth" practicing.


Metta

Gabe
Last edited by Prasadachitta on Sun May 16, 2010 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Virgo » Sun May 16, 2010 3:43 pm



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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Tex » Sun May 16, 2010 4:45 pm

Yes, even if there were no cycle of rebirth and no Nibbana, Buddhism would still be a system that teaches a practitioner to sharpen his concentration and act ethically toward others.

This question reminds me of why we as Buddhists are encouraged to have respect for other faiths -- even if there is no Jesus and no Heaven, that doesn't mean that Christians can't learn valuable life lessons from their practice. The same would hold true for us if the Buddha had been incorrect about Nibbana.
"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Pannapetar » Mon May 17, 2010 1:33 am


PeterB
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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby PeterB » Mon May 17, 2010 7:19 am


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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon May 17, 2010 8:27 am


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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby christopher::: » Mon May 17, 2010 9:44 am

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

chownah
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Re: If Nibbana doesn't exist, would Buddhism still be worth it?

Postby chownah » Mon May 17, 2010 2:20 pm

Buddhism is not worth it regardless.
Nothing is worth it.
It's all dukkha.
Give it up.
chownah


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