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Parinibbana as a goal? - Dhamma Wheel

Parinibbana as a goal?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Lazy_eye
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Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:29 am

All,

This question has puzzled me for awhile and I feel somehow it is important for my understanding of Right Intention, so bear with me. I know it's a bit theoretical.

The path leads through a gradual training until nibbana is reached, and then after that comes parinibbana -- which is generally defined as total cessation. Nibbana can be said to have an experiential component, in that the awakened arahant is still cognitively present to experience "unalloyed bliss". At parinibbana, however, this is no longer the case. There is no cognition and no experience of awakening or anything else.

My question is this: suppose, somehow, it were possible to arrive directly at parinibbana without any of the intervening stages including the nibbana of the living arahant. Would this be a desirable goal from a Buddhist perspective?

In other words, what is the practitioner really aiming at? The total cessation of parinibbana, or the unalloyed bliss of nibbana followed in due course by parinibbana?

A couple possible answers:

-- Yes, it would be desirable to go straight to parinibbana. The living arahant has to burn up some remaining kammic fuel, but would doubtless skip this phase if it were possible. Only parinibbana brings the complete, remainderless release from samsara (even if there is no actual experience of this total release).

-- No, the goal is the "unalloyed bliss" of nibbana. Having reached that stage, however, there is no more fuel for further arising -- nor does the arahant desire continued existence.

-- Theoretically yes, practically no. Until one is farther along the path, most people would not be able to desire parinibbana as a goal because our attachment to the world is too strong. Therefore most of us have intermediate goals. When we become arahants it will all become clear.

Thanks in advance for your observations...

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:45 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:17 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Zom » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:25 pm


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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby ground » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:52 pm


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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:35 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:40 pm

"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: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:17 am

Last edited by Lazy_eye on Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:21 am


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ground
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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby ground » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:52 am


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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Zom » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:06 am


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kirk5a
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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:35 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:04 pm

Still, some sort of cognitive activity must be present -- otherwise how would the Buddha have been capable of giving discourses and going on alms rounds? A living Buddha or arahant (who has realized nibbana) is not identical to a Buddha statue (which may be in a state equivalent to parinibbana).

Moreover, what the Nibbana Sutta provides is a list of things which nibbana is not. That doesn't preclude the possibility that nibbana constitutes something else, outside those categories and hence indescribable ("something" being used here simply due to the constraints of conventional language).

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:49 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:27 pm


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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Sarva » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:54 pm

“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Zom » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:56 pm


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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:57 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:41 pm


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Re: Parinibbana as a goal?

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