The permanence of enlightenment

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The permanence of enlightenment

Postby mzaur » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:12 pm

Hello,

I am having a discussion with someone who does not believe that enlightenment is permanent and lasting, because he says the mind is impermanent and all phenomena are impermanent. I said that enlightenment is not a phenomena but a realization about the true nature of all phenomena, but this person is still not getting it, because he says the mind is impermanent and so must enlightenment be.

I would like to quote some sutras to support my position that enlightenment is permanent and lasting (even after death). Could someone please offer some? Thank you
Last edited by mzaur on Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby Paul » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:14 pm

The Abhidharmakosha explains it. Nirvana is not a compound phenomena and so because it does not come about by causes, it is permanent.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby mzaur » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:22 pm

Paul wrote:The Abhidharmakosha explains it. Nirvana is not a compound phenomena and so because it does not come about by causes, it is permanent.


Thank you. But is there anything specific to the realization of NIrvana? I can see someone simply arguing that Nirvana may be permanent, but the mind is impermanent, so any realization of Nirvana is also impermanent.
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby Paul » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:24 pm

Nirvana is not the mind - it is not one of the 5 skandhas. It is the cessation of ignorance, and therefore the cessation of the 12 links. This is why in the Abhidharmakosha it is called a 'yogic cessation'.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby mzaur » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:31 pm

Thank you. Do you have a link to a sutta which talks about Nirvana as the cessation of ignorance and the 12 links? That would be great.
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby Paul » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:45 pm

mzaur wrote:Thank you. Do you have a link to a sutta which talks about Nirvana as the cessation of ignorance and the 12 links? That would be great.


See these lines from the Dhammapada (and especially the linked comment):
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#dhp-351
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby dakini_boi » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:27 pm

mzaur wrote:Hello,

I am having a discussion with someone who does not believe that enlightenment is permanent and lasting, because he says the mind is impermanent and all phenomena are impermanent. I said that enlightenment is not a phenomena but a realization about the true nature of all phenomena, but this person is still not getting it, because he says the mind is impermanent and so must enlightenment be.

I would like to quote some sutras to support my position that enlightenment is permanent and lasting (even after death). Could someone please offer some? Thank you


Is he Buddhist? If he is Buddhist, believing that enlightenment is not permanent makes no sense at all. If enlightenment were not permanent, it would just be part of samsara, like any other impermanent phenomenon. If enlightenment is part of samsara, then there's no point in practicing dharma. No essential difference between seeking enlightenment or seeking any other worldly pleasure.
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby Paul » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:38 pm

dakini_boi wrote:
mzaur wrote:Hello,

I am having a discussion with someone who does not believe that enlightenment is permanent and lasting, because he says the mind is impermanent and all phenomena are impermanent. I said that enlightenment is not a phenomena but a realization about the true nature of all phenomena, but this person is still not getting it, because he says the mind is impermanent and so must enlightenment be.

I would like to quote some sutras to support my position that enlightenment is permanent and lasting (even after death). Could someone please offer some? Thank you


Is he Buddhist? If he is Buddhist, believing that enlightenment is not permanent makes no sense at all. If enlightenment were not permanent, it would just be part of samsara, like any other impermanent phenomenon. If enlightenment is part of samsara, then there's no point in practicing dharma. No essential difference between seeking enlightenment or seeking any other worldly pleasure.


Agreed. He sounds like one of these confused 'Buddha was a materialist' types.
Image

"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby Paul » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:12 pm



By coincidence, I was just watching this video and it seems very relevant to the issues about nirvana being impermanent.
Image

"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby mzaur » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:14 pm

dakini_boi wrote:
mzaur wrote:Hello,

I am having a discussion with someone who does not believe that enlightenment is permanent and lasting, because he says the mind is impermanent and all phenomena are impermanent. I said that enlightenment is not a phenomena but a realization about the true nature of all phenomena, but this person is still not getting it, because he says the mind is impermanent and so must enlightenment be.

I would like to quote some sutras to support my position that enlightenment is permanent and lasting (even after death). Could someone please offer some? Thank you


Is he Buddhist? If he is Buddhist, believing that enlightenment is not permanent makes no sense at all. If enlightenment were not permanent, it would just be part of samsara, like any other impermanent phenomenon. If enlightenment is part of samsara, then there's no point in practicing dharma. No essential difference between seeking enlightenment or seeking any other worldly pleasure.


Exactly. I completely agree.

I think even for modern Buddhists it's tough to see enlightenment as permanent because they think that mind is casually dependent on the brain.... I completely agree though that if that's the case, there's really no point in practicing dharma.

Thank you
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby mzaur » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:14 pm

Thank you Paul :) That video is wonderful
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:45 pm

This reminded me of another thread where the differences in Mahāyāna liberation and Dzogchen liberation were briefly discussed, Namdrol wrote:

Namdrol wrote:Parinirvana without any remainder.

This is another place where Dzogchen doctrine differs from common Mahāyāna -- the goal in common Mahāyāna is a non-abiding nirvana.

The ultimate result of Dzogchen is an abiding nirvana.

Why? Because compassion is innate in the basis, and whenever sentient beings appear, so do Buddhas.


So it seems nirvana is going to differ depending on the vehicle one is implementing. I've also heard that Theravāda considers enlightenment to be the first initial moment a glimpse of nirvana is actualized(one is then an arhat and considered enlightened according to Theravādin standards). Mahāyāna seems to be close to the same although I'm sure realization has a much different flavor, it seems that one may actualize non-abiding nirvana and in some rare cases actualize the full attainment of abiding nirvana. Lastly Mahāmudrā and Dzogchen are the definitive methods implemented to turn the non-abiding nirvana into the flawless and full abiding nirvana(complete and perfect buddhahood), although I've also seen discrepancies and controversy regarding the nature of their respective definitions of nirvana(Dzogchen being a more complete enlightenment since it contains practices which are unique to it such as tögal).

That being said, I could be wrong about this and I welcome any corrections!
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby dakini_boi » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:48 pm

mzaur wrote:I think even for modern Buddhists it's tough to see enlightenment as permanent because they think that mind is casually dependent on the brain.... I completely agree though that if that's the case, there's really no point in practicing dharma.


Well, maybe not totally pointless. You could practice for worldly siddhis, and transient worldly happiness and peace of mind. But Buddhism tells us that even these are characterized by suffering. So to say you're a Buddhist but you don't believe enlightenment is permanent, you're basically saying your religion is pointless - because the purpose is supposed to be freedom from suffering - not relatively less suffering. Try to impress upon your friend that enlightenment is not a phenomenon of the mind. . . sorry I don't have a citation handy, but it shouldn't be too hard to find.
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby Leo Rivers » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:50 am

The Abhidharmakosha explains it. Nirvana is not a compound phenomena and so because it does not come about by causes, it is permanent.


I am a fan of Vasubandhu but still think that a logical construct like "Nirvana is not conditioned" sort of misses the mark because defining something is dualistic and a non-conceptual target is not. :reading:

The Nirvana that can be told of is not the eternal Nirvana; The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
to misquote the Tao Te Ching (Chan translation) 1.)

How can a dualistic definition as regards momentariness or part have anything to say about realization?

And how can an outcome of transformation (a marga or path) result in a Nirvana neither produced nor multiple or singular?

MY humble operating procedure is to reduce illusion and leave the target "undefined" as Dan Lusthaus says the Yogacara didn't do (thus evading the charge of idealism and reification of the target as essence).

I am not attached to THEM not meaning to make a substantial target - I can say, "well, I can try real hard not to myself because a pygmy can stand on the head of giants and maybe get a peek over the fence. :roll:


1.) 24 translations of every line of the Tao Te Ching line by line. http://www.wayist.org/ttc%20compared/chap01.htm#top
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:07 am

Leo Rivers wrote:...a non-conceptual target is...



...a contradiction in terms.
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby Leo Rivers » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:43 am

...a contradiction in terms.
Absolutely.

But non-dual topics of conversation do that by nature. As was that statement I just made itself. Topic is target as expression of subject and object. Communication is a process of recursive dualism. My idea is that you say enough to get an idea of the wrong direction and then let it go. It's a kind of tug boat thing. You nudge yourself away from a more wrong direction and then, I guess, rest. Buddhism has this built in challenge where admonishing to be "non-dual" isn't. And Practicing to realize that which isn't produced by a process of production makes a difficult mouthful even if kind of getting the idea of it isn't so difficult.

I can say that just falling into naturalness or simply cessation of something hasn't cut the worldly nature of people I have been told are successes at this approach as far as I can see. And the Buddha's own intention was clearly a transformation of conduct that was a process of displacing one kind of dualistic landscape with another, even if it was displacing a nightmare with a dream as far as an altruistic act.

Some people I knew personally practiced what they said was the highest of practices, non-dual, and beyond concept - but their behavior was as if a tantric or perfection practice could be done with a Sravaka attitude.

I admit that was beyond me. I can look in the mirror and have no problem in accepting I am not amongst the spiritual elite.
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby mzaur » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:24 am

asunthatneversets wrote:This reminded me of another thread where the differences in Mahāyāna liberation and Dzogchen liberation were briefly discussed, Namdrol wrote:

Namdrol wrote:Parinirvana without any remainder.

This is another place where Dzogchen doctrine differs from common Mahāyāna -- the goal in common Mahāyāna is a non-abiding nirvana.

The ultimate result of Dzogchen is an abiding nirvana.

Why? Because compassion is innate in the basis, and whenever sentient beings appear, so do Buddhas.


So it seems nirvana is going to differ depending on the vehicle one is implementing. I've also heard that Theravāda considers enlightenment to be the first initial moment a glimpse of nirvana is actualized(one is then an arhat and considered enlightened according to Theravādin standards). Mahāyāna seems to be close to the same although I'm sure realization has a much different flavor, it seems that one may actualize non-abiding nirvana and in some rare cases actualize the full attainment of abiding nirvana. Lastly Mahāmudrā and Dzogchen are the definitive methods implemented to turn the non-abiding nirvana into the flawless and full abiding nirvana(complete and perfect buddhahood), although I've also seen discrepancies and controversy regarding the nature of their respective definitions of nirvana(Dzogchen being a more complete enlightenment since it contains practices which are unique to it such as tögal).

That being said, I could be wrong about this and I welcome any corrections!


Could you clarify what you mean by abiding and non-abiding?

I've heard it said that Theravada is a cosmic suicide club... that the goal is complete cessation of existence. Is that what is meant by non-abiding?
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:56 am

mzaur wrote:Could you clarify what you mean by abiding and non-abiding?

I've heard it said that Theravada is a cosmic suicide club... that the goal is complete cessation of existence. Is that what is meant by non-abiding?


Abiding essentially means permanent... perfect buddhahood. Non-abiding would be an experience of liberation which would have lasting effects and implications, but in time afflicted perception would eventually creep back in. But even within the tenets of buddhahood there are certain attributes which distinguish the nature of that buddhahood; within Dzogchen for example there is buddhahood that reverts to the cause and buddhahood which doesn't revert to the cause... among many other differences.

Namdrol wrote:.....But....there are two kinds of buddhahood discussed in Dzogchen; buddhahood that reverts to the cause and the buddhahood that does not revert the cause.

Those whose buddhahood was incomplete can still fall into sentient being hood if they do not recognize the arising of the basis as being their own display......


Namdrol wrote:There are, if you recall, three stages of Buddhahood. Since the first two stages of Buddhahood do not realized all phenomena as the display of their own wisdom, the eleventh and twelfth bhumi are not complete buddhahood, this true even in Sarma schools.

N


Namdrol wrote:There are two ways these things are explained, the common way, which accords with lower vehicles, in which the basis and the result are more or less the same.

Then there is the uncommon way Dzogchen explains these things, in which the basis and the result are different from that of the lower vehicles.

For example, in general, the nine yānas approach is to assert that all-basis is dharmakāya. In the special Dzogchen view, asserting that dharmakāya is the ālaya is a "Buddhist deviation". In Dzogchen, the ālaya is, as stated in the Mind Tantra of Vajrasattva:

'The all-basis is the bardo of everything,
unconsciousness, unclear, and inexpressible.'

The example for the ālaya is space. The example for the dharmakāya is celestial bodies.

So you see, it is really not so simple as proclaiming that the basis and the result are the same for all schools, only the result differs.

For example, the Samputa maintains there is a distinct different in omniscience between an eleventh and twelfth stage buddha, and a thirteenth stage Buddha. Related to this, Dzogchen refers to the 13-16 bhumis as those that "dwell in wisdom". Why? Because only 13th stage Vajradhara's on up understand that all appearances are the display of their own wisdom.

Most people think that Buddhahood is irreversible; Dzogchen on the other hand asserts that the buddhahood of the lower yanas is reverts into the basis, and only Dzogchen results in complete and irreversible buddhahood.

These are the kinds of things you discover when you read Vima Nyingthig, Khandro Nyingthig, Gongpa Zangthal, the Seventeen tantras and so on.

The later in Tibetan history you go, the more homogenized the presentation of the four schools becomes. When you exam the texts of the Pre-Sarma period, then you find Dzogchen is really very different from what was introduced from India during the time of Rinchen Zangpo onwards.

Dzogchen did not spread widely in India, neither did anuyoga. The main tantric teaching of India was Yoga Tantra/Mahayoga.

Many masters to not present whole picture of Dzogchen. HHDL's agenda, which I respect, is to bring harmony to all schools.

My interest is a little different -- I am interested in what makes Dzogchen so unique and so powerful. I know the difference between what is commonly stated as a nice political thing so Sakyas, Gelugpas and Sarma-oriented Kagyus don't feel bad, and what the real teachings of Dzogchen say, but are not so publicized. I don't owe allegiance to any school. My interest these days in particular is solely anuyoga and Dzogchen teachings.

That being said, don't think that I consider Lamdre, etc., as lacking depth, efficacy, or profundity -- they are profound, interesting, and wonderful teachings. I just think Dzogchen is more profound, more efficacious, and deeper. This is just my opinion.

N


Namdrol wrote:
It is because buddhahood of lower yānas is incomplete and does not reach the stage of ka dag chen po, great original purity. The simplest way to explain it is that after the this universe dissolves and the next one arises, those beings who have not achieved the stage of ka dag chen po start all over.

N


Regarding Theravāda, it isn't like that at all... it's just the most traditional form of buddhism, Theravāda literally translates to "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching," and is sometimes referred to as Hīnayāna which translates to "Inferior Vehicle", "Deficient Vehicle", the "Abandoned Vehicle", or the "Defective Vehicle" however the term Hīnayāna isn't very endearing, and though widely used, is considered improper. In Theravāda they practice according to the original sutras attributed to Śākyamuni Buddha and in their realization is for them alone which makes them pratyekabuddhas. Some claim that the pratyekas realization is equivalent to that of a bodhisattva, the difference being that a bodhisattva works for the liberation of all sentient beings. Others however say that in order to even achieve proper buddhahood one must abide by the bodhisattva ideal of working for the benefit of all beings, and therefore they denounce the pratyekabuddha's realization as inferior. The sister forum of dharmawheel is http://www.dhammawheel.com which is pretty much exclusively Theravāda I believe. You can find some good information there regarding that vehicle and it's tenets.

The goal of most vehicles can be said to be aiming at a glimpse of cessation and/or total cessation. However the cessation is the cessation of ignorance which arises from identifying with a personalized view of reality. The fact that we take ourselves to be individuals who were born, exist in time and eventually die is ignorance(avidyā) according to buddhism. The proliferation and evolution of ignorance is the cycle of samsara, and the Dharma is the method to transcend samsara, thus reaching nirvana. So while I wouldn't call it a "cessation of existence" per se, it is the cessation of everything which could be considered "you". I suppose the absence of individual 'being' can be perceived/interpreted as some sort of non-existence to those unfamiliar and possibly intimidated by such a notion. But the state of cessation is in fact your natural and true state of being, beyond birth and death... abiding in this state is buddhahood a.k.a. wisdom(vidyā). That state is beyond the 4 extremes which are (i)existence, (ii) non-existence, (iii) both existence and non-existence, (iv) neither existence nor non-existence.
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:00 am

Is enlightenment permanent?

If someone has realized no self, can that person in the future reject his previous statement and say oh actually it is permanent?

The answer is no, isn't it?

So, for sure if he has realize impermanence, it will be forever he is in the state of impermanence.

This condition make the question of is enlightenment permanent, to be yes.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: The permanence of enlightenment

Postby seeker242 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:23 pm

The five aggregates, monks, are anicca, impermanent; whatever is impermanent, that is dukkha, unsatisfactory; whatever is dukkha, that is without attaa, self. What is without self, that is not mine, that I am not, that is not my self. Thus should it be seen by perfect wisdom (sammappa~n~naaya) as it really is. Who sees by perfect wisdom, as it really is, his mind, not grasping, is detached from taints; he is liberated.

— SN 22.45


So enlightenment is Dukkha? That is impossible as enlightenment, by definition, is the end of dukkha.
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