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#1207 - Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - Editor: michael

The universe delights above all in changing the things that exist and making new ones of the same
patterns. -- Marcus Aurelius


In Nisargadatta this exchange between Dan330033 and takdjc:

> Hi Takdjc -


> > In the present life, this refers to the presence of
> > clinging for the aggregates (form, feeling, perception,
intention & consciousness), whereas after death it refers to their total
> > annihilation.
> Are you alive or dead?


> Why do you try to predict what you
> will be dealing with when dead?

I don't. Just reporting on what I read in Buddha's discourses.

> That can only be an activity in
> the imagination of a living being.


> > There are a few discourses of Buddha and/or his disciples where
> > makes it clear that Nirvana is the extinction (nirodh) or being
> > (bhava).
> The teachers of Buddhism I had didn't see it this way, and
> I admit I'm not familiar with how such extinction
> would be understood as a Buddhist. The only
> extinction I ever covered as Buddhist was extinction of
> false ideas of self. Which
> sect of Buddhism teaches extinction of being?

Buddhism isn't a unified school of thought. There's many sects with
many differing perspectives and practices. Ch'an Buddhism in China,
for instance, is pretty much in accord with Advaita Vedanta whereas
Burmese Theravada is diametrically opposed. So, depending on what
school the teacher follows, that's the vision of Buddhism you'll get.

I'm referring to the earliest discourses recorded in the Pali Canon.
In them, it is very clear that the "liberated state" of a Sage
(Arahant) is, in the present life, a life devoid of any form of
clinging and, after death, devoid of any form of being or existence -
no consciousness, no perception, no feeling, no intentions, no

This may sound like annihilation, but it isn't because these are
merely processes, there being no self in them, apart from them, or
as them (sic). "Self" here being an agent of control. When clinging
is gone, there's no basis for their further arising, and they blip

> By the way, although I studied some Buddhism,
> I don't at all consider myself a Buddhist.

Me either.

> It isn't at all clear to me how any teaching
> about extinction of being follows the Middle Way,
> which neither supports ongoing continuity (essential
> nature or intrinsic identity, permanance),
> nor total annhilation (nihilism).

"On being depends birth" - in order to end birth, one must end
being. If there's nothing to "be" - no consciousness, feeling,
intention, perception or form - there's no birth, no suffering. The
difference between Buddhism and Hinduism, here, is that Hinduism
asserts an Atman beyond the components of the person, whereas Buddha
did not. I agree with Hinduism here, Advaita Vedanta in particular.

> > This wasn't a legend present in the earliest texts. In those
texts, he blipped out, never to return. :p
> The texts I studied said he simply refused to comment
> on his status after the body died.

He didn't. Doesn't mean he said he would come back. He said, "Last
birth for me." So, whatever he was, it would never take birth again.
And, so there's no mistake, he made a point in at least 2 places
that there was no Buddha outside of the aggregates (components of
existence) to live on after death.

> In fact, his refusal to comment on these kinds of questions
> was considered instructive.

"Last birth for me." - Dhammapada

> What blipped out was any imbalanced sense of a continuing
> self-nature.

According to the Itivutaka, these 5 things were totally destroyed
when Buddha (or any Liberated Being) died:

Consciousness, Feeling, Perception, Intention, Form (body).

They might have exploded, faded, or a mixture of the two, but I
always thought of it as "blipping" out.

> > Since the Self never suffers, what does it matter if the world
> > remains or passes away?
> If you're citing Buddhist texts, then why switch to affirming
> a Self that never suffers?

I'm not a Buddhist, and I don't agree with (many of) them. Since
this is a Nisargadatta board I figured people'd be a little more
charitable to the term "Self". ;)

Ch'an Buddhism I can go along with, though.
In SufiMystic, "bondzai" wrote:

Indian Proverb

"Tell me a fact and I'll learn. Tell me a truth and I'll believe.
But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever."


In SufiMystic "hafizullah" wrote:

Many authors in inner development write about the void, or ego death,
as if it were one definite experience that ends the ego identity once and
for all. This is false and misleading. Ego death is a repeated, and in time, a
continual, experience. The void is a repeated and deepening
perception. Writing about it as if it were one definitive experience that will
completely end the individual's identification, and the accompanying
suffering, in one shot is not only inaccurate, it is irresponsible and
cruel. It will prejudice the student of inner development to seek a
perfection or a kind of completeness that is unrealistic and will
only add to the attachment to the identifications and to the already existing

Every realized human being continues to work on inner development.
There is no end to the development and unfolding of essence. This development proceeds by exposing more and more,
perhaps in time very subtle
aspects of the personality. After the basic identification with personality is
broken, the process of dissolving the subtler aspects of the self-image
usually becomes easier. It is a continual dissolution of the boundaries of
self-image, resulting in more expansion. It is not that personality
is gone and now essence develops. It is rather that the more essence
develops, the more personality is exposed and its boundaries dissolved. The
fulfillment of essence is endless and boundless.


The experience of the void is an important juncture. It is necessary
for the transition from the realm of the personality to the realm of
essence or being. But by no means is it the final end of all personality. And
the void itself is not essence yet. The void is a transition point. It
indicates the absence of identification, the absence of self-image.
This is absolutely needed for the discovery and the establishment of essence,
but it is not essence yet, and it is not the end. The void is the absence
of the personality, but as we have seen, the essence is a poignant
presence. The void is the absence of identification, which forms the self-image.


The advanced Buddhist teachers understand that the void is a necessary
transition to the life of essence, of being. That is why in Buddhism
there is the term Shunya or Shunyata for the void, but there are other
terms, such as Buddha nature, Bodhichitta, Dharmakaya, and many others, that
refer to the experience of essence, and not to the void. Buddha nature is seen
as our true nature, and there is no assertion that it is Shunyata.
Bodhichitta means the nature of essence of the mind. Dharmakaya means being, absolute being, being-as-such. And what
we here call essence is our being, our being-ness.


In UltimateAdvaita Jan Sultan wrote:

Q: What is meditation to you? Many different kinds of meditation are practised. Many of them rely on looking at phenomena such as
watching the breath, or seeing thoughts rise and fall.

PAPAJI: You are not speaking of meditation, you are speaking of concentration. Meditation only takes place when you are not
concentrating on any object. If you can manage not to bring any object of the past into the mind, that is called meditation. Do not use your
mind — that is called
meditation. If you use your mind to meditate, it is not meditation, it is concentration. The mind can only cling to some object that belongs to
the past. Have you been told to meditate without the aid of the mind?

Q: That is hard to answer. Most of the meditation that I have done involves techniques for dealing with thoughts that arise. But the aim of
the meditation seems to be a thoughtless state, where no thoughts arise.

PAPAJI: Yes, that is called meditation. When no thoughts arise, that is called meditation.

Q: But thoughts arise, inevitably. How does one deal with thoughts that arise?

PAPAJI: I will tell you how to deal with them. I think you can devote an amount of time equal to a finger snap. That is all the time I need to
stop your thoughts. What is a thought? What is mind? There is no difference between thought and mind. Thought arises from mind and
mind is merely a bundle of thoughts. Without thoughts there is no mind. What is mind? 'I' is mind. Mind is past, it is clinging to past, present
and future. It is clinging to time, clinging to objects. This is called mind. Now, where does the mind arise from? When the 'I' rises, mind rises,
senses rise, the world rises. Now, find out where the 'I' rises from and then tell me if you are not quiet.

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
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The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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