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Has Anyone Since Buddha Reached Nirvana, Really?

 
 
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jan, 2015 03:30 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Is there even a remote possibility that the physical changes (essentially cures) you experienced is attributable to anything other than the "meditation?"


A month of wheatgrass therapy definitely contributed to the healing process. In a practical explanation, the answer is called "holistic" medicine, meaning all of the factors involved contribute to the outcome. Do I think that the meditation was not a physical contributor to the outcome? That would be a HUGE no.

Oh, and you didn't address the fact that my medical condition required years to cure, rather than the months that were achieved under the holistic practices I pursued. Not religous practise. Holistic practise.

Quote:
(Hint: Like that original question, there is only one correct answer to this question.)


I really like your leading questioning attempts, Frank. No, really I do. :-)
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Sun 4 Jan, 2015 09:07 am
@FBM,
Quote:
If you're familiar with the Buddha's enlightenment stories (there are a few versions) in the Pali suttas, he at first decided that he wouldn't teach. He thought it would be a waste of time, since people are too attached to their own desires and whatnot. Then he realized that there are a few "with only a little dust in their eyes" who might benefit from what he had to say, such as his 5 ascetic companions that he'd been hanging out with just before. In short, it was an act of selfless compassion. Selflessness and compassion are both training principles to be nurtured by meditation.


It appears there have always been people who think they have "evolved" beyond the rest of humanity...that they have attained some special state of knowledge.

We see them here in A2K all the time...they come and go.

The Buddha seems to have been one of those people...and there are people now who assume they are special because they have bought into the notion he "reluctantly" taught. They are like the people who give Jesus or Abraham a special status.

I do like the argot though! It is a delight.

Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2015 02:43 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:

Quote:
If you're familiar with the Buddha's enlightenment stories (there are a few versions) in the Pali suttas, he at first decided that he wouldn't teach. He thought it would be a waste of time, since people are too attached to their own desires and whatnot. Then he realized that there are a few "with only a little dust in their eyes" who might benefit from what he had to say, such as his 5 ascetic companions that he'd been hanging out with just before. In short, it was an act of selfless compassion. Selflessness and compassion are both training principles to be nurtured by meditation.


It appears there have always been people who think they have "evolved" beyond the rest of humanity...that they have attained some special state of knowledge.

We see them here in A2K all the time...they come and go.

The Buddha seems to have been one of those people...and there are people now who assume they are special because they have bought into the notion he "reluctantly" taught. They are like the people who give Jesus or Abraham a special status.

I do like the argot though! It is a delight.




You have no argument though..

Diamond Sutra wrote:

"Subhuti, do not say that the Buddha has the idea, 'I will lead all sentient beings to Nirvana.' Do not think that way, Subhuti. Why? In truth there is not one single being for the Buddha to lead to Enlightenment. If the Buddha were to think there was, he would be caught in the idea of a self, a person, a living being, or a universal self. Subhuti, what the Buddha calls a self essentially has no self in the way that ordinary persons think there is a self. Subhuti, the Buddha does not regard anyone as an ordinary person. That is why he can speak of them as ordinary persons."


No where does such an idea ever arise. The Buddha was solely the only who even addressed the self and on top of that reveals it is not a substantial thing or entity. It is clear he had a much deeper understanding of reality than anyone previous or after.

Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2015 05:35 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple wrote:

Frank Apisa wrote:

Quote:
If you're familiar with the Buddha's enlightenment stories (there are a few versions) in the Pali suttas, he at first decided that he wouldn't teach. He thought it would be a waste of time, since people are too attached to their own desires and whatnot. Then he realized that there are a few "with only a little dust in their eyes" who might benefit from what he had to say, such as his 5 ascetic companions that he'd been hanging out with just before. In short, it was an act of selfless compassion. Selflessness and compassion are both training principles to be nurtured by meditation.


It appears there have always been people who think they have "evolved" beyond the rest of humanity...that they have attained some special state of knowledge.

We see them here in A2K all the time...they come and go.

The Buddha seems to have been one of those people...and there are people now who assume they are special because they have bought into the notion he "reluctantly" taught. They are like the people who give Jesus or Abraham a special status.

I do like the argot though! It is a delight.




You have no argument though..


I think I do...and I have outlined it.

Simply because you do not want to acknowledge it...does not change that, Krumple.


Quote:


Diamond Sutra wrote:

"Subhuti, do not say that the Buddha has the idea, 'I will lead all sentient beings to Nirvana.' Do not think that way, Subhuti. Why? In truth there is not one single being for the Buddha to lead to Enlightenment. If the Buddha were to think there was, he would be caught in the idea of a self, a person, a living being, or a universal self. Subhuti, what the Buddha calls a self essentially has no self in the way that ordinary persons think there is a self. Subhuti, the Buddha does not regard anyone as an ordinary person. That is why he can speak of them as ordinary persons."


No where does such an idea ever arise. The Buddha was solely the only who even addressed the self and on top of that reveals it is not a substantial thing or entity. It is clear he had a much deeper understanding of reality than anyone previous or after.




Like I said, it appears there have always been people who think they have "evolved" beyond the rest of humanity...that they have attained some special state of knowledge. The Buddha, in my opinion, is one of those people. He would have fit in here in A2K easily.

As for the notion that it is clear the Buddha had a much deeper understanding of reality than anyone previous or after...

...that is a lot more clearly self-serving nonsense.

There is nothing "clear" about what you suggest at all...and my sense of things is that he did not have "a much deeper understanding of reality than anyone previously or after"...nor have his followers.

But I say again: The argot is a delight!
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2015 05:41 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Well generally speaking I think you have an excellent point Frank whether Buddha was somewhat special or not I don't know I didn't met him in person.
He might at best as so many millions out there be a clever guy with some insights on the world. Your humble take on many complex issues is commendable even when you are being a bit stubborn.
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2015 06:11 pm
@tcis,
tcis wrote:

Do you think anyone since Buddha has reached nirvana?


This and the subsequent questions beg the question in at least a couple of ways. First, it assumes that the Buddha attained Nibbana/Nirvana, which, if you believe he did, is an article of faith, rather than a matter of fact.

Second, it presumes that there is such a thing as Nibbana/Nirvana, which seems to me as not having been demonstrated, and therefore is also an article of faith.

In the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon, there are two entry paths to the dhamma described. In one, the lay person leaves mainstream life out of faith in the Buddha, and in the other, there is no faith, only agreement with/acceptance of the reasoning and a willingness to try out the training (or alternatively, commit to the path).

The later-appearing Mahayana literature, however, seems to emphasize the mystical and faith-based approach much, much more heavily. That's why I don't have much interest in it.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2015 07:05 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

Well generally speaking I think you have an excellent point Frank whether Buddha was somewhat special or not I don't know I didn't met him in person.
He might at best as so many millions out there be a clever guy with some insights on the world. Your humble take on many complex issues is commendable even when you are being a bit stubborn.


Thank you, Fil. As you and FBM right after you seem to realize, we can only make assumptions about the existence of "Nirvana" and whether the Buddha or anyone else has ever achieved it.

Having "insights" on the world (on what we each deem to be REALITY) seems to be mostly guesswork...and when accepted as rigorously and rigidly as so many do...becomes "faith" or religion.

Many of the Buddhists here seem unwilling to recognize and acknowledge that...and I am simply assuming they are discussing this religion here in order to more carefully inspect it.

And as you suggest, I can sometimes be a mite stubborn when adding my thoughts to the discussion.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  0  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2015 07:18 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

This and the subsequent questions beg the question in at least a couple of ways. First, it assumes that the Buddha attained Nibbana/Nirvana, which, if you believe he did, is an article of faith, rather than a matter of fact.


Actually if you had studied or looked over the sutras you would quickly see that the Buddha never claims to have obtained anything. There is no faith necessary since even the Buddha makes a suggestion that ALL things should be examined thoroughly and not to be taken at face value or because a certain person said it, including him. Faith is not required in buddhism. Faith is only the first step,the bottom run in the ladder. It is only necessary as a starting point since without it you'll immediately have doubt and you can't progress if you have doubts that you can not transcend.

FBM wrote:

Second, it presumes that there is such a thing as Nibbana/Nirvana, which seems to me as not having been demonstrated, and therefore is also an article of faith.


Nirvana isn't a place, it doesn't exist. There is no faith required in it. Nirvana is just a term to help distinguish a point of arriving. Without the term there would be nothing to point to in trying to explain why there is even a discussion. It would be like trying to tell people you are going on vacation but when asked where the destination is, you say well I don't have a name for the location. It becomes meaningless in conversation. Nirvana is only used as a means to fill the conversation. It is not a real thing, nor a place.

FBM wrote:

In the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon, there are two entry paths to the dhamma described. In one, the lay person leaves mainstream life out of faith in the Buddha, and in the other, there is no faith, only agreement with/acceptance of the reasoning and a willingness to try out the training (or alternatively, commit to the path).


Not exactly the mindset of a renunciation. The reason a person leaves the home life is not because they are in pursuit of nirvana. They leave because they realize the home life is full of potential suffering. When you realize that you are living within an environment that is nothing but potential harm for yourself or towards others you seek a method by which it will minimize the harm. So leaving the home life is one method of reducing the suffering caused by yourself and others towards you. If you have no possessions, nothing can be stolen and the thief doesn't create karma because you have nothing he can steal.

FBM wrote:

The later-appearing Mahayana literature, however, seems to emphasize the mystical and faith-based approach much, much more heavily. That's why I don't have much interest in it.


I do agree with you that the mahayana traditions tend to lean heavily on mysticism. There is a reason for why this has happened. When Buddhism spread out of Nepal and India it went into other regions where the standard religion was already heavily superstitious. Rather than conflict with it, Buddhism got absorbed but it was never fully capable of shedding the superstitious beliefs that were already present in the old belief systems.

One great example of this is just looking at Buddhist statues in different countries. They always craft the statutes in the appearance of the people who live in those countries. So if you go to Japan the Buddha will be depicted as looking Japanese. If you go to Cambodia or Vietnam the same is true. Not only that but you can do research on the existing religions at the time Buddhism was introduced and you can see the carry over. NOT all mahayana have the same depictions of these beliefs yet they all contain the core teachings of buddhism. You can personally reduce buddhism back to it's core by using the comparison of each culture who has adapted it.

By doing this you cut out the fat and superstition and are left with the fundamental teachings in tact.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2015 01:13 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple wrote:

Actually if you had studied or looked over the sutras


I've collected the entire Pali Canon over the years, read the majority of it (no stomach for the Abhidhamma), and spent a year as a novice monk in Thailand. I have a passing familiarity with the suttas.

Quote:
you would quickly see that the Buddha never claims to have obtained anything.


Not just once, but probably thousands of times throughout the Sutta Pitaka. It's kind of a major theme.

Quote:
My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"This was the third knowledge I attained in the third watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html#tevijja

Quote:
There is no faith necessary since even the Buddha makes a suggestion that ALL things should be examined thoroughly and not to be taken at face value or because a certain person said it, including him. Faith is not required in buddhism. Faith is only the first step,the bottom run in the ladder. It is only necessary as a starting point since without it you'll immediately have doubt and you can't progress if you have doubts that you can not transcend.


First of all, I did say that it wasn't necessary, didn't I? Secondly, you're contradicting yourself. Is it necessary or not?

Quote:
Nirvana isn't a place, it doesn't exist.


First, where did I claim that it is a place? Second, if it doesn't exist in some way, what's the point of the path?

Quote:
There is no faith required in it. Nirvana is just a term to help distinguish a point of arriving. Without the term there would be nothing to point to in trying to explain why there is even a discussion. It would be like trying to tell people you are going on vacation but when asked where the destination is, you say well I don't have a name for the location. It becomes meaningless in conversation. Nirvana is only used as a means to fill the conversation. It is not a real thing, nor a place.


a) Again, you're contradicting yourself. Is faith required or not?
b) Here, it's translated as "Unbinding."
Quote:
"Endowed with these four qualities, a monk is incapable of falling away and is right in the presence of Unbinding."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.037.than.html

Quote:
Not exactly the mindset of a renunciation. The reason a person leaves the home life is not because they are in pursuit of nirvana. They leave because they realize the home life is full of potential suffering. When you realize that you are living within an environment that is nothing but potential harm for yourself or towards others you seek a method by which it will minimize the harm. So leaving the home life is one method of reducing the suffering caused by yourself and others towards you. If you have no possessions, nothing can be stolen and the thief doesn't create karma because you have nothing he can steal.


You seem to presume to speak for all those who have gone forth. I wouldn't be so bold. I've met a large number of monks, and they have expressed a variety of reasons for having gone forth.

Quote:
I do agree with you that the mahayana traditions tend to lean heavily on mysticism. There is a reason for why this has happened. ...


The primary reason this happened is because of the arising of the Mahayana literature that emphasizes it so much more than the early Pali suttas.
JLNobody
 
  3  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2015 11:32 pm
@FBM,
It amazes me how two Buddhists (both with considerable maturity in the practice of Buddhism) can be ARGUING over the relative merits of their understanding. Best to simply assert your interpretation at the moment knowing it will most likely change with time and furtuer maturity. For example, I also think of "faith" as Krumple's first step in practice. But it is a "first" step that I took after at least a dozen years of meditation practice, a point when I sensed that "enlightenment" is inherent in my (as well as your) basic consciousness. And it is in this sense that I recognized that nirvana and samsara are fundamentally the same--or at least their difference makes no spiritual difference. But I continue to meditate in order to go further beyond this perspective as a mere verbal formula. To be one intuitively in immediate experience with Reality as it is, i.e., its Suchness (tatha).*
* Ha, speaking of verbal formulas.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 12:05 am
@JLNobody,
I never said I was Buddhist. Wink

My point is pretty simple. The Mahayanist literature appeared in the first century C.E. and has very clear thematic and doctrinal differences from the early Pali suttas. The Bodhissatva ideal, emptiness, devotional and mystical emphases, etc, are all but absent in the early Pali suttas. Someone apparently wrote a bunch of new stories long after the Buddha's parinibbana, expounding their new and revolutionary ideas and ideals, but pretending that they were the Buddha's.

I'm not saying that the Mahayana ideas aren't good or correct or useful; I'm just saying that the evidence is overwhelming that they weren't the Buddha's ideas. This perspective is upheld by the majority of scholars of Buddhism (distinct from "Buddhist scholars"). I don't have any beef with anyone for using those ideas the better their life experience. More power to anyone who's working a peaceful path. But I do have a beef with anyone who maintains the fiction that those were the historical Buddha's words, ideas, ideals and instructions. Such a faith flies in the face of not only what the Buddha appears to have taught in the early literature, but also against all existing evidence to the contrary.

0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 06:43 am
@JLNobody,
As FBM pointed out,Krumple has also indicated that "there is no faith necessary"...and that "faith is only necessary as a starting point." You have said something of that sort in the past (I'm not anxious to look for an example).

Since Krumple has not bothered to explain what looks like a direct contradiction, are you willing to do so?

And none of you has adequately answered the question of whether or not ANY "transcendence" may not merely be wishful delusion...the kind of thing that happens in damn near every religion to people intent on having it happen.

Any chance you would take that on?

How can one be sure it is not merely delusion?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 06:16 pm
@JLNobody,
We had so many opposites views in the past JL...we still have them of course I am passionate and stubborn and so are you although more discrete...but I have come to fully appreciate your low profile and modesty...perhaps because I am lacking in those areas.
Any way just wanted to say I liked your last post, simple nice and wise advise.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 06:26 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Well it all depends where or as far you want to take the languaging...
It certainly is valid to say one evolves and in that sense one transcends his basic nature. Buddhism is in that sense a tale about coming to accept the world as is...one evolves to transcend the daily natural primary instincts and be free. Meditation is one possible path to transcend the foam in the waves, the superficial little daily problems, the "background noise", and get to know yourself deep down and one with nature. Debating the details of such tale while interesting is not fundamental and entirely misses the target. In any case I know what you meant to address. Its just sometimes people talk past each other and both are right but not talking about the same things.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 11:12 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil, thanks for answering Frank's question. I am not interested in attaining CERTAINTY, but I do enjoy the pleasure of music or a good painting without any sense of doubt about the validity of my aesthetic appreciation. I suppose this applies to my (always provisional) philosophical positions as well. Progress and growth entail the imperfection of present conclusions. Yet as I say this I still feel that everything is in a sense perfect and complete. Contradictions are often no problem for me.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 11:55 pm
@tcis,
One thing we know for sure about Buddha is that he's still dead. The only religious leader who that doesn't hold true for is Jesus.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2015 05:58 am
@gungasnake,
...haha this one is pure gold !
Got love you guys...really entertaining moment !

...now in all seriousness, have you thought about it ? How about Christ feels lonely and resorts to resurrecting Buddha ?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2015 07:17 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Don't let my bull strain you away from the righteous path brother...just keep focus on the light...go on march and don't ever look back unless you want to turn into a salt statue...praise the Lord amen hallelujah ! Wink
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2015 08:40 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

Well it all depends where or as far you want to take the languaging...
It certainly is valid to say one evolves and in that sense one transcends his basic nature. Buddhism is in that sense a tale about coming to accept the world as is...one evolves to transcend the daily natural primary instincts and be free. Meditation is one possible path to transcend the foam in the waves, the superficial little daily problems, the "background noise", and get to know yourself deep down and one with nature. Debating the details of such tale while interesting is not fundamental and entirely misses the target. In any case I know what you meant to address. Its just sometimes people talk past each other and both are right but not talking about the same things.


You are correct here, Fil...but my argument is more along the lines of the questionable reasoning: I meditate and come away convinced that I have some way "transcended" some previously "untranscended" aspect of life.

How does one determine that the supposed transcendence is not simply an illusion...reasonably analogous to what Christians suggest when they say, "If you really want to 'find GOD'...all you have to do is try, and you will?"

I have little doubt that someone who determines there is a GOD and determines to seek it out...will "find" it...via the seeking.

I have little doubt that a person who determines that "transcendence can be achieved through mediation" will "find" that transcendence through meditation.

But to both I would ask the question I asked:

How can one be sure it is not merely delusion?

And I can give a helpful hint as to the answer.

One cannot! All one can do is to "guess" (or believe) in that direction.

It becomes nothing more than a facet in a belief system.
0 Replies
 
anupam1729
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2015 01:16 pm
@tcis,
I have asked myself and others the same question since I was a kid. And I belong to India, actually a place called Allahabad, which is considered to be a holy city, and holds festival known as MahaKhumb, where in many supposedly enlightened seers and sages visit. I am now in my early forties, and have practiced casual yoga since I was in early twenties. I have also dabbled in meditation and tratak. I have also read university philosophy books as a hobby. I some extent I understand relativity and quantum physics, well, not the mathematics but a genric overview that I got through audio lectures and reputed books. I have talked to many people, sages, seers, hermits, and unfortunately I have been taken aback with the kind of ignorant folks these guys are. Most of the time they comes across as rigid people with a belief that what they practice is the sole means of attaining nirvana or salvation. Their lack or should I say disdain of scientific knowledge, closed mindset, belief in their superiority over and other human beings, has all but led me to believe that it's foolish to search for enlightened folks. I did rather believe in science that these overhyped mystic folks. How does it serve me if a person and walk over water, or can tell me things about myself that no one knows? May be they can stake claim as a magician or something similar, but definitely not some one as Buddha. On the other hand, I do vouch for yoga, the kind of energy it unleashes, the boost in the immune system, and other benefits. Some of the prayanamas, when practices even my a casual yogi like me, seems to immediately brings a feeling of happiness. One of the mediation that I practiced was "Sakshi Dhyan", I did say for about 20 minutes for a month, and I was surprised with the impact it had - my dreams were more lucid, I could recall them easily. My concentration, immediately after this meditation, used to boost up and effect used to last for a couple of hours. The practice of tratak when combined with yoga, has lead to improved eyesight and even in my forties I don't need glasses though I am software engineer and spend most of the day in front of laptop. So, to conclude, rather than aiming for nirvana, it's better to build your knowledge through reputed books on science & philosophy and use yoga, meditation to have a healthy life. Soon you will find your own way of achieving nirvana!
0 Replies
 
 

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