Nibbana tangent part 1 (Agnosticism)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, 23:53 (57 days ago) @ xeno6696

dhw: So if Nibbana = no sense of self, and there is no eternal self, and the cycle of rebirth is over, there is no longer a “you”, and that is why I suggest that Nibbana means death.


DAVID: I think Matt does not take the concept to death but to a point in meditation where self-recognition totally disappears temporarily.


Matt: You're a lot closer to the Mark here. In some of those higher states of meditation, the sense of self can be gone for days if not weeks without doing additional meditations.

The Buddha even after Nibbana spent many hours a day meditating. Now, true story, Meditation especially deep meditations can replace sleep somewhat. Modern monks who might meditate for 8 or more hours in a day need perhaps 5hrs of sleep on average. Meditation restores your mental energy, so when you come out of it, you're incredibly sharp, and as stated, with that 'sense of self' suppressed.

So you're talking about someone who spent the better part of those 40yrs after his enlightenment, regularly maintaining that state of consciousness. If Nibbana means "Not having any more experiences," then how do we explain the thousands of people that came to him for teaching, and even one of my favorite stories where he wept with a mother over her dead child?

So whatever Nibbana is, it isn't death, and it absolutely cannot mean incapable of new experience.

dhw might be politely implying 'maybe the Buddha was wrong?' but it's not like I'll ever know, I really don't care to become a monk and aim for that path. It's a subjective experience, but hey, at least the Buddhists are up front about all that from the start. It's been a very refreshing experience after growing up in hyper judgmental evangelical circles.

Fun sort a related tidbit: Most Christians today don't know that the opening to Genesis isn't the same in the original Hebrew. Christian bibles, due to heresies in the 1st and 2nd centuries edited a doctrine of "Creatio ex Nihilo" into the first translations to get rid of the Hebrew text which suggests that the world already existed before God did any creating. (My Jewish study Bible says, "When God began to create heaven and earth--the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water...") This is partly why some beautiful early Hebrew interpretations depict God as an artist--molding clay or painting the clouds. The most common translation in Christian Bibles is "In the beginning, God created heaven and earth..." That doesn't sound like much, but one more clearly suggests that stuff got created AND THEN God shaped, whereas the more ambiguous Jewish version gives room for stuff already being here. Which let's be honest, given that God already acknowledged the existence of OTHER Gods, makes ALOT more sense. (And yes, my Jewish Study Bible is my go-to for OT questions.)

The Greeks had lots of fun with my Bible. They never understood one word had many meanings in the context of a given sentence. 'Yam' is anything from a drop of water to a sea (Hebrews had never seen an ocean.)


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