by Sujin Boriharnwanaket | 129,875 words
A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas is a guide to the development of the Buddha's path of wisdom, covering all aspects of human life and human behaviour, good and bad. This study explains that right understanding is indispensable for mental development, the development of calm as well as the development of insight The author describes in detail all ment...
Nibbāna paramattha Dhamma is another kind of paramattha Dhamma. The Buddha called it "nibbāna", because it is the end of "vāna", which means craving .
The paramattha Dhamma which is nibbāna is the cessation of dukkha. Citta, cetasika and rupa are dukkha, because they are impermanent, they arise and then fall away. Desire should be eradicated so that there can be the end of dukkha. Desire is the origin, the cause of the arising of dukkha. It is the cause of the arising of the five khandhas, which are citta, cetasika and rupa . Desire can be eradicated by developing paññā, wisdom, until the characteristics of the arising and falling away of citta, cetasika and rupa have been penetrated. When paññā has been developed to the degree that nibbāna can be realized and clearly known, clinging and wrong view with regard to citta, cetasika and rupa can be eradicated. Nibbāna is the Dhamma which is the cessation of dukkha and the cessation of the khandhas . Nibbāna is reality, it is a paramattha Dhamma, an ultimate reality, and it is a Dhamma which can be clearly known.
Nibbāna paramattha Dhamma has been classified as twofold:
- Sa-upādisesa nibbāna dhatu, nibbāna with the khandhas remaining
- An-upādisesa nibbāna dhatu, nibbāna without the khandhas
"Upādi" in "upādisesa" is another designation of the five khandhas which include citta, cetasika and rupa. As to "nibbāna with the khandhas remaining", this means that all defilements have been eradicated, but that the khandhas are remaining, arising and falling away in succession. As to "nibbāna without the khandhas remaining", this means the final falling away of the five khandhas, not to arise again, that is, the parinibbāna, the final passing away, of the arahat.
Because there is nibbāna with the khandhas remaining and nibbāna without the khandhas remaining, two kinds of nibbāna have been proclaimed .
When the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi-tree, he attained nibbāna with the khandhas remaining, sa-upādisesa nibbāna dhatu. He completely eradicated defilements and all the Dhammas (citta and cetasikas) accompanying defilements, so that they could never arise again. However, the khandhas were still remaining, namely, citta, cetasika (which were without defilements) and rupa, arising and falling away in succession.
We read in "As it was said" (Minor Anthologies, As it was said, the Twos, Ch II, VII) that the Buddha said to the monks:
Of what sort, monks, is nibbāna with the basis still remaining? Herein, monks, a monk is arahat, one who has destroyed the cankers (defilements), who has lived the life, done what was to be done, laid down the burden, won the goal, worn out the fetter of becoming, one released by perfect knowledge. In him the five sense faculties still remain, through which, as they have not yet departed, he experiences pleasant and unpleasant objects, undergoes pleasure and pain. The end of attachment, aversion and ignorance of that monk, is called, monks, the element of nibbāna with the basis still remaining.
An-upādisesa nibbāna is nibbāna without the khandhas remaining. When the Buddha, between the twin Sal trees, attained parinibbāna, his final passing away , this was an-upādisesa nibbāna, the final falling away of the khandhas. Citta, cetasika and rupa fell away for good, never to arise again. This was the cessation of rebirth, the end of the cycle of birth and death.
There are four stages of attaining enlightenment and at each of these stages defilements are eradicated. The sotāpanna (stream winner, who has attained the first stage of enlightenment), the sakadāgāmī (once-returner, who has attained the second stage of enlightenment), and the Anagami (non-returner, who has attained the third stage of enlightenment) are "learners" (sekha), because they still have to continue to develop higher degrees of paññā in order to eradicate the defilements which are still remaining. The arahat is "non-learner" (asekha), because he has eradicated all defilements completely, he has reached perfection and does not need to develop higher degrees of paññā any longer.
Nibbāna paramattha Dhamma can be classified according to three characteristics:
- void-ness, suññatta
- sign-less-ness, animitta
- desire-less-ness, appaṇihita
Nibbāna is called void-ness, suññatta, because it is void of all conditioned realities (saṅkhāra Dhammas). It is called sign-less-ness, animitta, because it is void of "signs", characteristics, of conditioned realities. It is called desire-less-ness, appaṇihita, because it is without any basis of desire, namely, conditioned realities.
When someone has developed paññā to the degree that he is about to attain enlightenment, he may penetrate the Dhammas which appear at those moments as impermanent, as dukkha, or as anattā. Only one of these three general characteristics can be realized at a time. When he attains nibbāna his way of emancipation is different depending on which of the three general characteristics of conditioned Dhammas he has realized in the process during which enlightenment is attained.
- When he realizes Dhammas which appear as impermanent he becomes liberated (realizes the four noble Truths) by the emancipation of sign-less-ness (animitta vimokkha ).
- When he realizes Dhammas as dukkha he becomes liberated by the emancipation of desire-less-ness (appaṇihita vimokkha) .
- When he realizes Dhammas as anattā, non-self, he becomes liberated by the emancipation of void-ness (suññatta vimokkha) .
With regard to these three ways of emancipation, vimokkha, four different aspects can be discerned :
- By predominance: when someone realizes Dhammas as impermanent, the sign-less-ness emancipation, animitta vimokkha, is predominant. When he realizes Dhammas as dukkha, the desire-less-ness emancipation, appaṇihita vimokkha, is predominant. When he realizes Dhammas as anattā, the void-ness emancipation, suññatta vimokkha, is predominant.
- By steadfastness: when someone realizes Dhammas as impermanent the citta is steadfast by the sign-less-ness emancipation. When he realizes Dhammas as dukkha, the citta is steadfast by the desire-less-ness emancipation. When he realizes Dhammas as anattā, the citta is steadfast by the void-ness emancipation.
- : By inclination: when someone realizes Dhammas as impermanent, the citta is guided by the inclination to sign-less-ness emancipation. When he realizes Dhammas as dukkha, the citta is guided by the inclination to desire-less-ness emancipation. When he realizes Dhammas as anattā, the citta is guided by the inclination to void-ness emancipation.
- : By the way to liberation at the moment of attaining nibbāna: when someone realizes the aspect of impermanence the citta is being led unto nibbāna, cessation, by the influence of sign-less emancipation. When he realizes the aspect of dukkha, the citta is being led unto nibbāna, cessation, by the influence of desire-less-ness emancipation. When he realizes the aspect of anattā, he is being led unto nibbāna, cessation, by the influence of void-ness emancipation.
Footnotes and references:
Minor Anthologies, "As it was said", the Twos, Ch 2, VII. Vāna means weaving or craving. Ni is a particle meaning negation. Another etymology: vā is blowing. Nibbāna is blowing out, extinction.
The five khandhas are
- rupakkhandha (rupa),
- vedanākkhandha (feeling),
- saññākkhandha (remembrance or perception),
- saṅkhārakkhandha, including all cetasikas except feeling and saññā,
- and viññāṇakkhandha, including all cittas.
So long as there are defilements there are conditions for rebirth. When all defilements have been eradicated, there is the end of the cycle of birth and death, and then the khandhas do not arise again.
Minor Anthologies, "As it was said", the Twos, Ch 2, VII, and its commentary.
Sa means with, upādi means substratum of life, the khandhas, and sesa means remaining. "An" means the negation of the first aspect of nibbāna.
"As it was said" and commentary.
Dialogues of the Buddha II, no. 16, Maha Parinibbāna Sutta.
Vimokkha means liberation, emancipation.
Dhammas which arise and fall away are not happiness, they are not worth clinging to, they are dukkha. The person who has realized dukkha when he is about to attain nibbana becomes emancipated by desire less ness.
Dhammas are void of the self.
See "The Path of Discrimination" (Minor Anthologies), First Division, V, Treatise on Liberation, third recitation section, 65.