Showing posts with label nibbana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nibbana. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Buddhism in a Nutshell - Nibbana

Buddhism in a Nutshell
by Narada Thera

This process of birth and death continues ad infinitum until this flux is transmuted, so to say, to nibbanadhatu, the ultimate goal of Buddhists.

The Pali word Nibbana is formed of Ni and Vana. Ni is a negative particle and vana means lusting or craving. "It is called Nibbana, in that it is a departure from the craving which is called vana, lusting." Literally, Nibbana means non-attachment.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Abhidhammattha Sangaha - Nibbana

Abhidhammattha Sangaha ( A Manual of Abhidhamma )

Translated by Narada Maha Thera
Published By the Buddhist Missionary Society

Section 6
§6.Sabbani pan’etani rupani kamaloke yatharaham
anunani pavattiyam upalabbhanti. Patisandhiyam pana
samsedajanan c’ eva opapatikanan ca cakkhu-sota-ghana-
jivha-kaya-bhava-vatthu-dasaka-sankhatani satta-dasa-
kani patubhavanti ukkatthavasena. Omakavasena pana
cakkhu-sota-ghana-bhava-dasakani kadaci pi na labbha-
nti. Tasma tesam vasena kalapahani veditabba.
Gabbhaseyyaka-sattanam pana kaya-bhava-vatthu-
dasaka–sankhatani tini dasakani patubhavanti. Tatha’
pibhava-dasakam kadaci na labbhati. Tato param

pavattikale kamena cakkhudasakadini ca patubhavanti.
Icc’ evam patisandhim upadaya kammasamutthana
dutiyacittam’ upadaya citta-samutthana thitikalam’ upa-
daya utusamutthana ojapharanam upadaya aharasamut-
thana c’ati catusamutthana-rupa-kalapa-santati Kama-
loke dipajala viya nadisoto viya ca yavatayukam abbhoc-
chinnam pavattati.
Maranakale pana cuti-cittopari sattarasama cittassa
thiti-kalam upadaya kammajarupani na uppajjanti.
Puretaram uppannani ca kammaja-rupani cuticitta-
samakalam’ eva pavattitva nirujjhanti. Tato param
cittajaharaja-rupan ca vocchjijjhati. Tato param utusa-
mutthanarupaparampara yava mata-kalebara-sankhata
Icc’ evam matasattanam punad’ eva bhavantare
Patisandhim upadaya tatha rupam pavattati.
Rupaloke pana ghana jivha-kaya-bhava-dasakani ca
aharaja-kalapani ca na labbhanti. Tasma tesam patisan-
dhikale cakkhu-sota-vatthuvasena tini dasakani jivita-
navakani c’ati cattaro kammasamutthanakalapa, pava-
ttiyam cittotusamutthana ca labbhanti.
Asanna-sattanam pana cakkhu-sota-vatthu-saddani
pi na labbhanti. Tatha sabbani pi cittajarupani. Tasma
tesam patisandhikale jivitanavakam’ eva. Pavattiyan ca
saddavajjitam utusamutthanarupam atiricchati.
Iccevam kamarupasanni-sankhatesu tisu thanesu
patisandhi-pavatti-vasena duvidha rupappavatti veditabba.

Atthavisati kamesu honti tevisa rupisu
Sattaras’ eva sanninam arupe natthi kinci pi.
Saddo vikaro jarata maranan c’ opapattiyam
Na labhanti pavatte tu na kinci pi na labbhati.
Ayam’ ettha rupa-pavattikkamo.
§7.Nibbanam pana lokuttara-sankhatam catu-
maggananena sacchikatabbam magga-phalanam alambana-
bhutam vana — sankhataya tanhaya nikkhantatta
nibbananti pavuccati.
Tad’etam sabhavato ekavidham pi; saupadisesa-
nibbanadhatu anupadisesa-nibbanadhatu c’ati duvid-
ham hoti karanapariyayena. Tatha sunnatam animittam
appanihitam c’ ati tividham hoti akarabhedena
Padamaccutamaccantam asankhatamanuttaram
Nibbanam iti bhasanti vanamutta mahesayo.
Iti cittam cetasikam rupam nibbanam iccapi
Paramattham pakasenti catudha va tathagata.
Iti Abhidhammatthasangahe rupa – sangahavibhago
nama Chattho Paricchedo.
Arising of Material Phenomena (58)
§6.All these material qualities are obtained, with no
deficiency, according to circumstances, during lifetime in

the Kama-sphere. But at conception, to moisture-born
beings and to those of spontaneous birth, there arise at
most the seven decads—eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, sex
and base. As a minimum sometimes, eye, ear, nose, and
sex decads are not obtained. This is how deficiencies of
material groups should be understood.
To the womb-born creatures there arise three decads—
body, sex and base. Sometimes, however, the sex-decad is
not obtained. From the conception and thereafter, during
lifetime, gradually there arise eye-decads and so forth.
Thus the continuity of material groups,—produced
in four ways—namely, Kamma-born from the time of con-
ception, mind-born from the second moment of conscious-
ness, season-born from the time of the static stage, food-
born from the time of the diffusion of nutritive essence,—
uninterruptedly flows on in the Kama-sphere till the end of
life like the flame of a lamp, or the stream of a river.
But at the time of death, from the seventeenth moment
reckoned backward from the decease-consciousness, start-
ing from the static stage of consciousness, Kamma-born
material qualities that arose earlier exist till the decease-
moment and then cease. Thereafter a continuity of material
qualities produced by physical changes persists while what
is called a corpse (lasts).
Thus to the dead persons, again in a subsequent life,
material qualities similarly arise starting from the conception.
In the Rupa-plane decads of nose, tongue, body, sex
and the material groups produced by food do not arise.

Therefore to them at the time of rebirth there arise four
material groups produced by Kamma, such as the three
decads of eye, ear, and base, and the vital nonad. During
life material qualities produced by mind and physical
changes arise.
But to the mindless beings there do not arise eye, ear,
base and sound. Similarly mind-born material qualities do
not arise. Therefore at the moment of their rebirth only the
vital nonad arises. During lifetime material qualities pro-
duced by physical changes, with the exception of sound,
Thus in the three planes of Kama, Rupa and Asanna
(Mindless) the procedure of material phenomena should
be understood in two ways as regards rebirth and lifetime.
In the Kama-sphere are obtained 28 material quali-
ties, 23 in the Rupa-plane, 17 in the Asanna plane, but
none in the Arupa-plane.
At the moment of birth sound, mutation, decay, im-
permanence are not obtained. During lifetime there is
nothing that is not obtained.
Herein this is the way how material qualities arise,
Nibbana (59)
§7.Nibbana however is termed supramundane, and is to
be realized by the wisdom of the Four Paths. It becomes an
object to the Paths and Fruits, and is called Nibbana
because it is a departure (ni) from cord-like (vana) craving.
Nibbana is onefold according to its intrinsic nature.

According to the way (it is experienced) it is two-
fold—namely, the element of Nibbana with the substrata
remaining and the element of Nibbana without the sub-
strata remaining.
It is threefold according to its different aspects-
namely. Void (60), Signless (61), and Longing-free (62).
Great seers who are free from craving declare that
Nibbana is an objective state (63) which is deathless, abso-
lutely endless, non-conditioned (64), and incomparable.
Thus, as fourfold, the Tathagatas reveal the Ultimate
entities:—consciousness, mental states, matter, and Nibbana.
In the Abhidhamma Compendium this is the sixth chapter
which deals with the analysis of matter
§5.57.Rupas do not arise singly but collectively
in groups. There are such 21 material groups.
As all mental states possess four common characteris-
tics, so rupas found in the aforesaid groups possess four sali-
ent characteristics. For instance, in the ‘eye-decad’ all the ten
associated rupas arise and cease together (ekuppada-
ekanirodha). The earth-element, which is one of the ten, acts
as a basis for the remaining nine (ekanissaya). All these ten
coexist (sahavutti). It should be understood that the earth-
element of the ‘eye-decad’ does not serve as a basis for the
associated rupas of the ‘ear-decad’. These four characteristics
apply only to the associated rupas of each particular group.

§6.58. This section deals with the manner in
which these material groups come into being and how they
exist during lifetime, at the moment of conception, and in
different states of birth.
According to Buddhism there are four kinds of
birth—namely, egg-born beings (anóaja), womb-born
beings (jalabuja), moisture-born beings (samsedaja), and
beings having spontaneous births (opapatika).
Embryos that take moisture as nidus for their growth,
like certain lowly forms of animal life, belong to the third class.
Sometimes moisture-born beings lack certain senses
and have no sex. They all must possess a consciousness as
they are all endowed with the base-decad, that is, the seat
of consciousness. Beings having a spontaneous birth are
generally invisible to the physical eye. Conditioned by
their past Kamma, they appear spontaneously, without
passing through an embryonic stage. Petas and Devas nor-
mally, and Brahmas belong to this class.
Some of those who have spontaneous birth in the
Kama-Sphere are asexual. But all beings who are sponta-
neously born in the Rupa-Sphere are not only asexual but
are also devoid of sensitive nose, tongue, and body though
they possess those physical organs. The sensitive material
qualities (pasadarupas) of those particular organs are lost
as they are not of any practical use to Brahmas.
Egg-born beings are also included among womb-
born beings. At the moment of conception they all obtain
the three decads of body, sex, and the seat of conscious-

ness. At times some are devoid of either masculinity or
femininity. From this it is seen that even eggs are consti-
tuted with a consciousness.
131 Samskrt Nirvana, is composed
of ni and vana. Ni + vana = Nivana = Nibana = Nibbana.
Ni is a particle implying negation. Vana means weaving or
craving. It is this craving which acts as a cord to connect
the series of lives of any particular individual in the course
of his wanderings in Samsara.
As long as one is entangled by craving or attachment,
one accumulates fresh Kammic forces which must materi-
alise in one form or other in the eternal cycle of birth and
death. When all forms of craving are extirpated, Kammic
forces cease to operate, and one, in conventional terms,
attains Nibbana, escaping the cycle of birth and death. The
Buddhist conception of Deliverance is this escape from the
ever-recurring cycle of birth and death, and is not merely
an escape from ‘sin and hell’.
Etymologically, Nibbana, derived from ni +
√ vu,
to weave, means non-craving or non-attachment, or
‘departure from craving’. Strictly speaking, Nibbana is that
Dhamma which is gained by the complete destruction of
all forms of craving.
Nibbana is also derived from ni +√ va, to blow.
In that case Nibbana means the blowing out, the extinc-
tion, or the annihilation of the flames of lust, hatred, and
131.For details see “The Buddha and His Teachings,” pp. 489–510.

ignorance. It should be understood that the mere destruc-
tion of passions is not Nibbana (khayamattam’ eva na nibba-
nanti vattabbam). It is only the means to gain Nibbana,
and is not an end in itself.
Nibbana is an ultimate reality (vatthudhamma)
which is supramundane (lokuttara), that is, beyond the
world of mind and body or the five ‘aggregates’.
Nibbana is to be understood by intuitive knowledge
and inferential knowledge (paccakkha or pativedha nana
and anumana or anubodha nana). To express both ideas it
is stated that Nibbana is to be realized by means of the wis-
dom pertaining to the four Paths of Sainthood and that it
becomes an object to the Paths and Fruits.
Intrinsically (sabhavato) Nibbana is peaceful (santi).
As such it is unique (kevala). This single Nibbana is viewed
as twofold according to the way it is experienced before and
after death. The text uses a simple but recondite Pali
phrase—karana-pariyayena. The Ceylon Commentary ex-
plains—the cause for naming it as such with respect to
itshaving or not having the aggregates as the remainder
(sa-upadisesadivasena pannapane karanabhutassa upadisesa-
bhavabhavassa lesena). Adding a note on this term S.Z. Aung
writes: “The Ceylon commentaries explain it by pannapane
karanassa lesena — by way of device of the means (of know-
ing) in the matter of language” Compendium, p. 168, n. 6.
Saupadisesa—Sa = with; upadi = aggregates
(mind and body); sesa = remaining. Upadi, derived from

upa + a +√ da, to take, means the five aggregates as
they are firmly grasped by craving and false views. It also
signifies passions (kilesas). According to the text and the
commentarial interpretations Nibbana, experienced by
Sotapannas, Sakadagamis, and Anagamis, is saupadisesa-
Nibbanadhatu as they have the body and some passions
still remaining. Nibbana of the Arahants is also saupadisesa-
Nibbanadhatu as they have the body still remaining. It is
only the Nibbana of the Arahants after their death that is
termed anupadisesa-Nibbanadhatu because the aggregates
and the passions are discarded by them.
Itivuttaka refers to these two kinds of Nibbana, but
mention is made only of Nibbana comprehended by
Arahants. It states:—
“These two Nibbana-states are shown by Him
Who seeth, who is such and unattached.
One state is that in this same life possessed
With base remaining, tho’ becoming’s stream
Be cut off. While the state without a base
Belongeth to the future, wherein all
Becomings utterly do come to cease.”
Itivuttaka, p. 38.
Woodward — As it was said, p. 143.
(See The Buddha and His Teachings)
60.Sunnata—Devoid of lust, hatred, and igno-
rance, or of all conditioned things. Void here does not
mean that Nibbana is ‘nothingness’.

61.Animitta—Free from the signs of lust etc., or
from the signs of all conditioned things.
62.Appanihita—Free from the hankerings of lust
etc., or because it is not longed for which any feelings of
63.Padam—Here the term is used in the sense of
an objective reality (vatthudhamma). State does not ex-
actly convey the meaning of the Pali term. It may be
argued whether Nibbana could strictly be called either a
state or a process. In pali it is designated as a ‘Dhamma’.
64.Asankhata—Nibbana is the only Dhamma
which is not conditioned by any cause. Hence it is eternal
and is neither a cause nor an effect.
Diagram XIII
How different types of consciousness produce various
kinds of rupa—
K.= Kammajarupa— rupa born of Kamma
C.= Cittaja— rupa born of mind
I.= Iriyapatha— Bodily movements
H.= Hasituppada— Smiling consciousness
V.= Vinnatti— two media of communication
— gestures and speech
– =No(Diagram XIII continued on next page)

K. C. I. H. V.
4 Rooted in Attachment, accompanied by
pleasure + + + + +
4 Rooted in Attachment, accompanied by
indifference + + + – +
2 Rooted in Illwill, 2 rooted in
Ignorance + + + – +
10 Sense-cognitions, 4 Arupa Vipaka – – – – –
2 Sampaticchana, 1 Sense-door,
3 Santirana – + – – –
1 Mind-door (Votthapana) – + + – +
1 Hasituppada – + + + +
5 Rupakusala + + + – +
5 Rupa Vipaka and 5 Rupa Kiriya – + + – –
8 Arupa Kusala and Kiriya – + + – –
8 Lokuttara – + + – –
4 Sobhanas, accompanied by pleasure + + + + +
4 Sobhanas, accompanied by
indifference + + + – +
8 Sobhanas, Vipaka – + + – –
4 Sobhanas, Kiriya, accompanied by
4 Sobhanas, Kiriya, accompanied by
equanimity – + + – +

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Abhidhammattha Sangaha - The Realisation of Nibbana

Abhidhammattha Sangaha ( A Manual of Abhidhamma )

Translated by Narada Maha Thera
Published By the Buddhist Missionary Society

45.The Realisation of Nibbàna.
The Yogi who wishes to realise Nibbàna tries to under-
stand things as they truly are. With his one-pointed mind
he scrutinises his self and, on due examination, discovers

that his so-called “Ego-personality” is nothing but a mere
composition of mind and matter—the former consisting of
fleeting mental states that arise as a result of the senses
coming into contact with the sense-stimuli, and the latter
of forces and qualities that manifest themselves in multi-
farious phenomena.
Having thus gained a correct view of the real nature
of his self, freed from the false notion of an identical sub-
stance of mind and matter, he attempts to investigate the
cause of this “Ego-personality”. He realises that everything
worldly, himself not excluded, is conditioned by causes
past or present, and that this existence is due to past igno-
rance (avijjà), craving (tanhà), attachment (upàdàna),
Kamma, and physical food (àhàra) of the present life. On
account of these five causes this personality has arisen and
as the past activities have conditioned the present, so the
present will condition the future. Meditating thus, he tran-
scends all doubts with regard to the past, present, and
future (Kankhàvitaranavisuddhi). Thereupon he contem-
plates that all conditioned things are transient (Anicca),
subject to suffering (Dukkha), and devoid of an immortal
soul (Anattà). Wherever he turns his eyes, he sees nought
but these three characteristics standing out in bold relief.
He realises that life is a mere flowing, a continuous undi-
vided movement. Neither in a celestial plane nor on earth
does he find any genuine happiness, for every form of
pleasure is only a prelude to pain. What is transient is
therefore subject to suffering and where change and sor-

row prevail there cannot be a permanent ego.
As he is thus absorbed in meditation, a day comes
when, to his surprise, he witnesses an aura emanating from
his body (Obhàsa). He experiences an unprecedented pleas-
ure, happiness, and quietude. He becomes even-minded
and strenuous. His religious fervour increases, and mindful-
ness becomes perfect, and Insight extraordinarily keen.
Mistaking this advanced state of moral progress for
Sainthood, chiefly owing to the presence of the aura, he
develops a liking to this mental state. Soon the realisation
comes that these new developments are only obstacles to
moral progress and he cultivates the ‘Purity of Knowledge’
with regard to the ‘Path’ and ‘Non-Path’ (Maggàmagga-
nànadassana Visuddhi).
Perceiving the right path, he resumes his meditation
on the arising (Udaya nàna) and passing away (Vaya
nàna) of conditioned things. Of these two characteristics
the latter becomes more impressed in his mind, because
change is more conspicuous than becoming. Therefore he
turns his attention to the contemplation of the dissolution
of things (Bhanga nàna). He perceives that both mind and
matter, which constitute his personality, are in a state of
constant flux, not remaining for two consecutive moments
the same. To him then comes the knowledge that all dis-
solving things are fearful (Bhaya nàna). The whole world
appears to him like a pit of burning embers, a source of
danger. Subsequently he reflects on the wretchedness and
vanity (âdinava nana) of the fearful world and feeling dis-

gusted with it (Nibbidà nàna), wishes to escape therefrom
(Muncitukamyatà nàna).
With this object in view, he meditates again on the
three characteristics (Patisankhà nàna), and thereafter
becomes completely indifferent to all conditioned things—
having neither attachment nor aversion for any worldly
object (Sankhàrupekkhà nàna). Reaching this point of
mental culture, he takes for his object of special endeavour
one of the three characteristics that appeals to him most,
and intently keeps on developing insight in that particular
direction, until that glorious day when, for the first time,
he realises Nibbàna, his ultimate goal.
A Javana thought-process then runs as follows:—
1 2 3 4 5 6,7
+ + + + + ++
Parikamma Upacàra Anuloma Gotrabhu Magga Phala
When there is no Parikamma thought-moment, in the case
of an individual with keen Insight, there arise three Phala
These nine kinds of insight, viz:— Udaya, Vaya,
Bhanga, Bhaya, âdinava, Nibbidà, Muncitukamyatà, Pati-
sankhà and Sankhàrupekkhà nànas are collectively called
“Patipadà ¥ànadassana Visuddhi”—Purity of Knowledge
and Vision as regards the Practice.
Insight found in this Supramundane Path-
Consciousness is known as ¥ànadassana Visuddhi—
30.See The Buddha and His Teachings—p. 545.

Purity of Knowledge and Vision.
When the spiritual pilgrim realises Nibbàna for the first
time, he is called a Sotàpanna—one who has entered the
Stream that leads to Nibbàna for the first time. He is no more
a worldling (Puthujjana) but an Ariya. He eliminates three
Fetters—namely, Self-illusion (Sakkàya ditthi), Doubts (Vici-
kicchà), and Adherence to Wrongful Rites and Ceremonies
(Silabbata Paràmàsa). As he has not eradicated all the Fet-
ters that bind him to existence, he is reborn seven times at
the most. In his subsequent birth he may or may not be
aware of the fact that he is a Sotàpanna. Nevertheless, he
possesses the characteristics peculiar to such a Saint.
He gains implicit confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma
and the Sangha, and would never violate any of the five
Precepts. He is moreover absolved from states of woe, for
he is destined to Enlightenment.
Summoning up fresh courage as a result of this dis-
tant glimpse of Nibbàna, the Aryan pilgrim makes rapid
progress, and perfecting his Insight becomes a Sakadà-
gàmi, (Once-Returner), by attenuating two other Fetters—
namely, Sense-desire (Kàmaràga) and illwill (Patigha).
In this case, too, and in the case of the other two
advanced stages of Sainthood, a Javana thought-process
runs as above; but the Gotrabhu thought-moment is
termed “Vodàna” (pure) as the individual is purified.
A Sakadàgàmi is reborn on earth only once in case he
does not attain Arahantship in that life itself. It is interest-
ing to note that the pilgrim who has attained the second

stage of Sainthood can only weaken these two powerful
fetters with which he is bound from a beginningless past.
Occasionally he may be disturbed by thoughts of lust and
anger to a slight extent.
It is by attaining the third stage of Sainthood,
Anàgàmi (State of a Never-Returner), that he completely
discards the above two Fetters. Thereafter he neither
returns to this world nor does he seek birth in celestial
realms, since he has rooted out the desire for sensual
pleasures. After death he is reborn in the “Pure Abodes”
(Suddhàvàsa) environment reserved for Anàgàmis and
Arahants. There he attains Arahantship and lives till the
end of his life.
Now the earnest pilgrim, encouraged by the unprec-
edented success of his endeavours, makes his final
advance, and destroying the remaining five Fetters—
namely, Attachment to Form-Sphere (Ruparàga), Attach-
ment to Formless-Sphere (Arupa ràga), Conceit (Màna),
Restlessness (Uddhacca), and Ignorance (Avijjà), attains
Arahantship, the final stage of Sainthood.
It will be noted that the Fetters have to be eradicated
in four stages. The Path (Magga) thought-moment occurs
only once. The Fruit (Phala) thought-moment immediately
follows. In the Supramundane classes of consciousness the
effect of the Kusala Cittas is instantaneous hence it is called
Akàlika (of immediate fruit); whereas in the case of Lokiya
Cittas effects may take place in this life, or in a subsequent
life, or at any time till one attains Parinibbàna.

In the Mundane consciousness Kamma is predomi-
nant, while in the Supramundane Pannà or wisdom is pre-
dominant. Hence the four Kusala Lokuttara Cittas are not
treated as Kamma.
These eight Cittas are called Lokuttara. Here Loka
means the Pancupàdanakkhandha, the five Aggregates of
Attachment. Uttara means that which transcends. Lokut-
tara therefore means that which transcends the world of
Aggregates of Attachment. This definition strictly applies to
the Four Paths. The Fruits are called Lokuttara because they
have transcended the world of Aggregates of Attachment.
46.Forty Types of Lokuttara Cittas:—
One who has attained the First Jhàna emerges from it and
meditates on the impermanence, sorrowfulness, and soul-
lessness of those mental states in that particular conscious-
ness and ultimately realises Nibbàna. As the First Jhàna
was made the basis to realise Nibbàna this Lokuttara Kus-
ala thought is called—
This Magga thought-moment is immediately
followed by the Phala thought-moment.
In the same manner the other four Jhànas are made the
bases to realise Nibbàna. Now, for each stage there are five
Paths and five Fruits according to the different Jhànas. For
the four stages there are forty classes of consciousness.