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Nibbana dilemma – is it worth it? — 3 Comments

  1. Dear Venerable Pandit,

    Isn’t it mentioned somewhere(in the suttas?) that Nibbana & samsara are also the same(yet different) essentially, how can there be any separation? A spiritual practice, exemplified by the rigid lifestyle of a monk is like a training or reprogramming of the mind(& body) to realize the illusory(temporal) nature of life, to dissolve any personal identification or attachment to it thus being able to(paradoxically) live it & appreciate it even more fully. Isn’t remaining a monk(to teach perhaps) just as much a preferential lifestyle choice as becoming an engineer or a musician?

    Metta & Appreciation

    • It is mentioned in the Heart sutra and other Mahayana places that nibbana is in samsara … but it is not a Theravada teaching. One can decide for oneself if this idea is in line with the recorded teachings of the Buddha or not. Certainly one can attain to nibbana while the flesh body walks around visible in this world, as the Buddha did. But as outlined both Samsara and nibbana should not be soncidered to be places. Then the confusion disappears (replaced by a different confusion??). I agree that being a mok is full of attachment, more so than a musician or engineer. It’s full on attachment to robes, to a set of expectations etc… But is it conducive to the practise? That is the question. Buddha was adamant it is, but perhpas in this generation things have changed. I know many lay-people who are more ardent or attained than monks. Would they be even better if they were ordained??? As to Arahants – why would they stay as a monk after becoming Enlightened? We will have to check with Ven Kusala (the Sri Lankan monk) for the quote. But I recall Maha Kasappa saying something that it was for the inspiration of the lay people, for the confidence of the monks and the ease of living in the present – or something like that.

  2. Hello everyone,

    Yes, I’m still around/alive, just focussing on my studies and practice. I believe Ven Pandit and Ven Kusala have both finished their coursework and are now in the thesis research/writing stage.

    Regarding the quote mentioned: the question asked was not why they remained a monk, but why they remained living in solitude. There are records of both the Mahakassapa and the Buddha being asked the same question and they say, it was for a pleasant abiding here and now and out of compassion for future generations. (Buddha M I 23, A I 60-61) Majjhima Commentary expalins: He has “compassion for future generations” insofar as later generations of monks, seeing that the Buddha resorted to forest dwellings, will follow his example and thus hasten their progress towards making an end of suffering, but I think that is missing the most obvious point that, all (monks and laypeople) will be inspired from the example of simple living, as well as using up less resources leaves more for future generations, as Gandhi said “live simply, so that others may simply live.” The quote of Mahakassapa is at S II 203, where his explanation of the compassion part is for the encouragement of others to do likewise.

    Kind Regards