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nibbåna and anattå

The man, when he is reflecting, actually sees only the stumps at the ends of his arms and legs—for there is nothing else to be seen—, and from the fact that he no longer sees his hands or feet he infers that these are cut off. In much the same way, the Arahat sees only his own undefiled mind, and from the fact that he no longer sees his former defilements he infers their destruction—which is nibbåna. Even if an Arahat is not engaged in reflecting on the state of his mind, still lust, hate, and delusion, remain absent, and nibbåna endures. To think about nibbåna is to entertain an idea or a concept; to realize nibbåna is to destroy lust, hate, and delusion;7* to infer or reflect upon nibbåna is to compare two states—before, and after, destruction of lust, hate, and delusion—: but just as we can never actually see, only infer, ‘minus three oranges’, so in no case can nibbåna itself—namely, ‘minus lust, hate, and delusion’—be directly an object of the mind. Even though dhammå—as objects of the mind—cannot, perhaps, include nibbåna, yet it may still be maintained that sabbe dhammå—all things— cannot possibly exclude nibbåna. Nevertheless, here, surely, is a passage where sabbe dhammå does not refer to nibbåna: Chandam¨lakå åvuso sabbe dhammå, manasikårasambhavå sabbe dhammå, phassasamudayå sabbe dhammå, vedanåsamosara~å sabbe dhammå, samådhipamukhå sabbe dhammå, satådhipateyyå sabbe dhammå, paññuttarå sabbe dhammå, vimuttisårå sabbe dhammå, amatogadhå sabbe dhammå, nibbånapariyosånå sabbe dhammå ti. (Aπguttara, X,58) All things, friends, are rooted in desire; all things are born of attention; all things originate with contact; all things have their source in feeling; all things have concentration as the foremost; all things have mindfulness as the chief; all things have understanding as the highest; 7.*  To realize nibbåna and ‘to destroy lust, etc.’ are synonymous expressions. Extinction is cessation of craving (and consequently of the five aggregates). When craving is put aside (pah⁄nå), nibbåna is ipso facto achieved or realized (sacchikataµ); and this happens when the eightfold path is developed (bhåvito) and suffering is thereby penetrated (pariññåtaµ)—i.e. by seeing the five aggregates as impermanent, suffering, and not-self. In the path (which is saπkhata) both sammåsati and sammåsamådhi are present, and the object of the latter is the four satipa††hånå (C¨¬avedalla Sutta, Majjhima 44). Thus the object of the mind at the moment of the path is the five aggregates or (which amounts to the same thing) the four satipa††hånå, and not nibbåna. To say that nibbåna is seen at the moment of the path is only to speak figuratively.


Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

Part B includes two early essays (Nibbana and Anatta and Sketch for a Proof of Rebirth) as well as notes from a Commonplace Book and Margina...