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Nirvana is not a consciousness

It seems to be fairly common for some to think that the Buddha taught that we are all one Consciousness, as Hinduism teaches or as some new age beliefs hold, or that the Buddha teaches a kind of pure transcendental consciousness. However the Buddha clearly denied that there is a transcendent, or eternal, or monistic consciousness that we should attain. In fact he made it pretty clear that whatever nirvana is, its not any of the five skandhas (which cease at final nirvana), including consciousness (no matter how subtle or special). Anyways, here's some citations that make it quite clear:

Consciousness that is permanent (niccaṃ), stable (dhuvaṃ), eternal ( sassataṃ), not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist. (SN III 139)

There is no consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself. (SN III 144)

With the Cessation of name-and-form there is the cessation of consciousness (viññāṇanirodho). This noble eightfold path is the way leading to the cessation of consciousness. (SN III 64)

Bhikkhus, whatever desire there is for consciousness, whatever lust, delight, craving — abandon it. thus that consciousness will be abandoned, cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated (anabhāvakataṃ) so that it is no more subject to future arising. (SN III 161)

By the utter destruction of delight in existence, By the extinction of perception and consciousness ( saññā-viññāṇa-saṅkhayā), By the cessation and appeasement of feelings: It is thus, friend, that I know for beings – Emancipation, release, seclusion. (SN I 3)

The body disintegrated, perception ceased, All feelings were utterly consumed, Mental activities were extinguished And consciousness came to an end (attham agamā 33). (Ud 93)

Where does water and earth fire, air not find a footing? Where does long and short Small, gross, fair and ugly, Where does name and form Without remainder cease? Viññāṇa non-manifest Infinite, radiant all-round There water and earth fire, air do not find a footing There does long and short Small, gross, fair and ugly, There does name and form Without remainder cease: With the cessation of viññāṇa There this ceases. - Kevaddha Sutta Digha Nikaya 11

For more thorough treatment, see this article:

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This post first appeared on Bodhisatva India, please read the originial post: here

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Nirvana is not a consciousness


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