[Buddha-l] Not being able to imagine annihilation [confused]

lemmett at talk21.com lemmett at talk21.com
Thu Jun 3 09:50:39 MDT 2010

>As to our original inquirer, if he still is following this, I would recommend the Aggivacchagotta Sutta.

Yes I am still trying to follow this thread, sorry I did not reply sooner I was being cowardly.
>>Being one of those people who find the prospect of total oblivion deeply comforting and the prospect of continued existence quite horrible to contemplate, I naturally have an emotional as well as an intellectual attachment to materialist, and this attachment has strongly predisposed me to view nirvana as, well, total oblivion. My claim is that this is NOT annihilation of a self, but simply the cessation of consciousness (which, obviously, I do not see as the self). So I claim to be hewing the middle path on the grounds that I interpret the two extremes (the self is annihilated and the self continues) as being grounded in a presupposition that fails.
Sorry if I'm going over old ground but is this a correct way of understanding the lemma, that one can posit the existence or non existence of consciousness?
>>>I have no idea at all what phenomenological mortality means. I am guessing it may have something to do with whether anyone can imagine oneself to be non-existent. This is a version of Freud's observation that it is impossible to imagine oneself as having died and entered into oblivion, because it is logically impossible to imagine oneself as a being that has no capacity to imagine or think. (Freud was deeply indebted to Descartes on this matter.)
Where does Freud or Descartes talk about this and is there a contemporary commentary on this view - I don't know of anything like that?
>>>>Luke is trying to figure out whether Buddhism condones continuity of some sort after death -- and if so, then whether the avyakata questions are a plea for ineffability rather than rejection of annhilationalism simplicitur. 
So is it that the avyakata questions just affirm anatta and not that death (of the tathagata) is ineffable or anything about consciousness conceived differently to a self?
Doctor / Professor Hayes: would it concern you or change your view of nirvana (as oblivion) if you thought that it is impossible to imagine death from the inside? If it were the case would it change how the avyakata questions themselves are interpreted, or is it irrelevant to Buddhist thought - which stays silent on whether consciousness without a self is annihilated?
That covers my main concern with these emails. Thanks again - I have no doctoral degree so appreciate the kindness of the list.


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