[Buddha-l] Abdhidharma vindicated once again

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 3 20:46:24 MST 2011

> But speaking of that,  I wonder what the benefit would be for the
> individual learning to produce this state of nirodha-samapatti,

Paul Griffiths raised the same question in his book on it, called _On Being 
Mindless_. He decides early on that it is a rather useless comatose state 
and so spends the rest of the book looking at some of the classical 
discussions to try to figure out why they valorized it. Don't remember him 
finding a satisfactory answer.

That Buddha might want an occasional vacation from a clueless sangha that 
argued over doctrinal triviliaties, tattled on each other, and were morally 
and ethically clueless to the point of being instructed with rules down to 
picayune minutiae is understandable (only half kidding).

The more puzzling role assigned nirodha-samapatti in the literature and 
tradition, for me, is that it an experience so valorized and raised to the 
highest level (literally -- it's associated with the penultimate pinnacle of 
practice and located at the upper reaches of the formless realm, the 
bhavagra) that it becomes considered the veritable vestibule for full 
awakening, a kind of glimpse of nirvana before reaching full awakening. I 
devote a lengthy chapter to this in my Buddhist Phenomenology and don't 
remember finding any better solution than did Griffiths.


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