What do you think of those who say there's nothing after the end of namarupa?

Some people (apparently also monks) say that after the end of namarupa, the 6 senses, the 5 aggregates, etc., there is NOTHING, no existence, just non-existence.

But there are people who say that after the end of namarupa, there is a peaceful experience of nibbana that is beyond namarupa (this experience would be neither mental nor physical).

What do you think about this?
And what does Pa Auk say about this?

Thanks in advance

May all beings be happy

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  1. Nibbāna exists.
  2. Thus, Nibbāna is not non-existence.

If you consider Nibbāna to be non-existent, then what are you striving for?

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How can there be any sense of experience if there’s no nāma-rūpa?

Doesn’t nāma-rūpa require phassa in order for there to be vedanā or experience?

Parinibbāna is simply asaṅkhatadhātu, one of the parāmaṭṭhadhammā.


Saying “no existence, just non-existence” might suggest that the one who says this is caught up in a view of a self who exists or doesn’t exist. But if they mean that there are simply dhammas, conditioned phenomena, that arise and cease then that is correct.


“Good, good, Anuradha! Formerly, Anuradha, and also now, I make known just suffering and the cessation of suffering

And the Commentary:

“Dukkhañceva paññapemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhan” ti vaṭṭadukkhañceva vaṭṭadukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ nibbānaṃ paññapemi. ‘Dukkhan’ ti vā vacanena dukkhasaccaṃ gahitaṃ. Tasmiṃ gahite samudayasaccaṃ gahitameva hoti, tassa mūlattā. ‘Nirodhan’ ti vacanena nirodhasaccaṃ gahitaṃ. Tasmiṃ gahite maggasaccaṃ gahitameva hoti tassa upāyattā. Iti pubbe cāhaṃ, anurādha, etarahi ca catusaccameva paññapemīti dasseti. Evaṃ imasmiṃ sutte vaṭṭavivaṭṭameva kathitaṃ.

“I set forth only dukkha and the cessation of dukkha” means: “I set forth only the dukkha of the cycle [of saṃsāra] and the cessation of the dukkha of the cycle: nibbāna.”
Alternatively: by the term ‘dukkha’ is meant the truth of dukkha. When taken in that sense, the truth of arising is included too, on account of its being the root cause [of dukkha]. By the term ‘cessation’ is meant the truth of cessation. When taken in that sense, the truth of the path is included too, on account of its being the means [for realising cessation]. So the sense: “Both in the past and now, Anurādha, I set forth only the four truths” is shown. Thus in this sutta just the cycle and ending of the cycle is spoken of.

“This is mere mentality-materiality, there is no being, no person

“The mental and material (nama rupa) are really here
But here is no human being to be found, for it is void and merely fashioned like a doll


:pray: :pray:


Isn’t Nibbāna the non-existence of the Pañcupādānakkhandhā or the Five Aggregates?

Isn’t Nibbāna the non-existence of Cittā, Cetasikā, and Rūpa?

Or, is it that Nibbāna is non-existence itself?

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I think the main point is that samsara-vata is nothing other than the continual arising and ceasing of the pañca khandhā. Upon khandha pariibbana, the final death of the arahat, there is no more arising of the khandhas. All that is left are the bodily remains.

The Dispeller of Delusion (pali text society) trans. Bhikku Nanamoli:
page 121, volume1:

"this division too should be known, namely momentary death (khanika-
marana), conventional death (samutti marana) and death as cutting
off (samuccheda-marana)

also Vism. xliii “

There are three kinds of death: death as
cutting off, momentary death, and conventional death. Death as cutting off belongs
to those whose cankers are exhausted (and are Arahants). Momentary death is
that of each consciousness of the cognitive series beginning with life-continuum
consciousness, which arise each immediately on the cessation of the one preceding.
Conventional death is that of all (so-called) living beings

Samuccheda-marana is the final death of the arahat.


Indeed, it would have been more precise to specify “Parinibbāna” rather than “Nibbāna.”

Therefore, the question arises: Is Parinibbāna synonymous with non-existence?

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I think we have to be careful with words like existence and non-existence as someone who misunderstands the teaching may think of a being who exists or doesn’t exist after parinibbana.
See Yamaka sutta with notes by Bodhi


Thank you very much!

Yes these people are not saying “there is a Self and it eventually ceases to exist”. But they say “there never was a Self, and namarupa eventually ceases to exist, and during parinibbana nothing exists at all”.

So if I understand correctly, we can’t even say “in parinibbana, there is an unconditioned experience that is beyond namarupa”. Is this an orthodox position? If so, I’d love an orthodox reference saying that please. Thanks in advance

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This monk says that Ven. Bodhi believes that nibbana is not pure non-existence and is indeed something.

He basically is of the opinion that Nibbāna is not nothingness, but the main point he rest on is that nibbāna is described with dhātu and āyatana which he doesn’t think is nothingness. He found it hard to reconcile with the paradox that all 5 aggregates ceases
at the death of an arahant and just posits that consciousness somehow transforms into Nibbāna element. Whatever that is.

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I don’t have time to listen to the podcast to see what Ven. Bodhi’s exact phrasing is, although I would find it surprising if he disagrees with the orthodox position.

Nibbana is given the status of a paramattha dhamma - but it is the special dhamma that doesn’t arise or cease.
There is no materiality or mentality…

Right, definitely we can not say there is some experience in/after parinibbana.

I gave a link earlier in this thread to the Yamaka sutta. The Commentary (translated by Ven Bodhi) explains about a Bhikkhu who had the idea that it was a being who is annihiliated upon parinibbana.

Spk: If he had thought, “Formations arise and cease; a simple process of
formations reaches nonoccurrence, this would not be a view (diṭṭhigata) but
> knowledge in accordance with the Teaching.But since he thought, A being is
annihilated and destroyed,” this becomes a view.


Thank you very much !!!

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Indeed, the concept of self is a misconception; we, in essence, are merely manifestations of continuous phenomena, devoid of any substance beyond that.

However, the question at hand is whether Parinibbāna, the ultimate cessation of all formations, is truly characterized by pure non-existence, or if it represents existence devoid of the Five Aggregates, without any experience, given the absence of being and nāma-rūpa.

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Visudhimagga Ch.XVI para. 68:

  1. Again, it should not be said that Nibbána does not exist. Why not? Because
    it then follows that the way would be futile. [508] For if Nibbána were nonexistent, then it would follow that the right way, which includes the three
    aggregates beginning with virtue and is headed by right understanding, would
    be futile. And it is not futile because it does reach Nibbána.
    [Q. 2] But futility of the way does not follow because what is reached is absence,
    [that is, absence of the five aggregates consequent upon the cutting off of the
    [A.] That is not so. Because, though there is absence of past and future
    [aggregates], there is nevertheless no reaching of Nibbána [simply because of
    [Q. 3] Then is the absence of present [aggregates] as well Nibbána?
    [A.] That is not so. Because their absence is an impossibility, since if they are
    absent their non-presence follows. [Besides, if Nibbána were absence of present
    aggregates too,] that would entail the fault of excluding the arising of the Nibbána
    element with result of past clinging left, at the path moment, which has present
    aggregates as its support.
    [Q. 4] Then will there be no fault if it is non-presence of defilements [that is
    [A.] That is not so. Because it would then follow that the noble path was
    meaningless. For if it were so, then, since defilements [can be] non-existent also
    before the moment of the noble path, it follows that the noble path would be
    meaningless. Consequently that is no reason; [it is unreasonable to say that
    Nibbána is unapprehendable, that it is non-existence, and so on].

Note the last sentence:

it is unreasonable to say that
Nibbána is unapprehendable, that it is non-existence, and so on

Is the Visuddhimagga saying that Nibbana is some kind of existence?


From my understanding, Parinibbāna is the ultimate state of existence, characterized by the absence of Dukkhā, as it is marked by the non-existence of the Five Aggregates.

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Nibbana is apprehendable - it is experienced by lokuttara cittas (magga and phala ). The lokuttara citta is accompanied by cetasikas including panna (wisdom). The lokuttara citta is conditioned like any other citta.
Thus nibbana is an object of citta but it is not a part of citta.

Sometimes people are confused by words like “attains nibbana” - perhaps thinking that the one who attains merges into nibbana or some such. But it should be understood that nibbana is only an object of the lokuttara cittas

Question: after the arahat dies can he still contact nibbana with a special type of citta?
A. No.
Q: then does nibbana disappear?
A: No.
Q: Is the arahat always in contact with nibbana while alive?
A: His life is like it always was- hearing, seeing, visible object, sound, thinking etc. Only there are no more defilements- no lust no aversion and so on. (note: Some arahats and lower ariya can attain fruition-attainment, phala-samāpatti where nibbana is the object for a period of time )


“no existence, just non-existence” - These two visions (and other two) are deemed inadequate to define vimutti: evaṃ vimuttacitto pana bho gotama bhikkhu kuhiṃ upapajjatī ’ti. – upapajjatī ’ti kho vaccha na upeti. – tena hi bho gotama na upapajjatīti. – na upapajjatī ’ti kho vaccha na upeti. – tena hi bho gotama upapajjati ca na ca upapajjatī ’ti. – upapajjati ca na ca upapajjatī ’ti kho vaccha na upeti. – tena hi bho gotama neva upapajjati na na upapajjatī ’ti. – neva upapajjati na na upapajjatīti kho vaccha na upeti. Aggivacchagottasutta, M 72, CST4 II.190, PTS I.486


“O Gotama, when one has a liberated mind, where is he reborn?” “‘He is reborn’, Vaccha, does not apply.” Therefore, Gotama, he is not reborn. “‘He is not reborn’, Vaccha, does not apply.” “Therefore, Gotama, he is both reborn and not reborn.” “‘He is both reborn and not reborn’, Vaccha, does not apply.” “Therefore, Gotama, he is neither reborn nor not reborn.” “‘He is neither reborn nor not reborn’, Vaccha, does not apply.”


here is more of the sutta:

When thus asked about the rebirth of one of liberated mind, the good Gotama replies [in each case] that this does not apply. [487] Herein, good Gotama, I meet with unknowing and confusion. Whatever confidence I had in the good Gotama from the previous friendly conversation is now gone.”

“It is proper, Vaccha, that you are unknowing and confused. This teaching is deep, Vaccha, difficult to see (duddaso), difficult to realise (duranubodho), peaceful (santo), excellent (paṇīto), beyond logical reasoning (atakkāvacaro), subtle (nipuṇo), to be experienced by the wise (paṇḍitavedanīyo). It is difficult for you to understand as you hold a different view, belong to another faith, depend on another’s influence, practise a different discipline, and have a different teacher.

  1. “I will ask you, Vaccha, a counter-question; please answer however you see fit. What do you think, Vaccha, if a fire was burning in front of you, would you know: ‘This fire is burning in front of me’?” “If, good Gotama, a fire was burning in front of me, I would know: ‘This fire is burning in front of me.”

“If then, Vaccha, you were asked: ‘Dependent on what is this fire burning?’ how would you reply?” “If, good Gotama, I was asked: ‘Dependent on what is this fire burning?’ I would reply: ‘This fire that is burning in front of me is burning dependent on grass and sticks’.”

“If, Vaccha, that fire burning in front of you were to go out, would you know: ‘This fire that was burning in front of me has gone out’?” “If, good Gotama, the fire burning in front of me were to go out, I would know: ‘This fire that was burning in front of me has gone out’.”

“If then, Vaccha, you were asked: ‘That fire in front of you that has gone out, in which direction has it gone — east (puratthimaṃ), south (dakkhiṇaṃ), west (pacchimaṃ), or north (uttaraṃ)?’ how would you reply?” “It does not apply, good Gotama. That fire, good Gotama, that was burning dependent on grass and sticks no longer burns because the fuel is consumed, and without getting any more fuel it is reckoned as having gone out.”

  1. Thus also, Vaccha, by whatever material form the Tathāgata might be described, he has abandoned it, cut it off at the root, made it like a palm-tree stump, made becoming cease entirely by which there might be any future arising.

192 “Evameva kho, vaccha, yena rūpena tathāgataṁ paññāpayamāno paññāpeyya taṁ rūpaṁ tathāgatassa pahīnaṁ ucchinnamūlaṁ tālāvatthukataṁ anabhāvaṅkataṁ āyatiṁ anuppādadhammaṁ.

It repeats for the other khandhas…

consciousness by which a realized one might be described has been cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated, and unable to arise in the future.
Yena viññāṇena tathāgataṁ paññāpayamāno paññāpeyya taṁ viññāṇaṁ tathāgatassa pahīnaṁ ucchinnamūlaṁ tālāvatthukataṁ anabhāvaṅkataṁ āyatiṁ anuppādadhammaṁ