While alive the Buddha and arahats had ceased all the links of the paticcasamupada?

“They had no consciousness” is one extreme. “They had consciousness” is another extreme. In the middle way there is the answer: end of clinging.

While alive, the Buddha and arahats had a Cease of ignorance, consciousness, birth, dukkha, and the rest of links in the dependent origination.

yes, they have the remainder. The point is that “Cease” doesn’t mean the annihilation of consciousness but it is the annihilation of clinging to the clinging-consciousness aggregate.

At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, “Monks, I will teach you the five aggregates & the five clinging-aggregates. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”
Khandha Sutta: Aggregates

  • five aggregates: forms, feelings, perceptions, fabrications, consciousness

  • five clinging aggregates: clinging forms, clinging feelings, clinging perceptions, clinging fabrications, clinging consciousness

The five clinging aggregates is the ambit of clinging and also of cease:

"The Blessed One said, "And which is the burden? ‘The five clinging-aggregates,’ it should be said. Which five? Form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate: This, monks, is called the burden.

"And which is the carrier of the burden? ‘The person,’ it should be said. This venerable one with such a name, such a clan-name: This is called the carrier of the burden.

"And which is the taking up of the burden? The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This is called the taking up of the burden.

“And which is the casting off of the burden? The remainderless dispassion-cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving: This is called the casting off of the burden.”

Bhāra Sutta: The Burden

therefore, the Cease in the Buddha teaching doesn’t mean the annhilation of something.

For such reason the Buddha taught the difference between the five aggregates and the five clinging-aggregates. This is a very clear statement in His teaching denying annihilation.

we should do these same questions from the opposite side:

  • Do we believe that those episodes of nibbana inside the Suttas (of course including the Cease of Consciousness) were the annihilation of Consciousness and the whole Reality?.
  • Maybe those arhants entered in some black dimension in where nothing existed?
  • Maybe their nibbana experiences were amnesia episodes in where only a nothingness existed?

Obviously no.

Therefore, we should discard that meaning of “Cease” like some annihilation as those EBT and materialists are preaching. Because it lacks of any sense.

The issue is in clinging: any thing becomes and is born by means clinging. Any thing cease to become and to be born by means the end of clinging.

Existence and non-existence has nothing to do with the true reality. We say “there is existence” because we live ignoring how the clinging cause the becoming. We say “there is non existence” because we live ignoring how is the non-clinging to Reality.

And also this includes death. Death is atta delusion and without relevance for the arhant position, already liberated

precisely. We cannot say the arhants experience dukkha when we know in anatta there is no dukkha because there is no atta, substantial entity to be grasped.

When we say “aggregates are dukkha for the arhant” this is wrong because there is no vedana dukkha in the arhant. What we are doing is using the dukkha concept applied from our position → to the aggregates, while forgetting it doesn’t have application in the arhant case.

Regarding the death of the arhant there is no difference. The end of clinging to the clinging-aggregates is like the end of clinging to whatever other thing, be a mountain or whatever. Because for the arising of becoming and dukkha there is necessity of clinging.

What’s the difference in the case of the aggregates and death for the arhant?. Could it be its presence in life?. While there is no clinging and becoming, the persistence of the aggregates accompanying the arhant is so relevant for his dukkha like the presence of a mountain in front him and accompanying him.

If here we could say: “the arhant can eradicate the clinging to the mountain but he should experience attachment and dukkha until the mountain can disappear”. This would be an absurdity, because there is no clinging and no atta. This would be just an atta materialist notion, unaware of the no-clinging and becoming. This lack of any logical fit inside the Buddha teaching.

no like any other citta because kiriya cittas are without cause, ahetuka. These don’t arise in a causal mechanics with clinging but from the pure nature of knowledge. IMHO what the Abhdihamma is doing is to facilitate to our reason the fit of a type of knowledge inherent to nibbana and anatta, with our experience of the atta conditional reality. Although this conceptual bridge was made to us, because the difficulty exist in us. For the arhant there are not two realities working neither to be conciliated: there is the only true reality and there also is an error, a delusion experienced by other beings.

that “final” cease of consciousness is the same cease of consciousness. No difference.
Again, I understand that we should leave that materialist understanding about “when there is no body then it is the real nibbana”. Because in example, What about the second acquisition of a -self in where beings and worlds are experienced without necessity of a physical body or material senses?

The Parinibbana and the cease “without trace” is referred to the manifestation of the Buddha and arhant for us. That trace is logically a trace for somebody, for us, for the rest. It doesn’t mean annihilation.

The leaving of aggregates is not any new situation for the arhant. This is just more of the same posiiton of no existence neither non-existence. Same of what happens with the Cease when the arhant is alive. The nibbana ambit and its cease in life is the same, no difference. .

Hope it clarifies the points from the position that I try to explain, which is of the transcendental nature in the Buddha teaching, that those new western interprets of Buddhism cannot understand or they pretend to distort.

The view about the Buddha and arhants only can eradicate dukkha completely after death it’s a materialist wrong view.

Dear zerotime,
some of the ideas in your post are so far from classical Theravada that we would normally simply delete.
However I see you as a sincere follower of the Dhamma so the discussion can proceed.

The arahat had certainly eradicated ignorance, however consciousness was still arising.
The position of classical Theravada is that there is no arahat in the ultimate sense, no worldling either for that matter. Thus rather than an arahat having consciousness, the truth as explained in Paticcasamuppada is that consciousness arises.
Do you agree with these basic statements of right view, below?

-Vism XVIII.31Therefore, just as a marionette is void, soulless and without curiosity, and
while it walks and stands merely through the combination of strings and wood,
[595] yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness, so too, this mentality materiality is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands
merely through the combination of the two together, yet it seems as if it had
curiosity and interestedness. This is how it should be regarded. Hence the
Ancients said:

The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.


Is this supposed to be a quote from Theravada?
It seems to be misrepresentation of the well known tetralemma

when a Realized One is describing a Realized One—a supreme person, highest of people, who has reached the highest point—they describe them other than these four ways: After death, a Realized One still exists, or no longer exists, or both still exists and no longer exists, or neither still exists nor no longer exists.
What do you think, Anurādha? Do you regard the Realized One as form?”

“No, sir.”

“Do you regard the Realized One as feeling … perception … choices … consciousness?”

“No, sir.”

“What do you think, Anurādha? Do you regard the Realized One as in form?”

“No, sir.”

“Or do you regard the Realized One as distinct from form?”

“No, sir.”

“Do you regard the Realized One as in feeling … or distinct from feeling … as in perception … or distinct from perception … as in choices … or distinct from choices … as in consciousness … or as distinct from consciousness?”

“No, sir.”

“What do you think, Anurādha? Do you regard the Realized One as possessing form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness?”

“No, sir.”

“What do you think, Anurādha? Do you regard the Realized One as one who is without form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness?”

“No, sir.”

“In that case, Anurādha, since you don’t actually find the Realized One in the present life, is it appropriate to declare: ‘Reverends, when a Realized One is describing a Realized One—a supreme person, highest of people, who has reached the highest point—they describe them other than these four ways: After death, a Realized One still exists, or no longer exists, or both still exists and no longer exists, or neither still exists nor no longer exists’?”

“No, sir.”

“Good, good, Anurādha! In the past, as today, what I describe is suffering and the cessation of suffering.”


From Milindapanha
Translation by U Pu

  1. King Milinda said: “Does an individual (arahat) who will not be reborn, O Venerable Nagasena, experience any disagreeable feeling (dukkha vedana)?’’
    The Elder replied: “Some disagreeable feeling he experience and some, not.”
    “Which (disagreeable feeling) does he experience and which does he not?”
    “He experiences, O King, the bodily disagreeable feeling (kayika dukkha vedana)** but not the mentally disagreeable feeling (cetasika dukkha vedana).

There are 3 kinds of death.
Samuccheda-marana is the final death of the arahat.
Upon khandha pariibbana 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:

  1. Furthermore, this division too should be known, namely, momentary death (khanika-marana), conventional death (sammuti- marana) and death as cutting-off (samuccheda-marana). Herein, “momentary death” is the break-up of the material and immaterial states during the course [of an existence]. “Tissa is dead”, “Phussa is dead”; this is called “conventional death”. The completing of his time (kälakiriya) without liability to rebirth-linking by one who has destroyed the cankers is called "death by cutting-off

Vism.Introduction, 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.

Vism. VIII 1.Herein, death (marana) is the interruption of the life faculty included within [the
limits of] a single becoming (existence). But death as termination (cutting off), in
other words, the Arahant’s termination of the suffering of the round, is not
intended here, nor is momentary death, in other words, the momentary dissolution
of formations, nor the “death” of conventional (metaphorical) usage in such
expressions as “dead tree,” “dead metal,” and so on.

Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (Bodhi TranslationGuide to §13:
The death consciousness of an Arahant, however, does not function as proximity or contiguity condition, since it is not followed by any other citta.


Sādhu Robert for addressing these issues one by one. I’m surprised to read this by @zerotime myself. We are both familiar with this user’s track record and I personally invited him to this group early on and it was also from your suggestion as well.

My guess is that he is quoting the wrong view of others to get an official response.


Magga citta and phala citta have nibbana as object and are certainly not nothingness. They are conditioned realities, but obviously rather special ones. They have associated cetasikas.

You mean that khandha paribbanna and the consciousness of the living arahat is the same?

That is quite wrong. I cited the term samuccheda-marana (death as cutting off)and that is the ending of all consciousness. Unlike with the non-arahat there will be no patisandhi citta, no rebirth. The job is done. However the living arahat still has vinnana khandha.

I wonder if some of your ideas have come from sources like in this thread (apologies if there is no relation).

Also see here where venerable Subhuti explains the errors. The Dark Side of Ajahn Mun's Biography | American Monk: Life with Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha

Kiriya cittas are ahetuka - without roots, but not without any cause(s).

Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

‘Kiriya Citta: functional consciousness’ or ‘karmically inoperative consciousness’, is a name for such states of consciousness as are neither karmically wholesome (kusala), nor unwholesome (akusala), nor karma-results (vipāka); that is, they function independently of karma.

Thus are also called all those worldly mental states in the Arahat which are accompanied by 2 or 3 noble roots (greedlessness, hatelessness, undeludedness), being in the Arahat karmically neutral and corresponding to the karmically wholesome states of a non-Arahat (s. Tab. 1-8 and 73-89), as well as the rootless mirth-producing (hasituppāda) mind-consciousness-element of the Arahat (Tab. 72); further, that mind-element (mano-dhātu) which performs the function of advertence (āvajjana) to the sense object (Tab. 70), and that mind-consciousness-element (manoviññāna-dhātu) which performs the functions of deciding (votthapana) and advertence to the mental object (Tab. 71).

So all kiriya cittas are conditioned. Remember there are many different conditions explained in the Patthana (hetu paccaya is only one). Here is just one case( p. 164)

** S A Y A D A W**
Natural strong-dependence: The Arahat, by the strong-dependence of bodily happiness, generates the functional attainment which has not et arisen, (He) enters the (functional) attainm ent which has arisen, (He) practises insight into the impermanency, suffering and im ­personality of the formations. . . . bodily pain . . . temperature. . . food . . . by the strong-dependence of lodging-place, generates the functional attainm ent which has not y e t arisen, enters the (functional) attainm ent which has arisen, practises insight into the impermanency, suffering and im personality of the for­mations.

In the end all (wrong)views are tethered around an idea of self. And that is what the development of satipatthana-vipassana gradually eradicates.

When pariyatti is sufficient and correct then sacca ñåna, the first round of understanding, becomes strong and this leads into the kicca ñana and kata nana. But we really need to get this first round developed well.

Dispeller of Delusion p.106

“And while, about the world, the world’s arising, the world’s cessation, and the means thereto,
A man’s confused, so long is he unable to recognise [and understand] the Truths”.

With ignorance has gone the other links can’t arise again, but awakening doesn’t undo the past. In the past there was ignorance, and so there was a body and mind then for the Buddha which is dukkha. Natural law.


Materialism is the view that only matter exists, or mind is an epiphenomenon of matter.


Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (Bodhi Translation)

Guide to 31> Though Nibbána is onefold according to its intrinsic nature, etc.: Nibbána is a single undifferentiated ultimate reality. It is exclusively supramundane, and has one intrinsic nature (sabháva), which is that of being the unconditioned deathless element totally transcendent to the conditioned world. Nevertheless, by reference to a basis for distinction, Nibbána is said to be twofold. The basis for distinction is the presence or absence of the five aggregates. The element of Nibbána as experienced by Arahants is called “with the residue remaining” (sa- upádisesa) because, though the defilements have all been extinguished, the “residue” of aggregates acquired by past clinging remains through the duration of the Arahant’s life. The element of Nibbána attained with the Arahant’s demise is called that “without the residue remaining” (anupádisesa), because the five aggregates are discarded and are never
> acquired again. The two elements of Nibbána are also called, in the Commentaries, the extinguishment of the defilements (kilesa- parinibbána) and the extinguishment of the aggregates (khandha- parinibbána).

For a simile: Think of a car that has run out of fuel and at the same time completely blown the motor. It keeps rolling along for 20 or 30 meters but then comes to a final stop, and is taken to a junkyard where the remains are strewn about.
The car when it was running well with fuel is like the one who is not an arahat. The car when the fuel runs out and it is coasting to a stop is the arahat before final extinction of the khandhas.

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no Robert, I write what it can be read. I wrote “that final” cease of consciousness is the same cease of consciousness. No difference."

And this is not what you explain.

I write that the same cease of consciousness exist in the cease of consciousness at Parinibbana. The same non-clinging.

"Now, in one who keeps focusing on the drawbacks of clingable phenomena, craving ceases. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging, illness & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress.
SN 12.52

although if you understood well what I wrote, and your answer is about there is a different nature of the Cease in Parinibbana because no khandas, then it would be better doing a pause to clarify one point. Because maybe I could have a different understanding of what is an orthodox view in the Buddhist teaching. And it would be good to know it to clarify better the discussion.

Because maybe we think the same although we differ in how to focus the issue. Or also maybe we think different. I’m not sure.

So I ask:

Do you mean the Buddha and arhants still should experience any kind of suffering until the physical death?.

the consciousness to be ceased as it was taught by the Buddha in the Suttas, this was ceased and without no more arising because no more clinging/sustenance. This is what the “Cease” means according the DO explanation.

The problem is when many people interprets that Cease like an annhilation of consciousness, while in fact the Buddha taught the Cease to the clinging-consciousness aggregate. At least this is quite clear to me because its frequent presence inside the Suttas.

And then, some people says “well, the consciousness was ceased but still it arises in the arhant”. That’s contradictory and without sense. This is quite spreaded and we can accept that phrase. However, this is an acceptance of a fact with a phrase which is not logical. This is not a real understanding about the meaning of “Cease” in the Suttas. That’s all the problem here. Although of course this can derive in a materialism/annihilationism or in an eternalism.

Just my view

yes. This is what happens in the wrong belief about the physical pain cause dukkha in the arhants. Because then the Matter becomes the true source of the experience of Reality, and then we should experience dukkha caused by the Matter until Matter can stop its activity.

And then, the Buddha and arhants would not be able to eradicate dukkha completely as the Buddha taught.

This is what those new interprets are defending, just an underlying materialism. At least in my view.

no, the other links doesn’t arise according dependent origination because there is no more ignorance neither clinging. And the DO works with clinging.

Check the necessity of cllinging/sustenance for the DO explanation:

According the Abhidhamma, the clinging means the pursuing of objects according kusala and akusala factors. This is named Javana (“running through the object”).
In the case of the arhant it doesn’t exist. Instead, the kiriya cittas (“inoperative, not causing kamma”) will do that function.
In a sense these kiriya cittas lack of a causal mechanics because these will not produce kamma. Although as rightly pointed Robert, their name is “without root” instead “without a cause” because in the Abhidhamma these arise in a conditional relation with the sense experience.

Anyway, these kiriya cittas are an explanation of the Abhidhamma in rational terms for the intellect, to fit in our reason the relation of the conditional world with the anatta experience of the arhant.

In a sense-door process the object is experienced first by cittas which are not kusala cittas or akusala cittas ; it is experienced by kiriyacittas and by vipakacittas. The sense-door-adverting-consciousness (panca- dvaravajjana-citta) is an ahetuka kiriyacitta (a kiriya-citta without beautiful roots or unwholesome roots). It is succeeded by one of the dvi-panca-vinnanas (the five pairs, which are : seeing-consciousness, hearing-consciousness etc.) and this citta is ahetuka vipaka. Then there are two more ahetuka vipakacittas : the sampatic-chana-citta which receives the object and the santirana-citta which investigates the object. The santirana-citta is succeeded by the votthapana-citta (determining-consciousness) which is an ahetuka kiriyacitta. The votthapana-citta determines the object and is then succeeded by kusala cittas or by akusala cittas. In the case of those who are arahats there are no kusala cittas or akusala cittas succeeding the votthapana-citta but kiriyacittas. When the cittas of the sense-door process have fallen away, cittas of the mind-door process experience the object. First there are bhavanga-cittas and then the mano- dvaravajjana- citta arises which has the function of adverting to the object through the mind-door. The mano- dvaravajjana-citta is succeeded by kusala cittas or by akusala cittas in the case of those who are not arahats. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta is not kusala or akusala, it is an ahetuka kiriyacitt"

The Function of Java - Abhidhamma in daily life. Nina Van Gorkom

The issue is when logically, the arhant cannot experience dukkha in whatever way, because there is not any arising of akusala. Therefore, the experience of the body pain is leaved just as pain, without becoming dukkha.
In the same way that the experience of the ugly or evil in the world is leaved in that way without becoming dukkha. And so on.

The insistence of those new western interprets about the existence of dukkha in the arhant because they still had a physical body is a non sense. Just they are endowing to the arhant of a clinging and a sense of property of his own body that he doesn’t have.

Dukkha is not possible in the arhant despite the pali names for body pain, the ugly and etc, can be written with a prefix dukkha-whatever…

The use of prefix dukkha- it is just a language issue to label the conditional world. The argument about there is dukkha because the Pali word of “pain” use a dukkha.- prefix is not logical.

Just my view.

*“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One said. "If one were to ask, ‘Which are the fabrications, and whose are the fabrications?’ and if one were to say, ‘Fabrications are one thing, and these fabrications are something/someone else’s,’ both of them would have the same meaning, even though their words would differ.

When there is the view that the life-principle is the same as the body, there is no leading the holy life. And when there is the view that the life-principle is one thing and the body another, there is no leading the holy life.

*Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata points out the Dhamma in between: From ignorance as requisite condition come fabrications. Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance, every one of these writhings & wrigglings & wigglings — ‘Which aging & death? And whose is this aging & death?’ or ‘Is aging & death one thing, and is this the aging & death of someone/something else?’ or ‘The soul is the same as the body,’ or ‘The soul is one thing and the body another’ — are abandoned, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising."
Avijjapaccaya Sutta: From Ignorance as a Requisite Condition

Dear Bhante,
yes, in one part the issue is about other’s wrong views. Although I try to clarify an orthodox position about the dukkha in Buddha and arhants when they are alive.
I’m aware this is not so easy because the Suttas can have space for some interpretation, and from here the wrong views, and also pre-conceived or also not enough analyzed ideas that we could keep.
Although the issue can be clarified at least in some points with the interchange.

In case the issue can become too thick or problematic for anyone just write and it could be closed

thanks :pray:

of course, I agree. Precisely, my point is that the view about Buddha and arhants still have dukkha it would contradict those words.

just by following the same we cannot say if there is consciousness or not. I don’t think is wrong. It could be?

the bodily disagreeable feeling is named “kayika dukkha vedana” although it doesn’t mean there is dukkha in the arhant at the moment of knowing that.
This is just the name.

but in these texts there is no claim about there is dukkha in the arhant while he is alive because the khandas.

It is excellent you agree with these important points from the Visuddhimagga!
:pray: :pray: :pray:

The dukkha and arahats I will address in next post.

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Dear Zerotime
you seem to be placing much weight on the non-clinging of the arahat and suggesting that that means no dukkha.

Why not consider also suttas like this where clinging is not mentioned:

  • Saṁyutta Nikāya 22.16
    1. Aniccavagga



“Rūpaṁ, bhikkhave, dukkhaṁ. Yaṁ dukkhaṁ tadanattā; yadanattā taṁ ‘netaṁ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṁ yathābhūtaṁ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṁ.

Vedanā dukkhā …

saññā dukkhā …

saṅkhārā dukkhā …

viññāṇaṁ dukkhaṁ. Yaṁ dukkhaṁ tadanattā; yadanattā taṁ ‘netaṁ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṁ yathābhūtaṁ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṁ.

Evaṁ passaṁ …pe… nāparaṁ itthattāyā’ti pajānātī”ti.


Bodhi translation:

22.16. What is Suffering

At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, form is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

“Feeling is suffering…. Perception is suffering…. Volitional formations are suffering…. Consciousness is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

“Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”


Yes that is true zerotime. Discussion on difficult points is vital…

Anguttara nikaya Book of twos 47 (6 )
And having learned those teachings, they interrogate each other about them and examine them thoroughly, [asking]: ‘How is this? What is the meaning of this?’ [They] disclose to [others] what is obscure and elucidate what is unclear, and dispel their perplexity about numerous perplexing points.

Before the internet came I spent months and years travelling around with Sujin Boriharnwanaket always questioning on points - and especially how did Dhamma apply now, in everyday life. Then when not in Thailand I exchanged handwritten letters with Nina Van Gorkom , over 100 , that she would expand on specific matters.
Even more important was taking up the study of Abhidhamma and learning to see that it was describing life now - the words in it are a mirror of reality.

Thus the kiriiya cittas of the arahats are conditioned, sankhara.
I think you know the saying:

sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā

sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā
All conditioned phenomena are dukkha.

sabbe dhammā anattā