Showing posts with label Nirodha Samapatti vs Nibbana/Nirvana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nirodha Samapatti vs Nibbana/Nirvana. Show all posts

Wrote these to someone who argued that nirodha samapatti (cessation of perceptions and feelings) is equivalent to nibbana/nirvana.

I told him he is definitely wrong.


Nibbana literally means cessation. However, it is not the cessation of perception and feeling (nirodha samapatti).

As Geoff (Author of Measureless Mind, see: and wrote,

Firstly, nibbana isn't a "state." Secondly, nibbana is the cessation of passion, aggression, and delusion. For a learner it is the cessation of the fetters extinguished on each path. The waking states where "suddenly all sensations and six senses stop functioning" are (1) mundane perceptionless samadhis, and (2) cessation of apperception and feeling. Neither of these are supramundane and neither of these are synonymous with experiencing nibbana.

All the best,


Liberation is the cessation of dukkha, it is the end of appropriating aggregates (see: in terms of I and mine, however it is not an unconscious state. Instead, as Geoff wrote,

“AN 4.24 Kāḷakārāma Sutta:

Thus, monks, the Tathāgata does not conceive an [object] seen when seeing what is to be seen. He does not conceive an unseen. He does not conceive a to-be-seen. He does not conceive a seer. 

He does not conceive an [object] heard when hearing what is to be heard. He does not conceive an unheard. He does not conceive a to-be-heard. He does not conceive a hearer. 

He does not conceive an [object] sensed when sensing what is to be sensed. He does not conceive an unsensed. He does not conceive a to-be-sensed. He does not conceive a senser. 

He does not conceive an [object] known when knowing what is to be known. He does not conceive an unknown. He does not conceive a to-be-known. He does not conceive a knower.

This is the freedom of absence which is revealed through the complete recognition of selflessness. Ud 1.10 Bāhiya Sutta:

‘The seen will be merely the seen, the heard will be merely the heard, the sensed will be merely the sensed, the known will be merely the known.’ This is how you should train, Bāhiya. 

When, Bāhiya, for you the seen will be merely the seen, the heard will be merely the heard, the sensed will be merely the sensed, the known will be merely the known, then Bāhiya, you will not be that. When, Bāhiya, you are not that, then Bāhiya, you will not be there. When, Bāhiya, you are not there, then Bāhiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor between-the-two. Just this is the end of unsatisfactoriness.

The awakened mind is measureless (appamāṇacetasa), free from any sort of measuring (pamāṇa). In evocative terms, an awakened one is deep (gambhīra), boundless (appameyya), and fathomless (duppariyogāḷha). Utterly free from any reference to specifically fabricated consciousness (viññāṇasaṅkhayavimutta). “Gone” (atthaṅgata), the measureless mind is untraceable (ananuvejja) even here and now. It doesn’t abide in the head, or in the body, or anywhere else for that matter. It doesn’t have size or shape. It’s not an object or a subject.

Just as the sky is formless and non-illustrative, the measureless mind is non-illustrative and non-indicative (anidassana). This effortless clarity is unmediated by any specific fabrication or volitional intention. It is unaffected knowing: The seen is merely the seen (diṭṭhamatta). The heard is merely the heard (sutamatta). The sensed is merely the sensed (mutamatta). The known is merely the known (viññātamatta). But there is no you there. Of course, this liberating gnosis and vision can’t adequately be pointed out or indicated by words alone. It is to be individually experienced (paccatta veditabba).”


No, you are not providing any scriptural citation, and you will never find any scriptural citations that state nirodha samapatti = nibbana. To state nirodha samapatti is nibbana is wrong view. Buddha never taught that. The third noble truth is specifically the cessation of craving, or the three poisons of passion, aggression and delusion. It has nothing to do with nirodha samapatti.

Nirodhasamāpatti is an actual meditative attainment but it is not nibbana.

And whatever teachers that taught that nibbana is nirodha samapatti is wrong and mistaken.

And as Geoff said,

Excerpt from

The suttas define and describe the goal in sufficient terms. The difficulty in this discussion relates to whether one accepts what the canon states about the fruition of the path, or alternatively, accepts much later commentarial interpretations of the "path-moment" and "fruition-moment" as re-interpreted by a few 20th century Burmese monks. Without sufficient common ground for discussion there isn't much possibility of meaningful dialogue.


I was just paraphrasing the professor's own words. Karunadasa's The Dhamma Theory: Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma:

What emerges from this Abhidhammic doctrine of dhammas is a critical realism, one which recognizes the distinctness of the world from the experiencing subject yet also distinguishes between those types of entities that truly exist independently of the cognitive act and those that owe their being to the act of cognition itself.

He goes on to say that "a dhamma is a truly existent thing (sabh�vasiddha)." This is a completely realist view. And the inevitable consequence entailed by this realist view, wherein all conditioned dhammas are "truly existing things," is that path cognitions and fruition cognitions of each of the four paths and fruits must occur within an utterly void vacuum state cessation, which is considered to be the ultimately existent "unconditioned." This is described by Jack Kornfield:

In Mahasi’s model, enlightenment—or at least stream-entry, the first taste of nirvana—comes in the form of a cessation of experience, arising out of the deepest state of concentration and attention, when the body and mind are dissolved, the experience of the ordinary senses ceases, and we rest in perfect equanimity. We open into that which is unconditioned, timeless, and liberating: nirvana.... But there are a lot of questions around this kind of moment. Sometimes it seems to have enormously transformative effects on people. Other times people have this moment of experience and aren’t really changed by it at all. Sometimes they’re not even sure what happened.

This notion of path and fruition cognitions is not supported by the Pali canon. Moreover, there are now numerous people who've had such experiences sanctioned by "insight meditation" teachers, and who have gone on to proclaim to the world that arahants can still experience lust and the other defiled mental phenomena. Taking all of this into account there is no good reason whatsoever to accept this interpretation of path and fruition cognitions. Void vacuum state cessations are not an adequate nor reliable indication of stream entry or any of the other paths and fruitions.

All the best,



My point is that Mahasi is wrong about this point. I do not wish to go into the details of his wrong views but suffice to say, he or his students misunderstood the stream entry moment as a blackout cessation. This is not the same as the actual attainment of stream entry as explained in

By the way, all Arahants have attained nibbana, but not all arahants have experienced nirodha samapatti.


“Hi Zom & all,

All four main Nikāya-s define right concentration (sammāsamādhi) as the four jhāna-s (D ii 313, M iii 252, S v 10, A ii 25). AN 3.88 (A i 235) lists the four jhāna-s as the training of heightened mind (adhicittasikkhā). SN 48.10 (S v 198) lists the four jhāna-s as the faculty of concentration (samādhindriya) as practiced by a noble disciple (ariyasāvaka). AN 5. 14 (A iii 11) lists the four jhāna-s as the strength of concentration (samādhibala) as practiced by a noble disciple (ariyasāvaka). Moreover, SN 12.70 (S ii 121) and AN 4.87 (A ii 87) both state that there are arahants who don't have the formless attainments. And of 500 arahants mentioned in SN 8.7 (S i 191), only 60 are said to be liberated both ways (i.e. have mastery of the formless attainments).

Also, in the Dhammasaṅgaṇi, where the distinction is made between mundane form sphere jhāna (rūpāvacarajjhāna) and formless sphere jhāna (arūpāvacarajjhāna) on the one hand, and supramundane jhāna (lokuttarajjhāna) needed for all four paths on the other hand, supramundane jhāna is defined exclusively as the four jhāna-s (or five by dividing the first jhāna into two).

In none of these instances are the four formless attainments or the cessation attainment ever mentioned in the context of right concentration as a component of the noble eightfold path. Thus your equating nibbāna with the cessation of apperception and feeling is unsustainable, since it is entirely possible to realize nibbāna without ever experiencing the cessation attainment.

All the best,


“Nibbāna is the realization of the noble truth of the cessation of unsatisfactoriness (dukkhanirodha ariyasacca), which is not synonymous with nirodhasamāpatti. DN 22:

  • And what is the noble truth of the cessation of stress? The remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving [for sensual pleasure, craving existence, craving non-existence].

Your interpretation of the supramundane paths and fruitions is not supported by the Pāli Tipiṭaka. This has already been pointed out on this thread. Your interpretation of fruition attainment isn't supported by the Pāli Tipiṭaka either.

All the best,


“Hi Zom,

Even in the Visuddhimagga the cessation attainment (nirodhasamāpatti), a.k.a. the cessation of apperception and feeling (saññāvedayitanirodha), while nominally mentioned as similar to nibbāna in a couple of passages, nevertheless is not the same as nibbāna. Visuddhimagga 23.52: 

  • As to the question: Is the attainment of cessation formed or unformed, etc.? It is not classifiable as formed or unformed, mundane or supramundane. Why? Because it has no individual essence. But since it comes to be attained by one who attains it, it is therefore permissible to say that it is produced, not unproduced.

It also can't be designated as the same as nibbāna because, as the Visuddhimagga points out, the cessation attainment requires mastery of the four formless attainments before it can be entered. Since there are arahants who haven't developed the formless attainments, they are incapable of attaining the cessation of apperception and feeling. Nevertheless, they are fully liberated through discernment.

All the best,