By Jimmie Durham

A diary of nature within the urban.

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Extra resources for Nature In The City

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Precisely because it was unconditioned (asamskrta). Precise philosophical formulations of nirvana varied between the Abhidharma schools, but in its primary description, nirvana represented the cessation (nirodhasatya)of the karma (actions) and klesa (passions) that give rise to the cycle of rebirth. Nirvana was, most fundamentally, the state free from the conditions that produced the world and all experience of the world. As noted above, according to the Kosabhasya (at v. 67), the highest bodhi (enlightenment) of arhats (including Buddhas) consisted of two special knowledges: the knowledge of the destruction of the passions (ksayaj├▒ana)and the knowledge of no further occurrence of the passions (anutpadaj├▒ana).

When Mahayana texts came to redefine a Buddha's nirvana as nonabiding (apratisthita, an attainment that transcends the dichotomy of nirvana and samsara), the new doctrine came into tension with other parts of the Four Noble Truths formula from pre-Mahayana tradition that Mahayanists continued to accept unchanged as normative. Chapter 13 suggests, then, that many disagreements over Buddhahood in late Indian and Tibetan Buddhism express different perspectives on how to authentically reinterpret the Four Noble Truths formula consistent with basic intuitions of practice continuous from early Mahayana.

14 Ample clues to Haribhadra's implicit concerns are provided in his commentaries on AA 8. One theme he repeatedly returns to (on five different occasions, in fact, in his comments on AA 8), is the importance of affirming a clear distinction between the ultimate, unconditioned aspect of a Buddha's awareness, on the one hand, and the conventional, conditioned aspect of it, on the other, to show particularly how the latter aspect becomes the basis for a Buddha's activity within this conventional, conditioned world.

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