Often it is said that nibbana is unconditioned, but nibbana is definitely dependent on other conditions. Also, according to modern psychology nothing can be 'eliminated' (greed, hatred and delusion in this case). Once learned, never able to unlearn. A skill, therefore zu can become either more efficient or less efficient, so why is it in Religion that something can be absolutely eliminated, whereas psychology tells us differently?

  • Why are greed and hatred equated with skill, then? Is your assertion about modern psychology (i.e. that modern psychology says something like that) part of the question ... part of the topic which an answer should address?
    – ChrisW
    Dec 12, 2018 at 12:48
  • In the first part of the question, are you asking if Nibbana is an intrinsic part of the brain without which Nibbana could not be realised?
    – user14148
    Dec 12, 2018 at 16:06
  • Yes, I believe that Nibbana cannot be realised without the brain, because mind is dependent upon the brain. But this is of course also apparent in the satipatthanas, where the breath conditions the body which in turn trainquillizes the mind further.
    – Val
    Dec 12, 2018 at 20:45
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Val
    Dec 13, 2018 at 6:14
  • @Val I tried to rewrite the question here -- Should this question be rewritten? -- is that any better at explaining what kind of answer you're looking for?
    – ChrisW
    Dec 13, 2018 at 10:47

4 Answers 4


Often it is said that nibbana is unconditioned

True, Nibbana is unconditioned

but nibbana is definitely dependent on other conditions

False. This statement cannot be backed-up by any reference from Pali canon.

Also, according to modern psychology........

You cannot explain Dhamma with modern Sciences.


There is a true nature in this world. That is the nature of causes and effects. An effect is made by many causes and that effect will cause many other effects in several ways. (This is a very complex, hard to understand, hard to see, and very deep truth which has been taught in the "Book of Causal Relationships or Patthana Pakarana" in Pali canon. There have been mentioned 24 modes of conditionality). Only a lord Buddha can see this ultimate truth with his own wisdom without the guidance of a teacher. No other can.

Scientific method is the foundation for all modern sciences. In scientific method you carefully observe something or a pattern in the world.


Once learned, never able to unlearn.

Then a hypothesis is developed upon that observation.


nothing can be 'eliminated' (greed, hatred and delusion,...)

Then a prediction is developed and carried out an experiment to prove the hypothesis. At the end a conclusion has been made whether the hypothesis can be rejected or cannot be rejected. There lies the limitation of scientific method. An experiment can only support a hypothesis but cannot prove the hypothesis. So, a hypothesis can be true only under the conditions which the experiments carried out to support it. This is the reason one hypothesis is criticized and proved false by another over the time.

Scientists may explain a natural phenomenon with theories well supported by extensive amount of researches. And yes, that would have been true for a while until they find another behavior within that phenomenon which cannot be explained with the same theory. For example some phenomenon cannot be explained with Newtonian Physics but they can be well explained with Quantum Physics.

Dhamma cannot be criticized or argued. It is true for all the time.

  • 1
    Any hypothesis can only be tested statistically, to a certain significance level, and 100% is not an achievable level because the sample is always at least 1 smaller than the population.. n/(n-1) never = 1! Dec 13, 2018 at 7:46
  • ChrisW, may you delete this question? There seems to be no definite answer, let alone any sutta reference in why Nibbana isn't depending on the brain (or anything else).
    – Val
    Dec 13, 2018 at 8:45
  • @Val I'm not sure I may, once other people have put work into trying to answer it. Perhaps I should have closed it immediately as "unclear what you're asking" or something like that. You can flag the question for deletion in case another moderator (bolder than I) is willing, but I wouldn't expect them to handle the flag immediately and we typically don't delete topics. Did chat (e.g. here) clarify the question? I guess people are trying to answer based on their knowledge of dhamma, not understanding your question?
    – ChrisW
    Dec 13, 2018 at 10:14
  • @Val Give me a moment and I'll try to edit the question to a) clarify what you're asking b) not invalidate already-existing answers.
    – ChrisW
    Dec 13, 2018 at 10:15

Greed, hatred and delusion can be eliminated. For example, if you see a beautiful girl then sensual desire or greed might arise but if you see a very ugly women then sensual desire will not arise. Nibanna is not dependent on anything. If you know that the beautiful girl will one day age and become ugly you won’t feel any sensual desire or greed. So greed, hatred and delusion comes from ignorance. Nibbana is the cessation of ignorance

  • By saying nibbana is not dependent on anything you dont answer my question, because I believe Nibbana is dependent upon the brain, body and mind. Also, just mere thinking that an attractive woman will one day age is not enough. It is just cognition without affect. Mere intellectualism. If there is no emotions behind or no past experience that somehow strengthen this perception it is unlikely that this will weaken sensual desire, because just thinking one thing DOESN'T DECREASE THE BELIEVABILITY OF THE FORMER HELD PERCEPTION. It is still there.
    – Val
    Dec 12, 2018 at 20:50
  • Nibanna is where all things cease. It is the cessation of dependent origin. Only an anagami and arahant are freed of sensual desire. Nibbana is the cessation of all former held perception. You might need brain to become an arahant but Nibbana is not dependent on the brain. If the brain is removed then Nibbana would still be there.
    – user14213
    Dec 12, 2018 at 21:31
  • How can you back up your assertion if you are actually dead without a brain?
    – Val
    Dec 13, 2018 at 4:19

Knowing & experiencing Nibbana is dependent upon "the brain" or having a mind. The suttas (example Udana 8.1) say Nibbana is a sense object or 'ayatana'.

However, Nibbana itself, which is an element of nature, similar to how oxygen or nitrogen are elements of nature, is not dependent upon the brain; just as the elements of oxygen & nitrogen in the universe is not dependent on brains.

Many 'Buddhists' hold creationist views of godly Brahmanism; believing things exist only when they can be known by a mind.

But the Buddha said in AN 3.136 and SN 12.20 that realities can exist despite being unknown to a human mind.

  • 1
    How would a sutta reply look like with an answer like this? Magnificent lord. Delighted the monks went away
    – Val
    Dec 13, 2018 at 9:06
  • lol............ Dec 13, 2018 at 9:07
  • DD, what is your opinion about the simile of the saw? Are you able to employ compassion and kindness during cruelty? Or rather equanimity, and how is this developed?
    – Val
    Dec 13, 2018 at 11:12
  • If nibbana is an element of nature, is it part of a whole then? Is it conditioned by the whole, of nature? Dec 13, 2018 at 15:11
  • 1
    the buddha said it was the unconditioned element (MN 115). i think that is enough because the purpose of nibbana is liberation. regards Dec 13, 2018 at 17:55

In Buddhism, all conditioned constructs can be eliminated because they are directly observed as - the same epistemological commitment as the scientific method - not substantial and not permanent.

To achieve nibbana, wrong view is eliminated. A well defined, permanent Self (not an operationally defined one for practical purposes) is the incorrect view that is eliminated.

Rovelli's relational quantum mechanics does just this, and EPR vanishes.

Now were this world somehow one of permanent entities, Dhamma would be wrong, the Buddha would be wrong, and either nihilism, or some eternalist religion would offer the right path to the abandonment of stress (notice the instant contradictions). But this world is empty of permanent entities, so elimination of all impermanent properties is possible.

  • You are comparing quantum mechanics with the most complex organ in the world. Also, both work differently. I have never argued against impermanence. In Buddhism it is said that if conditions aren't nourished they wither. I definitely agree. This is how the brain works. However they cannot be eliminated. Suppose from now on up until your last breath you never speak English again. Will your English be weaker? Definitely. Did you UNLEARN (!!!!!) or eliminate this faculty? No.
    – Val
    Dec 13, 2018 at 8:13
  • English is an accurate, agreed upon language system to describe the phenomenal world. The self is an inaccurate, not agreed upon system to describe the world. It would be more accurate to talk of errors within English. So when you start learning English, you unlearn pronunciation and grammar errors. You can still make them if you wish, but you have gone through a process of unlearning them. Same as for Dhamma - you unlearn wrong notions of Self. Dec 13, 2018 at 12:29

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