Where is ignorance, and why does it not end with death? Can we experience it? Does it have to be actively conditioning formations for us to experience it, or can we know this nidana even when freed from it?

I'm interested in an answer from any tradition.

  • it's a "cause", i guess. do causes exist both inside and outside their effects? – sorta_buddhist Jan 15 at 17:40
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    Hi sorta_buddhist, I have seen some of your questions on this site and they seem generally oriented towards emptiness questions, but with a lot of western philosophical notions spliced in and without a lot of detail as to where you are getting your questions/notions/definitions from. I've been trying to think how to answer or help you in whatever you are looking for, but it is difficult when the notions and jargon are imprecise or unclear. Take this question: you seem to be asking where (as in physical coordinates) 'ignorance' is, but I don't understand this... are you looking for x,y,z coord? – Yeshe Tenley Jan 15 at 18:05
  • yeah, i was asking if it had a location. – sorta_buddhist Jan 15 at 18:11
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    Buddha said we should investigate for ourselves and seek out such answers. Where is your ignorance? Does it have a location or not? Whatever answer you come up with... why would it be different for others? – Yeshe Tenley Jan 15 at 18:15
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    that makes sense, thanks. – sorta_buddhist Jan 15 at 18:23

Where is ignorance, and why does it not end with death?

Ignorance is absence of right view. It's not tangible, as much as it is a lacking.

The buddhist notion of rebirth says that we're destined to samsara until sotapatti/"stream-entry" occurs to break the cycle.

Can we experience it?

The most tangible evidence of avijja/ignorance is dukkha/suffering.

Does it have to be actively conditioning formations for us to experience it, or can we know this nidana even when freed from it?

Regarding the first half of your question, ignorance is most likely conditioning formations in both a passive/and an active sense: Sometimes we end up in trouble without seeing it coming, and sometimes we end up in trouble because we deliberately ignore the consequences we have coming to us. These are two examples of how avijja may affect us.

Can't answer the last part of your question though. Sorry.

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  • fair enough, thanks for the answer – sorta_buddhist Jan 15 at 17:53

Ignorance includes self-view. Similarly, "death", being the idea "a being" or "a person" dies, is also a self-view. Since "death" is a self-view, the idea/mental construct of "death" cannot end ignorance.

When there is no self-view, there is no ignorance and there is also no idea of "death", as follows:

Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die....


Therefore, the 'Deathless' can end ignorance but 'death' cannot end ignorance.

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  • i'm not sure i completely agree, but it's worth stating – sorta_buddhist Jan 16 at 18:09
  • i don't expect you to agree, based on the speculative nature of your question. – Dhammadhatu Jan 16 at 20:32
  • i mean "no idea of death", fwiw, not the rest of it – sorta_buddhist Jan 16 at 20:38
  • its all the same. you criticized me once for rejecting your "mind only" ideas and now you criticize me when i say "death" is a mind only phenomena – Dhammadhatu Jan 16 at 22:12
  • i'm not sure we disagree – sorta_buddhist Jan 16 at 22:34

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