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Since the Buddha said everything is impermanent (anicca) 'yan kinci samudaya dhammam sabban tam nirodha dhammam' and ignorance (avijja) is something, won't it be the case that ignorance (avijja) will cease for everyone (ordinary folk (puthujanas) and those-in-training (sekhas) alike) eventually?

The Buddha did say that ignorance (avijja) is impermanent (anicca) actually.

jarāmaraṇaṃ, bhikkhave, aniccaṃ saṅkhataṃ paṭiccasamuppannaṃ khayadhammaṃ vayadhammaṃ virāgadhammaṃ nirodhadhammaṃ. jāti, bhikkhave, aniccā saṅkhatā paṭiccasamuppannā khayadhammā vayadhammā virāgadhammā nirodhadhammā. bhavo, bhikkhave, anicco saṅkhato paṭiccasamuppanno khayadhammo vayadhammo virāgadhammo nirodhadhammo. upādānaṃ bhikkhave…pe…. taṇhā, bhikkhave… vedanā, bhikkhave… phasso, bhikkhave… saḷāyatanaṃ, bhikkhave… nāmarūpaṃ, bhikkhave… viññāṇaṃ , bhikkhave… saṅkhārā, bhikkhave… avijjā, bhikkhave, aniccā saṅkhatā paṭiccasamuppannā khayadhammā vayadhammā virāgadhammā nirodhadhammā.

Ageing-&-death, bhikkhus, is impermanent, determined, dependently arisen, its nature is to be destroyed, to disappear, to fade away, to cease. Birth, bhikkhus, is impermanent, determined, dependently arisen, its nature is to be destroyed, to disappear, to fade away, to cease. Being, bhikkhus, is impermanent, determined, dependently arisen, its nature is to be destroyed, to disappear, to fade away, to cease. Assuming, bhikkhus… Craving, bhikkhus… Feeling, bhikkhus… Pressure, bhikkhus… The six domains, bhikkhus… Name-&-matter, bhikkhus… Consciousness, bhikkhus… Determinations, bhikkhus… Ignorance, bhikkhus, is impermanent, determined, dependently arisen, its nature is to be destroyed, to disappear, to fade away, to cease.

paccayasuttaṃ (SN 12.20)

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  • Nothing happens without an effort. Nibbana is not an automatic eventuality. And Sansara is not a place to loitering.
    – Sampath
    Apr 22, 2022 at 10:56
  • Are you saying that we are not garuteed Nibānna? But if that is so then avijja could be eternal, if we don't make the effort. But it is clearly not defined that way in the Sutta.
    – PDT
    Apr 22, 2022 at 12:11
  • Which sutta are you refereeing to? There are Tatha Dhamma in the world. Thatha Dhamma are eternal (e.g. - Dukkha in 4 noble truths). Assuming everything is impermanent is erroneous.
    – Sampath
    Apr 22, 2022 at 13:01
  • Paccayya suttam
    – PDT
    Apr 23, 2022 at 5:15
  • OP, please note that you have got the wrong interpretation. At one occasion Lord Budhdha brought forth the following simile: 'Learning Dhamma is like handling a venomous serpent. You catch it from the wrong end, and you are doomed'. Please note that Buddhism does not dictate everything is impermanent. Aniccha is just a characteristic of the world we make for ourselves. You have caught the serpent from the wrong end.
    – Sampath
    Apr 24, 2022 at 5:01

6 Answers 6

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The Buddha said that all conditioned things -- all sankharas -- are impermanent.

So to answer (or gain insight into or from) the question, you may want to ask, what is the condition for avijja and what is the condition for its ceasing.

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This is a great question!

Ignorance (avijja) is impermanent (anicca). Everything that arises must cease.

So, will we all become liberated? Will we all become enlightened?

But, we must also remember sabbe dhamma anatta - all phenomena is not self.

So, ignorance will cease. Not necessarily for you or for me specifically, but it will cease eventually. And it will also arise again - again not for you or for me specifically.

The same goes for suffering (dukkha).

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  • Thanks for the reply, but how is it that it will re arise again, I thought once you remove avijja, it can never return again?
    – PDT
    Apr 22, 2022 at 12:09
  • @PrinceDeepthinker Avijja is still there in the world today.
    – ruben2020
    Apr 23, 2022 at 2:43
  • Ok but will I eventually become enlightened if I was a Putthujana.
    – PDT
    Apr 23, 2022 at 5:16
  • @PrinceDeepthinker No, you won't. Please see this answer.
    – ruben2020
    Apr 23, 2022 at 5:30
  • These are all religious ideologies that create entrapments. The idea of impermanence is a concession given to the practitioner in the same way a koan is given to a Zen monk. Impermanence can only be defined by its opposite and opposites can only reference conventions, thus impermanence can only have truth in a practitioner who is held captive by their own mental propagation.
    – user17652
    Apr 24, 2022 at 19:13
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This question is not to be answered because it asserts self-view.

It is very important to understand & accept that one can't project one's delusion about what exactly is 'a world' in a definitive sense and to stop trying to reconcile one's common worldly naive notions of what is 'a world' with the Dhamma.

You are asserting that there is a world wherein this or that being attains final extinguishment [of the world] and that this world further persists with other beings in it.

This is a grave, disqualification mistake, as it slips by the definition of a world in the texts. If you can't see this then you are blind in the Dhamma.

If it was as you assert then nibbana is part of the world, there would either be many nibbanas in this very world such that one nibbana would be different from another (like a feeling, a piece of gold), or nibbana would merely be a title, a state of mind or an idea like 'financial freedom', or nibbana would be a place in this world where beings go.

I am not going to explain this at length because imo questions like these are best merely refuted.

In short when this or that being attains parinibbana then a world ceases, all ceases and there is nothing further to the world as all modes of being become extinguished.

If the world ends, then what are the to-be-enlightened beings are we talking about and how can there be an 'after' where all fuel for a future is depleted.

"Insofar as it disintegrates,[2] monk, it is called the 'world.' Now what disintegrates? The eye disintegrates. Forms disintegrate. Consciousness at the eye disintegrates. Contact at the eye disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too disintegrates.

"The ear disintegrates. Sounds disintegrate...

"The nose disintegrates. Aromas disintegrate...

"The tongue disintegrates. Tastes disintegrate...

"The body disintegrates. Tactile sensations disintegrate...

"The intellect disintegrates. Ideas disintegrate. Consciousness at the intellect consciousness disintegrates. Contact at the intellect disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too disintegrates.

"Insofar as it disintegrates, it is called the 'world.'"

“Mendicants, I say it’s not possible to know or see or reach the end of the world by traveling. But I also say there’s no making an end of suffering without reaching the end of the world.”

Whatever in the world through which you perceive the world and conceive the world is called the world in the training of the Noble One. And through what in the world do you perceive the world and conceive the world?

Through the eye in the world you perceive the world and conceive the world. Through the ear … nose … tongue … body … mind in the world you perceive the world and conceive the world.

What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbāna-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbāna-element with residue left.

Now what, bhikkhus, is the Nibbāna-element with no residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant … completely released through final knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is experienced, not being delighted in, will be extinguished. That, bhikkhus, is called the Nibbāna-element with no residue left.

“These, bhikkhus, are the two Nibbāna-elements.”

These two Nibbāna-elements were made known By the Seeing One, stable and unattached: One is the element seen here and now With residue, but with the cord of being destroyed; The other, having no residue for the future, Is that wherein all modes of being utterly cease.

Having understood the unconditioned state, Released in mind with the cord of being destroyed, They have attained to the Dhamma-essence. Delighting in the destruction (of craving), Those stable ones have abandoned all being

One can't pin down beings as a truth or reality repudiating the 'All;

Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Attaining nirodha Is analogical to waking up from a dream-world in that the whole entirety construct of the world ends. Therefore it's called an awakening to the truth or a final attainment of the truth, which is the truth & reality of extinguishment of that in the world through which one perceives & conceives the world.

Therefore perhaps you can see that the mistake OP is making is akin to asserting that a person awakes in a dream rather than awakening from a dream anddoing this requires asserting that 'a being' is something that repudiates the all so that the being can cease with all persist without him.

Another way to say this is that nirodha happens to the world not merely in the world.

At last i will say that the development of mind is not a matter of chance but rarher conditioning. This means that it is not so that given enough time you will realize Nibbana because it can't be modelled as an arbitrary event.

References; nibbanadhatu, adittapariyaya, sabba, lokantagamanasutta

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  • It looks like most questions assert self view, my friend. That is why the aggregates ask these questions.
    – user17652
    Apr 24, 2022 at 19:05
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Since the Buddha said everything is impermanent (anicca)...

Well, if "everything" is impermanent, then impermanence itself is also impermanent! And before we start spinning our heads going down that logical rabbit hole, the law of causation dictates that enlightenment doesn't automatically comes for free to everyone eventually. One must put in the hard work (the cause) to arrive at the targeted outcome (the result). And reality seems to support that, at the current rate what is the ratio of folks who attained enlightenment compared to those who have not? So even assuming that the idea of "inevitable enlightenment" was true, it'd also hold true that for every single individual who'd reach an enlightened state today, there'd always be gazillions others whose due date will come tomorrow, day after tomorrow,... ad infinitum.

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It is erroneous to think that everything is impermanent. This is a wrong view. Refer to: Paṭisambhidāmagga - 2 Yuganaddhavagga - 2.2. Saccakathā. In the first paragraph itself it is discussed that the four noble truths are permanent (Tatha).

Your assumption, that everything is impermanent is not Buddhism.

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  1. It appears the phrase 'yan kinci samudaya dhammam sabban tam nirodha dhammam' (from SN 56.11) does not say everything is impermanent (anicca). It appears this phrase merely refers to everything/all that arises in the 2nd noble truth ceases with the realization of the 3rd noble truth.

  2. Physical death happens in & lasts a moment. Thus physical death cannot 'fade away'. Thus 'ageing-&-death' refers to the 'view' that 'a being', 'person' or 'self' is has died. Since 'ageing-&-death' is merely a view or thought conception, it can 'fade away'.

  3. It appears the following translation should be questioned: "its nature is to be destroyed, to disappear, to fade away, to cease." This translation appears to rigid or absolute, when saying "its nature is". A better translation is probably: "it has a nature that can be destroyed, disappear, fade away, cease."

  4. In summary, there are too many suttas that say puthujjana are destined for long-lasting, close to 'eternal', hell &/or the animal kingdom. Buddhism's terrorism of people with threats of eons in hell appears more severe than Christianity.

  5. When asked would all beings attain enlightenment, the Buddha remained silent (AN 10.95). However, there are many teachings that say only the "few" (Dhp 174) or "rare" (AN 5.143) attain enlightenment. Everyone else is literally destined for hell (SN 56.102). The puthujjana should stay with Christianity and pray to Jesus Christ for salvation via faith alone. Christ saves!

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