Monday, 8 April 2013

Kantian Subject vs Nibbana

(after discussing the 'conditioned' world...)

Nibbana, by contrast, is depicted as the allaying of differentiation. For example, while in AN IV. 174 Sariputta spoke of that beyond the six sense-contacts as ‘non-complication’ he says in the previous sutta:
However far the six spheres of contact go, that is how far differentiation goes. However far differentiation goes, that is how far the six spheres of contact go. With the remainderless fading and stopping of the six spheres of contact, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of differentiation.
(AN IV. 173) 
Insofar  as  it  is  unconditioned  by  qualities  pertaining  to  the  six  spheres  of contact, nibbana seems notably parallel to Kant’s (1787, A404) ‘noumenal subject’, namely, as ‘not a real whole but a simple’. I interpret Kant to mean here that the noumenal subject, as a simple, is undifferentiated by any empirical or conceptual determination. But while Kant believes the deliveries of sense and reason to exhaust the scope of human knowledge and experience (perhaps rendering the noumenal self to be little more than logical abstraction) this does not seem to be true with respect to nibbana. The idea that nibbana, beyond the differentiated sense-realm, can be directly experienced and understood – (and as I have argued, not as a separate object of experience) – sets it apart from Kant’s humanly unknowable noumenal subject:
Therefore  Bhikkhus,  that  base  should  be  understood,  where  the  eye ceases and perception of forms fades away. That base should be understood, where the ear ceases and perception of sounds fades away ... That base  should  be  understood  where  the  mind  ceases  and  perception  of mental phenomena fades away. That base should be understood.
(SN XXXV. 117)

Miri Albahari, Analytical Buddhism: The Two-tiered Illusion of Self 2006, p. 41