MCTB The Extinction Models
On the flip side of the Immortality Models, and somewhat contrary to the Transcendence Models, we have the Extinction Models. These are essentially a promise that insight practices will either have you never reborn again or will make you non-existent somehow in some ordinary sense. The first basic flaw in these models is that they presume an entity to which these things can occur, which from an insight point of view is already a problem. Insight practices at their best presume emptiness as always having been the case, and so to posit that there is something that was reborn flies directly against their root premises. Thus, the notion that there is someone who either will not be reborn again or will somehow cease to be (assuming they were “being” before) is absurd and doesn’t belong in the language of ultimate wisdom. However, page after page, Buddhism promises that there will be no more coming into any state of being, no more rebirth, no more self, and that somehow this will get someone off the wheel of suffering.
Here we get into as gray an area as it gets in spiritual language. Between the weird promises of the Immortality Models and the weird promises of the Extinction Models, we can really get into paradigmatic trouble. Somehow we are sure that one of these must be right, or maybe both are, or perhaps neither are, or some other combination we currently can’t conceive of must be the correct one. However, all of these models are based upon a fundamental flaw, the misperception of sensations and the conclusion based on this misperception that there was some separate, permanent us that all these dualistic concepts can apply to. There is not, nor has there ever been, though sensations occur anyway. It is a convenient, practical, working assumption, a convention, a way of speaking, but nothing more. Thus, all of these curious notions simply do not apply. Simply practicing and perceiving sensations clearly reveals the way out of these paradoxes.