|The Buddha's final nirvana, Buddha Eden Garden, Portugal (pedronogueiraphotography/flickr.com)|
|Swayambhunath, Nepal (whirledapart.com)|
“There is, monastics, a not-born, a not-brought-into-being [becoming], a not-made, a not-formed. If, monastics, there were no not-born, not-brought-into-being, not-made, not-formed, no escape would be [possible or] discerned from what is born, brought-into-being, made, formed. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-into-being, a not-made, a not-formed, an escape is [possible and] discerned from what is born, brought-into-being, made, formed (Verses of Uplift, Udana, p. 109).
The born, come-to-be, produced,
The made, the formed, the unlasting,
Conjoined with decay and death,
A nest of disease, perishable,
Sprung from nutriment and craving’s cord --
That is not fit to take delight in.
The escape from that, the peaceful,
Beyond reasoning, everlasting,
The not-born, the unproduced,
The sorrowless state that is devoid of stain,
The cessation of states linked to suffering,
The stilling of the conditioned -- [that is] bliss.
“The greatest of all gains is health,
Nirvana is the greatest bliss,
The Eightfold Path is the best of paths
For it leads safely to the deathless.”
(Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, p. 613)
Where neither water nor yet earth*This essay on nirvana is a chapter of a book on the life and teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha according to the Pali Canon or the Agamas worked on by McCormick since college, written in 2003. It restricts itself to the earliest existing Buddhist texts in an effort to present only what is likely to have been taught by the historical Buddha. My works are informed by Mahayana and the older Theravada teachings. I hope to cover both canons to show how it does or does not relate to the faith, teaching, and practice of Nichiren Buddhism as a source of common sense and spiritual guidance.
Nor fire nor air gain a foothold
There gleam no stars, no sun sheds light.
There shines no moon, yet there no darkness reigns.
When a sage, a brahmin, has come to know this
For oneself through one's own experience
Then one is freed from form and formlessness
Freed from pleasure and from pain. More