Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Buddha talking about NIRVANA

Ven. Nyanaponika, Buddhist Dictionary; Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Nirvana as if it were conceivable as a dazzling explosion of light (mohansuniverse).
Nirvana is release, freedom, liberation.
When the sutra begins, the Buddha is teaching a discourse concerning nirvana (Pali nibbāna), the ultimate goal of striving, complete freedom from all rebirth, suffering, and disappointment. What could he have been saying?

"Truly, O meditators, this is the highest peace, the ultimate (deliverance), namely, the end of all formations, the abandoning of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving, letting go, falling away, nirvana" (A. III, 32).
"Enraptured with lust, enraged with anger (dosa), blinded by delusion (moha), overwhelmed, with mind/heart ensnared, one aims at one's own ruin, at the ruin of others, at the ruin of both, and one experiences mental pain and grief.

"Are we there yet?" Trip to nirvana
"But if lust, anger, and delusion are let go, one aims neither at one's own ruin, nor at the ruin of others, nor at the ruin of both, and experiences alleviation of all mental pain and grief. Thus is nirvana visible in this very life, immediate, inviting investigation, attractive, and comprehensible to the wise" (A.III.55).
"Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither visible forms, nor sounds, nor fragrances, nor tastes, nor bodily impressions, neither the desired (pleasing) nor the undesired (displeasing) can cause such a person to waver. Steadfast is mind/heart, complete liberation is gained" (A.VI.55).
"Verily, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. If there were not this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed would be impossible" (Inspired Utterances, Ud.VIII.3).

Q: If there's no self, what's the problem? A: Delusion
The Buddha smiling reclining into final nirvana (Hereward J Bunch/hezbunch/flickr).
Buddhist Dictionary: Manual of Terms
One cannot too often nor too emphatically emphasize the fact that not only for the actual realization of the goal of nirvana, but also for a mere theoretical understanding of it, it is an indispensable preliminary condition to grasp fully the truth of not-self (anattā, the impersonal characteristic of all existence, emptiness, shunyata), egolessness, and insubstantiality of all phenomena.

Without such an understanding, one will necessarily misconceive nirvana -- according to one's either materialistic or metaphysical leanings -- either as annihilation of an ego or as an eternal state of existence into which a self, soul, ego, or personality enters or with which it merges like a drop of water into the ocean (identification with the All, the One, the Whole, or GOD/Brahman or Brahma). Therefore it is said, not conventionally but only in an ultimate sense:

"Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found; 
The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there; 
Nirvana is, but not the one who enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen."
- Path of Purification (Vis.M. XVI)

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