Venerable Kaba-Aye Sayadaw U Pannadipa


{short description of image}


      Each human being, In his nature is always struggling and discovering the truth of life, that is, to obtain genuine peace and real happiness and release from pains. He is sure to experience some times as good and other times as bad. Normally men cannot be exempt from the continuing sufferings of life, such as old age, disease, death, sorrow, grief, lamentation, despair, and so on. When man comes to discern these sufferings In their real nature, he by no means can stand aside without searching for the true light of happiness.

      The Bodhisatta, in his birth as the ascetic, Sumedha contemplated thus:

      "Even as, although Misery is,

      Yet Happiness Is also found,

      So, though indeed Existence is,

      Non-Existence should be sought."

     "Even as, although there may be Heat,

      Yet grateful Cold is also found,

      So, though the threefold Fire exists,

      Likewise Nibbana should be sought."

      When I am subject to

      Birth, Old Age, Disease,

      So then I will search for the Supreme Peace

      Free from Old Age and Death."

      So considering the actual nature of suffering, one should know about Nibbana, the ultimate cessation of nil sufferings. As such, I am here enjoining in a compassionate delight to impart my knowledge of the noble Dhamma on the subject of Nibbana far the welfare of those who wish to know about Nibbana.

      May you be able to attain Nibbana In this present life!

Kaba-Aye Sayadaw

U Panna Dipa


      The term "Nibbana" is very frequently and popularly used by all Buddhists in religious matters, for Nibbana is their ultimate aspiration of the supreme goal. Therefore, whenever they perform any meritorious deed, they ardently aspire to attain Nibbana, saying that "Idam me punnam asavakkhaya vaham hotu"; Idam me punnam nibbanassa paccayo hotu," meaning is "May I be able to attain the extinction of defiled outflows (Nibbana) by this meritorious deed: May my meritorious deed be the cause of attaining Nibbana.

      Actually, neither by uttering words nor by praying can One ever attain Nibbana. We can write down the word "Nibbana", yet the real meaning or sense of it cannot be realized until and unless we have attained it. Nibbana is not, a thing that wordings can express in their conventional language. It is the purest state of insight and it surpasses anything that is mundane.

      The Buddhas and Arahats who have attained Nibbana are able to explain it comprehensively, as far as the language allows. For a worldling (Puthujjana) it is extremely difficult to know the real state of Nibbana, to say nothing of explaining it in words or by any similes.

      Through my studies of the Texts and practice of meditation, I have some theoretical and practical knowledge of Nibbana, but this knowledge will be quite insufficient in comparison to that of the Arahat. Yet, I shall try to bring out the nature of Nibbana as far as I can by presenting before you some definitions of Nibbana.

      Nibbana is a Pali word which is composed of two constituents, namely, 'Ni' and 'Vana': 'Ni' is a negative particle and 'Vana' craving. Their combination in the word Nibbana comes to mean "the absence of craving". in Pali Texts it is therefore said "Vana sankhataya tanhaya nikkhantatta nibbananti" which, when translated into English, means, "Nibbana is a release from that craving which functions as a link to connect one life with another".

      In Sanskrit, Nibbana is written as "Nirvana" which is derived from the root "Va" - 'to blow' and the prefix "nir" meaning 'out' "Nirvana" It therefore means 'to blow out', that is to blow out the flame of one's craving In order to understand Nibbana. there are two kinds of happiness, namely, (1) happiness enjoyed by the senses; and (2) happiness attained and experienced in insight or supreme wisdom. Regarding the former, the happiness cannot be enjoyed by our senses unless there is a sense object which is to be felt or enjoyed. It is so-called a happiness in the worldly sense, but just a temporary or imaginary feeling'. In the case of the latter, the supramundane happiness experienced in the Path, Fruition and Nibbana is the most supreme peace, transcending sense experience (Santilakkhana), the essence of indestructibility or immortality, (Accuti rasa) and the discernment in one's attainment which is devoid of any sign or form or shape (Animitta paccupatthana)

      So the Nibbanic state is totally devoid of any and every thing of the four elements, personal existence, static entity, rebirth, death, consciousness or mind and matter etc. It is only the state of element (Dhatu) which means "Nisatta nijjiva" non-being, non-soul, i.e. there is not even a purified soul in Nibbana. It is the happiest state or the ultimate peaceful bliss of emancipation which utterly eliminates all passions that cause prolong unrest in Samsaric existence.

      Here, I would like to explain to you how the Buddha Himself and His disciples have experienced the real happiness of Nibbana. After the attainment of Supreme Enlightenment in Nibbana with the realization of the Noble Truths, the Buddha's mind was emancipated as the glorious consummation of His long course of practice, and experiencing the Bliss of Emancipation (Vimutti sukha), He made the solemn joyful utterances:

      "How sweet is solitude of the peaceful one, of him who has seen and perceived the Truth.

      Happy to be without malice and to be kind to all;

      Happy is the passion free, Happy is he who has no desire;

      To have removed the notion "I am", that is the Supreme Bliss." (Udana).

      The Buddha, after the realization of the Truth of Nibbana, teaches it to beings who are perfect to attain it (Buddho bodhaya dhammam deseti). And thus His disciples who attained the Happiness of Nibbana during the tenure of their life revealed it out with joyful utterances as follows:

      "Nibbana have I realized, and gazed into the mirror of the Dhamma, the Noble Truth.

      I am healed of my wound;

      Down is my burden laid; My task is done;

      My heart is utterly set free."

      "Nibbana taught by the All-Enlightened One is indeed supremely happy;

      No sorrow, no dust of defilements and perfect security; There sufferings cease." (Thera G)

      Actually, Nibbana in its true nature is single (Ekameva Nibbanam), but it can be treated in a two-fold way, namely, (Kilesa parinibbana) the extinction of all impure passions and it is also called (Saupadisesa Nibbana), i.e., attainment of Nibbana still with life. For instance, the Arahat during his life experiences the Peaceful Bliss of Nibbana with perception and feeling while attending to his duties for the happiness of others, or he will be in the entire ecstasy of Nibbana nullifying feeling and perception in Nirodhasamapatti, complete cessation of his mental flow. When the Arahat dies his Nibbana is Khandha parinibbana i.e. attaining Nibbana with the dissolution of the aggregate of mind-matter, or Anupadisesa, i.e. Nibbana without life-substratum.

      Thus Nibbana is only one as Asankhatadhatu, Unformed Element: it is twofold as Saupadisesa and Anupadisesa: threefold according to the three entrances,

      Vimokkha mukha) that is one of the three contemplation, impermanence, suffering, and insubstantiality (Anicca), (Dukkha) and (Anatta). It is four-fold in accordance with the four Paths, and is five-fold with reference to the elimination of the five-fold attachment to the five senses, and is six-fold as it is attained by extinction of the six-fold craving pertaining to the six sense objects.

      It is the question of what happens to the Arahat at death that has given rise to much discussion. At the death of an Arahat all his physical and mental aggregate cease together with all attributes relating to phenomenal existence. Hence the Arahat's death is called Khandhaparinibbana the extinction of aggregates in the Asankhata-dhatu, unborn, unformed purified Element, and it is the release from Sankhata, that which is born and formed. Referring to this the Buddha said:

      "Monks, there is an unborn, unmade, unoriginated, and unformed. Were there not such a state there would be no escape from that which is born, made, originated and formed. Since, Monks, there is this state of the unborn . . . there is an escape from the born, made, originated and formed." (Udana 80).

      It is to find out and to proclaim this unborn state that the Bodhisatta endeavored to attain enlightenment. "It is for the sake of attaining the unconditioned state of Nibbana that the religious life in the Buddha is lived," and this was the reply of that great Arahat Punna to the question of the Great Arahat Sariputta, the Captain of the Faith, who questioned about the purpose of living holy life in the Buddha.

      The argument depends upon such expressions as "extinction" or "blown out as a lamp," which are frequent in the scriptures as is seen in the following:

      "The old craving exhausted, the fresh craving rises,

      Freed from thought of future becoming

      They like seeds barren do not spring again,

      But are blown out just as a lamp. (Sn. ver. 235).

      Some may venture to ask: "Whether the Arahat exists after death, or does not exist, or whether he is both existence and non-existence". The Buddha has answered this kind of topsy-turvy arguments by noble silence, knowing that they may not tend to any profit, but to more confusion.

      There is neither an existent, nor non-existent object, called Nibbana, which we have to enter for the attainment of Immortality. If there were a phenomenal object called Nibbana then it must have been subject to destruction and none could have attained the eternal and immutable state called Nibbana or Immortality. On the other hand, Nibbana cannot be explained as being the annihilation of' the individual and the world, for if we judge by the standard of the absolute truth (Paramattha) , we find that the self and the world are mere illusions in so far as they get no existence apart from our consciousness.

      Nibbana is not existence, hardly can it be non-existence. It lies totally beyond both existence and non-existence. Existence and non-existence are both conditional and relative to each other. Nibbana which is "Absolute" cannot be designated as being either existence or non-existence: Nibbana which is incomprehensible and profound can only be realized by those who have attained it and have thus passed beyond both limitations, existence and non-existence.

      "But where does this Nibbana exist?" was the question raised by King Milinda. The Venerable Nagasena replied: "There is no place looking in the East, the West, the South, the North, above, below or beyond, where Nibbana is situated. Yet, there is Nibbana, for he who is pure in virtue and possesses right Insight, realizes it, whether he is in Greece, Alexandria, Kosala or in China:" (M11. pp. 323-26).

      Just as the fire is not stored up in a particular place but rises when the necessary conditions are present, so Nibbana is not said to exist in a particular place, but it is attained when and wherever the necessary qualities are fulfilled. Nibbana, therefore, is not a heavenly place like the Hebrew Paradise, or the Christian Heaven, or the Hindu Brahma."

      When the deity Rehitassa asked, "Where does the world's end exist?" The Buddha said: "It is in this one fathomed body with consciousness that I declare the existence of the world, its origin, its cessation, the path leading to its cessation." Thus Nibbana does not exist apart from ourselves and it is to be realized by ourselves.

      Let us turn to our friends of the Mahayana School to see what they think about this Asankhatadhatu. Nagarjuna who was supposed to be a saint and the founder of the Madhyamika School explained Nibbana as "Sunyata" Voidness, condemning all the degrees of "Realism of the Sarvasti-vadins and asserting the mayavic nature of existence. He denied the existence of the self and the world, and proclaimed the essential oneness of Samsara and Nibbana. According to his view Nibbana is to be attained by the grace of Amitabha, and cannot be attained by self effort, for there is no "Self" to effort. In the Visuddhimagga, Buddhaghosa Thera says: The Third truth, the Cessation of Suffering, i.e. Nibbana is void of Atta, Self or Soul, but is full of the essence of durability, goodness, and blissfulness, and its essential characteristic is "Santi " peace. This shows how he has opposed the idea of Sunyata of Nagarjuna.

      The Sarvasti-vadins discriminating between Samsaric manifestation and the essence of pure Dhammas or elements, assent that Asankhatadhatu, Nibbana is an entity but without consciousness or rebirth.

      In the Theravada Canon there are references to assert that Nibbana is the consciousness liberated from all worldly objects and thoughts, as is stated in the Dighanikaya. "Nibbanam-Vinnanam anidassanam anantam sabbato pabbam" - Nibbana is the consciousness that has no sign perceptible to the senses and it is immeasurable, purest and a state wherein all the connection with elements cease, leaving no trace (assesam uparujjhati). (D.i. 223).

      Regarding one's existence in Samsara and the deliverance from it, the Buddha said the following salient facts:—

      "Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara, not to be discovered a first beginning of beings, who, obstructed by ignorance and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths."

      "And thus have you long time undergone suffering, undergone torment, undergone misfortune and filled the graveyards full, verily, long enough to be dissatisfied with all forms of existence, long enough to turn away and free yourself from them all."

      "Be it in the past, present or future: whosoever of the monks or priests regards the delightful and pleasurable things in the world as impermanent (anicca), miserable (dukkha), without an ego (anatta), as a disease and sorrow, it is he who overcomes craving.

      "And released from Sensual Craving, released from the Craving for Existence, and released from the Craving for Non-Existence, he does not return, does not enter again into existence."

      "For through the total fading away and extinction of "Craving"(tanha), "Clinging to Existence" (upadana) is extinguished: through the extinction of the clinging to existence, the "Process of Becoming" (bhava) is extinguished: through the extinction of the "Process of Becoming," (Action) Rebirth (jati) is extinguished, through the extinction of rebirth, decay, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are extinguished. Thus comes about the extinction of this whole mass of suffering."

      "Hence the annihilation, cessation and overcoming of bodily form, feeling, perception, karma-formations and consciousness: this is the extinction of suffering, the end of disease, the overcoming of old age or death."

      "And for a disciple thus freed, in whose heart dwells peace, there is nothing to be added to what has been done, and naught more remains for him to do. Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance."

      "Verily, there is a realm where there is neither the solid, nor the liquid; neither heat, nor motion; neither this world, nor any other world; neither sun, or moon.

      "This I call neither arising, nor passing away, neither standing still, nor being born, nor dying. There is neither foothold, nor development, nor any basis. This is the end of suffering."

      "The learned and noble disciple, however, who has regard for Holy men, knows the teaching of Holy men, is well trained In the noble doctrine, he understands what is worthy of consideration, and what is unworthy of consideration. And knowing this, he considers the worthy and not the unworthy. What Suffering is, he wisely considers. What the origin of Suffering is, he wisely considers. What the Extinction of Suffering is, he wisely considers. What the Path that leads to the Extinction of Suffering is, he wisely considers."

      "And by considering thus, three fetters vanish namely: "Self-illusion, Scepticism and Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual."

      "And those disciples in whom these three fetters have vanished, they all have "entered the Stream" (sotapanna), have forever escaped the states of woe, and are assured of final enlightenment."

      "More than any earthly power,

      More than all the joys of heaven,

      More than rule o'er all the world,

      Is the Entrance to the Stream."

      "And verily, those who are filled with unshaken faith towards the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, all those have entered "the stream."

      "However, through the fading away of delusion, through the arising of wisdom, through the extinction of craving, no future rebirth takes place again."

      "For, the actions which are not done out of greed, anger and delusion, which have not sprung from them, which have not their source and origin there: such actions are, through the absence ·of greed, anger and delusion, abandoned, rooted out, like a palm tree torn out of the soil, destroyed, and not liable to spring up again."

      "In this respect one may say of me, that I teach annihilation, that I propound my doctrine for the purpose of annihilation, and that I herein train my disciples. For certainly, I teach annihilation, the annihilation of greed, anger, and delusion, as well as of the manifold evil and demeritorious things."

      "One may, through the "Cessation of Passion" come to know for oneself, even in this life, the stainless deliverance of the mind, the deliverance through wisdom."

      If someone puts the question. "Who, made the Five Khandhas, or five groups of existence," he seldom gets a right answer. Now let it be said that the five groups of bodily and mental phenomena, correctly speaking, have been put together by the Buddha in order to show the "Anatta doctrine" the central and unique teaching of Buddhism.

      All those bodily forms, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and states of consciousness which the Buddha has classified and grouped into the five groups are only of momentary duration, existing no longer than a flash of lightning.

      One never gets a right understanding of the five groups of existence, if one thinks of them as something compact, whereas in reality they are only fleeting phenomena changing as quickly as lightning.

      The five groups are merely a classification made by the Buddha hut have, as such, i.e. as groups, no real existence. If there arises, e.g. a joyful feeling, there cannot arise at the very same moment a sorrowful feeling; thus at any given moment only a single representative of those groups may be present, never any group as a whole. Hence it is impossible that a group of feelings, or perceptions, or states of consciousness may arise at one and the same time.

      The four mental groups are never existing separately. "And it is Impossible that anyone can explain the passing out of one existence and then entering into a new existence or the growth, increase and development of consciousness, independently of bodily form, feeling, perception and mental formations. Each state of consciousness is always connected with some of the fifty mental formations as explained in the "Abhidhamma Pitaka."

      In every state of consciousness are at least five formations present., i.e. impression (phassa) , will (cetana) , attention (manasikara) , concentration (cittass' ekaggata) and vitality (jivitindriya).

      To the learned and noble disciples, who are penetrating these five Khandhas of Existence as transitory, subject to suffering and without any Ego, there will in his mind arise that ultra-mundane faculty which says: "I shall come to know what is still unknown to me" — (anannatan-nassamit ' indriya) , namely, the knowledge that appears at the entrance into Sotapanna state.

      Through not understanding the nature of the five groups of existence, one gets possessed of manifold wrong views, and it becomes one's conviction and firm belief, "I have an Ego," or "I have no Ego;" or "With the Ego I perceive the Ego," or "With that which is no Ego I perceive the Ego," or "with the Ego I perceive that which is no Ego." Or one falls into the following view: "This my Ego, which can think and feel, and which, now here, now there,. experiences the fruit of good and evil deeds - this my Ego is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change and will thus eternally remain the same.

      But, the noble disciple who understands the five Khandhas as impermanent, subject to change and suffering, as not remaining in two successive moments the same, he will penetrate that liberating truth of "Anatta," the very root of all unselfishness, leading to Nibbana.

"Sabbe dhamma anattati "Nowhere can there be found a Self:
Yada pannaya passati, Who wisely perceives this truth,
Atha nibbindati dukkhe, He turns away from misery,
Esa maggo visuddhiya." This is the path to purity."

      But the process by which the Buddha arrived at this "Holy Wisdom" is of the greatest importance, for therein is found the key to the solution of the problem of Nibbana— therein is contained the very way by which any man whose wishes and wills, can realize this same state of "purifying wisdom."

      If there would exist in this individual process of existence an unchangeable, immutable Self or Ego, it could not be influenced by conduct and become better, and thus there would be no use in leading a holy life.

      In as much as in the-whole universe nothing permanent is to be found, how can we speak of any immutable, unchanging Self?

      Not by prayers, nor asceticism, nor by outward ceremonies, rites and rituals, nor by dialetical skill, was that "Holy Wisdom" secured: but only in renouncing all worldly and heavenly desires, all hopes and beliefs in an eternal Being, all inclinations to the vain glory of "I" and "Mine." Thus only can true understanding and intuitive wisdom be acquired.

      It is certain that Nibbana is the "Summum bonum," the greatest bliss and supreme happiness that man can experience in this life itself. The Inscrutable majesty of Nibbana is profound, is in the stillness, is always the same.

      In the Abhidhanapadipika, Nibbana is described in various terms:

Accanta The Everlasting
Akata The Unmade
Ananta The Endless
Apalokita The Undestructible
Panita The Sublime
Sarana The Refuge
Khema The Safety
Tana The Shelter
Lena The Retreat
Parayana The Goal
Siva The Bliss
Nipuna The Profound
Sacca The Truth
Dukkahakkhaya The Cessation of misery
Annasa The Freedom from longing
Sududdasa That which is difficult to grasp
Asankhara The Uncreated
Para The Further Shore
Para The Beyond
Mokkha The Deliverance
Nirodha The Extinction
Anidassana The Unperceptible
Nibbana The Extinction of Craving
Dhuva The Permanent
Avyapajja The Unoppressedness
Vivatta The Standstill of the cycle of existence
Kevala The Absolute
Anitika The Undistressed
Analaya The Detached
Pada The Law
Accuta The Deathless
Akkhara The Lasting
Vimutta The Release
Vimutti The Liberation
Apavagga The Total Completion
Viraga The Dispassionate
Yogakkhema The Peace from Bondage
Santi The Stillness
Visuddhi The Purity
Asankhata The Uncaused
Suddhi The Pure
Nibbuta The Allayment

      These are the names given to Nibbana by the Buddha in various discourses. By this it becomes evident that Nibbana cannot be compared to anything which comes within the reach of our senses.

      Thus let it be the aim of every one to reach this stage where there reigns eternal Peace, Bliss and Happiness.

      Nibbana is visible to the mind of those who enter the Path of the Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami and Arahat, at the moment of deep insight into the Egolessness, Emptiness and Misery of all Existence.

      And this moment is reached by the Noble Eight-fold Path.

      Thus Nibbana is perceivable by an absolutely pure and holy mind.

      Just as a blind man does not understand what light is, or as the sun cannot be seen when there are clouds, just so the mind clouded by greed, anger and delusion will not be able to perceive the reality of Nibbana.

      To say that there is no Nibbana simply because those filled with greed, anger and delusion, do not perceive it, is just as illogical as to say that there is no light because the blind man does not see it or because we cannot see the sun when clouds are hindering our sight.

      Obviously, for an untrained worldling it is very difficult to get a right understanding of Nibbana. Just as a fire in a house may be hidden to our eyes, hut as soon as we go there it becomes visible, in the same way Nibbana, which to the common man is hidden, becomes visible as soon as we reach it.

      Also just as the Dhamma, the Cosmic Law, exists independent of our knowledge, so exists Nibbana independent of our realization of it.

      Not by reasoning and abstract thinking can Nibbana ever be attained, but only by right understanding, by inward purification, inward conquest and by fulfilling the "Noble Eight-fold Path" founded on Anattasanna, i.e. the perception that all things are without an Ego, or Self and that also behind all these phenomena of existence there is no "I," no eternal, immutable, unchanging entity, a "thing in itself."

      There is only a five-khandha process of existence which comes to a stand still at the death of the Arahat or Holy One.

      One never knows a thing as it really is without seeing it, and this, more than anywhere else, is true with regard to Nibbana.

      Although Nibbana is hidden to the eyes of the worldling, the Path, however, leading there is attained by the noble disciple and is explained by the Buddha with all necessary details and every one can follow it.

      Every individual therefore should lay the foundation for the attainment of Nibbana here in this present existence. The Blessed One could not have entered the Path to Nibbana whilst living in the Tusita Heaven, the heaven of bliss, he had to be reborn amongst men in order to enter the Path to Nibbana.

      It is my conviction and firm belief that our striving for Nibbana should begin here in this very life, and that all others who believe that a later existence would give more and better opportunities for reaching Nibbana, are mistaken, are in error.

      Not in heaven, but here on earth, where there is abundant resistance and opposition, seems to me to be the only possibility for a quick progress. It is our earth that provides best opportunities for it.

      As a Buddhist, birth as a human being, seems to me the more suitable of all births in the sensuous realm. Only as man can one succeed In the struggle against greed, anger and delusion, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair.

      Hence as men we have it in our power to train the mind, so that, through thinking and reflecting, we may advance from mere theory to true intuition or insight. This is a natural development of mind, its ultimate phase.

      Besides, it is through intuition that thinkers have made their greatest discoveries. Thus after a prolonged mental strain in one direction, the mind suddenly sees the universe face to face.

      It is thus that the Buddha describes the attainment of His own Enlightenment, and it is thus that we also, with unshackled intent, shall attain the same goal.

      Thus the other shore, Nibbana, will have been realized, the raft whereon we crossed the ocean of Samsara will have been thrown aside, and we will have attained the end of all existence and suffering.

      We have seen that in reality there does not exist any Ego-entity or Soul, and that therefore also no transmigration of the same into a new mother's womb is in no way a continuation of the former bodily process but merely a result or effect caused by the selfish craving and clinging to life, of the so-called individual who has died. In Nid. Samy. No. 59, it is said: "Once all Ignorance and clinging are extinguished neither karmically meritorious nor demeritorious, nor imperturbable karma-formations are produced, and thus no consciousness will spring up again in a new mother's womb."

      "Therefore, he who says that the non-production of this new life-process is identical with annihilation of a Self, also should say that abstention from sexual intercourse is identical with the annihilation of the child - which of course is absurd."

      "Here I feel the necessity of once more expressly emphasizing the fact that without a clear perception of the phenomenality, or Egolessness of all existence, a real understanding of the Buddha's teaching, especially that of rebirth and Nibbana, is impossible."

      "This doctrine of Anatta is in fact the only specific teaching of Buddhism with which the entire teaching stands or falls."

      One cannot say that the Arahat is reborn, because all craving and clinging to existence are completely abandoned, rooted out, like a palm tree torn out of the soil, destroyed and not liable to spring up again in the future.

      "Neither can one say that the Arahat is annihilated at death as there is nothing to be annihilated. What we call "Arahat" is, as we have seen, only a convenient term of speech and has no real existence. There is only a process of bodily and mental phenomena which have come to a standstill and is not continued after death."

      The Buddha says: "Develop your concentration, for he who has concentration understands things according to their reality. And what are these things the arising and passing away of bodily form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness. Thus the five groups of Existence must be wisely penetrated, delusion and craving wisely abandoned, tranquility and insight wisely developed."

      But whatever there is of bodily form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness — all these phenomena he regards as "impermanent," subject to pain, "as infirm, as an ulcer, a thorn, a misery, a burden, an enemy, a disturbance, as empty and "void of an Ego," and turning away from these things, he directs his mind towards the Abiding, thus: "This verily, is the peace, this is the Highest, namely, the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving, detachment, extinction, this is Nibbana. And in this state he reaches the "cessation of passions." And his heart becomes free from sensual passion, free from the passion for existence, free from the passion of ignorance.

      "Freed am I" - this knowledge arises in the liberated one and he knows "Exhausted is rebirth, fulfilled the Holy Life: what was to be done has been done: naught remains to be done."

      "For ever I am liberated.

      This is the last time that I am born,

      No new existence waits for me."

      "This, verily, is the highest, holiest wisdom to know that all suffering has passed away."

      "This, verily, is the highest, holiest peace: appeasement of greed, anger and delusion.

      "I am," is a vain thought, "I am not," is a vain thought, "I shall be," is a vain thought. "I shall not be," Is a vain thought. Vain thoughts are a sickness. an ulcer, a thorn. But after overcoming all vain thoughts one is called a silent thinker. And the thinker, the silent one, does no more arise, no more pass away, no more tremble, no more desire. For there is nothing left in him that he should arise again. And as he arises no more, how should he grow old again? And as he dies no more, how should he tremble? And as he trembles no more, how should he have desire?

      "Hence, the purpose of the Holy Life does not consist in acquiring alms, honor, or fame, no gaining morality, concentration, or the eye of knowledge. That unshakable deliverance of the heart: that, verily, is the object of the Holy Life, that is the essence that is its goal.

      "And those who formerly, in the past, were Holy and Enlightened Ones, also those Blessed Ones have pointed out to their disciples this self-same goal, as has been pointed out by me to my disciples. And those who afterwards, in the future, will be Holy and Enlightened Ones, those Blessed Ones also will point out to their disciples this self-same goal as has been pointed out by me to my disciples."

      "However, disciples, it may be that after my passing away you might think:Gone is the doctrine of our Master: we have no more Master. But thus you should not think for the Law (Dhamma) and the Discipline (Vinaya), which I have taught you will, after my death, be your master.

      The Law be your Isle,

      The Law be your refuge

      I Do not look for any other refuge,"

      Whether Perfect Ones (Buddhas) appear In the world or whether Perfect Ones do not appear in the world, it still remains a firm condition, an Immutable fact and fixed law that all formations are "impermanent," that all formations are "subject to suffering," that everything is "without an Ego."

      "Therefore, Disciples, the doctrines which I advised you to penetrate, you should well preserve, well guard, so that this Holy Life may take its course and continue for ages, for the wheel and welfare of heavenly beings and men."

      Thus, the problem of Nibbana is an ethical rather than a philosophical one, and its solution is dependent not upon dialectical skill but upon right understanding and upon inward purification, Inward conquest and fulfilling the "Noble Eightfold Path' founded on Anatta-sanna, the perception that, all things created as well as uncreated are without an Ego, and that also behind all these phenomena of existence there is no "I", "no eternal, immutable unchangeable entity, or a thing in itself."

      In the face of such a path, all language is weak and besides the great example of the Master, no feeble words of mine can describe it.

      The way is ever open for us who will walk on it, and when we have become as gentle, as pure, as wise, as compassionate, and as perfectly self-controlled as was the Holy One, the Perfect One, then shall we know, then shall we understand:

     Dukkham-eva hi na koci dukkhito,

     Karako na, kiriya va vijjati,

     Atthi nibuti, na nibbuto puma,

     Maggam-atthi, gamako na vijjati.

      "Mere suffering is, not any sufferer is found

      The deeds exist, but no performer of the deeds:

      Nibbana is, but not the man that enters it,

      The path is, but no wanderer is to be seen."

     Kammassa Karako natthi,

     Vipakassa ca vedako,

     Suddhadhamma pavattanti,

     Ev 'etam sammadassanam.

      No doer of the deeds is found,

      No one who ever reaps their fruits,

      Empty phenomena roll on,

      This view alone is right and true.

     Na hettha devo brahma va,

     Samsarass-atthi karako,

     Suddhadhamma pavattanti,

     Hetusambharapaccaya ti.

      No god, no Brahma, may be called,

      The maker of this wheel of life,

      Empty phenomena roll on,

      Dependent on conditions all." V.M. XIX.


This page at was last modified:

Page Views Since 12-Jan- 2002