Tag Archives: nibbana
Composite Rocks

How the Buddha looked at the “What is a Person?” Question

A recurring theme in Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s writing is his stress on how important it is to understand what kinds of questions the Buddha answered, and refused to answer, in his teachings. Many people think his new way of using the Pali word “khandhas” was the answer to the question, “Who am I” or “What is […]

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Blue Fractal

Chaos Theory and Buddhist Views of Causality

Samsara Divided by Zero by Thanissaro Bhikkhu “The goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana, is said to be totally uncaused, and right there is a paradox. If the goal is uncaused, how can a path of practice — which is causal by nature — bring it about? This is an ancient question. The Milinda-pañha, a set […]

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The Buddha Teaches Dhamma

Did you know that the Buddha almost didn’t teach the Dharma?

According to the Pali canon, not long after the Buddha attained enlightenment, he mused to himself: “This Dhamma that I have realized is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced only by the wise.” The Buddha then apparently seriously questioned whether he could […]

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Double Helix

The Importance of Alertness and Attention in Developing Concentration

As I have grown in my meditation practice, I have been able to develop deeper and deeper levels of concentration and corresponding insight. And yet, when I’ve read about some of the various deeper levels of jhana (deep concentration, or samatha) I’ve sometimes wondered about my progress and whether I’m going “deep” enough. This great […]

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Sukha Buddha

Dhamma and Non-duality-A Theravadan Point of View

“Where I think the teaching of the Buddha, as preserved in the Theravada tradition, surpasses all other attempts to resolve the spiritual dilemmas of humanity is in its persistent refusal to sacrifice actuality for unity. The Buddha’s Dhamma does not point us toward an all-embracing absolute in which the tensions of daily existence dissolve in […]

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The Mind like Fire Unbound-the Fire Metaphor for Nirvana

In an earlier post, The Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta-the Buddha on the Nature of Existence and Nirvana, the Buddha explains how nirvana is like the extinction of a flame. The ascetic wanderer Vacchagotta can’t understand what happens after death to one who attains nirvana, or complete Unbinding. Does he still exist? Does he not exist? Does he […]

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401 Featured Image

The Buddha on Not Getting Caught in Metaphysical Speculation

The Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta is one of the Buddha’s teachings that I have come back to again and again when I have found myself entangled in metaphysical speculation and argument with myself—and with others! In this sutta, the Buddha answers the questions of the wandering ascetic Vacchagotta on the nature of existence and uses the simile […]

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Milky Way Star Field

Nirvana is a Verb, Not a Place

A Verb for Nirvana by Thanissaro Bhikkhu “Back in the days of the Buddha, nirvana (nibbana) had a verb of its own: nibbuti. It meant to “go out,” like a flame. Because fire was thought to be in a state of entrapment as it burned — both clinging to and trapped by the fuel on […]

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