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Comprehending Dhamma is Nibbana
Published Date: 28/04/2018 (Saturday)

By K K S Perera

The most salient feature of the Buddha’s teaching is awareness- awareness of the moment, the here and now; the ability to be alive and present.

You yourself will have to achieve it.

It is not Zero-state or nothingness

 On Vesāk Day, Buddhists of the world commemorate three events of significance to Buddhists of all traditions and sects.

The Birth, Enlightenment and the Parinbbana of Gautama Buddha. The United Nations, in 1999, resolved to internationally observe the day at its headquarters.

The Pali term Vesākha or Sanskrit Vaiśākha is the name of the lunar month in the Hindu calendar.

In the Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the holiday is known by its Sanskrit name Vaiśākha, While in Theravadhait is Vesak, which usually falls in the month of May; this year the authorities have decided on April 29 instead of May 29, which is designated as Adhi Poson-it is a rare exception, though many Buddhist nations, this year, celebrate the Vesak Festival in May.

 “Tuchcha” Pothila
Senior monk Pothila was a learned Bikkhu, who lived during Buddha’s time. He was highly proficient in all facets of the Tripitaka. He became a Guru a to a large number of monks, but he never practised Dhamma and did not care for Buddha’s advice to do so.

Finally, the Buddha commenced calling him, “Tuchcha” Pothila [Empty Pothila]; the trick worked. Theoretical or academic knowledge of Tripitaka, it must be emphasized, however deep or profound is no alternative to practice.

Asked about the nature of Nibbana, the Buddha initially maintained silence, knowing that the answer would lead to more puzzlement. Being asked where the world’s end is; 
Buddha said,
“It is in this one fathomed body with awareness, that I pronounce the existence of the world’, its termination, the path leading to termination.”

Thus Nibbana does not exist separately from ourselves. The root of Buddha’s teaching is the need to understand the reality not merely at the scholarly level, but by the direct occurrence.

“This, O monks truly is the peace, end of all formations, the forsaking of rebirth, fading away of craving detachment, extinction; Nibbana” ---Buddha

Nibbana in this very life
Nibbana can be achieved in this very life; it is an optimistic ‘state’, which has to be comprehended by the mind. It is not a mere ending of craving or emptiness effect from blowing out.

It is not Zero-state or nothingness. The real meaning or sense of Nibbana cannot be understood until and unless we have achieved it.

It is not a thing that words can express in their conventional speech or by using descriptions. It is not a place or a state of affairs comparable to a plane of existence such as a heaven.

It is not a mere extinction of ignorance and craving. It is only the path leading to it.

Origins of Nibbana lie outside existence and non-existence, as together are conditional and relative to 
each other.

Nibbana can only be grasped by those who have attained it, passing beyond boundaries. Just as the fire is not hoarded up in a place but rises when basic conditions are present. To consider different propositions was as pointless as to speculate about the path in which a fire had gone once it was doused. Just as a blind does not realise what light is, the mind clouded by greed, anger and illusion will not be able to distinguish the reality of Nibbana. It cannot be weighed against anything, which comes within the reach of our mind.

A contender must wisely examine, scrutinize and analyze objects with bare attention, applying Sathi mindfully, devoid of application of conceptual behaviour.

Understand your nature devoid of any distortions, without any prejudice, without any response to what you determine you are, that is the beginning of austerity.

The examination, the awareness, of every deliberation, every feeling not to hold it back it, not to control it, but to observe it, like watching a bird in flight, without any of your own prejudices and misrepresentations.

Sermonizing and educating on Nibbana has a parable in Amphibian Turtle’s unsuccessful attempt to enlighten the experiences on the ground to a fish!

 Parable of turtle and fish
After a trip around the land, the turtle returned to the water, to be questioned by the fish, why he was missing for a while. The turtle rejoined that it had been on dry territory. The fish who was clueless about ‘dry land’, cried out;

“What do you mean by dry land? There is nothing termed dry land.” The turtle replied, “How can I make you realize, but I just arrived from there.”

The fish was confused; demanded to make out what exactly dry land meant, “Can I swim there? Is it cool and damp? Does it flow? Does it rise up and down in waves?” to each query, the turtle replied in the negative.

A thrilled fish declared, “There is no such place as dry land.” The turtle said, “There is dry land, but, you never experienced it. You know only water so you discard it because the uniqueness of water is not there, or it is not like water”.

We are the result of what we have thought. It is established in our thoughts. It is made up of our thoughts. If one talks or acts with a wholesome thought, happiness pursues one, like a shadow that never abandons.

 In the Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the holiday is known by its Sanskrit name Vaiśākha, While in Theravadhait is Vesak, which usually falls in the month of May; this year the authorities have decided on April 29 instead of May 29, which is designated as Adhi Poson-it is a rare exception, though many Buddhist nations, this year, celebrate the Vesak Festival in May.

 Happiness can be achieved by using knowledge and practice to attain mental equanimity.

Equanimity, or peace of mind, is achieved by shedding oneself from the series of cravings that creates dukkha.

Therefore, by achieving an intellectual state where you can detach from all the obsessions, needs and wants of life, you free yourself and attain a state of inspirational happiness and well-being.

 Mindfulness and Bare Attention
Mindfulness is one of the most significant teachings of Buddha. It has filtered into an accepted culture as well as modern psychoanalysis.

The Buddha felt that it was crucial to cultivate right mindfulness for all facets of life in order to observe things as they actually are. He encouraged keen thought and awareness of all things through the four basics of mindfulness: Contemplation of the body, of feeling, of states of mind and of phenomena.

In a word, mindfulness is about understanding the moment with an approach of openness and originality to all and every experience.

Through correct mindfulness, one can free oneself from obsessions If you are paying attention now with all your being, with your brain, with your mind, with your nerves, with your total energy; listening without comparing, not accepting, not opposing, but actually with complete awareness: then there is no entity who is observing, who is listening?

If you are paying attention to the howling of dogs at night, listen with your heart, listen with your mind, with your whole body— don’t say I hate it or I like the sound, just listen conscientiously, then there is no observer. See an image without the interference of thought.

No observer! It is the observer who produces fear, the observer is the hub of thought, it is the ‘I’, it is the ‘Me’, the ‘Self’, the Ego; the observer is the sensor.

When there is no thought, there is no observer. It is open for us, and when we have developed into as gentle, as wise, as pure, as compassionate, and as absolutely self-controlled as an Arhant, then shall we recognize, then shall we comprehend ‘Nibbana’.

Comprehending Dhamma is Nibbana. You yourself will have to achieve it.
May all Beings be Happy!

Source: Daily Mirror

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