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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

What is Nirvana?

Both the “Sutta on the Failings of the World” and evolutionary biology agree: there are circumstantial perils and we have indeed evolved to flee them. Just as a traveler might seek shelter from the rain in a coffee shop some spiritual seekers consider Nirvana to be their ultimate shelter. But what, quite frankly, is Nirvana?

Translated into English as “cessation” it refers NOT to a place but a state of mind. A state of mind where one is perfectly aware of phenomena without and within, BUT wherein one is no longer under their sway. Yes, one still feels the impulses to shove at some things, reach for others, cling to what one already appears to have, and compete for all the above. Although these impulses still beckon to our choices, utterances, and deeds the control they once exercised has, at last, ceased. And that is why we practice the Buddha’s eight-fold path.

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