Nibbāna: the Supreme Peace

Overview:

In this book Ven­er­a­ble Ajahn Payut­to quotes the Buddha’s words that the Truth is sab­ba­to-pab­hā—it can be reached from every direc­tion. Although it is pos­si­ble to present a lin­ear, step-by-step sequence of Bud­dhist prac­tice, the teach­ings are inter­con­nect­ed. Sim­i­lar to hold­ing up a many-faceted jew­el, the Dham­ma can be admired and real­ized from dif­fer­ent angles.

The sub­ject of Nib­bā­na (Nir­vana) is of course more than a tech­nique of prac­tice: Nib­bā­na is the very goal and pur­pose of the Bud­dhist teach­ings. From this stand­point the val­ue of all Bud­dhist teach­ings, and all the oth­er chap­ters of Bud­dhad­ham­ma, is derived from their rela­tion­ship to the real­iza­tion of Nib­bā­na.

Imme­di­ate­ly, how­ev­er, we are faced with a para­dox. For as will become clear by read­ing this book, no words exist that are capa­ble of cap­tur­ing the essence of Nib­bā­na. It is fair to say that no Bud­dhist walk­ing the path to enlight­en­ment knows where he or she is going. We may have intu­ition, a hunch, maps, and even a guide, but to some extent we are blind. Patient­ly endur­ing the ‘not know­ing’ is an impor­tant ele­ment to spir­i­tu­al prac­tice.

There can be a great temp­ta­tion to counter our doubts and inse­cu­ri­ties with inspir­ing descrip­tions of our intend­ed goal. But there are dan­gers to too much embell­ish­ment. Com­par­ing an ide­al state with our mun­dane, often less than per­fect exis­tence can be dis­cour­ag­ing, and as Ajahn Payut­to points out, too much spec­u­la­tion can lead to dis­tort­ed under­stand­ing.

The read­er should be aware that this book is com­posed of mate­r­i­al drawn from chap­ters 6–10 of Bud­dhad­ham­ma. These chap­ters fol­low pre­ced­ing chap­ters on the Three Char­ac­ter­is­tics, Depen­dent Orig­i­na­tion, and Kam­ma, and the author would have assumed a famil­iar­i­ty with these sub­jects. He is elab­o­rat­ing on themes intro­duced in these ear­li­er chap­ters. Note also that in chap­ters 6–10 Ajahn Payut­to com­bines his exam­i­na­tion of Nib­bā­na with a detailed analy­sis of awak­ened beings (ariya-pug­gala). This book is thus a com­pan­ion vol­ume to the book on awak­ened beings.

Introduction

     Introduction (pdf)

Cessation of Suffering

Short Format

Long Format

The State of Nibbāna

     The State of Nibbāna (pdf)

Elements of Nibbāna

Jhāna, Nirodha and Nibbāna

Anattā and Nibbāna

Value & Unique Attributes of Nibbāna

     Value & Unique Attributes of Nibbāna (pdf)

Nibbāna Is Attainable In This Lifetime

Nibbāna Is Attainable By All

Nibbāna Is the Highest Spiritual Attainment

Common Misunderstandings About Nibbāna

Attaching To Non-Attachment

Over-Estimation

Happiness and Readiness for Happiness

Points of Controversy

     Points of Controversy (pdf)

Nibbāna and the Self

What Happens After An Arahant’s Death?

Appendix 1: Sa-upādisesa and Anupādisesa

Appendix 2: Diṭṭhadhammika and Samparāyika

Appendix 3: Final Mind

Appendix 4: ‘Attaining’ Nibbāna

Glossary

Endnotes