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.
Cessation of Suffering
The State of Nibbāna (pdf)
Elements of Nibbāna
Jhāna, Nirodha and Nibbāna
Anattā and Nibbāna
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
Happiness and Readiness for Happiness
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