Nirvana or the awakened state is often said to be indescribable, and typically understood as permanent. We’ll consider both of these claims, and look at a neat thought experiment by philosopher Frank Jackson along the way. Suttas mentioned: The Unconditioned (SN 43.12, 14-43)  (The rest of this sutta appears not to be available online). The…

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The Third Noble Truth is the truth of the cessation of craving; that there is a method by which craving can come to an end within a human lifetime. As such it is a rather spare truth: the content of that method awaits the Fourth Noble Truth for its elaboration. What is the cessation of…

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A recent discussion on the SBA Forum started by Arijit Mitra dealt with the question of how far a householder or layperson could proceed along the Buddhist path. This is a question that deserves extended treatment. While we could begin with discussions of modern-day theory and practice, my preference is to begin with the original…

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That’s the colloquialism: we don’t have problems with something nowadays, we have “issues”. “Issues” doesn’t mean we’re fed up, but there’s something there that’s just not right. There’s something that needs dealing with, working out. I have two main issues with the Buddha’s notion of nibbāna. But let me preface this by saying that since…

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In much contemporary Buddhist teachings, the paths of the heart are often relegated to second place behind the primacy of Wisdom on the path to awakening. In the earliest texts, however, the Buddha appears to consider the cultivation of kindness and compassion as a fully viable and equal path to awakening, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.…

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