The theme for our class this coming Thursday is Nibbana (more commonly known in its Sanskrit form, Nirvana). There are not many technical terms in Buddhism more difficult to figure out or more commonly misapprehended than Nibbana, and we’ll do our best on Thursday to remove some of the obscurity and make some sense of what the term means and how it relates to the essential tasks: comprehending dukkha, letting go of craving, experiencing cessation, and bringing the Path to life.
Our study text will be the Aggi-Vachagotta Sutta, the Buddha’s discourse to the wanderer Vachagotta on Fire. In addition to reading that, I hope you have time to look at an essay I wrote a couple of years ago on Enlightenment and Nibbana; it’s not quite how I’d express things today, but close enough. Another web page that might be useful (and that I’ll be using some material from in my talk on Thursday) is a page of readings from a class I gave last year on the Buddha’s Path to Awakening; this page deals with Craving, and to the extent that letting go of Craving is the essential first step on the way to experiencing (if that word even has any meaning in the context) Nibbana, the readings should help us come to an understanding of the term. The first reading on the page, a rendering of the very brief Upadana Sutta, is particularly relevant to an understanding of the Aggi-Vachagotta Sutta.
Finally, I’ve posted, as I promised to do at the end of our last class, a short review of the Dhamma Seals that we discussed in that class. The discussion in that post provides a natural bridge between our last class and the forthcoming one.
I thought the discussion this past week was particularly exciting, and I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday.