Dharma Study Session: What is Nibbana (Nirvana)?

  • 07 May 2022
  • 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM
  • Hybrid: On-site and Zoom
  • 12


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What is Nibbana (Nirvana)? How Can I Understand and Experience it?

In a conversation with Ananda, the Buddha said, "This is peace, this is exquisite: the resolution of all mental formations, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Nibbana."

           — Anguttara Nikaya (AN) 3:32

In several suttas in the Pali canon, the Buddha said, "I teach suffering and the end of suffering." The Four Noble Truths is a succinct summary of this great teaching and identifies the causes of suffering/stress (clinging and craving) as well as the path to end suffering/stress (by practicing the Eightfold path).

The experience of the end of suffering is called "Nirvana" (in Pali, "Nibbana"; in Sanskrit, "Nirvana"). Put very simply, Nirvana means the going out -- the extinguishing -- of the fires of greed, ill-will, and delusion. In this study session, we'll read and discuss excerpts from the Buddha's teaching on Nibbana along with teacher commentary. We will also talk about how Nirvana can be experienced in our daily lives as well as what the Buddha described as the ultimate experience of Nibbana:

"There is that dimension, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished, unevolving, without support [of a mental object]. This, just this, is the end of stress."   -- Udana 8:1

There will be ample time for discussion and Q&A throughout the morning as well as a 15-20 minute sitting in the middle. As has become customary for these Dharma Study Sessions, we'll walk together through a study guide compilation of sutta excerpts and teacher commentary. I'll bring a few hard copies of this with me for those who attend on-site and will post a copy of it on the Dharma Study Session Home page afterwards as well.



Hybrid (on-site on Hospital Ave and via Zoom: Please join me at our sangha space or via Zoom using this link to join. (Alternatively, go to https://zoom.us/, click the links to enter a meeting, and enter meeting ID 971-373-141 and password 879550.)

When: Saturday, May 7, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. with a short break in the middle. The session will start promptly, so please be on-time. If you are unsure of your Zoom or internet connection, please try to connect a few minutes early.

About the Study Session Leader

Elizabeth A. Gibson has been a Buddhist practitioner since 2007, primarily in the Insight/Vipassana/Theravadan tradition. She is a technical writer and poet and has lived in Atlanta since 2009.

Questions? Please email Elizabeth Gibson.

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