"Fearlessness is the first requirement of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thich Nhat Hanh: Nirvana as the Cessation of Wrong Views, Wrong Perceptions and Suffering

Nirvana, says Thich Nhat Hanh, is "the cessation of all suffering." It comes about, he notes, by the extinction of our wrong perceptions, wrong views, and wrong understanding.

"Meditation, the practice of looking deeply," he points out, "has the purpose of removing wrong perceptions from us. If we are able to remove our wrong perceptions," he notes, "we will be able to be free from the afflictions and the sufferings that always arise from wrong perceptions."

"You have wrong perceptions of yourself and of the other," he explains, "and the other has wrong perceptions of themselves and of you, and that is the cause of fear, violence and hatred. That is why trying to remove wrong perceptions," he points out, "is the only way to peace. And that is why nirvana is, first of all, the removal of wrong perceptions."

When you remove the wrong perceptions you remove the suffering," says Hanh. "To meditate deeply, you (will) find out that even ideas like being and non-being, birth and death, coming and going, are wrong ideas."

"If you can touch reality in depth," Hanh points out, "you realize that 'suchness' means that ultimate reality is free from birth, from dying, from coming, from going, from being, and from non-being. That is why," he concludes, "nirvana is first of all the removal of all notions and ideas that serve as the base of misunderstanding and suffering."



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