September 22, 2009
Nirvana, the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice, is a notoriously difficult concept to pin down, not least because it is sometimes described as being "beyond experience" or "beyond words." This is another way of saying that we here in samsara have a hard time wrapping our heads around what this transcendent experience would mean. And to complicate things further, the different Buddhist traditions often have very different understandings of what precisely "nirvana" means.
Some time ago, we asked three dharma teachers to help us understand this better: Vipassana teacher Gil Fronsdal, Tibetan-born Tulku Thubten Rinpoche, and Zen teacher Roko Sherry Chayat. You can read all three takes here.
[Image: Tisra Til, 2005, mixed media on canvas, 120 x 140 inches. © Antonio Puri]