Q. Without suffering there is no need for Nirvana, as these are two sides of the same coin. So, can we say that suffering is the cause and Nirvana is the effect?
A. We can say not only that suffering is the cause of Nirvana but also the other way around. They are just like right and left since one can’t be without the other. Either of them is cause of the other and effect of the other at the same time. As long as there is Nirvana, there has to be suffering and vice versa. If one vanishes, the other is bound to disappear along with it spontaneously. So, there is no Nirvana in the realm of Nirvana, just as there is no Buddha in Buddha’s land. So, an ancient master, when asked how to enter Buddha’s land, would answer, “Don’t stay where there is Buddha and go past quickly where there is no Buddha.” All these imply that Nirvana and suffering are just illusions, imaginary lines created by our imagination. If we can be above being deluded by illusions, then true Nirvana is no other than just where we are standing or sitting at this moment.
Student: “Where is Nirvana?”
Student: “How near?”
Master: “You can’t escape from it.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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