Final Liberation - 'Without remainder of past clinging'
Greetings fellow practitioners,
I am happy to share with you on this occasion the final two talks from my 'The Buddha's Life' series that were given on pilgrimage in India. It is in fact one long reading and talk that has now been split into two more easily taken in sized talks. The events leading up to the momentous occasion of the Mahaparinibbana, the actual occasion and the things that happened afterwards are all very interesting indeed. Historically, culturally and most important – spiritually.
The body which Lord Buddha had in his last life is understood to be the result of past clinging (specifically his utterly wholesome attachment to the well-being of others.) Once the Buddha had realised Nibbana however, a state that he often described as the 'Deathless' state, there was no more clinging to, or personal identification with anything at all. Yet the Buddha's mind abided in a state of realisation that was unshakeably peaceful. The unconditioned… the undying… the nibbana dhatu… the purified mind which was not a soul or a self.
Lord Buddha explained that his teachings were neither eternalistic or nihilisistic. Because once the mind is liberated – there is 'no-self' that experiences unending peace… and yet something remains. The purified mind is not a cessation of all experience. Greed, Hatred and Delusion are extinguished – but the purified and liberated mind then experiences great peace. Being a subtle yet 'beyond concepts' state, Lord Buddha would not answer whether nibbana existed in or outside of the world, and yet it certainly exists.
I believe that these subtle contemplations are truly valuable in helping us to understand our goal and what the final result will be.
After an impeccable final life which brought great benefit to millions, and which continues to bring benefits to hundreds of millions, Lord Buddha was able to put down what remained of conditions, and then abide completely in the unconditioned and liberated state. Those with loving attachment cried!... while those who had uprooted attachment understood… "All that is of the nature to arise… is of the nature to cease." Apparently all of the devas with right view from 10 world systems filled all of the sky for 12 leagues to witness the occasion too! Those with attachment cried! Yet the truly wise ones looked on with respect and perfect equipoise.
I hope that something in these talks may prove to be interesting and useful to you.
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
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