Sorry I Annoyed You with my Compassion

I have been talking a lot about Nibbāna for some time now. And I realized last night that I have said quite a bit about what Nibbāna is, but not much about how to realize it.

And I also finally realize why certain people may misperceive my motives and react negatively for no apparent reason. We’ll get to that presently.

The key to Nibbāna is that it is non-conceptual. That means it cannot be framed in any way that implies structure, name-and-form. It won’t fit. Nibbāna is beyond name-and-form: it is the unconditioned, unknown—and indeed, unknowable—absolute.

So alright, we have discussed that elaborately in a series of videos, including how to acquire the prerequisites and so on. But how, practically speaking, do we do Nibbāna?

Well it can be simply stated: go to the eighth jhāna, and jump.

Now if someone should say, Where does the perception of nothingness cease? And where do those who repeatedly are stopping the perception of nothingness dwell? I don’t know that; I don’t see that.
He should be told, There is the case, friend, where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, enters & remains in the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. That is where the perception of nothingness ceases, and where those who repeatedly are stopping the perception of nothingness dwell. Surely, a person without guile or deceit, (saying,) Very good, would delight in & approve of that statement. Delighting in & approving of that statement, paying homage & raising his hands palm-to-palm over his heart (añjalī), he would honor it.
Wherever the perception of the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception ceases and those who repeatedly are stopping the perception of the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception dwell: Surely, I tell you, by that factor those venerable ones are free from hunger, unbound, having crossed over & gone to the far shore.” — Vihāra Sutta

‘Neither-perception-nor-non-perception’ is, of course, the eighth jhāna. But that doesn’t nail it for me; it’s more like, ‘not caring about, and forgetting you even have the options of perception or non-perception’.
Some very interesting things can happen in that space, or as the Buddha describes it, from that base of consciousness: including the jump into Nibbāna. So that answers the question ‘from where we jump’: it’s a jump from the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

A base jump into the unknown

Now I’d like to address ‘how we jump’. To experience authentic Nibbāna, we have to base-jump into the unknown—or better, into the unknowable.
That’s it; anything more we could say about that—other than it’s great adventure—would simply obscure it.
Except perhaps to insist once again that this jump into Nibbāna is not merely entertaining esoterica, but a practical exercise for the reader. Nibbāna is meaningless without experiencing it. Each one has to work it out for himself or herself. That is all.
Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda

Now, when one openly and publicly declares such outrageous things as the above, one should have a reasonable expectation of being criticized for it. And indeed, I have certainly been the subject of much undue criticism. Just like my mentor, Venerable Bhikkhu Kaṭakurunde Ñāṇananda, has been hassled and criticized over the years for his beautiful and insightful talks on Nibbāna.
Strangely though, none of the criticism has to do with my practice, philosophy or teachings; it all centers on my personality and lifestyle. It’s as if they’re trying to say that what I know, or have realized, is something separate from the way I have lived.

But they cannot be separated, because they are part of one integral being, one person: me.
If I had not lived such wild life before beginning to study the Buddha’s teaching, I never could have realized Nibbāna. If I had not been selfish, had not focused on myself and my experience for a long time, I could not have realized Nibbāna. If I had not tried everything, approached self-realization from every possible angle, like the Buddha did, I could not have realized Nibbāna.
If I had not lived as I did, I would not have the substance, the tangible experience to share. I would be like so many other teachers, full of flowery words but empty of real substance. The proof is that the good little monks, the ones who chant every day, do the rituals, study the Commentaries and follow all the rules, never stepping outside of the constricting range of social approval, don’t realize it. In fact, they regard realizing Nibbāna as something far off in their future lives. So, for them, it is.

Buddhadasa BhikkhuThe realized monks I know have all have very unconventional careers. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu broke with the Thai Buddhist establishment, rejected Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhimagga <gasp>, and developed views based directly on the Suttas. There are many such Suttānta monks in Sri Lanka, including Ñāṇananda. But they are almost unknown because self-motivated scholarly monks who follow the Commentaries and Abhidhamma grab all the media coverage and political leverage.

Anyway, when the ‘buddhist’ establishment, east or west, hears about a ‘new’ western monk with an unconventional life, who calls religions, corporations and nations ‘abstractions’ and ‘fabrications’, who claims to have realized 4th path and also talks like it, he seems very scary. He threatens their livelihood by educating the sheeple that realization in the here-and-now is still possible by following the Buddha’s original instructions.

So the religious establishment assigns investigative personnel to dig up the dirt on anyone who obviously has spiritual realization, but can be ‘neutralized’ by appropriate means—usually character assassination. If that fails, then they break out the really effective weapons, such as killing him with kindness. The spiritual teacher who gets a lot of money from rich donors may just as well consider himself an employee. There is a big investment, and the backers make sure to provide the necessary, uh, motivation for him to protect it. Y’unnastan?
The authentic teacher has to be absolutely independent, and not owe favor or allegiance to anyone or anything, especially abstractions like religious ‘buddhism’. So naturally he becomes the target of allegations—although if you look carefully, you’ll see they have nothing to do with his actual teaching. This is because no authentic spiritual teaching can be defeated on its own terms. And indeed, no one has ever defeated my realization, or the realization of any Suttānta monk. It’s impossible anyway; since enlightenment is completely subjective, the only one who knows for sure if you are really enlightened is you.


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Dev Jacobsen

Musician, author and yogi, developer of Palingenics.

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