Nibbana (Nirvana) in the Words of the Buddha

some selected quotations


The unfashioned, the end,
the effluent-less, the true, the beyond,
the subtle, the very-hard-to-see,
the ageless, permanence, the undecaying,
the featureless, nondifferentiation,
peace, the deathless,
the exquisite, bliss, solace,
the exhaustion of craving,
the wonderful, the marvelous,
the secure, security,
Nibbana,
the unafflicted, the passionless, the pure,
release, non-attachment,
the island, shelter, harbour, refuge,
the ultimate.

(Samyutta XLIII, 1-44 Ven. Thanissaro trans.)


One who has reached the end has no criterion
By which anyone would say that-
"it does not exist for him"
When all phenomena are done away with
All means of speaking are done away with as well.

(Sutta Nipata V.6 Ven. Thanissaro trans.)


There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to being, a not-made, a not-formed. If bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to being, not-made, not-formed then no escape would be discerned from the born, brought-to-being, made, formed. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to being, a not-made, a not-formed, therefore an escape is discerned from the born, brought-to-being, made, formed.

(Udana 8.3, John D. Ireland trans.)


For the supported there is instability, for the unsupported there is no instability: when there is no instability there is serenity: when there is serenity there is no subservience: when there is no subservience there is no coming-and-going: when there is no coming-and-going there is no decease-and-uprising: when there is no decease-and-uprising there is neither " here" nor " beyond" nor " between the two" Just this is the end of suffering.

(Udana 8.4, John D. Ireland trans.)


Where consciousness is signless, boundless, all-luminous,
That's where earth, water, fire and air find no footing,
There both long and short, small and great, fair and foul-
There " name and form" are wholly destroyed.
With the cessation of consciousness this is all destroyed

(Digha 11,85 Maurice Walshe trans.)


[spoken by the Buddha about his enlightenment] I considered: This Dhamma that I have attained is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise...it is hard to see this truth, namely the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana.

(Majjhima 26, 19, Bhikkhu Bodhi trans.)


Then Bhikkhus, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeking the supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbana...Then Bhikkhus, being myself subject to death, having understood the danger in what is subject to death, seeking the supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana...The knowledge and vision arose in me " My deliverance is unshakeable, this is my last birth; now there is no renewal of being."

(Majjhima 26, 18, Bhikkhu Bodhi trans.)


His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakable. For that is false, bhikkhus, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature - Nibbana. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing [this truth] possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhus, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbana, which has an undeceptive nature.

(Majjhima 140,26, Bhikkhu Bodhi trans.)

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