This is how to deal with the most subtle sorts
of defilements hiding out in the heart. Hit them hard with the
truth of impermanence, suffering and not-self, because these
defilements are the essence of sammuti - all our suppositions
about the world. They must be crushed and dispersed from the
heart, and then we'll see whether the heart has also been
annihilated. No... it is not destroyed. The heart has no cemetery.
It is undying by its very nature - even when it
still has defilements.
The Lord Buddha called this the complete
dissolution of the defilements: "the end of danger, the quenching
of the fires of greed, hatred and delusion" by the pouring of the
Undying Dhamma (amata-dhamma) elixir. With the
defilements gone, only spotless purity remains. And it is here in
this fully purified heart that perfect happiness is found. All
work finishes here; all projects end here. The Lord Buddha said:
"Done is the task, fulfilled is the holy life, there is no further
work to do." All suffering ends with this right understanding.
The summit of Dhamma is found in this purified
heart. The "Buddham-Dhammam-Sangham saranam gacchami"
which we repeat to reverently recollect the Lord Buddha, all
gather and converge in this pure nature. Concern with questions
about the Lord Buddha's parinibbana (final passing away) in India
-- "how many centuries ago is it now?" -- will now end. The true
nature of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha will now be evident in "one's
own" heart of purity. This is the heart's priceless treasure,
where the true state of things is seen and all questions settled.
Where did the Lord Buddha go when he finally
passed away? The bodily aggregate certainly disintegrated,
following its nature - bodies being the same everywhere. However,
the purified nature, Buddho, was not destroyed or
annihilated, for it is not confined by time or position. And it is
this which we refer to in "Buddham-Dhammam-Sangham saranam
gacchami". When we can experience this for ourselves, we
will be able to verify with complete certainty that this nature
cannot be annihilated.
The arahant disciples understand this.
And wherever they may be they are together with Dhamma; with
"Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha", having constant audience with the
Lord Buddha. Their minds are unshakable because the fires of
desire are quenched with the waters of Dhamma. "The quelling
and cessation of all conditioning factors is supreme happiness."
(Tesam vupasamo sukho.) These conditioning factors are really
samudaya, the source of suffering, so when this is ended all that
remains is supreme happiness.
The means and the results, the good and the
bad, are within all of us who are aware and care. This
nature which knows is uniquely suited to all levels of
Dhamma, up to and including the state of purity, and there's
nothing apart from this knowledge.
Please try to steadily purify this nature that
knows, ridding it of all obstructions and oppressive influences.
There will then be no need to make inquiries about Nibbana, for
having experienced the purified heart all questions will be
(Extracted from To
the Last Breath - Dhamma Talks on Living and Dying by
Venerable Ajahn Maha Boowa Nanasampanno)