The way we struggle is self-perpetuating and it is difficult to change. Hence samsara, the Sanskrit word for cycle.
The aim of Buddhist practice is to break that cycle, to end that struggle. That is nirvana.
Nirvana is how we experience life when we know what we are. This knowing is not an ordinary knowing. It is not a conceptual knowing. It is a qualitatively different kind of knowing, a direct knowing not mediated by the conceptual mind. In that knowing, we are not presented with a sense of self that perceives a world out there. Instead, knowing and experience arise without separation. We are what arises in experience, all of it. In particular, in this knowing, there is no one thing that makes us what we are. And there is no “other.”
Excerpted from Ken McLeod’s article “Reflections on a Changing World.”
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.