When we’re idealistic, we—and many practitioners in Asian Buddhist countries as well—imagine that nirvana exists somewhere high in the Himalayas, reserved for monks who have meditated for the whole of their life. My own teachers—and other wonderful masters like Shunryu Suzuki Roshi—emphasize that nirvana is to be found here and now. 

In the morning and evening chanting in the forest monastery we recite the Buddha’s words, that the dharma of liberation is ever present, immediate, timeless, to be experienced here and now by all who see wisely. Nirvana appears when we let go, when we live in the reality of the present. Sorrow arises when the mind and heart are caught in greed, hatred, and delusion. Nirvana appears in their absence. Nirvana manifests as ease, as love, as connectedness, as generosity, as clarity, as unshakable freedom. This isn’t watering down nirvana. This is the reality of liberation that we can experience, sometimes in a moment and sometimes in transformative ways that change our entire life.

– Jack Kornfield, “The Wise Heart,” from the Summer 2008 Tricycle.Read the complete article.

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The Wise Heart

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