Mindfulness Q&A with Bhante Gunaratana (on the occasion of his 94th birthday)

Thank you to Bhante Saranapala for organizing this event. :pray:t3:


One of the important points in the discussion is that nibbana should not be held as something distant (41m). Any acquisition of the practice turns the mind towards nibbana, and should be classified as ultimate reality in broad contrast to conventional reality. This principle is stated in MN 121 where the earliest stage is described as “the entry into emptiness:”

“He discerns that ‘This mode of perception is empty of the perception of village. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of human being. There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.’ Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: ‘There is this.’ And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.”

This topic extended into the fact that contemplation of the Buddha is actually contemplation of the dhamma (SN 22.87).


Yes, it is here and now, burning and extinguishing as in Ratana Sutta. "To those who are covered in ignorance it is darkness just as to a blind who cannot see darkness. But to the wise it is so open just as a person with eyes see the bright light. Those who are not skilled in the Dhamma path will never realise Nibbana.

1 Like

I’m not saying that nibbana attainment is immediate, but that at first conceptually a place in the mind should be made for it, and that this procedure of regarding any early attainment as entry into the unconditioned is standard in the suttas, and that it is necessary to the action of progress on the path, because it provides a mechanism of counter to samsara. Conditioned phenomena operate by that means as described in SN 14.11, where each stage is attained in dependence on its opposite, as a gate has a fixed and moving part. Trying to get into the path while not recognizing duality will be futile. Another sutta SN 35.80 makes clear that actual insight and samsara should be seen as separate, and this includes initial insights. This is the senses/elements entry into the path.