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This page was last revised on 4/4/24.

Samsara is Nirvana

Samsara and Nirvana seem to be polar opposites. Samsara is said to be the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It is the realm of suffering. While Nirvana is liberation from rebirth, ignorance and suffering! So it is very surprising to hear that Samsara is Nirvana, how can that be true?

Samsara and Nirvana are two ways of looking at the Universe, two different perspectives, two points of view.

For the unenlightened person whose heart and mind are full of delusions, greed and hatred the Universe is a place of suffering. This is because the universe does not conform itself to their desires, thing don’t happen they way they want, things don’t go as they had planned. Hence they are frustrated and suffer.

But enlightened persons whose hearts and minds are purified and free from desire and ignorance are able to accept and enjoy the Universe as it is. They are at peace with the Universe and not frustrated by it. For them the Universe is the Pure Land and Nirvana, and the way the universe evolves is the Dao.

The problem with Samsara does not actually lie with Samsara itself, but with us! It is in fact our problem. It comes from us not seeing clearly and appreciating the Universe as it is, all because of our ignorance and delusional thinking.

When freed from such afflictions we can appreciate the Universe and are immediately ‘reborn in the Pure Land’ of Nirvana.
~ Amida-buddha

Those who perceive in an instant of awareness
The infinite buddhas, everywhere, interrelated,
Contemplate the ocean of all buddhas;
This is the way into the mind of enlightenment
Avatamsaka Sutra - Flower Ornament Scripture - 1403

This is the abode of those who dwell in the state of emptiness, signlessness, and wishlessness;
This is the abode of those who dwell in non-conceptualization of all things,
Those who dwell in the state of the unity of the cosmos,
Those who dwell in the state of the ungraspability of the realm of beings,
Those who dwell in the state of nonattachment to all worlds,
Those who dwell in the state of nonreliance on what all worldlings rely on,
Those who dwell in the state of independence from all supports,
Those who dwell in the state of independence from all bodily existence,
Those who dwell in the state of annihilation of all afflictive notions,
Those who dwell in the state of the essence of all things,
Those who dwell in the state of freedom from false imaginings,
Those who dwell in the state of detachment from all thought,
Those who dwell in the state of neither entering or leaving all perceptions,
Those who dwell in the state of entry into profound transcendent wisdom,
Those who dwell in the state of capacity to penetrate the realm of reality in all its aspects,
Those who dwell in the state of ability to extinguish all afflictions,
Those who dwell in the higher state of wisdom free from all views, cravings, and conceits,
Those who dwell in the state of freedom arising from higher knowledge of all meditations, liberations, concentrations, and spiritual attainments,
Those who dwell in the state of development of all spheres of concentration of bodhisattvas, Those who dwell in the state of presence with all buddhas
~ Avatamsaka Sutra - 1454, 1455

Samsara and Nirvana both sprout from the same seed.
Identity of the world (samsara) and nirvana.
Mind is the origin of all things.
Mind is the universal seed,
Both samsara and nirvana spring forth from it. [41.]
As is nirvana, so is samsara.
Do not think there is any distinction.
Yet it possesses no single nature
For I know it as quite pure. [102]
Here there is no beginning, no middle, no end,
Neither samsara nor nirvana.
In this state of highest bliss
There is neither self nor other. [27]
Whatever you see, that is it,
In front, behind, in all the ten directions. [28]
One should not think of molecules or atoms;
It is this supreme bliss that pours forth unceasingly as existence. [61]
Do not sit at home, do not go to the forest,
But recognize mind wherever you are.
When one abides in complete and perfect enlightenment,
When samsara and where is nirvana?

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
~ Gautama Buddha

Radiate boundless love towards the entire world—above, below & across - unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.
~ Gautama Buddha

What you are is what you have been. What you will be is what you do now.
~ Gautama Buddha

When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.
~ Gautama Buddha

Buddha Quotes on Life, Peace and Love:
The whole secret of existence is to have no fear.
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.
If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.
There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared

In a moonlit night on a spring day, the croak of a frog pierces through the whole cosmos and turns it into a single family!
~ Chang Chiu-ch'en (張九成) (The Golden Age of Zen)

Those who are lust-infatuated fall back into the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This, too, the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all suffering and renounce the world.
~ Dhammapada XXIV Craving 347

Thus you shall think of all this fleeting world: a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream.
~ Diamond Sutra

There is a simple way to become buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.
~ Dōgen, Moon In a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen

When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.
~ Dogen

Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities.
— D.T. Suzuki

Life, according to Zen, ought to be lived as a bird flies through the air, or as a fish swims in the water.
~ D.T. Suzuki

Those who seek the truth by means of intellect and learning only get further and further away from it. Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.
~ Huang Po

Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.
~ Huang Po, The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind

To meditate means to realize inwardly the imperturbability of the Essence of Mind. The reason why we are perturbed is because we allow ourselves to be carried away by the circumstances we are in. Those who are able to keep their mind unperturbed, irrespective of circumstances, have attained Inner Peace.
~ Huineng

You ask why I make my home in the mountain forest
and I smile, and am silent,
and even my soul remains quiet:
It lives in the other world
which no one owns.
The peach trees blossom.
The water flows
~ Li Po

Put thoughts to rest.The real being, with no status, is always going in and out through the doors of your face.

If you want to be free, get to know your real self. It has no form, no appearance, no root, no basis, no abode, but is lively and buoyant. It responds with versatile facility, but its function cannot be located. Therefore when you look for it you become further from it, when you seek it you turn away from it all the more.

Just put thoughts to rest and don't seek outwardly anymore. When things come up, then give them your attention; just trust what is functional in you at present, and you have nothing to be concerned about.

If you want to perceive and understand objectively, just don't allow yourself to be confused by people. Detach from whatever you find inside or outside yourself – detach from religion, tradition, and society, and only then will you attain liberation. When you are not entangled in things, you pass through freely to autonomy.
~ Lin Chi

God is Within: The enlightened should contemplate that his soul is endowed with Boundless Energy. Whatever is the Supreme Soul, so am I. Whatever is my essential nature is the essence of Supreme Soul. Therefore, I am fitted for meditating on my inner Supreme Soul – none other.

Every day is a journey and the journey itself is home.
~ Matsuo Bashö

A natural knowing that is free of thought. This self-knowing cannot possibly form thoughts without conceptualizing 'a mind.' Since it is not something to be conceived, this original wakefulness, cognizant yet thought-free, is like the wisdom of the Tathagata. Therefore, it is taught: Realize that luminous mind, Is the mind of original wakefulness, And don't seek an enlightenment separate from that.
~ Naropa (Mahamudra teachings)

I don’t tell the murky world to turn pure. I purify myself and check my reflection in the water of the valley brook.
~ Ryōkan, Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan

With no-mind, blossoms invite the butterfly. With no-mind the butterfly visits the blossoms. When the flower blooms, the butterfly comes; When the butterfly comes, the flower blooms...

The One is none other than the All, the All none other than the One.
~ Seng Ts'an

Clear mind is like the full moon in the sky. Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them. Clouds go away, then the moon shines brightly. So don’t worry about clear mind: it is always there. When thinking comes, behind it is clear mind. When thinking goes, there is only clear mind. Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes, you must not be attached to the coming or the going.
~ Seung Sahn

Faith is a state of openness or trust…In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to the truth, whatever it might turn out to be.
~ Shunryu Suzuki

Wherever you are, you are one with the clouds and one with the sun and the stars you see. You are one with everything. That is more true than I can say, and more true than you can hear.
~ Shunryu Suzuki

You will always exist in the universe in one form or another.
~ Shunryu Suzuki

zen-111x167 You are the knowing of the mind, but not that which is known. No thought is true, but your presence that notices each thought is. Allow whatever arises within consciousness to be as it is. Remain as you naturally are, aware. Notice how whatever appears, also disappears. It is only the mind's grasping at the thought of a thing which makes it seem to linger, and when you react to a thing, you make it persist. Reactions are emotional vibrations from the person, but you are no person—you are a presence.
The person is nothing but an illusory dream created by the mind's psychology (which doesn’t even truly exist), but you, awareness, are free of it all. In truth, nothing is worthy of your emotional reactions, for there is no one left to react. There is nothing to protect or defend and nothing to promote or assert. As the consciousness that you are, you have no opinion, perspective, judgement or belief. You—consciousness—possess nothing of your own, for you are the empty field through which all things flow, and yet none remain.
You are an absolute nothingness of infinite space.
Observe only, without expending any personal effort or emotional attachment to your observations. Allow each perception to pass through unobstructed by thought
~ Zen thinking

The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?
~ Zhuangzi

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