Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature takes up centrally important premises of Buddhism: the unsatisfactoriness (duhkha) of cyclic existence (samsara), the determination to be free of cyclic existence, and the mind as the basis for both the extreme duhkha of samsara and the bliss of nirvana. This volume shows us how to purify our minds and cultivate awakened qualities.
Knowledge of buddha nature reveals and reconciles the paradox of how the mind can be the basis for both the extreme duhkha of samsara (the unpurified mind) and the bliss and fulfillment of nirvana (the purified mind). To illustrate this, Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature first takes readers through Buddhist thought on the self, the Four Noble Truths, and their sixteen attributes. Then, the Dalai Lama explains afflictions, their arising and antidotes, followed by an examination of karma and cyclic existence and, finally, a deep and thorough elucidation of buddha nature.
This is the third volume in the Dalai Lama’s definitive and comprehensive series on the stages of the Buddhist path, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion. Volume 1, Approaching the Buddhist Path, contained introductory material that sets the context for Buddhist practice. Volume 2, The Foundation of Buddhist Practice, describes the important teachings that help us establish a flourishing Dharma practice. Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature can be read as the logical next step in this series or enjoyed on its own.
In the third volume of the Library of Wisdom and Compassion series, the Dalai Lama and American Buddhist nun Chodron analyze three key Buddhist concepts: samsara, nirvana, and buddha nature. Whereas the first two volumes provided general overviews of the Buddhist path and the relationship between a meaningful life and karma, this installment dives deep into conceptual delusions, fortunate and unfortunate rebirths, and the practices and realizations that can break practitioners out of the cycle of suffering. Motivating the discussion is the question, "Who revolves in cyclic existence and who is liberated?" The authors enter into this discussion by first examining the self, which leads to intensive explorations about the four noble truths, the nature of duhkha (individual suffering), the 12 links of dependent origination, and the relationship between conceptual distortions and truth realizations. Reflection prompts follow many of the sections, asking readers to consider how the teachings relate to their lives theoretically and practically. Newcomers may find this entry too dense, but experienced practitioners and readers of the series will find this difficult book illuminating and fully worth the effort.