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Book: The Buddha's Path of Peace

Chapter: 11. Right Understanding: Ignorance & Nibbāna

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.39410


This chapter introduces a holistic understanding or view of suffering, the ‘law of kamma’, and the release from or attenuation of suffering. While the mundane understanding of the Path introduces what is conducive to a comfortable life and its benefits ‘in this world’, the full (supramundane) understanding entails the transformation of one’s human reality: the Middle Way (nondual) dimension and dependent origination (complex emergence). Right Understanding (or Right View) is not just intellectual, but enjoins authenticity and radical honesty.
Ignorance (or delusion) was in the Buddha’s eyes ignorance of rightness i.e. of laws which were both at once natural patterns of the physical world and moral patterns of the human world. The distinction between the two, which we now take for granted, was creatively ‘fuzzy’ in the Buddha’s thinking. This chapter examines the mundane and supramundane (transcendental, ultimate) understandings of the Buddha’s 1st Noble Truth (suffering) and the 2nd (craving and clinging).

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