Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Medium Discourses

55. Nirvāṇa

1. Thus I have heard: One time, the Buddha traveled to Śrāvastī and stayed at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove.

2. It was then that the Bhagavān addressed the monks, “Nirvāṇa has its development. It’s not without development. What develops nirvāṇa?”

They answered, “Liberation is its development.”

3. “Liberation also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops liberation?”

“Having no desire is its development.”

4. “Having no desire also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops having no desire?”

“Disillusionment is its development.”

5. “Disillusionment also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops disillusionment?”

“Seeing truly and knowing truly is its development.”

6. “Seeing truly and knowing truly also have their development. They aren’t without development. What develops seeing truly and knowing truly?”

“Samādhi is its development.”

7. “Samādhi also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops samādhi?”

“Happiness is its development.”

8. “Happiness also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops happiness?”

“Calm is its development.”

9. “Calm also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops calm?”

“Joy is its development.”

10. “Joy also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops joy?”

“Gladness is its development.”

11. “Gladness also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops gladness?”

“Not having regrets is its development.”

12. “Not having regrets also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops not having regret?”

“Guarding the precepts is its development.”

13. “Guarding the precepts also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops guarding the precepts?”

“Guarding the senses is its development.”

14. “Guarding the senses also has its development. It’s not without development. What develops guarding the senses?”

“Right mindfulness and right knowledge are its development.”

15. “Right mindfulness and right knowledge also have their development. They aren’t without development. What develops right mindfulness and right knowledge?”

“Right thinking is its development.”

16. “Right thinking also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops right thinking?”

“Faith is its development.”

17. “Faith also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops faith?”

“Suffering is its development.”

18. “Suffering also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops suffering ?”

“Old age and death are its development.”

19. “Old age and death also have their development. They aren’t without development. What develops old age and death?”

“Birth is its development.”

20. “Birth also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops birth?”

“Existence is its development.”

21. “Existence also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops existence?”

“Clinging is its development.”

22. “Clinging also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops clinging?”

“Craving is its development.”

23. “Craving also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops craving?”

“Feeling is its development.”

24. “Feeling also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops feeling?”

“Contact is its development.”

25. “Contact also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops contact?”

“The six sense fields are its development.”

26. “The six sense fields also have their development. They aren’t without development. What develops the six sense fields ?”

“Name and form are their development.”

27. “Name and form also have their development. They aren’t without development. What develops name and form ?”

“Consciousness is their development.”

28. “Consciousness also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops consciousness?”

“Volition is its development.”

29. “Volition also has its development. It isn’t without development. What develops volition?”

“Ignorance is its development.”

30. “This ignorance is the condition for volition. Volition is the condition for consciousness. Consciousness is the condition for name and form. Name and form are the condition for the six sense fields. The six sense fields are the condition for contact. Contact is the condition for feeling. Feeling is the condition for craving. Craving is the condition for clinging. Clinging is the condition for existence. Existence is the condition for birth. Birth is the condition for old age and death. Old age and death are the conditions for suffering.

31. “By developing suffering, there is faith. Developing faith, there is right thinking. Developing right thinking, there is right mindfulness and right knowledge. Developing right mindfulness and right knowledge, there is guarding the senses. Developing guarding the senses … guarding the precepts … not having regret … gladness … joy … calm … happiness … samādhi … seeing truly and knowing truly … disillusionment … having no desire … liberation. Developing liberation, there is Nirvāṇa.”

32. Thus did the Buddha speak. The monks who heard what the Buddha taught rejoiced and approved.


Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 26 April 2022