Nirvana Cannot Be Experienced

Experiences are what occur in the six sensory areas. Delusion is clinging to them, liberation is not clinging. It is called delusion, because experiences are already empty, without anything that could be clung to. Recognising the delusion of substantiality as unfounded means seeing that there is nothing to see, like when one assumes one's hat is very valuable but turns out to be worthless. Is that recognition an experience? Sounds like one, but isn't, because it means simply the end of an incorrect thought. And to make it a little bit more complicated (sky-flowers, dreams), even that incorrect thought of a self has never been anything else but empty. To take a different approach, experiences have always been pure and the end of delusion means arriving to what has always been there, so it's nothing new, but the original nature of phenomena. So it is not an experience in the sense of something that occurs, also because something occurring is ordinarily conceived as an independent object one can hold on to, while the whole point is that such occurrences have never existed in the first place.

"What is ignorance? Good sons, all sentient beings fall into various inverted views without beginning. Just like a disoriented person who confuses the four directions, they mistakenly take the Four Elements as the attributes of their bodies and the conditioned shadows of the Six Objects as the attributes of their mind. It is just like when our eyes are diseased and we see flowers in the sky, or a second moon. Good sons, the sky actually has no flowers—they are the false attachment of the diseased person. And because of this false attachment, not only are we confused about the self-nature of the sky; we are also mixed up about the place where real flowers come from. From this there is the falsely existent transmigration through life and death. Therefore it is called "ignorance."
Good sons, this 'ignorance' actually lacks substance. It is like a man who is dreaming. At the time of the dream, there is no non-existence. But when he awakens he finds that there is nothing for him to hold on to. Similarly, when the sky-flowers disappear from the sky, you cannot say that there is a definite point of their disappearance. Why? Because there is no point from which they arose. All sentient beings falsely perceive arising and ceasing within the unarisen. Therefore they say that there is 'transmigration through life-and-death.' "

(The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, ch 1)

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