Nagasena Bhiksu Sutra 2.44

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T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues 2.44. On Nirvana as Happiness

The king asked Nāgasena, “Does he who has not attained the Path of nirvana know that nirvana is the ultimate happiness?”

Nāgasena replied, “Yes, he knows it. Though he has not attained nirvana, he still knows that nirvana is happiness.”

“But how can he know that nirvana is happiness without attaining it?”

Nāgasena asked the king, “Do those whose not have their hands and feet cut off know how painful it would be to have them cut off?”

“Yes, though they have not had their hands and feet cut off, they still know the painfulness of cutting off their hands and feet.”

“But how do they know it is painful?”

“Well, they know it by hearing the sounds of the lamentation of those whose hands and feet have been cut off.”

“Just so (with regard to nirvana), it is by hearing the joyous words of those who have attained nirvana, that they who have not attained nirvana know that nirvana is the ultimate happiness. Because of this they believe it.”

“Excellent, Nāgasena.”