The Signless and the Deathless

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“Venerable Anālayo skillfully illuminates how some of the earliest Buddhist texts provide a systematic path for engaging with and experiencing the world in its pure essence, free from the defilements that cause so much suffering. He then takes us one step further to show how this clear perception, once applied and stable, recognizes Nirvana for what it truly is: empty or deathless. An essential read for students of the Buddhadharma.” —Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

The Signless and the Deathless is a new approach to a deeper understanding of the central goal of Early Buddhist practice: the breakthrough to Nirvana. Bhikkhu Anālayo investigates in detail signless (animitta) concentration—that is, a state of mind free from distraction achieved by way of letting go all characteristic marks of things—and the deathless (amata/amṛta)—that is, Nirvana as the complete transcendence of mental affliction by mortality, experienced while still alive. Ven. Anālayo's in-depth treatment of these crucial issues is most impressive and convincing because he is thoroughly familiar with early Buddhism both as a scholar and as a practitioner. His exposition is based on an exhaustive and thorough scholarly analysis of the relevant textual sources not only of the Pali canon but also of all other reciter traditions as far as they are still available in the original or in Chinese and Tibetan translation. To read this extraordinary book is a must not only for specialists but for anybody interested in a deeper understanding of the central issues of Buddhist teaching.” —Lambert Schmithausen


On the Realization of Nirvana

Bhikkhu Anālayo

An insightful examination of the end of suffering drawing much-needed attention to two overlooked factors of Nirvana: signlessness and deathlessness. Includes a foreword by Bhante Gunaratana.

Nirvana is at once a critical part of the Buddhist path and a concept difficult to fully understand for Buddhist practitioners. Canonical texts broach this mysterious and essential idea in a variety of ways, whether in the form of metaphor or literary description. In The Signless and the Deathless: On the Realization of Nirvana, scholar-monk Bhikkhu Anālayo sheds light on two key aspects of Nirvana that have gone underappreciated: signlessness and deathlessness.

Commanding an extraordinary mastery of canonical Buddhist languages, Venerable Anālayo breaks new ground, or rediscovers old ground, by presenting a new way of approaching Nirvana, based on the Buddha’s teachings on how our minds construct experience. This novel treatment, backed up by meticulous academic expertise, is valuable for scholars and practitioners alike.

Through practicing bare awareness…realizing Nirvana entails “a complete stepping out of the way the mind usually constructs experience.”


book information
  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages, 6 x 9 inches
  • $34.95
  • ISBN 9781614298885
  • ebook
  • 256 pages
  • $22.99
  • ISBN 9781614299011
about the author
The Signless and the Deathless

Bhikkhu Anālayo is a scholar of early Buddhism and a meditation teacher. He completed his PhD research on the Satipaṭṭhānasutta at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, in 2000 and his habilitation research with a comparative study of the Majjhimanikāya in light of its Chinese, Sanskrit, and Tibetan parallels at the University of Marburg, Germany, in 2007. His over five hundred publications are for the most part based on comparative studies, with a special interest in topics related to meditation and the role of women in Buddhism.

Other books by Bhikkhu Anālayo:
Daughters of the Buddha
Early Buddhist Oral Tradition
Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions
Abiding in Emptiness
Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research

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