Fundamentally, what Buddhism is trying to tell us is that who we really are cannot be found within the psychophysical being, that is, the five aggregates (P., pañcakkhandha). Our search in other words will be in vain. It is only with the transcendence of the psychophysical being that one returns home, so to speak, and finds their true identity. All the rest is misidentification.
Transcending misidentification, however, is no easy task. It cannot be accomplished through the intellect or by the imagination. These are the only tools we have or are aware of. Delusion is our world. Who we are is who we are not. We are constantly deceiving ourselves. It is like we have the sense of making forward progress but we’re only going around in a circle.
All this is implicit in the literature of Buddhism although at first, it doesn’t seem like it. In our eagerness to understand Buddhism we often misread it. The Buddha’s message gets mixed up with our own expectations of what we imagine Buddhism to be. In other words, we don’t read Buddhism with an open mind.
For Buddhism, a human being is illusory or void in the sense that it is comprised of the five aggregates (form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness). These aggregates can be characterized as impermanent, suffering, and without a self. In this light, nirvana is the transcendence of these aggregates; logically, the awakening to our true nature or self.
One must consider also that this transcendence includes the transcendence of subject and object or the same the experiencer and the experienced. Enlightenment or awakening is not a matter of me experiencing the absolute. It is really a matter of me transcending myself and its journey to experience what it imagines the absolute is. You in the absolute become single for about 1/10th of a second!