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Is nirvana attainable?

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Is nirvana attainable?
One fundamental Buddhist belief involves reincarnation: the concept that one must go through many cycles of birth, living, and death. After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain nirvana - a state of liberation and freedom from suffering.



One may wonder though, how can nirvana ever be reached when wanting to obtain nirvana is itself a desire that must be abandoned?



Buddhism shoots itself in the foot...
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
Well, In Buddhism the word desire means more to be "attached" to something. Buddha said that we should not become attached to things of this temporal world (like your mother, or your health), because, if they go away, then we will experience loss and thus suffering.
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
Good question, swede, and here is a good answer.



The promise made by those that begin to follow Buddhism is to do all that they are able to bring about the end of suffering for all sentient beings. At the beginning we are able to see, then, that there is a distinguishing between right and wrong desire. The Rupa Sutta states that desire/passion for things material is a defilement and that the renunciation of desire/passion for material things equips the mind for direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing. It is also pointed out that desire is best understood as attachment to sensual cravings and intellectual concepts. Directly on point, however, is the acknowledgement in the Majjhima Nikaya Sutta that positive results are attainable whether one renounces the desire for them or maintains it, as long as the precepts of the eightfold path are followed. The eight fold path consists of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfullness, and right concentration. Furthermore, the Brahmana Sutta instructs those on the path that their desire to attain spiritual fullfillment and contentment, or nirvana, is CAUSITIVE and the DESIRE ABATES UPON ATTAINMENT.(not yelling, just emphasizing)

Obviously, any philosophy that has as its stated goals to cultivate compassion, bring about social justice, and avoid sexual misconduct as well as unmindfull speech and consumption recognizes that there are right desires as opposed to wrong ones.

The point is to think on those things that are pure, renew the mind, and develop contentment recognizing that chasing after material things is not productive in the economy of what is meaningfull. I don't think either Jesus or Paul would have much of a problem with that. You know, for a pampered prince that sit down under a tree to think about why there was suffering about 600 years prior to the incarnation of Jesus Christ, Buddha came up with some pretty insightfull stuff.



Peace and Light, David
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
Hi swede, maybe a better phrase would be DESIRE ABATES UPON REALIZATION, anyway, nuff said-David
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
If anyone would like to talk about Buddhism with some actual information from a Buddhist and a more complete perspective of Buddhism here is a good place to start.



www.plumvillage.org
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
I thought this was the debate club featured debate this time around???

Alright, I am on the 'Nirvana is attainable' team.



Peace and Light, David
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
the debate shouldnt be whether nirvana is attainble, its why would one WANT to attain it?



wanting to accomplish such an goal, the denial of life qualities humanly inhereited not through genetics, but throuh the soul/concsience, is only a goal for being a zombie, and by itself, would not serve mankind any good, since it would separate ones who do expereinece all the senses and emotions, for the ones who are nothing but zombies.



there would be no "fellowship", just acknowledgement.



that by itself, doesnt show much respect for life, but is a slighted view that those who do expereince life, are "lesser"...



they are doin the same things they "accuse" christianity of doing.
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
I think it is possible that before anyone posts anything else whoever is reponsible for this thread should find a few reputable Buddhist sources and post three or four definitions that a Buddhist would use to describe what they mean when they say nirvana.



I say three ot four because, like Christians, there are different schools of thought on varying subjects. For example, the phrase 'Kingdom of God' could have dozens of viable definitions.



I have read quite a bit of Buddhist lititure, and I don't know one definition of nirvana that fits the response that Mark just posted.



When Buddhist writings, especially those not intended for a western audience, use words like self, attachment, illusion, etc one has to be carefull to try to understand what the idea behind the word actually is.



In any case, hostility toward Buddhist or their ideas is not profitable at all. The example of Paul is one of using the ideas of others as a launching pad with points of agreement with the message of Jesus. Reference his dialogue with the philosophers in Athens in Acts 17(I think).



David
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
ZOMBIES.



http://www.hinduwebsite.com/buddhism/nirvana.htm



Nirvana is the final or the ultimate state a monk attains after he passes through the initial three paths and became completely free from all becoming. It is liberation from the evils of ordinary life, the disappearance of all remnants of individuality, the feeling of "I" or "mine" or "me". It is a condition in which nothing stirs, nothing moves, nothing changes.



ZOMBIES



When the Arhat or the holy one passes away, he attain the realm where there is nothing, where there is "neither solid nor fluid, neither heat nor motion, neither this world nor any other world, neither the sun nor the moon."



ZOMBIES



This is called the cessation of becoming which is "neither arising, nor passing away, neither standing still nor being born, nor dying." It is Nirvana, which is unborn, without source, uncreated and unformed real into which escape is possible for the beings through cessation of craving.



this last one,is not ZOMBIELIKE...



since ZOMBIES ZEOULOUSLY CRAVE.....



so its DEAD.



I wouldnt confuse "nirvana" with anything thats personality wise, a biblical trait.



Nirvana is ultimately "outer darkness", eternal separation from God---who is a LIVING God.



nirvana by itself isnt "alive", thus a Living God is sanctimonially an oxymoron.



spiritual growth in Christ, makes us MORE ALIVE, not emotionally dead.

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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
Mark, I'm assumming that you fully realize that these are metaphors for contentment, lack of striving, attachment, and egocenticity and are just trying to be ignorent about this.



Obviously, Buddhist who speak of nirvana also speak of developing lovingkidness, joy, and right thought, speech, action, intention, etc.



I doubt either Thich Nhat Han or the Dali Lama would assert that they had attained nirvana. They would probably admitt to a fair degree of mindfullness, however. Regardless, both are prominent Buddhist and neither resemble a zombie, nor do the Buddhist I know personaly.



Done with this silliness.



David
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
Could Buddhists give a definition of what Buddhism means, what the goal is, and how to attain the goal? I don't want to make a response to this subject without that knowledge.
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
your response is very becoming for an "allegorical" type practice.



if they are allegories, whats the real substance?



as far as doing "good things for mankind"



hitler invented the volkswagon....and was a marvelous painter.



so what.



humanitarian effort is VANE.---



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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
There was an article in the National Geagraphic on Buddhism I was reading, and one particular peace of that article struck me. A powerful Executive had decided to leave his pampered existance and leave as one the homeless for 3 days. He noted how no one noticed him and at that point I felt this man was sadly mistaken. If my 15 year old daughter can see the clamities of the world don't you thank others can as well. You have to ask yourself at some point, what did he do to help the plight of the homeless. Well he did nothing, but He felt this "test" put closer to achieving Nirvana. Not to say this man was a bad person, but could he have not used his earning to support the local homeless shelter. There people who don't have the means to do this and yet they try to help others, the take no credit for what they do and try to remain aynonomous. Jesus taught love which was an unconditional love. This is the relationship with God in which we pray for and through fellowship with our brothers and sister we hope to achieve just that. One the gentleman and his 3 day trial I commend him, however; One can never know another's suffering unless you've truly walk a mile in those shoes!!
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
GregW: Buddhism is a religion where people follow the teachings of Siddartha Guatma and many other Buddhist monks and priests. This mainly includes the Four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path, and taking refuge in the Triplefold Gems. The goal is to attain complete, unsurpassed Enlightenment.
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
 I don't think complete nirvana is ever attainable for the simple fact that the Bible says we will all go through pain and suffering in our lives, even Christ had to suffer.

I do believe that asking God on a daily basis to relieve us from the bondage of selfishness and self-centerdness will make our lives alot easier. It is much easier to comprehend the word serenity when our selves are not the center of the world.

Asking God to take our will on a daily basis also helps with acceptance of the reality of life.

There will always be ups and downs in life, it is our reaction that will determine whether we are at peace as far as our minds and feelings go. There can be an inner feeling of peace and contemnment even when all around us is chaos. Choosing to be grateful and asking for help goes a long way. That is the closest to nirvana I will ever get in this earthly life.

I think the only way Jesus dealt with his life was through a constant connection with his Higher Power.
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Re: Is nirvana attainable? In reply to
Dave490,



the buddhists you know personally havent attained nirvana,



so how can you say they are, or are not zombies,



when the true attainment(or so they claim) of nirvana,



makes one a zombie?