Nirvana is a  term used to describe the profound peace of mind that is acquired with liberation.  It is the state of being free from suffering.

The word literally means "blown out" (as in a candle) and refers, in the Buddhist context, to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished. (loosely quoting Wikipedia here...)

So...I'm curious if you all believe that Atheists as a general rule are able to reach this level of liberation? Do you think it's possible for Theists to do so? Do you believe that all/most Atheists reach Nirvana? How do you know when you've reached it? Once you've reached it how do you know you'll be able to stay there? Is it just in your mind or is there more to it? What could be a scientific explanation for the state of Nirvana?....Do you believe that Nirvana is attached to any kind of religious dogma since it's roots are found in Buddhism? Isn't Buddhism a religion? If not, then why not. If you believe Nirvana is rubbish, then tell me why.

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Exactly - including your last line.

Hmmm.  I agree with you up to a point. 

"when you can feel as much joy in peeling a potato as you can surfing," - yes, that's Nirvana I think.  Or at least, it's being blissed out, which might not necessarily be the same thing. 

"The lesson is that joy should be generated from within," - I agree.

"and not from external stimuli." - I disagree. 

Joy is a natural, healthy and necessary part of life, and a religion which frowns on surfing has its knickers in a twist.  If I was blissed out about peeling the potatoes, I would still go surfing, in order to get even more joy.  I wouldn't just stick to peeling potatoes or watching paint dry.  Once you reach Nirvana - are you supposed to dry up and become old?  That has to be rubbish.  No.  You are supposed to throw yourself into life.  If you want to, as you see fit. 

 If I was blissed out about peeling the potatoes, I would still go surfing, in order to get even more joy. 

In that case you're still suffering from craving and attachment (to joyfulness).

But this is my point.  Joy is good in itself - if we have a satisfactory definition of good.  And "good" is the result we are looking for.  Now, if I had some kind of unhealthy addiction to surfing, a compulsion which caused harm in other ways, that would be different, no matter how much good clean salty fun it might give me.  That would be a harmful, selfish situation - the negative results of craving and attachment. 

And yes - if I relied on surfing to make me happy, then that would be foolish too, and the pleasure I obtained would not be the same as true happiness. 

And on the other hand - what's a life without pleasure?  That is definitely not happy.  That's worse than being dead - having all the trouble of life without the rewards.  We need some element of pleasure in order to become blissed out and truly happy.  It seems that sometimes, [Western] Buddhists ignore the fact that we are living biological beings.  They definitely haven't thought it all through. 

So Strega, you are promoting some form of self medication? Like electrodes, endorphins, blinders....

I am?  I thought I was just pointing out the zen approach, which I did also mention was not my cup of tea.  Do you have a thing about electrodes?  Grin, I'm not promoting anything. 

Unless of course you're buying, in which case I'm sure I have a few bottles of Dr Strega's Elixir, which has amongst its ingredients, Invisible Pink Unicorn poo.

The rather sad, at times, state of email content. I have no 'thing' about electrodes, but I did read once about such being attached to ones pleasure centers of the brain. If one was just not getting the 'happiness' one needs, just a little jolt could do the trick, about .5 to 1.0 mv.

I think I have already tried the Elixir, it tastes remarkably like pond scum, so needs two fingers of soy milk to help wash it down. And how did I ever get to taste 'pond scum' you ask? Protozoology field trips.....;p(  

But again, attachment itself is part of the desire-aversion response.  ie. it's desire.  It carries a negative connotation; a harmful level or type of desire. 

Aversion can be construed as a craving for mental placidity.

If you enjoy surfing perhaps you are exercising a craving for enjoyment and your time would be better spent in contemplating a lotus blossom or your naval.

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