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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@Belle

We build ourselves our cages
With bars designed from fear
Erecting them determinedly
As we live year to year
A bar of insecurity
A bar of jealous pride
A bar of our defeatism
To keep us safe inside

Then crouched behind our barrier
We stare persistently
And pace in endless torment
Dreaming of being free
Resenting our imprisonment
And crying through our bars
Yet seldom do we realise
The answer is always ours

I'll have to add that to my growing collection!

@archaeopteryx  I've heard of meditation being referred to the "Art of Dying Now." You know, there is a distinction made in Buddhism between a "stone buddha" and a "living buddha," because if a buddha was simply one who was not affected by anything, then lumps of wood and pieces of stone would be Buddhas. And perhaps they are in their own way, but the point is that a living Buddha is a person who can indulge in life with full passion whilst still having in the background the insight of nirvana. There's a clip on YouTube where Watts goes quite in-depth into this distinction, but unfortunately I couldn't find it at the moment, but I'll keep looking.

Well that is certainly insightful, I did not know that. Should you run across that YT link, I would watch it.

@Jimmy

"indulge in life with full passion whilst still having in the background the insight of nirvana"

Sounds perfect to me, but it's not. I want "full passion" too, but my guru says there's a big difference between "full passion" and "great compassion". Passion includes passionate love and passionate hate. Travel the middle road. Don't let passion distort your vision - which, of course, human emotions do.

I understand this (in theory), but in practise it's difficult (unless you're one of those "enlightened" individuals. :-)

Sounds like mindfulness. 

The more we do something, the easier it becomes. 

Wonderful Rose:

I discovered this for myself recently. My wife had spent about $7000 out our family assets over a three year period without regard to the bigger issues of family stability and larger business plans. I had to shut our family business down due to limited assets for a year end payment for licence/bond/liability insurance. In the end it was very clear, that even her claiming that she had a 'right' to having everything she wanted, she cut her own throat and mine! There was nothing left, after her own mother, rest her soul, gave us a wonderful gift of land, house, and art. 

@James - sustainability, long-term consequences, is key to the whole thing. 

Ever try being 'mindful' in a crowd of sleep walkers?

It can still be very painful!

Vaguely.  I think Descartes may have done us all a disservice with his, "I think, therefore I am."  Maybe it is more like, "I think, therefore I forget to be."

oh, I agree with your quote, Diane. I often forget to connect to the here and now...I am usually up in the clouds.

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