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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I don't get it, but perhaps because you were replying to yourself and not to me.

The Self ultimately operates from the standpoint of aversion-desire and control and therefore throws up all kinds of barriers to awareness.  It also tends towards self-interest, "the ego sets itself up in opposition to love". 

Love and awareness have to go together. 

This delusion prevents us from accessing the love that is right under our noses. 

The key to morality is the same as the key to Nirvana. 

Is "the key" the same key at the end of that East vs. West movie with Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes movie, Rising Sun?

You think being buried in wet concrete is the answer to everything. 

At the end of Rising Sun, Sean Connery turns to Snipes and says "The key?" Snipes goes into some Zen mumbo-jumbo about Eastern wisdom. Connery interrupts him with "..for the car."

It's a tricky thing to discuss, eastern philosophy, that is. Words can easily lead astray. For instance, in one aspect Buddhism is compatible with science because it has no concept of a creator/God. Of course, most people in the western world when they hear the word "God," they are, in a way, socially engineered with the abstractions they've been brought up to believe whether they were inculcated through their culture, a set of parents, or their church. You know, they tend to start imagining the God that George Carlin made fun of, the all-powerful, omniscient entity that sees everyone and judges all, etc.

Buddhists, on the other hand, are sometimes referred to as panentheists (not to be confused with pantheists), and while someone like Alan Watts may say that they (Buddhists) "think of the divine in a completely different and antipodal way than that of the Christians," the use of the word divine there can be misleading. In fact, they do not even use the word "God," they use "Brahman." And Brahman, as you may know, is not even thought of as an "entity." Now, those atheists I referred to, some of them base their very atheism on the rejection of the God as entity, because that's the only concept of God they're familiar with, the creator/God which usually does run into a lot of paradox and things in which they feel are inherently false.

So, to hear of the divine thought about in such a way where God is not even an entity can be mind-boggling to someone who's spent their entire life with the concept of God as entity. There was an awesome clip that was recently taken off YouTube entitled "What Buddhism is About." It was a audio clip where Alan Watts says, "What sort of impression would God have of himself?" Then, goes onto say, "He obviously wouldn't look at his hands like we do and see he's an old man with a beard sitting on a throne." So, instead Watts continues to describe God as something else altogether, as he says of the eastern view, "God as the kind of ultimate, ultimate then there which there is no whicher, outside which there is nothing. Which has no edges. He wouldn't therefore look like a ball, he wouldn't look like a cube, he wouldn't look like a body. There would be no way at all of conceiving the final Self of all Selves. So, this is why it is described as 'void,' as total transparency."

Sam Harris always emphasizes "ignosticism" which aims to define this word "God" before we take upon a discussion on it. I like that, because in something like Hinduism or Buddhism, it is realized that whatever it is that "is" truly has no name, but since we are sentient beings that transmit these memes, these concepts, these ideas then we create the words, the symbols, notions, etc. that only are mere shadows of what they quite vaguely represent, so we have words like God, satori, samadhi, Brahman, etc. that we tile over the original namelessness.

RE: "one of the goals of Nirvana is awareness without illusion." - As usual, you make little sense, Paynton, no one can ever be sure they are free of illusion, and even if they believed they were, how would they know it wasn't merely an illusion?

Belief and intellectual knowledge are distinct from awareness.  Awareness is what people try to reach during meditation. 

@archaeopteryx His sentences LOOK like grammatical English. Why are they so hard to parse?

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