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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Calming one's mind to the point of the breakdown of self and consciousness perhaps.

That's a deep one to ponder...When you say breakdown what do you mean?

Like how maths breaks down when you think about the insides of black holes. Not that you think you exist or don't exist, but that you don't realise you exist or don't exist... or something.

after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.

Desire and aversion are survival mechanisms and I thought delusion is the the whole point to meditation. There may real mental and health benefits to mind control, but lets face it, the 2nd law of thermodynamics can not be wished away by thoughts and an empty stomach will erase any profound peace of mind right quick.

after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished

Is that a famous quote or did you make that up? I like it. I'm stealing it FYI ;)

"Desire and aversion are survival mechanisms" -

this is true, but the ego gets over-zealous in its efforts to keep us safe and to navigate successfully through the world.  It tries to over-control, and it thinks that our desire and aversion are an accurate picture of reality.  This control, desire, aversion, delusion and conscious mind can be thought of as the "self" which needs to be, if not extinguished, then reigned in, seen for what it is, and made to keep to its allotted tasks.  Outside of this "self" exists the rest of reality, which includes the deeper reality of your being.  I like Freud's model where the ego's job is to mediate between the drives of the id (subconscious), the super-ego (morality) and the outside world.  The ego can get distressed by the conflicts which may arise, and defends itself with subconscious ego-defenses: countering the conflict with an opposite impulse.  All this is only a model, but it works for me. 

"delusion is the the whole point to meditation" -

clarity is the whole point to meditation. 

It's been said that the Garden of Eden story reflects this idea.  The fruit of the tree of knowledge is a distorted ego-consciousness; banishment is delusion; hence sin: not thinking about others.  Paradise means existing in pure reality and love. 

I want to refine that.  According to Freud, the ego usually does what the id wants (briefly, the Pleasure Principle) instead of love (the Reality Principle).  It's not always about helping others; rather, doing what's best in the long term. 

Right Here

Good one.

The Christians have their Born Again - this is a form of Nirvana, when done properly.  A genuine radical change in consciousness to one of "strength, joy, peace, love". 

I TOTALLY agree with you on this point in the sense that a TRULY changed Christian can experience a genuine radical change. I do believe that a profound change can happen. Before I became a Christian my life was totally messed up. When I "gave my life to Christ" - a process that took many years, I DID experience strength, joy, peace, and love on a higher level than I did before. But now that I'm a freethinker I am no longer confined to the chains of the Bible. I believe there's so many things I haven't experienced that will bring about a higher level of peace and rid my mind of the filth of a broken past.

And yes, this is a very excellent question.  How can an atheist reach Nirvana?  There's nothing wrong with learning from Christians and other religious people, since it's all the same thing in the end. 

Nirvana is the end to all religions and their violence, control and nonsense.Religion is the anti-nirvana. Replace all religion with the relentless pursuit of truthful knowledge otherwise known as science. And BTW "strength, joy, peace, and love do not exist without weakness, misery, war, and hate. Be careful what you seek. Why not accept all of it for what it is, instead of some fake rebirth into a phoney consciousness.


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