Nirvana Essay

1452 Words 6 Pages
It does not seem right to think that the dog I walk, feed, and potty trained could be one of my ancient relatives. In our Christian household I was raised on teachings that stated the opposite because that was simply what the Bible said. I was taught that when I face death, my body remains mortal and decomposes here on earth, and my soul would continue on to either an eternity of torture, or in paradise if I have proven my trust in our savior, God. This doctrine would be considered exclusivism or judegementalism. However, in the face of Buddhism, such ideas are feuded. Siddhartha Gautama, the supreme Buddha, taught that there is no established heaven or hell as viewed by Christians, but rather a rebirth into another body or the achievement …show more content…
The idea of nirvana is one of the earliest ideas of the Buddha in which describe the goal of the Buddhist path. Nirvana is broken down as “Nir”, having a negative connotation, and “va” meaning “to blow.” Reflecting back to the Buddha’s metaphor of the continuous flame, nirvana would serve as the extinguishing solvent, and the overall freedom from suffering and rebirth. However, obtaining nirvana is not to say the life of the person is ended, it simply means that person is now free of suffering. To obtain nirvana one must have complete cessation of desire, rejection, and ignorance. The path to this cessation can be seen in the first teachings of the Buddha, the four noble truths. The four noble truths from first to last are the understanding of suffering, determining the causation of the suffering, the cessation of the suffering, and the nature of the ending of the suffering. This concept can be explained in a more realistic view through the metaphor of a cancer diagnosis. One must identify the suffering as the cancer, know the nature of the suffering to be the cancer cells, the ending of the suffering to get rid of the cancer cells, and the nature of this cure as the medicine. Buddhists who obtain nirvana on their own become Buddhas, notably different from Siddhartha. Buddhas are separate from arhats, who obtain nirvana from proper …show more content…
The ideas in anatta, translated as “no self,” reflect a general confusion on how one can possess karma or become reborn when they do not have a self to begin with. The confusion furthers as the Buddha refuses to answer the question regarding the idea of no self. The Buddha claimed that if one is to hold either idea of there being a self of no self, then the path to nirvana will remain impossible. What the Buddha means by this is that the intellectual speculation of anatta will not be a successful path to understanding. When anatta is further explored in Mahayana Buddhism, it is taught in a variation called sunyata, or emptiness, providing the idea that all phenomena are empty of self-essence. Being empty of self-essence does not mean that one is non-existent, but rather that one is identified through the five aggregates of existence. The combination of these aggregates, form, sensation, perception, desire, and consciousness, are what compose an individual. It is in the presence of these aggregates that we are able to talk about ourselves. More simply, the Buddha believed that you are not an integral, autonomous entity, but your individual self, or ego, is a product of the five aggregates. Vajira, a Buddhist nun, when confronted by Mara, the evil one, further explored the idea of one’s “being” to a chariot. The chariot had no permanent existence, but was made up of a variety of essential

Related Documents