Nibbana - Buddhism

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: bambamsey
  • Created on: 28-11-16 18:43

Nibbana

Nibbana:

Nibbana is often viewed as a place we go to when we achieve enlightenment... BUT it's actually a state of mind. This is because, when we become enlightened, it is only our PERCEPTION/outlook on things that differ - nothing actually HAPPENS.

When an ARHAT has achieve Nibbana, they have:

  • perfected all factors of the 8 fold path
  • destroyed the need for attatchment to objects/things in life
  • destroyed the 3 poisons (greed/hatred/dillusion)

Because you can only understand Nibbana when you actually realise it, it could be hard to picture it/try to understand what it's like to experience. BUT... 

  • King Melinda's analogies help us to understand Nibbana. For example the analogy of the mountain top - no seeds can grow there, like no seeds of passion can grow in Nibbana.
  • Arhats and the Buddha also help our understanding - they provide an EXAMPLE of what it's like to be Nibbanic - calm state of mind, peacfulness (etc).
  • Meditation also helps us to understand Nibbana as Rinzai and Soto schools in Zen both experience moments of "satori" - a glimpse of enlightenment 

Although there are possible ways for us to try and attempt to understand Nibbana, there are reasons why this is made extremely difficult:

  • Because we're not Nibbanic, how can we possibly understand what it's really like? It's like explaining to a blind person the colour orange - until they have the ability to see it, they won't fully understand what it looks like, even if they have a vague image!
  • Also, we're trapped in the 'wheel of samsara', meaning our samsaric language is incapable of describing exactly what a Nibbanic state of mine is like.

It may also be questionable as to whether we should even TRY to understand what Nibbana is like before we realise it, because surely this is demonstrating attatchment towards the aim of understanding Nibbana, when Nibbana is about the extinguishment of this very poison!

Parinibbana:

Parinibbana differs from Nibbana as it doesn't happen in THIS LIFE... it infact happens after we die! BUT... it is only experienced by someone who already has a Nibbanic state of mind, you can't experience it if you haven't become enlightened. Again... it's NOT a place... it's a state of mind.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO REALISE NIBBANA?

Considering the concept of Nibbana, it's hard to imagine Buddhists wouldn't view Nibbana as DESIRABLE. But actually, in many ways, it isn't!

  • Fear of the unknown - Buddhists may not actually want to realise Nibbana as they don't truly know what it's like to experience - it could be built up to be something wonderful, but actually, turns out to be quite the opposite! The unknown is slighlty daunting.
  • Should we even desire Nibbana in the first place? If desirability towards something not only demonstrates greed, but attatchment as well, then the likelyhood of realising it is very slim - we're not extinguishing the poisons we experience in the Samsaric world! 

Despite this, many would certainly view Nibbana as desirable because...

  • Once you're Nibbanic, you're no longer TRAPPED in the Samsaric wheel - you've extinguished Dukkha thus the suffering faced as a consequence! 
  • Realising Nibbana also demonstrates loyalty to the Buddha - it takes a lot of time, dedication and loyalty to not only the Buddha himself, but his teachings (8 fold path for example) and Buddhists would definitely view this as a positive thing! 
  • The 3 poisons are extinguished as well as Dukkha, so we no longer face greed, hatred or dellusion! 

- SCHOLARS -

Cush - those who have realised Nibbana don't experience "MENTAL PAIN/CONFUSION"

Williams - Nibbana is percieved as the "NATURE OF THINGS"

1 of 2

Nibbana and Parinibbana

Nibbana:

Nibbana is often viewed as a place we go to when we achieve enlightenment... BUT it's actually a state of mind. This is because, when we become enlightened, it is only our PERCEPTION/outlook on things that differ - nothing actually HAPPENS.

When an ARHAT has achieve Nibbana, they have:

  • perfected all factors of the 8 fold path
  • destroyed the need for attatchment to objects/things in life
  • destroyed the 3 poisons (greed/hatred/dillusion)

Because you can only understand Nibbana when you actually realise it, it could be hard to picture it/try to understand what it's like to experience. BUT... 

  • King Melinda's analogies help us to understand Nibbana. For example the analogy of the mountain top - no seeds can grow there, like no seeds of passion can grow in Nibbana.
  • Arhats and the Buddha also help our understanding - they provide an EXAMPLE of what it's like to be Nibbanic - calm state of mind, peacfulness (etc).
  • Meditation also helps us to understand Nibbana as Rinzai and Soto schools in Zen both experience moments of "satori" - a glimpse of enlightenment 

Although there are possible ways for us to try and attempt to understand Nibbana, there are reasons why this is made extremely difficult:

  • Because we're not Nibbanic, how can we possibly understand what it's really like? It's like explaining to a blind person the colour orange - until they have the ability to see it, they won't fully understand what it looks like, even if they have a vague image!
  • Also, we're trapped in the 'wheel of samsara', meaning our samsaric language is incapable of describing exactly what a Nibbanic state of mine is like.

It may also be questionable as to whether we should even TRY to understand what Nibbana is like before we realise it, because surely this is demonstrating attatchment towards the aim of understanding Nibbana, when Nibbana is about the extinguishment of this very poison!

Parinibbana:

Parinibbana differs from Nibbana as it doesn't happen in THIS LIFE... it infact happens after we die! BUT... it is only experienced by someone who already has a Nibbanic state of mind, you can't experience it if you haven't become enlightened. Again... it's NOT a place... it's a state of mind.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO REALISE NIBBANA?

Considering the concept of Nibbana, it's hard to imagine Buddhists wouldn't view Nibbana as DESIRABLE. But actually, in many ways, it isn't!

  • Fear of the unknown - Buddhists may not actually want to realise Nibbana as they don't truly know what it's like to experience - it could be built up to be something wonderful, but actually, turns out to be quite the opposite! The unknown is slighlty daunting.
  • Should we even desire Nibbana in the first place? If desirability towards something not only demonstrates greed, but attatchment as well, then the likelyhood of realising it is very slim - we're not extinguishing the poisons we experience in the Samsaric world! 

Despite this, many would certainly view Nibbana as desirable because...

  • Once you're Nibbanic, you're no longer TRAPPED in the Samsaric wheel - you've extinguished Dukkha thus the suffering faced as a consequence! 
  • Realising Nibbana also demonstrates loyalty to the Buddha - it takes a lot of time, dedication and loyalty to not only the Buddha himself, but his teachings (8 fold path for example) and Buddhists would definitely view this as a positive thing! 
  • The 3 poisons are extinguished as well as Dukkha, so we no longer face greed, hatred or dellusion! 

- SCHOLARS -

Cush - those who have realised Nibbana don't experience "MENTAL PAIN/CONFUSION"

Williams - Nibbana is percieved as the "NATURE OF THINGS"

2 of 2

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Buddhism resources »