Nirvana

From Buddha World

Nirvana (Sanskrit: निर्वाण, Nirvāṇa; Pali: निब्बान, Nibbāna; Prakrit: णिव्वाण) is the state of being free from both suffering and the cycle of rebirth. "Nibbāna" is a Pāli word that means "blowing out" — that is, blowing out the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion.

Buddha described nirvana as the perfect peace of the state of mind that is free from craving, anger and other afflictive states (kilesa). The subject is at peace with the world, has compassion for all and gives up obsessions and fixations. This peace is achieved when the existing volitional formations are pacified, and the conditions for the production of new ones are eradicated. In Nibbana the root causes of craving and aversion have been extinguished such that one is no longer subject to human suffering (dukkha) or further states of rebirths in samsara. The Pali Canon also contains other perspectives on nirvana; for one, it is linked to the seeing-through of the empty nature of phenomena. It is also presented as a radical reordering of consciousness and unleashing of awareness. Scholar Herbert Guenther states that with nirvana "the ideal personality, the true human being" becomes reality. The Buddha in the Dhammapada says of nirvana that it is "the highest happiness". This happiness is an enduring, transcendental happiness integral to the calmness attained through enlightenment or bodhi, rather than the happiness derived from impermanent things. The knowledge accompanying nirvana is expressed through the word bodhi. The Buddha explains nirvana as "the unconditioned" (asankhata) mind, a mind that has come to a point of perfect lucidity and clarity due to the cessation of the production of volitional formations. This is described by the Buddha as "deathlessness" (Pali: amata or amaravati) and as the highest spiritual attainment, the natural result that accrues to one who lives a life of virtuous conduct and practice in accordance with the Noble Eightfold Path. Such a life engenders increasing control over the generation of karma (Skt; Pali, kamma). It produces wholesome karma with positive results and finally allows the cessation of the origination of karma altogether with the attainment of nibbana. Otherwise, beings forever wander through the impermanent and suffering-generating realms of desire, form, and formlessness, collectively termed samsara. Each liberated individual produces no new karma, but preserves a particular individual personality which is the result of the traces of his or her karmic heritage. The very fact that there is a psycho-physical substrate during the remainder of an arahant's lifetime shows the continuing effect of karma. While nirvana is "unconditioned", it is not "uncaused" or "independent." The stance of the early scriptures is that attaining nibbana in either the current or some future birth depends on effort, and is not pre-determined. Furthermore, salvation according to the Pali Nikayas is not the recognition of a pre-existing or eternal perfection, but is the attainment of something that is hitherto unattained. This is also the orthodox Yogacara position, and that of Buddhaghosa.

Etymology

Nirvana is a compound of the prefix ni[r]- (ni, nis, nih) which means "out, away from, without", and the root vâ[na] (Pali. vâti) which can be translated as "blowing" as in "blowing of the wind", and also as "smelling, etc".

The Abhidharma-mahavibhāsa-sāstra, a Sarvastivādin commentary, gives the complete context of the possible meanings from its Sanskrit roots:

  • Vāna, implying the path of rebirth, + nir, meaning leaving off' or "being away from the path of rebirth."
  • Vāna, meaning 'stench', + nir, meaning "freedom": "freedom from the stench of distressing karma."
  • Vāna, meaning "dense forests", + nir, meaning "to get rid of" = "to be permanently rid of the dense forest of the five aggregates" (panca skandha), or the "three roots of greed, hate and delusion" (raga, dvesa, avidya) or "three characteristics of existence" (impermanence, anitya; unsatisfactoriness, dukkha, soullessness, anàtman).
  • Vāna, meaning "weaving", + nir, meaning "knot" = "freedom from the knot of the distressful thread of karma."

Overview

Nirvana in sutra is never conceived of as a place (such as one might conceive heaven), but rather the antinomy of samsara (see below) which itself is synonymous with ignorance (avidyā, Pāli avijjā). This said:

"'the liberated mind (citta) that no longer clings' means Nibbāna" (Majjhima Nikaya 2-Att. 4.68).

Nirvāna is meant specifically - as pertains gnosis - that which ends the identity of the mind (citta) with empirical phenomena. Doctrinally Nibbāna is said of the mind which "no longer is coming (bhava) and going (vibhava)", but which has attained a status in perpetuity, whereby "liberation (vimutta) can be said". It carries further connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace. The realizing of nirvana is compared to the ending of avidyā (ignorance) which perpetuates the will (cetana) into effecting the incarnation of mind into biological or other form passing on forever through life after life (samsara). Samsara is caused principally by craving and ignorance (see dependent origination). A person can attain nirvana without dying. When a person who has realized nirvana dies, his death is referred as parinirvāṇa (Pali: parinibbana), his fully passing away, as his life was his last link to the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara), and he will not be reborn again. Buddhism holds that the ultimate goal and end of samsaric existence (of ever "becoming" and "dying" and never truly being) is realization of nirvana; what happens to a person after his parinirvāṇa cannot be explained, as it is outside of all conceivable experience. Through a series of questions, Sariputta brings a monk to admit that he cannot pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life, so to speculate regarding the ontological status of an arahant after death is not proper. See Tathagata#Beyond range. Individuals up to the level of non-returning may experience nirvana as an object of mental consciousness. Certain contemplations while nibbana is an object of samadhi lead, if developed, to the level of non-returning or the gnosis of the arahant. At that point of contemplation, which is reached through a progression of insight, if the meditator realizes that even that state is constructed and therefore impermanent, the fetters are destroyed, arahantship is attained, and nibbana is realized.

Luminous consciousness

Although an enlightened individual's consciousness is a karmic result, it is not limited by usual samsaric constraints. The Buddha discusses in the context of nirvana a kind of consciousness described as:

Consciousness without feature, without end, luminous all around.

This "consciousness without surface" differs from the kinds of consciousness associated to the six sense media, which have a "surface" that they fall upon and arise in response to. In a liberated individual it is directly known, without intermediary, free from any dependence on conditions at all. In one interpretation, the "luminous consciousness" is identical with nirvana. Others disagree, finding it to be not nirvana itself, but instead to be a kind of consciousness accessible only to arahants. A passage in the Majjhima Nikaya likens it to empty space. For liberated ones the luminous, unsupported consciousness associated with nibbana is directly known without mediation of the mental consciousness factor in dependent co-arising, and is the transcending of all objects of mental consciousness. It differs radically from the concept in the pre-Buddhist Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita of Self-realization, described as accessing the individual's inmost consciousness, in that it is not considered an aspect, even the deepest aspect, of the individual's personality, and is not to be confused in any way with a "Self". Furthermore, it transcends the sphere of infinite consciousness, the sixth of the Buddhist jhanas, which is in itself not the ending of the conceit of "I". Nagarjuna alluded to a passage regarding this level of consciousness in the Dighanikaya (DN 11) in two different works. He wrote:

The Sage has declared that earth, water, fire, and wind, long, short, fine and coarse, good, and so on are extinguished in consciousness ... Here long and short, fine and coarse, good and bad, here name and form all stop.

A related idea, which finds support in the Pali Canon and the contemporary Theravada practice tradition despite its absence in the Theravada commentaries and Abhidhamma, is that the mind of the arahant is itself nibbana. There is a clear reference in the Anguttara Nikaya to a "luminous mind" present within all people, be they corrupt or pure, whether or not it itself is pure or impure. The Canon does not support the identification of the "luminous mind" with nirvanic consciousness, though it plays a role in the realization of nirvana. Upon the destruction of the fetters, according to one scholar, "the shining nibbanic consciousness flashes out" of it, "being without object or support, so transcending all limitations."

Nirvana and samsara

In Mahāyāna Buddhism, nirvana and samsara are said to be not-different in the sense that there is no metaphysical barrier between the two. An individual can attain nirvana by following the Buddhist path. If they were ultimately different this would be impossible. Thus, the duality between nirvana and samsara is only accurate on the conventional level. Another way to arrive at this conclusion is through the analysis that all phenomena are empty of an essential identity, and therefore suffering is never inherent in any situation. Thus liberation from suffering and its causes is not a metaphysical shift of any kind. For better explication of this thinking see two-truths doctrine. The Theravāda school makes the antithesis of samsara and Nibbāna the starting point of the entire quest for deliverance. Even more, it treats this antithesis as determinative of the final goal, which is precisely the transcendence of samsara and the attainment of liberation in Nibbāna. Where Theravada differs significantly from the Mahāyāna schools, which also start with the duality of samsara and nirvana, is in not regarding this polarity as a mere preparatory lesson tailored for those with blunt faculties, to be eventually superseded by some higher realization of non-duality. From the standpoint of the Pāli Suttas, even for the Buddha and the Arahants suffering and its cessation, samsara and Nibbāna, remain distinct. Both schools agree that Shakyamuni Buddha was in saṃsāra while having attained Nirvāṇa, in so far as he was seen by all while simultaneously free from samsara.

Paths to nirvana in the Pali canon

In the Visuddhimagga, Ch. I, v. 6 (Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli, 1999, pp. 6-7), Buddhaghosa identifies various options within the Pali canon for pursuing a path to nirvana, including:

  1. by insight (vipassana) alone (see Dh. 277)
  2. by jhana and understanding (see Dh. 372)
  3. by deeds, vision and righteousness (see MN iii.262)
  4. by virtue, consciousness and understanding (7SN i.13)
  5. by virtue, understanding, concentration and effort (see SN i.53)
  6. by the four foundations of mindfulness (see Satipatthana Sutta, DN ii.290)

Depending on one's analysis, each of these options could be seen as a reframing of the Buddha's Threefold Training of virtue, mental development and wisdom.

Магазин
Магазин
26 февраля - вечер сакральной музыки с Кунзе Чимед
26 февраля - вечер сакральной музыки с Кунзе Чимед
Наверх