What is Nirvana?

Many people think the objective of Buddhism is to free oneself of attachments to hopefully one day reach some sort of normal, neutral Nirvana.  The results of a successful Buddhist practice is actually much more than that.

Buddha’s four noble truths begin with the acknowledgment of Dukkha, or suffering.  The assumption is that this state of suffering or dissatisfied anxiety is universal and normal for every human.  In reality it’s the opposite.  Our natural state is one of pure awareness of reality.  This natural, base state is how we’re born, then it’s covered up and masked as our egos develop through the various delusional teachings we receive as we grow up.  Even Jesus referred to becoming once again as little children as we seek a path back to God.  Over the past two thousand years, Western culture has convinced most of us that God is “out there” some where, when in reality God is right here, right now, within all of us.

Through meditation and following what Buddhists refer to as the “middle way”, we can uncover our natural state and once again become aware of how things really are.  The entire point of being a Buddhist (being awake) is not to believe in a set of moral rules, or adhere to some specific type of behavior, or convince others of some sort of dogma.  The point of following the Buddhist path is to return to one’s original insight into the true nature of reality and to once again connect with the eternal ground of awareness.  Many faith traditions refer to this eternal ground as God.  Buddha Dharma (method) doesn’t conflict with the various religious traditions because Buddhism isn’t a religion.  It’s just a method one can use to once again be awake to what’s real.

Love and compassion flow from this original state.  Truth and loving behavior arise naturally.  Nirvana, or Heaven is discovered in the eternal now, not at some point in the future, after we’re dead.

Happiness and bliss occur naturally from within, so that eventually there’s no need to attach to anything external.  The impermanence of pleasure, the fear of loss, illness, pain, even death shrinks, fades, and eventually can potentially vanish along with all the other false mental constructs, such as the never ending sentimental past or the anxiety-ridden future that never comes.

There is no other concept of happiness or impermanent sense of bliss that can even hope to approach the white light of pure awareness that occurs naturally from being truly awake, free of attachments, and present in the eternal now.

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One thought on “What is Nirvana?

  1. Excellent post.

    My problem with Buddhism has always been twofold: it’s difficult to spell, and it doesn’t include a sufficient basis for burning other people. My belief system or “method” needs to provide for a good burnin’ once in a while. Or at least the threat of one.

    Old Gregg

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