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Nirvana

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Greta
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Re: Nirvana

Post by Greta » September 13th, 2018, 5:33 pm

LuckyR wrote:
September 13th, 2018, 3:42 pm
Greta wrote:So they both happened while I was on the upswing, and specifically at a time when I was feeling especially good. With the first there was no choice - it came unexpectedly and was gone just as quickly.

With the second there was a sense of allowing it happen. The words "Why not?" were perhaps most prominent in my mind just as I could feel something quite bizarre and extraordinary coming on. I could have stopped the experience happening if I chose, or if I became negative or cynical and messed it up, but I was in an especially good mood and went with the flow and it worked out. I think I might have killed off a few through over-anticipation since, but it's hard to know if it's imagination or not - or if that even matters!
Thanks for the contextual info. If you don't mind my asking, what sort of real time frame are we talking about, start to finish? Seconds, minutes, hours?

Was there the perception of time expansion?
The first one was about a second long. The second was maybe 15-30 minutes. I don't think there was time dilation.

Some of the less unhinged observations I recorded afterwards:
I was imagining getting into the kind of zone a master musician would experience – to imagine what it would feel like to play it. As Hal Galper says, if you can hear it you can play it. Why not have the audacity to let yourself hear it just like the great artists you hear? I have always been so far from the zone – almost an anti-zone, which really sucks. I feel like I cannot allow myself to succeed. Because I’m not the kind of person who deserves to succeed.

Anyway, I was trying to get my mind to a point where it was entirely still and there would be no thought or emotions or physical movement - only experience. I felt every part of my body – vibrantly alive – the muscles, the bones, the organs, breathing, heartbeat, blood flowing ...

Then I could feel that I could conceivably bring myself so into the moment that I could almost disappear – into the all-pervading field of … being. Absolutely all-pervading, massively and overwhelmingly so. If it was sound it would have had the intensity of deafening white noise – it was THAT all-pervading. It was like an endlessly deep well into which I could fall if I stilled to the point of being 100% in the moment.

I felt like I could almost combust with the intensity of it. I saw death ahead – and it was absolutely [expletive] incredible! It was everything you ever wanted – ultimate peace, ultimate rightness and connection – just there and then … nothingness? A different kind of consciousness?
That just reminded me of an important, probably critical, aspect of inducing the experience that I'd forgotten about - I was going after the present moment very hard, trying to refine it to an ever finer point as opposed to me usual "fuzzy present" that includes past resonances and future anticipation.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Hereandnow » September 13th, 2018, 10:26 pm

Eduk
Sorry perhaps I'm not being clear. Please give one example (preferably the biggest/best/your personal favourite for whatever reason) of these assumptions which you say are there but then fail to elaborate upon regarding scientific knowledge.
Personally I'm not convinced that the scientific method makes any assumptions. I don't think that the scientific method, for examples, assumes that there is a reality. Of course it does rely on acting like there is a reality, but this is different from an assumption?
Some of the Buddhist philosophy is fine. It fine to consider that there is no you. It's fine to consider if a tree makes a sound if no one hears it falling in a forest. These are good things to think about. Not unique to Buddhism though and certainly not unconsidered (well at least in philosophical circles).
Again we can all agree assumptions are bad and that you shouldn't make them.
This gets complicated in the literature. But it comes down to this: science does not examine the perceptual structures in which observation occurs. It just takes in information and trusts all is well. But perception is, to say the least, complicated, and a good way to express this is to ask a simple question, a favorite of mine as you asked: How is it anything "out there", that is, beyond the subjective contribution to what is seen, heard, and so on, gets "in here", here being inside my, if you will, horizon of experience? I mean this literally: there is something, a couch, there. How does that get in my head? Trace its path and you will find the object itself is left in that mystery land of "out thereness" at the very outset of the analysis.
But the claim,then, science makes is not unlike what those old philosophers talked about in terms of primary and secondary qualities, which is while our contribution gives a thing its sensory aspects, its feel, optics and so on, out there there really is time and space and the object lies there. But does this really take care of the matter? touch the couch: how could anything about the time and space it "occupies" be my time and space? And further, the "thing" traversing through my nervous system (and how do I know about this nervous system save through visual systems that observe nerves?): is the the couch??
A simple argument, really, but ignored because the intuitive sense of the couch being the couch is so strong. But that is the strength of belief, not confirmation in analysis. Knowledge is true justified belief (not to argue this here), and here it is shown that the justification of empirical claims falls apart at first touch, sight, sound. Therefore, science has no knowledge.

It is a down and dirty version. There are others, as there are other assumptions that can be questioned.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Weight » April 25th, 2019, 6:58 pm

Nirvana is a state without desire, without wish, without thirst. It is liberation from suffering and extinction from the three poisons: ignorance, hatred and lust. There are two stages to nirvana, one while alive and one in death. The one while alive would be a person who has attained complete liberation, wisdom and release from desire and suffering. In death it would be considered the complete cessation from everything, consciousness, rebirth, life and death.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Greta » April 25th, 2019, 10:58 pm

Weight wrote:
April 25th, 2019, 6:58 pm
Nirvana is a state without desire, without wish, without thirst. It is liberation from suffering and extinction from the three poisons: ignorance, hatred and lust. There are two stages to nirvana, one while alive and one in death. The one while alive would be a person who has attained complete liberation, wisdom and release from desire and suffering. In death it would be considered the complete cessation from everything, consciousness, rebirth, life and death.
You have told us what Nirvana lacks. Liberation from what? Others' opinions? Your own opinions?

Meanwhile wisdom is a broad term. This suggests that Nirvana is unlikely to be found amongst the young who lack life experience.

Freedom from desire and suffering would seem impossible while one's digestive and nervous systems are furiously trying to draw your attention to potential health issues, especially when these systems will one day break down, and perhaps very painfully. Worse, loved ones die and injustices abound. The best we can manage is to handle such suffering like wild animals, to not emotionally engage with the pain and discomfort, and deal with it on a practical level.

Further, complete "cessation of everything" doesn't strike me as very Nirvana-y. Yes, complete obliteration might happen at death, but I'm thinking that is rather like being a rock rather than Nirvana. Are rocks already in Nirvana, in a state to which we should aspire?

I don't think Nirvana is sustainably attainable, only in glimpses. However, there's probably many who are not so far from the ideal, having reached a Tolle-like equanimity and tranquillity about the travails of life. Such people will still inevitably be bugged at times, just less so and they recover quickly - and that is perhaps the aim of a good many of us, even if Nirvana as such is largely unattainable.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Weight » April 28th, 2019, 9:37 pm

thank you for your reply Greta.
How I have come to view nirvana is the highest form enlightenment.
What the Buddhist believe is that nirvana would be the end to hatred, ignorance and lust. Nirvana literally means to "blow out" and what they believe is that when someone overcomes greed, hared and lust that they end the cycle of rebirth and suffering.
In real life terms I would say that nirvana can only exist if you are a wise, intelligent and good person. But just look at it as maybe having a great grounding on life.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Felix » April 29th, 2019, 4:54 pm

"Freedom from desire and suffering would seem impossible while..."

Non-attachment is a better description: everything is accepted, and all experience is new. J. Krisnamurti describes it about as well as it can be described in his talks.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Greta » April 29th, 2019, 11:53 pm

Weight wrote:
April 28th, 2019, 9:37 pm
Nirvana literally means to "blow out" and what they believe is that when someone overcomes greed, hatred and lust that they end the cycle of rebirth and suffering.
In real life terms I would say that nirvana can only exist if you are a wise, intelligent and good person. But just look at it as maybe having a great grounding on life.
Fair enough. Life is rather more pleasant when one is calm and accepting rather than rabid with unfulfilled expectations, reinforced by Felix's post above. Calm and acceptance seem to increase with age, the welling symphony of aches and pains that act as the soundtrack of age does tend to calm the savage beast, so to speak :)

I didn't know the etymology of "nirvana". Interesting. I wouldn't have picked it. It's suggestive that Buddhists intuited that whatever comes after life "blows out" is perfect, heavenly, or at least much better. Many ancients have posited post-life to be vastly better than life, which perhaps tells us how awful life must have been for most ancient people. When living so roughly, with weak medicine, high infant and birthing mortality and daily threats from both people and other animals, it would hard to imagine an afterlife being worse.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 4th, 2019, 9:44 am

Greta wrote:
April 29th, 2019, 11:53 pm
Fair enough. Life is rather more pleasant when one is calm and accepting rather than rabid with unfulfilled expectations
This made me laugh and while I did laugh and disagree, my laughter is just aimed at what we all do which is to frame things in terms that fit our positions. Perhaps I am about to do it myself.

Who is going to agree that being somehow rabid could possibly compete with being calm and accepting? (that's the source of my laughter)

But what if one had to choose between having a calm life and an dynamic one?

Here I am trying my best to choose two terms that are fairly value neutral. I personally want a life that moves between calm and dynamic, even including periods where what would be considered expectations that might get unfulfilled were involved. Challenges and the like. That sweet spot between where you are basically just doing what you were good at for quite a while and being overwhelmed by events/learning that you can't keep up with. As in the sweet spot educators try to find where they are challenging their students, even leaving open for those students to go past what would seem like realistic expectations, while not overloading them with stuff that makes them want to give up and/or reinforces negative expectations.

Or to put it in spiritual terms, I have never thought that a sattvic life was necessarily better than a rajasic one.

Much of what we appreciate about life today - certain freedoms, technological devices and advances, artistic greatness and works of art (taken broadly to include music, acting, novels, paintings and so on - are the products of not just being calm, but also very dynamic, even having what seemed to others to be unrealistic expectations or even impossible ones.

We reap the benefits of people who strove and were not prioritizing calm, though many of them may have also been good at being calm, it was one state amongst a few they prioritized.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Felix » May 4th, 2019, 5:34 pm

"But what if one had to choose between having a calm life and an dynamic one?"

Calmness is a state of mind, not a life-style choice.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 5th, 2019, 5:13 am

Felix wrote:
May 4th, 2019, 5:34 pm
"But what if one had to choose between having a calm life and an dynamic one?"

Calmness is a state of mind, not a life-style choice.
I was responding to...

Greta wrote: Fair enough. Life is rather more pleasant when one is calm and accepting rather than rabid with unfulfilled expectations

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Felix » May 5th, 2019, 4:14 pm

Still, I don't see how "rabid with unfulfilled expectations" translates to living a dynamic life, as it suggests not only a lack of serenity but a lack of discrimination or vision.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 6th, 2019, 2:20 am

Felix wrote:
May 5th, 2019, 4:14 pm
Still, I don't see how "rabid with unfulfilled expectations" translates to living a dynamic life, as it suggests not only a lack of serenity but a lack of discrimination or vision.
I was pointing it out as a false dichotemy. In the context of Nirvana or Eastern approaches in general, we have an imbalanced presentation of our options. I mean who is going to choose anything but calmness if the alternative is something beginning with the adjective 'rabid'?

I could write more, but I would be repeating what I wrote in reponse to Greta.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Felix » May 6th, 2019, 5:54 pm

Karpel Tunnel: "I was pointing it out as a false dichotemy. In the context of Nirvana or Eastern approaches in general, we have an imbalanced presentation of our options. I mean who is going to choose anything but calmness if the alternative is something beginning with the adjective 'rabid'?"

It's not an either/or dichotomy. One must master one's mind and emotions to attain serenity, and if one does that, it will increase ones potential to live a truly dynamic life. The less self aware one is, the more "rabid" one will be about meeting and fulfilling mundane expectations.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 7th, 2019, 2:11 am

Felix wrote:
May 6th, 2019, 5:54 pm
Karpel Tunnel: "I was pointing it out as a false dichotemy. In the context of Nirvana or Eastern approaches in general, we have an imbalanced presentation of our options. I mean who is going to choose anything but calmness if the alternative is something beginning with the adjective 'rabid'?"

It's not an either/or dichotomy. One must master one's mind and emotions to attain serenity, and if one does that, it will increase ones potential to live a truly dynamic life. The less self aware one is, the more "rabid" one will be about meeting and fulfilling mundane expectations.
First of all one need not master one's mind and emotions to attain serenity. That is a choice with specific consequences, pluses and minuses. And I disagree that it will allow one to truly live a dynamic life if one judges one's desires as a problem, which is a judgment deep in the heart of the eastern traditions. Emotions are also judged. Further dynamic is not calm. It would not be a good description of a life or state of mind to call it calm if it included the kinds of states, for example, that very creative people engage in. If one actually spends time in, for example, Buddhist temples, one can see that dynamic states are openly and implicitly discouraged. If you look through the comments of the pro-calm, pro-Nirvana posters in this thread, you can see that the kinds of dynamic lives led by inventors and artists do not fit. Yes, one can do calligraphy and engage in certain kinds of artistic activity while calm, but putting a priority on this state is a choice not to live in other ways. If one frames these other ways of living as

rabid

whatever, one is stacking the deck against them.

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Re: Nirvana

Post by Felix » May 7th, 2019, 3:42 am

Karpel Tunnel: "I disagree that it will allow one to truly live a dynamic life if one judges one's desires as a problem, which is a judgment deep in the heart of the eastern traditions."

I don't consider being nonattached to the fulfillment of personal desires to be a problem, quite the reverse.

"Emotions are also judged."

One may need to stand back and observe them to understand their source, but judgement of them would impede that process.

"Yes, one can do calligraphy and engage in certain kinds of artistic activity while calm, but putting a priority on this state is a choice not to live in other ways."

I have not seen anyone other than you suggest in this thread that calmness should be prioritized, that would be foolish. The priority is on becoming more Self-aware, not on attaining and maintaining some particular mental-emotional state or on living a particular lifestyle.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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