Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

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Swatantra
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Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by Swatantra » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:29 am

Hello everyone, thank you for your patience.

To all of you here, is enlightenment your sole reason for following Buddhism?

The reason why I have started to learn the Dhamma is because I want to become the best person I can be, and the noble eightfold path is an exemplary guide for bettering oneself.
I do not care if I reach enlightment, this is not my goal. I believe we will stop reincarnating when we have learned the lessons we needed to learn, and experienced what ever it is we needed to experience on this plane. Does it matter that I follow Buddhism with little interest on reaching Buddhahood? I would be happy with ego trancendence to be honest!

Thank you for your input :heart:
"One is not noble who has injures living beings.
One is called 'noble' because they are harmless to all living beings."

:heart: :yingyang:

"Silent in body, silent in speech,
Silent in the mind, without defilement,
Blessed is silence is the sage.
One is truely washed of evil."

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:58 pm

If you can transcend the ego, and put an end to personality-view for ever, you will reach nibbāna. It is then only a matter of time before you attain the final cessation of suffering.

Don't try to be a better person. Just try to understand better how the idea of a person arises.
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Lazy_eye
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by Lazy_eye » Sun Jun 25, 2017 1:12 pm

Swatantra wrote:Hello everyone, thank you for your patience.

To all of you here, is enlightenment your sole reason for following Buddhism?

The reason why I have started to learn the Dhamma is because I want to become the best person I can be, and the noble eightfold path is an exemplary guide for bettering oneself.
I do not care if I reach enlightment, this is not my goal. I believe we will stop reincarnating when we have learned the lessons we needed to learn, and experienced what ever it is we needed to experience on this plane. Does it matter that I follow Buddhism with little interest on reaching Buddhahood? I would be happy with ego trancendence to be honest!

Thank you for your input :heart:
Hi, Swatantra,

Buddhism is sometimes described as a gradual training or a gradual path. See here.

This means that your goals may evolve as you go further into the practice. At an earlier stage, the focus might be on becoming a better person through cultivating virtue and generosity. It might also be on developing happier mind states and learning to avoid those that lead to suffering.

Eventually, though, your focus will shift towards nibbana. Why? Because once you have "learned the lessons you have learned and experienced whatever you needed to experience," you will find you are still stuck here!

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Aloka
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by Aloka » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:05 pm

Swatantra wrote:Hello everyone, thank you for your patience.

To all of you here, is enlightenment your sole reason for following Buddhism?

The reason why I have started to learn the Dhamma is because I want to become the best person I can be, and the noble eightfold path is an exemplary guide for bettering oneself.
I do not care if I reach enlightment, this is not my goal. I believe we will stop reincarnating when we have learned the lessons we needed to learn, and experienced what ever it is we needed to experience on this plane. Does it matter that I follow Buddhism with little interest on reaching Buddhahood? I would be happy with ego trancendence to be honest!

Thank you for your input :heart:
Hello Swatantra,

My reason for becoming a Buddhist was because although I was very young at the time, I was seeking a spiritual path which might make some sense of my life and help me to improve it.

As far as "enlightenment"/ Nibbana is concerned, its said to be the cessation of greed hatred and delusion and I like what Ajahn Sumedho has to say in his introduction to the book "The Island - an anthology of the Buddha's teachings on Nibbana" by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro.

INTRODUCTION

A DIFFICULTY WITH THE WORD ‘NIBBANA’ IS THAT ITS meaning is beyond the power of words to describe. It is, essentially, undefinable.

Another difficulty is that many Buddhists see Nibbana as something unobtainable – as so high and so remote that we’re not worthy enough to try for it. Or we see Nibbana as a goal, as an unknown, undefined something that we should somehow try to attain.

Most of us are conditioned in this way. We want to achieve or attain something that we don’t have now. So Nibbana is looked at as something that, if you work hard, keep the sila, meditate diligently, become a monastic, devote your
life to practice, then your reward might be that eventually you attain Nibbana – even though we’re not sure what it is.

Ajahn Chah would use the words ‘the reality of non-grasping’ as the definition for Nibbana: realizing the reality of non-grasping. That helps to put it in a context because the emphasis is on awakening to how we grasp and hold on even to words like ‘Nibbana’ or ‘Buddhism’ or ‘practice’ or ‘sila’ or whatever.

It’s often said that the Buddhist way is not to grasp. But that can become just another statement that we grasp and hold on to. It’s a Catch 22: No matter how hard you try to make sense out of it, you end up in total confusion because of the
limitation of language and perception. You have to go beyond language and perception. And the only way to go beyond thinking and emotional habit is through awareness of them, through awareness of thought, through awareness of emotion.

‘The Island that you cannot go beyond’ is the metaphor for this state of being awake and aware, as opposed to the concept of becoming awake and aware.

Continues at the link:

http://cdn.amaravati.org/wp-content/upl ... e_2015.pdf

:anjali:

R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:33 pm

"There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned."

— Ud 8.3
Perfecting yourself is a good goal because it implies realization of the Four Noble Truths. I second what Bhante Pesala said.

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WindDancer
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by WindDancer » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:41 pm

Thank you for the question, and thank you to for everyone's replies. This discussion hits at a core of doubt or hesitation which I have lived with for most of my adult life. I have a strong level of faith in living the Path due to the obvious benefits for others and myself; however, I have felt that Nibbana was something so far out of my reach that I have doubted whether it has been worth it to dedicate myself toward its pursuit. I have continued to feel led to give myself wholeheartedly to this way of being, yet part of me has held back because it has seems so unlikely that I could ever reach such a goal.

In recent years I have chosen to dedicate myself to this way of life, but I have continued to feel this deep internal hesitation of letting go completely. This discussion has touched and stirred something within me and has opened my eyes a bit more.

Thanks,

WindDancer
Live Gently....

2600htz
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by 2600htz » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:54 am

Hello:

Not really, the Buddha gave the dhamma to many kinds of people, some just wanted to understand a little better karma, live a better life, become wealthy, being reborn in a nice place, etc.

Nibbana is the supreme goal, but the field of dhamma is as broad as with any other discipline. Just because u play tennis doesn´t mean u want to be a professional tennis player.

Regards.

Swatantra
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by Swatantra » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:50 am

WindDancer wrote:Thank you for the question, and thank you to for everyone's replies. This discussion hits at a core of doubt or hesitation which I have lived with for most of my adult life. I have a strong level of faith in living the Path due to the obvious benefits for others and myself; however, I have felt that Nibbana was something so far out of my reach that I have doubted whether it has been worth it to dedicate myself toward its pursuit. I have continued to feel led to give myself wholeheartedly to this way of being, yet part of me has held back because it has seems so unlikely that I could ever reach such a goal.

In recent years I have chosen to dedicate myself to this way of life, but I have continued to feel this deep internal hesitation of letting go completely. This discussion has touched and stirred something within me and has opened my eyes a bit more.

Thanks,

WindDancer
I know what you mean. I am disinclined to jump into the rough sea when I see no others reaching the shore.
My goal will unlikely be this high, I feel like only monks and nuns have a chance as they spend their whole life practising meditation. I struggle to manage 10 minutes! Besides, its not so bad here, right? Not if you help lessen other peoples struggles in life.
:heart:
"One is not noble who has injures living beings.
One is called 'noble' because they are harmless to all living beings."

:heart: :yingyang:

"Silent in body, silent in speech,
Silent in the mind, without defilement,
Blessed is silence is the sage.
One is truely washed of evil."

R1111 = rightviewftw
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Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:36 pm

152. For What Purpose the Holy Life?

“Bhikkhus, if wanderers of other sects ask you: ‘For what purpose, friends, is the holy life lived under the ascetic Gotama?’—being asked thus, you should answer those wanderers thus: ‘It is, friends, for the full understanding of suffering that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.’ Then, bhikkhus, if those wanderers ask you: ‘What, friends, is that suffering for the full understanding of which the holy life is lived under the ascetic Gotama?’—being asked thus, you should answer those wanderers thus:

“‘The eye, friends, is suffering: it is for the full understanding of this that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One. Forms are suffering: it is for the full understanding of them that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One. Eye-consciousness is suffering … Eye-contact is suffering … Whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—that too is suffering: it is for the full understanding of this that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One. The ear is suffering … The mind is suffering … Whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … that too is suffering: it is for the full understanding of this that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One. This, friends, is the suffering for the full understanding of which the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.’

“Being asked thus, bhikkhus, you should answer those wanderers of other sects in such a way.”

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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:42 pm

Swatantra wrote: I know what you mean. I am disinclined to jump into the rough sea when I see no others reaching the shore.
My goal will unlikely be this high, I feel like only monks and nuns have a chance as they spend their whole life practising meditation. I struggle to manage 10 minutes! Besides, its not so bad here, right? Not if you help lessen other peoples struggles in life.
:heart:
I consider the Monastic Order an institution, like a boarding school or a University. As with other educational institutions, they do not have a monopoly on learning and training. However it is a natural destination for one inclined to learning and training.

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WindDancer
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by WindDancer » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:02 am

Thank you Swatantra and R1111 for your additional comments.

After reflecting on this discussion and a few others, I know deep down there is no turning back for me. I was talking with friends about what would likely be the consequences if we completely stopped all spiritual practices, readings and fellowship. As I stopped and meditated on that possible reality, I knew deep in my being that, I cannot turn back. I am committed to this Path, no matter what progress I make.

In addition, I have experienced and witnessed the incredible benefits of various components of Buddhist practice. For example, there are great benefits to us, to others, to society and to the planet when we do not harm others by killing, lying, stealing, committing sexual harm or using alcohol or other intoxicants. There are even more benefits when we turn our energies from doing harm toward doing things that are kind, loving and helpful, such as acts of loving kindness and compassion, being honest and truthful, acts of generosity, being safe and trustworthy and dedicating oneself to mindfulness and peace.
Live Gently....

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JMGinPDX
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Re: Is Nibbana the sole purpose of Buddhism?

Post by JMGinPDX » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:43 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:If you can transcend the ego, and put an end to personality-view for ever, you will reach nibbāna. It is then only a matter of time before you attain the final cessation of suffering.

Don't try to be a better person. Just try to understand better how the idea of a person arises.
Thank you, this reinforces my reaction to this question.
If we practice the 8-Fold Path diligently and destroy the fetters, nibbana will happen whether we want it to or not, yes?
And so the goal should be simply letting go, not attaining.
Right now, it's like this...

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