The description that Buddha will give concerning Nirvana is that it is a state of the mind being free from a number of worldly aspects like anger and cravings. It is an experience of peace achieved through the pacification of the volitional formations that have their establishment in the process of a number of incarnations and instead there is the removal of existing conditions hindering the formation of newer ones (Coleman 56). Accordingly, in nirvana, there is the discovery and the eradication of vices like aversion and craving that exist in the mind and that Buddha believes is the source of human being distress. Such existing dispositions moreover will be the cause of recurring incarnations and their eradication will have the meaning that the subject of additional rebirth ceases to exist in samsara. On the other hand, in Dhammapada, Buddha understands Nirvana to be the ultimate happiness and endurance that is very different from the happiness achieved through the usage of impermanent objects and things.
Nirvana also has the characterization of bodhi (transcendental understanding) that normal English will describe as having enlightenment. Seeing bodhi is having the required knowledge to understanding the complete form of reality. Individuals that will possess or follow the rules in bodhi are arahant or Buddha (Coleman 43). Research indicates that it is the belief of Buddha that it is an exceptional moral fiber of a mind in that state of enlightenment because of it having being ansankhata (or unconditioned), which means that it does not contain previously available volitional formations that were obscuring it. What is more, Buddha will describe this state as natural ensue in the completeness of time as a consequence of living a life that has the commitment of Noble Eightfold Path or threefold training.
Pali Canon will have additional perspectives from which to view the nirvana. In the first perspective, there is its linkage to the realization or the understanding of the emptiness character in all phenomena. Additionally, there is the view that nirvana is a fundamental reorganization of the awareness and the release of consciousness. Studies indicate that in nirvana the real human being and character will became a reality. An individual harboring liberation will perform actions that are neutral that do not produce fruits but will lead to the preservation of a given character, which will be a consequence of having the traces of their karmic legacy (Coleman 66). Moreover, the existence of a substrate that is psychophysical during the rest of the lifetime of arahant indicates the continuance effects derived from karma.
Concerning gnosis and more specifically, nirvana is that which brings to an end the minds identity with the means of empirical phenomena. In doctrine, nibbana is a mind that ceases to be going and coming but rather has the award of perpetual status, which will mostly include liberation. In addition it contains within it connotations of peace, cooling, and being still. Upon the realization of nirvana ignorance ends, which will cause mind incarnation that will pass forever through one life to another. There is no need of dying for a person to achieve nirvana. However, once an individual who attained nirvana dies Buddha refers to such a death as Parinirvana (Coleman 70). The reason of this being that this is that person’s fully passing on since their life was the final link they possessed to rebirth and death.
Maybe when Sangharakshita moved to the west in a bid to popularize Buddhism, he was unaware of the impacts. The religion is today continually overlapping with the new age. Consequently, nirvana is having an impact on the world while at the same time modern world is having an impact on the operations of nirvana. Buddhism is continually adapting to modernity but nirvana always reminds individuals of the traditions. Currently, the overlap of Buddhism and modernity is leading to the much-needed expansion (Vallee-Poussin 23). Modern bookshops are selling books that contain nirvana teachings and Buddhist leaders will continually appear in modern magazines. In return, to this, Buddhism offers continued advice from the concept of nirvana to world leaders and decision makers. Although there is the constant fear of erosion by modernity, the two are changing positively without the expected conflicts.
The contemporary trends that Buddhism has been experiencing are most in the spread of the religion. That is, there is an increase in the number of missionary activities in countries outside India. Nirvana hence will teach the world that Buddhism enters the virtues of having experienced enlightenment and Non-experienced enlightenment (Vallee-Poussin 29). One of the most important virtues in Buddhism is that of nirvana. That is why its impact on the trends that Buddhism is currently undergoing is enormous. Research indicates that a common meeting point between new age and the religion is that of having a self-religion. In these teachings, it would be better if modernity would view spiritual life as merely in experiences but rather look at it in more defined ways like work, duty, and growth. Moreover, it proposes that all individuals will at certain point experience change. Such teachings have had bearing on the modern Buddhism that heavily borrows from nirvana.
Nirvana is not only providing modern Buddhism with answers but rather it also provides difficulties to the growth of the religion in a contemporary world. With nirvana, there is no consensus that every other religion is simply an expression of some given reality. This is because this religion cannot view itself using the lens of reality. Nirvana is just a condition that will provide ways that will induce the realization of reality. In addition, happiness in the current world is through taking the right diet or certain medicine in cases of medicine, which is a contradiction in nirvana (Vallee-Poussin 34). With nirvana, the definition of happiness is contrary to that of the modern world, which has a negative impact on the growth of the religion. This is because the religion will have either to change this stance or convince the world of its beliefs both of which are very difficult.
It is clear that the impact of nirvana on contemporary trends of Buddhism dictates that there is caution handling of the new age matters. Leaders in Buddhism admit that the world is very complex and transforming it to believing in Buddha is not easy. However, there are ways of approaching the issue without necessarily attracting contention. Given that modern is trying to consume traditions such as Buddhism, nirvana is ensuring that this religion does not suffer (Vallee-Poussin 55). That is, even though there difficulty in blending new age practices to nirvana, Buddhism survives the current tide sweeping across the world. Accordingly, nirvana is a major defining factor of the current beliefs in Buddha.
Coleman, James. The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.
Vallee-Poussin, Louis. The Way to Nirvana: Six Lectures on Ancient Buddhism as a Discipline of Salvation. California: SAGE, 2003. Print.