Nirvana is what you call “ultimate enlightenment” which is the equivalent to Heaven in Christianity. In a sense, this is the ultimate goal for all practitioners of Buddhism. That was something I was taught as a child of a family that was born and raised Buddhist. We really don’t know if or when we can obtain “nirvana”. In a sense, we feel nirvana when it’s obtained.
When you die, you reincarnate
Your good deeds and your bad deeds are weighed in the afterlife. As soul, we are either rewarded or punished as karma. To understand nirvana, one must understand how karma works. Karma is a spiritual boomerang effect as what comes around will go around. Meaning if you’re mean to people, then people will be mean to you. If you leave a wicked life, you’ll get your comeuppance.
You could live as a lowly creature
Your actions in the past will affect who or what you’ll be reborn as according to Buddhism. This cycle of life, death, and rebirth is called the “samsara”. We as souls are all bound to the samsara where the only way of achieving this is by obtaining nirvana. This is more geared towards science than faith. There is no “chosen” or God passing judgment over one’s actions.
Every action taken as an opposite reaction which is very important.
Depending on what you do in life, you can build up either good or bad karma. The final stage of nirvana called “parinirvana” is achieved by escaping the cycle of karma. But there is no saying of what this final stage is like. We won’t know until we pass on into the afterlife.
First step to achieving nirvana is to understand and accept the “Four Noble Truths” as Buddha taught as he traveled around India.
- Life is suffering.
- This suffering is caused by ignorance of the true nature of the universe.
- You can only end this suffering by overcoming ignorance and attachment to earthly things.
- -You can overcome ignorance and attachment by following the Noble Truths.
In a sense, the fourth truth is to follow the other three truths. There is much sense in those four noble truths. One good example is death. We must accept that death is a natural part of the life cycle. One thing goes away to make space for something anew.
We tend to suffer due to a loss of a loved one. It is hard to let go. I do find it hard to accept death at times. Not being able to accept and death does count as an attachment to earthly things. The Jedi and the Sith of the Star Wars franchise mirrors that. Suffering leads to sorrow, sorrow leads to anger, and anger leads to the dark side.
In a sense, we have to let go of what is physical to ascend to the mental. From the mental, we ascend to the spiritual. It’s body to mind and then mind to soul. Nirvana is the ultimate enlightenment that we all strive for. In order to achieve it, we must “ascend”. If we do not, we continue the cycle to ascend to that level.