Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Seeker99
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:10 pm

Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby Seeker99 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:16 pm

I came across this while surfing,

"... One of these is Jeffrey Rubin, author of Psychotherapy and Buddhism. Claiming Kornfield as an authority (89), Rubin moves the agenda forward by examining the claims made about Enlightenment by Theravâda Buddhism. In a chapter titled "The emperor of enlightenment may have no clothes," Rubin says: "In this chapter, I shall challenge certain foundational assumptions of the Theravadin Buddhist conception of Enlightenment" (83).

Rubin explains that enlightenment in Theravâda Buddhism is described as completely purifying the mind of the defilements of greed, hatred and delusion. This ideal assumes that the mind can be permanently and completely purified and therefore transformed (83-4 & 87).

... psychological conditioning from the past that inevitably warps personality cannot be completely eradicated and that there is no conflict-free stage of human life in which the mind is permanently purified of conflict. This is consistent with psychoanalytic insights about the essential nontransparency of the human mind; that is, the inevitability of unconsciousness and self-deception.

For an individual to be enlightened, they would have to be certain that they were completely awake without any trace of unconsciousness or delusion. Even if that existed in the present, it is not clear to me how one could know for certain that would never change in the future. From the psychoanalytic perspective, a static, conflict-free sphere - a psychological "safehouse" - beyond the vicissitudes of conflict and conditioning where mind is immune to various aspects of affective life such as self-interest, egocentricity, fear, lust, greed, and suffering is quixotic. Since conflict and suffering seem to be inevitable aspects of human life, the ideal of Enlightenment may be asymptotic, that is, an unreachable ideal (90)."

Any thoughts on this?

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8502
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby cooran » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:30 pm

Hello Seeker99,

Maybe read this, and let us know what you think?

Bhikkhu Pesala - What is Nibbāna?
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Pesala/Nib ... bbana.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:49 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby vinasp » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Hi Seeker99,

Is nibbana achievable, psychologically?

Yes it is, but the state attained may be very different from some people's exaggerated ideas of it.

Quote: "Rubin explains that enlightenment in Theravâda Buddhism is described as completely purifying the mind of the defilements of greed, hatred and delusion."

Which, according to psychoanalytic thinking, would be impossible. Part of the problem
here is that the meaning of these terms is determined by their use in context. The term
'moha' (delusion), for example, is a certain kind of delusion. So its elimination does
not result in a person who can never be mistaken about facts pertaining to the external world.

Rubin is partially correct in that nibbana is not an eternal state of perfection, but
it is a profound transformation. Much, but not all, conditioning from the past is eliminated.

Regards, Vincent.

User avatar
ground
Posts: 2591
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby ground » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:31 am


User avatar
ancientbuddhism
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:26 am

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


Seeker99
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:10 pm

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby Seeker99 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:34 pm


SarathW
Posts: 8014
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby SarathW » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:30 am

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby vinasp » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:28 am

Hi seeker99,

Quote: "I have never questioned before the actual mechanics of it though. The arising of the 3 poisons is no doubt a mental function and how and under what condition the brain stops doing it?"

The ordinary man constructs a self, and continually generates this construction. The
result is suffering. This construction has its origin in a set of cognitive errors.

By correcting these cognitive errors the constructed self is de-constructed and
suffering ceases.

Regards, Vincent.

User avatar
equilibrium
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:07 am

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby equilibrium » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:34 pm


ignobleone
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:15 pm

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby ignobleone » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:15 pm


User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Is Nirvana (or Nibbana) achievable, psychologically?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:50 pm



Return to “Connections to Other Paths”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine