Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby C J » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:48 am

Dear all,

I just want to learn, I'm a good Buddhist, I started practicing metta meditation recently after reading Velaama Sutta.
I had this weird thought for sometime, I thought about placing it here and getting it cleared out.

I know what I'm asking is something that will not happen & it's not practical. Some of you will think this kind of questions are just wasting time, I know it is. But I just need to clear my mind and seeking your help for that.

What if every human been in this world attain Nirvana? Not at once but through many years. Imagine all humans attain Nirvana.
So it will be the end of human kind. So Buddhism lead to extinction of human kind. In a way it's very good, no more suffering. But in another way it's so sad, what will an alien from another world think about earth when he come to earth at that time. There will be lot of structures, evidence for intelligent life, but they will not find any intelligent beings.

I would like to see Buddhism leading us to a better life, one with less suffering, where people can live life after life and enjoy it. So who ever want to attain Nirvan can do so and who ever want to stay enjoying life also can do so. Is there any chance for that?

Sorry if I disturb you in any way, that was not my intention. Just want to clear my mind.

Thanks,
CJ
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby Reductor » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:15 am

Everyone that enjoys life, and clings to it, will remain. Everyone that doesn't, will not remain. Of course that is fine: that it is how it is now.

Honestly, I think some cataclysm is likely to obliterate human kind long before every being attains nibbana. :tongue:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:18 am

C J wrote:
Imagine all humans attain Nirvana.


Then there would still be animals (in this hypothetical). Eventually another intelligent species might evolve after several million years.
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:29 am

C J wrote:What if every human been in this world attain Nirvana? Not at once but through many years. Imagine all humans attain Nirvana.
So it will be the end of human kind. So Buddhism lead to extinction of human kind. In a way it's very good, no more suffering. But in another way it's so sad, what will an alien from another world think about earth when he come to earth at that time. There will be lot of structures, evidence for intelligent life, but they will not find any intelligent beings.

Remember that all beings are capable of being reborn as humans. So humans will never die out until all beings in the entire universe die out, because even if every human born reaches Nibbana, then more animals, ghosts, devas, etc. will be born eventually as humans. So I wouldn't worry about it. After all, those aliens who are coming to visit would reach Nibbana too!
I would like to see Buddhism leading us to a better life, one with less suffering, where people can live life after life and enjoy it. So who ever want to attain Nirvan can do so and who ever want to stay enjoying life also can do so. Is there any chance for that?

But why would you want to live life after life? Why not reach Nibbana in this life, live free of suffering, and then simply not arise any longer? People who want to just stay in Samsara can if they want to, but they'll be happier if they strive for Nibbana.

I understand your worry, but it's okay; I guarantee that when Nibbana is within grasp of anyone, they'll want to take it. So don't worry!
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

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby C J » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:27 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
C J wrote:
Imagine all humans attain Nirvana.


Then there would still be animals (in this hypothetical). Eventually another intelligent species might evolve after several million years.


Very good point, never thought of that.
Thanks
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby C J » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:55 am

But why would you want to live life after life? Why not reach Nibbana in this life, live free of suffering, and then simply not arise any longer? People who want to just stay in Samsara can if they want to, but they'll be happier if they strive for Nibbana.


Sometimes I think attaining Nibbana is like running away from the problem, I know it sounds very dumb, but that's what crosses my mind. In my opinion finding a way to have happy and wonderful life without any suffering should be the ultimate goal. Then we can have that wonderful life through the sansara.

We have come into existence as live begins. By looking around the nature, it seems like the most natural thing.
Why would you want to stop it?
Life on Earth must have tried to evolve for millions of years, now we are trying to STOP it!

If Buddha had found a way to to have happy and wonderful life without any suffering throughout the sansara, I would be happier.

But I guess it doesn't work like that. Even-though I ask these weird questions, I still accept kamma and very theaching of Buddha, as I know that he knows better than me :smile:


Thanks for your input.
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:38 am

Tanha drives Samsara, so it is inseparable from Dukkha. The ONLY way to rid ourselves of Dukkha is to abandon Tanha, i.e. attain Nibbana.
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:22 pm

C J wrote:In my opinion finding a way to have happy and wonderful life without any suffering should be the ultimate goal. Then we can have that wonderful life through the samsara.


Hi C J,

If you're still interested in that view, you might find the Mahayana appealing. They have the bodhisattva vow where they choose to remain in samsara and make it a better place and help other sentient beings along on the Path.

It is not too appealing to me (and probably not too many others here on this Theravada forum) since it sounds apocalyptic (that there can be an "end" time); but if it is something that really appeals to you, you might want to check out some Mahayana traditions, such as Zen, Vajrayana, etc.

I see you are from Sri Lanka, where most everyone is Theravada, but I know of at least one Sri Lankan monk who switched to Mahayana.
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby C J » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:40 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
C J wrote:In my opinion finding a way to have happy and wonderful life without any suffering should be the ultimate goal. Then we can have that wonderful life through the samsara.


Hi C J,

If you're still interested in that view, you might find the Mahayana appealing. They have the bodhisattva vow where they choose to remain in samsara and make it a better place and help other sentient beings along on the Path.

It is not too appealing to me (and probably not too many others here on this Theravada forum) since it sounds apocalyptic (that there can be an "end" time); but if it is something that really appeals to you, you might want to check out some Mahayana traditions, such as Zen, Vajrayana, etc.

I see you are from Sri Lanka, where most everyone is Theravada, but I know of at least one Sri Lankan monk who switched to Mahayana.


Thanks for the input.

Yes, you are right, I'm a Theravada Buddhist. I believe Mahayana has changed from Buddhas real teaching, and Theravada to be most pure. What do you think? If that is the case I'd rather not follow Mahayana. I'll practice Theravada Buddhism until my wisdom matures to understand real truth. May be this is the kind of thinking that lead to Mahayana, don't you think.
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:49 am

C J wrote:Thanks for the input.

Yes, you are right, I'm a Theravada Buddhist. I believe Mahayana has changed from Buddhas real teaching, and Theravada to be most pure. What do you think? If that is the case I'd rather not follow Mahayana. I'll practice Theravada Buddhism until my wisdom matures to understand real truth. May be this is the kind of thinking that lead to Mahayana, don't you think.

I think that is best; just practice and focus on making yourself happier. The big questions are always going to be waiting for you, no need to answer them all right now. What matters is the present moment!
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

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby whynotme » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:38 am

Dear CJ,

Glad that you asked your questions, and tried to answer your questions before you asked, it shows that you are serious with your questions.

First of all, IMO, the Buddhist universe has no beginning, with infinite time passed by. There were an infinity of Buddhas in the past, and an infinity of arahants were their disciples, and the world is still there, humankind is still there. Also there is a prediction that the Buddhism will disappear after 5000 years, so even you tried very hard, only a very small number of people will reach nibbana, don't worry. It is like you worry about if people keep drinking water, then the Earth will be dry

Secondly, in Buddhist cosmology, after a very long time, no matter what, the world will be destroyed. When it happens, devas and human will learn jhanas and be reborn as brahmas. Then after a very long time, the world will be formed again, and people after exhausted their kamma in brahma world will be reborn in that world. We were devas and brahmas in the past. The world will be formed, then exists a long time, then be destroyed again and again, it is the circle of life. All of your worry is like put a spoon of salt into to the ocean

Lastly, attain nibbana is not running away from the problem. The Buddha said that he sought every happiness possible in the past, he was the Chakravatin, the king ruled the world and lead people to happiness many times in the past, he lived luxury lives, he lived devas and brahman lives. But all of those things did not satisfy him, because he was not released from age, disease and death. He did not run away in fear, hid from the problem, but he was tired of worldly happiness. Most of people are like a poor men, are hungry and thirsty, and they don't know why a rich man with a comfortable life is bored with luxury food and drink and throw them away like nothing. If you don't understand the need of nibbana, no need to seek it, just seek mundane happiness until you are fed up with it, then you will know what nibbana means.

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Re: Will Nirvana lead to extinction?

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:52 am

Nibbana is not an extinction of life. It's an extinction of greed, hatred and delusions (including those of annihilationism, a wrong view)... all of these which cause dukkha or difficulties, either for oneself or especially others.
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