According to Buddhist legend, the Bodhi Tree the tree under which the seated Buddha-to-be resolved to find Truth.
Apparently the future Buddha was first pursued by demons and then received what he believed were heavenly visions.
Rejecting both as temporary and unreal, he attained Nirvana, which for him and his followers is the ultimate, true and unchanging reality.
The term Bodhi Tree also refers to a number of trees that Buddists believe are descendents from the original Bodhi Tree. Wikipedia explains:
The Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple is called the Sri Maha Bodhi. According to Buddhist texts the Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude.¹
Buddhists preach about non-detachment and anatman (no-self) and yet, like adherents of most other religions, tend to venerate a whole series of ritualistic objects, from this kind of tree to well-kept rock gardens. In fact, one could argue that some Buddhist monasteries – not unlike some Christian monasteries – appear more like well-funded middle class havens instead of a place where any kind of real letting go of worldly things occurs.
That would be fine if admitted as such. But the sanctimonious preaching about renunciation that often comes from these places sometimes seems facile and, perhaps, a touch hypocritical.
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Nirvana (Pali = Nibbhana) is a Sanskrit term, applied mostly to Buddhism, that’s arguably difficult to understand and has several different interpretations.
Generally speaking, Nirvana refers to a condition where all worldly desires are extinguished or, more literally, “cooled by blowing.”
Buddhists believe that the world is impermanent, essentially unreal and the cause of all suffering. The only way to annihilate suffering is to detach oneself from all worldly cravings and desires. By doing this one apparently avoids another earthly incarnation (see reincarnation).
But most schools of Buddhism take this one step further. Becoming enlightened (another concept with multiple meanings) not only necessitates ridding oneself of all ignorance about the apparent reality of this world but, perhaps most radically, it also involves letting go of the supposedly false idea of one’s essential, individual self.
For some Buddhists, enlightenment is an experience of “nothingness” or “emptiness” (Skt: sunyata). Other Buddhist schools view enlightenment as a blissfully “full void,” the “essence of the Buddha” (Skt: dharma-kaya) or “ultimate reality” (Skt: dharma-dhatu).
The Buddhist scholar Trevor Ling argues that a common Western misunderstanding sees Nirvana as the extinction of everything. Instead, Ling says, Nirvana points to the extinction of evil passions.
For many who believe in God as a creator of a created reality (to include individual selves), the idea of Nirvana may seem misguided. For believers in God, life isn’t just about shutting down the bad to make room for some kind of alleged ultimate bliss. Rather, life is about striving to serve God, to know God’s will, and enter into a dynamic relationship with God.
Despite what some well-meaning people may say, this seems very different from the Buddhist ideal, and it seems reasonable to suggest that the numinous quality of God-fearing vs. God-denying religions would be equally different.
Nirvana is also the name of a rock band that was popular in the early 1990′s, whose gifted singer, Kurt Cobain, died prematurely under mysterious circumstances.
- Buddhism and Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism (brighthub.com)
- 30 Slides To Know “Nirvana” (slideshare.net)
- Lawsuit over Nirvana catalog sale settled (ctv.ca)
- Cobain widow agrees Nirvana lawsuit (mirror.co.uk)
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