free ebooks

A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

And various interpretations have been offered


are divided from the point of view of effects into four classes, viz. (1) those which are bad and produce impurity, (2) those which are good and productive of purity, (3) those which are partly good and partly bad and thus productive of both purity and impurity, (4) those which are neither good nor bad and productive neither of purity nor of impurity, but which contribute to the destruction of kammas [Footnote ref 4].

Final extinction of sorrow (_nibbana_) takes place as the natural result of the destruction of desires. Scholars of Buddhism have tried to discover the meaning of this ultimate happening, and various interpretations have been offered. Professor De la Vallee Poussin has pointed out that in the Pali texts Nibbana has sometimes been represented as a happy state, as pure annihilation, as an inconceivable existence or as a changeless state [Footnote ref 5].


[Footnote 1: See _Kathavatthu_ and Warren's _Buddhism in Translations_, pp, 221 ff.]

[Footnote 2: _Atthasalini_, p. 88.]

[Footnote 3: See _Atthasalini_, p. 90.]

[Footnote 4: See _Atthasalini_, p. 89.]

[Footnote 5: Prof. De la Vallae Poussin's article in the _E. R.E._ on Nirva@na. See also _Cullavagga_,

IX. i. 4; Mrs Rhys Davids's _Psalms of the early Buddhists_, I. and II., Introduction, p. xxxvii; _Digha_, II. 15; _Udana_, VIII.; _Sa@myutta_, III. 109.]


Mr Schrader, in discussing Nibbana in _Pali Text Society Journal_, 1905, says that the Buddha held that those who sought to become identified after death with the soul of the world as infinite space (_akasa_) or consciousness (_vinnana_) attained to a state in which they had a corresponding feeling of infiniteness without having really lost their individuality. This latter interpretation of Nibbana seems to me to be very new and quite against the spirit of the Buddhistic texts. It seems to me to be a hopeless task to explain Nibbana in terms of worldly experience, and there is no way in which we can better indicate it than by saying that it is a cessation of all sorrow; the stage at which all worldly experiences have ceased can hardly be described either as positive or negative. Whether we exist in some form eternally or do not exist is not a proper Buddhistic question, for it is a heresy to think of a Tathagata as existing eternally (_s'as'vata_) or not-existing (_as'as'vata_) or whether he is existing as well as not existing or whether he is neither existing nor non-existing. Any one who seeks to discuss whether Nibbana is either a positive and eternal state or a mere state of non-existence or annihilation, takes a view which has been discarded in Buddhism as heretical. It is true that we in modern times are not satisfied with it, for we want to know what it all means. But it is not possible to give any answer since Buddhism regarded all these questions as illegitimate.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us