Souls and Religions with Nirvana and light

The revealed word

Other religions may be characterized as people looking for a god (or wisdom). On the other hand you could say the person looking for the biblical God is also looking for a God looking for man. Therefore man does not himself need to define what is perfect, God reveals it to him in his Word, the Bible. That makes the Bible so unique.

File:Gati or existences.jpg

A presentation of four movements to four destinies of the soul as per the Jain theory of Karma – From Book Pacchis Bol published by Shree Diwakar Prakashan

Religions rising above the most primitive level almost always claim to bring man to higher wisdom and insight. In fact hereby we do not have to limited ourselves to pure religions. Also many non-religious and semi-religious philosophies make such claims. Especially with oriental thinking acquiring wisdom often is the main objective. This could include Hinduism and Buddhism, but also all kinds of meditative techniques which, in recent decades, engulf the western world. The latter, moreover, is in itself an interesting phenomenon. It points out that Western man has a strong tendency to turn away from the rigid rationalism that his society has formed to look for something “higher”. Many may be attracted to reason and to find a way in it to get to more wisdom because experience with pure intellect gives background to reason and reason is part of traditional wisdom, yet traditional (ancient Greek) rationalism includes an out of hand dismissal of traditional wisdom.

We can see that man has always been looking for knowledge. soon there came into being several philosophical currents of rationalism committed to reason. Rationalism is the philosophical counterpart of empiricism. This issue is about the source of knowledge: the ratio of the (sensory) experience.

The practice of jurisprudence is called ars boni et aequi, which is roughly translated as the art of being fair and reasonable. It literally means the art of righteous and good, where justice is a subcategory of reasonableness.

The logo of the First Amalgamated Church, feat...

The logo of the First Amalgamated Church, featuring the symbols of the contemporary religions Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the darkness of this world man has been looking for the light. Therefore he created or went looking in different sorts of ideas and teachings. He sought different ways in which a human being can reach the highest wisdom. He came to understand that detachment from worldly pleasures is often part of it. In oriental meditation thinking plays a major role. One strives to frequently turn off the speech by asking irrational, unreasonable questions, for example: “what is the sound of one hand clapping?”.
By day in, day out, for hours to meditate on such questions would bring the searcher to a flash of far-lifted insight.

Man tries to go deeper in himself and to get more insight in his consciousness or in the subjective reflection on impressions from the outside world (knowing that what you see, hear or feel and can tell about it) or they want to come to know their their own mental processes (know what your state of mind can tell about it). In other words, consciousness is a state of mind which is characterized by an awareness or perception of self and the environment.

Others go seeking it in a life of virtue, anyway formulated. Often such views associated with that of transmigration,  from the Latin transmigrare (to migrate across or over), meaning to pass from one condition, place, or body to another, reincarnation. The “soul” of the seeker goes through many stages of bodily existence. He reaches higher levels, both of existence as thinking and finally comes to a form of perfection. In those ways of thinking which have a religious basis, the underlying idea is usually this: the soul is alienated from God and now must find the difficult road to see again. The perfection that he is looking for is the spiritual reunion of his soul with this god. In one famous case is the end of all imperfection however simply the end of all searching and striving and therefore the ‘Nirvana‘ or absolute nothingness. The Nirvana principle expressing the trend of the death instinct, coming to the point one does not need the pleasures associated with our common human behaviour and the demands of the libido.

The Nirvāṇa (Sanskrit: निर्वाण; Pali: निब्बान nibbāna ; Prakrit: णिव्वाण) or Nibbana (Pali) is an important concept in Buddhism and refers to the highest state that can be reached by man, and by which holiness is achieved. It literally means “blown out” or to be extinguished or to be motionless. We see in it the same goal as in Christianity to become master of passion, (raga), aversion (dvesha) and ignorance (moha or avidyā). It being extinguished refers to the succeeding to come to an imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, confusion and delusion have been finally extinguished, what is the main purpose of Buddhism. “Being Extinguished’ in Theravada is one of the characteristics of awakening or enlightenment (Pali: bodhi). Someone who is truly enlightened, knows what Nibbana is and experiences it too.
Someone who has achieved Nibbana is called a Buddha (or arhat) when he was reached the state of getting the nothingness or emptiness on his own, without a teacher. Someone who has attained Nibbana (or lights), still experiences in this life the natural consequences of human birth: sickness, old age and death. However, he remains equanimous under it, and physical pain does not cause moral or mental pain. When a person who has reached nirvana or Nibbana dies he is said to reach Parinibbana and shall not have to be born again. Others on the way to the light, not having found all that wisdom and insight shall have to continue their search. A Sotāpanna (the lowest degree of holiness) has seen the Dhamma and has had a taste of Nibbana. The Sotāpanna is on the way to Nibbana, but has not yet reached her. The Arhat (one who possesses the highest degree of holiness), has achieved the Nibbana (and lighting) as a disciple of Buddha.

Besides Buddhism other Indian spiritual traditions also know a nirvana, often with a different meaning.

Others seek it in a life of virtue. By many cultures we find people having views associated with that of transmigration, reincarnation. The “soul” of the seeker goes through many stages of bodily existence. He reaches higher levels, both of existence as thinking and finally comes to a form of perfection.
In those ways of thinking which have a religious basis, the underlying idea is usually this: the soul is alienated from god and now it must find the difficult road to see him or her again. The perfection that he is looking for is the spiritual reunion of his soul with this god. In one famous case is the end of all imperfection however simply the end of all search and strive and therefore the ‘Nirvana’ or absolute nothingness.

It is striking that even the classical Greek thought went on such path. There too it was considered that the soul alienated from the perfect and the man had to find his way back. But where the oriental thinking tried to do this by disabling reason, Greek thought tried that just by doing it by getting the reason to work. That explains at least partly the fanatical pursuit of the Greek philosophers to achieve sharper insight. And therein lies again the origin of our rational modern Western world.

We have already seen that, wherever there is thought to be a god in such ways of thinking, this god does not seem to care at all for the inquisitive minds. This follows from the idea that such a god is not a creator and man not his creation. Man must therefore by his own in¬sight find his way back. This applies both to the rational as well as for the non-rational approaches. Both may be characterized as: man seeks god, which one for the non-religious philosophies instead of “god” also can fill “wisdom”. It is important to realize that this aspect is universal; it seems as it were beyond argument. Only the route of ‘the perfect’ to be achieved is debatable. Man himself must find the way that leads to perfection, but only the same man can say what that is to be perfect or what perfection may purport. And thus we can see a vicious circle.

It is therefore often regarded as the highest wisdom to believe that each may be wise in his own way and can be perfect in its own way; that the truth does not exist, but that there are many truths. This is actually an argument of weakness. Because no one can know what is true, we say that there is no absolute truth. We’re looking for something higher than ourselves, but because we should define it ourselves we do not seem to come out of it and choose the only alternative: we deny that it exists – but we still continue to search. We are like blind men looking for light. The error is obviously further away: with the assumption that we would have to define the true self.

In case there would not be such a persistent tendency to fit the teachings of the Bible in this form and trying to look at man with a soul in the Greek tradition and a spirit in the Buddhist tradition we would not have to go so deep in this matter. Too many people want to fit the bible in that ‘pattern’.

The Bible has very different starting points. The message of the Bible comes briefly down to this: perfection is defined by God, He determines what it is; He then reveals man with the mission to strive for that perfection. The consequences are clear. Because perfection is now defined by the higher Spirit itself, this definition is not subject to the imperfection of man. This breaks the dilemma of the previous paragraph. The truth which man seeks is the perfect and only truth. Because this truth is revealed, it is possible to know this real truth. But man still has to look for it.

But we can also see that the biblical truth tells us that: God seeks man.
It will be clear that this is in harmony with the premise that God Himself is the Divine Creator – and that this Creator opposite to the many man-made gods did not come form some other element in nature or form some other god, but from the void, having been there always. It is also a Creator Who cares about His creation. But there’s more: if God His revelation gives the assignment to strive for perfection it is no longer optional, but a duty, to which the man does not have the freedom to escape it.

Initially God has especially given His revelation by his prophets. That is what designates the word prophet, someone who speaks God’s words. Again and again they point out that they do not speak for themselves, as they begin their message with the words: “Thus says the LORD/GOD.” And every time their writings show that the prophesied signs points out that That God is The Only One Who allowed them to speak in His Name. The release of forthcoming events and signs shown show that He is the only one who can make messengers speak with such authority. In the Book of Isaiah He challenges His rivals (there: the gods of other nations) even directly with the words:

Isa 41:22-23 The Scriptures 1998+ (22) “Let them draw near and declare to us what is going to take place; let them declare the former events, what they were, and we consider them, and know the latter end of them; or announce to us what is coming. (23) “Declare the events that are going to come hereafter, and we know that you are mighty ones; yea, do good or do evil, and let us be amazed and see it together.

This speaking God of gods, Who makes all things and has out-stretched the heavens, proclaims a higher wisdom than human beings and that He serves as a Creator of the universe, He indicates as He says:

Isa 44:24-25 The Scriptures 1998+ (24) Thus said יהוה {Jehovah}, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb, “I am יהוה {Jehovah}, doing all, stretching out the heavens all alone, spreading out the earth, with none beside Me, (25) frustrating the signs of the babblers, and driving diviners mad, turning wise men backward, and making their knowledge foolish,

In this world there are still many who do not want to see Who is behind everything and Who is That One Who has expanded the earth with His own power. Many continue to be stubborn-hearted, not willing to see how in their own unguided search they prefer to follow the signs and teachings of false prophets and soothsayers.

There are man who want to look for truth, but do they want to look at the right place? When hearing certain words, do they want to take on their responsibility which follows from this which is referred to in the words to take it that there is no other God than the Most High Elohim Hashem Jehovah, and that there is none like Him?

Isa 46:8-9 The Scriptures 1998+ (8) “Remember this, and show yourselves men; turn it back, you transgressors. (9) “Remember the former events of old, for I am Ěl, and there is no one else – Elohim, and there is no one like Me,

Those prophets told about this God and many could hear what they said, though many would not recognize it themselves.

Isa 48:6 The Scriptures 1998+ (6) “You have heard, look at them all. And do you not declare it? From now on I shall make you hear new ones, even hidden ones, which you have not known.

The message sounds here in Isaiah particularly bright because it is precisely in these chapters it is the incommensurable of God with other gods. But if you read the rest of the books of the Bible you will come to see that the same thought also underlies everywhere in it.

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 Preceding articles:

The fear of the Lord

Looking for a primary cause and a goal that can not offer philosophers existing beliefs

Different principle about the origin and beginning of everything

The same subject in our Dutch articles / Gelijkaardig onderwerp in de Nederlandstalige artikels:

Gods vergeten Woord 16 Geopenbaarde Woord 1 Zoeken naar een god

Gods vergeten Woord 17 Geopenbaarde Woord 2 Geopenbaard licht

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Additional reading:

  1. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  2. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  4. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  5. The Paradigm of Instinct, Intuition and Intention
  6. The gods or mighty ones
  7. Genesis Among the Creation Myths
  8. Means of creations
  9. Different principle about the origin and beginning of everything
  10. Coming to the creation of human beings in the image of God
  11. The very very beginning 2 The Word and words
  12. Loving the Word
  13. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  14. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  15. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  16. Necessity of a revelation of creation 6 Getting understanding by Word of God 4
  17. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 3
  18. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  19. God Our Refuge
  20. Praying and acts of meditation without ceasing
  21. Daily portion of heavenly food

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Further background material:

  1. Oriental thinking
  2. Theravāda Buddhism
  3. Epistemology or theories of knowledge: Empiricism
    Empiricists tend to perceptualize the mind and its operations, while rationalists tend to intellectualize it. With its down-to-earth emphasis on concrete experience and clarity, empiricism has flourished in Anglophone countries, whereas the more speculative rationalist and Kantian ideas have flourished on the Continent. This is one aspect of the divide between Continental philosophy and Anglo-American, “analytic,” and “linguistic” philosophies.
  4. Experience as the most important or even the only source of knowledge or sound belief: Empiricism
  5. Concept of reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism

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  • Christian Philosophy: Epistemology (luxlucet.wordpress.com)
    Christianity also is a system of thought. But unlike Marxism, or Kantianism, orObjectivism, or any other system developed by man – what the apostle Paul deemed “the wisdom of this world” – Christianity is a revealed system of thought. One could even call it a revealed system of truth. For Christianity reveals the mind of God, the truth that comes from God, in every area of intellectual inquiry.But even though Bible-believing Christians would be the first to defend the Word of God as inspired, inerrant and infallible, too often their thinking, and thus their practice, betrays a certain amount of inconsistency. The Bible, in the view of many Christians, is good for learning about God, sin, and salvation in Christ. But when it comes to questions of philosophy, well, the Christian will have to go to the experts. This always means the secular philosophers.
    +
    An empiricist holds that sense experience furnishes us with truth. We learn truth by going out and making observations. For the rationalist, knowledge of the truth begins with ideas. The rationalist begins with certain basic ideas and deduces a system of thought from them.
  • Is Religious Enquiry Reasonable? (patheos.com)
    A religious faith thatis rooted in subjective emotionalism combined with a no-compromise fundamentalism will remain shallow and untenable for the ordinary person who wants to think things through.This is the religion which the typical contemporary atheist or agnostic rejects, and I reject it with them. They are right to reject it.

    Both rationalists and fundamentalists therefore view religion and reason as incompatible. This is the fruit of not only the “enlightenment” but also the Protestant revolution which grounded religion in subjective emotional experience rather than reason.

  • Spreading Rationalism (justicekatju.blogspot.com)
    I have made it a principle that I will never accept anything just because millions or even billions of people believe in it. Unless something appeals to my reason I will never accept it, even if the rest of humanity accepts it. At one time almost everyone believed in witches and ghosts, but is that a good reason to believe in them ? So unless I am convinced by sound reasoning I will not accept anything said by anyone.
  • How to know God? (philosopherscocoon.typepad.com)
    Basically, we can either claim that God can be known through reason —with or without further empirical evidence— (Samuel Clarke, Anthony Collins, Voltaire, Kant, Nyāya, Śaivasiddhānta…) or that S/He can be known through personal insight and/or Sacred Texts (Śrī Vaiṣṇavas after Yāmuna, Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas…).
  • What’s Wrong with Modernism? Part 1 (3dchristianity.wordpress.com)
    Many Christians oppose postmodernism’s teachings, especially the claim that there is no absolute truth – or at the very least, if there is absolute truth, that we can never know it. I think Christians have good reasons to be suspicious and critical of postmodernism. However, in their fight against postmodernism, many have allied themselves with modernism. These Christians see modernism as the bastion of absolute truth and a safeguard against postmodernity’s skepticism and relativism.
  • May 7, National Day of Reason (venitism.blogspot.com)
    Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we saw the tragic consequences in Paris. We all stand with Charlie Hebdo to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty, and stupidity. Respect for religion has become a code phrase meaning fear of religion. Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, our fearless disrespect.
  • Tom Harris – How Nirvana Works
    The Buddha couldn’t fully relate his new understanding of the universe, but he could spread the essential message of his enlightenment and guide people toward achieving the same understanding.
  • How Buddhist Concepts Change The Prejudiced Mind
    “Unlike Christian and other monotheistic religious systems that paradoxically seem to encourage not only prosociality but also prejudice, Buddhist ideas favor both prosociality and outgroup tolerance, and these ideals seem particularly efficient (in leading to action) for people with relevant personality dispositions,” the research explained.
  • Exposure To Buddhist Beliefs Reduces Prejudice; Have You Heard About Nirvana?
    Researchers from Belgium and Taiwan recruited 355 people from both Western and exotic backgrounds, including Western Christians, Western Buddhists, Taiwanese Buddhists, and Taiwanese Taoists, whowere asked toparticipate in three different experiments. Participantswere asked to fill out crossword puzzles that subliminally exposed them to religious buzzwords tied to Buddhism, like “Dharma” and “Nirvana,” as well as words with no ties to religion, such as “freedom.”After being subliminally exposed to Buddhist words, Westerners from a Christian background reported having fewer negative feelings toward people from another group. Westerner Christians also scored higher on prosociality tests and were more tolerant of other cultures after being exposed to Buddhist concepts compared to those who were exposed to Christian concepts. Similar findings were observed among people from Taiwan.
  • Buddha Blogs | Buddhism Basics
    The Buddha described this teaching as having a quality of “eni-passaka” which translates into “come-and-see-ness”. His teaching is about suffering and how to end it.

    Essentially, Buddhism is all about exploring personal experience.

  • Suffering is a State of Mind

    the act of grasping causes suffering / whether this is possession, obsession or thinking / tight finger mind ignites red fire mind

  • Fresh Revelation

About Christadelphians

Free Christadelphians or Brothers and sisters in Christ, living in Belgium, European Union. - Vrijë Christadelphians of Broeders en zusters in Christus wonende in België in de Europese Unie.
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