Nirvana, or Nibbana in Pali, is a state in which you free yourself from suffering. The suffering refers to greed, hatred, and delusion. Just like extinguishing a fire. Nirvana can be reached by ending the cycle of Samsara, which is the cycle of rebirth. According to Buddhism, samsara is caused by karma and that our suffering also means to be reborn. Nirvana is to never reborn again and continue living in different bodies.
The first step to Nirvana is to know The Four Noble Truths, which tells us that we experience suffering, there is a cause to our suffering, ending of suffering if possible, and the way to end suffering. To achieve nirvana, a person needs to go through the Eightfold Path: sīla (Wise speech, wise action, and wise livelihood) which are qualities cultivated and utilized in daily living, samādhi (effort, mindfulness, and concentration) in which you build tranquility and calmness in mind, and paññā (view and intention)qualities that help us practice the ultimate goal of the eightfold path. The Eightfold Path tells us to end attachment, hatred, and ignorance. For example, instead of hating someone for decades and try to take revenge, go through the path of forgiving. If forgiving is not possible, then let go, because the accumulated anger is going to take up all your power. By letting go of your anger it might lift the weight off your shoulders. Don’t let hatred and revenge weigh you down. Just like the Four Noble Truths, we experience suffering or pain.
The cause of the pain is by a certain person or person’s actions. The ending of suffering is to forgive the person or let go. And if it not possible, then find a way to end suffering. In a weird way of thinking, hating someone is like you still care about that person, even if it is in a negative way. So just think that that person is not worth your time and just think that karma is going to get them one day.
Buddha taught us that there are many types of suffering over the course of lifetimes: birth, aging, sickness, and death. He said that to end suffering, one needs to end and remove all the negativity from your life. After getting enlightenment, you will reach Nirvana when you die, never to be born again. Only the people who have reached Nirvana will know what it actually is like, but for us, it is still a mystery.
Reincarnation is the rebirth of the soul in a new body. It is said that Buddha has seen all his previous lives in the process towards enlightenment. Some of us might see reincarnation as something cool and will make you start to wonder about the past and future life. For example, you might start to wonder if you were a man or a woman, a rich or poor person, an animal or a plant in the past. You might even start to imagine if you are going to be one of them in the future. Thinking about this might sound very interesting and makes you want to reincarnate. However, Buddhists see samsara, the cycle of rebirth, as a state of suffering. It is said that samsara is caused by karma, the result of our past and present actions, either positively or negatively. Buddhism teaches us that reincarnation means that you will continue suffering while transferring from body to body unless you try to stop it by reaching Nirvana. Buddhism does not really emphasize reincarnation because their major goal is to reach Nirvana and never be born again. When you reincarnate, your soul will transfer to another body. This shows the Buddhists’ views about things being impermanent, because in Buddhism the body is an empty shell which is filled with the soul, and our bodies won’t last forever because nothing is permanent in life. This is a very important concept in Buddhism because this is one of the first steps to reach Nirvana.
Buddhist scholars acknowledged that us being born again and again is due to some factors, including karma. It is said that good behavior brings good karma and back behavior can bring evil karma. For example, if you were a murderer or a sinner in your past life, you might not have a good life in the present. You might think that this is absurd and not true but research has found that the saintlier a person was in his or her past life, the higher their social and economic status would be after reincarnation. This might show that good karma can be rewarded to people who were nice, honest, and patient in their past lives. For example, if you at least attempt to follow the Eightfold Path, you might gain wisdom and maybe even happiness. You might not reach the state of Nirvana, but at least you will get good karma so that you can have a better life when you reincarnate. In the last decades, wealth and luxury became the main goal for many people. People started to care about price and famous brands. Everyone wanted to live a luxurious life because for them money is happiness. However, that might not be true. According to Buddha, nothing lasts forever. Wealth, health, and happiness are only temporary. Buddhism teaches us to not to be attached to things and should let go of them. Even Buddha said that letting go of possessions gave him the freedom to travel around the world. People shouldn’t own too many things. Instead of buying things that you want, buy things that you need. Sometimes buying things that you want might cause unhappiness. When you desire something and not being able to get it causes unhappiness. For example, you want to buy a luxury car but you can’t even afford to pay for your rent, doesn’t that just make you unhappy. Yearning for things that you can’t have will make you feel unsatisfied with your like. Let me ask you, do you really need a luxurious car and a mansion? Do you really need it?
Buddhism teaches us to live a minimalist life in which you only buy things that you need in your life instead of buying useless stuff. You don’t need a luxurious car and neither do you need a mansion. Moreover, ownership of these things requires a lot of money and time. Just living a simple life inside a small home and owning a normal car is enough. You might even walk to close places instead of wasting gas driving there. Minimalistic living can even help you save money. Mortgage and rent can be cheaper and you don’t need to pay higher insurance. Owning things (especially expensive things) does not make us happy, it makes us suffer. Living a simple life is also beneficial to you. When living a simple life, you will start to appreciate things that money cannot buy. You will find out that money is not as important as families or little things. It will create a more meaningful life beyond material things. Stop thinking that money brings happiness, it might give you some satisfaction, but it will not last forever. A man can be the richest, the wealthiest, the most powerful man, and still be unhappy. That is because when you think that you can get anything with money, you will start to realize that there are some things that money cannot buy, which is happiness.
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