Philosophy of Religion
Is Nirvana Good?

The Buddhist Syllogism:

  1. “Good” is a judgment.
  2.  Judgments are a form of attachment. 
  3. Attachments are the source of all misery and pain.
  4.  Nirvana is release from all misery and pain through the practice of non-attachment.
  5.  So Nirvana is bliss.
  6. But if  "good" is a judgement and judgements are a form of attachment, and attachments are the source of all misery then  those who say Nirvana (or bliss) is good thereby prevent themselves from attaining it 
  7. So you must not believe that nirvana is not good....OR you must not want to be in a state of enlightenment.... OR you must not prefer bliss to pain....


 Attainment of Nirvana is impeded by desire to attain it.  If you want to be without suffering, you will suffer.  How, then, does one attain Nirvana?

Meditation
Meditation is one means of practicing non-attachment, leading to enlightenment.

In some traditions a first step in learning meditation is learning to distinguish the receptive mind from the reactive mind.  In meditation, primacy is given to the receptive mind.  Reactive states are not to be reacted to, but received.  The habitual awareness and non-attachment that result from this practice is called “mindfulness”.
 

In the meditation drama below, which response is the best example of mindfulness?  Why?

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.  Breathe out. I’d kill for a Big Mac.  Breathe in.
Responses:
(a) Damn! My mind is so unruly.  I’ll never get it under control.

(b) What kind of Buddhist gets distracted by McDonald’s?  How embarrassing.

(c) Ah, wishing.  It is so hard to stay focused.

(d) Impermanence is the nature of all things.  The satisfaction from a Big Mac is fleeting.  Your goal is eternal bliss.

(e) None of the above is mindful.  A better response would be: