V 11-41 The Level of Spirituality of Nirvana 涅槃的境界
Disclaimer: The translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation. The Buddha-Dharma is profound. No matter how you convey it, it won’t be completely perfect. Because the Buddha-Dharma is an experience, it’s an awakening 【佛法深奥无比，怎么写，都不会是究竟圆满。佛法是一种悟】. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
The true meaning of nirvana in Buddhism is the state of no birth and no death, no birth and no cessation. That’s why when a monk have passed away, the other monks around him or her won’t cry. That’s because the monk is going to heaven, and it’s as if they are returning back home. Why do many monks like to carry a small cloth bag that contains all their belongings with them wherever they go when they leave the monastery? It’s because the monk knows that when they leave a place and go to a new place, and leave again and go to another new place, it is the same with life. Everything is empty when one come and go. When they pass away, there’s nothing to cry for; they are just going to a new place and will meet new people and develop new affinities there. That’s why monks won’t take life and death too seriously. When they leave, they can’t even carry their blanket with them. It’s not theirs. They have nothing in this life. So they only take a cloth bag with them and go to whether they go. That’s the principle.
Humans never actually die. What dies and ceased is their physical body. But their spirit will never cease. Look at Gautama Buddha. Did he really leave? No. Up until the present day, he had still left many of his legacies in the form of the Buddhist scriptures. We have still not learnt all of it. Two thousand five hundred years ago, Gautama Buddha didn’t leave. He is still guiding us now; his spirit is eternal in the Human Realm. So what has left? His physical body. Do you know that people depend on their mental vigour to live? If a person loses it, then they are living soullessly. Many young people nowadays commit suicide because they don’t have any more mental vigour, and so they see everything as hopeless. To live, one must have mental vigour.
Nirvana has eight great impressions. In the Buddhist scriptures, it’s referred to as the ‘Eight Impressions of Nirvana’. Constant existence, solitary cessation, non-ageing, non-death, pure, complete, unmoving and constant bliss. The first impression refers to the constant existence of one’s spirit even after one’s human body has died. The second impression refers to one’s body when it has reached its lifespan. The third impression means that you will never age. The fourth impression is that you haven’t died as your spirit lives on. The fifth impression is that you are now pure as your body will no longer create karma. The sixth impression is that you have completed your calling in the Human Realm. The seventh impression is that you have become an unmoving existence. The eighth impression is that you have abandoned all afflictions of the Human Realm and have attained complete and perfect enlightenment. So your spirit lives in happiness. These are the eight impressions of nirvana.
If a person could attain complete and perfect enlightenment and could be clear-minded about everything, then it indicates that they have complete control over their six sensory faculties and six defilements. They are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. If a person could control their six sensory faculties – they don’t look at what shouldn’t be looked at, they don’t listen to something that shouldn’t be heard, they don’t speak about something that shouldn’t be said, then they are on guard against the six defilements. That way, their desires would cease. That’s why if a person could control their six sensory faculties and don’t allow themselves to be affected by the six defilements, then their desires would cease, and the karmic force would also disappear. Afterwards, samsara would also disappear for you because you have already emptied everything from your mind. That’s how the state of non-birth and non-cessation appear.
To put in plain terms, if somebody said to a clear-minded person, “You’re old now. You should go and make more money for your children.” “Why? I don’t need anything.” When you arrive in the Human Realm, everything you have is temporary. You are just borrowing things. When you leave the world, even your body is no longer yours. Who are you? When you came, you didn’t have a name. Thoroughly comprehend it, then at that moment, your karmic force will cease, and samsara will vanish. Then the state of non-birth and non-cessation will appear. Because you are clear-minded, you have nothing developed, and so there will be nothing ceased.
That’s why the definition of nirvana in Buddhist terms is that it’s the cessation of all life and death and samsara and the attainment of the state of non-conditioned bliss. ‘Unconditioned’ refers to the absence of all conscious mental activities. The attitude of bliss is where one has found their final place of happiness. That’s why those who are clear-minded are happy all their life. Those who are stubborn will also live as though they’re in hell. That’s why there’s a saying that clear-minded people pass away with a smile and under no pain. That’s nirvana.