How To Reach Nirvana
The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism work together to create the path of Nirvana, a zen mindset free of impulses, vexation, and mental pain. Nirvana is the Sanskrit derivative of “becoming extinguished” or “blowing out.” Sanskrit is an old Indi-Aryan language and was spoken by more than 800 million people across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Awakening to nirvana is the common goal of all practicing Buddhism. In fact, it’s the ultimate goal. Nirvana is known as the highest point one can reach. Once nirvana is reached, Buddhists believe they will no longer be reborn after coming to physical death.
This belief process is known as samsara. By definition, Sanskrit means “flowing on” or “passing through.” The term is often used to identify Buddhists who have come into an understanding that life is an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. This concept is visually expressed in the Wheel of Life, religiously known as the bhāvacakra.
In contrast, dukkah defines one who believes the world is full of suffering and dissatisfaction. Dukkha is the opposite of nirvana, which is the state of being free from suffering and cycles of rebirth. After taking all of that into account, it’s plausible to wonder what relational circumstances drive everyday people to feel impulsive, angry, or mentally down.
Roughly 7% of the world’s population was Buddhist in 2015 (half living in China), and there are an estimated 3-4 million Buddhists in the United States. More specifically, 34% of Buddhists in America are 18-29 years old, 30% are 30-49. Generationally speaking, 23% of American Buddhists are younger millennials, 17% are older millennials, and 23% lies in Generation X.
Although millennials (18-33) and Gen Xers (34-37) have the highest stress levels on average, Boomers (48 to 66) and Matures (67+) still carry higher-than-normal stress levels.
Perhaps this stress could be stemming from socioeconomics. According to a report by Bank of America and USA Today, 43% of millennials who worry about money stress over the fact they’re not putting enough into savings. Perhaps the reason millennials are having trouble saving is due to the student loan crisis. 27% of millennials who worried about money were stressed over their student loans. According to Credit.com, the average American could buy a new car with their amount of student loan debt.
Financial stress is very real. At its most overwhelming, money worries can lead to a slew of health complications. For example:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Relationship difficulties
- Social withdrawal
- Physical ailments
- Unhealthy coping methods
Not only will financial stress cause discomfort, but a decline in mental health will only make it that much harder for one to manage their money going forward. When your mental state is threatened, you may find it increasingly challenging to obtain face or muster up the energy to complete life responsibilities like paying bills.
Buddhist business owners can suffer from this as well.
The Four Noble Truths
Secular Buddhism works to overcome outstanding problems in human nature. For example, feelings that bring upon suffering (dukkha).
Dukkha is the first Noble Truth. We must understand life comes with trials and tribulations, but they are not to be dwelled in. In order to feel young and healthy in spirit, we must desire it. Have you ever practiced intentional manifestation?
Samudāya is the second Noble Truth. This truth explains the three sources of suffering: greed, ignorance, and hatred. People come and go and circumstances change often. These are things we cannot change. Rather than negatively desiring better circumstances, work to mentally mesh into your reality. We are in charge of our own lives and destinies.
The third Noble Truth entails cessation of suffering, definitely known as nirodha. By physically putting an end to the fires in our lives, we can eliminate the sources of negative feelings.
Finally, the fourth Noble Truth is the path to the cessation of suffering or magga. This is a path of self-improvement that leads to nirvana.
Life After Nirvana
One may feel spiritually reborn after reaching nirvana. Worries you once had may rank less importance in your mentality, or could have even phased out. Life after nirvana is said to feel blissful as one now understands the scope of their path. Furthermore, one may find themselves to be less critical of others and themselves. These are results of The Four Noble Truths.
According to Buddhist philosophy, being realistic consists of having clarity, holding insight, and having an accurate view of reality. This can be lived out once nirvana is achieved.
At the end of the day, it will always be in your best interest to make right efforts to ensure your mind stays in a positive and honest place. When negative thoughts come to your head, rid them. When negative circumstances present, tackle them.
Buddhist Economics have many insights for mental wellbeing. What’s on your mind, and how have you worked to address it?
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