Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities by Steven Collins

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By Steven Collins

This ebook offers a brand new resolution to the query: what's nirvana? half One distinguishes among systematic and narrative concept within the Pali texts of Theravada Buddhism, where of nirvana in either. half explores different Buddhist utopias and relates Buddhist utopianism to reports of ecu and American utopian writing. Steven Collins discusses those concerns with regards to textuality, international background, and beliefs in premodern civilizations, aiming to give a contribution to a brand new imaginative and prescient of Buddhist historical past that integrates the interior and the surface of texts.

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Extra resources for Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities

Sample text

Levels o f Teaching The Buddha taught at two different levels: he taught the unchanging, true Dharma, which applies to all circumstances at all times, and he taught provisional Dharma, which he tailored to the needs of his audi­ ence and fitted to the context and circumstances. The Surangama Sutra was spoken in response to the disastrous error ofjudgment and behavior that Ananda almost made while on his almsround, making plain his need to develop the power of samadhi, as recounted in the Sutra’s prologue.

Some practitioners read a particular text, such as the Surangama Sutra, for a certain period of time each day. Others commit a text to memory and recite it. Yet another practice is to bow in reverence to it; one bows to each word or character in turn until one has bowed through the entire text. Such practices can develop faith, loosen the ties to self, and lead to personal transformation and spiritual growth. The Sutras as Practical Guides The Buddha should not be understood as a philosopher who was trying to develop a systematic philosophical system, complete with its own epistemology, metaphysics, and cosmology.

In essence, what is presented is a unique method of cataloguing and classifying spiritual experiences, together with an indication of what causes lead to such ex­ periences. Although the fifty states of mind described are by no means an exhaustive list of all possible states, the text offers a framework for the classification of all spiritual experience, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist. Finally, in dialogue with Ananda, the Buddha describes the immense amount of merit that is earned by those who teach others about the Surangama Sutra and the Surangama Mantra.

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