As you have often pointed out, Buddhist teachings are a vast ocean.

Though some teachings posit a state of nirvana which escapes the cycle of birth and death, many consider nirvana simply as a metaphor similar to Christian heaven; and thus an expedient* teaching designed to motivate people who simply cannot yet believe in their own potential, but who with a high ideal will strive to keep precepts which hopefully will nurture self-esteem.

I prefer the view that life and the Buddha nature inherent in it, like the universe itself are eternal; and that the highest attainment of Buddhism is not personal nirvana, but instead the establishment of a world where greed ignorance and stupidity are rare.

When people ask me what is the goal of Buddhism, I say, “World peace.”

*[Those] Who, despite the
Innumerable Buddhas
Fail to practice the
Profound and wonderful way
But are perplexed and confused
By a host of troubles —
For these I preach
nirvana.
I devise these expedient means and
So cause them to enter into the
Buddha wisdom.

The Lotus Sutra Trans. by Burton Watson. Columbia University Press. New York, 1993

SGI Buddhist, Loves Irish and Latin American Literature, History buff, knows a great deal about Medicare

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