[Buddha-l] liturgical languages

Bill Kish wdkish81 at yahoo.com
Wed May 18 12:05:08 MDT 2005

> Yes why not?
> I've seen the term used loosely as I did, and also precisely as
> you proposed it should be used. However, it makes no sense to me
> thatparinirvana (total or complete nirvana) would not apply to
> any corpse (as long as one does not believe literal
> reincarnation).

It used to be the case that "corpse" didn't necessarily imply a
condition of being lifeless, but according to the OED it is now
considered pleonastic to say "dead corpse".  The point being that
a corpse, much like a rock or a tree, is not capable of having 
thoughts, emotions, intentions, or kleshas to begin with (unlike
mentating humans).  To call such a state of affairs "parinirvana" 
seems peculiar to me, perhaps even perverse.  It's rather like 
telling someone dying of cancer that they will be cured just as
soon as their corpse reaches a certain stage of decomposition.

> As some have said on the list, one may extinguish the kleshas for

> a period of time and then succumb to them again, so one may 
> experience their absence (nirvana) and then experience the
> absence of the absence, if I may put it that way, if one is again

> subject to the defects. 

Nirvana, as traditionally discussed, is an absence of kleshas that
is permanent - no relapses allowed.  This involves worldview that 
most on this list would take issue with.  But even under the 
assumption that some form of physicalism and/or materialism is 
correct, it seems to me that nirvana should at least involve an 
absence of kleshas that lasts as long as one is capable of having 
thoughts, emotions, intentions, and related "mental functions".  
Under such a physicalist/materialist worldview, I think it would 
make more sense to just dispense with the term "parinirvana" 

> That's why I refered to Batchellor's book, where he suggests that

> getting rid of defects and dukkha is perhaps not a one-time thing
> in the life of a mentating human.

I think one can reject subitism in favor of gradualism and still 
hold traditional Buddhist views on the nature of nirvana and

Bill Kish

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