Nirvana - relative Nothingess?
While I was reading Jason`s excellent essay
, it came to my mind what I read some years before about Nirvana. Arthur Schopenhauer claimed that Nirvana is a relative nothingness because no term of samsara fits to describe nirvana. This idea of nirvana is a transcendent understanding of it, not an immanent one like in later Mahayana. Although Jason showed that Nirvana is refered to as actualites in the Canon, like state or element, when it is described, it is often described negativly. It is often the absence of samsaric elements. Absence of craving, of greed, hate and delusion. Schopenhauer argued that philosophy has to be immanent, it can only describe what is there in the outside world, while Mystics try to describe transcendent experiences, which a philosopher can not. I argue that descriptions of nirvana like "highest happiness" and so on are mystic descriptions of what can not be objectivly described. The confusion comes into play because mystics, or generally people who experienced nirvana who describe it positivly, use samsaric terms which do not fit nirvana. My argument is that nirvana can only objectivly described in negative terms, the absence of something, because all terms we have are from samsara. Positve descriptions like nirvana as highest happiness are of no objective value, they merely give a hint of what the person experienced but are not nirvana itself. After all, there is nothing to fear of a relative nothingness, because it is not absolute, it merely is the absence of everything we can imagine.