There are four kinds of Nirvana:
- Natural nirvana–One’s true nature. The ability to see the true nature of all phenomena. Also known as Buddha nature.
- Nirvana with residue–It occurs during life. Static nirvana (peaceful). There is still the “residue” of the five aggregates. This is the nirvana of Arhats.
- Nirvana without residue–It occurs at the moment of death. Also a static nirvana (peaceful). Also known as Parinirvana. This is the nirvana of Bodhisattvas.
- Nirvana of no abiding–Doesn’t abide in nirvana (peace) or samsara (suffering). Non-static nirvana (compassionate). Also known as Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. It is Buddhahood.
©2016 Stephen L. Martin
Illustration: Mahākāśyapa was the only disciple to have understood the flower sermon. How deep was his insight?