Buddhism is Not Suicidal Nihilism. (The Goal is to Accept Death)

A lot of people think that the goal of Buddhism is suicide. Well, that’s only partly true. The goal of Buddhism makes more sense once you try thinking like a Buddhist. Supposing that a person has already experienced infinite lifetimes, that means that they’ve also experienced infinite joys, and infinite suffering. Perhaps they even remember those lifetimes. Now though, they’ve grown tired and old, and like a hospital patient that’s reliant on morphine, they are are ready to “pass on.”

When people say Buddhism preaches the pursuit of extinction, I consider that healthier than how it first appears. If you treat “liberation” as a metaphor, it simply means the goal is accepting the finality of death. It’s quite beautiful to think that in the mind of a Buddhist he could have chosen to live forever, but he decided he has lived long enough and is content with what he has experienced, and is ready to move on and let go. It’s the mark of an emotionally secure person.

image(She’s seen enough.)

Christianity is nothing like that. A Christian’s life never ends, not even if he gets bored of heaven or hell, and yearns to stop existing. Christianity encourages greed, because the purpose is to obtain eternal life (by pledging to serve God forever.) It’s like an author who keeps writing year after year of poor sequels, because they don’t have the maturity to finish a series with, “The End.”

A born-again (Catholic) Christian cannot live with the same peace that an enlightened Buddhist has, because he can never truly know if he will be given grace. He’s not even sure if he could enjoy heaven forever, but is too afraid of hell to entertain doubt and consider an alternative. The Christian panics at the possibility that he is wrong and there is no afterlife. The Christian hasn’t even accepted the death of his friends, and tells himself he might still meet them in heaven.

The enlightened Buddhist knows that even if he isn’t freed from samsara (the cycle of death and rebirth) in this lifetime, there will always be a chance in a future lifetime. The Buddhist is calm about the possibility that is no afterlife, because he is ready to lie down quietly and meet his end.

Therefore, Buddhists are more emotionally secure.


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