No Consciousness or Perception in Buddhist Nirvana?

I read that all five aggregates (form, feelings, perception, mental formations, and consciousness) are annihilated upon attaining Nirvana. If consciousness is annihilated, isn’t that basically the same as death, since there is no awareness of anything? I’m also confused because I have seen Nirvana described as ultimate happiness, but how can there be happiness if there is no perception or consciousness?

Oh boy. One is freed from their own misconceptions and fear. All that is left is truth. You don’t cease to exist you are existance. Let me show you a quote from Paul. Remember God’s biggest wish is for us to become just like him eventually.

St. Paul saith, “When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done
away.”6 Now mark what is “that which is perfect,” and “that which is in part.”
“That which is perfect” is a Being, who hath comprehended and included all things in
Himself and His own Substance, and without whom, and beside whom, there is no true
Substance, and in whom all things have their Substance. For He is the Substance of all things,
and is in Himself unchangeable and immoveable, and changeth and moveth all things else.
But “that which is in part,” or the Imperfect, is that which hath its source in, or springeth
from the Perfect; just as a brightness or a visible appearance floweth out from the sun or a
candle, and appeareth to be somewhat, this or that. And it is called a creature; and of all
these “things which are in part,” none is the Perfect. So also the Perfect is none of the things
which are in part. The things which are in part can be apprehended, known, and expressed;
but the Perfect cannot be apprehended, known, or expressed by any creature as creature.
Therefore we do not give a name to the Perfect, for it is none of these. The creature as
creature cannot know nor apprehend it, name nor conceive it.

That’s in Christian terms. Where did you read of the five skandas? They’re purified and there’s no more confusion. I don’t know how my Rinpoche would explain it. My priest would be speechless and talking fear and terror.

What is a Rinpoche?

It’s a Tibetan term meaning “Precious teacher”. They have passed down blessings that go all the way back to the Buddha Shakyamuni.

Not on attaining nirvana. The Buddha attained nirvana at age 35 and continued living in the world until he died at age 80. For 45 years he still had all five aggregates after having attained nirvana. After his death he attained parinirvana, and all descriptions of parinivana fall short. Four of the fourteen unanswerable questions relate to the status of the Buddha after his parinirvana:

[list]*]Does the Tathagata (Buddha) exist after death?
*]Does the Tathagata (Buddha) not exist after death?
*]Does the Tathagata (Buddha) both exist and not exist after death?
*]Does the Tathagata (Buddha) neither exist nor not exist after death?[/list]
If you want to know what nirvana, or parinirvana, is like then you will have to attain nirvana. No written description of swimming will ever give you the actual experience of swimming. You need to actually get into the water if you want to know.

If consciousness is annihilated, isn’t that basically the same as death, since there is no awareness of anything?

A person may become unconscious, as in sleep or in a coma, and yet still be alive.

I’m also confused because I have seen Nirvana described as ultimate happiness, but how can there be happiness if there is no perception or consciousness?

All descriptions of nirvana fall short. At best they are a finger pointing at the moon, they can never be the moon itself. How can nirvana be correctly described in human words?


The story is that he died. I guess that depends on the sources you believe. He certainly could’ve died if he so chose. He ate a poison mushroom by accident supposedly. Now how can someone in Nirvanna and knowing all things accidently eat a poison mushroom? If he allowed himself to be poisoned there must’ve been a plan. He also taught not only humans but other beings. In one story a Nagas was hiding in the form of a human to hear his words and the Buddha rebuked him and said the words to us humans was not for his kind.

He did indeed. In Buddhism the cause of death is birth; all that is born dies. The Buddha was born so he died. The immediate cause is not of any particular interest.

He ate a poison mushroom by accident supposedly.

Either mushrooms or bad pork, the words can be translated either way. Either way he knew it was bad, at least after he had eaten it, because he ordered the remains of the food to be buried and that nobody else was to eat it.


Nirvana is actually PURE CONSCIOUSNESS, the Absolute State of Being, so to speak.
It is sort of the same as death, the Death of
YourSELF, like a drop of rain falling into the

Nirvana means essentially “to extinguish,” which can happen during life, then after
death, provided you choose so, can experience Parinirvana, which is the “Complete
Extinguishment,” no more birth death rebirth, it is ultimate freedom, says Buddhism.

So yes, it is the annihilation of consciousness (with a lowercase
“c”), but it is also attaining that state of ABSOLUTE AWARENESS.

[RIGHT]By the way, if one experiences Nirvana in life but after death chooses
not Parinirvana, that person becomes a bodhisattva, an enlightenment
being, who chooses to live again for the benefit of mankind.

I personally think that’s what Jesus is myself like a bodhissatva. There are 10 levels of bodhissatvas and 104 buddhas to appear in this age. Shakyamuni was number 4. Maitreya will come next. I like the story of the disciples of my lineage especially Jetsun Milarepa. His was an inspiring story.

By my Rinpoche. The Bardor Tulku.

Ah, a thread on Buddhism. Since you mention about life and death … just curious, how many times has a person had to die and live in order to attain nirvana? And what is re-incarnation?

Oh I wouldn’t go so far as that.

It’s not a matter of how many times one lives, it’s a matter of when works hard enough
towards enlightenment (via means of meditation, abandoning worldliness, mantra, etc).

Reincarnation is rebirth from a past life.

I have been taught in buddhism that this has been going on from beginningless time. Gilgul in Hebrew, also known as transmigration. We are trapped in an ocean of suffering. Self created suffering from misunderstandings of the real nature of things.

Why the rebirth? Does the person is being made known of what his past life is - whether a sin or virtue? Thus in his/her rebirth, is he/she to correct/maintain his past life? If not, what is the motivation in one’s life since after death ‘it is finished’ if in the re-incarnation one does not know what one was in the past life?

Probably this is to complicated for my understanding … .:o

Well that’s how it works in the Eastern World View religions, you build up negative karma in
one life, he/she reborn in the next life (and probably different world) in relation to what he/she
did in that past life, and no memory.

Attaining Nirvana is to attain the ALL CONSCIOUSNESS, and one becomes aware of
all past lives, and that one becomes free from that eternal cycle of life death & rebirth.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Seems there is an interruption in one’s awareness of one’s life journey until the Nirvana.

How do you know any of this is true if Buddha was someone who just lived and passed away like other human beings? Who told you (or the book or person that informed you) that he attained Pariniravana after his death? How did he find that out?

If all descriptions of Nirvana fall short and you haven’t personally attained it, how do you know that all descriptions fall short?

EDIT: I am not asking these to belittle your faith but just honest questions I had while reading your post.

Yes, but when one is asleep or in a coma, one can regain consciousness. However, when one attains parinibbana, consciousness is gone forever. That is basically the same as death.

I agree that descriptions of nirvana fall short, but some seem to contradict each other. How can there be happiness in parinibbana if there is no consciousness?

Okay you are totally misrepresenting Parinirvana (which is not biblical/real, btw).
In that state of enlightment and no more cycles of life, death, & rebirth, the one
that reaches this state experiences Pure Bliss and Pure Consciousness.

You don’t have you’re consciousness, that’s true, but you were an illusion, you
are not yourself BY YOURSELF, but there is only One Mind, One Spirit, ONE
SUPREME ABSOLUTE CONSCIOUSNESS (guess I can use Brahman here).

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