I found this nice explanation of Nirvana (see link below) by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, teacher and peace activist from Vietnam. As I already stated in my last post Nirvana has nothing to do with “fading away.” It’s a state of consciousness, where “there is neither coming nor going, neither birthing nor dying,” neither being nor non-being. As a chaos mystic I neither believe that Nirvana is the pre-determined endpoint of enlightenment nor that such a state of consciousness is proof for metaphysical realities. BUT: As a chaos mystic I also put the emphasis on experience. So I will tell you what I think about all that after I’ve been there. I haven’t yet. (On the other hand it’s said that Nirvana is not where you will go, but where you have always been.) Once when Clint and I talked about the Eastern teachings and our fascination with certain aspects of them, we both came to the conclusion that we are some kind of “Satanic Daoists.” Of course that was a joke, but one that contains a grain of truth. The point is that each of us values things that Buddhism and Asian spiritual philosophies in general often seem to neglect. I mean things like individualism, personal freedom, personal achievement, warriorship and the body / pleasure. (I mean, probably all Elhaz Fellows do value these things, but I had that particular conversation with Clint some months ago.) Mystics all over the world often value enlightenment over ordinary, embodied life. As a Chaos Heathen and an Initiate on the Left-Hand Path I embrace joyously the embodied life and I strive to use magic to make it better, not to look for escape roots from this world. To return from mystical peak experiences to embodied life, to use them for self-empowerment, joy and inner freedom seems to me to be the hallmark of a truely Heathen attitude. That kind of stance doesn’t really make you predisposed for becoming a Buddhist. (I’ve been there in my early twenties, but my magical interests have been too strong and I didn’t like the idea that sitting at the feet of some guru would somehow help you to improve yourself.) I am also very sceptical of Europeans that claim they are Buddhists (I have a few friends who are). Even the Dalai Lama said that we (the Westerners) have our own spiritual traditions. Certainly he mostly thought of Christianity, but we can also dig deeper to all kind of occult philosophies, alchemy, the Orphic Mysteries and, of course, the Runes. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t learn from the wise men of the East, as Godwin has put it. The meditative techniques developed in Buddhism (especially Vipassana) are very useful tools for developing the “Watcher of the watcher,” the “inner witness” or “Fourth Room, ” as deRopp called it. This is basically the ability to practise “observer consciousness,” to develop an inner observer that doesn’t become lost in one’s own thoughts, feelings and desires. It’s a kind of meta-level, a calm centre, untouched by the inconsistent, impermanent nature of the mind, a “fluid, mercurial point of view that is still there in some form, even when the sense of mundane selfhood is dismantled.” (Dave Lee, pers. comm.) Without developing that capability nothing really useful can be achieved in spiritual matters. One needs years, even decades to get there. Even then you can still loose awareness easily in certain situations. This is a constant process of self-remembering, as the mystic and spiritual teacher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff has called it.
It’s interesting to note that the Buddha attained enlightenment under a Tree. Our God of the Runes instead is Hangatýr, the God of the Hanged, as He has hung upon a Tree when He reached illumination. I come to believe that Eihwaz is the Rune of “psychological death.” Its number is 13 (a number often associated with bad luck now). Eihwaz is a very powerful Rune that I also consider to be the Rune of Enlightenment and Immortality. The Eihwaz-Rune represents the Tree, Yggdrasil, where Óðinn has won the Runes – His symbolic code that leads to enlightenment. And as I said once in a ritual I called the Elhaz Ablaze Rite: “The Tree is the World. The World is the Supreme Self. This Self is me. I Am the Tree. Tat tvam Asi.“
However, here is the link to the video where Thich Nhat Hanh explains the nature of Nirvana. Notice his calmness and clarity. Most interesting are the parts, where he explains the aim of meditative practice that is “non-fear.” I enjoyed a lot his way of looking at death, namely that death does not exist. A cloud does not die, it just changes its state of being, but it does not become nothing. Words of wisdom. Heed them well. Click here to watch the movie.