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In Buddhism what information is there regarding the ability to communicate back to Earth from those who have transcended and reached Nirvana?

Is it possible or probable that those who attain Nirvana, die, and reach Parinibbana would/could try to help guide others?

  • Surely you mean Parinibbana. – ruben2020 Sep 23 '15 at 16:49
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    In Ajahn Mun Buridatto Thera's biography he recounts to his disciples several times being visited by the Buddha followed by a retinue of Arhats. I believe the canonical stance is the Buddha is neither dead nor reborn. His physical body is no longer existent but the position on the astral body isn't clear. As others have said, all the Buddhas exist in the dhamma, and in every moment of mindfulness. – Buddho Sep 28 '15 at 5:02
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The short answer is no.

When the Buddha attained Nirvana, he exclaimed (Dhammapada 153 - 154):

Through many a birth in samsara have I wandered in vain, seeking the builder of this house (of life). Repeated birth is indeed suffering!

O house-builder, you are seen! You will not build this house again. For your rafters are broken and your ridgepole shattered. My mind has reached the Unconditioned; I have attained the destruction of craving.

Explanation:

According to the commentary, these verses are the Buddha's "Song of Victory," his first utterance after his Enlightenment. The house is individualized existence in samsara, the house-builder craving, the rafters the passions and the ridge-pole ignorance.

So, thereafter, he would no longer be born again in any world or in any form again. Hence, there is no way that he can communicate with Earth directly. So, how does the Buddha reach people now?

From the Vakkali Sutta:

"For a long time, Lord, I have wanted to come and set eyes on the Blessed One, but I had not the strength in this body to come and see the Blessed One."

"Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body? He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma. Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees me; seeing me one sees Dhamma."

This means that when one sees his teachings, one sees him.

And from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta:

Then the Blessed One said to Ven. Ananda, "Now, if it occurs to any of you — 'The teaching has lost its authority; we are without a Teacher' — do not view it in that way. Whatever Dhamma & Vinaya I have pointed out & formulated for you, that will be your Teacher when I am gone.

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This should be a comment, But I can't comment yet since my points are less than 50 and below is as of my understanding.

You are in a wrong view called 'Sakkaya Ditti' in Pali. You always think there is person, and he will attain Nirvana. But it is wrong. What lord Buddha praeches is neither 'Sakkaya Ditti' nor a 'Uchcheda Ditti'. He didn't preach there is a person. and He didn't preach there is not a person. There is only connections between continuously changing things.

If we took a tower build by stones, actually there is nothing called 'tower' but set of stones. Like wise, if we consider a person, there is nothing but set of things. Lets say you are 40 years old now. What are the things you have in your body when you are 1 year old? Nothing right? But how you can be recognize now as same you in age 1? because of the connection between things changed.

Nirvana is ending of having these set of things (person). That means, there will not be 'a person' when you attain Nirvana. I suggest you to read more about 'Pattichcha Samudpaada'.

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    Good answer. Virtue is like light that dispels the darkness, though we recognize a lighthouse emits more light than a flashlight, they are mere objects, what we are interested in is the light, and the quality of the smallest unit of light is the same from any source. – Buddho Sep 28 '15 at 5:42
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In the Lotus Sutra chapter "Immeasurable Life Span of the Thus Come One", Buddha states -

“You must listen carefully and hear of the thus come one’s secret and his transcendental powers. In all the worlds the heavenly and human beings and asuras all believe that the present Shakyamuni Buddha, after leaving the palace of the Shakyas, seated himself in the place of enlightenment not far from the city of Gaya and there attained supreme perfect enlightenment. But good men, it has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact attained buddhahood."

Further he states - At that time the Buddha said to the multitude of great bodhisattvas: “Good men, now I will state this to you clearly. Suppose all these worlds, whether they received a particle of dust or not, are once more reduced to dust. Let one particle represent one kalpa. The time that has passed since I attained buddhahood surpasses this by a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayuta asamkhya kalpas. “Ever since then I have been constantly in this saha world, preaching the Law, teaching, and converting. And elsewhere I have led and benefited living beings in hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas and asamkhyas of lands."

In other words, Shakyamuni Buddha states he had been enlightened since the remote past, unlike what people believed that he attained Buddhahood for the first time under the Bodhi tree. Since he attained Buddhahood, he had been preaching the Law to countless beings. That should be documentary proof enough that nirvana does not stop rebirth - even the Buddha is born time and again in order to preach the Great Law.

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There is some misconception floating around regarding nirvana. Nirvana doe NOT mean that one is free from the cycle of rebirth. It means that one is free from suffering in the cycle of rebirth.

Rebirth in Buddhism is inevitable and cannot be escaped from. This is because of the law of causality - since every moment we create causes, we must exprience the effects in later times in our lives and environment. These effects are created in the depths of one's life the moment a cause is made (through action, word and thoughts), but much of it may not be apparent till it manifests in real life. Such effects exist, but stay in latent form in the depths of our lives till a manifest cause brings them into the fore.

Active life is the manifestation of such effects - latent karma brought into action. Life is an expression of the law of causality. Death (or passive life) is the other manifestation. Since the law is constant, so is life and death, therefore the cycle of birth and rebirth is constant. There is no escape from it, I think its a misconception that nirvana means freedom from this cycle.

True freedom is not being free of problems - it is to be able to employ the power of Buddhism freely to overcome sufferings and create a truly happy life.

  • I fail to see why this answer is being so vigorously downvoted, without any comments to argue why it is wrong. – Krishnaraj Rao Sep 24 '15 at 6:52
  • A very important ability of any person, a Buddhist or not, is to be able to refute any point with clear and concise argument. Thank you Krishnaraj Rao, for pointing this out. – Deepanjan Sep 24 '15 at 15:25
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    "Nirvana does NOT mean that one is free from the cycle of rebirth" is contradictory to basic Buddhist doctrines of every tradition. Nirvana implies the end of future rebirth. – ruben2020 Sep 25 '15 at 10:53
  • The Buddha and Arhats are said to be trackless because they generate no new karma. – Buddho Sep 28 '15 at 4:57
  • @Buddho, What you are saying Nirvana is, Arahats exists with no Karma? hence no suffering? – John Fonseka Sep 28 '15 at 12:56

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