Suppose Dave is a Buddha.

Does he want to be a Buddha?

Will he get what he wants - forever ?

Does it matter ?

  • Maybe there was more to this question than I thought.
    – Lowbrow
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:09

4 Answers 4


1.Suppose Dave is a Buddha


2.Does he want to be a Buddha?

Well his already a Buddha isn't he.If he didn't want to be a Buddha he wouldn't have worked so hard for it.

3.Will he get what he wants - forever ?

Like you said Dave is Already a Buddha.So there's no mystery,we know he got what he wanted.Forever? No. Only until his Parinibanna.

4.Does it matter ?

I think so yes.Becoming a Buddha means a lot to the person aspiring for Buddhahood.And it means a lot to the rest of us.So I think of course it would matter.

  • there's more to the question than being r dismissive. what is nirvana ?
    – user2512
    Apr 25, 2015 at 18:11
  • though in fairness you answered what i was getting at - point 3 - he / she doesn't. i accept the answer as an answer, unless anyone disagrees ?
    – user2512
    Apr 25, 2015 at 18:12

Does he want to be a Buddha?

I think it's usually expressed as a negative:

  • Life (or the experience of life) is unsatisfactory when you're not a Buddha; many examples of its being unsatisfactory include poverty, illness, death, separation from people and things you love, inability to have what you want, inability to keep what you have, failure to do what you want to, etc. (sorry for all that bad news! :-) That's the so-called "first noble truth".
  • This dissatisfaction is caused by desire: I want to live forever! I want all my friends and family, and everything I like, to live forever! I want no pain, no sickness, for anyone! Lots of money! Endless paradise! Never anything unpleasant! But I can't have any of these things and so life is unsatisfactory. That's the so-called "second noble truth".
  • This dissatisfaction (and desire) can end. If I stop wanting things that are unreal, stop wanting to keep things that are impermanent, then I'll stop finding life unsatisfactory. That's the so-called "third noble truth".

So I think that the Buddha knows (and teaches) that wanting (thirsting for) the wrong things (e.g. impermanent things) causes unhappiness. Dave no longer wants those things and is, consequently, no longer unhappy.

Will he get what he wants - forever ?

Well, yes: for as long as he's alive. It's assumed that once he became fully enlightened then he will no longer (or not again) become unenlightened. Because being unenlightened means wanting the wrong thing, wanting the kind of impermanent thing that will cause unhappiness: and the Buddha knows better (is wiser and has more discipline) than to do that.

There is a bit in the literature where people asked what happens to a Buddha after he dies, and the Buddha says that's one of the questions that not worth asking.

is nirvana - just whatever a Buddha wants?

I think it can be described as being liberated (freed) from the dissatisfaction which is caused by wanting or clinging to impermanent things.

So I started to answer: what the Buddha taught might be summarized as "the four noble truths" or as "causes of suffering, and his path or way to end suffering".

And I started this answer by saying it's expressed as a negative ("end of suffering").

But there's more to the teaching than that: joy; serenity; loving-kindness. Removing causes for suffering allows room for other, better experiences, more like the "getting what he wants" which you asked about. For example the Kimattha Sutta mentions words like 'reward', 'joy', 'serenity', etc.

I think that the Buddha also decided that a cause of dissatisfaction (which, he freed himself from) was views about 'self': views like "me" and "mine" etc.

According to the biography, once he became enlightened he felt compassion for other people who were still suffering, and decided to try to teach to them (in case, with the help of his teaching, some of them too could free themselves from suffering). And so he began to teach.

I guess we can say that that (i.e. helping to enlighten other people, other people becoming free and safe) was what he 'wanted'.

  • 2
    I liked this answer because it managed to teach something useful from an apparently unpromising question.
    – Dan
    Apr 25, 2015 at 20:40
  • @Dan Sheppard I thought the question was apparently unpromising also but perhaps this question is more than it looks.
    – Lowbrow
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:43

No, nirvana is not omnipotence and complete control of the universe.

Nirvana is understanding and embracing the true nature of ones mind.

Any state of getting whatever you want is impermanent.

The ultimate goal is ending suffering, I think this matters, I'd like to reduce suffering, it seems a fair task.

Some schools teach only the reduction of your own suffering. Others the reduction of all suffering held by any sentient being.

  • I know the Theravada school teaches the reduction of all suffering.
    – Lowbrow
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:39

Does he want to be a Buddha? He doesn't want and doesn't not want to be a Buddha.

Will he get what he wants - forever ? Being a Buddha, Dave would want nothing. He gets what he wants(nothing) forever until the concept of time ceases in Parinibanna.

Does it matter? It doesn't matter until someone makes it matter.

Is nirvana - just whatever a Buddha wants?

This question assumes that a Buddha would want something.


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