chapter  51
2 Pages

The Unborn

This text is very frequently quoted as proving that nirvana is not only a psychological state of the human personality but also something transcendent, a metaphysical entity. It is, however, doubtful whether this idea has to be implied, since the adjectives have no noun. What is "not born, not become" etc? We need not necessarily imply a word meaning" element" or "reality". A word meaning" state" would be in better agreement with the general tendency of early Buddhism to speak about human problems rather than metaphysics. The translation would then be "a state without birth, without becoming, without production and without compounding". The text is then interpreted as pointing out that nirvana is a state without rebirth and without change, just as so many other texts do. A more detailed discussion of the concept nirvana is found in the book "The Psychology of Nirvana" by the present writer (Allen and Unwin, London, 1969).