chapter  6
Aesthetic and Moral Criticisms
Pages 12

As Nirvana can be realized only by the abolition of desire and craving, it is often viewed as a condition of emotional death, a state of emptiness and apathy. Even in the minds of many Theravadin Buddhists it seems depressing, as if to say one never wins in samsara, so the only solution is suicide. Yet suicide of the usual sort is almost invariably preceded by severe and inescapable depression. Before concluding that the quest for Nirvana is motivated by a death-wish, we should note that the Buddha divided the types of craving one should overcome into three categories. The first two are cravings for sense pleasures and for continued existence. The third craving to be relinquished is craving for annihilation after death. 2

An arahant is not in a state of chronic apathy. In the Suttas the Buddha is often referred to as 'the Happy One', 3 and of the seven states of mind listed as conducive to Nirvana one is happiness and two of the others are tranquillity and equanimity.