Buddha apparently didn’t want women to join the order and become Buddhists (although I’m sure they weren’t called that then) because he said it would cause the teachings to die out hundreds of years sooner.
Perhaps the fact that he relented and allowed women into the Sangha did set Buddhism back, but I think that grunge set it back even further. Even now, almost a quarter of a century since the death of Cobain, I can’t think of nirvana without Nirvana coming to mind.
Try searching for nirvana on Google (other massive multi-national conglomerates are available) and you will notice that Buddhism only features once in the top ten. Most of the other slots are taken by “one of the most influential and important alternative bands in history” (Wikipedia).
But even so, I’ve been thinking about the state of nirvana a lot recently. I’ve been getting a sense of that emptiness that lies beneath and beyond my thoughts, emotions and sensations.
These disturbances (aka thoughts) used to run wild through me; but not so much these days. It’s taken a while, but I might finally be getting a slight tinge of the trailing skirt of a faint sense of what it is like to be ‘blown out’ (as in an oil lamp).
I can’t claim to have reached a state of anything like perfect quietude or freedom from the bonds of corporeality, much less a state of highest happiness, but slowly, slowly – I’m heading in that direction.
And it feels nice.