One of my interests is how much Western culture is descending more and more into the depths of nihilism. Looking at this problem from the side of Buddhism has been helpful. If one lives long enough practicing the dharma, they can’t help but see this world as a great deception or fraud. I will go so far as to say that by desire we, as humans, always fall into the trap of nihilism with its attendant symptoms for the simple reason that humans, invariably, cling to forms which are vain and empty (even including emotions and mental constructs). Only a few come to realize the real nature of all forms which are little more than insubstantial, mirror-like reflections.
Because of nihilism, the unfortunate bulk of mankind are like children who live trapped in a cage of objects, all of which are insubstantial. The more they cling to these objects the greater the impact of nihilism which comes in various symptoms of mental illness which are not often recognized and much less attributed to nihilism. Perhaps mankind's greatest foe is himself. In the words of Carl Jung, “Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche.” Such forces naturally arise as a result of nihilism.
The greatest danger of nihilism—when it goes far too far—is with absolute nihilism which rests on the conviction that, ultimately, there is no true reality; no way out except death. In other words, there is no awakening; no Buddhahood.
To correct this, of crucial importance, the Buddhist adept should be taught that sentient beings are intrinsically the absolute (they have the Buddha-nature) but mistakenly cling to its phenomenalizations, all of which are empty which if tenaciously clung to produce the symptoms of nihilism. The task before the adept is to penetrate through this empty, phenomenal veil which, I must add, is determinate and has clearly defined limits. Passing through this veil, which is what meditation is about, the adept suddenly enters the indeterminate and unlimited, namely, the absolute. This is awakening or seeing my absoluteness or the same, seeing my Buddha-nature which is unconstructed and unconditioned.