Eastern Spirituality

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Literally "extinction" and/or "extinguishing", is the culmination of the yogi's pursuit of liberation. Nirvana (Sanskrit, also nirvāṇa; Pali: nibbana, nibbāna ) is the earliest and most common term used to describe the goal of the Buddhist path. The term is ambiguous, and has several meanings. The literal meaning is "blowing out" or "quenching."

Hinduism uses the word nirvana to describe the state of moksha, roughly equivalent to heaven. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with Brahman, the divine ground of existence, and the experience of blissful egolessness.

In Indian religions, the attainment of nirvana is moksha, liberation from samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death.

Example video: Thích Nhất Hạnh discusses the Buddhist concept of Nirvana, fear, mindfulness and more in this short clip.

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Nirvana & Buddhism

Extinction or extinguishing; ultimate enlightenment in the Buddhist tradition. In the Buddhist context nirvana refers to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished. This term has commonly been interpreted as the extinction of the "three fires", or "three poisons", passion, (raga), aversion (dvesha) and ignorance (moha or avidyā). When these fires are extinguished, release from the cycle of rebirth (saṃsāra) is attained.

In time, with the development of Buddhist doctrine, other interpretations were given, such as the absence of the weaving (vana) of activity of the mind, the elimination of desire, and escape from the woods, cq. the five skandhas or aggregates.

Buddhist tradition distinguishes between nirvana in this lifetime and nirvana after death. In "nirvana-in-this-lifetime" physical life continues, but with a state of mind that is free from negative mental states, peaceful, happy, and non-reactive. With "nirvana-after-death", paranirvana, the last remains of physical life vanish, and no further rebirth takes place.

Nirvana is the highest aim of the Theravada-tradition. In the Mahayana tradition, the highest goal is Buddhahood, in which there is no abiding in Nirvana, but a Buddha re-enters the world to work for the salvation of all sentient beings.

Although "non-self" and "impermanence" are accepted doctrines within most Buddhist schools, the teachings on nirvana reflect a strand of thought in which nirvana is seen as a transcendental, "deathless" realm, in which there is no time and no "re-death." This strand of thought may reflect pre-Buddhist influences, and has survived especially in Mahayana-Buddhism and the idea of the Buddha-nature.

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z