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Nirvana, aka: Nirvāṇa, Nibbāna, Nibbana; 34 Definition(s)

Nirvana means something in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Sanskrit, Pali Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article:

32 Definition(s) from various sources:

Nibbāna, (nt.).—I. Etymology. Although nir+ “to blow”. (cp. BSk. nirvāṇa) is already in use in the Vedic period (see nibbāpeti), we do not find its distinctive application till later and more commonly in popular use, where is fused with vṛ in this sense, viz. in application to the extinguishing of fire, which is the prevailing Buddhist conception of the term. Only in the older texts do we find references to a simile of the wind and the flame; but by far the most common metaphor and that which governs the whole idea of nibbāna finds expression in the putting out of fire by other means of extinction than by blowing, which latter process rather tends to incite the fire than to extinguish it. The going out of the fire may be due to covering it up, or to depriving it of further fuel, by not feeding it, or by withdrawing the cause of its production. Thus to the Pali etymologist the main reference is to the root vṛ (to cover), and not to (to blow). This is still more clearly evident in the case of nibbuta (q. v. for further discussion). In verbal compn. nis+ (see vāyati) refers only to the (non-) emittance of an odour, which could never be used for a meaning of “being exhausted”; moreover, one has to bear in mind that native commentators themselves never thought of explaining nibbāna by anything like blowing (vāta), but always by nis+vana (see nibbana). For Bdhgh’s defn of nibbāna see e.g. Vism. 293.—The meanings of n. are: 1. the going out of a lamp or fire (popular meaning).—2. health, the sense of bodily well-being (probably, at first, the passing away of feverishness, restlessness).—3. The dying out in the heart of the threefold fire of rāga, dosa & moha: lust, ill-will & stupidity (Buddhistic meaning). ‹-› 4. the sense of spiritual well-being, of security, emancipation, victory and peace, salvation, bliss.

II. Import and Range of the Term. A. Nibbāna is purely and solely an ethical state, to be reached in this birth by ethical practices, contemplation and insight. It is therefore not transcendental. The first and most important way to reach N. is by means of the eightfold Path, and all expressions which deal with the realisation of emancipation from lust, hatred and illusion apply to practical habits and not to speculative thought. N. is realised in one’s heart; to measure it with a speculative measure is to apply a wrong standard.—A very apt and comprehensive discussion of nibbāna is found in F. Heiler, “Die buddhistische Versenkung” (München2 1922), pp. 36—42, where also the main literature on the subject is given.—N. is the untranslatable expression of the Unspeakable, of that for which in the Buddha’s own saying there is no word, which cannot be grasped in terms of reasoning and cool logic, the Nameless, Undefinable (cp. the simile of extinction of the flame which may be said to pass from a visible state into a state which cannot be defined. Thus the Saint (Arahant) passes into that same state, for which there is “no measure” (i.e. no dimension): “atthaṅgatassa na pamāṇam atthi ... yena naṃ vajju: taṃ tassa n’atthi” Sn. 1076. The simile in v. 1074: “accī yathā vāta-vegena khitto atthaṃ paleti, na upeti saṅkhaṃ: evaṃ munī nāmakāyā vimutto atthaṃ paleti, na upeti saṅkhaṃ”). Yet, it is a reality, and its characteristic features may be described, may be grasped in terms of earthly language, in terms of space (as this is the only means at our disposal to describe abstract notions of time and mentality); e.g. accutaṃ ṭhānaṃ, pāraṃ, amataṃ padaṃ, amata (& nibbāna-) dhātu.—It is the speculative, scholastic view and the dogmatising trend of later times, beginning with the Abhidhamma period, which has more and more developed the simple, spontaneous idea into an exaggerated form either to the positive (i.e. seeing in N. a definite state or sphere of existence) or the negative side (i.e. seeing in it a condition of utter annihilation). Yet its sentimental value to the (exuberant optimism of the) early Buddhists (Rh. Davids, Early Buddhism, p. 73) is one of peace and rest, perfect passionlessness, and thus supreme happiness. As Heiler in the words of R. Otto (Das Heilige etc. 1917; quoted l. c. p. 41) describes it, “only by its concept Nirvāna is something negative, by its sentiment, however, a positive item in most pronounced form. ” — We may also quote Rh. Davids’words: “One might fill columns with the praises, many of them among the most beautiful passages in Pāli poetry and prose, lavished on this condition of mind, the state of the man made perfect according to the B. faith. Many are the pet names, the poetic epithets, bestowed upon it, each of them-for they are not synonyms-emphasising one or other phase of this many-sided conception-the harbour of refuge, the cool cave, the island amidst the floods, the place of bliss, emancipation, liberation, safety, the supreme, the transcendental, the uncreated, the tranquil, the home of ease, the calm, the end of suffering, the medicine for all evil, the unshaken, the ambrosia, the immaterial, the imperishable, the abiding, the further shore, the unending, the bliss of effort, the supreme joy, the ineffable, the detachment, the holy city, and many others. Perhaps the most frequent in the B. texts is Arahantship, “the state of him who is worthy” ; and the one exclusively used in Europe is Nirvana, the “dying out, ” that is, the dying out in the heart of the fell fire of the three cardinal sins-sensuality, ill-will, and stupidity (Saṃyutta IV. 251, 261), ” (Early Buddhism pp. 72, 73.) And Heiler says (p. 42 l. c.): “Nirvāna is, although it might sound a paradox, in spite of all conceptional negativity nothing but “eternal salvation, ” after which the heart of the religious yearns on the whole earth. ”

The current simile is that of fire, the consuming fire of passion (rāg-aggi), of craving for rebirth, which has to be extinguished, if a man is to attain a condition of indifference towards everything worldly, and which in the end, in its own good time, may lead to freedom from rebirth altogether, to certain and final extinction (parinibbāna).—Fire may be put out by water, or may go out of itself from lack of fuel. The ethical state called Nibbāna can only rise from within. It is therefore in the older texts compared to the fire going out, rather than to the fire being put out. The latter point of view, though the word nibbāna is not used, occurs in one or two passages in later books. See J. I, 212; Miln. 346, 410; SnA 28; Sdhp. 584. For the older view see M. I, 487 (aggi anāhāro nibbuto, a fire gone out through lack of fuel); Sn. 1094 (akiñcanaṃ anādānaṃ etaṃ dīpaṃ anāparaṃ Nibbānaṃ iti); S. I, 236 (attadaṇḍesu nibbuto sādānesu anādāno); S. II, 85 (aggikkhandho purimassa upādānassa pariyādānā aññassa ca anupāhārā anāhāro nibbāyeyya, as a fire would go out, bereft of food, because the former supply being finished no additional supply is forthcoming); sa-upādāno devānaṃ indo na parinibbāyati, the king of the gods does not escape rebirth so long as he has within him any grasping S. IV, 102; pāragū sabbadhammānaṃ anupādāya nibbuto A. I, 162; pāragato jhāyī anup° nibbuto, a philosopher, freed, without any cause, source, of rebirth A. IV, 290 (etc., see nibbuta). dāvaggi-nibbānaṃ the going out of the jungle fire J. I, 212; aggi nibbāyeyya, should the fire go out M. I, 487; aggikkhandho nibbuto hoti the great fire has died out Miln. 304; nibbuto ginī my fire is out Sn. 19. The result of quenching the fire (going out) is coolness (sīta); and one who has attained the state of coolness is sītibhūta. sītibhūto ‘smi nibbuto Vin. I, 8; Pv. I, 87; sītibhūto nirūpadhi, cooled, with no more fuel (to produce heat) Vin. II, 156; A. I, 138; nicchāto nibbuto sītibhūto (cp. nicchāta) A. II, 208; V, 65. anupādānā dīpacci viya nibbutā gone out like the flame of a lamp without supply of fuel ThA. 154 (Ap. 153).—nibbanti dhīrā yath’âyaṃ padīpo the Wise go out like the flame of this lamp Sn. 235. This refers to the pulling out of the wick or to lack of oil, not to a blowing out; cp. vaṭṭiṃ paṭicca telapadīpo jāleyya S. II, 86; Th. 2, 116 (padīpass’eva nibbānaṃ vimokkho ahu cetaso). The pulling out of the wick is expressed by vaṭṭiṃ okassayāmi (=dīpavaṭṭiṃ ākaḍḍhemi ThA. 117) cp. on this passage Pischel, Leben & Lehre des Buddha 71; Mrs. Rh. Davids, Buddhism 176; Neumann, Lieder 298). Pajjotass’eva nibbānaṃ like the going out of a lamp S. I, 159≈.

B. Since rebirth is the result of wrong desire (kāma, kilesa, āsava, rāga etc.), the dying out of that desire leads to freedom & salvation from rebirth and its cause or substratum. Here references should be given to: (1) the fuel in ethical sense (cp. A 1: aggi); (2) the aims to be accomplished (for instance, coolness=peace); (3) the seat of its realisation (the heart); (4) the means of achievement (the Path); (5) the obstacles to be removed.—1. Fuel=cause of rebirth & suffering: āsāva (intoxications). khīṇāsavā jutimanto to loke parinibbutā the wise who are rid of all intoxications are in this world the thoroughly free S. V, 29; sāvakā āsavānaṃ khayā viharanti A. IV, 83; kodhaṃ pahatvāna parinibbiṃsu anāsavā (are completely cooled) A. IV, 98; āsavakhīṇo danto parinibbuto Sn. 370; saggaṃ sugatino yanti parinibbanti anāsavā those of happy fate go to heaven, but those not intoxicated die out Dh. 126; nibbānaṃ adhimuttānaṃ atthaṅgacchanti āsavā Dh. 226; āsavānaṃ khayā bhikkhu nicchāto parinibbuto It. 49; vimutti-kusuma-sañchanno parinibbissati anāsavo Th. 1, 100.—kāmā (cravings) nikkāmo nibbano Nāgo Sn. 1131.—kilesa-(nibbāna) vice (only in certain commentaries). kilesa-nibbānass’âpi anupādā parinibbānass’âpi santike DhA. I, 286; upādānaṃ abhāvena anupādiyitvā kilesa-nibbānena nibbutā DhA. IV, 194.—nibbidā (disenchantment). Nibbānaṃ ekanta-nibbidāya virāgāya etc. saṃvattati S. II, 223; nibbijjha sabbaso kāme sikkhe nibbānaṃ attano Sn. 940.—rāga virāgo nirodho nibbānaṃ S. I, 136≈; desento virajaṃ dhammaṃ nibbānaṃ akutobhayan S. I, 192; yo rāgakkhayo (dosa° . . . moha° . . . ): idaṃ vuccati nibbānaṃ S. IV, 251, & same of Amata S. V, 8; chandarāga-vinodanaṃ nibbānapadaṃ accutaṃ Sn. 1086; kusalo ca jahati pāpakaṃ rāgadosamoha-kkhayā parinibbuto Ud. 85; ye ‘dha pajahanti kāmarāgaṃ bhavarāgânusayañ ca pahāya parinibbānagatā Vv 5324.—vana sabba-saṃyojan’atītaṃ vanā nibbānaṃ āgataṃ A. III, 346; nikkhantaṃ vānato ti nibbānaṃ KhA 151; taṇhā-saṅkhāta-vānâbhāvato nibbānaṃ SnA 253.

2. Aims: khema (tranquillity). ātāpī bhikkhu nibbānāya bhabbo anuttarassa yogakkhemassa adhigamāya It. 27; ajaraṃ amaraṃ khemaṃ pariyessāmi nibbutiṃ J. I, 3; acala (immovable, not to be disturbed). patto acalaṭṭhānaṃ Vv 514; accuta (stable) patthayaṃ accutaṃ padaṃ S. III, 143; chandarāga-vinodanaṃ nibbānapadaṃ accutaṃ Sn. 1086. nekkhamma (renunciation, dispassionateness). vanā nibbānaṃ āgataṃ kāmehi nekkhammarataṃ A. III, 346.—pāragū (victor). pāragū sabbadhammānaṃ anupādāya nibbuto A. I, 162 (cp. A. IV, 290 with tiṇṇo pāragato).—santipada (calm, composure). santī ti nibbutiṃ ñatvā Sn. 933; santimaggaṃ eva brūhaya nibbānaṃ sugatena desitaṃ Dh. 285; s. =acala VvA. 219.—samatha (allayment, quietude). sabbasaṅkhārasamatho nibbānaṃ S. I, 136≈.—sotthi (welfare). saccena suvatthi hotu nibbānaṃ Sn. 235.

3. The Heart: (a) attā (heart, self). abhinibbut-atto Sn. 456; thiṭatto frequent, e.g. parinibbuto ṭh° Sn. 359; danto parinib° ṭh° Sn. 370.—(b) citta (heart). apariḍayhamāna-citto SnA 347 (for abhinibbutatto Sn. 343).—(c) hadaya (heart) nibbānaṃ hadayasmiṃ opiya S. I, 199; mātuhadayaṃ nibbāyate J. I, 61; nibbāpehi me hadaya-pariḷāhaṃ (quench the fever of my heart) Miln. 318.—(d) mano (mind). mano nibbāyi tāvade J. I, 27; disvā mano me pasīdi Vv 5014.

4. The Path: dhīra. lokapariyāyaṃ aññāya nibbutā dhīrā tiṇṇā etc. S. I, 24; nibbanti dhīrā ... Sn. 235 sabbâbhibhū dhīro sabbagantha-ppamocano It. 122 ‹-› Recognition of anicca (transitoriness, see nicca). aniccasaññī . . . bhikkhu pāpuṇāti diṭṭh’eva dhamme nibbānaṃ A. IV, 353.—paññā. nibbānaṃ ev’ajjhagamuṃ sapaññā S. I, 22; n’abhirato paññā S. I, 38. ‹-› paṇḍita & nipaka. anupubbena n°ṃ adhigacchanti paṇḍitā A. I, 162; nipakā asesaṃ parinibbanti It. 93. ‹-› vijjā. bhikkhu paṇihitena cittena avijjaṃ bhecchati vijjaṃ uppādessati n°ṃ sacchikarissati the bhikkhu with devout heart will destroy ignorance, gain right cognition & realise Nibbāna A. I, 8; idh’aññāya parinibbāti anāsavo A. III, 41; sabb’āsave pariññāya parinibbanti anāsavā Vbh. 426.

5. The Obstacles: gantha (fetter). nibbānaṃ adhigantabbaṃ sabba-g°-pamocanaṃ S. I, 210; It. 104; similarly It. 122 (see above). gabbhaseyyā (rebirth). na te punam upenti gabbhaseyyaṃ, parinibbānagatā hi sītibhūtā Vv 5324nīvaraṇa (obstacles). pañca n°. anibbāna-saṃvattanikā S. V, 97.—punabbhava (rebirth). nibbāpehi mahārāgaṃ mā ḍayhittho punappunaṃ S. I, 188; vibhavañ ca bhavañ ca vippahāya vusitavā khīṇapunabbhavo sa bhikkhu Sn. 514; bhava-nirodha nibbānaṃ S. II, 117.—saṅkhārā (elements of life). sabbasaṅkhāra-samatho nibbānaṃ S. I, 136; N. =sabbasaṅkhārā khayissanti A. III, 443.—saṃyojanāni (fetters). sabbas-âtītaṃ vanā Nibbānaṃ āgataṃ A. III, 346; s. pahāya n°ṃ sacchikarissati A. III, 423; saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā antarā-parinibbāyī hoti S. V, 69.

III, Nibbāna: its ethical importance and general characterisation. 1. Assurance of N. (nibbānass’eva santike, near N. , sure of N.): S. I, 33 (yassa etādisaṃ yānaṃ ... sa etena yānena n. e. s. : with the chariot of the Dhamma sure of reaching N.); IV, 75; A. II, 39 (abhabbo parihānāya n. e. s. impossible to fail in the assurance of final release, of one “catuhi dhammehi samannāgato, viz. sīla, indriyaguttadvāratā, bhojanamattaññutā. jāgariyā”); III, 331 (id. with appamādagaru: ever active & keen); II, 40=It. 40 (id. with appamāda-rato); Sn. 822.—2. Steps and Means to N. : nibbāna-sacchikiriyā, attainment of N. , is maṅgalaṃ uttamaṃ & to be achieved by means of tapo, brahmacariyā and ariyasaccāna-dassanaṃ Sn. 267.—brahmacariya (a saintly life) is n. -parāyanā (leading to N.) S. III, 189, cp. V, 218; also called n. -ogadhā (with similar states of mind, as nibbidā, virāgo, vimutti) ibid.; A. II, 26=It. 28, cp. It. 29 (nibbān’—ogadha-gāminaṃ b°ṃ). The stages of sanctification are also discussed under the formula “nibbidā virāgo vimutti . . . vimuttasmiṃ vimuttaṃ iti ñāṇaṃ hoti: khīṇā jāti etc. ” (i.e. no more possibility of birth) S. II, 124=IV. 86. ‹-› dhamma: Buddha’s teaching as the way to N. : “dhammavaraṃ adesayi n. -gāmiṃ paramaṃ hitāya” Sn. 233; ahaṃ sāvakānaṃ dhammaṃ desemi sattānaṃ visuddhiyā ... n°assa sacchikiriyāya A. V, 194, cp. 141; pubbe dh. -ṭhiti-ñāṇaṃ pacchā nibbāne ñāṇan ti S. II, 124.—magga: Those practices of a moral & good life embraced in the 8 fold Noble Path (ariyamagga). Sace atthi akammena koci kvaci na jīyati nibbānassa hi so maggo S. I, 217; ekāyano ayaṃ maggo sattānaṃ visuddhiyā ... N°assa sacchikiriyāya D. II, 290; S. V, 167, 185; bhāvayitvā sucimaggaṃ n° —ogadha-gāminaṃ ... Vbh. 426; ādimhi sīlaṃ dasseyya, majjhe maggaṃ vibhāvaye, pariyosānamhi nibbānaṃ ... DA. I, 176.—N. —gamanaṃ maggaṃ: tattha me nirato mano “my heart rejoices in the path to Nibbāna” S. I, 186; N. —gāminī paṭipadā A. IV, 83 (the path to salvation). Cp. §§ 4 & 7.—3. The Search for N. or the goal of earnest endeavour. ārogya-paramā lābhā nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ, aṭṭhaṅgiko ca maggānaṃ khemaṃ amata-gāminaṃ “N. is a higher bliss than acquisition of perfect health, the eightfold Path (alone) of all leads to perfect peace, to ambrosia” M. I, 508, cp. Dh. 204 (“the fullest gain is for health etc.; N. is the highest happiness” DhA. III, 267). Similarly: khantī paramaṃ tapo titikkhā, n°ṃ paramaṃ vadanti buddhā D. II, 49=Dh. 184; n°ṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ: Dh. 204=Sn. 257=J. III, 195; id. : Dh. 203; jhānaṃ upasampajja ... okkamanāya n. °assa A. IV, 111 sq.; cp. 230 sq.; kaṭuviyakato bhikkhu ... ārakā hoti N°ā A. I, 281; n°ṃ ajjhagamuṃ sapaññā S. I, 22; devalokañ ca te yanti ... anupubbena n°ṃ adhigacchanti paṇḍitā A. I, 162; n°ṃ abhikaṅkhati S. I, 198; abhipassati A. I, 147; tiṇṇakathaṅkatho visallo n. —âbhirato Sn. 86; bhikkhu bhabbo anuttaraṃ sītibhāvaṃ sacchikātuṃ ... paṇītâdhimutto hoti ṇ-âbhirato ca A. III, 435; n. —âbhirato ... sabbadukkhā pamuccati S. I, 38; n. —ogadhaṃ brahmacariyaṃ vussati n. —parāyaṇaṃ n. —pariyosānaṃ S. III, 189=V. 218; n°ṃ gavesanto carāmi (Bodhisat, J. I, 61). All means of conduct & all ideals of reason & intellect lead to one end only: Nibbāna. This is frequently expressed by var. similes in the phrase n. —ninna, °poṇa, °pabbhāra, e.g. S. V, 75=134=137=190; V, 244; A. V, 75, 134, 190, 244= 291; Vv 8442. Saddahāno arahataṃ dhammaṃ n. ‹-› pattiyā sussūsā labhate paññaṃ appamatto S. I, 214= Sn. 186, cp. S. I, 48; Gotamo n. —paṭisaṃyuttāya dhammiyā kathāya bhikkhū sandasseti S. I, 214=192=210; Ud. 80; n°ṃ pariyesati A. II, 247; n. —pariyosānā sabbe dhammā A. V, 107; n. -poṇaṃ me mānasaṃ bhavissati, saṃyojanā pahāṇaṃ gacchanti A. III, 443; odhunitvā malaṃ sabbaṃ patvā n. —sampadaṃ muccati sabba-dukkhehi: sā hoti sabbasampadā A. IV, 239; nibbijjha sabbaso kāme sikkhe n°ṃ attano Sn. 940, cp. 1061.—4. Some Epithets of Nibbāna: akutobhayaṃ A. II, 24=It. 122; accutaṃ padaṃ (careyya āditta-sīso va patthayaṃ a. p.) S. III, 143; Sn. 1086; pattā te acalaṭṭhānaṃ yattha gantvā na socare Vv 514; amataṃ A. II, 247; M. III, 224 (Bhagavā atthassa ninnetā a °assa dātā); Miln. 319; Vv 6427 (apāpuranto a °assa dvāraṃ); VvA. 85 (a-rasa); Vv 5020 (amatogadha magga=nibb°-gāminī paṭipadā); amosadhammaṃ Sn. 758; khemaṃ appaṭibhayaṃ S. IV, 175; S. I, 189=Sn. 454; Th. 2, 350 (°ṭṭhāne vimuttā te patta te acalaṃ sukhaṃ); M. I, 508 (+amatagāminaṃ); A. II, 247 (yogakkhemaṃ anuttaraṃ); same at A. III, 294; It. 27; Dh. 23.—taṇhakkhaya Vv 735; ṭhānaṃ dud- dasaṃ S. I, 136 (=sabba-saṅkhāra-samatho); dhuvaṃ (q. v.); niccaṃ Kvu 121; nekkhammaṃ A. I, 147 (°ṃ daṭṭhu khemato ... nibbānaṃ abhipassanto); Vv 8442. sabba-gantha-pamocanaṃ (deliverance from all ties) S. I, 210; II, 278 (sabbadukkha°); It. 222=A. II, 24; yathābhūtaṃ vacanaṃ S. IV, 195; yathāsukhaṃ (the Auspicious) A. IV, 415 sq.; (chanda-) rāga vinodanaṃ Sn. 1086; rāgakkhayo (dosa°, moha°) S. V, 8; rāgavinayo (dosa°, moha°) ibid. , santi (calm, peace) Vv 5021=Sn. 204 (chandarāga-viratto bhikkhu paññāṇavā ajjhagā amataṃ santiṃ nibbānapadaṃ accutaṃ); VvA. 219 (=acala); santimaggaṃ eva brūhaya n°ṃ Sugatena desitaṃ Dh. 285=Nett 36; sandiṭṭhikaṃ akālikaṃ etc.; A. I, 158; samo bhūmibhāgo ramaṇīyo S. III, 109; sassataṃ Kvu 34; suvatthi Sn. 235.—5. N. is realisable in this world, i.e. in this life if it is mature (diṭṭhe va dhamme): S. II, 18=115=III, 163=IV. 141 (diṭṭha-dh-npatta); M. II, 228; A. IV, 353=358, cp. 454.—6. Definitions with regard to the destruction of the causes or substrata of life (cp. above I.): taṇhāya vippahānena n°ṃ iti vuccati S. I, 39=Sn. 1109; as sabba-saṅkhārasamatho (calming down of all vital elements) Vin. I, 5; S. I, 136; A. II, 118=III, 164; IV, 423; V, 8, 110, 320, 354; akiñcanaṃ anādānaṃ etaṃ dīpaṃ anāparaṃ n°ṃ iti nam brūmi jarāmaccu-parikkhayaṃ Sn. 1094; bhavanirodho n°ṃ ti S. II, 117; A. V, 9; rāga-kkhayo (dosa°, moha°) S. IV, 251=261; virāgo nirodho n°ṃ in typical & very freq. exposition at Nd2=S. I, 136≈. See also vana & cp. the foll. : taṇhā-saṅkhāta-vānâbhāvato n°ṃ SnA 253; nikkhantaṃ vānato ti n°ṃ KhA 151; kilesa-n° ass’âpi anupādā parinibbānass’âpi santike yeva DhA. I, 286 (on Dh. 32).—7. N. as perfect wisdom and what is conducive to such a state (saṃvattati). The foll. phrase is one of the oldest stereotype phrases in the Canon & very freq.; it is used of all the highest means & attainments of conduct & meditation & may be said to mark the goal of perfect understanding & a perfect philosophy of life. It is given in 2 variations, viz. in a simple form as “upasamāya abhiññāya sambodhāya nibbānāya saṃvattati, with ref. to majjhimā paṭipadā at Vin. I, 10=S. IV, 331=V. 421; of satta bojjhaṅgā at S. V, 80; and in a fuller form as “ekanta-nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya upasamāya etc. as above” at D. I, 189 (negative); II, 251 (of brahmacariyaṃ), 285; III, 130 (sukhallikânuyogā, neg.) 136 (avyākataṃ, neg.); S. II, 223 (brahmacariya); V, 82 (satta bojjhaṅgā), 179 (satipaṭṭhānā), 255 (iddhipādā), 361 (ariyamagga), 438 A. III, 83, 326 sq.; etc.—Cp. n-saṃvattanika S. V, 97 (upekhāsambojjhaṅga); Nd2 281 (neg. of tamo). ‹-› 8. N. as the opposite of rāga (passion, lust). Freq. is the combn of virāga nirodha nibbāna, almost used as three synonyms, thus at S. II, 18; Vin. III, 20=111; A. II, 118=III, 164=IV. 423=V. 8=Nd2 under Nibbāna; A. II, 34=It. 88 (dhammānaṃ aggaṃ akkhāyati, madanimmadano pipāsa-vinayo ālaya-samugghāto vaṭṭûpacchedo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodha nibbānaṃ), cp. Vin. III, 20≈. Similarly S. I, 192 (Sugataṃ payirupāsati desentaṃ virajaṃ dhammaṃ nibbānaṃ akutobhayaṃ). ‹-› 9. Various Characterisations & Similes (cp. above II. A 4 & 5). sukkâbhijātiko samāno akaṇhaṃ asukkaṃ n°ṃ abhijayati D. III, 251; A. III, 384 sq.; aniccā sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā ‘nattā ca saṅkhātā: nibbānañ c’eva paññatti anattā iti nicchayā Vin. V, 86. On anicca & anattā in rel. to N. see also S. IV, 133 sq.; A. IV, 353; dukkhato & sukhato n°ṃ samanupassati A. III, 442. On comparison with a lamp see e.g. S. I, 159=D. II, 157= Th. 1, 906 (pajjotass’eva nibbānaṃ vimokkho cetaso ahū), A. IV, 3 (pajjotass’eva n. vimokkho hoti cetaso); Sn. 235 (... te khīṇabījā avirūḷhichandā nibbanti dhīrā yathâyaṃ padīpo).

—abhirata fond of N. (cp. III, 3) S. I, 38; A. III, 435; Sn. 86 (visalla+); —ogadha merging into N. (of brahmacariya) S. III, 189; V, 218; A. II, 26=It. 28; Vbh. 426, cp. amatogadha A. V, 107; —gamana (magga; cp. III, 2) leading to N. D. II, 223; S. I, 186, 217; A. IV, 83; (dhamma: ) S. V, 11; Sn. 233; —dhātu the sphere or realm of N. always in phrase anupādisesāsaya n. -dhātuyā parinibbāyate Vin. II, 239; D. III, 135; It. 38, 121; Ps. I, 101; cp. rāgavinayo n. -dhātuyā adhivacanaṃ S. V, 8. See parinibbāyin; —ninna (+°poṇa, °pabbhāra; cp. III, 3) converging into N. A. III, 443; Vv 8442 & passim; —paṭisaññuta (dhammikathā; cp. III, 2) relating or referring to N. S. I, 114=192=210; Ud. 80; —patta having attained N. (diṭṭha-dhamma°, see above III, 5) S. II, 18=114= III, 163; —patti attainment of N. S. I, 48, 214=Sn. 186; —pada=Nibbāna (see pada 3) Sn. 204. —pariyosāna ending in N. having its final goal in N. S. III, 189; V, 218; A. V, 107; —saṃvattanika conducive to N.; contributing toward the attainment of N. S. V, 97; Nd2 281 (a°); cp. above III, 7; —sacchikiriyā realisation of N. (identical with ñāṇa and constituting the highest ideal; cp. above III, 2) Sn. 267. Cp. also D. II, 290; S. V, 167; A. III, 423; V, 141; —saññā perception of N. A. III, 443; —sampatti successful attainment of N. Kh VIII, 13; —sampadā the blessing of the attainment of N. A. IV, 239. (Page 362)

— or —

Nibbana, (adj.) 1. (Sk. nirvana) without forest, woodless J. II, 358.—2. (an abstr. fr. nibbāna, see nibbāna I.; cp. vana2. Freq. nibbāna as v. l. instead of nibbana) without cravings Sn. 1131 (nikkāmo nibbano); Dh. 283 (nibbanā pl.) Vv 5014 (better reading nibbāna, in phrase “vanā nibbānaṃ āgataṃ, ” as found at A. III, 346= Th. 1, 691, although the latter has nibbanaṃ in text), expld by “nittaṇhabhāvaṃ nibbānam eva upagataṃ” VvA. 213. (Page 362)

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nirvāṇa [nibbāna] emancipation. Nirvāṇa, the summum bonum of Buddhism is an unconditioned dharma (asaṃskṛta dharma). 'Nir' is a negative particle. 'Vā' means to blow. The word nirvāṇa means extinction, the condition of being blown out; the state in which the fire (of defilements) has been extinguished. The primitive Buddhist Sūtra-s define nirvāṇa as the extinction of greed, anger and ignorance. One of the etymologies of nirvāṇa is given as 'no forest' (nir-vana), that is, absence of the jungle of defilements.

The four aspects of nirvāṇa are

  1. nirvāṇa with residue (sopādhiśeṣa nirvāṇa),
  2. nirvāṇa without residue (anupādhiśeṣa nirvāṇa or nirupādhiśeṣa nirvāṇa or parinirvāṇa),
  3. the primeval nirvāṇa (svabhāva nirvāṇa),
  4. non-abiding nirvāṇa (apratiṣṭhita nirvāṇa).

Nirvāṇa with residue means freedom from defilements and from future births. After attaining this nirvāṇa the physical body in the present birth still exists as a result of past karma. It is called sopādhiśeṣa nirvāṇa because the groups of existence -- mind and body (upādhi) -- still remain. This aspect is attained by an Arhat during his life.

Added: 03.Aug.2014 | DLMBS: Buddhānusmṛti
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nibbana : (adj.) free from craving. || nibbāna (nt.), cooling; extinction (of a fire); emancipation; the final bliss.

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Nirvāṇa is a term used in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. It leads to mokṣa, liberation from samsara, or release from a state of suffering, after an often lengthy period of bhāvanā or sādhanā.

In Jainism, mokṣa (liberation) follows nirvāṇa. Nirvana means final release from the karmic bondage. An arhat becomes a siddha ("one who is accomplished") after nirvāṇa. When an enlightened human, such as an arihant or a Tirthankara, extinguishes his remaining aghatiya karmas and thus ends his worldly existence, it is called nirvāṇa. Jains celebrate Diwali as the day of nirvāṇa of Mahavira.

In the Buddhist tradition, nirvana is described as the extinguishing of the fires that cause suffering. These fires are typically identified as the fires of attachment (raga), aversion (dveṣa) and ignorance (moha or avidya). When the fires are extinguished, suffering (dukkha) comes to an end. The cessation of suffering is described as complete peace.

Hinduism: According to Zaehner and "many commentators", nirvana is a Buddhist term rather than a Hindu term. The term nirvana was not used in Hinduism prior to its use in the Bhagavad Gita, though according to van Buitenen the use of the term was not confined to Buddhism at the time the Bhagavad Gita was written. According to Johnson the use of the term nirvana is borrowed from the Buddhists to link the Buddhist state of liberation with Brahman, the supreme or absolute principle of the Upaniṣads and the Vedic tradition.

Added: 09.Jul.2014 | WikiPedia: Indian Culture
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Nirvāṇa (निर्वाण): Literally "extinction" and/or "extinguishing", is the culmination of the yogi's pursuit of liberation. Hinduism uses the word nirvana to describe the state of moksha, roughly equivalent to heaven.

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Nirvāna Skt., lit., “extinction” (Pali, nibbāna; Jap., nehan); the goal of spiritual practice in all branches of Buddhism. In the un­derstanding of early Buddhism, it is departure from the cycle of rebirths (samsāra) and entry into an entirely different mode of existence. It requires complete overcoming of the three un­wholesome roots—desire, hatred, and delusion, and the coming to rest of active volition. It means freedom from the determining effect of karma. Nirvāna is unconditioned (asamskrita); its characteris­tic mark is the absence of arising, subsisting, changing, and passing away.

In Hīnayāna two types of nirvāna are dis­tinguished: nirvāna with a remainder of condi­tionality, which can be attained before death; and nirvāna without conditionality, which is at­tained at death.

In Mahāyāna, the notion of nirvāna under­goes a change that may be attributed to the in­troduction of the bodhisattva ideal and an emphasis on the unified nature of the world. Nirvāna is conceived as oneness with the abso­lute, the unity of samsāra and transcendence. It is also described as dwelling in the experience of the absolute, bliss in cognizing one’s identity with the absolute, and as freedom from attach­ment to illusions, affects, and desires.

In the West nirvāna has often been misunder­stood as mere annihilation; even in early Bud­dhism it was not so conceived. In many texts, to explain what is described as nirvāna, the simi­le of extinguishing a flame is used. The fire that goes out does not pass away, but merely be­comes invisible by passing into space; thus the term nirvāna does not indicate annihilation but rather entry into another mode of existence. The fire comes forth from space and returns back into it; thus nirvāna is a spiri­tual event that takes place in time but is also, in an unmanifest and imperishable sphere, always already there. This is the “abode of immortali­ty,” which is not spatially localizable, but is rather transcendent, supramundane, and only accessible to mystical expe­rience. Thus in early Buddhism, nirvāna is not seen in a positive relation to the world but is only a place of salvation.

In some places in the sūtras an expression is used for nirvāna that means “bliss,” but far more often nirvāna is characterized merely as a process or state of cessation of suffering (duhkha). This should not, however, be regarded as proof of a nihilistic attitude; it is rather an in­dication of the inadequacy of words to represent the nature of nirvāna, which is beyond speech and thought, in a positive manner. As a positive statement concerning nirvāna, only an indica­tion concerning its not being nothing is possible. For Buddhism, which sees all of existence as rid­den with suffering, nirvāna interpreted as the cessation of suffering suffices as a goal for the spiritual effort; for spiritual practice it is irrele­vant whether nirvāna is a positive state or mere annihilation. For this reason the Buddha de­clined to make any statement concerning the na­ture of nirvāna.

Added: 23.Jul.2011 | Shambala Publications: General
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Nirvana is an ideal state, in which mans soul, after being cleansed from all selfishness, hatred and lust, has become a habitation of the truth, teaching him to distrust the allurements of pleasure and to confine all his energies to attending to the duties of life.

Buddha explained to Kisa Gotami how Nirvana is attained:

"When the fire of lust is gone out, then Nirvana is gained; when the fires of hatred and delusion are gone out, then Nirvana is gained; when the troubles of mind, arising from blind credulity, and all other evils have ceased, then Nirvana is gained!"

Added: 14.Apr.2011 | Sacred Texts: Gospel of Buddha
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Peace; Nibbana is the unconditioned dhamma, visankhara dhamma or asankhata dhamma; it does not arise and fall away. Nibbana is the object of the supramundane citta, lokuttara citta, arising at the moment of enlightenment.

Added: 08.Jun.2010 | Dhamma Study: Cetasikas
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the state of enlightenment; an end to the cycle of rebirth in samsara.

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(Sanskrit nirvāna): lit. 'extinction' (nir + Ö va, to cease blowing, to become extinguished); according to the commentaries, 'freedom from desire' (nir+ vana). Nibbāna constitutes the highest and ultimate goal of all Buddhist aspirations, i.e. absolute extinction of that life-affirming will manifested as greed, hate and delusion, and convulsively clinging to existence; and therewith also the ultimate and absolute deliverance from all future rebirth, old age, disease and death, from all suffering and misery. Cf. Parinibbāna.

"Extinction of greed, extinction of hate, extinction of delusion: this is called Nibbāna" (S. XXXVIII. 1).

The 2 aspects of Nibbāna are:

  • (1) The full extinction of defilements (kilesa-parinibbāna), also called sa-upādi-sesa-nibbāna (s. It. 41), i.e. 'Nibbāna with the groups of existence still remaining' (s. upādi). This takes place at the attainment of Arahatship, or perfect holiness (s. ariya-puggala).

  • (2) The full extinction of the groups of existence (khandha-parinibbāna), also called an-upādi-sesa-nibbāna (s. It. 41, A.IV.118), i.e. 'Nibbāna without the groups remaining', in other words, the coming to rest, or rather the 'no-more-continuing' of this physico-mental process of existence. This takes place at the death of the Arahat. - (App.: Nibbāna).

Sometimes both aspects take place at one and the same moment, i.e. at the death of the Arahat; s. sama-sīsī.

"This, o monks, truly is the peace, this is the highest, namely the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving, detachment, extinction, Nibbāna" (A. III, 32).

"Enraptured with lust (rāga), enraged with anger (dosa), blinded by delusion (moha), overwhelmed, with mind ensnared, man aims at his own ruin, at the ruin of others, at the ruin of both, and he experiences mental pain and grief. But if lust, anger and delusion are given up, man aims neither at his own ruin, nor at the ruin of others, nor at the ruin of both, and he experiences no mental pain and grief. Thus is Nibbāna visible in this life, immediate, inviting, attractive, and comprehensible to the wise" (A.III.55).

"Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither visible forms, nor sounds, nor odours, nor tastes, nor bodily impressions, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance" (A.VI.55).

"Verily, there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible" (Ud.VIII.3).

One cannot too often and too emphatically stress the fact that not only for the actual realization of the goal of Nibbāna, but also for a theoretical understanding of it, it is an indispensable preliminary condition to grasp fully the truth of anattā (q.v.), the egolessness and insubstantiality of all forms of existence. Without such an understanding, one will necessarily misconceive Nibbāna - according to one's either materialistic or metaphysical leanings - either as annihilation of an ego, or as an eternal state of existence into which an ego or self enters or with which it merges. Hence it is said:

"Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found; The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there; Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it; The path is, but no traveler on it is seen."

(Vis.M. XVI)


  • For texts on Nibbāna, see Path, 36ff. -
  • See Vis.M. XVI. 64ff. -
  • Anattā and Nibbāna, by Nyanaponika Thera (WHEEL 11);
  • The Buddhist Doctrine of Nibbāna, by Ven. P. Vajiranana & F. Story (WHEEL 165/166).

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(Sanskrit= ) Nibbāna.

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Nibbana is the one kind of unconditioned reality. It is not matter, it is not a place where one goes, it has no form or shape or solidity, it is not something that one unites with. It is a mental phenomena, but it is different from consciousness and mental factors. It is unconditioned. That means that there are no causes which make it arise. It does not begin and it does not end. It does not experience anything, but it can be the object of experience. It is experienced by supra mundane consciousness, i.e., the consciousness that contains fully developed wisdom.

It is also important to note that it cannot be understood intellectually. It can only by directly experienced when wisdom has been sufficiently developed.

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Sanskrit; literally, "extinction, blowing out"; the goal of spiritual practice in Buddhism; liberation from the cycle of rebirth and suffering.

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Nibbana is the Dhamma which is the end of defilements and the ceasing of dukkha. Nibbana does not have conditions which could cause its arising, it does not arise and fall away.

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Nibbana is where we intend to destinate and nibbana is our definite goal. No other dhamma excels nibbana and after crossing samsara oceans with panna ocean liner there is nibbana welcoming us with full effect.

Nibbana the term derives from ivana or irvana. Ni means ikkhanta or liberated from vana or binding. Vana is the dhamma that bind various different lives in the samsara. So nibbana means liberated from binding in the samsara. This binding is tanha.

Nibbana is the Fourth Ultimate Reality.

While nibbana is wide, deep, and large, the simile ocean is used for nibbana.

Added: 09.Aug.2009 | Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama
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Nibbaana: the extinction of the fires of greed, of hatred and of ignorance; the extinction of all defilements; Deliverance from all suffering.

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(nib bah na) freedom from attachments. The basis for the enlightened vision of things as they are. (Sanskrit: Nirvana.)

Added: 16.May.2009 | Amaravati: Glossary
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N (Disappearance of mental impurities (and of the dangers that they do carry out)). Reality bearing neither object, nor consciousness. Innibbana, physical and mental phenomena do no longer appear.

When a being does experience nibbana, he/she becomes an ariya. Being no longer enclined to commit strongly negative actions, such as killing or stealing, he/she will never take birth within lower worlds. nibbana can be experienced a large number of times and last from the fraction of a second up to several hours according to the intensity of concentration being developed. The one who has eradicated the whole of kilesas (the arahanta) will experience nibbana at the end of his/her life and will never more depart from it. This is called parinibbana.

Among all these terms, nibbana is probably the subtlest and most difficult to understand. It is inconceivable by definition.

See also: nibbana

Added: 26.Apr.2009 | Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary
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Liberation; literally, the "unbinding" of the mind from the mental effluents, defilements, and the round of rebirth, and from all that can be described or defined. As this term also denotes the extinguishing of a fire, it carries the connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace. (According to the physics taught at the time of the Buddha, a burning fire seizes or adheres to its fuel; when extinguished, it is unbound.) "Total nibbana" in some contexts denotes the experience of Awakening; in others, the final passing away of an arahant.
Added: 11.Apr.2009 | Mahidol University: Glossary
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Nirvana means extinguishing. Attaining nirvana - reaching enlightenment - means extinguishing the three fires of greed, delusion and hatred.

Someone who reaches nirvana does not immediately disappear to a heavenly realm. Nirvana is better understood as a state of mind that humans can reach. It is a state of profound spiritual joy, without negative emotions and fears.

Someone who has attained enlightenment is filled with compassion for all living things.

After death an enlightened person is liberated from the cycle of rebirth, but Buddhism gives no definite answers as to what happens next.

Added: 10.Apr.2009 | BBC: Buddhism
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the goal of Buddhism; freedom from Karma; extinction of all craving; the realizatoin of the true nature of the mind
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Nirvana means "to extinguish," such as extinguishing the flame of a candle. However, this "extinguishment" is not understood by Buddhists to mean annihilation.
Added: 23.Nov.2008 | About: Glossary of Buddhist Terms
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(Pronunciation: "neer VAH nah") Enlightenment, the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice. Nirvana is the state in which all illusions and desires binding humankind to the cycle of birth and death are extinguished.
Added: 04.Oct.2008 | The Art of Asia: Buddhism Glossary
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NIRVANA (Skt.). State of release from the endless circling (SAMSARA) of rebirth in the world.
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Extinction of the fires of attachment, hatred and delusion that cause suffering; liberation from cyclic existence
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Blowing out of the fires of greed, hatred and ignorance, and the state of secure perfect peace that follows. A key Buddhist term.
Added: 27.Sep.2008 | GCSE: A Glossary of Buddhist Terms
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It is the cessation of suffering, the liberation from karma, and therefore the passing over into another world. The best way to think about nirvana is that it is the final goal of Buddhism, and that Enlightenment is the step immediately before it. Thus one becomes aware of the nature of Ultimate Reality in Enlightenment, and then one becomes unified with that reality in nirvana. Thus the Buddha, when he died, passed into Nirvana, having perviously attained Enlightenment during his life and sharing it with humanity. A bodhisattva is one who has attained Enlightenment, but rather than passing over into nirvana, chose to come back to this world to use their power to help other people.
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Nirvana is a Sanskrit word which is originally translated as "perfect stillness". It has many other meanings, such as liberation, eternal bliss, tranquil extinction, extinction of individual existence, unconditioned, no rebirth, calm joy, etc. It is usually described as transmigration to "extinction", but the meaning given to "extinction" varies. There are four kinds of Nirvana: 1. Nirvana of pure, clear self nature 2. Nirvana with residue 3. Nirvana without residue 4. Nirvana of no dwelling
Added: 27.Sep.2008 | Buddhist Door: Glossary
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Absolute extinction of suffering and its causes.
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(Sanskrit, "to snuff out "). Liberation from suffering and samsara, in which all desire is extinguished.
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Liberation; literally, the "unbinding" of the mind from the mental effluents (see asava), defilements (see kilesa), and the round of rebirth (see vatta), and from all that can be described or defined. As this term also denotes the extinguishing of a fire, it carries the connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace. (According to the physics taught at the time of the Buddha, a burning fire seizes or adheres to its fuel; when extinguished, it is unbound.) "Total nibbana" in some contexts denotes the experience of Awakening; in others, the final passing away of an arahant. Hindrances to concentration - sensual desire, ill will, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness and anxiety, and uncertainty.
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The extinction of the fires of greed,of hatred and ignorance, the Unconditioned, the Supreme Goal of Buddhism, the final emancipation.
Added: 29.Jun.2008 | Chez Paul: A Buddhist Glossary
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The deathless; the cessation of all suffering. The very opposite of the Wheel of Birth and Death; it is what those in the Buddhist tradition aspire to experience. The Absolute, which transcends designation and mundane characterization.
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Search found 1127 books containing Nirvana, Nirvāṇa, Nibbāna or Nibbana. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the 20 most relevant articles:

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