Nirvana, aka: Nir-vana, Nirvāṇa, Nirvaṇa; 12 Definition(s)
Nirvana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
Purana and Itihasa (epic history)
- 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 25. 28-29; VI. 4. 28; IX. 7. 27; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 56. 10. Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 20. 28 and 34; II. 8. 119; III. 18. 17; 8. 6.
- 2) Matsya-purāṇa 100. 33.
- 3) Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 19. 46.
- 4) Ib. IV. 21. 4.
- 5) Ib. V. 23. 47; VI. 7. 21. 2.
The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.
General definition (in Hinduism)
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.Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)
Nirvāṇa (निर्वाण) refers to “deliverance”, according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XLVIII. Accordingly, “the path of nirvāṇa is a path of deliverance, of detachment in regard to the threefold world, of renunciation of the five objects of sensory enjoyment, of the taste of the trances and absorptions felt in the material world, the world of form and the formless world. This detachment follows a pure wisdom which cannot be acquired without the support of samādhi”.Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.
Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)
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.Source: Dhamma Study: Cetasikas
Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).
General definition (in Buddhism)Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary
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.Source: Shambala Publications: General
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
- nirvāṇa with residue (sopādhiśeṣa nirvāṇa),
- nirvāṇa without residue (anupādhiśeṣa nirvāṇa or nirupādhiśeṣa nirvāṇa or parinirvāṇa),
- the primeval nirvāṇa (svabhāva nirvāṇa),
- 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.Source: DLMBS: Buddhānusmṛti
Languages of India and abroad
nirvāṇa (निर्वाण).—n (S) Extremity or extreme distress; the state of one reduced to his last resource. 2 fig. Death. 3 The ultimatum of man,--emancipation from matter and reunion with the Deity. ni0 karaṇēṃ To do to extremity or the utmost; to carry to excess or to its farthest bounds. Ex. parakāraṇī vēcilē prāṇa || ēkādaśī kēlī ni0 ॥.
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nirvāṇa (निर्वाण).—a S Departed, utterly gone, lit. fig.; e. g. defunct or dead; emancipated from matter or from distinct existence; extinguished or gone out; gone down or set--a heavenly body. 2 Refraining, desisting, ceasing from. 3 Used for nirvāṇacā q. v. infra.Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.
Nirvāṇa (निर्वाण).—p. p.
1) Blown or put out, extinguished (as a lamp or fire); निर्वाणवैरदहनाः प्रशमादरीणाम् (nirvāṇavairadahanāḥ praśamādarīṇām) Ve.1.7; Ku.2.23.
2) Lost, disappeared.
3) Dead, deceased.
4) Liberated from existence.
5) Set (as the sun).
6) Calmed, quieted.
-ṇam 1 Extinction; अपि निर्वाणमायाति नानलो याति शीतताम् (api nirvāṇamāyāti nānalo yāti śītatām) H.1.131; शनैर्निर्वाणमाप्नोति निरिन्धन इवानलः (śanairnirvāṇamāpnoti nirindhana ivānalaḥ) Mb.
2) Vanishing from sight, disappearance.
3) Dissolution, death.
4) Final liberation or emancipation from matter and reunion with the Supreme Spirit, eternal bliss; निर्वाणं नाधिगच्छेयुर्जीवेयुः पशु- जीविकाम् (nirvāṇaṃ nādhigaccheyurjīveyuḥ paśu- jīvikām) Mb.3.31,26; निर्वाणमपि मन्येऽहमन्तरायं जयश्रियः (nirvāṇamapi manye'hamantarāyaṃ jayaśriyaḥ) Ki.11.69; R.12.1.
5) (With Buddhists) Absolute extinction or annihilation, complete extinction of individual or worldly existence.
6) Perfect and perpetual calm, repose; निर्वाणं समुपगमेन यच्छते ते (nirvāṇaṃ samupagamena yacchate te) (namaḥ) Ki.18.39.
7) Complete satisfaction or pleasure, supreme bliss, highest felicity; स योगी ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं ब्रह्मभूतोऽधिगच्छति (sa yogī brahmanirvāṇaṃ brahmabhūto'dhigacchati) Bg.5.24; अये लब्धं नेत्रनिर्वाणम् (aye labdhaṃ netranirvāṇam) Ś.3; M.3.1; Śi.4.23; V.3.21.
8) Cessation, desisting.
1) Union, association, confluence.
11) The bathing of an elephant; as in अनिर्वाण (anirvāṇa) R.1.71.
12) Instruction in sciences.
13) Finis, completion; प्राप्य संकल्पनिर्वाणं नातिप्रीतोऽभ्यगात् पुरम् (prāpya saṃkalpanirvāṇaṃ nātiprīto'bhyagāt puram) Bhāg.4.9.27.
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Nirvaṇa (निर्वण) or Nirvana (निर्वन).—a.
1) being out of a wood.
2) free from woods.
3) bare, open.
Nirvaṇa is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms nir and vaṇa (वण).Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
Nirvaṇa (निर्वण).—adj. (= Pali nibbana), free from desire: Ud xviii.3 (see s.v. vana).Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary
Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.
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Search found 111 books and stories containing Nirvana, Nir-vana, Nirvāṇa or Nirvaṇa. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra (by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön)
9. Fourth samāpatti < [Part 3 - Definition of the various dhyānas and samāpattis]
Part 4 - Conclusion (1): Preliminary Note < [Chapter LII - Elimination of the Triple Poison]
Part 3 - Patience in regard to the Buddhadharma < [Chapter XXV - Patience Toward the Dharma]
Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra (by Helen M. Johnson)
Part 23: Vāsupūjya’s mokṣa (emancipation) < [Chapter II - Vāsupūjyacaritra]
Part 18: Vimala’s mokṣa (emancipation) < [Chapter III - Vimalanāthacaritra]
Part 16: Padmaprabha’s mokṣa (emancipation) < [Chapter IV - Padmaprabhacaritra]
A Dictionary Of Chinese Buddhist Terms (by William Edward Soothill)
A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1 (by Surendranath Dasgupta)
Part 12 - The Mādhyamika or the Śūnyavāda school.—Nihilism < [Chapter V - Buddhist Philosophy]
Part 11 - Mahāyānism < [Chapter V - Buddhist Philosophy]
The Mahavastu (great story) (by J. J. Jones)