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Translations of
Nirvana
Englishlit. "blown out";[1] extinction of the three fires that cause rebirth[2][3]
Sanskritनिर्वाण
(IAST: nirvāṇa)
Paliनिब्बान
(nibbāna)
Burmeseနိဗ္ဗာန်
(IPA: [neɪʔbàɰ̃])
Chinese涅槃
(Pinyinnièpán)
Japanese涅槃
(rōmaji: nehan)
Khmerនិព្វាន
(UNGEGN: nippean)
Korean열반
(RR: yeolban)
Monနဳဗာန်
([nìppàn])
MongolianНирваан дүр
(nirvaan dür)
Shanၼိၵ်ႈပၢၼ်ႇ
([nik3paan2])
Sinhalaනිර්වාණ
(nivana)
Tibetanམྱ་ངན་ལས་འདས་པ།
(mya ngan las 'das pa)
Thaiนิพพาน
(RTGS: nipphan)
Vietnameseniết bàn
Indonesiannirwana
Glossary of Buddhism
Translations of
Nirvana
Englishfreedom, liberation
Sanskritनिर्वाण
(IAST: nirvāṇa)
Bengaliনির্বাণ
(nirbanô)
Gujaratiનિર્વાણ
(nirvāṇa)
Hindiनिर्वाण
(nirvāṇa)
Javaneseꦤꦶꦂꦮꦤ
(nirwana)
Kannadaನಿರ್ವಾಣ
(nirvāṇa)
Malayalamനിർവാണം
(nirvanam)
Nepaliनिर्वाण
(nirvāṇa)
Odiaନିର୍ବାଣ
(Nirvāṇa (/nɪərˈvɑːnə/ neer-VAH-nə, /-ˈvænə/ -⁠VAN-ə, /nɜːr-/ nur-;[4] Sanskrit: निर्वाण nirvāṇa [nɪɽʋaːɳɐ]; Pali: निब्बान nibbāna; Prakrit languages: णिव्वाण ṇivvāṇa, literally "blown out", as in an oil lamp[1]) is commonly associated with Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism and represents its ultimate state of soteriological release, the liberation from repeated rebirth in saṃsāra.[3][web 1][5]

In Indian religions, nirvana is synonymous with moksha and mukti.[note 1] All Indian religions assert it to be a state of perfect quietude, freedom, highest happiness as well as the liberation from or ending of samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death.[7][8] However, non-Buddhist and Buddhist traditions describe these terms for liberation differently.[9] In Hindu philosophy, it is the union of or the realization of the identity of Atman with Brahman, depending on the Hindu tradition.[10][11][12] In Jainism, nirvana is also the soteriological goal, representing the release of a soul from karmic bondage and samsara.[13] In the Buddhist context, nirvana refers to realization of non-self and emptiness, marking the end of rebirth by stilling the fires that keep the process of rebirth going.[9][14][15]

Etymology

The ideas of spiritual liberation, with the concept of soul and Brahman, appears in Vedic texts and Upanishads, such as in verse 4.4.6 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.[16]

The term nirvana in the soteriological sense of "blown out, extinguished" state of liberation does not appear in the Vedas nor in the Upanishads; according to Collins, "the Buddhists seem to have been the first to call it nirvana."[17] This may have been deliberate use of words in early Buddhism, suggests Collins, since Atman and Brahman were described in Vedic texts and Upanishads with the imagery of fire, as something good, desirable and liberating.[18] Collins says the word nirvāṇa is from the verbal root "blow" in the form of past participle vāna "blown", prefixed with the preverb nis meaning "out". Hence the original meaning of the word is "blown out, extinguished". (Sandhi changes the sounds: the v of vāna causes nis to become nir, and then the r of nir causes retroflexion of the following n: nis+vāna > nirvāṇa.)[19] However the Buddhist meaning of nirvana also has other interpretations.

Meaning

L. S. Cousins said that in popular usage nirvana was "the goal of Buddhist discipline,... the final removal of the disturbing mental elements which obstruct a peaceful and clear state of mind, together with a state of awakening from the mental sleep which they induce."[20]

In religions originating in South Asia

Overview

Nirvāṇa is a term found in the texts of all major South Asia religions – Hinduism,[21] Jainism[22] Buddhism,[23] and Sikhism.[24]In Indian religions, nirvana is synonymous with moksha and mukti.[note 1] All Indian religions assert it to be a state of perfect quietude, freedom, highest happiness as well as the liberation from or ending of samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death.[7][8] However, non-Buddhist and Buddhist traditions describe these terms for liberation differently.[9] In Hindu philosophy, it is the union of or the realization of the identity of Atman with Brahman, depending on the Hindu tradition.[10][11][12] In Jainism, nirvana is also the soteriological goal, representing the release of a soul from karmic bondage and samsara.[13] In the Buddhist context, nirvana refers to realization of non-self and emptiness, marking the end of rebirth by stilling the fires that keep the process of rebirth going.[9][14][15]

The ideas of spiritual liberation, with the concept of soul and Brahman, appears in Vedic texts and Upanishads, such as in verse 4.4.6 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.[16]

The term nirvana in the soteriological sense of "blown out, extinguished" state of liberation does not appear in the Vedas nor in the Upanishads; according to Collins, "the Buddhists seem to have been the first to call it nirvana."[17] This may have been deliberate use of words in early Buddhism, suggests Collins, since Atman and Brahman were described in Vedic texts and Upanishads with the imagery of fire, as something good, desirable and liberating.[18] Collins says the word nirvāṇa is from the verbal root "blow" in the form of past participle vāna "blown", prefixed with the preverb nis meaning "out". Hence the original meaning of the word is "blown out, extinguished". (Sandhi changes the sounds: the v of vāna causes nis to become nir, and then the r of nir causes retroflexion of the following n: nis+vāna > nirvāṇa.)[19] However the Buddhist meaning of nirvana also has other interpretations.

Meaning

L. S. Cousins said that in popular usage nirvana was "the goal of Buddhist discipline,... the final removal of the disturbing mental elements which obstruct a peaceful and clear state of mind, together with a state of awakening from the mental sleep which they induce."[20]

In religions originating in South Asia

Overview

Nirvāṇa is a term found in the texts of all major South Asia religions – Hinduism,[21] Jainism[22] Buddhism,Vedas nor in the Upanishads; according to Collins, "the Buddhists seem to have been the first to call it nirvana."[17] This may have been deliberate use of words in early Buddhism, suggests Collins, since Atman and Brahman were described in Vedic texts and Upanishads with the imagery of fire, as something good, desirable and liberating.[18] Collins says the word nirvāṇa is from the verbal root "blow" in the form of past participle vāna "blown", prefixed with the preverb nis meaning "out". Hence the original meaning of the word is "blown out, extinguished". (Sandhi changes the sounds: the v of vāna causes nis to become nir, and then the r of nir causes retroflexion of the following n: nis+vāna > nirvāṇa.)[19] However the Buddhist meaning of nirvana also has other interpretations.

L. S. Cousins said that in popular usage nirvana was "the goal of Buddhist discipline,... the final removal of the disturbing mental elements which obstruct a peaceful and clear state of mind, together with a state of awakening from the mental sleep which they induce."[20]

In religions originating in South Asia

The ancient soteriological concept in Hinduism is moksha, described as the liberation from the cycle of birth and death through self-knowledge and the eternal connection of Atman (soul, self) and metaphysical Brahman. Moksha is derived from the root muc* (Sanskrit: मुच्) which means free, let go, release, liberate; Moksha means "liberation, freedom, emancipation of the soul".[50][51] In the Vedas and early Upanishads, the word mucyate (Sanskrit: मुच्यते)[50] appears, which means to be set free or release - such as of a horse from its harness.

The traditions within Hinduism state that there are multiple paths (marga) to moksha: jnana-marga, the path of knowledge; bhakti-marga, the path of devotion; and karma-marga, the path of action.[52]

Brahma-nirvana in the Bhagava

The traditions within Hinduism state that there are multiple paths (marga) to moksha: jnana-marga, the path of knowledge; bhakti-marga, the path of devotion; and karma-marga, the path of action.[52]

The term Brahma-nirvana appears in verses 2.72 and 5.24-26 of the Bhagavad Gita.[53] It is the state of release or liberation; the union with the Brahman.[7] According to Easwaran, it is an experience of blissful egolessness.[54]

According to Zaehner, Johnson and other scholars, nirvana in the Gita is a Buddhist term adopted by the Hindus.[21] Zaehner states it was used in Hindu texts for the first time in the Bhagavad Gita, and that the idea therein in verse 2.71-72 to "supp

According to Zaehner, Johnson and other scholars, nirvana in the Gita is a Buddhist term adopted by the Hindus.[21] Zaehner states it was used in Hindu texts for the first time in the Bhagavad Gita, and that the idea therein in verse 2.71-72 to "suppress one's desires and ego" is also Buddhist.[21] According to Johnson the term nirvana is borrowed from the Buddhists to confuse the Buddhists, by linking the Buddhist nirvana state to the pre-Buddhist Vedic tradition of metaphysical absolute called Brahman.[21]

According to Mahatma Gandhi, the Hindu and Buddhist understanding of nirvana are different because the nirvana of the Buddhists is shunyata, emptiness, but the nirvana of the Gita means peace and that is why it is described as brahma-nirvana (oneness with Brahman).[55]

The terms moksa and nirvana are often used interchangeably in the Jain texts.[56][57]

Uttaradhyana Sutra provides an account of Sudharman – also called Gautama, and one of the disciples of Mahavira – explaining the meaning of nirvana to Kesi, a disciple of Parshva.[58][note 6]

There is a safe place in view of all, but difficult of approach, where there is no old age nor death, no pain nor disease. It is what is called nirvāṇa, or freedom from pain, or perfection, which is in view of all; it is the safe, happy, and quiet place which the great sages reach. That is the eternal place, in view of all, but difficult of approach. Those sages who reach it are free from sorrows, they have put an end to the stream of existence. (81-4) – Translated by Hermann Jacobi, 1895

Buddhism