Nirvana (Sanskrit) or nibbana (Pali) literally means “extinction” or “blow out.” Negatively articulated, it is detachment from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara) and the cessation of suffering (dukkha). Positively articulated, it may be rendered as a transcendent, blissful mode of existence. To this extent, it is associated with both liberation and enlightenment and is the goal of Buddhism.
Siddhartha Gautama is said to have experienced two kinds of nirvana. The first nirvana was experienced at the moment of his awakening (bodhi) when he was meditating under the Bodhi Tree and actually became a Buddha. Subsequently, no longer bound by ignorance or the desires of this world, he carried on his earthly ministry for the next 45 years in this enlightened state of nirvana. His teaching (dharma) was that one could experience awakening or nirvana by practicing the Eightfold Path, a synergism of moral conduct, mental discipline, and wisdom. The second nirvana was that which Siddhartha...
- Anonymous. (1881a). Buddhist Suttas (trans: Rhys Davids, T.W.). In F. M. Müller (Ed.), Sacred books of the East (Vol. 11). Oxford, England: The Clarendon Press. Retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe11/index.htm [CW].
- Anonymous. (1881b). The Dhammapada and the Sutta-Nipâta (trans: Müller, F.M., & Fausböll, V.). In F. M. Müller (Ed.), Sacred books of the East (Vol. 10). Oxford, England: The Clarendon Press. Retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe10/index.htm [CW]. Accessed 16 June 2008.
- Anonymous. (1896). Buddhism in translations. In H. C. Warren (Ed. & Trans.), Harvard oriental series (Vol. 3). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/bits/index.htm [CW].
- Anonymous. (1991). Nirvana. In I. Fischer-Schreiber, F.-K. Ehrhard, & M. S. Diener (Eds.), The Shambhala dictionary of Buddhism and Zen. Boston: Shambhala.Google Scholar
- Freud, S. (1961). Beyond the pleasure principle. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
- Jung, C. G. (1958). Psychology and religion: West and East (trans: Hull, R.F.C.). In H. Read & G. Adler (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung (Vol. 11). New York: Bollingen Foundation.Google Scholar
- Kasulis, T. P. (1987). Nirvāna. In M. Eliade (Ed.), The encyclopedia of religion (Vol. 10). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar