soteriological goal within the Indian religions
This article is about the religious concept. For the American rock band, see Nirvana (band)

Nirvāṇa (निर्वाण in Sanskrit; also Nibbana, निब्बान in Pali), is an ancient Sanskrit term used in Indian religions to denote the profound peace of mind that is acquired with moksha (liberation). In shramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is awareness of union with Brahman. The word's original use involved the meanings "to cease blowing" (as when a candle flame ceases to flicker) or extinguishing (in reference to the passions), and in the Buddhist context, to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.


  • Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, a trusted friend is the best relative, Nibbana is the greatest bliss.
  • Nirvana is a state of pure bliss and knowledge. ... It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. Indeed in a certain sense two "I"'s are identical namely when one disregards all special contents — their Karma. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further ... when man dies his Karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.
  • Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come.
  • The Buddhist nirvana is defined as release from samsara, literally the Round of Birth and Death, that is, from life lived in a vicious circle, as an endlessly repetitious attempt to solve a false problem. Samsara is therefore comparable to attempts to square the circle, trisect the angle, or construct a mechanism of perpetual motion. A puzzle which has no solution forces one to go over the same ground again and again.
    • Alan Watts, Psychotherapy, East and West (1961), p. 16

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