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Nirvana (Sanskrit: निर्वाण, nirvāṇa; Pali: nibbāna) is "blowing out" or "quenching" of the activities of the worldly mind and its related suffering.[1] Nirvana is the goal of the Hinayana and Theravada Buddhist paths, and marks the soteriological release from worldly suffering and rebirths in saṃsāra.[2][2][3] Nirvana is part of the Third Truth on "cessation of dukkha" in the Four Noble Truths,[2] and the "summum bonum of Buddhism and goal of the Eightfold Path."[3]

Quick facts: Translations of Nirvana, English, Sanskrit, P...
Translations of
Englishblowing out,
(IAST: nirvāṇa)
Paliनिब्बान nibbāna
Bengaliনির্বাণ nibbano
(MLCTS: neɪʔbàɰ̃)
(Pinyin: nièpán)
(Rōmaji: nehan)
(UNGEGN: nĭppéan)
(RR: yeolban)
Mongolianγasalang-aca nögcigsen
mya ngan las 'das pa
(RTGS: nipphan)
VietnameseNiết bàn
Glossary of Buddhism
Aniconic carving representing the final nirvana of a Buddha at Sanchi.

In the Buddhist tradition, nirvana has commonly been interpreted as the extinction of the "three fires",[4] or "three poisons",[5][6][note 1] greed (raga), aversion (dvesha) and ignorance (moha).[6] When these fires are extinguished, release from the cycle of rebirth (saṃsāra) is attained.

Nirvana has also been claimed by some scholars to be identical with anatta (non-self) and sunyata (emptiness) states though this is hotly contested by other scholars and practicing monks.[web 1][7][8][9][10] In time, with the development of the Buddhist doctrine, other interpretations were given, such as the absence of the weaving (vana) of activity of the mind,[11] the elimination of desire, and escape from the woods, cq. the five skandhas or aggregates.

Buddhist Theravada scholastic tradition identifies two types of nirvana: sopadhishesa-nirvana literally "nirvana with a remainder", attained and maintained during life, and parinirvana or anupadhishesa-nirvana, meaning "nirvana without remainder" or final nirvana, achieved on death, a death which is not followed by a rebirth or reincarnation in (according to Buddhist beliefs) the usual way.[12] The founder of Buddhism, the Buddha, is believed to have reached both these states, the first at his Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, and the latter at his death many years later.[12] Most Mahayana authorities have broadly similar ideas, but prefer the terms "abiding" and "non-abiding nirvana" for the two stages.

Nirvana, or the liberation from cycles of rebirth, is the highest aim of the Theravada tradition. In the Mahayana tradition, the highest goal is Buddhahood, in which there is no abiding in nirvana. Buddha helps liberate beings from saṃsāra by teaching the Buddhist path. There is no rebirth for Buddha or people who attain nirvana. But his teachings remain in the world for a certain time as a guidance to attain nirvana.