(mya ngan las 'das pa)
|Glossary of Buddhism|
Nirvāṇa (Sanskrit: निर्वाण; Pali: निब्बान nibbāna ; Prakrit: णिव्वाण) is an ancient Sanskrit term used in Indian religions to describe 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 union with the Brahman (Supreme Being).
The word literally means "blown out" (as in a candle) and refers, in the Buddhist context, to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Overview
- 3 Buddhism
- 3.1 Sutta Pitaka
- 3.2 Theravada
- 3.3 Mahayana
- 3.4 Quotations
- 4 Jainism
- 5 Hinduism
- 6 Falun Gong (Falun Dafa)
- 7 Brahma Kumaris
- 8 See also
- 9 Further reading
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Sources
- 13 External links
Nirvāṇa is a composed of three phones ni and va and na:
- ni (nir, nis, nih): out, away from, without, a term that is used to negate
- va: blowing as in blowing of the wind and also as smelling
- na: nor, never, do not, did not, should not
Vana is forest in/of the forest/forests; composed of flowers and other items of the forest., but vana has both phones van and va. Van has both an auspicious and ominous aspect:
- van: like, love; wish, desire; gain, procure; conquer, win; possess; prepare;
- van:tree; forest; thicket, cluster, group; quantity; wood
- va: blow (of wind); emit (an odor), be wafted or diffused
- va: weave
|Vana||+Nir||Nature of nirvana|
|The path of rebirth||Leaving off||Being away from the path of rebirth permanently avoiding all paths of transmigration.|
|Forest||Without||To be in a state which has got rid of, for ever, of the dense forest of the three fires of lust, malice and delusion|
|Weaving||Being free||Freedom from the knot of the vexations of karmas and in which the texture of both birth and death is not to be woven|
|Stench or stink||Without||Being without and free from all stench of karmas|
Each of the five aggregates is called a skandha, which means "tree trunk." Each skandha informs the study of one's every normal experience, but eventually leads away from nirvana. Skandha also means "heap" or "pile" or "mass," like an endless knot's path, or a forest.
Nirvāṇa is the soteriological goal within the Indian religions, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. It is synonymous with the concept of liberation (moksha) which refers to release from a state of suffering after an often lengthy period of committed spiritual practice. The concept of nirvāṇa comes from the Yogic traditions of the Sramanas whose origins go back to at least the earliest centuries of the first millennium BCE. The Pali Canon contains the earliest written detailed discussion of nirvāṇa and the concept has thus become most associated with the teaching of the historical Buddha. It was later adopted in the Bhagavad Gita of the Mahabharata. In general terms nirvāṇa is a state of transcendence (Pali: lokuttara) involving the subjective experience of release from a prior state of bondage. This is the result of a natural re-ordering of the mind and body via means of yogic discipline or sadhana. According to the particular tradition, with the experience of nirvāṇa the mind (Buddhism) or soul (Jainism) or spirit (Hinduism) has ended its identity with material phenomena and experiences a sense of great peace and a unique form of awareness or intelligence that is called bodhi in Buddhism, Kevala Jnana in Jainism, kaivalya (Asamprajnata Samadhi) in Yoga.
It has several other names as well. Hinduism uses the terms Aikantya, Apamarga, Brahma-upalabdhi, Sahaj, Sakshatkara, Sayujya, Videhalcivalyam and Yogakshemma, while Buddhism also uses the term Bodhi. Because nirvana represents an advanced form of samadhi or jhana Hinduism acknowledges it as Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Buddhism, as Ceto-vimutti Samadhi and Jainism as Asamprajyat Samadhi. Mukti is sometimes elaborated on as Atyantiki Mukti, Samipya Mukti (or Salokja Mukti), and Sadrisya Mukti.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2011)|
In the Sutta Pitaka the Buddha describes nirvāṇa as the perfect peace of mind possessed by one who is liberated (Pali: arahant). It is to be distinguished from peaceful moods arising from a temporary absence of anger, sensual desire, anxiety and other afflicting states (kleshas). Nirvāṇa is an 'ultimate' peace that is achieved after a lengthy process of mind-body transformation during which the uprooting and final dissolution of the volitional formations (Pali: samskaras or sankharas) (structures within the unconscious mind that form the underlying basis for psychological dispositions) takes place. According to the Buddha, during the course of many repeated incarnations these deeply buried structures (also referred to as karmic 'seeds'; Sanskrit: bija) are either strengthened by indulgence in worldly activities (a person doing so is described as a Puthujjana) or weakened by following the path of the Enlightened Ones. The sankharas are the ultimate cause for the material incarnation of sentient beings. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha says of nirvāṇa that it is "the highest happiness", an enduring happiness qualitatively different from the limited, transitory happiness derived from impermanent things. The Buddha explains the unique character of nibbāna as being due to the mind having become unconditioned (asankhata) which is to say free from the conditions formerly obscuring it by the volitional formations. This ultimate state is described by the Buddha as "deathlessness" (Pali: amata or amāravati) and naturally accrues in the fullness of time to one having lived a life committed to the threefold training (Noble Eightfold Path). Such a life is concerned with performing wholesome actions (Pali: kusala kamma) with positive results and finally allows the cessation of the origination of worldly activities altogether with the attainment of nibbāna.
The Buddha's teachings in the Pāli Canon present nirvāṇa as a radical reordering of consciousness. This reordering is made possible through the cultivation of special states of absorbed concentration called jhānas. These are states of deep relaxation in which a high degree of mental alertness and concentration is present. The jhanas in turn are made possible by a training in the establishing of mindfulness. In Theravada whose concept of the bodhisattva differs from that of the Mahayana the arahant abiding in nirvāṇa is "the ideal personality, the true human being".
The Nirvāṇa of the sutta pitaka is never conceived of as a place (such as one might conceive heaven), but rather the antinomy of samsāra (see below) which itself is synonymous with ignorance (avidyā, Pāli avijjā). This said:
This state of being is described as transcendent or supramundane (Pali: lokuttara).
Nirvāna is meant specifically—as pertains gnosis—that which ends the identity of the mind (citta) with empirical phenomena. Doctrinally, nibbāna is said of the mind which "no longer is coming (bhava) and going (vibhava)" but which has attained a status in perpetuity, whereby "liberation (vimutta) can be said."
It carries further connotations of stilling, cooling, and peace. The realizing of nirvāṇa is compared to the ending of avidyā (ignorance) which perpetuates the will (Pali: cetana) into effecting the incarnation of mind into biological form passing on forever through life after life (samsāra). Samsāra is caused principally by craving and ignorance (see dependent origination). A person can attain nirvāna without dying. When a person who has realized nirvāṇa dies, his death is referred as parinirvāṇa (Pali: parinibbana), his fully passing away, as his life was his last link to the cycle of death and rebirth (samsāra), and he will not be reborn again. Buddhism holds that the ultimate goal and end of samsāric existence (of ever "becoming" and "dying" and never truly being) is realization of nirvāna. What happens to a person after his parinirvāṇa cannot be explained, as it is outside of all conceivable experience. Through a series of questions, Sariputta brings a monk to admit that he cannot pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life, so to speculate regarding the ontological status of an arahant after death is not proper. See Tathagata.
Until final liberation (called moksha in Indian religions) beings wander through samsāra, the impermanent and suffering-generating realms of desire, form, and formlessness. Samsāra is perpetuated by craving and ignorance.
A liberated person performs neutral actions (Pali: kiriya kamma) producing no fruit (vipaka), but nonetheless preserves a particular individual personality. This is the result of the traces of his or her karmic heritage.
Bodhi and the Path to Liberation
Nirvana is achieved after a long process of committed application to the path of purification (Pali: Vissudhimagga) taught by the Buddha. The Buddha explained that the disciplined way of life he recommended to his students (dhamma-vinaya) is a gradual training extending often over a number of years. To be committed to this path already requires that a seed of wisdom is present in the individual. This wisdom becomes manifest in the experience of awakening (bodhi). Attaining nibbāna, in either the current or some future birth, depends on effort, and is not pre-determined. Nirvana is the result of following the Noble Eightfold Path.
A person can attain nirvāna without dying. When a person who has realized nirvāṇa dies, his death is referred as parinirvāṇa (Pali: parinibbana), his fully passing away, as his life was his last link to the cycle of death and rebirth (samsāra), and he will not be reborn again. What happens to a person after his parinirvāṇa cannot be known, as it is outside of all conceivable experience.
Through a series of questions, Sariputta brings a monk to admit that he cannot pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life, so to speculate regarding the ontological status of an arahant after death is not proper. See Tathagata.
Path of purification
- By insight (vipassana) alone [d]
- By jhana and understanding (see Dh. 372)
- by deeds, vision and righteousness (see MN iii.262)[e]
- By virtue, consciousness and understanding (7SN i.13);[f]
- by virtue, understanding, concentration and effort;[g]
- By the four foundations of mindfulness.[h]
Levels of attainment
Individuals up to the level of non-returning may experience nirvāna as an object of mental consciousness.[i] Certain contemplations with nibbana as an object of samādhi lead, if developed, to the level of non-returning. At that point of contemplation, which is reached through a progression of insight, if the meditator realizes that even that state is constructed and therefore impermanent, the fetters are destroyed, arahantship is attained, and nibbāna is realized.
In many places the Buddha describes his enlightenment in terms of "knowing". In the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta, "Knowing arose" (ñāṇa udapādi). With nirvāṇa the consciousness is released, and the mind becomes aware in a way that is totally unconstrained by anything in the conditioned world. The Buddha describes this in a variety of passages. One way is as "Consciousness without feature, without end, luminous all around."
In one interpretation, the "luminous consciousness" is identical with nirvāṇa. Others disagree, finding it to be not nirvāṇa itself, but instead to be a kind of consciousness accessible only to arahants. A passage in the Majjhima Nikaya likens it to empty space.
Ajahns Pasanno and Amaro, contemporary vipassana-teachers write that what is referred to with the use of the word "viññana" is the quality of awareness, and that the use of the term "viññana" must be in a broader way than it usually is meant:
The Buddha avoided the nit-picking pedantry of many philosophers contemporary with him and opted for a more broad-brush, colloquial style, geared to particular listeners in a language which they could understand. Thus ‘viññana’ here can be assumed to mean ‘knowing’ but not the partial, fragmented, discriminative (vi-) knowing (-ñana) which the word usually implies. Instead it must mean a knowing of a primordial, transcendent nature, otherwise the passage which contains it would be self-contradictory." They then give further context for why this choice of words may have been made; the passages may represent an example of the Buddha using his "skill in means" to teach Brahmins in terms they were familiar with.
This "non-manifestive consciousness" differs from the kinds of consciousness associated to the six sense media, which have a "surface" that they fall upon and arise in response to. According to Peter Harvey, the early texts are ambivalent as to whether or not the term "consciousness" is accurate. In a liberated individual, this is directly experienced, in a way that is free from any dependence on conditions at all.
For liberated ones the luminous, unsupported consciousness associated with nibbana is directly known without mediation of the mental consciousness factor in dependent co-arising, and is the transcending of all objects of mental consciousness. It differs radically from the concept in the pre-Buddhist Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita of Self-realization, described as accessing the individual's inmost consciousness, in that it is not considered an aspect, even the deepest aspect, of the individual's personality, and is not to be confused in any way with a "Self". Furthermore, it transcends the sphere of infinite consciousness, the sixth of the Buddhist jhanas, which is in itself not the ending of the conceit of "I".
The Sage has declared that earth, water, fire, and wind, long, short, fine and coarse, good, and so on are extinguished in consciousness ... Here long and short, fine and coarse, good and bad, here name and form all stop.
A related idea, which finds support in the Pali Canon and the contemporary Theravada practice tradition despite its absence in the Theravada commentaries and Abhidhamma, is that the mind of the arahant is itself nibbana.[j]
Nirvana also plays a role in Mahayana Buddhism, but is not regarded to be the final goal, nor to be different from samsara. The tathagatagarbha-literature gives a positive interpretation of Nirvana.
A bodhisattva must achieve full liberation as part of the process of achieving Buddhahood as defined by the Mahayana. On the Bodhisattva-paths, the 8th bhumi or 8th ground is equivalent to the attainment of Hinayana Arhatship or Hinayana Buddhahood.
Levels of attainment
Pabongka Rinpoche compares the path to full Buddhahood to climbing a mountain, which has:
- A base-camp located at the level of ethical conduct for practitioners of the small scope (non-Buddhists and non-practicing Buddhists),
- A base-camp at individual liberation for practitioners of the medium scope (Theravada),
- A last and most difficult climb peak of the mountain for practitioners of the great scope (Mahayana).
According to Pabongka Rinpoche, the Theravadan's argue that the base camp of liberation, located above the clouds of suffering and rebirth, is the peak of the mountain. The Mahayanist's, however, insist that even though the obstructions to liberation have been removed, the obstructions to full omniscience have not been removed.[k]
The end stage practice of the Mahayana removes the imprints of delusions, the obstructions to omniscience, which prevent simultaneous and direct knowledge of all phenomena. Only Buddhas have overcome these obstructions, according to Mahayana Buddhism, and, therefore, only Buddhas have omniscience knowledge.[l]
Samsara is Nirvana
In Mahāyāna Buddhism, nirvana and samsara are said to be not different when viewed from the ultimate nature of the Dharmakaya. An individual can attain nirvana by following the Buddhist path. If they were ultimately different this would be impossible. Thus, the duality between nirvana and samsara is only accurate on the conventional level. Another way to arrive at this conclusion is through the analysis that all phenomena are empty of an essential identity, and therefore suffering is never inherent in any situation. Thus liberation from suffering and its causes is not a metaphysical shift of any kind.
Both the Theravāda and Mahāyāna schools makes the antithesis of samsara and nibbāna the starting point of the quest for deliverance. The Mahāyāna schools treat this polarity as a preparatory lesson tailored for those with blunt faculties, to be eventually superseded by some higher realization of non-duality. The Theravāda school, however, treats this antithesis as determinative of the final goal: the transcendence of samsara and the attainment of liberation in nibbāna. From the standpoint of the Pāli Suttas, even for the Buddha and the Arahants suffering and its cessation, samsara and nibbāna, remain distinct.
Both schools agree that Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in saṃsāra while having attained nirvāṇa, in so far as he was seen by suffering beings, while himself being free of the cycle of suffering.
Tathagatagarba and Buddha-nature
In some Mahayana/Tantric texts nirvana is described as purified, non-dualistic 'superior mind'. The Samputa, for instance, states:
Undefiled by lust and emotional impurities, unclouded by any dualistic perceptions, this superior mind is indeed the supreme nirvana.'
Some Mahayana traditions see the Buddha in almost docetic terms, viewing his visible manifestations as projections from within the state of nirvana. According to Professor Etienne Lamotte, Buddhas are always and at all times in nirvana, and their corporeal displays of themselves and their Buddhic careers are ultimately illusory. Lamotte writes of the Buddhas:
They are born, reach enlightenment, set turning the Wheel of Dharma, and enter nirvana. However, all this is only illusion: the appearance of a Buddha is the absence of arising, duration and destruction; their nirvana is the fact that they are always and at all times in nirvana.’
Some Mahayana sutras go further and attempt to characterize the nature of nirvana itself. The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, which has as one of its main topics precisely the realm or dhatu of nirvana, has the Buddha speak of four essential elements which make up nirvana. One of these is ‘Self’ (atman), which is construed as the enduring Self of the Buddha. Writing on this Mahayana understanding of nirvana, William Edward Soothill and Lewis Hodous state:
‘The Nirvana Sutra claims for nirvana the ancient ideas of permanence, bliss, personality, purity in the transcendental realm. Mahayana declares that Hinayana, by denying personality in the transcendental realm, denies the existence of the Buddha. In Mahayana, final nirvana is both mundane and transcendental, and is also used as a term for the Absolute.
At the time this scripture was written, there was already a long tradition of positive language about nirvana and the Buddha. While in early Buddhist thought nirvana is characterized by permanence, bliss, and purity, it is viewed as being the stopping of the breeding-ground for the "I am" attitude, and is beyond all possibility of the Self-delusion.
The Ratnagotravibhaga, a related text, points out that the teaching of the tathagatagarbha is intended to win sentient beings over to abandoning "affection for one's self" - one of the five defects caused by non-Buddhist teaching. Youru Wang notes similar language in the Lankavatara Sutra, then writes:
Noticing this context is important. It will help us to avoid jumping to the conclusion that tathagatagarbha thought is simply another case of metaphysical imagination."
Kosho Yamamoto, translator of the full-length Nirvana Sutra, expresses the view that the non-Self teaching is expedient only and that in the Nirvana Sutra a hidden teaching on the True Self is disclosed by the Buddha:
He [the Buddha] says that the non-Self which he once taught is none but of expediency ... He says that he is now ready to speak about the undisclosed teachings. Men abide in upside-down thoughts. So he will now speak of the affirmative attributes of nirvana, which are none other than the Eternal, Bliss, the Self and the Pure.
In consonance with this, researcher on the Nirvana Sutra, Dr. Tony Page, comments:
On the specific question of the supramundane or nirvanic Self, it is apparent that the [Nirvana] Sutra does assert an eternally abiding entity or dharma – what we might call the “Buddha-Self”, since the Buddha utters the equation ‘Self = Buddha’ - as an ever-enduring reality of the highest order. That Buddha-Self is one with Nirvana.
According to some scholars, the language used in the Tathāgatagarbha genre of sutras can be seen as an attempt to state orthodox Buddhist teachings of dependent origination using positive language instead. Yamamoto points out that this ‘affirmative’ characterization of nirvana pertains to a supposedly higher form of nirvana—that of ‘Great Nirvana’. Speaking of the 'Bodhisattva Highly Virtuous King' chapter of the Nirvana Sutra, Yamamoto quotes the scripture itself:
What is nirvana? ...this is as in the case in which one who has hunger has peace and bliss as he has taken a little food.
Yamamoto continues with the quotation, adding his own comment:
But such a nirvāna cannot be called “Great Nirvāna”". And it [i.e. the Buddha’s new revelation regarding nirvana] goes on to dwell on the “Great Self”, “Great Bliss”, and “Great Purity”, all of which, along with the Eternal, constitute the four attributes of Great Nirvana.
- "Where there is nothing; where naught is grasped, there is the Isle of No-Beyond. Nirvāṇa do I call it—the utter extinction of aging and dying."
- "There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor stasis; neither passing away nor arising: without stance, without foundation, without support [mental object]. This, just this, is the end of stress." [Udana VIII.1]
In Jainism, nirvana means final release from the karmic bondage. 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. Moksha (liberation) follows nirvāṇa. An arhat becomes a siddha ("one who is accomplished") after nirvāṇa.
The aghatiya Karma’s of venerable Ascetic Mahavira got exhausted, when in this Avasarpini era the greater part of the Duhshamasushama period had elapsed and only three years and eight and a half months were left. Mahavira had recited the fifty-five lectures which detail the results of Karma, and the thirty-six unasked questions (the Uttaradhyana Sutra). The moon was in conjunction with the asterism Svati, at the time of early morning, in the town of Papa, and in king Hastipala's office of the writers, (Mahivira) single and alone, sitting in the Samparyahka posture, left his body and attained nirvāṇa, freed from all pains.” (147)
In the fourth month of that rainy season, in the seventh fortnight, in the dark (fortnight) of Karttika, on its fifteenth day, in the last night, in the town of Papa, in king Hastipala's office of the writers, the Venerable Ascetic Mahavira died, went off, cut asunder the ties of birth, old age, and death; became a Siddha, a Buddha, a Mukta, a maker of the end (to all misery), finally liberated, freed from all pains. (123)
That night in which the Venerable Ascetic Mahavira died, freed from all pains, was lighted up by many descending and ascending gods. (125)
In that night in which the Venerable Ascetic Mahavira, died, freed from all pains, the eighteen confederate kings of Kasi and Kosala, the nine Mallakis and nine Licchavis, on the day of new moon, instituted an illuminations on the Poshadha, which was a fasting day; for they said: 'Since the light of intelligence is gone, let us make an illumination of material matter!' (128)
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)
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In Hinduism, moksha is the liberation from the cycle of birth and death and one's worldly conception of self. A person reaches moksha as nirvana is attained. Moksha is derived from the sanskrit word Muktha literally meaning one who is free from bondage, is free. But it is found that according to some Indian Hindu philosophers the last bondage is the passion for liberation itself which must be renounced before the soul can be perfectly free, and the last knowledge is the realisation that there is none bound, none desirous of freedom, but the soul is for ever and perfectly free, that bondage is an illusion and the liberation from bondage is an illusion too.
In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains that Brahma nirvana (nirvana in Brahman) can be attained by one who is capable of cognizing the essence of Brahman; by getting rid of vices, becoming free from duality, free from the worldly attractions and anger, dedicated to spiritual pursuits, having subdued thoughts and cognized Atman, and dedicating oneself to the good of all. Brahma nirvana is the state of release or liberation; the union with the divine ground of existence (Brahman) and this experience of blissful ego-lessness.
The term is used 5 times in the Bhagavad Gita:
verse 2.72: sthitvāsyāmantakāle'pi brahmanirvāṇamṛcchati
5.24 (and following 2 verses): sa yogī brahmanirvāṇaṃ brahmabhūto'dhigacchati
6.15: śāntiṃ nirvāṇaparamāṃ matsaṃsthāmadhigacchati
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "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]."
Falun Gong (Falun Dafa)
In Falun Gong, the characteristic of the universe is described in three words: Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. During one's cultivation process, a Falun Gong practitioner continuously improve his/her xinxing (mind nature) level by assimilating to this characteristic. A practitioner's enlightenment can occur gradually or suddenly, depending upon one's inborn quality (genji). The level of cultivation is indicated by the height of gong (energy) level. In the book 'The Great Consummation Way of Falun Dafa', Mr. Li Hongzhi mentioned, "Falun Buddha Fa aims directly at people’s hearts and makes it clear that cultivation of xinxing is the key to increasing gong. A person’s gong level is as high as his or her xinxing level, and this is an absolute truth of the universe. “Xinxing” includes the transformation of virtue (de) (a white substance) and karma (a black substance), the abandonment of ordinary human desires and attachments, and the ability to endure the toughest hardships of all. It also encompasses many types of things that a person must cultivate to raise his or her level." When one achieves Consummation at the end of cultivation, the practitioner will have become an enlightened being. Eight-tenth of the gong level will substantiate the enlightened being's heavenly paradise.
- Ajahn Brahm, "Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook" (Wisdom Publications 2006) Part II.
- Katukurunde Nanananda, "Nibbana - The Mind Stilled (Vol. I-VII)" (Dharma Grantha Mudrana Bharaya, 2012).
- Kawamura, Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhism, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1981, pp. 11.
- Yogi Kanna, "Nirvana: Absolute Freedom" (Kamath Publishing; 2011) 198 pages.
- Steven Collins. Nirvana: Concept, Imagery, Narrative (Cambridge University Press; 2010) 204 page.
- Concerning the term three roots in the table:
- Today the majority of Buddhists class nirvana as eliminating only greed and hate, and bodhi now supersedes it. Bodhi eliminates all three. (See Buddhism#Nirvana.)
- The terms "three" and "root" are common in the literature. For example, the three roots can also refer to grace, accomplishment, and activity.
- The knot, is both auspicious and ominous. The prospect of another life is equivalent to the prospects of samsara
- A number of the suttas referenced below as well as Buddhaghosa himself refer not explicitly to nirvana but to "the path of purification" (Pali: Visuddhimagga). In Visuddhimagga, Ch. I, v. 5, Buddhaghosa notes: "Herein, purification should be understood as nibbana, which being devoid of all stains, is utterly pure" (Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli, 1999, p. 6.)
- See Dh. 277, e dhp-277 Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism, Buddharakkhita (1996a) In the Paramattha-mañjūsā (the Visuddhimagga commentary), vv. 9-10, it adds the following caveat regarding this option of "insight alone": "The words 'insight alone' are meant to exclude, not virtue, etc., but serenity (i.e., jhana), [...] [as typically reflected] in the pair, serenity and insight [...] The word 'alone' actually excludes only that concentration with distinction [of jhanic absorption]; for concentration is classed as both access [or momentary] and absorption [...] Taking this stanza as the teaching for one whose vehicle is insight does not imply that there is no concentration; for no insight comes about with momentary concentration. And again, insight should be understood as the three contemplations of impermanence, pain and not-self [see tilakkhana]; not contemplation of impermanence alone".
- See Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism, Thanissaro (2003). Verse 262 of this sutta is translated by Thanissaro as: "Action, clear-knowing, & mental qualities, virtue, the highest [way of] life: through this are mortals purified, not through clan or wealth.
- The option expressed by SN i.13 is the basis for the entire rest of the Visuddhimagga's exposition. It is the very first paragraph of the Visuddhimagga and states: "When a wise man, established well in virtue, develops consciousness and understanding, then as a bhikku ardent and sagacious, he succeeds in disentangling this tangle. In the Visuddhimagga, Ch. I, verse 2, Buddhaghosa comments that this tangle refers to "the network of craving." In verse 7, Buddhaghosa states that develops consciousness and understanding means "develops both concentration and insight."
- SN i.53)Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli (1999), p. 7, translate SN i.53 as: "He who is possessed of constant virtue, who has understanding, and is concentrated, who is strenuous and diligent as well, will cross the flood so difficult to cross.
- See Thanissaro (2000). Verse 290 of this sutta is translated by Thanissaro as: "The Blessed One said this: "This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding—in other words, the four frames of reference.""
- See for example the Jhana Sutta, Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism.
- There is a clear reference in the Anguttara Nikaya to a "luminous mind" present within all people, be they corrupt or pure, whether or not it itself is pure or impure. The Canon does not support the identification of the "luminous mind" with nirvanic consciousness, though it plays a role in the realization of nirvāṇa. Upon the destruction of the fetters, according to one scholar, "the shining nibbanic consciousness flashes out" of it, "being without object or support, so transcending all limitations."
- The analogy is as follows:"If you put garlic in a vessel, it deposits some of its odor in the vessel itself; Thus when you seek to clean the vessel, it is necessary to first remove the garlic. Similarly, a consciousness conceiving inherent existence, like garlic, deposits predispositions in the mind that produce the appearance of inherent existence; Thus,there is no way to cleanse the mind of those predispositions, which are like the flavor of garlic left in the vessel of the mind,until one removes all consciousnesses conceiving of inherent existence from the mind. First, the garlic must be removed; then, its odor can be removed. For this reason, according to the Consequence School, until one has utterly removed all the afflictive obstructions, one cannot begin to remove the obstructions to omniscience. Since this is the case, a practitioner cannot begin overcoming the obstructions to omniscience on any of the seven first bodhisattva grounds, which are called "impure" because one still has afflictive obstructions to be abandoned. Rather, one begins abandoning the obstructions to omniscience on the eighth bodhisattva ground, and continues to do so on the ninth and tenth, these three being called the 'three pure grounds" because the afflictive obstructions have been abandoned."
- According to Tibetan Buddhist scholars, Buddha's omniscience has Five Exalted Qualities:has five parts: (1) the exalted mirror-like wisdom, which perceives all phenomena simultaneously as a mirror reflects objects; (2) the exalted wisdom of equality, which realizes that all phenomena are equal in emptiness; (3) the exalted wisdom of individual realization, which realizes all individual phenomena directly; (4) the exalted wisdom of he ultimate nature of all phenomena."
- "... it refers to the Buddha's using the term "Self" in order to win over non-Buddhist ascetics." From this, it continues: "The Buddha-nature is in fact not the self. For the sake of [guiding] sentient beings, I describe it as the self."
- Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benāres to Modern Colombo. Routledge
- "Overview of Buddhist Philosophy: Nirvana". Myoko-in Temple "Wondrous Light Temple" Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska: White Lotus Center for Shin Buddhism. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2011. "nirvana is a compound of the prefix ni[r]- (ni, nis, nih) which means "out, away from, without", and the root vâ[na] (P. vâti) which can be translated as "blowing" as in "blowing of the wind", but also as "smelling, etc""
- A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (30 April 2005). "MBhaktivedanta VedaBase Network". The Official BBT Editions of Prabhupada's Books Online. International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- Victor Langheld (5 April 2011). "Possible ancient meanings of nirvana". The Pilgrim Site. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- About T K Parthasarathy (Tuesday, February 08, 2011 06:35 AM). "Working Towards nirvANa and New Humanity (1 of 2)". Advaita Academy. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- Direct quotes
- The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for the .... 2008. p. 264.
- World History: To 1800 By William J. Duiker, Jackson J. Spielvogel. 2008. pp. 52, 53.
- Faith & philosophy of Jainism By Arun Kumar Jain. 2009. pp. 1–11.
- Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide By Kevin Trainor. 2004. p. 68.
- Sikhism And Indian Civilization By R.K. Pruthi. 2004. p. 200.
- Parsva is considered to have lived circa 9th century BCE
- Verse 204, nibbanam paramam sukham
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness mysticism in the discourses of the Buddha in Karel Werner, The Yogi and the Mystic; Studies in Indian and Comparative Mysticism." Routledge, 1995, page 82; books.google.com
- Guenther, The Problem of the Soul in Early Buddhism, Curt Weller Verlag, Constanz, 1949, pp. 156-157.
- Yamaka Sutta, SN 22.85.
- Steven Collins, Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism. Cambridge University Press, 1982, page 207.
- Peter Harvey, "The Selfless Mind." Curzon Press 1995, page 87.
- Buddhaghosa andÑāṇamoli, 1999, p. 750, n. 3.
- See Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism , Buddharakkhita (1996b).
- Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli, 1999, p. 1.
- Buddhaghosa and Ñāṇamoli, 1999, pp. 1,7.)
- Satipatthana Sutta, DN ii.290
- In the Nikayas mental development generally suggests the attainment of jhanic absorption; however, as indicated above in the note regarding the "insight alone" option, in some contexts it can refer to attaining "access" or "momentary" concentration without full absorption.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu's commentary to the Brahma-nimantantika Sutta, Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism.
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, page 91.
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, page 93.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism.
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness mysticism in the discourses of the Buddha. in Karel Werner, The Yogi and the Mystic; Studies in Indian and Comparative Mysticism." Routledge, 1995, page 82; books.google.com.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism, Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism.
- See also Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind.
- Ajahn Brahmali, bswa.org.
- Rupert Gethin objects to parts of Harvey's argument; buddhistethics.org.
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, page 88. The quote is MN I, 127-128.
- Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro, The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on nibbāna, page 131. Available online at abhayagiri.org.
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, pages 87, 90.
- Thanissaro Bhukkhu's commentary on the Brahma-nimantanika Sutta, Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism.
- Kashi Nath Upadhyaya, Early Buddhism and the Bhagavadgita. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1998, page 355. ISBN 978-81-208-0880-5
- Kashi Nath Upadhyaya, Early Buddhism and the Bhagavadgita. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1998, pages 354-356. books.google.com ISBN 978-81-208-0880-5
- See Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism, DN 11
- Christian Lindtner, Master of Wisdom. Dharma Publishing, 1997, page 322. Lindtner says that Nagarjuna is referencing the DN.
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, page 100.
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, page 94. The reference is at A I, 8-10.
- Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, pages 94, 97.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism.
- Harvey, page 99.
- Pabongka Rinpoche (author). "Liberation in Our Hands." Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Press. (1994).
- Obstructions to Liberation
- Obstructions to Full Omniscience
- Jeffery Hopkins (author). "The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace." Snow Lion Publications.
- Kelsang Gyatso. "Understanding the Mind." Tharpa Publications.
- Takpo Tashi Namgyal, Mahamudra Shambhala, Boston and London, 1986, p.219
- Professor Etienne Lamotte, tr. Sara Boin-Webb, Suramgamasamadhisutra, Curzon, London, 1998, p.4
- William Edward Soothill, Lewis Hodous, A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1997, p. 328
- Paul Williams, Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations.Taylor & Francis, 1989, page 100.
- Dan Lusthaus, Buddhist Phenomenology. Routledge, 2002, page 126, and note 7, page 154.
- Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind. Curzon Press, 1995, page 53.
- Paul Williams, Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations.Taylor & Francis, 1989, page 98, see also page 99.
- Youru Wang, Linguistic Strategies in Daoist Zhuangzi and Chan Buddhism: The Other Way of Speaking. Routledge, 2003, page 58.
- Kosho Yamamoto, Mahayanism: A Critical Exposition of the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāna Sutra, Karinbunko, Ube City, Japan, 1975, pp. 141, 142
- Dr. Tony Page, Affirmation of Eternal Self in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Bangkok University Academic Review, Bangkok University, URL:http://www.bu.ac.th/knowledgecenter/epaper/jan_june2010/pdf/Page_47.pdf
- Yamamoto, Mahāyānism op. cit., p. 165
- Yamamoto, Mahāyānism, ibid
- Jacobi, Hermann; Ed. F. Max Müller (1884). Kalpa Sutra, Jain Sutras Part I, Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 22. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
- Jacobi, Hermann; Ed. F. Max Müller (1895). Uttaradhyayana Sutra, Jain Sutras Part II, Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 45. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
- Hindson, Ergun; Caner (2008). The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for the Truth of Christianity. Harvest House Publishers. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-7369-2084-1.
- Aurobindo Ghosh, sri (1990), The life divine, Lotus Press
- Bhagavad Gita 5.24, 5,25, 5.26
- H. P. Blavatsky, Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine, March to August 1893, p. 11
- Easwaran, Eknath (2007), The Bhagavad Gita – Classics of Indian Spirituality, Nilgiri Press, p. 268. Book can be accessed at  or 
- Mahatma Gandhi (2009), John Strohmeier, ed., The Bhagavad Gita – According to Gandhi, North Atlantic Books, p. 34, "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]"
- ^ a b Li Hongzhi, ‘’Zhuan Falun
- Duiker, William J.; Spielvogel, Jackson J. (2008). World History: To 1800.
- Hindson, Ed (2008). The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics.
- Jain, Arun Kumar (2009). Faith & philosophy of Jainism.
- Pruthi, R.K. (2004). Sikhism And Indian Civilization.
- Trainor, Kevin (2004). Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide.
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- IN THE PRESENCE OF NIBBANA: Developing Faith in the Buddhist Path to Enlightenment
- Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism , Nibbana - more excerpts from the Pali Tripitaka defining Nibbana
- Nibbana-The Mind Stilled Vol. I : Sermons on Nibbana
- English translation of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, Nirvana
- Bhikkhu Thanissaro: The mind like fire unbound - An Image of Nirvana in the Early Buddhist Discourses
- Nirvana as what the Buddha taught
- Dhamma talk on Nibbana by Ajahn Brahm