Talk:Nirvana

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Untitled[edit]

Discussion resources: Buddhist Scriptures

Redirect[edit]

The search term "nirvana" should automatically redirect to the band as I bet it is the reason most common searched for. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.28.236.127 (talk) 09:22, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

  • We don't do bets, and bands are much more ephemeral than religious concepts that have been around for thousands of years. Drmies (talk) 03:03, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Random[edit]

The foreign word listing at the beginning is excessive and cumbersome. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.192.70.230 (talk) 01:58, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Schopenhauer[edit]

Nirvana corresponds to Schopenhauer's concept of denial of the will. It can be positively called deliverance or salvation, but is actually a relative, negative concept' meaning nothingness. In its application to the world as experienced by an observer, it is the absence or non-existence of birth, disease, old age, and death and their related suffering due to craving or attachment. This is in extreme contrast to the interpretation of Nirvana as a positive concept, that is, as a condition of happiness, joy, pleasure, eternal life, enlightenment, knowledge, and so forth. Lestrade 00:39, 29 April 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Jorge Borges wrote an article entitled "The Dialogues of Ascetic and King," included in his book Selected Non-Fictions. In the article, he cites the writing of Heinrich Hackmann, who published Chinesische Philosophie in 1927. Hackmann narrated a statement by the brahmin Bodhidharma to China's Emperor Wu of Liang. "Good works, he said, can lead to good retributions, but never to nirvana, which is the absolute extinction of the will, not the consequence of an act." (Emphasis added) This is an example of the equivalence between Nirvana and Schopenhauer's Denial of the Will. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 66.82.9.79 (talk) 03:57, 3 January 2007 (UTC).

The word Nirvana is made up of tree words, Nir Va Djna and litteraly mean "withouth wrong thoughts", according to Buddha Dharma the changing of a wrong context into a skillfull context will automaticaly give rise to right view of the world as it is, ThathaGarba - "as it is with qualities", and permanent Buddha hood is reached.

Nirvana means "extinguished," as in a candle that is "not lit." It is a negative concept designating the absence of the fire of passion, will, and desire.Lestrade 23:56, 9 May 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

I'm admittedly no expert, but I have a feeling that this whole article is absed on the western misunderstanding of nirvana as some kind of heaven. I had teh impression manly from some college courses and especially from a lecture I heard form a buddhist mucky-muck of some sort that Nirvana means extinction ie non existence. The speaker in question even said that since the practice of buddhism is to eliminate in your self all desire (even pointedly teh desire to be free from desire) it was utterly wrong for westerners to think that nirvana means some kind of state of eternal bliss, as the disire for such would be entirely alien to buddhism. I do have the imprssion that hinduism might seek this eternal bliss business described in the article(ie free from pain & desire, rather than free from being) In any case it seems polluted by the equally wrong notion that teh term reincarnation is used in the west to describe souls going from life to life. Rather the soul dies and (to use his metaphor which I'd heard before) while not getting on any airplane to go to another life does check in baggage (obviously this i a pre-911 metaphor) which a new and differernt soul picks up. That baggage which you bequeath to another soul is your Karma, which calls that new soul into being. When the karma is extinguished no new soul replaces you. That is nirvanna. But agin that just what i've read. But if true this entire article is a westernized newage (rhymns with sewage) take and not truely Buddhist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.16.146.33 (talk) 18:25, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

The state of the arahant before and after death is discussed at Tathagata#Beyond range. Mitsube (talk) 04:10, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Disambiguation[edit]

There should be one available for this article. e.g. Nirvana (band) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 137.146.138.55 (talk) 08:41, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree there should be a disambiguation page for the word; ask anyone what they think of first when they hear the word: the band, or the Buddhist "state of mind"? I think the majority who search Wikipedia for "Nirvana" are probably looking for the former. --Krakko 05:38, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Page rename reverted[edit]

I have been asked to restore status quo on the page name pending discussion. Consensus should be reached before changing the name given the fact this is a major subject. 23skidoo (talk) 06:28, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

I had moved the Nirvana page to Nirvana (Buddhism) and redirected Nirvana to DAB page. It seems that insistence on restoring these changes are just to adhere “Some long established status quo” which was a status quo by default. Also the allegation by davidpatrick that “this issue was never discussed or no one had objected to it before hand” is not true, as evident on the discussion pages. Two people had raised this issue

…and one had had bothered to discuss it with them or reply so long as they did not act on it. When I acted on it, suddenly someone wakes up to defend “the long established statusquo.”

Let me provide reasons for why Nirvana be renamed as Nirvana (Buddhism) and redirected Nirvana to DAB page –

  • Nirvana is also a Jain concept. Probably Buddhists borrowed it from Jainas. Hence Nirvana should point out to “both” Jainsim and Buddhism concepts. But this article Nirvana is pre-dominantly a Buddhist concept so Nirvana (Buddhism) is an ideal name for it, just as there is a separate article for Nirvana (Jainism) and both are at par.
  • Many are looking for Band or music when they search for Nirvana and obviously get confused. For some one from India, Nirvana obviously is a philosophical concept. But think of the westerners and those, who are not familiar with Indian (and Asian) philosophical concepts. Hence Nirvana should be a DAB page. Let people be free to choose which meaning they want and not impose any meanings on anyone.

It should be noted wikipedia is not about “Status quo”. If that were the case, then, each and every edit would be reverted back. Even the featured articles are edited mercilessly. Also note that consensus can change – WP:CCC --Anish (talk) 09:08, 10 December 2007 (UTC)



1) This is not about maintaining the "long-established status quo" just for the sake of it. Of course that is not what Wikipedia is about. But with an article that for a long time has been considered a PRIMARY article - this is about respecting that there have been very good REASONS for the long-established status quo - and mulling those reasons carefully and seeking a consensus for a change in an article name rather than simply making that change unilaterally on one person's whim. It's also instructive to consider the chronology behind the sudden and unilaterally-decided change.

2) Let's deal with two separate issues. How and why this change happened - and whether there had been any SIGNIFICANT demand for it.

And then the merit of the change itself.

Let's follow the chronology of this.

A) First of all this issue was raised very briefly ONCE in November.

By a person who we discover logged on one time anonymously - made a single comment on this issue - didn't sign it - and has never ever appeared on Wikipedia again. Hardly a seasoned Wikipedian...

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/137.146.138.55

B) Then - Anish decides that he/she has a point of view - to which he/she is certainly entitled - that there is a SECONDARY philosophical concept that is ALSO called "Nirvana" - that is apparently different to the predominant understanding of Nirvana as a Buddhist concept. Fair enough.

Since the article that deals with the philosophical concept does not claim that it is exclusively a Buddhist concept - it might seem logical to most people that he/she should add additional material to the original article that conveys his/her understanding. That would actually be very helpful. It would expand everyone's understanding of the concept. And make clear that there are two separate traditions of Nirvana as a state of mind.

But - and he/she is of course entitled to do what he/she wants - instead decides that rather than add information about this secondary meaning of the philosophical concept into the article in which most people might think it belongs - he/she will instead create a brand new article all about this secondary meaning. Again - he/she is entitled to do that - even if others might feel that it would more properly start off as a section within the existing article - and THEN see if it should split off into two separate articles.

Having created an article that he/she names Nirvana (Jainism) on December 4th, Anish then UNILATERALLY decides without any discussion that - of the now TWO articles about Nirvana as a philosophical concept - that the main article that has been the PRIMARY article - should no longer be the primary article on his/her whim. (Even though it was NOT exclusively about Buddhism). No seeking of consensus among those who have been editing the main Nirvana article since September 2002.

Since he/she has created a new article in December 2007, the very existence of this brand new article (to which he/she happens to be the sole contributor) merits the unilateral renaming of what has stood as the PRIMARY article for over FIVE YEARS without any complaints - to Nirvana (Buddhism).

And THEN of course if that article now has a qualifier in its name... well!!!! it can no longer be a PRIMARY article. And if it is no longer a PRIMARY article - well gee whiz - I guess the word "Nirvana" now has to go to a disambiguation page so that this brand-new article (only one contributor) can have parity with the PRIMARY article that has been there for over five years. As though the new article is instantly of the same import and significance. And of course the PRIMARY article is now of LESS import. Hmmmmm....

In the light of all this - the argument put forward about needing to disambiguate from the band of the same name (there are actually two bands with that name) might seem to many people to be a rather convenient red herring. No one is really "confused". There is a very clear DAB notice at the top of the page. There are large numbers of fans of the Seattle band called Nirvana. Those fans who visit or edit on Wikipedia have long accepted that the original meaning of the word (which dates back over THREE THOUSAND YEARS) and which means something very important indeed to MILLIONS of people throughout the world is an important concept that has rightly stood as the PRIMARY article. With a very clear disambiguation text at the top of the page. Wikipedia is not a popularity contest. And it's not about people of just one age group or from one strata of pop culture. It's an encyclopedia.

That "Nirvana the philosophical concept" versus "Nirvana the band" argument is a red herring. And it's an issue that could easily be addressed if needs be. But I won't bother to do so here and now because this issue is clearly not about that. It's about whether there really should be a separate article about the Jainsim strand of Nirvana - or if it should be part of the article that has existed for five years.

If there is a full consensus that there really should be a separate article about the Jainsim strand of Nirvana - then so be it. And there should be a clear DAB at the top of the page. But that would NOT warrant taking away the PRIMARY article status that has been accorded to that article for over five years. Wikipedia exists to advance knowledge and understanding - not personal agendas. Davidpatrick (talk) 16:20, 10 December 2007 (UTC)


Since our friend Davidpatrick has started with chronology of events, let me start with it. Since he/she prefers to use convention of he/she, while he/she could have used second person pronoun while replying to me, I will also follow his/her convention, rather than risk another long drawn lecture on it. I had avoided personal attacks and name calling, but he/she seems to have no scruples in using words like “whims” and “personal agenda” However, I am impressed by his/her capacity to speak for millions of lovers of Nirvana Band. In this chronology, he/she has conveniently missed out his/her own misdeeds.

  • There is not one but two people who raised this issue to him he/she never bothered to reply or atleast leave a word. Even my discussion would have met the same fate. However my edits raised his/her hackles.
  • The band issue itself was not the main issue (I am not interested in it), it was an additional point that I put forth for consideration. But he/she has devoted major part of his essay on it and then calls it a red herring……wow…talk of red herrings of red herrings !!!
  • I didn’t know there is a concept of primary and secondary articles on wiki.
  • In his/her hurry to establish his precious “long established status quo” he/she deleted the references of Jainism from Dab page also. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nirvana_%28disambiguation%29&diff=175763998&oldid=175726130
  • It is doubtful whether he/she is trying for consensus; as soon as his/her “agenda” was solved he/she removed the discussion tag for renaming the page. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Nirvana&diff=177036053&oldid=177008208

As he/she harangues on whims and personal agendas of others, it is quite evident who is imposing his whims and personal agendas.

Since he/she has also tried to analyze my intentions, certain clarifications are needed. Quite frankly, I never thought of adding the Jainism concept in the “PRIMARY” article of Nirvana because: –

  • In renaming Nirvana as Nirvana (Buddhism) and having another article on Nirvana (Jainism), I was following the convention used in other Indian philosophical concepts. To quote a few examples :-
  • It is quite evident when someone reads the Nirvana article, it speaks from predominantly Buddhism view point. Even Dab page identifies it as a Buddhist concept; hence it was better to rename it as Nirvana (Buddhism) rather than separating it into two separate sections for Jainism and Buddhism. I though this will avoid any conflict with some editors who may have developed this article as a fully Buddhist concept.

Alas, how was I to know that these edits in good faith will be turned into a super exciting conspiracy to threaten the “long established status quo”(five years, I have been told), to make PRIMARY ARTICLE as secondary article and to reduce the import of the philosophical concept, to make Wiki as popularity contest ….and…. what not.

In the light of all this, I have following suggestion to make- In line with the Karma, Ahimsa, Dharma articles, Nirvana can remain as the general philosophical article (PRIMARY ?) with sections on Buddhism and Jainsim and if any on Hindusim. There can be separate articles like Nirvana (Buddhism) and Nirvana (Jainism) that explain the respective concepts in more detail. Comments are invited to establish consensus.--Anish (talk) 09:55, 11 December 2007 (UTC)




1) One uses the second person pronoun when writing to just one individual – as one does on someone’s talk page. When writing on the article’s talk page – one is writing to everyone who might read it. So it would be wrong to use the second person as though it was a personal correspondence.

2) I have refrained – and will continue to refrain - from personal attacks. When an article that has held primary article status (a recognized Wikipedia concept) has its title and status unilaterally changed without any warning, any discussion, any seeking of consensus, just moments after the same person has created another article that is the premise of the NEED for the change – one might be forgiven for describing it as a whim. However, if this unilateral move was pre-planned – I am happy to withdraw the word “whim” and describe the unilaterally executed change as pre-meditated.

3) Anish has freely written about his/her agenda in edit summaries, on this page and on my Talk Page. And should not be condemned for having one. Lots of people have an agenda. Anish’s agenda may well be a very valid one. Anish believes that the current article about Nirvana doesn’t do justice to the Jainism aspect of Nirvana – and has the agenda to change it. That is fine and valid. And it is valid to describe it as an agenda.

4) I don’t “speak for millions of lovers of Nirvana Band” – nor do I purport to. I simply conveyed the empirical observation that large numbers of people who like the band have edited the article about the band and have not had the temerity to advance the notion that the group they admire – though immensely popular – should have parity with “Nirvana” as the primary article for the word. I’m guessing that they agree that an article about an historically and spiritually important 3,000 year-old philosophical concept takes some precedence (both chronologically and encyclopedically) over a wonderful rock band that lasted for 6 years.

5) There were a grand total of two people who have written about this in the last few weeks. One was an anonymous editor who posted a single unsigned comment on Wikipedia on this topic in November, left and has never returned to Wikipedia. The second was an occasional editor who has never edited any pages to do with any of the meanings of Nirvana – whose primary edits are to his/her own Talk Page. (With a couple of edits about Kim Basinger and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures‎.) The latter person had no comment on the Buddhism vs Jainism aspect but simply offered the observation that more people might be looking for a pop group than a philosophical concept. Which is why there has always been a very clear DAB notice at the top of the article. That has not resulted in fans of the rock band complaining that they couldn’t find the article about the band.

6) The raising of the rock band issue did appear to be a red herring. And it certainly confused the issue. If it is not an issue to Anish – then it should be left out of this discussion altogether so that it doesn’t cloud the real issue raised by Anish.

7) I accept that Anish didn’t know that there was a concept of Primary Articles. I only discovered the concept when there was a similar situation a while back. In my case, before acting, I took the time to research the Wikipedia guidelines about article naming protocols – which is advisable to do before making major changes.

8) There has been no wholesale deletion of references to Jainism from the DAB page. There were two overly-long descriptions of the two strands of Nirvana in the DAB notice – which as my edit summary expressed – I felt could be abbreviated to provide: “clearer wording for people unfamiliar with the intricate details of the concepts”

DAB notices are not the place to offer intricate details – but simply to disambiguate the words. Anish is welcome to change the descriptions but should adhere to Wikipedia recommendations about DAB notices that they should simply be very basic navigational guides – not summaries of the articles.

9) The tag for renaming the page had been placed there by ME – calling for it be renamed from “Nirvana (state)” BACK to plain simple “Nirvana” - and only because I had had some technical difficulty in reverting the changes made by Anish. When an Administrator restored the original title – this obviated the need for the tag that had been placed there by ME. So I simply removed the tag that I had placed there! And of course I recorded that in my Edit Summary: “("Move" proposal no longer needed as original article name was restored by an Admin.)“ How removing the tag that I personally had placed there – after the change I'd requested had been effected by an administrator - is relevant to anything defeats me!

10) Because we are told to “Assume Good Faith” – that is what I will do. I think that Anish is simply trying to ensue that a valid aspect of Nirvana is not overlooked. And I think that he/she is absolutely entitled to do that.

I think that Anish is wise in following the suggestion that I made earlier. Namely that if Anish thinks that the current article is too skewed towards Buddhism and does not give sufficient attention to Jainism – then that aspect SHOULD be added into the existing article. With clear headings to delineate the differences. I truly doubt that there would be any controversy about that – as long as Anish provides sources – which he/she has already done in the “Nirvana (Jainism)” article. The Nirvana article does not say that Nirvana is exclusively a Buddhist philosophy.

It may well be that ALL the information that is required can be incorporated into the one article.

Secondary articles to describe more complex aspects can certainly be created if necessary. Though the titles would probably be more specific than “Nirvana (Jainism)” eg – a secondary article might be titled “History of Nirvana in the Jainist tradition” or “Key principals in Jainism Nirvana”

11) Anyway – Anish concludes with the following:

In the light of all this, I have following suggestion to make- In line with the Karma, Ahimsa, Dharma articles, Nirvana can remain as the general philosophical article (PRIMARY ?) with sections on Buddhism and Jainsim and if any on Hindusim

That seems to accord with what I suggested above – namely:

Since the article that deals with the philosophical concept does not claim that it is exclusively a Buddhist concept - it might seem logical to most people that he/she should add additional material to the original article that conveys his/her understanding. That would actually be very helpful. It would expand everyone's understanding of the concept. And make clear that there are two separate traditions of Nirvana as a state of mind.

I salute Anish for endorsing my earlier suggestion. I endorse Anish’s endorsement of my suggestion. We now have consensus! Davidpatrick (talk) 19:40, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Reconstruction-/addition of the article[edit]

In view of the above consensus, the article may the restructured in the following manner. The lead section to be suitably modified to show that it is a Buddhist as well as a Jainist concept.

  1. Nirvana in Buddhism
    1. Overview
    2. Nirvāṇa and saṃsāra
    3. Nirvāṇa in Buddhist commentaries
    4. Nirvāṇa in the MahāpariNirvāṇa Sūtra
    5. Paths to Nirvāṇa in the Pali canon
    6. Quotations
  2. Nirvana in Jainism
    1. Overview
    2. Description of to Nirvāṇa of Mahavira
  3. See also
  4. Notes
  5. External links

If there is a Hindu concept for to Nirvāṇa , one more section may be added. Comments are invited. --Anish (talk) 11:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)



****Yikes!****[edit]

First of all, the article doesn't mention Nirvana's rol in Hinduism, or belong to a Project Hiduism. Two- (now, correct me if I'm wrong PLEASE!) the symbol shown for Project Jainism is facing the wrong way; taht is the Nazi version of the Swastika (?), not the one of peace. (Right-Nazi, Left-Peace) I think this should be edited by the Project editor. And someone should insert a healthy amount of information about the Hindu Nirvana, especially since Buddhism originated from Hinduism and modified the belief in a Nirvana. I know that on the Wikipedia page for Swastika, it shows the Hindu symbol, not tilted, and the Nazi one, tilted, but I think this is only showing one way to tell the two apart. I'm really not sure, so please start a new category on my discussion page. I am open to new information p.s. Nirvana- Nirvana is the final goal in Hinduism, and is the union between a person or people and the universe, and the release from reincarnation, another belief of Hindus and Buddhists. This was also seen as the final goal of the Eightfold Path, the “laws” of Buddhism. --Divya da animal lvr (talk) 22:35, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Pali[edit]

It is incorrect for English Wikipedia to give Pali words in nagari script as if that were the script for Pali. It's not; it's one of several, & by no means the commonest. Pali words should be given in our alphabet, in accordance with standard practice in English-language publications. Nagari is perfectly OK in Hindi Wikipedia of course. Peter jackson (talk) 11:38, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Interpretation[edit]

Much of the article seems to be unsourced interpretations of Buddhist ideas. there seems to be no basis for supposing that Buddhists would agree on them. Peter jackson (talk) 11:40, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree. The identity of samsara and nirvana is completely wrong. One should not try to "transcend" them through meditation. The whole point of nirvana is that it is unconditioned and perfect, nothing transcends it. The n. vs. s. idea is that dukkha is empty and so it is never inherent. So the situation you're in only has suffering if you are not enlightened. Otherwise there is no suffering. That's the whole point. Mitsube (talk) 01:48, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Guenther quote in intro[edit]

What is "The Self-realisation" that he is referring to? Capital S Self-realization is a very unBuddhist idea (though self-mastery is not). I think the context of the quote would be needed. Can someone provide it? Mitsube (talk) 05:13, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I am truncating it and placing it here. The phrase "which was striven after" needs to be explained. I suspect that it was the pre-Buddhist yogis who were doing the striving and their goal was then transmuted, and that is what the quote says. If someone provides the context we could include the full context. Mitsube (talk) 05:37, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

"The notion of Nirvana is a transcendental postulate, which can only be proven psychologically/subjectively, not scientifically. Yet all highest and final goals lead towards it; indeed, it appears even to constitute the very commencement of the entire spiritual life ...With the reaching of Nirvana the Path has come to its end and reached its goal. The Self-realisation which was striven after and which here becomes Reality, signifies the ideal personality, the true human being." (Guenther, The Problem of the Soul in Early Buddhism, Curt Weller Verlag, Constanz, 1949, pp. 156-157).

POV?[edit]

As layman with regards to Buddhism I just read this article and I wonder whether some sentences reflect a buddhistic point of view instead of the required neutral point of view.

Example: "This peace, which is in reality the fundamental nature of the mind, is revealed when the root causes of the afflictive states are dissolved." -- Is "in reality" objective and neutral? Who claims that this statement is true and real?

Thanks in advance for your comments --84.143.96.72 (talk) 08:34, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

It's in the "Nirvana in Buddhism" section so it's in the context of Buddhism. I think it looks like it's explaining the Buddhist perspective. You can make this clearer if you want. Mitsube (talk) 14:24, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Much, if not most, of the material in the article reflects the opinions of some Buddhists. Peter jackson (talk) 10:31, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I noticed this as well, and was thrown by it. If no one objects, I am going to try a restyling in the near future. Felosele (talk) 17:09, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Positive/negative[edit]

Nirvana is not a positive concept. It does not mean the presence of joy, enlightenment, or knowledge. It is a negative concept. It means the absence of desire and will, and, as a consequence, the absence of pain and suffering. Since humans are used to thinking in terms of positive, present things, it is difficult or impossible for them to think about negatives. (Try to think about the negative absence of any object. You will inevitably think about its positive presence.) That is why there are so many people who can only ascribe positive attributes to the concept of Nirvana. They must think of Nirvana as joy, happiness, knowledge, enlightenment, etc. The Buddha used the concept of Nirvana because it means extinction or extinguishment, as in a candle's flame that is blown out.Lestrade (talk) 13:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

That is definitely the most important aspect. The idea of emptiness, or absence, is an interesting one to explore. This is a pretty light read that has useful metaphors from the study of the true vacuum in physics that might help people wrap their heads around it a little better. You are definitely right to mention the idea. I'm not sure the best way to find sources and work it into the article. There certainly are some Buddhist sources available on this. Mitsube (talk) 01:06, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, that link was interesting. That authors interpretation of vacuum of the physical, the difference between the voids of mind, matter, the two real & false states of each, and the end claim all are very similar to the western dialectic as Giovanni Gentile conceived it in his Actual Idealism philosophy. (the Wikipedia article is poor at conveying the philosophy, I will have to get into it again, this has almost inspired me to). Though, he bases his philsophy entirely on western tradition, from Protagoras to Plato to Hegel and does so really well with no influence from the east at all. Yet ends up with basically the same exact doctrine as your pdf link laid out. Nagelfar (talk) 00:18, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
One must practice to test these interesting theories. Mitsube (talk) 07:52, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Nirvana is also used in a positive sense. In fact there are many poetic descriptions of it in the Pali canon such as param, santa, visuddha, panita, santi, akkhara, adruva, sacca, ananta, accuta, sassata, amata, and many more. You might, for starters, look up nibbana in The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary. 72.152.104.180 (talk) 17:15, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Restoring this article as Primary topic[edit]

This article is obviously the Primary topic for the word "Nirvana" under Wikipedia guidelines and has been for the longest time. Even the most ardent fan of the grunge band understands and acknowledges that a 3,000 year-old philosophical concept that has importance throughout the world is the Primary topic. With a DAB notice to direct young fans of the band who hadn't realized that the concept existed for three millennia prior to Kurt Cobain's birth. A comparative newbie - with good intentions I'm sure - moved the article and added the descriptive . I have tried to revert the move but have run into tech. problems with overlapping re-directs etc. This may need an Administrator to restore the status. And to sort out the DAB page etc. Sorry that the revert got snarled up. Davidpatrick (talk) 04:54, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Has now been restored by User:Lethe. So thank you. Davidpatrick (talk) 13:45, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Nibbana[edit]

A few articles use the word Nibbana and those redirect to Nirvana when wikified. This is fine etymologically but should there be some mention of the slight differences in tradition to the concepts in conjunction to the form of the word used with the different cultures who brought the term into different forms of Buddhism and Hinduism?

What made me think of this was that on page xviii of '777 revised' by Aleister Crowley, who was a rather educated man of the different traditions of mysticism and religion, he writes of an argument he had with Allan Bennett in 1904. It was about Buddhist terminology, and how supplementing it with Hindu terms would cause confusing as, I trust he was erudite enough to have perceived some large distinct difference, he brought forth the example that "We should at once be lost in endless discussions as to whether Nibbana was Nirvana or not: and so on forever."

I'm assuming there must be a basis for distinction, though similar and he surely knew of their equivalent etymology, that one may add to the article how the one of that other etymology has qualities distinct and bound in concept to the other word through cultural usage rather than just translation. Of course, he also writes of how "The Jesus of the Synoptics and the methodists" is distinct in conception from the "savage and morose Jesus of the Evangelicals" and "the gentle Jesus of the Italian children" and etc. However I'm of the thinking that where there is attested doctrinal recorded differences in the different Christian sects conception of him that they are indeed, from an encyclopedic perspective, different enough to themselves too be touched on in their respective articles in much the same way. Nagelfar (talk) 01:18, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Nibbana is the Pali version, Nirvana is the Sanskrit version. In the Buddhist context, they mean the same thing. Other religions might employ the word(s) to mean different things. Mitsube (talk) 07:50, 12 December 2008 (UTC)


Censorship of 'Self' Passage by User:Mitsube[edit]

User:Mitsube has chosen - not for the first time, I might add - to delete highly relevant, accurate and sourced material (which I have now restored), on this occasion relating to the question of whether the Buddha totally denies the Self (atman) in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. Mitsube gave partial information, derived from a secondary source, indicating that the Self is actually denied by the Buddha in this scripture. I then completed the context by adding (without distorting commentary) the Buddha's concluding words on this matter (from the same scriptural passage that Mitsube was evidently keen for readers to be aware of). This is not 'original research' or 'selective' quoting - as Mitsube stupidly claims: it is simply sound, balanced and sensible editing. Mitsube points me in the direction of "Original Research" rules on Wikipedia and implies that I have breached them (not least through my quoting from a primary source). But when we look at those rules, we do not find one word to support such censorship as Mitsube practises of germane and sourced material which I have added. I have simply completed the point which the Buddha makes at that juncture in the Nirvana Sutra - to the effect that he, the Buddha, is the Self. To leave it as Mitsube left it is to give one-sided representation of the issue at hand. The rules indicate that as long as one does not distort the original statement or put various bits and pieces of information from one's source together to make one's own personal conclusion, but one merely and accurately re-states the content of the quoted source, then one is not doing original research. In fact, Wikipedia actually states that this 'is good editing'. What Mitsube is really about - as is so obvious to anyone who knows his intolerant and deletional mania on Wikipedia - is to try to utilise everything within his power and beyond it (including dreaming up non-existent Wikipedian rules about not being allowed to quote from a primary source) to censor facts to which he has a quite irrational aversion. Suddha (talk) 07:51, 24 February 2009 (UTC) P.S. Mitsube's total lack of even-handedness and his bias is manifest in the fact that he utters not a squeak of protest against the whole 'Quotes' section in the 'Nirvana' article - even though those quotes from primary sources are not properly or fully referenced at all. No shouts of 'you cannot quote from primary texts' issuing from Mitsube's mouth here. Now, I wonder why .... Suddha (talk) 08:14, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

It transpires that Mitsube did not finally delete the quote after all (although at first he did) - just moved it and unnecessarily meddled with its contextualisation. My apologies for thinking (understandably, given M's mania for deleting material he doesn't like) that M. had deleted the material altogether. Suddha (talk) 08:24, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

In the highly metaphorical sutra, which is full of contradictions, commentary is vital. I have already asked you to stop insulting me. Let me remind you of that request. If you find that the quotes from the Canon require interpretation then feel free to remove them. Mitsube (talk) 08:27, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

You have not previously asked me to stop insulting you - you are, as so often, confusing me with another editor. Also, the Nirvana Sutra is not per se a 'highly metaphorical sutra' - except in those instances where the Buddha deliberately and avowedly uses similes or metaphors to make his point. When he does not do this, he is stating fact - not metaphor. The teachings on the Buddha as the Self are nowhere in the Nirvana Sutra presented as mere metaphor. That is a Mitsubean dream - quite baseless. Suddha (talk) 08:33, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

"Nothing" category[edit]

Hey Mitsube! I think this article is appropriate for that category, largely because Nirvana (like God in negative theology) is so commonly defined by what it is not. The quotations of Gautama Buddha cited in the article are excellent examples of that. The other articles in the category Nothing are not restricted to the absence of anything but in many cases to local, relative, or conditioned absence. Jbening (talk) 20:48, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Nihilism is explicitly and vociferously rejected by the Buddha as an obstacle to liberation. Eternalism and nihilism are the extremes between which the Buddha showed a middle way and this is stated explicitly in the texts. Nirvana is never expressed as annihilation. The category is completely inappropriate. Mitsube (talk) 00:30, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I see from other discussions on this page that you are the petty tyrant of Nirvana, so I'm going to take it on the arches. Cheers! Jbening (talk) 03:44, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean, but I will say again that nothing-ism is a significant heresy from the Buddhist standpoint. Mitsube (talk) 04:29, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

The ascendent (58) speaks of Nirvana firsthand[edit]

The article is wrought with fraud for a variety of identifiable reasons. Nirvana definitely is indicative of egress from any 'hereafter' or succession of afterlives, but is clearly NOT the cessation of suffering and it is NOT a purifying process. You were PLENTY pure enough to have achieved the attainment, Nirvana, and your absolution thereafter is uncontroverted! The word nirvana may mean "blowing out" but it isn't the place or the purview of some pontificating droid to interpret that as "the blowing out of the fires of greed, hatred and whatnot". God doesn't want us to pay homage to graven images! It only takes so much devoutness before absolution is granted, and after that it's clear sailing -- hell, be a bum or a couch potato, smoke like a chimney, be virtuous or whatever -- it's downhill.

Some hopeless fuddy-duds believe in reincarnation and/or eternal life. They freely give their credence, and tacitly their blessing, to the unmitigated application of witchcraft ...on God's Green Earth! Woe and sorrow to those hapless misguided vermin! For SHAME!

They're right about one thing though: Nirvana is an attainment that one achieves. Unfortunately, heretofore, none were so brazen as to publicly claim the attainment, even when rightly won; so they inevitably wallowed spellbound in some mystic mire/bubble forever, and evil was only strengthened the more, arghh! and no one ever got one bit the wiser about The Way the Truth the Light. That was the Devil causing those lapses.

Ah, but one individual was built for the purpose of standing tall and is eminently worthy to enlighten. Take a look at my single-page blurb at http://placido.u21.0web-hosting.com/kavs/nirvana and suggest how to integrate those TRUTHS into the article. The PDF is at http://placido.u21.0web-hosting.com/kavs/nirvana/what_is_nirvana.pdf. Have a look at my other directories too, http://placido.u21.0web-hosting.com/kavs, though I didn't author the piece about Administratium.

No, I'm not 'watching' this page, or the article. Bahhh!

I disavow all underworld and use of the term "I" in all writings. There's no such animal.

ETP (talk) 14:56, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Nirvana vs Experience of Nirvana[edit]

I am not convinced that the distinction between Nirvana as a cessation and the experience of Nirvana is yet being adequately dealt with in the article. As I understand it, within the Pali and the Tibetan traditions, Nirvana is permanent (not-changing, not-ending) because it is an absence. (If it were a product, then it would be impermanent). Whereas consciousness is not permanent (it is a product), but it's stream is everlasting.

Nirvana as a cessation does not mean that it is a mere void - just as anatta is not a mere void. The cessation that Nirvana is qualified with is specifically suffering. There is no suffering left. There is a cessation of suffering. There can be no return to suffering. (The third noble truth). Comments? (20040302 (talk) 12:17, 16 February 2010 (UTC))

There are actual connotations of permanence, see for example [1]. Mitsube (talk) 05:51, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Restored Section on Nirvana and Great Nirvana[edit]

I have restored a small section that distinguishes 'nirvana' (which is said to be like eating only a little food after one is hungry) from 'great nirvana', which Mitsube irrelevantly labelled 'insulting' and removed, even though it comes from Dr. Kosho Yamamoto and, ultimately, from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra itself. Mitsube says the source is 'unverifiable'. Just because Mitsube happens not to have this (now out-of-print) monograph by Dr. Kosho Yamamoto on the Mahaparinirvana Sutra does not make it 'unverifiable'. There is no rule in Wikipedia that says: 'no out-of-print material may be cited'. Show me such a rule! Suddha (talk) 13:02, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

For one, the material is indeed insulting to the Buddha, and there is no need to include the disparaging comparison to his teaching. For another, WP:V requires that material be verifiable. I have not been able to find the book anywhere but the American library of congress. That is surely unreasonable. Mitsube (talk) 20:15, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Whether or not you personally find particular cited facts 'insulting' or not is a matter of complete indifference to Wikipedia. It is entirely irrelevant what YOU feel about sourced facts. Secondly, you are simply wrong about a source's difficulty of access being unreasonable. The policy states:

'The principle of verifiability implies nothing about ease of access to sources: some online sources may require payment, while some print sources may be available only in university libraries.' Your arguments have no validity whatsoever, and it is your zest for deleting well-sourced material that (as so often) is entirely 'unreasonable'. Suddha (talk) 01:31, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

This is an exceptional case, in which the source is simply not accessible. And why is that? This book is getting far too much coverage in wikipedia as it is. Mitsube (talk) 01:53, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • 'The principle of verifiability implies nothing about ease of access to sources' - states the policy. Please don't invent Wikipedia rules or nuances. Just follow the policy that is given. And do not let personal feelings (in this context, religious-partisan and irrelevant feelings of 'insult') influence your editing. Suddha (talk) 02:14, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Prima-facie the theory by Dr. Yamamoto seems to fall under Wikipedia Fringe theories policy to which undue weightage is being given. The question is not whether you can cite an out of print books or not. (Although citing from out of print obscure books which no one can verify is bound to be suspect) If this theory is not fringe theory then there ought to be more scholarly references that back up Dr. Yamamoto's theory and which can be easily verified by others. But this does not seem to be the case here. If we start giving importance to each and every fringe one time theories then it will mess up entire wikipedia. --Anish (talk) 07:05, 6 March 2010 (UTC)


Thank you for participating in the discussion. I agree that undue weight is the issue here. If the "nirvana" vs. "great nirvana" idea is really notable it should be given corresponding coverage in secondary literature, not just in one out-of-print, extremely rare book written by a man who for better or worse must have devoted years of his life to translating this sutra. Mitsube (talk) 08:38, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • The idea of 'Great Nirvana' is not a 'theory' of Dr. Yamamoto's - fringe or otherwise. Dr. Yamamoto is simply quoting what the sutra says. And the Mahaparinirvana Sutra is hardly 'fringe' within East-Asian Mahayana Buddhism. Additionally, the great Tibetan lama-scholar, Dolpopa, speaks of Great Nirvana when he writes: 'The Mahaparinirvana Sutra ... pronounces that the ultimate noumenon, the great nirvana, is other-empty in the sense of not being empty of itself' (Mountain Doctrine, tr. by Prof. Jeffrey Hopkins, p. 597). Since the Mahanirvana Sutra is by definition about "Great Nirvana" (hence its title), it is relevant in an article on Nirvana to quote what the Buddha in this major sutra says on the topic. Suddha (talk) 08:57, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
You are just muddying the waters. There is a Pali sutta with the same name which is obviously not about "great nirvana" as opposed to "nirvana". Does the Hopkins source contrast nirvana with "great nirvana"? Mitsube (talk) 06:29, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
The title of the Pali Maha-parinibbana-sutta should probably be parsed as the Maha "parinibbana-sutta" and not the "Maha-parinibbana" sutta ~ it's the sutta which is "maha" in contrast to the shorter versions (culla) outside of the Digha-nikaya. This is a quite normal interpretation with such titles. But this obviously does not apply in the case of the Mahayana Maha-parinirvana maha-sutra. -- अनाम गुमनाम 16:42, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Mitsube, I do agree that the very concept of Nirvana v/s Mahanirvana does not make sense simply because Nirvana itself is the ultimate ideal. There is nothing above it. The prefix “maha” is often simply added to emphasize this superlative concept. Secondly Suddha, if it were really “hardly fringe” then you will be able to come up with a number of verifiable secondary sources on this concept. A single source out of print reference will always be a suspect. Please review WP:REDFLAG. Extra-ordinary claims does need extraordinary references. This is simply my point. --Anish (talk) 07:11, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • So are you seriously suggesting that Dr. Yamamoto is lying or deluded when he writes of there being a distinction between Nirvana and Great Nirvana (or Mahaparinirvana) in the Nirvana Sutra? Dr. Yamamoto was an authority on that particular sutra. If you don't believe him, then believe the original sutra. I can easily quote from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra itself to confirm that there is a distinction made there between Nirvana and Mahanirvana. But I fear that you have both made up your own minds and that nothing that I do add or do not add in the way of evidence will make the slightest bit of difference to you. It is sad that certain editors on Wikipedia dismiss something as wrong or incorrect simply because they themselves are working from a very narrow knowledge-base. Have you not even heard of the famous Lotus Sutra's diminution of the 'nirvana' concept as previously taught (before the time of the Lotus Sutra)? Have you not heard how, very famously, the Lotus Sutra states that that nirvana, previously spoken of, was actually not the real nirvana at all and was just a temporary resting-place? This has nothing to do with what you or I believe. It has to do with what texts say. The Nirvana Sutra likewise sees two types of Nirvana - that of Buddhas (in which the Eternal, the Self, Bliss, and Purity are fully seen): this is called 'Mahanirvana' or "Mahaparinirvana"; the other 'ordinary' nirvana (as we might term it) is that of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas where, for example, the Self is not seen. I can quote from the sutra if you like - but I can see already in advance that that will be a waste of my time. You just don't want this distinction regarding Nirvana to be registered in the Wikipedia article on Nirvana. How sad! But just in case you do have an open mind, here is one passage (out of several) from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (Chapter: 'On Highly Virtuous King') where the Buddha makes a distinction between Nirvana and Great Nirvana (or Mahaparinirvana):

"Noble son. There is 'Nirvana', but that is not Maha-nirvana [Great Nirvana]. Why is Nirvana not Maha-nirvana? The elimination of the afflictions [kleshas] without having seen the Buddha-dhatu [Buddha Nature] is called 'Nirvana', and not Maha-nirvana. Thus, because one has not seen the Buddha-dhatu, there is no permanence nor Self, though there is bliss and utter purity. Hence, even though the afflictions have been eliminated, this should not be called 'Maha-nirvana'. When one has seen the Buddha-dhatu and eliminated the afflictions, that is called 'Maha-parinirvana'. Because of having seen the Buddha-dhatu, it is stated to be permanent, Self, blissful, and utterly pure, and therefore that elimination of the afflictions is stated to be Maha-parinirvana.' (YamamotoPage edition, Mahaparinirvana Sutra in 12 Volumes, London, 2000, Vol. 7, p. 64). This direct quote from the sutra, as I said, clearly shows a distinction between two types of Nirvana. There are more examples of this in the sutra, but this should be sufficient to prove the point.Suddha (talk) 09:40, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

This is all quite interesting and may or may not belong to this article. But still this does not address our concern of reliable references. To reiterate my point:"... if it were really “hardly fringe” then you will be able to come up with a number of verifiable secondary sources on this concept. A single source out of print reference will always be a suspect. Please review WP:REDFLAG. Extra-ordinary claims does need extraordinary references."--Anish (talk) 10:58, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • 'May or may not belong to this article'?! The article is about Nirvana. And the only Mahayana sutra that is called the Nirvana Sutra and which is centrally about Nirvana says what I quoted Dr. Yamamoto as writing. Of course this notion of two modes of Nirvana has a place in the article. Why not? 'Extraordinary claims'?! I have given you the actual quote from the sutra, for Goodness' sake! You don't need further secondary sources to back up Yamamoto's claim, when the sutra itself says what Yamamoto says it does (that there is Nirvana and Great Nirvana). And please, Mitsube, don't say that we cannot quote primary texts: of course we can (no rule says we cannot); we can even summarise primary sources(but not create our own interpretation of them - which I am not doing here). In any case, I have given a secondary source (and the rarity of that book is totally irrelevant). I have also given you the primary source (the sutra, which is the 'extraordinary reference' you require - plus referred to the Lotus Sutra) - and still you senselessly argue that this notion of two types of Nirvana has no place in the article. Why should the Wikipedia-reading public be debarred from receiving such information? It is relevant and of interest (even you, Anish, say that this is 'quite interesting'). But as I predicted, I am just wasting my time on this issue, it is clear. I had expected nothing less from Mitsube, but I had hoped for a rather more balanced and intelligent response from you, Anish. Best regards - Suddha (talk) 11:43, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I am astonished, but perhaps should not be, that two of the editors here are seemingly unfamiliar with the commonplace Mahayana idea that there are two levels of attainment, distinguished here as plain [Pari]nirvana & Maha-parinirvana. The idea is well-known in East Asian Buddhism, as well as in some schools of Tibetan Buddhism, even if Western scholars have not seen fit to write extensively about this distinction using these terms. Western scholars have not written about lots of things that were important to Buddhists in the past ~ have you seen much about the Samadhi-raja-sutra, one of the most widely quoted Mahayana sutras in the past ? Outside the limited English-speaking world, we have, for example, the entry in the huge Chinese Buddhist encyclopedia, the Dingfuobao, on "Maha-parinirvana": 大般涅槃:(術語)梵語摩訶般涅槃那Mahāparinirvāṇa,譯言大入滅息,或大滅度,大圓寂入等。大者美滅德之稱,滅者,滅煩惱滅身心之義,息者安息之義,度者,超度生死之義,圓寂者圓滿功德寂滅相累之義,入者歸於滅也。大乘義章十八曰:「摩訶般涅槃那,磨訶為大,大義有六。(中略)槃,此翻為入,入義有之。(中略)涅槃,此翻為滅,滅煩惱故滅生死故名之為滅,離衆相故大寂靜故亦名為滅。那者名息,究竟解脫永蘇息故。息何等事?息煩惱故,息生死故,又息一切諸行事故。」涅槃玄義上曰:「摩訶此翻為大,般涅此翻為滅,槃那此翻為度,是為大滅度也。」四教儀集註上曰:「大卽法身,滅卽解脫,度卽般若,卽三德祕藏也。」華嚴經疏鈔五十二曰:「疏涅槃正名為滅,取其義類乃有多方,總以義翻稱為圓寂,以義滿法界德備塵沙曰圓,體窮眞性妙絶相累為寂。鈔梵云摩訶般涅槃那,具翻為大圓寂入,謂那卽入義,應迴在入。(中略)總以義翻者卽唐三藏等,在義周圓。」

Japanese Buddhist dictionaries have similar material.-- अनाम गुमनाम 18:04, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Thank you very much for your insightful input, Anam. As always, your genuinely scholarly knowledge (not just potted Wiki-knowledge) is greatly appreciated. The irritating thing about the above discussion is that firstly the other editors are not satisfied with a secondary source; then the primary scripture is deemed insufficient. What does one do in these circumstances? There is also the nasty sense that certain people (I don't mean Anish here) are doubting one's own editorial integrity and honesty (when there are no grounds for such doubts) - as if one were inventing quotations, when it is simply the ignorance of certain other editors which is causing the problem. I could of course quote further passages from the Nirvana Sutra which also dilate upon the difference between Nirvana and Maha-nirvana/ Mahaparinirvana - but why should I waste my time on this, when the validity of Yamamoto's point has already been established? Thank you again for your valuable contribution to the discussion. All best regards. Suddha (talk) 23:36, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Are you sure that buddha-nature is only potential buddhahood and that it is not present now except as a potential? I can fine a tonne of references that say otherwise but they are all a tiny bit ambigious. Anyway that's how the article reads at present. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.145.10.45 (talk) 14:52, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Well I believe it means different things to different people and in different texts. In the most developed forms of Tibetan Buddhism it comes to just mean the mind's knowing quality, from what I've recently read. In other texts it can have other meanings. And the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra does state that it exists as a potential. So probably the most useful thing to find would be a source mentioning that there is a range of uses of the term. But any reliably sourced material is good at least to consider. Mitsube (talk) 16:01, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm fine with the material you added, but if we could have some explanation as to just what Dogen means by "buddha-nature" that would really help. Mitsube (talk) 16:02, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
OK thanks I'll mull over what precisely to do. I have a 2ndary source on the buddha nature ordered but am not very confident e.g. what Dogen thinks. He writes chapters on the Buddha-Nature but maybe not in terms that I can entirely relate to: it is a state of mind and body; it is reality (of e.g. grass and trees, the mind and body) as it is in the present...
You really should source this content. Just copy the style in the other reference tags. Mitsube (talk) 01:26, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Someone has added some more Dogen to it, so I'll likely find page numbers for what I added in the next few days. Thanks for that!

hey I probably will dig out my references for this sorry for my tardiness. i added a sentence to Sudhana's that *I*think* is relevant to his discussion on sentient beings and buddha nature etc.. if you think it's, well it's surely not quite original research [?] but if it disturbs the content of that section then just remove! best.

An Obscure Passage[edit]

'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".'

I find the above passage impenetrable. Can someone who understands what it is saying clarify it? Thanks. 58.6.102.204 (talk) 05:02, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

direct knowing is gnosis right? so they're saying that nirvana is not phenomenal but permanently free from "unrest" - what dukkha technically means before its popularization as 'suffering'. i believe. see the central conception of buddhism by stcherbatsky p40. it's an old book but i do recommend it - got me interested in reading about buddhism! best. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.145.10.45 (talk) 21:44, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

First use[edit]

Hello Arjun. The source doesn't actually mention Jainism, so I am removing this bit. Also, somewhat confusingly, the Jain texts are actually not as old as the Buddhist ones. One of the Jain sects says that they had older scriptures that were lost, which could be. Also I don't think that ideas about Buddhist influence on Hinduism belong in the intro, do you? Regards, Mitsube (talk) 05:04, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Nirvana and Samsara[edit]

There's a sentence in the second paragraph of this section that I think could be safely deleted, resolving one [citation needed] mark and clarifying the whole section. The text currently reads as follows:

The Theravāda school makes the antithesis of Samsara and Nibbāna the starting point of the entire quest for deliverance. Even more, it treats this antithesis as determinative of the final goal, which is precisely the transcendence of Samsara and the attainment of liberation in Nibbāna. Where Theravada differs significantly from the Mahāyāna schools, which also start with the duality of Samsara and Nirvana, is in not regarding this polarity as a mere preparatory lesson tailored for those with blunt faculties, to be eventually superseded by some higher realization of non-duality[citation needed]. From the standpoint of the Pāli Suttas, even for the Buddha and the Arahants suffering and its cessation, Samsara and Nibbāna, remain distinct[citation needed].

The problematic sentence is this one:

Where Theravada differs significantly from the Mahāyāna schools, which also start with the duality of Samsara and Nirvana, is in not regarding this polarity as a mere preparatory lesson tailored for those with blunt faculties, to be eventually superseded by some higher realization of non-duality[citation needed].

This isn't really true, at least in my understanding. What is true is what was expressed in the previous paragraph: that the distinction between Nirvana and Samsara is real, but is an aspect of the deceptive truth, not the ultimate truth. I would suggest changing the second paragraph as follows:

The Theravāda school makes the antithesis of Samsara and Nibbāna the starting point of the entire quest for deliverance. Even more, it treats this antithesis as determinative of the final goal, which is precisely the transcendence of Samsara and the attainment of liberation in Nibbāna. Where Theravada differs significantly from the Mahāyāna schools, which also start with the duality of Samsara and Nirvana, is in not regarding this polarity as an aspect of deceptive truth. From the standpoint of the Pāli Suttas, even for the Buddha and the Arahants suffering and its cessation, Samsara and Nibbāna, remain distinct[citation needed].

The reason I didn't just make this change is that my knowledge of Theravada is very limited, and no citation is provided for the last sentence in the paragraph, so I can't go to the source to check the validity of my change. Is there someone who understands the Theravada aspect of this question sufficiently to make a proper edit? Am I completely off-base here? Thanks for considering this. Abhayakara (talk) 04:36, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for drawing attention to this. There is actually some canonical precedent for the kind of statement that there is no difference between nirvana and samsara (though the Canon does not use the concept of two levels of truth). I will put this in soon. I have recently read it in a textbook. Though it is also in Kalupahana's exegesis of Nagarjuna's MMK. Mitsube (talk) 01:34, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Cool, thanks! I'm curious to see what you come up with! Abhayakara (talk) 02:07, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Not having seen anything since August, I took a second look at the text, and concluded that the problem was that I had failed to understand what the text was intended to communicate, rather than that the text was communicating something incorrect. Understanding what the text intended to communicate, but recognizing that it is difficult to understand, I rephrased it as follows:

Both the Theravāda and Mayāyāna 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.

I haven't actually changed much of the phrasing—I just re-ordered it so that it could be appreciated in bite-sized chunks, rather than having to be digested as a whole. I hope this is helpful; please let me know if it is not. Abhayakara (talk) 05:42, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Capitalization[edit]

We don't normally capitalize "enlightenment." Yet throughout the article, Nirvana and Samsara are capitalized. These are not proper nouns—not names of places. So it really doesn't make sense to capitalize them. I've de-capitalized Nirvana, Samsara and Moksha, and I'm about to go in and de-capitalize Nibbana as well (I noticed that I'd missed it in the previous pass). I don't know what the motivation was in capitalizing these terms. You could justify it on the basis that they are "holy concepts" or some such thing--even though Samsara is suffering, it is also one of the four noble truths, and hence could be treated that way. But I don't think it adds clarity to do so, and this is an encyclopedia, not a Buddhist commentary, so I think lowercase is the right way to go.

Oops, the above edit was mine. Abhayakara (talk) 05:43, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

The New Etymology Section[edit]

In my view, this new etymology addition is quite inappropriate. It presents an arcane, sectarian, scholastic analysis of the term, while completely disregarding the standard, well-accepted etymology current in the academic world. It is totally unhelpful for users ! Additionally, all the references, as far as I can see, are unacceptable since none are from recognized scholarly sources. I suggest rapid deletion of this. Any other views? -- अनाम गुमनाम 02:56, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Oh my! To answer your general objections, if it is reverted, does it improve more than we can edit what exists? Please, we are unable to make progress without a specific edit or a specific controversy in mind. If how you characterize the section's features is true (You say "all", "totally", "completely", and "none".), then I commend your restraint.
My view is that sectarianism is important for sections of etymologies to enable scholastic neutrality, and that all etymologies are arcane. Perhaps your wise judgment may define the best audience? — CpiralCpiral 08:43, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Nirvana in Buddhism: OR template.[edit]

Lots of assertions with no sources, cites or anything. I accept that these views are generally accurate, but that doesn't make them WP. Can someone source them accurately? Likewise, I am becoming increasingly wary of the conflatoin of all the many views of the various Mahayana traditions, let alone the Theravada tradition! (20040302 (talk))

I posted the URL of Buddhist scriptures at the top of this discussion page. I wonder if there is yet a template for "discussion resources and references"? — CpiralCpiral 03:51, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

A better approach to this page[edit]

I'm sure every traditions here has their own commentaries which define nirvana. Using those will save us a lot of haggling over how we present this concept and its history. Aero13792468 (talk) 20:41, 7 May 2011 (UTC)


High school?[edit]

I suspect someone may have tampered with the opening paragraph - I'm pretty sure Nirvana has never been defined as failing high school. Don't have time right now to fix that, though... James Casey (talk) 13:56, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out. Deleted it. But you could have easily done it your self instead of taking trouble of writing this note.--Indian Chronicles (talk) 14:30, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Etymological cleanup[edit]

I removed some uncited or unclear material from the etymology section.

I would propose a new section "===Other interpretations ===" for the removed, (highlighted below) material if it passes discussion here. Else-wise, I'm fine leaving it all out for the reasons explained below the highlighted passages.

In Pali "v a n a" becomes "v a t i".

This is not really etymology, but transcription (although there is a slight connection between the two).

A literal Latinization of nirvana is de-spiration, not transitively, but as a fire ceases to draw.[1]

Spiration is literally the act of breathing, so clearly, nirvana as "de-spiration, but not transitively" must be viewed rhetorically. "Breath" is a metaphor, since nirvana is not literally a breathless state, but a living one. The word play on spiration involves the inspiration aspect of breathing as motivation of the self, and the expiration aspect of breathing as death of the self. The word play on "transitive" is also evident. "To breath" is already "not a transitive verb". (It is an intransitive verb.) To stress this implies that "the self", (the doer and object of doing of all intransitive verbs) is not the doer of the de-motivation or the death-of-self. Finally, spiration could refer to spirated or "spirally twisted", so de-spiration could refer to the cessation of making an endless spiral, as does the appeal above to the "weaving" interpretation of the endless knot.

An encyclopedia is not generally employing rhetoric (the ancient art of persuasion), but straight social "facts"; however, since this is etymology, there is plenty of freedom in object abstraction concerning the word's possible development. I am not qualified to make the explanation of about the passage, although I laid out here my logical psyche, my metaphors of inspiration as motivation and expiration as death. But the same might also say if the Latinization of Nirvana is "de-radix", the following rhetoric. Since etymologically "radix" is related to "eradicate", to pull up from the root to destroy; but hey, radix is a Roman word meaning root. And since "radix" is what mathematicians call "base", then to de-radix is to de-base the base. (Mathematicians also call the number raised to a power a "base", and self-raised power is to know is a no-no.) Radix made the "radish", a root-ish vegetable. A root of an function is where the function crosses zero, Nirvana. The function of the world roots me out. Etc. De-spiration? C'mon. "Radiculopathy" is a medical pathology at the root of a nerve.

It is also said that the spoken vana does not refer to a forest. The actual "vana" of nirvana is claimed to have a long "a" sound and a dental consonant "n" sound, whereas the vana that refers to a forest has a short "a" sound and cerebral or retroflex consonant "n" sound. This is believed to make the two words vana significantly different, and gives cause to question speaking about Nirvana using the forest analogy. [citation needed]

That is the best rewrite of the "contribution" that I can do with that before it (maybe) goes back into the article. — CpiralCpiral 06:17, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Etymology section[edit]

The pace of improvements that moved parts of the etymological section around is increasing along with drastic moves over the recent hours. Please begin to use this talk page.

As a watcher of Nirvana and contributor to the etymology section, I am trying to "improve or move information within Wikipedia rather than delete."

The "insane" sentence that was removed because it was "insane"? Thank you for informing me that it is unclear. I have been researching what I meant by that sentence, and at this point it is this:

The concept of nirvana was born in Hinduism [2] and the concept of etymology was born of this religion's study by the first grammarian, Yaska. For thousands of years the words had developed, and by 6 BCE Yaska began his work, systematizing the meaning of such words. There is even a Grammerian school of Hinduism that is classified as othodoxy. There may be many interpretations of the etymology of Nirvana because Hinduism is the oldest religion father many reinterpretations, it is only fitting that we use the earliest.

Well? — CpiralCpiral 20:20, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

That's still gibberish, and irrelevant to this article; see WP:COATRACK. The rest of the "etymology" section is sourced to weak and non-reliable sources, the equivalent of fansites, rather than to scholarly sources; thus, I argue it should be removed, but am willing to be persuaded otherwise. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:39, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I'll review it with your criticism in mind. — CpiralCpiral 03:34, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
And what is not sourced to weak and non-reliable sources, is speculation and original research and synthesis, which has no place here. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:40, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Those will become my onis as well. I re-assume the good faith I had and can only hope to rediscover there. If no support is found, there or elsewhere, good job for deletion. — CpiralCpiral 03:34, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
It's currently being discussed at Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard#Nirvana. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:54, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Ack — CpiralCpiral 03:34, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

The subsection "Phonetics" (currently restored) has three sources. None seem to be fansites.

  • [2] is from Myokoin Temple. It is an official temple, designated by an authority, founded by a reverend, and associated with another temple in Belgium. A reverend studying there became an ordained priest. There were two resident priests there at the time of the quoted source.
  • [3] vedabase.net, is from the official web site of the authority Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
  • [4] www.vwsp.eu, Is from a web site hosting vast literature concerning Buddhism. I have not proven that is premised on sound doctrine, nor can I define "vast", but it is devoted to Buddhism in Ireland, and it is based in Ireland. Google search engine turns up 290,000 revelations on it. e.g. that it is sourced (cited) from WikiHow, and that its also mentioned in numerous blogs and other related websites including "Trueknowledge" Google key words for this webcite are:"buddhism", "nirvana", "dictionary".

Note that the etymological information in Nirvana#Abhidharma_.28Buddhism.29 used to be in the Etymology section, but there was some work done by User:Snowcream on 16 October 2011 that moved it out. — CpiralCpiral 17:22, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Recent edits to introduction[edit]

I hope my recent edits didn't cause more problems than they fixed; if they did, please don't hesitate to revert them. I am concerned that the recent edits by User:Dienekles may be representing Hindu cosmology from a Buddhist perspective; what he says there matches exactly my understanding of the presentation on form and formless realms from the Abhidharmakosha, which is a Buddhist text. If the Hindu texts say the same thing, that's really cool, but I hope someone who knows something about this can validate this part of the introduction. There is no citation there, so I couldn't go check for myself. My edits were simply intended to reorganize the introduction for better flow and structure—I think it got a bit unwieldy after User:Dienekles' edits. Abhayakara (talk) 19:05, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

  • I am afraid that the massive removal of referenced material is utterly unacceptable. If an editor wishes to add new, referenced material, that is fine; but that does not give him or her license to delete valuable, referenced material that has stood in the article for a long time. I hope that the deleted material will swiftly be replaced - especially that relating to the distinctive presentation of Nirvana as found in the Nirvana Sutra. Thank you for your co-operation. 00:01, 18 July 2012 (UTC)Suddha (talk) 00:03, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I didn't remove that material, so I can't really put it back—you'd have to ask User:Dienekles. The new stuff does look fairly decent, but you're absolutely right that it seems like a lot of interesting old material was removed. However, the material was written in a very academic language, and was a bit difficult to follow. Lots of sectarian terminology was used where plain english would have been better.
Unfortunately, the new information appears to be from a different sect, which creates two new problems. First, by removing one set of material from one sect and replacing it with material from another, the editor has been, as you say, quite inconsiderate. And second, supposing that both the new material and the old were valid, simply putting back the old isn't sufficient—what we would wind up then would be a real mess.
Either we need to have two separate sections that are sectarian, or we need to figure out a way to merge the presentations. I think the latter choice is a better one, but probably quite difficult, and I don't have time to do it. Based on the silence with which the bold edits were made, I suspect User:Dienekles isn't going to do it either. Is there some way we can work together on this? I don't think it's right to just revert it—the new material seems valid, but I completely agree with you that the edit ran roughshod over good material. and we can't simply accept the new state of the article as a fait accomplis. Abhayakara (talk) 01:03, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Hello Abhayakara. Thank you for your very balanced, well-considered and fair response. Incidentally, I was not accusing your good self of removing all that material! Basically, I agree with you: I think the new material is valid - but that we need to retain the earlier material too. Like yourself, I am terribly busy at present, but I hope in the not too distant future to re-incorporate the earlier information in a separate section. That might be a good way forward. I know that you favour a more amalgamational approach, and I would certainly support that too, if you or I (or any other editor) has time. Time is our great enemy! Anyway, if you don't object, I'll try, bit by bit, to add some of the earlier material to a new section. You see the time-wasting problems that reckless editing by a new contributor can cause? I think that it is very impolite and inconsiderate to remove whole swathes of referenced material, which some of us spent many days collating and adding to the article. I do wish some Wikipedia contributors would show more respect towards other editors, some of whom have been involved with these articles for many years. Anyhow, thanks again, Abhayakara, for your kind response. Best wishes to you. From Suddha (talk) 02:07, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I think what you have done is a good short term solution, and I will try to help clean it up when I have time. It's frustrating when edits like this happen, but that's Wikipedia. If it's any comfort to you, I find this article quite relaxing compared to what I usually work on. Thanks for restoring the deleted text! Abhayakara (talk) 03:03, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Grounds or levels[edit]

Another question that comes up for me when I read this is, in the Mahayana section, why the translation "grounds" is given for "bhumis," instead of the more usual "levels." I think for the average wikipedia reader, using a stilted term like "grounds" here is going to make the article harder to understand. it's true that "bhumi" is often translated as "ground" in the context of offering the mandala, but like many Tibetan words, it has different meanings in different contexts. Here I think "levels" is more appropriate, and it seems that quite a few lineages (e.g., FPMT) agree with this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Abhayakara (talkcontribs) 23:05, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

  • I agree with you, Abhayakara. The Sanskrit term does literally mean 'soil' or 'ground', but in actual practice what it denotes is 'level' or 'stage' of Bodhisattva development. Regards. Suddha (talk) 03:48, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Theravada[edit]

Hello everyone. I read the article and I came here to find info about the Theravada school, however there's anything, or may be a less info about it. The only thing I noticied about it, it's that is very widespread in Mahayana theme, and that doesn't give a true perspective about the complete theme that span the whole theme. Greetings. Gtr. Errol (talk) 14:04, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Paul Williams on Nirvana[edit]

Paul Williams is a well-known scholar on Mahayana-Buddhism. See his Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations Joshua Jonathan (talk) 15:39, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

I figured he was a Buddhist scholar, but I've never heard of him, and even if I had, it doesn't make sense to mention his name in the Nirvana article. My teacher is also a well-known Buddhist scholar, but I wouldn't mention him by name in an article on Buddhism unless it was an article about him or about teachers of his lineage. Also, the point that you quote him on is a very obscure scholarly point, and its inclusion here seems to give his opinion on the topic undue emphasis. Abhayakara (talk) 16:57, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Eh... I didn't quote him. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 17:44, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Right you are—sorry. I just assumed it was you because you replied on my talk page. Abhayakara (talk) 19:19, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree that Professor Paul Williams is a major scholar of Mahayana Buddhism and has every right to be quoted (although it was not myself who quoted him here). I do also agree, however, that the specific paragraph quoted is a bit recondite and perhaps not suitable in the given context. I personally would not mind if that paragraph were deleted. What do other editors think? Best wishes. From Suddha (talk) 23:44, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
  • To be clear, I have absolutely no problem with Williams' book being used as a source. My objection to the paragraph I deleted, which User:Sylvain1972 has restored without explanation, is that (1) it mentions him by name, which is unusual, and, as I said earlier, the specific point being made doesn't seem relevant. Abhayakara (talk) 01:14, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I actually agree with Abhayakara on the substantive point of that paragraph's being irrelevant and out of place here. I personally would prefer to see it deleted. On the other point, though, it is not so unusual to quote a scholar's name in a Wiki article: it is not disallowed by the Wiki rules. Anyway, I share Abhayakara's view that the contested paragraph is best deleted. All good wishes. From Suddha (talk) 02:05, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

The Nirvana#Mahayana perspectives is almost the same as the Bodhi#Mahayana section. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 07:46, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Removed disoute on "Self"[edit]

This text is too specific for the article on Nirvana; it belongs elsewhere, TMO. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 10:52, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

According to some scholars, the "Self" discussed in the and related sutras does not represent a substantial Self. Rather, it is a positive language expression of emptiness and represents the potentiality to realize Buddhahood through Buddhist practices. In this view, the intention of the teaching of 'tathāgatagarbha'/Buddha nature is soteriological rather than theoretical.[2]

However, this interpretation is contentious. Not all scholars share it. Writing on the diverse understandings of tathagatagarbha doctrine as found in the nirvana Sutra and similar scriptures, Jamie Hubbard comments on how some scholars see a tendency towards absolutism and monism in this Tathagatagarbha [a tendency which Japanese scholar Matsumoto castigates as non-Buddhist].[a]

Hubbard summarises his research on tathagatagarbha doctrines with the words:

The teaching of the tathagatagarbha has always been debatable, for it is fundamentally an affirmative approach to truth and wisdom, offering descriptions of reality not in negative terms of what it is lacking or empty of (apophatic description, typical of the Pefection of Wisdom corpus and the Madhyhamika school) but rather in positive terms of what it is (cataphatic description, more typical of the devotional, tantric, Mahaparinirvana and Lotus Sutra traditions, and, it should be noted, the monistic terms of the orthodox Brahmanic systems).[4]

Removed another section[edit]

This section also is too specific, TMO. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 10:53, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Reality of the Self

However, in the Nirvana Sutra the Buddha affirms the reality of the Self, declaring that he, the Buddha, is in fact that Self:

Due to various causes and conditions, I have also taught that that which is the self is devoid of self, for though there is truly the self, I have taught that there is no self, and yet there is no falsehood in that. The Buddha-dhātu is devoid of self. When the Tathagata teaches that there is no self, it is because of the Eternal. The Tathāgata is the Self, and his teaching that there is no self is because he has attained mastery/sovereignty [aisvarya].[5]

In the Nirvāna Sutra, the Buddha states that he will now teach previously undisclosed doctrines (including on nirvana) and that his earlier teaching on non-Self was one of expediency only. Kosho Yamamoto writes:

He 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.[6]

  1. ^ Etymonline.com, 1836, from Skt. nirvana-s "extinction, disappearance" (of the individual soul into the universal), lit. "to blow out, a blowing out" ("not transitively, but as a fire ceases to draw;" a literal Latinization would be de-spiration), from nis-, nir- "out" + va "to blow" (see wind (n.)).
  2. ^ Heng-Ching Shih, "The Significance Of 'Tathagatagarbha' -- A Positive Expression Of 'Sunyata.'" at ZEN Computer Systems
  3. ^ Jamie Hubbard, Jamie. Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddhahood,University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu, 2001, pp. 99-100
  4. ^ Jamie Hubbard, op. cit., pp. 120-121
  5. ^ Kosho Yamamoto, The Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāna Sutra in 3 Volumes, Vol, 3, p. 660, Karinbunko, Ube City, Japan, 1975
  6. ^ Kosho Yamamoto, Mahayanism: A Critical Exposition of the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāna Sutra, Karinbunko, Ube City, Japan, 1975, pp. 141, 142
  • Thanks for your work on this article, JoshuaJonathan. I have restored the Yamamoto quote, however, as it is very pertinent. Don't forget that the Nirvana Sutra is specifically called the Nirvana Sutra, as it is centred on the very nature and attributes of Nirvana. No other Mahayana sutra bears that specific title. Best wishes. From Suddha (talk) 12:01, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Hey Suddha. Sorry if my editing is too rigorous. Funny, I hadn't noticed at all the spicific meaning of Nirvana-sytra in this context. Best wishes to you too. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 12:06, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

undue negation of concept of nirvana in Hinduism[edit]

It is fine to write about nirvana according to many religion , but i do feel it is very wrong to condemn and to protray the knowledge as week and inferior to other religion thoughts and is against WP:UNDUE, Please do not do this in wiki and let it be neutral Shrikanthv (talk) 08:08, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes, I think it would be interesting to explore this further. Right now the text doesn't say very much. I've heard scholars say that the distinction between Buddhist and Hindu nirvana is largely one of language and method, not essence, although perhaps you would disagree. In any case, the text as it stands doesn't really leave me with any understanding of the variety of thought on nirvana from a Hindu perspective. Your correction regarding moksha seems to have improved the text, although in my understanding, moksha and nirvana are the same thing, not two different things that come about at the same time; it might be worth clarifying what the distinction is from a Hindu perspective, if possible. Abhayakara (talk) 14:06, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
It is terrible to see the original article Moksha itself , I have just added some small anecdot on the concept (not presuming mastery over the subject,it would mean that i have been liberated too :) ) Shrikanthv (talk) 12:05, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Literal meaning wrong, or rather slightly incorrect[edit]

According to Chhi’mèd Rig’dzin Rinpochethis is not the only way to interpret the literal meaning of the word Nirvana. He was for many years teaching as Head of the Department for Indo-Tibetan studies at the Visvabharati University at Santiniketan in West Bengal, India. He is an expert in Sanskrit language and told me personally that Nirvana literally mean "without wrong thought", "the word Nirvana consist of 3 Sanskrit words, nir-va-djna, meaning without wrong thought", these were his exact words. I have checked this with several Sanskrit dictionaries and found it to match. He is one of the lineage holders of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He is regarded as an indisputable authority on the meaning of the Buddhist Dharma by all schools of Buddhism. The translation or rather explanatory word "blowing out" do not direct one towards understanding of what Nirvana is. In Buddhism one consider the constructed personality built on thoughts as absolute definitions to be the root of Samsara. If the idea of absolute is exchanged with the understanding of all concepts as relative, the "building" of the imaginary personality collapse. Right thought is when you hold a stone and think "stone". I think this view on the literal meaning of the word Nirvana should be changed. In Theravada this "blowing out" is a preferred interpretation but in Tibetan Buddhism, having a much larger representation in the world, the "without wrong thought" view is also used. Tulku Yeshe Trögyal (talk) 06:26, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

This interpretation could be added (instead of changing the interpretation of Nirvana). Have you got written sources? Joshua Jonathan (talk) 06:48, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Sorry but I do not have any written sources to this. Much of what is going on in the Buddhist community is mouth to ear, an oral tradition. Tulku Yeshe Trögyal (talk) 18:02, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
I searched for the word "djna" in several Sanskrit dictionaries, but it seems to be unknown. There is, though, the word "abidjna", supernatural powers. "Djna" means "jna", Jnana, knowledge. I also did a Google-search on "nir-va-djna", but it didn't give any relevant hits. Same for "nirvajna". It seems to me that Chhi’mèd Rig’dzin Rinpoche gave an unusual interpretation of "nirvana" aimed at teaching an important Buddhist doctrine. That's good, but without proper sources there is no reason to mention Chhi’mèd Rig’dzin Rinpoche's interpretation in the lead, let alone replace the usual translation/interpretation of "nirvana" as "blowing out". Joshua Jonathan (talk) 20:19, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
This "without wrong thought" etymology is interesting, but Wikipedia requires Reliable Sources. See WP:USERG for an explanation. Keahapana (talk) 23:13, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

Unconscious mind[edit]

The sentence "volitional formations (Pali: samskaras or sankharas) (structures within the unconscious mind that form the underlying basis for psychological dispositions)" needs a citation. "Unconscious mind" is a western interpretation. See WP:42. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 08:01, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

This one is interesting: William S. Waldron (2003), "The Buddhist Unconscious: The Ālaya-vijñāna in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought". Apparently the term is being used by modern interpretators. Please be aware that the term "unconscious" is part of a modern discourse. See David L. McMahan (2008), The Making of Buddhist Modernism, p.131. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 08:04, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Nirvana/nibbana[edit]

To the ignorant reader coming to this article for information, the apparently interchangeable use of these two cognates is confusing. If they truly are interchangeable, it would be clearer if only ONE of them could be used in the article. If they are not interchangeable, the differences need to be made clear and discussions of the terms need to be more clearly distinguished. 192.31.106.35 (talk) 21:43, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

As explained in the article, nibbāṇa is simply the (later) Pali form of the Sanskrit word nirvāṇa, and I'm not aware of any distinction being made.
By the way, the etymology section is mostly bunk, baseless amateurish pseudo-etymological speculation in the vein of the Sun Language Theory (granted, ancient Indian grammarians – to whom Sanskrit was already as foreign as the Old English of the Anglo-Saxons is to us, or Latin is to Italians, Pali being a much closer approximation for their native dialects – are guilty of the same, but we don't uncritically use them as sources). I happen to have studied Sanskrit and nirvāṇa, as I suspect all scholarly Western sources agree, is the participle perfect of the verb "to blow", composed with the prefix niṣ/niḥ (the instability of the final consonant being due to sandhi assimilation phenomena) "out", and indeed means simply "blown out". There is no negation in there at all, nor is nirvāṇa an infinitive "to blow out" or present participle/verbal noun "blowing out", which is formed in other ways. You can't simply combine "phones" to build a word in Sanskrit; you combine morphemes according to complex rules which have been described by Pāṇini and others. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:50, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Incomprehensible sentence[edit]

"Not only are that every one are bound but in play, the situation is compared as mimic knots which have such a nature that itself can at its pleasure undo them.[67]"

This sentence is awful. If I had any idea what the author was trying to say I would have edited it but its simply nonsense as written. If anyone knows what this is supposed to mean please rewrite it in acceptable english. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.91.29.44 (talk) 10:29, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Just remove it. I don't understand it either, and the reference does not give a page-number, so we can't check it. And Google only gives copies from Wikipedia. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:58, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Clean-up[edit]

@Dorje108: I think this article is in a desperate need for a clean-up. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 22:38, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Done. I've removed a lot, mainly because of WP:UNDUE and WP:OR. Much info was simply too much, like the Mahaparinirvana Sutra and Falo Gong. Equating "Nirvana" with "moksha" is WP:OR, and typical for a "modern spirituality" which wants to connect everything with all, meanwhile disregarding WP:RS. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:20, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
PS: I'm not 95.94.145.193. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:26, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Recent edits of Joshua Jonathan[edit]

The article has been reverted to its status as of February 6th. The new edit by Mr Jonathan asserts that nirvana is a term restricted to Buddhism and has removed a huge amount of useful and well-sourced material. Nirvana, as any first year student of Indian religion knows, is present as a concept in all the Indian religions. Mr Jonathon also claims that moksha is not the same as nirvana, another easily disproved falsehood. For the sceptical I am pasting a definition of nirvana by Gavin Flood, Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion at Oxford University and Director of The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. The definition comes from the Oxford Dictionary of World Religions edited by John Bowker.

Nirvāna
The final goal and attainment in Indian religions.
In Hinduism, nirvana is the extinguishing of worldly desires and attachments, so that the union with God or the Absolute is possible. According to S.K. Belvalkar, the term originated in Kāla philosophy before the advent of Buddhism. In Mahābhārata nirvana is serene peace (santi, 12. 196. 6, 341. 8) and satisfaction (susukhi, 3. 126. 15). In Anugītā 4. 11, it is described as 'a fire devoid of fuel'. In Bhagavad-gītā it seems to be contrasted deliberately with the Buddhist understanding, because it is described as the attainment of Brahman ('He who forsakes all objects of desire and goes about without cravings, desires or self-centredness attains serene peace.... Staying in this state, even in his last hour, he attains brahmanirvāṇa', 2. 71 f.), and the yogin is described not (as in Buddhism) as a candle blown out, but as 'a candle flame away from a draught which does not flicker' (6, 19) The attainment of nirvana is thus mokṣa"

There is then a section on the Buddhist definition. A notable omission from the entry as a whole is the use of nirvana in Jainism, a religion that is much older (by at least four hundred years) than Buddhism. The Buddha himself studied under Jain teachers and he borrowed quite a few concepts from them.

Therefore the new article is far more POV and WP:UNDUE than what was there already. Regards 81.106.127.14 (talk) 17:36, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Please refrain from terms like Mr Jonathan; I will easily take it as a personal attack, for which you already have a reputation.
Regarding your quote: I don't understand how you read and interpret sources, but this one says exactly the opposite of what you are claiming: "In Bhagavad-gītā it seems to be contrasted deliberately with the Buddhist understanding."
For the rest, one (misunderstood) quotation is not enough justification for the inclusion of the unsouced and undue original research, a large part of which was probably added by you in your various incarnations.
@Tengu800: @Dorje108: @Aoidh:, could you please comment here? Thanks. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:21, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

The Flood quote speaks for itself. It says the 'final goal and attainment in Indian religions'. It does not say 'the final goal in Buddhism'. Hindu scriptures are referenced. Professor Flood alludes to the widespread belief among scholars that the concept predates the life of the Buddha. The words arahant and nirvana were already in use among Jains at the time when the Buddha studied yoga as a young man. So you are telling me that a reference from one of the worlds leading scholars of Hinduism has you unconvinced? You have removed a great deal of useful material kindly donated by many editors over several years. You did the same to the spirituality article not to mention others. That is not a very co-operative or harmonious modus operandus. Also 'Mr' is a polite form of address in anglophone countries. Your editing strikes me as very insensitive. Why are you removing the work of many dedicated contributors? Their insights are invaluable. Also Professor Flood clearly states that nirvana is the same as moksha so why are you going around claiming this is some new age perennialism? Why have you removed the references to Hinduism and Jainism? Are you attempting to rewrite history? What is your objective exactly? 81.106.127.14 (talk) 19:45, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Large parts were unsourced c.q. original research c.q. undue, altogether constituting an unreadable and non-informative article. You can see the explanations in the edit-summaries. One Flood-quote is not enough to support all the rest. And Flood does not say that "nirvana is the same as moksha", he says "The attainment of nirvana is thus mokṣa". It may sound the same to you, but it is a subtle rephrasing. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:55, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
English is your second language and having tidied up many of your edits it is clear that you struggle with grammar, idiom and syntax. As a native speaker who went to a top British university and who has been invited to lecture on Indian religions by the IAHR I can tell you that 'Nirvana is thus moksha' means that nirvana is synonymous with moksha. To be more accurate "Nirvana is the peace of mind that is acquired with moksha" as the previous article correctly stated. It is not defined as a term from Buddhism just as love is not defined as a concept from Christianity. You removed the references to Jainism saying that moksha is a term from Hinduism but actually moksha is a term from Jainism as well. There are solid reasons to conjecture that moksha may well have originated as a concept in Jain circles because Jainism is hundreds of years older than Buddhism. Anyhow the point is that nirvana is a concept from Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism and almost certainly predates the Buddha's lifetime. Therefore why the POV lead? Why the removal of any reference to Hinduism and Jainism? Is it the same reason that you say that dharma transmission developed early in the history of Chan as 'a means to gain credibility' rather than a seal of authenticity which is the generally held point of view within Zen circles. You prefer the word of a man who openly admitted that he was not a practitioner of Zen himself (John McCrae) rather than the consensus of practitioners who know Zen from the inside. 81.106.127.14 (talk) 21:22, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Hi Jonathan, I'll be able to focus more on this article over the next couple of weeks. Regarding the above discussion, I suggest creating a separate article for Nirvana in Buddhism. Most the the articles that link to this page are Buddhism-related articles, so if we create a "Nirvana (Buddhism)" page, it would take some effort to update those links, but it is probably worth it in the end. (I was pondering this even before I read the discussion above.) FYI, Gethin's text has a very thorough explanation of Nirvana (in Buddhism, of course) which I would like to use as the basis for further edits/additions. Best regards, Dorje108 (talk) 02:53, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
@Dorje108: thanks for responding! Might be a good idea.
@81~14: here you go again:
  • "English is your second language and having tidied up many of your edits it is clear that you struggle with grammar, idiom and syntax" - that's apersonal attack; this is irrelevant here.
  • "As a native speaker who went to a top British university and who has been invited to lecture on Indian religions by the IAHR I can tell you" - you're boasting, as so many times before.
  • "You prefer the word of a man who openly admitted that he was not a practitioner of Zen himself (John McCrae) rather than the consensus of practitioners who know Zen from the inside" - Wikipedia is based on WP:RS, not on first-person accounts, and representing those sources accurately; a point you still don't understand.
@Mark.muesse: Mark, could you comment here as well?
Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:37, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Unsourced text[edit]

The following text is completely unsourced:

"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."

References would be welcome. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:42, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Hinduism[edit]

From the Wiki-article:

"A person reaches moksha as nirvana is attained. Source: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. "

The PEA says at page 264:

"The complete and utter release from all desire is the Hindu concept of salvation, identified earlier as moksha. When a person achieves moksha, they have reached nirvana. Nirvana, the fifth key element in Hinduism, is the state of nothingness, which is the Hindu goal for eternal existence. Upon ceasing to exist, the individual becomes part of this god-essence."

Two remarks here:

  • Page 264 is misquoted in the Wiki-article; the sequence is exactly the reverse.
  • "the state of nothingness, which is the Hindu goal for eternal existence" - what a weird formulation...

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:08, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Falun Gong and Nirvana?[edit]

The Falun Gong section does not appear to be related to the content of this article. I propose to remove this section. JimRenge (talk) 11:30, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

I fully agree. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:56, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Done. Do you have other suggestions? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:58, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Discussion of self in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra[edit]

In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra section the part between "... Self-delusion.[62][63]" and "Positive language" appears to be out of focus in this article. I think this discussion of the self in the MPNS and other Tathagatagarbha sutras does not fit here. The "Positive language" section reiterates content (after the Hodous quote) and could be summarized (2 quotes necessary?).

The following "Quotations" section is definitely not related to Mahayana and should be moved but I have no idea how this text might be integrated without disturbing the flow of text. JimRenge (talk) 13:47, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd already removed a large part of the text on the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. I think Suddha added this part; maybe he'd like to participate in discussing if this part can be shortened. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:17, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Hello Joshua Jonathan and Jim Renge - good to hear from you. I would be OK with deleting the following parts from the section you mention (they were originally placed there by a notoriously intolerant editor on Wiki who obsessively attacked or denigrated any positive portrayal of Nirvana/Self in Buddhism; fortunately that 'editor' has long since disappeared):

'At the time this scripture was written, there was already a long tradition of positive language about nirvana and the Buddha.[66] 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.[67][68]

The Mahaparinirvana Sutra, a long and highly composite Mahayana scripture,[69] refers to the Buddha's using the term "Self" in order to win over non-Buddhist ascetics.[66][note 17]

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."[70]'.

I would then like slightly to modify the non-Self bit that follows, to make it clear that the MPNS teaches non-Self as being NOT Nirvana, and the Self (of the Buddha) as constituting precisely the essence of Nirvana. The MPNS is a particularly important text for a discussion of Nirvana as it is the only Mahayana sutra on a grand scale that has as its named centre of gravity or centre of focus the nature of Nirvana itself, and it presents Nirvana in a very cataphatic light. If you don't mind, I'll delete the sections I've mentioned above and then make the small modifications which I have proposed. Best wishes to you. From Suddha (talk) 00:51, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Suddha! Good to hear of you too! I'm really that you didn't write this part; but I recognized your topic of interest of course. Go ahead with the changes; I'm looking forward to it. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:46, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Great to get your input, as always, Joshua Jonathan. I have now made the changes to that part of the article, as suggested. I must say, in passing, that I continue to be impressed by all the clarifying work you have contributed to the Buddhism articles here on Wikipedia. Jim Renge, too, is doing excellent work. It is a pleasure to collaborate with two such reasonable, knowledgeable and urbane editors! Warm wishes to you both. From Suddha (talk) 08:01, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Hello Suddha, thanks for summarizing and improving this section.
I think reiteration is an important element in teaching but may be less helpful in an encyclopedia.

Hodous state: ‘The Nirvana Sutra claims for nirvana the ancient ideas of permanence, bliss, personality, purity in the transcendental realm. Yamamoto; .... So he will now speak of the affirmative attributes of nirvana, which are none other than the Eternal, Bliss, the Self and the Pure.[66] Positive language/Yamamoto; .... And it [i.e. the Buddha’s new revelation regarding nirvana] goes on to dwell on the “Great Self”, “Great Bliss”, and “Great Purity” ....

Do you have a proposal how to avoid these reiterations? Best regards JimRenge (talk) 08:53, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Hello JimRenge. Thank you very much for your sensible comments. Yes, there is a degree of unwarranted repetition here. I myself would not be averse to deleting the whole 'positive language' section - that would go a long way towards removing duplication of ideas. The other two quotes can remain, as they look at the issue under slightly different aspects. Would you, therefore, object if I deleted the 'Positive Language' section? Perhaps Joshua Jonathan would be OK with such deletion too? Regards - Suddha (talk) 09:09, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Suddha: Thanks for your constructive proposal. Removing the whole 'positive language' section would be a good solution. Best regards JimRenge (talk) 11:17, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Deletion done! Thank you again, JimRenge, for being such a reasonable person with whom to do editorial business (I wish all editors on Wikipedia were as tolerant and consensus-minded as yourself!). All my best wihes to you. From Suddha (talk) 11:36, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree too. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:25, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Thank you very much, Joshua Jonathan. Warm regards from Suddha (talk) 01:46, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Overview - Hinduism[edit]

The Overview-section states:

"Nirvāṇa is the soteriological goal within the Indian religions, Hinduism (Duiker (2008) p.52-53)

Duiker (2006), World History to 1800, Cengage Learning, p.52-53 deals with Buddhism. P.53 says:

"Nirvana, which, as in Hinduism, is a form of release from the wheel of life."

It does not say "soteriological goal". I've changed the sentence to "Nirvāṇa is a term used within various Indian religions". Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:44, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Nirvana (Buddhism)[edit]

Hi Jonathan, I would like to break out Buddhism section into a separate article--namely "Nirvana (Buddhism)". Any objections? This will follow a similar arrangement for other terms which are used in multiple traditions, such as Karma and Samsara. Cheers, Dorje108 (talk) 14:54, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Looking forward to your proposal. Just do it! (but leave some content here too.) Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:21, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Research page[edit]

FYI, I've created a research page for this topic: User:Dorje108/Nirvana_research

Far out! If this gives a hint of what you've got in mind, and if it becomes comparable to Four Noble Truths, then it is indeed a good idea to create a separate page. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:23, 15 February 2014 (UTC)


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