It is when he is freed from all bondage that the human being is able to reach Nirvana at the end of his spiritual quest. At this stage, the individual is freed from suffering: Nirvana, according to its Sanskrit origin, can be translated as the extinction or cessation of suffering. It is a state specific to religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
L’state of nirvana is very important in the Buddha’s teachings because it breaks the cycle or wheel of samsara. This wheel perpetuates suffering through the constant reincarnation of human beings in other lives, whose experiences are the result of each person’s accumulated karma. But… what is Nirvana? If you ask yourself this question, do not hesitate to continue reading this OneHOWTO article!
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Nirvana in Buddhism
In Hinduism, Gautama Buddha took on the task of redefining the attainment of Nirvana through a process of meditation in which he analyzes the mind and body as lacking in intrinsic individuality. In the process there is a voiding of the individuality of whatever is present in the mind and body of the individual.
This lack of individuality is also common to all existing phenomena in the universe. It is through the four stages of nirvana that are presented the different degrees of enlightenment that a person can achieve in this lifetime.
The attainment of Nirvana in Buddhism involves a definitive liberation from the suffering of human existence or from the various states of reincarnation to which all humans are subject. Buddhist Nirvana pushes this idea to its ultimate consequences: unlike Hinduism, it occurs through union with an absolute (known as Brahman) in line with the mysticism of theistic religions of Western origin.
Buddhism does not regard Nirvana as the opposition to samsara (the planet as we live it today), since gods and men are subject to karma. Buddha expressed the final liberation of men and gods from the midst of the phenomenal world. He thus distances himself from the state of absorption in divinity or union with an absolute as the path to ultimate liberation present in Hinduism.
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Nirvana in Hinduism
In Hinduism, it is considered union with the absolute, that is to say the Brahman. Thus, although Nirvana refers to an event of inner peace, it cannot be considered with exactly the same consequences in Hinduism and in Buddhism. Indeed, as we have seen, Buddhism redefined this term according to its own postulates.
Hinduism uses Nirvana in the moksa background (liberation from samsara or cycle of repeated births and deaths), i.e. when the soul merges with the absolute or divinity. Ultimately, liberation is due to the merging of the soul with divinity.
Within Hinduism, the concept of liberation is conceived differently by different Hindu denominations. The Vaishnavas consider that moksa does not imply a fusion of the soul in God, but an acceptance of the soul to serve him. Therefore, in Vaishnavism there is no real desire to give up reincarnation, but to serve God, even if it means suffering in the earthly world, away from him.
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Nirvana in Jainism
In Jainism, Nirvana means the release from the bondage of karma. When a human being is freed from his karmas, he concludes his experience in the world by attaining Nirvana. Technically, the end of life is called Nirvana because earthly existence has come to an end and liberation has been achieved.
In this case, Moksa would be the post-Nirvana liberation. So, in Jainism, the first step is Nirvana, which is done by the Arhat and then through moksa becomes siddha, that is, the liberated. Jainas celebrate diwali as the date Mahavira attained Nirvana. The Kalpasutra narrates the Nirvana of Mahavira in great detail.
What does it take to reach Nirvana?
To reach Nirvana, you must prepare yourself beforehand and follow different techniques of meditation and spirituality. To reach Nirvana, one must follow the following steps:
- Meditate regularly, because meditation is key to changing the way your mind works. Meditation will allow you to find and take the path to reach Nirvana.
- Have a fair outlook on lifeaccept the teachings in order to advance on the path of Nirvana.
- Have good intentionsto commit to developing an attitude in accordance with one’s convictions.
- have the right wordswithout gossip, slander, lies or rudeness.
- Perform righteous actions flowing from your mind and heart. Treat yourself and the people around you.
- Choose a correct lifestyleby choosing a profession that matches your values and beliefs.
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What is NIRVANA – in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism!
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