Nirvana a word in ancient Sanskrit, or Nibbana in Pali language literally means to blow out, or to extinguish.
Nirvana is the freeing of ourselves from Samsara. Samsara is known in both Sanskrit, and Pali as the endless cycle of birth, death, being reborn again, and the suffering that comes along with it. Nirvana can be achieved by all of us through the letting go of all of our attachments.
Buddha taught in his Four Noble Truths that life is suffering, and desire is the cause of all of our suffering. Buddha also informed us that the Eightfold Path will free us from our suffering, and lead us to Nirvana.
There are truly no words that can adequately describe what Nirvana is. Nirvana is not a place that we seek to discover, it is a state of existence that we endeavor to achieve. The Buddha’s enlightened wisdom taught us that anything we might think, or imagine about nirvana will be incorrect because the state of nirvana is completely different from our normal state of existence. Nirvana cannot be defined, it can only be experienced.
The Buddha taught his followers that, “Nirvana is the extinction of desire, the extinction of hatred, and the extinction of illusion.”
The Dalai Lama taught about Nirvana in The Path to Tranquility: “Enlightenment is the ending of rebirth, which means a complete nonattachment or nonidentification with all thoughts, feelings, perceptions, physical sensations, and ideas.”
Nirvana is the end goal of Buddhists.
Buddha taught that the middle path was the path to enlightenment that leads to nirvana.
Buddha was born Siddhartha “He who achieves his aim” Gautama during the sixth century in Lumbini, known today as Nepal. His father was a king who ruled his kingdom on the outskirts of Lumbini.
The holy man prophesied that Siddhartha would either be a king, or a great spiritual teacher. His father insisted that Siddhartha would be a king, and raised him in a sheltered life of lavishness. Siddhartha grew up inside of a walled compound, and was protected from witnessing such things as poverty, sickness, and old age as well.
When Siddhartha was in his late 20’s curiosity got the best of him, and he ventured outside of the palace walls with a chaperone who was wise to the ways of the outside world to guide him.
During his travels outside of the walls Siddhartha came across an old man, and asked his chaperone, “What happened to him?” His chaperone explained to him that time catches up to us all, and old age overcomes all men.
Continuing on his journey Siddhartha also came across a sickly man, a decaying corpse, and finally an ascetic holy man meditating. His chaperone told him that sickness effects many, and everyone will grow old and die. The ascetic holy man renounced all pleasures of the world to seek release from suffering, explained the chaperone.
After contemplating what he had seen Siddhartha left his pampered life inside of the kingdom seeking to free humanity from the suffering he now understood effects all of mankind.
Siddhartha first chose to join the ascetic holy men, and renounce everything in an attempt to achieve nirvana. For 6 years he practiced the ascetic lifestyle. After nearly starving himself to death, he decided this was not the right path to free oneself from suffering.
Siddhartha sat under a Bodhi tree, and meditated for several days seeking enlightenment. After overcoming the temptations of the demon Mara who tempted him with many earthly pleasures, Siddhartha achieved enlightenment, and became the Buddha.
Upon achieving enlightenment Buddha discovered the Four Noble Truths, and The Eightfold Path that leads to Nirvana. Through the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, and the practice of the Eightfold Path, Buddha taught that anyone could achieve nirvana.
Find the Peace, and happiness that is within you. Be still, and Embrace Nirvana.