- 1: the final beatitude that transcends suffering, karma, and samsara and is sought especially in Buddhism through the extinction of desire and individual consciousness
- 2a : a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality; also : bliss, heaven
Nirvāṇa (Sanskrit: निर्वाण; Pali: निब्बान nibbāna ; Prakrit: णिव्वाण) is an ancient Sanskrit term used in Indian religions to describe the profound peace of mind that is acquired with moksha (liberation). In shramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is union with the Brahman (Supreme Being).
The word literally means "blown out" (as in a candle) and refers, in the Buddhist context, to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.
Nirvāṇa is the soteriological goal within the Indian religions, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. It is synonymous with the concept of liberation (moksha) which refers to release from a state of suffering after an often lengthy period of committed spiritual practice. The concept of nirvāṇa comes from the Yogic traditions of the Sramanas whose origins go back to at least the earliest centuries of the first millennium BCE. The Pali Canon contains the earliest written detailed discussion of nirvāṇa and the concept has thus become most associated with the teaching of the historical Buddha. It was later adopted in the Bhagavad Gita of the Mahabharata. In general terms nirvāṇa is a state of transcendence (Pali: lokuttara) involving the subjective experience of release from a prior state of bondage. This is the result of a natural re-ordering of the mind and body via means of yogic discipline or sadhana. According to the particular tradition, with the experience of nirvāṇa the mind (Buddhism) or soul (Jainism) or spirit (Hinduism) has ended its identity with material phenomena and experiences a sense of great peace and a unique form of awareness or intelligence that is called bodhi in Buddhism, Kevala Jnana in Jainism, kaivalya (Asamprajnata Samadhi) in Yoga.