Nirvana

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Nirvana

Nirvāna (Sanskrit: निर्वाण; Pali: निब्बान (nibbāna); Prakrit: णिव्वाण) is a central concept in Indian religions. In sramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering (or dukkha). In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the Supreme being through moksha. The word literally means "blowing out" — referring, in the Hindu context, to the supreme state free of suffering and individual existence[citation needed], and in the Buddhist context, to the blowing out of the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion.[1]

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Etymology

Nirvāna is a compound of the prefix ni[r]- (ni, nis, nih) which means "out, away from, without," and the root vâ[na] (Pali. vâti) which can be translated as "blowing" as in "blowing of the wind," and also as "smelling," etc.[7]

The abhidharma-mahāvibhāsa-sāstra, a sarvastivādin commentary, gives the complete context of the possible meanings from its Sanskrit roots:

  • Vāna, implying the path of rebirth, + nir, meaning leaving off' or "being away from the path of rebirth."
  • Vāna, meaning 'stench', + nir, meaning "without": "without the stench of distressing karma."
  • Vāna, meaning "dense forests", + nir, meaning "without" = "to be without the dense forest of the five aggregates" (panca skandha), or the "three roots of greed, hate and delusion" (raga, dvesa, avidya) or "three characteristics of existence" (impermanence, anitya, unsatisfactoriness, dukkha, soullessness, anàtman).
  • Vāna, meaning "weaving", + nir, meaning "knot" = "freedom from the knot of the distressful thread of karma."

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