What is the concept of Nirvana in Buddhism?
What is Nirvana(Enlightenment)? This question comes into the minds of many people. This word is most commonly associated with the Buddhism, this is an ultimate state of liberation from samsara. In Buddhism, this state also considered the supreme goal of the life.
“Nibbāna is bliss supreme.”
In Hinduism, Nirvana means the Moksha and Mukti (liberation) from the repeating cycle of birth, life, and death and reached the ultimate.
Both Buddhist and non-Buddhist traditions explain these terms for liberation by their own wisdom & knowledge. Well, there is no point of the argument about the various explanation on the concept of Nirvana in these traditions but it proved that the state Nirvana do exist and we can attain it.
In Buddhism, Nirvana word originates from the Pali word Nibbana. It is composed of two words “Ni” and “Vāna”. Ni is a negative particle. Vāna means weaving or craving. “It is called Nibbāna in that it is a departure (Ni) from that craving which is called Vāna, lusting.” It is an elimination of all desires and craving in a form of flame of lust, hatred, and delusion. Nirvana is nothing but the extinction of these flames. But it is not nothingness, Well in this small and enlightening story you will find the answer about the vast perspective of Nirvana and its nature.
“Once upon a time there was a fish. And just because it was a
fish, it had lived all its life in the water and knew nothing whatever about anything else but water. And one day as it swam about in the pond where all its days had been spent, it happened to meet a turtle of its acquaintance who had just come back from a little excursion on the land.”
“Good day, Mr. Turtle!” said the fish. “I have not seen you for a
long time. Where have you been?”
“Oh”, said the turtle, “I have just been for a trip on dry land.”
“On dry land!” exclaimed the fish.
“What do you mean by on dry land? There is no dry land. I had
never seen such a thing. Dry land is nothing.”
“Well,” said the turtle goodnaturedly. “If you want to think so,
of course, you may; there is no one who can hinder you. But that’s
where I’ve been, all the same.”
“Oh, come,” said the fish. “Try to talk sense. Just tell me now
what is this land of yours like? Is it all wet?”
“No, it is not wet,” said the turtle.
”Is it nice and fresh and cool?” asked the fish.
”No, it is not nice and fresh and cool,” the turtle replied.
”Is it clear so that light can come through it?”
“No, it is not clear. Light cannot come through it.”
“Is it soft and yielding, so that I could move my ins about in it
and push my nose through it?”
“No, it is not soft and yielding. You could not swim in it.”
“Does it move or low in streams?”
“No, it neither moves nor lows in streams?”
“Does it ever rise up into waves then, with white foams in them?”
asked the fish, impatient at this string of Noes.
”No!” replied the turtle, truthfully, “It never rises up into waves
that I have seen.”
“There now,” exclaimed the fish triumphantly. “Didn’t I tell you that this land of yours was just nothing? I have just asked, and you have answered me that it is neither wet nor cool, not clear nor soft and that it does not flow in streams nor rise up into waves. And if it isn’t a single one of these things what else is it but nothing? Don’t tell me.”
“Well, well”, said the turtle, “If you are determined to think that
dry land is nothing, I suppose you must just go on thinking so. But anyone who knows what is water and what is land would say you were just a silly fish, for you think that anything you have never known is nothing just because you have never known it.”
“And with that, the turtle turned away and, leaving the fish behind in its little pond of water, set out on another excursion over the dry land that was nothing.”
Nirvana is not something to be set down in print, nor is it a subject to be grasped by intellect alone; it is a supramundane state (Lokuttara Dhamma) to be realized only by intuitive wisdom.