noun, often capitalized \nir-ˈvä-nə, (ˌ)nər-\

: the state of perfect happiness and peace in Buddhism where there is release from all forms of suffering

: a state or place of great happiness and peace

Full Definition of NIRVANA

:  the final beatitude that transcends suffering, karma, and samsara and is sought especially in Buddhism through the extinction of desire and individual consciousness
a :  a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality; also :  bliss, heaven
b :  a goal hoped for but apparently unattainable :  dream
nir·van·ic \-ˈvä-nik, -ˈva-\ adjective

Examples of NIRVANA

  1. <the spa experience was a week of pure nirvana>
  2. <the popular fantasy that life as a beachcomber in the South Pacific would be never-ending nirvana>

Origin of NIRVANA

Sanskrit nirvāṇa, literally, act of extinguishing, from nis- out + vāti it blows — more at wind
First Known Use: 1801

Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms

Zen, antinomian, avatar, gnosticism, illuminati, ineffable, karma, koan, mantra


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

(Sanskrit: “Extinction”) In Indian religious thought, the transcendent state of freedom achieved by the extinction of desire and of individual consciousness. Nirvana is the supreme goal of the disciplines of meditation, particularly in Buddhism. Release from desire (and consequent suffering) and the continuous round of rebirths constitutes enlightenment, or the experience of nirvana. Theravada Buddhism conceives of nirvana as tranquillity and peace; Mahayana Buddhism equates it with sunyata (emptiness), dharma-kaya (the essence of the Buddha), and dharma-datu (ultimate reality).


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